Thursday, 31 May 2012

Green Jacket Colour Scheme One Final Question and WIP Praetorian Pithy Ratlings

Ok so, the first 25 men of first Platoon are ready to go and I have one final question on the colour scheme before embarking on a mass painting. I have been wandering the blogs admiring others armies and after having a good look again at Winterborne's 4th Mechanised, including his latest painting, it made me have one last thought about the scheme. There is no denying his Army looks superb, and the scheme is so beautifully simple, but looks stunning. So I wondered what if I less complicated mine slightly while keeping the colours, simultaneously making them a bit more Green Jacket like and a lot easier to paint. I'm not going to say what I think, but I would really appreciate peoples thoughts. I can't paint over the weekend as I have visitors so I'm going to think about it and start next week but any thoughts are going to help me with the decision. Also a big thanks to all the people who have given me so much help getting to this point, especially Cols Winterborne and Ackland for helping me early on with their colour theory and painting advice. But once again I'd love everybody who sees this to give their opinion to help me out, its much appreciated.

Original Decided Scheme
Full Green Jacket Scheme

So here is the test guy all in Green, with the khaki pants model I decided on before on the  right. What do people think? I haven't quite got the woodland base right on the new model, the rock went a bit purple and I think the leaves were a nice experiment, but a no.

There is a couple more pictures of the new idea below.

Any final thoughts on basing would also be appreciated as while I really like the idea of woodland, I can accept its more of a blend than making the model stand out.

Oh and finally I haven't been idle outside of the first platoon, been having a fun, if quite difficult time converting some Ratlings, picture below but not the best. Going to do a few more while I wait so hopefully have at least 8 possibly 10 soon. Just need a bit of green stuff gap filling and a helmet badge and they will be good to go! Also working on getting a squad of Penals finished ready to paint.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Games Workshop Price Rises (Some by 33%!) 4 June 12

Nearly didn't spot the news on the latest greedy grab on our wallets by GW this year, it was at the bottom of the latest Wayland Games newsletter. While price hikes are nothing new on their products, I think most people would find it hard to argue against the fact that their products are already overpriced. The list Wayland have is here, while I think many would agree that whoever runs GW pricing strategy is A) Greedy B) Out of touch with customers and C) Slightly Insane, some of the price hikes are actually unbelievable. Some items are going up by 33% that's right 33% (The noticeable one being the Space Marine Battleforce jumping from 60 to 80 pounds!). Since coming back to the hobby in a small way, I really can't believe GW's sales and marketing strategy. It just seems unreal in the tightened economies we are living in, with people having less to spend and while the competition from other tabletop games and independent model artists is so fierce. Inflation is slightly above average at 3%, GW I think you have made a mistake and added a zero!

Its almost like the company isn't really interested in its modelling side other than bleeding its current customers dry! Its a completely, although not entirely, separate point but I can't find White Dwarf anywhere nowadays, only in the occasional highly stocked newsagent, certainly not supermarkets or high street such as WH Smiths. I first got into modelling because the shop in our village sold 7 or 8 magazines kids would be interested in and White Dwarf looked really cool to me at 10. Why now seemingly very little interest in attracting new/young modellers? Seriously 7 magazines on train modelling (7 different ones!) in WH Smiths and no WD. Now I know some people don't like it and think its just a marketing tool (but if nobody sees it, not a good one!) but with the massive success of 40K games why is it not everywhere to try and attract people in/back to the hobby?

Slightly ranty post I know but I just don't understand the strategy at GW. £25 for a Codex, £25 for a Razorback, are these realistic prices, am I just out of touch? If anything with cutting shops and making so many cuts in product quality to cut costs I actually wonder whether the company sees Computer Games royalties and publishing as the future and will end up winding down its modelling side. I can certainly see a online only and independent stockists GW in the (not that far away) future.

My secondhand uber expensive Praetorians are starting to look a bargain! What do other people think?

EDIT: For a more constructive outlook than my rant, Colonel Scipio has done a How to Beat GW Price Rises article and its actually a really good basic guide to hobbying cheaply, go take a look. 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Praetorian PCS Conversion Finished with Flamer Conversions

Finally finished the conversion of First Platoons Command Squad. So just have a Sergeant and missile pair to finish and the 25 man Platoon is ready to start on painting.

These took me a lot longer than expected as it was a bit of a learning experience for me in pinning and in sculpting. I also had to wait  for a .5mm pinning kit to do the flag of the standard. I'm quite happy with what I have achieved and the running flamer is a particular favourite. I started with the original flamer and then it turned into a bit of a quest for differing looking models, now the original flamer looks a bit weird in the group so at some point I think I will convert another back pack flamer and replace him, but not now! I put a pair of binoculars I found on the back of the original flamer model as I think it is a good approximation of spare cannisters.

A always it would be nice to get peoples opinions and comments, thanks for looking. Some Regiment background inbound soon as well as something I tried out yesterday and could do with peoples thoughts on.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Woodland base leaves? Opinions needed please

Autumnal Leaves

Can I get peoples opinion on the leaves on these bases please, would appreciate further decision making help!

The Autumnal leaves I was waiting for arrived today and they aren't quite what I was expecting. With the risk of sounding stupid, they are a bit too orange! Like Sunny D orange rather than the colours of leaves in Autumn. They look ok but I think I preferred the natural leaves, although they aren't quite what I was looking for either.

I then tried a mix and think this looks better maybe, but would appreciate others thoughts? I am swinging towards the mixed as the different colours add that bit of realism to a forest floor but not sure if the orangey leaves look a bit weird and maybe just going with the natural coloured ones might be the best option?

Finishing off the flamers is proving a little bit difficult for my amateur sculpt skills, but I'm hopeful should be able to post the three completed soon.
Natural Leaves
Mixed Leaves

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Woodland Base for the 13th

I'm still working on the three Flamer conversions but they should be completed soon and the whole of First Platoon (well the first two line squads and PCS!) is easily going to be ready to paint by the end of the month, in which case I think I will do the last two ratling conversions as well before starting painting.

In the mean time having thought a lot about the back story of the 13th and why they wear green, I decided to change bases to a woodland theme as previously stated in another post. Here's a rough draft of what they will look like (I ordered the wrong leaves though! more Autumnal coloured ones are on the way!). I have also ordered some tree stumps in resin for the bigger bases and will be adding slate to some of the bigger ones as well for a bit of contrast. Anybody know how to do moss? I'm thinking some dark green weathering powders.

While I don't think the effect pops as much as the desert, I think it is rather striking overall and I'm really happy with it. It took a few attempts with different browns to get right and I think the overall look of the models will be great and a bit different when they are done. (the green of the jacket on this guy is a bit light as I was playing around with some lighter green highlights which went horribly wrong! on returning him to castellan on top he now looks a bit brighter!)

While I was on holiday I thought a lot in the evenings about the background of the Regiment and their adopted colony world and will post up some writings soon. Anyway that green stuffs not going to sculpt itself so off to finish the flamers. Thanks for stopping by, would appreciate others thoughts on the new look.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Is there any Interest in a Praetorian bitz swap shop? Because eBay grips my shit!

Gents as a test of the water, do you guys think a swap system would be good for us who collect Praetorians, and would you be interested? The prices on eBay are ridiculous, I know I have bought loads! And the only real cost effective way is to buy big lots. In really sickens me to see loads of one trooper or weapon team lots on there from collectors who have obviously outbid individuals on big lots then broken them down to sell them back to us at massive profits. Now obviously if you need lots of troops your options are pretty limited and eBay is the best (only!) way of getting them, but if you just need 1 mortar team or a bugler say, it's a pretty expensive way of doing it. It would be nice if there was one place where we could post what we need and then others could offer swaps or a reasonable cost for that piece if they had it available.

Now I know there are similar things out there but praetorians are niche and a fairly small community it would seem. I don't really think I have enough of a following for my blog to be the place it sits so if there is interest I would hope that one of the popular posters would be happy to host on there blog and then we could all put a link to it. I'm not sure how it could be done but the ideal solution would be a blog that we could post on then all the followers see the post and what the request is for.

Anyway the details are fairly irrelevant, would there be interest? Doesn't have to be purely praetorian, a mix of the more obscure stuff might be even better?

My prompt for this was twofold, one I want some more missile troops (actually just two of the missile arms if by some freak occurrence anybody has them?) and I have enough things I could trade in return or I would pay cash. Secondly I bid 20 quid for a single las cannon team once, luckily I got outbid! Saved from my moment of madness the ridiculousness of the situation hit me. I don't want to pay those prices and I don't think others should as it's us bidding against each other pushing them to insane levels!

There would obviously have to be a certain amount of blind trust involved, but I think the majority of this community is as good as the Internet gets!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Thoughts on the 13th's background and a decision to make.

So I was being hesitant about the basing scheme a little while back because I wasn't sure of the desert bases which is leading me to write this (it will become obvious why when you read on). So here is a quick summary of my imagining of the 13th 's background (I will right something properly up at some point). 

I see the 13th Rifles and their green jackets as very much in line with the origins of the 60th Rifles Regiment. Raised to fight on a colony world entirely covered by thick forest, the regiment eschewed their traditional red jackets and wore green to help blend in with their surroundings (I know that is not strictly true of the history of the royal american but in this case it is!) . Originally the regiment wore full green uniform and green berets. The uniform was replaced with the modern colours and the traditional Pith when the world was pacified some years later. (I''ll write about how and who was pacified at some point, I love reading others background fluff!)

A true light infantry regiment, the 13th were created to provide troops that were better suited to warfare in the forests and lakes while producing a more able soldier who was encouraged to use his initiative while retaining the legendary discipline of Praetorian regiments. To this end the 13th have no cavalry, tanks or artillery of their own. A battery of light artillery is attached to the 13th and wears the regiments uniform, although strictly speaking is not part of the regiment. Men in the battery are drawn from other artillery units of Praetoria and may only serve a short number of years with the regiment before returning to their parent unit. Cavalry support is similar. The 60th has squadrons of light horse that provide screens and scouts for the regiment. Heavy horse however is again provided by one of Praetoria's exclusive cavalry regiments, who do not wear the regiments colours and would not fight in the terrain the 13th traditionally calls home. Armour support on the regiments colony world would be pointless as the forest is too thick for tanks to move through at the speed required to accompany the advance of the infantry. Once again when not fighting in this terrain the regiment is provided units to support it by both Praetorian heavy artillery and armoured regiments. The Regiment does however have its own scout sentinels as they are unphased by the thick woodland terrain. Aerial support its provided by the imperial Navy, with the Praetorian provided Royal Navy ships the support of choice.

Unlike other Praetorian Regiments that carry the Lion of Praetoria emblazoned on their standards and armour,  the 13th standards also carry a wolf, as homage to the great wolves of their colony world. (I was thinking of this ages ago but with the new Space Wolves I'm seriously considering a few conversions)

Any comments welcome, this is just a very rough collection of my thoughts over the last few months but I want to put my own stamp on my guys.

So all this leads to the fact that I have been giving it a lot of thought and I think I am going to base my guys up with a muddy forest base, I also want any supporting armour in green. It just seems a bit weird to put them on desert bases the more I think about it. It looks quite nice, but it just kind of feels wrong when I think about what this Regiment is to me. I'm really glad I've been modelling up guys and not painting as its given me time to think this over, but I do feel its the right decision. I know that just because they aren't a desert Regiment doesn't mean they can't or wouldn't fight there but it just seems so far from what I'm starting to imagine in my mind as their natural home that as I say it feels wrong.

Gents can I just say to those of you who follow me thanks for your input and I'm sorry I'm taking so long to churn out some painted troops. I can quite understand if your infuriated with me and just want to see something painted now! lol! But it's turning into a real labour of love for me, and I want to make sure I get it right!

As a bit of placation and to show I'm still working hard here's a picture of one of the 3 Flamer conversions I'm working on, still need to do quite a lot of green stuffing but will do this when all three are ready.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Quick Update and Powerfisted Lieutenant Conversion

Right so I have actually done some modelling and nearly have 1st Platoon ready in full to be undercoated and painted. I have decided that I need to be a bit more organised and now with far less space to work in (and the fact I'm waiting for undercoat anyway) I have decided to get 2 squads and a PCS for first platoon fully ready for painting before I then switch into painting mode. I know it is very much a part time hobby for me and I'm never going to be kicking out a squad over a weekend but I want to actually kick on now I know what I want to do and get some models ready to game. So as I say modest task of getting 25 Models ready to paint (well 26 as I think I will have plenty of time to strip and prep a powerfisted Commissar to aid the PCS). I have given myself to the end of the month to achieve this as I need to start setting myself some headmarks to motivate me to get things done. I am away next week in Rome though, lucky me! so hence the longish timescale.

So as it stands at the minute I have 9 Lasgunned troops undercoated/part painted.

Below is what I have just finished off tonight, one of two Missile teams, a grenade launcher, 2 more troopers and a sergeant, just need basing. So 1 more trooper, grenade launcher, sergeant and the other missile team to do for the two squads and these are already part cleaned up. And then also the PCS, which I have made a start on below.

Somewhere on someones blog, sorry can't remember whose otherwise I'd thank you for the idea! I saw the original Lt model converted with a powerfist, so I decided to do the same. The Catachan command squad powerfist seemed a good fit and 5 minutes later with a bit of sawing, drilling tidying up and pinning I have this guy.I was amazed how easy it was and I'm really happy with how he looks. I was going to green stuff around the fist but actually I think it looks quite natural as it is now.

The guys in the background are two of the other members part finished. One is the standard bearer (who I need a smaller drill bit and pins to do my standard conversion but should hopefully arrive soon), the other is the first of three Flamer conversions I'm doing and once the green stuff dries I should hopefully be able to complete him tomorrow. I'm doing three different conversions for the command squad so it will have three differing flamer models to make up the 5 and having great fun with those three. I love converting them even slightly, along with my mould line removal fascination that's probably what's taking me soo long! Every guy will have a helmet badge which I do take a bit of time over and I also drill out all barrels for a bit of depth to the look of it, all the chainswords are getting replaced as well and then I'm converting special weapons. 

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Undercoating, mould line cleaning and Wayland delivery times!

Ok so I ran out of spray undercoat the other day and ordered some more from Wayland along with some pots of undercoat. The reason for this is whatever I seem to try with how I spray the models there always seems to be bits on these models in recesses that don't get any or enough paint. If I try to get it in there then I seem to over undercoat the top and I lose detail, so I'm going to touch up the spray job with undercoat paint from now on. Anybody got any tips in this to make my life easier? I have tried putting them on a stick and spraying from all around but those recesses never get enough!

Also starting to wish massively that GW would have a change of heart and release these guys again, but plastic! Even if the cost difference wasn't a factor I seem to take forever cleaning the mould lines and flashing off each one! Am I being too much of a perfectionist, or do others find it takes ages to get them half decent as well? Plus there's bits that often need filling with greenstuff adding to the process.

Oh and as much as I love the 20 percent off at Wayland games, my order from a week ago moved from processing to awaiting stock today. I know they are cheap but I think next time I want something in a hurry I might just go direct to GW, at least I might see it the same month. The best thing I ever got was a mini drill from Wayland that when I ordered was apparently in stock but I didn't see until 3 months and three phone calls later. But hey, it saved me 2 quid!

Questions/thoughts on moulding quality

Ok so no pictures, will post some this week and talk about what I have been up to in a bit. I bought nearly all my praetorians painted and having stripped loads now I'm in the happy position of getting a load ready for painting. If anybody who follows me bothers to read this! I was really wondering about your thoughts on a couple of things.

The first one is model casting quality, I think the range as a whole has vastly different quality as some models are pristine where as others look like the person got bored sculpting it and just sent it as it was without cleaning or removing unwanted imperfections. This doesn't really bother me as i love the range of models but after stripping plus 50 models and now removing mould lines and imperfections for painting I have to say that there is also a massive difference in some of my models in terms of detail, mould lines and flashing, both of models of the same type and between different models. One of the cleanest moulds i think is the Lieutenant, I have 5 or 6 and they all seem to have very little mould lines. The worst I have found is trooper 4 on Gravis's chart of the original models.

I find this model seems to have really bad mould lines and it offers the best example of the difference in details between a good cast and bad, one I picked up today the bayonet handle had no detail and there was a load of crap around the handles base.

I wonder if other people found the same thing? Now I'm sure i have almost a timeline of GW casting quality over the 10 year (?) period as they were all sourced from different places and I must have models from across the lifetime of the range. There's definite difference between some of the very grey models (I presume from higher lead content?) which I think are the oldest and newer shinier ones. I often find the detail is better on the newer but there are worse mould lines and flashing. But then like that random trooper model this morning i find the occasional one in newer metal with appalling casting quality? Have other people found the same thing? A while back an anonymous poster asked me whether I thought any of the miniatures I had got off ebay were fake, I dismissed it at the time but maybe he is right? I said i wouldn't really care as long as they were useable, but I am finding a few in a really poor state.

So, I wonder whether people agree whether some of the models are a bit unfinished anyway? I mean what are those stupid little bits next to the gun on models with their arms and gun close to their chest meant to be!? There not on models not holding there guns there. Also why is there massive lump behind my kneeling guys bayonet?

Do you think the casting quality differs massively across the years?

Do you think some of the models out there are fake casts? Like me would you care if they were useable?

Would be interested to hear others thoughts.