Hirst Arts Cathedral Update V

Hirst Art Cathedral in progress This post continues from the previous Cathedral post and I continue to make slow progress on putting this building together. The bottleneck is still the lack of enough 1″ x 1/2″ x 1/4″ flat pieces. I guess this is what the Cathedral instructions may be hinting at when they say “certain blocks may need an additional 20 casts or so”!

The photo shows another dry fit of the various pieces I’ve finished assembling. You can tell it’s a dry fit because if you look at the exterior low wall, you can see it’s leaning out of the base a little. Everything fits together reasonably well, but that’s all. I suspect some rather heavy sanding will be required on a few of the pieces to get them to glue together well – in particular the tall vertical pieces that go between the bell tower and walls.

I’ve almost finished assembling enough pieces to complete this first gallery + bell tower, except of course for those cursed gothic flats. I’ve also laid out the pieces for the two large central end walls and most of the second gallery. Looking at the plans and it’s obvious I’m probably a little over 1/3rd of the way through assembling this ‘Cathedral of the Damned’ for Mordheim as the centre of the building is basically just empty space.

I’ve developed something of a love/hate relationship with this building. It’s starting to come together nicely, but I’m still not entirely sure the amount of effort required to build the thing will justify the final result, nor the amount of game play it’ll see since my gaming group has basically given up on Games Workshop games!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update IV

Hirst Arts Cathedral Gallery I’ve made some progress on the side gallery of the Hirst Arts Cathedral since 2008 started, however further progress has been stymied by a distinct lack of gothic flat half-bricks. Looking back at my last Hirst Arts casting post (almost two years ago) it’s obvious I’ve still got a fair amount of casting to complete before I can do much more building.

Casting is by far the most onerous part of building the Cathedral and now I have a few walls in place I was really starting to get into the swing of things. Damn it! Time to bust out the molds and add more plaster dust to the garage floor. I wonder if Hirst Arts mold #201 produces flat gothic half inch wide bricks that match those in the Gothic Church mold? No doubt somebody on the Hirst Arts forum can tell me that.

Hirst Arts Cathedral Gallery I’m happy to see the pieces I have built fit together well and appear to be fairly straight. Everything you see in the photos is dry-fit with no glue holding anything to the Cathedral floor, before I do any gluing I’ve got to ply a few more pieces of 3mm MDF together to form a thicker base.

I also have various other components for the gallery near completion including all four walls of the first bell-tower, except for those pesky missing gothic half bricks!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update III

Hirst Arts Cathedral Parts Now that I’ve got around to doing some basic assembly using a new glue: Liquid Nails, this post continues from the previous Cathedral post.

There are various varieties of Liquid Nails, many of which aren’t water based. I chose the water based version because it’s easy to clean up plus I can use a wet brush to smooth away any extra glue squeezed out between Hirst Art blocks. This ‘fast’ Liquid Nails starts to skin and cure in about 20 minutes but that’s not a problem as I simply squeeze out small amounts onto a scrap palette (aka pet food container lid) and apply it with a brush to the Hirst Arts blocks.

Hirst Arts Cathedral Parts It dries to a creme colour and looking at the photos it’s fairly obvious where I’ve been using it. However the whole building is going to be painted once assembled so discolouring the bricks like this isn’t an issue. Once dry it provides a very firm yet slightly flexible bond between the bricks which is just great. I found the PVA I was using wouldn’t always provide a good bond and even when it did the bond was quite brittle, so flexing the larger sections would tend to snap pieces off. You can seperate pieces glued together with Liquid Nails – which is a plus if you’ve misaligned a couple of blocks, but it certainly requires a lot more effort than the PVA glued pieces.

Regarding assembling the Cathedral itself I have to say it’s very slow going. There seem to be a million blocks involved in the building so it’s an exercise in patience gluing them together. I’m currently trying to build up the thirteen sub-pieces that go together to build the smaller removable side gallery of the Cathedral! In the photos you can see the two long interior and exterior gallery walls and various parts of the bell-tower that makes up the front of the gallery.

