Necromunda – Van Saar Get A Tech Upgrade!

Cyber Arachnids, Grapple Guns, Heavy Stubbers and more for these elite gangers. A new leader ushers in a new high-tech killteam, equipped to the nines and ready to take on the underhive. As with all my Van Saar I’m going for an energy weapon based force, no solid slugs or gun that fires them, no cc weapons other than energy shields and power weapons. This has offered up the oppertunity for some cool conversions, particularly the ‘heavy stubber’ for this force. But first lets take a look at the creepy pets that have appeared…

A combination of an Eldar component, not actually certain from which kit(let me know if you recognise it), some Forge World servo skulls and Sicarian Ruststalker hands, with each finger cut into a single peice, for legs. Thanks Hendybadger for the idea.

These were quite an easy simple conversion, just with hard to find components. Just making these 2 took up all the hands in the Sicarian kit, luckily I’ve got plenty of uses for the other bits.

Next up is a new leader for the gang, Tor Gellion now demoted to a Champion. This new leader is outfitted a little differently but still sticking to the Las/Plas theme I’m going for with the gang. Introducing Ortrex Gellion…

Featuring a Combi Plas, Power Sword and Energy Shield in the weapons department and a grav shute and scope for gear. This guy is an ideal build for me, no idea if it will work but I’m sticking to it.

The Combi-plas is from one of the Forge World weapons packs, I cut it off the hand it was supplied with to create the pose I wanted with an arm from the plastic kit. The sword is from the Admech Sicarian kit, cut off and attached to a close combat arm. The back back is made up of the top half of an Admech Skirtarii back pack, also where the ‘scope’ drone came from, and the grav chuite vanes from the Primaris Reiver kit.

I’ve made up a group of similarly outfitted gangers to go alongside him, each equipped with a selection of gear. Let’s take a look at the grapple guns…

At a glance they look like a very good option for Van Saar to make up for thier movement shortfall. I made these from the Van Saar combi melta, with the melta and las barrels removed, and the hooks from the Primaris Reiver grapple guns. I was planning on just swapping in the whole of the Reiver grapple gun, but the scale was way off…

Next up was a couple of gangers similarly outfitted…

Another long las for the squad, which I’ve gone for over the long rifle mainly because it is las, but also plentiful on a sniper is nothing to be shirked at. This was made from a thin peice of brass rod, I think about 1mm although it could have been smaller. This was drilled into the gun and the barrel. I’m still searching for a good scope to be added to these, as the ones I’ve pulled from my bits box just don’t look right.

I also threw together a melta gunner as the melta ability is crazy, especially combined with it’s high strength of 8, mega AP of -4, and 3 damage!

To finish off I needed some heavy fire support…

I really wanted a heavy stubber for my Van Saar to complete my heavy weapons choices(I’ve built a Lascannon and Plasmagun, and have a Multimelta and Radcannon on the way), but it goes against the theme, then inspiration struck, I could build a multi-laser to stand in for it! Luckily I had one in my bits box, from the Valkyrie kit, and set to modding the heavy weapon frame to accomodate it. I love how it looks and think it makes a nice proxy to keep the theme.

That’s all the building of the Van Saar done for now, next up I’m looking at some hangers-on. Rogue docs and ammo-jacks here I come!

Necromunda – The Van Saar Gang So Far

Work has progressed quite swiftly with the gang, in all aspects. I’ve got 15 built, 5 painted and the big old brute ready to go. I’ve even got a backstory in mind and a whole host of other conversions planned out, but those are posts all of their own.

Here’s a look at everything painted so far, including their very own Ambot!

I’ve really enjoyed building and painting all of this so much but it’s the converting that’s really sunk its hooks into me. I’d forgotten the joy of sifting through your bits box, lining parts up, creating something unique and special to your force. I started off with a few small additions, like the shields and long Las on my leader or the Lascannon, a simple matter of replacing the barrel and cutting down the back to fit the energy cell…

Even the ambot only featured a few bits and pieces stuck on where they looked cool, simply filing the join point to match up…

But its these wee additions that make all the difference and really helps blend something like the Ambot into your force, something also achieved with a matching paint job. I used some Eldar backpack components for the ‘antennae’ and some Tau bits for the back vanes. I chopped up and smmothed down one of the energy shield peices to add the Van Saar emblem to the shoulder guard.

