A Tale of Four Gamers Episode 1: Synthwave and Small Soldiers


Once you get to a certain age, nostalgia starts to creep up on you like the ghost of Christmas past. Whilst I am under no illusions that in terms of actual rules writing and balance, Games Workshop has always had their issues with their flagship Warhammer 40,000, Age Of Sigmar, and previously Warhammer: Fantasy titles, It's on the hobby side of things that I have found myself thinking about recently; specifically White Dwarf. You ask anyone who has been playing as long as I have and the answer will probably be the same:


White Dwarf used to be so great. It had proper hobby articles and battle reports but now all they are doing is trying to push whatever latest Space Marine has rolled out of the factory.

~ Jaded Gamer #2


Released August 1995, White Dwarf 188 is the earliest that I can remember buying; Partly because it was the 2nd Edition Tyranid release issue.


It probably is just the rose tinted glasses talking but one of the articles that I have fondest memories of was A Tale of Four Gamers. Started during the stewardship of Paul “Fat Bloke” Sawyer as editor, the series followed the exploits of four gamers building Warhammer: Fantasy armies over the course of several months culminating in a big 4-way battle report at the end. It was written slow-grow style, with the players being on a budget each month of £25 with £50 (Something that I also remember which may or may not be true is that Games Workshop money stretched further back in 1996) to get the army started, and the goal was to get each month's purchases modeled and painted before the next. I particularly enjoyed getting to hear the reasoning behind each player's choices for that month and seeing everything come together at the end. It's the spirit of this endeavour that I would like to try and capture over my next series of articles.


Due to the constraints of modern life, and the closure of our local store some seven or eight years ago now, for my regular gaming group there hasn't really been the opportunity to sink as many hours into Warhammer as we used to. Over the past several years we have taken on armies more as a painting and modelling project over actually trying to play on a competetive level despite the majority of our games in a year coming from Games Workshop run grand tournaments. This year, after threatening to start for the longest time, Ill be following a group of us during army building cumulating in whichever events we manage to make it to later this Autumn/Winter. We have a few different game systems going on and I can't promise updates to all systems every month but it's all good for the hobby. It's quite a big article to start with (as we are doing all the introductions also) but I promise that later episodes will be much more trimmed.

Warhammer 40,000


Join our resident base-modeler David (seriously, he has modeled up more bases to this date then actual miniatures to go on them) as he works through an Imperial Knights army complete with custom pilots. I'll be working on a mostly converted Necron force whilst trying to fit as many Canoptek Reanimator conversions in there as possible.

Age Of Sigmar


The Nighthaunt book is just around the corner so I'll be revisiting the army showcased in my very first article for the site. The bulk of the army is there but no-doubt ill be doing some conversion work along the way to round it out. We also have our man Chris who will be working on some Slaves to Darkness Archaon. We can probably look forward to a battle report or two later on in the year.

Kill Team


I've got a killteam event coming up at Warhammer World in June and I've got some head-swaps and minor converting work in mind for some Sisters Novitiate which I plan to take to the event. You can also expect a separate tournament report following my exploits at the event.

Flames of War


For something a bit different, we have Charles playing Flames of War. He will be going through the World War 2 miniatures game building forces for both the Germans and Americans.


Aytan

To kick things off I'm going to start with a project I can reasonably get done in the first month of hobby work; I knew I wanted to take regular compendium Sisters of Battle to this June’s Killteam event up at Warhammer World as I think that they are one of the sleeper hits of that book (with 2 meltaguns, a combi-plasma, suspensored heavy bolter and a number of grenades) but after a good amount of persuasion, I decided on taking Novitae instead as they are 'apparently' better then meltaguns and grenades (come on, who doesn't like meltaguns and grenades?). To be honest though, I’m not all that in love with the ‘battle nun’ headgear they are sporting so to get around this I did some relatively straightforward conversion work, replacing all of their heads with standard Sisters of Battle heads to better fit them in with the rest of the range.

