Saturday, January 29, 2011

SP200 Photo Studio Review

So my wife bought me the SP200 Photo Studio for my birthday last week. I had a little bit of time to mess around with it and my first impressions are very good.

I have a Canon PowerShot SD780 and while it's not the greatest camera, I like it a lot and it does take really nice photos. I don't think the pictures on my blog are bad, but I definitely don't have the best lighting or a good backdrop and I want an easy way to take nice photos of my finished miniatures.

All of the miniature company's out there retouch their photos in Photoshop and that's definitely something I can do to make up for bad photography. Problem is, it's too time consuming and I'd rather spend time working on my various projects or just being lazy. While I don't have a ton of time with it, these are the pros and cons from my experiences so far.

  • Comes with everything you need including 2 lights, a tripod, the photo booth itself, and 4 different colored backdrops (red, blue, white, and black)
  • Folds up for easy storage and doubles as a carrying case
  • Good price at $50
  • Easy to set up

  • The lights seem to be cheaply made
  • Requires an entire table to setup correctly
  • Lights need to be plugged in (only an issue if you want to take it to a tournament and grab pics of someone's army)
  • Backdrops wrinkle easily and need to be ironed (I don't do ironing)

Overall, I'm definitely happy with it. I was having a bit of difficulty taking clear shots with single miniatures, but that is something I need to work on and has to do with my camera settings. Here are some sample pics with only minor tweaking in Photoshop.

My Death Company Rhino back from the 3rd Edition days. This model made final cut for Golden Demon, but didn't place because I glued it to a scenic base. I believe I might have been one of the first people to put a vehicle on a scenic base because no one else had them that year. The judges were arguing and one of them wanted to put it in, but the other bloke won out. Sissy. Reason I didn't win was because "I couldn't use it in a game". The only reason I glued it was so it wouldn't fall and get broken.

This is the Baal Predator that I entered in the following year at Golden Demon. That year I didn't make any cut because I didn't bring a scenic base! Seems I started a trend the year prior and everyone was sporting cool bases. I was so upset about the irony that I never entered Golden Demon again...

The old and the new. That's the first Blood Angels figure I painted along with my latest converted Razorback.

Once you have a nice picture like this, you can take it into Photoshop and trim out the background. This is currently what Games Workshop does with all of their new miniature photography.

Once the background is trimmed, you can make your pics all retro style with the gradient tool like in the old 'Eavy Metal Painting Guides!

So in conclusion, I think the SP200 Photo Studio is pretty awesome and I'll definitely get my uses out of it. I have seen higher end photo tents like this and while this isn't ready for publication in White Dwarf, it suits me fine for my hobby.

Tomorrow is our monthly gathering of the DED 'ARD Gaming Club and we have a couple new faces this week with Necrons and Imperial Guard. I'll take some pics of our games and post them in the next few days.

Till then,
–The Harrower

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Stormraven Gunship Build

Was just cruising the 'net this morning and I found this really awesome Blog post by Disdainful from Capture and Control were he does a review and build of the Stormraven.

There are a lot of new pics and it looks like you can swap out a Razorback turret for the canopied turret on the top as well as leave out the intake. I know that will make a lot of people happy.

I can't wait to get hold of mine. My first Stormraven is going to be black with red "X's" everywhere and will be toting around a Death Company Dreadnaught with Blood Talons. It's going to be sweet and I'm sure I'll do my own walk through when I finally get the kit in February.

Still working on my review of the SP200 Photo Studio In a Box. I should have that up later this weekend.

–The Harrower

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Converting a Lascannon Twin-linked Plasmagun Turret

As promised, here's the tutorial on how to convert a lascannon and a twin-linked plasmagun turret. This is what you'll need to get started:
For the 40K bitz, I'd again recommend Hoard O' Bits on eBay. If you already followed my twin-linked assault cannons tutorial, you should already have the bit we'll be using from the Raven Wing assault cannon. Now that we have what we need, let's get to it.

Step 1: Cut the lascannon barrel from the housing. Use whatever method works best for you. I've been leaning more toward using an x-acto knife and cleaning up the edges with a needle file as I have a hard time cutting straight with a saw. I wouldn't cut the right lascannon like I did in the below pic. Use the left lascannon and I'll explain why later.

Step 2: Cut the front of the assault cannon from the housing. Keep the assault cannon bit and put it in your bitz box. You never know when you an use those extra pieces! Now, take the housing and cut it in half at the end of the ribbed piece like in the pics below.

Step 3: Cut off the tips of the plasmaguns at the redline below. I don't have a picture of this step because I ended up changing the turret before I glued everything together.

Step 4: Clean up any mold lines and dry fit the turret to ensure that it fits. You want to assemble your turret by following the pictures below and using liquid cement. The reason I suggested to cut the barrel of the left lascannon earlier is because the bit from the assault cannon appears to have plasma coils on only the one side and I think it looks better. You can click the below right pic and look at the red circled area to see what I am talking about.

