Monthly Archives: November 2016

All That’s Left Is Blood – Part 10

So whilst my ears have been filled with the braying of sonic weaponry over the past month the roaring of chain-axes has never been far from my thoughts. Now it’s time to add a couple more battle brothers to my latest squad of Khorne berserkers. And whilst the rest of the warband spill blood for the Skull Throne someone still has to carry the banner…convertordie-khorne-berserker-banner-1

convertordie-khorne-berserker-banner-2

convertordie-khorne-berserker-banner-3

convertordie-khorne-berserker-banner-4

Advertisements

Slaanesh Built My Dreadnaught

You crept into my bones that night in La Fenice, crept in and changed me forever. All these millennia you have slept whilst I have paced, restless and hungry – first in flesh and then in iron. Others wept and raged as their broken bodies were carried from the battlefields and beaten into unfeeling ironframes. I felt nothing. Since the day I fell free of your possession, since the tide of your control rolled back and left me, a puppet without a master, alone on the cold shore of freedom I have felt nothing! No acts of debauchery, no mutilation of flesh, not the braying of the great horns of battle or the slaughter of brothers and slaves alike has stirred in me the ecstasy you brought before you abandoned me at Terra’s walls. When the First Primarch fell and we fled from the golden walls of the False One’s palace you discarded me and left a hollow in my heart, a cold stone that has never healed or warmed since. What did it matter if I walked the stars as a man, or an ironform, or if I no longer walked at all; when all passion was denied me?

Only now do you creep back in, now that Terra is once more in our sight. What is ten thousand years, after all, to one such as you? Have you even felt the ages of my suffering? You exulted in our master’s glory whilst I was cast aside, spent and forgotten, one of Fulgrim’s chosen yet treated no better than a flesh thrall!

How I hate you! How I love you! Claim my soul! Warp my flesh! Let the horns of war scream out once more!

dreadtober-convertordie-1

Well here we have it, my Dreadtober contribution finished at last (although we’re now almost a week into Cheatvember!) Lately I’ve been finding my enthusiasm for painting at a bit of a low, and I know this held me back considerably on this project, as well as draining my interest in all my other schemes as well. Particularly since visiting Warhammer World my imagination has been bursting with new ideas and crazy conversions but the desire to actually apply a paintbrush to any of them has been distinctly lacking. What’s more as the number of unpainted models continued to mount up I felt increasingly guilty about building more without painted the ones I’d already made. In some ways I hoped that Dreadtober would give me a push to actually get on with things, after all there was a deadline to be met and a lot of people who’d notice if I failed. As it turned out it did help but not until the very last moment.

The issue, I came to realise, was not dissimilar to that which felled the Emperor’s Children themselves – and so perhaps it’s fitting that it took a Slaaneshi dreadnaught to make me aware of it. By constantly trying to improve my skills, by striving to make every model better than the last, I’d drained a lot of the pleasure out of painting. Not every model needs to be a golden demon winner – indeed that’s not something I’d consciously aspire to. Art should be organic, both in its creation and its outcomes. In striving for perfection I’d made a rod for my own back. Instead I should have accepted that nothing I could create would ever be truly perfect and just had fun with it. Photography gives us crisp realism, paintings give us brushstrokes. The flaws in live music give it a quality, some might say a soul, that overproduced recordings cannot match. In an age of Hollywood blockbusters theatre has not died. Art needs to live. By setting goals which were unachievable I left myself unable to achieve anything. As a direct result of my determination to produce models which were always better than before I found myself producing things which I was less and less happy with. The more I tried to force myself to improve the more I wanted to take each model and throw it against the wall. Hardly the outcome one wants from a hobby which one intends to be relaxing. Time to change my outlook.

With this in mind I decided to let my hair down a little and just enjoy painting, and what a difference it made. Freed from my self imposed restrictions I took on my Dreadtober challenge with a new gusto. Ultimately we can’t all be Golden Demon winners and shouldn’t aspire to be. We are all craftspeople, all creating little pieces of art in our own style. Too much planning, too much fretting over details, and the process of creating becomes a chore.

For me painting miniatures should be more like sketching, taking an idea and giving it shape without worrying too much over the minutia. I’m not espousing laziness or sloppiness but I am saying that, for me, creativity is more important than perfection – which is why when I go to the Sea of Souls Tzeentch will claim me before Slaanesh does. Ironically the end result of this revelation is a model I’m particularly proud of, indeed – in my opinion – it’s one of the best things I’ve created in a while.

Anyway, enough waffle – you came here for pictures and you shall have them!

dreadtober-convertordie-2

dreadtober-convertordie-4

dreadtober-convertordie-10

dreadtober-convertordie-9

dreadtober-convertordie-7

dreadtober-convertordie-5The knee-guard is finally re-attached.dreadtober-convertordie-3All the faces that didn’t work out as I wanted them to for the Warp Amp found a home on the base.dreadtober-convertordie-6Finally here’s a group shot of all my current Slaaneshi models.dreadtober-convertordie-8Once again I’d like to offer a huge “thank you” to Joe at Broken Paintbrush for making Dreadtober 2016 a success, and of course congratulations to all the other participants – whether they have a finished model to be proud of or just one that’s still half paint/half aspirations. As usual any comments or feedback are appreciated!


Warhammer World – Part 6

It’s the final post in this showcase of the displays at Warhammer World and this time we’re looking at the big one. Twenty-two feet from end to end, twelve feet wide and twenty feet tall (that’s almost seven meters long, three and a half wide and six meters tall for those who’re sensible enough to use metric) – it’s the battle for Angelus Prime.

To give you a sense of how big this thing actually is there is a man in this picture – another visitor. I didn’t want him appearing in the shot so I waited until he was hidden by the building. That’s right – the human was hidden behind the miniature, usually it’s the other way round!angelus-prime-convertordie-1

angelus-prime-convertordie-3

angelus-prime-convertordie-9

angelus-prime-convertordie-10

angelus-prime-convertordie-20The board captures the forces of Khorne, led by the bloodthirster An’ggrath, battling the Ultramarines who’re attempting to defend Ultramar. If you were wondering where all the Chaos miniatures were in the 40k displays – here they are. Followers of the other gods need not apply.

There are over five and a half thousand models on this board, putting any sensible person’s collection to shame. These stretch from swarms of bloodletters and cultists to tanks, knights, even titans. The fortress city itself meanwhile is constructed from over 1,200 scenery kits and took nine months to build. In many ways this is the ultimate aspirational army. We all dream of what it would look like to have at our command the thousands of infantry, hundreds of tanks, ranks of Titans and so on that our heroes in Black Library fiction posses but, with the exception of epic players, most of us never will. If only time and money were no object eh?angelus-1

angelus-2

As if the scene wasn’t dramatic enough it also features a soundtrack of dramatic music, overlaid by the clatter of bolter fire and the distant crunch of explosions. Lights fade slowly from the deep blue of the loyalists to the bloody red of Khorne, adding another layer to the atmosphere. It’s a cliché to say that they make the viewer feel that they are right at the heart of the battle but – minus the discomfort, blinding terror and high risk of imminent death – that’s pretty much what they do.angelus-prime-convertordie-2angelus-prime-convertordie-4angelus-prime-convertordie-5angelus-prime-convertordie-6angelus-prime-convertordie-7angelus-prime-convertordie-8angelus-prime-convertordie-11The whole diorama contains a real sense of action, captured through elements like this chaos titan being felled by an off-course drop pod, the bloodletters crawling over each another to climb the walls (above) or the chaos Reaver titan firing its rack of missiles (below).angelus-prime-convertordie-12angelus-prime-convertordie-13angelus-prime-convertordie-14The Warlord Titan. For those still struggling with just how big this thing is those are Knights around its knees. The term ‘miniature’ may no longer be appropriate here.angelus-prime-convertordie-15big-guns-never-tireYesterday the mechanicum were fairly certain they had a gun. But no, it turns out this is a gun! I understand we shouldn’t expect it to tire any time soon…angelus-prime-convertordie-21Even a full scale planetary invasion wasn’t enough to distract these two from their World of Warcraft addiction.angelus-prime-convertordie-16angelus-prime-convertordie-17angelus-prime-convertordie-18angelus-prime-convertordie-19One of the most famous things about this board is that, in amongst the five thousand five hundred plus other models lurks one lone Vindicare assassin. If you can find it you can win one of your own and I was certainly planning to give it a good go, until I actually got there and realised what a painful, eyeball straining challenge that would be. However I was lucky enough to be standing next to the man who did. What impressed me most – apart from the bushiness of his beard, something for which he deserves extra credit – and the sharpness of his eyes (seriously, don’t even try unless your day job is as an eagle) was the logic with which it was placed. I understand the model moves around (not by itself – that would be slightly creepy) but even so I don’t want to give away too many spoilers so that others can enjoy the challenge of the hunt themselves. However the finder did explain that he focussed his attention (and presumably eyeballs that are the envy of the Hubble telescope) where he did because that location would afford the assassin a clear shot without being detected himself. In his hiding place he could crouch out of sight, allowing the ranks of the World Eaters to pass him by before shooting whomever his intended victim is. To me that represents an attention to detail that makes the piece even more impressive – they didn’t just stick him down the back of the radiator and think “no one will look there!”, they followed through the narrative of the piece and allowed a person to find it not by luck or simply sharp vision, but by joining them in the logical process and by investing their imagination in the story.

