Mini-Hobby Update: Dry Fitting

Posted in Uncategorized on October 13, 2013 by Dylan Charles

There are times, like say, when you’re building marines, that you don’t want to fully assemble a model before painting them.  It is very difficult to paint a tactical marine or a termagant when they’re holding their guns. 

In these cases, it’s helpful to have a way to temporarily stick the gun in place so you can pose the model’s arms and then remove the gun.  My recommendation? That sticky putty you use to hang posters to walls without damaging them.

It’s tacky enough to keep things together, but leaves no nasty residue. 

This has been a mini-hobby update.


Choosing the Army: Part 1: The Story

Posted in On the Table: Army Building, Tactics and Strategies with tags , , , , on October 6, 2013 by Dylan Charles

Choosing your own army is a daunting task, especially when it’s your first army and you’re just starting out. And it’s also a financially weighty task. Make the wrong choice and you can end up plunking a few hundred dollars on something that you’re not going to end up wanting to play. I’m going to try and break down some of the factors that could affect your decision over the course of a couple of mini articles. There are a lot of variables that could sway you one way or the other.

For me, I’m starting to think I made the wrong choice initially. I went with Tyranids, as you might notice if you read my blog at all. I loved the models and I honestly think their models represent some of the best in the game. They’re dynamic, gruesome and fairly easy to paint.

But for a first time army, there are a few problems. A Tyranid army means a lot of models, especially if you’re going to use the Tervigon at all. That’s a lot of termagants to paint and, after a while, no matter how easy it is to paint something, it gets really tedious, really fast. There’s also the issue of character. I love crafting a story behind my army. I want to be able to use the models and the individuals in the army to help tell a story; whether it’s one of righteous victory or utter defeat.

With the ‘nids, it’s hard to create that story. The Tyranids are a force driven by a single hive mind that has one goal: to devour everything in its path. There are not heroes, no great ‘nids who rise up. All the characters in the Tyranid codex are organic templates that can be churned out on a factory line. The Swarm Lord can be destroyed, subsumed back into the pool and then remade again to fight again.

There is a story there: you’re playing the dragons in the phrase “here be dragons”.  You’re the monster that lurks in the shadows, waiting, lurking. You’re the mythical creature that ruins whole worlds and the great beast the knights must bring down. For me, that’s not what I want. It’s not enough to keep me pushing through another fifty bug swarm of gants.

When you’re making your army choice, it should be something you consider. Is the fluff behind the army enough to keep you invested? Are you going to be able to tell the story you want to tell with you army? Can you get excited about that one space marine captain or that one ratling sniper?

While this might seem silly to those of you who are just looking to play a wargame and blow some stuff up, in the end, having an army where you identify with the characters and really get into the background can help increase the longevity of the game and keep you invested in a hobby that you’re already heavily invested in.

Go through the back grounds of the different armies and quickly ignore the ones that you have little interest in the background. Necrons might look cool at first, but maybe the whole undead robot thing will wear thin after a while.  Focus on the fluff, not the background or the rules. What draws you in?

After that, it’s time to go deeper…


Blog News: Adjustments

Posted in News and Updates About the Blog and 40K on September 29, 2013 by Dylan Charles

I’ve been thinking a lot about how the blog has been shaping up lately and I’m not exactly happy. I like the podcast reviews and the fact that I can take a semi-decent photograph of my models now, but, in general, the type of entries I’m writing is not what I was expecting to write when I first made this blog.

I was hoping to create a cache of articles and entries showing other first timers how they can best enter the hobby. Lately, though, it’s turned more into a blog showing my personal hobby progress without really acting as tutorial for new players.

So I’m going to start moving back to that old goal and producing more content that better reflects what I originally intended this blog to be about.

So, if you’re still reading, stick it out and we’ll see what we can do.


