Tag Archives: Chaos Space Marines

You Shook Me All Knight Long

It’s been a long, long time coming… It was back in September of 2014 that my chaos knight first put in an appearance. Back then it was just a single leg. Six months later it had a second leg and everything seemed to be going swimmingly. Then progress slowed, mistakes were made, expensive and hard to replace parts were trashed in a moment of carelessness and the whole project lost momentum. Over the years I picked it up from time to time, working on it a little here and there, but it wasn’t until the summer of 2019, when the new Chaos Knight kit came storming onto the scene and reinvigorated my enthusiasm, that I really paid it proper attention again.

I began to chip away at it again, but it’s a big kit and a lot of work, and other projects kept grabbing my enthusiasm – easy wins and spur of the moment fancies that were relatively easy to power through, whilst the knight stamped along at the back of the queue, occasionally shaking off its coat of dust only to start gathering a new one.

How long it would have continued in this state is anyone’s guess but then Azazel, of Azazel’s Bitz Box, launched one of his painting challenges The Jewel of July (and also August as it turned out). The thing I really like about these challenges is there’s no pressure to “win”, or to paint something start-to-finish in a month or anything of that nature, just some good natured, friendly encouragement as hobbyists all over the world do what we can to clear the pile of grey plastic (or lead, or even resin) and replace it with the beautiful painted models we’d all far rather we had in our collections.

The Jewel of July has a very open remit, but at heart it’s looking for centrepiece models, the jewels of our collections as it were, and I thought the knight would fit the bill perfectly. Plus it would give me the motivation to actually get the damn thing finished at long last. Did I manage it? Did I hell!

July, as it turned out, was so busy with work that often, as I stumbled blearily to bed at the end of another long day, I passed myself getting up again. Time to work on the knight drained away and whilst progress was made it certainly wasn’t enough, nor did I want to rush finishing something that I was only painting for fun after all. Then, just as it seemed that the chances of getting it done in time were hopeless, Azazel extended the deadline for the challenge until the end of August. The game was still on!

Anyway, enough of this waffley back-story – which regular readers will have undoubtedly skipped anyway as they must know it off by heart – let’s take a look at some pictures, because it’s no longer true to say the knight is young – instead the knight is done!

I reckon he fits the bill nicely as a centrepiece model, towering over the rest of my Chaos forces and ready to scare the living daylights out of any filthy loyalists that might be passing.

I also managed to build him in such a way that some of the parts move. Not all of them do, doing anything that clever with the fleshy tentacle arm proved beyond me for instance. Likewise the head, which would normally be adjustable if you build the kit “as intended” proved to be locked in place once those enormous tusks were affixed. The gun arm however still tilts around freely…

…and the entire torso can be rotated.

Not only that but it can be lifted off entirely, making him easier to store and transport. A little magnet in the base of the torso, and another in the top of the legs, is enough to hold him together. It’s not the strongest bond, given the size and weight of the model it could have used something a little more powerful, but so long as he’s handled gently (and anyone who doesn’t handle their models gently is no friend of mine!) he’ll be fine.

Anyway, all that remains to be said is a big thank you to Azazel for running the Jewel of July challenge, I can only imagine how much time and effort goes into making these things happen – and also a second round of thanks to everyone’s offered feedback and encouragement along the way. Next up, something much, much smaller…


Chaos Knight – Armed To The Teeth

Just a quick one today as I battle to get to grips with the new WordPress editor. If it ain’t broke WordPress, do be a dear and don’t bloody fix it! Not to worry, I’m sure in time I’ll stop being a dinosaur and discover the joys of the new modern editor that lets me do everything I used to do, only in a much more complicated and round-about way…

Anyway, enough moaning let’s look at a bit of a miniature. I’ve moved onto the second arm of the chaos knight (the weird fleshy limb as opposed to the mechanical arm that I’ve shown previously). It was made by grafting together the upper part of a Great Unclean One’s arm with the lower part of a Maggoth, and then filling in the gaps with loads of greenstuff and milliput.

With this pretty much done I’m mostly looking at tidying up, painting a few of the smaller components and sticking everything together and with just under half the month still to go I’m optimistic. Then again nothing is finished until it’s finished, pride has been known to come before a fall and chickens should not be counted until they’re hatched, fully grown and preferably in the oven. Watch this space!


