Monthly Archives: December 2015

2015 – For Anyone Who Missed It

Well here we are at the very end of 2015 and what a year it’s been! In fact as I sit down to write this review it’s hard to know what to pick as the standout moments. The death of Warhammer? The birth of its golden armoured offspring Age of Sigmar? Bloodthristers tearing their way out of the Warp and onto tabletops across the world? Harlequins?

If I had to pick one though it would be the arrival of the AdMech as a fully realised range of plastic miniatures. Now some of you are probably shaking your heads a little at that and thinking “What’s he on about? He’s not painted a single Skitarii! He can’t spell half their names! He’s a foul heritek, what does he care about the loyal servers of the Omnissiah?”

On that front I’ll admit to being guilty of all charges, but let me offer a few words in my defence. To me the Adeptus Mechanicus is the most iconic of all 40k’s factions (yeah, take it Space Marines!) but for a long time it looked like they were forever lost in the warp, their emergence onto the tabletop nothing more than a pipe dream. In many ways (and I’m sure some of you will be accusing me of being a GW apologist for this) their appearance gives me hope that – even if it takes a while – Thousand Sons, Noise Marines, Sisters of Battle, and all the other overlooked elements of 40k will someday make it onto the production line and into our homes. As a society we’re not very good at being patient but I’ve got plenty of models to paint and time enough to wait. The chances of anything coming from Mars was a million to one they said. Yet still they came.

I already expressed my enthusiasm for the release back here and trust me – I may not have painted any yet but their time will come.

Now before delving into my own output this year I do want to (briefly) mention Age of Sigmar (cue groans from the crowd and a hasty assumption of entrenched positions).

Warhammer fans study the latest release for Age of Sigmar.

I’ve not learned to stop worrying and love Age of Sigmar – in fact my long standing issues with Warhammer have been replaced by a rosy nostalgia that glosses over the cracks and makes AoS seem even more bland and uninspired than it would on its own merits. I’m from 40k after all where neophobia is less of a problem and more of a way of life. However I just read Godless by David Guymer and the Slaaneshi warriors are just spot on. The disappearance of their god has rendered them complex and nuanced in a way they could never quite reach when they were winning. Their lamenting, aching horror at the denial of their prince grants them a real depth and poignance. I almost don’t want them to find Slaanesh (in the overall story-arch of AoS I mean, not the short story itself – no spoilers here!). However I’m willing to guess that everything we’ve seen so far is the set up for the quest to see Slaanesh freed – accompanied by new models for the Elves and their Slaaneshi opponents. When that day comes I hope they take a few tips from Guymer’s text in describing the appearance of the Dark Prince’s servants – seeing characters of that style captured by the same team that brought us the Putrid Blightkings and Bloodreavers would restore Slaanesh to the glory she deserves both in the hearts and the collections of Chaos fans everywhere.

First of all though there’s plenty of other gaps need filled if Age of Sigmar is to rise from Warhammer’s shadow and I think we’d all be highly surprised if a big chunk of 2016 isn’t devoted to this. Current rumours suggest that Dwarves may be just around the corner (and apparently they’ve taken to communicating in text-speak and they’re after your gold).

Let’s be honest – after all that talk of Slaanesh the skull is really thinking “5318008”

Anyway, I’m not just here to talk about what’s been going on in the wider hobby. I’m also here to talk about myself because, to be frank, I think I’m really quite interesting. For me it’s been a year in which my hobby output has been defined by Chaos (with both a capital and a small c). My loyalist space marines have slipped to the very back of the backburner and my poor Orks haven’t seen a brush since January but the Beasts of Ruin have gone from strength to strength.

As soon as I’d finished updating my Orks I started work on a little band of Khorne worshipping Terminators. At some point I’ll probably add another four to reach Khorne’s holy number of eight (someone at GW must be kicking themselves thinking ‘They keep adding models to make squads of eight. Why didn’t we think to make Khorne’s holy number 30?!’)

I also upped the number of Helbrutes in my collection to four – including the Nurgle infested Igorin Rotbringer (second from the right). To the left of him you’ll see the Ironghast Fury – another of this year’s new additions and the first model I’ve created as part of an online event. Dreadtober ran through October 2015 and encouraged as many people as possible to produce a Dreadnaught/Helbrute/Deff Dread or similar. If you’ve not already been to the site it really is time you did, feast your eyes on inspiration here. I’m not ashamed to admit that the Fury would still be unpainted if it wasn’t for this event so this won’t be the last time I do something like this either.
As well as the new Helbrutes I also added some new HQ units including a fallen Grey Knight, and finally got around to putting paint on the Chaos Lord from Dark Vengeance.

Nurgle continued to be a big influence on me throughout the year – mostly as a result of my ongoing experimentation with the Putrid Blightkings. As well as the Helbrute I showed above I also created this Daemon Prince – easily one of the most difficult conversions I’ve ever attempted and a forceful reminder to me that if you keep pushing yourself you’ll create better and better models (or stranger and stranger at least). Read more about him here.
Continuing the Nurgle theme I also decided to come back to my Plague Marines, another unit which dates back to the very beginning of my Chaos collection. I felt it was time to bring the squad to a conclusion (and so inevitably started another straight away). You can see what’s planned for the second squad here and here . Don’t worry though, this won’t be the last you see of Golothess and the boys.
I’ve also managed to add three Dark Apostles to the ranks this year. One to speak to the followers of Chaos Undivided.
One to consecrate the skulls taken in Khorne’s name.

