Monthly Archives: January 2019

The Cult of Ruin – Part 5

Hang about – five posts in one week! What’s happened to me? Have I been possessed? That’s a worrying thought…

There has been a lot of cult activity going on around here lately, most of it admittedly focused on those insidious xenos; the genestealers. However that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the servants of Chaos entirely. Whilst other projects have pushed the chaos cultists on to the back burner I couldn’t resist putting in some time to finish off the hideous spawn known as Gibbermaw.

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Fans of the dark gods take note however, this doesn’t necessarily mean a resurgence in Chaos activity in the Underhive will be happening straight away, I’m planning to concentrate on the Eschers first then we’ll see how things go from there.

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Squabblin’ Goblins – Part 11

Last weekend saw the long-awaited release of new plastic squigs from Games Workshop. Formerly part of the Orcs and Goblins range these crazy little beasts have now found a home amongst the Gloomspite Gits, a re-imagining of the old night gobbos in the Mortal Realms. As a long-standing fan of greenskins in general and squigs in particular it’s fair to say that I’ve been looking forward to this release since long before the models were even sculpted, let alone announced. Having got my hands on them* I wanted to take the opportunity to share a few thoughts regarding my early impressions – illustrated with a few moody and atmospheric black and white images to compensate for the fact that I haven’t painted anything yet.

*I know I have plenty of other things to paint at the moment, and I know buying new models when I haven’t painted what I have is profligate, but how could I resist after dreaming of them for at least a decade?

The new Gloomspite Gits are an interesting proposition. Despite it being three years since the arrival of Age of Sigmar this release would have fitted quite comfortably into the Old World of Warhammer. Previously Age of Sigmar releases have either been entirely new races, such as the Stormcast Eternals or the Idoneth Deepkin, or have evolved old races into new forms, such as the Daughters of Khaine or the Sylvaneth. Sometimes models for this latter group would have fitted in well in the Old World, and some might even be effective proxies for older units – like Ironjaw Brutes as Orc Big ‘uns, but never have we seen such comprehensive coverage of models widely desired for an old Warhammer army as part of an Age of Sigmar release. Long before the End Times, before Nagash returned and with the Stormcasts no more than a games developer’s fevered imaginings, people were crying out for new squigs.

Having waited all these years for a nice plastic kit for the squigs (surely always a glaring gap in the Games Workshop roster) I found myself giving in to temptation and snapping them up as soon as I could. Acquiring them however has led to considerable food for thought. Many old school players will be rejoicing at the opportunity to add this iconic creature to their Orcs and Goblins armies but with the scale of many GW models creeping larger every year will these newcomers even fit on an old 20mm square base? They, at least, can relax, the answer is a firm “yes”.

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Indeed although many things have become bigger over the years the boisterous squig remains roughly the same.

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For myself I’m still debating exactly what to do with my newly acquired squigs. Long ago I started to build a Night Goblin army for WHFB and last year I actually got a sizeable chunk of it painted. When I painted the army last year I threw in a handful of squigs but left the squad incomplete in the hope that sooner or later more would come bouncing along. All too often such manoeuvring proves to be wishful thinking but this time it seems I guessed right.

Night Goblins Convert Or Die

As squigs were always intended to be a part of that army surely I should just pop the little beasts onto square bases and get painting. On the other hand however the style of base very much directs the game for which the model is intended. As it stands I’m unlikely to actually play with these, so the point is probably entirely academic. Nonetheless the idea of some AoS skirmish has a distinct appeal. In the unlikely event that I do ever decide to play some old fashioned Warhammer it’ll be my Skaven that hit the tabletop.

It’s also worth considering that despite the aesthetic punch which an old Warhammer army with its ranks of troops neatly defined possesses, a quality which no AoS army can quite capture, some models just don’t look as good in ranks. By putting them on round bases I’d be able to really enjoy and show off everything these dynamic models can do, rather than struggling to make the best of things and force them into ranks which they were never intended to form. After all “ranking up” was a rightly cursed aspect of old Warhammer, a chore which impeded miniatures design and made hobbyist’s lives a misery in equal measure, so burdening myself with it unnecessarily seems like foolishness.

