Saturday, 16 January 2021

Bottleship Potemkin

Last Sunday was the final day of my holiday. For some reason, I decided to mark this by sticking things onto a plastic bottle. Long ago, last year, when I used to take the train to work, I'd sometimes be given samples of weird energy drinks by people on the station platform. Most of these tasted like runny porridge, but I'd clearly kept the bottle from one of them.

I had some spare bits from a Mantic drilling machine that I'd used to make a scenic tower. They were curved, like sections of a tube, and once I'd cut holes in the bottle they fitted against it nicely. The result looked rather like a cartoon bomb.

Two engines were attached from a knackered Tau devilfish (the one I used to make a submarine a while ago). The cockpit was a strange piece of lead that had come with a set of model parts off ebay. The nosecose originally formed the top of a deoderant bottle. I used thin plasticard to add some details.

Finally, the tail was built out of a Mantic building part, two bits of old model kit, and the thrusters from a very cheap Star Wars model (it was from one of the prequels, so I had not qualms about hacking it up). Apologies for the quality of this WIP picture. I took about six and this was actually the best.

Painting-wise, I wanted to use some bright colours. I went with Vallejo Russian Uniform for the hull, though, as it looks quite military and covers very well. Sadly, the yellow that I chose for the nosecone didn't cover well at all and took about 10 coats (and still isn't perfect). Goodness knows how anyone paints armies of Imperial Fists.

And that's about it, really. The nosecone got a stylised skull-and-crossbones symbol that the artist Chris Foss used on his designs for a pirate spaceship in Dune. I added a few bits of text on the fuselage to suggest those things you get on fighter planes, which presumably say "Unleaded fuel only" or the like. I could add a few more details, I suppose, and the nose doesn't quite feel right to me, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with the end result.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Cyberpunk Eldar Squad

One of my vague projects has been a team of eldar mercenaries, painted and converted in a vaguely cyberpunk style. I originally made these guys to use in games of Hardwired, and I've enlarged the team over the last couple of years. With the exception of the drones, which are old GW eldar, the team are based on Privateer Press Scyrah elves, with various conversions to make them more futuristic.

This week, I finally finished the last member of the team (for now...), a rather crazy-looking guy with a sword. I thought that he looked vaguely cyberpunk - at least, like the elf version of one of those tall thin blokes I used to see brandishing glowsticks at the local goth club. I reckon every team has a loony like this: he's probably psychic, or can turn invisible, or something like that.

So, that means that the team is finished. For once, I managed to get some half-decent group shots out of my ropey camera.

Here are the three swordsmen:

Here is the IT department, consisting of an engineer and his two robot friends:

And here is the more normal part of the group - well, heavily armed, anyhow:

Heavy support is provided by this jolly fellow:

And here's the whole team, showing what expert assassins they are by, er, posing for a photo:

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Rolling In My Taurox

Several years ago, I was given an Imperial Guard Taurox. I've been sitting on it ever since (metaphorically), and now that the UK has returned to lockdown, I thought it was at last time to put the thing together.

Like virtually anyone who's ever seen one of these things, I thought it would be much better without the weird caterpillar-track things. I got some wheels from Ramshackle Games to replace them.

It was fairly easy to trim down the end of the Taurox's suspension and to glue the wheels to the end of them. Unfortunately, the wheels weren't perfect casts (they were very cheap, so I can't really complain), so I decided to fill in the miscast bits with mud that would have accumulated while the vehicle was driving odd-road. I made the mud by mixing watered-down PVA glue and basing flock (the stuff that looks like brown sandy stuff). I added some to the underside of the chassis, where it would accumulate.

My approach to "converting" the Taurox was to leave off as much of the detailing and weaponry as possible. To me, it looks like the weird offspring of a Humvee and a British WW2 armoured tractor, and I thought that giving it a comparatively "clean" shape would make it look more like a civilian vehicle (albeit one covered in armour and probably full of concealed weaponry). Just the sort of thing that a genestealer Magus or a bunch of crooks would drive around in.

Painting was pretty simple: I sprayed it black and made the underside very dirty with brown. The upper panels got a thin brown wash to suggest accumulated dirt, and the paintwork was chipped a little. I added a few silver details - they probably started off as chrome.

I think it looks suitably mean. Maybe it could do with some more colour, but I quite like the anonymity of it all (well, for a small armoured car). 

Next up is another model that I've had for ages. He's a Privateer Press elf called Narn, mage-hunter of Ios, and he looks like the sort of chap who spends a lot of time trying to look badass - in fact, exactly the kind of guy who rolls around town in a decommissioned Taurox. To begin with, I painted him in the green colours of my wood elf warband, but his posing made me think that he'd be much better suited to my cyberpunk elf squad. I stripped him and repainted in in darker colours. It's hard to see, but he's got a crossbow and quarrels strapped to his back. 