And one to preach to the servants of Nurgle, from the smallest virus to the mightiest Daemon Prince.
Obviously that means I ought to make one each for Slaanesh and Tzeentch as well. A job for 2016 then…

Another job for 2016 will be continuing to build up my squads of Nurgle Chosen and Terminators. As it stands most of them are still in need of paint but here’s the first two finished.And of course I finished off my first full squad of Chaos Marines (which you may recall I showed just the other day).
Not all of the followers of the Dark Gods wear power armour however and this year I was able to get started on a long standing ambition; the Lost and the Damned. Alongside Ad Mech this is the army that I’ve aspired to most over the years so I’m extremely pleased to have this little lot painted at last. Expect to see a lot more of them in 2016.
If recaps of the year are your thing and you’re starting to panic that I’ve almost run out of words then I highly recommend heading to Heresy and Heroes or Big Boss Red Skulls (the latter is particularly exciting because he talks about me!). I’m also waiting (im)patiently for KrautScientist’s annual Eternal Hunt Awards but sadly they’re not up yet. Keep an eye out though – he assures us they’re on their way and they’re always well worth a look. Edit: And as promised the first part of the Eternal Hunt awards are now up so if you’ve missed them, have a look here.

Hopefully that little lot should give you something to read until I’m back in the new year, accompanied by a retinue of cheerful, excitable and unhygienic sidekicks. You have been warned!

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Hell Is Empty… And All The Devils Are Here

…And with the addition of this last character Squad Abholos is complete. What interests me about him is that he reads instantly as a Chaos Marine, yet he uses almost no parts from that particular kit (just the head and one shoulderpad). Does this lend weight to all those who’re crying out for a new Chaos Marines kit or does it simply demonstrate that with a little creativity (something we who serve the dark gods have in spades) we can do just fine without? Certainly it surprised me to realise that there are as many Dark Eldar bits in the model as there are Chaos Marine.

Anyway, here he is:chaos-marine-convert-or-die-23

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chaos-marine-convert-or-die-25With the completion of the final model in the squad this also seems like a good opportunity to look back over what I’ve created over the years. Squad Abholos is one of the oldest elements of my Chaos collection, begun right back at the very beginning (circa five years ago now I think?) which means the squad is actually something of a barometer for the whole collection. Some of them show their age pretty well, some of them show ideas that I explored and then discarded and some of them, sadly, now look a little ropy. In their entirety however we have a bullish twenty-man strong horde of marauders, ready to storm the nearest Imperial sector and deal with any pesky loyalists they might find.

Here’s the squad’s aspiring champion Abholos the Corpse-eater – an unreservedly unpleasant chap and a very early conversion that I’m still ridiculously proud of even now.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-30Another very early model. Not entirely sure about the Catachan head on this one and the whole shoulderpad/weapon slung like a handbag situation is probably something I wouldn’t do nowadays but the nostalgia factor saves him.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-17This one meanwhile is one of the newest models in the squad. I’ve always enjoyed an element of rampant mutation amongst my chaos army (and if you didn’t know that before you saw this model you certainly do now).

convert-or-die-snake-marine-chaos-1This standard-bearer also dates back to the very beginning of the army – a time when colour-schemes were rather more garish than they are now yet also – according to this photo anyway – lacking in highlights. They are there in real life I swear!chaos-marine-convert-or-die-3This one came out of the Assault on Black Reach boxset and, as you can probably spot by looking at his armour, is another from the early days. He’s holding that bolter a little awkwardly but then he has a tentacle for an arm – what do you expect!chaos-marine-convert-or-die-26My ability to paint rusty armour has also come on in leaps and bounds…chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-4…as the transition between these two models (painted at least a couple of years apart I think) serves to demonstrate.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-22The arrival of the Chaos Forsaken boxset for Warhammer proved to be an absolute goldmine for Chaos fans of all stripes although I’ll admit enthusiasm rather got the better of me here. Perhaps a little more care at the planning stage would have smoothed out some of the odd elements on this model but I was young, care-free and impatient and, like the Dark Gods themselves, flung mutations around willy-nilly. Never mind – I still think the organic eye in his chest is rather clever, albeit hardly the best example of greenstuff sculpting in the world (or even on this blog).chaos-marine-convert-or-die-1When I came to working on this one I must have calmed down a little, perhaps because I was using one of my favourite heads from the Forsaken kit. chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-7Is this one pointing at a map drawn on the floor? Threatening a dying Imperial Guardsman? Stabbing a Dreadnaught in the toe? Who knows?chaos-marine-convert-or-die-28This one is another fairly traditional chaos marine – but for the tentacles that emerge from his back. I imagine them thrashing around him as he fights, a sure sign both of the favour of the gods and of his inevitable consumption by Chaos. chaos-marine-convert-or-die-19Then there’s this model – very much a minimalist in comparison to some of his wildly mutated squad mates, but a bit of a personal favourite nonetheless.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-14

