Iz Dat Da Dokk?

Let’s be honest, some miniatures are just a bit duff. Take the Bonesplitters Wardokk for instance (which used to be a Savage Orc shaman of some description). Let’s not beat about the bush, it’s past its best. In fact, it’s hard to say exactly when it’s best was…

Wardokk

For those unfamiliar the Wardokk is essentially an assistant shaman amongst the Bonesplitters. This faction of Orcs are lead by cabals of savage mystics, with a Wurrgog Prophet (the model for which, confusingly, used to be the special character Wurrzag, Da Great Green Prophet – something I still find takes a little getting used to). Each Wurrgog Prophet has a few acolytes around to assist in imposing his orders (however mad they may sound) on the recalcitrant boyz, to whip the clan up ready for battle and to perform the secret dances by which they channel the power of the greenskin god. One of these so-called Wardokks will go on to become the Wurrgog’s successor, to quote the army book, “should the Prophet fall in battle or accidentally blow himself up”.

At first I found myself wondering why GW continue to give the Wardokk miniature a place in the ranks of the Orc (or should I say Orruk) Warclans range. There’s no denying it’s letting the side down a little, when compared with some of the brilliant models that march alongside it. However after giving it some thought I came to realise that actually they made a smart move here. Keeping the Wardokk around adds another option to the range, and kitbashing your own version from the Bonesplitters set, plus a few odds and ends, is actually pretty straightforward and a lot of fun.

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The key elements to capture were the skull mask (taken from the Ironjaws Brutes), the dancing pose and the bone-fetish rattle (made from bits and bobs in the savage orcs kit, rather than wire wool as the original appears to have been). The army book describes how the Wardokk will do whatever is required to get the boys in a fighting mood (surely not that hard) including, but not limited to, a quick punch in the face – something I thought the clenched fist on his free hand conveyed rather well. I might raise him up on something to make him stand out a little amongst any future boyz but otherwise I’m pretty pleased with him (although as ever I’m open to any and all feedback). In fact he was so straightforward to build that I’m now feeling tempted to make a couple more – the book does describe multiple Wardokks in each clan after all. Not sure when I’ll get around to painting him but he was great fun to make, and he’s certainly given me the itch to tackle some more green boys soon.


The Lodge of the Flayed King – Part 2

I’ve been trying to work out a colour scheme for my Corpse Grinder Cultists and at last I think I’ve got something I’m happy with. Here’s initiate He Who Cuts modelling his new work wear. Before we look at the final piece here he is prior to being liberally splattered with gore. As you can see the paint job isn’t perfect but I didn’t see the point in breaking my neck over it if I was just going to cover it up with Blood For The Blood God technical paint!

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And here he is suitably blood splattered after a hard day of unrelenting violence.

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Overall I’m pleased with the way this colour scheme works on the initiates but I’m curious about how it’ll look on the more heavily armoured butchers, cutters and skinners so I’ll test it out on one of them next before rolling it out to the rest of the gang.


War Eternal – Part 9

You may recall that during the summer of 2019 I chipped away at an Age of Sigmar skirmish warband dedicated to the Blood God Khorne. By the time I wrapped up the project I’d painted seven bloodreavers and if I’m honest I was never very comfortable leaving them there. The holy number of Khorne is eight and so leaving the squad on just seven members seemed like foolishness and guaranteed to bring down the ire of the war god upon my luckless head. However painting one bloodreaver seemed equally daft when I could paint three and round out a squad of ten.

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Here’s the three new boys ready to start rampaging with their new mates.

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And here’s the whole squad ready to reap skulls for their god’s famously uncomfortable chair.

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Once again I’m not sure when I’m going to get back to this project but I do have more ideas, it’s really just a matter of time…


The Irondogs – Part 15

A couple of weeks ago I showed a group of work-in-progress Goliath gangers and, eschewing my usual habit of sitting on them like Smaug for months, I then battered on and got one of the forge-born painted up in short order. Here’s Varski, the first of the Irondog’s next generation.

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I do have a bunch of other models on the go that I’d like to keep my focus on and get finished, but I’m quite excited about all things Goliath at the moment so expect to see a few more recruits making their way into the ranks sooner or later. After all, given some of the threats currently moving in on their turf Korak and the boys are going to need all the help they can get!


Garage Days Revisited – Part 4

Some readers may recall that back in the summer of 2018 I was given a box of old miniatures rescued when a friend of a friend was refurbishing his garage. It was a bit of a pick and mix of old lead, we had a vampire, an Imperial Guardsman (shouting into his phone) and a boisterous Night Goblin fanatic, as well as a few other models which have passed the intervening years untouched – but never forgotten.

