Tag Archives: Wargaming

2021 – For Anyone Who Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up

Well, that was 2021 was it? It’s been a funny year in some ways, as I look back I realise that quite a lot seems to have happened yet at the time it was over in a flash. Maybe that’s just a sign of aging and you’ll have me pensioned off and stuck in a home before I know it! At times it’s easy to look at the world beyond the hobby and fear that globally things are getting worse and worse.

2021 New Year

But let’s not worry too much about our increasingly uncertain future and instead, gather round for a rambling and self-indulgent look back at my year in miniatures. Truly I spoil you all! Over in Games-Workshop-land the decline and fall of civilisation continued to bugger up the release schedule, although to be honest they release so much stuff, and at such a frenetic pace, that slowing things down a little actually helped me catch my breath. As the year began, Slaanesh – that most long-neglected of the Chaos Gods – received a well deserved boost in the form of new mortal followers. Time to indulge in some outrageous hedonism! As with any Chaos release I got quite excited and tried to budget for how to buy and paint absolutely everything. And as so often happens the limitations of having just 24 hours in each day and only 2 hands to work with slowed me. I did manage to paint up a Myrmidesh Painbringer though and I still absolutely love most of the new models so expect to see more of these appearing in the months ahead.

Myrmidesh Painbringer Wudugast ConvertOrDie Chaos AoS Slaanesh (1)

Hot on the heels of these party animals came animals of a different sort – specifically marsupials. The Lumineth Realm-Lords, released back in 2020, received a second wave of releases – bolstering the ranks of the range nicely. With the first wave of models falling into the odd position of being almost – but not quite – High Elves the second wave shifted them firmly into a new and creative direction. To be honest most of the new models aren’t really to my taste and I still think – despite many of my readers disagreeing – that it looks as though some of them are bouncing around on kangaroos, but there’s no faulting their originality.

Treerunner 1

April saw the arrival of one of Games Workshop’s biggest, and most heralded, releases of the year; Cursed City. This latest addition to the Warhammer Quest series launched with enormous fanfare, proving an instant hit with the fans, and continued to be talked about and hyped for months afterwards… Oh wait, scratch that last part, apparently Games Workshop suddenly decided just after it was released that it was only intended as a limited edition and started feverishly airbrushing it out of photographs and rewriting the history books. Naturally we mere mortals amongst the fanbase respected their sudden desire not to talk about it and didn’t indulge in wild speculation… Then, just before Christmas the saga took another unexpected twist when Games Workshop proudly announced that the game was coming back after all.

Anyway, as it happens I was one of the lucky ones who managed to snag a copy, and I’ve started chipping away at the models. At one time I planned to have enough painted to get in a game over Christmas but as so often happens my eyes were bigger than my stomach. Still I have managed to make a start, finishing the first few models from the set.

Cursed City

As it turns out however Cursed City was just the beginning and a whole wave of very cool-looking undead followed. So far I’ve not done very much about them apart from writing another enthusiastic editorial but given time I suspect a few more of these will be making their way onto the painting desk to join the ones I’ve already done.

Vampire Counts Soulblight Gravelords Wudugast ConvertOrDie

One of the most controversial – not to mention biggest – models to appear this year was Kragnos, the End of Empires. Needless to say he inspired me to a great deal of pontificating and I stand by my assertion that he’s one of the coolest things that GW have done over the last few months. That said I doubt I’ll be painting him myself, and as things stand he really looks out of place alongside the orcs and goblins that make up the rest of the Destruction grand alliance. 

Kragnos

As it turned out Kragnos signaled the beginning of a new phase in the Age of Sigmar story and the dawn of the Era of the Beast and this summer saw the launch of a new edition of the game (the 3rd for those keeping count), spearheaded by a boxset of Stormcast Eternals battling a new type of Orc, the Kruelboys. Again I didn’t miss the opportunity to share my thoughts with the world, and rattled my keyboard enthusiastically whilst indulging in some wild testiculation (that is to say, waving my hands around whilst talking bollocks). Now Stormcast Eternals aren’t really my thing but I was never going to resist new Orcs and managed to snag myself their half of the set from which I’ve so far assembled this little warband. 

Kruelboy Orc Wudugast ConvertOrDie Warhammer AoS (9)

Nor are these the only orcs that I tackled this year, I also got around to painting up a bunch of Savage Orcs.

Wurrgog Prophet Wurrzag Bonesplitter Orc Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

As for the Stormcasts I’ve managed to shock everyone, not least myself, by painting a whopping 2 of them. Wonders will never cease! Again though expect to see a few more popping up in the coming year.

Stormcast Eternal Wudugast ConvertOrDie AoS Warhammer

As autumn rolled around we saw one of the biggest and best releases of the year as the Orks joined their cousins the Orcs and got their well deserved moment in the sun. When it comes to 40k Orks really are my first love, and my greenskin horde has been smashing its way through the 41st Millennium for many years now. Needless to say I’m over the moon about all the new models and even managed to paint some of them during the Orktober painting challenge (more on that below). Here’s all the Orks I painted this year (minus this Nob because I already had a group shot I took at the end of Orktober and I’m too damn lazy to dig everything out again to take another).

Orctober Orks Orcs Greenskins Warhammer Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

The final big release of the year for 40k came in the form of the return of the Black Templars. These are one of my all time favourite factions in the setting, and close rivals of the Blood Angels for being the best Space Marine chapter. The models didn’t disappoint and so needless to say I’ve been pouring over pictures of them with rabid enthusiasm since day one.

