Tuesday 9 April 2024

More Space Marines!

 I was looking in the bits box recently and discovered that I've got a load of unpainted space marines, most of them metal. I really ought to paint more of the stuff I've got before I forget that I've got it.

Here are four marines - more accurately, three marines and one marine-shaped ork tinboy. The tinboys were primitive robots that the orks made as caricatures of their enemies, back in 2nd edition 40k (or possibly even earlier than that). I didn't have an ork army back then, and I suspect that I bought them just for sheer silliness value. 

This is Sir Vile the Minion and Sir Spicious the Questionable. Sir Vile was made from a range of plastic parts: he's got a Space Wolf gun, a Mordheim belt buckle and a head from a Bretonnian man at arms. I think it fits the concept quite well.

Sir Spicious is an unconverted ork tinboy model. His left shoulder pad bears his "personal heraldry".

These two are a bit more sensible: Sir Tanty the Absolute and Sir Plus de Requirements.

Sir Tanty was based on one of the "masters of the chapter" that I bought incomplete off ebay a while ago. I added his head and gun. He took quite a long time to paint, but I'm pleased with the way he's come out, especially his face (although he does look quite surprised to be having his picture taken).

Sir Plus was converted by someone else when I bought it. I tidied the conversion up and finished it off before painting it. It's a good conversion, and it took me ages to work out that the base model was an old metal Ultramarines Chaplain Cassius. I never much liked the Cassius model, with its weird skull head, and this is definitely an improvement. He does look slightly as if he's dancing, but maybe he's just acting up for the camera.

Tuesday 2 April 2024

Lucky the Carnifex

 A couple of days ago, I counted up my harlequin collection and realised that, instead of 34, I only had 32. I hadn't collected the set after all! Crisis! I went onto ebay and, half an hour and £20 later, had ordered the missing couple. But my goal of painting all the old harlequins is no closer. Perhaps I am the Ancient Mariner of oldhammer, doomed to never quite reach my goal. Or not.


Anyhow, I found a box of old ork stuff at my parents', and in it was an old conversion of a carnifex. The plastic carnifex was a big deal when it came out: for £25 you got a huge monster with a ton of customisation options. It's still not bad although, like a lot of big Tyranids, it's a bit lacking in detail.

This conversion represents a carnifex that was "pacified" and "enhanced" by the orks: its lower body was made from the engine of an ork trukk and two old sentinel legs. A new power claw was added to the left arm. 

I stripped down the original conversion, which was cool but a bit basic, and added a load of details. The big wires came from a skaven kit. It then got a repaint in the colours of my old-school hive fleet (I think it's a splinter fleet from Hive Fleet Behemoth). The metal was redone to look slightly rusty and just a bit old. (For what it's worth, there's a decent argument that ork machinery wouldn't be rusty so much as very greasy, but still.)

Lucky the Carnifex was first encountered by the orks at the battle of Bugstomp, where it destroyed the dreadnought Gitkilla before being sliced in half. The master-mech Lugnuts, impressed by its capacity for mayhem, fitted the injured carnifex with a new lower body and a super hydraulic claw. 

It now fights alongside Lugnuts and his minions. The mek has named his new pet "Lucky": not because it had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the orks, but because wherever Lugnuts goes, hordes of Tyranids mysteriously show up. The Hive Mind, on the other hand, is fine with this arrangement. Soon it will tire of picking at Lugnuts' horde and, following Lucky's psychic presence, will send a force against the orks big enough to wipe them out. Everyone wins.

Saturday 23 March 2024

Even More Harlequins

 The end is nigh: I've only got a few more standard harlequins (if that's a thing) to do, and then I'm on to a leader with two pistols and the high avatar of the lot. I expect that I'll tidy up some of the first models that I painted: after all, I began this two years ago and, even if my painting hasn't improved in that time, I've at least started using some smaller brushes since then.

Anyhow, here are some more loonies. The face of the chap on the right was slightly miscast, but that probably makes him look all the more alarming.

The bloke on the left here is holding a bizarre weapon/gardening implement, which looks like some kind of spraying device. I reckon it's a web-shooter, as the body of it looks a bit like the webbers used by the Genestealer Cult. Still, it's suitably wacky. Also, he's got a face on his groin, just in case the harlequins weren't bizarre enough.

I also painted some more plastic genestealers this week, but then I put them next to the previous batch and realised that they were completely identical. So the new ones have been lost among the rampaging horde of not-quite Aliens. Instead, here's all four harlequins.

Sunday 17 March 2024

Meanwhile, in Barovia...

I'm getting close to painting up all of the old metal Eldar harlequins. I've got all the miniatures now: I just need to finish them off. At last I have a project that combines the artistic aspect of painting and the middle-aged man aspect of collecting all of something pointless.

In the meantime, I've been working on a sort of side-project. For a while, I've been playing the most recent version of "The Curse of Strahd", a classic Dungeons and Dragons adventure set in a sort of gothic horror fantasy world called Barovia. I happened to find a bunch of models that reminded me of Strahd on ebay, going for a very low price. 

They're from a line called Vampire Wars, made by West Wind Miniatures. They look vaguely Napoleonic/Eastern European in style, the sort of people who crop up in Hammer films working for or against Dracula, perhaps in a gypsy caravan. Here are four of them.

