Catch a Titan by the Toe

"Tanksgiving Weekend" is over and the Imperials came out on top at the local GW store, despite the opposing side's best efforts, recycling their tanks, and attacks from other stores around the country. The Judicum Divinia, my Warlord Titan, once again wound up face down on the table, -- no, not because of it's construction, because of enemy fire-- but no apocalyptic explosion for her. Regrettably, the much anticipated face off with my buddy cyborgtrucker's BaneLord never happened. I'm thinking Grandfather Nurgle didn't like his pursuit of things Khorne and visited him with a sinus headache per his own blog.

I had the pleasure of playing across from not only my son, who's Chaos baneblade nearly singlehandedly blew away my Titan, not only next to my friend Cain who's tank line remained pristine until the last turn and killed much Tau filth, but across from another guy named Mike who, frankly, looks like a retired Space Wolf and clearly has a passion for all things Orky. I'm kicking myself for not getting shots of his work, but any Ork Horde that rapes the Tau for their vehicles and nails tank treads to them has my vote for Warboss!

At this Tanksgiving weekend, GW stores from across the country could attack one another's tables. While we accosted no one, the repeated highlight of the day was the pregnant pause on the phone when other stores attacking us learned they'd have a Warlord Titan's apocalyptic missle launcher to contend with. The Divinia killed many Basilisk tanks and crews nation wide. The Detroit store in particular felt our wrath as they couldn't seem to leave Philly alone. The Philly store called up and asked for help. So my Titan missiled Detroit, Cain's and my Vultures flew over there and strafed their tables and Mike used a strategic asset to drop a boulder on their lines from orbit. That pretty much ended the store to store attacks.

After absorbing more fire than probably even the modified event rules should have allowed, my Warlord was taken out by the toe, literally. An ork vehicle piloted recklessly and bravely by Mike's daughter crashed it's deathroller right into the middle toe of my titan and easily claimed its last structure point. Awesome!! My Inquisitorial Chimera once again put the fear of the Emperor into it foes, ramming an Ork battlewagon -- I didn't realize it was a battlewagon -- and taking a toll with it's autogun turret, coming through unscathed once again! But the icing on this cake is that my Space Wolves Predator gets a Monolith silhouette on it. I know it wasn't a "real" game of 40K, but that little under-armored tank killed more than it's share including the Monolith bearing down on it.

All around a great event!


Super Sexy PhotoShoot

There are no two ways about it, there's no debate to be had. Forgeworld's Vulture is a gorgeous model! Even if you made no effort to straighten whatever pieces came bent -- and in my kit there were quite a few -- you'd be hard-pressed to screw up the look of this model. You would have to try and make it look bad, because by design alone, the model makes you look good. (And maybe a little more wealthy than you are.)

My friend Cain and I were fortunate enough to get the last two Vulture's at Chicago GamesDay. Considering where we were in line, this is no accomplishment, and they were probably the ONLY to in the inventory that day. Below are some of the pic's from the super sexy photoshoot we arranged to showcase the models:

Cain's been collecting and playing the Imperial Guard since 1998-99. His army reflects the wide range of models Games-Workshop and Forgeworld have produced in that time span. His Vulture Paint scheme was inspired by Russian attack helicopters and the only real adjective to describe the work on his Vulture is "perfect".

With a camoflauge upper hull and an aircraft gray underbelly, Cain combined Games-Workshop Imperial Guard, Baneblade and Vietnam era Attack helicopter decals to make his aircraft extra sexy. As if that weren't enough, the weapons array below have all been built with small magnets so that he can have any configuration allowed by the rules.

I've only been collecting and playing guard for a few years. When the first "Armored Fist" set was available, I picked one up and was lost to the Guard since. While a Valkyrie seemed to me the next logical step to take collecting and fielding, rumors of a plastic Valkyrie were enough to redirect me to the Vulture.

