Monthly Archives: November 2014

No Pain, No Gain

Sometimes you find an old miniature that you were once really proud of and discover that it simply no longer cuts the mustard. Maybe the paintjob that you were sure was worthy of Golden Daemon turns out to be a little shabby at best, or maybe that amazing conversion has become, with the passage of years, a rough hackjob fit only for the bitzbox. For me that model is this Painboy.

What A Pain (1)What A Pain (2)What A Pain (3)

When I first finished him I was so proud. Look at him running (running!) into battle on his peg-leg, so keen is he to start chopping up the ladz and fixing them up with some shiny new repairs (whether they need them or not). With retrospect I’m not so pleased. Of course I’m not here to do your job for you, I’m sure you can criticise him yourself if that’s what you want to do. Suffice to say I wasn’t entirely happy anymore. My main issue with him is the head. It’s one of my favourite Ogre heads (and I already have a use in mind for it) but there’s nothing remotely Orky about it, and certainly nothing that says “demented surgeon about to perform unnecessary surgery”. With a surge of mad zeal any Painboy would find familiar I decided to decapitate him at once (in suitably brutal Conan-esque style).


With that done I set about making some improvements. Here he is with his finished base and stylish new head. Incidentally the syringes attached to his belt were made from space-marine scroll cases, a little bit of repurposing that I’m rather proud of.

Painboy (1)Painboy (2)Painboy (3)Painboy (4)Painboy (5)

And here’s the whole ‘mad-surgery crew’ ready to start chopping up the boys (or anyone else that comes too close).


Overall I’m really pleased with this update which has brought this model back to his former standing in the collection (rather than shoved to a place of shame at the back of the shelf). Hopefully you like him too – if you have any comments or feedback then the comments box below is the place for you. Nobs are up next!

Might Makes Right

Work on the Orks continues apace, with attention this time on my old Warboss. Sooner or later a customised Warboss will be rising from the heap of bitz in which he currently resides, kicking heads and taking charge of my Ork collection, so this chap’s tenure in command is likely to be coming to an end. He’s had a good innings though, having served as master of the Laughing Faces tribe ever since I bought the Assault on Black Reach starter set and painted him in a whirlwind of enthusiasm a few Christmases ago. He may be one of those model’s that’s become somewhat ubiquitous (at a guess 99% of Ork players own at least one) but he remains a damn fine model and an excellent centrepiece to any collection. Unfortunately I’m arrogant and demanding, and as a result must have a unique warboss – not a carbon copy of everyone else’s. I still love him though so he had to be next in line for a getting a slight touch-up (not much mind you – if I’d poured as much time and effort into the rest of the collection as I did into him I wouldn’t have needed to go through this whole ‘refreshing’ exercise in the first place).

Ork Warboss Wudugast (1)Ork Warboss Wudugast (2)Ork Warboss Wudugast (3)Ork Warboss Wudugast (4)Ork Warboss Wudugast (5)Ork Warboss Wudugast (6)

Hopefully you’re enjoying this wave of Orky enthusiasm as much as I am, if not don’t worry – there’s some Chaos in the pipeline! As ever if you think he’s propa or you reckon I’m just messin’ about let me know in the box below. Cheers!

Like A Surgeon

I mentioned in the last post that I’d made myself a promise that I wouldn’t buy any new Orks until I’d finished fixing up the ones I already owned. I also confessed that I had broken this promise almost straight away, but that I felt justified in doing so. Facing the facts I decided that I really didn’t like the new plastic Painboy (I may have been a little critical in my review back here and the passage of time has only seen my opinion of this model worsen). Having a suspicion that when it went out of stock it wouldn’t be replaced I decided to snap up the old (and perfectly serviceable) finecast model before it went the way of the Squat and was replaced altogether by this plastic monstrosity. (Some people would have you believe that purchasing a model in “Failcast” is a similar, but slightly less preferable, experience to having a GW exec come round to your house and punch you in the gullet. I found there was nothing wrong with it* making the need to replace it with the unimpressive plastic version less than pressing. Why, why could we not have had a new plastic Warboss**, rather than this grinning loon absurdly obsessed with his own disproportionally huge hand?)

