Tuesday 28 August 2018

Robot Rickshaw - Finished!

Here's the finished rickshaw. I decided to raise the height of the passenger seat a bit. This was harder than I'd expected and involved some fiddly plasticard work, but I'm glad that I did it. I think it works much better now.

I decided to paint the whole thing yellow, as that's a good colour for a taxi. I had to base the carriage, as it felt a bit flimsy. Anyway, I really like it.

Monday 27 August 2018

Robot Rickshaw WIP

About a year ago, I got hold of a box of Warhammer 40,000 objective markers. They're all really good, although it would be a pretty amazing battle that involved a doomsday device, a vending machine and a pickled genestealer head all at once. Anyway, I saw the crashed escape pod and thought that I could do something fun with that.

"The street finds new uses for things", as someone once observed in a William Gibson cyberpunk novel I once read. I'm not sure they meant turning an escape pod into a rickshaw, but what the heck. An actual rickshaw tends to be pulled by a person, but this is the future, so we'll have a robot.

I used some old resin robot legs I got from Ramshackle games ages ago, and built up a body with plasticard. The head was from a Warlord Ghar model. Extra detailing came from some bits of 20mm tank (thanks James!).

The body of the rickshaw was simply the escape pod plus a couple of wheels from an old cart kit. A few Empire spear pieces and a plasticard roof finished it off.

All he needs now is some paint!

Thursday 23 August 2018

More Genestealer Cultists

After all that nostalgia, normal service is now being resumed, and we're back with our old friends the genestealer cult. It occurs to me that I've not named this cult: usually in 40k they've got absurdly sinister names involving the words "four-armed" and "cult", but I don't think Magus Elron the Litigious would really go for that. I quite like "The Brotherhood of Xenology" or "The Church of Terminal Wisdom".

Anyway, this first chap is a hybrid of some kind, armed with a shotgun. I really like the scrappy, improvised feel of the cult, and I expect that this bloke is just wearing a bit of curtain or a grubby towel to hide his very weird legs and mind-bogglingly horrible nether regions. He's based off an old metal Dark Eldar grotesque, which I got in a job lot and was missing quite a few parts. I added a gun and head from the recent genestealer neophytes box. I've used bright red as a spot colour - it looks a bit weird on a shotgun, but maybe he added it himself.

I made the next model a couple of years ago. His upper half is from a chaos cultist, and the lower part is from a plastic undead grave guard. Because the legs made the model lean over, I converted him to have his boot up on an imperial icon. I first envisaged him as a crazy preacher for the Sisters of Battle, but it looks more as if he's kicking the icon over, so a cult banner bearer seemed appropriate.

It's a sad truth about 40k (if you're me) that the most interesting models have the worst saving throws, so both of these guys would probably last about a second in the game (I nearly said "in the real world" there). Still, I only need about 998 more to have a full army now!

Monday 20 August 2018

Reaver Titan

One of my earliest memories of wargaming - or rather, of not wargaming - is seeing a picture of some Imperial titans in a games room at school, and then being told to piss off by an older boy called Robert, who had a very square head.

But the memory of the titans stayed with me: huge robots in unfeasibly jolly colour schemes, lumbering across the horizon while tiny space marines tried not to get stepped on far below. Like this:

I never got into Epic, but the release of a new version of Adeptus Titanicus reminded me that I had one of these things lying around. In fact, I had a few old Epic vehicles, and so I decided to give one of my Reaver titans a paint.

I tried not to add anything to the bases that would make the titan look as if it belonged to any particular scale, just in case I decided to use it as a robot in 40k or something like that. I did quite a bit of shading on the armour plates and tried a glowing effect on its top-mounted plasma gun. It was missing the feet, so I cast a couple of new ones using putty.

Because it was a nice day, I took a picture of it outside, standing near some ants taking the war to the tyranids.

It was quite enjoyable to paint, although shading all those flat areas was a little tedious. I might have a go at another epic robot sometime, though. All in all, a success.

So up yours, Robert.

Now get back to work!

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Penitent Engine

I actually painted this a while ago, but I completely forgot and finished it off (nearly) today. It's a Penitent Engine, a sort of mech suit into which a crazed zealot is wired and sent off to bash and burn the unworthy. Since the 40k world is awash with violent idiots, there are quite a few of these things knocking around in the armies of the Sisters of Battle.

I decided to remove the pilot, as I wanted my own Sisters army to concentrate on armour and gothic architecture, rather than the various bag-headed space flagellants (and I don't much like the model of either pilot). I replaced it with a bit from some kind of Age of Sigmar chaplain-type person, who seemed to be holding up a skeleton as a religious relic. I imagine that the penitent engine is powered by the spirit of the minor saint whose skeleton it is. I've missed a couple of details, but it's pretty much finished.

