Wednesday, 20 September 2017


Sir Vaylance the Vigilant hails from a minor feudal world on the far side of Scutus Minoris. Vaylance is a man of honour, who ceaselessly guards his people and hasn't trodden on any peasants for ages.

During a battle with ork raiders, Vaylance "rescued" Prioress Gwendoline the Irascible of the Order of Triniana Sanctata, by stepping on the enemy warlord. Vaylance was much taken with the comparatively tiny maiden, and vowed to assist the Prioress in the traditional knightly manner (ie whether she liked it or not). Love, as they say in the grim darkness of the far future, conquers all, and what better way to conquer things than to be in a gigantic robot suit?

Finally, the titan is finished! I'm both satisfied with the result and very keen not to paint anything this big for a long while. To begin with, I felt that the overall colour scheme was a bit busy, but to be honest that sort of heraldry seems to be the norm for these things.

Titan enthusiasts will note that I've left off some of the decorations, including the dangling crotch banner. This is mainly because I didn't think they added much to the model, and I was quite sick of freehand without having to paint his enormous loincloth. I doubt I'll add them later - they'll probably end up in some other project.

I think I'll go and paint a goat or something now.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Almost there...

The epic struggle to finish this bloody titan and not give in to the urge to do a quick, bad job continues. I finished the shoulder pad and I'm really pleased with the result.

I have assembled the body but need to do some of the detail and weathering. Since I don't have an airbrush, the lighting was done with standard brushes and bits of sponge. It's come out well, considering.

I still need to work on the face, and add some odds and ends, but this project is coming to an end (thank goodness!). I just wish I could paint checks a bit better and not have to weather out all the wobbly lines.

Once this is done, I've got a selection of individual models that I bought at the Colours event last weekend. I'm really looking forwards to painting little things again!

Friday, 15 September 2017

Titan shoulder pads

And now onto the shoulder plates. These were rather daunting, since they provide a large open space for me to cock up with hideous daubings.

I was never going to be able to paint anything particularly impressive in freehand. However, I could just about produce some kind of medieval-style drawing which, given the background of the knight titans, could well work.

So, I made this.

It depicts the victory of Sir Vaylance over some sort of chaos beastie and was probably painted on by Vaylance himself after a few drinks.

More impressive (hopefully) is the other shoulder pad. This depicts an angelic Sister of Battle. The wings came from a Blood Angel flying guy. The face was cast from a Reaper Bones model with putty and tidied up somewhat with green stuff. The rest of the sculpture was made from green stuff.

I'm planning to paint this as old bronze, to hide any flaws in the sculpting (of which, left's be honest, there will be many).

Monday, 11 September 2017

Knight Titan Pilot

The next step has been to work on the pilot: specifically, painting him and getting him into the body of the titan without all the paint coming off. This was surprisingly difficult to do.

I made the pilot out of a sentinel driver's legs, a space marine scout's body and the head of a Brettonian knight. Given that the background says the pilots are generally medieval-type guys, this is Sir Vaylance the Vigilant, last seen in Warhammer armour about to invade Frostgrave.

As the back of his chair/compartment, I used an old door from a Rhino, which by chance fitted really well. I built a control panel at the front of the cockpit and glued him in.

The rear of the body, which presumably contains the engine, was made from plasticard bent to fit in, with a panel cut away to reveal part of the machinery. I find it hard to imagine the circumstances in which anyone will ever see this, but what the heck, I like it.

He's just about to press a button to activate something - possibly the CD player. I expect it to be full of "Classic Jousting Moods" and records by the Medieval Baebes.

So, here's where I've got to so far...

Friday, 8 September 2017

Further Developments in Titan Construction

Work continues on the titan. I have assembled its guns and got quite far in painting them. Because they are quite boring to look at on their own, I have added a robot that I made earlier to the pictures.

The item being modelled in this picture is a rapid-fire battle cannon. It's basically a big lump of machinery with a shield and a barrel. To make it more interesting, I've added a sort of barber's pole decoration to the barrel (done with a spray can and the sticky strip cut from a post-it note) that hopefully looks a bit like a medieval lance.

