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The Four Strands Modeling, Painting, Gaming and Storytelling


Bladeguard Ancient – Return of the Lightguard! Freehand Banner and Conversion

I've been hinting at the return of some old friends. Long ago I ordered some Forge World Mk V armor to make a custom Honor Guard for Chapter Master Perseus: The Lightguard.

I never got to use them. They were too expensive. Now, honor guard seem to be an Ultramarines thing. Boo.

But they're not gone. In fact, they've crossed the Rubicon! Behold, my Indominus Bladeguard Ancient, the first of the Lightguard Reborn!

What's this? That's not the Bladeguard Ancient from the Indominus box! Where's his creepy skeleton banner and useless bone hand?

They've been removed. I drilled into the helmet, removed the skeleton hand, and carved the fingers so he can hold the helmet instead. I've replaced the head with a Sternguard Veteran head. I chopped off the skeleton banner and replaced it with the regular banner from the old Command Squad box set (I had a spare). Finally, a Black Ark Corsair cloak was green-stuffed onto his back, under the backpack.

Because the previous Lightguard had my first freehand banner, I could do no less for this venerable gentleman. The only part that is not freehand is the "IV" decal. I added the Lightguard Chasma Spica Constellation logo to both the banner and the heraldry shield on the chest. These stars represent the 11 star systems in the Azure Flame's home sector, fought over in BG V.

The cloak had each scale highlighted on both top and bottom for a nice 3D effect. The flame up top was started with Enchanted Blue and coated with contrast paint, then highlighted all the way to white.

Next: a squad gets their decals, and some Tactical Sergeants get finished!


Indominus Primaris Chaplain

One more of the Indominus box set done.

This chaplain proved to be a bit of a challenge. First, when clipping the backpack from the sprue, the back of the skull at the top snapped off! It was not able to be bent back or repaired, so I had to completely remove the pole that held the crowned skull and replace it with plastic rod. Mine will be a bit taller than a normal Indominus Chaplain as a result.

During painting, my sub-assemblies were:

  • Base
  • Legs, head, and Crozius
  • Front torso and bolt pistol
  • Backpack

Next: Firstborn Sergeants for Tactical Squads. After that, if I get a shipment from my LGS, I'll do Bladeguard Veterans. If not, probably the Lieutenant with the Volkite Pistol. Stay tuned!


Primaris Outriders: a critique of the sculpt compared to the old Space Marine Bike

Primaris Outriders are finished!

These models were quite annoying to assemble and paint. Due to the overlapping armor plates, I did a sub-assembly procedure as follows:

  • Central bike body plus wheels
  • Left Bike Armor, leg, and exhaust
  • Right Bike Armor, leg, and exhaust
  • Torso, head, and arms
  • Backpack
  • Chainsword (one model only)

My initial gripe was that the pins that make this model a snap-together break exceedingly easily, especially the thin pins that slot into the larger pins for the side armor. However, I consider this to be a blessing rather than a mistake. If you are building these models, BREAK THESE PINS OFF. You don't need them.

My sub-assembly procedure was also not a good idea for this snap together in terms of pieces fitting. Before priming, the model dry-fit together snugly. With the added layer of primer, these became too tight to fit without a pin vise gently scraping the inside of the holes. Even then it was so tight that excessive force was needed.

Excessive as it was, it was not enough for the front armor plating. All three models had to have a gap in this plating filled with green stuff and filed smooth.

I also had trouble with the incredibly thin join between the foot/pedal and the side armor. This bent a bit too often. If I had to do over, I might have used a modeling knife to completely separate these two parts. It would have made painting and assembly easier.

As a final note, I'd like to compare these to the original Space Marine Bikes. Here is a stock photo below:

The old bikes were 90's sculpts, and it shows. What doesn't show is that these bikes had a similar problem to the new Primaris ones. The halves of the main body met in the middle, sometimes leaving a gap that needed putty. Not shown in this stock photo is the join of the riveted armor moulding where it comes together on the back of the bike. This was almost always mis-cast. The moulding itself was annoying to paint (I like the lack of it on the Primaris models).

All in all, the new Primaris are a huge step up from old bikes. However, they still have significant flaws. Use caution and think ahead when assembling and painting yours.

Next: I like the idea of alternating between Primaris and Firstborn. I'm going to finish up my Devastators with Multi-Meltas and Grav-cannons. With Multi-Meltas having 2 shots at D6+2 damage, I can revive my old failed Melta drop strategy to assassinate a knight (or two!) Plus with two wounds on all firstborn, I'll need those Grav Cannons in working order.