*In the interest of full disclosure I’ll admit there were a few bubbles in the resin, but liquid greenstuff was enough to patch them up and I managed to restrain myself from throwing a major tantrum on every forum I could think of.

**Don’t even think it pedants, a limited-run boxset-only slightly altered version of a model from the old Assault on Black Reach starterset doesn’t count round my house!

Anyway, before my ranting starts to frighten everyone away, here’s my freshly painted Painboy.



painboy-convert-or-die-4And here’s his grot-orderly sidekick/assistant.


painboy-convert-or-die-5The Painboy was always one of my favourite Ork models but one I never got round to buying. I’m really pleased to have him now though, especially as he marks the first new model of my return to the Orks (apart from the Nob – built from bitz – that I showed last week but that’s splitting hairs!). Anyway, hope you’re enjoying the current wave of Orks on the blog because there’s more on the way!

If the Boyz Wanna Fight (You Better Let ‘em)

I don’t usually make vows, promises, threats or grand claims about my hobby, and I certainly try to avoid deadlines. This is for fun after all, I have enough of that at work. However, way back at the start of the year I decided to dust off my old Orks and freshen them up a bit; tone down some of the more garish paintwork, fix some of those early conversions to which time has not been kind, sort out unfinished bases and so on. I then did pretty close to nothing about it until the new Orks were released back in June, spurring me into a flurry of activity. Since then I’ve carried on in fits and starts and now, with the year drawing to a close, I’d really like to see this project done. If nothing else I made myself a promise that I wouldn’t start buying new Orks until I’d finished sorting out the ones I already owned (a promise I broke almost straight away – with justification – hopefully more on that in the next week or so).

Anyway, so you can all laugh at me when I fail to come close to achieving this goal, here’s what I’m aiming for at the moment. Not including the boys I’ll show you in a moment I’m aiming to finish off; 1 Truck, 2 Pain Boys, 1 Warboss, 1 Big Mek, some Nobs (can’t remember how many at the moment), 3 Deffcopters, 4 Lootas, 6 Burna Boys, 5 Stormboys and maybe a Weirdboy. I’m not really setting myself a deadline but if I can get these bad boys in the bag by New Year(-ish) I’ll be pretty happy. As I’ve got quite a lot of other things on between now and then it may very well not happen so I’ll not be pushing myself too hard. Anyway, here’s a look at what I’ve managed so far. First off, a whole load of boys. ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-34


ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-22This Evil Suns boy has had his bike nicked (again). Not to worry, those nice Death Skull lads have one just like it, only in blue, and they’re offering it to him for a knockdown price. Bargain!ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-3

ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-25 Maybe it’s just because I’ve been painting Orks and listening to death metal at the same time so much lately but I can’t help but notice that the lyric “Waaaarrgh!” seems to come up a lot. Who knew those guys were so keen on Orks? ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-1

ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-15 This boy would appear to actually be aiming his slugga. He must be new. That’s not how things are done around here at all! ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-23


ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-12 The last few I worked on were the ones that needed the most effort, having powered through the easier ones earlier on I now had to get down to dealing with those that needed head or weapons swaps.