Here we see the big machine gun, which is a mega gatling cannon or something like that. I added some bluing to the end of the gun, which seems to have come out bizarrely pretty.

Also, the battle cannon fits conveniently on a small wooden cart, in the event that I take up Napoleonics in a hurry and have to improvise a wheeled gun.


Being unable to resist the urge to muck about with the original kit, I decided to add a pilot. I happened to have a model lying around from a failed attempt to build an LRDG-type buggy from an ork truck, and I removed the steering wheel and added some extra bits. To be honest, I expect that the driver would be wired into the machine by a neural link, but what the heck, he's got a gearstick instead.

The next step will be to finish the rider and paint/assemble the body. I'm not looking forward to painting the canopy, especially as I don't have an airbrush. And after that, it'll be time to put on all the fiddly bits.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Knight Titan Legs

This week, I finally started on a model that I've had gathering dust in a cupboard for a couple of years: a knight titan. I was given this ages ago (thanks PM!) but up till now I've been put off by its sheer size. However, I've now got the time to chip away at it and try to do a decent job by constructing it in stages.

Stage one consists of the legs and base. I didn't really like the static position of the legs and tried to reposition them to be clambering over some wreckage. This worked, but it meant that a lot of the bits of cabling running between the legs would no longer fit (how does this thing walk?). I left them off. Actually, it makes the legs look rather more realistic not having important wires hanging loose.

I used bits of a scenery kit to make the base, along with tubing from drinking straws and plastic biros. I tried to add some bits of detail to stop it looking too much like a heap of off-cuts.

The standard policy seems to be to paint the legs in bare metal, which looks a bit strange to me. For one thing, I would expect them to develop a brown patina very quickly. For another, it seems more likely that the engineers would slap a thick coat of some kind of drab, protective paint over the top. I went with a dark grey and tried to make it look sufficiently dirty.

The base was painted in fairly dull, neutral colours, as I intend to make the plates of armour on the knight quite jolly and heraldic. I put a few bits of colour on the base for variety and to make it look more like an actual set of objects.

There's still painting work to do on the base - quite a lot of it - but I think this is a reasonable start. Now onto the guns.This is going to be a difficult project: I'm used to small models with a lot of conversion, and I simply can't paint a titan as well as an awful lot of people. I'll have to think about how to make it distinctive.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Meanwhile, in Khornwall

I have returned from holiday in Cornwall and, in a truly awkward attempt at a segue back into model painting, I have been working on some Khornish miniatures.

These were the Blood Warriors from the Storm of Sigmar boxed set. Like the other Khorne soldiers, I thought it would be good to convert them into post-apocalyptic types. A basic Blood Warrior looks like this:

The rabbit ears would have to go. I was slightly nervous about this, but simply hacking them off and filing down the result left the warriors with interesting plates over the sides of their heads, like a neckbrace. At any rate, it looked solid and a darn sight less silly than the original outfits.

I removed the slightly weird shield-things and replaced some of the axes with less medieval-looking weapons, including a couple of guns. Likewise, the strange stomach-mouth on one of the models was filled in. In the model shown above, I cut off the silly beard, which even ZZ Top would regard as excessive, and replaced it with a roll of cloth (that probably looks like some kind of mutation, now I think about it). So here we are:

This guy is in charge, as much as anyone could be.

This one is my favourite.

It's actually a ball and chain.

The painting looks a bit rough and ready, largely because it is, but I think it suits the miniatures. I went for a rusty, daubed look. Presumably these guys smear red paint on their armour or, failing that, Chicken Tikka Masala. In fact, painting things with curry is beginning to look like a theme of this blog.

In other news, it's exciting to see that a new version of Necromunda is being released. The models look pretty good, although I've never been very keen on House Goliath, and high heels on models is (are?) a pet hate of mine. My only concern is that they might be a bit big. Everything from GW seems to be getting larger, and it would be nice if they scaled against the original models.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Old Lead

In my continuing efforts to work through the vast heap of stripped lead that I've acquired - I've got a whole Cadbury's Roses box full of metal models, which weights about a ton and reeks of Dettol - I had a look at two of the oldest models I own and tried to make them look at least presentable.

