onsdag 18 december 2019

Plastic Sisters

Finally it happened, the plastic sisters are here. After two decades they are here. Well almost, the starter army set is, or should I say was here. It sold out very quickly and now we are waiting for the proper release in 2020.

I must say I have not been a sisters player, nor collector to any degree. I actually only own one squad of five sister were two are painted, the red sister is painted by me just after the initial release in 97. My wife does however own a substantial amount of metal sisters, bought and painted some ten years after my initial purchase (silver metal sister). As some of you might remember she got Celestine for here birthday some time ago which I painted in the colors of her custom order. She is no longer an active player or collector/painter but she has still been interested in the sisters range. So I have followed the development and the last years sneak peaks to see if I could entice her to get back in the game. But to no avail.

Well, I must say that the level of detail on the new plastic versions are astounding and the rank and file look pretty darn good. So I thought that if the wife does not get them then perhaps I will get at least some to have as a nice side project. So I thought the starter box would be a nice limited project, but as I heard that it had sold out so I sort of gave up on the thought.

But then I needed some more Agrax earth shade and headed to the local hobby hole. Well there I asked about the sisters box and they said it had come and gone quickly,...   but they had managed to order some online and they would be inbound with in the week, so I asked if it was possible to reserve one, and it was. So now I have a box of plastic sisters.

But enough about that, over to the models. The models are incredibly detailed and even the easy to build monopose models in this box comes in several parts that can be quite fiddly to assemble. This is not an army I would recommend as a starter for anyone not used to model building. The size creep is very noticeable and these ladies are not that much shorter than Primaris Marines. I had hoped that they would be more human to better emphasize the size of space marines in relation to normal humans. But I guess that this had to be to get all the details in. They are also more anatomically proportioned than the old metals. As for colors I decided to paint them in a similar way that I did Celestine and have the same color scheme as the wifey's army. The base is a polished white metal and purple robes with white casing on the bolter. The corset, gloves and bags are painted as brown leather with the metal studs picked out. Grenades etc are painted a military olive green. For charters and officers I am thinking of using different palettes to set them apart, a little bit as the sisters of silence are described in some of the novels.

All in all I do not think I will do a  full army, but some of the character models might find their way onto my to do shelf.

söndag 8 december 2019

Lady Oxidia in Entropy

Finished my night Preceptor, the Lady Oxidia in Entropy. Last post had her mostly done but now I finished up some of the details as well as the Lady herself and her abode. I am really happy with how she turned out and I am looking forward to finishing up the Armigers to complete the super heavy detachment.

Lore-wise she is kind of an oddball among the Northern Knights. She is not a native of their home world but a former free blade. She grew up on the planet of Randoryn Alpha as the third daughter to a minor noble, distantly related to the ruling house Cerberan. As a youth she was sent of to train as an Armiger pilot under her uncle who was acting Preceptor. However, this uncles was not a very noble man and he abused his charges, especially the females. One night he was heavily into his Amasec and tried to take advantage of Oxidia. She would not have it and promptly slit his throat. Realizing that it would not go well for her if she was found she quickly hid the body and stole his battle gear. Rallying the rest of the pilots in training who bore no love for the old drunkard she managed to steal his Knight and set of for some friend she know in the vicinity. Once safe away from the train grounds and hidden in her friends barn she set about stripping the paint of the knight to make it less recognizable. Then she got on the first barge of world and set out among the stars as a free blade. During her long career she made her self a reputation as a strong willed knight that did not take orders well. After a series of incidents she ended up in a position where she could no longer find anyone willing to hire her. So she washed up on the home world of the Northern Knights were she managed to get a job training new armiger pilots. She still has problems with orders and she prefers to train female pilots as she never really got over her childhood experiences. Her knight suit, Entropy, was never repainted after she first stole it and it has acquired a patina of rust over the years. She has only painted her right shoulder and left grave in the forest green of the Northern Knights to show her allegiance but in all else has left the metal to bear witness to her life. When the Northern Knights fell  she followed them into damnation without a second thought. Her bitterness over how the empire and it nobles had treated her making her easy pray for the dark whispers in the halls beneath the keep.