Helbrecht

So far however I’ve remained strong and kept my wallet closed (for once) – I do have quite a lot of Space Marines to paint already after all. How long I maintain my resolve however remains to be seen. Then again it’s looking very likely that new Chaos Space Marines are looming threateningly on the horizon, with a few of them having already been previewed. Chaos Space Marines stand alongside the Orks as my favourite 40k faction (I just love a horde of angry barbarians!) and so it came as a bit of a surprise to me to discover that I didn’t paint a single one this year. I know, I’m as shocked as you are, I’ll change my name from Wudugast to Flabbergast! Still, with models like this soon to be released I reckon I’ll do better in 2022. 

Chaos Chosen Preview

And whilst the ordinary Chaos Marines may have been neglected their Nurgle-worshipping cousins in the Death Guard were… well, they were neglected too to be honest, but they did at least enjoy enough attention to bring them up a (un)healthy 50 power

Death Guard Nurgle Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Nurgle also got his greasy foot in the door over in the Mortal Realms as I put together a couple of warbands for Warcry, one of mortals sworn to the Plague Lord…

Nurgle Blightkings Converted ConvertOrDie AoS Wudugast (1)

…and one made up of his daemons. 

Plaguebearers Nurgle ConvertOrDie Wudugast 40k AoS (8)

I started working on a duo of Tzeentchian warbands as well, and then got distracted and never managed to finish them. Still, change is always in the air so maybe next year will turn out better for them.

Tzeentch Warband Wudugast ConvertOrDie Chaos Warhammer

Necromunda remains one of my absolute favourite GW settings and this year we saw books released for the remaining Clan Houses (Cawdor and Delaque), expanding greatly on their background. The Delaque also got a new set of models, the Cawdor however were not so lucky. Instead of new champions and specialists that the other houses have enjoyed the House of Faith got a new kit for Redemptionists instead. This is something I’ve harped on about a lot this year so I won’t go over it all again, in summary my feelings are that the new Redemptionists are amazing but for me they will always be a separate faction to the Cawdor and the latter deserved new models of their own. Still, it is what it is and I’ve had a lot of fun kitbashing Redemptionists so all being well I’ll start getting some of them painted up soon.

Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda Cawdor Redemptionist (6)Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda Cawdor Redemptionist (5)Wudugast ConvertOrDie Necromunda Cawdor Redemptionist (4)

As the year drew to a close we also got a new set of miniatures for clanless Hive Scum, and again I’ve been having fun putting these together so expect to see them appearing in due course. Both these and the Redemptionists can be fielded either as part of another gang or as a gang in their own right. That aside however 2020 and 2021 have been very much focussed on bringing new kits to existing factions – time well spent in my book, although I’m hopeful that 2022 will see new players taking to the stage on the polluted hive world.

As for myself I seem to have spent more time writing about Necromunda this year than I have painting or playing, my main contribution being these three House Escher ladies. Again hopefully I’ll do better next year.

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie (5)

Meanwhile Blood Bowl suffered an oddly quiet year. After all a new edition of the game was released at the tail end of last year, with all the fanfare that entails, I expected to see a few new teams appearing but in the end we only got the one, made up of the berserk warriors of Khorne. Still I didn’t do all that much better, I claimed that by now I would have painted up a Human team and an Elven Union team yet as things stand I managed just these three elven ladies. Of the humans there remains no sign…

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

On the other hand not all was lost, I did manage to paint a second greenskin team – the Black Orcs – which I managed to complete just a few days ago.

Blood Bowl Black Orc Wudugast Goblins ConvertOrDie (2)

It wasn’t just about Gee-Dubz either. I may not have painted as many things from the wider world of miniatures as I have in previous years but there were still a few that managed to stick out their elbows and push their way through the Warhammer ranks. A Witchling Stalker from Malifaux snuck through like a sneaky ninja…

Witchling Stalker Wyrd Malifaux Wudugast (1)

Meanwhile Corwyn the Hunchback was the first Drune Kelt from Confrontation I’ve painted in a decade. I’ve dug out the rest of his tribe from the box in which they were lurking so expect to see them popping up sooner or later. 

Corwyn Drune Rackham Confrontation Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Speaking of barbarians however one of the projects I’m most excited about at the moment are the savages of Hate

Hate Barbarians Chaos Wudugast ConvertOrDie

I’ve had an uncomfortable relationship with CMON over the years, and after falling foul of their business practices one time too many I swore I’d never buy anything from them again. Time however has softened my youthful idealism. In recent times I’ve come to realise that by stubbornly boycotting them I’m only really punishing myself and as they make some damn fine miniatures it’s really only me that’s missing out. So, as well as the Hate barbarians I’ve decided to treat myself to some models from A Song of Ice and Fire, and started listening a bit more carefully to those mates who’ve been encouraging me to give Zombiecide a look. Expect to see something in this vein appearing in 2022. 

One of the real highlights of the year for me was the Orktober painting challenge that arose between myself and my fellow warboss IRO. Here’s what IRO had to say about it in his own round-up of the year

The Ork challenge in Orktober with fellow hobbyist and all round cool dude Wudugast was an absolute standout hobby thing for me in 2021. I liked trying to keep up with him. I like that we are both mad Ork fans. I liked that it was a draw, 37 all. Haha. Great fun and I’m really looking forward to doing exactly the same thing in 2022. Hopefully others might join in the fun too.

