Thursday 28 June 2018

Update on the Necron Situation

Here are three finished Necron warriors, on patrol before returning to base to recharge their batteries and listen to Kraftwerk.

The legs were cut and repositioned on the right and centre model. The heads were turned by cutting down the pistons on the left side of the head, as if they had retracted. The "glowing" green parts of the guns (phased plasma rifles in the 40 watt range) were replaced with plastic rod and the bayonets were cut off.

The metal was silver washed with dark tone (black) and strong tone (dark brown). The paint was bleached bone or the equivalent, highlighted with skull white and dabbed in places with strong tone to look dented or dirty. The eyes are simply red with orange dots.

I like the way they've turned out, but it took a lot of effort!

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Of Legs and Shoulder Pads

This week, I'd hoped to do more work on the robot factory, but the parts didn't get to me. Instead, I bought an old Dark Eldar model, from about 1998. I've not been able to find a good picture of this, but basically, it's metal, and from a time when the Dark Eldar range was... well, let's say that they've not aged well. This particular model (a female Archon) was pretty battered, and cursed with shoulder pads that would have embarrassed the cast of Dynasty.

I removed the arms with a hacksaw, and replaced them with a modern plastic Dark Eldar left arm, and a right arm from a Skitarri ranger. The sleeve of the ranger's arm had to be cut down and pretty extensively built up with green stuff. She also got a new, huge, shoulder pad made from the blade of an old elf axe.

I'd originally intended a Tank Girl riot of colours for this model, but as I put it together, it seemed more goth than punk. I went for a more subdued black and green colour scheme, with orange as a contrasting spot colour. She looks like someone from a 1980s science fiction film:

The year is 1997. Atomic war has reduced the Earth to looking like a disused quarry. Radioactivity has inexplicably made animals large and angry. Bandits roam the land, in the service of the deadly Queen Spatula. Only one man can save mankind - Dirk Rockwell, the Freedom Cop!

"We meet again, Dirk Rockwell."

Here's a rear view. I really like the sculpting of the cloth, and I'm pretty pleased with my paint job.

On the subject of dodgy models, Necron warriors are a bloody pain in the arse. These really need a re-sculpt: not so much a redesign as some new poses and the ability to turn their heads without snapping their necks. I like the concept, but they're not easy to make. Anyhow, they do look a lot better walking forwards, rather than the bow-legged standard pose.

Tuesday 19 June 2018

The Last of the Dirty Dozen

The foul treachery of the planetary governor, and his gleeful embrace of the Chaos powers, has resulted in some strange alliances among the citizens who have risen up to overthrow his tyranny. The mercenary unit known as the Glory Boyz has found itself betrayed and falsely accused. Now they fight as irregulars against the cultists and traitors in the Governor's army.

Finally, at very long last, I've managed to get the last of the ork commandos done. I've been building up the unit, one way or another, for over a year now. I've reached the magic number of 12 (well, 13 if you count the gretchin assistant) and that seems like a good idea to stop for now.

This chap is some sort of officer. Here he has stopped cutting throats for a moment to have a little think about where life will be taking him next. Somewhere flammable and full of violence, probably. His little friends has decided to pop out of his backpack and wave a stick of dynamite around. He's got a new resin head and a new left arm, but is otherwise unchanged.

Here's a rear view, showing his collection of explosives and trophies.

I love these models: they've got real character and are full of detail but not too difficult to paint. The caricatured WW2 commando look works really well for orks.

Here's the other final soldier. His legs were converted, and he got a new backpack.

He clearly enjoys his work. The camera has decided that it won't take very good pictures of the commando unit (probably prohibited under the Orkficial Secrets Act), but here's a group photo anyway.

Sunday 17 June 2018

Robot Factory 2 - At The Ruins of Ryza

Both of you who read this blog will by now be used to a certain level of high-octane, adrenaline-filled excitement in my posts. I'm afraid this is going to be a rather more sedate one.

First up, I've been experimenting with reposing the legs of Necron warriors, because that's the sort of wild, hard-living guy I am. This was done with a lot of fiddly cutting at the knees and hips, and some bending of the ankles. It's time-consuming, but it does make the legs look considerably less crap.

 The body on the right uses repositioned warrior legs and a torso from something called a Tomb Barge, apparently. I like the mummified-corpse look. Two of these will be flanking the entrance to Lord Mechatep's domain, like this:

The face in the centre is one of those beautifully-sculpted but completely impractical bases by (I think) Secret Weapon Bases. I'm not sure if it's a bit too much, but it scores well for creepiness.


I've also been working on the walls for the ruined robot factory, home of Lord Mechatep of Pskainet. For the walls, I used the GW Ryza Pattern Ruins scenery set. This is a cheap set, less than £20, of molded slot-together walls. They are solid, nicely detailed and - get this - not covered in bloody skulls for once. They were easy to assemble and paint, and I'd recommend them to anyone (within reason - I doubt my Grandma needs any right now).

I went for bland industrial colours: faded cream/white for the outside, and a dull blue/grey for the inside. I washed the walls with the incredibly useful but weirdly named Umbral Umber from the Privateer Press range, and then sponged on lighter shades of the base colour. I decided not to go into too much detail: I reckon the builders would just have sprayed everything the same colour.

I attempted a weedy bit of object source lighting here.

An external wall, at convenient height for models to duck behind.

This one has a control panel. Note the gothic archway above the window, but the daring lack of skulls.

This, in my most ominous voice, is how it begins.

