Just a quick one today but this reptilian beastman (as opposed to a lizardman) has been sitting on my desk waiting to be finished for what seems like absolutely ages. A couple of days ago I realised that despite work on him stalling completely he really only needed another twenty minutes or so to be completed – and thus inspired I knuckled down.
Amongst the various projects I have planned – but which are as yet untouched – I’d like to paint up an old school chaos warband based around the Knightmare Miniatures range, and so this cantankerous looking crocodile will hopefully be joined in due course by a savage brotherhood. Probably not for a while though as I’m trying to tame my spirit animal, the hobby butterfly, and focus on a few key projects for the time being.
As noted previously my plan for Blackstone Fortress is to start by painting up everything we need to play a game, beginning with anything I can’t proxy from elsewhere in my collection and focusing as much as possible on the basic units first, before moving on to those that only appear in more advanced missions or expansions. Of course I also aim to take a fairly relaxed attitude towards this, so long as everything gets painted to a standard I’m happy with in fairly short order I don’t mind being casual about the process itself.
One of the key things that you require for every game, regardless of the mission played, is a band of heroes willing to enter the alien labyrinth. Regardless of the number of players each game contains a party of four heroes, so with three already painted it made sense to get a fourth finished in order to round out the company. In addition, well-known blogger and one man painting machine Azazel has launched his latest monthly challenge – the Jewel of July – which calls for, amongst other things, the painting of great heroes and other characters so this seemed like a fine opportunity to round out the adventuring party. In our previous games my partner Janice played the navigator Espern Locarno, her brother Tom the robot UR-025, whilst I took the pyromaniacal Pious Vorne. Control of the rogue trader Janus Draik was passed between us. Thus he was the natural choice to be bumped up the queue for a coat of paint.
Like all of the characters from Blackstone Fortress that I’ve tackled so far he was a real joy to paint, the model packed with clever elements with which to convey his personality. Much as I enjoyed novelization of the game by Darius Hinks (perhaps not great literature but well written and solidly entertaining nonetheless) I must confess that his vision of Draik never really gelled with my own. Rather than the tragic figure – generally noble (in both senses of the word) – who has fallen on hard times as the book portrays, I always envisioned him as a high-class bastard, ruthless, cunning, self-interested and self-aggrandising, a profiteering privateer, a ladies’ man, a do-er of derring-do and a buckler of considerable swash. Here, I always thought, was a man always ready to face death armed with nothing but a razor sharp quip – so long as the money was right and there was someone nearby to capture the moment for posterity.
Next up I want to tackle a few other projects by way of a quick palate cleanser, but I’ll be returning to Blackstone Fortress in the near future. Really I should crack on with some more of the adversaries, the decidedly tricky to paint negavolt cultists or perhaps the beastmen. On the other hand it’s very possible that Jewel of July will encourage me in my temptation to paint another character or two – watch this space I guess…
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…
Well here we are again, stumbling blearily into another month, which means of course it’s time for another update on the progress of my Skaven horde. Once again it’s been a relatively quiet month for the rats, with just two models completed (although, as ever, progress is progress).
Back in May I added another rat ogre to the squad, converted from a combination of the Island of Blood models and parts from the Hellpit Abomination. This month I decided to finish painting his brother, rounding out the squad into the bargain.
With so many hulking monsters around I decided this was also a good moment to call in some professional assistance to keep them all under control. Enter Packmaster Skweel Gnawtooth and his pet wolf-rat Gutsnagger.
Put them all together and here’s the whole bestial squad – beardthings beware!
With this being the end of June (I know right, where does the time go exactly?) this is also a fine moment to take a look at how the army has progressed over the past six months. Back at New Year I declared my intent to have the army completed (at least in terms of models I currently own – future releases notwithstanding) by the end of 2019. Here’s a reminder of how the army was looking back when I made that audacious claim;
And here it is now, six months further on;
Solid progress I feel, although not the mighty leap I was hoping for, the unpainted pile being still something of a mountain. I did think about heaping it all up and taking a photograph of it but frankly it doesn’t look all that inspiring or photogenic like that and is unlikely to fill me with enthusiasm. Instead here’s a list of everything I’m aiming to paint;
- 1 Warlord (from the Island of Blood set)
- 1 Warlord (metal)
- 1 Battle Standard Bearer
- 10 Stormvermin
- Thanquol and Boneripper
- 1 Doomwheel
- 1 Plagueclaw Catapult
- 3 Stormfiends
- Something which may end up being converted into a Warlord on a Bonebreaker or become a 4th Stormfiend.
Still quite a lot to chew my way through, especially as many of these are either centrepiece models or large kits or, in some cases, both. I still stand by my plan to get it all done by the end of the year however so there’s everything to play for over the next six months.
It’s time once again to take a look at how I’ve been getting on with my Skaven army this month. As many readers will by now be aware I’ve set myself the goal of getting my long unpainted Skaven army completed and to keep the ball rolling I’ve challenged myself to add at least one model to the army every month until it’s done. Having gnawed my way through the unpainted pile to great effect already, I’ve added the target of getting everything I currently own finished off by the end of the year.
Just a couple of models this month as the sheer busyness of life and work has invaded here just as it has with every other hobby project. First up we have another rat ogre to join the hulking brutes already in the collection. I’ve been hoping for some time that GW might get around to replacing the old rat ogre kit, truly one of the worst things to currently (dis)grace their catalogue, but as yet they’ve stubbornly stuck with them. The Island of Blood versions were far nicer, but sadly were limited to two sculpts, neither of them easy to convert. Difficult to convert perhaps, but not impossible. Armed with some spares from the Hellpit Abomination that I painted back in January I set about creating a unique rat ogre to add to the squad I’d previously built.
For comparison, here he is next to the model on which he’s based.
And here’s the whole squad so far. Next to their brothers from Island of Blood (themselves over a decade old now) the two to the left really do look awful – and when you remember that these are still current models it’s hard not to feel a little embarrassed on GW’s behalf. Never mind though, perhaps if I get everything painted GW will finally respond to my entreaties and get some new ones made. We can but hope…
Anyway, this is not all for this month because I was inspired once again by Azazel’s monthly challenges. This time it was Mechanismo May – time to paint anything of which at least a significant part is mechanical. I had various plans for this but life put paid to all of them, and those ambots and their ilk will need to wait a little longer to be painted. Somewhere along the way however Azazel mentioned that he would be working on a Skaven with a mechanical hand and immediately the little cogs began to turn in my brain – I too had a mechanical Skaven in need of being painted; the great inventor Ikit Claw.
I’m not entirely sure what I’ll paint next for this project but, with next month’s update bringing us to half way through the year (already?!) I’ll take the opportunity to look at what else needs to be painted and perhaps even come up with some kind of strategy – otherwise there’s always the risk I end up painting everything in December!