Sunday, 21 February 2021

Yet Another Frostheim House

It seems like a long while since I posted here - it's actually been less than two weeks, but we're operating on pandemic time here in the UK, where everything both happens instantly and takes forever. Anyhow, I've spent the time "productively", building another house for my Frostheim village.

This is probably the biggest and most ambitious house so far. I used a cut-up castle wall from Renedra Miniatures to make the stone base for the house. The upper floor came from a cheap wooden box - I've had it so long that I'm not sure where it came from, but I think it might be a money box purchased at the great (and probably late, now) local arts shop. The pointy roof, the roof itself and the tiles were cardboard and plasticard.

Inevitable terrible WIP shots:

More than anything I make on this blog, the little houses get better the more time you spend on them. And I seemed to spend years on this thing! I added timber from coffee stirrers and resin windows from Antenociti's Workshop, which look very nice indeed. Other bits came from old GW kits. One of the chimney-pots was the internal mechanism of a biro!

So here we are, at last. I think I'm done with this one. 

And here it is in the slightly blurry town.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Troll Number Four and a Black Scorpion Scholar

 I suspect some projects never end. I thought I'd finished my group of trolls when I painted the third of them a few weeks back, but soon enough I found myself buying another one from Ebay. This one is the plastic model that came with the Battle of Skull Pass Fantasy Battle set many years ago. He's got slightly different features to the others, but I expect that trolls are pretty accepting of anything they can't eat, so he'll fit in fine. Here he is, unconverted, about to lob a huge lump of masonry at anyone he dislikes.

Some of the detail on the model was a little soft, but I'm pleased with the shading on his face and arms.

Next up, I've finally got around to painting one of the Black Scorpion pirate models that I bought at least five years ago. Black Scorpion made some excellent miniatures, and this guy is a great sculpt. He seems to be some kind of scholar or navigator, with his piles of books and similar paraphenalia. I think he could make a good wizardly character for Frostgrave or the like. 

The shading on resin models comes out a bit harsh sometimes, perhaps because the edges are sharp, but I like him a lot. 

Anyhow, I've got plans for the next troll in the horde, which will involve converting what I consider to be one of the worst models of the last ten years. Should be fun!

Monday, 1 February 2021

Minions of the Mechanicus


There are three ways for a manufacturer to make a miniature that holds a rifle-shaped gun (or a crossbow). The first is to make both arms and the gun as one piece of plastic, that you attach at the shoulders of the miniature. This is convenient for the modeller, but takes up space on a frame of parts and means that those arms have to be linked to that particular gun. 

The second is to make both arms and the gun separately. This allows the same arms to hold different guns, but it is really fiddly to assemble, and often requires the model to have a huge ugly left hand to cradle the gun.

The third is to make the right arm (or at least the arm with the hand that pulls the trigger) and the gun in one piece, and the left arm in another. This seems to be the option currently preferred by Games Workshop, whose Skitarri and Genestealer Neophytes use this system. Because a lot of infantry kits have a choice of two basic weapons (autoguns and shotguns for the Genestealers), you end up with a lot of leftover right arms and no left ones.

The upshot of all this verbiage is that, if you want to convert models to use leftover guns, you need to get used to making left arms. That means using sculpting green stuff sleeves around some sort of wire. Ages ago, before there were any Skitarri models, I made some little robot people from old Bretonnian man-at-arms models (men-at-arms models? I don't know what the plural is. Pretty ironic about the arms, though). I gave them heads from the Tempestus Scions box and guns from the old plastic Space Marine scout kit. What I didn't do was give them new left arms, as I figured that the sleeves on the Bretonnian models would suffice.