I’ve always been impressed by Mr Hirst’s fine molds however I have to say while building the Cathedral it’s increasingly obvious there’s some problematic pieces on the molds involved. In particular the small gothic arch pieces that make up most of the windows in the Cathedral don’t go together well. Maybe it’s because there’s definite left and right arch pieces (they certainly aren’t marked as such) but the archways always seem to be slightly too wide for their designated space in the wall, plus they don’t form a square unit when glued together. So a reasonable amount of sanding is involved with assembling each of those small gothic windows.

I’m also wondering how well the sub-parts are going to fit together to form the gallery. I suspect more sanding will be involved in getting the pieces level and well bonded to each other. Ah well, stay tuned!

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update II

Hirst Arts Cathedral Floor As the poll has ended, it’s time I showed I’ve made some progress on the Hirst Arts Cathedral: thus I give you the floor!

This is little more exciting than it sounds because it gives me a foundation to build the rest of the Cathedral on. There’s a couple of 28mm Games Workshop Mordheim figures on there for scale.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bruce Hirst’s Cathedral design, the floor is split into two parts to allow you to get inside the assembled Cathedral for detailing, painting and gaming. The split is cunningly placed, falling between the main room and one gallery of the final building. I may just build up the walls and towers for this smaller gallery first to see if the water based Selley’s Liquid Nails I picked up recently does a better job of holding the bricks together than builder’s PVA.

There are a few issues however. The first is that the join between the smaller and larger pieces isn’t quite exact and there’s a visible ~1mm seam between the floor tiles when the two parts are placed together. However hopefully that’ll be concealed once I’ve built up the walls.

The second issue is that I’ve glued the floor down on a single layer of 3mm MDF which is definitely not going to be rigid enough to support the finished Cathedral. I plan to ply 2-3 layers of 3mm MDF together with PVA and clamps to build up a set of shallow stepped levels up around the Cathedral. Hopefully that works since I’ve already glued down the floor!

Yes, I read all instructions and carefully plan all of my projects…

Hirst Arts Cathedral Update

Hirst Arts Cathedral Parts Voting on the current poll seems to be split between the 28mm Hirst Arts cathedral and a second 15mm 1930’s building facade. So I’ve been dusting both these projects off.

The last time I did any casting for the Cathedral it looks like I was pretty close to having all the required pieces! I actually started building the sub-elements of the Cathedral, but got frustrated due to problems I had getting individual bricks to bond well together into large linear columns and abandoned the project temporarily.

It turns out that temporarily meant around 18 months. Since then the cast pieces have been languishing under my steel gaming table. I fished them out from there last night and dusted them off and took the above photo.

Top right and centre right you can see the larger parts I started assembling. A few more pieces broke off those long columns centre right while I was handling them last night, so I definitely need to find a better glue.

The pieces have been drying in the garage for so long they actually feel ceramic, and almost ring when you knock them together. Hopefully the Ultracal 30 hasn’t deteriorated at all by being left unpainted for so long.

After looking at how close I was to assembling this project I am feeling inspired to complete it. But we’ll see how the voting pans out I guess!

Warhammer 40k Apocalypse Rant

The upcoming Warhammer 40k Apocalypse is designed to allow you to play 5000+ point armies in epic scale battles with 28mm figures. Here’s a snippet from a promo email I recently received from Vagabond Games in New Zealand.

Apocalypse Rulebook + Baneblade for $250 (normally $285)
Apocalypse Rulebook + Apocalypse Templates for $130 (normally $145)

There are also a number of boxed sets being released at the same time, including a squadron of 10 Leman Russ Battle Tanks, an Eldar Windrider Host and an entire Space Marine Battle Company!

The question I have is who do Games Workshop think is going to buy these kits? For example let’s take the ‘squadron of 10 Leman Russ Battle Tanks’. Here in New Zealand a single Leman boxed set costs $55nz. So let’s be kind and say a single box of 10 will set you back $500nz locally. How many will need you need to field an Apocalypse sized Imperial Guard ‘Steel Legion’ Armored Company?