Switching Focus

Posted in News and Updates About the Blog and 40K with tags , , , , , , on September 22, 2013 by Dylan Charles

So I buckled under the pressure and bought the new Space Marines codex; the first power armor codex I’ve ever owned and my first sixth edition codex. And, I have to say, compared to the earlier codices, the new hardcover books are gorgeous in both artwork and in layout. They’re a vast improvement over the old style books. I know this is old news for everyone else, but, for me, these new books are almost worth their price tag. Almost.

I also have to say that it seems to be a lot easier to build a list with the Space Marines Codex, if you’re new to 40K, than with the Tyranid Codex. The writers of the codex did a lot to blend the fluff with the rules. So, if like me, you’re interested in building a White Scars list, you’ll be able to quickly and easily cobble together a list that reflects the fluff.

With the Tyranids Codex, it’s more difficult to open  the book and say, this is the kind of list I want to build and these are the units I will take to do so. Tyranids seem more designed for an experienced player rather than a player who is just getting started.

This makes a lot of sense as the Space Marines have long been considered to be the flagship army of Warhammer 40K and a lot of players start playing with this army. To me, just based on how the codex is written and structured, the Space Marines Codex is one of the better way to start off in the hobby.

Now, I’m going to learn how to paint power armor white.


Site Update

Posted in News and Updates About the Blog and 40K on September 15, 2013 by Dylan Charles

Over the course of the next few weeks, I’m planning on boosting the amount of content on the blog. Things have been a little too slow ’round these parts and it’s time to change things up.

Content to come!



Mini Hobby Update: White Scars and Shifting Focus

Posted in The Hobby: Painting, Modeling, Basing with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2013 by Dylan Charles

I’ve decided to take a small break from the ‘nids and paint something entirely different. I feel like I’ve gone as far as I can simply repeating the same painting style over and over again and I’m not really going to learn anything new but continuing painting my tyranids and it’s starting to get the tiniest bit dull. There are only so many termagants you can paint before you want to pull your hair out.

So, I dug deep into my bitz box and pulled out ten tactical marines that I had laying around. Originally, I had grand plans to paint them up like Imperial Fists, but I read and heard too many people saying how hard it is to paint a yellow army. I backed down from the challenge and decided to paint something much easier: the White Scars.

White scars are going to involve a bit more work than my tyranids did and help teach me a few more skills. Based on the tutorial I found, I’m going to have to water down my paints in a consistent ratio, paint the occasional straight line and learn how to be neater in general. When painting something organic like a tyranid, it doesn’t ruin the effect to be a little bit sloppy. On the contrary; things look a little more natural when it doesn’t look manufactured and overly neat.

This will be my first time painting power armor and trying to keep things looking neat and trim.

I’ll post some WIP pictures in a little bit, once I have something more than grey marines with red trim.


Podcast Reviews, From Start to Now: The Independent Characters

Posted in The Warhammer 40K Community: Blogs, Podcasts, Websites and More with tags , , , , , on September 8, 2013 by Dylan Charles

I have listened to a lot of Warhammer 40K podcasts by this point and over and over again I kept hearing about The Independent Characters. No matter who it was or what they normally talked about, they would always mention The ICs. When I asked for podcast recommendations on The Overlords Facebook page, a lot of people recommended The Independent Characters. Time and again it popped up. Finally, I sat down and listened to them all the way through, like I do.

And they were as good as people said they were.

The Independent Characters is hosted by Carl and Geoff, two guys in Northern California who really enjoy Warhammer 40. Specifically, they really enjoy exploring every possible way to play the game. They’ve tried different campaign structures, Forgeworld units, Forgeworld books; a multitude of different ways and means to get the most out of their 40K models.

And they’ve managed to remain positive and upbeat about a hobby when a few other podcasters seem to be able to do nothing but complain. I want to listen to people who enjoy what they do and enjoy playing the game and modeling and painting and getting the most out of a game and universe that they truly enjoy. Carl and Geoff accomplish that in spades. They have an enthusiasm for Warhammer 40K that’s infectious and it’s that kind of attitude that brings more people into the hobby.

