Sunday 26 January 2020

This Week's Project #1: Angels of Defiance Primaris Master

Having dealt with some pretty heavy personal stuff over the last couple of weeks its time to get back on the horse and have some damn fun. That is to say, getting back to some hobby and making a tentative stab at White Dwarf's Warhammer Resolution Challenge.

To this end, this week I want to complete the model I have chosen as January's Monthly Challenge, the newly released Dark Angels Master Lazarus...
with a couple of modifications. To wit: my absolute favourite Space Marine head (the Sternguard Marine who looks like Charles Dance) and a 3D printed Angels of Defiance shoulder pad from Shapeways. I have an odd things about Primaris Marines in that I kind of hate how they look bolted in to otherwise old-style Space Marines but I kind of like them as their own thing. Thus, grabbing some shoulder pads off Shapeways to do an Ultima Founding chapter.
The Angels of Defiance also have a quartered colour scheme (bone and black) which is something I've wanted to try out for years. I even started a Novamarines army many, many years ago but didn't have the patience or skill to pull it off, especially the white the colour scheme called for. The contrast between the bone and the black should be a lot more forgiving, though, as I know I can paint those pretty well.

Now, to actually get this done.

Wednesday 8 January 2020

Thundercracker is actually quite pretty

I don't know who originally said it, I know the first time I heard it was from Thew Adams on YouTube, but Thundercracker seems to be everyone's second favourite Seeker. For most people the best one is Starscream, which is more than fair since he not only has a personality but a really fun one as the archetypal traitorous lieutenant. Then there's Skywarp who has the cool black and purple colour scheme as well as a fun little superpower with his teleportation.

And Thundercracker is also there.

Not that there aren't good versions of Thundercracker. I absolutely adore the version from IDW with his pretentions of becoming a screenwriter and weird as all hell friendship with Marissa Fairbairn. The thing is, though, that he's mostly just sort of also there.

And I never had any of the G1 Seekers back in the day so it never really occurred to me that...
Thundercracker has a really nice colour scheme. Sorry for the downright disgusting state of my painting table, it was the only surface available at the time. But, yeah, the blue and silver with the little splash of red on the wings is actually rather gorgeous now I have it in hand. Even in this very flawed knock-off version (its the Pocket Toys knock-off of the DX9 War In Pocket version) with shoulder thingies that don't match silver of the the cyber-titties, sprue marks all over the place and all sorts of flaws in what few paint apps there are he still looks great.

I bought the set for Starscream and Skywarp but in the end I found myself more impressed by Thundercracker here which was a very pleasant surprise. Its rare that I'll buy a figure just to complete the set and its nice that one of the few times I did it I ended up quite enjoying the figure on its own terms.

Tuesday 7 January 2020

Hobby Project: Tyrannic War Veterans

I need to get back into painting. I haven't done any since before Christmas. Best way to do this, in my experience, is to start a small, self-contained project.

So my beloved Deathwatch are going to be joined by a small training cadre of Ultramarines Tyrannic War Veterans. For those unaware, the Tyrannic War Veterans were a unit introduced in the fourth edition Space Marine Codex to represent those battle brothers who were survivors of the Tyranid invasion of Macragge. They don't really exist anymore, subsumed into the broader category of the Sternguard Veterans.

So, a few questions to answer before we begin:

How to make them?
For the base models I have a box of Sternguard Veterans; an Ultramarines Upgrade Sprue missing a few parts I used for Deathwatch Veterans; a plastic Librarian (because I think this unit needs an officer); a Venerable Dreadnought; and, these...
These are the “Alien Skull V.7 Shoulder Pads” from Plokoone's Bits on Shapeways. I love Shapeways, a 3D printing website that has so many wonderful upgrades for Space Marines that just wouldn't be worth GW's time and effort to make. Thats not a knock against GW, by the way, I have my problems with them but even I have to admit that it just isn't economically viable for them to do a wide release of Black Guard shoulder pads. They're just too obscure a chapter.

What will they count as?
The way I see it there are two choices. I can either build them as Sternguard Veterans as the start of a full-on Ultramarines detachment. With what I'm planning already I'm only one Elites choice away from a Vanguard Detachment.

Or I can make them as Deathwatch Veterans who just happen to be painted blue. It gives me a better choice of wargear and I can take them as part of the army I'll be using them with.

This will take some thinking about, to be honest.

Monday 6 January 2020

Transformers legends scale wish list

On Saturday Bobby Skullface published his Transformers Masterpiece Wishlist as part of his Sit Down Saturday series. It got me thinking about what figures I'd love to see come out from the third party scene for my Legends scale collection. Not in any particular order, just spitballing:

The Aerialbots
Superion is my favourite Autobot combiner, made more special for me because I never managed to complete the thing as a kid, either as secondhand G1 figures or the G2 recolours coming out at the time. Their origin story from the G1 cartoon was one of the three Transformers VHS tapes at my local video rental place when I was a child. I adore Silverbolt's character.

