Tag Archives: Beastmen

Blackstone Fortress: Beastmen

With the Negavolt Cultists out of the way the next step for my Blackstone Fortress project was to turn my attention to the fearsome beastmen. In Games Workshop’s fantasy universes, beastmen are uniformly savage and chaotic – indeed the name “beast man” derives from “best man” and refers to their hedonistic, untamed nature combined with their tendency to consume alcohol in quantity and instigate shenanigans. In the 41st Millennium beastmen enjoy a greater range of personalities and many are loyal to the Imperium, serving in Imperial Guard regiments and even appearing as one of Necromunda’s most famous faces. Despite this they are generally abused, looked down upon and used as cannon fodder with the result that many choose to throw in their lot with the servants of the Ruinous Powers, who also tend to abuse them, look down upon them and use them as cannon fodder. The models from Blackstone Fortress, it should be noted, fall firmly into the latter camp.

Being crude and hairy myself I’ve always had a soft spot for these rowdy creatures and often planned, usually without much actual progress, to model some of my own during the long years in which they vanished from 40k almost entirely. Thus finding them in the Blackstone Fortress set was a real thrill and I’ve been looking forward to tackling them ever since.

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It took me a while to get the colours right on these but I’m definitely pleased with the outcome. What more they’ve left me so enthused about all things bestial that I’ve already started working on some more, this time destined to rampage around the Mortal Realms instead.  All being well I’ll have them ready to show you all soon.


See You Later Alligator

Just a quick one today but this reptilian beastman (as opposed to a lizardman) has been sitting on my desk waiting to be finished for what seems like absolutely ages. A couple of days ago I realised that despite work on him stalling completely he really only needed another twenty minutes or so to be completed – and thus inspired I knuckled down.

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Amongst the various projects I have planned – but which are as yet untouched – I’d like to paint up an old school chaos warband based around the Knightmare Miniatures range, and so this cantankerous looking crocodile will hopefully be joined in due course by a savage brotherhood. Probably not for a while though as I’m trying to tame my spirit animal, the hobby butterfly, and focus on a few key projects for the time being.


War Eternal – Part 1

I’ve been toying with the idea of making some Age of Sigmar warbands for a while now but until recently I’ve not really done anything about it. That changes now however. The push came when Alex of Leadballoony published his plans for working on AoS Skirmish and the idea took root in my brain. Alex, accompanied by fellow blogger Ross of Classic Chaos Daemons, set out a series of guidelines for the project and invited anyone else who fancied it to join in. Naturally this seemed like the perfect opportunity to get one of my own warbands up and running so I nailed my colours to the metaphorical mast and sallied forth.

Let’s start by taking a look at those guidelines:

Build & paint 100ish ‘renown’ points in Feb (to include our Generals), and 25ish renown per month thereafter, up to 250 pts.

This seems a sensible and manageable way to do things so I’ll be trying to stick to it to. Conveniently my general also comes to exactly 100 renown so getting him painted this month will tick this box nicely.

The warband must be from a faction we don’t currently collect. Ross and I chose the faction for each other…

As I don’t really have anything for AoS, beyond some unpainted Nighthaunt and perhaps the odd squig, the world is my oyster here. I did consider inviting suggestions from my readers or starting a poll but in the end my deep and abiding rage combined with my need to harvest people’s heads to manufacture an uncomfortable seating solution won out and I pledged my soul to Khorne.

Set in a common realm, (realm tbd), based & modelled accordingly

Naturally this sounds like a fine idea for a group project but as I’m not part of the core team on this I can follow my own path. Of course I may yet end up being inspired by them.

Push the modelling & painting – AoS28 style, crazy conversions, grim-dark, etc.

Well naturally. Is there any other way?

Lowest cost possible – beg/borrow/steal, freebees, scratch build, re-use, etc.

