Star Wars Trio

I was actually mucking around with Warhammer stuff more this weekend (Heresy and Shadespire, piccies coming soon!), but I did manage to complete another three models for Star Wars.

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Chewie, Kenobi and the Royal Guard Champion – I think these now finish off not only the Imperial Assault box set, but all the optional add-ons for the core campaign too…

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For once, I did not follow Sorastro’s Youtube channel for Chewie, instead falling back to a really easy way I found to do fur – Mournfang, drybrush Tyrant Skull, then wash with Agrax. Gives a really good effect and the only concession I made was to add some Nuln Oil to the head and shoulders to reflect the different colours of fur Chewbacca has.

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I varied the colours once again for Kenobi, but this was much closer to Sorastro’s suggestions.

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And finally, the Royal Guard Champion. He ended up a bit more purple than I intended but, well, he is a Royal Guard Champion…

Got some bits and pieces on the painting table to finish off right now but, those done, I will be back into the Death Guard!

 

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Imperial Assault

Continuing the Star Wars theme, I managed to get the last miniatures of the Imperial Assault starter set finished last night – we are now ready to play!

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As I said before, these are really quick miniatures to do but, while they do not have the same edge as GW models (the sculpts – but not the plastic – are a bit ‘soft’ and there is a lot of repetition among the rank and file), they are very characterful and some really do capture the Star Wars magic.

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Take these two, for example, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Check out Skywalker’s pose – doesn’t it just make you start humming da-da-da-daaa, da-da-da-daaaa-da, eh?

While Luke is part of the Imperial Assault set (along with Vader), Solo is from the expansions, and I have already started adding the expansions that tie directly into Imperial Assault. Chewbacca and Kenobi are already on the painting table, and I’ll be adding some Rebel Troopers as soon as I can. I’m avoiding the later expansions for now though (all in good time…).

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Along with the Wookiee I did earlier, these are the core characters of Imperial Assault. While they all have different approaches to painting, I did them all alongside one another and, being Star Wars miniatures, they were quick enough to get through.

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The Trandoshan Hunters were a bit more of a pain, if only because I gave them different coloured jump suits but, funnily enough, I had the Trandoshan Hunter episode of Clone Wars on while I painted these. So that helped!

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The Rebels may rue the day I painted these guys – two Scout Troopers manning E-Web Reapeating Blasters.

It is worth pointing out that these models all come fully assembled (except the AT-ST, and that is no bear to put together), and they need little to no work in final prepping or gap-filling. Excellent if you just want to get down to the painting!

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Finally, the two Nexu (Nexus? Nexi?). Again, very easy to paint, and I had these polished off before anything else you see here.

Alongside Kenobi and Chewbacca on the painting table, I have the Royal Guard Champion just taking his base coats, and no doubt there will be more Star Wars to follow (like the Rebel Troopers and Saboteurs). However, I also want to keep the other armies ticking over, so I also have more Death Guard, Horticulous from Blightwar, and a couple more squads for the Heresy-era Space Woofs on the go.

Busy, busy, busy!

More Empire (and a Wookiee)

As I noted last week, these Star Wars miniatures are super-fast to paint up… so I did some more!

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The glamour puss here is General Weiss’ own up-gunned AT-ST.

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Once again, I followed Sorastro’s Youtube painting guide, and the AT-STs have to be some of the quickest models I have painted in years, despite their size. Sorastro has also got me doing a couple of things I would never normally do, namely mixing poaint to get new colours (this AT-ST is an ‘off-cream’ colour rather than the usual flat Imperial grey) and light reflections (you can just about see it in front of that red targeter).

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Anyway, this model is suitably imposing and should create a fair bit of a stir among the players of Imperial Assault when it goes on the table.

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The Probe Droids are also incredibly easy – black, drybrush, wash… The only real addition is the use of Ard Coat to give their lenses a glassy shine, something that was also done on…

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…the bounty hunter IG-88, though it is only on his eye stalks and very hard to see in the photo!

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Some Imperial Officers were done to lead this little force, and here things go downhill slightly as while you might be able to live with identical Stormtroopers, doing the same with Officers is a bit… poor.

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Finally, I completed the first of the heroes of Imperial Assault, the Wookiee, purely because he was dead easy to do (low hanging fruit again, to get things done quickly). For him, I did not follow Sorastro, purely because the Mournfang/Tyrant/Agrax technique works so well for fur.

Still got some more Star Wars on my painting table, and I am going to have a crack at getting all the Heroes done this week, but there may be some more Sigmar and Death Guard appearing beforehand.

Imperial Might

Due to a convention (Dragondaze in Newport), I only had a ‘short’ weekend so did not have time to paint too much. I needn’t have worried, as it turns out that Star Wars miniatures are very easy to paint and very, very quick to finish.

I decided to start on the Imperials from the Imperial Assault box set as, having a short weekend, I wanted ‘low hanging fruit’ in terms of getting stuff done quickly. So, I started work on the Stormtroopers and Royal Guard, and on a whim, threw in the AT-ST and Darth Vader as well.

I said in my last post that, if you are looking at painting these models, you should check out Sorastro’s Painting Channel on Youtube. He may not have the gravitas carried by the Church of Duncan, but he knows what he is talking about, and he has an amazing idea on how to tackle Lightsabers.

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I’ll start off with the AT-ST as this model was blindingly fast to do – undercoat, base colour, highlight, wash, final highlight. And… that is it. One thing that quickly becomes apparent is that Star Wars models have less detail and colours than your typical GW model – and that is just fine. After all, the AT-ST would look really weird if it was not mostly grey…

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The Stormtroopers were, perversely, the most time-consuming models to do in this little batch, as you have to rebuild the pure white after an all-over wash. But that is no great chore, and the final result is a bunch of Stormtroopers, which is always a win.