When I came to this one it struck me how much my painting style has moved on. As he’s a bit of a favourite I decided to do a bit of work on him to bring him into line with the others. Here’s how he used to look.
And here’s how he’s looking now. Hopefully you’ll agree its an improvement.
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chaos-marine-convert-or-die-12I get the feeling that his mutation has only just manifested, his hand and arm melting and reforming in an agony of transformation. As the pain settles and his superhuman metabolism floods his system with restorative chemicals, he holds his new claw aloft to inspect it and finds it worthy. Or perhaps, as I originally intended, he’s just gesturing at some loyalist marines. ‘Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough!’

Again, my style has changed over time, becoming much cleaner as I’ve perfected my technique for white armour (and as the number of views on this blog have gone up and I’ve started to think ‘I can’t show that yet!’ more often). Needless to say this isn’t something I’d really noticed until now, looking so closely at each model, but perhaps I’ll go back to some of the other older ones and give them a freshen up much like I did with the Orks last year.chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-2Loved the way these two mutations (released years apart) echoed one another – a nice little bit of visual consistency in the Chaos range in spite of all the improvements over the years.chaos-marine-convert-or-die-6

This chap suffers from a fleshy manikin that’s grown out of his back and now does all the thinking for him. He was also the first model to come out of a little experiment I started which aimed to use the random attribute table from the seminal Slaves to Darkness, a project which also led us to…chaos-space-marine-evil-packpack-convert-or-die-1

…this beast-faced individual…chaos-marine-convert-or-die-9

…and this chap (who may look normal from here but most assuredly isn’t…)chaos-space-marine-convert-or-die-1And lastly there’s this chap, another comparative newcomer, this time lugging a heavy bolter. He looks like a bit of a thug to me. He probably is.chaos-marines-convert-or-die-chaos-1And here’s the whole happy family all together.chaos-marines-convert-or-die-chaos-3Of course my brain is still bursting with ideas and frankly what good is a squad of Chaos Marines if they don’t have another squad to develop a bitter rivalry with? I know better than to try and predict my next project but I’d be highly surprised if 2016 doesn’t contain a few more Chaos Marines. In the meantime hopefully you enjoyed this little retrospective and if you have any feedback or constructive abuse you’d like to lay at my door then the comments box below, as always, is the place for you.


Sink Beneath Insanity

Sometimes, and I think this is not an uncommon feeling for Chaos fans, I look at a model I’ve just finished and think ‘You know what mate, that is properly mental. You massive nutter”. This is one of those moments.convert-or-die-snake-marine-chaos-1

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Bulletbeast

Regular readers will recall that I recently added a couple more Chaos Marines to Squad Abholos, the unit of troops at the core of my chaos army. This got me rather excited as it made me realise that my little squad had grown to a hefty seventeen members. Back when the current Chaos codex was released I was childishly overexcited to discover that squads of Chaos Marines could now be deployed twenty strong – not for any tactical or gameplay reasons but just because the image of a ravenous horde of power-armoured barbarians was too cool not to consider.

As it is I’d pretty much forgotten about the idea until now but with the squad so close to completion the time is now right to go for the twenty. In recognition of that goal, and because I’ve been wanting to add some special weapons to the squad (again for aesthetic rather than tactical reasons), here’s the latest addition.convert-or-die-chaos-marine-heavy-bolter-1

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convert-or-die-chaos-marine-heavy-bolter-5This should also serve to offer a little hope to those who’ve looked through the expanse of bare plastic displayed over the last couple of weeks that I’ve not forgotten how to paint. Now I only need two more Chaos Marines to finish the squad – and they’re both part finished already. Who knows, if I concentrate it might actually come together before the new year…


No Guts, No Glory – Part 6

In the last post I showed you some Nurgle Terminators I’ve been working on (still building up the gut of the standard bearer for anyone who’s wondering). Did I ride a wave of Nurgley enthusiasm and get paint on some of the models I’ve already built? Did I hell! No, I made more! Here’s the first of two new additions to my Chosen of Nurgle – a big fat brute with a flame-thrower.

As you can see the basic model is finished but there’s still a bit of work to be done, particularly around the head where I’ll be building up the greenstuff to cover the join between the Space Marine helmet, the Blightking neck and the horn. I also went for the old grey-scale images, partly because it helps cover up the jarring colour combinations from scavenged, part-painted bitz but mostly because it makes me look super arty and cool.

Joining him – and so new he doesn’t even have a base yet – is the squad’s champion.

I’m really pleased with him (no false modesty here!) especially as I’ve been wanting to use that model with the huge mouth in his stomach for ages. It’s just so classically old-school chaos, no mere warrior down on his luck and dabbling with the dark powers but a fully fledged servant of the mad gods, a walking embodiment of their savage insanity.

Anyway, thoughts on either of them? Apart from ‘put a base on the champion or he’ll fall over’. As usual comments, feedback and suggestions are welcome in the box below.