Sunday, 19 November 2017

And Now With Trousers

This week has been interesting, in that I managed to pull something in my back and get a splitting headache at the same time. Unfortunately, it meant that I wasn't able to go to Warfare in Reading, which last year yielded a vast amount of cheap conversion-fodder. I'm a bit annoyed about that.

Still, I have been able to make a start on a new Necromunda gang. Painting standing upright is strange: it's as if you're about to deliver a speech to the model you're holding, like Hamlet with Yorick's skull.

"To be or not to - sod it, I can't be bothered."

 I think the new gang is going to be all female, which I'm always a little unsure about. I'll have to come up with some sort of rationale for this. Anyway, at Newbury I acquired five Prodos games models which would be perfect as Escher-type gangers. I used Dark Eldar arms, because they are armoured but thin enough to fit the shape of the bodies.

The colour scheme was chosen simply because I hadn't used much blue before, and I wanted to avoid the brown and green style of my earlier gang, the Terror Bird Cavalry. I think the models are supposed to be wearing no trousers, but stuff that because it looks ridiculous.

This ganger uses dark eldar arms (they all do) and a head from a Hasslefree miniature.

This models is probably a juve, given her pistol. Her gun arm is dark eldar, and the mechanical left arm came from a Mantic robot with a space marine's hand. The box on her hip is from a Tempestus Scion. I need to do a bit more shading on her face.

 And this ganger has gone for the classic cloak-and-witchfinder-hat combo. Like all these models, the gun was trimmed of some of its twiddly bits, just to make it look more like a human laser gun rather than some strange elf weapon.

I don't want all the models to be Prodos conversions. I've got some suitable miniatures that could be juves or specialists, and I'm very tempted to make this into their leader:

It might take a bit of explaining, though.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Deep Thoughts

More Carnivale this week, and this time around it's the Deep Ones. Unsurprisingly, the horrors of the deep have decided to colonise Venice. This is another great metal model, on a base made by Wyrd.

The base is so detailed that it's virtually a miniature in itself.

And the Deep One sits on top.

For a quarter of a ton of enraged sushi, he's a nice model. There are a lot of Deep Ones on the market, but Carnivale's version is the closest to my own mental image of these delightful creatures. I think he could do with a bit more of a highlight on his back scales, but it's hard not to make them too cartoony. I'll have another look tomorrow.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Two Narns, One Sheik and Some Coleslaw

Narns are chunky alien quadrupeds quite like small hippos. They are beige and greyish in colour, and they taste somewhat bland on their own. Narns are often preyed upon by phallhounds, and can be found around the edge of the Slurry of Curry, soaking up the atmosphere.

In the underhive, where conditions are not suited to larger animals, some locals have trained narns as beasts of burden, and equip them with body armour and metal cases to carry their supplies.

The narns were old epic squiggoths, which came broken. I used the two halves of a plastic barrel as their baggage containers.

Sheik Anvak is a mysterious man who leads a solitary life deep in the wastelands. Although he seems merely to be an old hermit, the raiders take pains to avoid him. Curiously, he never seems to be the man they are looking for. Some claim that he is an ancient mystic, but others whisper that he is really the dreaded crime lord Abdul Goldberg in disguise, lying low in preparation for some new criminal scheme.

Margarita Coleslaw is a respected trader and matriarch of the powerful Clan Coleslaw. The wastelanders say that if it moves, she can get a good price for it - which might explain where several of her more troublesome siblings have gone. 

The sheik was a model from the Spectre line. He was, unsurprisingly, a sheik. I made his hand a bit bigger to keep with the proportions of the other citizens. Madam Coleslaw started off as a Privateer Press miniature called Dannon Blythe. I repositioned her left arm so that she would have her hand on her hip. It was originally holding a sword on her shoulder, which was a bit medieval for my tastes. It's hard to see, but she is holding a coat over her shoulder. I really like the sculpting and the nonchalant style of the model.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

It's Carnival Season

As theatre-going becomes more popular with the nobility, the priesthood condemns playwrights for putting sex and violence on the stage. And they are right to do so: here we see Mr and Mrs Antoinette shortly after watching The Bloody Murder of the Foul Prince Romero and his Enormously Bosomed Wife, armed and ready for violence on the streets of Venice.

Here are my first two Carnivale models. They are Barnabotti, apparently, and are the foot-troops of the nobility. I painted them in similar colours, to suggest that they are husband and wife, and mounted them on some Wyrd scenic bases. They took a long time to paint, but I'm really pleased with the results.

Mind the step!

Mrs A was slightly converted. Her arm was so spindly that her hand was just going to snap off, so I cut the arm above the shoulder and turned it so that her hand would rest on the front of her dress for extra stability. Otherwise, they are as they came from the box.

How dare you insult my nose!

Sunday, 29 October 2017


It's been a slow couple of weeks or, more accurately, I've actually done something other than paint models in the last fortnight. To start with, after a lot of faff and delays, my new book is on the way to being in print.

Buy me!

My friend James came down and we played a few games, including Shadows of Brimstone and Space Hulk. Space Hulk is a funny game. While I can admit it's technical excellence, it is so completely unforgiving that I usually feel that I've basically lost in the first few turns, if not in the actual setting-up of the pieces. I enjoy it a lot, but it always feels like a last stand rather than a winnable game. Anyhow, it's a classic in its own strange way, and extremely evocative of what it's trying to depict.

I also started work on the old metal Carnivale models that I've been stockpiling. They're fantastic but very spindly and detailed. I'm taking it quite slowly because I want to do the best that I can. Hopefully, more of that soon.

The only thing I've made recently is this. It's based on a tractor from the 40k crane set, with arms from a set of plastic blobs I got down the art shop and a face cast in green stuff from a Reaper Bones model (the same one that I used for the shoulder pad of my titan).

My mental image is that the machine rolls around doing tasks, and that the face is the projected hologram of the tech-priest who controls it (and whose remains may be interred within). One of those odd 40k things that happen when you start holding the bits together. I'm not sure if the face and body go together (or clash interestingly) but I like both of them.

The painting isn't my best, but I wanted a rest from the detail of the Carnivale figures. I'd better get back to them while the light's still good!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Who Lives In A House Like This?

This week, I've been working on some terrain. First, I made some improvements on a large workshop that I first built years ago and, appropriately, have been tinkering with ever since.

It incorporates all kinds of stuff: boxes and yogurt pots for the main body, a fuel tank from Ramshackle, some kind of little resin bunker, a crane based around a sentinel cockpit, and what I think was once a movement tray from Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I added some more detail, tidied up the painting (to an extent) and made a few adjustments. Here’s a closer view.

I think it will suit my team of mechanics pretty well.

Every so often, I have a look for useful stuff in the local art shop. This time, I turned up some papier-mache boxes designed to be used as treasure chests. I thought they would look good as buildings, and used some textured plasticard to put together a lower floor under one of the boxes.

I added some random detailing and painted it to resemble the bright green favela-style house that I made a few months ago. I expect that even on Necromunda, there is a suitably vapid publication that shows off the homes of the rich and infamous. So, taken from the pages of Hell-O, here renowned gang leader Algebra Flaps shows us around his beautiful armoured hovel.


I forgot to add this! It's the completed dormouse in his automated teapot. Here he is.


Sunday, 8 October 2017

Alice in Warhammerland

"When men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go..."

Jefferson Airplane, White Rabbit.

Prompted by a comment on the Tears of Envy blog, and in a desperate attempt not to buy any miniatures for a little while, I decided to repaint my Alice in Wonderland inquisitorial delegation.
I first made these models about ten years ago. I have no idea why it seemed like a good idea to make 40k Alice back then, but it still seems like a good idea, and I still don’t know why. Perhaps Wonderland is in warp space or, more likely, warp space is in Wonderland. Perhaps I should go ask Alice: I think she'll know. Anyway.

Inquisitor Alice has seen it all. Nothing can surprise or bewilder here. She has passed through warp portals, consorted with the lords of chaos (over tea) and defeated not just demon princes but red queens.

Alice was converted from a flying sister of battle torso on an Eldar warlock’s lower body. It's hard to see, but her bolt pistol says "Fire Me" on the side.

