Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Control Panels, Pumping Stations and Other Thrilling Stuff

A while ago, I ordered some resin control panels from Troll Trader, a Cornish company who sell good MDF buildings and seem to own the rights to Carnivale. The panels came with two larger terminals. I painted the first terminal this week, and it's come out quite well.

I've had some bits knocking around in the bits box (more accurately, one of several vats of bits) for ages, and I decided to combine them to make some vaguely industrial scenery. In order to stop things becoming too monochrome, I followed the lead of Fallout 4 and used bright colours, but tried to age them.

I think this thing is some sort of water purifier. It still works well, and it's been several hundred days since the last accident, unless you count people dumping the bodies of their enemies in the top. The pipes and sludge pool on the roof are a Secret Weapon base. It's a great bit of sculpting, but I've got no idea where the miniature is supposed to go on it. The control panel on the front is one of the ones that I got from Troll Trader.

And here's a rear view. That sticky-out bit came from a zoid - goodness knows what it does, of course.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

The Zombie Master

Once, Varricus Vaughn was a commissar of the Imperial Guard: murderously brutal, tactically incompetent and almost certainly destined for a place on the general staff. Vaughn was appointed to the Necromundan guard, and trusted with keeping order during an outbreak of the zombie plague. One night, after too many glasses of Amasec, Vaughn flew into a rage. Cursing the cowardice of his men and the Astra Militarum's poor grasp of Latin grammar, Vaughn strode off into plague zombie territory, promising to teach the undead a lesson. Wrongly.

Vaughn staggered back two days later, white-skinned and red-eyed. He had not so much lost the plot as thrown the plot in the bin and set the bin on fire. The sentries, used to terrified obedience, allowed Vaughn to enter the compound. In Vaughn's wake there lurched a hundred zombies. When Vaughn broke camp the next morning, the bodies of his former soldiers stumbled behind him.

Since then, Vaughn has carved himself a small empire in the wastes. After defeating the notorious lord of the dead Scrofulus Pump in a close-fought shuffle-off, he won the right to dub himself The Zombie Master, and has been lurking in the wasteland ever since. It is said that he is biding his time, gathering his malodorous minions until he can join forces with the other lords of the undead and dine out on the living in style.

Varricus Vaughn was made out of two-thirds of an old Commissar Yarrick model that I got off ebay for £3. In an attempt to make Vaughn look more like a cartoon vampire and less like a cartoon Nazi, I sliced off the head and replaced it with an elf head. I added the arm from a tempestus scion and made a backpack-thing  from the axe-blade of a Khorne person. He was inspired by a character called Karloth Valois in the Necromunda supplement, Outlanders.

Of all the GW publications I own, the Outlanders supplement for Necromunda is, word for word, probably about the most entertaining. It was written at the height of GW's "gaudy period", where bright red was the colour of choice and a miniature wasn't right until it had some warning stripes. But I shouldn't be too cynical: Outlanders is full of entertaining text and Mark Gibbons' comic-style artwork, and is the closest that GW got to 2000AD.

The rulebook contains rules for outlaws, several crazy new gangs, special characters and (my favourite) a bestiary. I like bestiaries. This one includes some predictable creatures (zombies, giant rats) and some surprises (giant sand clams). It also has rules for some special characters, including Valois himself. I doubt that I'll ever use any of them, but it would be fun to make my own versions of them all.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Riding About On A Huge Green Blob

This week, I finished off the Nurgle rider chap.

Bubo Flense was once a great champion of the plague god, destined for daemonhood. However, after slaying the Slaaneshi warlord Arstermath the Insatiable, he wiped his shield clean to better display his heraldry. This arrogant display of cleanliness displeased Nurgle, and Bubo found himself demoted. He now acts as the bodyguard to the former governor - which, given that the governor is a jabbering idiot who makes a chaos spawn look like Oscar Wilde, is something of a demotion.

I can't help but feel I ought to have included some black and white checks in there, for the old-school look. Here is a delightful rear view, demonstrating Nurgle's tendency for impressively-sized rumps. I added a bag from an ogre model to the knight, partly to bulk out the saddle (he did look like he might just slide backward, onto the ground) and partly because it looked like the sort of manky thing that he might carry around, full of skulls and phlegm.

And from the side...

I think the misshapen feel of the creature that he's riding, the almost squig-like proportions, work well for chaos. I'm sure our old friend Hieronymus Bosch had some similar creature in one of his pictures. I had a look at the Chaos 40k book recently, and I was rather disappointed that, apart from chaos spawn, there isn't an option for generic mutated demons. Fantasy Battle used to have general chaos raiders: they looked like Vikings, but could be almost anything. 40k gives less option to go wild and make a tide of man-size weirdies.

Ironically, the random bit of chaos signage (thanks James) is probably the best-painted aspect of it all. Anyhow, with brilliant timing, two models came through from a small Kickstarter that I'd followed which would be perfect for the latest Necromunda gang. Oh well!

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Bloodletting for Fun and Profit

The forces of Chaos have had some great designs over the years, but they have also had some very wonky ones, and there's always been something of an over-abundance of big muscley men in lieu of anything genuinely sinister. The forces of Khorne have suffered from this in particular, and still do to an extent: the bloodthirster, their greater demon, has had a tendency to look like Tolkien's Balrog as drawn by a 1980s metal band (and, in one bizarre incarnation, had the head of a dog wearing a kaiser helmet).