With my paint scheme I took a radically different approach. My Guard army hails from Calth, a world in the Ultramar Empire, controlled by the Ultramarines. My scheme for troops and vehicles reflects a bastardized version of second edition Ultramarines, so my Vulture is a natural extension of this painted in a dark blue with red accents to the weapons. Also, because of its support role, I imagine the Vulture spends more time in flight hugging terrain like an attack helicopter rather than dropping from the sky, so I used a very dark blue for the entire hull top and bottom:

My weapon racks are fixed to the bottom so this Vulture is forever armed with Hunter killers, Lascannons and the heavy bolter on the nose. The Hunter killers are the new style ones that come with every IG tank kit. While I think they look goofy on the tanks, on the underside of the Vulture's wings, they look like so many angry hornets.

To see the best of the rest of the the supersexy photoshoot, follow this link: http://s40.photobucket.com/albums/e203/bluegnoll/Valkyrie/?start=0



When it comes to tabletop wargaming, you can have a masterful grasp of tactics and know your units' moves inside & out & sideways. You can compose your army list so that it could take on you if you were to physically climb on the table and square off against your miniatures. You could have your minitures painted so well it could cause a member of Games-Workshop's 'eavy metal team to weep... and all of that means less than a squirt of piss once the dice start rolling.

Especially in a game like Warhammer 40K, the ups and downs on the battlefield can be woven into a sweet narrative to bring your army to life or give dimension to a campaign. Dice rolling can really ruin that narrative unless you don't mind your armys' constant story being something told like this: "AHHHHHH!!!! Omg I've never seen the enemy do that! ACK! Not in the face, not in the FACE!!! arrrgh...."

As rarely as I play, that is the story told by any and all of my minitaure armies. If I sound bitter at all that is completely not the case. 20+ years ago when my hormones were in flux and I still had hair, I might have been upset by my persistant lack of good battlefield fortune. Now it's just the way it goes. The fun is in hanging out and seeing a beautiful battlefield turn proverbially red with fictional blood and carnage.

I played my first game of 5th edition Warhammer 40K last night; my Space Wolves vs. Chaos Space Marines. Somehow, SOMEHOW my boys pulled out a draw for me even though I failed them utterly, dropping the ball on every assault, armor save and reserve roll I was called to make. Absolutley nothing went my way, and still my boys pulled out a draw. A testament to the brilliance behind the new rules, or a statement about the kick-ass-ness of the Space Wolves, I don't know. Fun? Absolutely!


Sweet Atari Label maker!!!!

This is absolutely brilliant, especially if you're old enough to remember when these suckers cost $70 a pop. Thanks CyborgTrucker! And thanks to your buddy who found this! Atari 2600 Label Maker! If I were photogenic, I'd have a better pic on there, but this looks like how I'd respond if I woke up in the Atari world. Woot!


Gamesday 2008 Forgeworld

Three days later and I'm finally able to tear myself from my new models -- and WoW, let's not mince words.

Another successful GamesWorkshop GamesDay (Chicago)shopping trip, as I call it because I've yet to buy a pass to get in. That's money I'd be unable to spend in the product lines, and believe me I spend it. Especially in the ForgeWorld line, where you are made immediately aware of just how worthless the dollar has become next to the Pound and Euro. Still, Forgeworld as a whole has always given me the impression that they have a real passion not just for modeling, but for the game and fluff of the 40K Universe. From a set of "Big Shoota's" to the Reaver Titan and everything in between, the Forgeworld products fluff, puff and otherwise expand the militaristic gothic horror that is the 40K Universe. And to thank the boys at Forgeworld, the GamesDay attendees line up immediately in their line and spend bigtime.

So what the hell happened this year?

Let's see, there were Gamesdays all over the world last year and the year before that, etc. In fact, there was always a Gamesday Chicago included in that list. And unless something has changed dramatically, the Chicago/Midwest market is GamesWorkshop's most fertile. No other region in the world spends as much on their products as we in the Midwest do. So let's back up and put this together... There's a GamesDay Chicago again and the Chicagoland area represents THE biggest spenders and consumers of GamesWorkshop products.