I really like this idea it adds an extra layer of creative challenge to the project and saves money into the bargain. When I first got into this hobby I couldn’t afford to buy many miniatures so finding ways to make models cheaply was the name of the game. Actual miniatures may have been out with my budget but other people’s left over bits were much more affordable, bulked out by donations from friends. It was this as much as anything else that lead me to take up converting and kitbashing so by following this rule I feel like I’ll be going back to my roots, albeit with a far more extensive bits box to draw upon. My goal is to use only models I already own for this warband and, as much as possible, use bits that I gathered for other projects which then failed to reach fruition. My general meanwhile will be based on a model given away free on the cover of White Dwarf. We’ll take a look at him shortly.

Narrative rather than competitive warbands – named characters, backstories, etc.

Frankly I wouldn’t know where to begin guessing what’s competitive and what isn’t so there’s no danger of that with me (unless, of course, it happens by pure chance!). I’m interested in cool looking models and an engaging narrative, and a warband of this type is a golden opportunity really pursue that.

Anyway, that wall of text has been more than enough for anyone to endure so let’s take a look at the as yet unnamed leader of my warband, a priest of the bloodthirsty god Khorne.

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Until I assembled him I didn’t realise what a big lad he is, he certainly towers over this Blood Warrior (who may end up incorporated into the warband himself).

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Indeed, for those who’re curious, here he is next to those perennials of the size-comparison photograph; an Imperial Guardsman and a Primaris Space Marine.

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As you can see I stuck fairly closely to the original design of the Slaughter Priest model just swapping out the head for what may (or may not!) be a masked visage befitting such a fearsome character. I did consider tweaking the model a little more but it’s one of my favourite Khornate miniature’s in the range and I didn’t want to do anything that would take away from that. As for his missing head it ended up on this Bloodgor. The Blades of Khorne book doesn’t actually contain Bloodgor, nor are there any in GW’s current range, but I wasn’t about to compound their mistakes by failing to include at least one of my own. Indeed rather than stick religiously to one army book I’ve decided to incorporate a mixture of daemons, beasts and mortals of all kinds, united in their dedication to the blood god.

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Indeed, I was so excited about making Bloodgor after finishing the first one that I abandoned my original plans and immediately made a second one.

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Not all of the warband is built yet but I have been having a lot of fun assembling the first few recruits. These ragged blood reavers have been looking for a home since the first edition of AoS was released so it’s high time I did something with them.

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There’s also a fairly high chance this chap will sneak into the ranks as I’ve been keen to get him painted since I got my paws on him.

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Obviously now I just need to bash on with getting the Slaughter Priest painted up, as well as starting to explore his backstory and discovering how he came to be leading a ragtag band out of the Chaos wastes. Watch this space, and expect to see the priest at least finished by the end of the month.

 


The Cult of Ruin – Part 1

Given my love of all things Chaos it’s actually a little bit surprising that it’s taken me this long to get started on a band of unruly gangers to bring the worship of the Ruinous Powers to the depths of the Necromundan Underhive. Never mind eh brothers and sisters, now is the time to throw off the shackles imposed upon us by the great houses, etc, distant, uncaring Emperor, etc etc, reject the rule of Terra and so on and so forth.

Now some of you may be thinking “steady on, how many gangs is he starting?” but the nice thing about chaos, for me at least, is that I already have most of the models ready to go. Having poured over the chaos gang rules in White Dwarf I’ve pulled together this disreputable mob which makes up most, if not quite all, of the gangers I’ll need.

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There’s still a couple of gaps to fill but those places will be taken by models I’ve been meaning to get around to painting anyway so this should serve to encourage me. Of course I can’t seem to let any opportunity to make new models pass me by, especially when those models are beastmen, so I ended up assembling this pair as well. The one on the left will be squeezing his way into the gang itself, whilst the one on the right will be joining the Brayhorn Boys (an all beastmen gang mentioned in White Dwarf that I haven’t been able to resist planning).

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When it came to choosing a leader for the gang I was already spoilt for options, and indeed any one of these five could have done the business.

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However a new gang needs a new boss, and really it wouldn’t have been right not to come up with someone unique to lead the helots into the clutches of the Dark Gods. Enter Skaverghast the Pit Dweller, hated demagogue and enemy of the Imperium.

