Monthly Archives: April 2019

Rat Race – April

Ladies and gentlerats, it’s time once again to take a look at the progress of my Skaven collection this month. My plan is to get the army finished off (in as much as these things ever are) by the end of 2019 – barring GW releasing any new Skaven to replace some of the dodgy old sculpts marring the range (which at this stage looks doubtful to say the least). With that in mind it’s time I bashed on, progress has been rather slow over the first three months of the year and I’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Thus this month I turned my attention to the Stormvermin, the second squad of these elite rodents to join the army and frankly not my favourite miniatures to work on. Some people can make them look amazing once finished, and I feel I’ve done a fair job of them so far, but they really are exasperating models to work with – it takes a lot of work just to get them looking passable.

I showed the start of this squad last month and confessed that I was struggling somewhat with them. Originally I planned to painted the whole squad with white fur, distinguishing them from my other Stormvermin squad, which have brown fur, and marking them out as the elite guard of Grey Seer Murkskitter who accompanies the army and tries, often unsuccessfully, to make the clan obey the will of the distant Council of Thirteen, as opposed to their own verminous whims and schemes. I quickly found, however, that although painting the occasional rat with white fur is quite fun, doing a whole unit of them is an exercise in frustration, so I publicly called it off and declared that I would do the rest with brown fur, background be damned, don’t try and stop me! Several readers then made compelling arguments suggesting I shouldn’t be such a baby (albeit in rather friendlier terms), offering up advice and making the generally supportive noises that hobbyists make when one of their number is facing a challenge and not enjoying it. Amongst them Azazel – of Azazel’s Bitz Box – noted that this month he’s running “Armoured April” as a challenge, so whatever colour of fur I fancied painted it was a fine time to man up (rat up?) and get to work on them.

Cutting a long story short then I decided to take a swing at getting one of them done with white fur, then a second and slowly over the month they shuffled in, one pale furred rodent after another. After each I declared “I’ll just pack it in and do the next one with brown fur” and each time I sat down to paint it I talked myself into continuing. I’m not going to pretend it was entirely a joyful experience but there we have it, the halfway point has been passed and the finish line for the squad is now well within sight.

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Of course these duplicitous rats need a leader, someone to point them in the right direction – even if that direction is often straight back to Skavenblight with their tails between their legs.

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With these eight rats done we have enough for a full squad, and as I’ll probably take a bit of a break from them before adding any more, this makes for a good moment for a group shot or two.

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The keen eyed will notice that, ranked up this way, one of the rats in the back rank appears to be attempting a quick spot of Skaven-style career progression by stabbing his boss in the ear. That’s the ratmen for you eh! Fear not however, once I add a few more (including a banner bearer and musician) I’ll try to find a way of arranging them that makes such skulduggery a little less obvious…

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The Ladykillers – Part 12

I had great plans to get the Escher gang rounded up this month, and once again those plans look set to miss their target. Ah well, I have been busy with other things so I guess I’ll let myself off! Nonetheless I feel like I’ve been working, very slowly, on the Eschers for quite a while so I’d like to try and get the last few members of the core gang wrapped up ASAP.

On that note here we have the gang’s brute, the giant genetically modified monster known as a Khimerix. These monsters, described as “flesh-fused chimerae” and “gene-spliced hybrids” are created by the gene-wrights of House Escher as attack beasts, status symbols, gladiatorium combatants and, above all else, proof of their ability as queens of the genetic and flesh-sculpting arts.

As no official model has appeared as yet I decided to use the Tiger of Dirz model from the Confrontation range (that’s Confrontation – the game made by French miniature’s company Rackham, not Confrontation – the name for the original version of Necromunda, although there is a pleasing symmetry at play nonetheless!). The Tiger of Dirz was itself a flesh-crafted attack beast, created by the genetic manipulators of the Alchemists of Dirz so the creature seemed like a natural fit. All I had to do was give her a suitably Escheresque paint job and she was ready to join the gang.

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As brutes go she’s perhaps not quite as big as she could be, although she still towers over the gang’s collection of phyrr cats…

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…and looks suitably imposing next to the gangers themselves…

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However an ambot still makes her look a little small…

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…and she’s actually no bigger than the sumpkroc.

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Thus, as and when an official model for the Khimerix is produced I’d expect it to be somewhat larger than this (given that she’s brute whereas the croc is merely an exotic pet), but for now she more than fits the bill.

