Tag Archives: Conversion

Forgotten Heroes and Killer Robots

Many of you will know the feeling of stumbling across a miniature you were once proud of but which you hadn’t seen for ages; the mixture of fondness for a well loved piece, joy at its rediscovery, pride in the way that your skills have improved and faint embarrassment that it’s not quite as good as you once thought. Indeed it was with exactly this mingling of emotions that I found myself looking at these next two models whilst sorting through boxes of old stuff (read; junk) at my parents’ house.

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This battle-preacher has reappeared at quite a fortuitous moment, representing as he does another of my past forays into the world of the Imperial Guard. He may be very much a product of his time (my painting standards have come on I’m pleased to see – and why did I once insist on painting every rivet red?) but my idea of the Imperial Guard hasn’t changed radically. I still see them as medieval by necessity, a lack of resources rather than cultural affections giving the majority a ragged appearance. Like the murderous medic I showed earlier in the week I may well return to this model in the future as I think he’d fit in nicely with an Inquisitorial retinue. As it stands my Chapel retinue is far too esoteric for him but perhaps a more traditional Inquisitorial warband will come together in the future?

In the meantime here’s the “Hammer of the Emperor” gathered for battle – my complete collection of Imperial Guard models so far (plus a skullcrab from HeresyOfUs) standing ready to strike fear into the hearts of Ork warbosses and Chaos lords everywhere.

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Whilst the preacher has a promising career ahead of him (following a few improvements) I’m not sure the same can be said of this killer robot. Finding him was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me – he’s one of my earliest conversions and clearly very much the product of a hobbyist whose imagination outstrips his skills by a considerable margin. I think I was aiming for “deranged mechanical killer” and instead ended up with “cute, and perhaps a little worried”.

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So with these two rescued from life in storage it’s time to turn my attention to the future of my Imperial Guard endeavours, specifically the kind of men that the Imperium would send to do battle on the Thorn Moons as part of the Iron Sleet Invitational.

The road from Terra is long however and the journey only just begun…

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The Doctor Is In

For various reasons I’ve had the Imperial Guard on the brain recently. It started out as a recurrence of my long-running, but never fully realised, ambition to tackle the Guard as I see them, the under-equipped, under-valued troops of the Imperial war engine who survive, or more usually don’t, thanks only to their grim determination. The Iron Sleet Invitational, focussed around the Imperial Guard, threw oil onto that particular flame and boosted the whole thing to new heights so expect to see the fruits of that particular labour soon.

This chap isn’t part of that per-se, but rather a remnant of a previous exploration of my ideas on this front who never saw completion. So, whilst I think about the question of what it means to be a solider in the 41st Millennium, I allow myself to tidy him. He’s sketchy but for the moment that’s what he is – a sketch that links to my ideas for this yet to be realised project. Pretentious? Perhaps a little, but there you have it. In time I’ll return to him and tidy up the looser paintwork of my younger years but for now I just wanted to use him as a way of progressing my ideas before tackling newer projects (a claim which is both a woeful excuse and only makes me sound even more pretentious, surely the worst of both worlds, but again with my time very stretched at the moment, this is how things stand).

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I’m rather fond of the way he’s pointing – there’s something malevolent about it, as though he’s picking his next victim more than conducting triage, which given the production-line treatment of those wounded in the Imperium’s wars may very well be what it feels like.

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Should any of my inquisitorial agents require surgery this man is ready to assist. Should I ever get round to building my long planned Imperial Guard regiment, he’s ready to enlist as a medic. In the meantime; the Doctor is in!


Dreadtober – Part 2

It’s been a week since my bold assertion that I would paint a bloat-drone in the month of October and the question on everyone’s lips is; how much have I managed? For the uninitiated October has come to mean Dreadtober as hobbyists attempt to get their unloved Dreadnaughts finished before the start of November. Anything of roughly dreadnaught-sized proportions is welcome, with carnifexs, dreadknights, helbrutes and – in my case at least – bloat-drones all welcome. If you have a dreadnaught shoved to one corner of your painting desk it’s not too late – this could be its moment.

I’ll confess that much as I enjoy Dreadtober I actually hate posting WIP images of part-painted models, especially when they’re frozen in the moment when the first basecoats have been applied but the washes are still waiting in the wings and the whole model is a shoddy mess of flat panels and ugly colours. Nonetheless regular progress updates are very much in the Dreadtober spirit so I shall grit my teeth and reveal the current state of the bloat-drone to the world.

