Monday 28 December 2020

Even More Fremen

Hello again. This is probably my last post of the year, and I'd usually attempt some kind of summing-up, but frankly that feels like a lot of effort. The year was rubbish but it could have been very much worse, and I was able to stay safe and paint some miniatures. That's about it, really. 


I've always been somewhat undecided about Warlord Games' models, especially their fantasy and SF stuff. Historical gaming doesn't interest me very much, especially the Napoleonic stuff (although some of the outfits are nice, and the late Renaissance is quite cool). However, I was looking though their sale recently, and saw some of the Freeborn models from their Gates of Antares range going cheap. I bought a Freeborn howitzer, because the crew would make really good Fremen.

So here are the three crew. I think these are really good models, and it's a shame that you can't buy them individually. The two assistants are actually carrying ammunition for the howitzer, rather than guns (at least, I think so) but I think their ammo could actually make quite good far-future heavy weapons of some kind. 

I did a very small conversion on the second loader, cutting and turning his head a little so that he was looking in the direction his gun was pointed, as if firing it.

The commander of the gun would make a good Sayyadina, a priestess of the Fremen.

And that's it. I think that's the Fremen group finished - until I find some more of them.

Wednesday 23 December 2020


I've always liked trolls. I'm not quite sure why, but I think it's the mixture of comical gawkiness and crude brutality. People might laugh at trolls, but I reckon they'd do it from a safe distance. Ages ago, I somehow ended up with an undead Mantic undead troll. I liked the shape of the model, but I thought he'd look better alive. 

First, I removed his existing, rather orc-like head and replaced it with a head from the recent GW trolls (or whatever they call then now). I then spent quite a lot of time filling up the various rotting holes on the model with green stuff and DAS clay. 

After that, it was just a matter of giving him a suitable paint job. I went for the same blue and grey colours that I'd used on an earlier metal troll, in imitation of the old GW stone trolls. I quite like the main body of the miniature but, as often happens, the really nice new head makes up for whatever errors there are in the sculpting of the body. 

All ready to bash his enemies with his favourite lump of stone!

Sunday 20 December 2020

The Sons of Entropy: Chaos biker conversions

Until the release of the new Chaos marine plastics a few years ago, the 40k Chaos army was looking pretty long in the tooth - and not in a wolf-like, fanged way. The new marines are very nice, but there are still some ancient and rather ropey models in the range that need updating: most notably, the Berserkers of Khorne.

Chaos bikes are another seriously ancient unit. I reckon they current models have been around since 1998 or so, and they look chunky and dull (not that the old Space Marine bikes are much better). Anyhow, I had some bikes knocking around from a very old set called Dark Vengeance (as opposed to Happy Vengeance or Merry Vendetta), which I'd started converting ages ago and then abandoned. I thought that I'd have a go at converting them into something more chaotic and more interesting.

All the bikers got new heads. The first got a lot of spikes growing out of his bike, along with some strange bony protrusions. I decided that all three of the bikers would have unwholesome tubes connecting them to their vehicles, perhaps where they were starting to merge with their rides.

The second biker had a sort of weird pump fixed to his bike instead of a backpack, as well as a big skull to act as a sort of windscreen and some manky fleshy stuff coming out of his chest. Nice.

The third biker is probably their leader. He's got a daemonette of Slaanesh riding pillion. 

Lovely! They'll be able to raise some hell in the name of Chaos, assuming that quarantine ever lifts. Chaos grows ever stronger (and faster)!

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Grom The Paunch

So, back to the "schedule". Many years ago, in the depths of GW's "red period", they released Grom the Paunch, a fat goblin warlord. Grom rode around on a chariot and was modelled with one foot up on the railing, waving an axe and probably laughing madly.

I saw the model of Grom, without chariot, for sale and bought him. He's got a definite cartoony charm. I didn't make any alterations except to stick a bit of cork rock under his boot. 

Sunday 13 December 2020

OSL Wizard

 Following on from last week's experiments with object source lighting, I decided to move from being overcautious to going ridiculously over the top in one step. So, I painted a model from the excellent Frostgrave female wizard sprue:

And then I applied OSL. 

What do I think of the result? Well, in a "word", hmm. I keep thinking of the bloke from Braveheart when I look at her, and it does look slightly as if she's screaming in horror as The Blueness overwhelms her. On the other hand, it sort of works. Do I think it makes the model better? Again, I don't know. I'm glad I tried OSL, and I think I had a decent stab at it. Beyond that, it's hard to say.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Chaos Marines and Object Source Lighting

 I've been painting another old model from the box of metal miniatures. This time, it's a really old Khorne berserker marine that my friend Owen gave me. I think he's a World Eater - or, in the immortal words of the former Warhammer metal band Bolt Thrower, a WURRRRLLD EEEETAHHH. Sooner or later, every miniatures blog mentions Bolt Thrower.

As with so many of these old metal models, the detail was rather soft and the model is pretty small, but it was a real pleasure to paint. There's something about the extreme detail and very sharp edges of modern plastic sculpts that puts me off a bit. It's probably that I find all the extra stuff daunting rather than anything aesthetic, though. Laziness rather than art.


Anyway, my friend James P suggested that I should have a go at doing some "special effects" on some miniatures. I thought I'd start with Object Source Lighting (OSL). I fished out some chaos marines I painted a while back and tried to make their plasma guns glow. 

These two guys (who are basically the same model with a head-swap) have come out reasonably well for a first go. The OSL was done with a mixture of careful drybrushing and mixing blue into the existing colours.

The third model was a bit harder as, realistically, the glow from his gun probably wouldn't reach much of his body. I tried to reflect that by not doing too much, but it looks a bit half-hearted. 

This is really just a warm-up, because I bought a sprue of female wizards for Frostgrave (excellent sprue, by the way), and I'm going to have a go at a much grander lighting effect on one of them. But that's (probably) for next time.

Monday 30 November 2020


So, last time I thought that I might continue my wood elf project, perhaps with a break to work on a huge siege engine. Predictably, I did neither of those things and made an enormous demon instead.

A while back, James F sent me some bits, including the body of an old metal Bloodthirster of Khorne. I didn't have all the pieces to make him, but I decided to use his body to produce something suitably mental. In terms of size and shape, he reminded me rather of the "cyberdemon" off the box art for Doom 2.

I built him a left arm out of an old tyranid arm and a plasma cannon. Hopefully, it looks as if the gun is somehow forming from his flesh.

He already had a right arm, but no hand, so I used a suitably big and spindly hand from a Dark Eldar pain engine. I added some bits of plasticard to suggest that it was bionic and strapped to his arm.

His head came from an old demon prince bit that I'd mail ordered years ago. It is a really good head and looks suitably evil without being too cartoony. I pinned it on at a slight angle so he was looking in the direction that the gun was pointing.

Then it was time for paint. I'd planned on giving him red skin but the original picture gives the cyberdemon pinkish-brown flesh, so I went with that. I used a red undercoat, which seems to give the flesh a slightly raw, unhealthy feel.

The back view is slightly less terrifying. If you ever wondered what the bottom of the abyss looks like, now you know.

Behold the Hellbutt

It's odd really because I started this as a bit of a silly laugh, thinking that it might work as an extra obliterator for the chaos force. It's ended up as something I'm really pleased with. On balance, I think he would make a nice daemon prince. In the "bare-arsed snarling hellspawn" sense of "nice".

Wednesday 25 November 2020

More Wood Elves

 So, here are three more arboreal loonies for the wood elf warband. 

Our first guy is an old metal champion. He's a cool model. I've not got much to say about him except that he was a pleasure to paint. 

Second is an equally ancient lord. Once, he'd had some kind of spear, but I managed to snap it off many years ago, so I gave him a huge sword instead. Otherwise, he's unconverted. Again, he was easy and pleasant to paint, although his face was a bit on the fiddly side.