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Working on this has reminded me (as if I needed reminding!) of how much I loved the Rackham range. I used to drool over their miniatures each month but, given that I was a poor student and they were terribly expensive, never got around to buying any until the company hit the rocks and foundered into bankruptcy in the 2008 recession. Suddenly the market was flooded with cheap miniatures from the range which I greedily snapped up (the silver lining to every cloud and all that). Maybe it’s time I got around to getting them painted…


Green Iz Best – Part 6

For a long time I’ve harboured an ambition to own at least one hundred ork boys. I remember seeing the datasheet for the “Green Tide” in Apocalypse years ago and it’s description of “wave upon wave” of ork boys had me captivated. At the time I couldn’t imagine ever owning so many greenskins but the idea of commanding such a mighty horde snuck into my heart and never left. Over the last decade I’ve added more boys to the army in dribs and drabs, sometimes allowing these most violent of space fungi to sit idle for years at a time, sometimes getting caught up in a full scale Waaagh! of enthusiastic energy. Recently it struck me that, although the long-dreamed of horde might not have reached full strength quite yet, triumph might not be quite as unachievably distant as I’d once thought. The boys now take up a sizeable chunk of shelf-space and, having already completed more than a hundred clanrats, completing such a mighty force no longer seemed quite so intimidating.

As it’s Army April I decided to take the opportunity to do a quick inventory the collection. Although the number of boys has been slowly growing even I was no longer sure exactly how many I’d painted so I dug them all out and arranged them into squads. First of all and, nicely straightforward, I separated out the fifteen shoota boyz.

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That done I counted out the first squad of 30 slugga boyz.

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That left me with twenty-five boyz left over, five short of another full squad. Time to do some recruiting!

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Just as important as the numbers is making sure each ork has its own personality. I’ve often suggested that I want to give each ork a unique head but really this is a crude way to describe my aspiration. Really I want each of the boys to be an individual, with its own distinct character, not just another rank filler.

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To do this I’ve been raiding all kinds of bits from other ork, orc and orruk kits, including the savage orcs and the old boar boys (sadly now discontinued – a shame as it was one of those kits I always aspired to but never quite found the time or money to get until it became too late).

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The barbaric, low-tech aesthetic of the orks means that these bits from the fantasy ranges fit in nicely here.

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And given the ork’s love of destruction it really was about time I gave one of the boys a rocket launcher, for those moments when an even bigger, louder explosion is called for!

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So there we have it, five new recruits ready to join the rest of the lads!

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Which means, of course, that the second squad of slugga boys is now complete.

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Time to find out what seventy-five rampaging orks looks like…

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Of course this does mean I’m only twenty-five boys short of that long-aspired to milestone. Could this year be the one I finally complete it? I commit to nothing, but let’s see how I get on…


Cursed In Eternity – Part 2

A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of my first new chaos space marine and noted that, as well as creating lots of new models from this versatile kit, I also wanted to try to recreate some of my favourites that I’d built with the old kit – but in a manner rather closer to the way I’d always imagined them. Well I’m pleased to say that the first of these experiments has now borne fruit.

I’m not entirely sure now when I painted this chap but I first featured him here way back in the heady days of 2014 when this blog was taking its first tentative steps into the world. Let’s take a look at him.

I’m not ashamed to admit, my ability as a painter wasn’t anything to write home about back then. With both my skills and those of GW’s sculptors having come on somewhat it was past time to give this poor warrior a new lease of life, so I plucked him from the box-of-shame in which he was now residing and set about recreating him in a form closer to the way I’d always imagined him.

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And here we have him next to the first of his brothers in depravity.

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Overall I’m pleased with how the evil old so-and-so has turned out, the new Chaos Marines kit is really proving itself to be extremely versatile, so expect to see more in this vein in the coming months.


Muties – Part 1

There’s a mutant for every occasion. Need a horde of luckless bullet catchers driven ahead of your advancing chaos legion? Call in the mutants. What about some low-level troublemakers for your Inquisitor to deal with? How about civilians/wildlife/scenery/lurkers-in-the-dark to trouble your Necromunda gangs? If you want to live in the seedy underbelly of 40k then mutants are indispensable. Even more so than everyone else in the Imperium they were born to lose. The 41st Millennium’s ultimate underclass they play the part of the victimised serf with a natural grudge just as well as they do the spiteful villain. Plus, the range of modelling and creative opportunities they represent are just too much fun to pass up!

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This is a project I’ve been working on for a ludicrously long time, some of these models have been sitting around half-painted for at least five or six years, so I reckoned it was about time I actually bashed on and got something finished. All of the current batch are based on the Lord of the Rings goblins, which make for excellent mutants in and of themselves. Indeed some, like this chap, I’ve painted up entirely “as is”, without needing to do any converting at all.

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Others, like this one, are a bit more radical. Although the goblin models themselves aren’t multipart kits they really forgive cutting them and sticking on bits from other kits, and on such lumpen, ugly-looking characters even the crudest greenstuff can cover a multitude of sins.

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This one was the first to be finished, several years ago now, but the slow progress of the project as a whole meant I decided to go back and give him a bit of a repaint by the time the rest of the clan were nearing completion.

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There’s something about this one that even gives me the creeps!

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This chap is one of my favourites, a task-master who really does have eyes in the back of his head!