Step 5: Use the pin vise to drill out the gun barrels and fill in any unsightly gaps with super glue. Let everything dry and paint it up!  When you are done, it should look like the below pics.

That's it for this tutorial. I hope you enjoyed the article. If you have any questions or comments please let  me know. I am currently in the process of working on my new gaming tables. I hope to have a tutorial on them soon.

I did get this photostudio in a box kit for my birthday today which should make taking pictures of my miniatures a lot easier. I plan to give it a try this weekend and post a review.

Till next time,
–The Harrower

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blood Angels Stormraven Pics!

Another quick update. Ancient God strikes again!

Games Workshop, I take it all back. This model looks amazing. I'll take 3.

The tutorial on the Razorback lascannon and twin-linked plasmagun will be up in the next day or two.

–The Harrower

Blood Angels Dreadnought pics!

Just a quick update. These were posted by Ancient God over on WarSeer.


I think this kit looks awesome. magna-grapple is a little weird, but I'll get used to it. Thoughts?

Till next time,
–The Harrower

Monday, January 17, 2011

Converting a Heavy Flamer Turret for a Razorback Part 2

Last time, I discussed the bitz you'll need to convert a twin-linked heavy flamer turret for a Razorback as well as the tools that I use and links to where you can buy them. If you missed it, make sure you check out part 1.  Let's get on with the tutorial.

Step 1: You want to cut the tips off of the heavy bolters and the heavy flamers. There's a couple different ways you can do this. You can use a saw, plastic cutters, or an x-acto knife. I tend to use all 3 methods. Use what works best for you. I typically don't get the straightest cuts with the saw and I end up straightening everything out with the needle file. You can click on these pictures for a larger image. Make sure to cut the heavy flamers where the edge is in the below pic.

Step 2: Clean up the edges with a needle file so everything is nice and smooth and glue the pieces together with liquid cement. If you cut the heavy flamer like you were supposed to, there is going to be a gap on the one side. This is okay as we will fix this later, but you might have a hard time getting this to sit right. When you are using liquid cement, don't just put the glue there and stick the two parts together. You want to make circular motions and rub the parts together at the contact point so the glue starts to work. I left flash on both pieces and used that to line them up. When you are done, your heavy flamer barrels should look like the below pic.

Step 3: While the main gun barrels are drying, pop off the tips of each of the LEGO® hoses and cut them in half with an x-acto knife. You don't have to be dead center, just relatively close. The hoses are going to sit down inside the Rhino body, so it isn't a big deal if one is longer than the other. Once they are cut in half, cut off the tips were the connector pieces were. Be a bit more careful here as you'll need a  flat surface that we can glue to in our next step.

Step 4: On the bottom of the heavy flamer bit is a little round disc of plastic that you want to shave off. I just used the x-acto knife and filed it smooth. This is where our hoses are going to connect to the bottom of the heavy flamer. Take some super glue and attach the hoses here. I also put a little bit of super glue between the heavy flamer and heavy bolter piece for added strength and let it dry. While that was drying, I cut 2 small rectangles of plastic card and attached them to the side of the heavy flamer over the holes with liquid cement. Again, make sure to rub the squares against the gun so the glue starts to work. I didn't make my squares exactly the same, because one is in the middle of the guns that you won't see and once they are painted you won't be able to tell the difference. When you are done with this step, it should look like the below pic.

Step 5: At this point, you want to assemble your turret. After I did, I found there was a lot of extra tension on the hoses and the turret was difficult to move up and down. While the hoses seemed fine, I didn't want them to break off later or in the middle of a game. Turn the turret upside down and cut off the entire front piece of plastic ring. I'd also recommend widening the hole at the front of the turret with a needle file until the turret can freely move up and down with just a little resistance.

Step 6: Clean up the flash and any unsightly gaps or holes and dry fit your turret to make sure that everything fits together. Oh, and don't forget to use your pin vise and drill out your gun barrels! Pet peeve of mine is guns with no barrels. When you are done, it should look like the below pic.

Step 7: Prime all of the pieces black, paint everything up, and glue it all together and you should end up with a nice turret for your Razorback.

The Razorback above just has base colors on it right now and just a few washes and no highlighting or weathering. I need to add a lot before I call it done, but I want to get basic painting on my entire army before I finish anything. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Please leave me some feedback and ask questions so I know that you guys are getting something out of this. Also, if you do your own conversion, let me know and I'll post it here.

There is a lot that I am currently working and have planned for the blog in the coming weeks:
  • I'm currently working on replacing my gaming tables and I'll have a tutorial on how you can make two 4'x6' tables for under $100
  • Farseer Frank has agreed to come back from his Craftworld and report on his first tournament experience at Conflict GT
  • I'm planning on converting a Space Marine Drop Pod to a Dreadnaught Drop Pod from this awesome article that was posted by There is Only War...
  • I'll have some more conversion tutorials as I continue to work on my Razorbacks and move on to my Sanguinary Priests
Next time, I'll jump right into another tutorial and show you how to convert a lascannon and twin-linked plasmagun turret for a Razorback. See the pic for a sneak peek.