And third, we've got another wardancer. This model started off as one of the Corvus Cabal miniatures from Warcry. She's an excellent sculpt, and the sense of movement is terrific. I swapped her original head for a dark eldar one, and cut her rather large polearm down to be a wooden staff, for a simpler and more martial-artsy feel. She was surprisingly easy to paint as well. 

Over the last couple of days, I watched the film Mortal Engines. It's not a great film, to be honest, but the basic concept (huge mobile cities devouring one another) is very cool, and the design for the cities is very good indeed. The first ten minutes are really decent. Anyhow, it made me wonder about building some kind of mobile settlement, and then I remembered that I'd built a big tank years ago. Perhaps I'll have a go at sprucing it up a bit...

Saturday 21 November 2020

Wood Elf Warband

I've always liked wood elves. They're a cool idea when done well, much more so than their boring high elf colleagues. In fantasy, they tend to run from twee little pixie folk to violent weirdos who would be happy in The Wicker Man. GW, unsurprisingly, tended more towards the violent weirdo end of the scale, but they never seemed to quite get the wood elves right. Every time they were updated, either the elves themselves (that's a lot of "elves") or their friends the treemen ended up looking a bit strange.

I thought I'd have a go at making a small warband, perhaps for Frostgrave, picking and choosing different models with a similar general theme. Recently, Axiom at Magpie and Old Lead wrote an interesting post about designing and theming conversions (HERE): while I don't go into as much detail when I'm converting a set of models, I do tend to have lists of features that form in my mind. If I wrote it down, the list for the wood elves would look like this:

- models will be archers or wardancers, so either stealthy or berserk

- cloaks, hoods and perhaps masks for archers, but not modern camouflage

- "wild" look for wardancers: big hair, furs/wood/skulls, barefoot etc.

- not much armour overall, and some of it will be wooden (maybe).

- use any models that work

- not just green.

I also decided to give them a pattern that I nicked from Dragon Age 2: stylised branches rising up from the ground. So, without further ado:

The first model isn't a GW miniature at all. It's a Tharn warrior from Privateer Press' Hordes, which I got ages ago and who looks a lot like a very feral elf. She was missing a left arm, so I cut one off a dark eldar and filed it down a little. She's also got an old GW wood elf knife strapped to her back, to use once she's thrown her spear.

And seen from behind:

The second wood elf is a wardancer that I got several decades ago. He's got a huge sword and seems to be dressed in a kind of toga (there's a bit of a Celt feel to some of the older models). I didn't do any conversions. Apart from him being quite a "flat" model owing to the moulding limitations of the time, I think he's a nice miniature:

Rear view:

Third, we've got one of the oldest models I own. The body of this archer came from a box called something like Fantasy Legions that GW made when I was very young. You got a variety of white plastic troopers, including humans, orcs, skaven, goblins and dwarfs. And this archer. 

One tactic when painting slightly wonky models is to swap a not-great head with a better one. I did this here and used a much more recent plastic GW head. The new head has an odd fan of branches over the elf's mouth, but it's a great improvement on the rather dated original. I also cut his huge pointy feet down a little and resculpted the ends of his boots.

I think he looks alright now, if a little static. More elves to follow!

Friday 13 November 2020

Three More Space Marines

 After my comments last week about how I didn't like space marines, I thought I'd do the logical thing and paint some more space marines. Here are three more: they're all reasonably old models, from 2000-2005, I think.

They're all unconverted. I decided on a light grey for their armour, without the bluish tint of Space Wolf armour. I thought it could look both like plate armour - I'm going for a knightly feel for these guys - and could be used as urban camouflage for the more "practical" members of the chapter.

First is a veteran. I really like the medieval look of this guy. I painted his drapes like ancient heraldry. I think the blue and red are nice rich colours and have a suitably regal feel.

Second is a sergeant (I think). He's clearly very excited about whatever he's pointing at. It must be awesome. He's less ornate than the veteran chap, but still a nice little miniature.