This undead Blood Bowl player comes from the same set and I reckoned it was high time he received some attention. I’ve been planning to paint up a Blood Bowl team or two for some time and although I’ll admit that still hasn’t happened this seemed like a fine way to dip a toe into the murky waters of violent fantasy sports.

First of all here we have him as he looked when I received him, in all his battered, ’90s era glory.

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I think we’d all agree he’s a little rough around the edges but he’s not badly painted either, he certainly beats my early work hands down. The reason I’m showing this is that my aim was to keep his appearance fairly close to the original scheme, whilst updating it into something gritty and modern.

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I’m still a little way off clearing my desk sufficiently of other projects, something I’d like to do before tackling a full Blood Bowl team, but working on this sporting corpse has reminded me how much I like the aesthetic of the game so I’ll aim to get to work on my Orcs soon.


It Takes A Village – Part 2

The problem with the Underhive is some people seem to think it’s a place to go for a nice day out. You’ve got gangs running around shooting the place up, Inquisitors strutting about like they own the place, xenos lurking in the shadows and don’t get me started on the Chaos cults! And what none of them seem to get is that some people are here to do a day’s work. They seem to think the corroded pipes, pools of toxic gunk and ominous piles of skulls just happen by magic…

You may recall that long, long ago (back in July of last year) I started working on a project to assemble some hard-done-by civilians to populate the grim depths of the Necromundan underhive – not to mention any Inq28 goings on. Necromunda is now blessed with several scenarios that feature hapless hive inhabitants and yet my population of civilians still remained rather paltry, I’ve had plenty of ideas but none of them have made it to completion. However with the lockdown ongoing I found myself looking for things to paint and my eye fell on these three workmen who’ve been waiting for attention for quite some time. Once again I’ll be counting these towards the “Paint The Crap You Already Own!” challenge being run by Ann’s Immaterium, as all three have been knocking around for quite some time and getting them finished makes it feel as though this project has finally started to achieve something.

The other reason I decided to tackle them was to explore what I hoped would be a new and easier way to paint orange. I really like the look of my genestealer cultists in their orange overalls but there’s no avoiding the fact that it’s been a lot of hard work to paint and that keeps putting me off from tackling any more. These however came together in no time flat using the recipe of an undercoat of Jokaero Orange, a coat of Gryph-Hound Orange Contrast Paint, a quick highlight with Jokaero Orange and a final highlight with Fire Dragon Bright.

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The models originate from the mechanics in the CP Miniatures range, a real goldmine for a project like this, with the addition of heads from Anvil Industry and various Games Workshop gubbins. Here’s a picture of the unconverted models courtesy of the CP Miniatures website.

CP Mechanics

Whilst I was working on them I spotted this little servo-drone which has been waiting for attention for even longer – I assembled him back in 2017 when I was working on the Chapel project and he’s sat unloved ever since. I’ve never been entirely sure what to do with him, he’s kitbashed entirely out of odds and ends and he never felt quite finished to me, as though something was missing that, if I could only identify it, would make the model complete. Whatever it might be I still can’t quite put my finger on it and I was about to dump him back into the box of shame when it occurred to me that he might work well as a robotic assistant to my underhive work crew.

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Here’s the whole crew ready for an honest day’s toil (no working from home for them unfortunately!). Hopefully they’ll make it through their shift without being shot by accident in a turf war or the ongoing battle for the Emperor’s soul…

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Ironskullz Boys

I’ve never been particularly enthused by Warhammer Underworlds as a game, I’m not that keen on card games and the tagline “The Ultimate Competitive Miniatures Game” is kryptonite to the likes of me who leans more towards enjoying myself and socialising if dice are getting rolled at all, rather than engaging in cut-throat, win-at-all-costs competition. That said the miniatures are pretty damn gorgeous so I picked up Ironskullz Boys just for the fun of painting them (which after all if the mainstay of my hobby anyway – gaming barely makes it into the top ten reasons I do this at the best of times).

Despite how much I love these four miniatures I couldn’t resist making a few minor tweaks and adjustments. Boss-man Gurzag Ironskull got a new head which I reckon makes him look even fiercer (and more of a show-off) than the original, and also makes him uniquely mine.

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Likewise his sidekick Bonekutta got a new head – with a helmet, which I think emphasises his brutish power and strength.