I'd also just like to see Autobot combiners in the Legends scale. We're drowning in Devastators, IronFactory made an amazing Bruticus and their own original effort with the Decepticon Justice Division set and, Magic Square have a Menasor in thr works.

The IronFactory one is too expensive now and only available with their Sideswipe, a character I already have a toy for. It just feels wrong to have Sideswipe and no Sunstreaker (plus, I actually do like Sunstreaker's design a bit better than his brother's).

Flat out my favourite Transformers character and toy of all time. For five year old me there was nothing better: it was a transforming robot who was a steam train and a space shuttle. If it had also been a dinosaur it would have been the perfect object.

I have high hopes for the Mech Fans Toys version that's been teased recently but I am picky as fuck with this character. I passed on any version that was a bullet train and there are just a few little problems with the Siege version that stop me from buying it. And, no, none of those problems are the size. When Siege Astrotrain was announced as a Leader class figure I was all for it: he would have been huge against my Legends and I think that could have worked. No, it was the hollow back end of the shuttle mode and the bloody battle damage paintwork.

So, in theory I'm onboard for the MFT version but we'll see.

Whirl, Sandstorm and Broadside
This is my main shortlist for characters I need for my little Wreckers shelf. I love the Wreckers but it has to be said they're a team of also-rans, literally cobbled together by Simon Furman from characters the US comic couldn't be bothered to find a use for. As such even the official toylines don't revisit these characters much aside from Springer. I mean: have Whirl, Sandstorm or Broadside had more than one modern toy?

I could hope that Mech Fans Toys makes a Sandstorm remould of their Springer but the other two would have to be original moulds with no potential second use so I'm not hopeful.

Another themed shelf I have is my MTMTE/Lost Light shelf and that wouldn't be complete without evil mastermind and frequent quoter of Theresa May Getaway.

A MTMTE-style Rodimus would be rather nice, too.

Basically any Targetmasters
Mechanic Studios (one of the many heads of the Mech Fans Toys hydra) have finally popped the seal on Targetmasters with their Hot Rod/Rodimus set. I know they're kind of dumb and no one seems to know exactly why they need little robots to stand in for their guns but I always loved those toys as a kid, especially the Decepticons Targetmasters. I'd love a decent Legends scale Quake or any of the Targetmasters planes, especially that one with two cockpits.

Legends Plus scale Fortress Maximus
The thing about Fort Max is that as far as Hasbro/Takara are concerned he's a citybot. As far as I'm concerned, having met him through the UK comics of my youth he's just a quite tall Autobot. IronFactory did a great Skorponok and I'd love a Fort Max to match him (or tower over him by an inch or so). Right now I have the Kabaya model kit version of the character which looks great but, sadly, has all the articulation of the G1 original which is to say not much.

Saturday 4 January 2020

This week's comics

Comic reviews. Spoilers here.

Star Wars #1
The Destiny Path part 1

Charles Soule writes a great Lando. With the Star Wars comics moving up into the gap between Empire and Return one of the things I'm looking forwrad to the most is watching Lando going from the guy who betrayed everyone at Bespin to the guy the Rebellion trusts to lead the second Death Star run. But on to the actual issue at hand...

So, as promised, its just after the climatic events of Empire and the Millennium Falcon is heading for the rebel fleet: no one trusts Lando, no one knows hat they're going to do about Han, and Luke is being mopey as hell about the whole father thing.

Actually, I'm being a little unfair on that last one, both to Luke as a character and Soule as a writer. Obviously, the next time we see Luke on screen he's going to have a new lightsaber and a wardrobe that heavily suggests he might be on the verge of breaking bad and following his father into the family business of betrayal and recreational genocide. Soule takes that doubt and really runs with it, putting Luke in a position of questioning absolutely everything: Ben, Yoda, the Jedi path and his own destiny. Its a great angle.

Also, it seems Poe Dameron's parents are going to be a big part of this run which was unexpected but quite nice to see.

Thor #1
The Devourer King part one:
The Black Winter

I've not read much by Donny Cates. A couple of crossover issues of Venom and... that's it, I think. I must admit I didn't really warm to his work there.

I liked this, though. Its not a huge departure from Jason Aaron's just finished epic arc but it certainly has its own flavour. I like the idea of Lady Sif being the all-seeing guardian of the bifrost, for one, and Cates' Volstagg is brilliant.

Beyond that the issue is all set-up: Thor is sad because he's bored on his throne but then a new threat literally falls on top of his royal duties and we're off to the races. That leaves me with not much else to say about this issue. I enjoyed it but it'll take another issue to see if the story actually grabs me.

Daredevil #16
Through Hell VI

You know what I love about Elektra in this series? She talks. She talks a lot. She's not chatty and she's not transparent but she does talk. I get the character is meant to be mysterious but I've never really felt like I knew her under most writers. Hell, even Brian Michael Bendis who could write dialogue-filled pages in his sleep mainly had her as a silent, looming figure when she turned up in his Daredevil run.

