Wednesday, 25 November 2020

More Wood Elves

 So, here are three more arboreal loonies for the wood elf warband. 

Our first guy is an old metal champion. He's a cool model. I've not got much to say about him except that he was a pleasure to paint. 

Second is an equally ancient lord. Once, he'd had some kind of spear, but I managed to snap it off many years ago, so I gave him a huge sword instead. Otherwise, he's unconverted. Again, he was easy and pleasant to paint, although his face was a bit on the fiddly side.

And third, we've got another wardancer. This model started off as one of the Corvus Cabal miniatures from Warcry. She's an excellent sculpt, and the sense of movement is terrific. I swapped her original head for a dark eldar one, and cut her rather large polearm down to be a wooden staff, for a simpler and more martial-artsy feel. She was surprisingly easy to paint as well. 

Over the last couple of days, I watched the film Mortal Engines. It's not a great film, to be honest, but the basic concept (huge mobile cities devouring one another) is very cool, and the design for the cities is very good indeed. The first ten minutes are really decent. Anyhow, it made me wonder about building some kind of mobile settlement, and then I remembered that I'd built a big tank years ago. Perhaps I'll have a go at sprucing it up a bit...

Saturday, 21 November 2020

Wood Elf Warband

I've always liked wood elves. They're a cool idea when done well, much more so than their boring high elf colleagues. In fantasy, they tend to run from twee little pixie folk to violent weirdos who would be happy in The Wicker Man. GW, unsurprisingly, tended more towards the violent weirdo end of the scale, but they never seemed to quite get the wood elves right. Every time they were updated, either the elves themselves (that's a lot of "elves") or their friends the treemen ended up looking a bit strange.

I thought I'd have a go at making a small warband, perhaps for Frostgrave, picking and choosing different models with a similar general theme. Recently, Axiom at Magpie and Old Lead wrote an interesting post about designing and theming conversions (HERE): while I don't go into as much detail when I'm converting a set of models, I do tend to have lists of features that form in my mind. If I wrote it down, the list for the wood elves would look like this:

- models will be archers or wardancers, so either stealthy or berserk

- cloaks, hoods and perhaps masks for archers, but not modern camouflage

- "wild" look for wardancers: big hair, furs/wood/skulls, barefoot etc.

- not much armour overall, and some of it will be wooden (maybe).

- use any models that work

- not just green.

I also decided to give them a pattern that I nicked from Dragon Age 2: stylised branches rising up from the ground. So, without further ado:

The first model isn't a GW miniature at all. It's a Tharn warrior from Privateer Press' Hordes, which I got ages ago and who looks a lot like a very feral elf. She was missing a left arm, so I cut one off a dark eldar and filed it down a little. She's also got an old GW wood elf knife strapped to her back, to use once she's thrown her spear.

And seen from behind:

The second wood elf is a wardancer that I got several decades ago. He's got a huge sword and seems to be dressed in a kind of toga (there's a bit of a Celt feel to some of the older models). I didn't do any conversions. Apart from him being quite a "flat" model owing to the moulding limitations of the time, I think he's a nice miniature:

Rear view:

Third, we've got one of the oldest models I own. The body of this archer came from a box called something like Fantasy Legions that GW made when I was very young. You got a variety of white plastic troopers, including humans, orcs, skaven, goblins and dwarfs. And this archer. 

One tactic when painting slightly wonky models is to swap a not-great head with a better one. I did this here and used a much more recent plastic GW head. The new head has an odd fan of branches over the elf's mouth, but it's a great improvement on the rather dated original. I also cut his huge pointy feet down a little and resculpted the ends of his boots.

I think he looks alright now, if a little static. More elves to follow!

Friday, 13 November 2020

Three More Space Marines

 After my comments last week about how I didn't like space marines, I thought I'd do the logical thing and paint some more space marines. Here are three more: they're all reasonably old models, from 2000-2005, I think.

They're all unconverted. I decided on a light grey for their armour, without the bluish tint of Space Wolf armour. I thought it could look both like plate armour - I'm going for a knightly feel for these guys - and could be used as urban camouflage for the more "practical" members of the chapter.

First is a veteran. I really like the medieval look of this guy. I painted his drapes like ancient heraldry. I think the blue and red are nice rich colours and have a suitably regal feel.

Second is a sergeant (I think). He's clearly very excited about whatever he's pointing at. It must be awesome. He's less ornate than the veteran chap, but still a nice little miniature.

And lastly, we've got a captain. This guy has a cloak and no helmet, and is therefore clearly very important. I tried a more dramatic effect on his sword, with lightning. It came out ok. 

Here they all are together, about to have an adventure.

I've got a few more marines to paint, but I fancy a bit of a change. I've been wondering about doing a wood elf warband for Frostgrave (or just generally). I might have a try at a couple of wardancer types.

