Alabama CAGE Match banner near completion

Tonight I am uploading some quick pictures of my newest custom banner for The Alabama CAGE Match.  As for progress I am almost done. I painted the wings white and outlined them with black, and outlined every thing else with black too. I finished the chalice except for the gems with more highlights, and I did the halo on top with some bronze and silver. I need to do some more highlights on it and the blood drop.

For the words I started by tracing the size of the scroll on some paper, then laid out the letters on the paper to save trial and error.  Once satisfied, I redrew the letters on the scroll and painted them black.  For things like this you want Soft Body acrylic paint because it flows easier.

All that is left is the yellow hammer on the grey circle, words on the lower scroll, name plaques, and a fist in the lower left with a few other highlights and I am done!  I will be finished tomorrow.

Oh, I added some red shading in the X. Thought it was a nice touch. :)


Alabama CAGE match banner progress

Here are some more WIP pics.

This banner has presented a challenge to me.  My seamstress sewed it a bit differently, and as such as the paint dries it has been wrinkling the fabric, kind of warping it.  It seems there is some slack in the surface and when the paint pulls on the slack it fights against the seams.  It is not a major issue, except that it is making it hard for me to make straight lines!  Every piece of art is difference, and sometimes we have to go with what is presented to us.  This one does not want to have straight lines, so, I am going to embrace that.  :)

On this one I have done most of the painting of the chalice. I have to do final highlights to bring out the details. On the white I have started doing some grey shading and the scrolling is mostly complete. I am still undecided on the wings, whether I am going to make them highlighted black or shaded white. I will do the black first and see how they come out. I kinda like the black wing shapes as is now. I think some simple highlights to define the wings will really work.

The halo at the top will get some gold metallic treatment and on the bottom picture I actually painted the circle at the bottom right grey in prep for the yellow hammer to be painted on top. I should be done with this by next Friday. Holidays present a tough obstacle to getting jobs done.  Plus SWTOR is out. :)

I have a commission for seven more of these coming up soon! It's gona be a busy 2012 for me!

If you would like a banner for yourself or your club, let me know!


Blood Angels Vindicators? 2k list help.

Hey folks, I recently got an email from a reader asking about a list:

I'm relatively new to Warhammer 40K and right from the beginning I was drawn to the Blood Angels. I was actually wondering if you might be able to give me some pointers on my list.
2000 pts. list
Captain - Combi Melta - 110 pts.
(5) Assault Squad – Meltagun - 110 pts.
Razorback - TLLC, EA - 70 pts.
(5) Assault Squad – Meltagun - 110 pts.
Razorback - TLLC, EA - 70 pts.
(5) Assault Squad – Meltagun - 110 pts.
Razorback - TLLC, EA - 70 pts.
(5) Assault Squad – Meltagun - 110 pts.
Razorback - TLLC, EA - 70 pts.
(5) Assault Squad – Meltagun - 110 pts.
Razorback - TLLC, EA - 70 pts.
Fast Attack
Baal Predator - TLAS, EA, HKM - 140 pts.
Baal Predator - TLAS, EA, HKM - 140 pts.
Baal Predator - TLAS, EA, HKM - 140 pts.
Heavy Support
Vindicator - Siege Shield, EA - 170 pts.
Vindicator - Siege Shield, EA -170 pts.
Vindicator - Siege Shield, EA -170 pts.