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As intimated by the “Part 1” in the title I’ve got quite a few more of these still to finish so I’m aiming to bash on with them alongside other projects. Despite the fact that in some ways I feel that I should be concentrating on one thing at a time and getting a few things finished these have been waiting for attention for so long it’s getting embarrassing so I’m keen to get them done once and for all. Hopefully it won’t be another five years before we see “Part 2”!

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HeroQuest

I’m definitely painting an eclectic mix of models lately (or to put it differently, I’m skipping around from one project to another with the attention span of a goldfish on a sugar rush). Fear not however, this isn’t the start of another new project – just a brief spin off. I’ve previously mentioned that I’m planning to get a full set of models painted up for Blackstone Fortress, on the grounds that the last time we played it we did so with unpainted figures despite the fact that I have an inordinate number of painted models kicking around the house. The motivation to get on and do something about this stems, in part at least, from the efforts of fellow blogger KrautScientist, who’s been busy painting up an entire set of HeroQuest miniatures (if you haven’t seen this project I highly recommend you check it out at once, the combination of quality and dedication to the task should warm the cockles of any hobbyist). 

What’s more, HeroQuest is thirty years old this year. I must admit it passed me by entirely the first time round, no real surprise as I was only four at the time. Still I wanted to do something to mark the anniversary of this venerable gaming institution (which has proved, after all, to be the gateway drug for a great many other hobbyists). Thus I’d been vaguely planning to do something HeroQuest related at some point between now and the end of the year, but I hadn’t made any actual efforts until KrautScientist inspired me into action.

Some time ago a good friend of mine gave me a box of retro models from his childhood, a wonderful gift full of some really classic miniatures of yesteryear. So far I’ve not got around to doing a great deal with them, although I’m aiming for them all to show up here sooner or later. In amongst them I found two HeroQuest figures, a Chaos Warrior and a Fimir. Let’s take a look at the Chaos Warrior first.

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Admittedly this model falls a long way short of the modern standard but I feel it still has a lovely, old-fashioned appeal to it that’s hard to resist. Alas the Fimir is less charming. Cool though a cyclopean chaos-lizardman might sound in theory these models don’t come close to doing the concept justice, the details were rather soft and ill-defined whilst the mould-lines were the kind of ridges normally thrown up by continental drift. Still, I did have fun painting him – although I don’t imagine I’d paint another in a hurry. 

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And here we have the two of them side by side, waiting for a hapless adventurer to happen along. They’ve been waiting for three decades now and so far, no luck! They must have picked the wrong dungeon to lurk in…

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Anyway, hopefully you enjoyed this salute to HeroQuest – and to all the talented hobbyists who took their first faltering steps into it’s dungeons and, in spirit at least, have never left. A big thanks to Tom for giving me the models and do go and take a look at KrautScientist’s work (without a trace of false modesty it puts these to shame and proves that chunky, thirty year old single-piece miniatures can still look absolutely magical in the right hands).


War Eternal – Part 5

Since I started working on my Khornate warband for Age of Sigmar one of the units I’ve been most keen to include has been a Wrathmonger. Released back at the tail end of old-Warhammer as part of the chaos horde that finally put paid to the Old World the Wrathmongers set proved to be one of those kits which the various chaos ranges sometimes throw up, and which are in my opinion both a blessing and a curse for fans. A blessing because in the sheer range of parts lie the seeds of a thousand conversions, a curse because the models built out of the box tend to be lumpen and weird-looking, and not in the way that a chaos enthusiast might hope. For my money the Chaos Spawn and Forsaken are other classic examples of this and although the Wrathmongers are somewhat better than these they still fall a long way short of the Blightkings, who were released shortly before and proved to be life changing for Nurgle fans, and the Blood Warriors who came later as AoS burst upon our shores, and did everything and more which the Wrathmongers had promised, yet failed to deliver.

When they were first released I decided to snap-up a box, something of a guilty impulse purchase as I don’t believe I ever had the slightest intention of painting them, although plenty of bits have since found their way into various conversions – and undoubtedly will continue to do so. Thus this warband seemed like a perfect opportunity to go back to the Wrathmongers try to create something closer to my vision of them, something more akin to the bestial, savages I would have preferred, a creature which – although clearly once a man, has been reshaped by Khorne into a form more pleasing to the Blood God and better able to carry out his murderous will.

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I’ve been feeling really enthused about all things Khorne lately, and I wanted to bulk up the warband a little further, so whilst I was about it I also painted up this Blood Warrior. I also reckon that he qualifies for Azazel’s Armoured April challenge given that, unlike the Wrathmonger who’s happy to go to war in only his shorts, this gentleman has at least taken the time to get properly dressed before battle.

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And in honour of the other part of Azazel’s challenge, “Army April”, here are a few gratuitous group shots and atmospheric images of the Blood God’s followers ready to go on the rampage.

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Skulls for the Skull Throne and all that!