Chaos Knight – One Armed Bandit

Ok beautiful readers, it’s time for me to be completely honestly with; I’m not going to finish the Chaos Knight in July. I know it’s still early to be giving up, we’ve all heard (and probably participated in) heroic, last minute painting whirlwinds that get some model over the finish line to completion in the small hours of the morning ahead of the big game or the painting contest to be held the next day. Why don’t I just man up, gird my loins and crack on you ask? The fact is the July has proven to be even busier for work than I expected and, with three flat-out months under my belt now, I’m knackered (this is also why I’ve not been reading and commenting on other people’s blogs much either). There are only so many hours in the day and in the end the conclusion has to be that there’s more Knight left than month. Fear not, I’ll finish him in August instead – when things should be a bit quieter and more manageable anyway. Luckily Azazel, who’s Jewel of July challenge has been the spur to my tackling the project again, has also extended said challenge through to the end of August as he too grapples with that many armed monstrosity known as real life.

In the meantime however I have managed to make some progress over the last couple of weeks, so this post won’t just be moaning and excuses from me! The main torso, one arm and the infamous “difficult” shoulderpad that started my struggles with this model in the first place have all been completed, leaving just the head, the other arm and shoulderpad and the various accoutrements to complete. Put like that it doesn’t sound like very much does it…

Anyway, let’s take a look at him. Due to the sheer size of this bad-boy I’ve used bigger images than normal, clicking on them will allow you to bask in their glory at full size.

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Despite the set-backs that have slowed progress on this project to a crawl at times I’m still feeling very enthusiastic about it, especially now it’s reached this stage and started to look like a true Knight of Chaos, rather than just a pair of legs. There are still a number of challenges ahead (and those are just the ones I know about) but hopefully by the end of August (and maybe even sooner) the beast shall walk!


Chaos Knight – Time To Show A Leg

Cast your mind back to 2015. Suffice to say wherever you were and whatever you were doing there’s a good chance that a lot of things have changed a lot since then, simply through the ups and downs of life rumbling onwards – even without the social and political (not to mention virological!) upheavals that have echoed around the globe. I’ve changed jobs (more than once), moved house three times, dealt with various dramas and tragedies and had some really good times to boot. The one thing that hasn’t changed has been the status of my Chaos Knight – the damn thing still isn’t painted. Last time we saw it, when I was full of big ideas and ambitious chatter, was this time last year. The new Codex: Chaos Knights had been unleashed, along with a rather tasty new kit, and I was full of enthusiasm. Here’s a reminder of how it looked back then.

Enthusiasm however doesn’t get things painted, it helps but you still need to put one end of the brush in the paint and actually get on with it. Simply daydreaming about an army of Knights isn’t enough – we need action! How long the model might have continued to linger in the doldrums is anyone’s guess, but along came Azazel’s Bitz Box with another monthly challenge – the Jewel of July. Azazel’s monthly challenges used to be a major staple of the hobby calendar for a lot of hobbyists but even a painting and blogging machine like him must suffer from mortal fatigue at some point, and until now he’s not been running them this year (although he continues to produce fantastically painted models faster than most of us breath so do take a look at his blog if you’re not already familiar with it). Anyway, this month he’s running a challenge again and I decided I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to give myself a push and get something painted. The rules of the challenge are wonderfully open ended, as usual it’s all about getting things finished, with as little as possible by way of extra rules to hamper that. To quote Azazel himself:

The Jewel of July is about painting (almost) anything you want that you think will be cool, or impressive, or just nice.

It’s for Heroes. Big or small. named or otherwise. A Lieutenant or a Medic or a Warlord Riding a Dragon. An Inquisitor’s aide or a Star Player or a Bounty Hunter.

It’s for Vehicles. A Motorcycle or a Maus. A Starship or a Gaslands Car. A Panzer IV to a Kettenkrad. A Rhino APC or a Konigstiger or a War Rig or a M’ak I. (or M’ak II?)

It’s for the more impressive scenery pieces. A desert oasis or a (ruined?) temple or a bunker complex or a single bunker or a skyscraper or a Ferratonic Incinerator or a Kwik-E-Mart. A forest worth of trees or a jungle worth of plants.

It’s for Monsters. Ogres or Ogors. Dragons, Giants, decent-sized Daemons. Bronze Bulls and Dinosaurs and Great Wight Sharks and Goremaw and Cthulhu.

It’s for Dieties and Demi-gods. Primarchs and Titans. Atlas and Aeres and Abaddon. Horus and Hercules. Venus and Vulkan. Saturn and Sanguinius.