So there we have it – my day out to Warhammer World spread over a full week of posts. Once again I hope this has been as interesting and inspiring for you as it was for me. Check back tomorrow and, all being well, I’ll actually have a miniature of my own to show – my Dreadtober contribution roaring in at the very end of cheat week! Until then, as ever, I’m interested in your thoughts – so make them known in the comments box below.


Warhammer World – Part 5

Continuing our look through the dioramas on display at Warhammer World today we explore the section given over to the alien races inhabiting the grim darkness of the far future. First off we have this lava board, showing the planet of Valedor – or Düriel to the Eldar – being swarmed by the Tryanid hive fleets.01At one point Valedor was a tropical paradise but, as is the case with most places in 40k that seem like they might be really nice, that wasn’t to last. First the Imperium turned it into an industrial hellhole, then the Tyranids arrived and began stripping it of all organic matter. By the time the Swordwind of the Eldar return to what had once been one of their Maiden Worlds the whole place was rather worse for wear. Eventually the Eldar activate a device known as the Fireheart, splitting the planet’s crust into the volcanic turmoil we see here.0203Both factions are really giving it their all here; the Tyranids have deployed their bio-titans (above) whilst the Eldar respond with their Phantom Titans.0405Another display I’d been looking forward to was this one; Ork Town – originally built by Forge World for their book Raid on Kastorel-Novem.010203A squad of Tempestus Scions have been shot down in Ork territory and now their allies rush to evacuate them. Apparently an ex-army store manager spent a day training the team in how to descend on ropes from an aircraft in order to capture the scene perfectly. Frankly I’m sure they could have worked it out from Youtube videos but who can blame the chancers for convincing their boss they needed a day out?040506070809Lastly for today we have the Tau facing off against their enemies in the Mechanicum. Both sides are rather fond of technology although the Tau’s habit of innovating, plus their insistence on being filthy xenos, prevents them from being friends. Plus the Mechanicum almost obliterated the Tau when the latter species was still in the stone-age, something that is bound to sour any relationship.010203A rather large Tau flyer. Probably named after a fish.04One of the Tau flying-mech-suits (which, if it’s not already clear, I’m not too familiar with) annoying a titan.0506Something I found particularly clever about these dioramas is the way in which the eye is drawn to certain angles, which themselves provide cinematic scenes. Take this Sydonian Dragoon for instance, which strides through the periphery of an explosion with the effortless cool of an action movie hero.070809Remember those Imperial Guardsmen standing grimly in their cold trenches I showed you yesterday? This is the Tau equivalent, and it’s just a tiny bit more glamorous!10This encounter perfectly encapsulates the dynamic (pun intended) between the energetic Tau and the trudging, hidebound Imperials.1112I feel there’s a joke to be made here, either about getting legless or going topless…131415The Mechanicum politely explain to the Tau that what they have are not guns, this is a gun…16Now some of you might be thinking “Hey guy, where’s Chaos in all this? I thought they were the big bad in the 41st Millennium? Don’t they get a diorama?” Oh they do my freind, they certainly do – but for that you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow…


