Saturday, August 25, 2012

Secret Weapon Miniatures Resin Bases First Impressions

I'll gladly pay someone to do this for me

     I'm not a fan of making bases myself.  I've done it, and I might even dare say that I've done it well in a few cases.  Nothing fancy, nothing amazing, but clean and simple bases for models I intend to use quite often.  When I started working on my Imperial Guard, I wanted to really try on some of those bases.  I really did put some extra effort, but still with an eye to the fact that these models were intended to be played on a table, not sat on a plinth for display.  After I finished 25 infantry models, I made an executive decision: I'll gladly pay someone to make something a bit fancier than what I'm capable of doing.

     Enter Secret Weapon Miniatures!

     The concept with my Imperial Guard, when I started, was that I would have the Veterans/Regulars have a mix of dirt and urban rubble.  Some cement blocks but some brown earth and some flock.  I then wanted the more elite portion of my army to be the real urban warfare types.  To this end I would have two Storm Trooper squads and two Valkyries with urban streets and rubble as their bases.  I found exactly what I was looking for on Secret Weapon's site.  Here they are!

     I also recently purchased an Ork flyer kit.  My Orks have a very simple base theme.  Muddy dirt.  Lots of rich browns to be properly Orky.  It would compliment the orange color that I had picked as my war band's primary color.  Looking around Secret Weapon's site again, I found this!  Painted to match, that "desert wasteland" could easily fit into my mudpocalypse theme.

Got it, opened it, and here's what I think

     The bases arrived by mail, and I was all too happy to tear into the envelope.  I should mention now that this is the first time I've ever purchased resin bases, so there was a lot of impressions to be had here.  The bases are incredible.  While the large oval bases clearly steal the show, even the small infantry bases have loads of details and importantly lots of space onto which I can place the model.  There's only a tiny bit of flashing around the edges of the bases that can either be filed off or even just scraped off with a blade.

Large Ovals

     I was worried about the sizing of the large oval bases.  The Urban Streets variety said on the site that it was 90x120mm but the Desert Wasteland one said 95x120mm.  Well I'm happy to report that they are in fact the same size and also the same size as the Games Workshop large oval base.

Same size! 

     I will have to do a slight bit of carving to get the flight stand on that Urban Streets base.  Not too much, though and I'll have to be delicate about it.  I'm thinking about getting an actual carving tool to make sure I do it as cleanly as possible.  The Desert Wasteland might need a very slight amount as well.

Infantry Bases

     The small bases are perfect.  I'll need no sort of tweaking to make a model fit, which is great.  There are a decent amount of variation, though I'm sure I'll enhance that through added bits to the base, be it flocking or painting.  I still want my Storm Troopers to look really unique, and I haven't locked in how I want to achieve that just yet.  What will be important is if I end up with metal, plastic, or resin models because I might have to do some pinning to make sure the models fight tightly to the bases.

     The only concern I could see someone else having (me, I don't give a toss) is that the added modeling material that Secret Weapon Miniatures has used  on top of the standard base raises the height of the infantry model about a quarter of an inch.  Seen here:

The rest of the men will need platform boots to keep up!

     It's not such a huge thing to me, but I'm sure that some neck-beard out there would have an absolute conniption if he thought that this quarter inch would deny his men critical cover in a game.  I don't care at all, whatsoever, and thus I'll just smile and nod.


     Good quality.  The oval bases are certainly center pieces, the infantry bases aren't so complex that you can't fit a figure on it, and the price seems very reasonable to me.  It's a dollar a base for the infantry bases and $10 for the large ovals.  If you are striving to make your army really stand out from the others around you, this might be a good route to go.  If you're tired of making your own bases, and you'd like to pay someone else to do it for you, Secret Weapons ain't a bad choice at all.

     Final note: if you do get resin bases, always make sure you wash them in warm soapy water to remove any of the mold release agent residue that might still be there.  Paint and mold release do not mix, and bad things will happen.  You will be a sad panda.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chaplain all finished! Compare it to my first ever mini!

Chaplain Complete!

     Yay!  It's done!  This model is still one of my most favorite models from GW.  It's tough looking and menacing.  I'm a fan of chaplains in the game in general but this one is just the most aggressive looking of the bunch.  I've painted two now, maybe one day I'll paint one that I own.

     I decided, upon completion of this model, that what I had in my hands was what I very well might describe as my best painted mini to date.  There are things I could have done better, details I could have spent more time on, and I've yet to date not ventured away from using metallic paints thus all this leads me to still be sure in that this isn't Golden Demon quality.  Here are some other pics of the Chaplain:

     Since I'm so fond of the model, I decided to take a moment, open up my display cabinet and pull out the first model I had ever painted.  It was just about 5 years ago that I had purchased the Assault on Black Reach Painting Starter Kit.  It came with five snap-together marines, six horrible paints (really rubbery), and one less than optimal brush.  I remember how proud I was of that first model.  How proud I was after completing all five!  I still feel the same way when I complete any new model.

     With this old model in my hand, I gave it a good going over with my more skilled eye.  It looks silly to me now, but it still makes me smile.  Considering I was using a really horrible brush and really horrible paints, it's not that bad...  no, it's bad.  But it's mine, and you never forget your first.

