Monthly Archives: July 2016

Smash Your Enemies

What is one to do when one finds oneself in a situation that even a berserk, Khorne-worshipping space marine cannot fix? Why throw an Ogren berserker at it instead of course! Cashing in on my current Khorne-fever I decided to extract this angry young man from the shelf of shame where he had been lingering in dusty ignominy since I first assembled him way back in March last year.Ogren Berserker ConvertOrDie (1)

Ogren Berserker ConvertOrDie (2)

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I should probably be more modest but – damn, I’m proud of that blood stained effect!

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One thing that does concern me is the aquila brand on his shoulder. On the model it’s not particularly noticeable now (or so I believed) and I’d thought a quick bit of filing had as good as obliterated it. However the photographs have shown it as being rather obvious and now I’ve seen it I can’t unsee it. I suspect in the near future he’ll have a quick trip back to the painting desk for a touch up – I think I’ll try to turn it into a faded tattoo, perhaps with a scar through it, but any alternative suggestions are very welcome.Ogren Berserker ConvertOrDie (7)The Siege of Vrax books described Ogren Berserkers as being ‘created’ from Ogren slaves through lobotomy and the installation of drug injectors which deliver a cocktail of combat stimulators immediately prior to the poor creature being unleashed in the general direction of the enemy. For my Ogren however I decided to take a rather different path. His higher brain functions (such as they are – he is an Ogren after all) remain unimpaired. Personally I think he just likes smashing things.

Ogrens are noted for their loyalty, particularly to their friends rather than to some obscure and distant concept like the Imperium. Should the humans that feed and house it turn to the worship of the ruinous powers so the Ogren will too. Indeed the small minds of these abhumans, it is often noted, are ‘easily filled with faith’ and given their disinterest in over-thinking things I have no doubt that they can be quite easily convinced to kill for Khorne rather than the Emperor, if that’s what their friends think is best.

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All That’s Left Is Blood – Part 4

Fear not gentle readers! I have neither died, fallen into the Warp or been reduced to a gibbering Spawn – although I will admit to having lost momentum a little with my horde of Berserkers over the last week or so, mostly because real life has been gobbling up the time that I might otherwise have been painting. In an effort to get back on track I decided to finish off the last member of my first squad of Khorne Berserkers. You may recall that I had recently decided to split my growing horde of blood-mad warriors into two separate squads of eight men each.  Squad Kadrax – the second squad -– are already well underway but before I go any further with them there’s one last model needed to round out the first squad.

Like all frustrated Warhammer fans I know that no squad is complete without a banner and to my mind there are few things as evocative of the impractically pseudo-medieval quality of 40k than warriors rallying to a flag or an icon of the gods. With that in mind I rounded out the squad with an Icon of Wrath to remind my berserkers that they battle in Khorne’s name and for His glory.

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And there we have it – the Blood Beasts are complete at last and, if all goes according to plan, a second squad is soon to follow. Until then here’s a couple of group shots to keep you going.

First Full Squad 2First Full Squad


Erratic Progress – Part 2

Like a skaven itself my collection of man-sized rats progresses in fits and starts; bursts of frenetic activity followed by pauses of tail-twitching uncertainty. Indeed this was the reason behind the title for this series of blogs (actually who am I kidding? The whole thing was an excuse to make a pun on the word ‘rat’). Unlike, I suspect, the majority of people tackling a horde army like the Skaven, I prefer not to batch paint models. Few things strike me as more dreadful and tedious as spending an evening painting the boots on forty orks. To me every model is a character and should be painted as such, and although this doesn’t result in the overnight appearance of huge regiments I find the results when they eventually are completed to be more pleasing.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the latest additions.

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New 2With this one I tried adding a lump of warpstone to the base. I’m not entirely convinced that it works that well but I’ll probably try a few more and see if the effect is improved by spreading it around the unit a little.New 3

I’ve also been working on updating a few of the older (red) skaven to the new colour scheme. Let’s take a look at some ‘before and after’s. Some of the ‘before’ images are less than brilliant photographically but there’s not much I can do about that now!

So there we have it Man-Things! As usual feedback is welcome so if you want to provide some obsequious high-pitched praise followed by vicious backstabbing feel free to do so in the comments box below.


All That’s Left Is Blood – Part 3

A productive weekend has been had tackling the Khornate horde that’s still waiting angrily on the painting desk. No radical conversions here (those will come later), just an irascible man with a big axe.Berserker Axe 1

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And his battle brother, an equally irate chap with a dangerous looking sword.

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The completion of these two got me thinking that the Khornate squad is now getting rather large (thirteen models to be precise) and although I have a predilection for hordes of Chaos Marines I’ve decided to appease the Blood God by dividing the squads into two groups of eight warriors each. Truth be told this is almost entirely an excuse to make a new squad champion without having to retire old Magok Bloodcaller, the current squad champion. The idea has revitalised my interest in Khorne and a new champion is already half-built. Naturally I’ll need some more warriors to fill out the new squad as well so watch this space!


All That’s Left Is Blood – Part 2

My efforts to clear my desk of Khorne Berserkers continues apace. With this model I tried to achieve a taller, slimmer look, emphasised by the ‘bunny ears’ on the helmet, the long haft of the axe and the smaller shoulder pads.Khorne Berserkers ConvertOrDie (2)Khorne Berserkers ConvertOrDie (3)Khorne Berserkers ConvertOrDie (4)Khorne Berserkers ConvertOrDie (5)

And in case anyone is thinking “I’m sure I’ve seen that pose somewhere before…”Khorne Berserkers ConvertOrDie (6)

Here’s a group shot of the whole squad so far (click it to make it bigger – you know how this works by now!). Cower behind your defences men of the Imperium – there’s more on their way!Khorne Berserkers ConvertOrDie (1)


Earth Warriors

In spite of their popularity as perhaps the most iconic of all fantasy races (sorry dwarves!) it wasn’t until recently that I started to recognise the appeal of elves. Too often they have been presented in a way that focussed only on their glory and never on their flaws. Hyperbole is everywhere – they are wiser and more talented in every way than mere humans and long-lived to the point of near immortality. Whilst we are often ugly, cowardly and uncultured, and always bedevilled by age, sickness and death, these natural aristocrats remain forever young and beautiful, an eternal master race. Generally their only flaw is their arrogance, which only serves to make the face that they are practically perfect in every way so much more grating. I like my heroes grubby and imperfect and my fey folk devilish wildwood dwellers, the treacherous creatures of northern European myth and Brian Froud paintings, not the gentle, civilised people of Tolkien but the otherworldly shamanic creatures feared by the Gaels and Norse alike.DrychaThe idea of collecting any elven miniatures therefore was, for a long time, a non-issue. If I wanted a superior race of magically powerful immortals to contemptuously survey the human herd then my allegiance was to the Vampire Counts, and that was that. It wasn’t until the release of the newest edition of the Wood Elves from Games Workshop, followed swiftly by the merging of the elven races in the End Times that I began to change my mind. Partly it’s the fact that many of the new Wood Elf kits are just gorgeous, a welcome result for a faction which had previously suffered from having some of the worst sculpts in Games Workshop’s catalogue. More than that however, I became drawn to the idea of creating a wild hunt, blending elements of the Dark and Wood Elves to create a savage sylvan host, the elemental ferocity of the forest unleashed. It’s an image which has stuck with me, yet to be built but growing organically in my mind’s eye; packs of witch elves and blood-fed dryads, sorceresses leading the host from atop their mobile shrines, treemen and ancient forest gods awaking to furious life.

ConvertOrDie Wood Elf Mantic

To my memory the only elf I’ve ever painted; acquired long ago as part of a Mantic giveaway. Quite how he fights with a bow in one hand and a sword in the other (and no arrows) remains a mystery…

All of which brings me to this weekend’s Sylvaneth release. Through Silver Tower we’ve already seen some of Games Workshop’s concepts for a new, much more savage and alien aspect to the elves, now it’s the turn of the dryads and treemen. Age of Sigmar has been categorised by the over-the-top appearance of its models. Restraint has been cast aside and everything needs to be bigger and crazier than ever before. Now this is far from a bad thing, this is fantasy after all, but it has meant that when they’ve overcooked things they’ve tended to do it quite spectacularly. Thus I awaited this release with a degree of trepidation. If they pulled it off this could be a treasure trove for my elves, but for every hit recently there’s been a miss; for every slaughterpriest or maw-krusha there’s been a warchanter or celestant-prime. Luckily, my fears have not been realised and, for the most part, the Sylvaneth stay just the right side of silly. There are a few close calls – Alarielle herself comes close to overegging it but somehow remains brilliant rather than ridiculous. Likewise the new incarnation of Drycha is a little silly (I feel like someone at the design studio said “Trees are cool, dreadnaughts are cool, why not?!’) although adjusting the pose the snipping off the trailing insects should be more than enough to redeem her. These are balanced by some moments of real brilliance; the Branchwytch for instance, the revenants and or the huge slabs of honeycomb on Drycha’s armour (which is almost enough for me to forgive them for dragging another Warhammer character back from the grave).

The longer I looked at this release the more I became convinced I’d seen something in this style before and, looking at Alarielle’s giant beetle steed it suddenly clicked. This is not a reimagining of Games Workshops Wood Elves but a resurrection of Rackham’s Daikinee.

Mandigorn Warrior

A Mandigorn Warrior by Rackham. Like Alarielle the Daikinee were gripped by bettlemania.

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Spot the difference; a Daikinee Sylvan Animae and a Sylvaneth Spite Revenant.

For the whippersnappers out there Rackham was a French miniatures company rightly famed for the quality of their miniatures. Sadly they collapsed following a radical shift in direction that alienated many fans, switching from a square-based skirmish game to a round-based rank-and-file set-up. The name of this new game, for those not already feeling a vertiginous sense of déjà-vu was ‘Age of Rag’narok’.  The nail in the coffin was the decision to abandon their former range for pre-painted plastics and, with recession already haunting economies around the globe and their fans abandoning them, they went to the wall in short order. Rumour has it that Games Workshop recruited many of the suddenly unemployed Rackham sculptors although I confess I’m sufficiently out of the loop on these things now that I may barking up the wrong tree (pun very definitely intended). Whatever the truth of what happened the Daikinee remain one of the most beautiful and original interpretations of the wood elf concept ever created, especially when compared to Games Workshop models of a similar vintage. If this is their rebirth then that alone is worthy of celebration.


All That’s Left Is Blood – Part 1

I’ve had a pack of angry, Khorne-worshipping berserkers sitting on my desk for a while now, just waiting for a little love and a coat of paint to come their way. Frankly I’m getting a little sick of the sight of them, so I’ve decided to get them all painted up if it kills me (which – if the rest are as much of a slog as this one was – they just might).Khorne Berserker ConvertOrDie (1)Khorne Berserker ConvertOrDie (2)Khorne Berserker ConvertOrDie (3)Comments for the comments box, slaughter-mates? (And feedback for his throne of course…)