I honestly couldn’t have put it better myself; I really am an all round cool dude! For that matter IRO isn’t a bad bloke himself. Here’s a reminder of all 37 greenskins that I managed to complete in the month. Needless to say I’m already looking forward to the rematch in 2022. 

Orctober Orks Orcs Greenskins Warhammer Wudugast ConvertOrDie (2)

With one painting challenge under my belt I headed straight into another one. I’d already set myself the task of adding something to my Adeptus Mechanicus collection every month of the year. In November however I decided to up my game and painted up the contents of the first Start Collecting set. 

Onager Dunecrawler Ad Mech Warhammer 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Added to everything else I managed to paint this year (and the few models I managed the year before) and here’s the state of the army as things stand. 

Ad Mech 40k Wudugast ConvertOrDie (1)

Once again, I’ve still got a few more of these to paint so expect to see more recruits for the legions of Mars appearing in the new year. 

Nor was that the only painting challenge I tackled in November, I also threw myself into the Movember painting challenge being run by Roger from Rantings From Under The Wargames Table. Here’s the mob of hairy gents I managed to paint, and I really do advice you to check out the rest of the participants if you haven’t already.

Ogre Warhammer AoS Wudugast (1)

Of course no summary of the year would be complete without looking all the way back to Fembruary, the annual challenge to “for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some… kick-ass ladies” run by my blog-brother Alex of Leadballoony. This year I really threw myself into it and managed a total of 21 women covering everything from the Underhive to the Blood Bowl pitch, and the war-torn battlefields of the 41st Millennium to the Chaos Wastes.

Fembruary Round Up Wudugast ConvertOrDie (4)

One of the key challenges I set myself for the month was to paint up a warband of Daughters of Khaine, the savage she-elves of Age of Sigmar. Not only did I succeed but since then I’ve managed to add a few more, and I’m planning to tackle even more of them in the coming year (so expect to see an influx of them in Fembruary 2022!).

Daughters of Khaine Wudugast Warhammer

And if that wasn’t already enough elves to make people think I’d lost my Orky way and turned into some kind of flower-picking, daisy-tripping, tree-hugging, pointy-eared wimp I only went and painted a bunch of Sylvaneth as well. Don’t these fairy-folk just look delightful!

Sylvaneth Wudugast Warhammer

Anyway, that’s been my year in miniatures. Once again keeping the blog and reading about what other hobbyists have been getting up to has been a huge source of inspiration and motivation for me. Now with 2022 looming over us all in dramatic fashion there’s just time to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side!


A Right Pile Of Potential

Earlier today I was looking through some of the blogs that I follow, sipping at my coffee and looking blearily out at the world around me much in the manner of a hibernating mammal forced out of its den. Some people start the day with the news but I like to have at least a pint of the black stuff (coffee for those times when Guinness isn’t socially appropriate) before I dare to expose myself to that much rage and misery, so I turn my attention instead to what, if anything, my fellow hobbyists have managed to produce overnight. In this case it was this post from Scent of a Gamer which caught my attention and got me thinking about something which I’ve considered writing about for some time – “The Pile of Shame vs the Pile of Potential”. I started to write a comment in reply and it grew and grew into something so sprawling and lengthy that I decided to post it here instead.

Firstly allow me to recommend, if you haven’t already, that you take a look at that post on Scent of a Gamer and indeed the blog in general – it’s well worth reading at the best of times and this post is very much a reply to it. We’re talking, to quote davekay himself, about “something every wargamer has: the pile of shame. Those unpainted miniatures bought on impulse or with intent years ago, but never touched”.

Unpainted Miniatures

He also links to a video by Goobertown hobbies which isn’t a channel I’ve watched before, in which the presenter digs through a (vast) collection of unpainted miniatures looking for something which takes his fancy to paint – a process which I’m sure will be familiar to many of us. I’ll confess that I didn’t watch all of the video, there’s only so long you can look at a man showing off how many miniatures he’s bought over the years whilst listening to elevator muzak, but I enjoyed what I saw and I’ll take a nose at the rest of his channel when time allows.

I’ll admit too that I had a moment of being “triggered” (as da yoof would have it) into a brief rage when he produced a copy of the Looncurse box out of his stash – a box I myself craved as the start of my long-planned Sylvaneth army, with a whole heap of lovely Night Goblins thrown in for good measure. Looncurse famously sold out in next to no time and I missed out, so it was damn annoying to see someone else proudly admitting to having snagged a copy and not even touched it. On the other hand, I realised with a growing sense of discomfort, I picked up various other kits at around the same time which I’ve yet to do anything with so could I honestly say I wouldn’t have neglected my own copy in just the same way?

Looncurse

This isn’t the first time I’ve had the pile of shame on my mind lately. In fact, a recent inventory of my unpainted collecting revealed a worrying fact – there’s a hell of a lot of it. Years of bargain hunting and snapping up good deals have taken their toll and the “to paint” pile has grown into a mountain large enough to influence the local climate. By my rough count, assuming that I keep painting at my current rate (something I wouldn’t bet on by any means) it’d still take me several years to clear the backlog. Add to that the forthcoming releases for Necromunda and Warcry, the new Space Marines (which would go very nicely with my existing collection), the new Necrons (and you know I’ve always thought a Necron army would be cool…), the mate who’s slowly but surely convincing me to try out Bolt Action, and whatever else emerges over the coming months and years and it starts to feel as though the lead mountain and the grey tide are very much here to stay.

