Tag Archives: Warhammer 40k

The Ladykillers – Part 10

Fans of House Escher could be forgiven for feeling somewhat neglected in the pet department. Whilst the Goliaths enjoy their monstrous crocodile and the Orlocks have an similarly titanic hound, the ladies find themselves currently lacking their cats. I’ve found suitable proxies for the equally pet deprived Cawdor and Van Saar, the former using a Vulcharc from the AoS Tzeentch range, the latter the skull crabs from Heresy Of Us.

Necromunda Proxy Pets Convert Or Die

Alongside these creatures the gangers of House Escher keep this odd looking predator, the Phyrr Cat. The name of this beast has proven to be a source of contention – I always pronounced it as “fire” cat, and I’ve even heard people say “fur” cat, although I now understand the official pronunciation is “fear” cat. I’m not sure it really looks like a scaredy cat to me but presumably this allows us to compare the phyrr cats – and indeed we shall.

Phyrr Cat

Official models for the phyrr cats were previewed around a year ago but, with the response being almost universally negative, the decision was made to start again with new sculpts. Personally I tend to agree with this, the models shown were well below the premium standard expected of Forge World. You are of course welcome to judge for yourself. My apologies to whomever took this photograph originally as it has now circulated online so much that I have new idea to whom credit should be given. If anyone knows let me know and I’ll update things accordingly.

Ugly Cats

In search of a suitable alternative I explored numerous ranges, soon discovering that cats are thin on the ground as miniatures. I even tried roping in this beast although she proved to be in entirely the wrong scale and even the Goliaths refused to go up against her after she took to knocking them off their shelf…

Duska

Finally I stumbled upon the Hoar Cats from Wyrd Miniatures (a creature which gives quite a different impression written down as opposed to spoken aloud). Last time I paid any attention to the range was many years ago when everything they produced was rather spindly and metal, and as a result given to bending out of shape in a stiff breeze. Thus these solidly plastic cats were a nice surprise.

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I did consider using a bright and exotic colour scheme to tie them in with the rest of the gang but on consideration decided that their small-size meant less is more and too much detail would swamp them.

Escher Cats Wudugast Convert or Die (6)

I’m pleased to have these done, partly because they add to the variety of units available to the gang and partly because in a place like Necromunda which is swarming with rats (many of which are carrying bombs) it pays to have a few cats around. Indeed the Underhive may prove to be prime habitat for them due to the distinct lack of trees for them to get stuck in.

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Blackstone Fortress: Spindle Drones

Despite having an inordinate number of miniatures in the house, all our games of Blackstone Fortress have so far featured a mix of unpainted models (the heroes) and various proxies (the villains). Traitor guardsmen and chaos marines are easy to come by on my shelves, and fantasy ghouls were pressed into service as ur-ghuls, but for the rest a more esoteric approach has been required. Rather than spindle drones drifting serenely through the corridors the first adversaries the explorers encountered were a small band of grots, presumably sent on a scavenging mission by their ork bosses.

Fun though the little blighters are however, and despite the space-gobbos have more in common with traditional dungeon dwelling baddies, I really wanted to get the real spindle drones painted up. To me they add a great deal to the atmosphere of the game, calling to mind the fact that this is a strange and incredibly ancient structure, constructed by enigmatic beings in a long lost and now unknowable age (although it’s probably a safe bet that in the grim darkness of the far past it was mostly war as well). They’re also quite beautiful models, often overlooked alongside fan-favourites like the long-awaited traitor guard or the showstopping cast of heroes, but wonderfully evocative nonetheless.

They’re also gloriously alien. There’s really nothing quite like them in the 41st Millennium (perhaps they’d fit in with the Eldar but even then it would be a stretch) – and indeed it was because of this lack of suitable proxies that I ended up using the aforementioned grots.

Anyway, for all of these reasons, I decided to tackle them first so that next time we play we’ll be able to do so with a bit more style.