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As you can see it’s not looking its best yet but you can’t pretend I didn’t forewarn you of that!

The khornate helbrute, originally painted for the 2015 Dreadtober, is also at a less than prepossessing stage, its flaying arms repaired and – hopefully – upgraded with garish lumps of greenstuff (hence the black and white image).

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Still lots to be done before the end of the month then but progress is underway at least.


Our Rage Won’t Die – Part 2

Following on from making my first true-scale Khorne berserker I was itching to kitbash something else for the Blood God’s legions. Enter this angry man, rallying his squad mates and ready to dedicate some bloodshed to the Skull Throne’s glory.

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I’m spite of my initial decision to make the armour more warped and “chaosy” than the first I think the more minimalist, plain amour works well here. As ever I’m open to suggestions though.


Slowly We Rot – Part 1

When I first saw the Malignant Plaguecaster I felt a profound sense of disappointment. Here was a model raised from the same series of models, the same Nurgly aesthetic as such masterpieces as the Plaguebearers, the Glotkin and Maggoth lords, the gleefully tumbling Nurglings and the excellent new Plague Marines, yet which owed next to nothing to any of them. Where we could have had a powerful plague-wielding wizard in crumbling power armour, or a mutant monstrosity bursting from his corroding exo-skeletal suit as the warp boils him into something daemonic, instead we have a cartoony pile-up of over-the-top ideas, each brazenly competing with the last into a muddled, messy let down. Here’s a reminder of how cluttered he looks when assembled as intended.

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That said, I wasn’t going to let a lump of plastic beat me without a fight. After all the concept of a ten-millennia old disease-infested mage-warrior remains powerful and inspiring, even if the official execution turned out to be distinctly disappointing. Given sufficient consideration and effort (or possibly blood, sweat and tears) I was determined to transform the Plaguecaster into a model I could be proud of.

The Plaguecaster however turned out to be a wily old beast and fought back against my attempts to convert him. As soon as I started to assemble him I realised that this would not be as simple as a straightforward head- and arm-swap. The long tastles which had at first annoyed me, turned out to be an intrinsic component of the kit, covering up the join between the distended guts and the outreached arms.

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Those wanting to convert this model without the tassels face a gruelling battle with the greenstuff to fill all those gaps. I won’t deny that this may have inspired my change of heart as, in spite of my initial reticence, I found myself willing to accept the tassels as part of the finished piece. Time to concentrate on the other changes that needed to be made; removing the silly staff, the fart hand, the podgy little head and the flywing cape, and adding in suitable replacements.

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The plugs where the flycape should sit still need to be greenstuffed over.

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As an aside it appears, judging by the information that I’ve seen circulated online, that the Death Guard codex will contain rules for both chaos sorcerers (with or without terminator armour) and plaguecasters. Yet surely the plaguecaster model is just that, a sorcerer with the mark of Nurgle? The fiction describes them as being one of several classes of sorcerer within the ranks of the Death Guard (alongside the Festering Poxshamans, the Faminbringers and the Maggotmancers) but surely, unless GW plans to release models and rules for some of these other classes in the relatively near future (and let’s be honest here, awesome though that would be it’s not likely) then surely the concept of the plaguecasters would have been better kept as a cool nugget of inspiration in the background, and the model released just as a good old-fashioned Nurgle sorcerer?

Some will say that the new naming conventions of the modern GW are simply a way of protecting their intellectual property but really the names are just labels, convenient handles to hang on things to facilitate communication. Is there really anyone out there who thought the Eldar were rubbish and swore never to purchase a single aspect warrior, but is gleefully overexcited by the arrival of the Aeldari? Didn’t old Shakespeare say something like “An Ork by any other name would smell like feet”? Or was that an Orruk?

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked now, but if anyone out there has the Death Guard codex and wants to tell me if there’s a material difference between a plaguecaster and a normal chaos sorcerer with the mark of Nurgle that justifies having both of them in the same book then please speak up. Otherwise any feedback you have on this tainted son of Nurgle before he sees some paint would, as ever, be very welcome.


