Monday, October 12, 2009

Mortar Squad

So, after sitting in various stages of completion, I finally cracked down and finished this mortar squad. One of my biggest distractions with 60mm bases is the urge to make a complex little scene out of them. I hope to grow out of this urge before too long. It takes far to long to get them on the table this way. I can remember commenting when reading Hal'jin's series, I Hate Right Hands, that the mortar holding right hand was another alternative. Out of this whole squad, the guy holding binos is the only one that does not use the mortar holding right hand from the heavy weapons sprue. While I didn't start these to show how this right hand could be used in other ways, here's some examples.

In the picture above, the one on the left has been just shy of being done for over a year. The problem with paint pot procrastinating on this team was a change in my army colors. Originally painted in standard Cadian 8th colors, I later decided I preferred grey armor over green, so I repainted the crew. The basing also didn't match my newer style, so I gave it a wash and a new drybrush, but is still a ways off. The brick wall is made from spackle (the all purpose basing material) with a bit of other basing experiments mixed in. The crew has some mods, the most notable being hand swaps for both, and a new leg job on the guy holding the binos. The left leg is from a kneeling figure, and is now propped up on the wall. One thing I don't like about the mortar holding hand is that it is designed for a kneeling figure, and doesn't allow for a two handed hold on the round. A quick hand swap here fixes that issue.

The next featured team is on the base I showed in my earlier article about using latex paint chips as basing material. It's since had a wash made from GW terracotta, and the figures added of course. This one is intended to show one of the crew re-aiming the mortar, and the other impatiently waiting to load the next round. The aiming mortarman's hand is the standard mortar holding hand, with the mortar drilled out. I did play with the idea of simply removing the adjusting wheel on the mortar itself and having the remaining mortar body serve as proxy. Either way works, though the proxy would have been easier. The right mortarman still holds the mortar, but with the hand swapped to a different arm. He, like the last crew, likes to keep two hands on the round.

This little mini-diorama has one mortarman continuing to annoy the enemy while the other prepares new rounds for the next volley. This crew took a little more effort in the form of scratch building the boxes. Heavy weapons sprues come with a spare mortar round, and I wanted to do something with the few I've collected. I'm not comfortable leaving mortar rounds lying about on the ground, so I built boxes to hold them. Actually, I cheated a bit; the bottom box is empty. I got lazy and used the standard mortar holding right arm on the standing guardsman. The kneeling one's right hand has the mortar drilled out, which makes an excellent lid holding hand. I hadn't really noticed before, but their left hands are the same also. I had built a little crow bar for the crew to use opening the boxes, but I seem to have misplaced it. Hoping I can find that before it's time to vacuum under my chair.

Playing with my camera for these shots, I discovered it has a "vivid" setting (right next to Sepia) in its "My Colors" menu. Although it tends to point out my painting faults, I'll continue to make use of that in the future.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Games Workshop Heads Sprue

So, GW comes out with some new bitz for Imperial Guard and I decided I needed some Aquilas for my Vanquisher Barrel Conversion. The ones that come with the Leman Russ kits are a tad long. I contacted my FLGS to get some ordered, and when I picked them up I took a look at the new heads sprue as well. Now, seeing these on the GW site is less than convincing. After all, the pic there silver on a white background; you can’t really tell what they’re about. Looking at them through the packaging isn’t much better. So, I took a chance and bought the only set my FLGS had. Thought I’d post them up here for others to view.

My first picture is of the basic sprue, here to provide a better close up for you than what GW offers. The second is the sprue based (white) with a wash of Ogryn Flesh. I painted them on the sprue to make it easier to show here, and perhaps save me a bit of time later. The third shot is painted, minus the finished optics and clear coat. The last two are front and back of the clear-coated, finished set.

Now, I’m not the best minis face painter out there, but I hope I did fair enough to give the curious a better idea as to the potential of these. My plan is to use them on a future veteran squad. Knowing I’d have to do a fair bit of handling after removing them from the sprue, I went ahead and clear coated. I was surprised to see the change it does to minis, like softening up the powdery look from drybrushing, and even lightening up the overall look. It also reminded me that one of my biggest concerns with clear-coating is that I’d have forgotten to paint an important detail, like teeth.

Now, the Aquilas? Well, they look good from the front, but are extremely thick for my tastes. I’m trying to figure out how to hold them down while I file them a bit thinner. Any ideas would be appreciated.