The Chances Of Anything Coming From Mars… – Part 2

It’s been the best part of twenty years since I started banging on about wanting to paint an Adeptus Mechanicus army, almost six years since miniatures for them were released and nine months since I finally got a couple of Skitarii painted. For that matter it’s also been one week since you looked at me, cocked your head to the side and said, “We need to talk about Mars” and five days since you laughed at me saying “The Omnissiah demands you get your shit together and paint His legions!”. Anyway, at long last my two Skitarii have been joined by two more.

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Really I should have painted another to round out a squad but the uncanny powers of Tzeentch with which I’ve been tampering over recent weeks have clearly addled what was left of my common sense.

Skitarii Warhammer 40k AdMech Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

I’m not going to pretend that more of these will follow straight away, I’ve got more Tzeentch and the Fembruary challenge lined up which I want to concentrate on, but I am determined that after that I’ll give the armies of Sacred Mars the love and attention they have been denied for so long.


The Rise and Fall of the Roo-mineth Realmhoppers

There’s all kinds of elves in Games Workshop’s Mortal Realms. As well as the various survivors from Old Warhammer who’ve been gathered until the mish-mash banner of the Cities of Sigmar, there are the underwater dwelling Idoneth Deepkin, the blood-mad part snake/part bat/part woman/all lunatic mob of the Daughters of Khaine and the Sylvaneth, who’re arguably not elves at all but part of the shrubbery. Then there’s the Lumineth Realm-Lords, who used to be thought of as “the normal ones”. Until now that is…

I’m not usually that keen on elves, and when I am I tend to enjoy the savage forest-dwelling type far more than their pompous “civilised” kinsfolk. Nonetheless I have a bit of a soft-spot for the immaculately turned out Lumineth. I often felt that their launch last year did them something of a disservice, delayed as it was by the outbreak of Covid-19 and falling close to the limelight-hogging launch of Warhammer 40k’s 9th Edition. The initial range was fairly small, and full of relatively expensive models, and I often thought they could use receiving an injection of new miniatures to expand the range. Now, it seems, that is exactly what’s going to happen. Blurry photographs began circulating online, either taken by a eejit with a very old phone camera or deliberately released by GW themselves, and have been followed up by a full preview of the forthcoming miniatures, the Hurakan Windchargers. They’re not what I was expecting…

Kangaroo Elves

Regular readers will know I’m all in favour of creativity. Fantasy should be about exploring new ideas, embracing originality rather than rehashing the same old ground. Just because Tolkien liked a concept doesn’t mean it’s all there is to life. On top of that I support those artists and writers willing to look beyond the borders of Europe in search of ideas. It’s currently very trendy to scour the world for as broad a range of concepts as possible (except when that’s cultural appropriation of course – gotta walk that fine line!) but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. However, and I’m sure you knew there was going to be a “but” in here somewhere – kangaroos? Kanga-bloody-roos?!

Now I know, before anyone says “well actually”, that these aren’t really kangaroos but rather mish-mash animal that attempts, and sadly fails, to sell the idea of a species which has evolved in the Mortal Realms rather than been borrowed entirely from Earth’s ecology. However there’s so much kangaroo in there they might as well not have bothered.

I have no beef with kangaroos personally (some of my best friends are kangaroos!), and I know they can be vicious in a fight. If someone came charging at me on a kangaroo that was two meters tall at the shoulder I wouldn’t be laughing about it I can tell you. However you’d be hard-pressed to argue that they are noble looking beasts.

Treerunner 2

It’s clear from looking at them that these new beasts move with an inverted-pendulum motion, one limb planted firmly on the ground, one raised, just the same as ourselves and many other biped and quadraped animals do. However once again the mental association with kangaroos rears its head because from childhood we’re introduced to kangaroos and every toddler knows that kangaroos bounce. We can’t help but look at these and picture them hopping around, with the poor elves clinging on for dear life and trying not to lose their lunches whilst arrows go flying all over the place. What works for goblins with squigs just doesn’t work for High Elves. Despite all the qualities of these models, and all the arguments that could be made in their favour, one has to ask – did no-one at Games Workshop have the courage to stand up at a meeting and say “Kangaroos? Are you sure?” Have no doubt about it, for every person who thinks these look cool and adds them to their army, there will be a dozen mates who see them across the table and say “Strewth mate”, “What’s that Skippy?” and as many other antipodean clichés they can think of. To be honest the rather painful cod-Australian accent attempted by the Warhammer Community team in their preview video may not have been a wise move, there’s steering into the skid and then there’s just deliberately driving off the road and into a field. 

It was perhaps unfortunate that the first image to be leaked online, and seized upon by those sites which specialise in Warhammer Roomours (I couldn’t resist!) was this, the most kangaroo-like of the lot.