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Normally I’d tend to steer away from having duplicate models in a collection (indeed regular readers will know this borders on being an obsession) but in this case I think the uniformity actually adds to the impression of anonymous worker drones (plus to tinker with them too much risked destroying the very qualities which drew them to me in the first place). I will however be trying to individualise the Ur-ghuls and traitor guardsmen when I get around to them.

Blackstone Fortress Spindle Drones Wudugast (4)

As I was working on them I realised that these would actually qualify neatly for both halves of Azazel’s latest hobby challenge. This month it’s a two-part challenge – on the one hand we have “Squad: March!” (nothing complicated – just a case of finishing a squad in March), on the other it’s a gender-ambiguous model painting challenge. The idea apparently spun off from Fembruary (edit; not strictly true, as I’ve since been corrected – see Azazel’s comprehensive and interesting comment below or, better yet, click on the link above to see the original challenge in his own words), the annual event organised by Alex of Leadballoony which encourages hobbyists to add female miniatures to our male dominated collections. If you’ve not already seen it the gallery of this year’s contributors is well worth a look (not least because he gives a particular shout-out to this hairy heretic).

Essentially the gender-ambiguous half of this challenge therefore makes for a reappraising of the idea that miniature’s are automatically “male” unless proven otherwise (honestly I don’t think I ever made that assumption but it’s fun to play with nonetheless). That space marine? Definitely a bloke. Those Escher gangers? Women without a doubt. But what about those squigs or fleshhounds? Does a lady night goblin really look different to a male one under all those robes? Who knows what those ranks of skeletons looked like when they were fully fleshed?

Naturally these are just perfect for this, being as they are bio-mechanical alien robots. How they go about making new spindle-drones we can only guess – and sadly, this being the internet, someone probably has… (assuming they do and these creatures haven’t been drifting around the Blackstone Fortress for however many hundreds of thousands of years it’s been floating in space without replenishing their numbers). Of course this could be the perfect moment for me to sidetrack onto a long ramble about human-esque aliens in science fiction and how much it exasperates me (narrow budgets and limited costume department’s notwithstanding) when science fiction writers assume that species developing along an entirely separate evolutionary pathway, on a planet with very different environmental pressures, would naturally end up looking just like human’s with unusual foreheads. I’ve grown more relaxed about this over the years (at least in part because if you let it bother you then the range of sci-fi available to you narrows alarmingly) but it used to hack me off righteously I can tell you. Warhammer 40,000, of course, get’s away with it by giving science fiction a body-swerve and instead pitching itself as old fashioned fantasy in space (and anyone caught with a funny looking forehead is purged before they infest the entire planet with their deviant xenos creed!). However, rather than plunge any further down this particular rabbit hole, I’m off to rummage around for more aliens to paint (gender notwithstanding!).


The Oathbones – Part 1

Apart from finishing off the Khorne Slaughterpriest the other day (not the biggest of jobs as he was mostly done already) I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of painting. Usually this comes pretty easily to me but, perhaps because work is quite busy at the moment, I’ve been unusually slow to pick up a brush. Rather than make a chore of it I’ve been relaxing by kitbashing a few Cawdor gangers instead. I’m not planning to paint these straight away, I’d like to add a last few models to the Eschers first and then I’ll probably work on the Van Saar and (perhaps) Chaos gangs – on the grounds that those should be fairly quick and easy to achieve. I have however been having a lot of fun “sketching” out ideas for the gang and exploring what I’ll do when I get around to them.

Cawdor Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast (1)

As with all of the gangs the Forgeworld head and weapon sets really add to the degree of character within a gang. They’re not the cheapest but they look excellent so I’m happy to justify treating myself to them.

Cawdor Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast (2)

 There’s a wonderful madness to the Cawdor that really taps into the insanity at the heart of the Imperium, and I wanted to play it up with the gangers I’ve been working on. This one for example believes that rather than trust his sinful, fallible, human eyes to help him aim his gun he must cover them over and thus, with all distraction removed, the Emperor will be able to act through him and guide his fire. Whether this works or not remains to be seen…

Cawdor Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast (4)

This grim figure will probably become the gang’s ash-prophet leader although I have a few possible tweaks in mind before I call him finished.

Cawdor Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast (3)

These aren’t the only models on the painting desk however and working on these has been a fine palate cleanser (or should that be palette cleanser?) so hopefully I’ll have something else to show you soon.


Ambots Assemble

This weekend saw the long-awaited release of the new Ambot kit and naturally I bought a brace of these glorious beasts and set aside a couple of hours to get them built. As I was doing so it struck me – alas slightly too late to take WIP shots – that this might be of interest to fellow Necromunda fans so here’s a few early thoughts on the models from someone enthusiastic enough to grab them straight away.

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (4)

Like most people I was expecting this model to be a big, expensive, lump of Forgeworld resin so getting a plastic kit instead was a really nice surprise. Rather than sticking religiously to the same set-up as the studio models for fear of ruining a ludicrously pricey model one can relax a little and adjust things as you see fit. To begin with I wanted to stick fairly close to the design of the originals as they’re cracking models in and of themselves, but I must admit I’m tempted to buy a second pair and go to town on kitbashing them (not something I’d ever do with a Forgeworld model).

Building the kit according to the instructions (an absolute must with Necromunda models where kits are often so complex that even the neck is separate to the head – hence Neck-romunda) one ends up with four natural subassembles; the legs, torso and each arm. Rather than build the first model to completion then start over with the second I recommend building each one up to the point that the subassembles are complete and then mixing them around to create a pair of unique models. Again, I’ve been fairly conservative with mine so far but I’ve got a lot of ideas brewing so now I’ve built two I’m increasing tempted by another pair with which to go a bit more crazy. Let’s take a look at what I’ve built so far.

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (7)

I’ve already come to think of this one as “Aggressive Ambot” with his lunging pose and powerful grav-fists.

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (6)

His colleague meanwhile is “Surprised Ambot” – he’s either been startled by an enemy ganger sneaking up on him or the fail-safes have just stopped working and he’s suddenly released some bastard has stuck his brain in a robot…

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (5)

There are only two styles of head in the kit, the mandibles of A being moulded to the face whilst those of B are separate. However it certainly wouldn’t be difficult to snip off A’s mandibles and exchange them with those intended for B to create two more unique faces.

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Ambot A – “Stabby!”

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Ambot B – “Bitey!”

Perhaps not the most exiting shot in the world but I’ve been curious to know what the back of the models looks like, as none of GW’s previews have shown it.

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Another thing that hasn’t been entirely clear from official previews is exactly how big they are. When faced with a kit like this the first thing that springs to mind is generally a dreadnaught and although I assumed these would be smaller it was still tricky to picture exactly how big they were going to be until they were finished. Thus, for your assistance and edification, here are a few handy size comparisons.

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Right now, on the mean streets of the Underhive, these are definitely the biggest dudes around, looming over humble gangers in exactly the way one would expect from a monstrous alien which has been crammed into a deadly robot without the slightest consideration for health and safety.

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (1)

For those whose mindset is associated with the more traditional side of 40k here we see one posing next to those staples of the size-comparison shot; a space marine Intercessor and a humble, if probably terrified, guardsman.

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (2)

And, just in case I’ve caused any confusion with my earlier comment about dreadnaughts, here one is dwarfed by a dead space marine in a walking coffin.

Ambot Wudugast Convert Or Die (3)

And of course if any of you were wondering how big he was before he was a brain in a jar, now you know that too…

Anyway, hopefully you’ve found this useful and/or entertaining, particularly if you’ve been thinking of getting yourself an Ambot. These won’t get painted for a little while as I need to think up a suitable generic colour scheme to use with them but all being well I should have something painted to show off by later on in the week.


The Ladykillers – Part 9

Well, that didn’t go as planned! We all have commitments outside the hobby and sometimes they leap up and grab our attention and everything else, space wars and awesome miniatures especially, get flung to the winds. I tend to avoid talking about “real life” as much as possible on here, especially when it comes to my parent’s health. Ultimately they’re very private people, and this is intended as a hobby blog rather than a look at my daily life (who’d want to read that?!), so I’ve done my best to steer around it unless it has a big impact on the content I’m producing. Suffice to say that back in 2017 they were the victims of a serious road accident (a polite way of saying a careless arsehole drove his car into them) which has left both of them seriously disabled. Last week my father’s health took a turn for the worse and so I dropped everything and jumped onto a plane, leaving half-painted miniatures scattered in my wake. The good news is he’s now on the mend again, a huge relief for my mum and I, and I can take a moment to appraise my painting and kick the engines of this blog back into some semblance of life.

