Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another Xmas Tale

Another tale I picked up off of some board or other many years ago when the internet still had that new web smell.

A Christmas Warning
Attributed to Pat Marstall

Begin Transmission Repetition of General Directive 264-A-XCIV
To: Distribution, Sectorium Primus From: Office of The Grand Inquisitor, Ebineezar Grinchanius Re: Yearly Chaos Incursion This purpose of this notice is to remind the forgetful of the annual visitation by the minion of Chaos known to the unworthy as Santa Claus.
+++ The Emperor's Light Banishes the Shadows of Heresy +++

As the diligent will recall, the incursion occurs regularly every 8742 to 8766 terran hours, roughly corresponding to a terran year. This trespass has occurred with disturbing regularity since at least the Horus Heresy, and perhaps longer, as many records were misplaced. +++ Love and Obey the Emperor +++ The faithful will recognize the target on sight, as his garb and gear mark him immediately as an agent of the abominations.
Santa Claus is a corpulent, bloated creature approximating the human form. It wears a crimson tunic the color of fresh blood, marking him as a possible follower of Khorne. It is bearded, mocking the honorable squats, and its hair is a sallow shade of gray, betraying its unnatural age. Be advised that despite the creatures fearsome name, no claws have been observed, and the former is likely a ruse. The target has been observed in the company of smaller creatures having the appearance of thin (less than 30 kg, approx.), stunted (1.5 meters) humanoids with pointed ears. Their appearance suggests the involvement of the decadent Eldar, and although that race denies involvement (*reference the Rudolphian Campaign [index 4111-BGE-MMXCII-Primus], specifically the Battle of Yukon Coneliaus IV [ibid., index 6]*), agents are advised to be prepared for their involvement, as the Eldar are known for their deceitful ways.
Santa Claus is conveyed by means of a grav-sled powered by unnatural livestock as detailed below. The target's vehicle is a grav-sled. It has superfluous runners which are used only on landing and take-off. Despite the appearance, no frozen water is necessary for its operation (another ruse). The vehicle's resemblance to the foul Palanquin of Nurgle should not be discounted, even though the colors continue to be reminiscent of Khorne. The device is powered by the unholy ministrations of eight or nine quadrupeds. Ordo Malleus scholars have identified these creatures as warped versions of an extinct species of terran mammal known as a Moose (reference 900002-ER-CIV). These beings single-mindedly pull the target's vehicle during its yearly invasion. They are outfitted with belled harnesses which are apparently imbued with the ability of flight. These beasts have been likened to the Fiends of Slaanesh, and such a comparison should not be dismissed too lightly, as the creatures shed a luminous substance as effluent as they move. Inquisitors should take care to avoid exposure.
Perhaps more disturbing is the variable number of the minion-creatures. On occasion, a ninth Moose has been observed, placed before the other Moose. This creature radiates a sickly reddish glow from its snout, as a psychic beacon to other followers of the Vile Ones. This Chaotic device has allowed the target to navigate despite our best efforts to jam its navigation systems.
+++ Blessed is the Virtue of Blind Faith +++
Santa Claus gains entry to the domiciles of loyal Imperial Citizens (see below) and leaves small Chaos Rewards to tempt the faithful. Inquisitors are reminded to confiscate and incinerate these items before any lasting damage is done. As a localized temporal distortion field is in effect around the target, these items are secreted in the habitations of the Imperium at exactly 2400 hours in every location defiled by the creature. It is therefore possible to gain entry to the citizens' cretches and remove the items (often cunningly hidden in footwear) before the citizens are aware of the heresy that has been committed upon them. In other cases, removal of the items after the citizens have discovered them is possible. In such situations, small children are occasionally loath to surrender the items, as the tainting of the juveniles has already begun.
Executions of the above are to be handled in the most expedient manner possible. Often, juveniles that are well within the Emperor's Grace are given small blocks of graphite ore rather than the more tempting gifts visited upon the less faithful. The identity of these individuals are to be recorded, as future recruitment into the Inquisition or Adeptus Terra is possible. [Note: Inquisitors or other agents who do *not* receive the graphite stones should be watched carefully]
Santa Claus enters the domiciles be way of heating ducts and waste vents. The size of the opening is not a factor, as the creature can adjust its mass and displacement by means of psychic manipulation. Mining these openings with frag, krak and other demolitions has proven unsuccessful. The creature egresses by the same means, after ritually caressing his nostrils. No mucus has ever been recovered.
+++ The Death of Emperor's Enemies is the Only Gift We Can Give +++
Although all previous attempts at the destruction of Santa Claus have failed, Inquisitors are urged to make such an attempt whenever possible. However, of more importance is the suppression of cultist activity associated with the yearly incursion. The Tainted have been known to erect shrines in their homes in the form of shrubbery adorned with baubles and lights [Note: the shrubbery is often highly flammable, and offers a discrete method of executing the offending heretics without calling undue attention to the operation]. Other warning signs include: hallucinations involving sugared candies during slumber; excessive singing; references to 'A magical time of year' (note the influence of Tzeentch); the construction of effigies made of snow; and the performance of Slaanishi rituals while underneath plant clippings of the genus _phoradendron flavescens_. Once again, executions should be handled in an expedient manner. End Transmission

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

40K Xmas "The Night Before 986996.M41"

I found some nice writings many years ago and have kept them ever since. I thought I'd share a couple with you before Christmas arrives. Here's the first one...

