Tag Archives: Age of Sigmar

Orc Champion

I’ve no idea what the origin of this old Orc is. He’s been knocking around in my collection, started but not finished, for a good decade at least, possibly longer. The aesthetic of him reminds me very much of the models produced by Rackham for the – sadly defunct and much missed – game Confrontation. However I’m pretty familiar with that range and I’m fairly certain he’s not one of them. Any readers who happen to know where he came from please shout out in the comments.

Anyway, needless to say he’s been neglected for a long, long time – but he was never forgotten, which means he’s perfect for the Neglected But Not Forgotten challenge being run by Ann’s Immaterium.

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He didn’t actually take me that long to get him from his half-finished state to completed, maybe an hour or so, which goes to show I could have done it any time in the last ten years or so. Still, he’s done now and I’m pleased with how he’s turned out. Big thanks to Ann for running the challenge, I’m fairly sure he’d still be gathering dust without it!


Fembruary 2021 Round-Up

Whew – I don’t think I’ve painted so many different things in such a short space of time in my life! There have been times when I’ve painted a lot more models (69 miniatures in October 2018 being the highest monthly output since I started keeping a record although that was mostly a case of batch-painting Night Goblins so perhaps not quite as impressive as it first appears). This month I “only” managed 21 models, but they covered as wide a range of subjects as I could find – united by a single common theme, all of them were women. Yes we’re talking once again about the Fembruary challenge run by Alex of LeadBalloony.

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For those unfamiliar with the challenge Fembruary is “a time of year for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some female miniatures”. The description adds “it’s a simple affair, just paint & post one or more female miniatures from your piles-of-shame, in the name of fair representation within the hobby” and notes “given that this is intended as an encouragement to think about inclusion in the hobby then it makes sense if your entries are kick-ass ladies”.

This year I was feeling both particularly enthusiastic about clearing my backlog and at the same time thinking a lot about the situation facing women both in my own country and abroad. Currently the government here is looking to bring in legislation which could severely limit our ability to even discuss issues affecting women, whilst taking away the sex-segregated services they need. It goes without saying that a lot of women, both in my circle of family and friends and the wider public, are frankly terrified. I don’t really want to get into the specifics of the debate, partly because this is a blog about miniatures and not really the right forum for the discussion and partly because there are activists out there who think that the appropriate response to someone saying “women are people too” is to make death threats and I don’t need that shit. 

I try to walk a fine line with this blog. On the one hand I try to make my posts thought provoking when I can, and to dig a little deeper than simply saying “here’s a thing wot I painted”. On the other hand I’m very conscious of the fact that the world can be difficult, distressing and depressing at times and our hobbies are intended to be a release from all that. Then there’s the fact that,  although the blogosphere is considerably more civilised than, for example, Facepuke or Twitter, many people fear any kind of online social or political discussion in case it erupts into an orgy of spittle-flecked outrage. At the end of the day people come here to look at pictures of miniatures, and although it’s my party and I’ll say what I want to, equally I don’t want to be a bore or start a fight.

It’s also a long and complex matter to try to dissect but we find ourselves in the odd position where, when I participate in Fembruary 2022, I may have to describe the kind of miniatures I’m painting without using the word “woman”, in case by doing so I cause someone offence – which under new laws could see me sent to prison. I know that sounds ludicrous to most readers but misogynist activists are already jeering themselves hoarse and claiming that they’ll exploit the new legislation to silence anyone who disagrees with them.

It should go without saying that, no matter what cause someone claims to be standing for, if a women says she feels unsafe and someone responds by threatening her with sexual assault and murder then the aggressor should not be hailed as brave. Such behaviour will always be abhorrent, regardless of how they try to dress it up. Regardless of what happens with this particular instance of state-sponsored misogyny watching events unfold has really emphasised to me the viciousness with which women in particular are attacked for speaking up.  

Ours is a hobby which traditionally has been primarily male. The cliché of the out-of-shape, unwashed, nerdy (and of course  single!) male gamer is a persistent one – despite the fact that my readers are to a man handsome, hygienic and erudite sexual stallions. We have worked hard to invite women into our hobby and the increased number of women – both in terms of miniatures on our tabletops and human beings painting and playing with those miniatures – is something well worth celebrating. Of course there are areas in which things could and should improve, and of course there will always be those for whom nothing is ever good enough. We just need to keep trying, keep discussing, and keep working towards something that works fairly well for everyone in the room who isn’t a total arsehole – and that’s basically the best that any society can hope for.