I had several things planned for the end of Feb which have fallen by the wayside but I’ll aim to pick up where I left off and get them done soon. The Khorne Slaughterpriest is tantalisingly close to being finished (don’t tell him though – the word “tantalising” must sound disgustingly Slaaneshi to his ears!) so I’ll get him wrapped up first. I also had various models planned for Fembruary, especially the addition of more Escher gangers, all of which will get their moment soon.

Most striking of all this marks the first time since January 2017 that I haven’t managed to add something to my Skaven army. Perhaps I should be cursing the fates that my 25 month streak has come to an end but honestly I’m pretty damn pleased that I managed a 25 month streak in the first place. All being well, normal ratty-service will resume this month.

The one thing I did manage to get finished before I went hurtling out the door was my long promised Escher champion armed with a chem-thrower.

Escher Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast (1)

When I first started working on my Escher gang I found myself thinking a lot about the chem thrower. Here we have an iconic Escher weapon combining their love of cruel and remorseless destruction with a showy and flamboyant style. Fill a narrow corridor full of your enemies with flesh-eating gas and no one will forget that the house is not to be trifled with. Moreover it struck me that anyone who actually wielded such a weapon would need to be a particularly cold and vicious example of her kind, distant and ruthless amid the camaraderie of the wider sisterhood. Thus Isadora was born.

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I didn’t want to go too crazy with bright colours, to emphasise her otherness and grim nature, but she’s still an Escher so a few spots of that are a little more garish helped to tie her in with the rest of the gang.

With her joining their ranks the Escher gang is now starting to show the strength of numbers and versatility they’d previously lacked, although there are a few more models I’d still like to add – most notably gang leader Gallows Grace.

Escher Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast

Of course, all of these Eschers also count towards Fembruary, a community challenge event aimed at encouraging hobbyists to diversify the range of heroes and villains in our collections beyond the predominance of our collective comfort zone amid the massed ranks of muscular men. Originally, in a classic case of my ambitions outweighing the practicalities, I intended to get a lot more ladies painted here – everyone from Elucia Vhane and Sanistasia Minst to the Infernal Enrapturess and Kria the Huntress were originally pencilled into the list. Alas there are still only so many hours in the day and, despite my devotion to the genestealer cults, I only have one pair of hands, so my ambitious list was cut down somewhat by reality. Nonetheless I’m pleased to have finished this little lot, especially under the circumstances.

Fembruary Wudugast

What’s more I’ve been continuing to follow the great motivator and hobby institution that is Azazel’s monthly challenges. February was a combination of terrain (somewhere I could use with getting more done but alas, on this occasion, did not) and neglected models (those miniatures which were purchased some time ago – more than six months is generally regarded as the minimum ballpark – but which have stubbornly remained unpainted). Again I had all kinds of plans here, incorporating both the aforementioned Skaven and Slaughterpriest, alongside the Sloppity Bilepiper who has been dancing unashamedly in nothing but a basecoat for over a year and the Tiger of Dirz from Confrontation, which has been kicking around for over a decade and which I plan to use as a Khimerix for the Eschers. None of those actually made it of course but at least these four Eschers definitely count.

Escher Necromunda Convert Or Die Wudugast (4)

Having been away from home and work for a week I’ve got all kinds of things to catch up on, and once again miniatures are forced to take a backseat whilst I catch up with everything else. Nonetheless I have, as ever, got lots of things planned, so their time will come – just as soon as I get the rest of my life under control!


Dance of Death

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.

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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).


The Ladykillers – Part 8

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.

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Got something slightly different to work on next but I will get back to that champion before the end of the month – promise!