Tuesday 26 January 2016

3rd Captain Baldr finished

And at that very moment three thunderhawks black with age and re-entry broke through the layer of smog straight into Dari's magnocular vision, preceded by a vessel similar, yet larger, squarer, wrought quite almost like a basilica.
'Our guests are arrived,' the corporal passed the magnoculars back to Phones and returned to where his company stood in array before the cowed landing port under the spire's brooding feet.  The ships four all dropped down as one, shaking the earth with their clangorous arrival and making men flinch back in awe-struck fright.
      With a long and bitter shriek, the vast gate of the flying basilica ground open on lengths and lengths of rust-caked chain.  There was nothing to see within-- nothing, all outside light halted in fear at that dread mouth-- nothing.  Then flickers of light, six pairs of red and sea-brown eyes all staring across the gathered force unblinking, murderous.
Then they disembarked.  Five of them, all angelic, glorious and painful to look upon at once; cloaked in the defiling grime of the ages walking on smoke and trailing broken, blood-slicked wings of flaming iron.  Evil-looking chainblades they carried, bolters too, but they were soiled and as soiled as their heavenly ships.  Angels, indeed-- tragic Angels,though hardly of death-- more of torture and misery akin to the very madness they had made planetfall against.

Behind the five stepped another, who arrayed them at the ship's brink and approached the corporal, removing his hissing battle-helm with a white-skinned hand as he went. From the wrist of that hand hung a great, double-barreled bolter-- the other was enourmous and was graced with four fingers more that thundered with a voice like a thousand waters.  Despite the weight of his armour he walked unshod on silent, naked feet; each toe dressed with a black nail, glittering steel and beyond sharp-- and he had no jump-pack, but five silent wings streched open as he left the cavernous maw, greasy black, feathered, filled with life support of all kinds.  They were without a doubt his own...
     'Lord Baldr, captain over the Blotfjord,' though abrupt and over the top of Dari's attempted greeting it was a sonnet that pierced the smog with light and the Astartes himself was indescribably beautiful to look upon, 'and the halvard of the 3rd company of the Sagodjur Fjorlag.'
Dari tried to form an answer to this, but for the first time in a while he had forgotten to whom he spoke for.  The beautiful angel smirked and dipped his forehead to one side with a spiteful, 'Oh don't just stand mute, speak!'

This took the corporal quite aback.  He had always imagined space marines to be dour and firm of manner, but well-spoken too; this meeting of the third captain, as the angel had called himself, turned suddenly everything he had thought on its head.
'Corporal Dari,' he began, 'Cadian 444th--'
'--The Smoke-rats, I know,' the beautiful angel interrupted a second time, 'Where is your commanding officer?  Ah--' before a reply was formed, 'Campaigning in the north, the Hoary Ashes? You would have us there too?  But now, it is late-- we have flown some weeks in the void and are weary of travel.  Show us our quarters and you shall have my audience this morrow.'
The corporal bit back upon his suddenly growing discomfort and sent a platoon to escort the dour halvard to where a convoy of chimaera awaited them, while Baldr turned and spoke a moment with the thunderhawk pilots.
     'I shall be taking the Hringhorni to your palace,' he addressed Dari one last time as the flying basilica rose screaming from the ground, 'I know the way, do not bother yourself with that map, corporal.'  and with that he leapt and was swallowed by the rusty darkness.
Dari watched them all go with a sinking heart and closed his back-pocket.  What did the angel know of a map?  How did he know so much already?
Allies out of necessity-- Throne, but it was going to be miserable.


At last!  This is actually my second attempt at this character.  The first time I tried, I wasn't in a good mood at all and wasn't happy with it, though the painting I suppose was acceptable.  Also, I chose a backpack which did not allow for much depth with the wings and the pose didn't exactly suit Baldr's character.

and only TWO WINGS oh dear
ALSO the fact that I made this one before the whole scale thing was a problem in my mind.  2nd attempt is made from the warlord body from the WoC gorebeast chariot and Mk V legs.

Very pleased with this face over the first one.
I was hoping to get my black templars upgrade kit before now, but never mind.

I cut the backpack a bit so it would fit between his wings, which I found the paint was rubbing off as I worked on the rest of him; so I finished them first and coated them in a slightly iffy sealant that left the feathers looking quite greasy and made the blood melt a little into the rest of the colour, which was nice.

So that's that.  Next time you hear of the Blotfjord, I'm pretty sure it'll be the command.  I have two veterans, a colour sergeant, a chaplain and a librarian in the works,and that'll be fun.