Given that this is a lead miniature that comes in about a dozen pieces, I think it's pretty decent. One day, when world peace has been declared and the planet lives as one, there may even be a plastic variant. Until then, this chunky lump of metal will have to do. And maybe by then I'll have finished off all the bits I seem to have missed on it.

Monday 13 August 2018

My Body Lies, But Still I Roman

On the far side of town, Glurk's apprentice, Roger, led a small group of minions through the abandoned graveyards. The four explorers - Scarlett, Maud the Markswoman, Sir Vaylance the Vigilant and Roger himself - hoped to look for relics among the ancient tombs.

The brave - or stupid - adventurers

But ancient eyes watched them - or would have watched them if they hadn't decomposed a long time ago (the eyes, not the explorers). The long-dead commander Flavius Flavor put on his special fighting hat and consulted the omens on the portable sundial that he wore around his neck. He would destroy these interlopers and fix it so they never interloped again. From the tombs around him, the warriors of the Infelix Legion shambled out to fight one last battle...

This was the second solo mission from the Frostgrave Folio, entitled "Skeletal Run". The aim was to get from one side of the board to the other, hopefully collecting treasure en route and avoiding burning skeletons. I didn't have any burning skeletons (does anyone?) but I did have my undead Romans (I knew they would come in handy!).

To begin with, it all looked pretty easy. The heroes surged up the left flank of the board, pausing only for Maud to casually shoot down one of the undead legionaries with her crossbow. Roger embarrassed himself by failing to cast Leap twice, and taking three wounds in the process (I assume he tripped up and fell on his own wand). He made Glurk's feeble performance in the last game look like Merlin.

A skeleton leaped out and attacked Sir Vaylance...

... but Vaylance wasn't having any of it.

Scarlett grabbed a treasure chest and everything seemed to be going well. The explorers pressed on, thirsting for honour and the prospect of robbing a graveyard.

However, the revenants were closing in. The soldiers of the Infelix Legion approached from every side.

Only a few inches from the edge of the table and safety, the undead caught up with our bold kleptomaniacs and a fierce battle commenced.

Vaylance was badly hurt and, for the first and only time in the game, Roger's magic worked. Roger used Leap to get Vaylance out of danger and the noble knight ran for the hills. Next off were Roger and Scarlett, leaving poor Maud behind. Yet, in a surprise ending, the markswoman brained several undead with her crossbow and ran off the table. Exciting stuff!

No doubt there was some awkward conversation around the campfire when Maud returned. In the meantime, the Infelix Legion took the opportunity for a group photo.

All in all, it was good fun. On to the next installment!

Thursday 9 August 2018

Keeper of Secrets

At some point, I seem to have acquired a Keeper of Secrets, the greater demon of Slaanesh. Slaanesh is the chaos god of pleasure, which in practical terms means extreme discomfort. This is a very old multi-part lead model. I thought it would be interesting to try painting it.

To begin with, I thought it was a pretty terrible miniature, but as I got stuck in I found it well-sculpted and quite enjoyable to paint. It's certainly old: despite being multi-part, it stands in a very two-dimensional way and isn't very dynamic (unless it's about to do a pelvic thrust, which is actually quite possible). It also leans back a long way (again, perhaps counterbalancing for its pelvic gestures). The detail's not bad at all, though. The main problem is that a four-armed demon with pincers, one boob and the head of a cow isn't really all that alluring. Perhaps this is the form that Slaanesh takes when it wants to mess someone up. I mean, just look at it.

Anyway, it was actually quite enjoyable to paint. The black leather was a challenge and, to quote Hannibal Lecter, I was able to... do things with the ssssskin. I decided to base it on one of the Mantic sculpted bases that I use for Frostgrave, because it feels more old-school and really, something like this belongs in a dungeon.


A while ago, I got a number of Privateer Press models in an ebay auction. They were from the Eyriss faction, which are basically elves. I really like some of the Eyriss character models (and I really don't like some of the others). They have interesting armour and I thought they would make good eldar pirates or mercenaries. Here's the first of them, in WIP stage. I removed the rather silly weapon that she came with and put some eldar bits on instead.

Tuesday 7 August 2018

Newcromunda: 5-a-side team selection

Following the success of the Frostgrave solo game, I wondered if it would be possible to adapt the Necromunda rules (the old ones) for that sort of game.