Compared to a lot of the podcasts I’ve listened to, The Independent Characters have remained the most consistent in terms of formatting, content and the people involved. They have always maintained an atmosphere that celebrates the games, even when they’re talking about the aspects that they don’t like.

Through their forums and their Facebook page, they’ve also done a lot to encourage people to paint their models and fully realize the hobby. Their Hobby Progress Challenge has spurred on their listening audience to do more than they might otherwise have accomplished and I know I’ve felt a new drive to get more done since I’ve started listening to the show.

If you want ideas about how to add something new to your gaming table, if you want encouragement toward your hobby progress, if you want to listen to a podcast that inspires you to go further in 40K; you need to listen to The Independent Characters. It’s a solid podcast from start to finish and it’s one I’ve added to my regular rotation.



The Independent Characters Website

Previous Podcast Reviews, from Start to Now:

Hitting on 3’s

Deepstrike Radio

The Overlords

The 11th Company

The Screaming Heretic

Hobby Update: Wire Snips, Green Stuff and A Little Elbow Grease

Posted in The Hobby: Painting, Modeling, Basing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2013 by Dylan Charles

After my last little ripper swarm diorama, I decided to try something a little more difficult. I wanted to show the end result of the Special Rule “The Sarge is Acting Strangely…”. This led to a fair amount of work using green stuff and some hacking and cutting.

Unfortunately, I took no pictures of the process because I don’t really own a camera and I have to run off and fetch my girlfriend’s anytime I want to photograph tiny army men, but I’ll do my best to paint a picture…with words!


I took your standard Cadian trooper and cut off both of his legs at the knees and then glued them back on at an angle so they projected out behind him. This left him, more or less, without any actual knees, just an empty space. I used liquid green stuff to fill in the gaps and carefully shaped the globs into something resembling a knee cap using the tip of a mechanical pencil. I did a similar thing to his right arm, snipping it at the elbow and rotating the arm and then using the green stuff to fill the gaps.

I borrowed a Catachan head, built him a new neck from green stuff and voila, I had reconstructed a guardsmen. However, there are a few things to note when using green stuff:

1. When it dries, it shrinks a little bit. I had to add another layer to the knees after it had cured the first time.

2. It also dries rough. You’ll need to gently file it or sand it smooth, otherwise it’ll look warty.


For the hole in his chest, I carved it out with the tip of the X-Acto knife and snapped off the tip in the process. I then used plastic glue to make the edges look a little more organic. Since plastic glue melts plastic, it made the rougher edges blend and meld together and gave it that ruptured look I wanted.

And that was it. It was easier than I thought it would and a great way to start modifying the models to make something more unique without going crazy. I was always intimidated about doing conversion work, but after this little project, I want to do more. Maybe even tackling the genestealer cultists that I’ve been wanting to make.

Oh and here’s another, better picture of my first ripper swarm:


Next time, I’ll have another podcast review up and maybe I’ll even buy some new models.



Mini-Hobby: Ripper Swarms and Lightboxes

Posted in The Hobby: Painting, Modeling, Basing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 10, 2013 by Dylan Charles

I’m trying to save some money right now, so I haven’t purchased any new models in a while. However, I have been making use of the little ripper swarm models that come with the genestealers and termagants. I don’t know if I’ll ever run these little guys, but it’s keeping me hobbying.

I decided to use six models per base. I figure that’s enough to make it look like a “swarm” without going overboard. However, the base they go on is pretty big (40 mm).  So I added a little something extra:


I think I mentioned in my first post that I had started an IG Army in ’09 or ’08. I still have most of the models, save a basilisk I left at my friend’s house. Since the whole backstory behind my tyranids is that they started out infiltrating an Imperial Hive World, I figured decorating a few of the bases with Imperials would be a good way to tie in that theme.


I took one of my guardsmen, broke him into his component pieces and then reglued him back together as though he were laying flat on the ground. Since the models weren’t really made for lying like that, I needed to use Liquid Green stuff to fill in some gaps. Also, fun fact, a mechanical pencil is good for pushing Liquid Green Stuff into cracks since it doesn’t stick too much to the graphite.