Total – 1940 pts.
 My response?  My first reaction was to tell him to simply swap out the captain for a Librarian and go with it. There is NO reason, other than fluff, to play a BA Captain.  Not when you can get a Librarian for the same price who is incredibly more effective. The rest of his list is not bad. Razorspam is still effective. Baal Predators can be very effective, though I suggest he changes out the HK missiles and give them heavy bolters to help do their jobs and mow down infantry.  
But the glaring problem? The Vindicators. Especially his kitted out at 170 points a piece.
The Vindicator, probably more than any other 40k unit, is suffering from 4th ed over rating. Not that this reader would know, I think he is newer to the game and does not really know about the Vindicator of old, but  the Vindicator is just not that scary. 
In 4th Ed the vindicator was one of the most feared tanks in the game.  Cover saves were hard to come by and AP 2 was not as readily available. (Nowadays it is not uncommon to see over 20 plasma guns in a guard army.)  But most important, was the Ordinance Damage Chart.  In 4th Edition there were three damage tables.  Glancing Hits, Penetrating Hits, and Ordinance.  Vindicators rolled on the ordinance chart which pretty much meant that a hit was a kill. But not only that, a 6 on the ordinance chart was a fantastic explosion that not only obliterated the transport you were shooting at, but all of the troops inside.  
Holy Crap! They were truly feared. Some of the strongest Marine lists, including the one played by Danny Internets, had three of them.  The Vindicator made people pee their pants.
Fast Forward to the new BA Codex and 5th Ed.  Among the top five whining complaints about the book was FAST VINDICATORS!  Matt Ward must be insane right?  But who cares about fast vindicators now?  The consolidation of the damage charts into one single chart with modifiers effectively neutered the feared Vindicator. Gone was the threat of exploding entire squads at a time while they hid in their rhino.  Easy to get cover saves finished them off.  The first time I dropped a vindicator pie plate on a squad of orks I figured it out.  I must have gotten 19 orks under that circle, but only about 4 died.  The guy had wrapped the rest around a low rising crater, effectively obscuring, at least partially, 50% of the bases.  
Welcome to 5th Edition, and So long Vindicator!  But I still see it popping up here and there. 
If you are going to play one, only Blood Angels should because of it's movement.  But why bother?  They are more expensive. They don't come with a Storm Bolter.  (I don't believe they do, I don't remember off hand and don't have my codex here.)  So they are a single weapon destroyed away from becoming an expensive battering ram.  
Siege Shield? Waste of points.  If you are playing a BAV, you should be taking advantage of it's strength, fast movement. So that thing should never be moving less than 12".  I am speaking in generalities here and there will always be circumstances that contradict what I am saying, but for the most part here is how a vindicator breaks down in combat. On Turn One you move it 12" and hopefully get into range.  (Siege Shield only works if you move up to 6")  Maybe you get a turn one shot. Then you should be in range of something, and if you moved it right, should be in range the rest of the game. This means that you don't really need to move more than a few inches again, so your siege shield is useful right?  
Not really. It is worth the risk to not spend the points.  Odds are that if you DO get immobilized, you are still going to be in range of something for the rest of the game after that first movement.  But that brings me back to the 12" thing.  If you are in range to shoot your vindi gun, you are probably in range to get assaulted by something nasty.  You really should be moving that thing at least 7" to force your opponent to hit on a 6 in the assault.  (No shield)  So if you spend the points on the shield, you will likely only get a chance to use it once but should probably not use it at all.  (Again, there are always circumstances that will defy this, I am speaking generally.)  
Extra armor is a good investment.  I always support taking it.
But getting back to Vindicator range, it's short range necessitates exposing it to melta fire.  You have to play them aggressively, this means that they die quick. Plus, getting back to their over rated fear factor, they really die quick because they previously made people pee their pants.  That fear lingers.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, as this can help force battlefield control. Just don't count on your vindicator getting off more than one or two shots.
The Auto/Las pred of course.  You don't need extra armor because you probably won't move them far from where you deployed them.  Being able to move if stunned really matters little in this case. But the advantage to these is the four high strength shots.  The vindicator gives you one single shot, IF you manage to not scatter the hole off the top of the tank.  The Predator is a transport killer, is effective at least at silencing other predators, and can even take down land raiders.  I played a 7 land raider redeemer list at Hardboys and proceeded to blast him off the table with my predators.  
With Vindicator scatter, I imagine the average number of models you are going to get under the pie plate is around 4 when shooting at a well placed 10 man squad.  (Again, generalities, this is not based on proof, just experience.)  Give them cover saves and the number of dead is cut in half.  Cover saves apply to auto/las preds too, but the average of shots you can place on a well placed 10 man squad of marines?  4.  The predator can be just as effective as the Vindi at anti troop.  
Of course we only ever hear about those big blasts that kill 10 man squads of marines in a single shot.  The truth is, this just does not happen much.  
|When I play against them, I ignore them.  Sure I have to play smart, but I let them hang until I feel like dealing with them.  If I go up against an opponent who has spent 25% of his points on three vindicators in a tournament, I would just smile.

My final advice for this list? Take auto/las preds instead, use all the extra points to turn you Captain into Mephiston.  Drop the HK missiles, and give a couple power weapons to squads. Try to squeeze in a priest.  Have fun! :)

Alabama CAGE Match Banner Commission!

Here are some WIP pics of my banner for the Alabama CAGE Match state wide tournament. Visit the site and if you are an Alabamer, get out to one of the participating stores!

I'm not sure how well the pencil lines show up for you, but here is the next step. I printed out the image that we came up with. Since what they wanted was pretty straightforward, I did not need to do any sketch work. I was able to work right from the image.  In this case the challenge was making the lines in the X line up. I started with the wings and chalice, then drew the scroll on the bottom.  Then I framed it with the box, and drew the X in the background.  I didn't bother making all of the lines on the chalice and wings dark since I will be painting them as black shapes then painting on details after.