Convert Or Die Squigs

A release as long awaited as this was always going to be of key importance to GW. This was a chance to win over lingering WHFB sounds to the new world of AoS. Furthermore there must have been a temptation to indulge the freedom of the new realms to push the Night Goblins in new and crazy directions, an urge they have wisely resisted. The Night Goblins and Squigs have always been amongst the company’s most classic and iconic races and as the old saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Look no further than the wailing and gnashing of teeth that accompanied the upscaling of the space marines, a range who’s undersized proportions meant it certainly was broke and did need fixed.

On the other hand as a species so intrinsically associated with the Old World there was always a real danger that these little dudes would seem glaringly out of place amid the Mortal Realms. Luckily good models save the day. Just as the sudden availability of truescale marines made it easier for many of us to swallow the new landscape of 40k so too do Night Goblins in the Mortal Realms seem much more palatable when accompanied by these glorious new squigs.

This is not to say that everything is just a rehash of the “good old days” however. New ideas have been brought in but they’ve done so in a way that sympathetic to the old. Take the new Boingrot Bounderz for instance. Again old school WHFB fans could use them as alternative squig hoppers (which the kit also makes) but there’s something irresistible entertaining about goblin knights. Picture, if you will, a whole court of them in full heraldic pageantry, with the squig hoppers as squires and a suitably deranged-looking king bouncing in the lead. Of course, in a process which will be familiar to all hobbyists, now I’ve thought of it I can’t stop thinking about it. Bretonnia may be gone but there is still room for a green knight or two.

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The only thing I’m not entirely happy out regarding these is the way they are held aloft on heaps of mushrooms. It’s just a little over the top for my tastes, although I stress that’s just a personal opinion, but it’s also rather tricky to do very much about it. The fungi are sculpted directly to the legs of the squigs, probably a sensible move when it comes to supporting the weight of the model but making it distinctly tricky to separate them. I did manage it with this one but, given what a faff it was, I don’t think I’ll be losing too much sleep over the others.

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The Night Goblins were always a race which combined spite and silliness with aplomb. there was an element of slapstick comedy about them that brought something uniquely enjoyable to their murderous ways. Whilst still clearly evil creatures this cheeky, quirky element put them in a class of their own, a long way from straightforward baddies like Chaos or the Vampire Counts, whilst their status as weak yet cunning distinguished them from the loutish Orcs. Again it’s pleasing to see that this trait lives on in their new iteration. Goblins of all kinds have always enjoyed seeing their mates suffering misfortune and goblin fans are no better. Can you imagine Stormcast fans universally applauding a model of a liberator being swallowed by a dracoline, as this poor little grot is gobbled up by a squig?

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Amidst all this praise for the new models it would be remiss of me not to take a moment to mourn the passing of the Doom Diver from the range. It was a true icon of the old Orcs and Goblins army which seems not to have made the cut for a new model and has been quietly shuffled into retirement. Luckily for me I was given one a few years ago which will be joining my Night Goblins sooner or later.

Likewise goblin wolf riders, a staple of many childhoods thanks to The Hobbit, have been shuffled off into the great dank cave in the sky. These days if you want to go riding into battle on a big bad wolf you need to be a power-armoured futuristic Viking with a questionable hair-do’s.

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Few things are as evocative of GW’s stable as Night Goblins and Blood Bowl, so I’ve also found myself pondering how the two could be combined, a subject I’ve found myself returning to lately following conversations with fellow blogger and blood bowl enthusiast Faust. So far I’ve only dipped my toe into it but as this combination of Blood Bowl player and the (now retired) Night Goblin Fanatics shows, there’s certainly room to create some alternative members for a diverse looking team.

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Once again though I’d like to emphasise that I have plenty of other projects I ought to be concentrating on so although these squigs and gobbos will definitely get a turn on the painting table it won’t be straight away. In many ways however this is a blessing. I’ve been thinking about what to do with a release like this for a number of years so I won’t be rushing into anything, but instead will be taking the chance to explore the models, see what other hobbyists do with them, and bounce a few ideas around before I commit to anything. At this point I often say watch this space but this time I’ll add don’t hold your breath as well. However if you have any suggestions, ideas or words of wisdom, I’m all ears.


Get Sick Or Die Trying – Part 11

Did I not promise you more poxwalkers just a week ago? Am I not a corpse master of my word? Here’s the latest two shamblers to come lurching off the painting desk.

I experimented quite a lot with this one, mixing some of the agrellan earth texture paint in with flesh tones to cover some of the rougher joins. I actually finished him off about a week ago but I found myself really unhappy with the results. Although he was technically pretty much perfect the results were much too “clean” for my liking (by which I mean painted with precision, he still looked like a filthy rotten git). In the end I took him back to the painting desk and worked over him, he’s muckier now but I’m much happier with the end result.

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His new pal here is converted from the poxwalker in the lab coat.

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Unlike the previous lab coat wearing poxwalker I painted I didn’t use lots of blood splatter here, but instead tried to make the coat look stained and befouled by decomposition. By way of comparison here he is next to his gore covered colleague.

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Of course without getting too graphic it’s clear that his guts have exploded quite violently at some point, which presumably means he wasn’t wearing the lab coat at the time. It builds a somewhat macabre image, in my mind at least, of him, already long dead, taking his coat from its hook and, in a reverse of his habits in life, putting it on before he shambled out of the lab for the final time.


The Ladykillers – Part 4

It seems like I’m on a bit of a roll at the moment. As well as cracking on with painting I’ve also managed to get a few Escher gangers assembled. One of my big sticking points with the Eschers has been the repetition of hairdos across the gang. With each ganger having such showy set-piece locks the duplication is all the more obvious, as compared to, for example, the uniform mohawks of the Goliath or wall-to-wall baldness of the Delaque. Regular readers will know I couldn’t tolerate the idea of cloned hairstyles existing in the gang but trying to create alternatives is a herculean task. Grafting on Dark Eldar hair is a time-consuming and challenging job and other alternatives that really play to the style of the Eschers are thin on the ground. Needless to say when the new head upgrades were released from Forge World last week I really wanted to give them a go. Following a flurry of assembly over the weekend I have to say I’m really quite impressed. Here’s the latest recruits to the gang.

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Hopefully by allowing me to make the gang as I’ve always envisioned it this should be the spur I need to get some more of them painted over the next little while.


Mean Streets – Part 2

Undoubtedly the biggest project I’m currently working on is my collection of Underhive terrain. It’s something I discussed at length when I first started this series but to recap, as it’s been a while, I’ve always dreamed of having my own set of terrain but until recently I had neither the space nor the money for it. If I’m honest with myself I probably still don’t but, with a bit of creative storage and careful budgeting I’ve decided to go for it anyway. After all if you’ve been planning something for over a decade it’s probably time you just got on with it right?

I wouldn’t really consider myself a gamer, for me painting and modelling comes first and any dice rolling, if it happens at all, is a very distant second. That said when I do play games I want them to be as evocative and atmospheric as possible. Nice though it would be to create all the landscapes I can imagine games being set (a crumbling dwarven mine infested with Skaven and Night Goblins, the wraithbone spires of an Eldar craftworld, the ever changing madness of a daemon-world within the Eye of Terror, the verdant gardens of Nurgle, a shrine-world covered in statues so vast that tank battles can play out in the Emperor’s cupped hands, a Blood Bowl pitch with cheering crowds, hotdog sellers and a commentator’s box, the inside of a Tyranid bio-vessel, and so on) practicality tells me I can only really have one board for the foreseeable future. Thus, as my predilections lie towards small scale skirmishes in the 41st Millennium (mostly Necromunda but there’s room for some Kill Team/Inq28 shenanigans in my life too), what I need is a slice of decaying industrial hell, layer upon layer of toxic, crumbling factories, a place so rough the apocalypse would improve things and streets so mean even the rats won’t go out after dark.

Needless-to-say, although I’ve painted a huge number of models over the years, terrain is still pretty new to me. I’ve been chipping away on this project for about six months now, and the learning curve has been steep, but Azazel’s latest monthly challenge (which calls, appropriately enough, for terrain) has given me the push to get one of the bigger pieces done at last. (Those unfamiliar with Azazel and his famous challenges – where have you been? – should take a look at his blog, and I urge you to join in – this is a phenomenon not to be missed). Anyway, let’s take a look at the building shall we.

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As might be expected I got a lot of things wrong here, there’s certainly things I won’t do the same way twice, and places where I made a lot of work for myself that I really didn’t need to but on the whole I’m happy enough and hopefully I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned and things will continue to get easier and smoother.


Get Sick Or Die Trying – Part 10

One of my goals for 2019 is to get all of my poxwalkers painted up. Having been included in the Dark Imperium box set and as a easy to build set, Games Workshop have been practically giving these away and as a side effect of this profusion, coupled with my tenancy towards bargain hunting, I’ve ended up with 40 of the shambling corpses, enough for a proper zombie apocalypse. I wasn’t entirely idle on this front in 2018 so with these latest two models finished we are now up to the halfway mark (and a full unit for 40k for those who like to keep up with these things).

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Of course such a moment calls for a group shot.

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My intention is to keep working on these over the next few weeks. I know I’ve claimed on several previous occasions that more poxwalkers would sooner be forthcoming only to get sidetracked by other projects but this time I mean it (honest!).


Looking Uphive – Necromunda Plans For 2019

As we stride purposefully into 2019 I wanted to take a look at just where I stand with all of my Necromunda projects (which otherwise run the risk of degenerating into my usual disorganised chaos). For me Necromunda is the game and setting I’m most excited about of all GW’s canon. The game had a great year in 2018, growing from just two gangs at the start of the year to nine by the end. With all of the Clan Houses now represented it’ll be very interesting indeed to see how things progress over the coming months and years. As for myself I’ve started working away at all kinds of projects with my usual unsystematic enthusiasm. The aim of this post therefore is to serve as a round up, keeping me on track with where I stand with all of my gangs. It’s not all models you’ve seen before though, a few new ones have snuck in as well. Let’s take a look.

 

The Irondogs (House Goliath)

The former lords of Ironhouse have had a fine time of things lately, at least when it comes to getting painted. The backstory I’ve written for them may see them as a shadow of their former glory, struggling to reclaim the turf they once held so securely, but at least they don’t have to worry about unpainted models. As it stands the gang is pretty much done for now, I’m aiming to finish off the bolter wielding ganger Sylus shortly, but I ended up picking up the weapon upgrade for them, and will undoubtedly add the new heads to that, so expect to see further reinforcements arriving in the future as Korak attempts to expand his realm and reclaim the lost power of his house.

Goliath Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast

I’ve mentioned previously that I see the Goliaths as having a lot in common with the dwarves of old-Warhammer (brawny craftsmen who rely on sturdy durability over fancy do-whats – just swap the pre-battle start-me-up for combat stims instead of Bugman’s XXXXXX and you’re good to go). However it wasn’t until I was writing this that I realised how deeply this had worked its way into my thinking – as my once mighty Goliaths now struggle to reclaim a corner of their Underhive empire from the invaders squatting amid the ruins. Speaking of which…

 

The Ladykillers (House Escher)

For hundreds of shift-cycles the House Escher presence in Hive Araneus has been minimal, making it the perfect for “Gallows” Grace and her girls to set up shop. Having betrayed her way across the wastes Grace needs somewhere off the radar to build their strength, and the under-defended Ironhouse looks like the perfect place.

Escher Convert Or Die Wudugast

The Eschers haven’t grown as quickly as I first expected but I intend to do something about that shortly. Generally I feel this lack of progress can be attributed to three key factors. Firstly, these ladies are challenging to paint, with all those crazy patterns and colours. Secondly, I’ve been working on this gang for my partner and as she’s also an avowed acolyte of the Void-Emperor and His strange xenos ways my focus has been switched to the genestealer cults over the last month or so. Thirdly, I want every Escher to look unique. After all in a house where peacocking is  more than just a way of life having the same hair-style as one of your gang sisters sounds downright intolerable. Thus my progress has been slowed as I’ve tried to create unique ‘do’s for each of the girls, something I’ve managed to pull off so far, but which the new head upgrade kit should mean becomes much more straightforward.

 

The Radwolves (House Orlock)

I must admit when I first saw the Orlocks I wasn’t that inspired by them. On the other hand the longer I’ve looked at them the more excited I’ve become. I’m still no fan of the running poses, and I’ve steered firmly away from the more “well groomed” gentlemen but I’ve still already kitbashed a little army of them and I’m constantly tempted to do some more. I’ll try to get them painted soon, although I’m aware I’ve promised myself that about a lot of things…

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Tech-hunter Cadre Scorpion Null (Van Saar)

Even more than the Orlocks, I really wasn’t that enamoured of the Van Saar models when they first appeared. They’re just so different to the aesthetic of the wider 40k setting that it took a little getting used to, plus the fact that they’re the harder to build, let alone kitbash, by a country mile makes them possibly my least favourite gang in Necromunda (although it goes without saying I’m still a big fan – what a fan boy eh!). Although I’ve not found myself as captivated by them as I have some of the other houses I’m still working on an elite team, dispatched into the Underhive by the house masters on a secretive mission. Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying out my planned colour-scheme on a test model and I’m rather pleased with how he’s turned out.

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Of course now I just need to get the rest of them done. Hopefully the fact that I’m not planning many of them should mean I could wrap up the project fairly quickly, but with so many things I’d like to be working on getting the chance to focus on them exclusively might not happen straight away.

 

The Oathbones (House Cawdor)

Whilst I only plan an elite strike force of Van Saar my Cawdor will stand at the opposite end of the spectrum; a full blown army of the faithful. I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely love these models, and all the various forgeworld upgrades for them have only served to make them better. The temptation is to paint hundreds of them, although as ever time and money have tended to reign me in so far. That said one of the joys of Necromunda is that it’s relatively cheap so a mighty horde of fanatics could well be within my grasp.

Cawdor Convert Or Die

Plus the stigshambler I made a couple of months ago was one of the most popular models I produced in 2018, and remains one of the conversions I’m most proud of, so I need to get them (and their gangmates) painted soon.

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However, rather than start somewhere sensible like painting up a few gangers, I instead chose to paint a sheen bird as my first model for the gang. I had planned to use the model as part of a converted Tzeentchian cultist but when I realised that wasn’t going to work it ended up in the bits box looking for a home. Now I just need to complete the ash prophet who’ll be its owner.

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I’m not entirely without common sense though, so once the sheen bird was finished I painted the test model for the gangers. My idea, which I know isn’t all that original, is that some members of the house have seen the mighty warriors of the Imperial Fists who base themselves on Necromunda and, wishing to emulate these noble souls who must surely have stood at the side of the Emperor Himself, have taken to dressing in yellow robes. Plus I’ve got into the swing of painting filthy yellow clothing from working on my Skaven and knew I could repeat the look on lots of gangers. Overall I’m pretty happy with him so this is probably the look I’ll be using for all of them (unless some clever person comes along and suggests something so mind-blowing I end up doing that instead!)

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The Children of Whispers (House Delaque)

As it stands I’ve only built one of these sneaky characters but I have to say this kit is absolutely outstanding. Expect to see me working on these a lot more in the future.

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The Cult of the Abyssal Gaze (Genestealer Cults)

Like the Goliaths this gang is painted up and ready to take on the Underhive. Rising from the ash-mining clans of Delving Alpha-12 and led by the ambitious Vyrion the Elder this insidious cult prepare to invade Ironhouse and from there spread their influence into the hive itself.

Genestealer Cultists Convert Or Die Wudugast (2)

Most of the work on this gang happened in December, and really served to demonstrate that I can get these projects painted up quite quickly if I just put my mind to it (and can find the time of course). That said they’re not finished by any means. I’ve always planned to build up a genestealer cults army for 40k and the newest images we’ve seen of forthcoming models have only added to that. For those who’ve missed them (and where have you been?) take a look at this lady for example;

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Of course much as I enjoy building 40k armies it’s not a game I actually play. Thus part of me is drawn to the idea of expanding my genestealer cults into more than one gang, representing different factions setting out from the Delvings to spread the cult. Whilst Vyrion leads the invasion of Ironhouse his young acolyte could take a gang of her own to undermine the Orlock wayforts that dot the ash wastes, or drive out the Cawdor ragpickers that currently control Sumpside. One way or another expect to see plenty more of these in the coming months.

 

The Cult of Ruin (Chaos Cults)

Ah, my cult of mislead, Chaos worshipping helots! Such plans I had for them last year! Sadly not a lot of actual progress has been forthcoming. Part of the trouble is that most of the models I planned to include don’t have the best paintjobs, my skill having increased considerably over the five years or so since I first worked on them. This seems like a fine excuse to fix them up but as a result the project has become a lot more involved than I originally envisioned. That said things may have stalled but they haven’t been forgotten, so I’m aiming to get back to them sooner or later.

Chaos Core Gang

Venators

Not much to see here yet but I’ve got all kinds of ideas planned, starting with a gang of beastmen bounty hunters. Don’t expect them to appear straight away though, as you can see from the list above there’s plenty of other things to tackle first.

 

So there we have it, a solid set of projects to tackle over the next few months (alongside all of the other things I’d like to be painting). Naturally I won’t get around to all of them straight away but perhaps by nailing my colours to the mast and setting out my plans I’ll be encouraged to keep at it. Oh, and I have a heap of terrain to do as well. The Underhive never sleeps…