Treerunner 1

There’s something about these that makes me think of creatures from the Star Wars universe. It’s probably this which made me realise that they could work well as steeds for Eldar Exodites. Quite why I’m comfortable with that idea but can’t quite get my head around seeing them in the Mortal Realms is another issue, and probably says more about me than it does about the models themselves.

Still, these are not the first unusual animals to make their way into the Lumineth range. The elves can already call upon the Spirits of the Mountain, a beast that is part bull and part mountain (so that would be a Moontain then wouldn’t it?). Some fans, myself included, think these look downright magnificent, whilst others complain that there’s nothing scary or warlike about a cow (and from that we can deduce which of us have been chased by angry cows and which have not…).

Moontain

That said neither cows nor kangaroos are traditional war-beasts. Perhaps in the next wave of models we’ll see a creature that combines these two species into a monster that bounds over blocks of enemy troops whilst spraying them indiscriminately with milk. They could call it the Roominant.

Living in an ivory tower can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Games Workshop have often come across as being wilfully out of touch with what the fanbase thinks and wants. Now this is no bad thing, it certainly hasn’t hurt our enjoyment or their profits. Sure there are times when we end up shouting “Why won’t you release (insert miniature I want to see currently here)” but a quick glance at the “pile of shame” lurking on, under and around the painting desk tells me that they’ve still managed to release plenty of things I did want to buy. So whilst the fact that, for example, they seemed utterly unaware for years that Sisters of Battle might just be a tiny bit popular and worthy of a kit or two seems like wilful ignorance, it’s worth keeping in mind that the fanbase is a many headed beast, unable to agree on anything beyond a general satisfaction with what Games Workshop produced. It’s very much a self-policing system, if we’re not happy with what they make then we stop buying it, and the evidence is clearly there in GW’s executives’ bank balances that, on the whole, we’re very happy indeed. Yet if you look around online you’d be left thinking that the fan base stood on the verge of open revolt, mere moments from storming Nottingham and dragging the entire design studio out into the street by their heels. Perhaps it’s simply the case that, with time for hobbies being a finite resource, some people spend it buying and painting miniatures and others spend it sitting on the internet bitching.

Still, this feels like a case in which Games Workshop’s traditional secrecy has done them no favours. These are the kind of models where I feel that, within the confines of the studio, an echo-chamber of enthusiasm built up, with everyone working on the models being too close to see them for what they are. Which – love ’em or hate ’em – is kangaroos. Saying “They’re not really kangaroos, they’re Hurakan Windchargers on Treerunners” whilst throwing in some self-deprecating humour by doing only-vaguely credible Oz accents is bolting the stable door long after the horse has gone hopping off down the street.

It’s much like telling a joke, if you have to explain it then it hasn’t worked. Similarly if you have to say “look, the position of their legs clearly shows that they run with a side-to-side motion much like a horse. They don’t hop, their necks are far too long and who ever heard of a kangaroo with horns?” then it’s probably because people are looking at them and only seeing kangaroos. Perhaps in time I’ll change my mind, but for now these miss the mark for me. Probably because their steeds keep bouncing up and down…

Treerunner 3

However despite all this mickey-taking that I’ve indulged in here, it hasn’t all been bad news and questionable models. Alongside the Hurakan Windchargers we’ve seen the new Vanari Lord Regent. I don’t imagine that I’ll start a Lumineth army (although I’ll admit I do feel tempted at times) but if I did then this would be the guy I’d want to lead it.

Vanari Lord Regent

Elves riding kangaroos may not do much for me but combining a cat with a wildebeest turns out to be a spark of uncommon genius. Anyway, now you know all about kangaroos but do you know what a kangaroot is? Why it’s a Scotsman stuck in a lift of course!  


What Next Dark Gods?

Ask any fan of Chaos in the Mortal Realms where the biggest gap in the range was and, if they were honest with themselves, most would probably have agreed it was Slaaneshi mortals. Over the last few years times have been good for those like me who worship the Ruinous Powers. We now have well developed ranges with unique models and a distinctive aesthetic for each of the gods (that’s Khorne; god of war and violence, Nurgle; god of plague and decay, Tzeentch; god of magic and change and Slaanesh; god of decadence and excess). Gone are the days when I differentiated my Khornate troops from your followers of Nurgle because I painted mine red and you painted yours green. For a while there only Slaanesh, the longest neglected of the four gods, was left with a limited range but Games Workshop have turned that around in style, first by bolstering the daemons with some fantastic new recruits and now with a soon to be released wave of mortal followers, the first we’ve seen for Slaanesh in a very long time.

Shardspeaker

It’s a huge boost to the range and the miniatures are exquisite, but rather than talk about them I’m here to speculate baselessly instead! Once the Dark Prince has his mortal followers in tow where might Games Workshop turn their attention next? Of course they might come up with something wildly different, the Mortal Realms offers a lot of scope and potential as the Warcry warbands proved, and if they went off to stake out new territory with something a bit more unusual I’d be all in favour. Plus there still gaps to be filled in the current ranges, I’d like to see unique looking daemon princes for each god for instance, light infantry for Nurgle and beastmen for both Nurgle and Khorne.

Indeed, speaking of which I just kitbashed a pestigor to join a little Nurgle warband which has been whispering in the corner of my brain lately. Shall we sneak a peek at him before we begin? Oh go on then!

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Beastmen

Ah the beastmen, men who have become beasts and beasts who have devolved into something akin to men. The horned ones, the true children of ruin who lurk in the wild places, driven by a hatred of all that is civilised and orderly. I’ve always had a bit of a soft-spot for these shaggy barbarians, being hairy and uncouth myself. In fact, now I think about it it’s strange that I’ve never really painted many of them – something I’ll have to rectify.

Beastmen 2

This range of models dates back to Warhammer as was, and although there are some excellent models in there it also leans heavily on a lot of older sculpts, bulked out by models borrowed from other ranges like the Tzaangors. Plus there’s the fact that, despite beastmen being traditionally described as an amalgamation of beasts and men, “goatmen” might be a better name for them nowadays. Those of us who are still steeped in the old Realm of Chaos era will recall beastmen which hybridised all kinds of beasts with all kinds of men, but nowadays the braying despoilers of the forests seem to be almost exclusively Pan-like creatures with hooves, horns and long ovine faces. Far be it from me to question their commitment to disorder but a little more chaos in the mix wouldn’t hurt! The birdlike Tzaangors (see below for a couple of them that I’m currently working on) and the lanky, sinuous Slaangors which are soon to be released go to prove that Games Workshop aren’t unwilling to break out of the goat archetype however, and beasts of Khorne and Nurgle don’t seem too much to hope for someday either.

Tzaangors AoS Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer

Slaves To Darkness

Take a look at the Slaves to Darkness range (that’s humans sworn to serve Chaos undivided rather than dedicated to just one of the gods) and at first glance it looks pretty healthy, packed with lots of kits, many of which were released in the last year or so. Dig a little deeper however and you start to release that most of the range comes either from the Warriors of Chaos from the WHFB era or, in the case of the newer models, are borrowed from Warcry. Now personally I love Warcry, in fact I tend to take things from Age of Sigmar to make Warcry warbands rather than the other way around, but I’m glad to see the Warcry warbands given a home in AoS armies all the same. Likewise I was a big fan of the Warriors of Chaos and that range has some great miniatures that I’m pleased to see are still available.

Warriors of Chaos

However there are some models in there which are undoubtedly past their best, like the Chosen and the Marauders. Plus there’s the fact that, before the End Times, the Warriors of Chaos made use of all kinds of troops dedicated to specific gods, all of which have since been split off to form new factions of their own. With them gone the range has been left looking a little thin. Time to give it a bit of a boost. Thanks to Warcry we know what the warbands seeking to join the Everchosen’s legions look like, but what about those legions themselves. Time to bring the warriors Sigmar abandoned into the modern era – after all we don’t want that weakling thunder god to think he’s getting everything his own way now do we?

Darkoath Tribesmen

In the old days, when the heavily armoured warriors of chaos marched south to attack the Old World they did so surrounded by hordes of barbarian tribesmen, clothes-phobic folk who’s hardiness and bitterness against the weakling southerners may be partially explained by the fact that they lived in a frozen wasteland but nobody seemed to own a shirt. In this regard people from the British Isles will recognise them as being essentially Geordies.

Marauders2

There are a few contenders for the title of “Worst Model in the GW Stable”, the Zombies and Skaven Plague Monks spring to mind, but the Chaos Marauders really have made a spirited attempt to claim that throne. Just a quick glance is enough to tell you that they’re past their best, if indeed there was ever a time when they looked anything other than awful.

Marauders models

 For a while there was a persistent rumour (and we all know how reliable those are eh!) from those who claimed to be “in the know” that Games Workshop were planning a new faction based around a range of new Marauder kits. Nothing has ever come of it, although we have seen a range of new Marauder equivalents in the form of the Warcry warbands, as well as troops dedicated to specific gods like the Bloodreavers of Khorne, the Kairic Acolytes of Tzeentch and the forthcoming Blissbarb Archers of Slaanesh, each of which is close to the Marauder archetype of old, and the Godsworn Hunt from Warhammer Underworlds. The rumour may have proved to be either a case of mistaken identity or wishful thinking but it’s still a good idea so who knows, perhaps someday we shall see the Slaves to Darkness split into two factions, the grim heavily armoured foot soldiers of the gods and the shirtless savages of the tribes?

Skaven

I know I sound like a stuck record here so I’ll keep it brief. The perfidious ratmen were my favourite faction from WHFB and over recent years I’ve painted up quite an army of them. Shall we remind ourselves of how they look? How could I ever pass up the opportunity!

Skaven Army Shot 3

Of course being a fan of the Skaven means being a glutton for punishment. Despite their ongoing popularity the range hasn’t seen much love in a long time and many of them models are so old they came off the Ark, and so rough they look like they were sculpted by the animals therein (and not the ones with opposable thumbs) rather than Noah himself. Get the finger out GW, give my rats some love!

Chaos Dwarfs

An industrious race of slavers and daemonsmiths the Chaos Dwarfs were the Old World’s finest bull-appreciators and big hat wearers, famed for putting Nagash to shame when it came to outsized headgear. They were also wearing big cow horns on their hats long before Johnny-come-latelys like the Lumineth Realmlords rocked up.

Chaos Dwarfs

By the later era of WHFB however they were almost extinct, their range of models long out of production and their sole surviving representatives the crew of the Hellcannon.

Chaos Dwarfs 2

With the Hellcannon going the way of all things when AoS was launched the Chaos Dwarves passed into history, in the main Games Workshop range at least. Forge World however have done their bit to keep them alive in the form of the Legion of Azgorh.  

Infernal Guard Command

Fantastic those these models are, a range which leans heavily on large and complicated daemon engines such as the Dreadquake Mortar (below) is going to be tricky in resin, and much easier for the average hobbyist to manage in plastic. Time to bring the bearded ones back I say!

Dreadquake Mortar

Chaos Gargants

From one end of the scale to the other, if we’re going to have Chaos Dwarves then why not Chaos Gargants? It’s not much of a leap really, there are already Chaos Giants and the new Mega Gargant kit contains a variant, the Warstomper, which can be taken by Chaos forces. Already I’ve seen plenty of them converted to be even more chaotic just as when the Imperial Knight kit was released many of us started welding on spikes to turn them into engines of the gods. After a few years of this GW yielded to the inevitable and produced a dedicated Chaos Knight kit, so it doesn’t seem beyond the realms of possibility that the same thing might happen with the Gargants.

Warstomper

Ogres and Trolls

Back in the old days all kinds of trolls and ogres shambled to war alongside the Warriors of Chaos. These days however such creatures exist almost exclusively under the remit of the Destruction faction (those who are particularly long in the tooth will recall Chaos orcs but let’s not go that far back!). There’s no reason not to bring these brutes back though, perhaps under the banner of the Slaves to Darkness or the Beastmen, or even as a faction of their own. Alternatively there could be versions of each of these incorporated into the four armies of the gods, each tainted and twisted by the favour of their particular patron, just like the Bile Trolls and Plague Ogres that formed part of Tamurkhan’s Horde in the latter days of WHFB. Regardless of which route was taken these brutes have plenty of potential, after all, as the Trogherds of the Gloomspite Gits demonstrated, people love big ugly monsters. 

Those are my picks for the future development of Chaos in the Mortal Realms but what about you? Are there any of the candidates above you think are particularly deserving, or any that you would have preferred to see abandoned to the history books? Is there a faction in waiting that I’ve overlooked? As ever the comments section is all yours. 


Change Need We – Part 4

Just a quick update to the Tzeentchian cult as, with complex and arcane movements of my brushes, I summon a Flamer from the Realm of Chaos. This is a hell of a weird creature isn’t it, I must admit before I painted one myself I didn’t ‘get’ it at all. It grew on me whilst I was working on it though and it was certainly a fine chance to play around with bright colours and magical effects.

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Next up, more misguided humans who have sold their souls to the Changer of Ways.


Need We Change? – Part 3

For my Tzeentchian cult I want a proper mix of Chaos monstrosities and other dubious characters. Those that have been following me for a while will know that alongside humans and daemons a few beastmen are an absolute must in my book. Plus I’ve been wanting to paint some of the new Tzaangors since they were first released back in November of 2016 (which I guess means they’re not exactly new are they? Time I got on with it then eh!). I really like these models but they are hellishly fiddly to paint, you’ve got to be in the mood for all the little details if you’re going to do them justice. The other thing which delayed me has been trying to choose a suitable colour scheme, I’m not overly enamoured of the blue skin used by the Games Workshop studio team, despite weird colours being very much part of Tzeentch’s repertoire I want something a little more natural for mine. Of course when it comes to Tzeentch natural is a relative term…

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However that doesn’t mean I’ve packed the blue paints away – in fact they’ve been hard at work as I powered through a few more Blue Horrors.

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Some readers may recall this partly-pink Blue Horror which I showed recently.

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He got quite a good response from everyone who saw him and I enjoyed painting him so much that I took the idea even further with this one. Don’t worry though, it’s not a trick I’m planning to overuse until it descends into cliché, I’ll keep the others relatively normal looking and blue from now on.

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Lastly I painted up a few more Brimstone Horrors, so that should those Blue Horrors meet their unnatural end they too can divide into malevolent magical sprites. I painted the first one as living flame in the same style as the studio models but with these I decided to go for a range of different colours. That way in the middle of a game it’s easier to point out exactly which one you’re talking about “I’ll attack the green one” rather than “No the one on the left, no my left, no not that one… etc”. Who could have guessed that someday I’d use gaming rather than purely aesthetic reasons for choosing a paint scheme – it seems we live in strange and interesting times indeed! That said I reckon the range of bright colours look great, they were fun to do and they add to the Tzeentchian aesthetic so it’s all to the good.

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Anyway, that’s it for the moment, I’ve still got various other Tzeentchian oddballs sitting around on the desk and at the moment I’m not sure which I’ll tackle next, but I’ll aim to have something else finished for the Changer of Ways by the end of the week.


We Need Change – Part 2

If I’m going to have a warband of creepy Tzeentchian types, dedicated to complex schemes and the destruction of order and structure in all forms, then a few daemons are a must. Unfortunately the rank and file of these daemons are the Pink Horrors and for my money they’re some of the worst models in GW’s catalogue.  Just take a look at these ghastly things.

Pink Horrors New

Horrors is definitely the word! Something else is clearly in order. I’ve kitbashed a few alternatives over the years but never really settled on anything that I liked. Continuing in that proud tradition these are my latest attempts to conjure up some horrors, this time blending the plague bearers (in my view the best of the four lesser daemons, these models practically paint themselves) with the less offensive parts of the standard horrors. I tried to pass off the various wounds in the plague bearers as the flesh of the horrors reshaping itself, with results which – to be frank – look mixed. I also went for a darker paint scheme which hopefully helps make them look more brooding and ghastly and less shite than the studio versions.

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I’m still not entirely satisfied with these and only time will tell whether I decided in the end that I’m happy with them or if I want to try something else. Either way I have another one part-painted on the desk so I’ll finish it up as well and see how I feel after that. As usual any thoughts or feedback is very welcome of course.


Change We Need – Part 1

Over Christmas and New Year, in between decking the halls with social baubles and passing round the hand-santaiser I found the time to fall under the sway of an insidious cult of madness and mutation, dedicating myself to change regardless of the cost. I’ve had a scheme for a while now to start a collection of Tzeentchian cabalists and their daemonic allies with which to either carry out labyrinthine schemes of complex evil or get a few games of Warcry in, whichever proves to be more straightforward. This time we’ll be taking a look at everything I finished over the break and hopefully later in the week I’ll have a couple more done as well.

My plan is to put together a warband containing both daemons and mortals with roughly a thousand points of each. That way I’ll end up with two warbands to use in the game, sometimes as allies sometimes as adversaries depending on the schemes of the Changer of Ways. At the same time I can paint the whole thing as a single project, with each “side” providing inspiration for the other. It should also help me not to get bogged down, if I get bored of daemons I can switch to mortals and vice versa. 

To get things started we have a pair of Kairic Acolytes. These are the human followers of Tzeentch, petty sorcerers and schemers who make up the rank and file of the cult. This first one is taken from the (now no longer available) Silver Tower game. Whilst I don’t own a copy of Silver Tower (sadly as I’ve heard it was a lot of fun) I do own some of the models from it and this guy is one of them. There was a bit of damage to the blade which I tried to cover over with a magical effect, although honestly I’m not entirely convinced it’s worked. It looks better in hand that it does in these pictures but it’s still not quite right. Damn it, what do you people want from me – perfection?!

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Whilst the last model was built exactly as the designer intended this one has been given a few tweaks as I tried to play up the strangeness that comes from being part of a Tzeentchian cabal. He’s also the first miniature that I completed in 2021, so he’s my contribution to the “First of the Year” challenge currently being run by Ann’s Immaterium.

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I also added some horrors which will form part of the daemonic contingent. My dislike of the Pink Horror models is well known, although I have a scheme to do something about that which should be ready to show off in a day or so. I am however rather fond of their smaller cousins the Blue Horrors and I’ve got quite a few of them gathered on the table waiting for attention.

When a Pink Horror is killed it splits in half, forming two bickering Blue Horrors, each of which is busy blaming the other and complaining about whose fault it is that they were slain and ended up losing their gestalt status as the superior pink form. I wanted to capture this by painting the large hand on this one in pink, it’s either the last part of him to dissolve or he’s just about to grow back into a fully fledged pink horror.

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Once he was finished I realised that I’d enjoyed painting him so much I painted another straight away. 

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If things go really badly a Blue Horror may end up getting killed again, at which point all that’s left is a spark of barely sentiment, spite driven magic; a Brimstone Horror.

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Like the Blue Horrors I’ve got plenty of these kicking around the painting desk so expect to see more of them in the coming weeks. First things first though, I need to do something about those horrible Pink Horror models. It’s a bit experimental and I’m not entirely sure it’s going to work so watch this space!


2020 – For Anyone Who Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up

Well, that was 2020 was it? The year which shall henceforth be referred to with the tagline “If you like dramatic global upheavals you’ll love this!”. Honestly I wonder how the script writers for 2021 can ever hope to top it. Well done on making it to the end by the way, assuming of course that there’s anyone else out there and this message from my lonely bunker isn’t going out to a world stripped bare, echoing across weed-choked streets, rusted vehicles and piles of corpses with startlingly clean bums. 

I started the year with a picture of a Noise Marine and the bombastic declaration “Alright 2020, let’s get this party started!”. With retrospect I should probably have said something more like “Is it safe to come out?” to which the answer would of course have been a firm “no”. 

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Still, it was a good year for fans of painting miniatures, with many of us achieving a guru-like status as we taught our friends and communities how it’s actually very easy to remain indoors for weeks at a time. With huge piles of plastic, lead and resin stashed around our homes we were ready to do the right thing, socially isolating with the vigour and aplomb of true heroes. Frankly I’m disappointed that my efforts in the public good have not been recognised by inclusion in the New Year’s Honours list, although of course if the Queen is reading this it’s never too late to pick up the phone. Alternatively erecting a statue of me would be entirely appropriate, especially as there are a lot of empty plinths around these days. 

The pandemic which raged throughout the year played merry hell with miniatures’ releases but we still saw some very cool new stuff all the same, starting with the long awaited return of the Sisters of Battle. For as long as I’ve been a hobbyist (and we’re talking a loooong time now) people have been saying “But when will the Sisters of Battle get new models” to which Games Workshop have replied “Meh… I dunno – someday maybe?” Finally however sense was seen, and the armies of the Adepta Sororitas marched. After such a long wait, and a considerable build up, GW managed to sneak them out of their warehouses and into the hands of hobbyists with the apocalypse already close at hand. Were they worth the wait? Damn right they were!

Triumph of Saint Katherine

I’ll admit that the Sisters aren’t one of my favourite armies, and that I watched this release with detached interest rather than avid fanaticism, but there’s no denying these are gorgeous models. Could there be a small army of them in my future? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted.

Junith Eruita

We also saw the launch of Warhammer 40k’s Ninth edition in July, bringing with it a wave of new releases for both Space Marines (as ever!) and Necrons. These latter have been inveigling themselves into my heart for pretty much the entirety of my hobby career so it was probably inevitable that this was the moment when I took the plunge and fell under the spell of our new mechanical overlords. Plus, with centrepiece models like the C’tan Shard of the Void Dragon how could I resist?

Shard of the Void Dragon

Rumour has it that I found one of these underneath the Christmas tree this year…

The new edition was spearheaded by the launch of the Indomitus boxset. On the whole Indomitus lead to a lot of mixed feelings – on the one hand the models were fantastic, on the other it sold out in less than 15 minutes and many fans (yours truly included) weren’t able to secure a copy before they were all snapped up by scalpers to be resold on ebay. Note to self; spend 2021 convincing Games Workshop that I count as some kind of “influencer” and should be sent plenty of free models… Obviously such rapid sales of the set must have caused delight amongst GW shareholders but it left something of a bad taste amongst fans. Luckily those shadowy overlords in Nottingham aren’t entirely daft and what looked set to be a spectacularly public own-goal was transformed at the last moment, rebounding off the bar at the final moment to the delight of the crowd. The set was rereleased via the “Made to Order” service, leaving those cheeky chappies on ebay with egg on their faces. In the end even I was able to get my grubby paws on a copy. Of course I’ve not actually painted very much of it yet but to be fair it took until a few weeks ago for it to actually reach me so I’ve not had a great deal of time. Expect to see my Space Marines reinforced, and perhaps even growing into a proper army at last sometime in the coming months. To begin with however I’m going to opening up the stasis tombs and ordering the machine legions of my dynasty to march forth and reconquer the stars. I’ve already spent a lot of time tinkering around trying to come up with a suitable colour scheme (probably to the frustration of my readers, as I bounced excitedly from one idea to the next). I think I’ve made up my mind though so hopefully real progress will be made soon.

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Over in Age of Sigmar two new armies emerged, sneaking their way to release between one lockdown and another. As a fan of both Chaos and Destruction (the AoS Grand Alliances not the global events!) I must confess I was drawn to the mighty Mega Gargants and even wrote a piece on the subject. However somewhat surprisingly it was the Lumineth Realmlords, successors to the High Elves of Ulthuan from the WHFB era that ended up on my painting desk. So far I’ve only finished one of them but I’m highly tempted to put together a Warcry warband of these snooty gits in the near future.  Indeed despite my long standing affiliation with the grubbier and more evil side of fantasy I painted two high elves this year, one from the days of WHFB and one of the new Lumineth. Don’t worry, I don’t think it’ll become a habit!