In my last post I put out a mention for ideas on what to write in the scrolling at the bottom, well I got this submission straight from one of the boys:

I tired to post as a comment on your page but it wouldn't let me using my google account login. So I figured I'd just email ya a good quote.
and a idea or two. Good spot on knowing were the Yellowhammer, I love the idea of the Yellow thunderhammer.
"My dead and wounded were nearly as great in number as those still on duty. They literally covered the ground. The blood stood in puddles in some places on the rocks; the ground was soaked with the blood of as brave men as ever fell on the red field of battle."
Good qoute from Oates from Little Big Top that applies to AL history.  Couldbe used in 40K though I would drop it to just,
"The blood stood in puddles, in some places on the rocks; the ground was soaked with the blood of, as brave men as ever fell on the red field of battle."
Just a thought, being from AL and all. For the blood drops Im not sure the state flower wouldn't mesh well I'd say do something Crimson Tide but I'm sure an Auburn fan would cry. Maybe do a Crimson power Fist smashing into a Orange power Fist. Since we are a state divided.
It's awesome to hear that you are doing the banner for this tournament, hopefully I will get a chance to see it. If I can get my army ready in time for the CC event in Tuscaloosa.
If this was posted like 5 times, sorry my PC showed it not being able to be posted as a comment so I tired a few times, I wasn't trying to spam ya. THanks again for doing the banner, it will make this tournament all the more awesome now.

Thanks for the input Matt, I think it is this sort communication that makes some of these banners really special. Chandler from Feast of Blades and I spoke a lot as his banner developed and I think the final design was great as a result. 

I think that the stylized fist idea is a good one. I will do some sketching for that and put up pics soon.  Any way, more to come soon as I start working!  Now the fun part begins.


New Banner Project: Alabama CAGE Match!

Hey folks, my next full sized banner project is a custom one for the Alabama CAGE match.

Information about the Alabama CAGE match can be found HERE. But in short it is a member of a growing community of elite gaming GTs that focus on producing a "State Champion".  Feast of Blades is pioneering the concept by offering a huge invitational GT where the state champs from all over the country meet to duke it out for the ultimate title. It would be cool if the Alabama winner could go to Feast of Blades and parade in this banner!

So what am I doing?  I am working with the boys from Alabama to create their custom image.

First they wanted to base their banner on the Alabama State Flag:

The Alabama State Flag is a white field with a red X. This screams Death Company! So they chose the Blood Angels banner here to start:

It's a perfect way to begin!  This sets a good idea for me to go on visually.

From here we talked about content and I gave some advice. Through our back and forth we arrived at something like this:

These guys made my job easy!

I am replacing the angled arrow in the bottom right with a yellow thunder hammer because, well, obviously the Alabama state bird is the Yellow Hammer!  Instead of Blood Angels it will say Alabama CAGE Match.  I will do some appropriate scrolling below, with little empty name slots for winners.  I don't know what I will write in the large central scroll. I will either go with something inspirational from GW canon, or I will check out the Alabama history books and see if I can find a snippet from a Civil War battle or something.  I'm not sold on the blood drops though.  I think I may look for something more appropriate for these guys.

So step one for me is to get the banner made.  Unfortunately, I had told the guys I hoped I would get the banner done by the end of November, and I did not get the banner in my hands until Friday December 9.  Some times shit happens!  Believe me, finding reliable people to work for you is the hardest part of business.  But the fault is partly mine, I did not communicate my desires to the seamstress well enough, and it took a long time to get this one done. Mostly because the bottom was different from any banner she has done before.  It took forever to get that going.

So, here is the banner all sewn:

I need to break out an iron!  And one of the kids in my room wiped their grubby hands on it on the way out the door... oh the dangers of mixing work and play.

I learned from experience not to use pure white fabric. I did a Templars banner some time ago on pure white, and it picked up every bit of dust and dirt within 10 feet of it.  So I suggested an off white color.

Next step?  I need to draw the image on the banner, after I iron it of course.  From here it should go pretty quick. I just need to get it sketched out on the fabric and paint!

More on that next time!

So check out the Alabama CAGE Match and if you live in Alabama, get yourself to one of the events.


Craftworld Ulthwe Eldar: Warlock Mark 1 Part Two

Here are some updated pics of my Warlock Mark 1.

The first two are updated ones and the one on the white base is the old on previously posted. I added more edging with a mix of my base black with a bit of bone color, and I also enhanced the black shadows on the robe.

Baby steps!

I've definitely considered going blues as suggested before, but I really want to take on the challenge of painting black.  I think it will make me grow as a painter and give me another weapon to use in my quest to win a Golden Demon some day.  (Haha, some day a long way away.)