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This leaves me with just two more models to build for the gang, a witch and a spawn, both of which should hopefully emerge soonish.


The True King Of Beasts

Behold the noble unicorn! Wild and untameable, glorious to look upon, ferocious in battle and irresistible to the opposite sex – no wonder we Scots hold it in such high regard! All too often however they’re portrayed as fey, shy and ever so slightly sparkly creatures, gentle, elegant and fairly harmless, with an intimate knowledge of rainbows and not a hint of the savage sexuality that has been inspiring artists from Albrecht Dürer to the Gardens of Hecate (and before you click on either link it’s safe to assume they’re probably not safe for work).

This model however is less a unicorn and more a beastman, also notoriously wild and sexual creatures. Somehow, however, he comes across as just on the right side of noble, albeit still with a healthy dose of independence and feral ferocity.

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The model originates from the Pantheon of Chaos range by Knightmare Miniatures, which makes him a natural pair up for this clothes-phobic barbarian.

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Deep within the forest two beastmen, one foul, one noble, battle for territory.

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Bretonnian Week: The Beast

In the most recent edition of the Beastmen army book for Warhammer there was a little snippet of text describing the Warherd of Khorok Manripper which roams the Forest of Arden. As the Forest of Arden was obliterated alongside the rest of Bretonnia during the End Times, I’m sure Games Workshop will have no issues with me showing it here.khorok-manripperIt’s such a wonderfully “Warhammer” concept, full of the setting’s trademark blend of grubby eccentricity. Moreover it’s one of my favourite bits of Bretonnian fiction and as soon as I sat down to write a list of concepts to cover in this week I knew I had to include a beastman from Khorok’s herd.

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I’ve enjoyed all of this week’s models a great deal, and I’d be hard pressed to pick a favourite. If you put a gun to my head and forced me to choose however I’d probably plump for this one*. Perhaps it’s because he’s a conversion, and thus uniquely mine, whilst the others were built pretty much as intended, or perhaps it’s because he’s chaotic and evil whilst the others have been honourable goody-two-shoes.

*Or in my panic just name whichever I thought of first and blub a lot. So please don’t, there’s really no need for violence here…

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I tried to match his heraldry to that of the other Bretonnians I’ve painted (with the exception of the Green Knight of course) in order to create the impression that it was the cousin or brother of one of the other knights that he looted the armour from. Of course, there is the darker possibility that this knight was never killed at all but was simply corrupted and mutated by the forces of Chaos until he found himself roaming the forest in bestial form, becoming a braying warrior of the very herd he once set out to slay…

Although I aimed to repeat similar heraldry on all of the knights you may have noticed that I avoiding repeating it exactly. The aim was to reflect the idea that each knight is a hero in his own right and, although he proudly wears the colours of his house, he also puts his own spin on it so he can be recognised in battle and his deeds celebrated.


The Times They Are a-Changin’

Of all the chaos gods Tzeentch has always been the one who’s image is hardest to define. Slaanesh is lithe and unnatural, a punk-rock dominatrix who’ll leave soul begging for more. Nurgle is a jolly fat man, slow and generous and ripe with disease. Khorne is a beast-faced bullet, a roaring, stamping wall of bullish muscle waving a chainaxe at the world. All relatively easy to sculpt and paint – whether in violent pastels, putrid greens or bloody reds. Tzeentch is change, mutation and illusion and his colour is the colour of magic. The studio models may be painted in blue and purple shades but that’s only because Games Workshop have yet to find a way to add glittering octarine to their paint range.

In the past official efforts to capture the essence of this ever challenging god have been distinctly hit and miss. Indeed there have been a couple of fan projects recently which have more than equalled the studio’s output. Just take a look at these by Big Boss Redskulls, or these, by Nordic, showcased at the Convertorum. This weekend however the boys at Games Workshop have taken another crack at it, porting their success with boxed games in 40k over to Age of Sigmar and resurrecting Warhammer Quest into the bargain.