Elves Wudugast ConvertOrDie

And just to keep things balanced I countered these supercilious swines with a couple of old-fashioned, down-to-earth dwarves. I keep promising that someday I’ll paint a whole army of them…

Dwarves Wudugast ConvertOrDie

Necromunda started the year with a bit of a bang, launching the House of Chains – a book dedicated to exploring House Goliath as never before. After that things became a little messy, with Covid shaking up the release schedule, but by the end House of Blades (Escher), House of Iron (Orlock) and House of Artifice (Van Saar) arrived – with the postman dropping off this little lot just before Christmas.

House of Artifice

 Indeed with four more books in hand I’m starting to build up a nice little Necromundan library.

Necromunda Books

When I wasn’t reading about the gangs of Hive City I found time to paint them instead, with a Cawdor crusade joining the Goliaths, Eschers, Van Saar, Genestealer Cults and Chaos Helots already active in the underhive.

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That said my other gangs aren’t as far forward as I would have liked – something to work on in 2021.

Necromunda Gangs Wudugast ConvertOrDie

On the other hand I did manage to assemble a small mob of civilians with which to populate Hive City’s roughest districts…

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…And a clan of muties to come crawling up out of the badzones during the downshifts to gobble up unwary workers.

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After a quiet start 2020 also proved to be a big year for Blood Bowl. Not only was there a new edition launched, and a nice new boxset to go with it, plus four new teams (including the two in the box) but, in even bigger news, I finally got around to painting my Orc team.

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Did I stop there? Did I hell! After claiming that a human team would be following along (and they will – you just have to be patient) I instead started working on a couple of elves for an Elven Union team. Expect to see more of them at some point in 2021.

Blood Bowl Wudugast ConvertOrDie Elves

Oh and I painted a very old undead player who after years lost in someone’s garage has now risen to shamble forth once more.

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Best of all though, just before the end of the year I painted that hero of the sporting arena, Akhorne the squirrel.

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However when it comes to skirmish games the biggest news round my house this year was far and away Warcry. Over the course of the year I put together warbands of the Iron Golem…

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… the savage Untamed Beasts…

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… the spooky ghosts of the Nighthaunt…

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… the ghoulish Flesh-Eater Courts…

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… the rascally Gloomspite Gits…

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… barbaric Orcs…

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…and some big fat ogres.

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Continuing the fantasy theme but pushing into even stranger territory I painted up a set of the weird and wonderful forest dwellers created by Ana from Gardens of Hecate.

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And I even dipped a toe into Lord of the Rings and painted up a few orcs to serve the dark lord of Mordor.

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Although fantasy rather than sci-fi seems to have dominated my output this year I certainly haven’t forgotten about the 41st Millennium (as the aforementioned Necrons go to prove). Indeed the biggest project I tackled all year belongs firmly to the Dark Millennium and the twisted warlords who rampage out of the Eye of Terror. That’s right, I finally finished my Chaos Knight!

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Nor was that the only thing I tackled for the forces of the Chaos space marines and their various allies. The global pandemic may have put me off painting very much from the forces of Nurgle but it didn’t stop me from completing my 40-strong mob of poxwalkers. Each of these plague zombies is unique – and if you’re curious to see how I converted them to achieve that there’s a showcase you can pour over here.

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Against such threats the defence of the Imperium remains a little thin on the ground, although I did get around to painting up a few soldiers of the Adeptus Mechanicus at long last. There will be more in 2021 (I promise!).

Ad Mech ConvertOrDie Wudugast 40k

In terms of getting miniatures painted then I didn’t have a bad year all told. By my tally I painted 161 models (although I’m writing this with a few days to go so I might manage to add a couple more to that before the bells, in fact I might even have done it before this is published). In terms of output that’s a bit of a step down compared to the last couple of years (2019 ended with 250 miniatures finished, and 2018 with 277. Mind you a lot of those were Skaven and Night Goblins, and exactly none of them were Chaos Knights…). This year however was the first year in which, as well as keeping a monthly tally of models painted I also started keeping a record of how many I bought (the penny finally dropping that if I’m going to collect data I ought to make it meaningful). I think I’ll keep the latter number to myself as it’s embarrassingly high. Let’s just say it’s a little higher than the number I painted and leave it at that – despite my love of Slaanesh, boasting about excess isn’t really my style. In 2021 I’m going to try to rein this in a little, to buy a lot less and to concentrate on painting the models I already own. I make no promises that temptation won’t get the better of me sometimes but at the end of the day I don’t have the cash to squander on models that never get assembled let alone painted so a bit more restraint is going to be in order.