Necron

Resistance is futile!

I don’t like the term “pile of shame” very much. Shame is a terrible emotion, and rarely one that inspires us to action. Excitement and enthusiasm is what gets us to pick up the brushes, whilst shame and embarrassment put us off, killing the joy that our hobbies are intended to engender and starving us off the passion that would otherwise help to overcome the unpainted masses.

At the end of the day miniatures are there to be enjoyed. A particularly good game can stay in the memory for years, even decades. There are plenty of ways of making that happen of course, and for me some of the most memorable contained no painted miniatures at all (indeed in a few cases no models were involved, just blank bases with post-it note labels to tell us what was what and a whole load of imagination). However it’s a fairly safe generalisation to make that well painted miniatures on thematic terrain will stick with us longer than unpainted models on a bare kitchen table. Add to that the fact that “check out this model I painted” is a far more engaging conversation starter than “check out this stuff I just bought and will now shove under the bed and never touch or look at again for as long as I live” and we find ourselves drawn to an inevitable conclusion; our hobby ought to have as its crux the collecting and painting of miniatures. A large number of us however would be hard-pressed to deny that our hobby is collecting unpainted models, with assembling, painting and gaming a sideline at best.

Ogre

Why won’t you paint me? I’m so beautiful…

On the other hand I really don’t like the term “pile of potential” either. The implication is very much that ending up with lots and lots of unpainted models is something to be celebrated, that buying things and then never painting them is inherently a good thing to do. This is quite a comforting idea, after all I have lots of unpainted models already, and there are new things that I’d like to own, and I’d far rather be telling myself that adding to this great mountain of plastic and lead and sitting on it like Smaug is something to be proud of. However I can’t shake the feeling that actually it’s just profligate, that all I’m doing is showing off how much money I would have had in the bank if I hadn’t squandered it instead on miniatures that I’m not painting.

I know that I’m not just speaking for myself here, I’m also undoubtedly addressing something that a lot of my readers will be very familiar with from their own collections, and I’m not trying to make anyone feel bad. After all we’re not really doing much harm, we’re not selling drugs, stabbing grannies or mismanaging the national response to a pandemic, we’re just hoarding bits of plastic. On the other hand I’ve never looked at a miniature and thought “I’d love to store that somewhere and be vaguely embarrassed that it’s cluttering up my house”. Quite the opposite in fact, I want to paint them, perhaps even play with them.

So how to go about it? Well there are a few tricks that have helped me over the years. Firstly, although I’m an occasional gamer at best, planning a game in advance is a great motivator to get something finished. I’ve boosted Necromunda gangs, Warcry warbands and the contents of Blackstone Fortress over the finish line using exactly this method.

Then there’s the old “model a month” trick. Some readers will already be familiar with this, as I’ve described it often enough in the past, but for anyone who’s not encountered it the premise is simple; paint at least one miniature for a project every month (for a year, or until it’s done – it’s up to you really). Now one model isn’t very much, especially when you’re dealing with a horde army like the Skaven (as I was). However Newton’s First Law of Motion can be applied here; Objects in motion tend to remain in motion, objects at rest remain at rest. If you’re painting one clanrat it’s easy enough to paint a second or perhaps even a third, and then your enthusiasm for Skaven is rekindled, you remember what it was about the project that made you want to paint hundreds of the little bastards in the first place, you get some more work done on the warp-lightning cannon whilst you’re waiting for the shade to dry and the whole project keeps shambling forward. Leave them sitting, allow them to gather dust, push them to the side of the desk and finally pack them away and months, then years will go past without so much as a kiss of a brush upon a ratty whisker. By applying this method I went from this (at the beginning of January 2017)…

… to this (at the end of December 2019).

Another trick I’ve been applying recently is simply to keep track of exactly what I’ve added to the collection. I keep a note of what I’ve bought each month and I check it before I buy anything else. For one thing this is just sensible fiscal prudence, but more than that it helps to remind me of all the things I was really excited about before I saw the thing I’m currently really excited about. More than that I also keep a note of all the models I’ve painted this month as well, and I aim (although of course I don’t always succeed) to make the latter number bigger than the former. It’s early days yet, I’ve only been doing this for a few months, but so far it’s helped me a great deal in keeping on top of the “pile of unrealised projects” and even helped me chip away at it a little, so I may come back to it and talk about it more in the future if it proves to be useful in the long term.

Finally, the most valuable tip I ever received was “paint what you’re passionate about”. If you’re excited about painting something then get on and paint it. If you want to paint something you’ll find the time to paint it, and if you don’t want to paint it you’ll find an excuse. Enthusiasm for a project will do far more to get you painting than all the tips, tricks and tutorials in the world and when that enthusiasm inevitably drains away to be replaced by something else you’ll have done a lot more than if you didn’t act on it.

Do you have a pile of shameful potential, and if so how do you tackle it? As usual if you have words of wisdom to share I want to hear all about them and the comments box is open to all comers.


Green Iz Best – Part 11

The moment has finally arrived! I fell under the sway of the Orks over a decade ago and the love affair has yet to end. Back then I came across two, entirely separate pieces of information which over time combined into one of the largest hobby projects I’ve ever undertaken. The first was a White Dwarf article (don’t ask me which issue now, I haven’t the foggiest) in which someone described how they had made every Orc boy in their WHFB army unique, swapping heads and so on to create the appearance of a truly ramshackle barbarian horde. I loved the idea, and the aesthetic it created, and was determined to do the same with my own 40k Orks.