The first one is an ancient metal termagant. Termagants are the lowly footsoldiers (hoofsoldiers, technically) of the Tyranid hive mind, and have gone through several iterations over the years. Personally, I think that the old metal models capture them best: small, fast, vicious and nasty, scuttling down pipes and through the underhive, looking for things to shoot and jab.

In keeping with this image, I based the termagant on a cast-off piece of plastic and painted the base to look like a metal walkway rusted by the toxic sludge below it. The termagant itself was not converted, and was painted an unhealthy fleshy colour, like a mixture of the facehugger from Alien and the last chicken in the rotisserie section of a large supermarket, spinning sadly on a long-neglected spike, avoided by all but the very drunkest customers.

Not for human consumption, but good at consuming humans

The next model was a Squat "living ancestor". Apparently, this guy used to sit in a sidecar, and was propelled into battle by his biker-dwarf brethren. I have no memory of buying him and I certainly don't have his bike and sidecar. I gave him a pair of Ramshackle Games robot legs and the engine/exhausts from a tractor.

Since I couldn't cut him off his resin base (as I quickly discovered), I broke the edges of the base off to make it look like rock. He then got a red paint job.

I like this guy: I could see him as some sort of guildmaster or other important, but physically feeble, type. Perhaps he represents a merchant guild. I could see him having a Dickensian name like Jedediah Clench. He's probably really good on the local football team, assuming that he doesn't die of old age mid-game.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

A shotgun and a bottle of beer

About 25 years ago, I bought a few gangers for a game called Confrontation, which was the forerunner to Necromunda. I never played it (it looked incredibly complex) but I did paint the models - badly. I stripped one of them down, and started again.

He reminded me slightly of the bartender Ratz in William Gibson's hard-to-follow cyberpunk novel, Neuromancer, who is described as having a mechanical arm and keeps a riot gun behind the bar. I gave my guy a bionic arm made out of plasticard, sprues and bits of spear, and a shotgun from the excellent genestealer cultists set. His beer bottle came from a set of bottles made by a company called Meng, who I think do bits for historical dioramas. I stuck him on a base from the Sedition Wars game.

And then time for painting. He got a fairly standard jeans-and-apron look. Neuromancer mentions Ratz's bionic arm as being made of "grubby pink plastic" and I tried to reflect that in the paint job, which I'm not sure comes across very well here. I also added some warning stripes to his shotgun. It's a popular look on Necromunda and reminds potential enemies that shotguns can be dangerous.

I'm pleased with the painting, and I like the variety of fairly bright colours. In particular, the shading on the apron and the jeans has come out well. I can imagine him being a suitably disreputable addition to the post-apocalyptic drinking scene.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Lady with a banner

At the moment, I am ill. I have some sort of virus and, to quote Kris Kristofferson in one of the Blade films, I feel like hammered shit. Concentrating on much more than shooting aliens on a screen is proving tricky. Anyway, I've got one model done this time, and I think it's come out quite well.

It's the Sisters of Battle imagifer that I built last time. The paint scheme was pretty obvious, really. Amusingly, this model is about a head taller than the rest of the Sisters. Perhaps the main qualification for carrying the relic is that you can hold it up really high. After all, prowess is generally measured in the 40k universe by (1) hat size, (2) proliferation of skulls and (3) sheer physical bulk. Not wearing a helmet also seems to help.

Have I ever explained my theory that skulls grow in the ground in 40k, a bit like turnips on Earth?

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Dogs of Squark

It's not been a very productive week, for no particular reason, but I've been able to get a bit of model-making done.

First, I've started work on an Imagifer (basically, a relic-bearer) for my Sisters of Battle. The standard model is slightly dated and a bit of a lump. The model below was converted from a Seraphim (flying sister) that was missing its jetpack when I bought it second hand. I cut the arms, lowered the left hand and replaced the right with a gauntlet from the Tempestus Scions box.

I thought it would be cooler to give her a banner rather than the sheet of parchment that the GW version is holding up. This banner came from a Gamezone model. It had already broken off, and looked really appropriate. The head had been removed by the previous owner, so I gave her a Statuesque Miniatures head.