It’s for Mechs and the Mechanicum. Steampunk walkers, Dreadnoughts, Imperial Knights, Warjacks, Tripods, Titans.

It’s for Dioramas and Vignettes. Historical, Fantasy, Sci-Fi. It’s all good. Even better if they also feature something from the above!

So yes. Anything from a USMC Corpsman to a 28mm scale Warlord Titan counts for this coming month’s challenge.

To whit I foolishly opened my big mouth and said something to the effect of “Well in that case I’ll finally paint the Knight”. Now truth be told I might have been a bit of a fool to say that because this is a big model that’s been defeating me for a hell of a long time and July looks set to be the busiest month of the year so far for me workwise. Enthusiasm, determination and kind words from people here will help but won’t change the fact that I’m going to be flat out for the next few weeks with long hours, early mornings and late nights hauling around on mountaintops as we try to catch up on projects that were held back by the Covid-19 lockdown.

Anyway, before we embrace my inevitable failure, let’s take a look at what exactly I have managed to achieve so far. First of all, the legs. These are pretty much done actually, I might add a bit here and there as I go on with the rest of the model but basically the entire lower half of the knight is finished. In some ways this means I’m off to a great start, in other ways however there’s a lot less complexity here as opposed to the torso, arms and head, and yet it still took me half a decade.

Knight Legs

Speaking of the torso I have managed to get some work done on it too. It’s not done by a long way but some ground has been broken at least.

Knight Torso

Finally we have the model’s left arm. Last time I wrote about this I said:

The biggest job of all is the left arm, which looks as though it will need to be sculpted in part, probably my most ambitious use of green stuff yet and potentially almost a project in its own right.

As it turns out it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought, although a lot of fiddling around and dry-fitting happened first. In order to end up with something I could actually achieve, rather than simply imagine, I simplified the original concept and as a result the greenstuff work ended up being mainly about filling in the gaps on the inside of the arm. Again there may well be more tweaks ahead but this should at least give you an idea of where things are heading.

Knight Arm

I’ve been making a lot of false promises about this model for a long time and I don’t want this to be another case of me saying “It’ll be done soon, promise!” only for 6, 12 or 24 months to pass without any progress at all. I’m really determined to get him done, and I’m well aware that those words probably sound a little bit hollow by this point, but I’ll give it my best  and even if I don’t see him completed in July I’d like to see him wrapped up not long after. I’ll see what I can do though, so watch this space, cross your fingers and prepare your bitingly sarcastic comment for when I post that “one of the arms is almost done” in 2028…


Obliterate Them!

It’s been an absolute age since I painted anything for my Chaos space marines and the army continues to sit in the doldrums between my lingering dissatisfaction with the old kits and my as-yet not fully explored enthusiasm for the new. Time to get something painted then, especially with new-40k bringing my attention back to the grim-darkness of the 41st Millennium once again. The real jolt of enthusiasm however came about as a result of the “Sixty Day Miniatures of Magnitude Painting Challenge” being run by Ann’s Immaterium. I’d already painted a Warcry ruin last month but I wanted to tackle something else suitably large and to get something chaotic and power-armour-clad done into the bargain. The challenge calls for painting something big, at least the size of an ogre, so the obvious candidate was one of the Obliterators from last year’s Shadowspear box.

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As a long-standing (and at times long suffering!) Chaos fan it was a bit of a thrill to finally be able to paint an Obliterator that didn’t look truly awful. Maybe if I pray to the dark gods really hard they’ll give us some proper models for their cousins the Mutilators  someday too…


Get Sick Or Die Trying – Part 16

By the end of last year I’d managed to get the greater part of my poxwalker horde painted up. My aim is to complete forty of these horrible plague zombies, each different to all the others to some degree, and with only eight left to paint I’m keen to knuckle down and get them finished in the near future.

With that in mind here’s the next four.

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Ladies and gentlemen, give this man a big hand!

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At some point I chopped one of my poxwalkers in half so that I could use the upper part of the body in some conversion or other (don’t ask me what now, I can’t remember). That left me with a pair of legs, not to mention one poxwalker short of the forty I had planned, so I kitbashed in bits from an old WHFB zombie I had lying around. It’s not perfect by any means but I’m happy enough.

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With these done I’ve now I now have only four more to do to complete this part of the Death Guard project so although I’m planning to focus of Warcry for the next little while I’ll keep chipping away at these and hopefully get the rest wrapped up soon.


Ready To Rock!

Alright 2020, let’s get this party started!

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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.

 

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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.


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.