At around the same time a friend gave me a copy of the rulebook for the first edition of Apocalypse. I’ve often joked that my preferred scales for 40k is Kill Team or Apocalypse, if it’s not a case of a small band of heroes undertaking a dangerous mission then it should be warfare on a truly grand scale. Not that I’ve ever played either, as regular readers will know I’m not really much of a gamer, but when it comes to a visual image it’s hard to beat huge armies of models carpeting the landscape.

Apocalypse

My friend, incidentally, got the copy of Apocalypse from his brother who’d ordered a load of miniatures and received it by mistake. When he phoned GW to complain they sent out his correct order and told him to hang on to the book, which then made its way to me. If you happen to have ordered Apocalypse back then and ended up with a load of Imperial Guard instead, and have been wondering ever since what happened to your book – I have it. And no, you’re not getting it back. 😉

Anyway, getting back on topic, in some of the Apocalypse rules released around that time there was a formation called “The Green Tide” in which at least one hundred Ork boys swarmed across the battlefield. Here’s what the accompanying text had to say about it.

Green Tide

Again the image spoke to me, partly because it captured the sea of angry green flesh that the background describes as an Ork invasion and partly because it sounded so ludicrously out of reach. After all we were in the middle of a recession and jobs for newly graduated students were like hen’s teeth. The thought of having the money to spend on buying all those Orks was simply ludicrous, not to mention the time it would take to paint them all.

Time, however, tears down all barriers. Recruiting an ork here, and a couple more there, the army has grown until, earlier this year, I released that I was within reach of victory, that long aspired to goal hovering mirage-like on the horizon. At that point various readers of this blog got involved, generally cheering and cajoling me into action and, as of a few weeks ago, I had only five boyz still to go.

First things first I turned my attention to my squad of shoota boyz. I’ve added the odd model here and there over the last few months, with the aim of completing a nice round twenty of them, and this next finishes off the squad nicely.

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (5)Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (4)

With him done here we have them, twenty boyz ready to unleash a raucous hail of bullets at anyone unfortunate enough to wander into range.

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (2)

After that it was the turn of the slugga boyz. I already had two squads of these completed, each one thirty strong (this being the maximum size for a squad of ork boyz). By way of a reminder here’s the first squad…

…and here’s the second…

Meanwhile the third squad has grown to sixteen boys strong so four more would not only give me a round twenty (which sounds very organised for the Orks but there you go) but would also complete the hundred to boot.

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (6)Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (9)

This one was a real nightmare to photograph, the way he’s holding his weapons meant that his face was almost constantly in shadow. He actually has a lot in common with the ork on the cover of the current codex, both in appearance and pose, not something which was a conscious decision. The artist has also clearly struggled, rather more successfully than I, to avoid the subject’s face being in shadow – something for which I now feel a huge amount of sympathy!

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (10)Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (12)

The squad also needed a boss-nob, otherwise the boys would spend the whole time fighting each other trying to work out who’s in charge.

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (7)Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (8)

Here he is next to his peers, the boss nobs of the other two slugga squads. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned the names I gave the leaders of my three squads – but if I have I’m not above telling you again. When Warhammer Total War was first released I played a lot of it (by my standards at least, I don’t usually play computer games very much but this one hooked me entirely). Whilst playing as the Orcs I recruited three warbosses in quick succession, each of which the game gives an automatically generated name. Unfortunately it named all three of them Krugga, which soon became exactly as confusing as you’d imagine. Luckily the game allows you to rename your characters so I changed them to be called “Krugga”, “Da Uvva Krugga” and “Da Uvva Krugga’s Bruva” – names which I then recycled for these three brutes.

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (11)

Anyway, here’s the third squad of slugga boyz, now twenty strong and probably feeling mighty pleased with themselves.

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (100)

Which means of course that it’s time to discover, at long last, what one hundred ork boys actually looks like…

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (1)

Of course having gathered them all together and stood around admiring them and generally feeling smug and self-satisfied, I thought “why stop there” and broke out the rest of the army as well. The horde has now reached the point where it only just fits into my photography area, I’ll need to make some adjustments before I take next year’s group shot (in fact I may need to make some adjustments before I photograph the completed Skaven army at the end of the month…). I would have liked to showcase the army a bit more, rather than just cramming everything together into one mass, but in the end there really wasn’t space for anything else.

Ork Wudugast 40k ConvertOrDie (3)

Out of interest I ran the numbers and was pleased to discover that this little lot comes to 2336 points (or 171 power in new money) overall, although of course there’s a lot more I’d like to add in the future.

So there we have it, one hundred entirely unique ork boys and a long-standing hobby ambition achieved. Finally I’d like to say thank you to everyone who commented on this project and generally prodded me into action, if you hadn’t it might well have been a few years yet before I finally got myself into gear to finish it. A special shout-out is owed to Azazelwho’s been painting his own set of twenty-five orks alongside me – I highly recommend you take a look at them, especially if you enjoy an old-school greenskin.

Naturally this isn’t the end for the Orks, I still have plenty more greenskins and their wonderfully ramshackle death-dealing contraptions to work on. Plus I can hardly leave Slugga Squad 3 at ten boys short of the others can I – they’re bound to be picked on as weedy by the others if I do. I just need to dig around in my bits box to manufacture some more unique ork heads…


Mean Streets – Part 3

Work continues apace on adding buildings to my industrial terrain board. This time it’s the turn of a couple of mid-sized buildings, not as large as the centrepiece buildings that will dominate the board but still bigger than the barricades and other scatter terrain. Once again part of the credit for motivating me to get these done lies with Azazel and his latest monthly challenge.