The blood I made using a 1:1 ratio of PVA glue (Elmers) and water, plus a few drops of Mephiston Red, 5 Drops Druchii Violet and 10 Drops Nuln Oil. I wanted it to be bright, without being too garish. Most of the scene is very dark and muddy, I figured the splash of color would be a nice change of pace. Which is a little morbid, now that I think harder on that.

My second hobby project was a lightbox! I used these instructions, and I had a lightbox in less than an hour. I’d say to use a bigger box than you think you’ll need. I had to use what I had lying around, but once I have a larger box, I’m making another one.

The wuality is already so much better than what I had in my earlier photographs. I want take a few shots of my Tervigon and the slime effects I used for her and I’ll have those posted soon.

And look at that, hobby progress on a blog about the hobby. Wondrous.


Beyond the Fluff: Judge Dredd

Posted in Narrative and Fluff with tags , , , on July 30, 2013 by Dylan Charles

Sometimes, and this may be hard to believe, you need to break away from the Warhammer 40K universe. It’s not that you’re tired of space travel or grimdark or madcap orky violence; it’s just that you need to visit a new universe from time to time. Occasionally, I’ll do a quick and dirty review of a book, movie or comic series that’ll give you your fix of grim and dark science fiction. I’ll try and steer clear of some more obvious choices (Aliens, Starship Troopers, Dune) and offer up some options you might not have considered for one reason or another.

First up; Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd, if you didn’t know, is a British comic book character created in 1977 and graced the pages of 2000AD comics for the first time that year. He is the Law made flesh and fights crime unceasingly in the post apocalyptic metropolis, Mega-City 1. Mega-City 1 stretches the length of the Eastern Seaboard and is a lonely island of civilization surrounded by a radioactive wasteland.

While the world he lives in is oppressively dark, vicious and corrupt through and through, there is a bright, shining vein of smartassery and slapstick humor running throughout. If you’re a fan of the Orks and their sense of humor, you’ll love the Judge Dredd universe. Dredd must contend with mutants, ape mobsters, killer cars and robot uprisings and so much more.

He deals with most of these problems with guns and explosions, but only when necessary. He is Marshal Dillon, Dirty Harry and Serpico rolled into a tidy ball. He is the quintessential lawman and remains straight and narrow no matter how completely insane his surroundings.

Luckily for you, you don’t need to scrounge around yard sales and comic book shops to try and find old back issues. 2000AD has handily collected up the series in the Judge Dredd Case Files. Start here and get to work.

Let’s say you’ve read all of the old comics and you’re tired of reading. You want to experience Judge Dredd in a new way. You think about picking up the Judge Dredd role-playing game (originally released by your friendly, neighborhood Games Workshop), but you don’t have any friends. You think about starting up a Adeptus Arbites force, but now you’re back to 40K again.

If only there was a movie….

But wait, there is! And it doesn’t star Sylvester Stallone desperately trying to recapture the success of 1993’s Demolition Man.

Last year, Karl Urban put on the helmet and starred as the titular judge in Dredd. It was a lean, vicious and efficient sci-action movie that brought the best of Dredd to the big screen. It had jaw dropping effects, while still maintaining a down and dirty feel that captured all the grittiness of a 70’s cop flick. There is a savage brutality to Urban’s Dredd and it does not let up for the duration of the film.

The plot follows Dredd as he follows up on a routine murder with rookie Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby) in tow, who also happens to be a mutant psyke…psychic. Things get quickly get out of hand and the body count goes up as they realize they’ve stumbled on something bigger than a triple homicide.

It’s a great piece of science-fiction action and deserved far more attention than it received. Rent it or watch it on Netflix. And then sign this petition for a sequel, because you will want a sequel. And then buy it on BluRay and watch it again.

Next up on Beyond the Fluff: Brazil or Chasm City


PS Sign the petition for a Dredd sequel. Patton Oswalt said to.