WIP January & 2021 Resolutions

I thought that I would share a brief update, as I’ve been fairly busy with the army but haven’t been posting alongside it. Work on the 2nd Infantry Squad continues, with the first batch of five troops completed late last week (the serge was the first of their bunch to be finished, and first model of 2021 for that matter!)

My birthday was on Tuesday and I ended up with some more lovely plastic to assemble, in the form of a Sentinel and a handful of Crusaders. The Sentinel was one of the easiest kits I’ve ever put together, which surprised even me; I thought those legs were going to be much worse than they actually were.

The Crusaders are ace models, and have been favourites of mine since I saw them in the Grey Knights Codex many years back. They just ebb this gothic industrial feel that characterises 40K so well. You can take them in squads of up to ten in an Imperial Guard army, but I am working on the four at the moment and we can see how we go from there.

Crusaders mid-way through the clean-up. I can see parts I’ve missed as I type this!

In honesty the Crusaders were models that required the most elbow grease due to being resin (not “Finecast” anymore, on the website it’s just “resin” haha). This meant even more precision with a hobby blade, gentler filing, and gloopy super glue instead of the melty plastic stuff. It was such a lengthy process that in the afternoons when work was completely dead I picked up my tools for ten minutes here and there just to make some form of progress with them. The upside is that the level of detail on these guys is excellent, making them worth the effort put into tidying them properly.

On the subject of New Year’s Resolutions, one of my last posts wrapping up 2020 had a to-do list that was to carry over to 2021. Rather than a straight-up to-do list for the short term, I’m starting to think of hobby resolutions for the year that I can stick to. These were my ones so far:

  • No buying bitz for the entirety of 2021- it adds up!
  • Paint a unit to completion before moving on to another (should be obvious, but it can be difficult)
  • Purchasing no more kits until the ones I currently own have been assembled and painted

This year I want to be a bit stricter on myself with the hobby. I’d like to post more, even if it’s just a WIP now and again to break up the silence, and I’m going to be more sensible with regards to buying kits. Buying bitz online is too easy thanks to eBay mainly, so is something that I am putting an end to; if I want a particular weapon or head, it has to come from my own bitzbox!

So there we have it. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re all safe and well. Take care.

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Imperial Guard Commissar

Making use of my downtime between painting up the troops, I have put some paint on the Commissar. This is the ubiquitous Imperial Guard Commissar model that came with the Start Collecting boxset, and I do really like it for its sinister appearance.

I didn’t know how I was going to go about painting him at first, so I used a few various sources and character art to figure out a painting scheme. The highlights on his outfit and the dusty effect on his boots were both down to drybrushing, and I threw in a Nuln Oil wash on his bolt pistol and bionic hand for a little shading.

The Commissar can fit an army as an Elite or HQ choice (as a Lord Commissar) depending on what you need; personally I was intending on using him as a Lord Commissar to fill an HQ slot for the time being. I’ve kept his loadout quite basic as I mainly want him around for keeping the troops from doing a runner, and I’m not expecting him to do anything Earth-shattering in combat.

Thanks for reading, take care.

Imperial Guard Sergeant (January 2021 “First of the Year” Painting Challenge)

Happy new year!

The first complete miniature of the 2021 for me is the Serge from my 2nd Infantry Squad, and so this qualifies for the January painting challenge issued by Ann’s Immaterium.

As mentioned in a previous post, I have a fairly straightforward list for painting up the troops, keeping the palette to a minimum, and I’m currently batch-painting the 2nd squad in 2 chunks of 5. Various parts of the models get a wash and then some light drybrushing for the highlights, which I’ve been finding to be a lot of fun lately. I don’t know why. The whole aspect of painting has been gradually becoming more enjoyable over the last month or so, whereas I used to kind of fear it.

This Sergeant is one of a few that I built with laspistol and chainsword, due to the fact that I ran out of bolters! She has a head from the Sisters Repentia kit, giving her this grizzled veteran appearance and that look of someone who would furiously smash an enemy to bits with a chainsword. The base was done with Agrellan Earth, easily my favourite paint right now, for that desert/wasteland feel.

So this has been my first of the year, with many more to follow. At time of writing I am still building the rest of the kits from Christmas while doing some painting on the side, including working on my first HQ unit for the Guard.

In the meantime, take care and thanks for reading.