And, of course, for the first time in a long time, we have an old fashioned scene of Daredevil and the Kingpin talking in a room. Love those things, its been too long.

X-Men #4
Global Economics

So we get to the big obvious thing that needed to happen: the mutant nation of Krakoa in a diplomatic environment. In this case Magneto, Xavier and Apocalypse at an economics conference. I have to say, I love how this main X-Men series is doing one off short stories exploring different aspects of the Krakoa concept whilst the other series are doing more cohesive, arc-based things.

So its all fun, small things: the delegations bodyguards being the two mutants who have to wear sunglasses anyway; Magneto lecturing the humans on how human society collapses every few thousand years; Xavier impressing on everyone that he still believes in co-existence but isn't fucking around anymore. Its delightful and, it has to be said, a lot more digestible than Hickman's Avengers run.

Friday 3 January 2020

A Little Conversion Project

Yesterday I received a model I bought off eBay: the Feast Of Bones Ogor Tyrant, new on sprue. Its a lovely model but I'm rather set on having the pirate Maneater as my general. The Feast Of Bones dude is a little too impressive to be a mere Bruiser.

So I'm going to convert him to be a Battle Standard Bearer. He has a massive spear that'll do for the banner pole with a little extension. Not sure what I'll use for the banner itself though I have plenty of spares. Maybe something using the Mournfang or Thundertusk kits.

Hopefully I'll have a build to show off in a few days.

Thursday 2 January 2020

The greatest mystery of modern fantasy literature

Why did Terry Pratchett hate horses so much? Did anyone ever ask him? Was there a reason he portrayed horses as congenitally insane?

I particularly remember this bit in Lords and Ladies where Granny Weatherwax tries to “borrow” the Elven Queen's unicorn and she describes its mind as being even more frothingly insane than an ordinary horse's.

Seriously, the man hated horses and no one seems to know why. Its always the questions you never think to ask...

Wednesday 1 January 2020

2020 Visions (New Years Resolutions)

I'm sorry, the pun was irresistible.

Yeah, its been a while but what better time to make a fresh start on things than the beginning of a new decade. Last year was a year of stasis for me, various family health issues leaving me without the energy or motivation to do much of anything. Or at least anything worth blogging about. I am painfully aware of how little entertainment value existential despair has considering the recent general election.

Anyway, lining up the projects for the year:

Reviews and stuff

Over the Christmas period I actually managed to get the comics backlog down to nothing. I am, for the first time in years, all caught up and so I'm going to try and do the thing I originally started this blog to do an review some comics! I might even try out some random trade paperbacks now the new stuff is under control.

Talking of reviews and collecting, I recently started collecting Legends scale Transformers (that's the small ones). I picked up IronFactory's Windblade on a whim and, me being me, I now have a small bookshelf full of the little 'bots. I like them just as decoration and as fiddle toys but I feel the need to do something with them. Reviews, certainly, but I think I could stand to do some sort of photography project with them.

I also recently realised that I have been collecting the new Doctor Who blurays without actually watching them. It might be a decent chance to rewatch them with an eye to how my opinion has changed over the years. I've already lived through the VHS and DVD eras so this will be the second or third go round with some of these stories.


I have chosen two big projects, one for Fantasy and one for 40k, to be my main focus for the time being. I'll work on other things because I have so many unfinished projects that need only a little work to get them past the finish line.

For Warhammer 40,000 it will be the Adeptus Mechanicus because my family got me a whole bunch of AdMech kits for Christmas. I love the look of them and they are so different from the standard Space Marine and Imperial Guard armies of the Imperium. I have no idea how they work on the tabletop and that in itself represents a fun challenge.

Over in the both defunct and upcoming world of Warhammer Fantasy I'm going for something a little simpler: Ogre Kingdoms. I recently snapped up a Feast Of Bones Ogre/Ogor Tyrant for cheap on eBay. The attraction of the army is simply: monsters, its an army of monsters. What's not to love about that?

Other projects on the docket include a Dwarf army I've been chipping away at for years; the Sisters of Battle army deal that I've undercoated and not really done anything else to since it came out; Deathwatch; and my eternal quest for the perfect Traitor Guard models.


The blog, obviously, but also I want to get back into writing short fiction. I'm going to go looking for writing prompt blogs and the like since I think Write Anything has ended since I used to contribute to their weekly challenges.

I'm also going to be posting some of my Warhammer background to this blog to get some feedback, maybe also try to set up an AO3 account.


Cooking. Always meant to learn and, to be frank, I need to eat healthier. I'm told by people who do it that cooking is fun and satisfying.

Travel. A year and a bit ago a friend and I went to Switzerland for a week. I went up multiple mountains! Cable cars are terrifying, by the way, and sometimes you get out of one expecting the majestic sweep of the mountains but instead you find yourself face to face with a lifesize cut out of James Bond (that actually happened). It was an amazing experience and I'm keen to repeat it, hopefully with less unexpected James Bond.

That seems enough to be getting on with.