Along with the headswaps for the whole Killteam, I also did some arm replacements with the Sisters of Battle 'arm holding helmet' and swapped around the weapons of the sister superior with the ones from the regular sisters box.
Similarly with these miniatures, we have head swaps and a splice together of the floating boom box and cyber cherub for my diagolus.


As for the colourscheme, I’ve had in mind for a while to mess around with the synthwave colour palate. It would allow me to do some airbrush work in addition to hard source lighting which does allow me to push out the Killteam in a relatively short time. For reference;

Synthwave (also called outrun, retrowave, or futuresynth) is an electronic music microgenre that is based predominantly on the music associated with action, science-fiction, and horror film soundtracks of the 1980s.

~ The internet

Synthwave visuals however draw a lot of inspiration from graphics often seen during the '80s, such as sunset graphics, neon grids, neon lights, '80s sports cars, wireframe vector graphics, old school 8-bit video game pixel art, video cassettes, arcades, malls, etc. To find the colours I wanted, I used this picture as a reference along with the synthwave sunset colour palate here; https://www.color-hex.com/color-palette/57266 and referring to the right match of colours on encycolorpedia; https://encycolorpedia.com/paints/. Incidentally, Encycolorpedia has turned out to be a really useful tool in finding different miniature colours to match pretty much whatever you want so I’ll definitely be taking another look in the future.


Pretty much the stock 'synthwave mountain' image most people use when looking up this effect.


In the end I settled on a selection of paints from the Vellejo model color range (Blue Violet, Pink, Dark Flesh and Fluorescent Magenta). The idea was to have the Killteam look like they were walking past neon streetlights (think Cyberpunk) with hard shadows and stylised harsh purple through pink highlights.


This is the ideal that I was going for in terms of colouration and highlights.

The steps are fairly straightforward; Zenith highlight with blue-grey then successive airbrush passes with Blue Violet, then Magenta and Pink with a custom black glaze (a 4:1 ratio of Vallejo Glaze Medium to normal paint) in the deep shadows followed by some fairly simple brushwork of the Citadel Black clear paint to further deepen the shadows in the recesses and highlights with the same pink and spot highlights of white.

I think the blending on the cloak came out nicely considering I barely use the airbrush. Hopefully next time the rest of the model will match

Along with Skull-Cherub-Vox (below) these two are probably the ones I'm most happy with

The rest of the Killteam

My favourite of all the minis I painted/converted

For the basing, I wanted something similar to the floor in the synthwave mountain image above so with that in mind I attacked the bases with sand-paper to remove all of the in-built texture, and then using a junior hacksaw proceeded to cut deep (but not too deep to go through the plastic completely) grooves into them. After that a spray of white, layer of Fluorescent Magenta, and white highlights in the grooves, and then (carefully) going over everything else with black and a small highlight on the edges of the grooves with a 1:1 mix of black and Blue Violet. Once the models were back on the bases (I had removed them to do the painting) I applied a very small highlight of the Fluorescent Magenta where they would touch the glowing recesses.

 

Super happy with how the bases came out

Overall, I’m actually not so happy with how the miniatures turned out (though funnily enough I am actually pretty happy with the bases). I think that to do this colorscheme justice it would probably be better served on something like Necrons where the hard reflections would make more sense (though I think a sin-city style monochrome version of the scheme with spot colours for the weapons/details would be something interesting to do and look striking on the tabletop), and being on a less than one month time limit, I’m not entirely sure that I have the patience or skill with my painting to dedicate as much time to the scheme as I would like. On the other hand, I did get some much-needed practice with the airbrush, mixing paints to the correct consistency (a 4:1 ratio of Games Workshop Air Caste thinner to Vellejo model color works well) and making my own glazes with Glaze Medium to do the dark shading work.

 


I think a takeaway is that pretty much any painting project is good experience whether it comes out as you like or not and it’s all steppingstones to whatever your next project may be. I don’t think it’s a colorscheme that I would be in a hurry to do again but it’s definitely something to cross off my list.


Chris

Greetings all! My name is Chris; I have been playing tabletop wargames from around 2008. I fell in love with 40K after playing the PC game Fire Warrior, started my first adventure into the hobby and have never looked back since. I’m lucky to say that I have met all of the others doing the Tale of Four Gamers through playing Warhammer and made great friends and to be part of this adventure with them all!

Over the years I have played 40K and Old Warhammer Fantasy going to multiple tournaments for both. Oh, the good old says of my loved Bretonnia! However, when Age of Sigmar came around and I had time to get used to the gaming system; I have to say it’s my favorite system to play and the one I’m going to take you on a journey with. So, to the meat and potatoes, I’m going to be focusing on Age of Sigmar.  After looking at some of the different races and factions, I eventually settled on Archaon (sorry I mean Slaves to darkness). I ended up going with them as I have always wanted to have a go at painting Archaon as I love the model and the range as a whole, and hearing all new about the Chaos book to come out later this year it’s a good opportunity to start them now.

The plan with army is start with the main man himself Archaon and try my best to do the model justice. Then I will be looking to get myself some Varanguard as they are great looking models and they fit the army very well. Starting this new army hoping to take it to a tournament later this year. Although my main aim is to improve and develop new painting skills that I can learn over this adventure.

Charles


I'm Charles and i have been wargaming for around 25 years give or take starting with 2nd Edition Warhammer 40000, and have played many more game systems since then.

I will be building and painting models from Flames of War (FoW), this is a 15mm WW2 historical miniatures game from Battlefront covering the whole of WW2 from start to end, and is divided into 3 main periods of Early, Mid, and Late War which have rules and force selections for what Nations were using at the time. I have wanted to play this for a while as the main games that I play are 28mm based and focus on Squads and Individual Characters, and FoW focuses more on Platoons and Company level of game play. The other benefit of the 15mm scale is that the ranges on the table top can be better represented than at 28mm where your typical infantry can shoot clear across a board in GW games, whereas in FoW your infantry have a more realistic effective range of ~10 inches and your tanks and artillery can be used at a relative range that makes sense at the scale, allowing for the real use of combined arms.


The forces I will be building and painting will primarily be Late War (1943-1945) Germans and Americans. FoW armies are built from one or more Formations which contain your HQ Unit and Combat Units. If some choice in a Formation is Required then you have additional Units you can pick; Once you have chosen your Formation, you can add additional Support Units outside of this. Each Unit is further broken down into Teams. Each Team is what a typical 28mm style of game would classify as a model as each Team in is usually 2-5 figures on a base or a single Tank or Vehicle.


The plan for my German Force would be built round a Panzergrenadier Formation with support from some Tanks and Artilary units. I was planning to attend a Late War event with this force with a points limit of 105pts, so i will be mainly be building and painting for that but will also be adding more Units above this to allow me to make more choices later on.

The first draft of my list is below:

Bagration: Germans
Panzer Formation - Panzergrenadier Company
 - Panzergrenadier Company HQ (4pts) 2x MP40 SMG Team w/ Panzerfaust
 - Panzergrenadier Platoon (13pts) 7x MG42 Team w/ Panzerfaust (11pts) + Panzerschreck anti-tank team (+2pts)
 - Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon (16pts) 7x MG42 Team w/ Panzerfaust (14pts) + Panzerschreck anti-tank team (+2pts)
 - Panzer IV Tank Platoon (28pts) 5x Panzer IV (7.5cm)
 - sMG34 Machine Gun Platoon (6pts) 4x sMG34 HMG
 - 7.5cm Tank Hunter Platoon (15pts) 4x 7.5cm Gun

Formation: Puma Scout Company
 - Puma Scout Troop HQ (1) 1x Sd Kfx 234 (2cm)
 - Puma Scout Troop (3) 2x Sd Kfx 234 (2cm)
 - Puma Scout Troop (4) 2x Puma (5cm)

Support Formations
 - 10.5cm Artillery Battery (14pts) 4x 10.5cm Howitzer
 - Panzer III OP (1pts) - 1x Panzer III OP

Command Cards
 - Puma Scout Company (0pts)

Unit Builds


Panzergrenadiers

Battlefront make their plastic infantry from a thermo plastic rather than the more traditional plastics that Games Workshop and other companies use. This does mean that you need to use superglue rather than poly cement to build infantry but generally they are 1 piece sculpts so it is just attaching them to the bases in the pre-allocated holes is all that needs to be done with a dab of superglue.