Post-Christmas Goings on

I’m thankful to say that we had a lovely Christmas and hope that you all did too! It was a chilled day with good food, and the kids certainly enjoyed tearing into their presents and doing video calls with the family. I was lucky enough to receive some 40k from Santa this year…

After the festivities were wrapped up, I managed to get some building time in. A few days later, these Bullgryns were built; the kit is as beefy as the abhumans themselves and was a lot of fun to assemble. I feel better knowing my Guard regiment has a bit of muscle in their elite ranks (or indeed anything higher than T3).

As for outside, it’s been snowing a little here and there. We were fortunate to have a drop of snow with very little ice, enough to get us out the house and go on a winter walk around the village outskirts. The kids love exploring the woods and boggy areas that are now dusted with snow, and it made for a relaxing trip in the fresh, chilly air.

As we end 2020, my current to-do list carrying over includes:

  • Continue painting up the Imperial Guard Infantry. I’ve made a start to the second squad and am batch-painting a few at a time.
  • Assembling the new units. Scions will be next, as I’m intimidated by the thought of building the Hellhound just yet 😄
  • I found a Culexus Assassin from years back while rearranging my model cabinet, and I’d like to tidy his paintwork and base, and eventually use him with the Guard army
  • Cut down on buying bitz because it really adds up, and use what I have kicking about!

That wraps up my last post of 2020. Thank you to everyone who has liked and commented any of these ramblings this year, and I wish you all the best for the next.

Until then, take care and Happy New Year!

Imperial Guard Infantry Squad 1

The end of the year is rapidly approaching, as was my internal deadline to have this first squad of troops finished. The team includes a bolter-wielding sergeant, a vox caster and a guardsman with a plasma gun, decked out in the grey armour and green fatigues of the army.

From working on the test model, I had found that painting these guys could be done quite easily with a limited palette, a wash or two and a tiny smidge of drybrushing. This made batch painting in groups of five quite swift (though typical December slowed me down with its usual array of curve balls and nonsense!)

An aspect of the hobby that I’m trying to do differently is basing. Reptile sand has been my main basing material recently for my Word Bearers, but can leave sprinkles all over the place. Being chronically lazy this year I have opted for Agrellan Earth and a few skulls since the results I saw online were really impressive. It removes a lot of hassle from the basing process, coupled with the fact that I now don’t have miniatures haemorrhaging reptile sand everywhere!

I’ve also been writing my army list for 1000 pts of Imperial Guard and figuring out what other units I might consider picking up in 2021. As it is equipped, this squad only sits at 67pts, a mere drop in the bucket when putting a list together! I do like the versatility of Imperial Guard troops, and their cheap points cost allows for the inclusion of little extras like the vox and a decent special weapon.

Anyways that’s all for this update, and what will be the last one before Christmas. Take care and have a Merry Christmas when it comes 🙂

Lockdown Gaming, pt.7: Cyberpunk 2077

Hello and yes, we are still in lockdown, and yes I am still gaming. Here’s a brief overview and some thoughts on what I’ve been playing lately.

To round off the last of 2020, I have been tackling one of the most anticipated RPGs of all time, Cyberpunk 2077. While these posts are never intended as in-depth (or even game reviews in any sense), I will be keeping this one fair and to the point; any talk of the controversies involving the studio have been covered to exhaustion across articles and YouTube videos, so look into that if you’re interested.

[+++++++ I’ve also tried to keep the in-game pics spoiler-free +++++++]

The main protagonist is V, a trouble-maker whose appearance, background and skills are selected by the player. After a prologue determined by whichever life path is chosen, it is down to the nitty-gritty in Night City, a bustling futuristic hub teeming with style, neon lights, overbearing corporations and sinister gangs. The comparisons never truly do it justice, but the longer I play the more I see hints of Blade Runner, The Warriors, and Total Recall, as well as the more obvious influences like GTA (in particular San Andreas), the original Deus Ex, and William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer.

There is the standard fare of open-world fun to be had, with multiple main quest threads appearing, along with a variety of side jobs, investigations and crimes that pop up as you make your way through the city. What’s refreshing is that side jobs don’t just equate to random bitch-work; there’s moments for the player’s character to shine with cinematic points popping up unexpectedly in these little quests, and they do flesh out a number of aspects of Cyberpunk, from the gangs to tertiary characters, to V him/herself on occasion, and are enjoyable all the same. There are a small handful of cut-and-paste jobs however, certain quest types that are just staples of the sandbox game genre these days, and I imagine these missions are hard to deviate from in the design process.

Being an RPG, there are skills and perks to choose from, with attributes being tweaked during character creation and skills being increased through use during the game. What perks are purchased is up to the player, and the better V gets at any given skill determines how many new perks are available for purchase with these points. I like this system as it both encourages and rewards for playing a particular way, and there are many options for completing tasks; hacking, running-and-gunning, sneaking, breaking in or using a diplomatic/flirty approach are just some of the methods for getting the job done. Cybernetic implants are also on the menu to enhance areas of V’s body and performance, such as additional armour plates, hacking decks or retractable forearm blades, to name a few.

The sounds of Night City are immersive in their own right. The voice acting is outstanding, with special mention to (female) V’s voice actor, Cherami Leigh, and Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand. Every character I have encountered feels like a legitimate part of the world and helps to sell it in a big way. The sounds of techno-rock blaring from a passing car stereo, the whooshing blast of a tech sniper as it fires, even a gang member calling me a pussy when they were scouring the area for me- it does wonders for the atmosphere of Cyberpunk 2077.

A bunch of downsides though? As mentioned, this will be game-specific and nothing more. There are issues with glitches and bugs aplenty; NPCs T-posing, enemies straying into solid objects and becoming stuck, subtitles getting lodged on-screen and not disappearing, game crashes and save corruptions are rife, though two patches have helped to trim a bundle of issues down. I’m playing on PS4 Pro and the game is in a playable state for myself, which I’m grateful for, although I know this isn’t the case for everybody. Cyberpunk 2077 is a huge game and it just doesn’t run as well as it should on a platform it was seemingly developed for. What should have been a successful launch saw a game with strong storytelling and engaging game world marred by technical and visual issues.

The story is hypnotic, the voice acting is great and the RPG system is robust and addictive itself. I’m constantly reminded of Deus Ex while playing, a classic chunk of sci fi that still holds up to this day. A little more work needs to be done by CD Projekt Red to fix bugs and make this playable for everyone, because I think Cyberpunk 2077 should (eventually) be experienced by a wider audience than it currently is. Is it a great game? I believe it is, at its core. The poor console performance is disappointing and certainly took me out of the action until the patch went through, and I understand why others are angry at the state of the product at launch. Let’s hope 2021 can see things turn around.

These are just a few thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077, though. In the mean time, I hope you stay safe and thanks for reading.

Infantry Squad WIP

This is just a brief update, as I realise that I haven’t posted anything in a little while!

In recent weeks, I’ve built my first Imperial Guard infantry squad and the entirety of the Start Collecting box too; there was also a Cadian command squad box that I snagged for cheap, so I’m using that for spare parts such as special weapons and alternate heads. For the last weeks there has been some experimentation with the colour scheme, where I used the brave snap-together Cadian models to test out some uniform colour combinations.

So currently I’m working my way through the first squad of infantry from this previous post and putting the recipe to use. I’ve enjoyed working on these guys as an alternative to Space Marines and other power armour variants that I’ve been drawn to since the early 2000s, and I think this was brought on by how much I loved working on the Chaos Cultists and the various traitor guardsmen that were in the mix.

Picking a colour scheme was a pain but I eventually decided to go for this dark grey armour over green fatigues. I thought that the grey would work well with the fluff, for a regiment that is taken from mostly miners, cavern workers and wastelanders. I have also tried to keep to a limited palette for the sake of uniformity (and my own sanity!)

Painting has been swift and enjoyable, and I’m aiming to get the second squad primed if the Scottish weather will let me. I’m thinking very much in the mindset of a bear who is trying to get everything primed before the bad winter days roll in; if there’s one day that doesn’t lash down with rain, I’ll get primed what I can!

Building is my main focus and is the part of the hobby that I love the most. Thankfully with the Guard, there are lots of gubbins left over to customise the troops and I’m having fun creating extra officers and special weapons guardsmen with what’s left on the sprues.

Anyway, that’s all for this update. Stay safe and catch you all soon.

Building Spree

My previous post was discussing me starting with the Imperial Guard, and since then I have been trying to settle on a colour scheme and background for my own custom regiment. I didn’t want to go with any of the existing ones because none of them seemed like a perfect fit in terms of storyline and appearance, the closest being the Savlar Chem-Dogs, but felt the urge to write something new that I could tailor as I go.

I started putting some background together with a homeworld and preferred combat style, and this started to take the form of the Carkaillan Rifles;

Hailing from the shrine world of Carkailla, industrial hive cities separated by barren wastes, rad-plains and bogs, the stout inhabitants of this world live and breathe the Imperial religion.

Recruits are fierce in battle, striking a balance between fanatical zeal and stringent discipline in combat as they slay the heretic and xenos in the name of the Emperor. The inhabitants of Carkailla form the backbone of the regiment, though a large selection of these will be taken from a patchwork of pilgrims who chose to settle on the holy world, frontiersmen passing through the Imperium, or penitent criminals intent on giving their lives in the Emperor’s name.

On the building side of things, I picked up a Start Collecting boxset as the value was pretty damn good for what it offered, and have been slowly building my second squad of troops. Also in the box was a Commissar and Leman Russ tank, as well as a Heavy Weapons Team. I have since primed the first squad from the previous post and some test models (old Space Marine Scouts).

Continuing the theme of Carkaillans being exposed to toxic environments throughout their lives, I’ve included a few troops with gas masks, respirators and bandanas. I used a couple of Sisters of Battle Repentia heads to complete a female Sergeant and a Company Commander, to add diversity to the army. There’s a lot of female ‘Guard artwork that inspired this choice, and though the Repentia parts put up a fight, I feel it was worth the struggle.

That’s the end of this update. Thanks again for reading, and stay safe.

Working on something new

I recently picked up the Astra Militarum codex because I was keen to read up on the smaller regiments of Imperial Guard, some of whom, up until last week, I didn’t know existed. For a while I was settled on Savlar Chem-Dogs, a band of criminals that like stealing from the dead, and would have made for an interesting Imperial Guard project; I’m talking from the point of view of someone who didn’t realise there was more to the ‘Guard than Cadians, Catachans and the Death Korps of Krieg, by the way.

There are a few issues with the Imperial Guard just now though. The Catachans are grossly fucked for scale compared to the other kits, the Vostroyans don’t exist anymore, the Steel Legion are metal miniatures (hilariously), and the Cadians are quite awkward in that way that most late ’90s, early 2000s kits are/were. Even trying to build a squad of Chem-Dogs, you really need to be buying a full kit of Genestealer Neophyte Hybrids every time you buy a box of Imperial Guard just to make them look kind of like they are in the artwork.

So I’ve decided I would like to give the Imperial Guard a go, as they are an army that I’ve never tried and for one reason or another I’m quite enjoying their backstories and units. For the first time in a while, I intend to design my own regiment and work on their backstory, think up their colour scheme and their combat style. There’s a lot of very cool lore surrounding many of the lesser known regiments and I would like to use that as inspiration to work on my own.

I have a couple of ideas for a brief background, but I aim to have this straightened out in the next week. So far, out of the ones that are floating about I like the idea of the regiment picking up and carrying what equipment they can, scavenging as they go, leading to differences in gear throughout the units. The scattered amount of gasmasks and respirators was meant to signify prolonged exposure that some had had to the noxious environments of the mines or catacombs of their homeworld, but I’ve yet to settle on this!

It’s a start anyway. There’s a squad of Space Marine Scouts upstairs that are close enough to use as Cadian test models regarding a colour scheme test, and I’m aiming to use a similar painting plan to that of my Chaos Cultists from earlier this year. So far, I’m optimistic and excited about getting some more Imperial Guard in the future if this turns out well. I’ve been painting Space Marines, in some form or another, for years and years and years; it’s time to try something different.

That’s all for this time, so thanks for reading and I hope you’re staying safe.

Word Bearers Squad, pt.2

I’ve been agonising how to start this post of what is essentially a draft from mid-June, when I was working on my second squad of Word Bearers. They began as a run-of-the-mill Troops choice before turning into one of those squads that you can’t seem to make any headway with, no matter how many hours you spend on them.

They form a second squad of five, including a plasma-gunner and a champ with plasma pistol and power axe. I haven’t had a game with my Word Bearers as of yet so I’m not 100% sure just how viable this will be in the current edition, though I have run similar loadouts with my old Space Marines back in the day.

There’s not a great deal else to say about these guys. Painting CSM armour is good fun as there are tend to be many cool details such as faces appearing in the plate, fangs and claws running along the shoulder pads, or something as simple and varied as their ornate backpacks. In game terms I would run these guys to compliment my cultist horde, by having them jump in the Rhino and going after enemy armour with their plasma weaponry.

I’ll wrap it up there, but thanks for reading. Take care.