Silver Tower CoverA few months ago I commented on this blog “Tzeentch’s followers are now fairly well represented. I might have preferred something a little more ‘Lovecraftian crawling horror’ and less ‘cartoon character’ but that’s a matter of personal taste. Now it would be nice to see some more emphasis on the god’s mortal followers; mad sorcerers, mutants, beastmen and of course the Thousand Sons themselves”. I promise that, at the time, I had no idea that this might be coming – being as I am extremely sceptical of the “rumour’s scene” that surrounds Games Workshop’s output in a haze of wild theories, wishlisting and general tin-foil-hat-ery.

I went on to say “Of all the gods Tzeentch is the chance for them to be the most creative, to come up with something visually arresting and unique”. Did they manage it? A quick look at this release reveals the answer to be a resounding yes.

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A leaf through books like Realms of Chaos should be enough to remind anyone that there was a time when Games Workshop was much more adventurous than they’ve allowed themselves to be in recent years. Creatively they’ve become a little timid, preferring to explore already popular concepts rather than gamble with more outlandish ideas. Tzeentch knows however that change is inevitable. The creative team at Games Workshop have the power to be a creative force and it seems the fans are willing to follow them out of the power-armoured security blanket and into stranger realms. The Adeptus Mechanicus, the Wulven, the Genestealer Cults and now the Changer of Ways himself – all recent releases which have demonstrated that, for good or bad, Games Workshop are no long afraid to dig through the good ideas that had previously been thought resigned to the history books.BeastmenTake the beastmen for example. Once upon a time concepts like this rendered them as true children of Chaos, the first offspring of the gods, an eclectic mix of creatures that over the years became safer and less complex, until we ended up with the goatmen of today. Personally I love the modern goats – as evidenced by my 40k Bloodgors – but I’d never deny that something is lacking; and that something is Chaos. Thus the Tzaangors are in many ways the most exiting bit of this release for me, representing as they do the return of the god-specific beastmen of old. Those wishing to keep their Thousand Son’s armies in line with the fiction can now add the native beastmen from the Planet of the Sorcerers to their ranks, and mix in some Kairic Acolytes for some really impressive cultists.60010799002_WHQSilverTowerENG03

In this release a good creative balance also appears to have been struck – between the shapeless horror that Tzeentch represents and the almost comical or cartoon-like vibe which grants this god’s followers a particular element of unreality. When pulled together correctly, as in this image from the 1980’s, this creates a particularly malevolent horror which must resonate particularly with anyone who’s afraid of clowns.Pink HorrorSadly the modern horrors have emphasized only the cartoon-like elements, something the Silver Tower model does a little to address. Still with only one sculpt in the box it’s rather too little to make a significant difference. It would serve nicely as another alternative Herald of course – but Tzeentch isn’t really short on those.Pink Horror ST

This release isn’t just about Tzeentch however. Games Workshop have also taken the chance to show us something of the direction they’re planning to take the Elves in. I’ve always fancied creating a collection based around a Wild Hunt, with the more feral elements of the Dark and Wood Elf ranges combined into a single ferocious force, riding out in the heart of winter to fall like a blizzard upon the weak civilised races. In my madder moments this turns into a force of Exodite Eldar instead. This release contains two wonderfully elemental elves – a mage and an assassin – both powerfully reminiscent of the much-missed Rackham. If these really are a sign of things to come then I look forward to my self control crumbling altogether as I launch myself head-first into another project.60010799002_WHQSilverTowerENG14If there’s a mistake with this release however it’s the lack of variety in the sculpts. Having pulled out a combination of creativity (the spider goblins are just the sort of mad genius that always brings a smile to my face) and high quality sculpting (the Skaven Deathrunners are particularly nice) they rather dropped the ball by repeating the same models, something which the already eye-watering price tag makes unacceptable. Still, so long as they keep pouring this level of creativity into the followers of Chaos then I’m inclined to be reasonably forgiving… so long as I can find a few bargains on ebay of course…