Bye bye for now.

Saturday 16 January 2016

Rambling thoughts on the grim darkness

Okay, do you like long, boring blocks of text?  Because I'm going to begin a great ramble that'll take hours to make any sense of.  It regards the style of warhammer as a whole and is entirely biased, do bear that in mind.

Let me start from the beginning; a fellow G+ member asked if he could post a link to the white Rose on Reddit as, if not anything else, a bit of a social experement.  That post has (of now) had about 5,100 views, which for me was a bit of a shock, but what intruiged and amused me was the controversy over the style, which some people were calling "Nurgley" and "reminiscent of a charnel house" (I took them as compliments), which then kicked up a debate over how grim and dark the grim dark future really is.  I won't bring up what they said, because none of their points were valid, just putting that out there now-- I instead will give you my own thoughts and let you decide for yourself.
I can't offer irrefutable proof and lots of references, I'm very sorry; I'm not going to say you are wrong if you disagree with my words, but if you don't like it please share it in the comment section; I'd be interested to hear.

Point one:
To begin, lest us consider 40K's predecessor; Warhammer Fantasy battles (NOT AoS).  At its inception it was meant to be a step away from the glittering heroics and hot pants of so much fantasy in those days; with John Blanche as the original illustrator it began on the right foot.  It was MEANT to be grim, in every aspect, that was the style-- the gimmick, if you could call it so.  How much clearer can I make this?
This was not some faerie kingdom full of abstractly benevolent kings and evil uncles, of unrelatable prancing princes doing battle with unbelievably evil sorcerers and dragons; the Old World was a realm of mortal men, of the subtle corruption and the dislikable protagonists found in medieval history.  I could tell you that Oliver Cromwell should never have been beaten off by Charles II; he was disliked by everyone, but that's not to say Charles was faultless either.  Mortal man.  Mortal failings.  WFB emulated this, but in its own, desperate and grim style.

A second thing on this note is the existence of the differing factions; they all have their bad points, but they all have something right in their motive.  The vampire counts are striving to preserve their dying nobility; the orcs just want a bit of fun; the skaven are simply trying to survive-- fairly acceptable, if you ask me-- and you are given reasons to hate the world of men, to fight against them...  You could just be an edgelord and say "being bad is good" but not everyone is like that.  I knew a guy who collected skaven because he felt sorry for them, not because they were edgy.

BUT that's going off-topic.  All that I said before so far applies to 40K also; dislikable "good guys" as people call them give you reasons to dislike them and play another faction; they are far more realistic and relatable, because nobody, not even the angels are perfect;  and this is exaggerated by the style 40K is (or was, sadly) portrayed in.  To me, arguing against the darkness in the human race is like saying that Jack Skelington should not have been portrayed in such a scary fashion because he was the protagonist.  It's like saying Light Yagami shouldn't have killed L because L was a nice guy.  It's like saying Batman is wrong because he beats people up.  It's like saying Vampire Hunter D shouldn't have been a dhampir because they're nasty.
Think of the genre, the style the artists and the writers originally wanted.  Think of the world around these characters.  It might sound wrong just if brought up abstractly; "I read a story about a guy who beats people up," or "I read a story where billions of humans live packed into dirty hive cities," but again, consider the style, the lore and the world.

...However, let's not forget that warhammer in every aspect is an artistic thing.  There may come a time where you may just sod all realism and go with your artistic taste, like placing a building on the back of your IK.  It's terribly impractical, but it's artistically pleasing (to me, if not to anyone else).  Your artistic outbursts are made acceptable by the exaggerated nature of the style.

Warhammer is dark, and it offers no hope, like its fantasy counterpart.  That is how it was always meant to be.  If it wasn't for the grimdark appearance, it'd just be just another sci-fi Starship troopers or Gears of war or Xcom; these stories on their own are quite fine, but they lack that darkness makes 40K different.  Let me see, would you rather watch CSI or Saw?  To be terribly blunt, both have police in them and people die in both; there's portrayal of death and likable characters die in both.  What makes Saw different from CSI?  It's a slasher flick.  What would happen if it wasn't a slasher?  I'd become another murder intrigue.  Do you understand?  If 40K wasn't a grimdark fantasy it'd just be a fantasy story...
Now that's a thing worth bringing up too; I believe 40K's genre is to be considered fantasy rather than sci-fi.  I have no reasons why, that's just another irrational thought.