The Night Before 986996.M41
by Patrick Marstall

'Twas the night before 986996.M41, and all through the station
All there was clear, there was no abomination.

My helmet was set on the desk to my right,
On the chance that I was to need it that night.

The guardsmen were ensconced, asleep in their beds,
All the tanks too were safe, secure in the sheds.

Marines in the barracks, some manning the wall,
Assured me that the bastion never would fall.

When out in the yard there arose such discord
I grabbed up my bolter and unsheathed my sword.

Away to the window, I ran to take aim
As the marines around me all did the same.

My bionic eye turned the night into day
Allowed me to see, and to seek out my prey.

When what did my loyalist ocular show,
But an ancient conveyance, knee-deep in the snow.

The vehicle was pulled by horned quadrupeds
And a fiery red nimbus glowed from the sled.

The driver was mighty, his eyes full of scorn,
Dressed all in crimson like a servant of Khorne.

I gestured for other to shoot without pause,
For I was now certain this was Santa Claus.

"Fire Marines! Fire Guardsmen! Fire Ogryn and Ratlings!
Fire bolters! Fire lasguns! Fire mortars and gatlings!"

"You in the courtyard and you men on the walls!
Now blast away! Blast away! Blast away all!"

But all through this maelstrom the evil one flew,
Past plasma and bolt shells and frag that we threw!

And then, to my horror, I heard on the roof
The vile cavorting of each decadent hoof.

Screaming my orders, I spun quickly around,
As down the chimney shaft it came with a bound.

I saw its eyes glow, its vast stomach gurgle,
Bloated and fat, like a deamon of Nurgle.

Blinded by anger, I attacked with a scream -
Charged into battle with my brave space marines.

As we thundered towards him, closing the rift,
He reached in his satchel and pulled out a gift.

Then it tossed the vile boxes - I fell in a stoop,
As they arced through the air at me and my troops.

The wrapped missiles fell short, and plopped at our feet,
Our morale was quite strong, we did not retreat.

But the marines paused - our charge was disrupted,
They picked up the gifts and were quickly corrupted.

For each box contained a chaotic present -
The marines (damn their souls), found them quite pleasant.

A bolter, a flamer, a new power fist,
The Claus gave to all, and he checked off a list.

It moved through the station and left in its wake,
The sound of bright laughter and the stench of fruitcake.

The others succumbed, but it failed in its goal,
For to me it gave only a small pile of coal.

The station was lost, I could only instruct
The bastion computer to set self-destruct.

I failed to kill him, for I saw as I fled,
The target escaping, quite safe in his sled.

I heard it cry out as the base burst into light,
"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Off Topic (it's broke) And Happy Thanksgiving

What is it that's broke? My bank account? My ability to finish projects? My will to continue blogging? No, none of these... well, the bank accounts getting there.

But no, what's actually broken is my toe.

So, this Thanksgiving I'm thankful that falling down the stairs in my home only resulted in a broken toe. Actually, strangely, not even a bump or bruise anywhere else. My toe seems to have taken the full brunt of the fall. My wife and others have asked how it happened and I'm embarrassed to say, I don't know. It happened so fast I was coming downstairs one second and laying at the bottom of them the next. I do vaguely remember hitting the baby gate we have at the bottom of the stairs which keeps the toddler from trying to climb the stairs. That thing was totally unprepared for my assault.

So, I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving. If you live in a part of the world where they don't do Thanksgiving, have a turkey sandwich and be thankful for something anyway. It can't hurt... unless you're allergic to turkey. Then substitute chicken or ham... or tuna.

I really haven't had a ton of time for hobby stuff lately, but I do have an awesome project coming up. It's going to be a bit of a collaboration with one of my favorite bloggers, Admiral Drax!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pride (and knowing when to swallow it)

I'm not sure whether to file this blog as advice, tutorial, or product review. So let's just get on with it.

I have a friend named Pat. In fact, now that I think of it, I believe he is my oldest friend. Pat used to work at a local comics and game store many (many) moons ago. He was the manager, in fact. Probably about 24 ago years now. Pat is a great guy with only one glaring fault. He's freaking good at everything he tries to do.