Likewise the bloodletters, the smaller demons of Khorne. In their first incarnation (genus tadpoleus) they looked like this:

These weren't painted by me (I think they're pretty good, and you can see them HERE) but I did have a squad of four of these weird, spindly metal things. Sadly I can't find them: among the lost and the damned, they are most definitely lost.

Then the bloodletters got bulked up. They went through a late '90s phase of looking much more muscular and strangely middle-aged (a lot of models were a big ropey at that time) and then they looked like little wingless bloodthirsters for a while - savage, but too much like beastmen and not quite right somehow. More on the (un)natural history of the bloodletter can be found here: HERE

And now they've got it right. The current bloodletters have all the scrawny viciousness of the originals, but the sculpting is much better. They look three quarters medieval demon, and one quarter Giger's Alien - and not like a picture by a medieval person.

All of this preamble leads to the fact that I've painted five of them. I bulk-painted them, which is never a guarantee of the best results, but the fact that they're basically just red and the models are so nice means that they come together pretty decently.

I've not converted them, apart from cutting the tongues off three of them (what is it with GW and monsters sticking their tongues out?). I haven't finished their big black swords, as I've not decided how to do them justice yet. Anyhow, I seem to be building a chaos warband now. At least it will force me to paint those Dark Vengeance marines I've had lying around for the last three years.

Friday, 12 January 2018

Not My Best Angle

At long last, I've managed to finish something! It's the leader for the Not-Escher gang, which means that the gang itself is complete.

As usual, the phone has conspired to present the worst image possible. I once read that each miniature has a "golden angle", namely the angle at which it is best to be photographed. I can say with a fair amount of confidence that this is not it.

Anyway, the gang is ready for action. The weird colour scheme paid off and they've all set to storm the wasteland. I very much doubt that I could get a decent photo of them all, but I'll see what I can do.

Juve, Leader and Heavy
Ganger, Juve and Ganger

Juve, Ganger, Juve and Ganger

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

WIP Pt 2

It's update time!

I've made progress on the big chap. I've ordered a base for him - it's going to be a marsh theme - and I've attached the arms (left over from the maggoth kit) and commenced painting. So far, I've used a mixture of nasty green-brown washes. I'll have to add the details the usual way. I'm not sure whether the skin looks good so far or whether it just looks as if it needs more paint.

It's interesting how much more detail there is in the Nurgle parts than the tyranid bits. I really like the tyranids, but I find the models a bit low in detail and rather uninspiring. A tyranid hive that's eaten a lot of chaos people could be really interesting, though.

 And then this guy. I had a load of bits left over from the maggoth, so I thought I'd have a go at putting them together and making a sort of mouth on legs, together with a rider.

I've always been in two minds about Nurgle. Some of the design aspects I really like: in particular, the organic shapes in the war machines and the worn-out, patched-up armour. I'm less sold on the smiley faces and the dangling guts.

This thing is basically maggoth parts blended together with DAS clay. I gave it a quick wash of dark tone to bring out the shading, which will be useful when I paint it. I think the rider is some kind of rancid knight, so it makes sense to put some rust on his armour. I could see him wielding a lance, or perhaps a long-barrelled flamethrower-type gun.

So much for finishing things!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Works in Progress

A very quick update here. This week I've started a lot of things and finished none, which doesn't really help diminish the pile of lead and plastic needing to be finished. It occurred to me that the model I was converting to be the leader of the new gang, whilst fine, was a bit too different to the others that I'd made to really work.

The legs are from a metal harlequin, the torso is from a dark elf, the right arm is dark eldar and the left arm and cloak come from an Empire outrider (a great kit, especially if you like rotary guns and horses). The head came from the ever-reliable Statuesque Miniatures. The gun is a very old Chaos marine bolter, and the chainsword is a possibly even older Eldar part.

I've also dug up an old conversion that I started ages ago and added to it. It is going to be some sort of large monster: beyond that, I'm not sure. At the moment, it's rather front-heavy, but I've got some arms that should offset the impression. It's a bit like a souped-up deathclaw from the Fallout games, but I think I'll paint it dark green. I can imagine it living in a swamp.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

The Gang's Nearly All Here

Happy new year!

The not-Esher gang is almost there. I've made two more gangers, taking the total to nine. All that's left is the leader.

The juve on the right was based on the Hasslefree Furiosa model, with a new head and right arm, and a bit of green stuff.

The model on the right is a heavy. Status brings reward, and that takes the form of better armour and bigger pieces of rusty metal to stand on. The heavy was a Wrath of Kings model with Dark Eldar arms, a Tempestus Scion gun and putty to bulk out the armour.

I've also been working on a crashed spaceship (as in painting one, not that my place of work is a damaged rocket). It's a one-piece molded model from one of the old 40k boxed sets, which featured tyranids as the villain of the week. I painted it in the same way as the ship from the last post, adding some tufts of grass. It fits almost exactly with the drab battlefield mats I got off Warlord Games. Super!