Monthly Archives: November 2018

Rodents Of Unusual Size – November

My intention was to have completed a load more clanrats by now but alas they’re still sitting half-finished on the painting desk, so instead of a horde of rank and file this month’s recruit is one lone model. At least it’s a special character through; Lord Skrolk, one of the diabolic plague lords of Clan Pestilens.

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When it comes to special characters my tendency, as with Queek Headtaker and Deathmaster Snikch, has been to paint them in the colour scheme traditionally associated with them, rather than with that of my army. With Skrolk however I decided to paint him in my yellow scheme, partly because a sickly yellow fits well with the aesthetic of the pestilent clan and partly because I think he looks damn good in it.

Lord Skrolk Convert Or Die Wudugast Skaven (2)

The Liber Bubonicus was a lot of fun to paint and, as the keen eyed will have spotted, I decided to sneak in the symbol of Nurgle alongside that of the Horned Rat and of Clan Pestilens.

Lord Skrolk Convert Or Die Wudugast Skaven (1)

Next month will be the two year anniversary of my decision to work on this project every month of the year (where does the time go?!) I’m planning to celebrate by getting the horde of clanrats currently covering the painting desk done so I can move on to bringing in some other units in 2019. As usual, watch this space!


Squabblin’ Goblins – Part 9

Not wishing to rest on my laurels – suitably green though they may be – when it comes to my Night Goblin army, I’ve added a couple more recruits, a pair of fanatics whirling destructively into battle. These two were half finished at the end of October and rather than allow myself to get distracted and leave them incomplete for who knows how much longer I wanted to put brush to model and finish them off properly.

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Unleash the fanatics!

Night Goblin Fanatics Convert Or Die (6)

Something I have been keen to avoid, especially after pouring so much effort into the army over the past few months, is allowing progress to stall entirely whilst I concentrate on other projects. Thus, whilst I was working on the fanatics I decided to press on and paint up this goblin shaman as well.

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With these latest additions the heap of unpainted greenskins continues to reduce in a pleasing manner but there is still plenty more to finish and, with signs of a forthcoming Moonclan/Night Goblin release from GW which may well lead to me relapsing into my old goblin-purchasing ways, I’ll keep chipping away at them for now.


The Irondogs – Part 8

A lone Goliath walks into Ironhouse and calls for the sanctuary of his House-brothers. Calling himself Kutter he tells a tale of his gang’s extermination in the badlands beyond the hive after they crossed paths with a colony of ash-crust miners. Although some of his claims, such as that the miners were sheltering weird three-armed mutants and that some of his gang-mates fell under a hypnotic spell and allowed themselves to be lead away into the ruins as docile as servo-grox, sound far-fetched the Irondogs know they can ill afford to turn away any help willingly offered. The strange warrior is soon inducted into their ranks and Korak turns his brooding gaze to the wastes beyond his walls and the threats that lurk therein.

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I wasn’t entirely sure about Kutter at first, and he’s been through various iterations before reaching this point, but I have to say I’m rather pleased with him now. He’s ended up with a slightly different profile to the rest of the gang, hence my decision to make him an outsider, but I think he still works. As usual however I’m open to any feedback you have.


Rhythm and Blues; from Rock Gods to Ultramarines

This weekend has seen Games Workshop’s latest showcase event, the Vigilus Open Day. For the avoidance of doubt I’d better clarify that I wasn’t there myself but, like so many other hobbyists and fans, I was glued as best as I was able to the updates and reveals coming out of the event via social media. Being at work over the weekend I’m only just getting the chance to catch up properly on everything that was announced now, long after the rest of the internet has had its say, but I still couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pontificate a little and share my thoughts on the things we saw.

 

Boys In Blue

Poor old Marneus Calgar. One of the most iconic and long established space marine characters, he’s been the posterboy for the Ultramarines and, as a result, the man everyone loves to hate, since the early days of 40k, when he wore the kind of coat any pimp would be proud of, cultivated an imposing man-spread and kept dinosaurs as pets.

Commander Calgar

Ultramarines Commander Calgar, as painted by David Gallagher.