Based on the army lists from the venerable 6mm scale Epic 40k game armies are typically around 3000pts, with a a unit of 10 Leman Russ tanks costing 650 points. Judging from some of the promo shots for Apocalypse this vehicle count isn’t a bad estimate. I can count around thirty armored vehicles in that photo on the Imperial Guard side.

So let’s be kind again and say maybe you’ll need two boxes at $500nz each, and maybe another box of 10 x Basilisk Artillery tanks for support at another $500nz. That’s $1500nz for what will be quite a basic force in 40k Apocalypse. After all we haven’t included any HQ or Infantry support yet!

At those prices who’s going to play 40k Apocalypse? I’ll hazard a guess here and say almost nobody. Particularly when you consider GW’s target audience for 40k is roughly 16-24 year old men. How many of them have $1500nz plus to spend on toy soldiers in one hit? Then of course you’ll have to paint the things!

I’ve already mentioned Epic Armageddon which is a large scale 40k war game in it’s second edition from Specialist Games, an often neglected spin off from Games Workshop. Epic is a 6mm scale game and you can buy a 10 Leman Russ Battle Tank boxed set for 20GBP or roughly $55nz. So you could have the same army (in 6mm scale rather than 28mm) for a grand total of $165nz.

Then you could take that army and play Epic Armageddon (the rules are free to download btw) or if you really feel like it could spring for the 40k Apocalypse rulebook and play those rules instead using your reasonably priced and quite attractive 6mm tanks.

I honestly cannot see the point to 40k Apocalypse, why would anybody play it? Although I am quite curious to get a look at the rule set because I would not be at all surprised if it’s derived from Epic Armageddon!

THQ to Create 40k MMO

I couldn’t let this story slide past: THQ (creators of Dawn of War) have extended their license with Games Workshop to produce a Massively Multiplayer Online game set in the 40k universe.

After seeing the Warhammer Fantasy MMO (from another publisher) dead in the water it’ll be interesting to see how this pans out. Personally I think if anybody can pull off a decent 40k MMO it’s THQ as they’ve already proven they can treat the 40k IP appropriately by creating the excellent Dawn of War RTS series of games.

Game balance will be interesting though, considering each faction in the 40k universe essentially represents the pinnacle of their particular race’s warrior class and of course everyone will want to play ‘The Emperor’s Finest’! Details of actual game play at this point are nil – the Gamespot article above includes an ‘interview’ that is essentially a bunch of PR boiler plate.

Imperial Guard Retrospective: Sentinels

Imperial Guard Sentinel 2 Continuing with the Imperial Guard retrospective here’s a couple of Imperial Guard Sentinels I painted early 2004. Tempus fugit I guess. The Sentinel is another underrated 40k model in my opinion. They’re great little vehicles with a wide range of posing options if you’re happy cutting up the legs and feet.

In fact one Forgeworld kit I’ve always fancied is their Sentinel Powerlifter. Although to be honest looking at it now I believe I could probably scratch build something similar from plasticard and patience. I do have another primed and half assembled Sentinel sitting in the garage too.

Sentinels are also pretty handy on the 40k tabletop. Sure they’re light weight (armor 10) and open topped but they’re a cheap weapons platform that excels in supporting your poor bloody infantry. Particularly if you ditch the worthless multi-laser and go for some of the more powerful weapon options.

Imperial Guard Sentinel 1 The weapons on these two Sentinels were spares from a plastic IG Heavy Weapons boxed set. The laser cannon isn’t that useful being an overpowered single shot BS3 weapon, but the autocannon is a great compromise between stopping power and rate of fire. Even with the Guard’s poor ballistic skill a few autocannnon rounds are likely to hit home before the Sentinel is bought down.

None of the weapons on these Sentinel are actually glued on. I resorted to a crude system of plastic pins to make the weapons interchangeable. I should probably replace those pins with rare earth magnets now I have some in the garage.

I’m sure I’m not the only Imperial Guard Sentinel fan. I recall seeing some photos of an army that had maxed out it’s force org chart with the maximum possible number of Sentinels – nine from memory. I can’t find that link now otherwise I’d include it in the post!

Unfortunately after several GW Asia Pacific prices rises in the last couple of years means the Sentinel model is now $45nz locally. Rather expensive for a model that consists of a single sprue. I do note that Scrap Dragon sell them for approx $31nz ($28au), I think that’s almost what I paid for these Sentinels back in 2004. Tempting!

Imperial Guard Retrospective: Basilisk

This weekend I was messing around in the garage with my three year old son and on a whim I decided to show him the various figures I’ve painted over the years. We had a great time taking them out of their storage containers and ‘fighting’ them. He was fine with them once I explained I preferred it if he didn’t smash them together! I don’t think he knew I owned some painted figures, as he’s more used to seeing my paint station scattered with half assembled or white primed models.

Imperial Guard Basilisk I was pleasantly surprised to see how well some of the paint jobs have stood the test of time so decided to take some snaps now I own a decent digital camera. So here’s a bit of a retrospective in order to try and bolster my flagging modeling spirits – you may have noticed the lack of posts recently.

I originally painted these Imperial Guard vehicles at the end of 2003 and I think they look pretty reasonable, despite the fact I seem to have had some odd preference for applying far too much chestnut ink wash and the decal work is a little shoddy!

Imperial Guard Basilisk Crew The venerable Imperial Guard Basilisk is quite a nice 40k model, or at least it was when it was reasonably priced. Nothing shouts Imperial Guard more than a great big dirty artillery piece. In fact I deliberately left the rather crude gun shield to show off the Basilisk’s gun and breech. Personally I think the model looks better without that vast sheet of plastic glued on.

One down side is the Basilisk model doesn’t come with crew, however I evidently scrounged a couple of old metal Cadians. I suspect they’re actually from the metal kit to convert a Chimera into a Griffon mortar carrier (that’s GW’s spelling not mine).

Dusting off my Imperial Guard makes me want to have a game or two of 40k again, as long as it’s not against the bloody Tau. The latest edition of 40k is actually an improvement in terms of game play, however the Tau have some serious balance issues I believe. I’d say this is almost self evident judging from the number of Tau armies you see around these days.

Scrap Dragon Comments

Mick, the owner of Scrap Dragon was good enough to leave a comment on the previous post about GW NZ Pricing. I’m repeating it here because I found it interesting.

We have been reading your comments with interest and we can assure you that Gamers in Australia have the same issues with GW retailing prices. However, to address several issues raised in this thread:

– We are currently looking into the services our website/shopping cart provider provides, so GST is automatically deducted for foreign sales. We have had issues in the past where non-residents have purchased products and wanted them delivered to an Australian address and they thought they did not have to pay GST.

– As Stu states we charge shipping costs via weight. Please keep in mind there can be some differences when comparing for example battlion boxes where there can be a difference in weight.

– We have been selling online (mainly ebay) for 5 years and have over 12,000 positive feedback comments. Our ebay user name is scrapdragonau.

– As for our pricing policy. We are able to offer a 20% discount as we are a home based business (no rent and no staff) and we keep a very close tight control on our stock levels. Our discount from GW Aust is a little more than stated above (not much though)

If you are after something which is not on our website please email us with the list and I can give you a price.

Also if anyone is interested I work less than 10 minutes away from the Gold Coast International Airport and pick ups are more than welcome if you are visiting Australia.

I’ll definitely be using Scrap Dragon for any future Games Workshop purchases and it’s nice to see they’ve been trading so successfully on eBay. Every web seller I’ve dealt with to date has resulted in a positive experience but it is always comforting to view a track record before making your first purchase.

It really is a pity I didn’t discover Scrap Dragon a couple of years ago!