Till then,
–The Harrower

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Blood Angels Stormraven Sprue Pics!

These sprue pics turned turned up today on WarSeer and poster Jimbo1701 had actually added the labels. I know I was complaining about the Stormraven earlier and saying that I wasn't happy with it, but I've really warmed up to it since it was leaked back in November.

There are a lot of great bitz on these sprues including some nice Blood Angels icons and even some icons for the upcoming Grey Knights release. I'm curious how many people will be utilizing this new turret on their Razorbacks?

Till next time,
–The Harrower

Converting a Heavy Flamer Turret for a Razorback Part 1

I've been seriously falling behind on the Liber Sanguinis articles. Now that the holidays are behind me and I have an impromptu month off of school, I'll be able to post more frequently over the next few weeks.

I just got a fairly large order in from TheWarStore and I wanted to start working more on my models. Since my Razorbacks are the closest to being finished and I wanted all of my options to be WYSIWYG, I figured I'd work on the twin-linked heavy flamer turret for my Death Company.

To the left is a picture of what the final conversion will look like. Let's get to it.

Below is a list of the bitz you'll need to get started as well as the tools I use and links to where you can get your own:

For the 40K bitz, I'd recommend my favorite bitz seller on eBay, Hoard O' Bits. This dude ships extremely fast, his prices are very reasonable, and you won't get raped on shipping charges. If you need to purchase a new twin-linked heavy bolter, I'd actually recommend going with the one from the Chaos Land Raider.

Maybe it's just my luck, but all of the ones I have from the Razorback kit don't fit properly and I always need to drill out the hole where the guns attach to the post. It's not a deal breaker, but it is something to consider. Also from what I noticed these auctions seem to end cheaper on eBay. I'd assume its because most people are using Razorback in the search string when they need to buy a turret. You may want to buy a couple extra heavy bolters by themselves if you are worried about making a mistake. They are only a few dollars from Hoard O' Bits and spares are always good to have.

For the LEGO® hoses, these have been sitting in my bitz box for years. I would head to eBay and do a search for lego hose. Be careful not to buy the technic hoses. You want the flexible ones. Looks like you can get 8 of them for like $2.50 which is more than you'll ever need. Now you could leave these out and just cover up the holes with plastic card. I honestly think this is what really makes the conversion look good and is what is lacking on all of the other conversions I've seen.

With the plastic card, you just need a really small piece for added stability (1" x 1" is plenty). I have tons of plastic card laying around that I got at Games Day from Chris Fitzpatrick years ago when he still worked at Games Workshop. You can buy a plastic For Sale sign at Lowes or Home Depot or even just use the plastic from a blister pack. Next time, I'll go through all of the steps and put the turret together. 

I almost forgot, Farseer Frank is actually at the Conflict GT in West Nyack, NY this weekend. Him and Dan are hopefully tearing it up and showing those poor fools what  DED 'ARD is all about! I didn't get to go this time because I wouldn't have had my army done in time. Hopefully I can get Farseer Frank to return from his hiatus and report on how his first tournament experience went.

Till then,
–The Harrower

EDIT: Part 2 is now posted! Check it out here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

New Blood Angels Dreadnought Pics!

These pics have been circling around the 'net today. I have to say these look really awesome and I couldn't be more pleased. I'm definitely going to pick up a couple of these when they are released and dump the Venerable Chaplain Dreadnought I got from Forge World since I haven't put it together yet.

I really like how you get 3 different Dreadnought sarcophaguses on the same sprue as well as enough bitz to create 2 sets of close combat arms (1 with blood fists and 1 with blood talons). I just wish they would put this up for preorder already.

I've been working on a tutorial showing how I have been converting a twin-linked heavy flamer for my Death Company Razorback as my next Liber Sanguinis article. I'll post that in the next day or two.

Until then,
–The Harrower

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Games Workshop stock prices plummet

I saw this posted over on Beasts of War and I thought I would share.

Games Workshop saw its share price dive as it faces tough trading conditions in the entertainment market.
Sales of its fantasy figurines and other products fell 4% in the six months to 28 November compared with a year earlier.
The company further warned that "difficult trading conditions since that time mean that this shortfall is unlikely to be recovered by the year end".
As a result, the firm feared that profits for the year to May were unlikely to meet market expectations.
Shares in Games Workshop fell nearly 18% in early London trading.

You can view the full article here.

I'm not sure what to think. I'm really not too surprised as the topic of Games Workshop's prices being too high has been a topic for ages various forums. I'm not going to bash GW or anything as I really think that their miniatures are the best.

I do have to say that there are a few people I know that have been playing wargames forever that won't buy any of their models due to their inflated prices. They just use stand ins from other miniatures lines.

My recent $250 order from the WarStore pretty much shows I'll pay premium prices for cool models.

What do you guys think? Are the yearly price increases finally catching up with Games Workshop? Is this just a sign of times or is this because the products they released in Q4 were just not that desirable?

Add your comments and let me know.

Till next time,
–The Harrower