Warhammer World – Part 4

Continuing our exploration of the displays on show in Warhammer World today we take a look at the Armies of the Imperium section, starting with the clash between the loyalist Iron Hands and the treacherous Emperor’s Children on Istvaan V.0102Before Isstvan V the Horus Heresy is a story of commonplace treachery, an ambitious son betraying his father, an internal matter for the Space Marines to thrash out amongst themselves. What follows is a three hour window in which in which hundreds of thousands of Space Marines are slaughtered, three entire legions  are broken and an age of darkness and suspicion is born. Of the eleven Primarchs fighting at the start one is dead, two others are missing and there’s no going back for anyone. The brutality and tragedy of the Drop Site Massacre is some of the hardest to read in any Black Library fiction I’ve come across, unrelentingly honest about the hellish reality of war, just violence without glory, the bleeding of the many for the ambition of the few. Set against that this diorama captures just one fight of many and the scale of the tragedy is lost. The scene is pivotal, the diorama intended to capture it less so. That’s not the fault of the model makers, it’s simply the case that this scene is much to big to capture on such a small canvas.0304Although a solid display  the lack of any interesting conversions or stand out miniatures beyond the two Primarchs themselves (I didn’t even spot any Kakophoni although that may have been a failure to look hard enough) meant it didn’t keep my interest for long.05istvaan-1istvaan-2istvaan-3istvaan-4Then we have this old(-ish) display showing Space Wolves defending the Fang from the Tyranids has been updated recently to include newer models not available when it was first built.01For example these bikers racing the front lines have been joined by a pack of thunder wolf cavalry.02A servitor about to meet a messy end.030405A wounded wolf lord is carried from the field by his battle-brothers and thralls. I love the way this scene, almost a tiny diorama of its own within the larger piece, poses questions of its own. Is it just an illusion created by his injuries or is his hand warping into an animal’s claw? Are his men carrying him from the field, partly hidden by his cloak, to protect him – or to protect themselves?0607Meanwhile Genestealers swim through the icy waters below, ready to launch another sneak attack on the Wolves.08Next along – this is where it all began, the cover art from Rogue Trader reinterpreted in model form. The scene captures the last stand of the Crimson Fists during the fall of the their chapter planet, Rynn’s World.03Now this is how an Imperial tank should look – the perfect combination of hubris and impracticality! From it the Commissar looks out over three hundred Cadians marching by.imperial-guard-2imperial-guard-3And here we have the Imperial Guardsmen of the Death Corps of Kreig doing what they do best; looking grim whilst standing in a trench. The light dusting of snow only serves to add to the chill of the image – indeed it all looks much colder and harsher than the snowy landscape around the Fang (above). Even the lack of action implies a forbidding inevitability to the scene; these men have hacked their trenches from the frozen ground, now they stand ready to face the death they know is coming.imperial-guard-1imperial-guard-4Once again I hope you’re enjoying this look through the dioramas on display at Warhammer World. Tomorrow we take a look at the Imperium’s adversaries, the aliens!


Warhammer World – Part 3

Continuing my showcasing of the dioramas on display in Warhammer World today we take a look at the rest of the displays focussing on the Old World of Warhammer and the new Realms of Age of Sigmar. First up we have a pair of small displays exhibiting the Ironjaws – a new faction which grew out of the old Black Orcs – and opposite them the Sylvaneth, which were developed from the treemen and dryads who used to hang out with the Wood Elves.01Orc brutes march past tribal boundary markers whilst a warboss, crouched on his hulking reptilian mount, watches from a neighbouring hillock.0203The tide of red armour stands out against the black rocks and wilted vegetation.0405The neighbouring display is considerably more green and lush. The Orcs have left their semi-desert homeland and invaded the forest only to find themselves ambushed by the Sylvaneth guardians of the woods led by Alarielle herself and several ancient treemen…0102…including this impressively bearded individual…08…and these tree revenants. 03Alarielle, a woman after my own heart! Keen on trees she’d have undoubtedly enjoyed my other outing whilst in Nottingham – a trip to visit the ancient Major Oak in Sherwood Forest.0405Of course that would have left her unable to oversee the defence of her woodland from the marauding orcs, although by the looks of things her followers were managing fine by themselves.06Next along, one of the displays that was top of my list to see ever since a friend showed me pictures from her own trip. Here the Skaven and Dwarves do battle in the depths of the Underway, deep beneath the World’s Edge Mountains.0102The war under the ground remains one of my favourite parts of the Warhammer background. As a fan of Skaven, Dwarves and Night Goblins alike the subterranean struggle is a compelling battle for survival, all happening out of sight of the races living above.03Here dwarven stoicism meets the mad brew of science and magic wielded by the ratmen, the two sides divided by a jagged canyon criss-crossed by swaying rope bridges.040506The scene contains over three hundred miniatures, which probably explains why I failed to spot Joseph Bugman who is allegedly hiding in there somewhere.07Slayers seeking an honourable death take on a Hell Pit Abomination (without a trace of Fyre in sight…)08Once again I hope you’re enjoying this look through the Warhammer World displays and I really do recommend a visit if you’re in the area. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the armies of the Imperium in the dark days of humanity’s future.