One thing that I liked about the Frostgrave solo game was the very small sizes of the sides. The other solo missions continue this theme, which makes me think that small forces are ideal. So, here are proposed rules for creating 5-a-side "teams" for a generic science fiction game, somewhat like the Xcom and Shadowrun computer games. Note that this isn't supposed to represent the Necromunda setting: I'm just using those rules as they're based off 40k and work quite well to begin with.

As Xcom characters go, these guys look pretty sensible.

Team recruitment
Teams may consist of up to 5 models. Players have up to 600 credits to spend. The standard rules on gang construction (only one leader, etc) still apply.

Gang affiliation
Each character must declare which gang it is from before the game starts. This doesn't represent literal gang membership: rather, it shows the skills of the character and the way they will develop. Characters cannot change gang. Teams may include characters from different gangs.

Stat upgrades
Before the first game (and only then) a player may purchase a single upgrade for any character (except wyrds and hounds), to represent training and expertise. No stat may be raised above 4 at this point, with the exception of Leadership. The costs are:

WS - 15 credits
BS - 25 credits
Strength - 20 credits
Toughness - 25 credits
Initiative - 20 credits
Leadership - 25 credits

Each team may include up to 1 wyrd. Wyrds cost 50 credits to recruit and gain experience in the same way as juves. They operate as per the rules in the Outlander supplement, but they come with no equipment at all. Wyrds may choose to re-roll to see what powers they get between games, or retain the same powers.

Each team may purchase up to 3 hounds. Hounds follow the rules for wolf spiders in the Outlander supplement. Hounds cost 35 credits each. They do not gain experience. If a hound has to roll on the serious injury chart, it may choose not to and to miss the next game instead.

Bottle rolls
Bottle rolls only occur when over half of the team has been taken out of action (so, in the case of a five-man team, when three characters have been removed).

Sunday 5 August 2018

Wasteland Swordsman

After all that excitement, I thought I'd finish off a miniature that I've had lying around for ages. It's a conversion based on the legs of a Warhammer grave guard, the arms and torso of an Empire captain, and the head from a Skitarri ranger. I added some bits from a plastic 15mm tank to represent some sort of filtration system on the model's back.

And now for a bit more paint.

This lone swordsman wanders the wasteland, offering his services to the locals. He never removes his gloves or helmet, and there is much debate as to his true nature. He has no use for money, accepting payment only in two litres of water a day.

Saturday 4 August 2018

Frostgrave - First Blood

On the outskirts of the ruined city of Frostgrave, Glurk and three of his minions - the human soldiers Snow and Brian, and the crossbow-wielding gnome Nobby - had embarked on a morning of light pillaging, interspersed with some minor theft. But they had not reckoned with the mighty metal beast that guarded the ruins, and the goblins who dwelt below...

Fig 1: The monster lurks in the ruins

Prior to the battle, Glurk called up a powerful ally for the group. Partly by casting Summon Animal Companion, and partly by leaving some old meat outdoors, he obtained the assistance of the mighty ogre Gutlag Executioner. I used the rules for a bear, which seemed to represent the massive, dim, smelly Gutlag pretty well.

Turn 1.

The explorers hung back, afraid to draw the attention of the terrible monster. Glurk attempted to cast Leap on Brian the Soldier. He failed so badly that he wounded himself when the spell backfired and leaped on him. First blood to Glurk - on himself.

Meanwhile, Nobby failed miserably to hit the monster with his crossbow. The terrible fiend was vaguely disgusted with this wretched display and wandered five inches in the wrong direction.

Fig 2: The battlefield rages with inertia and apathy

Turn 2.

More high drama as Glurk tried to cast leap again, and made such a dismal attempt that he fell on his face, losing another wound. Magic is powerful stuff.

Nobby loaded his crossbow, took aim down the sights - and missed. The monster decided that it might as well put these idiots out of their collective misery, and strolled towards them.

Turn 3.

In an exciting change of pace, Snow the Swordswoman rushed up the field and grabbed a treasure chest. Somehow hauling it onto her back, she prepared to make off with the goods and get mad coinage! Deeply impressed by this display of larceny, Glurk cast Enchant Armour on Snow and by some weird miracle actually did something constructive, toughening Snow's hide.

And then, in a shocking display of competence, Nobby fired his crossbow and hit the monster right in its delicate mechanism, dishing out a brutal seven points of damage! Go Nobby! Encouraged by the spilling of blood (well, motor oil) that wasn't Glurk's, Gutlag lumbered up the field, hungry for fight.

Turn 4.

Turn Four was a whirlwind of crazy action. It's still a blur, but my scribbled notes tell me that Snow, wild with greed, charged off and snatched another treasure chest. Somehow still moving under the weight of two massive chests, she headed towards the exit.