Secondly, I finally got around to finishing off two kroot hounds that I bought ages ago. The models were each missing a leg, so I sculpted new ones out of green stuff. The one on the left has a new front leg, and the one on the right was missing his back left leg.

Squarkoids are strange hybrids of vulture and dog that hunt in the badlands surrounding Tin City. They can be domesticated, and are used in a number of roles. However they are less valued for hunting, where their mixture of dog and bird DNA often causes them to try to retrieve one another. They are not to be confused with Flyenas.

I've realised that I really enjoy painting aliens and random space monsters, as opposed to armies of humans and very human-like things. Science fiction games need more monsters.


I added a parchment/banner to the sister of battle, to help cover up the joins and stabilise the model.

Also, a while ago I made a shanty-town type house. I was slightly dissatisfied with it, and so I added a rough metal roof to it, made from off-cuts of plasticard. I think it's greatly improved the model.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

A Visit to the Doctor

The medics of Tin City play a vital role in patching up the desperate fighters of the wasteland. Whether it's reattaching a limb or sticking on an entirely new one, you can count on your local doctor to fix you up and not to charge an arm and a leg (at least, not unless you wanted them removed). Most medical practitioners also can dispose of unwanted problems, like grunting fever, squatcrotch or the bodies of slain enemies. That said, many doctors have side businesses too, for when trade is slow, such as Honest Bob's combined surgery, undertaker's and kebab stand.

The clinic was looking rather dull at the start of the week, so I started adding details to the exterior to make it more interesting. The sign was a pain, and I ended up redoing the lettering. I broke up the white exterior with some graffiti and some unspecified tech bits, whilst trying to keep the Japanese shop front style.

I'd like to do some more detailing at the back: perhaps I'll add a little awning over the doorway, or a bike propped up against the wall.

Also, I made a bin out of plasticard and painted it a jolly, if filthy, yellow, to make the shape more interesting and provide a bit more colour. I've not stuck this in place, so it can be put against a range of buildings for instant waste-disposal excitement. I'm waiting for some bits to make the interior.

I also got the chance at last to paint a model I picked up for £1 at last year's Colours event. It's a Privateer Press model called Grim Angus, and has quite a steampunk feel. He came holding a rifle in his right hand, which didn't look quite right, so I replaced it with a knife from a GW ogre. This was surprisingly tricky, and I had to partially rebuild his hand with green stuff. I think he's come out well.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Nothing to see

Here are a few more inhabitants of the wastes, going about their daily business.

These two gentlemen have gone for a stroll in the desert in their hazmat suits, as you do, in a set of events completely unrelated to recovering crashed UFOs or producing methamphetamine. They are made by Full Borer Games (I think) and while they're not extremely detailed the folds in the cloth were good to paint. Sometimes you can have too much detail (says the man with a heap of unpainted Carnivale models on his desk).

Here is Hasslefree's version of Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road. Her gun is incredibly delicate so I thought I'd take a picture before the barrel inevitably snaps off. It's a really great model. I didn't try to paint the eyes because the risk of me slipping and covering the side of her face in white paint is too high. Of course that's the sort of thing people do in Mad Max, but still.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Ninja and a Shed

While I'm never going to have the vast towers and murky streets of Blade Runner, the setting I've been gradually putting together does have a vaguely cyberpunk feel, like a border town in the future, where high technology sits alongside waste and junk.

There's always been a strong Japanese element to cyberpunk, probably because the genre was invented around 1980, when Tokyo looked to be the city of the future: Blade Runner has blimps advertising sushi, and Neuromancer has a replicant ninja. In keeping with this, I converted a ninja-type assassin from various bits I had lying around.

The head and torso come from a 40k Vindicare assassin, which I got cheaply with a load of broken parts (someone else had already hacked the legs off). The right arm and gun originally were part of an Infinity model, and the left arm is from a genestealer hybrid. The legs were based on the legs of a plastic Eldar guardian, although I had to cut them down because they were incredibly long. I sculpted some appropriate shoes instead of the pointy boot things that Eldar seem to wear.

Here he is with a bit of paint. As ever, he's slightly washed out, so the colour looks more extreme than it actually is. Strangely, the contrast on the base has hardly come out at all.