Intercessor Interruption

So, recently I finished my Eradicators and wanted to find a place for them in my case.

When I opened it, a squad of half-painted Intercessors glared at me, accusingly.

Fair enough. I started painting these when I planned to use them on a vacation to visit Lexington of Red Wunz Go Fasta (and soon the owner of a new Space Marine Chapter: The Ashen Swords). However, COVID happened and then a lot of other stuff too, which made me less inclined to paint.

However, I'm back in the saddle and pleased to present the squad, finished!

The Sergeant's hammer and brassiere are from the Salamanders Primaris upgrade sprue, and the flame is painted with the new Talassar Blue Contrast paint over white, with a bit of drybrushing at the edges.

From a modeling standpoint, I've painted three Primaris units, and I noticed a significant difference from the design philosophy of the older Space Marines.

Firstborn Marines are, of course, multi-part which allows greater posing and customization. You can choose to add grenades, pouches, or holstered pistols at your discretion.

Primaris Marines are mono-pose. They're going to look a bit same-y in larger armies (which should be combated with extensive conversion IMHO). Also, they have pouches, pistols, etc, sculpted directly onto their belts. While this takes away your choice, I have to say these pouches look more real to me. The older glue-on pouches never perfectly matched the curve of the waist, and always left a bit of a gap at the front or back. These look like they're really on the belt, which is a bonus.

Next, more Indominus marines! I may even get off my ass and do an old-fashioned On My Plate post!


Bio-Plasma Beauties and Tyranid Paint Scheme

I converted up some Drone ships with Bio-plasma, and dropped more than $45 on contrast paints! Time to get going!

Below, see my first three test subjects.

To the left, my first attempt. This is a base spray of Wraithbone with straight Shyish Purple for armor, Gulliman Flesh for the body, and Mephiston Red for details. However, the colors were too dark for my taste. I tried a simple highlight of edges with a vallejo brand magenta but it didn't do anything for me.

To the right is my second attempt. After picking up some Contrast Medium from AFK Games in Holt (door service, I maintained social distancing) I mixed 50/50 Medium with the purple and flesh. This was too light. Mephiston Red was not dilluted.

Finally in the middle, is a mix of 2 parts purple or flesh to 1 part medium. Like Goldilocks, it is just right, but without the home invasion or devouring children.

Next, I strip the non-standard minis above, re-prime them, and finish the squadron, then on to the rest of the fleet!

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Tyranid BFG – More ships and Design Philosophy

In my last post, I showed off the members of my Tyranid fleet that I could make with just spare bits. However, I did not have the materials to make something as big as a Hive Ship and I quickly ran out of flying bases.

To badly paraphrase Tolkien, "the fleet grew with the building."

It's sort of out of control because I've been ordering lots of bitz from ebay to shore up where I was deficient.

Now, here are the latest additions:

First, some Krakens with torpedoes.

Next, Krakens with Feeder Tentacles

I added on to one of the previous cruisers to model its torpedoes and add some antennae.

Now, for the chonky bois: Hive Ships! My first has 8 Launch bays and 8 Torpedoes. It is a bit hard to see with the grey, but the underbelly is studded with Genestealer armor plates that represent orifices from which lifeforms can launch and/or be born.

Next, this Hive Ship has nothing but Pyro Acid to make sure that I don't immediately lose against Eldar.

There's more to come, but before I share them, I wanted to touch on the design philosophy I am adhering to during this project:

  1. All ships will be made with plastic bitz from the Games Workshop Tyranid line. No finecast (too bendy) and no pewter (too heavy). Epoxy putty sculpting is acceptable only to fix flaws in the conversion process (this is a kitbashing project, NOT a sculpting project).
  2. Ships with different armaments will look noticeably different to aid in play (i.e. no using generic looking craft and using "counts as" to explain their weapon loadout)
  3. Hive drones will use the Termagant or Hormagaunt bodies as a base, but all other ships will lack uniformity from class to class or type to type. This makes the fleet more visually diverse.
  4. Ships must be converted in ways that do not look easy or cheap. (i.e., no pinning a Fleshborer to a flying base and calling it an escort)
  5. Ships must look like they can navigate in the void. (i.e. they must have some sort of thruster looking area and ways to turn. They must look like they belong in the void.)
  6. No wings. Only Eldar can sail the solar winds. Nids are nowhere near that graceful.

Using these guidelines, I hope to have a final fleet of:

  • 2 Hive Ships
  • 4 Cruisers
  • 24 Hive Drones
  • 7 Vanguard
  • 16 Krakens

Note that as I acquire more bitz from low-cost auctions and/or get more flying bases that these numbers can be adjusted upwards.

