Monday 7 November 2016

Guest Post- Work in Progress: Getting Back Into Hobbying

This week's Guest Post is another from Darren Tse (he is on a roll at the moment!). Having recently just got back into 40k, Darren has written about his experiences of getting back into the hobbying aspect of 40k this week, detailing some of the challenges that he has faced. Be sure to check out the Youtube channel he helps contribute to, 1Plus Productions

Work in Progress- Part 1
by Darren Tse

Hi guys. I recently started playing 40k, and at first was quite reluctant to start the hobby side. I have played before, but way back in the early 90's, and let me tell you, hobbying back then was not fun. Models were poor, lacked detail, and were mostly lead or pewter. Nothing seemed to stick lead to lead very well. Things were not as snap and fit as they are today, and it was both impossible and potentially toxic to try and cut and shave your lead models. Primers sucked, did not stick, and generally removed any of the already lacking detail on the models. Paints were poor, and to wash, you actually had to mix up black with water to the perfect consistency. All in all, being a hobbyist back then took true dedication.

But apparently, so I’ve been told, that has all changed! Even fine-cast models are better, and the plastic is really a dream. Super detailed, snap and fit, and good plastic glue make modeling, kitbashing and converting a breeze. Very good paints, from multiple manufacturers, give the painter a plethora of choices. And allegedly, nuln oil is like liquid skill. So it was with great excitement that I decided to start hobbying again.

Up until this point, I had had a lot of my models commissioned. I wanted my things to look good on the tabletop, and did not feel I had the skill to do that. But having been encouraged by my fellow players, I’ve taken the plunge and started to hobby.

Over on our YouTube channel, you’ll see the video series called Work In Progress, which chronicles my somewhat amateurish forays into the hobbying world. These blog posts will accompany those video episodes, so please enjoy.

I decided right off the bat, with my limited hobby time and short attention span, that I would need some short projects and some longer term projects, and that I would need multiple projects to jump back and forth. I know myself, if I have just one project that has seemingly no end, I will end up quitting. So to keep the motivation high, I gotta keep it interesting. If you are like me, then I do recommend having several things on the go. However, if you are the type that can sit down and concentrate and finish one thing off at a time, then power to you!

1) Setting Up The Hobby Space
I recently moved, and my nice big basement has been turned into my 40k area. I got a big gaming table with plenty of shelving to store things, and bought up some studio lights for our video batreps. I used an old Mahjong table for my hobbying.

I did invest in a nice surface to work on, one of these self-healing cutting mats. It does help and protects your table surface. I then set about collecting all the various equipment I will need for hobbying.

I did invest in the Citadel sprue clipper. It is worth it. I couldn’t really find a similar super fine clipper in any of the hardware places, and this thing has made clipping sprues super fast and clean. It totally reduces the need for moldline removes (although you still need that). I haven’t had to touch my exacto knife at all, and its way safer for your fingers. The mold line remover is nice too, it's cheap and it makes cleaning flash and stubs and mold-lines a real breeze. Overall, 2 pieces of equipment worth buying.

My initial projects are all centered around my Dark Angels, so I know what colours I need. I decided to stick to GW for now, since there are plenty of guides out there in terms of colour choices, and I have no experience in terms of judging whether paints are good or bad. This at least makes picking colours easier for me, I can just look up good ole Duncan Rhodes on Warhammer TV and he lets me know what paints I need to get that GW look!

So following on from my experience at my first tournament recently, I’m trying to improve my list for December when the next tournament will be. I decided to change my Librarian on bike to a techmarine on a bike. This model does not exist of course, so I made this guy. I took an old fine-cast techmarine model (there’s no plastic yet) and had to put him on this spare Dark Vengeance bike. This is where the GW sprue cutter really came in handy. Instead of trying to cut the fine-cast in half with a knife, all I had to do was snip it in half with the clipper and BAM. Model cut in half. Took 2 seconds, zero fuss and a clean cut right across. It was quite amazing. After that, it was a simple affair of just trimming his backpack to fit the bike and putting on his very fiddly arms. But overall, it looks great. 

