+inload: Beyond Gate 2022 and converting Algoryn tutorial +

+ Beyond Gate 2022 +

+ Algoryn AI hunt through the jungles of Ish. +

‘Two years ago, the Gates began to slip beneath the photosphere of the Great Engine, Antares. No-one could explain it, let alone slow or halt it.’

‘In a cascade – across a sun so large that it would fill Lost Earth’s sol system to the orbit of Jupiter – the Gates closed once more on the promise of civilisation.'
'None knew how long it would last, and once our gate closed, there was silence, and we shivered, and we mourned.’

‘And then… scarcely two years later, as best we can reckon it, the Gates began to re-emerge and re-open.’

‘Join me. Join us, as we go Beyond the Gates of Antares once more.’


+ With the War of the False Primarch still rumbling on over at +Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten+ (and if you haven't checked it out recently, do go give it a squizz), I'm being careful about stretching myself too thinly across multiple projects. +

+ That being said, the past couple of years have been tricky for people to make contact and share ideas – just like the Gates shutting in the Antares background. I've been turning up all sorts of cool Gate of Antares stuff here and there, and wanted to have something that would help hobbyists find inspiration and ideas from each other once more. Enter – #beyondgate2022 – a small initiative to allow all our disparate shards to reunite. +

+ It's very simple to get involved:

  • Post a picture of your Beyond the Gates of Antares models in a scene.
  • Add a little colour text.
  • Tag it with #beyondgate2022
+ That's it. Of course, if you want to spread the word, please feel free. The more, the merrier – and hopefully the initiative will help you to find new BtGoA models and hobbyists. +


+ Algoryn AI +

+ We had a look at the Armoured Infantry kit for the Algoryn Prosperate in the last inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and in my mini-review, I mentioned that I wanted to compare them with the Armoured Infantry Command Kit. Well, that's arrived, and I had a chance to bash 'em together. +

+ Most of the comments that apply to the standard AI kit apply here; the main differences are:
  • New leg poses – two are either duplicates or mirrored versions of the AI legs; though happily the better ones. 
  • Different weapons – AI command squads are armed with plasma carbines: better all round than mag guns. 
  • Command bits – You get an alternative torso back that marks out your commander, and a medi-drone rather than a gun drone.

+ The Good +

+ The three new leg poses are a huge improvement over the ones in the AI kit. Less dynamic, perhaps, they are far more versatile. Even unconverted, they allow for a variety of subdued poses, and the more open posture at the hip means they're also easily converted if you do want some more options. There's a little tutorial below if you want to give this a go. +

+ Importantly, I'm happy to report that the Armoured Infantry Command kit is completely interchangeable with the AI kit. Arms, legs, heads – everything swaps over nicely and is entirely mutually compatible. Indeed, even the iconography on the torso front is identical between kits. Here's an example of the kits used in concert. +

+ A mix of standard and converted arms and legs in this shot. These models were built using a combination of one AI infantry sprue and one AI Command sprue. +

+ I've got two of the Command Sprues and three of the AI sprues; the image above shows models built from a combination of both. Owing to the options on the AI sprue, you're able to arm ten bodies from just the AI sprue – so it's not a problem that you don't have any options in the command squad. If you're interested in using them for gaming, you'll be pleased to hear that the results are game-legal – the army list [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] allows the AI squads a great deal of variety in armament. +

+ It's worth noting that, while you get only plasma carbines on the Command sprue, it's easy as pie to trim off the gun and hand at the wrist and replace it with another gun from the AI sprue. This gives you access to more poses. While admittedly they're largely variants of the same pose, I thought it worth noting. Plastic makes converting these kits very easy. +

+ If you're happy to use the bare heads, there's also sufficient heads on the AI sprue to mean you can avoid the Command helms entirely – though as you can see below, the Command helmet style makes for a nice squad leader look. +

+ Leftovers from the infantry sprues allowed me to make this squad armed with mag repeaters and micro x-launchers. Note the squad leader in the centre. I'm oddly pleased with the natural pose on the open hand (second from left at the bacK). This was achieved by cutting between the middle and ring fingers, then gently pressing the ring and little finger inwards. +

+ The bad +

+ There are fewer options: this is a slightly smaller sprue, and you get just five sets of arms. Similarly, there's no sixth torso back that would allow you to make a 'normal' model in place of the officer. +

+ The command torso is on the right. If you're happy with a bit of chopping, it's a cinch to trim away the crest and get something near identical to the standard torso (left of image) +

+ I noted above that the torso front symbol is identical on both kits – and while this is great if you want a uniform appearance, I thought it only fair to mention here that this also means there's not actually much differentiation between AI and Command. It would have been nice to have at least some options to help personalise and customise your commander. +

+ Summary +

This is a better overall kit than the AI one, in my opinion. However, a couple of minor niggles stop it being ideal. While I understand that there's limited space on the sprue, I would have thought a couple of options would have made it a much more saleable product – an optional 'normal' torso back and some weapon options that complemented the AI squad would have made it great to combine. +

+ Since you are likely only to want one or two Command Squads, it seems a missed opportunity not to make this sprue work harder and provide an alternative 'normal' AI squad. All you'd need is the aforementioned torso back and perhaps two pairs of arms with mag repeaters. Alternatively, a D-spinner or two would have made this pull double-duty as an AI Assault Squad Command sprue. +

+ Another missed opportunity was the bare heads. I was disappointed to see that they were the same as on the other sprue – a particularly baffling decision, as the helms are different. As with the C3 Strike Squads, I'm left thinking that this kit is ripe for conversion packs – and some variant heads, arms and torsos would go a long way from turning this from a decent kit into a really good one. +

+ However, I don't want to complain too much. The 'bad' bits above are easy to overcome, and mainly mentioned out of a sense of completeness. Overall, while I think both the AI and Command sprues have drawbacks, they are also absolutely brilliant in combination. If you've picked up the Strike on Kara Nine starter set, or have otherwise got hold of some AI sprues, I thoroughly recommend you picking up a Command sprue or two. +


+ Converting the Algoryn Armoured Infantry legs +

+ I mentioned how I approached this in the last inload, but on the basis that pictures are considerably easier to follow, here's a step-by-step on the process. +

+ I've picked this particular pair of legs not because it's a particularly bad pose, but rather because it's got very little visible soft armour at the hip. That makes it amongst the hardest to convert. If you can manage this, you'll find the others a walk in the park. +

+ Needless to say, I hope, that you should be careful with knives. Use a fresh sharp blade if possible, and avoid cutting towards yourself. +

_I  Cut into the soft armour from an angle that allows you to work touching the hard armour. Work carefully and gently, not applying too much pressure. +

_II  When you think you'll start cutting into the hard armour or another element, withdraw the blade and come in again from another angle. +

_III  Cut in from different angles until the leg starts to come away. With the additional working room this gives you, start again from the first angle until the leg comes off.

_IV  Repeat on the other leg. Again, assess where you can get the knife in with minimum damage to the rest of the model. The less you damage it, the less you'll need to disguise or repair later. 

_V  In some case, you'll find it impossible to cut into the soft armour, as it's simply not present on the sculpt. In these instances, just cut as closely as you can to the central point between two hard armour plates and work particularly carefully. 

+ Tip +

Rest assured that it's not a disaster if you do cut into the hard armour. If you manage to stop in time, you'll likely be able to use a bit of polystyrene cement to repair the cut. If you've distorted the plastic with the width of the blade, use a brush to apply a small amount of polystyrene cement into the gap. Leave it for a few moments, then use the tip of the knife to pick up the inevitable tiny plastic offcuts and scrapings from cleaning the mouldlines and drop them into the gap. Keep doing so until it's partially filled and touch a hint more polystyrene cement on top. This will turn into a plasticy goo that will dry into a fairly clean surface. 

_VI  Now to fill the space in the hips to open out the posture a bit. You can, of course, do this with pinning and greenstuff, but here's how you can tackle it with plastic. The advantage of this approach is speed, and it's also very secure. Use your knife blade to gently trim off one of the circular shapes from the sprue, exactly as for the necks in the last inload. 

_VII  Cut the little disc in half to give you two 'D'-shapes. This gives us all the components. Spend a little time with a knife and file to gently clean the bits up and remove any hard angles. This will help disguise the conversion and give you more options of posing.

_VIII  Gently trim off the hard corners on the disc halves. The bottom left one is done, the top right is not yet.

_IX  Time to assemble. Glue the little discs to the pelvis, with the curve of the 'D' pointing outwards to replace the soft armour. Depending on how you place them, you'll open up different posing options. Bringing them forward on the hips, will swing the legs out to each side, for example, while rotating them so the curve of the 'D' points down to the ground will spread the feet apart. 

For more extreme poses, you can add a second 'D'-shape – the important thing is to make sure that part of each leg is still able to be glued to the pelvis part. This prevents the pose from becoming too exaggerated and unnatural.

_X  From here, it's just cleaning and tidying. You may find the plastic filling technique is sufficient, or you may prefer to build up with greenstuff – entirely up to you.


+ Tutorial complete – hope it comes in handy. If you give it a go, please do come show it off on the Facebook group page – or up on Instagram with the #beyondgate2022 tag. +

+ Now, I'm off to continue building the jungles of Ish... and then back to Omu for the arrival of some big-headed Vyess panhuman morph reinforcements. +

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