The Year Of The Rat – July

But, Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley

– Robert Burns, To A Mouse…

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Like all Skaven warlords I had a grand and cunning plan, and like all Skaven warlords it went spectacularly and horribly wrong. My scheme was to build up my Skaven army into a filthy horde of clanrats, rank upon rank of the little devils. I’m not usually a batch-painter or a speed painter but I was determined that, by the end of this month, I would have added sufficient rodents to my collection to create a swarm vast enough to terrify all sensible cats and farmer’s wives (regardless of how many carving knives they might be armed with).

I won’t go into the details, they’re far too unpleasant and personal to share here, but suffice to say that real life instead dealt me and my family a vigorous kicking of the kind that puts all other activities on hold. Expect output on this blog to be fairly erratic over the next little while and my apologies if a few projects disappear into the warp for a while.

Regardless the Great Horned Rat often moves in ways that are mysterious to his servants, and when I sat down to count the rats I had managed to paint I found the total to be  a suitably auspicious thirteen.

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But wait, that’s not all. I’ve also managed to cobble together a battle standard bearer for my rats (sorry Age-of-Sigmarites, I still think in old fashioned terminology, dunno what you call the guy who rallies the whole army in this modern era we live in but I do know that anything which discourages my ratties from running away is to be encouraged!). He’s still very much at the tacked-together stage right now with lots still to be done – that Khornate icon needs more work to removed it from the banner for example – but this should give you an idea of the overall concept and direction I’m heading in. As usual feedback and suggested improvements are welcome.

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But wait, that’s still not all! When I uploaded last month’s last minute addition, this Skaven assassin, Azazel noted the similarity between the rune  worked in the guard on the weapon clutched in the rat’s left paw and the rune of Khorne.

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Of course, careful examination reveals that it is intended as the Skaven rune but nonetheless, once seen the Khornate influence is just too obvious to overlook – and as no ratman would ever be brave or foolish enough to dedicate himself to the Blood God it had to go. As it turns out there wasn’t much needed to fix the problem, a couple of quick snips and a bit of touching up and it was done. I did wonder about cutting back the guard a little further to emphasise the look of the Skaven rune but in the end decided to leave it as it is, slightly more subtle and concealed – like the Skaven assassin himself.

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A before and after shot highlights the difference.

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So, perhaps not the glorious expansion that I had planned for my ratmen this month but when it comes to mustering the verminous hordes a few setbacks are to be expected and thirteen completed models are not to be sneezed at. As I always say, any feedback you have is welcome, and fear not – accepting setbacks is a talent all Skaven warlords have to master. I may be less active for a while but you won’t get rid of me that easily!


For Whom The Bell Tolls – Part 1

As soon as I saw the Noxious Blightbringer I knew I wanted one for my collection. Picture the scene if you will; the Death Guard advancing shrouded beneath clouds of toxic vapour, deamonic beasts wheeling half-seen in the clouds overhead. Thousands of shambling corpses lead the way, their low moans audible over the dense, buzzing static – no, not static but the wings of a million newly hatched flies. Louder still are the bells of Nurgle’s most devoted priests, their deep-voiced booming calling the Plague-God’s gaze so that his children might truly exult in his fetid blessings.

Of course it was something of a disappointment to discover that these were not Dark Apostles after all but rather the guardians of some kind of magic bell. At least whoever does the puns at GW may have been forced underground since the heady, Lizardmen era, but he’s still going strong (Blight Ringer eh!). Mind you, they probably should have been stopped before they got to the Tocsins of Misery…

Never mind I still wanted at least one. Indeed the more I thought about it the more I wanted a second, the visual impact of two being more than twice that of one after all. The question was, how easy would the model be to convert? As it turns out, not that hard at all.

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I was keen, as much as possible, to stick with components from the original model. After all this is a starter set figure and although many of those are picked up by old hands looking to expand a collection plenty more go to complete newcomers. With that in mind I wanted to explore how easy it would be to convert the model for someone with a fairly limited bits box to call upon. In the end I used two components from other kits; the head – from one of the Maggoth Lords and the backpack vent from a damaged Space Wolf backpack.

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Here’s the original model by way of comparison.

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And here’s the two side by side (as usual don’t give yourself eye-strain, click on the picture to make it bigger).

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I may make a few more tweaks but overall this was a spectacularly straightforward conversion. Now it’s off to the painting desk for both of them.