I’ve got so many more ideas for models I’d like to make, not just for the Van Saar but a whole host of Underhive characters, loners and outcasts for a campaign I have planned, but I’ll tell you more about that soon. For now here’s a few more pictures of the gang…

Necromunda – ‘Gellion’ Pattern Energy Shield Guide

My Van Saar have a unique bit of kit, which I’m gonna write into thier back story, and I’ve been asked how it was done. So here is a guide on building your own ‘Gellion’ pattern energy shield to put to good use against the enemies of Van Saar!

What you’ll need…

  • ‘Hystrar’ pattern energy shield. The standard one from the Van Saar gang box is perfect.
  • Servo skull. These are quite easy to come by on bits sites and ebay, and there’s quite a few variations out there.
  • ‘Thrusters’ I used a Necron weapon part, but you could use anything that fits the theme

Step 1

Begin by removing the back of the skull and the house emblem from the shield front. Make sure to file these flat so they will sit flush.

Step 2

Glue the skull to the shield front, centered where the house emblem was. I chose to glue them to oriente the shield horizontally, to change things up you could affix it so the shield is vertical.

Step 4

On the back of the shield you’ll need to shave down the plug or it will not fit in place properly.

Step 5

Get your ‘thruster’ ready. I made sure the connection point was flat.

Step 6

Affix your thruster to the back off the energy shield. Before gluing anything dry fit the front and back to make sure everything is the orientation that you want it.

Step 7

Once all the glue is dry you should be able to stick the peices together giving you your energy shield.

I didn’t glue the peices together, as I want to be able to remove the acrylic shield section for painting.

I did however glue the skull part to one of my champions, and if you have not seen them already, take a look at a gallery of the other energy shields below…

A Year in Pictures 2018

Well it’s been a long year and I have been spotty at best with keeping up with this, hence the delay in getting it out there.

I set out to keep track of how many models I paint in a year, not with a specific goal in mind or as a figure to beat, but to just have a look at the numbers. So without further ado my painted figure count for 2018 was…

175

Not a bad number to be honest, but this year I think I’ll break it down even more. I want to look at how many figures I paint for each game that comes my way, board game, tabletop, or anything else that may happen. This is one ofthe things I’ll be adding to my painting goals for the year, which I’ll talk about soon.

Anyway, enough rambling, here’s the 175 models I painted this year…

Middle Earth SBG – A Misadventure with Recasts!

This post is all about a recent encounter with some recast Forge World miniatures, but also to serve as a bit of a warning to those looking to pick up cheaper figures and what to look for to spot a fake.

I’ve worked with a lot of Forge World over the years, regularly shopping with them when I was playing 40k and now that I’ve jumped back into LOTR. Their quality has been nothing but excellent and my more recent purchases have done nothing but reaffirm this. My Azog’s Legion models have been some of the best quality models I’ve worked with. I truly believe that the price tag attached is worth the quality product you receive.

Which leads us onto recasts. There’s 2 primary reasons I will never work on a recast model.

  1. The quality is generally sub par
  2. It does nothing to support the hobby

Let’s take a look at these in a little more detail.

I managed to take a few images of the miniatures, mainly so the buyer could tackle the situation with the seller, and these show just how bad the quality is and some of the tell tale signs of a recast.

On the whole they may look very similar to the FW casts but the detail is considerably lacking, small details being particularly affected. There’s also always a slight texture to the surfaces that you don’t find on FW minis.

As pointed out by some readers it is important to note that these are not always clear indicators of a recast. Resin does vary wildly in colour and casting issues can be experienced, even when buying from Forge World.

Here’s some things to look out for to spot illegitimate products…

  • Colour Variation. FW resin tends to be quite light, where as most recasts will tend to be dark. This is not always the case.
  • Weight and texture. After working with FW resin for a while you’ll gain a feel for it’s weight and texture. Recasts will always feel ‘off’, especially the texture. This is quite hard to describe and I think it’s only because I’ve experienced low quality resin recasts. The quality difference makes it very obvious, but with a better quality recast these issues may not be apparent.
  • Paperwork. FW products now either come in a clamshell, or a box with a certificate. These are both clear signs it’s a legitimate product.

As stated above these are in no way sure fire ways of detecting a recast and the most assured way to receive the genuine product is to buy direct from the maker. Be they Forge World or any of the many smaller studios.

That’s enough to put me off recasts, but I realise others may not be too concerned with the quality of the miniature as they would just like to get the monster on the table. This leads on to my second point, recasts do not support the hobby, they damage it.