So...what happened?

Watching the line ahead of us, and I was at or about number 50 in a line that was ever growing, we complained about the people at the actual counter for rifling through their catalogs instead of knowing exactly what they wanted. How could you come to GamesDay knowing Forgeworld would be there and not know EXACTLY what you've been dying to buy! Then I got to the counter...and had to rifle through my catalog! Autocannons for the Vulture... Hunter Killer missles for the Vulture...out, Khorne axes for the new World eaters...out... A friend of mine was there to drop some big money on an Ork Fighta or Fighta Bomba...out. Another buddy of mine was buying the Chaos hell talon...out. I picked up a Vulture Gunship...last one. Last one? There's 300 people in line behind me!

Was this some asinine attempt at "creating demand"? Did Forgeworld collectively oversleep that day and just packed the quick version of their shop? Were the people behind the counter imposters? All I know was it was a bizzare twist on the day and not appreciated at all. You got product people want and are there specifically to buy, stock it. Simple right?


The other woman

The "other woman" is around my height. She's lean without looking like she's aspiring to be a man. Leather and chainmail are her preferred garb. She's got a mane of red hair like an 80's metal girl and bright green eyes. So bright, they glow, literally. Her ears are pointy and as long as her feathery eyebrows. Her make up's minimal but always perfect, and she can be a haughty bitch when she's not running around with a big white gorilla -- no not me. She's Nithia, and she's my female blood elf hunter in World or Warcraft. I've been a gamer for 28+ years, so I'll forgo justifying playing a girl.

I didn't realize she'd become "the other woman" until recently. My addiction to the game has subsided somewhat -- i.e. I'm able to work and do other things without thinking about it constantly, stealing glances at thottbot.com, and playing it the second I get computer time. Or at least so I thought. Apparently, this particular "char" or "toon" as they're called now, holds a special place in my subconscious. Jokingly I'd say I couldn't stop looking at her, but there might be a deeper more sinister side to that.

A few nights ago, my wife awoke from being bumped as I was rummaging around the bookcase that is our headboard. "What are you doing?" was the natural question -- keeping in mind my wife doesn't need to include the word"hell" as she can masterfully communicate that with the tone of her voice.

Apparently, my quick answer was: "Looking for a flashlight."


"Because Nithia needs to be able to see in the dark..."

I remember none of this ofcourse -- walking and talking in my sleep and the occasional night terror are nothing new t0 me -- but somewhere in the bowels of my brain, Nithia's got a life outside the confines of WoW. Creepy, but perhaps beneficial I have to believe as I thumb through the new Player's Handbook and DM's guide of D&D 4th edition. Maybe it's her that needs to hand me the flashlight and show me where in my head she's living, because that area of creativity has been beyond my reach the past few years.

Here's "my girl", "the other woman", Nithia as she stands now in WoW:


He's at it again

The master has reviewed what the student has done and now he's going to up the ante! CyborgTrucker's going to build the BaneLord Chaos Warlord Titan. If you want a more thorough explanation of how this process unfolds -- instead of me proclaiming how I've built mine from garbage and bits -- and what materials are best to use, how to attach them, an effective way to paint you need to go here: http://cyborgtrucker.blogspot.com/2008/05/banelord-khorne-warlord-titan-project.html

I seriously want to build Chaos Titan as my son collects Chaos and Traitor Guard, but between finishing up my own Warlord and finding time to complete my Damocles Rhino, I don't see that happening soon. So let's hobby vicariously through the Trucker, hey?


Warlord Titan progress

Due to the fact much of the Titan was built in the last 7 days, and a World of Warcraft addiction I am slowly recovering from, there have been no posts on this for months. But thanks to cyborgtrucker's effeciancy, I was able to pinch some of his pics to post here and give a little run down of what goes where in this semi-final form of the Judicum Divinia.