I also added a few more edges on the sword.  Being a witchblade and not a power sword I wanted to keep it toned down.

I can say that the camera definitely is not doing this model justice. The contrast between the lights and darks is way too extreme in these pics.  The camera is not picking up some of the subtle shades of black.  Maybe a really thinned down black wash will help...

More to come, this is fun!


Craftworld Ulthwe Eldar: Warlock Mark I

Here is my first attempt at painting black for my new Craftworld Ulthwe Eldar army!  I got a set of colors called Andrea Color, Black Set which is a series of 6 shades of grey intended to make it easier to get a nice black.

The paint is a bit thick in some spots. This was a previously painted Iyanden warlock that I Sprayed black, then did several base coats of grey.  I went with blue eyes, sword and sword gems to balance out the orange/red gems on his helmet. (Orange and Blue are complimentary colors after all.)

So what do you think? Should I push the shadows and highlights on the robe even harder? I botched the bone hands, but thats ok, I spent a lot of time on the helmet using the Andread White paint set.  I think maybe a few grey/bone highlights on the extreme edges of the robe?

Enjoy, lots more coming!  I tapped my friend the one and only Dave Taylor for advice on painting my Fire Dragon Wave Serpent.  Look for that soon!


How to paint Necrons!

I have had this one for a while, but figured I would throw it out here for you!  I have a deluxe How to Paint Necrons video set available!  This set of videos is actually three tutorials.

Tutorial One:
You learn how to quickly and easily paint a tabletop level in no time at all.

Tutorial Two:
You learn how to bring tabletop to the next level by learning advanced highlighting techniques in painting a Metallic necron.

Tutorial Three:
You learn how to paint a bone colored necron that can easily compete for Best Painted at any tournament you go to!

The pictures show the bone colored and the phase one Necrons. CLICK HERE and you can purchase the video set directly from my site as a digital download. OR email me and we can arrange a physical purchase.

Enjoy! :)


Craftworld Ulthwe Eldar: Black Guardian Biker, Eldrad, Guardians

Here are a few more WIP pics of my Craftworld Ulthwe Eldar army.

Here is an image of my first five Black Guardians.  The one on the right is complete except for a banner I will do last. I like to put a banner in each of my squads.  

I know, nothing great as far as conversions.  It's just using High Elf models as Eldar. Nothing ground breaking, but I have yet to see any thing like these at any tournament I have gone to. So to me they are special.

Here is a close up of the standard bearer.  For these guys I am using Dire Avenger heads and weapons with High Elf Phoenix Guard bodies.  But rather than just swap out Dire Avenger arms, I am cutting the arms to fit the Phoenix Guard upper arms.  You can see that the upper arm has a bit of scale armor helping it blend with the rest of the body. It looked silly with the Dire Avenger's jacked shoulders jutting out of the PG torso. 

Here is what I mean. I used the upper arm bit from the PG and glued it into place on this guy. I also used the DA ammo belt.

Here is an example where I fit the DA forearm to the PG upper arm.  I tried to cut it so that the forearm looks like it is coming out of the scale upper arm.  

Here is another close up of the other Black Guardians.  

And here is a Black Guardian on a Jetbike!  For him I used a silver helm mounted model.  The legs took a lot of cutting and fitting to make them sit right on the bike.  I did the same thing with the left arm, cutting the silver helm arm and Eldar arm and fitting them. This took a lot of careful slicing a sliver at a time from the arm to make sure it fit right.  I only had one crack at it.  I have not attacked the banner pole arm yet since I need access to the chest and dash details.  For my bikers I am using the DA Exarch heads. I like the unique biker look.  

A closer look.  Once it dries I will shave the flashing. I did not glue the canopy to allow me to paint details.

Thanks to Dave from Battle for Salvation I have Storm Guardian bits!  I traded him some Black Reach orks for his SG bits, just enough to fill out a squad of 10!  I know, Storm Guardians suck. Well this is an Ulthwe army!  It pretty much demands the use of them.  I will be doing the same PG treatment with these guys, however, I am interested in different heads for them. I have two rules, no topknots (Eliminating the Storm Guardian heads) and must have helmets. Any suggestions?  High Elf Silverhelms might work, but with the body being all PG I think I should use Eldar heads.  I could go with Banshee heads... Or perhaps even something simple like Dark Eldar warriors... What do you think?

And of course, a Failcast Eldrad!  Actually this finecast is not too bad.  There is a bubble under his right arm, and the sword is bent as well as his helmet crest.  Neither of the bends should be too bad to fix after warming the model and bending it. I've never tried.  The bubble is not noticeable if you are not looking. 

