Sunday, 2 May 2021

Little Grey Fire Warriors


Many years ago, I bought a box of Fire Warriors, the standard Tau troops. I thought I'd go back to them as part of the current project and make them a bit more suited to the flying saucer look.

There's a reoccurring theme on this blog of me blaming my tools when models go wrong, and I'm going to do that now. The Fire Warriors are not very well cast, and the sculpting could be more crisp, so that it's quite hard to work out what some of the details are. The legs are particularly weird, especially the little hooves at the bottom. I've never figured out why the Tau, as a technologically-advanced species, seem to be effectively going barefoot. Wouldn't they wear little booties on their hooves?

Anyhow, the sculpts might have been improved since I bought these models about 10 years ago (the pathfinder set is way better) but these are old models and frankly aren't the best.

I made three changes to the models. First, I left off the big left-arm shoulder pads, which look too much like samurai armour and not sleek enough for the style I wanted. Secondly, I felt that the backpacks were a bit too big for the 1950s look, so I took them off and replaced them with what I think are grenade packs from the Fire Warrior sprue. Here's a shot of a Fire Warrior's bum to show what I mean:

The other change was to cut off the lenses from the helmets and use green stuff to make them smooth. Then, two large eye-lenses were sculpted on with more green stuff, in imitation of the classic saucer-people look. I imagine the Tau wear these helmets to help them look less intimidating to the various cows and farmers they abduct in the name of science. I painted the lenses green and gave them a coat of gloss varnish to finish the look off.

Prepare to be enlightened, puny humans!

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Protonid Revisited

Rogue Trader contains many strange things, which would eventually either fade into nothing or become the basis for the Warhammer 40,000 we have today. One of those was the first description of the tyranids, and their hive fleets. Back then, tyranid warriors looked like this:

I've always been slightly fascinated by this thing. A model of it appears in Rogue Trader, known as the protonid. However, only seventeen copies of the model were ever made, and now they fetch very high prices as rarities.

One of the first posts I ever made on this blog, back in April 2016, was an attempt to convert my own version of the protonid out of bits and bobs. It was a long way from perfect, but you can see it HERE. I recently discovered on Rogue Heresy and The Casual Cultist that someone had done a "fan-sculpt" of the protonid. I managed to get one from ebay for the reasonable sum of £15, and had a go at painting it. 

First up, the sculpt is very good. I don't think the protonid would have worked all that well as a playable creature (in particular, its rear limbs don't do much except take up space folded up under its tail) but this sculpt is a very accurate representation of it. In particular, the head is very detailed and looks just right. 

I went with a colour scheme inspired by the original Rogue Trader paint scheme, making him look like a mixture of an insect, a gecko and a mutant roast chicken. The gun was painted with black contrast paint: the rest was mixed in the usual way. 

Friday, 23 April 2021

A Tau Battlesuit Takes A Fence

 The Tau-repairing project (Project Blue Face, for all you UFO-enthusiasts out there) continues. This week, I've rebased and repainted another battlesuit.

This guy has arms from an old toy that I was given ages ago (I think it was one of those Russian wargaming-for-beginners ones), for that 1950s robot look. As before, the pincers came from plastic ork runtherds. In keeping with the concept of invading small-town America, I made a white picket fence out of plasticard for him to destroy. I did want to add some farm animals running away (stealing farm animals is another popular hobby for 1950s aliens, it seems), but it made the base rather busy and obscured the battlesuit. I like the floating movement of the model. 

And as a bonus, I've made a... well, I'm not sure what I've made exactly. It's one of those everything-in-the-bits-box conversions. I'm not even sure which side is the front. The main body was some kind of floating heavy weapon from the Sedition Wars game, with legs off a Warlord Games Ghar model. The hatch on the top came from an old tank, and helps make it look like some sort of small flying saucer. I suppose it would function as a drone of some variety (or an epic scale H.G. Wells Martian fighting machine!). Maybe it's one of those new turret things. I just think it looks nice. 

Rear (probably) view:

Looking at it, I remembered that I was given some little Reaper robots a very long time ago (thanks Eric!). I decided to paint them up as crew. They're sculpted in a retro style that would work equally well for steampunk or 1950s, and I think they go quite well with the saucer and the rest of the Tau. I think I'd use them as shield drones, the logic being that they help repair the battlesuits as they take damage. 