The Good Old Days

     Thanks for reading!  Hope you've enjoyed the progress pics of the Chaplain.  Up next I have to ABSOLUTELY finish my Valkyrie.  That bastard has been lurking around my painting table for far too long and it's time it did something useful.  I have some fancy resin bases on order from Secret Weapons Miniatures so once those come in I'll be sure to give a brief review.  I should be able to order the last bits needed for my Guard army within this next month.  I'm excited about that, but I'm even MORE excited about being able to put together my Ork flyer!  Airborne WAAAGH!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

More Chaplain progress and Vehicle movement cheating

Chaplain Progress

     Here is an updated shot of the commissioned Chaplain.  Still a bunch of work to do, but I'm very close.  The client apologized as he later mentioned to his brother-in-law that he thought I was raising the price on him.  Thankfully his brother-in-law was there when I agreed to paint it for $35.  He then paid me $40.  Conflict resolved.

     Having never painted yellow on this type of miniature (I did yellow stripes on my Firestorm Armada Dendrenzi ships) I certainly learned some lessons.  I started with a brown base and built it up to what you see there.  As usual, soon after finishing all the yellow, happened to check Dave Taylor's blog and he had done some wonderful work on a Lamenters assault marine.  I could tell that he had based with orange and built up from there.  The effect is better, in my opinion, so should I find myself doing yellow marines, I'll be trying that.

     There are plenty of details and final highlights yet to go.  I need to work on the base as well, but regardless I'm going to heavily seal this puppy because he'll be receiving some serious table time.  I certainly know that yellow is fun to weather though.  This is for true.  Anways, more pics:

Vehicle Movement Cheating

     I watched a video on Youtube from Beasts of War.  If you're not familiar with this group, they do a bunch of videos concerning a multitude of table top war games.  On one of their recent videos, Darrell (their resident rules-lawyer and self appointed "Cheese Master".  His new found strategy for using Land Speeders involved cheating.  That sounds harsh but I'm calling a spade a spade.

     In his example, he placed his Land Speeder right up on the deployment line, with the nose of the LS pointing towards the short table edge, and his side facing the enemy.  When it is his turn, he pivots the LS 90 degrees to now face his opponent, then measures 12" from the front of the vehicle to move.  The net result is that he has gained an inch by pivoting the LS before he measures the move.

     This is just completely wrong.  Page 71 of the BRB covers vehicle movement.  They say that you should measure from the hull.  Pivoting does not reduce the vehicle's movement.  Vehicles that pivot but otherwise stay stationary don't count as having moved.  Now that all those facts are there, let me say this:  if you measure from where Darrell's LS started at the beginning of his movement phase, to where it ends, that's 13".  There's no other way to describe that.  He pivots then moves.  The pivot can be PART of the move, and the rules certainly state that there's no penalty for that, but it also describes the total distance a model as moved as determining the "speed" the vehicle is traveling at.

     If you want to LEGALLY achieve this effect, you can pivot on your first turn, then move on your second.  Technically you've gained the same inch, but you've done it within the constructs of the rules.

     If pivoting the vehicle, then measuring the move is okay, then I should similarly be allowed to pivot my Nob Bikers, and the Forgeworld Warboss on his bike because I can stand to gain inches there.  Quite frankly this is all bullshit.  If you intend to move a vehicle, don't touch the vehicle until you determine the distance and thus the final location the vehicle will be moved to.  You avoid this rules breaking nonsense and everyone goes home without a number of new stab wounds.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Chaplain commission progress, and Valkyrie

Terminator Chaplain Commission

     A person I know at work started getting into 40K some time back.  I might have left retail quite some time ago, but apparently I still have the touch of selling people on things.  I do it while trying not to sometimes.  He asked me to paint up this Terminator Chaplain.  I agreed to do it for just $35.  I felt that was reasonable and I know that I was going to deliver him a top notch figure.  Obviously I don't do this for the money, but since I'm taking time away from finishing up my Valkyrie, a little compensation is only fair, I feel.  I had made some good progress (despite having to paint parts of him yellow... ugh) and he is looking decent, as you can see above.

     Today at work he asked how it was going, and I said it was going very well indeed.  I've been spending quite a lot of time on the figure, but he will be supremely happy when he sees it.  He then tells me that he hopes it's worth the $30.  "You mean $35."  And then he stares at me confused.  "We agreed on $35."  I know, it's five dollars and that's maybe a bit too small of a figure to argue over but I've had a history of frustration with this guy in and out of work, so I wasn't capitulating.  He swears to me, up and down, that I said $30.  "Why would I make that up?" I asked him.  I told him that I would be happy to return the figure after I clean off the paint, because I wasn't going to play this game over $5.  I'm not pleased with the situation.  I'm especially upset about this because I've done some good detail work, on the helmet for example.  I was looking forward to being proud to present this to this guy when I was done.

Speaking of Valkyries

     There she is!  Getting closer!  I just added the stripes last, and they need to be roughed up and made to look more part of the model.  I'm looking forward to that.  Really there's only weathering and some detail work left to do.  I've amused my wife to no end with my antics flying the Valkyrie around making engine purposefully obnoxious engine noises and cheesy "PEW PEW!" laser sounds.  She smiles, either out of pitty or shame... or BOTH!  With our first child due to arrive later this year (a boy, no less) I'm sure she'll have plenty other things to worry about.  Namely my influence on the poor child.