Monday 31 May 2021

Turnip 28: the Root of all Evil

This week, a wargaming friend (hi James) foolishly pointed me towards an article in Wargames Illustrated concerning Turnip 28, a small-scale wargame being created by Max FitzGerald. It consists, basically, of very grubby soldiers in a mixture of Napoleonic and Medieval military outfits fighting in a heap of mud over various forms of tuber. Apparently there will be a full set of rules fairly soon, together with different sides so you can decide which form of vegetable to root for.

I'm not sure whether Turnip 28 is Blanchitsu or a parody of Blanchitsu - certainly, some of the models I've seen look as if they were dipped in a mixture of oil paint, strong tone and mud - but it is entertainingly silly. While the comparisons to John Blanche are inevitable, the muddy, trudging Napoleonic soldiers remind me more of Ian Miller (who once did a book with John Blanche, after all). 

They also remind me somewhat of the guards from the BBC's adaptation of Gormenghast, who wear a mixture of WW1 German and (I think) English Civil War uniforms: they're clearly soldiers, but not from any particular time. There's also a fair bit of Terry Gilliam in the Turnip 28 world, I suspect.

Anyhow, I thought I'd give this sort of thing a go. As seems to be the rules, I used Perry miniatures, along with some bits from old Warlord Games plastic commandos, who are about the same size and style as the Perry models. I also threw in a few bits from the Frostgrave female wizard sprue. I didn't add the customary tufts of... matter to their shoulders, as I don't really like it that much.

Private Hake has turned up to battle in his Y-fronts yet again. Anyone would think that he did it on purpose.

Private Sealford is well-equipped and skilled with his cut-down musket. Unfortunately the impression of competence is somewhat spoiled by the little red flag he wears on his head.

Corporal Ursula Legume directs her men with the help of her puppet, Mrs Glovely. Here we see them having a heated discussion about tactics.

A small point about photos: I am rubbish with cameras. I don't have a very good camera, I take pictures in ropey light, and I find it all rather hard to understand. As a result, most of my pictures are rather washed-out when they're in focus. I tried something different with these guys, taking the pictures in a small black box and using no flash. I've got to say that I'm surprised how "right" the pictures look. I'm not sure if the models look particularly well-painted, but the style suddenly seems about right, which is a surprise!

Friday 28 May 2021

Really big Chaos champions

 I had some new chaos marine arms and shoulder pads left over, including the super ones with ammunition belts (why are they so cool?). So, I ordered some chaos marine bodies off ebay. Unfortunately, the bodies I ordered weren't standard chaos marines - they were chaos havocs, which as it turns out are much bigger. 

Well, it wasn't like that in my day, when all chaos marines were equally tiny. These guys are absolutely huge, bulkier and at least a head taller than their comrades. So what to do with them?

The first thing was to stick the new arms on them, because they looked bloody cool. I assembled four of them, using some spare backpacks and heads, and realised that they looked rather suited to each of the chaos powers. So, to represent their status as respected champions, they got appropriately coloured shoulder pads. Here they are.

Rageface Bloodhandle is a famously brutal champion of Khorne - or at least he would be, if he had left any witnesses to his various acts of carnage. He carries a plasma gun, which may yet be the only thing capable of killing him.

Duke Laytex the Wrong is renowned for his unnatural axe and was the only man left standing after the 120-day storming of Psodom, twinned with Commorragh, about which the less said the better.

Atrox of the Decrepit Legion has killed thousands of enemies and quite a few allies as well. He now fights in the Black Legion, on condition that he wears a new suit of armour, never takes his helmet off and stands downwind of everyone else.

The Amazing Mysterio is a master of mystery and an expert reader of the Imperial Tarot. Thanks to his modified bolter, most of the cards seem to be "Death", and the tall dark stranger his enemies meet is, unfortunately, him.

So what to do with these guys? Well, I thought they might make quite good terminators, actually. Ok, the weaponry is wrong, but I imagine that the powers of chaos (and their awesome ammo belts) would give them the equivalent of storm bolters, and as for close combat weapons, well, I guess that's just magic. I like the big havoc models a lot more than the terminator bodies, and they're certainly large enough.

Saturday 22 May 2021

A Random Bounty Hunter - back to converting!

 I've been painting quite a lot of miniatures of late without converting them very much. I thought I'd make a random model out of bits and pieces, mainly because I was starting to miss cutting models up. Which makes me sound like Jack the Ripper, but let's not dwell on that.

A long time ago I bought a packet of plastic Malifaux sharpshooters. They were a very different scale to anything else I owned, and so I didn't do anything much with them. I dug out one of the bodies and used it as the basis for a new model.

The arms came from plastic Delaque models from Necromunda. Both arms were raised over the model's head, which looked a bit odd, so I tried to lower one of them. In the end, I had to cut the left arm from the elbow to the shoulder, attach it with a bit of wire and sculpt a sleeve around it. The toe of one of the model's boots had to be cut and replaced with green stuff to make it fit on the base.

The head was from a Frostgrave female wizards sprue. The base came from the Khorgorath model that I used to make my model of Throgg the Troll King a few months ago. I put some bits and pieces on the model's back to balance her out a bit, including a wood elf knife and a rucksack from a Bolt Action sprue.

