The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet



The Penitent Engine. This guy’s a beast. It’s what’s known as a "Dreadnought," basically a large walking tank. The classic version is the Space Marine Dreadnought, piloted by an honoured brother who is no longer physically able to fight on his own, so they seal him in a big, life-supporting walker tank so he can keep purging damn xenos. My version’s a little bit different.


Mine is piloted by a condemned heretic, imprisoned in this infernal machine as punishment for her sins. And she ain’t too damn happy about that, let me just tell you. So unhappy, in fact, that she has a compulsory move — I’m required to charge the thing right at the nearest enemy every single turn, so she can chop it up with saws and torch it with flamers.


Oh look, speaking of which. The nested geary things on the side were what gave me the idea to paint the thing in sort of a dark steampunk colour scheme, what with the contrasting bronze and silver sections. The traditional paint job is a lot more black. Far be it from me to talk shit about the ‘Eavy Metal crew, but I think my steampunk stylings look better.


Do you have any idea how many fiddly little purity seals this model has? It’s like twenty. And I had to paint those little squiggles on all of them.


The wing-y symbol and the block of text above it are transfers. The rest of it I painted — including that big red I that I think came out really well. The squiggles look kind of bad really up close like this, but they’re seriously tiny — there’s no possible way I could write actual words. And from a few inches away (or from table distance) you can’t tell them apart from actual writing anyhow.

March 28th, 2011 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

Have fun storming the castle


Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, bitches. They’re the dudes who will kick your ass if you try to fuck with my Inquisitorial Death Star. And what shadowy terror lurks in the back right corner of this picture? Answer next time!


This is the boss stormtrooper, complete with terrifying hellpistol and terrifying sword, and festooned with explosives to the point where you’re probably more likely to die if you shoot him than if he shoots you. There’s an Inquisition insignia emblazoned on his chest, but I didn’t paint that; that’s a transfer. The first transfer, in fact, that I’ve ever transferred to a blessed thing. Turns out it’s not as hard as it may seem, though they are pretty goddamn fiddly, and they dry to some type of Inquisitorial Gloss Finish that looks really weird applied to cloth. Bit of matte varnish will tamp that down, I’ll wager.


This is a regular stormtrooper looking every bit as much like a Nazi as he can manage. I’m getting better at macro photography! You see how everything’s properly in focus this time? Of course, in my excitement, I managed to invent a new way of making my pictures garbage, and I pulled the models out of the light. That’s why it looks like the thing I’m actually shooting is in shadow and everything behind it — out of focus — is in the light: because that’s exactly what I did. So I’ve pulled up the contrast in post-processing so’s you can see things.


The same guy, but — can you believe it? — I took a shot of the back, too. You can really see all the layering and shading I’ve done with these — except for the metal bits, I only used two colours of paint. True story.


This guy has a flamer. It’s for lighting bugs on fire. The smell — you know, that gasoline smell — smells like victory.


This guy has a grenade launcher. It’s for making bugs exploded. Near as I’ve been able to determine, it doesn’t smell like a single goddamn thing.

March 24th, 2011 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

Priest pictures

I haven’t uploaded any 40k pictures in a long time. This is partly because I haven’t had any to show off; been a while since I’ve painted anything. But I’m back at it, and, as I promised on the Tweeter, here are some phat picz for you.

priest banner!

I took this picture from much too far away, but I really liked the way it turned out, so I used it anyhow. The man himself is front and centre, inspiring an army of half-finished Inquisitorial Stormtroopers to raid the paint-pot forest. Looking for witches, of course.

Church should be more like this

Closer-upper picture. This guy is mainly close-combat, what with his slightly-rusty sword there, though, if you look, you can see a laspistol tucked underneath the big goofy book. I painted the book that way to match a miniature Bible I bought to hang off the back of my Exorcist. Then I went and looked and it turns out my miniature Bible doesn’t look as much like that as I thought. No, that’s true.

priest banner!