They're not very detailed models and feel quite cartoony and "old school". When they first arrived, I felt a bit disappointed, but they've grown on me since.

The chap in the green coat had a very flimsy knife in his right hand, which I replaced with a sword from a Frostgrave soldier. It looked better and was much more robust. I considered painting some object source lighting coming from the torch he's holding up, but it was too difficult, and I just added a small effect. I suspect that he's outdoors, and there wouldn't be much light on his clothing.

I also painted two dogs from a Celt model from Warlord Games. They look a bit like Irish Wolfhounds and would be useful for chasing peasants, vampires and/or witches.

Last of all, I painted up a vampire model from North Star Miniatures, from their Napoleonic game The Silver Bayonet. I liked the model, but I wasn't that keen on her hands, which were raised in an odd, limp-wristed sort of way. I replaced them with hands holding a sword and a fancy knife, from plastic Frostgrave soldiers. I reckon she's broken into the family armoury in order to deal with some irritating vampire hunters.

I painted her up to have cold-looking, undead skin. It's grey shaded up with pink, with very thinned down purple glazes. I really like this miniature. North Star have some really cool models. 

Monday 11 March 2024

Great Big Tyranid Bug (and bonus eggs)

 Hello again! I've been painting some more tyranids this week. It's interesting to paint a brand new tyranid model in my oldhammer colour scheme.

This is a psychophage, apparently. As one of the interchangeable idiots in Starship Troopers puts it, it's some kind of big smart bug. I reckon half the world must own one of these kits by now, as ebay is full of them going cheaply. 

It was a push-together GW kit, which is another way of saying that it didn't push together. It was also a right pain to paint, as simply getting at most of the model was really hard. I'm glad that I painted a lot of it on the sprue. 

The painting was fairly simple - Flesh Tearers Red contrast paint over a white undercoat, and a thin wash of Leviathan Purple in the recesses. Good as contrast paints can be, I don't think that's enough for the skin of a big monster, and so I added red and highlighted in the normal way as well.

I really like the way that he's got a severed arm in his tentacles. There are some really nice details on this chap, but they're not excessive.

I also dug out these eggs that I made from DAS clay and green stuff about 15 years ago. I gave them a repaint and put them on flatter bases. Goodness knows what function they'd have in a game, but they're nice enough.

I also painted some tyranid rippers, but for some reason I just can't get a decent photo of the damned things. So you'll just have to imagine them. Sorry!

Sunday 3 March 2024

Another Bunch of Harlequins

 I've been painting some more harlequins. I find that they take quite a lot of concentration, both to actually paint on the fiddly checks and to figure out the colour schemes. Obviously they're supposed to be chaotic and jarring, but choosing quite how to do that is interesting. It's standard process to try to draw the eye to a model's head, but I don't think you can do that with models like this. I reckon that their outfits are a kind of dazzle camouflage, too bewildering to focus on.

Anyhow, they're a lot of fun to paint, and the models have loads of nice details even before you start adding your own. 

This guy - actually, I think this harlequin is female, although it's always hard to tell - has a plasma pistol (unusually, for these models) and a harlequin's kiss, a sort of punch-dagger-meets-food-blender weapon. 

This chap has a shuriken pistol, a chainsword and an outfit that a 1990s raver might consider a little excessive. Blow your whistles, craftworld!

This model is a Death Jester, a heavy weapons specialist. He's the third of a team of three. It was quite difficult to give him bits of colour while keeping to the sinister Venetian carnevale/Baron Samedi look of the Death Jesters.

And here's a picture of a whole bunch of harlequins, being bewildering. They're moving faster than the eye can see, which is why the picture is so blurry.

Sunday 25 February 2024

Another Harlequin and a Genestealer Patriarch


This week, I painted another harlequin. I've not done one for a while, and it was a real pleasure to be painting checks and doing bright colours again.

It occurs to me that I've collected most of the old metal harlequins from the original metal boxed set. Perhaps I should try to get the whole lot. I think that would be quite cool, and they're all excellent models.


I decided to have a go at bulk-painting some old plastic Space Hulk genestealers. I seem to have absolutely loads of these miniatures. Like the old plastic termagants, they're monopose models. They're really good sculpts, with lots of detail, even if they are sticking their tongues out like so many of the goofier tyranids.

I used contrast paint for the purple and blue, over a standard white undercoat. I found it quite annoying, as the damn stuff refused to cover properly. I ended up highlighting the armour and skin (somewhat roughly). I'm not sure that the contrast paint did much that a heavy wash wouldn't have done.

I also dug out a very old Genestealer Patriarch model. The patriarch is a weirdly-coloured, bloated monstrosity worshipped by deranged cultists and hell-bent on dictatorial power who, whilst foul, is merely the slave of a much greater threat to humanity. So purely a fictional creation.

While some might have made the leader of the genestealers into a bigger, meaner genestealer (as GW did later with the broodlord), the patriarch is a fat, saggy-looking creature wearing the sort of gold chain favoured by town mayors and 1980s rappers. I have no idea why, but it works in a bizarre way. To emphasise his size, I put him on a slightly raised base. 

Here's the patriarch with his identical spawn: