Call Harry Stamper

I have been doing a bit of forward planning this week. Nothing drastic, just trying to keep the momentum going while I work my way through the Ultramarine assault squad currently on the painting table. Hobby time has been at a bit of a premium this past week as there have been a few jobs around the house that couldn’t be ignored anymore. Actually, technically they are ‘outside’ the house but lets not split hairs.
So, last month I showed the Babylon 5 ships I was speed painting up to get some games in with Kev at some stage. These are progressing much to plan and although nothing much to look at currently, are adequate enough to game with. What it has left me however is a little short in the terrain dept, particularly with regards to asteroids, which are pretty much my favourite kind of spaceship terrain being so easy to make effectively.
What you need is a nice big box of lava rocks from your nearest DIY store and a stack of flight bases, both large and small. Obviously cheaper alternatives can be used instead of the flight stands, however I like the consistency with the rest of the ships so that’s what I’m using. You will probably need to break some of the rocks up a bit to achieve some variety in the sizes otherwise they will all look too uniform.

Obviously there are any number of things you could use instead of lava rocks; polystyrene for example, or just pebbles. However I chose lava rocks for two reasons, firstly they look fantastically organic and asteroid like with their natural pitting and bizarre shapes. Secondly they are easy to work with, cheap to purchase and despite their outward appearance are incredibly light in weight. Finally any spares can go straight into your gas BBQ!

The great thing about lava rock is there are some fantastically unusual shapes that can be exploited for single bases.

Once you have a nice mix of sizes an shapes they can be mounted onto the bases using a mix of the original stems and brass rod. I have a few smaller branches breaking out here and there to create the illusion of ‘floating’, these are disguised by the rocks in general and being black against a black background don’t stand out too much.

By combining multiple shapes and sizes on a single large base, the illusion of ‘floating’ can be created with different heights.

There are any number of ways of gluing the rock in place, but my recommendation is either epoxy glue or a hot melt glue gun as both have mass to them and will bond pretty much anything. Superglue will technically work, but it is unnecessarily expensive and not all that effective and PVA or White glue really doesn’t cut it.
Painting wise I undercoated all with black primer before giving a german grey base coat with the airbrush. Browns and beiges were then applied with a  rough zenithal light source in mind using a mix of airbrush and dry brush to give some variety in the colours before tidying the black on the stems back up with a brush.

I then re-shaded the reverse of each asteroid and the deeper recesses with charadon granite to try to emphasise the single light source. I know this is a bit pedantic, but it was something I hadn’t tried before and it got me thinking about how the planets and other celestial bodies should look if illuminated by a single star. The effect isn’t overdone and is hard to see under normal lighting, but I thought it would be an interesting experiment. I am somewhat tempted to go back and redo some of the planets and moons as well to add a diffused ‘night side’ to each planet for fun.

That was pretty much all there was to it and in the course of an evening I had completed enough asteroids to rebuild Alderaan (sorry, too soon?)

On the subject of celestial bodies I reckon one of the templates from the recently released ‘Storm of Magic’ sets would make a fantastic gas giant or sun, so I picked one up at the weekend, hence my sudden obsession with light sources. The other templates aren’t bad either and I am pretty sure I can find a use for them in Epic or 40K as well. This one however is the ‘star’ of the set (see what I did there? No? oh well)

Sister’s aren’t doing it.

So, part one of the Sisters of Battle mini-codex came out in this month’s White Dwarf and I have to say I am left feeling a bit deflated. Not so much from the rules; to be honest I haven’t studied them too much yet, but more from the complete lack of new models. It could well be my expectations were set too high by the outstanding attention the Dark Eldar received as part of their re-launch, but at the very least I was anticipating new plastic Battle Sister and Seraphim sets. It could well be this is still in the mix for their future, but I just hope they don’t end up getting the Grey Knight treatment and a high priced ‘hybrid’ boxed set. Unfortunately the pragmatist in me predicts that is exactly what will happen and a single box of five Battle Sisters/Purifiers/Seraphim (assemble to your choosing) is what looms in their future along with a plastic Penitent Engine and a ‘Finecast’ re-launch of the existing Canoness/Superior.

Not the end of the world, but not what I am still hoping for. Still, there is the Necron re-launch to look forward to now and the hope that they at least get a decent bit of love from the studio. Signs to date are encouraging.

Clearing the deck.

Finally for this update a brief shout out to Epic again. My last post touched upon what I perceived as the lamentable support it was getting from the ‘official’ channels and how it seemed to me to be in a bit of a decline. This seems to have struck a chord with some and I was very happy to be corrected. At the very least it has fired my Epic scale juices up again, so I spent some time whilst pounding large lava rocks into small lava rocks deciding what to do about it. I do have those pesky Ultramarines to complete, but whilst they are progressing there is plenty of scope to work on one or two other small side projects in parallel. The two I have in mind are:

  • Salamander Chapter Landing Craft and escorts
  • Epic scale Adeptus Mechanicus Titan Forge (Terrain)
Ok, maybe the latter isn’t a ‘small’ project technically. More on both of those at a later date as they get underway and I have something to show.
Until then though, have a great week.
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