Anyway, in an effort to stop myself grinding my teeth right out of my head, I’ve found myself leaning heavily on my “go to” for calming my nerves and maintaining my mental health; painting miniatures. As a result what started out as simply an exercise in gathering together all the unfinished female models on my desk and trying to get a few completed turned into something of a marathon charge into the “pile of shame”. Let’s take a look at everything I managed to complete (don’t knacker your eyes peering at it, click on it for a decent sized picture!).

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Not bad eh! I’m sure there will be plenty of hobbyists out there who could paint a lot more in a month, and to a much higher standard to boot, but this isn’t a race and I’m rather proud of my output. Along the way I added models to various ongoing projects and started a few new ones. We have three daughters of House Escher…

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…three Blood Bowl playing elves…

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… two explorers delving into the Blackstone Fortress…

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…the Imperial Guard commissar Severina Raine from the Black Library novel Honourbound

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…a Stormcast Eternal…

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…two dryads…

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…two Chaos Sorceresses…

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…a Genestealer Cult Magus…

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…an agent of Tzeentch…

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… an old goblin witch…

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…one of the grand ladies of the Adeptus Mechanicus…

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…and a warband made up of the Daughters of Khaine.

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Things might be a bit quiet here for the next little while, and certainly quieter than they’ve been recently. This is the time of year when my work goes into overdrive and this year is scheduled to be particularly hectic.  I’ll still be painting miniatures when time allows though and I’ll try not to vanish from the world of blogging altogether, especially as I have a lot of projects up my sleeve that I’d like to be tackling soon.

Finally I’d like to give a shout out to Alex of LeadBalloony who organises this challenge every year. If you’re not already familiar with his work I highly recommend you go and check it out right away, and of course keep an eye out for the Fembruary round up, which he should be posting in the next few days, for a look at all the other talented people who’ve taken part.


Zarshia Bittersoul

So far most of the models I’ve painted for Fembruary have been what you might call “neglected models” – miniatures that have been sitting around unfinished for months or, in a number of cases, years. Either I bought them some time ago and then never got around to painting them, or I started them and then, for one reason or another, never finished them. This one however is very new, in fact she was only released at the start of last month and made her way to me just a few days ago. Did I leave her to gather dust before finally getting around to painting her? No, in a break with tradition I most certainly did not!

This is the scheming Chaos Sorceress Zarshia Bittersoul from the Khagra’s Ravagers set. She alone would have been enough to convince me to buy the set although the other three models are very nice as well (and of course I’ll paint those in due course too, although they might get the standard few months minimum spent dust gathering, just to ensure tradition is maintained!).

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And there we have it, Fembruary is over for another year. I’ve painted so many models for it this year that a round-up is definitely in order so I’ll get that written up and posted at some point in the next few days. Of course I’ve still got plenty more female miniatures I’d like to paint so expect the usual mix of boys, girls, daemonic entities and soulless robots over the coming weeks and months.


Goblin Witch

You don’t often see female greenskins so when I found this goblin witch from Knightmare Miniatures lurking in the unpainted pile I knew I had to include in my Fembruary painting marathon.

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The range of female miniatures available to me for this challenge has impressed me a great deal over the last few weeks. When I first participated in Fembruary back in 2018 I really didn’t have very many and it’s pleasing to see how much that’s changed in recent years. Partly of course that’s my doing – by a natural process of accumulation I now own more models than I did three years ago so I had more to pick from. However I’m also seeing an increase in the number of female miniatures on the market, and in an increasing diversity of roles. Where once I would have struggled to find much beyond sorceresses and the chainmail-bikini brigade now there are even goblin women. Long may it continue!


God Of Murder – Part 4

We’re into the last week of Fembruary now so it’s time to put the finishing touches on my Daughters of Khaine Warcry warband. Just like the two Witch Elves I showed earlier in the month these two come from the Morgwaeth’s Blade-coven set. Of course this also means that I only need to paint up Morgwaeth herself to complete another Warhammer Underworld’s warband so at some point I’ll do that too. For now though let’s concentrate on the final Warcry recruits.

First of all here’s a savage Sister of Slaughter, the berserker she-elves so savage that even the Witch Elves must look at them from time to time and think “Steady on”.

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Alongside her we have a second snake-bodied Melusai, this time in the form of a Blood Stalker. I must confess that I was struggling a bit with this one but, very fittingly for Fembruary, my fiancée gave me some very helpful pointers and stopped me from making a hash of things. The benefits of having a professional artist in the house!

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Finally here’s a shot of the whole warband gathered together.

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Although the warband is finished for now I’ve got various other Daughters of Khaine models I’d like to add so at some point I’ll come back to this project and add a few more recruits. We’re also almost at the end of Fembruary and for me work and other “real life” commitments are starting to get particularly busy. That said there are a few more models I’d like to complete that are within stretching distance of getting finished so we’ll see what, if anything, I can manage over the next few days.


Narvia the Acolyte

The very eagle-eyed reader may have spotted that, in amongst the various blue horrors I showed last month was this evil little chap.

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Personally I wouldn’t have known him from any other blue horror but anyone who’s a Warhammer Underworld’s aficionado might recognise him as a member of the Eyes of the Nine, the Tzeentchian warband from a couple of seasons ago. Mostly I bought the set for the leader, Vortemis the All-Seeing, one of the coolest looking Tzeentchian sorcerers ever made in my opinion. For those not familiar with him, here’s what the studio model looks like.

Vortemis the All-Seeing

The way I saw it, I was buying Vortemis and getting a bunch of other models free, and as the price for the set wasn’t too painful on the wallet that was something I was happy to do. Now as it happens I’m still to paint Vortemis but I did have one of his acolytes, Narvia, sitting on the painting desk – and as Narvia is a lady and therefore qualifies for Fembruary this seemed like a fine moment to get her finished.

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I gave her a dark skintone to help her stand out from the other Kairic Acolytes I’ve already painted (and because, speaking personally, I think she looks damn good that way). All being well I’ll remember this when I get around to assembling and painting her frenemy Turosh, the other Kairic Acolyte in the Eyes of the Nine set, and paint him the same way.

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For those worrying about what’s happened to my Tzeentchian cabal that I was working on back in January fear not, I’ll be getting back to them as soon as Fembruary is over. For now however I’m enjoying my marathon charge through all the unpainted ladies who’ve been waiting for attention on the desk.


Dryads

I seem to have something of a reputation as having something against elves but that’s really not true at all. As every Chaos fan knows, properly cooked an elf can be amongst the finest of all fantasy creatures! Back in the days of WHFB I toyed with the idea of starting either a Dark Elf army, a Wood Elf army or perhaps even kitbashing a combination of the two. Alas neither project ever got off the ground. In the case of the Wood Elves the miniatures generally left a lot to be desired and, despite a few stellar models that appeared in the later years, the range overall never really looked as good in the cold light of day as it did in my mind’s eye.

One set of models I did always like though were the dryads. I’ve had a set of them knocking around for absolutely ages but never quite got around to doing anything with them. However in the course of the headlong charge through my unpainted backlog that I’ve been undertaking lately I found myself thinking about these tree-women and, as they are fine candidates for Fembruary, I decided to assemble a couple of them and see how I got on.

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Just as my unrealised Dark Elf army is now finding a new lease of life via my Daughters of Khaine Warcry warband these woodland folk may end up following a similar path, I reckon I have enough kicking around to make a little warband. Who knows, I may even manage to paint some of the other treefolk ladies by the end of the month.


God Of Murder – Part 3

Time for another update to the ranks of the Daughters of Khaine. This time I wanted to give the warband some air superiority in the form of two airborne predators – the Khinerai. These daemonically tainted, winged elves are the spiritual successors of the old Dark Elf Harpies of the WHFB era, which for my money were amongst the very worst models Games Workshop ever produced. Shall we take a moment to look back at the ugly models of yesteryear?

Ugly Harpies

Ghastly weren’t they? Between the lumpen sculpts and the hairy chests there wasn’t much to love about these and I spent a sizeable chunk of my youth hoping that someday GW would get around to replacing them. Thankfully that day came at last with the arrival of the Daughters of Khaine army book and the accompanying Khinerai Harpies. These come in two varieties, the Heartrenders and the Lifetakers, so naturally I painted one of each.

The Heartrender swoops over the battlefield impaling her prey on cruel javelins…

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…whilst the Lifetaker plunges out of the sky to hack her victims apart in close combat.

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I can’t honestly pretend that I enjoyed painting these that much. The way they attach to the base via the tail alone means they tend to spring around, a little shiver passing through the model every time the brush touches it. Taking a firm grip of the miniature itself rather than just holding it by the base is vital but tends to lead to me planting my great big thumbs in the middle of something I’d just painted, or smearing and smudging paint everywhere. My bad habit of using the side of my hand as a pallet worked against me here as well. They’re also packed with details, which usually I’d enjoy but in this case only made things trickier, especially when working in the awkward spaces created by the splayed wings and arms. My impression is of a set of miniatures designed by someone so excited by the possibilities created by working in lightweight modern plastic that they forgot about what it would actually be like to paint them. In the end I’m happy enough with the results but mostly just pleased to call the damn things done.

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We’re now halfway through Fembruary and I’m still having a lot of fun powering through my backlog of unfinished female miniatures. To be honest I’ve no idea how much longer I can keep up painting at this rate but I’ve got a lot more models that deserve to be painted so I’ll see what else I can manage over the coming fortnight.


Ride The Lightning – Part 1

Yeah, to be honest I didn’t think I’d ever paint a Stormcast Eternal either but like Space Marines they seem to sprout organically in any collection of Games Workshop miniatures whether you want them to or not. I should add I don’t have anything against them, and there’s one or two like this lady that I actually quite like. She’s been sitting on the desk at least a year now after I started experimenting with colour schemes and then ran out of enthusiasm before I really got anywhere. Mind you, whoever it was at Games Workshop that decided she should be cast in gold plastic – surely the trickiest colour to get a decent basecoat over – deserves at least some of the blame there. Of course Fembruary once again proved to be the perfect moment to get her finished.

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I’ve got a few other Stormcasts kicking around so now I’ve settled on a colour scheme sooner or later I’ll paint them up as well.


God Of Murder – Part 1

Well here we are again, it’s Fembruary. For those not in the know Fembruary is an annual hobby event that’s been running for the past few years, kick-started and curated by Alex of the blog Lead Balloony. The aim of the exercise is to be a salute to women (and a bit of extra encouragement to get those unpainted models finished up into the bargain). Despite representing roughly 50% of the planet’s population women have traditionally made up a tiny proportion of miniatures available (bad news for all the straight male miniatures out there!). Of those female miniatures which are available a sizeable proportion seemed to be made up of space-strippers and the chainmail bikini brigade (slightly better news for those aforementioned straight male miniatures but damn distracting when one is only 28mm tall, made of plastic, anatomically ill equipped and trying to save the galaxy). Thankfully things are changing for the better, and a second X chromosome no longer prevents one from facing constant doom alongside the boys. 

Now as it turns out I have a lot of female miniatures in the ‘to paint’ pile. I did a bit of an inventory to try and choose what to paint this year and discovered I’ve got a monumental backlog (no surprises there eh!). So, this month is going to be all about doing something about that. My plan is to paint as many of them as I’m physically able to and make a dent in that backlog and so, if all goes according to plan, a whole host of adult human (not to mention elven and perhaps even xenos) females will be appearing here over the next few weeks.

One of the key things I’d like to do this month is paint up a warband of Daughters of Khaine for Warcry. I really liked these blood-thirsty elves back in Warhammer Fantasy, in fact the Dark Elves in general were always the one that got away in terms of WHFB armies – maybe someday eh! Worshippers of the cruel and merciless god Khaine (the so-called “God of Murder” referred to in the title) these she-elves are about as far from the snobbish, prissy, daisy-plucking, fairy-bothering flouncing fay-folk of elven cliché as it’s possible to get. I’ve enjoyed their evolution in Age of Sigmar and their dark queen Morathi remains not only one of the most entertaining Warhammer characters to read about but also one of the few who has made the transition from old Warhammer to AoS without feeling forced or out of place. 

My goal for the month then is to complete the warband and to paint as many of the other female miniatures in my collection as I can, focussing on neglected models as much as possible. At this stage I’ve no idea how many I’ll manage to complete but I’m certainly not short of enthusiasm so I’ll see what I can do. To set the ball rolling here’s the first of the Daughters of Khaine to be finished – a Blood Sister Gorgai who’ll be acting as the new warband’s leader. 

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The rest of the warband will contain a mixture of these snake hybrids, the winged Khinerai and some of the more normal looking elves. Before that though I have another elf (of a kind) who’s been almost finished for longer than I can remember so tonight I’m going to sit down, concentrate and get her done.