So one day about five years ago, Pat is trying to help me sculpt something. Towards the end of the day he says, "here, take these extra sculpting tools and stuff, I have plenty". Very generous of him. But, in the mix of proffered supplies are these...

I was a little befuddled as I had (and still as of last week have) 20/20 vision. He assured me they were simply for magnifying things close up and that apparently I wasn't getting any younger. "Just try'em", he said. Well, to hell with that! I don't need glasses to see! I buried those suckers way way down in my pile O' tools.

Here's where the lesson comes in...

A few months ago I noticed that (despite my awesome 20/20 vision) my minis seemed to be getting farther and farther from my face as I paint. Simple enough solution, move hand toward face... but... but... what the crap!

So that day, the great bell tolled and my pride died in the heat of painting battle. I tried the glasses. Freakin Pat was right again! The glasses allow me to get the subject closer and still keep it in focus. So now I can be found slipping the 'reading' glasses on when I'm painting or sculpting anything detailed.

Now I know a lot of folks wear prescription glasses. This article may not mean much to you as you are quite used to wearing glasses. But, while I've seen a million blogs about paint brushes, paints, techniques, sculpting, blending, washing, inking, and the use of electric fences in Suburbia (thanks Suneokun), I've not seen anyone mention the fact that at some point you have to make sure you can get the mini where you can see it to do any of it. I think it's kind of assumed, but I can tell you as a person who doesn't wear glasses, I'd have never thought of it if someone hadn't shared the knowledge with me.

If you've made it this far, bless your heart. I try not to get too wordy, but I'm not always successful. I'll have more picture-y blogs coming soon. I've even made some decent progress on the Marauder Destroyer!

In closing I'd like to thank you for stopping by. And I'd like to thank Pat for the great advice that it only took me about five years to follow. If anyone is interested, you can visit Pat's project blog here. He is now a full time sculptor and he does take commissions!

Feel free to drop any comments or complaints you may have in the appropriate area.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I've got the biggest horns (so I'm in charge)

A quick update to share some progress I've made on my beastly kill team.

I wanted my squad leader type beastie to stand out from the crowd. So I gave him the biggest horns, the custom armor, a combi melta, and a bionic arm too! He was born with white fur, which I'm sure is some sort of rare omen of awesomeness when you're a space goat.

From the front you can see most of the conversion work. He has a torso that is made of a terminator chest with regular power armor back. I also slipped in a piece of plastic card to bulk him out a bit. The shoulders, bionic arm, and combi weapon are from the marine Commander sprue.

Not much to say about the back. I did use procreate putty to extend the chain mail that the mini already had in the front of the lower torso all the way around. It's not perfect, but it passes for chain mail.

Here is a group shot of the team so far...

I'm not sure I'm happy with the overall stance of the Great White Goat. I may try to get a little creative with the belt sander and grind away a bit of his base on one side. The idea will be to make him lean a tiny bit less to his right.

Well, work is slow due to the real world constantly interloping on my hobbies. It's not looking to get any better any time soon. Especially with Civ V coming out next week... woot. I just want to say I do appreciate all the folks that stop by and I'm determined not to let slow turn into stop.

Also, I've joined the Special Operations Killzone forum. All the cool people are doing it and you want to be cool don't you? Well, ok, it's for all the cool people who are interested in the Special Operations Killzone project. And, there's games on the bottom of the forum index page. Silly, fun, time wasting games. Damn them.

Hope you've enjoyed your visit. Feel free to drop a comment and say hello.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Multiplying Beasts (Beast Marines Post)

I've been really enjoying working on this little side project, so I thought I'd share my work.

These guys are a project inspired by horRAiN on his blog of the same name. I built one just for fun and liked it so much I wanted to build a few more. Luckily for me, Big Jim over at Galaxy In Flames gave me just the excuse I needed to build a small force of these guys...

The Special Operations Killzone rules are the perfect excuse to put together that small, flavorful, army you've always wanted but never had a reason to build. In fact, there are couple folks out on the interweb putting together forces made up of old or out of print minis. Check out Big Jim's Squat Team or B. Smooves cool Roge Trader era Marine Team for example. As a guy with not much hobby time and virtually no gaming time, I'm really hoping this skirmish game takes off. It would be awesome to be able to get some games in and this may be the way I find time to do so.

Anyway, back to the Beasties. I've got two with bolters and one with heavy bolter finished. I say finished, but I'm sure I'll be touching up crappy paint work till the cows come home. You can click the pictures for a larger, flaw spotting good time version...