First up we have a thermic plasma regulator.

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I still have a second one of these to paint so expect to see it put in an appearance in due course.

Next up we have this small ruin, made from the old manufactorum kit. I’ve had this one kicking around for quite some time so it was high on the list of things to get finished this month.

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As we’re looking at terrain here’s a few other odds and ends that I’ve finished off lately. First up here’s an Ork barricade (although it’s suitably generic, I feel, to serve pretty much anywhere, including Necromunda which is probably where it’ll see most action).

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Just to prove I do occasionally paint things for games rather than just for the hell of it, I also painted up this escape pod as an objective marker. I didn’t go too mad on it, just enough to make it look nice on the tabletop, as I don’t imagine it’s something that anyone, even me, will really pause to admire, but hopefully it’s good enough to serve it’s purpose.

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All in all I think I’ve made fairly solid progress on terrain this month and there’s plenty more in the pipeline (indeed, some of it even contains pipelines). Here’s the board as it begins to take shape.

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Next up will probably be another large building, although I’ve got a few other projects I want to wrap up first so it may not appear straight away. Still, with the Underhive now well on its way to becoming a reality I’m keen to press ahead and get more done with it soon.

 


The Cult of the Abyssal Gaze – Part 4

The creature known as The Lurker is a true horror, its name a byword for shapeless dread amongst those who work the dank pipes that run beneath the ash-crust from Ironhouse to Sumpside. To the Cawdor bone pickers it is a devil made manifest a monster risen from the ashes of the God Emperor’s dreams. The Orlock clutch there weapons closer as they pass through the dark reaches of its territory, the cyber-mastiffs brisling and growling as the headlight beams are swallowed by the shadows. None have yet connected the ragged corpses it leaves in its wake with the ash miners attempting to establish an outpost in Ironhouse.
Korak however has seen the fear growing amongst his people and heard the whispers that the Lurker prowls within the walls of his domain. Soon, he knows, the people will fear the beast more than they do him. If he is to nurture his little kingdom through its first cycles he must rid it of this monster. He has broken gang-lords and mutant-kings before, but some amongst the Irondogs fear that they have not yet gathered the strength to deal with with such a monster and when Korak begins his hunt in the darkness of the tunnels, he does so for the final time…
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The Irondogs – Part 10

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


The Irondogs – Part 6

Today we’re going to take a look at two of the key elements of the Necromunda set-up I’ve been working on; my Goliath gang boss Korak Kingbreaker and his old stomping ground, the territory of Ironhouse. Be warned, I ramble on a lot!

Goliath Gang

Let’s talk about Korak first. Developing the  personalities and backgrounds of our gangers and charting their exploits on the tabletop is right at the heart of everything Necromunda fans love about the setting. I’m a huge fan of the orks but with 70 boys in my army I can’t pretend that any of them stand out to me as individuals. Pick out a random skeleton warrior and ask its owner who it was before it died and your likely to get a very long-suffering look at best. Inquire about the backstory of an Orlock juve on the other hand and prepare yourself for a lengthy explanation of how they came to join the gang, their goals and aspirations and the adventures they have taken part in so far.

Now of course it hardly needs to be said that I encourage getting to know the characters in any army, the extra depth that develops as a result is quite unparalleled. However whilst you may well write pages and pages of notes on the life history of your Chapter Master only the most dedicated of hobbyists would dream of doing something similar for every tactical marine (if that’s you by the way I salute you, you are a hero to me). Nonetheless I would argue that beyond the world of Inq28 you will never find gamers who get to know their characters as well as those of us who dwell in the Underhive.

Despite this some characters will inevitably end up being more influential than others. As the leader of my gang Korak shapes the direction that the whole crew end up taking. His story is the story of the Irondogs, stamped indelibly upon the gang, their rivals and their territories.  It all begins with the soon to be infamous atrocity know as the Feast of Khorg…

Before we get into all that however that take a look at Korak himself. That way if you’re finding all this rabbiting on terribly dull you can skip the rest, having at least seen what is hopefully a nicely imposing miniature!

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Incidentally I’m aware that I’ve made a poxy job of drilling out the barrels on his gun, best to salve my ego by not mentioning it eh? At some point it will begin to annoy me so much that I replace it, I do have a few spares of that gun kicking around.