The other current project is a clinic for the Necromunda town, based on a TT Combat model. At present, it looks like a big white shed.

It will look better once I've stuck some more bits on. I'm thinking of getting hold of the recent objectives set to make some medical gear for the interior, and perhaps building a more technological extension on the side. It's got plenty of potential - which means that it's a long way from being finished.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Nurgle Champion

So great was the corruption of the governor that folk did not argue about whether he would fall to Chaos, but which of the ruinous powers would claim his soul. The governor's crazed ranting had inspired many a Khornate militia to go on the rampage. His subterfuge and treason were worthy of a devotee of Tzeentch. And his depraved, insatiable lusts would have made a priest of Slaanesh wince.

But ultimately he belonged to Nurgle, the god of corruption and decay. Now his name is lost, and he is known only as Threebellies, a monster as bloated as he is stupid, whose ruins everything he touches.

I've never really been very into Chaos in Warhammer, either in fantasy or 40k, although some of the really old stuff has an entertaining Hieronymous Bosch feeling. It's pretty take-it-or-leave-it for me, and most of it I'd leave. In particular, I've never really got Nurgle, whose models always looked a bit jolly and suffered from an excess of tentacles.

Anyway, a friend of mind gave me part of a really old metal Great Unclean One. I had no real use for it, until I discovered that the upper body of one of the riders from the Maggoth kit fitted really well on top of it. By which I mean that it was grossly misproportioned.

I found a tutorial for painting suitably rancid skin and followed it. He does look a bit like a mouldy strawberry up on end, but in the circumstances, that might not be an entirely bad thing.


Tuesday, 4 July 2017


Presidential Decree 69784/603/17
Top Secret

Dear science guys,

Listen, I have had the best idea how to solve the prison overcrowding crisis and the recruitment problem at once! We get convicts and fill them with drugs and stuff until they're really big and kind of mutated like that guy in that cartoon. And mad, too. They've got to be mad. Then, we point them at the bad guys and let them loose! Cool, huh?

 Of course, we'd want real crazies to begin with, homicidal maniacs and stuff, otherwise it won't work. And we'd need to give them lots of big weapons. Sometimes, I amaze myself with all the brilliant ideas I have. It's gonna be great, so great. I can't see how this could go wrong.

For a while I've been interested in the "Storm of Sigmar" starter set for Warhammer Age of Sigmar: mainly because for £20 you get a lot of pretty decent models. In particular, I think the armoured Khorne chaps are really well sculpted and would make an excellent replacement for the old and lumpy plastic Chaos Space Marines. I've also been tempted to have a go at converting some Sigmarines, and this seemed to be the easiest way to get some on the cheap.

The box comes with five "bloodreavers". These are low ranking Khorne fighters (Khorne seems to be the chaos god of choice in AoS, and now everything Khorneish has "blood" in the title), and to my mind they're a bit too massive to be entirely convincing as normal humans. I thought it would be good to update them to look like post-apocalyptic maniacs, like the War Boys from Mad Max or the Raiders from Fallout.

That involved cutting off their Viking-style helmets and replacing some of their weapons. I also did some minor converting to make the poses a bit more dynamic. I gave them metal gas mask heads from Pig Iron Productions to make them look more sinister.

Painting-wise, I went for orange convict-type trousers and a lot of dirt. I wanted to use a messy style on the torsos, with a lot of washes over a pale undercoat, but it was too messy and I just ended up painting them in the usual way. Oh well: it's pretty messy as it is.

Now, on a different note, you're clearly people of excellent taste (after all, you're reading this...). So why not pre-order my next novel? The Pincers of Death, an exciting tale of war, giant soldier ants and hovering teapots right: HERE. I can promise that the jokes in it are even better than the ones here. Honest.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Inglorious Technicolor!

While I really enjoy making terrain, I've found that my natural instinct is to colour everything grey. Although most fantastical buildings probably would be made of either stone or concrete, it does make for a rather drab battlefield, especially if you can't paint the neon lights like those in Blade Runner.