Here it is on it's trial run at a MASSIVE Apocalypse battle from May 18th at the local GW store:

Since that first hover tank from the Rogue Trader days of 40K, I don't see how I could NOT use an underarm deodorant bottle on this project, and since the ridges were just in the right place, that's where the Plasma Blastgun on the left carapace gets its shape. It sits on the casing for a chemical pump discarded at work which rests in the cap of urinal flush valve -- that was not used, but it was from a previously raided repair kit. The apocalypse missle launcher on the opposite shoulder was born from 3 different 1980's G.I.Joe toys. If you want to duplicate it, you're gonna need Grand Slam's launch pad, Lady J's Wolverine missle tank and the Hovercraft.

The feet became a major hang-up. I put them off as long as possible, hoping they'd just work out as is. But the more beefy the upper hull became, the more necessary some kind of effort was needed towards making the feet look more Titan-esque. I had purchased two plastic plates (one of only two items on this Titan that was actually paid for -- and happily, it wasn't even my money!) but trimmed, there was no way they were supporting any weight at all. The same type of wooden slats that made up the hips were trimmed and fitted underneath. Between them and the heavy floor tiles as the rear ankle guards, I now had stability gallore. The toeswere done at the zero hour, digging through my bits boxes when I came across loads of scout walker heads.

The thighs, Pringle can trimmed down. Much of the rest, cardboard cut to fit and festooned with old plastic sprues and the Mechanicum bits that look nice and techy. Above the butt, a battery case from a defunct CD/Radio. Exhaust on the back -- two computer fans. And other assorted details.

But even though it's gone into combat -- and was ripped apart by Tyranids -- it's still a work in progress. Hopefully, I'll have it done before cybortrucker finishes his planned Chaos Banelord of Khorne so we can have a proper tabletop brawl.

The Judicum Divinia's first battle report will follow soon.



Star Wars the Clone Wars is due out this August on the big screen to be followed on the small screen by a regular TV series this Fall. The Clones. The cool looking clones with the retro "Rocketeer"-meets-the-Fetts helmets and big plasma rifles that can blow a hole through a super battle droid. One of Lucas' descriptions of the film and series has been (paraphrased) "Band of Brothers, but with clones." How freakin' sweet is that?

The sound is spectacular, which goes without saying. The imagery and animation is absolutely gorgeous -- the characters are rendered into 3D from the animated Cartoon Network mini-series 1 & 2. The story will flesh out the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin which will give Anakin's fall that much more impact in Episode 3. As a lifeling fan -- i.e. a fan old enough to remember seeing it for the first time in 1977, how do you ask for more than that? Another chance to go back into the Star Wars Universe!

The preview videos are available at StarWars.com and YouTube (naturally).

I say: "how can you ask for more than that", knowing full well that for as many rabid fans that are out there like me, the number of whiners is legion.


Gathering Materials

More on building the Warlord Titan: Unfortunately, in the late 80's I never picked up "Battle Titans" from Games Workshop. If I remember right, it came with sprues to make at least 6 Warlord Titans! The reference would come in handy now. Research online has had very limited results, and old catalogs and codexes I have only give a glimpse at the original form of the Warlord.

I'm not very fond of the most recent titan models for Epic, and even the majority of the illustrations. Their lines are too clean. There's something less 40K about them and more BattleTech-esque in my opinion. But the illustration in the the Apocalypse rules seems to be a happy compromise bridging the old and the new so I've been using that as a rough guide. My circumstances prevent me from doing actual workbench/workshop level crafting of this Titan, so out of necessity, my Titan's final form will no doubt lean more towards the older models.

