Monthly Archives: March 2019

Cursed In Eternity – Part 1

Regular readers of this blog will know that, when it comes to the denizens of the 41st Millennium, I may have started out with Orks and gone on to join numerous other factions, but at the end of the day my heart belongs to Chaos. Thus it should come as no surprise that the recent influx of power-armoured baddies marching beneath the banner of the true Warmaster has brought joy to my black and bitter heart. It’s time to bring my Beasts of Ruin back out of retirement.

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If I found myself able to send a message back to my younger self I’m sure there’s all kinds of advice it’d be useful to pass on, and honestly there’s a high chance I’d forget all of it in the heat of the moment. However one tip that seems like it might be useful to pass on is “Don’t choose such a tricky to paint colour scheme for your Chaos Marines. Go for Black Legion or something, they seem straightforward”. Never mind eh!

The range of models available to servants of Chaos has certainly moved on a great deal since I swore my soul to the dark powers all those years ago. For one thing this newcomer is considerably bigger and more impressive model than his predecessors who were all distinctly on the short and ugly side by the end.

Chaos Space Marine Wudugast (6)

Indeed until now the Chaos range was looking less than impressive, especially in comparison to many of the other armies GW produce. Over the last couple of years this sapped my enthusiasm and, despite the quality of their Nurgle-worshipping, plague-loving brothers in the Death Guard, I struggled to really drum up the energy for painting Chaos worshippers. Now however, with the Dark Gods smiling upon us, I have grand plans to craft the army I’ve long dreamed of. The collection is about to undergo a transformation and rebirth as I inventory just who will be allowed to stay, who will be packed lovingly away and who will suffer the ultimate sanction and be broken up for bits. Some of my favourite characters from the old army will even cross the Rubicon Primaris (as it were) and be reborn – rebuilt using the new miniatures so that they may fight on. For now however, before they make their way off the display shelf and into boxes and cupboards, here they are for one final group shot – a last hurrah of my once proud and savage legion.

Chaos Space Marine Wudugast (7)

Of course whilst I fully expect the forces of Chaos to be making their presence felt over the coming months I have plenty of other projects on the boil as well. The gangs of the Underhive continue to gather so expect to see more of them soon, and of course I still have this month’s Skaven to round up.

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War Eternal – Part 4

Time to cleave a few more skulls and run rampant in the Blood Gods name! This weekend sees the release of a new army book for the Blades of Khorne in Age of Sigmar and all the ensuing chatter from GW’s PR department has woken me from my fuge and reminded me that I’ve got a Khornate skirmish warband on the go, and as yet it contains only one model. Time to drum up a few bloodthirsty recruits.

Bloodreavers Convert Or Die Wudugast (10)

For those new to the project, it’s the brainchild of fellow blogger Alex from Leadballoony, who’s been working on a Daughters of Khaine warband which I highly recommend you take a look at. He set’s out the framework for the project here and, rather than reiterate it all, you can find my thoughts on the matter here.

With that out of the way let’s take a proper look at the latest additions to my band of savages, three bloodreavers. I’ve had these models kicking around since the first edition of Age of Sigmar was released. Short of cash, firmly rooted in the Old World and disinterested in Stormcast Eternals as I was then, I let the box pass me by, although I did end up grabbing the Khornate side on ebay on the grounds that you can always use a few more bloodthirsty maniacs around the house. Alas other projects distracted me and, with no real purpose or plan for them, the angry barbarians were left to gather dust until the January 2019 issue of White Dwarf brought us the rules for AoS Skirmish and a seed of inspiration began to take root in my brain. Digging around in the bottom of a box I extracted the bloodreavers and set to work cutting and clipping them into shape.

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Gathered around their leader, this crew of bloodthirsty maniacs take their first steps to becoming a proper warband.

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As ever I’m aiming to add something else to the group soon but I’m being fairly relaxed about it so we’ll see what takes my fancy.


The Ladykillers – Part 10

Fans of House Escher could be forgiven for feeling somewhat neglected in the pet department. Whilst the Goliaths enjoy their monstrous crocodile and the Orlocks have an similarly titanic hound, the ladies find themselves currently lacking their cats. I’ve found suitable proxies for the equally pet deprived Cawdor and Van Saar, the former using a Vulcharc from the AoS Tzeentch range, the latter the skull crabs from Heresy Of Us.