The monster rushed toward Gutlag. Brian ran to help his ogre "friend". Glurk, sensing danger, cast Enchant Armour on Gutlag, whose warty hide suddenly became a little more unwholesome.

Fig 2: Brian rushes to the rescue as the monster charges Gutlag

Brutal combat commenced. Whirling his mighty axe, Gutlag struck deep into the mad machine's vitals, dishing out a horrendous eight points of damage! Ouch! The blow must have hurt, because the monster missed Gutlag entirely.

Turn 5.

Doom was closing in for the monster like a big fat shark. Glurk failed to cast Leap on Nobby but nobody cared. His sword flashing, Brian did three points of damage to the monster. The metal beast whirled and backhanded Brian with a savage slap, knocking off half his hit points.

The sight of Brian being bashed around enraged Gutlag, especially as he'd been planning to eat Brian later and didn't want him spoiled. The ogre chopped once with his axe, and his aim was true. The monster collapsed in a spray of sparks and dubious-looking robot blood, never to boot up again.

Fig 4: Twilight of the thunder god - the monster falls over

But the battle was not done. In the centre of the field, two more titans clashed in mortal combat. As Nobby approached the well, who should leap out but a goblin on a pogo stick! Nobby was surprised - this hadn't been in the training manuscript. Undeterred, the brave dwarf promptly clocked the goblin, and the greenskin would pogo no more.

Fig 5(a): Nobby challenged
Fig 5(b): Nobby triumphant

The battle was at an end. The heroes had been lucky (apart from Glurk, the alleged wizard). They thanked Gutlag, who was surely the man-like thing of the match. Unimpressed, Gutlag wandered off to find some villagers to eat.

Snow's greedy rampage had served them well. They had found a ring of teleportation in one of her chests, and twenty gold crowns, which they could blow on some magic lessons for Glurk.


 So, overall, what did I think? Well, Frostgrave is a lot of fun. The rules flow really well and, after the first couple of turns, felt pretty intuitive. Random movement and bizarre luck aside, it felt like a pretty convincing and intuitive battle. To my mind, the biggest problem in Frostgrave is choosing all the spells at the beginning: once your warband is ready to go, it seems to work pretty well. I must admit that I was a little disappointed that so few goblins showed up and that Glurk's magic was so pitiful, but that's the dice's fault, not mine...

(On the subject of fault, the reason why the pictures in this post are so blurry is that the battlefield was a whirling maelstrom of carnage. OK?)

So I'll be trying the next mission. We shall see how well Glurk's apprentice fares against the undead menace of Flavius Flavor and the Infelix Legion.

Thursday 2 August 2018

Frostgrave: The Goblin Horde

It's been a comparatively long time since I posted here. So, by popular request (or the closest I ever get to it), here's what I've been working on for the big Frostgrave solo-player game.

The single-player Frostgrave scenario that I'm going to try requires one huge monster and a few little ones. Technically speaking, they are an "alchemical monstrosity" and a group of giant rats. While I have loads of models that could count as monstrosities (especially after I've painted them, haha), I don't have any giant rats, at least not any that are in a decent state.

Instead, I decided to use goblins. I've got tons of Ogre Kingdoms gnoblars, which are skinny little things that look like even less competent versions of Warhammer goblins, along with quite a few random familiars and some old metal models that will fit the bill. I see them as a varied and basically incompetent horde, rather like the goblins from Labyrinth.

So, here are some of the hard-living thugs and hoodlums that the good guys will be up against. There's definitely a bit of a Brian Froud/Arthur Rackham influence here.

On the left is a very ferocious sprite, called Warfairy.

On the right is a goblin on a pogo stick, with which to bounce onto his enemies' heads. He is currently practising on a Renedra barrel (which, by the way, went together dreadfully).

The brutal creature on the left a goblin barbarian. He's all set to dance the magic dance, by which I mean hitting people with his hammer, assuming that he's got the strength to lift it.

The guy on the right is a metal gretchin model, armed with a blunderbuss. He is so gangsta that he's got big sunglasses and, er, a kaiser hat.

On the left is the magical (and tiny) knight, Sir Plus de Requirements.

And on the right is a gnoblar riding a Warlord Games pig. "Do anything good at the weekend, mate?" "Yeah, I dressed up as a knight and went joyriding on a pig. How about you?"

In fairness, these are pretty tiny models and the plastic ones, especially the gnoblars, are a bit imprecise in detail. It's a shame because I really like them. I often find that it's the low-ranking, runty creatures that are the most appealing, followed by the really big, weird monsters. There's a mid-range of armoured rank-and-file that doesn't do a lot of that for me.

Anyhow, on with the Frostgraving. Next time: the battlefield.