Tau of War

Posted: August 11, 2018 in 40k
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These have been a very, very long time in coming. I got my first Tau models at about the time I was graduating high school. At the time, I tried emulating the color scheme showcased in the first (at the time, only) Tau codex. I loved the way that it looked both colorful and suitably military at the same time. But once I’d got as far in as some Stealth Suits, a unit of Fire Warriors and a Hammerhead Gunship, I’d had enough. The orange-y Vomit Brown proved a massive pain to get suitable coverage with, and each figure had to be blacklined with ink and painstakingly edge-highlighted.

I then embarked on a literally decade-long quest to find a new color scheme, one that would satisfy my three (nearly mutually exclusive) goals: colorful, at least vaguely military, and quick and easy to paint. This journey had uncountable false ends and pauses – I’m honestly not sure exactly how many fire warriors were sacrificed to paint scheme tests. As new products came on the market, I pursued each as a possible solution. Quickshade, new primers, various washes. A couple times I thought to put my foot down and settle for what I had found, in some cases getting as far in as a couple units done, but the question would still gnaw away at the back of my mind.

Until finally, at long last, I saw a great beacon shining out from the shelves of paint. I beheld a can of Zandri Dust spray paint, and it was good.

It is colorful, but still a suitable military camouflage. The bottled paint and the spray match beautifully, making touchups simple. By thinning my usual Strong Tone wash with Lamian Medium, I can shade it effectively. It contrasts well with my favorite Vallejo Burned Red accent color and high-tech, bright blue lenses.

And so, here is the final beginning of my collection of Tau. Even though it may wait in between other projects, even though I may never paint everything I’ve collected, even though I may never play an actual game with it, I know that at last my journey is at an end.

The first coat of paint I put on this Crisis suit was in 2005.

I wanted the edge highlighting to be fairly subtle, so I went back with the Zandri Dust after the wash step. It stands out a bit more IRL, but it’s not as clear in these pictures.

I quite like the pose of the Ethereal, but the hover drone was a bit much. Clipping out letters from the transfer sheet and applying them all to his tabard was a pain, but I’m pleased with the final result.

I’ve always preferred the look of the original metal XV-15 stealthsuits (and I have two units of them – one still bare metal, and one finished long ago in my original scheme) but these were cheap to pick up used. They’ll be accompanied by a gaggle of Marker Drones.

DEATH FRISBEES. If these guys work, why isn’t the whole Tau army just drones? Stop fighting the unspeakable monsters and skull-covered zealots yourself and just send the robots.

Like with the stealthsuits, I prefer the original Broadside. I did, however, swap his ordinary Crisis suit head for the one from the newer Broadside kit (bits trades are awesome!)

Thanks for reading!


The Ork Project: High Flyers

Posted: May 22, 2018 in 40k
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So here’s what started it all. Way back in “the day”, I picked up the Ork Bommer kit just because it looked cool. I had no intention of using the model in a game, no intention of playing orks, or 40k at all for that matter. And now I’m typing this while sitting next to a whole display case of the little green bastards!

Since I went the retrohammer route, I still doubt that I’ll ever have this model on the tabletop, but having finally finished it I’m still super pleased at just how cool it looks. So here is Deth Punk

The kit is so large, it ends up exposing the limits of my improvised photo backdrop (a self-adhesive whiteboard panel I found on clearance at Staples).

This bomb is quite happy to meet you…

While it’s tricky to see under the finished canopy, I love the detail and expressiveness they’ve put into this kit for the grot gunner and his little turret.

The airbrush was quite handy for basecoating here. The stripes were masked and sprayed, but in hindsight doing them freehand with a brush would probably have worked just as well.

A base this big needs some extra bitz. The I-beam posts are plasticard, and the rusted gears are actually parts from an old CD-ROM drive. The barbed wire is from Army Painter. The barrel is a resin cast of my very own entirely proprietary design – perhaps at some point I’ll get around to selling those.

But if you’re already looking up in the sky, you might also spot some more trouble on the horizon. What’s more dangerous than an Ork? An Ork with a jetpack!

I hadn’t planned on having a unit of Stormboyz in my collection, but one of my coworkers was selling some of his stuff including these guys and I picked them up pretty cheap, and already assembled too. This is another kit where I think GW did a great job expressing the crazy ramshackle look. Although I really, really need to pick up some washers to weigh down the bases – the dynamic leaping poses leave these figures quite top-heavy and more than a few have decided to swan dive right off of terrain in the middle of a game.

They’re not a bad as Burnas, but all the little harnesses and jetpack detail definitely mean that they take quite a bit longer to paint than regular boyz.

Gotta love the Mad Bomber Ork!

As always, thanks for reading!


Especially working in a game store and regularly exposed to new products, I seem to accrue individual miniatures from various companies and games just because I think they look cool or would be fun to paint. That is, after all, how the Ork Project got started and I still have quite a pile of random minis stashed around my house waiting to be painted and then spend the rest of eternity in my display cabinet. While I suppose it slows my progress on larger projects down, every so often it’s kinda nice to take a break and paint something more esoteric and not tied into a larger color scheme or theme. Here are a couple of my recent favorites!

As soon as I saw this model, I knew I had to own it.