ork-boy-convert-or-die-40k-20As I finished off the squad I realised there was a missing element – a Nob to lead them (or at least hit them enough that they stopped messing about fighting each other and actually had a go at the enemy). There are already plenty of plastic Nobs in my army (more on them in a later post) so obviously I could just move one of them sideways into a new role. However they’re all pretty massive when compared with the boys and as a result didn’t look like a cohesive part of the squad. Instead I decided to build a new, slightly more subtle, Nob out of plastic bits that I had kicking around. As I worked on him I realised he is the first Ork I’ve painted from scratch in almost four years. Boss NobBoss NobBoss Nob Overall I’m really pleased with how he came out, the paint job is deliberately dirty but then if you want nice clean colours then go and mess about with those pointy-eared pansy Eldar – an Ork is too busy fighting to do his laundry! Ork Mob Emboldened by painting the Boss Nob I rattled through this guy in fairly short order as well, especially as he’d been cluttering up my painting desk for a very long time indeed. (To be fair, he had been undercoated. Isn’t that what they mean by Black Orcs? Boom boom…). Ard Boy He’ll be the first of a squad of ‘Ard Boys based off the Black Orc bodies (a fairly common conversion but if it ain’t broke…). I want to finish off everything that’s already in progress though before I start on them. Fingers crossed as the End Times keep rolling in Warhammer we might see some new Orc models (can’t see the boys missing out on a big fight like this) giving us Ork fans another opportunity to get lootin’.

Long Live New Flesh

Familiarity, we’re often reminded, breeds contempt and whilst I can’t say I’ve ever been contemptuous of the Dark Vengeance Helbrute I have become over time a little complacent. It’s undeniably a modern classic and that, combined with it being in the starter boxset, means that everyone and their dog has at least one in their collection if they play Chaos. All of which means that, although my reaction when it was first revealed was to pick my jaw up from the floor, the passage of time means that now I barely give them a second glance – excepting stand-out painting or radical conversions. Mine languished in the box whilst more exciting projects held my attention.

Finally assembling him then proved to be something of a revelation. This is one of those miniatures that cries out to be painted as is, without conversion, at least once (not that I’ve managed to resist a bit of modification for long – more on that below).

It’s well established in the background fiction that to be interred in a Helbrute is no honour  but rather a punishment, a tormented existence from which there can come no glory, nor ascension to daemonhood. Encased beneath such powerful weapons and armour even the freedom of death is unlikely and so the punishment of life within a Helbrute may last for millennia. Looking at him you have to wonder what crime he committed to deserve such a fate. What’s more there’s something so perfectly arrogant about subjecting someone to such a tortured existence, giving them every reason to despise you with whatever shreds of sanity they retain, and at the same time arming them to the teeth. No wonder they’re kept chained up. It’s brutal, yet it’s also pragmatic, turning them into a weapon and unleashing their hate against your enemies. Better still it serves as a reminder to your other followers of the price of crossing their lord. Amongst the followers of Chaos it really is better to be feared than loved, and so the message conveyed by the Helbrute is clear; kill me and take my position at the head of the warband and you’re one step closer to impressing the Gods and becoming a Daemon Prince – but fail and this is what I will do to you. It’s more than enough to make all but the most determined usurper think twice.

Given that I prefer infantry sized figures to larger models and tend to take forever to finish the bigger kits (my previous Helbrute proving to be a particular slog) this one proved to a surprisingly easy model to paint. The large areas of flesh and armour have enough detail to them to keep them interesting, rather than becoming intimidating blank spaces, without getting to the point of being outright fiddly. I powered through him in a few brief sessions (albeit several months apart –I’m not a saint alright!) and am pretty pleased with the end result.
Some of the details are just excellently weird and hideous. Look at this – he’s got a mouth in his hand! I mean, look at it! Talk about living hand to mouth…
I was so excited about getting this bad-boy finished that I’ve already started work on another, built from a combination of the Dark Vengeance Helbrute and its standard counterpart. Here’s a work-in-progress image of it. This one will be dedicated to Khorne (shame there isn’t a way to represent that in the rules really), a berserker used to tear apart enemy strong-points and allow the rest of the blood-crazed warband to rush in behind it.
As ever, thanks for reading, comments are welcome in the box below!