And they're about the right size to ride in the UFO.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

A Tau Battlesuit Abducting A Famer

 Time for the second batch of 1950s space invader Tau. First up is a battlesuit conversion. In true 1950s style, he's abducting a farmer for reasons too terrible to explain.

 He's got pincers from an ork slaver, if I remember rightly. The wheelbarrow and shovel were from a dwarf kit and the farmer was made with Catachan legs and the upper body of the fleeing man (Johan seems to be his official name) from the plastic giant kit. The farmer isn't actually glued in place, so if for some weird reason I decided to turn him upside down, I could do. I'm not very happy with the barrel of the Tau's gun, which was meant to be glowing, but otherwise I like the guy.

Then we've got five old metal stealth suits. I bought these absolutely ages ago. I really like the miniatures - more than the recent ones, in fact. A couple of them had some pretty awful mould lines that I couldn't really clean up, but they've come out well. Ready to infiltrate the earthlings!

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Tau Operative

A long time ago, before I started this blog, I had a little force of Tau. I converted them to be 1950s-style little green men and clanky robot suits, because... well, I'm not sure why, exactly, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I guess it does make sense - bear with me - because the Tau do look slightly like the kind of aliens who fly around the mid-US in saucers and have an unwholesome interest in farmers. I thought it would be good to update the old models a bit and make them more presentable.

So, here is our first 1950s Tau person. He's a high-ranking operative who gives the orders and then retires to the shadows to watch them being carried out. With his human business suit, mobile phone and cigarette, no puny Earthmen will ever suspect him of being up to anything dubious.

"Burn the bodies, hide the saucer, never call this number again"

This model was made from a Tau tank commander, with arms from the Pathfinder sprues and an upper body from an old Mordheim soldier. The tie was sculpted by me, unsurprisingly. While I've generally tidied him up and given him a repaint for this post, the original conversion was done some years back. It must have been quite a while ago, as he's holding his cigarette in what I think is an imitation of the villain from The X-Files.

Thursday, 1 April 2021

Even More Repainted Chaos Marines

This time, it's the third and probably final batch of old chaos marines. These were enjoyable to paint, but I am starting to get a bit tired of doing the same paint scheme. 

Left to right: metal possessed marine with new "normal" right arm (he came without a right arm); unconverted champion model; plastic chaos marine with mechanical right arm and Sigmarine head. 

The next two are old metal models. The guy on the left is an old chaos lord model, which came without a head and hands. I added a boltgun, a horned head and a staff-type-thing made from the haft of a chaos knight's spear with a symbol on the top.

The guy on the right is an old standard bearer, who came without the top of his standard. I made a new one out of a plastic chaos icon stuck on a bit of spear. There's a hole in his fist so that the top of the spear just pushes inside. That way I can take the icon off to store him more easily (and lose it).

I'm pleased with these models: given how old they are, and that they come from the rather lumpy "red period" of GW sculpts, I think they've come out quite well. They'll be a decent unit, assuming they ever see the table. 

Thursday, 25 March 2021

More Repainted Chaos Marines

 Here's the second batch of chaos marines that I've repainted from their dirty white colour scheme to a new not-Black-Legion look. As before, they're a mixture of old metal chaos models and plastic conversions incorporating plastic chaos marine and Space Wolf parts. 

Left to right: unconverted metal missile launcher guy; champion with Space Wolf torso and cloak; extremely old converted marine with mouth from an ancient plastic space ork.

Left to right: very old plastic marine with head of a Nurgle plaguebearer and shoulder spike from a genestealer's tail; weeny unconverted metal marine with flamer; plastic marine with chaos marauder arms, axe and head.

I'm not sure whether these guys are favoured by the chaos gods or cursed, but they certainly rolled high on some table or other. I particularly like the champion (well, his power sword), screaming mouth guy and the bloke with the axe. Who wouldn't want to join the forces of chaos after seeing these lucky chaps?

I always thought that the old chaos sculpts were rather crappy and second-rate, but the more of these I make, the more I like the models. Yes, they're a bit on the small side, but the kits give real opportunity for bizarre conversions and personalisations. Only a few more of the horde to go!