Necromunda Proxy Pets Convert Or Die

Alongside these creatures the gangers of House Escher keep this odd looking predator, the Phyrr Cat. The name of this beast has proven to be a source of contention – I always pronounced it as “fire” cat, and I’ve even heard people say “fur” cat, although I now understand the official pronunciation is “fear” cat. I’m not sure it really looks like a scaredy cat to me but presumably this allows us to compare the phyrr cats – and indeed we shall.

Phyrr Cat

Official models for the phyrr cats were previewed around a year ago but, with the response being almost universally negative, the decision was made to start again with new sculpts. Personally I tend to agree with this, the models shown were well below the premium standard expected of Forge World. You are of course welcome to judge for yourself. My apologies to whomever took this photograph originally as it has now circulated online so much that I have new idea to whom credit should be given. If anyone knows let me know and I’ll update things accordingly.

Ugly Cats

In search of a suitable alternative I explored numerous ranges, soon discovering that cats are thin on the ground as miniatures. I even tried roping in this beast although she proved to be in entirely the wrong scale and even the Goliaths refused to go up against her after she took to knocking them off their shelf…

Duska

Finally I stumbled upon the Hoar Cats from Wyrd Miniatures (a creature which gives quite a different impression written down as opposed to spoken aloud). Last time I paid any attention to the range was many years ago when everything they produced was rather spindly and metal, and as a result given to bending out of shape in a stiff breeze. Thus these solidly plastic cats were a nice surprise.

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I did consider using a bright and exotic colour scheme to tie them in with the rest of the gang but on consideration decided that their small-size meant less is more and too much detail would swamp them.

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I’m pleased to have these done, partly because they add to the variety of units available to the gang and partly because in a place like Necromunda which is swarming with rats (many of which are carrying bombs) it pays to have a few cats around. Indeed the Underhive may prove to be prime habitat for them due to the distinct lack of trees for them to get stuck in.


Blackstone Fortress: Spindle Drones

Despite having an inordinate number of miniatures in the house, all our games of Blackstone Fortress have so far featured a mix of unpainted models (the heroes) and various proxies (the villains). Traitor guardsmen and chaos marines are easy to come by on my shelves, and fantasy ghouls were pressed into service as ur-ghuls, but for the rest a more esoteric approach has been required. Rather than spindle drones drifting serenely through the corridors the first adversaries the explorers encountered were a small band of grots, presumably sent on a scavenging mission by their ork bosses.

Fun though the little blighters are however, and despite the space-gobbos have more in common with traditional dungeon dwelling baddies, I really wanted to get the real spindle drones painted up. To me they add a great deal to the atmosphere of the game, calling to mind the fact that this is a strange and incredibly ancient structure, constructed by enigmatic beings in a long lost and now unknowable age (although it’s probably a safe bet that in the grim darkness of the far past it was mostly war as well). They’re also quite beautiful models, often overlooked alongside fan-favourites like the long-awaited traitor guard or the showstopping cast of heroes, but wonderfully evocative nonetheless.

They’re also gloriously alien. There’s really nothing quite like them in the 41st Millennium (perhaps they’d fit in with the Eldar but even then it would be a stretch) – and indeed it was because of this lack of suitable proxies that I ended up using the aforementioned grots.

Anyway, for all of these reasons, I decided to tackle them first so that next time we play we’ll be able to do so with a bit more style.

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Normally I’d tend to steer away from having duplicate models in a collection (indeed regular readers will know this borders on being an obsession) but in this case I think the uniformity actually adds to the impression of anonymous worker drones (plus to tinker with them too much risked destroying the very qualities which drew them to me in the first place). I will however be trying to individualise the Ur-ghuls and traitor guardsmen when I get around to them.

Blackstone Fortress Spindle Drones Wudugast (4)

As I was working on them I realised that these would actually qualify neatly for both halves of Azazel’s latest hobby challenge. This month it’s a two-part challenge – on the one hand we have “Squad: March!” (nothing complicated – just a case of finishing a squad in March), on the other it’s a gender-ambiguous model painting challenge. The idea apparently spun off from Fembruary (edit; not strictly true, as I’ve since been corrected – see Azazel’s comprehensive and interesting comment below or, better yet, click on the link above to see the original challenge in his own words), the annual event organised by Alex of Leadballoony which encourages hobbyists to add female miniatures to our male dominated collections. If you’ve not already seen it the gallery of this year’s contributors is well worth a look (not least because he gives a particular shout-out to this hairy heretic).