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If you plan on surviving long in the Underhive you’re going to need plenty of willpower and determination. Korak is a survivor. He has battled the worst that the Underhive can throw at him, pulling himself up by the bootstraps and crawling over the corpses of friends and rivals alike. Naturally, as a Goliath, he’s also gifted with phenomenal strength married to a willingness to indulge in act of supreme violence at the drop of a hat. This doesn’t mean he’s stupid however. There is a pernicious rumour going around which states that the Goliaths are all a bit thick (I blame the Eschers personally). Often they find themselves conflated with the Orks, on the grounds that the two are muscular, violent and love big, loud guns. However I would go so far as to suggest that they actually have as much, if not more, in common with the Dwarves. They are a proud and stubborn people, they are skilled smiths and metal workers, they are hardy and – most of all – they are exceptionally practical. If a tool can double as a weapon then that’s one less thing to carry. Why kill with flair or flourish when the main thing is making sure your enemy is dead? When a Van Saar’s fancy gun jams on Underhive filth, or an Escher’s stiletto snaps against furnace plate a Goliath’s fists will be more than enough to keep him alive. You might not catch a Goliath reading poetry (although if called upon to do so he might beat you around the head with the hardback edition) but offer him a book on tactics or advanced furnace maintenance and – assuming he’s learnt to read, hardly a given in the Underhive – he’ll be a happy man. Korak then is an intelligent, cunning and at times almost political, character. However this doesn’t mean that he is any less ruthless when he needs to be. He may have a good friend in Ugly Gabe (more on him soon!) but the Goliaths are a recalcitrant bunch. They respect strength above all because a weak leader is a death sentence in the Underhive. It’s nothing personal, they may even like him as a man, but if he can’t demonstrate ruthless authority when he needs to then he has to go. Most of the gangers would love to be leader someday and Bosrak in particular is an unhinged maniac, his brain turned to porridge by too many combat stims. On a bad day he’d beat up his own shadow on a bulkhead wall. So long as Korak’s authority remains absolute however Bosrak serves willingly as his most fearsome enforcer and attack dog (even more frightening than Snuggles – more on her below).

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Those of you who’ve stock with me as far (well done by the way) may well be wondering who the aforementioned Khorg was, what happened at his feast and what kind of place is Ironhouse? Well I’m so glad you asked! Having found out a little about Korak let’s take a look at his old boss Khorg.

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For those living in the lower reaches of Hive Araneus Khorg’s word was law and his influence absolute. His was the iron fist that had claimed a great swath of territory, covering hundreds of levels, dozens of domes and manufactora and thousands of kilometres of rusting corridors. Countless overseers feared him over their own house lords and countless more workers toiled in terror of the coming of his enforcers. In time his holdings spread from the toxic depths at the hive core to the ash shantys beyond the walls and up, creeping like a cancer closing its fist around a heart, towards the spires of the Hive itself. One after another, Goliath gangs bent the knee to him whilst his rivals were swept aside and so his forces grew into a true army, fiercely loyal and – to those seeking to maintain the status quo especially – desperately dangerous. Few dared challenge him openly and of those who did none survived long. High above, in the filtered air and well-lit chambers of the spires, his name was being spoken with increasing loathing. His ambitions where plain and all the Hive Lords knew that in time he would seek first to claim a place among them then to see each deposed until only he remained. Even amongst the lords of House Goliath such a thing was intolerable, for when it comes to their rivals a shared bloodline offers no safety and the thought of a pretender gang-lord taking a seat at their table was more than they were willing to suffer even to further the goals of their House. Who can say what pacts were struck among them but the men and women who rule Necromunda are like sharks that swim in black water, predators without compassion and ruthless in defence of their power.

In a grand display of strength Khorg called his army together. Many hundreds of Goliaths gathered for a festival of feasting, gladiatorial combat and feats of strength. It was a show of power intended to rival the greatest excesses of the spires, and to remind those dwelling in the lower reaches that Khorg and not Helmawr ruled here. Some even believed that Khorg intended to conclude with a declaration of war and send his troops rampaging upwards through pre-mapped tunnels and shafts to tear the head from hive governance in a single strike. If he had been so foolish he would have been sorely disappointed, the roads into the spires are well guarded, built to withstand a frontal assault and patrolled by legions of ruthless house veterans. As it is more subtle agents were in play, and the Hive Lords also wished to use the Feast as an opportunity to display their power and displeasure to all who might harbour thoughts of sedition.

Who, now, can truly say what Khorg might have planned? At the height of the Feast an explosion raged through the hall, bringing down the roof and crushing Khorg and his army beneath a tidal torrent of rubble. Of Khorg’s senior lieutenants Korak was one of the few to survive, pulled from the wreckage by his old gang-mate Ugly Gabe. With most of their gang-mates lost the two decided to return to their old territory in Ironhouse, from which to consolidate their turf and do what they could to survive the coming storm.

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By setting things in the aftermath of the Feast we find the depths of the hive in a state of turmoil. A power vacuum has suddenly opened up and an enterprising gang can seize prime turf and, if they can hold onto it, make a name for themselves. Ironhouse is one such territory, a settlement crammed with the thousands of sweating workers that are needed to maintain the ancient machines of the Halcyon Gate, packed alongside the destitute and the desperate. It is a gateway in its own right, a half-hidden back door by which illicit goods may enter the Hive, and in the days of Khorg’s reign was a Goliath stronghold ruled by Korak as Khorg’s vassal. Now Korak intends to hold it for his own, but that won’t be easy. His gang now has only a fraction of their former numbers whilst covetous enemies are muscling in on their turf. Both Orlock and Cawdor have large and influential presences in the local area and could easily decide to stamp out the Goliaths once and for all. More pressingly however a gang from House Escher calling themselves the Ladykillers are moving in whilst whispers of sedition run through the local populace like rot through a sack of corpse starch. For a long time the workers have been oppressed by the boot of House Goliath and there are those who say there shall never be a better time to be rid of them, even if calling for the strength to do so accrues a bloody debt to be paid to sinister allies from beyond the veil. Perhaps most pressing of all are the local ash-crust miners. Having armed themselves to defend against raiders now they’re seizing territory from the more established houses. Rumours that they harbour strange mutants amongst their number remain unsubstantiated however.