You may notice that the flesh is not identical across all three. Since these are going to be part of a reasonably small force, I wanted to give them each a bit of personality. This will mostly be achieved by back story and festive naming, but also by not all having the exact same skin tone. We are all different, why wouldn't huge mutant power armor wearing goats be?

Comments, critiques, and pointing & giggling are welcome as always. So feel free to leave a comment if you like. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Beastly Marine (and camera fighting)

This blog is to show the prototype Beast Marine I've done up. I won't get sidetracked by how it took me all day to get a decent (but still not great) photo of it. I will however ask that if someone can explain to me how to adjust white balance on a point and shoot, that would rock. I get everything lit up all nice and pretty, then my camera helps me out by adjusting the white balance making the background grayish and darkening my pics. The armor on this guy, for example, is not such a bluish gray as it looks. I think it looks better in 'real life'.

Anyway, here are the pics. I realized while taking them I forgot to finish the bolter. Doh! You get the idea anyway...

I've also tried my hand at cork basing. I think I rather like the results. I don't see myself doing a huge army of these guys, but a Kill Zone team might be a good goal to go for!

Feel free to drop a comment. They are always appreciated!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Awesome, Cool, and WTF (Off Topic)

There are a few off topic things I wanted to share, so I thought I'd bunch them all up into one post.

First off, the awesome. My lovely wife gave birth to our daughter on 08/17/2010 (or 17/08/2010 depending on where in the world you are) at 4:23pm. Her name is Mackenzie Jane and she was born 8lbs 2.5oz and twenty inches long. She and her mother are both doing well and healthy, though me and her fourteen month old brother are both a bit frazzled. Here's a pic!

Next up is a trailer for a movie coming out next spring I stumbled upon. The movie is Sucker Punch and it looks terribly interesting. Anytime you have samurai, dragons, mobsters, nazis, and well... just take a look...

Then we come to the WTF. I don't know what else to say...

Oh, one more thing you can try, just for fun. Go to google and type in "French Military Victories" and then press the "I'm feeling lucky" button. It's good for a laugh... unless you're French.

Hope you've enjoyed my completely 40k-free post. On topic posting will resume in a few days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Opinions (I need yours)

Opinions, everyone has one and I need yours!

I stumbled upon this lovely little tutorial on the horRAiN blog about making Beastman Marines. I've made a few beastly guard in my day, but I'd never tried my hand at Beastly Marines!

Now I followed the tutorial with just a couple differences. My body to legs joint is a bit different, and I greenstuffed the heads to let them sit a bit more naturally. This is my opinion only as there is nothing natural about a goat wearing armor and firing a bolter. Swinging a two handed axe, maybe... but not firing a bolter.

I also tried incorporating the original beastman shoulder pads into the conversion. I've shot a pic of one with Marine pads and one with beast pads. I thought I liked the beast pads better until I looked at the pic a while. Now I'm not sure if it's better or just seemed better because of the extra work put into it. Have a look.

(end models are included for scale purposes)

So, which do you like better, Marine pads or Beastman pads? I guess I'll put up a poll for a couple days, though I'd love to hear your reasoning if you have time to drop a comment. Poll is at the top right of the page.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 30, 2010

New Stuff from Forge World

Kinda makes me want to cry. I'd pretty much said no to my marines, now I want to add to them again. Dammit!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Marauder Destroyer Pt. 7 (Camo Time)

The next step in the Marauder Destroyer build is to get the major colors onto this bird. I'm going for a gray on gray camouflage scheme. This would be suitable to Ash Waste type worlds, or even worlds covered by urban sprawl.

The idea when it comes to airplane camo, is not to be seen... of course. But you are going to be searched for from primarily two directions. Below by anti-aircraft weapons, and above by fighters hoping to put a stop to your deadly payload. For this reason many planes are a lighter color underneath, to blend into the sky when the enemy looks up, and darker more complicated patterns on top to make it harder to see them from above with the ground as a backdrop.

On to the how. A solid base coat is the first step. That can be seen in the previous post. There are many (many) great articles on the internet that go into great detail on how to paint a camouflage pattern. I'm just going to show you how I do it.

First I take a strip of blue painters tape and lay it out on my cutting surface. I use the blue painters tape because it is tacky, but not sticky enough to take off previous layers of paint.

I then cut the tape into a pattern using a sharp hobby knife. This is not a precise thing and randomness is all the better. Using wide tape I can get a couple of strips like this one from one stretch of tape.

Peel up the tape and find a spot on the model and start pressing it down. Then just repeat this process.

Here is the finished product...

(You can see it is already blending with the test colors on the box in the background.)

As I mentioned, there are many articles on the internet about how to do this. Some give you a sharp demarcation, some give you a softer line, some require more skill, some require less. This is just my method and it seems to have worked out well for me.

Questions, comments, and whatnot are welcome as always. See you next time in part 8!

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