So I decided to experiment with some colour. I looked at pictures of the favelas in Rio, where crude buildings are often painted very brightly, and tried to do a colour scheme like that on a model. The building I made was built out of a cheap wooden chest that I bought at an art shop (perhaps for storing jewellery) on top of a lower storey made out of textured plasticard. Additional doors, windows and tech stuff were attached to break up the outline from a variety of old models and basing kits.

I'm really not sure what to make of the result. The green colour bothers me a bit: I tried to mute it down with sponged-on highlights/dirt, but it does feel very lurid. I'm reminded of the sort of "you'd never know it was a shampoo bottle, honest" terrain from the early days of wargaming. That said, the colours do tie in quite nicely with the market stalls and some of the random machinery that I've already made. Here's a back view:

I do like the brickwork (it's a bit washed out here) and the object source lighting. I'll have a think about the green colour. If either of you readers happen to have any thoughts, please do send me a comment below.

Anyway, more terrain. For some reason, since time immemorial, it has been the custom in the UK to sell oranges in a mesh bag. Recently, these bags have had a sort of plastic fishnet panel at the front. I hacked up one of these and used it as wire for a fence. Stuck between bits of sprue, and suitably painted, it looks quite convincing.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Zombie Flamenco Apocalypse!

Please note that the following post contains graphic descriptions of both rooting and tooting, and hence may not be suitable for those of a sensitive disposition.

This weekend was the Glastonbury Festival, and so my friend James and I met up to stay inside, play board games and drink tea.

First was Project Z, Warlord Games' zombie wargame. This was the first time either of us had played it, and for simplicity's sake we took on a solo scenario, controlling three survivors of the apocalypse each. We had to get from one side of the board to the other, battling through a shuffling horde of the undead on the way.

The rules were reasonable, in that they made sense and had plenty of opportunity for strategy and cunning. We played the scenario twice: the first time, all the survivors reached "safety" (in this case, a ruined building that was about as safe as a house made out of dynamite in the middle of a forest fire). The second time, one of our survivors, a bold fellow with a chainsaw, was pulled down and devoured.

Many zombies were slain, so many that the undead were forced to recruit some extra help from James' stock of Konflict 47 German zombies. The modern and Nazi zombies sealed a sinister pact in a scene that was much like the inlay art of Dark Side of the Moon.

Comfortably numbed

Overall, we agreed that for £30, Project Z wasn't bad at all.

Next up was the very reliable Shadows of Brimstone, also known as Cowboys v Cthulhu. Once again it was time to mosey on down to the old mine and draw a six-shooter on some varmints from Hell.

A horde of zombies prospectors and flamenco dancers attack the heroes

The first mission involved slaying industrial quantities of zombies, after which we were both rather tired of the shuffling dead, even if some of them were dressed like flamenco dancers. Taking on a new mission, both Sherrif Meatballs and Doc Casserole pulled their weight again, butchering a wide and colourful range of monsters and sending them to wait at the edge of the board.

In a truly manly climax, Sherrif Meatballs whipped out his Sherrif's badge, the sight of which sent Doc Casserole into a frenzy. Shooting wildly in all directions, Casserole squeezed off twelve bullets in a single turn, like the rootin', tootin' son of a gun that he is, scything through a range of monsters, and the day was saved. The mine was strewn with more bodies than a Nick Cave ballad. The two adventurers swaggered off to town to drink whiskey and have their mutations cut off.

Doc Casserole in action. Note (a) rooting and (b) tooting

 And then we tried Shadow War: Armageddon. This game pits small groups of Warhammer 40k soldiers against each other, and is strongly based on Necromunda. So far, so good. James took five harlequins and I used my squad of ork commandos.

The orks lurking innocently behind some shops

And then it went a bit wrong. The harlequins had special rules that made them very hard to hit and completely impossible to pin, as well as being able to pass straight through cover. They charged the orks and went through them like a knife through butter. The orks fought back - and died immediately. It was clear that the game was as good as over, and we called a halt to things.

My feeling is that the various forces are too different for the game to run smoothly, and the ability of the harlequins to ignore the pinning rule (which is pretty fundamental to Necromunda) was a gigantic advantage. We decided to give it another try, but with less extreme forces. Bit of a shame, that.

Anyhow, a very good weekend was had by all (well, both). Quality stuff!