Anyhow, here he is, about to go out on the town. 

Friday, 1 January 2021

Chaos Dragon and Hammer Man

Well, it's 2021. Happy new year, and I very much hope this one is an improvement on the last.

Several years ago, I signed up to the first Reaper Bones Kickstarter. The smaller models were pretty variable, but the larger ones were decent. I got hold of a clockwork dragon they were producing and painted it silver. I was never very happy with the paintjob, so I decided to give it another go.

The 40k Chaos army includes the "Helldrake", a mixture of dragon and fighter plane. I don't really like the GW model very much: it's a bit too much like an angry turkey, and has a thruster sticking out of its back end in a rather unfortunate way. I thought that, with the right paint scheme, the clockwork dragon could look like a good replacement. Unfortunately, I mislaid its wings, but I'll find them sooner or later.

I went with a rusted look. I imagine this thing lives in some hellish wasteland, feasting on a diet of armoured cars, and is a dubious ally of the forces of Chaos rather than an outright servant. 

I've also painted a much smaller model: it's a chariot driver from an old chaos chariot, from back in the depths of the Red Period. He was missing his right arm, so I added a plastic chaos arm and a Sigmarine's hammer. I also stuck a shield on.

I've painted him in slightly neutral tones: he doesn't look particularly evil, and I expect that he's some sort of mercenary knight.

Monday, 28 December 2020

Even More Fremen

Hello again. This is probably my last post of the year, and I'd usually attempt some kind of summing-up, but frankly that feels like a lot of effort. The year was rubbish but it could have been very much worse, and I was able to stay safe and paint some miniatures. That's about it, really. 


I've always been somewhat undecided about Warlord Games' models, especially their fantasy and SF stuff. Historical gaming doesn't interest me very much, especially the Napoleonic stuff (although some of the outfits are nice, and the late Renaissance is quite cool). However, I was looking though their sale recently, and saw some of the Freeborn models from their Gates of Antares range going cheap. I bought a Freeborn howitzer, because the crew would make really good Fremen.

So here are the three crew. I think these are really good models, and it's a shame that you can't buy them individually. The two assistants are actually carrying ammunition for the howitzer, rather than guns (at least, I think so) but I think their ammo could actually make quite good far-future heavy weapons of some kind. 

I did a very small conversion on the second loader, cutting and turning his head a little so that he was looking in the direction his gun was pointed, as if firing it.

The commander of the gun would make a good Sayyadina, a priestess of the Fremen.

And that's it. I think that's the Fremen group finished - until I find some more of them.

Wednesday, 23 December 2020


I've always liked trolls. I'm not quite sure why, but I think it's the mixture of comical gawkiness and crude brutality. People might laugh at trolls, but I reckon they'd do it from a safe distance. Ages ago, I somehow ended up with an undead Mantic undead troll. I liked the shape of the model, but I thought he'd look better alive. 

First, I removed his existing, rather orc-like head and replaced it with a head from the recent GW trolls (or whatever they call then now). I then spent quite a lot of time filling up the various rotting holes on the model with green stuff and DAS clay. 

After that, it was just a matter of giving him a suitable paint job. I went for the same blue and grey colours that I'd used on an earlier metal troll, in imitation of the old GW stone trolls. I quite like the main body of the miniature but, as often happens, the really nice new head makes up for whatever errors there are in the sculpting of the body. 

All ready to bash his enemies with his favourite lump of stone!

Sunday, 20 December 2020

The Sons of Entropy: Chaos biker conversions

Until the release of the new Chaos marine plastics a few years ago, the 40k Chaos army was looking pretty long in the tooth - and not in a wolf-like, fanged way. The new marines are very nice, but there are still some ancient and rather ropey models in the range that need updating: most notably, the Berserkers of Khorne.

Chaos bikes are another seriously ancient unit. I reckon they current models have been around since 1998 or so, and they look chunky and dull (not that the old Space Marine bikes are much better). Anyhow, I had some bikes knocking around from a very old set called Dark Vengeance (as opposed to Happy Vengeance or Merry Vendetta), which I'd started converting ages ago and then abandoned. I thought that I'd have a go at converting them into something more chaotic and more interesting.

All the bikers got new heads. The first got a lot of spikes growing out of his bike, along with some strange bony protrusions. I decided that all three of the bikers would have unwholesome tubes connecting them to their vehicles, perhaps where they were starting to merge with their rides.

The second biker had a sort of weird pump fixed to his bike instead of a backpack, as well as a big skull to act as a sort of windscreen and some manky fleshy stuff coming out of his chest. Nice.

The third biker is probably their leader. He's got a daemonette of Slaanesh riding pillion. 

Lovely! They'll be able to raise some hell in the name of Chaos, assuming that quarantine ever lifts. Chaos grows ever stronger (and faster)!