There are 3 man teams on small bases for unit leader and 4 man teams on the medium bases, additionally there are 2 man weapons team on small bases, each of the medium bases comes with one of 4-5 layouts of the 4 holes so you can have quite a variant of how you lay out the infantry.


Panzegrenadiers HQ

The Formation HQ is made from two bases of 3 man on the small size bases.

Having seen these models myself, the size sits at about half that of your 'standard' Warhammer40k miniature (If there even is a thing anymore) so you get more detail than the old Epic40k minis whilst still being able to field much more in the way of troops ~ Aytan.

sMG34 Machine Gun Platoon

These were a little trickier to build as the gun needs to be placed with the gunner and being quick small require a steady hand, these only have three figures so they are supplied with plugs to add into the holes not being used on the bases.


8cm Mortars

These were the hardest thing to build as the mortar is in two pieces, the barrel/base and the tripod, the nature of the soft plastic with the connect to the sprue made it difficult to remove without damage to the feet of the tripod, this should be covered up with basing material.


7.5cm Gun, 8.8CM Gun, 8.8cm AA Gun

The gun kits are a combination of harder poly plastic for the guns and soft thermo plastic for the crew.  They go together very easily and have quite good detail to the models, these guns are mounted on the Large size base and again come with more holes in the base so you can choose the position of the gun and the crew and fill in the remaining holes.

Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom,
Boom, Boom, Boom,
Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom,
Boom, Boom, Boom
~ Private Baldrick. The German Guns: Blackadder goes Forth.

David


I’M NOT EASILY DIST...... OH NEW MODELS

Hello people of the internet. Welcome to my ramblings about this crazy hobby that we all love and at times love to hate. You’ll have to forgive me if none of the following makes any sense as this is the first time doing anything like this at all, but here goes.

I’ll start at the beginning, my name is David I live in the Midlands with my long suffering wife and our children and I have collected Warhammer in it’s many different guises since the mid nineties. It started off with what I’m sure is a familiar story to a lot of you. Someone very innocently handed me a copy of White Dwarf whilst at school which then resulted in twenty six years of hobby, various injuries inflicted by Night Goblin spears, a vast horde of grey plastic most of which will never see the light of day, let alone paint, and some very good friends.

As I’m sure many of you can relate, over the last few years my hobby has changed a lot. Firstly, I moved from London to the Midlands which meant that I went from playing games a couple of times a month and painting nearly everyday to playing a couple of time a year when attending events at Warhammer World. Then a world wide pandemic happened (you might have heard about in the news) and while a lot of hobbyists had a resurgence in their hobby, as a key worker I was busy with work and my youngest daughter was born at the start of lockdown which meant that a lot of my hobby activity took a back seat. With all that was going on I haven’t played Warhammer 40K or Age of Sigmar in almost three years, and have only painted a handful of models.

If you are only going to paint one model in a year, it might as well be the bone-daddy himself ~ Aytan

To make it clear my hobby is a complicated thing. I love every aspect of the hobby: building, painting, collecting, gaming, talking about it etc etc however the areas of the hobby that I truly excel in are procrastinating and being indecisive. I love nothing more than looking for basing ideas, watching painting tutorials and reading reviews of the latest releases. Almost anything hobby related with the exception of doing actual hobby. This has been heightened recently, as normally I would have the deadline of an event at Warhammer World looming to keep me on track but that hasn’t been the case for the last couple of years due to them not running. As a result I have started a load of random projects that haven’t really gotten anywhere.

I have also found a new indecisive streak. This is due to a few things: the first being the truly ludicrous number of armies I have started and left unfinished. So when a new release is announced I’m helplessly drawn to it like a moth to flame. I have the best intentions “this will be the army I get completed” or “I’ll finish this army before starting something new” and other such lies we tell ourselves, but the same pattern just repeats itself time and again and I’m left with another project abandoned before it’s even really started.

The other contributing factor to my indecisiveness is a pretty new habit that I’ve only recently picked up. I’ll write a list out get really excited about starting a new project then buy a bunch of models then it hits I’ll read reviews, start questioning my list choices and I’ll convince myself that this army might not work by the time I get to use it at an event. I’ll start playing out what if? Scenarios in my head like: “What happens if these guys go up in points? Would my list be better if I changed this or swapped that?” All these hypothetical ideas erode my enthusiasm enough just in time for the new release to be announced and fo4 the cycle to start all over again.

So when Aytan asked if anyone would be interested in contributing to his blog in a tale of gamers style article I jumped at the chance. This is for a few reasons, the first is it gives me a deadline to get stuff done by. It’s all well and good giving myself deadlines or telling myself that I’ll get this done by then, because I’ve set the deadline I can move it so it’s entirely arbitrary. By committing to this I know that I have to get stuff done and that missing the deadline would mean letting down a friend of some twenty-six years. Secondly I have agreed to to work on two armies: one for Age of Sigmar and another for Warhammer 40,000. This means I have a deadline and need to finish these two projects over the coming months. Don’t get me wrong, my two year old has a better attention span than me and they’ll probably be other random stuff thrown in along the way (already got my eye on the Primaris Company Champion. I think it will will look great in Imperial Fist colours).

See unlike me, David does actually have the patience (and ability) to paint in a style that isn't 'get all this stuff painted as quickly as possible so that I can go onto converting something else' ~ Aytan.


So dear readers what projects will I be undertaking for the foreseeable I hear you cry. Well for Warhammer 40,000 I want to try and recapture the spirit of my misspent youth. Not an army in particular but more about collecting an army because the models are awesome or I have theme that catches my imagination. As I mentioned earlier the past few years I’ve been caught up with how well an army plays on the table top, a situation made more bizarre by the fact I haven’t played for almost two full editions. In the past this never bothered me. I’d hatch a crazy plan and run with it. For example, I have a Space Wolf army that started with the simple idea that Logan Grimnar was awesome and him with his Wolf Guard riding into battle in two land raiders would just be really really cool.

So with this intention, I have chosen to collect Imperial Knights because giant big death mechs are just cool. I have set myself some stipulations while collecting them however. The first is I’m not getting the codex straight away and I won’t be making an army list. Instead I’m setting myself the goal to collect an army that if all goes according to plan, I can use for Armies on Parade. I’m starting with House Raven and a Knight Errant I’ll be looking to add three more big knights, Armigers and a really big knight if budget and time allows.

Not quite a Knight but I suspect that the House Raven paintscheme will be very close to David's Titanicus maniple complete with, I've been promised, custom pilots ~ Aytan.

For Age Of Sigmar I’ve been hit with a curveball, I was planning on completing my Nurgle army then while procrastinating on the internet I found a shop that still had in stock a Start collecting Stormcast Vanguard. I have always had a crazy idea to build a Stormcast Vanguard army built around Vanguard Palladors and Hunters bouncing around the board. I also think the Lord Aquilor is one of the best models in the Stormcast Eternal range and can’t wait to start painting it. The big difference between these two projects is I want to take this army to an event at Warhammer World towards the end of this year or early next year. That means I’ll hopefully get some games in before then to make sure I understand how the army plays on the table top and get to grips with third edition.

So that’s it from me for now I have committed to these main projects so make sure you hold me to it. Next time I’ll aim to have some pictures of my Knight Errant and the first units for my Stormcast Vanguard as well but I’ve add some pictures off models I’ve painted recently hope you enjoy them.

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