You’ll be happy to hear I’m still an awful photographer, and I’m still too stupid to take pictures of both sides of the model. So here’s a different angle of the front, with slightly different lighting. I always thought this model looks rather a lot like angry John Lithgow. You know what? I still think that.

March 20th, 2011 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

Ineffable damnation now thoroughly effed

Warhammer 40k Dawn of War II has been out for a while now, but I still haven’t picked it up due to my preference for waiting until games cost thirty dollars and buying them then. So instead of that, I’ve been replaying the original Dawn of War, fucking up some chaos demons and greenskins and goddamn irritating space elfs.

Dark Crusade was really up my alley. Instead of a weird story mode with arbitrary restrictions on what you can build and what troops you can field, it just gives you a planetary map to conquer, and every battle plays a lot like the skirmishes, but with cumulative results and rewards and things. That’s the exact play mode I want in these games, since one thing I’ve absolutely hated about every RTS I’ve ever played is how few options you have for most of the game. It’s like, hey, I know there are Terminator Squads in this game. How about you let me goddamn use them sometime before the very last level?

So Dark Crusade was great about that. It was also great about letting you play whatever faction you want and not sticking you with one or two "campaigns" while all the other factions are just for the CPU to play with. But you know what I didn’t love about Dark Crusade? Invisible units. I know, "but Darien," you say, "lots of games have some type of stealth or invisibility." And that’s true — lots of games do. But very few games make it work the way Dark Crusade makes it work. The invisible units in Dark Crusade can’t be fired on by anybody ever unless you have a way of making them un-invisible. And you know what doesn’t make them un-invisible? Attacking.

So, yeah, they’ll just stand there plinking away at you, invisible as the day is long, and you can’t do a fucking thing about it. No automatic reveal when they attack, no option to blind-fire in the direction of the shots and take a huge hit penalty, no AI that’s smart enough to make the troops fall back when something they can’t see is killing them — nothing. You know what’s the least fun thing in the entire world? When you’re nearing the end of sacking an enemy base, and the battle’s finally turned in your favour, and then you realise he’s reinforced with invisible units. And all your servo-skulls — which are the only unit that lets you see invisible, and which take up the valuable attachment slot where you could put a Librarian or an Apothecary or some other unit, and which have all of maybe 70 HP — got killed in the firefight. So now, even though you finally won this kickass fun seige, all you can do is retreat because your enemy’s just decided to bring in the magic unhittable units. That’s not very much fun there, game.

So what I’m saying is that I’d appreciate it if Dawn of War II is as much like Dark Crusade as possible, except without the terrible goddamn invisibility mechanic.

March 12th, 2009 Posted by | Games, Warhammer 40k | no comments

Wretched hive of scum and villainy

I ordered some Sisters of Battle Rhino doors from Forge World a few weeks ago. That’s a pretty standard order for me; I order little mod pieces rather often, since I’m an inveterate modifier. So this is probably the seventh or eighth Forge World order I’ve placed. This time, though; this time, there was a catch.

(Crash chord)

Apparently, and unbeknownst to me, between the time I placed my last order and the time I placed this one (a span of about three or four weeks, give or take), the entire United Kingdom was taken over by rogues and terrorists, and there are now no longer any legitimate business entities operating there. No, really, that’s true. Well, according to my bank, anyhow, since that’s what I gathered from them when I tried to figure out why they refused to pay the charge. The financial wizards behind the curtain have made the magical, irrevocable decision to refuse all transactions involving the UK indefinitely. For my own good, don’t you know, since it’s pretty obvious to everyone that this company I’ve been doing business with consistently for a year now is in fact a terrorist front. If only I weren’t so stupid, I’d have noticed that already.

In retrospect, I suppose the signs were there.

January 31st, 2009 Posted by | Bullshit, Warhammer 40k | no comments

Hey beta beta beta! Swing beta!