Many daemonhosts attack their enemies with blasts of warp-force. The Cheshire Cat (or Grynx) uses the pure weirdness of its smile to mangle the brains of its enemies. Many who have seen this strange, teleporting being remain fatally confused, unable to banish the image of the cat from their minds long after it has disappeared.

The Caterpillar is a wise, if slightly over-medicated, savant, who draws inspiration from his hookah. He hovers on a xenos device and appears to be some kind of alien. His ready supply of medicine can enhance the accuracy of his comrades, much like a Jokaero engineer.

The cat was a GW model mounted on part of a plastic dryad. The caterpillar is a kroot body and arms with a Necromunda Millasaur’s legs. His head came from a chaos model, and his base is a Tau drone.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are two modified ogryns, who provide long-range support with their gun arms. Whilst poorly-equipped in the brains department, they can be very handy, provided they can be persuaded not to bash each other.

When I first made them, they counted as gun-servitors. Now they would have to be acolytes, armed with storm bolters. The Tweedles (as played by Ray Winston on a bad day or Donald Trump on a  good one) started off as fantasy ogres, and their guns come from an Immolator tank.

If you can keep your head when all those around you are losing theirs... you’re probably the Queen of Hearts. Monarch and executioner, she serves Inquisitor Alice as a handy enforcer – although cutting the heads off the creatures of chaos isn’t a guarantee that they’ll stop so much as change.

The Queen of Hearts is an old dark elf sorceress with new weapons, made from Warhammer and sisters of battle bits. She functions as an acolyte.

If Alice brings order to the Warp of Wonderland, the Hatter exists for chaos. His complete lack of logic marks him out as a true servant of chaos, as demonstrated by his frequent demands that “All change!”

The Hatter (who looks quite a lot like Harpo Marx and slightly like me) is mainly made from old plastic Empire militia bits, with a storm bolter glued on and a hat and teapot made of Green Stuff.

And finally, I thought I’d add a new member to the crew. This is going to be the Dormouse, who lives inside a giant teapot. I made him out of a plastic rat from a skaven set. The teapot is largely leftover parts from the Wolsung giant golem, with a funnel and handle made from Necron and Dark Eldar bits.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Goats On The Racecourse

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Colours at Newbury racecourse to meet up with my friend James and buy a load of random stuff. Perhaps it was the subliminal influence of the horse racing setting, but I decided to purchase some animals for the post-apocalyptic town.

My haul ended up with a strange mixture of farmyard and Middle Eastern themes:

4 goats (Magister Militum)
A sheik (Spectre Games)
A camel loaded with provisions (Bitzbox: 2nd hand GW)
A Tallarn Desert Raider captain (likewise)
2 post-apocalyptic merchants (Lead Adventure)
5 berserker-type ladies (Dice Bag Lady: Prodos Games) which were going very cheap.

A slightly unusual haul, admittedly. I was also recognised by some guys from steampunk events at which I’d been selling books. Who would have thought that there would be an overlap between steampunks and wargaming?

Anyway, I painted up the goats. Everyone likes goats, even Satanists, so here they are.

I also painted the two merchants. The guy on the left is an electrician. I’ve attempted a bit of object source lighting but I’m not sure that it really works. The chap on the right is a car mechanic. I hadn’t realised that the Lead Adventure sculpts were so cartoony, but I really like the how full of character they are.

 And finally I painted these two. The woman on the left is a scavenger from Copplestone, I think. I did a small amount of converting on her: I filled in her chest to hide her gigantic cleavage (I think the torn pattered dress she’s wearing looks rather good) and used green stuff to hide the place where the end of her boot had come off, revealing her toes like a comedy tramp (I reckon that a half-feral post-apocalyptic survivor would either have two shoes or none at all).

The guy on the right was a GW chaos cultist with a flamer. I swapped his head with one from a Mantic soldier with a raised visor. He clearly spends his time cutting things up with his welding torch.

Next up, I’m considering tackling the camel (which is surely a euphemism for something very rude) or going back to my old Alice in Wonderland-themed inquisitorial warband. I also really ought to make a workshop for my mechanics to use.

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.