Author Archives: Wudugast

Rat Race – December

I’ve been promising this post for a while and at last here we have it; the final round up of my Skaven army for WHFB. Really this post was meant to go up weeks ago, back at the end of December, but one thing or another always seemed to get in the way – terrible light for taking pictures, real life business, computer troubles and a serious dose of one of Nurgle’s finest creations all hell-bent on coming between your eyes and these rats. I’ve persevered however and at long last here we are.

I’ve been working on this army for at least a decade, if by working you count buying models in dribs and drabs until you end up with a pile deep enough that you need to stand on a chair to see over it, and only painting the very occasional model. By 2014 I’d gathered a small-ish mob of completed rats but I was increasingly unhappy both with the scale of the task ahead of me and the colour scheme I’d chosen. Time for a rethink.

Fast forward to 2016 and I’d settled on the idea of repainting my, at the time quite tiny, collection of painted models in a natty yellow, rather than the red I’d chosen originally. At last the rats were on their way. However it wasn’t until 2017 that things finally got started in a big way. Realising that the project might never attain much traction without a bit of a push I declared my intent to add something to the collection, even if it was only a single model, even month of the year. So successful was this approach in clearing the backlog that I did the same thing in 2018 and, with the pile much diminished and the end in sight, 2019 as well. This, I announced to anyone who would listen, would be the final year that I worked on the rats and I would complete everything in the unpainted heap once and for all. Compared to the previous two years 2019 was a bit more rocky, a family emergency meant that February’s attempt went by the wayside, but in the end I managed it, even if it has taken until half-way through January 2020 to get the final post uploaded.

By end the end of November I had only three models left to complete the army, which on the face of it doesn’t sound too arduous. On the other hand they were all big, centrepiece models so I didn’t have an entirely easy ride of it either. The first one under the brush was the fourth of my Stormfeinds, this time equipped with poisoned-wind launchers.

Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (5)Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

The sharp-eyed reader will have noticed that he’s actually an alternative version of this chap, which I’d painted back in September.

Stormfeinds ConvertOrDie Wudugast Skaven (4)Stormfeinds ConvertOrDie Wudugast Skaven (1)

I bought a second one off ebay as part of an elaborate scheme to make a Slaaneshi obliterator which never really came together, and then he lingered in the bits box until a few months ago when I dug him out and built him as nature originally intended.

Here’s the two brothers side by side.

Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (6)

And here’s the whole squad.

Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie

Of course, being WHFB, they’re supposed to rank up – although old timers will recall that this was the bane of WHFB that often turned the game into an exercise in hair-tearing. You conga-lining AoS whippersnappers don’t know you’re born I tell you! Anyway, this was the best I could manage – and it just about works.

Stormfeind Skaven WHFB Wudugast ConvertOrDie 2

Another staple of the WHFB era was the battle-standard bearer, a hero level character with a big banner that was, by my foggy recollection of the rules, damn near vital to holding together the moral of the rank and file – especially if said rank and file was made up of cowardly clanrats. I’ve had this one built but unpainted for what seems like an age so it was great to finally get him finished and off the desk at last. Sadly the lighting, always a struggle at this time of year, has made the banner look a lot more blotchy and shiny than it does in real life – when conditions are a bit better I’ll try to remember to re-photograph him but for now I decided to just go with it, otherwise this post might never see the light of day at all.

Skaven BSB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)Skaven BSB Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

I’ve been undecided whether or not I should explain the text on the banner, or just leave it as an in-joke that combines two fairly obscure references (especially for international readers) into one utterly incomprehensible joke. However, taking pity on you all, here’s a quick translation. The text, for anyone finding the Skaven-eque runes hard to read – especially in what I’ve already admitted are rather duff photos – reads “Rats! Gaze into the Eye of the Warp?! Just gonnae gnaw!” Readers of a certain vintage may remember Andy Chambers’ famous Skaven army as showcased in White Dwarf issue 137 (the one with the front cover that shows a Blood Angel fighting a bunch of Necromundan gangers – in which things appear to be turning out exactly as one-sided as you’d imagine!). Chambers’ army has had a huge and lasting influence of those of us who’ve collected Skaven, especially if we’ve been brave or foolish enough to paint them yellow, and I wanted to acknowledge that somewhere. The army included a big banner featuring the words “Gaze into the Eye of the Warp and despair” and my first thought was to just copy that and be done with it. However all this talk of the “Eye of the Warp” sounds like Chaos-worshipping shenanigans to me and although Skaven are creatures of Chaos they’re not followers of the Gods like other Chaos factions but servants of the Horned Rat, concerned only with their own schemes for advancement and with bringing ruin to all the surface dwellers. When I was a teenager there was a comedy sketch show on the TV called Chewing The Fat (Scottish readers of a certain age are now cheering, everyone else is scratching their heads – trust me, you’re the ones who missed out). The show featured a regular sketch of two lighthouse keepers and the catch-phrase “Gonnae no dae that!” or “Just gonnae no!” (type Chewing The Fat lighthouse keepers into YouTube and you’ll discover what I’m on about). For the last year or so that I was at school you could hear the words “Just gonnae naw!!” getting bellowed across the playground at about 300 decibels roughly every 12 seconds or so.

Ah, school days eh! Actually, as I write this and realise that we’re now in 2020 it occurs to me that I’ve passed (by several years actually but I never was good at maths) the event horizon, beyond which I’ve been away from school and surviving in the adult world for far longer than I was ever at the place. It’s a heart-warming thought and a reminder to any readers still labouring at the hive of scum and villainy that is the educational coal-face that this too shall pass and you’ll eventually be able to escape. Unless you’re a teacher of course, you poor bastards seem to have a life sentence – my advice is to get your hands on a rock hammer and a poster of Rita Hayworth and start burrowing out!

Anyway, I seem to have digressed – back to the rats! Oh and, the “gnaw” of course, is because they’re rats (I’m really not sure this needed all that explaining but I’ve written it now!).

Skaven BSB Wudugast ConvertOrDie

For the model of the chieftain with the battle standard I used the Island of Blood warlord, and I’m pleased by how different he’s ended up looking to the standard version (no pun intended!)

Skaven Heroes Wudugast WHFB

With him done I’ve ended up with a solid line up of Skaven heroes (if such a word can be used in conjunction with the ratmen). Going from left to right we have an Assassin, Warlord, Battle-Standard Bearer, two Cheiftains and two Warlock Engineers.

The third new model for December, and the final addition to the Skaven collection, is the big guy himself; a legend in his own mind – Grey Seer Thanquol and – more impressively as miniatures go – his bodyguard, the regularly rebuilt rat ogre, Boneripper. I’ve been a fan of this model since it appeared during the End Times and once it became clear that I should be able to get the army finished in 2019 I decided to pick it up as a bit of treat. As expected he turned out to be a real joy to paint and looks like a right beast towering over the scurrying unfortunates as they race haplessly to do his diabolical bidding.

Thanquol 1Thanquol and Boneripper Wudugast Skaven ConvertOrDie (1)Thanquol and Boneripper Wudugast Skaven ConvertOrDie (2)Thanquol and Boneripper Wudugast Skaven ConvertOrDie (4)

As noted, this really is a huge model, towering even over the enormous Stormfeinds and serving as a real centre-piece to the collection. The rat ogres look positively titchy!