Leader of the Rats

Hard though it is for me to believe, today this blog is one year old. To celebrate I thought I’d upload a picture of this truly ancient ‘ratman’ which was given to me as a present by a friend of mine when I was aged about twelve (at a guess) and which started my love of miniatures. In spite of a few lengthy hiatuses down the years I’m still messing around with tiny warriors nearly two decades on so, although I may have long ago lost touch long ago with the original owner and painter of this model, it only seems fair to say “Cheers David, wherever you are now”.


Skaven 1

I didn’t know it at the time but this ‘ratman’ (with his rather natty shield design, classic nineties goblin-green base and ‘warhammer’) was, or would become, part of a race of skittish, conniving, self-interested cowards known as the Skaven. These treacherous vermin would come back to me years later when their most recent army book was released (ancient history for a lot of you as well I’m sure – let me get my pipe and slippers). Straight away I was grabbed by them, with their endless ranks of scruffy, bloodthirsty infantry with rusty weapons and weird, ramshackle war-machines (actually does this not sound rather similar to my Ork and Chaos armies…). I bought the army book the week it was released (pretty rare for me now and even more so back then) and launched myself into the start of a Skaven army. Seasoned readers may have guessed by the lack of any ratmen in previous posts that this never really took off as I abandoned the Horned Rat (and the Old World altogether) to instead launch a Black Crusade in the far future. However I’ve not been immune to all the End Times’ related excitement that’s drawing some much needed attention to Warhammer at the moment and thought this would be a good time to dust off my old Skaven and give them a moment in the limelight.

Skaven 2

Here’s the Clawleader, complete with a scavenged Dwarf shield as a trophy. It’s not easy to make out but there’s also some broken dwarf symbols decorating his base. I like the idea of Skaven and Dwarves as natural enemies (far more so than uppity High Elves) and using a few Dwarf bits to spice up some of the rats seemed an obvious way to show this and add a little narrative to the units.

And here’s the rest of the scabrous clan so far.

I made this Skaven Slave as an experiment before attempting to build a full squad. As a model I’m rather pleased with it but ultimately it was a lot of work to convert and as the rules called for at least another 19 I was understandably put off. Nice though a proper swarm of them would look it won’t be happening any time soon but I’m sure he can skulk along at the back of the clanrat pack.

As I mentioned one of my favourite elements of the Skaven army are the ramshackle war-machines and crazy inventions, especially the weapon’s teams that accompany the swarms of clanrats. Reading the description of the Doomflayer in the army book I knew I wanted one – as I said I think of the Skaven as being petty much constantly at war with the Dwarves (when not cooking up some other nefarious scheme that calls for them to make one of their periodic invasions of the surface world). A Doomflayer, I reckoned, would be the perfect thing for driving the beard-things out of their halls. Back then however there wasn’t an official model available so, like any twitchy warlock engineer being prodded towards the battlelines by a few angry stormvermin I had to come up with something inventive.
Doomflayer (1)Doomflayer (2)Doomflayer (3)
This shot shows a little detail I’m still rather proud of, a little vat of warpstone which – presumably – does something to fire the murderous engines turning below.
The failing of the Skaven, for me, is the difficulty in converting the models. Although the clanrats are great, and fit together very nicely to make of make large swarms of individually unique vermin, they don’t convert easily into other units – nor do they cross pollinate well with many of the other ranges and armies available. Thus as I became increasingly interested in converting miniatures as well as painting them my interest in the Skaven waned. One final project however, and probably the one I enjoyed the most, was this Warlock Engineer.

Tempting though it is (and for a ‘hobby butterfly’ like myself it is very tempting) I’m not planning to restart my Skaven at the moment, as there are far too many other projects on the go (more on those soon I hope). However I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve seen and maybe (don’t hold your breath) once I’ve cleared my feet a little I’ll find the time to paint up a few more treacherous little rats (there’s still the contents of Island of Blood gathering dust under my bed for one thing). In the meantime comments, criticisms, cunning schemes or a little recreational backstabbing are always welcome in the comments box below.