So the Dawn of War II multiplayer beta is open. I installed it, and was pretty psyched about trying it out, but it turns out that it’s public multiplayer only — the private and local modes are disabled. And you know what? Fuck public multiplayer.

Now I’ll give you that I’ve enjoyed public multi games when they’re carnage-centric; I had some fun playing Quake 3 with randoms back in the day, for example. But you know what’s never been fun? Playing a head-to-head strategy game online against random people (and what’s even less fun than that is playing a co-op strategy game with random people, but I’m reasonably sure the Dawn of War II beta doesn’t include the co-op mode). If I wanted to hang around listening to trash-talk from teenage stoners all day long, I could just turn the chat channels back on in World of Warcraft. They’re off for a reason.

I was keen to see how the new system would play, with its lower focus on base-building and resource accumulation and greater focus on actual combat and tactics; the sameness of building up your base in every single level is part of what puts me to sleep about typical RTS, so it’d be keen to see if maybe I can stay interested in Dawn of War II the whole way through its campaign. Also, hey, there’s a co-op campaign mode; maybe I’ll play with the wife.

This is a "Games for Windows — Live" game, which I’m given to understand basically means it uses Microsoft’s Xbox Live for the PC setup. And you know what? "Xbox Live for the PC" is a shit name, but it’s about a thousand times better than "Games for Windows — Live." Attention Microsoft: sack your employees in charge of coming up with service names ASAP. I’m also not really clear on why Relic isn’t just using Steam’s own game-stats-and-chat-and-acheivements system, but, hey, there you are.

Still and all, if anybody’s keen to try it, let me know how it is. I’ll probably get it when it comes out.

January 28th, 2009 Posted by | Games, Warhammer 40k | no comments

Double trouble

The Exorcist is one of my favourite tanks. Not only does it fill a much-needed long-range tank busting and anti-goddamn-Carnifex role for a Witch Hunters army, but it also looks absolutely insane. Stained glass? check. Pipe organ? Double check. The kit is a bit more expensive than most tanks, but I found out why when it got here: there are about seven hundred million parts, and half of them are metal. Which also means it’ll be the heaviest tank in my collection, easy.

Not all is sunshine and rainbows in tank land, however. As you can see in the below image…

The Missing Link

… there’s a piece missing. And not a trivial piece, either — an entire section of the pipe organ / missile launcher unit! And that’s my most favourite piece! So I e-mailed the store, and the dude there called Games Workshop, and they’re shipping me out a new one, so it’s fine.

I mean, they’re shipping me out an entire new tank. For free.

So what, you say? I’m still stuck with one incomplete Exorcist, which one must admit would look a bit pants on the battlefield. But there’s a catch here. Part of the reason the Exorcist kit costs as much as it does is because it’s basically a mod. The kit contains a whole bunch of metal parts to be used to convert an Immolator into the gigantic pipe organ of death. But since it’s a complete kit, and not a conversion kit, it also includes the base tank. Read: all necessary pieces to make a fully-functional Immolator are present in this box. The missing part is from the Exorcist conversion bits, so if I elect to build these bits into an Immolator, there won’t be any blemishes. And I can fancy it up with some of the Exorcist’s crazy decorative side panels if I so desire, since I have all that too. For free.

Games Workshop can feel free to send me kits with missing pieces as often as they like.

January 14th, 2009 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

Next up: Acolyte

My Acolyte, you may recall, looked like this last time I took a picture of him:


I think you’ll agree he’s progressed rather a bit since then.


Even my photography is improving a little. Of course, this time I left a noisy, distracting background in the shots, but, hey, what can I do? I can get off my lazy ass and get a proper photo tent is what. But enough about that. This picture really shows off the great shading effects that I got on the robe — the shadows look really deep. I’m also quite pleased with the final effect I got on the flames, even though I did have to paint over them a few times because I just wasn’t happy with it. And, no, that’s not a lopsided handlebar mustache — I’m not 100% sure what it is, but I expect it’s a breathing tube, since I imagine carrying all that fire around can make it a bit tough just to breathe open air.