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The other two ‘ard boyz in the warband, Basha and Hakka, were pretty much perfect as is, in my opinion, so I left them well alone.

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And here we have them, my first ever Underworld’s Warband, ready for action in case anyone ever decides to convince me to become a ruthless power-gamer!

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I must confess that since painting these the itch to tackle some more greenskins is back. I’ve got a Blood Bowl team I’m meant to be painting, and there’s always a need for more Orks in my 40k collection so watch this space.


The Lodge of the Flayed King – Part 1

Very much in the spirit of the Goliath WIPsI posted last week here’s a look at some more unpainted Necromundan plastic, this time in the form of my favourite underhive cannibals the Corpse Grinder Cultists.

First up I turned my attention to the cult’s initiates (that’s Juves in any other gang). I’ve already built a couple of these, pretty much exactly by the book, so now I wanted to go off-piste a little and see what I could come up with. Particularly I wanted to explore some of the weapon options available to the gang which aren’t available on the “stock” models – that is to say weapons which are described in the rules but aren’t available as part of the standard plastic kit. Unlike the majority of the gang, which can only be equipped with close-combat weapons the initiates have not fallen so far into Khorne’s favour that they’re reduced to running screaming across the battlefield with no heed for the niceties of tactics. Indeed these newcomers to the gang, still digesting their first few meals of still-warm person, can chose from a selection of ranged weapons – and even remember that they can be fired from a distance rather than just used to bludgeon the nearest foe. As well as the likes of stub guns and autopistols a particularly attractive sounding option is the harpoon launcher. For one thing it makes me think of the Ursus Claws, the massive harpoons used by those ultimate Khornate warriors the World Eaters. For those not in the know the Ursus Claws are basically huge harpoons that were mounted on the titans of the World Eater’s allies – the Legio Audax – and, if even that isn’t big and over-the-top enough for you, on their flagship The Conqueror. If titans impaling other titans and dragging helpless tanks around wasn’t cool enough imagine if you will a massive spaceship harpooning other spaceships so that they can be rammed and boarded by thousands of Khorne berserkers. The World Eaters do nothing by halves (and really ought to have a range of miniatures – just saying, GW, just saying…). Anyway, I reckoned a smaller version might be just the thing for the Corpse Grinders to have in their armoury, partly for the nod to their larger Khornate cousins and partly because I like the idea of the initiates retaining the common sense and forward planning to impale some poor sod and take them home for supper whilst the more corrupted members of the gang are busy hacking people up today with no thought for tomorrow.

Making the harpoon launcher was pretty straightforward, it’s lifted straight from the Orlocks kit, with a trophy skull popped on top to add that Khornate vibe. It fitted pretty well although there was a slight gap left (which would normally be covered by the Orlock shoulderpad) but a suitably spiky jawbone soon covered that up. The other shoulder needs a little greenstuff to tidy it up but otherwise he’s good to go.

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The other trick up the sleeve of the initiates, as well as their ability to use ranged weapons, is being a lot sneakier than the rest of the gang. Whilst their lodge brothers let everyone within a hundred miles know that they’re on their way by revving chainblades and running screaming at their nearest victim, the initiates tiptoe through the underhive ready to spring on some hapless meal that just happens to be walking by. In game terms this means they have the Infiltrate skill which allows them to pop up uncomfortably close to the enemy and start making mayhem. The Corpse Grinders have a reputation for being quite a nasty, over-powered gang to face and although I’m quite sure this isn’t something that will last forever as new models are released and new tricks discovered, I’d also like to emphasise that I’m not trying to create a gang with which to smash all comers and win at all costs; that isn’t something that appeals to me at all and it certainly doesn’t fit with the spirit of Necromunda. Mainly I’m interesting in modelling opportunities but I also like the idea of interesting tactical tricks for as and when I do get the occasional game in, and having a juvenile delinquent with a rocksaw pop up practically on the toes of the enemy gang sounded like a chance for the kind of mayhem that Khorne would undoubtedly approve of. Again he’s mostly based around the standard initiate model, this time with the arms and weapon from the new Goliath prospects.

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Lastly the gang needed a leader and as ever I wanted someone who looked uniquely mine (so heavily kitbashed and converted from the studio version) and suitably imposing, someone who could look across the table at any of my other converted leader models and have them know that they meant business. Much as I love the studio versions of the Corpse Grinder Cult there’s nothing to really make the leader stand out from his barbaric followers. I began by building the model as per the studio instructions but added on every extra spiky, skull-covered extra I could find, rather than diluting the effect by spreading them around the whole gang. Then it was just a case of finding a suitable head and this mask, borrowed from the trophy rack of an AoS Orc (sorry – Orruk!) fit the bill nicely.

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With these three done, plus the other cultists I’d put together previously, I’m well on the way to getting a starting gang built. Now I just need to pick a colour scheme – something that shows the blood will do nicely!


The Chances Of Anything Coming From Mars… – Part 1

Before the outbreak of Coronavirus threw the world into turmoil Games Workshop announced that March would see the release of a range of new models for the Adeptus Mechanicus, those cybernetically enhanced sons and daughters of Mars (and other, inferior, forge worlds of course!). The spread of the virus has, naturally, knocked that release schedule back a bit but even before that happened I was suffering from mixed feelings about it. On the one hand I have a long standing love of the Adeptus Mechanicus, dating back to long before there was a range of models available for them, and more crazy-looking troops in service of the tech-priests can only be a good thing. On the other I’ve still never painted a single model from the range and it’s getting embarrassing!

Long ago I started to work on a test model for my first squad of Skitarii rangers, but about half-way through the painting process I stalled and somehow I never quite got back to it. I don’t quite understand what the issue is, I love the models, I love the background, I love the idea of painting them, but somehow the action of actually picking it up and moving the brush never seemed to happen. With the release of new models imminent I decided that this had gone on long enough, sat down and forced myself to finish it.

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Now let me say first of all that I still love these miniatures, they’re amongst the best things that GW has produced and if I ever build an army in service to the Imperium (rather than one looking to smash it down) then these are the guys for me. However, god damn this was fiddly to paint! Working on him seemed to take me hours and the whole exercise became bogged down by frustration and irritation, not something conducive to getting the rest of the collection painted up. On the other hand I was feeling really pleased with the end result and enthusiastic about finishing some more – even if I wasn’t particularly eager about the actual painting stage itself.  I did have a second ranger assembled and undercoated however so I set myself the challenge of getting him painted as well – and not taking weeks and weeks to do it. In the end I cracked through him in perhaps an hour and a half or so, quickly enough that my enthusiasm didn’t abandon me along the way.

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Side by side I think they look pretty good, certainly it’s not obvious which one was on the painting desk for several years and which one I rattled through in an afternoon.

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Oh and it goes without saying that these are perfect for the latest challenge being run by Ann’s Immaterium, the “Paint the Crap You Already Own” April Challenge. As a result of my longstanding love of the servants of Mars I bought myself a handful of models as soon as they were released, and continued to bolster their ranks every time I saw a good bargain in the years since. By now I’ve ended up with quite a backlog and between Ann’s challenge and GW pausing all new releases during the current pandemic the decision has been made for me – I need to paint the crap I already own rather than day-dreaming about the slew of potential new recruits which will sooner or later become available to the macroclades of the red planet.

Anyway, getting these done has fired me with enthusiasm and lifted aside a psychological block that’s been hanging over the project for quite some time. I don’t know when I’ll get back to working on this project but at last I can say I’ve painted something and hold my head high amongst the other tech-priests! Should the urge to paint more Skitarii strike me sooner rather than later I’ve even assembled a few more, ready for the brush as soon as a suitable opportunity arises.

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I’m not sure exactly when I’ll tackle them, I’ve got a few other big projects I’m wanting to crack on with (my Necromunda Cawdor gang, more Blackstone Fortress, the rest of the Warcry terrain and chaotic beasts) but right now I’m just enjoying picking up loose odds and ends and getting them finished. Next up is likely to be some more Necromunda WIPs and then something Orc-y (and yes you read that right, Orc-y rather than Ork-y…).


The Irondogs – Part 14

It’s been a while since I added anything to my Goliath gang but it’ll come as no surprise to anyone that, since I got my grubby paws on House of Chains I’ve been busy expanding the ranks of my angry musclemen. I read the new book (twice) over the last few weeks and I think it’s fantastic, another outstanding volume from the team behind Necromunda and one that’s taken pride of place on the shelf. I won’t delve too far into reviewing it as that’s been done far better elsewhere, but the degree to which this single book has enriched the Necromundan landscape is quite outstanding and I’m champing at the bit to see the rest of the series.

Having been fired with enthusiasm I turned my attention to the range of new models that were released alongside it – and naturally decided that this was a fine time for the Irondogs to indulge in a recruiting drive! First of all I put together one of the new Stimmers. Rather than mess around too much with a fiddly kit that I’m not all that familiar with I built it straight out of the box, just swapping in a head from the Forge World upgrade set (which suits him nicely I reckon).

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I also put together a couple of the forge-born. For those unfamiliar with the ever expanding range of options available to a Necromunda gang these are the first of the “prospects” which will apparently be available to all but one of the House gangs – a prospect being essentially a juve who’s willing to put themselves in harm’s way in exchange for a fast-track into the gang proper. Again I didn’t try anything too radical here as really I was just exploring and familiarising myself with the kit.

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The forge-born are also perfect for making juves. I think like most people I was expecting that sooner or later we’d see miniatures for juvs, although I also assumed that GW would be cautious of putting them front and centre. I played around with making Goliath juves by combining the legs of genestealer neophytes with the torsos of kairic acolytes, something I’ve seen done with great success by others, but never really produced anything I was terribly happy with so I fell back on waiting to see what official miniatures would appear, or for further inspiration to strike. However the arrival of House of Chains firmly states that the former is off the cards.

Juves

In other words alternative models for juves (that’s Bullies in House Goliath) are out, if you want juves in your gang you should use the same models as ordinary gangers. Now I can see why Games Workshop have chosen to go down this route, child soldiers and juvenile delinquents  are never exactly a good look (especially when they’re being carved up by angry cannibal berserkers). Then again I’ve always seen juves as just that, youngsters who’ve just joined the gang rather than simply new recruits. Now I will acknowledge that the book describes the majority of Goliaths being born from vats, emerging fully adult and ready to get to work on the production lines, rather than enjoying the kind of childhood and teenage rebellion that we might have enjoyed ourselves. However I still want my juves to look younger than my standard gangers. Plus if the prospects are youngsters why not the juves? Readers may recall that I’ve already made two Escher juves that I’m quite pleased with and I wanted something similar for the Goliaths.

With that in mind I started kitbashing using one of the forge born and came up with an early proof-of-concept that I’m pretty happy with (very much inspired by the dozens of other people I’ve seen in various groups online doing exactly the same thing).

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My only real issue with him is what to do with his back. The forge-born have backpacks and webbing, which suits the weapons they carry, and I wanted to steer away from that in order to further differentiate the juves from the forge-born. I’ve not yet decided whether to greenstuff over it or try to cover it with something (probably the former as Goliaths tend to have all their armour to the front and juves should be no different) but if anyone has any suggestions I’m all ears.

Next to join the crew is the hulking great ‘zerker. I wasn’t entirely sure about him when I first saw the studio model, and my plan was to make quite a range of tweaks and adjustments. However I have to say that once I got my hands on it I discovered what an excellent miniature this really is. Everything went together perfectly, there were hardly any mould-lines and the level of detail is quite outstanding. Thus much like Ortruum 8-8I think this is another rather nice model let down by a less than stellar studio paint job. Here’s a quick reminder of the studio model.

Zerker Studio

And here’s my model, assembled and ready for paint. The one thing I didn’t include was the breathing mask that hangs around his neck, a rather fragile looking bit of resin that I decided wasn’t worth the effort of trying to attach.

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There are loads of cool little details on the model and I predict he’s going to be a lot of fun to paint. For instance check out these bone spikes bursting out of his mutated flesh – something I’d quite overlooked on the studio model.

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I did plan to swap out his head but again once I saw it in person I realised that I rather like it. This isn’t me panning the Forgeworld studio painter – they’re clearly very talented, I just don’t think that the style they’ve used has entirely shown the ‘zerker at its best.

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However I do wish they’d included an alternative head that matched the one shown in the original artwork. It’s also worth noting that the head of the ‘zerker is a little larger than those of the standard gangers so unlike the stimmers it’s not so easy to just swap in a head from the Forge World upgrade set, all the more reason why an alternative on the sprue would have been a nice touch.

Zerker Head

He’s a big lad, the real monster of the crew, as this line-up shows.

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He even looks imposing next to this (shamefully part-painted) Ambot. I must admit I thought the burrowing robot would be the bigger of the two by quite some margin so it was a surprise to see them side by side and realise just how large the ‘zerker is.

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All of this gives me plenty to paint and I’m keen to get my teeth into them as soon as possible, although I’ve also got my eye on a few other projects which may take precedence (including my often delayed but never forgotten Cawdor gang). I’ve also been kitbashing Corpse-Grinder Cultists so I’ll try to get something uploaded to showcase them soon too.