Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Hounds of Hell

Masalan Phallhounds are large, muscular predators thought to have developed during the fifty-year Spice War, during which Masala was isolated from the rest of the galaxy. These creatures are belived to be decended from guard dogs that became mutated after wallowing in a huge pit of food waste known as the Slurry of Curry. This, it is said, gave them their distinctive colour and their pungent odour. They are known for their fiery temprament. Despite being technically poisonous, their meat is regarded as a delicacy in the British Space Empire.

At Warfare, during my deep-diving session in the bargain bin, I acquired two random metal dog-like things. They cost £1, which seemed like a pretty good deal for - well, for whatever they are. Too bad I threw away the blister pack. They're pretty good sculpts, I think, and I really like the musculature on the models. They were quite easy to paint, in that I used red mixed with black and then multiple glazes of thinned down red.

Not bad for a quid!

Saturday 26 November 2016

This Week's Horrible Blob Monster

I have started to make a dent in the heap of random models that I got out of the bargain bucket at Warfare. The first is a medic from the Empire of the Blazing Sun for the (perhaps) defunct game Dystopian Legions. At least, I think it's Dystopian Legions. It might be Dystopian Wars, Armies, Empires or Kindergartens. I get them mixed up. So he's from a game which might be Dystopian and might still exist.

Anyhow, he was quite a large 32mm scale, so I chopped his legs down by cutting out a lot of bandages/puttees just below his knees. I think it hasn't made the model look too out-of-proportion. I could see him in a Necromunda/Blade Runner type setting. It's a shame there aren't rules for hired medics and the like. In the meantime, he'll look good manning a stall in the market.

The second model for this week was more involved. I'm not overly taken with the aberrant models for the genestealer cult, and so I decided to make my own. The head of this model was a genestealer hybrid. The upper body came from a Nurgle champion, and the arms were a Mantic power claw and a chopped-down GW Ogre Kingdoms arm.

The legs were from Ramshackle Games. I ordered three pairs of legs and was mysteriously sent 12, which came with integral bases (I don't like integral bases). As with much of Ramshackle's stuff, they're a bit crude, but cheap and reasonable. The cables used to tie the two halves of the monster together were part of the whip of the fat Khorne bloke that I made into Ned Killy a while ago.

Sunday 20 November 2016

Warfare and the Patriarch

I went to "Warfare" in Reading yesterday, which is a wargames event held in a sports centre on the edge of town. There were a lot of stalls, as per last year, and I met up with friends and spent a very pleasant couple of hours buying things.

These sorts of small fairs are pretty good, especially if you are looking for bits and pieces rather than squads or models from one particular manufacturer. As ever, there are an awful lot of good small companies out there. Anyway, everything was going fine until I noticed that one of the stalls had a large plastic box of end-of-sale items in front of it. My eyes lit up with crazed glee and I dived into the bargain bin with the discerning enthusiasm of a rat in a gourmet's dustbin.

The haul was impressive. I acquired:

2 Chinese army medics (from Dystopian Legions)
A troll/orc type bounty hunter (Hordes)
3 Wild West casualties (Dead Man's Hand)
2 random cyberpunk type people (Infinity)
Some kind of harlequin, who is missing a bit (Carnivale)
2 alien dog monsters
A Vallejo pigment. I have no idea what you do with this but it might be useful, somehow. Smear it on vehicles, maybe?

I have also been at work on the genestealer cult. I found someone selling the new patriarch model on ebay for £10, and bought it. In the old days, the patriarch resembled a cross between the Alien, Baron Harkonnen from Dune and Don Corleone. He wore a big chain, smoked cigars and rolled around in a limousine. These days, the patriarch sits on a pipe. The guy lives like a bum.

I didn't convert the model, except to shorten his mandibles and stretch out his right leg, so he seems to be moving. The original pose had him squatting on the pipe, which did make it look slightly as if he was using it as a latrine. The bio-stuff on the base was added with green stuff to fill up the space and blend the pipe into the square plate that it's standing on.

Overall, he's come out rather washed-out, because he lacks bright colour. But it's hard to know how to deal with this, given that any bright bits would probably draw attention from the main model. Anyhow, I need to tidy him up a bit, but overall, he will be a good leader for the cult.

Friday 11 November 2016

But Secreted From What?

I made this about 10 years ago. It may look as if it grew out of the chair (hopefully) but it's actually a mouse, a toy robot and the front half of a toy gun, with a huge amount of green stuff and some tyranid bits.

 It could do with a bit of a repaint - for once, I wish I had an airbrush.

Wednesday 9 November 2016


A couple of months ago, I picked up some craters from the Colours show at Newbury. They were very cheap and made of resin, and shaped like doughnuts so that models could be placed in the centre. I painted this crater up and used thin plasticard to fill in the middle. The plasticard was sealed with green stuff and then painted black.

After painting, I built up the toxic sludge with layers of Water Effects, putting objects into the sludge at different points so that they would "sink" to different levels. Each layer of Water Effects was allowed to dry before another was added. I stirred a small amount of paint and ink into each layer to give the impression of nasty chemicals half-mixed into the slime.

A few bits and pieces were added to finish the crater off: a sign, a barrel and a couple of bits of random scrap. Here is the finished model. This took ages!

I've also been working on the scientist gang. This is the painted version of the guy I converted a couple of posts back.

And last of all, I bought the genestealer cult neophyte boxed set (the more human-looking genestealer hybrids). The sculpting of the models is excellent, and GW have done a great job of modernising the genestealer hybrids while keeping to their original style. So far, I've converted the guy below out of hybrid parts and a fantasy sorceror. He will be a cult magus, whose crazed ravings drive his followers into a frenzy and propel him to the summits of power. How topical.

Saturday 5 November 2016

But That's Heresy 3: Thoughts on the Weird War

I have one simple, but large, problem with Weird War games, and it's this: one side gets all the good stuff.

If you were to make a Weird War game, you'd have to include certain things, or else people would feel cheated, the way every space game has it's not-quite-the-Alien creature. Those would include: gigantic tanks, zombies, vampires, "experimental" aircraft and armoured troops a bit like Space Marines. The problem is that, in the pulp fiction that Weird War stories draw from, most of these are stereotypically things that the Germans have, which our plucky heroes must destroy: Dead Snow, Captain America, Indiana Jones, Iron Sky and even Biggles Defies The Swastika (that classic of modern warfare) work like this.

You know what you're getting with a cover like this.

Now, the Germans did have the technological advantage on the Allies in a lot of areas for a lot of the war (Allied technical advantages tend to be harder to represent in a tabletop game, too). More importantly, the Germans had a lot sort of deranged, silly ideas that could only become "real" if you were to have rules allowing them: the occult nonsense they seem to have lapped up simply wouldn't work in a game that's supposed to simulate real life, like Bolt Action. But ultimately, a wargame has to be balanced, and it has to sell, which means that it has to have a range of forces that people will want to buy. Even Warhammer 40,000, which is essentially Space Marines vs Some Other Stuff, has viable sides that aren't Space Marines.

To an extent, The Lord of the Rings has the same problem. Excluding the Ents, almost all the exciting fun things belong to the villains: orcs, trolls, black orcs, siege weapons, mammoths, flying wyvern-type creatures and so on are all owned by the enemy. Against them, the good guys are basically medieval/dark age people and a few other people with pointy ears.

Fun with mammoths.

The Lord of the Rings and the pulp stories that inspire a lot of Weird War settings get around this by making their heroes extremely powerful. It doesn't matter that you've got a dragon when Eorwyn can chop its head off like someone cutting the end off a Swiss roll. Likewise, World War Two would have ended a lot sooner if Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood had just pointed their big red bus towards Berlin at the end of Where Eagles Dare, fuelled by lager, schnapps and fury.

So, while the German Weird War army list writes itself, you have to work harder to find things for the Allies. Of course, the Russians get something to do with bears, and a big lumbering thing. The Americans - well, the first thought would be superheroes, because they are quintissentially pulp and American. Maybe native shamans? Or heroes of the Old West? The British would presumably have some sort of souped-up SAS. Given their advantage in code-breaking, a primitive computer would make sense. So perhaps robots would work for the British (which seems to be the direction that Konflikt 47 has gone in). But then, doesn't everyone get some kind of robot? How about King Arthur, given that the stories end with him promising to return to protect the country?

This raises another problem: Superman and King Arthur are magical, whereas zombies can just about be explained with "science". But I think that's a matter of personal preference, and if I was making a Weird War game I'd just give the players the option to pick and choose.

Anyway, to conclude this rather rambling missive, I'm on the fence about Weird War games, Konflikt '47 included. If they can fill out the army lists with interesting units, fine. Alternatively, if they can come up with some good characters for the allies - or even better, a good character generation system - I'd be even more impressed. But at the moment, I'll wait and see.