I remembered, for once, to take a shot of the back of the model. Personally, I think this shot makes the flames look really nice, and it shows you those giant-ass fuel tanks he lugs around. Everything on this guy looks a bit dirtier than on my Inquisitor, and that’s by design; I figured, on the one hand, that an Acolyte wouldn’t be as pristine and sparkling as an actual Inquisitor, but, more to the point, he’s covered with goddamn fire. I thought that was likely to leave a bit of carbon residue all over everything. So I washed all the bronze bits in black to give that impression.


This side shot I mainly took so I could show off the purity seal hanging from his belt. It’s that white-ish bit below the black tube, more or less in the exact centre of the image. I was particularly pleased with the effect I got on that; a bit of Bleached Bone washed black, and then some black squiggles using a tiny brush to give the effect of writing on it. The base, you’ll notice, is the same as on my Inquisitor; my plan currently is to do all my bases more or less that way. We’ll see how that pans out, though.

January 6th, 2009 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

The Inquisition: What a show!

When we last saw my Inquisitor, he looked like this:

Inquisitor Lord

Since then, he’s come a long way. In fact, I’m declaring this model finished (except that I still haven’t sealed it because some asshole forgot to buy a can of Purity Seal while he was at the store today). Today, he looks like this:

Inquisitor Lord

Again, excuse the shitty photography. I’m working on it. And if you think these shots are bad, you should see the ones I DIDN’T use. Anyhow, this picture shows you an overall — as you can see, he’s not massively different from how he was before, just a whole lot more refined. Oh, and the base and flames are actually done, which they weren’t before.

Inquisitor Lord

Here you see a close-up of the front of the model (per usual, I totally forgot to take any pictures of the back — I’ll remember someday!), and, as you can see, it’s much more detailed than it was before. The shading is a lot more sophisticated, since I’ve added highlights and inks where appropriate (and, let’s face it, a whole lot of places where they’re not appropriate, too). I’ve done a lot of detail work also, such as the purity seal on the left breast area, and also on the face. Not that you can tell from this angle. Another change is the colour of the coat — it’s not immediately apparent looking at it in a vacuum (which was what I wanted), but instead of being flat black like it was in the first picture, it’s now a very dark grey accented with heavy black inking. The end result is something that looks black no matter how closely you stare at it, but is actually a more visually interesting and deep scheme.

Inquisitor Lord

This shot gives a clearer view of the sword and the base. You can see from the picture (I realise the focus isn’t right, yes) that I’ve added both a bit of gold and a bit of green to the blade of the sword; the intention was to give it something of a magical look, since it’s a force sword. For the base, I coated it with bog-standard painter’s putty and then cut rock shapes into it with a hobby knife.

Inquisitor Lord

Here’s a closer look at the base. I painted the whole thing grey and then washed it black, then I picked out the individual stones for highlighting, washing, and drybrushing. I then added a bit of scorched grass in the cracks here and there to make it look overgrown, and then painted and washed the grass a bit browner to make it look… browner.

I put a whole lot of work into this model, and I used a tremendous number of different paints on it (22 paints, 3 inks, and 6 washes). I wish my photography skills were up to the task so you could see him a bit better, but overall I’m very satisfied with this model. I just need to get to grips with the fact that I can’t put this kind of work into all of my models or I’ll never get the whole army done.

September 10th, 2008 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

New Edition

The fifth edition of Warhammer 40k came out last week, and I’ve finally read through the new rulebook sufficiently to comment on it. I have the fancy expensive Collector’s Edition, which contains the exact same material as the regular version, but is fancy and expensive. You can’t get one anymore (well, not straight from Games Workshop, anyway — you can try eBay, but there aren’t a lot there as of this writing, and you shouldn’t expect to pay a reasonable price there anyhow), but don’t worry about it — you’re not missing out on any content if you get the regular edition, just a bit of style.

The rules haven’t really changed very much since fourth edition; if this were a computer game, it would be version 4.1 (if not 3.6; fourth edition wasn’t massively different from third either). On the bright side, that means there’s no compatibility break — fourth-edition-compatible codices and supplements will work fine with the new rules with only minor tweaks; you can get the errata here, and it’s something on the order of two pages of errata per codex (and that’s cumulative errata going back to the first printing of the current version of each codex), which should give you an indication of how few major changes there really are. Why would Games Workshop cut a whole new rulebook for such minor changes? I’m sure I have no idea.

That said, what is changed is mostly good. Fourth edition’s peculiar mixed-armour-types resolution rules were downright bizarre, and that’s been cleaned up dramatically. We’ve gone back to a second-edition-style model’s-eye-view for LOS, instead of the weird "height classification" system. Vehicle rules are slightly more detailed without going back to the 2E/3E super-complicated style. The biggest rules change, though, is that there’s no longer any penalty for not shooting at the nearest enemy target — you’re free to shoot at whatever you can see and reach (noting that enemy models block LOS, so you can’t just ignore that big pile of Termagants standing between you and that irritating Zoanthrope). In addition to this, it’s now possible to "go to ground," sacrificing any chance to act in favour of improving survivability, and all units can now run and gain extra move if they don’t wish to attack.

There are no new factions added yet — those right-minded folks who play Imperium still have their choice of Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Witch Hunters, and Daemonhunters, and all those misguided xenophiles out there still have the choice of Space Elfs, Scary Space Elfs, Orks, Tyranids, Chaos Marines, Chaos Daemons, Necrons, and Tau. One of the nice new additions to the 5E rulebook is a set of reference charts in the back listing stats for all units and weapons in all armies, which makes it much easier to use the allies rules, and helps those of us, say, who run a Chimera with a multilaser, whose Witch Hunters codex is oddly missing the data for multilasers, and who lost our 3E Imperial Guard codex.

The book itself is organised the same was as the 4E book, with the first third consisting of the rules, the middle third the lore, and the back third the modeling and hobby material. The lore section ("Dark Millennium") goes into more practical detail and less theoretical detail than the 4E section of the same name, and the hobby section is less focused on the details of modeling and talks more about the hobby as a whole (tournaments and such have their own chapter, and it even includes a few White Dwarf-style battle reports). Everything except the rules section is in full colour, too, and there are lots of pictures of models and armies along with lots of artwork. There’s no photocopyable army roster this time around, but that’s fine, since it’s a pain in the balls to copy it out of a hardcover book anyhow, and a 40k army roster hardly has the complexity of a D&D character sheet. Regular lined paper works fine.

The 5E starter set isn’t available yet (or if it is I can’t find it; Games Workshop’s web site is kind of ass), but I’m told the armies involved will be Space Marines and Orks (just like the old days!), and it will come with a rather tremendous number of models. If it follows the 4E model, it will come with a paperback rulebook that has the entire "rules" section from the main book but none of the rest. If you’re not a 40k player, the 5E starter set is probably a great way to get into the game; the new rules are quite accessible and very well-laid-out, and it’ll provide you with a great core for a Marines or Orks army. Or, you know, both, if you’re in to that sort of thing. I’ve been playing since the ancient days before the invention of time (back then, there were no Necrons, no Tau, no Witch Hunters, no Daemonhunters, and no Spoooooky Elfs, the Tyranids were the hot new thing, and the next army to be released was supposedly going to be Squats — whatever happened to them?), and I have to say, while I wasn’t a big fan of 3E when it came out, 4E really fixed a lot of its issues (close-combat and vehicles), and 5E is a bit more polish. I do like where they’re going with the game.

In short, if you tried 40k back in 2E or 3E (there was technically a first edition, but it was sort of a completely different game) and the slowness and the complexity put you off, you should consider giving it another look. It’s a lot more playable now.

July 25th, 2008 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments