Author Archives: Wudugast

The Year of the Rat – May

With May drawing to a close it’s time for our by now familiar look back at the progress of my Skaven collection this month. For those who’re new to this the aim of the exercise is to add something, even if it’s only a single rat – although preferably more than that – to my Skaven every month of 2017.  For me the Skaven were the very beginning of my exploration of this hobby, the first miniature I ever owned was a ‘ratman’ given me by another boy at school, and for a long time I’ve planned the army of my dreams, a vast host of scabrous fur and rusty weapons. The enormity of the task tended to put me off however and for a long time my rats have been forced to wait, imprisoned on their plastic frames, plotting the moment that a coat of paint would be theirs. The thought of trying to paint all those models froze me with a force equal to the avarice that had driven me to collect them all in the first place. Then, over New Year 2016, it occurred to me that whilst painting the whole collection was a Herculean task painting a few rats each month was easy!

So far my instinct to tackle the project this way has been proven correct. Breaking it down into smaller chunks has made for a more achievable task, whilst the constant sense of progression has helped to maintain my enthusiasm. With that in mind let’s take a look at what I’ve managed to finish off this month.

First up we have a command unit for my second squad of clanrats (for those who’re keeping track these are the ones armed with close-combat weapons rather than spears).

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Adding all the sigils to the banner was an adrenalin fuelled bout of heart-in-mouth freehand but I got there in the end.

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Here’s the whole squad so far, bolstered by the arrival of their new leaders.

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A couple of months ago the legendary Duncan Rhodes demonstrated how to paint an albino clanrat and, whilst re-watching the video, it struck me mixing up the fur and skin colours of my own rats would add to the ragtag appearance of the units.

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I’ve also finally finished off a warpfire thrower, the first weapon team to join the collection.

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Last, but not least, we have this plague priest, ready to spread the Great Horned Rat’s foulest infections. At the moment he’s forced to scurry corpulently around unaided but, as soon as I get it finished, he’ll be able to ride in style atop a maddeningly toxic plague furnace.Plague Priest Convert Or Die (1)

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Good Ol’ Boyz – Bonus Grots!

Blame it on painting that old Ork but since then I’ve had a real itch to work on a few grots for him to boss around (after all the other lads are never going to stop picking on him for being short so he’ll need someone to bully in turn). Into the box of old models I go to fish out these two gretchin. Like the Ork (and plenty of other things that you’ll see in due course) these were a gift from my good mate Tom who’s been clearing out, so cheers once again dude.

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This one’s face seems to have lost some of its definition over the years so I kept the highlighting there to a minimum and put extra effort into other areas in order to draw the eye away. And then I spoiled it by telling you all what I’d done.

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Something about their devious, spiteful little faces made me think of redcaps – the evil goblins which supposedly dwelt in ruins along the border between Scotland and England and make a habit of murdering travellers and painting their hats with the resultant blood. Although I didn’t want to paint this one’s helmet as if actually bloody I did think that giving him a red cap would be a suitable homage to the nasty little bastards. Plus, maybe he reckons it makes his thoughts go faster?

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Unlike the Orks, who’ve grown somewhat in stature down the years, these grots are still pretty much of the same scale as their modern descendants.

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At least the Ork no longer feels like such a titch!

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Good Ol’ Boyz

After finishing off my undead I started fishing around for something to follow them with, a pallet cleanser if you will, before getting back to Chaos and my slowly progressing warband for the Chapel. My hand fell on this distinctly Oldhammer Ork, a gift – alongside quite a number of other models – from a friend who was having a clear out.

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In spite of being a distinctly elderly model I wanted to paint him in a modern, grubby style, rather than the flatter, more garish tones preferred back when he was first released. I reckon it works well, and of course it ties him in nicely with his newer battle-bruvas.

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Of course he’s a little shorter than his new mates but there’s no need to take the mick out of him for it eh!


Out For The Count

On Friday night I finally finished off the long awaited final models for my Vampire Counts army (not the most rock and roll start to the weekend but even I stop once in a while). On Saturday I uploaded them to this blog with, I’ll admit, very little fanfare. However, all things considered, that’s rather unfair. With one notable exception these are models I bought back in 2010(-ish, my memory isn’t so good) when I harboured plans for a massive undead army of the sort that might pour forth from Sylvania, spread eternal night across the land and so on. Instead they lurked in boxes (not even crypts – the shame of it!) as the years passed. Some of them were painted, to varying standards, many suffered through in nothing but bare plastic. Then, around New Year 2016 I resolved to resurrect them. Cue maniacal laughter and the distant howls of corpse-wolves!

Fast forward a few months and here we have them, a shambling band of wights, ghasts and revenants, ready to trouble the living once more. And all without needing to move into a castle, hire an assistant named Igor or even buy a shovel. How, then, could I let the moment pass without a few glamour shots and a group shot or two?

Let’s start with the finished squad of dire wolves, a kit which is (perhaps rightly) much maligned and yet for which I have a deep affection, in spite of its flaws.

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And how about some suitably creepy mood shots as my corpse army advances through the dark-magic saturated gravelands of their Sylvanian homeland.

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And of course no project of this sort can come to a close without a group shot.

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Of course, no army is ever finished and so it should come as no surprise that I’m already planning to return to these. Hopefully it won’t be another seven years before they’re reinforced. Hang some garlic by your window, bury me at a crossroads and watch this space!


Hounds At Your Back – Part 4

Well, in spite of my doubts, here’s the last two dire wolves painted, which rounds out my Vampire Counts army for now. Fans of the undead fear not though, everyone knows that Vampires always come back eventually…

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Hounds At Your Back – Part 3

Beneath the light of a desolate moon two more dire wolves join the hunt…

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With a new edition of 40k coming soon, and new Death Guard apparently just behind, it’s time to make a dent in all the models currently loitering on my painting desk; to finish off the old in anticipation of the arrival of the new. Of course I’m well aware that I won’t be able to shift even a fraction of my unpainted models in time but at least I can make a start! First off I’m keen to wrap up my Vampire Counts, at least for a little while. I bought most of these models almost a decade ago and they lingered in part-painted shame for a long time, so it’ll be nice to see them all completed soon. I even hoped to get them all finished this week but, by this point, it’s starting to look unlikely. Still, here’s a couple more dire wolves done, which only leaves two more to paint over the weekend, an achievable goal I reckon.

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Bigger And Better Than Ever Before

For quite a while now rumours have been circulating of a new breed of Space Marine on the way; bigger, tougher and generally meaner than their brothers. Today, after remaining fairly tight-lipped on the subject, Games Workshop have finally made the big reveal; the Primaris Space Marines are just around the corner, ready to dispense justice to filthy heretics like me. What’s more as I’m laid up on the sofa feeling sorry for myself after a trip to the dentist, and lacking the energy to paint anything (that Chaos Marine you saw earlier was finished yesterday, before the old toothwright got his drills out) I find myself with the time to actually write a few words on the subject whilst it’s all still fresh in my mind.

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First off I’d better issue an apology, or at least a retraction, for having insisted for so long that the rumours of these new “big marines” was unmitigated rubbish. In my defence however, 99% of the ‘rumours’ spread around online turn out to be nonsense of the highest order so who can blame me for thinking this one was also?

Part of the reason behind my scepticism is a general aversion to too much hyperbole. These marines are bigger and better and even more awesome than ever before, ten thousand years in the making and the most heroic yet! Even Grey Knights are envious! Rush out and buy them now! Perhaps I should have seen it coming just based on that, after all in spite of what we fans of the grim darkness like to tell ourselves GW has never been as subtle as we want to believe and whilst we bury our heads in the clever complexities of the Inq28/Blanchitsu side of the universe, front of house remains bright and brash and over-the-top.

Then there’s the questionable fiction that frames these new marines – that Guilliman has swept aside ten millennia of religious fanaticism, technological stagnation and apocalyptic thinking and succeeded where Corax and Fabius Bile alike have failed; in improving on the Emperor’s vision for the ultimate warriors. Perhaps he’ll make some new Primarchs are well (you read it here first folks!)

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More and more the size of the Space Marines has started to look like an albatross around Games Workshop’s neck. On the one hand they are their most popular range, the iconic poster boys for the setting with a number of spin offs – each an army in its own right (Space Wolves, Blood Angels, Dark Angels, Grey Knights and Deathwatch alongside the standard codex marines, and the various Chaos-worshipping variants). On the other hand they’re a long way from the power-armoured giants they’re supposed to be, with the result that a whole scene has developed around the art of true-scaling (that is to say, converting Space Marines to be as big as the fiction describes them). This is a problem for Games Workshop; not only are their poster-boys conspicuously flawed but third-party companies are already circling, looking for ways to give the customers what they want without infringing GW’s IP and finding themselves in court. The first company to break into that market stands to make a tidy profit off the back of Games Workshop’s promotional effort. However simply replacing all the existing kits would cost them a fortune, take a very long time to roll out (all the while hurting sales of those Chapters not yet updated) and hacking off lots of fans who’d already poured time, effort and money into collections of the old, smaller marines. Quite the conundrum.

For Games Workshop the solution comes in the form of Roboute Guilliman’s plus-sized marines. By making them bigger than standard marines they neatly fulfil the function of true-scale marines, without all the expensive hassle that comes from invalidating the existing range. Better yet their helmets and shoulderpads are cross compatible with the existing Space Marine ranges so, even if various alternative versions aren’t immediately available, you can easily convert them into Space Wolves, Blood Angels and so on. Even Chaos versions shouldn’t be too much work, so that ghastly, ancient legionary you’ve always wanted stalking the ruins of the your Inq28 game can now be a reality.

Of course in some ways GW have failed to recognise the first axiom of being in a hole; stop digging. The new Primaris Space Marines are just as out of scale as the old Space Marines were, they’re just bigger. The Primaris are roughly the right size for Space Marines but still considerably smaller than the Primaris themselves are said to be meaning that true aficionados will soon be buying up Primaris models to use as Space Marines and more Primaris models to true scale into Primarises*. Even more confusing; some people will be using Primaris models as Primaris Space Marines and some will be using them as true-scale Space Marines. It’s enough to make your head spin.

*what is the plural of Primaris anyway? Somebody get Roboute on the phone, he knows these things!

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Overall though, in spite of the liberties that have been taken with the background (a subject on which I’m somewhat mollified by reports that Aaron Dembski-Bowden is working on a novel about them), I’m rather exited about these new Marines. I’ve always fancied an Imperial army to stand against my Chaos forces; a rag tag combination of the Cult Mechanicus and the Imperial Guard bolstered by a core of Custodes, Sisters of Silence, Assassins and other elite units. Of course such a collection would never be complete without a few true-scale Space Marines but the work involved in converting them kept putting me off. For this job the Primaris models could be perfect, especially as I very much doubt I’d want any actual Primarises in the collection (unless ADB manages something positively superhuman to convince me of their place in the background).

Especially exciting is the announcement that, as well as new vehicles, a Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought will be on its way. It’s enough to get me wondering if they’ll get their own Terminator armour as well – after all, true-scaling Terminators is hard work but life without Terminators is hardly life at all.

Plus, there’s no denying this is good news for fans of Inq28 who’ll have a ready source of appropriately sized Marines, it’s almost a shame they’ll never need more than one or two. What is a little sad however is that this may represent the death knell of the art of true-scaling. Having produced some real craftsmanship down the years it may now be a redundant art.

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So, will you be using these as true-scale marines or will you be adding them to a Space Marine army in the function for which they were originally intended? Is this an exciting new development in the story of the Dark Millennium or one abuse of the fiction too many? If you have a feeling this is a safe space, get it off your chest in the comments’ box below.