Sunday, 31 July 2016

Hell's Own Mariachi Band

Normally I find the proliferation of skulls in Warhammer 40k a bit tedious, but I make an exception for Eldar Death Jesters. These are the heavy-weapon operators of the Harlequins, a group of masked space elves who are extremely fragile but hit very hard if they get there. While the rest of the Harlequins look like, well, harlequins, really, the Death Jesters have a more macabre style. They remind me of the formal dress and skull makeup of the Mexican Day of the Dead. Yes, they're covered in skulls, but they've got class. They're like Hell's Mariachi band.

So, with a Sisters of Battle torso, a small shrine, Dark Eldar arms and a heavy weapon, I made this:

The power cable for the gun leads into the backpack, which is also a little memorial to some relevant person (or there to intimidate anyone creeping up from behind). As you do.

The skirt was made out of an old Empire cloak, with green stuff to fill in some gaps. I'm pleased with the conversion work but less so with the painting. That said, the camera is being exceedingly difficult at the moment. There are some things that it picks up well, and this model isn't one of them. I should do some more Frostgrave people. It seemed to like those...

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Oldhammer, Lead and a Fairly Large Robot

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that Imperial Guard are rubbish" - Jane Austen.
 At the moment, there seems to be a lot of nostalgia in the SF/fantasy wargaming world. Perhaps it's because Games Workshop has finally made new models for both the Adeptus Mechanicus and for Genestealer Cultists, which have always been in their lore but were forgotten about for the last 10 years or so. Or maybe it's because Age of Sigmar has finally killed off the old-style Warhammer Fantasy Battle, both as a game of unit combat and by replacing its Grimm's-Tales-meets-Hironymous-Bosch setting with something more like World of Warcraft. Whatever it is, two new old styles have emerged: Oldhammer and Inquisitor 28.

Oldhammer is about playing Warhammer with old rules, old miniatures (where possible) and a lot of nostalgia. Inquisitor (usually Inq) 28 involves playing the skirmish game Inquisitor with (wait for it) 28mm models. Both styles involve a lot of conversions, naming of characters and general wackiness, and are praised for being, as they say in the rap game, "old school".

From an old Realm of Chaos book, I think. The grass is genuinely greener in Hell.

 [Has anyone ever heard a rapper expressing a preference for the "new school", by the way? Is there even a "new school" of rapping at all? I suspect that rappers are wasting a lot of time arguing the same point here, which they could be using productively to, er, rap about something else. Or take up miniature wargaming.]

Generally, I think this nostalgic gaming is a good thing - after all, this blog is partly about Necromunda. I do think that the rules for older games were often clunky and not a lot of fun, and I think the John Blanche conversion and painting style has its limits (the Adeptus Mechanicus needs to invent flying skull repellent, because those damned things are bloody everywhere). But I've seen some amazing work done in both Oldhammer and Inq 28, often by older games, and I think they deserve special praise because quite often they're working with lead.

Ugh, lead. It's hard to stick together, it's heavy, you inevitably cut yourself when you try to cut it, and it mysteriously becomes as soft as blu-tac if you try to hold it in place with a vice, so that you squash your miniature. And then you have to figure out what all the bits are, and quite often the miscasting is worse than Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker's Dracula.

"No way, Dracula dude!"

Which brings me on to a robot called "Rend" from Dark Age's "Core" faction. I don't know anything about these guys except that they were going cheap, and they are most definitely metal. Rend is presumbly the thug of the group: he's got saws for hands, after all, and is about the size of a small dinosaur. On the other hand, the saw on his left arm looked a bit feeble (I think it's supposed to be battered and rusty, but still) and he doesn't seem to have a head. I don't know much about robotics, but that strikes me as an oversight.

I painted him up as best as possible, but I still don't know whether he's meant to look like a wreck or is just an odd design. I added an armoured helmet from a GW ogre and some plasticard pincers for more threat. After all, what good is a rampaging evil robot without pincers to open and shut?

I imagine that he lumbers around the underhive, looking for people to dismantle, creaking and stomping and telling everyone what he is about to do, in traditional robot style. "Pursuing enemy! Commencing dissassembly procedure!"

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Wasteland Buggy

Many years ago, I had a plastic toy car. You put batteries in it and it went along the ground until (a) it crashed and you could get it back; (b) the batteries died and you could get it back but had to get some new batteries; or (c) you never saw it again. Cool, eh?

But the time comes to put such childish things aside, or at least stick plasticard to them. So, having lost the roof bit of the car about a decade ago, I got to work on the chassis, as we grownups call the lower half.

The superstructure was made out of a side panel from an ork truck, some plasticard and the mid-section of a 40k land speeder (I never liked those things). Then it got an intake for the engine made from some Dark Eldar bit or other, and detailing with headphone wire, plastic rods and plasticard, not least to stop the tyres from falling apart.

It doesn't really have a function, but I think it will look good as a prop for Necromunda. I can see it driving across the ash wastes - hence the dirty wheels. As time's gone on, I've found that I prefer making these improvised machines and random fighters rather than tanks and uniformed soldiers.

Broom, broom.

In the meantime, I have bought two plastic Khador robots for the game Warmachine. They were cheap and will be a good starting-point for more conversions. That said, they haven't arrived yet and I ordered them ages ago. Where are my plastic robots? I shouldn't have to take this nonsense - I'm a grown man, dammit. I want my plastic robots!

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Blue Beast of Helmawr Hive

Deep in the bowels of the under-city dwells the dreaded Blue Beast of Helmawr Hive. Quite where it came from, nobody knows: perhaps it is a Tyranid bio-construct, abandoned by some ancient fleet, or a hideous mutant. Most likely, it's an escaped bio-weapon, because bio-weapons have a habit of escaping. You'd have thought scientists would have learned by now.

It lurks in the dark, crouching on a pile of scrap metal and old bone  - the remnants of former victims. But sometimes solitude is not enough for the Blue Beast, and it creeps from the shadows to find new friends. Perhaps it even seeks a mate. The Beast leads an active life, enjoying hunting and the extreme sport of vent-crawling. Its other hobbies are people-watching, climbing (across ceilings), travel to new places (preferably the holds of passing spacecraft) and finding new places and people to eat. It would like to meet anyone fun and nutritious.

This is a model that I've had lying around for about six years. It's a Teraph, from Privateer Press. To be honest, I'm not that keen on some of their sculpts, especially the cartoony Everblight models, and I'm not entirely sure why I bought this guy in the first place. I lost the arms a while ago, so I added spare arms from a plastic genestealer. They go well with the overall look.

I enjoyed doing all the layers, although what seemed like quite smooth transitions look a bit crude under the harsh light of the camera. The base was tricky, because the Teraph comes with big lumps of lead under its feet. I built around them with modelling clay and put a lot of debris on the base to suggest some kind of sewer-type lair.I like the way that the folds on its back have come out, as well as the shading on its arms.

A worthy addition to my Necromunda city, although I can't see it queuing for the kebab stall.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

People From A Time Lone Gone (Last Year, Actually)

I thought I'd have a look at some models I made a little while back, to see how well they'd aged. I did all of these about a year ago, using a lot of parts from the GW Chaos Cultists and Tempestus Scions sets (where do they get these names?).

The guy on the left is a lead model made by Warlord Games, and about the only model in their Gates of Antares range that I really like. The right hand chap (Captain Beaky, as he is known to me) is the head and arm of a GW kroot mercenary, and the body, legs and arm of a Mantic robot Dreadball player. I think they go quite well together.

The dubious science officer on the left is a bit of a heroic failure. He uses Imperial Guard legs and a body from a Guard pilot. His arms are from an old Mordheim sprue, and were originally holding a blunderbuss. His little friend is a Tyranid. On the right is a lady made from chaos parts (the legs) with arms from the Scion set. Her body and head were made by casting bits of other models in something called Oyumaru, which is a sort of putty. They're ok, but they do tend to come out slightly distorted.

These are my two favourite adventurers. The mechanic on the left is a Privateer Press model and was painted exactly as he came. Hilda on the right started life as a Nurgle champion, and had Space Marine arms added and the gaps in the armour filled with green stuff. Her head was also cast usuing Oyumaru and the pigtails were stuck on (I can't remember where they came from!). At the risk of sounding like a simpleton, I like painting things blue. I reckon that when I get that farm with the rabbits on it, I'm gonna paint them blue as well.

Overall, I rather like these guys. But I think I have got quite a bit better at painting since then. Maybe it's just a willingness to spend more time on models, or just watering the paints down. It makes me think that I should make more random space people.

Anyhow, here's what I made yesterday: the inevitable skull-headed jester/homunculus/goblin thing for Frostgrave. I bet Hironymous Bosch wishes that he'd copyrighted his style. And he looks no better-painted as the others. Oh well.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Sir Vaylance Strides Forth

And here is the fourth Frostgraver (Frostgravist? Frostgraveteer?).

Sir Vaylance the Vigilant is not the brightest man to ever put on a massive helmet and shout about honour, but he is very big and very keen. So keen, in fact, that he walked all the way to Frostgrave, having only remembered to bring his horse when it was much too late to go back and get it. Now he does battle on foot in the frozen streets, hoping to salvage enough money to buy himself a new steed, or perhaps capture something large enough to carry him - a woolly rhino, for instance.

He was built out of a chaos warrior cloak, with a chaos knight's chestplate and legs from a 40k cultist, which were bulked out with Green Stuff. The shield and helmet came off Brettonian knights, and I think the sword is from an Empire wizard.

In retrospect, his shield could have been a bit tidier. I found the checks really hard to get right - and in the end, I probably didn't get them right at all. Alas - if I can't paint checks on things, how will I paint in a proper "White Dwarf cira 1990" style?

Anyhow, here is a picture of our team so far, looking only slightly like Monty Python characters.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Here Is An Ogre

As the title suggests, I couldn't think of any good puns. This is the third member of my Frostgrave group. He is a model called Klom, from Paul Bonner's designs for Zombicide: Black Plague. A friend of mine funded the Kickstarter without quite realising how much stuff he was going to get, and passed me some of the models to paint. I really like the head, which reminds me of Arthur Rackham's pictures of goblins and trolls. I think this guy is an ogre (or maybe just a really big peasant).

Like a lot of people, I find faces hard to paint. I spent a lot of time on this one, and I'm still not sure whether I made a realistic job of it or an unfinished one. Perhaps the answer is "both". It's hard to tell, but he seems to have filled his basket with zombie heads. As you do. The model came attached to the base, and there wasn't a lot I could do to it in terms of painting. Maybe I should add some washes and tufts of grass.

Meanwhile, work on the ruined tower continues. It's had a plasticard window and porch added, together with a door from Mantic's Dungeon Saga game. Right now, I expect to have it finished by my 70th birthday or so. I think the main lesson I've learned from this is that, as far as medieval buildings are concerned, you might as well buy pre-made ones!

Friday, 1 July 2016

Terror from the Skies!

+++Commencing Transmission+++

My lords,

It is with regret that I report the death of my master, High Lord Skullius von Grimslaughter. Our sources informed us that Puritas Secundus had been subverted by xenos-affiliated cults and had formed a heretical tolerance for aliens. We determined to investigate and set a course of the Puritas system.

On landing, we discovered the dire nature of the situation. Forsaking the path of righteousness, the heretical locals had taken to paying a bizarre tithe of hay and sugar lumps to the aliens. Filled with holy rage, Lord von Grimslaughter resolved to do battle with the xenos at the Basilica of the Turnip Unmashed. 

Long we awaited our foe. Then we heard the sound of thrusters, and a high-pitched voice called out in a mockery of human speech. I heard something about friendship and magic, then closed my ears to the blasphemous utterings.

In seconds, von Grimslaughter and Captain Correlius were shot down. Flobard the Beeste fell before he could even activate his chainsaw-knees. All I could do was capture a vid-pic of the creature before it sped away.

Never have I seen such a foul and unnatural beast. The locals spoke of it with awe, and gave the monster a name:


Yours in piety,

Miserablis the Repentor.

+++Transmission Ends+++