What's next? Well I am sort of in a holding pattern. The last thing I want to do is assemble 30 models and have them sitting on my table. That is demoralizing and always a bad idea.  I am waiting for my new paints to arrive. I ordered some special sets for painting black, bone and white.  Once I get them I will do a few normal guardian testers, then rock out on these guys.  So as not to get bored I will jump around a bit. These 5 guardians, the biker, a warlock, and then the Forgeworld Wraithseer.  By that time I should have received any Xmas presents from the wife, and purchased the rest of the models she fails to buy me from Spiky Bits. Oh hey Rob, my wife will be calling! Take care of her.  :)

What is down the pipes? Well I am hoping for some great news for the Eldar as the next 6 months unfolds.  I am not just doing this army as a side trek. I want to compete with it.  I am going to get owned for sure if I play this army in 5th ed.  I am seriously hoping for some 6th ed New Codex love. At that point I will be keeping the paint scheme, and theme, but going full min/max competitive list.  That probably means dropping the guardians in favor of Dire Avengers. But wait... I am already using DA parts... smart huh?  

At this point any discussion about what might be in this army in 6 months is pointless. I have not been keeping up with the rumors.  All I can do is hope for some wicked codex creep.  What has to happen? Eldar have to be made cheaper, and making them a bit better in the assault would not hurt.  They would actually be competitive now if their point costs were not so out of reach.  A wave serpent costs as much as a vendetta. A Falcon costs 50 points more than a ac/lc pred.  Sure they have advantages, but I think you can see what I mean as far as costs.  By the way, I am just pointing out obvious flaws and stating examples of the flaw.  In other words the first person that calls me an Eldar whiner is getting a /smack.

What I love about the Eldar is the variety. I love the different aspects and their varied colors.  They really do allow you to paint any color you want.  This is a nightmare trying to tie them all into a cohesive force, but it is possible.  

Ok, back to work for me. The wife is home in two hours and this is the only free time I get!  :)


User submitted work!

Brian, an 11 year old from Hong Kong, submitted this poetry. Pretty outstanding. Better than I could do! Thanks Brian! If you want to see your creative work published on my blog, send it in!  My email is on the top right. Jawaballs

Ode To Blood Angels



O Angels of Blood,
I honor thee!
The blood you bring to the battlefield.
Will never quench your eternal thirst,
No matter Tau or Orks or Chaos
All perish under your mighty force.

O Angels of Fury,
I honor thee!
The way your crimson drop pods scream through the sky,
The way your blazing jump packs roar through the sky.
As they rage upon your enemy.
The din of thine cannons,
Is music to my ears.
The roar of your boltguns,
Reap death on foes.

O Angels of Vengeance,
I honor thee!
Every blow you make,
Is the end to thine enemy.
Every bolt you fire,
Will turn blistering defeat into a glorious victory.
March on Angels,
Fight on Angels,
Revenge on the traitors who caused your agony!

O Angles of Bravery,
I honor thee!
You move in unison,
With your battle-brothers.
Never retreat,
Never submit.
Only to victory.

O Angels of Glory,
I honor thee!
How your primarch,
Sacrificed himself for humanity.
Not in defeat.
So pick up your bolters!
And pick up your spirits!
For The Love of The Emperor and Sanguinius!
Smite Thine Enemies!!

Eldar Ulthwe: Black Guardians

Here are some quick shots of my Black Guardians. Eldar Craftworld Ulthwe, according to the fluff, mostly employs Guardians to do their fighting because their aspects were wiped out I guess. While I will be using some aspect warriors, I also have two squads of Guardians. One storm guardian and one regular.

I hope in the new codex they have upgraded stats for things like these.  It sucks to have such a cool thing as "The Black Guardian" in the fluff but in game play they are no better than regular ones.

I used High Elf Phoenix Guard as the bodies and Dire Avenger heads. One of these guys will have Dire Avenger arms holding a rifle, and the other will be holding a banner in one hand and a rifle in the other.  When I paint things like this, I usually paint the body first then attach the arms and finish them.  That way I can get at the details without them being blocked.

More to come!


Ulthwe army begins!

My first Warlock conversion.

Ulthwe is a craftworld known for it's psychic mutants... er gifted users of the warp.  So my army will have at least 6 of them including a Seer Council to join Eldrad.  This one was converted from a High Elf mage. My conversion skills are not the strongest, but I think I will improve through the course of this army.  For example, after the locks are done, I have 20 guardians to convert. Ulthwe is also known for their uber guardians who take the place of aspect warriors.  So, mine will be much more unique than standard guardians.

Let me know what you think!