Alas, whilst it’s all very well being second only to Roboute Guilliman himself when the Primarch is lying in state it’s a lot less impressive when he’s walking, talking and taking command of the Imperium. Love him or loathe him, and for many of us it’s a little of both, it’s been hard not to feel a little sorry for Calgar over the last couple of years. The return of Roboute has seen him pushed firmly into the backseat, a poor man’s Primarch if ever there was one.

Since the arrival of Primaris marines a popular theory (although I stress that it remains only a theory) is that GW will seek to weed out the old, distinctly undersized, marines of yesteryear through a process of slow attrition, allowing the old-style small marines to look increasingly dated, moving them out of the limelight, promoting the newer, more imposing Primaris models whilst the background describes a winnowing of the older troops. It’s a convincing theory but it leaves us with the problem of the special characters. Whilst it’s one thing to get rid of a tactical marine in this manner and replace him with an intercessor, it’s quite another to dispose of Azrael, Ragnar Blackmane, Mephiston or Dante. The answer; to see them reforged, renewed and reborn as newer, bigger, better Primaris warriors -and who better than Calgar to lead the charge.

Calgar 1Calgar 2

Speculation of other loyalist Primarchs making a return and joining Guilliman in defending the Imperium continues to rumble on, and could easily fill a blog or two by itself, but it’s worth noting that, however things turn out, the creation of some imposing, modern models for the heroes of the Blood Angels, Space Wolves or Dark Angels could still provide centrepiece models to be proud of, without such controversial moves as bringing back Russ, the Lion or even – whisper it – Sanguinius.

Of course I still find myself wondering how GW would, under this scenario, choose to handle those amongst the Space Marines like Gabriel Seth, who has expressed a distinct disapproval for the Primaris newcomers, historic characters like Tycho or the Grey Knights who, we’ve been repeatedly told, have no Primaris brothers at all. Then there are the stranger elements, reflecting 40k’s more mythic and fantastic side. Will the likes of the Sanguinor and the Legion of the Damned find themselves growing bigger over the coming years or will they end their days as bizarrely short characters, manifesting at little more than chest height amongst their younger brothers? Only time will tell.

As an aside, interesting though Calgar is from a theoretical point of view, I’m actually more impressed by his Honour Guard. They haven’t had the same attention paid to them as their boss so far but their predecessors were amongst my favourite Space Marine models, real exemplars of how the range could look at its best and these are worthy successors.

Honour Guard

In the old days the rules allowed for every Chapter Master to have a squad of Honour Guard so part of me is already wondering about how these can be converted to serve the Chapter Master of my own Knights Mortis. Then again converting them might involve removing some of the features that make them so iconic so who knows, maybe, just maybe, I’ll cross the Rubicon and paint them as Ultramarines.

 

In Black And Gold Reborn

First off let me note that the size of the new Chaos Marines is still something that I’m struggling to establish my thoughts on. At some point I’ll write a full post on the subject once I have something to say that I’ve not already said multiple times before. In the meantime though I simply wanted to acknowledge the fact and move on. Instead, let’s take a look at Haarken Worldclaimer – a man who, true to his name, has sworn to claim Vigilus in the name of Abaddon. Given that the Despoiler has little patience for those who waste his time we’d better hope for Haarken’s sake he lives up to the hype…

Haakan back to the old days

Haarken Worldclaimer may undoubtedly be a member of the Black Legion but his origins amongst the Night Lords remain stamped upon him too, from the skull helm to the flayed skins to the Nostraman spear he’s armed with. It will be interesting to discover if this is a new special character for the forces of Chaos or simply a generic chaos lord with a unique name and a little background as we’ve seen with the likes of Kranon the Relentless in the past.

I’ve actually been wondering what might become of the special characters set out in the Chaos Marines codex. Already we’ve seen the likes of Typhus and Ahriman farmed off into their own respective legion codexes and it seems likely that in time the Emperor’s Children and World Eaters will see the same treatment, taking Kharn, Lucius and Fabious with them. Is Abaddon to be left on his own or will GW take the opportunity to bring in more characters that exemplify other aspects of the traitor legions. Nice though it is to imagine I suspect that the other traitors – the Night Lords, Word Bearers, Iron Warriors and Alpha Legion – may not get the full codex treatment for quite some time, if at all. Of course all of them could be made into a unique army, both in terms of rules and aesthetic, but who could blame GW for shying away from concentrating exclusively on Chaos for the length of time that would require. Instead I imagine that as the Chaos Marine range is developed in the future we’ll see more of these legions and less of their monotheistic brothers. Then, assuming that these prove popular, and the god-specific legions are a financial success for GW, we might someday see Lorgar or Perturabo emerging from the warp at the head of a horde of cultists and possessed, or massed ranks of daemon engines. In the interim some new characters might just be the way in which they decide to drip-feed us with a little taste of the direction they could someday choose to follow.