Point two:  the existence of humanity.  Some people don't like the idea that the Imperium is getting far too old and it's falling apart.  While you could take this for pious ignorance, in its own right not a bad thing-- but I feel that's plain ignorance.  Going back to the White Rose, someone said how they couldn't comprehend the fact that a knight house would let their IK fall to such disrepair.  They don't seem to take into account the age of these vehicles, the knowledge lost in the ravages of entropy and, most importantly, the self-importance of humanity as a whole.  Mankind is the master of the galaxy, and this far into the future they still believe so despite the disrepair, the ignorance and the depravities it has fallen into.  Once again, the grim darkness is exaggerated by the style the 41st millennium has been portrayed.
The rapture has been; the Lord God of humanity has descended from heaven and taken those to Himself that deserve eternal life and has left those who do not to perish, far from his guiding light.  Those that are left turn in desperation to the deeds of a mortal, deophobic man who taught, though his actions, that war solves all problems, and this belief has not held mankind together very well over the last ten or twenty thousand years.

Another thing is that some people don't even comprehend the scale of what a galaxy-spanning empire would be.  Do you want a nice example of the true might of the Imperium?  Read "Fire Caste" by Peter Fehervari.  For those of you that have read it, you'll know what I mean.  the Imperium is complicated, unbelievably complicated and vast, vast enough to treat whole worlds as a form of currency.  When you realise that about 90% of the Imperial laity probably travel no further than the distance from their bed to the forge or to their nearest nethersken for their entire lives, you might understand the scale.  There are whole worlds producing resources for the Imperium, but there are whole worlds more consuming that produce-- and let's not forget how resource-consuming war is, and THAT's been going on nigh-constantly pretty much everywhere.

I think I just rambled myself out... oh well, if you got this far without being confused, good on you!  If not, I'm sorry for my ineloquence and lack of structure.  What are your thoughts, what did I forget to mention?  Do let me know!


Thursday 14 January 2016

Lonely Guide: making bunches of purity seals quickly

I stumbled, quite by accident upon this technique while working on the God Murderer, and thought it good enough to share.  Here's a fairly quick method of adding litanies to your Angels of death.

You're going to need:
 a mechanical pencil, or something with a blunt-ish end for poking with
 a strip of metal for the parchment
 something nice and sharp to cut it with
 something not as sharp for shaping
 a wastefully small piece of greenstuff

Right, first you have to cut a fringe into your bit of tin; five or six wouldn't hurt, making the last cut longer before cutting them all off in one piece-- these will be your parchments so make them as long and thin as you want.  This is why you cut them first, observe;

If you expect to get them out of a pre-cut rectangle you'll have a fiddling time.
Once that's all done you can fold it in half if you want for a bit of depth.

Array the greenstuff across the tab which hopefully you left on the end.  You see now where this is going... Do you know how to model chainmail?  Here is a link to a basic rundown of the technique (not my video).  We shall be doing that, only on a slightly bigger scale.

With the nose of the mechanical pencil (or your poking weapon of choice) poke holes into the greenstuff, pulling it out a bit here and there as you see fit and making sure they end up overlapping a bit.  It's hard to explain, but practise should iron out what you aren't happy with; the shaping tool is then used to round edges and basically make the seals look like individual pieces.

Lastly, you can add plastic detail to the inside of the wax if you want.  I suggest using the skull icons from the 6th ed vanilla marine helmets every man and his brother seems to have rattling about the bottom of their bitz boxes; they're the only ones I found small enough.  Or you could waste a whole sangiunary guard pauldron and cut the goblet out of the primarch's hands and use that.

And that's that.  All that's left is waiting for it to dry and giving it to whoever deserves it.


I had an idea of making occasional kitbashing tutorials and posting them; this was my first, would you care for more?  Let me know if you found it useful.

Bye-bye for now.

Tuesday 5 January 2016

First to fall: Angels Encarmine test pieces

I got my act together and undercoated the children of the 9th that I had assembled, and promptly-- odd for me-- set about to try and paint at least two.

See, look.  There they all are.
Here's what I ended up with.  There's still a bit of dry rust to apply and the base wants finishing but other than that I believe they're finished.

They seem half deathwing, half 14th legion and half 8th, so I'm getting a taste of all three.  Oh yeah, and half 12th with the helmet I decided to go with.  That helmet is actually my attempt at making them a challenge to assemble; I cut the ears off the most vanillarey of SM heads and use them on WHFB warriors of chaos helmets.
Assault captain/sergeant.  He needs a power axe yet

And that's that I suppose.  Once I've posted I'll get back to reading Vampire Knight what I got out of the library.  I'm up to the piece where Kaname Kuran makes the members of the senate all behead themselves...