And lastly, we've got a captain. This guy has a cloak and no helmet, and is therefore clearly very important. I tried a more dramatic effect on his sword, with lightning. It came out ok. 

Here they all are together, about to have an adventure.

I've got a few more marines to paint, but I fancy a bit of a change. I've been wondering about doing a wood elf warband for Frostgrave (or just generally). I might have a try at a couple of wardancer types.

Friday 6 November 2020

Three Space Marines

 Of all the aspects of Warhammer 40,000, my least favourite has to be the Space Marines. This is a bit of a problem, as 40k is basically "Space Marines vs some other people". But the marines are really unappealing. 

They're boring. They all look very similar, and have about one personality per chapter. Some of the background fluff is like a ten-year-old boy's idea of a tough guy: they're really big, they don't like girls and they can spit acid. Goodness only knows what their wee does. And the obsession with making them larger and larger is just plain odd.

Anyhow, I happened to have a small group of marines that I bought a while ago, because they were quite decent miniatures. Also, like Teletubbies, they would all have differently-coloured armour. I thought I'd give them a go.

First up, we've got a very old librarian miniature (who on earth thought that "librarian" was cooler than "psychic"?). My friend Owen gave him to me: I think he's Rogue Trader material. I painted him up in a fairly standard way, and found that he was quite fun and easy to paint. There's nothing much to say about him, except that, unusually, I gave him a pinker lower lip, just to make his features a bit more pronounced. Oh, and that he looks like that man who chopped that other man's willy off in A Game of Thrones.

The second marine is an apothecary. I painted him in the usual white colours, shading up from bone. It took bloody ages, but I think it came out alright. There was a lot of fiddly detail on this model, and painting him with a white undercoat made it hard to outline all the pipes and flasks. I might try to lighten the colour a bit: he looks slightly dirty.

The third model is a techmarine. I like techmarines, as they have lots of cool detail and odd machinery. This guy came with a backpack that had a huge robot arm sticking out the side of it. While this was good, it really detracted from the movement and pose of the model, so I replaced it with a regular backpack. I mixed some grey into his skin, to give the impression that he's virtually a robot.

And that's all for now!

Thursday 29 October 2020

Space Truck

 Frequent readers of this blog (hello to you both) will know that I've been trying to get though the huge heap of unpainted metal and unfinished conversions that I've had knocking about for ages. A long time ago, I tried to make an LRDG-type truck for some orks, but it didn't go very well, and I still had the rear of the truck lying around. I also had the cab of a Sentinel (Sentinel legs are really useful, the cabs less so) and some battlewagon tracks that I picked up in a very battered state (them, not me) at a wargames fair.

I found that the three elements fitted together surprisingly well.

The roof of the cab was an absolute pig to build, as I wanted to fill it in with plasticard. It took a lot of patience and fiddly bits of card, but I finally managed to build a new roof for the cab. It was then a matter of adding lots of random detail, most of it either made from thin plasticard or taken from an Airfix Tiger tank that I bought about 15 years ago and have been slowly dismantling ever since.

I felt that it needed some cargo, and so I used some plastic boxes I got in a Mantic sale ages ago. The weird boxy thing next to the cab is a resin aircon unit, which I imagine either keeps the cargo cold or provides air for the cab as it rolls across some strange alien world.

Here's a thrilling rear view.

I did wonder about adding some hinges to the rear door, but I couldn't make them look convincing, so, for now, it's unhinged.

Painting was fairly simple: it got an industrial blue base, which was then shaded and heavily weathered. I didn't add any rust, as I expect it would be in too much use to get rusty, but I expect it would be very battered and dirty.

The Bison all-terrain carrier is one of the most successful vehicles to be produced on the Outer Rim. The sealed cab protects the driver from the hazards of semi-terraformed worlds, and the filtration system can process oxygen from low-yield atmospheres and store it in the integral tanks. Despite these innovations, the Bison's real strength is its ruggedness and ease of repair: some units have been in service for over a century, and a few were recently used as improvised armoured cars in the recent New Luton uprising.