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!