The first time we played Blackstone Fortress the Ur-Ghuls which leapt from the shadows to savage our brave heroes may not have been the unpainted horrors which represented some of the other inhabitants of the fortress, but were instead crypt ghouls – still square based and fresh from the graveyards of Sylvania. Although this was better than some of the proxies we came up with (grots acting as Spindle Drones?! Desperate measures indeed!) it still wasn’t the sort of thing I wanted to tolerate in the long term so, on the grounds that I thought they looked fairly quick and easy to paint, I boosted them up the queue for getting painted.
One thing I wasn’t keen on about them was the duplicate poses. If built as instructed you end up, not with four distinct individuals, but with two pairs of clones. I didn’t think there was any need to make radical changes but I did want to do something about this, adjusting one from each pair slightly so that the end result looked a little more organic. Here’s they are as they looked before they were painted. The original is on the right, the converted version on the left.
And here they are again, fully painted and ready to prowl the dark corridors of the fortress.
In order to add a little more diversity I tried to add some variety to their skin tones whilst still keeping them uniformly pale and ghastly.
Next up I’ll try to finish off Janus Draik so that we have a full set of adventurers with which to tackle the fortress, after which I’ll probably try to get the Negavolt Cultists painted. As models I really like them, and there really isn’t a suitable proxy in my collection, so they make a natural choice to prioritise but unfortunately they’re proving to be a real headache to paint so expect much swearing and gnashing of teeth before they’re done…
Knosso Prond is one of my favourite models from the Rogue Trader box set and an absolute gift to fans of the grubby underbelly of the 41st Millennium. For a painter she’s an absolutely gorgeous miniature and a far more complex challenge than she first appears, whilst those of us who enjoy the dark corners of the setting can always use a death cult assassin around. As a result she’s been on my “to paint” list for a while so getting her finished off for Fembruary felt like the obvious move.
The one thing I didn’t really like about her was the head she’s lugging around, surely a cliché which has long ceased to be worth repeating, so I gave her a second knife instead (you can never have too many of those after all).
I know I claimed that the next model I was going to finish painting for the Eschers would be a champion with a chem thrower but working on the Juve I showed in the previous post fired my enthusiasm in a slightly different direction and I ended up painting up a second Juve instead. This one is based on one of the barbarians from the Godsworn Hunt set – her expression of overenthusiastic determination is just perfect for a new recruit desperate to prove herself to her gangmates.
Got something slightly different to work on next but I will get back to that champion before the end of the month – promise!
Time to add another Escher to the gang, this time a converted Juve built from a model released a number of years ago by Mad Puppet Miniatures. Some time ago I bought a whole load of models from them but my painting skills at the time were less than impressive and those that I did manage to finish have mostly been gathering dust ever since. This scavenger had been sitting around part-painted for several years and I realised I might never get her finished without doing something to stoke the fires of enthusiasm. My solution was to make a few tweaks and incorporate her into the Escher gang instead. For those unfamiliar with the original model main changes I made were to replace her original weapon, a crude club, with a suitable laspistol and give her a knife strapped to her back.
There’s not a big height difference between her and the other girls, although it’s there, but her ragged clothes and armour, and rounder, younger face, should be more than enough to sell the idea that she’s a Juve.
Getting her finished has also encouraged me to dig out my other, long neglected, Mad Puppet models. They really are gorgeous miniatures so I’d like to get to work on them soon – although not straight away as I’ve got plenty of other things to work on first, starting with more Escher gangers. Next in line I’m going to take a stab at one of the gang’s champions, a sinister looking lady with a chem-thrower. All being well she should be ready to reveal soon.
With what’s starting to look like a full blown xenos invasion on our hands it’s time for the muscular men of Ironhouse to get their collective act together and prepare to defend their turf. To do that I’ve called in another recruit to bring a bit more bulk to the gang (although I admit it’s mostly because I like building and painting Goliaths – plus, I needed a little bit of a break from painting genestealer cultists after bashing through most of the rank and file over the weekend). I also went back to a couple of previously shown gang members and made a few tweaks and improvements.
First up we have Max. Left behind as part of the skeleton crew guarding Ironhouse when many of his gang-brothers went to the Feast of Khorg Max has stewed in resentment, a sentiment undiminished by news of the disaster that took place there and the slaughter of most who attended. In truth however his animosity towards Korak dates back much further, to the days when Max was a mere juve who dreamed of glory. When Korak declared he would tame the great sumpcroc which dwelt in the drains beneath Ironhouse Max pushed his way to the front and demanded a chance to join in the hunt. Although Korak was ultimately successful, capturing the beast and saddling her with what is – to Max at least – the quite ludicrous name of “Snuggles” Max himself was dragged from the stinking waters after having his hand bitten off. To this day Max feels a phantom itch crawling through the crude blade which replaced his hand every time he sees Korak lounging on his throne, the great reptile curled languidly at his feet.
This model has had a real battering over the year or so since it was released and fell into my possession. I’ve tried to base several conversions on it and each time it ended up back on the metaphorical drawing board looking slightly more abused than the last. I’ve done my best to cover over the worst of the damage but it is perhaps best if he is not subjected to too much close observation. This undoubtedly fed into his back story, building up the idea that life hasn’t always treated him quite the way he would have liked and as a result he’s rather bitter about things. The fact that he is actually better off as a result only adds insult to injury!
Whilst I was about it I decided to right a wrong that have been bothering me since I first showed gang boss Korak, and fix the damage to the end of his gun that resulted from me making a pig’s ear of drilling out the barrels. Despite fellow blogger The Imperfect Modeller’s very fine suggestion that the damage was probably the result of a failure to maintain the weapon properly in the Underhive I still couldn’t unseen what I knew to be a mistake so in the end I broke out a dab of greenstuff and patched it up.
I also realised that I’d left lovable sidekick Ugly Gabe in a bit of a fix by forgetting to equip him with any close-combat weapons. So long as he stays away from any up-close and personal fighting he’ll be fine but the moment he fails an ammo roll or get’s charged he’ll be down to fighting with his fists alone. As the thought of a Goliath that avoids a proper fight is unbearably silly, and quite unbefitting a macho man like Gabe, I took the opportunity to arm with a combat knife as well as his trusty krumper.
There are also a couple more Goliaths waiting almost finished on the painting desk and I did wonder about finishing them off as well, but I decided to keep my focus on the genestealer cultists for now and ignore the temptation to get too sidetracked. However, assuming I get the xenos finished soon, I’ll try to get them done at some stage over the next few weeks as well.
Everything’s better with a friend right – and what better friend for a Goliath boss to have than one who values brotherhood and loyalty and isn’t just gunning for your job? Ugly Gabe is the heart and soul of the Irondog’s gang, the cool head that keeps the rash and the violent from biting off more than they can chew in one go. He hauled his boss Korak from under the rubble at the Feast of Khorg, convinced “Bloodbath” Bosrak out of the fighting pits and back onto the streets and helps the juves find their courage when the going gets tough.
There’s still plenty more Goliaths to paint but getting Gabe finished means the central triumvirate of characters are all ready for action. I’d like to get a few more of the lads finished up soon so my partner and I can get some more games in, but I’m also needing to work on some adversaries for them so expect things to be Underhive dominated around here for the next little while.