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Now, as components for a boardgame, these Stormtroopers certainly do the job – hard plastic, decent sculpts… but for a miniatures game, a single pose across nine models (in a £75 box set)? Come on, FFG, we can do better than that.

Anyway, spray white, do the black body sleeve and gun in Mechanicus Standard Grey, wash with Nuln oil, then touch up the white. If you follow Sorastro’s guide, you finish with an Ard Coat varnish to get the armour shiny.

Works perfectly!

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The Emperor’s Royal Guard are even easier to do. You really just… paint them red. Highlight up from that (their poles are black and silver, granted). Again, Ard Coat is used on the helmet, creating a nice distinction between cloth and armour.

I saved the best to last… Darth Vader!

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Obviously, a lot of black is involved, highlighted with Eshin and Administratum Grey, with Ard Coat used for the shiny bits of armour. The real trick is the Lighsaber.

Using Sorastro’s instructions again, you start with bright red and highlight up from that. However, instead of using lighter reds, oranges and yellows to create the glowing effect… you mix in Runefang Silver to Wild Rider Red.

I saw that at first and thought ‘that will never work’. But then I tried it. Now, my meagre skills (both at painting and photography) do not do this technique justice, but my heavens it works! Seriously, check out the Youtube channel linked above, it just… works. And the glow of the Lightsaber reflecting off the cloak? Nothing more than three or four coats of Bloodletter glaze.

I am going to be doing more Imperials from the Imperial Assault box set this week, with an aim to finishing them off over the next few days but, game-wise, we will be diving into X-Wing a little later this week – just reminding ourselves of/learning the rules, but we should get some battle reports done soon enough!

A Change of Pace

So, last week, I decided I was going to change gears when it came to gaming. I have been doing Age of Sigmar in a big way for two years now, the Horus Heresy for a year(ish) and 40k pretty solid since the release of 8th edition. And that is not just painting, but gaming (both on the table and on the screen), reading novels, and so on – really getting into the settings, you know?

Last week, I decided a change was as good as a rest, and so switched to my favourite setting of all… Star Wars.

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Principally, I am going to be looking at X-Wing, Star Wars Armada and Imperial Assault – only one of those needs any real painting, so I have made a start on the miniatures in the Imperial Assault set, but it looks like we will be playing X-Wing first.

The big question, I guess, is why it took me so long to get into Star Wars gaming – after all, Star Wars has miles more source material to get into, in the form of video games, novels, animated series and, of course, the films. It is also my very favourite universe of all time.

Overall, the issue has been the tabletop games themselves. None have been done that have the depth or scope of 40k, and so the ‘hobby’ aspect has always been a little lacking. Which brings us to FFG.

Now… you can say all sorts of things about GW, the original Evil Empire – the price of their models, the idea that the Primaris Marines are here not because of a new chapter in the lore but because GW wanted to sell more models, and so on. And that may all be true in part. However, you also very much get the feeling that despite what directives may or may not be sent down from the Powers That Be in the higher echelons of the company, there are designers (writers, miniatures designers and artists) who genuinely care about their craft and want to create the best gaming experience possible. This is one reason GW has rolled on for decades.

I have two issues with FFG. First, their use (over-use?) of counters and cards. I like ‘clean’ tables with no counters, dice, or anything else being present when the miniatures are there – after all, you don’t get giant counters landing next to units in real world battles. It just jars the experience, and FFG goes very heavy into the components side of things with their games. Great for board games, not always the key to a miniatures game. Which focuses on, you know, miniatures.

Second… there is always a feeling in the back of my head that the same care over the craft of creating a gaming experience is not always there. This is not an issue with mechanics (necessarily) but in presentation and a disregard for aspects of the hobby beyond actually playing.

To give some examples, Imperial Assault has nine Stormtroopers – but they are all the same sculpt. There was no thinking as to how they would look painted, as a unit. Someone just did not care (and, I have a feeling this might be true of most of the actual customers of this game, most of whom will never put paint to brush). The rules mechanics are on the whole tight – but the writing is not. It is very difficult to get a grasp of the game without having the miniatures and cards in front of you, something that just does not exist in GW books, where the writing flows exceptionally well to the extent that examples are not really necessary.

There is also no flair to the rulebooks. With your typical GW rulebook or Codex, you can sink into the background of the universe, look at pictures of pretty miniatures, and plan your armies. FFG rulebooks are very dry in comparison.

All that said, there are obvious plus points. The miniatures do not have the level of detail of GW (they never would, it takes years and years to build the infrastructure necessary for that), but they are solid. Second… this is fricking Star Wars! I will go a long, long way to forgive less than perfection in the pursuit of Star Wars. FFG will have to really foul up to put me off.

It looks like it will be X-Wing we dive into first, but my Armada fleets are being built up already (more Star Wars toys, it really is not a burden) and my main painting is focussing on Imperial Assault (not foregoing GW-related projects, but I want Star Wars to take the lead for a bit).

And very easy it is to grips with too – that AT-ST was perhaps the fastest model to paint that I have seen for a long time, despite its size. I will go into the details of painting in my next post but, for now, if you have been following the GW route I would urge you to visit Sorastro’s Painting channel on Youtube. This gentleman uses modern GW paints to do the whole Imperial Assault range and, while I will touch on this in the next post, he has a fairly genius way of doing the glow-effect on Lightsabers. You really should check it out.