Friday, 6 November 2020

Three Space Marines

 Of all the aspects of Warhammer 40,000, my least favourite has to be the Space Marines. This is a bit of a problem, as 40k is basically "Space Marines vs some other people". But the marines are really unappealing. 

They're boring. They all look very similar, and have about one personality per chapter. Some of the background fluff is like a ten-year-old boy's idea of a tough guy: they're really big, they don't like girls and they can spit acid. Goodness only knows what their wee does. And the obsession with making them larger and larger is just plain odd.

Anyhow, I happened to have a small group of marines that I bought a while ago, because they were quite decent miniatures. Also, like Teletubbies, they would all have differently-coloured armour. I thought I'd give them a go.

First up, we've got a very old librarian miniature (who on earth thought that "librarian" was cooler than "psychic"?). My friend Owen gave him to me: I think he's Rogue Trader material. I painted him up in a fairly standard way, and found that he was quite fun and easy to paint. There's nothing much to say about him, except that, unusually, I gave him a pinker lower lip, just to make his features a bit more pronounced. Oh, and that he looks like that man who chopped that other man's willy off in A Game of Thrones.

The second marine is an apothecary. I painted him in the usual white colours, shading up from bone. It took bloody ages, but I think it came out alright. There was a lot of fiddly detail on this model, and painting him with a white undercoat made it hard to outline all the pipes and flasks. I might try to lighten the colour a bit: he looks slightly dirty.

The third model is a techmarine. I like techmarines, as they have lots of cool detail and odd machinery. This guy came with a backpack that had a huge robot arm sticking out the side of it. While this was good, it really detracted from the movement and pose of the model, so I replaced it with a regular backpack. I mixed some grey into his skin, to give the impression that he's virtually a robot.

And that's all for now!

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Space Truck

 Frequent readers of this blog (hello to you both) will know that I've been trying to get though the huge heap of unpainted metal and unfinished conversions that I've had knocking about for ages. A long time ago, I tried to make an LRDG-type truck for some orks, but it didn't go very well, and I still had the rear of the truck lying around. I also had the cab of a Sentinel (Sentinel legs are really useful, the cabs less so) and some battlewagon tracks that I picked up in a very battered state (them, not me) at a wargames fair.

I found that the three elements fitted together surprisingly well.

The roof of the cab was an absolute pig to build, as I wanted to fill it in with plasticard. It took a lot of patience and fiddly bits of card, but I finally managed to build a new roof for the cab. It was then a matter of adding lots of random detail, most of it either made from thin plasticard or taken from an Airfix Tiger tank that I bought about 15 years ago and have been slowly dismantling ever since.

I felt that it needed some cargo, and so I used some plastic boxes I got in a Mantic sale ages ago. The weird boxy thing next to the cab is a resin aircon unit, which I imagine either keeps the cargo cold or provides air for the cab as it rolls across some strange alien world.

Here's a thrilling rear view.

I did wonder about adding some hinges to the rear door, but I couldn't make them look convincing, so, for now, it's unhinged.

Painting was fairly simple: it got an industrial blue base, which was then shaded and heavily weathered. I didn't add any rust, as I expect it would be in too much use to get rusty, but I expect it would be very battered and dirty.

The Bison all-terrain carrier is one of the most successful vehicles to be produced on the Outer Rim. The sealed cab protects the driver from the hazards of semi-terraformed worlds, and the filtration system can process oxygen from low-yield atmospheres and store it in the integral tanks. Despite these innovations, the Bison's real strength is its ruggedness and ease of repair: some units have been in service for over a century, and a few were recently used as improvised armoured cars in the recent New Luton uprising.

Sunday, 25 October 2020

Meanwhile, in Tableton

 A friend of mine decided to name my Frostheim/Mordgrave layout Tableton. To celebrate that, here are a few pictures of what's going on in the city.

Various respectable types go out for a stroll:

The undead horde, taking the night air:

The dwarves, defending their fortress:

Saturday, 24 October 2020

Gruk Mansmasher, Ork Warlord

 Here's the second conversion of one of the ogres from the Blood Bowl team. This guy was running forward, presumably to punt the ball. I really liked the dynamic pose, and wondered about making him into a Bioshock-style crudely-doctored mutant. But I felt a bit tired of that look and thought that he'd be good as a great big ork.

So, with some ork bits and a lot of plasticard, I made this:

And then he got some paint.

This was one of those rare moments when I thought quite carefully about the painting and converting. I didn't want to spoil the sense of forward movement, and I was careful not to make him lopsided when adding weapons and gear. When I painted him, I did the stripes on his armour to be painting towards his face, so that his tiny eyes and big mouth remain a focal point.

I think he's still got that feeling of movement:

Gruk Mansmasher is a minor ork warlord of the goff clan. He first came to prominence during a Tau-eating contest in the Agon'Va system, and later put his substantial bulk to good use when he belly-flopped the Nurgle champion Spotticus, causing him to pop. Since then, Gruk has made mincemeat of many enemies and has personally pledged to devour every pie in the Imperium.