Essentially the gender-ambiguous half of this challenge therefore makes for a reappraising of the idea that miniature’s are automatically “male” unless proven otherwise (honestly I don’t think I ever made that assumption but it’s fun to play with nonetheless). That space marine? Definitely a bloke. Those Escher gangers? Women without a doubt. But what about those squigs or fleshhounds? Does a lady night goblin really look different to a male one under all those robes? Who knows what those ranks of skeletons looked like when they were fully fleshed?

Naturally these are just perfect for this, being as they are bio-mechanical alien robots. How they go about making new spindle-drones we can only guess – and sadly, this being the internet, someone probably has… (assuming they do and these creatures haven’t been drifting around the Blackstone Fortress for however many hundreds of thousands of years it’s been floating in space without replenishing their numbers). Of course this could be the perfect moment for me to sidetrack onto a long ramble about human-esque aliens in science fiction and how much it exasperates me (narrow budgets and limited costume department’s notwithstanding) when science fiction writers assume that species developing along an entirely separate evolutionary pathway, on a planet with very different environmental pressures, would naturally end up looking just like human’s with unusual foreheads. I’ve grown more relaxed about this over the years (at least in part because if you let it bother you then the range of sci-fi available to you narrows alarmingly) but it used to hack me off righteously I can tell you. Warhammer 40,000, of course, get’s away with it by giving science fiction a body-swerve and instead pitching itself as old fashioned fantasy in space (and anyone caught with a funny looking forehead is purged before they infest the entire planet with their deviant xenos creed!). However, rather than plunge any further down this particular rabbit hole, I’m off to rummage around for more aliens to paint (gender notwithstanding!).


The Oathbones – Part 1

Apart from finishing off the Khorne Slaughterpriest the other day (not the biggest of jobs as he was mostly done already) I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of painting. Usually this comes pretty easily to me but, perhaps because work is quite busy at the moment, I’ve been unusually slow to pick up a brush. Rather than make a chore of it I’ve been relaxing by kitbashing a few Cawdor gangers instead. I’m not planning to paint these straight away, I’d like to add a last few models to the Eschers first and then I’ll probably work on the Van Saar and (perhaps) Chaos gangs – on the grounds that those should be fairly quick and easy to achieve. I have however been having a lot of fun “sketching” out ideas for the gang and exploring what I’ll do when I get around to them.

Cawdor Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast (1)

As with all of the gangs the Forgeworld head and weapon sets really add to the degree of character within a gang. They’re not the cheapest but they look excellent so I’m happy to justify treating myself to them.

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 There’s a wonderful madness to the Cawdor that really taps into the insanity at the heart of the Imperium, and I wanted to play it up with the gangers I’ve been working on. This one for example believes that rather than trust his sinful, fallible, human eyes to help him aim his gun he must cover them over and thus, with all distraction removed, the Emperor will be able to act through him and guide his fire. Whether this works or not remains to be seen…

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This grim figure will probably become the gang’s ash-prophet leader although I have a few possible tweaks in mind before I call him finished.

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These aren’t the only models on the painting desk however and working on these has been a fine palate cleanser (or should that be palette cleanser?) so hopefully I’ll have something else to show you soon.


Ambots Assemble

This weekend saw the long-awaited release of the new Ambot kit and naturally I bought a brace of these glorious beasts and set aside a couple of hours to get them built. As I was doing so it struck me – alas slightly too late to take WIP shots – that this might be of interest to fellow Necromunda fans so here’s a few early thoughts on the models from someone enthusiastic enough to grab them straight away.

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Like most people I was expecting this model to be a big, expensive, lump of Forgeworld resin so getting a plastic kit instead was a really nice surprise. Rather than sticking religiously to the same set-up as the studio models for fear of ruining a ludicrously pricey model one can relax a little and adjust things as you see fit. To begin with I wanted to stick fairly close to the design of the originals as they’re cracking models in and of themselves, but I must admit I’m tempted to buy a second pair and go to town on kitbashing them (not something I’d ever do with a Forgeworld model).

