Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Warp Gate sculpting

Jack, a friend in my gaming club, asked me to work on a Warp Gate to use as terrain for the chaos table. We're in a big push right now to put together enough terrain to host a tournament. Here's what I've come up with so far.

What Jack handed off to me was a shallow lucite dome, filled with plaster and stuff, that will set in the middle of the chaos temple ruins scenery. (The dome is fitted with a rod that will slide into the temple ruins base.)

How to model the gate? My main inspiration came from descriptions of the Gellar Field and the visicious, swirling, protean mass of malignant daemons gnawing at it. I say "inspiration" but not in a literal sense. I just wanted to capture the idea of the Warp as a seething mass of semi-sentient matter and malignancy.

To that end, on the back I decided to sculpt a gigantic, disembodied hand, meant to look as if some daemonic power is cupping a piece of warp stuff to generate a portal:

Daemons, Terrain, Warp Gate

I wanted it to look hand-like, but not precisely like a hand:
Daemons, Terrain, Warp Gate

Then I turned to the other side of the portal, the part depicting the membrane between Materium and Immaterium. Jack had started some work on that, but I ended up clipping most of that off and starting over. (Sorry Jack.)

It's not done yet, but here's what I have so far:
Daemons, Terrain, Warp Gate

The idea is to make the surface look like reality bubbling open, with half-formed creatures starting to pierce through...

There's one daemoness (from the daemonette sprue) just breaching, and indeterminate faces, claws and tendrils starting to pierce through too.

So it's coming together. Still some more sculpting to do on the "membrane" side. Then of course painting...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Progress on the Display Board

Over the last week or two I've been putting in work on the display board project. Having "sculpted" the temple floor from foam board, I next turned to desecrating the place. After all, the army that will be on display here is the Harrowed, right? Since the army is meant to be a corrupted IG regiment, I wanted the setting to tell some of that story.

Accordingly, I sculpted in tendrils infesting the Aquila.

Corrupting the temple ruins, display board WI

Working greenstuff into the foam was tricky, as I couldn't press too hard into the foam without crushing it out of shape. Eventually I got the hang of a workable technique.

In the center of the Aquila I modeled an eye of chaos -- conjuring (I hoped) a malignant cthonic intelligence gaining daemonic sway over the temple's spiritual energies.

Corrupting the temple ruins, display board WIP

To help the bases of my figures blend in with the terrain, I sprinkled and glued on some patches of rubble.

Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain

Also, to help frame the scene, I put a pillar at each corner, each one twisting unnaturally toward the center. (The pillars were cast in resin, then immersed in hot water and bent carefully.)

Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain

To prepare for painting, I coated the temple floor heavily and thoroughly with three coats of watered down PVA (so that the foam would not dissolve when I spray painted it). This helped toughen up the "skin" of the display board. To further strengthen it, I sprayed on a coat of matte finish before I painted it.

Then I primed the board and painted on a coat of grey (with some sand sprinkled in for some texture), then washed and drybrushed the floor parts. A bit of touch up with a brush here and there on the stone work, and I ended up with:

Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain

To help set off the Aquila, I painted that in shades of grays mixed with a few drops of Gore Red, and lightly traced a marble effect with tiny brushstrokes of light gray.

Then I painted the daemonic tendrils in shades of blue working up to icy white.

Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain

(As you can see here, I also ended up magnetizing the four corner pillars, since they kept coming off, even after I hot-glued and pinned them.)

The tendril painting still needs work, but it's beginning to evoke the effect I hoped for:
Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain

Meanwhile, I decided (after priming the pillars -- doh!) that I wanted to sculpt some tendrils into the pillars as well:

Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain

Some other views from other angles:
Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain


Display Board, Harrowed, Terrain

So, that's where I am so far. Getting close....

Friday, February 11, 2011

Battle Report, Harrowed vs. Tyranids, 2/10/2010

Battle Report, Daemons, Tyranids

This week the Harrowed took the field against Tryanids captained by Matt, a longstanding rival. The first few times we pitted our armies against each other several years ago, the Tyranids had thrashed and thoroughly masticated my daemons. More recently, the Harrowed have managed to eke out a series of draws against the bugs. In fact, the expectation of fighting to a standoff has become a kind of running joke between Matt and me. This time, determined to achieve a more decisive result, we decided to play an annihilation game. For deployment we rolled Dawn of War.

Hive Fleet Matt bred for battle:
A Hive Tyrant, with three Hive Guard; 6 Ravenors; a Trygon Prime; a Mawloc; a Trygon; a Tervigon; 2 broods of Termagaunts (one 19 strong, one 18); and a brood of 11 Genestealers led by a Broodlord.

The Harrowed summoned:
M’Bashaar the Bloodthirster, the prophet Twice-Touched [Bluescribes], 2 deamon princes, one Nurgle-marked, one Tzeentch-marked; 3 Flamers; 3 Bloodcrushers accompanied by Skulltaker on a Juggernaut; 6 Fiends; a pack of 14 Plaguebearers; a pack of 9 Horrors; and a pack of 8 Bloodletters.

(Note: as you might guess from the fact that my daemon troops were fielded in sacred numbers, this was a friendly game playing armies that were honed for battle but also themed for narrative. I don’t think either of us fielded “throwaway” units, but neither were we looking for optimally-lethal "tournament" lists. Hence my sacred numbers and, more generally, the avoidance of any repeating of unit types.)

Matt won the roll to pick turn order and chose to go second. Looking the field over, I then chose the table side that had the most impassible terrain (hoping to make it easier to land in Matt’s rear lines if opportunities presented themselves). Preliminaries out of the way, we squared off for battle.

Under the terms of Dawn of War, Matt could not deploy his Hive Tyrant (because of the Hive Guard), but he did station a brood of termagaunts in building ruins and a Tervigon just behind.

Daemon Summoning

Making supplications and sacrificial offerings to their fickle Gods, the battle prophets of the Harrowed beseeched a preferred wave that included: The Bloodthirster, the Plaguebearers, the Horrors, Bluescribes, and the Nurgle Prince. The Ruinous Powers heard the prayers of their faithful and opened the gates.

I tried to land my forces centrally. Twice-Touched (the Bluescribes) scattered backwards (11 inches!), M’Bashaar (the Thirster) also drifted back, while the Nurgle Prince scattered forward to the edge of the building holding the Termagaunts. The two daemon troop units landed more or less as planned. All in all an auspicious summoning, although one that left the Nurgle Prince unsupported in the teeth of the oncoming bug-storm.

Battle Report, Daemons, Tyranids

Nids 1
Scenting prey, Xenos organisms walked, slithered, and scurried onto the field.

Battle Report, Daemons, Tyranids

The Ravenors sped particularly swiftly, joining the Termaguants in swarming over the Nurgle Prince.

Battle Report, Daemons, Tyranids

Impressively, the iron-hided half-daemon survived the onslaught, felling one of the Ravenors, taking wounds, then just barely remaining afloat amid a sea of slicing talons as the gaunts joined in.

Battle Report, Daemons, Tyranids

Daemons 2
Drawn by the opening of hostilities, the Harrowed’s Bloodcrushers, Bloodletters, and Tzeentch Prince materialized on the field.

Battle Report, Daemons, Tyranids

As he arrived, the Tzeentch Prince hurled eldritch energies into the approaching Trygon Prime, wounding the creature.

The Plaguebearers lurched and shambled into the melee consuming the Nurgle Prince, Termagaunts and Ravenors. Even as the daemonic reinforcements reached the fray, the Ravenors finished off the Nurgle Prince, though not before losing another of their number. Because the Plaguebearers were swamped by Termagaunts, the surviving Ravenors managed to break away to seek out new prey.

Nids 2
The Mawloc arrived, trying to burrow out into the midst of the Horrors but drifting a bit as it dug toward the surface and landing near the Bloodthirster.

Battle Report, Daemons, Tyranids

The Hive Tyrant hurled needles into the Bloodletters's brains. (At least, that was how Matt described what was happening!) That firepower, reinforced by ancillary shooting from other ‘nids, wiped out the ‘letters.

The Ravenors charged the Tzeentch Prince – but that half-breed, too, proved durable, withstanding the Ravenors’ charge, taking several wounds, then slaying another of the creatures for their pains.

Daemons 3
With Warp currents evidently in high flood, the rest of the Harrowed broke through to the material plane, Fiends and Flamers honing in on the icon born by one of the Plaguebearers.

Skulltaker and the Bloodcrushers crashed into Ravenor/Tzeentch Prince combat, wiping out the Ravenors.

The Horrors issued a volley of Warpfire at the Termagaunts, felling a number of them. (I was torn here, and perhaps would have been better off targeting the Mawloc.)

The Thirster charged the Mawloc, dealing some wounds. The Mawloc then executed a hit-and-run.

The Bluescribes darted into the center of the table, close enough to try pavaning the Genestealers into the Flamers’ Breath of Chaos. The first effort to hit with pavane failed, but Tzeentch granted his heralds a second effort, this one successful. Helplessly the stealers danced toward their doom in the form of the waiting Flamers, whose Breath of Chaos wiped out the Genestealers and dealt a wound to the Broodlord.

Nids 3
The Trygon Prime wary of Skulltaker, backed away from the Bloodcrushers.

In the melee in the ruins, Plaguebearers were beginning to die, but slowly, in dribs and drabs as Plaguebearers do. Termagaunts were also dying, also slowly (bolstered by their own Xenos brand of feel no pain).

The Broodlord charged the Flamers, dispatching one of the daemons but then falling before the counterblows of the surviving two. (Wow, that was lucky!)

Daemons 4
The two surviving Flamers, with no useful role to play in the immediate area, retreated to the safety of some semi-distant cover (where they remained for the rest of the battle).

The Bluescribes darted forward to try pavaning the Trygon Prime closer to the Bloodcrushers. When that effort failed, the herald joined the Tzeentch Prince in harrying the creature with Bolts of Tzeentch.

The Fiends charged into the melee in the ruins, finishing off the Ravenors and beginning to mow into the gaunts while the Plaguebearers fended with the bigger bugs.

The Bloodthirster and the Mawloc exchanged a wound or two. Then the ‘nid monstrosity tried to hit and run again, but this time failed to extract himself from the combat.

Nids 4
The Tervigon plunged into the melee in the ruins. Under the combined onslaught of several monstrous creatures, the Plaguebearers were whittling down. The Fiends, meanwhile, shredded the surviving gaunts in a frenzy of gore.

The Thirster and the Mawloc destroyed each other in a vicious exchange of mortal blows.

Daemons 5
The fighting ground on. Somewhere in here (and I can’t remember when or how -- sorry) the daemons’ Horrors and the Tyranids’ second brood were both wiped out.

Nids 5
Matt, by now falling behind on kill points, decided to try a final gambit. The Tervigon spawned a new brood of Termagaunts that managed to hurtle into the melee in the ruins embroiling the Plaguebearers, the Fiends, and two Tyranid monstruous creatures. This tipped the scales there, sending both daemon units back to the Warp and thus delivering 2 more kill points to the Tyranids.

At this point, I rolled the dice and the Gods delivered a “2,” declaring the game over.

We tallied up the kill points.

The Nids had banished:
The Nurgle Prince, the Bloodthirster, the Bloodletters, the Plaguebearers, the Fiends, and the Horrors back to the Warp.

The daemons, for their part, claimed:
The Ravenors, the Mawloc, the Genestealers, the Trygon Prime, and two broods of Termagaunts.

Matt and I looked at each other and literally, audibly groaned. Six kill points each! Another draw!

What a great game!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Starting a new Nurgle Prince

I'm starting yet another daemon prince conversion. Based, once again, on an IG sentinel.

I can't help myself!

Seriously, though, the model that I use for my Nurgle-marked daemon prince, this one...
Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Sentinel, Warhammer 40,000, Work In Progress
(since re-painted in more Nurgly colors).

Well, I've never liked it as much as the others. Too top-heavy, too cluttered, too spindly in the legs. It was my first piece for this army, it spawned a lot of ideas and making it taught me a lot, but I think I can do better now that I've had more practice.


Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

I started with Sentinel legs, pinning them to the base, since in my experience, that is where they tend to break -- and since I've clipped off a lot of the Sentinel feet.

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

Then I took a fire-starter to the sentinel cabin, warping it a bit and while the plastic was soft, poking open a mouth-like aperture.

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

Actually, the "mouth" came out better than I expected, and I was tempted to work it into a proper maw with teeth. But in the end I decided to go with my first idea, which was to put a tusk/horn there (since this will be a Nurgle Prince).

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

Then I glued the cabin/head onto the legs, giving the beast a cocked, bent pose to suggest that it's goring prey with its horn.

Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

At this point I decided that the horn looked too small...
Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

…so I built it up and textured it with greenstuff.
Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

The texture on the horn turned out a bit rougher than I intended, and I've since cleaned it up a bit -- though I do want it somewhat rough and lined.

Pulling back, I have to say I really like the pose this one is striking:
Chaos Daemons, Conversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

It feels very "alive" and beast-like, to me at least.

Here's a look at the creature from behind:
Chaos Daemons, Coversion, Daemon Prince, Daemons, Nurgle

Needless to say, there's still a long way to go on the creature -- and a lot more greenstuff to splice/weave/graft in! Never fear, it will become much more monstrous, more noxious as its unholy transformation continues.

Wheee! I love this stuff. Sometimes it's hard to bring myself to follow through on the painting, but I really enjoy this stage of a project!

More to come on this...

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Herald of Tzeentch, manifesting on the material plane

I've been tweaking, tinkering, fussing... and I've brought my second Herald of Tzeentch nearly to "fully-sculpted" status.

Chaos Daemons, Chariot, Conversion, Daemons, Herald, Tzeentch

The Herald will ride to battle on a chariot, which moves as a jetbike, so I've modeled the creature so that it will "float" on its base.

Chaos Daemons, Chariot, Conversion, Daemons, Herald, Tzeentch

The wires curling out of the creature depict its ability to project daemonic powers such as Bolt of Tzeentch.

Chaos Daemons, Chariot, Conversion, Daemons, Herald, Tzeentch

Still need to do a bit more with the bare wires -- splice in a bit of greenstuffed tendrils and so on. Though I don't want to overdo it.