Sunday, 4 June 2023

The Return of Don Clawleone, Genestealer Patriarch

 I've been feeling a bit rough the last couple of days - nothing serious, just enough to keep me indoors and generally get in the way of the small holiday I'd booked off work (typical!). So I got out the old Genestealer Patriarch model and had a go at improving him a bit.

This miniature really is one of the great moments of Oldhammer. Yes, he's completely out of style with more recent models, but the sculpting is superb (the sheer detail is amazing, considering that this thing was sculpted by hand) and the sense of character is great. He's 40k's equivalent of Jabba the Hutt, a bloated, wily crime lord sitting on his excessive throne. You can imagine what he'd be like just from the way he looks. Together with his seedy magus advisor, he's almost a diorama in itself.

Anyhow, I added two resin plinths to the back of the model (thanks Ruth). One of the plinths had a burning brazier on it. After a lot of thinking I decided that Don Clawleone the Patriarch would display one of his favourite trophies on the other plinth. A skull, perhaps? How about the helmet of a Blood Angels Terminator, the old enemy from Space Hulk?

I also put a Mantic scenery bit, representing some documents and a knife, next to the magus. I painted a little Imperial Eagle on the papers. In the UK, it's traditional for lawyers to bind documents with pink ribbon (God knows why, this country makes the Imperium look logical), so I painted a pink string tying them together.

I tried to add a bit more highlighting and to tidy up a bit of the old painting. In a move that surprised even me, I added a bit of weathering powder to the sculpted base, which is meant to represent rusted metal plates (I've no idea where it came from). There's a nice bloodstain along the floor, and the Don is cleaning blood off his claws, so I suspect that he just made someone an offer they couldn't refuse (because they're now dead).

Friday, 2 June 2023

Another Big Bug

 I've been back on the old tyranids again. I dug up a truly awful lictor conversion that I made about 15 years ago, took it apart and stripped it, and found that it was based on a metal tyranid warrior model. These things are fairly rare, and to the best of my knowledge only one of this particular sort was ever made: a warrior with two boneswords. A bit like this guy:

(That's not my favourite bit of old tyranid art, by the way. My favourite is of a warrior bursting out of the hive, while Imperial Guardsmen throw themselves out of the way. I've not seen it for years, and if you know what it is, let me know. I also liked the "ork freebooters v tyranid warriors" picture that was on a cover of an ancient White Dwarf.)

Whilst trawling the internet for classic tyranids, I found this picture by someone called Arne of Android Arts. It's slightly altered from the plastic models, but it shows how this style of warrior could have been made to look cool with more modern sculpting.

Anyway, back to my guy. The model I had was missing part of its arm, and some fool (me) had cut the front of its mouth away. I built it a new mouth with plasticard and green stuff.

As with the hive tyrant, pretty much every limb had to be pinned and green-stuffed, and even then it was a bit flimsy and awkward. Then I painted it, using contrast paint for the basic red, but shading up and using other colours as normal.


Sunday, 28 May 2023

Even More Tiny Harlequins

 I'm approaching the end of my harlequin-painting spree. I'm on the last few models of 20 now. It's interesting to look back at them all, as the painting has got increasingly complex as I've gone on - not least because I've had to keep coming up with new painting schemes.

Anyhow, here are two more. The model on the left was missing its original (rather short) chainsword, so I added an old plastic Eldar one. It's the only chainsword in the unit, so I decided to paint it in a shiny colour, perhaps to act as a sort of standard. I did want to paint checks all the way to the model's feet, but the folds in the cloth and some odd cut-out bits defeated me. 

The model on the right is a solitaire, a character who fights alone. I had originally planned to give him a darker, more sombre colour scheme, but that plan did not survive contact with the enemy (ie me). I originally painted him with a yellow head, but it made him look too much like a boiled egg. Even harlequins have limits.

I've really enjoyed this particular trip into Oldhammer. Only two more to go, and they're both characters!

Meanwhile, here is an entirely normal scene from 1990s Oldhammer land:

Monday, 22 May 2023

The Whole Eldar Scout Troop

 Since my last post, which feels like ages ago, I've started a few models and tidied up a few more, including a super metal Tyranid warrior from many ages past (more of him/her/it/that next time). 

I've also finished the Eldar scout squad. Once again, these models are excellent. The coats were a pleasure to paint, and they strike a good balance between being too plain and too fiddly. 

Back in the days, the standard weapon of the Eldar was the shuriken catapult, which for many years had a pathetic range of 12 inches, and was basically a waste of time. It seems strange for GW to have given their space elves a signature weapon that fires the distance of a sawn-off shotgun. Another reason to like the Eldar scouts is that their stealthy background and ability to shoot at long range reflects the stereotype of fantasy elves.

Anyhow, here they are. As before, I made the bases myself, to try to reflect ruins and the movement between wilderness and civilisation. The guy on the left is one of my favourite Eldar models, in his elegant coat and helmet. I painted the guy on the right's hair crimson/purple, to reflect some of the other squads in the army.

Here are two more. The guy with the power sword (I don't remember you being able to take a power sword under the rules) looks as if he should be their leader. I'm very fond of the other model on the right: he's just so low-key.

And here is the entire squad. I like these guys very much. The scouts are ready to go off into the wilds and earn their campfire-making and ork-shooting badges.

Friday, 12 May 2023

Oldhammer Hive Tyrant

Funny thing, nostalgia. I reckon that quite a lot of the old 40k models are objectively good: I've often said that the old Jes Goodwin Eldar are superb, and a lot of the old metal space marines are very detailed and full of character. And then there are the old metal Tyranids.

The first run of Tyranid models were pretty odd. The look of the army hadn't really been ironed out yet, and it wasn't helped by having some of the ugliest sculpts that GW has ever made. The old metal Tyranid warriors - from the 3rd edition, I think - are awful, goofy models. The termagants are rather cool, though, in a slightly dippy way, and I'm a big fan of the old plastic warriors that came with Advanced Space Crusade. They're just so weird.

Anyhow, on to a model that, on balance, evens out as just-about-good. It's the first version of the Alien Quee - sorry, the Hive Tyrant. The Hive Tyrant was a great big Tyranid that bossed the little ones around, while (hopefully) taking out enemy characters with its impressive and manky bio-weapons. Here's GW's version.

The model is the Tyranid equivalent of putting all the toppings on a cake at once. It's a weird mess of ridges, spikes, limbs, claws and hooves, and was painted in White Dwarf in a variety of lurid shades, like Giger's Alien depicted by Tank Girl. I managed to find most of the bits of one on ebay, and slowly accumulated the parts to make one of these things.

Oldhammer is fine, but I have no nostalgia for assembling fiddly lead monsters like this. Green stuff, pinning, filing and a lot of swearing was involved. I was missing the lower left arm and the whip-type weapon it holds, so I made my own from some spare plastic Tyranid gun arms. I'm quite pleased with the result.

I had two heads for this beast, both of which had it sticking out an enormous forked tongue. I really dislike GW's tendency to sculpt Tyranids sticking their tongues out like happy puppies, and I cut the tongue off and sculpted some more teeth. I ended up resculpting the entire lower jaw. Eek. I also added a plastic spike to the end of its tail, where the original part had been lost.

It seemed right to copy one of GW's paint schemes - incredibly, I went for the more restrained of the two options. I used contrast paint for the red areas of the model, and then highlighted them in the usual way. I tried to echo the paint scheme of the termagants. It took a very long time to do, because the model is covered in weird, fiddly details.

Whoa, that's a lot of detail! Some of the details are really cool: I particularly like the facehugger-type limbs on the gun (it's a barbed strangler, out of interest). He took a lot of time to paint. I seem to have painted his head to look as if it's carved out of raspberry ice cream.

I'm pleased with this thing, but it is really weird. Still, it will make a good centre point for the swarm of old termagants I seem to be forming!

Thursday, 4 May 2023

Scouting For Eldar

 Here are a few more Eldar scouts. After finishing the test model, I decided to do some more scouts in the same style. I did wonder about trying to put some stripes on the coats or shading the green into an entirely different colour, but I like the green so much, I didn't want to risk messing it up.

I made bases out of varying thicknesses of plasticard, with green stuff to hide my mistakes. I wanted the scouts to have bases that were part grass and part artificial flooring, as if they were exploring ruins. One of the scouts was missing a left arm, so I gave him an arm left over from a Dark Eldar. I put another scout on a slanted rock, as otherwise he was in a strange position, pointing his gun towards the ground. I suspect he's meant to be mounted on a raised scenic base.

While I think I've made a decent job of painting these guys (the models are really nice), I think I've been lucky in choosing a shade of green that looks vibrant and exciting. There will be more!

Wednesday, 26 April 2023

Back to the Eldar

 Right then, back to the Eldar! It's nice to alternate the ongoing Eldar project with weirder, messier models, especially ones I can convert. Over the last couple of weeks, I've been chipping away at some more Eldar guys.

First up, here are a pair of harlequins. The cheerful chap on the left is a Death Jester, equipped with bone armour and a massive gun. The other bloke is an avatar, a powerful character. His colour scheme was vaguely inspired by Batman's Joker, but I soon felt that that was too restrictive and added a load of other stuff. I like his lapels and sword. I always say it, but these old sculpts are incredible.

The second guy is a conversion from a Privateer Press Retribution of Scyrah model named Lord Arcanist Ossyan. As with a lot of the Scyrah models, his arms look sillier than his body. He's quite chunky for an elf, so I thought he would look good carrying a heavy weapon and bellowing as he blazes away.

I used a shuriken cannon from the recent GW Corsairs kit (thanks ebay) and a Dark Eldar left arm. It took a bit of trimming to get it all to fit. 

I painted him to fit with my other renegade types, most of whom are converted from broken Scyrah models. I reckon he might have been a Dark Reaper in a former life, so I gave him a purple cloak. The hood gives him a slightly sinister feel. He's suitably menacing!

The last model is a test model for an Eldar Scout unit (ignore the base!). I love the ancient metal scout/ranger models. They're really good miniatures, and the long coats look very cool. I was originally intending to paint him in camouflage, but then I decided to use vibrant colours, to reflect the slightly psychedelic, Roger Dean/Moebius inspired colour schemes that I've been trying to use. Maybe he's been in the jungle, or perhaps this is the colour that his coat defaults to when he deactivates the chameleoline.