Monthly Archives: July 2017

The Year Of The Rat – July

But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley

– Robert Burns, To A Mouse…

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Like all Skaven warlords I had a grand and cunning plan, and like all Skaven warlords it went spectacularly and horribly wrong. My scheme was to build up my Skaven army into a filthy horde of clanrats, rank upon rank of the little devils. I’m not usually a batch-painter or a speed painter but I was determined that, by the end of this month, I would have added sufficient rodents to my collection to create a swarm vast enough to terrify all sensible cats and farmer’s wives (regardless of how many carving knives they might be armed with).

I won’t go into the details, they’re far too unpleasant and personal to share here, but suffice to say that real life instead dealt me and my family a vigorous kicking of the kind that puts all other activities on hold. Expect output on this blog to be fairly erratic over the next little while and my apologies if a few projects disappear into the warp for a while.

Regardless the Great Horned Rat often moves in ways that are mysterious to his servants, and when I sat down to count the rats I had managed to paint I found the total to be  a suitably auspicious thirteen.

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But wait, that’s not all. I’ve also managed to cobble together a battle standard bearer for my rats (sorry Age-of-Sigmarites, I still think in old fashioned terminology, dunno what you call the guy who rallies the whole army in this modern era we live in but I do know that anything which discourages my ratties from running away is to be encouraged!). He’s still very much at the tacked-together stage right now with lots still to be done – that Khornate icon needs more work to removed it from the banner for example – but this should give you an idea of the overall concept and direction I’m heading in. As usual feedback and suggested improvements are welcome.

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But wait, that’s still not all! When I uploaded last month’s last minute addition, this Skaven assassin, Azazel noted the similarity between the rune  worked in the guard on the weapon clutched in the rat’s left paw and the rune of Khorne.

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Of course, careful examination reveals that it is intended as the Skaven rune but nonetheless, once seen the Khornate influence is just too obvious to overlook – and as no ratman would ever be brave or foolish enough to dedicate himself to the Blood God it had to go. As it turns out there wasn’t much needed to fix the problem, a couple of quick snips and a bit of touching up and it was done. I did wonder about cutting back the guard a little further to emphasise the look of the Skaven rune but in the end decided to leave it as it is, slightly more subtle and concealed – like the Skaven assassin himself.

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A before and after shot highlights the difference.

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So, perhaps not the glorious expansion that I had planned for my ratmen this month but when it comes to mustering the verminous hordes a few setbacks are to be expected and thirteen completed models are not to be sneezed at. As I always say, any feedback you have is welcome, and fear not – accepting setbacks is a talent all Skaven warlords have to master. I may be less active for a while but you won’t get rid of me that easily!

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Any Spare Change – Part 8

With the Nurgle caravan rolling into town some might have feared that my butterfly mind has flitted away from Tzeentch but worry no longer – the Changer still has me firmly in his grasp. However I have been taking some time out to think about my biggest problem with my Tzeentchian cultists, the fact that they are all difference sizes. Now really that shouldn’t be an issue, after all the god of mutation is probably the most likely of all the Chaos powers to have followers short and tall, thin and wasted scholars marching alongside bloated horrors tumbling into spawndom. However when I put the models all together it never looked right, they were a jumble without anything to give them cohesion or create the appearance of a unified force. Bases were also an issue, the big models hung off the sides of 25mm bases, the smaller ones were lost in the middle of 32mm bases and when I tried a mix of base sizes in the squad it only served to highlight the disparity in sizes. Time for a re-think.

The answer came to me when I was considering the Tzeentchian cultists in Age of Sigmar and their ambition of ascending through service to their God and being transformed into Tzaangors. Surely the cultists of the 41st Millennium would harbour a similar purpose. With this in mind I split my Tzeentchian collection into three groups depending on how far along the road to ascension they have travelled. Some of these regular readers will have seen before, some will be new. Yet under Tzeentch’s influence not all that appears familiar is unchanged…

The Least

The weakest, and often the least experienced, of the Great Architect’s many followers, the Least are desperate to prove their value and rise in their master’s gaze. Already some have begun to manifest changes and ambition seethes around them for truly each is bound for unrivalled power and glory.

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A raw recruit, risen from a worker gang, determined that a better life can be his if he has sufficient will.

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This one may possess a bestial form but he is still a long way from achieving true ascension into the ranks of the Tzaangors.

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This one is watchful… ever watchful… What schemes and visions boil and churn within his birdlike skull?

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The Ascendant

Whilst countless of their brothers have fallen along the way the Ascendant care not. The glory for which they strive is almost within their grasp and even as those around them are pulled down into darkness and spawndom they force onwards, towards the light and the spiralling laugher that echoes from it.

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This one has grown in stature but his head remains a tiny, half-moon. Tzeentch does not need wits to challenge his own amongst his followers, sometimes raw strength is enough to achieve what must be done.

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This one is just a straight up, unconverted Silver Tower acolyte. I just happen to really like the look of him.

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This one is well on his way to becoming a Tzaangor.

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However the Changer clearly has a much stranger fate in mind for this one.

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And this one is no less twisted!

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The True Children

Only the strongest and luckiest survive Tzeentch’s labyrinth of trials to join at last in the braying flocks of the Great Conspirator’s chosen. They have seen many things along the road however, exposed to the raw energy of the Warp and the capering flocks of daemon’s therein. They know now that to become a Tzaangor is not the end of the road, merely a stepping stone from which the ambitious can rise toward a greater destiny. Princedom calls and the Changer’s twisting web pulls ever tighter.