I am also bolstering my already large number of black knights with more, so I got another box of the command squad (which makes Ravenwing black knights). Funnily enough, it was missing one half-bike sprue, so I called GW and BOOM, 2 days later, I receive an entire new box of bikes, so I’ll end up with 9 extra bikes! It just so happens that I still managed to make that biker out of a dark vengeance bike I had lying around, so its like a free bike!

I love these models, they are so detailed and awesome looking, and I love how literally every single bike can be different, with different shoulders, legs, body pieces, helmets, and accessories to put on the back of the bike like these melta bombs.

My second project, more of a larger long-term project, is a Lion’s Blade strike force. This is the Dark Angels version of Gladius Strike Force. I managed to pick up most of it off eBay for a good price, all unpainted assembled marines with a few vehicles. I added some more rhinos and razorbacks to it and have been frantically assembling rhinos. 

The first rhino was an experience. I have never assembled one before, so between messing with those tread pieces, and reading instructions, and cleaning mold lines, it literally took me 3 hours. Wow. Luckily over the course of the following 7-8 rhinos, my time dropped significantly to about 15 minutes a Rhino, which is just as well, because it was becoming a bit of a chore!

To lead my Lion’s Blade, I require Company Master and a Chaplain. While I have a Chaplain on bike already for my Ravenwing force, the chaplain can’t take a bike in the Lion’s Blade, plus I likely won’t spend points on a bike, so I decided to make a new chaplain and put a jump pack on him instead. I got a hold of an old fine-cast chaplain that I really like the look of, and actually stole the jump pack off the new Blood Angels Death Company Chaplain, because I like the wings. The wings backpack is actually missing all the usual blood angels iconography, so basically just kitbashing it onto the back of my chaplain worked out great.

For the company masters, I wanted two versions; one with jump pack, and one without the Mace of Redemption. So I kitbashed these two from normal marine sprues with extras I had lying around. I’m still going to put a bunch of dark angels iconography on them to make them stand out a bit more as characters.

And here it is, my completely assembled and rejigged Lion’s Blade. It took me some time to alter a few assault marines to have flamers, and to rebase everything to the same size. I had to make a few more devastators and I’m still waiting for some grav cannons to arrive and will have to model those, probably replacing the heavy bolter and plasma cannons (I’ll keep the lascannons and multi meltas). Lots of tactical marines to boot. Will definitely be a fun, but long project.

I hope you enjoyed this installment of Work In Progress. Stay tuned here on the blog, or on our YouTube channel.

Thanks to Darren for another great guest post, can't wait to see the progress of his army. Got any hobby tips for Darren as a new hobbyist? 

If you would like to write a Guest Post for St Andrews Wargaming, please get in touch at 


  1. Wow, that's a serious amount of new modellage! And I thought I'd been building a lot of stuff recently!

  2. Cool hobby space! And welcome back to the plastic and resin krak habit ;)

  3. That is an impressive set up for battle reports! Also, on a side note, I don't think there are any restrictions for a Chaplain taking a Bike in the Lion's Blade Strike force.

  4. Unfortunately at the moment I can only quickly glance over the article (will read it properly at home), but one thing jumped out at me - FIFTEEN minutes per Rhino? Seriously? I must be really slow, because I'm happy when I get anything done in less than an hour :/ Welcome back anyhow!

  5. I wish I had a hobby space like that! Unfortunately my basement is about 5 foot high, cold and dark!

  6. 15 minutes a rhino! I think it takes me 15 minutes just to get the plastic wrap off the box! To say nothing of the time spent slowly sipping a hot cup of tea and scrutinising my bits box...

  7. Thanks guys. After so many rhino you get pretty fast at it. Plus the way things fit together means you don't even need to hold things together while it sticks so you can attack various parts of it in different orders and end up at a common ending in less time than if you did it in order

  8. Wow so after reading your post a bit more thoroughly I must say you really dove into the hobby side of things, good job! Seeing all those Razorbacks lined up, wow.

    I totally agree on the clipper by the way. I bought mine from Army Painter but it's more or less the same thing I bet. At first I was really hesitant because it was about 10 bucks, but it's one of the best hobby investments I made. The other would be an industrial grade needle file for getting those pesky mold lines removed.

    Thanks for the guest post!