lördag 30 november 2019

Lady Oxidia in Entropy WIP

Well, well....  last time I had some problems deciding which project to run with... and it turned out to be something completely different than what I thought. As I was contemplating what to do I realized that I had a half painted knight lying around. Some time ago I had some ideas to do a preceptor to go with my flock of Armigers. I decided to do a corrupted version of Canis Rex, i.e. a rusted out metallic knight with some spikes etc. So I decided to start with the armor plating, just to try some large metallics using my regular recipe. I whipped up some spikes and scars on the main plates and set about painting them and I posted the results. But then it stopped. I needed to make a scenic base for the model and as some of you readers might have noticed, I am not a fan of bases, or I was not a fan of bases, things might be changing on that front. Any way I got stuck on making the base so I could not finish the body of the knight as it needed to be posed on the base. Which led to the painted armor just lying around.

Now back to the present. As I had not doen anything for the base in several months I just decided to run with what I had and just go with it. So I glued down a half chimera to a knight base, added some leftover buildings and it was done. Once I knew the terrain it was an easy build to pose the legs with one foot resting on the wreck and the other on some ruins. Once that was sorted the body and arms were straight forward with some minor adjustments of the fingers on the power fist. The knight has an interior but I will get back on that later. So after a quick build of the body and arms I put down the base color, rusted metal. The lighting in the pictures does sadly not show how it actually looks as the highlights form reflecting light is saturating the camera sensors which means I need to turn the sensitivity down making the rest of the model very dark. I will need to figure out how to take pictures of metallic models for the next time. But at least it gives you an idea of what the model will look like at some point.

Next up is some finishing touches to the outside then I will finish up the interior and the pilot. I also need to finish of the last of the first batch of Armigers, the Hellverins so that I can start building the rest of them. I think this Banner will look really sick when done. All in all I am exited to see what the Northern Ghosts and Northern Nights will look like when done.

söndag 27 oktober 2019

Div WIPs

Once again I have spent more time at work than home for the last week which means limited progress. But I have managed to sneak in some hours here and there while passing by home. Sadly my inspiration is a bit all over the place and I have a hard time settling down for the next project after Varangian.

One long-running project that has been going in the background for some time is my banner of Armigers. Eventually this banner will host six Hellverins, six Warglaives and a Preceptor. So far I have built and painted the legs and bodies of the Hellverins. Two are even done. I have also done the armor of the Preceptor but have not build the body yet. This is a large and time consuming project.

Another long-running project is my Dominus knight for the Hird, a banner of knights supporting the Jarl of the Norther Knights. This is a somewhat converted Dominus knight sporting dual volcano cannons and dual rapid fire battle cannons. This build has been sitting on my desk for some time waiting for a spurt of inspiration to finish of the last components of the conversions so that I can finish it up and get it to paint. This of course includes a cockpit sporting a dual crew. This project could be a reasonably contained project to finish, if the inspiration is there.

Then I have stated work on the Jarl himself, the Barron of the Northern Knights. Here I have gone for some have GS work to decorate the armor, and adding some extra trim in the form of leather straps from the shoulders and winged shields at the knee and elbow joints. This is also a well contained project. A bit time consuming with all the layers needed for the GS so probably not a prime contender at the moment bur something that will run in the background.

Then we have Fenrir, Reaver titan nr 2561. This was a buy I did this summer in anticipation of Brexit making it harder and more expensive to buy things directly from Forgeworld. So far I have only started on the head, which will have more of a K9 look. I am not really sure exactly how this will turn out but I am thinking about having bone and ribs etc breaking through the armor, making it look a bit like a zombie werewolf. This is a somewhat large project as it will include a lot of GS sculpting but at least no major conversions.

So at the moment I have a bit of the hobby butterfly syndrome. I just hope that I will find the motivation to settle down for one project so that I can finish it.

måndag 14 oktober 2019

Titandeath and other novels that ignore the models they are supposed to describe.

For the last mount I have not had much hobby time as I have been at work more or less constantly for the last three and a half weeks. I have however managed to read the novel, Titandeath by Guy Haley. It is centered around the titan battles taking place in the Beta-Garmon cluster during the Horus Heresy. In general I think it is a really good read with an engaging story, portraying charters from both the loyalist (Legio Solaria) and traitor (Legio Vulpa) sides. During the story we get an in-depth view of the life of titan crews both in battle as well as post battle. I find this highly entertaining as it gives more depth to the hobby of collection titan models. A lot of technology concerning titan operation is introduced (at least to me) in the from of drop ships and titan recovery as well as how void shields work, re arming, ammunition management etc. Things I have longed missed in the fictional description of titan war fare. I still think more could be done in this field to make titans as a military aspect more believable. So in general a very good source book for the ambitious Princeps.

And now we come to the main problem I have with this book and also others dealing with titans, Immersion breaking! So why is that. Well it is as simple as scale issues. I understand that the authors have some artistic liberties in interpreting and shaping the world around our beloved figures, but when they disregard the models themselves it becomes immersion breaking as it is obvious that it can't be the same thing that is described as what is in my cabinets.

Let me take some examples. But first let us establish some base line about the model scales of the Warhound, Reaver, Warlord and Impertator. According to "official" sources they stand approximately 15 m, 26 m, 33 m and 55 m tall respectively. This is in accordance with the sizes of the models except for the Imperator which does not have a model (at least not in 28 mm scale). These heights are also stated in several novels (but I can't find the appropriate page references for this).
So far, all seams to be in agreement about what a titan is and how big it is. So what is my problem then. Well, in the novels the human characters have to interact with the titans, playing out some action according to the story, and this is where it all collapses. For some reason the authors have not looked at the models, or they have and completely ignored what they saw.

Let us start out with the actual accounts from Titandeath. Here we get an in-depth description of the crew of a Reaver Titan. Here follows a number of quotations from the novel introducing the crew.


"Esha forced herself to look outwards, past her suit visor and the presence of the six women around her,..."
"Fenina Bol, one of Esha's moderati bellatus.", "Odani Jehan, Eshas second bellatus.",  "Nepha Nen, the third weapons operator...", "... Yeha Yeha, moderati primus,...", "The remaining members of the crew were Mephani Ohana, oratorius,... and Jephenir jehan... as Esha's steersman."

"Reavers in other Legions might take a further two moderati, but the Legio Solaria were mistresses of the hunt, and the princeps had no need of additional crew in either the navigatorial or sensorium positions."

"A passionless ... counted down... , as they ran within the Reaver.", "They had to duck through the low door into the machine."

"Servitors stared sightlessly at them from their alcoves.", "The small door leading to the command deck slid a side. Jephenir Jehan, Yeha Yeha, Mephani Ohana and finally Esha Ani Mohana clambered into the thight space. Fenina Bol, Nepha Nen and Odani Jehan... splitting left and right to pass though the doors leading to the gunnery chambers set within the shoulders."
"Magos Deimechanic Omega-6... , He was the only full sentient aboard not hard wired into the manifold,..."

And from a later episode.

"Down there, in the cramped space around the core, was the realm of the titan enginseer. He was alone, overseeing the dozen slaved servitors bonded to the machine..."

So to go from this a Reaver has 6-8 moderati and a Princeps. Some servitors in the passageway, an engineseer and 12 servitors slaved to the core. So in total some 20+ human beings. There are 4 seats in the command cockpit, and three gunnery rooms in the shoulders as well as an entire engine room below the main deck. I assume that there should also be seat for the two moderati not present in the Solaria Reavers. Looking at the model it is hard to phantom this and that sort of takes something away from the story. Why give in-death explanations about heat management when firing energy weapons if you can't get the most basic things like the inner dimensions of a titan tight? 

The crew of Domine Ex Venari as per Guy Haley depicted with the body of a Reaver. The servitors are represented by the bloob of necron skitarii to the left.

And this is in this case totally unnecessary. There is nothing in the story that demands this many crew members. It would have been totally fine with the three crew as shown in the cockpit and the engineer in the main body. 

Another thing to notice is the way the titans innards are arranged. There seams to be two decks, with the boarding portal at the back between the shoulders, while the reactor is below the main deck in the waist. In the lore the Reaver is described a more durable layout as the reactor is placed in the back, screening it from frontal attacks, which is inline with what the model actually looks like. This is in contrast to the Warlord which has a more central core and a larger body box that could actually house a number of decks. The boarding portal is actually from beneath between the two rear reactor housings and the main body is only made up of one deck as the upper body is rather flat.

Once again there was no need to change this for the story. Entrance could have been through the hole between the reactors as per the model. And the engineer could have been stationed in the hallway.

There was no need to change those facts about the Reaver!

One might argue that the model is not fully to scale and that there might be more internal spacing that is not represented on the model due to sculpting limitations. But if the Reaver is supposed to be 26 m tall, assuming that half of that is legs. there is only 13 m left for the upper body. Discounting 3-4 m for the pelvis and mid joint there is 9 m left and that includes the carapace weapon which is something like 4-5 m or so. This means that the main torso of the Reaver is something like 4-5 m high which is only enough for one deck unless there is no internal superstructure. Actually measuring the internal model dimensions the torso part is 6 cm which would be about 4 m in 28 mm scale. 

In another passage the Reaver is ambushed and subsequently  boarded. 


"She (Esha) didn't wait..., but ran for the hatch to downdecks, showing past her moderati as they raced for their seats. She yanked open the trapdoor, taking the furnace blast of the reactor fully in the face."

"Boarders!..." "She caught the boarders at the back, about to breach the door. There were five of them, wearing fully enclosed carapace armor..." "They clung to the shoulders around the access portal with magnetic gear." "Snapping lasgun fire rattled around the atrium,..., as emplaced lasers dropped out of the ceiling and raked the room..." "The enemy could be battering their way into the reactor. Down there, in the cramped space around the core, was the realm of the titan enginseer. He was alone, overseeing the dozen slaved servitors bonded to the machine..." "A fasadian burst through the door,... . The man stumbled into the room, arms outstretched. ...too late to stop the grenade bounching down into the well where the moderati sat." "There were a second man behind the first..."

Here, once again the dual level architecture is referenced with a rear pointing access portal. At least two fully armored soldiers are accommodated together with the 4 women in the cockpit. And a grenade goes off in that space and only one person gets killed. I get that the cockpit of a titan is the nerve center and that it would be cool to have some action there, but just look at the model. It is hard to imagine how the three actual models actually get in and about of that space considering the princeps throne, let alone an additional crew member and two soldiers. Also the implied lay out puts the moderati in-front of the princeps which is not the case in the Reaver were they are sitting to the sides and behind the princeps.

All this makes it immersion breaking. In essences this book could have been about any bipedal war-machines fighting in any sci-fi setting. There is nothing but the names that indicate that this is about Titans in the 30k/40k universe. The descriptions does not fit with what we know about titans in the warhammer universe.

And that leads us to our next unbelievable experience in titan descriptions, the Imperator. This abomination has been described in a number of novels and even though it lacks a 28 mm model to reference, just making a quick back of the envelop calculation would make you realize that what you are writing is not physically possible within the agreed physical dimensions of an Imperator.  

In graphics (based on the Epic scale version from the 90th) the Imperator is shown as a towering machine with a city on its back, replete with towers, cathedrals, gun batteries, battlements etc.
And this I think is the problem with this titan. The Epic scale was not well defined and who ever sculpted the titan did not stick to the scale leading to misinterpretations in what it actually contains. Even in the Epic setting the model does not make sense if you were to place infantry models on the back. Towers, brides etc would look very small indeed.

"The greatest of all titans were the great Imperators."

"From its bastion feet to the top of the tallest tower it was nearly twice the height of a warlord titan, and much heavier" "A small army was garrisoned within"

Keeping in mind that the Imperator is supposed to be approximately 55 m tall the following descriptions makes no sense.

"The eyes on an imperator were large enough to serve as true occuli. Tiny figures moved on the command deck behind them."

"Into the titan!... disappearing with in the many portals that led inside the akropoliz."

"Sangunius was moving before the ringing impact died, allowing five of his sons to follow him. Moderati stared in their command thrones."

"The command czella of the Imperator was impressive, not like the cramped spaces that accommodated the crew of smaller Titans. It had many commonalities with a void ship command deck..."

"Myrmidons in the black of the Dark Mechanicum lurched into sudden life from sentry alcoves about the bridge's upper deck."

"Furious combat erupted as the two forces met."

"Moderati attempted to pilot their giant charge while battle raged around them" 

"The armored gates to the Titans antae opened and tech guard streamed within... . ...four myrmidons fell in return."

"he cleaved a myrmidon in twain.. knocked back another..."

So if we are to believe the author the titan cazella is large, large enough to house the command crew, Sangunius, five space marines, six Myrmidons, and an undefined number of tech guard fighting among the moderati command thrones.

The battle on the command deck Axis Mundo represented by Gulliman and 5 marines facing of 6 myrmidons (only have three so three are represented by three thalaxes) and some tech guards. The white cut out is the approximate size of an Imperator head if one goes make a realistic version. Seen is also the floor plan of a Warlord head.

Assuming that the head of the Imperator is proportional to the body in approximately the same way that he head of a warlord is to its body we could assume that the Imperator head is eight times as large volume vice as the warlords head (twice the size in all three dimensions). The internal measurements of a warlord titan head is approximately 3x5x3 (WxLXxH) cm which in 28 mm scale would be something like 2x4x2 m which means the internal volume of the Imperator command deck would be 4 wide, 8 m long and 4 m high, more or less like a large living room. One could perhaps imagine that it could be divided into to decks with a some what limited head space but it is not huge. Especially not large enough to house all the action described in the novel.

Another way of looking at it would be to do the math. If the titan is 55 m high and assuming the legs are half that the super structure is 22.5 m. The pelvis and midsection joint would be something in the 5 m range. Then we have the acropolis on the back. If this is say, three levels that takes up something like 9 m. that leaves us with a 8 m torso. Which would indicate that the head is in the order of 4-6 tall which is in line with the above speculation of the head size being twice that of the warlords.

That naturally leads to the next part, the acropolis. The city on the titans back. Apart from this being a ridiculous idea in it self lets look at the numbers. If the titan is 55 m tall it can assume that the platform on the back holding the acropolis is no more than half the height squared, i.e. 22.5 m by 22.5 m. Now that is a respectable area for a building, but it is hardly a city.

The Iowa class battle ship gun turret is about 11 m diameter with 20 m gun barrels. If the titan has four gun towers as depicted on the model these would be touching with nothing in-between if they were the same size as the battle ship turrets. So if we need to get some bridges, battlements etc in there as well the turrets would be limited to 3-4m, i.e. the same as a modern main battle tank. that would however only leave 14 m between the towers for the battlements, which is the length of your average house. So the acroplis is actually a villa surrounded by four M1 abrams turrets. Not much to fight over and it would probably not have many portals that would let a spacemarine enter.

The whole idea of having a building on top of the armor of a fighting machine is stupid. The whole point of having armor is to protect the things inside, i.e., what ever is in the acropolis should be beneath the armor plates. That is also disregarding the motion of the titan. the acropolis would be swaying around quite a lot as the titan walks, making it impossible to walk around in the buildings or on the walkways, battlements etc.

But those facts has not stooped authors from consistently describing the Imperator as having a sprawling city, the size of a starship as seen in the following descriptions:

Vengeful spirit by Graham McNeill, soft back, p 497-503, 

"The multi tiered command bridge of Paragon of terra smelled of oil and incense...  . Two hundred calculus logi, servitors and deck crew were plugged into tactica-enginers and command consoles... ."

"An Imperator titan was a land-bound starship, as power full and as demanding a mistress as any void craft. Crewed by thousands though out its towering height... "

"Princeps Kalonice stood at the jutting prow of the strategium,... . Encased in the body-carapace of a Lorica Thallax, all that remained of Etana Kalonice was her skull and spine,... ."

Here the titan described is huge, just ahving hundreds of people and their work deskes requires a room much larger than what is possible. Assuming that each person requires a square meeter each that is head would be 10 m x 20 m just for these guys. That is the size of a Reaver titan! And that the titan is crewed by thousands of people is just rediculus. Most of the titans volume would be necessity be taken up by structural support structures, pistons, pipes, wiring, energy sources etc...  there is not room for that many people in a 55 m high structure. the statue of liberty is 46m, i.e the same size as an Imperator and I don't think that thousands of people are allowed inside the statue at the same time (can't find any number on this though) nor that 200 people can fit in the head.

Betrayer by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, p 390-392 softback

"The defense towers that served as the titans legs spat turret fire down in a ceaseless barrage."

"... all eighteen remaining Warhounds were howling up at their prey. Each of them as tall as the titans knee,... ."

"..., Chorinthian's massive arms - each the size of a hab-spire-..."

"..., begin boarding -sige at once. Repeat: lay sige to the Corinthian."

"kharn fought in the blood rain, butchering skitarii along the battlements. The fortress on Corinthians back was already drenched with the downpour, with blood sluicing from the gargoyles and rain gutters to fall to the city below."

"The defenders mustered from the barracks fort a last stand,..."

"The battlements were wide, more like gantries and iron brides than anything like a fortress from a feudal world."

"With the last of the skitarii slain, the World Eaters went through the covering slaves and brain dead servitors lingering in the habitation quarters."

Once again. The acropolis is described to be larger than it can be on a 55 m walking battle machine. Or the barracks and living quarters are very cramped. And why would you have barracks and living quarters in a machine of this relatively small size. I understand that modern time warships has this arrangement. But that I would guess is more down to the fact that they are boats surrounded by water. No other modern fighting machines has these arrangements.

Well that is a wall of text and I might be preaching to the already convinced but I think it is lazy of the authors contracted by GW to put their model based IP into fiction not to at least look at the models and try to imagine how these would work in a semi realistic way. I know there are horrible examples to the contrary were the authors are describing the models in a to literal way also, but that generally boils down to characters always being in battle armor striking hero poses even when not on the battle field.

These are my thoughts on the subject, you might agree or you might not.

söndag 8 september 2019

Pre-Heresy Dark Angels

Did a bit of cleaning around the work space and finished up these guys that have been hanging around there for a year or two. These were painted as a batch of four instead of being painted individually which is the way I usually do things. And, sorry to say, it shows. For some reason the painting is not as crisp as with the others. It might have to do with doing so many of each piece at the same time that I can not keep the focus up. So that is a lesson learned. Do not paint more than one or two models at a time. I am really glad that I am not painting an entire army of these...  or,... there are still 45 guys left in the boxes... .

Now of to some knights... and some new titans... and then there are some more skitarii and thalaxes and...  well that will be for another time.

I must remember why I paint and not get caught up in the "collecting army" mode. Problem with being a sort of well paid adult is that you can buy more models than you can paint.

tisdag 3 september 2019

Keeper of Secrets

After finishing Varangian I felt I needed to clean the palette and do something that is not rusted metal and weathering. So I picked up a Keeper of Secrets. I think this model is fantastic as it is disturbingly androgynous and very intimidating even though it is not in a classic battle pose. There were however some minor details around the chest area were I felt the sculptors had been censored to much to really portray the model in it true form (or atleast that is my opinion). Well, that was some thing I could address with some GS. Perhaps not as clean as the original sculpt but still more to my liking.

The model was painted in my standard blue grey slaanesh tones, with purple robes. I tried to keep it to a minimum of colors but still adding depth to the colors. This was done by first airbrushing the model in three tones of grey. Then applying very watered down colors in multiple stages as well as using dry-brushing and wet blending. One problem I had with this approach was that the very thin layers of paint flaked of at some points and that the dry-brushing easily wore through the layers down to the black base. So if one looks closely one might see black edges and holes here and there as a result of this.

All the metal parts were made a heavily oxidized bronze buy using a dark green base, dry-brushed with bronze, copper and mithril. This is then washed with bright blues and greens before getting a second pass with the dry brushing to get the edges more metallic.

All and all an interesting model to paint.

söndag 11 augusti 2019

Varangian Done

So today I moved Varangian from the hobby room into the living room where there is better natural light and brought out the nice camera for some better shots. Turned out that it was more difficult than I thought, especially as I stripped all the armor and the back plate of for some shots. I ended up doing some repairs on things that came of. When I tried to get the back back on it would not fit properly, I do not know why and now I have so much spikes etc on there so it is hard to fore it closed. I will leave it as is for now.

All in all I am happy with how he turned out. Enjoy!