The end result was that they had normal looking right arms and tiny left ones. Obviously, there are some odd characters among the Adeptus Mechanicus, but I don't think anyone removes half their left arm without at least adding a few metal tentacles. So, I went back to them, and lengthened their left arms with paperclip wire, then sculpted sleeves out of green stuff. Like this:

Painting-wise, I went back and brightened the red up, tidied up the other colours and, well, that's about it. I like these guys; the Bretonnian models they're based on are quite small, so they look quite scrawny. I imagine them scurrying around the lair of their boss like ants, guarding the corridors and doing general minion stuff.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

Even More Space Marines

So, here are some more space marines - or space knights, or whatever these guys are. As I've probably mentioned a few hundred times before, most of the marine fluff strikes me as either silly or dull (Chaos fluff, on the other hand...). And of course, without the space marines, we wouldn't have all those hilarious memes about Tau being weedy in close combat where the punchline is "Heresy!". 

So, ignoring all of that, I reckon that my guys (let's call them the Knights of the Void for now) zip around space going on exciting quests and that sort of thing. Here, a small group of knights have got together on the same questing-ship to assist various chapter experts in some important mission.

These two guys are lead models from 2005 or so. I think they're both veteran marines. They were painted to look both heraldic and fairly cheerful. I like the idea of small, cheerful marines. 

King Flowbert is the ancestral monarch of a very small asteroid with a thriving population of one. Among other things, his ancestral duties require him to maintain diplomatic relations with the very small prince on the next asteroid down.

King Flowbert's sword was missing, so he got a new one from a very old Empire model.

Armand du Planete Sauvage joined the Knights of the Void after a mystical quest, in which he followed a white stag across the sector. Amazingly, this seemed like a good idea at the time.

This chap is an older model in Mk 3 armour. I think he fits the medieval feel quite well. 

Sir Belfry the Pious hails from Borchester Prime, a planet known for its brave warriors and high-quality Grime MCs. In his spare time, he is the Archbishop of Saturn.

By the way, I keep getting adverts for something called the Google Web Creators Community. Is it worth a look? I've no idea what it is - I've only just got the hang of posting here.

Monday, 25 January 2021

A Pack of Trolls

 Just a quick post. I dug up an old metal troll that a friend gave me and repainted him. Here he is:

He fits in with his larger brethren to complete the gang of trolls.

A while back, I bought Hardwired, a single-player cyberpunk skirmish game by Patrick Todoroff. It was a little rough around the edges but a lot of fun. I've just got hold of his fantasy game, Nightwatch, and I might well give that a try soon. It uses a variety of increasingly large monsters, and I think the trolls could be quite good as mid-level baddies.

Thursday, 21 January 2021

Pontifex Maximus

 About 25 years ago, I bought a copy of Rogue Trader off a kid called Gary and I've (metaphorically) never looked back. Rogue Trader has provided me with endless entertainment, whether it's the possibility of fielding an army of sand clams or discovering the secrets of Planet Birmingham.

About two thirds of the way through Rogue Trader is this picture. 

It's by John Blanche and is, I think, one of his better ones. I suppose the chap in red is a tech-priest, and the loony next to him is... well, a loony. It's not as if 40k is short of them. He actually looks like a grimdark version of Christopher Biggins, but let's not dwell on that. I guess these two oddballs lurk in some techno-dungeon, where they perform evil science / plot to take over the world / get in wacky trouble. Anyway, I thought I'd have a go at making them.

The red chap (let's call him Pontifex Maximus, which I gather means "high priest") was based on a new Delaque body, with a Skitarri head and a backpack from a techmarine. Unfortunately, the backpack only had one arm and looked very lopsided (it did on the techmarine, too), so I had to make another one from scratch. This involved an old plastic chainsword, lots of plasticard and some bits from what I think was once a 15mm tank kit. His folded sleeves were sculpted from green stuff.

Painting was pretty easy: he's basically red robes and tarnished metal. I gave him blue lenses to draw the eye to his face (or lack of). 

His friend (let's call him Igor) was based on a chaos cultist model, with a head that was left over from a chaos spawn and a placard from some WFB flagellants. His hands were difficult, and after a lot of trouble I converted them out of Frostgrave soldiers and green stuff. One thing I've learned in this project is to avoid sculpting anything from scratch if I can possibly avoid it. He's not quite in the pose of the original loony, but the concept is there.

Again, the painting was fairly straightforward, apart from the fiddly business of painting his placard. I gave him rather sickly skin and grubby clothes.

And here they are together!

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.