I have no interest in actually playing Warmachine, but some of their models do look really cool. But this little guy takes the cake. I had an idea for a more mutt-looking paint job, but as soon as my sister saw it she insisted that I paint it up to look like our dog Gracie. So now, of course, I own two of this model.

Why aren’t there more models of adorable puppy dogs? I would play a game that was nothing but puppy dog miniatures. Someone, shut up and take my money!

If you’ve seen the Blackstar Corsair figures released by Reaper Bones during one of their Kickstarters (not even sure which one) you may have noticed that they’re dead ringers for Terran Marines from Starcraft. I was waiting ages to get my hands on one, and I ended up painting it over the course of just a single day. He now lives on my desk where I can march him around going “You wanna piece of me, boy?”.

Jacked up and good to go

Since this is a one-off mini, I tried to push myself a bit on the highlights. I’ve worked them up over about five layers (a couple more on the shoulder pads) using mixes of P3 Cygnar Base and Cygnar Highlight.

Standin’ by


Gimmie something to shoot

I’m very happy with the end result, and I’ll admit I kind of want a few more of these guys. Why doesn’t anyone make a Siege Tank model?

Thanks for reading!


TANKS Soviet Pics Dump

Posted: April 28, 2018 in Tanks
Tags: , ,

My Soviet forces for TANKS has now reached a point where I can comfortably play at a typical points level with plenty of available options. I still have several tanks in various stages of painting – a more specific paint scheme post is still forthcoming – but in the meantime I wanted to show off the collection as it stands now.

All the models are by the Plastic Soldier Company or Zvezda. The T-34s and IS tanks are PSC and are quite excellent – even given that these are the earlier version of the T-34 kit with the multipart tracks. The only real problem is the included 85mm gun is too large. As a solution, I replaced them with the better-proportioned 85mm from the IS kit.

The tank destroyers and KV-2 are from Zvezda. Their track detail is not as nice, but are otherwise also very good. Since I’m adding a fair bit of weathering to the tracks with Vallejo European Thick Mud, it’s not noticeable at all. While the official Battlefront models are exceptionally well done with lots of detail captured with advanced multipart molding and are still quite reasonably priced, the PSC and Zvezda kits come out to just about half the price which is very difficult to argue with. Both companies have continued to improve and narrow the gap with Battlefront’s quality, too. I have a Zvezda King Tiger to paint that looks fantastic…

On to the tanks! (Please play this while viewing for full effect)

There aren’t any official rules for the KV-2 yet, but it’s so cool I just had to paint one

The exhaust and gun barrel soot was done with MIG pigments, and sealed with the final Dullcote layer

These PSC T-34s include both the 76mm and 85mm turrets

Greatest ever tank accessory – a giant hunk of tree! This was trimmed from a Woodland Scenics tree armature

The white slogans stand out excellently over the camouflage

All the markings are from the Flames of War Soviet decal pack

Thanks for reading!



Posted: April 4, 2018 in Game Report, Tanks
Tags: , ,

Skipping ahead a bit, over the last month or so I’ve been getting into Gale Force 9’s TANKS. This game seems like a pretty good fit for me – it has some interesting strategy, it plays quickly, looks really cool on the table, only requires a handful of models, plus I just plain love tanks.

I had quite a few bits and pieces around for Flames of War projects that never really got off the ground, but that were a great start for Tanks. I chose Soviets as my primary force. After a few tests, I hadn’t found a historical paint scheme that really worked for me (Soviet tanks were mostly just green, and I didn’t like the results of the camo I tried). So OK, let’s go off the edge of the map a little. Screw history!

A more detailed look at the actual painting will be forthcoming, but for now I wanted to show off a few pictures from my first couple games:

Game One, versus my coworker Zac’s Germans. My ISU-152, a T-34/85 and an IS-2 against his Stug, Pz IV H, Panther and an early-model Pz IV. Things started well and it appeared my strategy was working.

The Panzer IV H goes down and I put some hurt on the Panther.

A swirling melee develops in the corner, and I do my best to out-maneuver the enemy.

Ah, blyad

Disaster! My dice abandon me and some unfortunate critical hits from the Panther bring down the IS-2. The Panzer IV is dead too, but on the other flank the ISU-152 has failed to stop the Stug.

Further attempts at maneuver are no match for my traitorous dice. The front is lost! Stalin will not be happy…

Game Two, a couple weeks later. I have a trio of British Comets that I’ve done up in desert colors as an experimental second force. My plan relies on high Initiative to outfox my opponent and fight him piecemeal. Unfortunately, the desert terrain doesn’t offer much cover. Up against more Germans…

There’s a Stug and a Panzer IV off to the right that I’ve moved around and denied shots. The Panther has been eliminated and the Jagdpanther outflanked, but…

It proves remarkably resilient. The running battle would carry on to the other side of the board as the Germans slowly withdrew to close ranks. Despite losing two tanks, I managed to close and knock out the other two enemy vehicles, thanks to some decent dice and a critical mistake by my opponent. It came down to a shootout between the Jagdpanther backed into a corner and my last Comet, which finally managed to get through Jerry’s thick hide and win the day. Tally Ho!

Thanks for reading!