Thoughts On...
+++ Thoughts On... +++
[Being miscellaneous ideas, ruminations,
rants and raves about the fine art of
modeling the 40K universe]

[Tyranid Colors]
The long-anticipated Tyranid Codex and models are out, and we think they're awesome! We don't play Nids, so we can't comment on the new rules, but as 40K hobbyists, we're very impressed by the quality of the Codex itself and the designs of the minis. We love the Mutable Genus concept, the biomorph sprue and all of the flexibility available in the modeling. But most of all, we love the color schemes that the Studio is using and we really hope Nid players will follow their lead. We've always hated the bright blue, purple and red color schemes most players use for Tyranids. The new colors, taking many of their cues from nature and Terran reptilian predators, make Nids look all the more formidable on the battlefield. We hope that Tyranid players, inspired by the new Codex, models and Studio paint jobs, will want to make a break with the past and paint with more "realism" in mind. The explanation justifying the new fluff and model designs is that the Tyranids adapt themselves based on the DNA they are consuming (hence the Eldar-mutated Zoanthrope, the Orkish Biovore, etc.) and to optimize their destructive potential against their current foes. If this is true, then one would assume that the Hive Mind has realized that looking like Barney the Dinosaur isn't going to get you the respect you deserve on the battlefield.
- Gareth

40K painter Dman's
intimidating Tyranid warrior

[Painting Eldar Vehicles]
I play Eldar (shut up!), but I've always been attracted to the profusion of vehicles available to Space Marines, Imperial Guard and Orks. When I was younger and played map-based wargames (ah the ol' Avalon Hill and SPI days!), WWII desert warfare was my main interest-area, so I've always had a certain affinity for tanks. I've also always liked realism in my modeling (signs of wear, mud, battle damage, etc.). So the thing I noticed when first seeing all of the purty Eldar vehicles in Games Workshop publications, online 40K sites, and on the gaming table, was that most Eldar players don't add these details to their models. Why? Certainly in keeping with the fluff on the Eldar -- it's an advanced race, with advanced technology -- a certain futuristic sheen makes some sense. The Imperium of Man is going through a dark age and uses cobbled together tech from the past, so that's one reason why its vehicles would look older and more battle-worn. And the Orks ... well, we all know about Orks. But regardless of how much newer and higher-tech Eldar weaponry may be, it still is engaged on the battlefield. Wraithlords and Wraithguard have to slog it out like everyone else on the ground, jetbikes take hits and therefore suffer battle damage, grav tanks have to hover low to the ground (image what that kicks up) to splat their troop ramps down into the mud and blood like every other transport. I don't go insane with aging and battle-damaging my Eldar vehicles, but I do make them appear to be the workhorses of a real army, not showpieces at a Craftworld veteran's day parade. - Gareth

[Buying Painted Minis]
I did the unthinkable this past January (especially for someone running a 40K modeling site). For my birthday, I asked my wife to buy me a painted squad of Eldar Guardians and a Warlock (from the awesome Dman Minis). I feel SO ashamed. No I don't! I'm thrilled, in fact. I freakin' hated putting together my first Guardian squad and painting 19+ models (the 16-member squad, the weapons platform and crew, the Warlock). Believing maxed-out Defender squads essential as cannon fodder and protectors of the two weapons platforms, I wanted to add a second 19-member squad, but the idea of assembling and painting all those models (on top of all of the other modeling projects and terrain pieces I'm working on) was just too overwhelming. I overwork for a living and don't have that much time each week for 40K, so it's taken Blake and me forever to paint up everything we've bought -- and Blake got Necromunda last Christmas, so now we want to assemble gangs and produce underhive scenery -- the modeling wish list is endless. I know that hiring a painter is verboten to many 40K hobbyists, but I think, if you're in a similar position, it's an option worth considering. It was really fun working with Dman. I gave him the color scheme for my Craftworld (the logic-loving K'hanish), but didn't show him any of my existing models. I wanted him to interpret the colors in his own way. I thought it would be cool to have the two squads look a little different from each other. I'm thrilled with the results and I've learned a few tricks from Dman that I've incorporated into my own models. And it's just so cool to see these two large, well-painted alien squads on the battlefield. Maybe you should do the unthinkable for your next birthday. - Gareth

Dman in the middle of painting my squad.

[The Paintbrush that Refused to Die]
I tried to kill it, I really did. I tried using it to paint on glue and sand mixtures. I cleaned it improperly, sometimes not at all. I used it for applying Smelly Primer. I kept it in jars of water overnight. None of this Homunculus-worthy torture has diminished this brush. It's still one of the best brushes I own. Now I pamper it - well I bother to clean it in-between abuse, anyway. The brush in question is a large (size 6) Cambridge camel hair brush that I've had since I was a teen. It's been used to build a model railroad, to paint dope on a model sailplane, to paint and finish model rockets, to prime AD&D minis and much more. When I started 40K modeling, I bought all new Citadel brushes and found the Cambridge forgotten in a coffee can in the basement. I figured it would make a good scut brush (for doing all of the dirty work I wouldn't dare subject the Citadels to) and I would toss it after a few uses. But after seeing it come back from the dead so many times, I've decided to treat it with more respect. While Citadel brushes have come and gone (even while treating them with much more respect), this brush keeps going and going and going. - Gareth