Beyond that however I’m not going to set myself any hobby goals for 2021, I tried that in 2019 and the results were pretty hit and miss! I do however have lots of schemes I’d like to tackle (more Warcry warbands of course, more Necromunda, a second Blood Bowl team and a whole dynasty of Necrons for starters). Before any of that happens however I just need to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year, and all the best for 2021. Oh and if Grandfather Nurgle comes anywhere near you tell the poxy git to get lost – we’ve seen quite enough of his sort this year!


Turning It Up To Elven

I know I said that my next Blood Bowl project would be the humans (modified to make them feel a bit more “Warhammer” and a bit less like real world sportsmen) but I’ve only gone and been distracted by some elves. I’ve had this project in mind for ages, since way back before the Elven Union Blood Bowl team was even released in fact. Following the release of the 2016 edition of the game, but before the production of an official plastic elven team, many people used the Harlequin models from Warhammer 40k as able substitutes. I liked the concept but at time I wasn’t particularly enthused about Blood Bowl, and if I’m honest even less about filthy elves, so it looked likely that that would be that. Then GW launched the elf team and I found myself less excited still. The models didn’t seem terribly interesting and the colour-scheme used for the studio models has to rank amongst the most ghastly combinations they’ve ever come up with, which only served to put me off even further. I think it was safe to say I wouldn’t be buying a box of these guys, uh uh – no way!

Loud Elf

I mean just look at that, it’s enough to put anyone off their lunch. And yet, here we are, because despite deciding firmly that I wouldn’t be touching these with a bargepole I promptly became obsessed with how I’d do them differently. I started looking at other people’s models and the colour schemes they’d used and that in turn lead me back to those old Harlequin based conversions. The Elven Union, I came to realise, are actually really nice models, there’s a greater sense of speed and movement to them than almost anywhere else in GW’s stable. It’s just that, much like the aforementioned Human team, there’s not very much about them that looks like it belongs in a Warhammer universe. As sporting elves go they’re painfully generic.

Luckily I managed to get my mitts on some Harlequin heads and tried them out on a couple of models. The results look good to my eye, and feel more “Warhammer” than the untouched models, but without being able to figure out a good colour scheme they sat unpainted for a long time. Then, with the Orc team pretty much complete (for now) I got the itch to pick them up and start playing with paint – and I’m very pleased with the end results (if I do say so myself!).

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Now not all of the elves in the team will have Harlequin heads, I’ve already built a couple of them straight out of the box, but I’ll be going for a mix of the two styles and hopefully ending up with something that looks cohesive across the team.

Anyway, that’s not all the Blood Bowl activity I have to show today. Acting on advice I was given by several wise Blood Bowl gurus who frequent the comment’s section of this blog (thanks guys) I stuck the two turn markers I painted for the orc team onto bases to stop the damn things falling over all the time. To my eye it looks a lot better, gives me a chance to decorate them a bit further and of course makes them a lot more functional.

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Finally I’ve painted up my first Blood Bowl star player. He’s one part sporting titan, one part adorable forest creature – and his rules were free with November’s White Dwarf. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Akhorne the squirrel!

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For anyone wondering, you can get him for free if you buy one of the new treemen (or alternatively if you buy him you get a free treeman – it depends how you look at it). He’s quite the tiddly little dude as this comparison shot next to an Orc and a Goblin demonstrates.

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Anyway, that’s it for this time and probably everything for this year. Life is looking set to be busy over the next couple of weeks and although I’ll definitely be trying to find some time to paint I don’t know that I’ll manage to blog about it as well. I will however try to put together a round-up post before we lurch our way into a hopefully-slightly-less-apocalyptic 2021. In the meantime all that’s left is for me to wish all my readers a merry Christmas, wherever you and are and whatever you’re doing I hope you’re able to find a little time to sit back, relax and enjoy our hobby.


It Takes A Village – Part 4

Now don’t get over-excited, I’ve not managed to convert and paint up even more 40k civilians over the last few days (although I do have a few WIPs waiting for paint, and more ideas than I can shake a servo-skull at knocking around inside my brain and demanding attention). However when I went to pack away the latest additions, the butcher and the lady of purchasable affections, I realised that I’ve managed to complete a fair number of them now. Maybe not enough for a village quite yet, and certainly not the entire population of Hive City, but perhaps enough for an underhive holestead and certainly enough to justify a group shot (I know it looks tiny but give it a click and you’ll get a proper view).

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As we hurtled wildly towards the end of 2020 life beyond our hobby is keeping me busy enough that I suspect I won’t manage many more posts before the New Year. That said I do have some Blood Bowl players near to completion so all being well you should at least see those pop up in the next few days.