Recasters sit outside the hobby, taking but not giving back. By hobby I mean everything, from the original artists who drew up the concepts, to the sculpter, to the casters, to the painters, to the studio staff who work on images and packaging, through to shops (FLGS’s and others), right through to us, the consumers and anyone else inbetween who helps these great products to be released. None of those involved get any credit from a purchase made from a recaster. In fact an inferior product is released into the wild and can mislead others as to what to expect from something legitamate.

A common argument used to justify using recasters is that a company like Games Workshop can afford it, they have been doing very well recently, and for the most part you would be right, they can. But it will still have a domino effect on those involved in the process and at the end of the day, theft is still theft no matter how much money the victim has.

This doesn’t even touch upon what this can do to small businesses, who cannot afford to lose sales to recasters. They can have a product lines sales decimated, with no real way to tackle the issue. This can and will put artists and small studios out of business.

Another argument is the price, which I have already touched upon. You are buying a cheaper product but you are also buying an inferior product. Forge World are one of the best miniature producers in the world so why buy a cheap knock off when you can have the real thing. It’s also worth noting that you get a hell of a lot of after care with Forge World, top notch customer service will sort any issues you have. Issues with a recast? You may be in with a fight to sort anything out.

I do understand why some people will choose to go down the recast route, I just know it’s not right by my standards and I will not support it. It does nothing to grow or even support the hobby and at the end of the day that’s what we all want, a great hobby that grows and expands, stays fresh and exciting. So buy legit, don’t buy recast.

Middle Earth SBG – Monsters of Gundabad

They’ve finally arrived! Azog’s Legion is receiving an epic reinforcement in the form of several hulking beasts, the Trolls and Ogres of Gundabad…

That’s most of what I need for the Legion sorted and already having got in a few games I can confirm 2 things. They are pretty good at smashing things and they don’t get along well with ents! My first game with them they got smashed immediately by some of the woody bastards!

Next up was some new ogres. I enthusiastically stuck these together before thinking about the fact I may want to change them a bit, but after a few hours and some green stuff I ended up with these…

I’m really pleased with how they turned out, especially the skulls, and I think it adds a great amount of character to them. It does mean they don’t link all that well to the ones I’ve got, so I’m going to add some tattoos to all of them in the end.

As you can imagine this amount of monstrous reinforcement pleases me greatly and I can’t wait to get stuck in with these and the Dol Guldur!

As you can imagine I’m really stoked to get painting these. Not only are they massive but the detail is incredible!

Middle Earth SBG – What’s Next for Azog’s Legion?

I want to look into expanding my Azog’s Legion army by the way of allies. With ‘Master of Battle’ being such a strong addition to Azog I knew I needed to look at green allies. That kind of thematic link being something I look for in a force anyway. That meant Azog’s Hunters or the Dark Powers of Dol Guldur.

If you’ve been reading my recent Middle Earth SBG posts you’ll know I have a history with Dol Guldur and it didn’t take me long to look in their direction, especially with those tasty Nazgul models. This was my nine from around 8 years ago, no longer with me unfortunately…

So the first port of call was a few of the Nine to start them off. After looking through the profiles and what came in each pack I settled on this lot…

The Slayer of Men was on the radar straight away. +1 to wound is always a great boon, especially on someone I wanted leading some troops. The Dark Headsman made the cut partly because of the awesome sculpt, but a nice special rule for that chance of killing a juicy target helped too. With the Witch King coming along too, I was sold. +1 Might is another no brainer over some of the other rules the Nine offer and for the captain like purpose I would like to use them for.

You’ll notice the Witchking is missing his sword, just awaiting a peice so I can do a small conversion on him.

With some ‘captains’ to lead some Dol Guldur warbands I also wanted some unique units to go with them. Whilst I could easily throw in some Gundabad Orcs, an advantage that makes this list a natural ally, I wanted something I couldn’t get anywhere else. This inevitabally led me down a nostalgia path once again…

That’s right, Spiders. Alongside my Necromancer force I used to collect a force of giant spiders led by the Spiderqueen. I said I didn’t want to repeat my past armies, but here we are.

These should give me a nice wee boost in choices and offer some different tactical options. I’ll take a look at that once I’ve had a few games with them.

Nxt up will be some more reinforcements for Azog’s Legion, not allies, but some of the big guys!