So looking around the bits boxes, the garbage, the hidden corners of smashed and broken things at work what do you use to build a Warlord Titan? Things like this:

Legs: The legs I lucked out on as far as a decent set of parts. I had a Star Wars game from '99 that replicated Darth Maul's probe droid on a stand. The legs of that stand have an industrial, landing gear look to them, so I married the four of them into two and made them the basis for my Titan legs. For the lower greeves, yup, Folgers Coffee cans. It'll make sense later if you can't see it. For the beginning of the hips, again Star Wars TPM came through for me and I used these old candy containers that were available at the time. I just had to pop off the sculpted images of Palpatine and Jar Jar.

WEAPONS: The Volcano cannon and the laser blaster made the most sense to me for the "arms" Again, hurray for Darth Maul. I happened to have a broken Maul light saber that I couldn't bear to throw away and lucky thing. After attaching it to an archaic dashboard cell phone holder and with minor detailing, it's now the basis for my volcano cannon! The cell holder has an awesome articulate arm on it that will make fixing the weapon to the body a breeze.

The Laser blaster was deliberately made to resemble all the other lascannons in the game using various sizes of pvc pipe and mounting in a used motor oil container. The one pictured here has been modified already with a much shorter barrel; in this form, I was on my way to making a Catachan Las-carbine.

The Hips: Wooden slats I found on a pile at work which glued, screwed and stacked fit well into the candy holders. The Blue crotch? That's an old mushroom container from the produce section. And they call me mad...

Not pictured, the head: The head gave me real problems and was my first stumblng block. I looked at cyborgtrucker's blog a hundred times, and looked at illustrations and pics and art, new and old models... I just don't have the time, and mostly the skill to to do some of the things I've seen out there. But digging through one of my bits boxes, I figured it out. When I started collecting Orks my buddy gave me an old Humvee model he wasn't going to use. The curves on this thing are very reminiscent of the illustration of the Warlord head's many variants. So I carved the hummer in half and folded it on itself, kit-bashing like crazy to hide the holes and gaps.

Can I bring this pile of garbage together and make something table worthy out of it?


Building a Warlord Titan Intro

The first thing I did when the Warhammer 40K Apocalypse Gamer Edition back-pack showed up at the house was to naturally sling it over both shoulders and run around making lasgun noises, like I was actually in the Cadian 8th defending the "Gate". In my neighborhood, that's not hard to imagine. You'd think at my age I would forgo that step, but alas... nicotine can only hold back so much.

More to the point, on page 124 of the Apocalypse rules stands the Warlord Titan -- well, the illustration of one anyway -- towering over the Warhound Titan and necessitating a magnifying glass to the see the guardsman silhouette. With a datasheet and an array of weapons that would make the most battle hardened Imperial Commander blow his load for the sheer joy of having one; "fething" awesome!

There was an instantaneous ambition to build one.

A friend and I discussed it at length, but while he leaned more towards purchasing this and shopping for that, I instantly turned my attention to ridiculously full "bits" boxes in my basement and ofcourse garbage, both at home and at work (and maybe in the alley too). While our attention was misguidedly focused on theory and practicality and feasibility and all the asinine crap a 30something year old brain goes through to hinder creativity, another friend had gone ahead and built his first warlord titan. I say "friend" because I am unoffically credited in the opening of his blog and I'm ignoring a 17+ year gap in our active contact.

His blog moniker is "cyborgtrucker". Creative and innovative well beyond me, cyborgtrucker set the pace in this GW area/market for building a 40K Warlord to go with the 28mm scale of the miniatures. The chronicle of this from beginning, with a few pieces of Masonite, to selling the finished product on ebay can be found in the link below:


Now, I like Cyborg's Titan. It may be a bit lean, espcially for a Nurgle blessed mech, but to be fair it was his first, and in our area, it was the only Warlord Titan to be found. And, it was never defeated in battle -- considering that everyone and their brother probably shoots at the thing as soon as it hits the gaming table, that's pretty decent.

A little slower getting my project past the planning stages, I'm afraid my Titan will never be across the table from the "BileDriver". I anticipated finishing it before Christmas '07; now I just want to have it ready before the end of January '08.

Details of construction begin in part two.