If Korak intend to hold off these rivals he needs support. He has put out a call to other survivors of Khorg’s army to gather beneath his banner, although as yet very few have done so. Furthermore in all of the confusion his beloved pet Snuggles has vanished into the flooded corridors beneath Ironhouse. Time to gather the boys and lure her out again.

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Inventing a detailed background for both Korak, his gang and his turf had got me really excited about this project again. I’ve already started doodling maps of the territories around Ironhouse that will soon be echoing to the sound of gunfire as the gangs set to carve out a home for themselves from the corpse of Khorg’s empire. First order of business will be painting up Ugly Gabe as he’s right at the core of the gang as well, then I’ll start on some of the other characters I’ve been inspired to create.


Mean Streets – Part 1

For over a decade I’ve harboured an ambition to own my own terrain board. Surely for many hobbyists this is the big one, the ultimate goal to aspire to. If you’re a keen gamer then what better than to be able to roll dice in style within the comfort of your own home? If your predilections lie more towards the painting and modelling then what project can compare to capturing not just the characters that inhabit your chosen world but the actual world itself?

The downside of course is that it’s expensive, it takes up a lot of space and it’s a lot of work to build. Leaving aside the lack of disposable income, which in itself lead to a lot of careful budgeting and saving up, until recently I just didn’t have the room to store such a comparatively massive construction. However at the end of the day life won’t wait. I’ve been made keenly aware over the last year or so that whilst planning for the future is a very sensible and intelligent move, putting off all your plans to an unspecified future date might just mean they never happen at all. Having managed to set aside a space in the house for it occupy I’ve set about building a section of Imperial cityscape.

Building a terrain board isn’t like other hobby projects. It takes a certain amount of preparation and self justification before you even think about spending all that money (assuming of course you’re not one of those geniuses who can make a convincing fusion reactor out of an egg box and a Pringles tin, which I am most certainly not).

Having convinced myself, with some difficulty, that it was ok, and that buying a few model buildings wasn’t the sort of fiscal irresponsibility that would see me reduced to fighting the other tramps for food in a matter of weeks, the next question is; what kind of board to build? Of course the answer to that very much depends on the kind of games it might be used for. The fantastic landscapes of the Mortal Realms may look amazing but my heart still lies in the 41st Millennium. You can keep the flyers and tanks of 40k proper, I lean towards Necromunda, Inq28 and perhaps a little bit of Killteam so my board in turn will be the close-packed warrens of the Underhive, the decaying depths of a crumbling Imperial city where Inquisitors roam and gangers hold sway.

In spite of my recent resurgence of interest in building this board its story actually began a few years ago when, following some kind of fit of fiscal frivolity, I bought myself the Sector Imperialis board from GW, and then froze like a rabbit in headlights and never painted the damn thing. Instead it just sat there, a brooding avatar of my decadence, lurking in the corner of the room to guilt me. No more I say! We’ve scowled at each other long enough, time to set aside our differences and get some paint on it. After all I may have spent rather a lot on it, and I may have regretted it afterwards, but the deed is done, I may as well enjoy it! For the last few months, in between other projects, I’ve been chipping away at it and at last the first section is ready to show off.

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Rukk and Grak set out to explore the crumbling deaths of their territory.

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Meanwhile the girls from the Ladykillers gang discover a lurking sump horror has been making its home beneath their streets…

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Over the coming months I’ll keep working away on this, adding the rusty, crumbling buildings and industrial structures of the Underhive’s heart. Naturally a project like this takes time (or at least it does if you happen to be me, I know some people power through terrain projects like they’re going out of style but alas my progress tends to be rather slower). Nonetheless keep an eye out and hopefully soon a city will begin to grow here.


Green Iz Best – Part 4

Just sneaking in another model in-between all the terrain (even though sneaking isn’t something an ork nob usually approves of!). According to the new ork codex an ork nob with a Waaagh! banner (a model with which regular readers will know I have something of a love/hate relationship) is no longer part of a squad but instead is a lone individual. Not that I pay too close attention to the rules but any excuse to paint another ork ought to be seized upon right? Surely I wasn’t expected to tolerate my poor nobs squad being a man down?

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There we go; the nobs are back to being ten strong and balance has been restored! Of course now I’ll have to start work on a second squad…


Take Cover – Part 3

My efforts to populate the Underhive of Necromunda with rusty, grungy terrain continue apace. Indeed, I’ve got a few bigger items in the works which are tantalisingly close to being ready to reveal, but you’ll have to wait just a few days more. In the meantime however I’ve painted up more of the scenic elements from the Underhive Wars box.

Decorating the Underhive calls for plenty of doors, walls and barricades…

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… including some from the new Orks kits …

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… and some from a much older Ork release.

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Next up the crates, some of which contain useful stashes of ammo, whilst others turn out to be empty, or even deadly boobie-traps. The design here is rather clever, each crate is double-sided with one side full of ammo whilst the other is empty. Clusters of makeshift explosives can be hidden in the blank side and whilst the lid is on players won’t know what awaits them until they open the box. The downside is that this makes them something of a slog to paint as I had to be careful not to leave any distinguishing features that might tip us off later as to which is which.

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These hatches are of course nothing more than pieces of decorative terrain and would never be used by sneaky Underhive residents springing up from ambush (particularly not dastardly three armed creatures)…

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Then we have a set of control panels (useful for opening all those doors!).

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A gang relic, which appears to be some kind of notice board. Perhaps those are wanted posters for the gangs most famous alumni.

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And last but not least, the sump-monster which lies in wait for unwary gangers.

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