Next: the last of the Tyranid fleet for now and the beginning of painting them, plus painting Primaris and updates on other projects!

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Tyranid BFG Fleet: A Beginning

Recently at the finale to the Highland Gaming Club I walked away with a paper ream box of Tyranid bits. Sadly, these did not include a lot for things worthy of making a ship. However, subsequent bitz orders to fill in the gaps and some creative kitbashing have yielded a very promising beginning:

First, a cruiser with two sets of Massive Claws! This is both threatening and dirt cheap. If it can survive to close (a risky proposition) it can make four attacks and if any two hit, it's lunch time!

Here's the same ship from the back.

Another cruiser, this one doubling down on Bio Plasma Spines. Short range, but terrifying to high armor foes.

This cruiser is all about the Pyro-acid, making it a nightmare for Eldar. It has some torpedoes to add a bit of ordnance to the fleet.

Here is the same cruiser from below.

The final cruiser also doubles down on Pyro Acid, but trades torpedoes for one set of Massive Claws, making it more of an all-rounder.

Here are some repurposed Gaunt bodies sporting pyro acid batteries to become Hive Drones. I tried to vary them a bit, as most other races have varied escorts.

My first creations, these kitbashed ships are a bit big for escorts, but make excellent Krakens with either Pyro Acid or Massive Claws.

One in ten Hive Drones can be upgraded to a Fire Ship. Insanely devastating, I could not help but make a few. Granted, I'll need to field 27 Drones to field all three of these bad boys, but even one can be an unpleasant surprise to anyone who strays too close...

Finally, (at least for now) some Vanguard with Feeder Tentacles to put the smack down on heavier or faster foes.

Next, Primaris and more Nid BFG goodness!


Lieutenant with Jump Pack and Combi-weapon

The hits just keep on coming! This Lieutenant has a magnetic combi-weapon. It seems like a silly idea but it's perfect to play around with those last few points in a list.

Next: Sergeants, Primaris, and Devastators, oh my!

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Farewell Swap Meet at Highland Library, and Sweet Acquisitions!

Today was the last day of the Highland Library 40K club, and they finished it off with a HUGE swap meet! I brought my disused Orks and traded for some wonderful treasures, but first, the festivities! Actually documented thanks to my new phone!

Age of Sigmar was played for the entire duration. It's pretty popular in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti groups!

My good buddy Paul offloaded a boatload of Space Marines and other stuff from Age of Sigmar.

In a heated game of 40K, Salamanders fought traitor beastmen guard! The star of the match: a Leviathan Dreadnought who took multiple quake cannon shots to the face and devastated multiple tanks!

Here, Dawn and Ian celebrate 10 years of the club at the library with a wonderfully decorated cake, complete with the Golden Rhino logo. It was chocolate.

...and here is the beginning of my haul! First, a set of craters bought from Dominique, a former student.

Next, a bunch of Primaris models! Sadly one got lost in the shuffle, but hopefully Dawn can find it and I can pay her to mail it to me.

Finally, the sweetest deal, an ENTIRE PAPER BOX of leftover Tyranid bitz for $20! This is the beginning of my Tyranid Battlefleet Gothic fleet!

It's sad to see the Highland Library Club gone, but I have a feeling that there will be more gaming coming soon.

Next, painted Aggressors!

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Proof of Concept: Primaris Aggressors

Thanks to Lexington's extremely generous xmas spirit, I am the proud owner of a new Primaris Aggressors kit. Naturally, I wanted to see how the kit went together. As the Azure Flames are a Salamanders successor, I of course went for the Flamestorm Gauntlets.

The kit is designed very well. My one big gripe is that the arms are mono-pose. However, this is inevitable because without one specific pose, the ammo feeds for the gauntlets would be impossible. The back and backpack are not glued on for ease of priming and painting and...

...oh a second one? Wait. That's the same pose... how...


That's right, even the grenade launchers can be modular! Sadly this is the weakest of the joins as the only magnet small enough to fit in the launcher is the smallest magnet made. This size magnet is also on the ammo feeds on the lower left and right of the backpack, but the direct contact with the magnet inside the feed provides extra strength.

All in all, the finished product will have 6 pieces. The main body (with head, back, and backpack all permanently glued), the grenades, and the four guns.

Sadly, I cannot make the other two right away as I am almost out of the smaller magnets. But I plan to put an order in today!

Next: More Aggressor fun! I also plan to get a new digital camera for more batreps!

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