Sunday 10 June 2018

Robot Factory 1 - the Leonardo Frame

There are many dangers in the wasteland, ranging from bandits and wild dogs to more obscure threats like gruntlings and furtive rhomboids. But even hardened traders fear the robots that stalk the deep deserts. Over recent years, more and more of them have been sighted, varying in size and shape as if someone was trying out different designs.

The truth is much more sinister. Deep below Mount Tangent, in a half-ruined industrial complex built by the first settlers, an inhuman intelligence is stirring. It has reactivated the robot-construction facility to slowly create an army that will one day march out and conquer the world. Its true designation is long-forgotten, but it calls itself Mechatep, of the Dynasty of Pskainet.


For a while, I've thought that it would be cool to build a decrepit factory for Necromunda. And not just any factory - one making robots. Leaving aside the sinister nature of the abandoned - but possibly still active - body parts, you could have loads of interesting machines to hide behind and even a scenario where the factory churns out defence bots while the two sides battle around them.

Because I've not got the space for one massive terrain piece, I thought the best idea would be to make a few different machines, all to do with robot construction. I was inspired by the very similar machines in Westworld (top) and Fallout 4 (bottom), both reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man drawing:

For the main frame, where the robot would be assembled, I used two pieces left over from Tau hover-tanks. They were cut from the top of the tanks, where the turret plugs in, and I've had them lying around for about a decade. Never throw anything away, as they say. With a bit of green stuff and some filing, I put them together.

Then I needed a base and something to hold the frame onto it. For this, I ordered some resin turret legs from Ramshackle Games. They came in a pack of five - I can use the others for something later.

 The base was an old sculpted base from a Dust Tactics model. It had bolts around the edges and a metal textured feel, and was therefore perfect for this project. The leg went onto the base, with some bits of tubing to support it at the bottom:

And then the frame was stuck to the arm. I painted it all in a suitable light-industrial blue, and added a robot skeleton made from one of Warlord's Terminator models. It's not a fantastic miniature, but it does the job.

As a final touch, I considered adding some of TT Combat's excellent computer panels to the base, to control the machinery. But then I noticed that a console, also from TT Combat, fitted perfectly on the base and matched the colour scheme. So I decided to use that instead. I've not glued it on, but I think it works really well.

So there it is! I wonder if it needs some mechanical arms, in case the robot requires a bit of emergency spot-welding. I'll be adding some of GW's nice Ryza pattern ruins as the factory walls, and perhaps repainting some older scenery I made a while ago. For now, I think it's a decent start.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

More Frostgrave Explorers

As promised, here are the last of the Frostgrave explorers. I've run out of the nice bases for now, so I'm going to take a break from them until the next batch arrives.

This charming fellow is Gutlag Executioner, or so said the 1988 Citadel Catalogue (the red one). I must have bought him when I was about 14. He's one of my favourite models ever, although I don't really know why. I think it's that he looks wiry and mean, without being a huge lump like the current ogre models. The combination of his hood and protruding jaw makes him look dozy and vicious. He reminds me somewhat of Les Edwards' illustrations for the comic book of Rawhead Rex.

It was difficult to get the colours of the group onto a model that looks best in dark shades, so I cheated and added a bright shield to the base (it needed filling up, as it's slightly too big). Maybe the others gave it to him to wear and he's just tossed it on the floor in a sulk.

The painting was fairly standard, although I added brown into the usual flesh colour. For some reason this looks better on large expanses of skin: it feels less raw than usual.

The last model is another fantastic sculpt by Westfalia Miniatures. She seems to be some sort of armoured cleric, having the magical combination of armour, hammer and really big book (I wonder if people use really big books as extra armour, or just to while away the hours at the camp fire?).

Actually, the hammer was so big that I struggled to work out how to make it look wieldable. I considered painting it as wood, but it looked like a comedy mallet, so I painted lightning on the head to make it appear magical. I feel sorry for Night Lords players, who have to do that on every miniature.

Perhaps she is about to take on the skaven hordes as they burrow up from beneath, in an epic battle of Whack-a-Mole.

Friday 1 June 2018

Frostgrave Explorers

This week, I thought I'd take a break from the usual science fiction stuff and make some of the fantasy models that I'd had lying around. Since they aren't obviously from the same army (or even the same species), I thought I'd paint them as an adventuring party, the sort of thing you might have in Frostgrave.

First up, a pair of hired swords - or rather one hired sword and one crossbow on loan. They are both from the standard Frostgrave mercenaries boxed set: they're decent enough sculpts, but a bit on the small side. I gave the crossbow woman a Statuesque Miniatures head.

As with all these models, they're mounted on sculpted bases from Mantic's Dungeon Quest game.

The next pair are a metal dwarf from Citadel (probably a very old model) and a swordswoman from a Kickstarter that I backed ages ago for a company called Westfalia Miniatures. Their stuff is very good, almost as well sculpted as Black Scorpion's, and a pleasure to paint. Anyhow, the dwarf's slotta-tab said "Nobby" on it, so that is now his name. The swordswoman I will call Blanche, as I've painted her to look somewhat like Snow White. Perhaps she has just woken up and is looking for the rest of her dwarves.

Next we have Sir Vaylance, last seen driving an Imperial titan, who was made largely out of a chaos warrior and a brettonian knight. He is rather large.

And finally, Glurk, an orc wizard. Glurk was a very old 40k ork boss. I gave him a new arm from, I think, a plastic savage orc, and a staff with a necron bit on the top. He looks rather friendly, if a bit dim. I think he would make a good shaman.

I'm not sure what I'll do with these guys, but I like them. There's something about jolly retro fantasy characters that quite appeals to me. On which subject, I've got a metal ogre that I probably bought when I was about 13. I might do him next.