Building the kit according to the instructions (an absolute must with Necromunda models where kits are often so complex that even the neck is separate to the head – hence Neck-romunda) one ends up with four natural subassembles; the legs, torso and each arm. Rather than build the first model to completion then start over with the second I recommend building each one up to the point that the subassembles are complete and then mixing them around to create a pair of unique models. Again, I’ve been fairly conservative with mine so far but I’ve got a lot of ideas brewing so now I’ve built two I’m increasing tempted by another pair with which to go a bit more crazy. Let’s take a look at what I’ve built so far.

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I’ve already come to think of this one as “Aggressive Ambot” with his lunging pose and powerful grav-fists.

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His colleague meanwhile is “Surprised Ambot” – he’s either been startled by an enemy ganger sneaking up on him or the fail-safes have just stopped working and he’s suddenly released some bastard has stuck his brain in a robot…

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There are only two styles of head in the kit, the mandibles of A being moulded to the face whilst those of B are separate. However it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to snip off A’s mandibles and exchange them with those intended for B to create two more unique faces.

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Ambot A – “Stabby!”

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Ambot B – “Bitey!”

Perhaps not the most exiting shot in the world but I’ve been curious to know what the back of the models looks like, as none of GW’s previews have shown it.

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Another thing that hasn’t been entirely clear from official previews is exactly how big they are. When faced with a kit like this the first thing that springs to mind is generally a dreadnaught and although I assumed these would be smaller it was still tricky to picture exactly how big they were going to be until they were finished. Thus, for your assistance and edification, here are a few handy size comparisons.

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Right now, on the mean streets of the Underhive, these are definitely the biggest dudes around, looming over humble gangers in exactly the way one would expect from a monstrous alien which has been crammed into a deadly robot without the slightest consideration for health and safety.

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (1)

For those whose mindset is associated with the more traditional side of 40k here we see one posing next to those staples of the size-comparison shot; a space marine Intercessor and a humble, if probably terrified, guardsman.

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And, just in case I’ve caused any confusion with my earlier comment about dreadnaughts, here one is dwarfed by a dead space marine in a walking coffin.

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And of course if any of you were wondering how big he was before he was a brain in a jar, now you know that too…

Anyway, hopefully you’ve found this useful and/or entertaining, particularly if you’ve been thinking of getting yourself an Ambot. These won’t get painted for a little while as I need to think up a suitable generic colour scheme to use with them but all being well I should have something painted to show off by later on in the week.


War Eternal – Part 3

We are the sons and daughters of Khorne, the shieldbearers of the one true god of Chaos, the sword brothers to His daemonic legions. How weak the cults of the other powers are, how pathetic the foolish schemes in which they ensnare themselves, the plots and counter-plots they use as crutches in place of honest strength. We do not need to beseech our God, or cower behind mewling spell-casters. We are strong, chosen by our God because of it, and respected accordingly. We do not beg him for gifts, or grovel before him like invertebrate creatures, bent backed and frail, whining out an addict’s need for just a little more power.

Ours is a honest bargain. Khorne offers us a portion of his strength because it is our right and we in turn spread slaughter in His name. Let the slothful and needy slaves of lesser gods decry us as crude if they will, we care not. We are closer to the heart of Chaos than they will ever be, and the butcher does not concern himself with the screaming of the sheep. 

– from the philosophies of Skaros the Desolator, Slaughterpriest of the Bloodlords

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Well here he is, Skaros the Desolator himself, ready to lead my little warband of Khornate savages into the Mortal Realms.

All too often the followers of Khorne are portrayed as ignorant, thuggish and crude. They care only for bloodshed and become so enamoured with their own rage that they lose all sense and coherence and flail and froth in a killing fury of self-destructive mania.  Personally I prefer them a little more nuanced. Thus I envision my slaughterpriest as a ruthless and methodical killer, powerful and predatory, rather than a maniacal berserker, a thoughtful killer – if no less brutal for all that.

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With him painted I have the beginnings of my Khornate warband. I’ll be adding more models to it later in March, although as yet I haven’t decided exactly what. Right now I’m leaning towards getting the bloodreavers done in order to bulk up the warband a little, after all one model doesn’t make an army by itself (unless it’s Nagash of course!), but there’s always the chance I might end up distracted by one of the other possible contenders. As ever, watch this space!