Rat Ogre Line Up

They even manage to look hefty next to my beloved Hellpit Abomination.

Thanquol vs HPA Wudugast

This means I now have almost all of the special characters available to the Skaven at the time of 8th edition Warhammer so I seized the opportunity to dig them all out and take a group shot.

Skaven Characters Wudugast ConvertOrDie

From left to right we have Queek Headtaker, Deathmaster Snitch, Ikit Claw, Thanquol and Boneripper, Lord Skrolk and Skweel Gnawtooth, leaving me with only two absentees. The miniature for Throt the Unclean, the three-armed Skaven that serves to remind us that genestealer cultists get everywhere, was one of the worst in the range and I still haven’t managed a conversion I’m happy with. Tretch Craventail on the other hand was one of the best but he also passed me by, a lack of disposable funds when he was available meant I never picked him up, and now he goes for a small fortune when he appears on ebay. Hopefully someday GW will hear my plaintive pleas and include him in one of their Made To Order weeks.

Whilst I was writing this I also realised that I’ve never shown off the Skaven vehicle fleet in its entirety so here we have it, all the rickety contraptions a rat could ever wish for.

Skaven Vehicle Fleet

Anyway, what we all really want to see is the final group shot of the entire army, so let’s get to it. Much as happened when I finished off my one hundred ork boys back in December the area I use for photographing miniatures is just a little bit too small for the whole collection so everything is a bit more crammed together than I’d like. At some point, although it won’t be for a while, I’ll set things up in a larger space and do another post showcasing the whole army (by which time who knows, maybe GW will have gifted us with more rats and the ranks will have swelled yet further).

In total, by 8th edition points, the army comes to 5494 points, which gives me plenty of options should I ever get around to playing with it even in larger games (who knows what the future holds eh?) and, more importantly for me, looks wonderfully imposing on the tabletop.

I’ll not try to build the tension too much but before we see the “finished” army I would like to take a look back at what I started with at the start of 2017.

And here we are now, three productive years further on.

Skaven Army Shot 3

Of course I hope this isn’t going to be the end for the army. My intention is to return to it and add more rats, just as soon as GW get around to releasing more models and refreshing the range. I know I’ve complained about this before (on innumerable occasions) but even our newest models were released almost a decade ago, and most of the range is much older and uglier. Of course it would be a fine thing to see them re-imagined as part of the Age of Sigmar but it would be even better to just see new kits for existing concepts. After all the Skaven were one of the most unique races in the old WHFB setting, far more distinctive of GW’s IP than elves, dwarves or orcs. Just as the Night Goblins range was refreshed with new kits to form the Gloomspite Gits – without giving them very much in the way of models which would be out of place in a WHFB army – so too could fresh life be pumped into the Skaven. Perhaps the Old World project, scheduled for release in three or four years, might see the rats of yore given their place at last. For instance it would be great to see, in no particular order, new versions of;

  • Plague Monks – those old models are one of the ugliest things GW has ever produced and need to be done away with desperately.
  • Rat Ogres – again, these were looking awful when Island of Blood was released in 2009. The two rat ogres that came in the kit were very nice, and can still be found without too much trouble, but imagine what we could do with a whole new kit for them, akin to the Gloomspite Gits’ trolls. And no, Stormfeinds are awesome but they’re not the same.
  • Weapon Teams – again we had them in Island of Blood but let’s release something proper for them. Rats with gattling cannons, what more could anyone ask for?
  • Warlock Engineer – one of these was released just last year, as a limited edition, boxset-only pain-in-the-arse-to-get-hold-of. Just stop dicking around and release the blasted thing normally eh GW?
  • Skaven Slaves – I know we kinda have these but why kinda have something when we could really have it eh?
  • Rat Swarms – really I ought to have a few of these already to burst forth from the Hellpit Abomination thanks to the Too Horrible To Die rule. The currently available models are alright but not sufficiently inspiring that I found myself wanting to part with my hard earned cash. At some point I might pick up some of Anvil Industry’s rat swarms for this purpose instead, and I do already have plenty of spare rats harvested from various Skaven sprues (Thanquol and Boneripper for instance come with a veritable army of them). These latter however I’ve been hanging on to, they’ll be getting used to decorate the bases of my House Cawdor gangers.

…and then we have assassins, night runners, gutter runners, giant rats, jezzails, poisoned wind globadiers, plague censor bearers – even some of which would be enough to satisfy rat fans like myself. Ah well, we shall continue to wait patiently behind the Sisters of Battle and perhaps someday GW will remember about us. After all, at least we have plenty of great looking models to keep us going in the meantime – even if I have now painted them all. Plus, if our new Skaven are anywhere near as nice as the new Sisters have turned out to be it’ll be well worth the wait!

However I don’t want to end on a moan and I have every confidence that GW will get around to these someday – and in the meantime I’ll be patient and carry on enjoying all the other models I already have to paint (and there’s certainly a heap of them to work on too!). After all I’ve no intention of going anywhere and by the looks of things neither do GW so even if it takes another decade I’ll be waiting when the rats emerge at last. An army is often said to never be finished, but for now – these rats are done!


Looking Uphive – Necromunda Plans For 2020

This time last year I put together a post summing up where I stood with all of my Necromunda projects and laying out everything I had planned for the future. I found it to be quite a useful exercise so I decided to do it again this year – although whether it turns into an annual feature we’ll just have to wait and see.

Of all GW’s games and settings Necromunda remains the one with which I’m most engaged. 2019 was a fairly good year for the game, with lots of world building spread across a number of books. The first half of the year was relatively quiet for miniatures releases however, with the just the ambot and Kal Jerico (and Scabs) putting in an appearance. Things picked up in the second half of the year however with the arrival of two kinds of Enforcers, a ravenous cannibal cult and the three-dimensional zone-mortalis terrain that people had been complaining bitterly hadn’t been included in the original boxset (of course, they immediately started complaining about the price instead. Those of us who suggested, back in 2017, that a boxset stuffed to the gills with high-quality plastic terrain would be desperately expensive quietly congratulated ourselves on our Nostradamus-like powers of prediction…).

Based on what I understand (and I’m no industry insider) this deceleration in the release schedule in early 2019, followed by a subsequent acceleration later in the year, was very much to be expected. Based on what I understand, as with Blood Bowl a series of teams or gangs were commissioned at launch and their popularity would decide how much future support the game received. As both games seem to have gone down a storm it’s hopeful that Necromunda will follow Blood Bowl and receive regular updates throughout the coming year (and indeed years). Time for me to crack on and clear my backlog of unpainted stuff then so that I’m ready for whatever new things might emerge from  the Underhive gloom next.

The Irondogs (House Goliath)

My Goliath collection really found its feet in 2018 but 2019 wasn’t entirely without recruits, as four newcomersjoined the crew. At the moment I’m not rushing to add any more but I do have plenty of ideas, not to mention one or two models built but as yet unpainted, so I’d imagine they’ll continue to grow in dribs and drabs over the coming months.

The Ladykillers (House Escher)

After a relatively quiet 2018 the girls really arrived on the scene in style in 2019. From a mere handful at the start of the year we now have a veritable army of them. As with the Goliaths I’m not planning to add many more in the immediate future but I still have plans and I’d very much like to return to them when the opportunity arises.

The Tech-Hunters (House Van Saar)

This time last year I showed off the test model for this gang and I’m pleased to say I managed to rattle through the rest of the gang as well. It took me a while to get around to them but once I got started I fairly powered through them, even adding in an old Space Wolf model by accident. For now I’m fairly happy with how the gang stands so again I’m not planning to add anything new in the immediate future, but who knows what might happen later in the year.

The Cult of Ruin (Helot Cult)

The final gang to get a lot of attention last year was my Chaos cult. These helots were originally intended to be put together quite quickly out of models I already had in my collection, plus a few odds and ends that I was going to paint anyway such as the Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress. Of course it didn’t quite work out like that but I got there in the end and I’m pleased with the results.

I’m not planning on expanding the gang this year per se but there are a few old cultist models in my collection which could use a repaint, and I’ll be working on the cultists from Blackstone Fortress: Escalation, any or all of which could easily find a second home in the gang.

Chaos Cultists

The Radwolves (House Orlock)

Enough about gangs I’m not planning to paint much of in the coming year and on to those I will be. I’ve had a lot of Orlocks sitting around for quite some time now but until recently I just couldn’t find a colour scheme I was terribly happy with. At last however I think I’m onto something.

Orlock Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda (1)Orlock Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda (2)Orlock Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda (3)

Having tried out a number of other colour schemes I think I’ve settled on this dusty, dirty look – perfect for a battered road-warrior. All the tweaks and adjustments to his paint scheme mean he’s far from perfect but hopefully those which are painted following a consistent plan from start to finish will be better. Now I just need to crack on with the rest of the gang.

The Children of Whispers (House Delaque)

Next up it’s Billy Corgan (or possibly a Delaque ganger).

Delaque Necromunda Wudugast (1)Delaque Necromunda Wudugast (2)

As with the Orlock it took me a while to get the colours just right here, although I’m finally happy with what I came up with. From the get go I planned to paint my gang in a very stark, mono-chrome style, akin to this piece of artwork. Like a lot of others I was also very much inspired by the look of The Strangers from the film Dark City, with just a touch of the Observers from Fringe.

Delaque Art

However painting something in black and white is easier said than done and a great deal of fiddling around went on before I ended up with something I was happy with. Now I’m settled on something I’d like to crack on with the rest of the gang soon. Once again it probably won’t happen immediately (I think most of my Necromunda projects will be pushed back a bit whilst I get my teeth into Warcry) but I’d like to look at them properly in the near(-ish) future. In the meantime I’ve been quietly building more gangers in the background.

I’m pleased with this one, although the gap at his shoulder is bloody annoying. The blame probably lies with me more than the kit, but I’ll need to tidy it up before he’s ready for paint.

Delaque ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (1)Delaque ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (2)

Having started off with some fairly standard builds I tried experimenting with the Forge World head upgrade pack. Hooded Delaque are something of a new phenomenon in the Underhive but I rather like the way they look, somehow they’re even more sinister than usual.

Delaque ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (3)Delaque ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (4)

Like most people I tend to associate Delaque with sneaking around in dark corridors, cutting the lights, murdering their adversaries with silenced weapons, and planting false leads to pin the blame on everyone else. The thought of one carrying something as OTT as a heavy flamer calls for something a bit out of the ordinary, the kind of laughing madman the gang unleashes when they want to make a statement and they need everyone to know about it. And yes, that’s a Cawdor head, but being bald it fits the Delaque nicely.

Delaque ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (5)Delaque ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (6)

The Oathbones (House Cawdor)

The next Necromunda project I tackle is likely to be the devout men and women of House Cawdor. These are amongst my absolute favourites from the range and I’ve already started chipping away at them.

Unfortunately I don’t have any WIPs that are at a stage to show but have faith, plenty more are on their way!

Palanite Enforcers

A big part of the appeal of Necromunda (and Warcry, Blood Bowl and so) is the low price of admission to each new faction (Dark Uprising aside of course!). A new gang will set you back somewhere between £20 and £30, not much more than a single character in 40k or AoS these days, or the back rank in a WHFB horde. Thus when the long arm of the law stretched out towards the Underhive in August 2019 it was all too easy to sign myself up for some police brutality. So far my little patrol doesn’t even have a name, let alone any background, but they do have a single officer, modelling a colour scheme I’m happy with, so we’re off.

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Thanks to the wonderfully model-packed but eye-wateringly expensive Dark Uprising box I’ve already recruited him some backup in the form of this sturdy Subjugator. I love the heavily armoured, bulky aesthetic of these guys, they look ready to weather a storm of bullets and wade into whatever the Underhive throws at them, batons swinging.

Subjugator Wudugast Necromunda (2)Subjugator Wudugast Necromunda (1)

Sizewise these aren’t much bigger than the regular enforcers but their bulkier armour adds a real sense of weight and presence to them.

Enforcers Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Meanwhile this one is armed with an assault ram, designed to knock doors down and follow up by firing a grenade into the breach, probably whilst the wielder yells “Freeze perp, show me your hands!”

Knock Knock (1)Knock Knock (2)

I’ve seen quite a number of people complain that, should the ram become bent or otherwise damaged (for example when being used to knock a door down) then the grenade could easily get jammed and explode prematurely, which might not be the best thing that could happen to the poor bloke who’s holding it at the time. It’s a fair point but I’ve never been entirely clear at exactly which point in this scenario Lord Helmawr starts giving a shit about the safety and well-being of his subjects. This is Necromunda, where the only plentiful resource available is human lives. Furthermore this is the 41st Millennium, where doing exactly what you are told without question or hesitation is the only law. If the people who look after the machines (the same people who think praying and waving incense around is a key part of the process) say that this is how you’re meant to use it then you’ll damn well use it that way. Should the God-Emperor decide that today is your day to die in an entirely preventable workplace accident then He must have had His reasons. Perhaps you were harbouring thought of sedition, or doubting the mechanism of the blessed machine with which you have been entrusted. And if the resultant explosion kills half your squad of highly trained officers and allows a cannibal cult to escape justice? Well let it suffice that He moves in mysterious ways…

 

The Lodge of the Carnivore King

The latest gang to join the grubby underworld of Necromunda are the Corpse Grinders, foul Khorne-worshipping barbarian cannibals. Honestly if you thought that I was going to be anything other than all over this then you don’t know me at all!

Again I’ve just started dipping my toe in here but it goes without saying that I’m excited by what I’ve seen so far. On the one hand these are great models in and of themselves, and a day which isn’t spent recruiting blood maddened cannibals into a cult of violence and depravity is a day wasted. More than that however it’s great to see some new ideas being introduced to Necromunda, without straying from the core of what makes the setting great. These feel instantly at home here, whilst at the same time introducing something fresh. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of all the concepts introduced in past editions – roll on the reinvention of Ratskins and Redemptionists – but this setting has so much more potential than simply aping the ’90s and waxing nostalgic over a past era.

Corpse Grinders Necromunda Wudugast (1)

Until I started putting them together I hadn’t realised quite how large these lads are. All that healthy eating is certainly helping them to grow big and strong!

Corpse Grinders Necromunda Wudugast (2)

Indeed there’s not much in it when the Skinners stand shoulder to shoulder with a Chaos Marine, handy for anyone thinking of kitbashing them, or using the heads and weapons to add alternative flourishes to World Eaters. The smaller Initiates meanwhile would make for fine cultists in a Khornate Chaos Marine army (after all, that’s essentially what they are).

Corpse Grinders Necromunda Wudugast CSM

Usually I love converting my gangers to make as many as possible unique to me. That said there are normally one or two in every gang that I just have to keep “as is” – they’re just too cool not to. Enter, this angry man…

Corpse Grinders Necromunda Wudugast (1)Corpse Grinders Necromunda Wudugast (2)

However, despite how nice the standard models are, one of the biggest draws for me is converting, kitbashing and personalising them. Looking through the equipment list in the Book of Ruin I spotted the Icon of the Corpse Grinders and knew that if my revolution was going to look like it meant business I was going to need one of those for starters!

Corpse Grinders Necromunda Wudugast (3)Corpse Grinders Necromunda Wudugast (4)

Knowing myself as I do I’m certain I’ll be chipping away at all of these over the coming months. My plan is to try to focus on Warcry for the next little while but the call of the Underhive has always been strong for me and I don’t imagine I’ll be able to resist any of these projects for long.


Ready To Rock!

Alright 2020, let’s get this party started!

Noise Marine Slaansh Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)Noise Marine Slaansh Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)Noise Marine Slaansh Wudugast ConvertOrDie (3)Noise Marine Slaansh Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)Noise Marine Slaansh Wudugast ConvertOrDie (5)Noise Marine Slaansh Wudugast ConvertOrDie (6)

Scream for me Cicatrix Maledictum! I got this amazingly bombastic Noise Marine as a Christmas present to myself back in 2018, got him 90% painted straight away and then ground to a halt, after which he just sat there gathering dust as the months passed. I wasn’t going to let another year pass without getting him finished. He was an absolute joy to paint, I don’t let myself play with gaudy outrageous colour schemes nearly often enough! Insert your best gurning and air-guitar here!


2019 – For Anyone Who Missed It

Well, that was 2019 was it? In terms of miniatures releases it’s been an incredible year, packed to the gills with exciting releases – the downside of which is that, despite painting like a dervish all year I’ve still got projects queued round the block waiting to be completed (or in some cases even started). Never mind eh, there are worse problems to have – although I’ll certainly be aiming to buy a bit less and concentrate on catching up with myself in 2020.

The early part of the year was certainly non-stop with the kind of releases I dream of, to the point where I started to pray they’d turn their attention to the Tau, Stormcast Eternals or something else which doesn’t really interest me, if only to give me a chance to catch my breath. No such luck!

In January GW opened the batting with the arrival of the Gloomspite Gits, an AoS reinvention of the old Night Goblins accompanied by lumbering trolls and a sea of bouncing squigs. For me this was a bit of a weird one. I’ve always regarded Night Goblins as the iconic WHFB species, representing for the Old World what Stormcast Eternals do for AoS or Space Marines for 40k. Seeing them in the new Realms was just weird, they looked out of place, visitors from another world scurrying around the ankles of Sigmar’s golden champions, flying dwarves, undersea elves and other inhabitants of this new and creatively-inspired setting. To me they represented the “proxied” quality of early AoS. Much in the same way as we’ve all seen new games tried out with existing models standing in for those as yet unpainted or unpurchased, the early years of AoS saw the Realms populated by the existing WHFB races, many of whom had seen next to no effort spent on incorporating them into the new setting.

Feeling strongly that Night Goblins had no place in the Mortal Realms, and that when I started painting up an AoS collection it would be for one of the new races, I went ahead and – in the closing months of 2018 – finally tackled my unpainted WHFB Night Goblin army…

…only for GW to produce the Gloomspite Gits at the beginning of 2019 and throw everything I thought I knew into disarray. Like a fanatic crashing through the front ranks of my preconceptions  they overturned my previous conviction that Night Goblins could never be successfully integrated into the Mortal Realms. At first I decided I’d pick up some of the new kits and incorporate them into my WHFB army (almost all of the new releases having suitable Old World equivalents), then I decided to leave the Gobbos as they are and make a Trogherd (that’s an all troll army to you and me) and now I’m slowly being corrupted by the Gloomspite and starting to get tempted by the idea of rebasing the whole lot of them, covering the land in fungal spores and dancing beneath the sickly glow of da Bad Moon. To begin with common sense tells me to paint some of the new stuff and see where I decide to go next. After all, despite falling for the new range in a big way so far I’ve only got around to painting these three squigs.

Hot on the heels of the gobbos came the next major release from GW, the genestealer cults. Again, this was something I’d been working on during the latter part of 2018, putting together a gang for my partner to use in Necromunda. As it stands I’m only planning to roll some of the new kits into this gang but if I only complete half the ideas I’ve come up with we’ll probably still have more than enough for Apocalypse!

However almost as soon as they’d appeared they were overshadowed, for me at least, by a full scale Chaos invasion of realspace, spearheaded by Abaddon himself. As a devoted servant of the Ruinous Powers this was huge news; we saw new Chaos Marines, new Obliterators and all kinds of new characters, headed up by the big man himself. Again other projects have eaten up a lot of time so I’ve yet to really get my teeth into these, although I have started chipping away at a new squad of Chaos Space Marines with which to found my next Black Crusade.And things didn’t stop there either. The forces of Chaos continued to go from strength to strength, with the arrival of new Daemons of Slaanesh (including a downright gorgeous Keeper of Secrets), a few more Khornate daemons (you can never have too many of those after all) and a kit for Chaos Knights (and yes, I know my converted Chaos Knight remains unfinished after yet another year, you don’t half nag you know!).

However the really big news for Chaos fans, apart from Abaddon and co. of course, was the arrival of Warcry in the middle of the summer. I may not have painted very much for it (a solitary dwarf so far) but that hasn’t stopped me enthusing about it non-stop ever since. The fact that it’s Chaos meant it was always going to grab me, as was the chance to really explore a corner of the Realms entirely warped by the Dark Gods, but it was the sheer quality and originality of the miniatures that had me hooked. Plus it’s that rarest of things, a game system that I’m actually enthused about playing. I’ve got my fingers tightly crossed that GW continues to pour support into it in 2020 (early indications look hopeful anyway) – either way expect to see plenty of models appearing here over the next few months, with the Untamed Beasts and Iron Golem leading the charge.

 

Warcry Iron Golem Chaos Dwarf Wudugast (1)

Dipping my toe into the Bloodwind Spoil…

The second half of the year was a bit more sedate in terms of releases, from my point of view at least. In many ways that’s no bad thing, having so many of my favourite factions enjoying attention one after another is great in theory but my unpainted pile, and my unpurchased wishlist, were attaining truly mountainous proportions, with the former now so big I needed to install a ski-lift just to get to the top. There were plenty of Space Marines, mostly of the modern, stealthy type that forms the Vanguard Chamber, and as these aren’t really my cup of tea at all I was more than content to let them pass me by. That said they did release a few others including a Salamander so stylish and imposing that he almost made me forget my deep-seated enmity towards the Sons of Vulcan.

Stylish Salamander

Midsummer also saw Contrast paint arriving, which promised to revolutionise painting into an almost magically quick and simple process. For my money this can only be a good thing; the fact is that there are plenty of people out in the world who like to play games but don’t have the time/interest/skill to paint their models well. On the other hand nobody actually wants to play with unpainted models, despite what edge-lords might pretend. All other things being equal you’ll have a better time playing with painted models than unpainted ones, just as you’ll have a better time playing on beautifully crafted terrain rather than a bare tablecloth. Secondly, if you can paint something quickly and have it end up looking decent you’ll undoubtedly feel more enthused about the process and are more likely to paint more, and to put more effort into your painting, than if you struggle laboriously to end up with something that looks a bit duff.

Ultimately there is no technique or tool that will magically make you a better, quicker painter apart from enthusiasm. The way to paint more is to want to paint more, and if Contrast makes your painting experience quicker, easier and better then you’ll be more likely to do more with it. Looking forward to painting = spending more time painting = getting more things painted = painting better; it’s as simple as that.

For me I’ve not found myself overturning my old painting techniques and relearning everything with Contrast, I’ve got close to two decades of experience as a miniatures painter and I have no inclination to learn something completely new. On the other hand I know I’m something of a neophile when it comes to paints and I’ve found that mixing Contrast into a project alongside your traditional paints can lead to some very useful results, so even if it’s not your thing I recommend picking up a couple of pots and having a play.

October saw Jain Zar receive a new and wildly dynamic new miniature (which only serves to remind me that my old metal version remains stubbornly unpainted) alongside a rather pedestrian looking Drazhar (I must confess I expected more from a man who calls himself “The Living Sword” but there you go). It did however get me thinking about all the other old GW models that it would be nice to see replaced, something that crystallised into a bit of fun wishlistingaround the time that Mephiston appeared.

However the really big news for the latter part of the year was the Ossiarch Bonereapers, a new faction of undead bone constructs which served to demonstrate AoS’s continued evolution away from the Old World. I’ve been a fan of GW’s Undead since I fell under the spell of the Vampire Counts years ago and having been drawn ever further into Nagash’s service by the Nighthaunt that appeared last year I was very curious to get a look at these newcomers. On the whole I’d say this range is a bit more hit and miss than the Nighthaunt but when they get it right they really knocked it out of the park – and despite my longstanding love affair with Neferata I’m forced to admit the Bonereapers have far and away the best looking Mortarch of the lot (more on him below!). It’s almost inevitable that I’ll be starting a small collection of these undead taxmen, the tithe must be paid after all!

The final major event on GW’s calendar for the year was the arrival of the Sisters of Battle, who came marching out for a brief but dramatic crusade of faith. A full release for the range is due early in the new year but it was preceded by a limited edition boxset which – to the surprise of precisely no-one at all – sold out in less time than it takes to blink. I may not be a big fan of the Sisters but some of these models are really outstanding, and after twenty years of waiting fans of the range are in for a real treat. Junith Eruita, for instance – a Canoness Superior character soon to join the range – rides around on a flying pulpit, which may very well be the coolest ride in the entire setting. Needless to say I’m sorely tempted to evict her from it and put a tech-priest up there in her place – praying to the Emperor is all very well but the truly devoted need look no further than Holy Mars!

Junith Eruita

Meanwhile some scurrilous individuals have been asking how this lady manages to hold up a banner made of solid stone. Faith, heretic scum – that’s how!

Nuns on the run

Of course 40k and AoS are all very well but I prefer something a little more gritty. Glorious crusades of faith and titanic struggles are to be applauded but most of the time you’ll find me down in the grubby back alleys and beneath the streets, where rats rule and Inquisitors roam. Thus the setting which speaks to me the most of all those which GW has to offer has to be Necromunda. After a hugely enjoyable 2018, which saw all of the original six houses given new plastic gangs, 2019 was considerably quieter. In the first half of the year we saw only an Ambot and of course that never-knowingly-humble hero of the Underhive that is Kal Jerico, but it wasn’t until August that things realy kicked off again with the arrival of the Palanite Enforcers (that’s the long arm of the law to you and me). Later in the year these were backed up with more Enforcers, this time the shock troops of the Subjugators, which is just as well because a bloodthirsty cannibal cult is on the loose and looking for their next meal. Needless to say, I have plans…

Necromunda

I’m hopeful that the relatively quite spell for Necromunda in the early part of the year was just the calm before the storm and next year will see the inhabitants of the Underhive back in the spotlight. Blood Bowl also saw a quiet year after the first wave of teams that followed it’s re-release and now they enjoy a new team every quarter. This year saw Halflings, Wood Elves, Lizardmen and Ogres arriving on the pitch and I’m hopeful we’ll see a similar performance next year. I love the aesthetic of this game and once again I’m reminded that I really need to get a team or two painted up.

Gnoblars

I’ve not been paying quite such rapt attention to the world beyond GW as I might have been but there have been a few highlights that have caught my eye. Anvil Industry’s Daughters of the Burning Rose kickstarter arrived – and although so far I’ve only painted this Alchemist I’ve got a box of models just waiting to get my teeth into. In some ways I feel a little sorry for Anvil here, after years of GW ignoring the Sisters of Battle range entirely they decide to tackle them with their “not-Sisters” range, and GW immediately get the finger out and start producing some truly outstanding miniatures of their own. Not that I’m conflating the two events, the argument that “GW had to do it ‘cos Anvil was” is frankly ludicrous when you compare the relative sizes of the two companies and their fan bases. Anyway, I’ve never been that interested in the Sisters of Battle – either GW or otherwise – but the Daughters of the Burning Rose range also contains some miniatures which are just great for Inq28 without any conversion at all (which is probably some kind of heresy).

Meanwhile Knightmare Miniatures continued their series of kickstarters, expanding their ranges for Chaos, Greenskins (of various types), Greenskin Hunters (can’t an honest gobbo live in peace?!) and even Space Goblins. As I’m a sucker for old school Chaos and Goblins I couldn’t resist dipping a toe into these and now I have a nice box of lead waiting to be tackled soon.

Space Gobbos

Finally Ana Polanscak of Gardens of Hecate ran a kickstarter for some of her wonderfully dark and weird models. I’ve been a fan of Ana’s work for some time (if you’re not following her already where on earth have you been?!) so there was no way I was letting this one pass.

Gardens of Hecate

Miniatures of the Year:

Mostly, I’ll confess, this is a thinly veiled excuse to look at some cool miniatures. This year saw a whole heap of really outstanding miniatures released and I’m not going to pass over an opportunity to take a look at them again! As with many things on this blog my focus has been heavily slanted towards Games Workshop and so that’s what I’ll be focussing on here, although I’ve no doubt there’s been some amazing models from other companies which have managed to pass me by. Nonetheless GW really did the business in 2019, from the hulking beast that is the Ogre Tyrant to Nayam Shai Murad who seems to have stepped straight out of the Inq28 scene’s collective unconscious, to the underrated brilliance of the Chaos Sorcerer and of course the character-packed (and monumentally wasted) Shroomancer. Here’s a quick rundown of some of my favourites.

I almost declared Orpheon Katakros to be my favourite and it remained a close-run thing, he really is a wonderfully imposing and powerful miniature. I’ve been tempted to buy him ever since he was released and sure enough he turned up under the Christmas tree thanks to my amazing fiancée, so expect to see him appearing here sooner or later.

Katakros Chrismas Tree

However there can only be one winner and my top-pick has to be the Warmaster himself, Abaddon the Despoiler, probably my favourite 40k character (and easily one of the most important figures in the story of the 41st Millennium) and now with a miniature to match his stature. Needless to say, as well as being simply awesome he’s also proved to be deeply intimidating to paint so as yet my Chaos forces will have to make do without his authoritative presence, hopefully I’ll pluck up my courage and break out the brushes soon though.

Top 5 Black Library Novels of 2019

As well as painting miniatures, and all the other hobbies I enjoy, I’m a keen reader – and I’ll confess that Black Library novels are something of a guilty pleasure for me. A lot of them – I’ll be the first to admit – are basically pulp silliness, high of melodrama and blazing bolters, low on the kind of emotional or intellectual punch that makes a book stick with you for life. Never mind that though because most of them are good fun, and that’s good enough for me. Plus some of them are actually, dare we whisper it, really bloody good. Inspired by a conversation with Savageddt of Wordaholicanonymous I decided to pick my top Black Library novel of the year.

It’s been a strong field, with some cracking novels appearing. Spear of the Emperor by Aaron Dembski-Bowden was as excellent as you’d expect, and although I’m only part way through Requiem Infernal by Peter Fehervari is shaping up to be another contender. This was also the year that Horus finally reached Terra in the Horus Heresy series. Things started well enough with The Solar War as the heretics fought their way across the solar system but things really kicked up a gear when we reached the throneworld itself in The Lost and the Damned. Partly it’s just a case of the new series finding its feet, partly it was the tighter cast of characters – as opposed to the zoo that populated Solar War, and partly it’s because – for my money – Guy Haley is one of Black Library’s better authors. Sanguineous of course is front and centre – he’s on the cover after all, but all the Primarchs get a good showing (Angron rampaging around being himself is always a fine thing to see). Zardu Layak remains a wonderfully moustache-twirling baddy, that rascal Gendor Skraivok, ‘The Painted Count’ reappears, Lucoryphus of the Night Lords puts in a cameo that fans of the Aaron Dembski-Bowden Nights Lords series are bound to enjoy, and the relationship between Lotara Sarrin and Khârn remains as compelling as ever. Oh and Legio Solaria walks, which is usually worth the price of admission by itself for me! However the real standout here is Abaddon, clearly well on his way to becoming the next Warmaster as Horus is consumed by the forces to which he has bound himself.

However if called upon to pick a favourite I’d have to choose Honourbound by Rachel Harrison. I’d been following Commissar Severina Raine and the 11th Antari Rifles since their first appearance in the short story Execution and it was great to see them get a full novel to really stretch their legs and demonstrate the depth of their characters. The plot is good enough, there’s nothing wildly out of the ordinary here, simply the long shadow of treachery and corruption against the flames of grinding, attritional war, a small group of people trapped between the enemy without and the enemy within, and a woman attempting to prove her worth from beneath a family legacy that contains vaunted heroes and hated traitors in equal measure. It’s the characters however that really make the book; Raine herself is always compelling, Andren Fel continues to demonstrate that you can have a straight-up “good guy” even in the grubby darkness of 40k, whilst Daven Wyck leans to the opposite end of the spectrum, a hero so deeply flawed he totters constantly on the edge of damnation. Meanwhile The Sighted make for excellent baddies, subtly Tzeentchian in much the same way as the Corpse Grinders of Necromunda are Khornate, it’s there if you’re looking but we’re not seeing Thousand Sons and Pink Horrors tramping all over the place – and that alone adds to the sense of scale and depth in 40k.

Honourbound

I had hoped to include a picture of my finished Severina Raine miniature but alas she’s going to need a lot more work before she’s done – and an Imperial heroine of her stature deserves the time and effort that will require.

My Projects

Anyway, enough about a model I didn’t paint, let’s turn our attention to things I did. Necromunda continued to dominated my painting desk in 2019. After a slow start in 2018 House Escher spent the year growing into a veritable army of the 41st Millennium’s best dressed…

… whilst the similarly tardy Chaos Helots eventually unleashed a horde in the name of workers’ rights and some poorly understood rituals involving “dark gods”.

Inevitably, drama ensued!

They wouldn’t be allowed to dominate the Underhive alone however, with the murderous nerds of House Van Saar soon putting in an appearance.

Inspired by the Genestealer Cultists released early in the year the Cult of the Abyssal Gaze did a bit of recruiting, and I plan for more to emerge in 2020.

Genestealer Cults Wudugast ConvertOrDie

And not to be left behind House Goliath called in a few more boys as well, before their turf is entirely over-run.

Even House Cawdor got in on the act at last, with the first steps on the road to a crusade of faith to shake the hive to its roots and remind these heretics and non-believers that the God-Emperor judges all.

About time they turned up really – this place has been crawling with muties lately!

And speaking of ugly creatures I also painted the deeply divisive bounty hunter Ortruum 8-8 (known in some places as “the flying testicle”). GW pushing the boundaries of their creativity to new heights or the most hideously unsightly thing you can imagine painting – I’ll let you judge for yourselves.

It’s not just muties, gangers and other scum though, the Underhive does contain a few upstanding citizens, just trying to make a living. I have a lot of plans for this, as yet mostly unrealised, but here to set the ball rolling are three weird looking characters from Black Crab Miniatures. 

The other project which dominated my attention in 2019 was Blackstone Fortress. After playing a few games of it last winter, in which unpainted models fought various unlikely proxies in the twisting halls of the xenos starfort, I decided that this year I’d get the whole set painted. And, barring a few of the explorers, I have – we’ve certainly got enough now that never again need our heroes step into the unknown without a coat of paint to armour them, or face a mob of goblins pretending to be spindle drones.

My Chaos Space Marines army is looking a bit straggly at the moment. Having grown over recent years into a veritable Black Crusade progress slowed down following the arrival of 8th edition 40k. The coming of the Primaris marines only served to emphasise how tiny and oddly proportioned those old Chaos Marines were and my enthusiasm for the project, once so unassailable, began to dwindle. The release of the new models earlier this year was a real shot in the arm however and I’m hungry to get back to them now. As a precursor to this the army has been split into three parts; models I’m happy with, models I plan to retire and pack away (or break up for bits) and models I still like but which need a bit of a re-paint. It’s these latter which are causing the hold up, I do want to sort them out and include them in the collection but right now they really don’t look that good, and there are a lot of them. Sooner or later however the Beasts of Ruin will be unleashed once more. In the meantime here’s the start of my first squad of the new models (and there will be plenty more to come in the years ahead).

My Death Guard, on the other hand, look considerably healthier (if such a word can be used here!). With their first plague marine recruited and a reborn daemon prince to lead them, they trudge into 2020 with an air of purpose. I’m aiming to complete the poxwalkers early in the year and then tackle adding some more plague marines. After that – who knows, maybe some terminators, a daemon engine or two, or perhaps something even bigger…

Death Guard Wudugast

However my biggest 40k achievement was the completion, after over a decade of slow progress, of my horde of 100 ork boyz. Regular readers will know the story all too well by now so I won’t bore you all by repeating it, if you’ve not read it before or if you want to hear it all again click this link and all your questions will be answered! For the rest of you, here’s a reminder of what 100 angry orks looks like. Waaagh!

And here’s the whole army, a sea of green and rusty metal – and with plenty more waiting in the wings ready to join the ranks.

2019 was the year that HeroQuest turned 30 and so, inspired by KrautScientist who painted up an entire HeroQuest set (plus extras) in one of the year’s “must see” projects, I dug out a couple of old models and got them painted. I’m rather proud of the Chaos Warrior, and for my money the miniature still holds up very well even today. The same cannot be said of the Fimir of course – perhaps there’s a reason why one range continues to stand out amongst GW’s catalogue whilst the other has rarely emerged from the mists over the past three decades…

And if that doesn’t sate your hunger for old plastics I also painted this elderly proto-Necron, scavenged from the same box of dusty miniatures.

Whilst we’re looking at odd, one-off projects, I also painted my first ever Lord of the Rings miniature this year. Will it be the only one? Despite a long standing love of Middle Earth (books and films) the miniatures have never really grabbed me but who knows, the future may surprise us all.

This year also saw me taking my first steps into the Age of Sigmar. Up to now AoS has been something of a closed book to me – not because I was fundamentally opposed to it or married to WHFB – but simply because I understood the Old World and found it difficult to get enthused by the combination of pseudo-mythology and open-ended vagueness which characterised the new setting in its early years. The second edition has tightened that up considerably and the result is a living world of fantastic dimensions and possibilities. Inspired to give it a go I put together a small skirmish warband of Khornate savages led by a brutal Slaughterpriest.

Khorne With The Wind

Naturally these violent barbarians needed someone to fight so I followed them up by putting together a Nurgle warband, combining some new models with others cannibalised from my 40k chaos army.

Nurgle AoS Groupshot Wudugast

Despite assembling these Chaotic savages I’ve still not actually played any AoS Skirmish. Perhaps I’ll find the time during these dark mid-winter nights, although really I’d like to take a crack at Warcry – and for that I’m going to need to finish off some miniatures…

2019 Hobby Goals

In my round-up of 2018 I set out a series of hobby goals for 2019 – and then spent the year failing to complete most of them. With retrospect I’m not sure that annual hobby goals really work for me, for most of the year the deadline is comfortably far-off and I can relax and ignore it, focusing instead on whatever takes my fancy at the time. Then suddenly it’s bearing down upon me with no time to spare, by which time it’s far too late to do anything about it. Smaller monthly goals work a lot better to my mind so next time I’m aiming to finish off a project like that this is likely to be the technique I use.

It’s also worth noting that hobbywise I had a very productive year indeed, completing a not-inconsiderable 250 miniatures in 2019. That’s down a little on the 277 I painted in 2018, although in fairness those numbers were boosted considerably by the fact that many of them were Night Goblins, and it’s certainly well up on the 129 I painted in 2017 – the first year that I kept any kind of record. Nor was I entirely scattershot, I knuckled down on a lot of projects – some of them longstanding. I powered through almost the entirety of the Blackstone Fortress set, knocked out some Necromunda gangs and AoS Skirmish warbands, finished off my Skaven army (more on that below) and completed my long-planned horde of one hundred Ork boyz. However the goals I set out at the end of 2018 remained mostly unfinished. Let’s take a look and remind ourselves.

Skaven; one of my key plans for 2019 was to finish off my WHFB Skaven army and I’m proud to say that one is very much in the bag. Well where is it then, some of you might be asking? Fear not, although the final models might be finished (pending, perhaps, the odd added detail if I find a spare few minutes to fuss over them in the next couple of days) I’ve not managed to get the time (or sufficient ambient daylight) to get them photographed. Expect them to come crawling in at some point in the next week or so, as soon as I manage to get the whole army set up and some decent pictures taken. In the meantime here’s the army as it looked back in June, suffice to say we’ve seen plenty of growth since then!

Necromunda; again I’ll count this one as a success, especially because my original goal was pretty vague (basically amounting to “paint some gangs”). I certainly managed that, adding to the Goliaths and Genestealer Cults and getting the Eschers, Chaos Helots and Van Saar up to fighting strength. Last January I put together a post summarising everything I’d done so far and everything I had planned for the future and it really helped to focus my ideas, so I’ll probably do something similar this year – if nothing else it’ll certainly encourage me to get some of my current batch of test-models finished!

Terrain; this is where the wheels start to come off. I knew this was going to be a big and intimidating project and I expected progress to be slow but I did intend to do a lot more than I have. This is a bit of a “white whale” project for me, something I’ve planned to tackle for many years, and I’ll definitely be coming back to it soon – especially as Dark Uprising has equipped me with a lot more of the materials I need to construct the Underhive. However as terrain is bulky, and we’re planning to be moving house in the next couple of months, I’m pushing this onto the backburner for now, until I see what kind of space we have to work with at the new place.

Poxwalkers; I may not have finished this one but I have managed to break some ground. My aim was to complete a horde of 40, yet as it stands I’ve only finished 32. Still, better than a poke in the eye as they say, and with luck I’ll get the rest done in the early part of 2020.

Poxwalkers Wudugast ConvertOrDie Nurgle

Chaos Knight; I’ve been chipping away at building and painting a Chaos Knight of my very own for a number of years now and I really thought 2019 would be its year – especially since GW released Codex: Chaos Knights and a multipart kit for them back in the summer, giving my enthusiasm for the project a huge boost. Alas, the year has ended and the knight remains as unfinished as ever…

Blood Bowl; 2019 was supposed to be the year I finally got around to painting a Blood Bowl team yet the year has ended and I’m no closer to that goal. The game continues to interest me however so hopefully 2020 will be the time that it all comes together at last.

Given that setting myself goals for 2019 didn’t really pan out as intended I’m cautious of repeating the idea for 2020. In fact, when I add in the forthcoming move, and all the various other “real life” events that either will or are likely to take place in the coming year, I think it’s very probable that I’ll be a lot less active over the coming year than I have been in the past. That doesn’t mean I’m going to vanish entirely, spending time painting miniatures is extremely important to me and I’ve no intention of stopping, but – beyond the odd quite spell in the height of summer – I’ve kept up a torrent of posts here over the last couple of years and I don’t foresee myself managing to maintain that. We’ll see how it goes, I would like to tackle a couple of Warcry warbands, some more Necromunda gangs, the rest of the Blackstone Fortress heroes and finally get that Blood Bowl team painted so don’t relax entirely – you haven’t see the last of me!

Whilst we’re at it however, a couple of pieces of housekeeping in regards to the blog. Firstly, as some of you may have noticed, I now have a links section in the side-panel, something I’ve wanted to include for some time. All the people listed are interesting, talented hobbyists and I do highly recommend you check out any or all of them. This is where I go for my inspiration, and these are the people from which I steal all the best ideas and pretend that they were mine to begin with. If you’re a talented blogger yourself and I’ve not included you on the list it’s probably because I’m an airhead and I’ve forgotten, please don’t take it as an insult (if I mean to insult you I’ll come round your house and do it properly). I do intend to keep expanding the list so just keep being awesome and sooner or later I’ll realise I’ve missed you, suffer a twinge of embarrassment and update the list.

Secondly, I’ve discovered that many of the older posts were missing their pictures (a side effect of using various external hosts in the early days and then not moving everything to wordpress as I thought I had). I think I’ve fixed them all but one or two may have slipped through so if you’re reading one of these old posts and you think there ought to be pictures but there aren’t please help me out by leaving a comment to catch my attention and I’ll go and fix it.

Anyway, all that remains is to wish all my readers a happy New Year and here’s to plenty more hobby shenanigans in 2020!


Blackstone Fortress: Traitor Guard – Part 3

The march of the Blackstone Fortress traitor guard reaches its long awaited conclusion as the last of the baddies from the core box are finished. Last week I finished the first four of them, now the final three come tramping in to join them. Blackstone Fortress has been a project which has dominated 2019 for me so I was hoping to get them to this stage before the New Year. I’ve still got various models from the expansions and a number of alternative heroes to paint, but if we want to play a game we’ve now got everything we need without having to fall back on unpainted models or proxies. In the meantime however here’s the final two renegade soldiers…

Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (4)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (5)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (6)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (7)

… and here’s their former sergeant, who now fancies himself as a (minor) champion of the Dark Gods!

Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (10)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (12)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (11)

Here’s the whole second squad, ready to spring out of the shadows if any explorers wander their way.

Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (3)

And, by way of a reminder, here’s the first squad which I completed last month.

Something I really like about these models is the ramshackle, mismatched look of them. Clearly, at one point in the past, they all wore a uniform, but as their decent into madness and treachery has proceeded they’ve found themselves scavenging more and more, patching up any gaps with whatever they can loot from the battlefield and hammering spikes to themselves in echo of their Chaos Marine masters. However, although each model in the squad is very much an individual the set contains two identical sets, without much in the way of wiggle-room to personalise them. However I really wanted to avoid ending up with both squads looking essentially the same so as far as possible I’ve tried to tweak each member of the second squad so that I ended up with one set built as per the instructions (because they are wonderful models after all) and one set converted. This wasn’t always possible, for some the paintjob alone had to do the work of differentiating them, but by tweaking enough of them I was able to create two fairly disparate looking bands of renegades. Here’s a set of comparison photos showing each pair, with the original  – built out of the box as it were – on the right and the second version on the left.

Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (13)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (8)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (9)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (7)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (4)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (10)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (15)

Finally, here’s both squads, ready for action and starting to look like the beginning of a proper traitor guard army. At some stage I’d like to go back to my old traitor guard collection, do some tweaking and tidying up were required, and roll the whole lot into a horde of mortal scum to accompany my traitor marines.

Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (1)

In the meantime however I’ve now painted all the baddies from the original Blackstone Fortress (plus the Ogryn from Traitor Command) so I’ll allow myself a quick pat on the back!

Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (2)

In the New Year I’ll aim to crack on with the rest of the explorers, and of course with the various additional monsters, renegades, cultists and so-on which lurk in the corridors of the fortress. For now however I’m happy to call this a major milestone completed.


The Oathbones – Part 2

I’m still cracking on with the last of the Blackstone Fortress traitor guard and the final few Skaven for my WHFB army and my plan was to get those finished before tackling any more Necromunda. However Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box has declared his latest monthly challenge – it’s Destino December!

What does that mean exactly? Well, to quote the man himself;

Now December brings us Christmas, and so with both of these things in mind, I’ve decided to do something slightly different. It’s time to find a miniature (or a few) that you’ve really wanted to paint – or get finished. Now they could be a model you’ve had for decades and still not gotten around to painting. It could be a brand new release. It could be a model that’s been out for four years that you just finally picked up….

To paraphrase Marie Kondo, we’re looking for a model (or models) that “Spark Joy” when you see it/them.

When it comes to Necromunda models that “speak to me” the Cawdor gangers have to be at the top of the list. As soon as I saw them I knew I wanted to start a gang of them (unlike, say, the Van Saar or Orlocks, each of which took me a while to really “get”). They’re great straight out of the box, the various Forge World upgrades are fabulous and they’re a real joy to kitbash and convert – yet it’s been over a year and I’ve still only painted one of them. Here’s a reminder of how he looks (accompanied by the gang’s sheen bird).

Because I’ve been itching to get to work on them, because I thought I deserved a reward after completing my one hundred Ork boyz, because there were a few on the painting desk that were almost finished anyway, and because it’s Destino December, I decided to recruit a few brothers for him, ready to kick start a holy crusade to purge the Underhive of muties, heretics and sinners in the new year.

I quite like the way this one forms a triangular shape with his pointed hood and ramshackle hammer.

Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (2)Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (3)

This one was built straight out of the box (because they really are great without needing any kind of converting or kitbashing at all).

Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (4)Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (5)

This one was inspired by fellow blogger Imperial Rebel Ork and his bell cult, as well as the way in which Nighthaunt bits fit neatly into the Cawdor aesthetic. After all, what could be more Cawdor than calling the righteous to prayer by hitting a sinner with a big old bell?

Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (6)Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (7)

This chap found a piece of wood, surely one of the rarest materials it’s possible to imagine coming across on a planet like Necromunda. Rather than risk someone else stealing such a holy item he’s nailed it firmly to himself. You can’t be too careful after all!

Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (8)Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (9)Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (10)Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (11)

Finally, here we have the whole gang so far, ready to spread the word of the righteous!

Cawdor ConvertOrDie Necromunda Wudugast (1)

This is a gang that I’ve got literally dozens of ideas for (far more than you’d need to make a normal Necromunda gang) so expect to see a lot more of these in the future.


Blackstone Fortress: Traitor Guard – Part 2

The march of the traitor guard continues apace. I’ve almost completed all the baddies from the Blackstone Fortress box (not including the expansions) so my current focus is rounding out the final squad of traitor guard. The box contains two duplicate sets of guardsmen but as far as possible I’ve tried to make each one unique, rather than have too many sets of identical twins. These aren’t the easiest models to convert however so in a lot of cases the paintjob ended up taking the strain. When I’ve finished the squad I’ll try to show all the pairs so you can compare and decide for yourself how well I’ve managed. In the meantime here’s the first four members of the second squad.

Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (1)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (2)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (3)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (5)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (6)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (8)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (9)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (11)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (12)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (13)Blackstone Fortress Traitor Guard Wudugast (14)

Only three more to go and the core of the Blackstone Fortress project will be done – all being well I’d like to get them finished before Christmas.