Regardless Haarken himself is a striking model, if just a little over the top for my tastes. Now we wait to discover if he’ll be bringing any new friends with him in his campaign to seize Vigilus in the form of more new Chaos models. Who knows, perhaps when Marneus Calgar inevitably beats him up his boss Abaddon will have to put in an appearance…

 

Joining A Cult

For me, the best bit of these reveals are, without doubt, the genestealer cultists. It’s an army I have a real affinity for in both 40k and Necromunda and I can see myself using these both in my long planned 40k army and in narrative, house-ruled scenarios around the Underhive. I’m already considering transforming a Goliath Rockgrinder into an Orlock rig and one could easily do something similar with these to make outriders to accompany it, House messengers who need to be intercepted by your gang or, turning the tables as so much of the recent genestealer cult range has been borrowed from the Imperial Guard, how about making them into rough riders. Plus there are probably several clever people already cooking up house rules to incorporate these into Speed Freeks.

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Accompanying them we have the tactician pondering his already famous map of Warhammer World, a model which old timers will recognise as a remake of a much older, and extremely rare, figure from the early days of the range.

Again this is a brilliant model, with the expressively grumpy face being an excellent touch. Give it a few tweaks and once again it could fit in well with an Imperial Guard army or an Inq28 retinue (where it will doubtless prove popular). The only downside is the defaced aquila which sadly just looks amateurish. All of us who are fans of Chaos Marines or Traitor Guard have scratched through an aquila at one point or another so we could make use of a torso or piece of equipment that wasn’t otherwise available, and for all that it’s a rite of passage it’s also a cliché. I’m sure GW could have thought of something better here.

GSC

In some of the more frothy corners of the Internet there’s been a little chatter that GW have somehow “forgotten” about the genestealer cultists, simply because their codex hasn’t arrived yet (and despite the fact that GW haven’t been shy about promoting them lately). Of course GW has form here, they essentially abandoned the Sisters of Battle for over two decades, but I think that the idea that genestealer cultists have been booted to the kerb so soon after their relaunch in 2016 seemed far fetched. Did we really imagine that they were going to leave them without an 8th Edition codex forever, or perhaps mark their demise only with a glib assertion that the Squats must have eaten them all?

 

The Wrathful and the Rapturous

Over the last little while GW have been drip feeding us images of the contents of the forthcoming Wrath and Rapture box set, an all-daemons collection starring the forces of Khorne and Slaanesh. With the release date confirmed as falling within the next month they’ve shown us the two new characters which will be joining the new Flesh Hounds (good thing I finally got my old ones painted eh!) and Fiends of Slaanesh in the box.

Karanak

Karanak looks a little odd but frankly a dog with three heads is always going to look rather weird as a physical object rather than as a mythological concept. Overall I’d say they’ve made the best job they could of done without straying too far from the design elements that had gone before. Meanwhile the Slaaneshi harpist has yet to be shown off properly beyond what can be made out from the promotional video and the photographs taken by those who attended the event. However it’s fair to say it’s looking very interesting already and packs a punch of body horror that should put paid to those claims that Slaanesh was going to be removed or toned down.

 

Not So Tiny-Titans

I almost overlooked the titan amongst all the other exciting stuff that was appearing, and judging by the chatter online I’m not the only one. For such a big and imposing model from me at least it’s only managed to generate a shrug.

Titan

The trouble with titans is that they are so astoundingly expensive. One could buy a few good armies for the price of a single warlord model so as a result the audience for them is extremely limited. I for one very much doubt that I will never own one. Of course I’ve always fancied the idea of riding to war in a Titan (or even just turning up to work in one) but not so much painting one (and certainly not applying for the bank loan required before buying one of the damn things).

Plus, as a small image on a screen they just don’t look their best. Nothing beats seeing a Titan in person. Even a gaming table isn’t really big enough for them, and the best place to really appreciate them is in huge dioramas such as the one at Warhammer World which shows the Ultramarines battling the World Eaters. Of course GW are a wealthy company and can afford to indulge in vanity projects such as this. However creating such a monster will have undoubtedly consumed a great deal of staff time and production resource. Surely that would have been better spent on subjects with a broader range of appeal such as Horus Heresy, Lord of the Rings, Necromunda characters and brutes or Blood Bowl star players, all of which still have plenty of gaps unfilled? Don’t get me wrong, the range we have already is great but do we really need more at this scale? Perhaps I’m alone in this but for me the best place for Titans is Adeptus Titanicus.

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Bring The Noise

Saving the best for last we have this attention commanding model. Before you scroll down put on your eye protection and prepare yourself to return to an era when the grim darkness of the far future had a distinctly green understory…

Noise Marine 2

Isn’t he just a sight for sore eyes? Or perhaps it’s more the case that he’s a sight which causes sore eyes. Yes, GW are continuing to pillage the archives, this time bringing back this iconic old model.

Noise Marine

Now honestly I wouldn’t want every Noise Marine to look like this, guitars as sonic weapons as just too silly even for me (although if GW fancied a modern revamp of the old Ork Goff Rockers I wouldn’t say no!). I’m hopeful that sooner or later we’ll see a full Emperor’s Children release, complete with a proper kit for Noise Marines, and if they all look like this I might grumble a little, but as a one off he’s excellent, a real nod to the hobby’s past and a great trip down memory lane for us old hands. Newcomers however, raised to a 40k of unrelenting seriousness, must be trying to work out what hit them!

 

Overall then a very interesting set of reveals that give us plenty to look forward to as we head towards 2019. As ever if you have any thoughts on what we’ve seen here I’d be very curious to hear them, after all if you don’t share your thoughts in the comments box how am I supposed to rip them off and claim them as my own later?


The Irondogs – Part 7

Everything’s better with a friend right – and what better friend for a Goliath boss to have than one who values brotherhood and loyalty and isn’t just gunning for your job? Ugly Gabe is the heart and soul of the Irondog’s gang, the cool head that keeps the rash and the violent from biting off more than they can chew in one go. He hauled his boss Korak from under the rubble at the Feast of Khorg, convinced “Bloodbath” Bosrak out of the fighting pits and back onto the streets and helps the juves find their courage when the going gets tough.

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There’s still plenty more Goliaths to paint but getting Gabe finished means the central triumvirate of characters are all ready for action. I’d like to get a few more of the lads finished up soon so my partner and I can get some more games in, but I’m also needing to work on some adversaries for them so expect things to be Underhive dominated around here for the next little while.


The Irondogs – Part 6

Today we’re going to take a look at two of the key elements of the Necromunda set-up I’ve been working on; my Goliath gang boss Korak Kingbreaker and his old stomping ground, the territory of Ironhouse. Be warned, I ramble on a lot!

Goliath Gang

Let’s talk about Korak first. Developing the  personalities and backgrounds of our gangers and charting their exploits on the tabletop is right at the heart of everything Necromunda fans love about the setting. I’m a huge fan of the orks but with 70 boys in my army I can’t pretend that any of them stand out to me as individuals. Pick out a random skeleton warrior and ask its owner who it was before it died and your likely to get a very long-suffering look at best. Inquire about the backstory of an Orlock juve on the other hand and prepare yourself for a lengthy explanation of how they came to join the gang, their goals and aspirations and the adventures they have taken part in so far.

Now of course it hardly needs to be said that I encourage getting to know the characters in any army, the extra depth that develops as a result is quite unparalleled. However whilst you may well write pages and pages of notes on the life history of your Chapter Master only the most dedicated of hobbyists would dream of doing something similar for every tactical marine (if that’s you by the way I salute you, you are a hero to me). Nonetheless I would argue that beyond the world of Inq28 you will never find gamers who get to know their characters as well as those of us who dwell in the Underhive.

Despite this some characters will inevitably end up being more influential than others. As the leader of my gang Korak shapes the direction that the whole crew end up taking. His story is the story of the Irondogs, stamped indelibly upon the gang, their rivals and their territories.  It all begins with the soon to be infamous atrocity know as the Feast of Khorg…

Before we get into all that however that take a look at Korak himself. That way if you’re finding all this rabbiting on terribly dull you can skip the rest, having at least seen what is hopefully a nicely imposing miniature!

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Incidentally I’m aware that I’ve made a poxy job of drilling out the barrels on his gun, best to salve my ego by not mentioning it eh? At some point it will begin to annoy me so much that I replace it, I do have a few spares of that gun kicking around.

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If you plan on surviving long in the Underhive you’re going to need plenty of willpower and determination. Korak is a survivor. He has battled the worst that the Underhive can throw at him, pulling himself up by the bootstraps and crawling over the corpses of friends and rivals alike. Naturally, as a Goliath, he’s also gifted with phenomenal strength married to a willingness to indulge in act of supreme violence at the drop of a hat. This doesn’t mean he’s stupid however. There is a pernicious rumour going around which states that the Goliaths are all a bit thick (I blame the Eschers personally). Often they find themselves conflated with the Orks, on the grounds that the two are muscular, violent and love big, loud guns. However I would go so far as to suggest that they actually have as much, if not more, in common with the Dwarves. They are a proud and stubborn people, they are skilled smiths and metal workers, they are hardy and – most of all – they are exceptionally practical. If a tool can double as a weapon then that’s one less thing to carry. Why kill with flair or flourish when the main thing is making sure your enemy is dead? When a Van Saar’s fancy gun jams on Underhive filth, or an Escher’s stiletto snaps against furnace plate a Goliath’s fists will be more than enough to keep him alive. You might not catch a Goliath reading poetry (although if called upon to do so he might beat you around the head with the hardback edition) but offer him a book on tactics or advanced furnace maintenance and – assuming he’s learnt to read, hardly a given in the Underhive – he’ll be a happy man. Korak then is an intelligent, cunning and at times almost political, character. However this doesn’t mean that he is any less ruthless when he needs to be. He may have a good friend in Ugly Gabe (more on him soon!) but the Goliaths are a recalcitrant bunch. They respect strength above all because a weak leader is a death sentence in the Underhive. It’s nothing personal, they may even like him as a man, but if he can’t demonstrate ruthless authority when he needs to then he has to go. Most of the gangers would love to be leader someday and Bosrak in particular is an unhinged maniac, his brain turned to porridge by too many combat stims. On a bad day he’d beat up his own shadow on a bulkhead wall. So long as Korak’s authority remains absolute however Bosrak serves willingly as his most fearsome enforcer and attack dog (even more frightening than Snuggles – more on her below).

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Those of you who’ve stock with me as far (well done by the way) may well be wondering who the aforementioned Khorg was, what happened at his feast and what kind of place is Ironhouse? Well I’m so glad you asked! Having found out a little about Korak let’s take a look at his old boss Khorg.

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For those living in the lower reaches of Hive Araneus Khorg’s word was law and his influence absolute. His was the iron fist that had claimed a great swath of territory, covering hundreds of levels, dozens of domes and manufactora and thousands of kilometres of rusting corridors. Countless overseers feared him over their own house lords and countless more workers toiled in terror of the coming of his enforcers. In time his holdings spread from the toxic depths at the hive core to the ash shantys beyond the walls and up, creeping like a cancer closing its fist around a heart, towards the spires of the Hive itself. One after another, Goliath gangs bent the knee to him whilst his rivals were swept aside and so his forces grew into a true army, fiercely loyal and – to those seeking to maintain the status quo especially – desperately dangerous. Few dared challenge him openly and of those who did none survived long. High above, in the filtered air and well-lit chambers of the spires, his name was being spoken with increasing loathing. His ambitions where plain and all the Hive Lords knew that in time he would seek first to claim a place among them then to see each deposed until only he remained. Even amongst the lords of House Goliath such a thing was intolerable, for when it comes to their rivals a shared bloodline offers no safety and the thought of a pretender gang-lord taking a seat at their table was more than they were willing to suffer even to further the goals of their House. Who can say what pacts were struck among them but the men and women who rule Necromunda are like sharks that swim in black water, predators without compassion and ruthless in defence of their power.

In a grand display of strength Khorg called his army together. Many hundreds of Goliaths gathered for a festival of feasting, gladiatorial combat and feats of strength. It was a show of power intended to rival the greatest excesses of the spires, and to remind those dwelling in the lower reaches that Khorg and not Helmawr ruled here. Some even believed that Khorg intended to conclude with a declaration of war and send his troops rampaging upwards through pre-mapped tunnels and shafts to tear the head from hive governance in a single strike. If he had been so foolish he would have been sorely disappointed, the roads into the spires are well guarded, built to withstand a frontal assault and patrolled by legions of ruthless house veterans. As it is more subtle agents were in play, and the Hive Lords also wished to use the Feast as an opportunity to display their power and displeasure to all who might harbour thoughts of sedition.

Who, now, can truly say what Khorg might have planned? At the height of the Feast an explosion raged through the hall, bringing down the roof and crushing Khorg and his army beneath a tidal torrent of rubble. Of Khorg’s senior lieutenants Korak was one of the few to survive, pulled from the wreckage by his old gang-mate Ugly Gabe. With most of their gang-mates lost the two decided to return to their old territory in Ironhouse, from which to consolidate their turf and do what they could to survive the coming storm.

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By setting things in the aftermath of the Feast we find the depths of the hive in a state of turmoil. A power vacuum has suddenly opened up and an enterprising gang can seize prime turf and, if they can hold onto it, make a name for themselves. Ironhouse is one such territory, a settlement crammed with the thousands of sweating workers that are needed to maintain the ancient machines of the Halcyon Gate, packed alongside the destitute and the desperate. It is a gateway in its own right, a half-hidden back door by which illicit goods may enter the Hive, and in the days of Khorg’s reign was a Goliath stronghold ruled by Korak as Khorg’s vassal. Now Korak intends to hold it for his own, but that won’t be easy. His gang now has only a fraction of their former numbers whilst covetous enemies are muscling in on their turf. Both Orlock and Cawdor have large and influential presences in the local area and could easily decide to stamp out the Goliaths once and for all. More pressingly however a gang from House Escher calling themselves the Ladykillers are moving in whilst whispers of sedition run through the local populace like rot through a sack of corpse starch. For a long time the workers have been oppressed by the boot of House Goliath and there are those who say there shall never be a better time to be rid of them, even if calling for the strength to do so accrues a bloody debt to be paid to sinister allies from beyond the veil. Perhaps most pressing of all are the local ash-crust miners. Having armed themselves to defend against raiders now they’re seizing territory from the more established houses. Rumours that they harbour strange mutants amongst their number remain unsubstantiated however.

If Korak intend to hold off these rivals he needs support. He has put out a call to other survivors of Khorg’s army to gather beneath his banner, although as yet very few have done so. Furthermore in all of the confusion his beloved pet Snuggles has vanished into the flooded corridors beneath Ironhouse. Time to gather the boys and lure her out again.

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Inventing a detailed background for both Korak, his gang and his turf had got me really excited about this project again. I’ve already started doodling maps of the territories around Ironhouse that will soon be echoing to the sound of gunfire as the gangs set to carve out a home for themselves from the corpse of Khorg’s empire. First order of business will be painting up Ugly Gabe as he’s right at the core of the gang as well, then I’ll start on some of the other characters I’ve been inspired to create.


A Good Boy

It’s often said that there are no good men in the galaxy of Warhammer 40k, but now at least there is one good boy! Yes I couldn’t resist painting little Aximillion, the faithful dog who accompanies the Elucidian Starstriders from the Kill Team; Rogue Trader box. Until I get the rest of the crew done he can act as a regimental mascot for my little Imperial Guard collection, and can surely sniff out trouble in the Underhive as well.

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He’s definitely an interesting and challenging model to paint, he’s just so small that I really needed to adjust my style with starker highlights, my usual muted look would have blended to mud unless the viewer actually pressed him into their eyeballs. Despite this he was still a very quick and easy model to do, there’s just so little of him that it doesn’t take much time to get him painted.