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I’ve only made one Tzaangor so far, converted from one of the Silver Tower models. More will come eventually.

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A comparison shot to demonstrate the differences in size that have been troubling me.

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Next steps will be to bolster the ranks with more cultists of various stripes, plus coming up with some characters to lead the flock in enacting its labyrinthine schemes.


Get Sick Or Die Trying – Part 1

My first two filthy poxwalkers are finished.

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For Whom The Bell Tolls – Part 1

As soon as I saw the Noxious Blightbringer I knew I wanted one for my collection. Picture the scene if you will; the Death Guard advancing shrouded beneath clouds of toxic vapour, deamonic beasts wheeling half-seen in the clouds overhead. Thousands of shambling corpses lead the way, their low moans audible over the dense, buzzing static – no, not static but the wings of a million newly hatched flies. Louder still are the bells of Nurgle’s most devoted priests, their deep-voiced booming calling the Plague-God’s gaze so that his children might truly exult in his fetid blessings.

Of course it was something of a disappointment to discover that these were not Dark Apostles after all but rather the guardians of some kind of magic bell. At least whoever does the puns at GW may have been forced underground since the heady, Lizardmen era, but he’s still going strong (Blight Ringer eh!). Mind you, they probably should have been stopped before they got to the Tocsins of Misery…

Never mind I still wanted at least one. Indeed the more I thought about it the more I wanted a second, the visual impact of two being more than twice that of one after all. The question was, how easy would the model be to convert? As it turns out, not that hard at all.

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I was keen, as much as possible, to stick with components from the original model. After all this is a starter set figure and although many of those are picked up by old hands looking to expand a collection plenty more go to complete newcomers. With that in mind I wanted to explore how easy it would be to convert the model for someone with a fairly limited bits box to call upon. In the end I used two components from other kits; the head – from one of the Maggoth Lords and the backpack vent from a damaged Space Wolf backpack.

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Here’s the original model by way of comparison.

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And here’s the two side by side (as usual don’t give yourself eye-strain, click on the picture to make it bigger).

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I may make a few more tweaks but overall this was a spectacularly straightforward conversion. Now it’s off to the painting desk for both of them.


Inquisition on Mortality – Part 1

What with one thing and another it’d be easy to believe I’ve forgotten about the Chapel and my intrepid band of Inquisitorial agents but I can assure you the truth is quite the opposite. I may not have blogged about them quite as often as I should have but do not doubt for an instant that they were always on my mind.

At last however, after considerably tinkering and tweaking, I finally have something to show for my efforts. Pending any major issues raised – and as ever if you see something that needs fixing you know where the comments box is – Inquisitor Morix of the Ordo Mors is ready for paint. Let all who would disturb the rest of the glorious Imperial dead tremble!

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The base itself also deserves a close up, it’s part of a set sent to me by Black Earth as a preview of their forthcoming range so thanks once again to Mark, both for this and for all his efforts to make the Chapel a reality.

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One of the things I was keen to convey with this model was the sheer bulk of a (relatively) unaugmented human in power armour. My own feeling, and there may be background somewhere that contradicts this, is that Astartes power armour will only ever work for a wearer with space marine physiology. A normal human, even one with substantial internal tweaking like Kor Phaeron or my own inquisitor, just couldn’t wear it – regardless of the fact that they’d be too small for it anyway. To put an ordinary human in power armour requires lots of adjustments, to both the person and the suit, before either is ready. Furthermore whilst space marines and their armour are both made in what is essentially a production line fashion and can therefore pick their power armour off the shelf each inquisitor will be different, with different needs and different levels of internal augmentation and implants, and as a result will require a custom suit. Not only that but whilst each space marine chapter has its own personal forges, armouries and thousands of specialist thralls dedicated to maintaining their armour an Inquisitor, particularly one who spends the majority of his time in the field as Morix does, needs something that can be repaired on the fly by pretty much anyone who knows which end of a spanner to hold (and has a basic grasp of the prayers needed to calm the armours fractious machine spirit). My intention was for his suit to appear industrial, as though it’s been built from some kind of void-armour or forge-suit of the sort that Terminator armour was based upon. The fact that it should also be downright intimidating for any heretics he comes across is a lucky bonus.

With this in mind I built a suit that relies more on its size and weight to provide both its protective and aggressive capabilities. This man may not move fast but small arms fire will ricochet from him like a hab-block wall and when he hits you you’ll know all about it.

By way of demonstrating Morix’s size and bulk here he is standing next to a battle brother of the Adeptus Astartes (recently emerged from the Dark Imperium box of course).

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And here he is towering over my lone Imperial Guardsman who remains my go-to guy for demonstrating size comparisons next to a normal human.

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Fans of the skelliebird that usually perches on his arm fear not, he’s flown off somewhere but he’ll be returning shortly. In the meantime I also put together a drone to assist Morix in his investigations, floating ahead in order to carry out any scouting or espionage he may require. After all if you’re as big and heavy as Inquisitor Morix you aren’t going to be sneaking up on anyone by yourself.

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I did try to give the drone arms so it could lift and carry objects it finds, rather than just providing surveillance, but as yet I’ve not managed to find a way to do that which doesn’t unbalance it. In the meantime here it is hovering next to its master.

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