There's not all that much to say about the painting. I used a blue colour for the coat, partly because it looked quite military and partly because I wanted a striking colour. Together with her red necktie, she looks a bit Wild West. I'm very pleased to have been able to dot in the eyes!

It is well known that the galaxy is overrun by bounty hunters. During the last years of his rule, the Governor decided to rid himself of bounty hunters by hiring bounty hunters to get rid of them. Shortly afterwards, the bounty wars began and the Governor was declared insane and deposed. Here we see Lucilla Lux, former Imperial Guard officer, creeping up on her prey.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

More Smelly Marines

 Here are some more plague marines for the unit. I've really come to like these models, although goodness knows how I'll store them, given all their horns and spikes, which look extremely breakable. Anyhow, on with the chaos.

These two are unconverted.

The chap on the right below is as standard. I converted the guy on the left, who is the unit champion, very slightly by replacing his plague knife with a really old plasma gun. It fits in surprisingly well. I did wonder about painting a glow onto the plasma guns, but I thought that the blue I've used on other plasma weapons in the chaos army would look too "clean".

And here's the entire unit, in its seedy glory.

I've now got three more Nurgle marines left: a standard-bearer, a guy with a bolter and a guy with a plasma gun. The problem is that they are older metal models (the bolter guy is in the old blue catalogue from about 1990) and are much smaller and slighter than the rest of the unit. They're also stylistically different, without the big horns and mutations of the newer marines. They will look a bit daft next to their comrades, but I think I'll paint them up anyhow. Perhaps they're mascots, or just haven't accumulated enough diseases yet.

Sunday 16 May 2021

Three Plague Marines

 Time for a short break from the Tau, before I start to see only in shades of silver and pale blue. One of the things I like about the 40k Chaos army is that each unit can be quite distinctive from the others. Provided that they all roughly tie together, you can have all sorts of weirdness, which makes painting and converting pretty interesting.

About a year and a half ago, I got some of the new plastic plague marines. Some strange bit of superstition prevented me from painting them while the Coronavirus was raging through the UK. Now I've had my vaccination, or at least the first part of it (that was a fun evening), I decided to give them a go.

I've complained about the Tau models being poor on detail - the plague marines are the opposite, and you could spend ages painting them. No wonder that they seem to be so popular with expert painters. Some of the details are rather fiddly. I'm not sold on all the tentacles and bits of blobby flesh, but I really like the chunky, battered, almost WW1 aesthetic of their armour.

There's not much to say about the painting: I used a dirtier version of my not-quite-Black-Legion colour scheme. The flesh was painted in my usual way: red undercoat, then the usual flesh tones on top, with a purple wash instead of strong tone. 

I've not painted many Nurgle models before, but I enjoyed these and I'm pleased with the results. They were a lot less difficult than I'd expected. Personally, I prefer the black colour scheme to the usual greens. 

Friday 14 May 2021

Area 51 Battlesuit

 Here's another battlesuit from the flying saucer style army. This guy will be either the army commander or the leader of the battlesuit unit. He's quite heavily converted, which probably isn't obvious.

It seems that the higher-up you are in the battlesuit food chain, the sleeker and more rounded your armour tends to be. I replaced the chest plate on this guy with a piece taken from some Necron bits I was given a while ago, and added bits of sprue to fill in the gaps that it left. The arms came from a Mantic games Ghar model (I particularly like the weird sci-fi claw he's got) and the head was made out of a headlamp on a 40k Rhino - not out of any particular choice, but because I was running low on battlesuit heads at the time.

I thought it would be characterful to depict the suit blasting its way out of a wire fence, to represent it raiding a military installation. The base was made out of two pieces of plastic rod with the mesh from a bag of tangerines cut and stuck between them. This plastic mesh makes great wire fencing, I think, and is easy to cut and manipulate. I cut a hole in it and painted the edges to look (hopefully) as if they were glowing where the battlesuit has shot its way out.

The sign was just a small square of plasticard, cut and painted to reference Area 51, where the US government is said to keep its stash of dead aliens and flying saucers. Because my freehand lettering isn't perfect, I weathered the sign to look chipped and faded, mainly to hide my own ineptitude.

Here are the three "normal" battlesuits together. I quite like making models of this size or scale or whatever. I think the space-invader theme carries quite well across the unit.

Saturday 8 May 2021

Broadside battlesuit

 I've been back at the Tau this week, turning an old battlesuit into my version of a heavy support Broadside battlesuit. These carry big railguns or missile pods, and are bulkier than the usual variety.

For this, I used part of a Mantic mounted gun (I think it belonged to their space dwarves, but I got it in a sale of random bits so I can't be certain). I used a Fire Warrior backpack and some plasticard to make a side handle for the gun, to connect it to the battlesuit's left arm. 

The battlesuit got a new, larger head made from a sighting device from a space marine tank. I'm not sure how 1950s it looks, but it does have the side-effect of making him resemble WALL-E's larger, angrier relation.

The gun/radar things on his back, which would probably function as missile pods, were converted from the support legs of an old mounted gun that came with one of the terrain kits, probably the plastic bunker. A lot of old sci-fi weapons look rather like radar equipment, so I think the dishes with spikes in the middle work quite well here.

One thing I've discovered about the battlesuits is that their feet make no visual sense. They have no backs to them, rather like a stiletto heel without an actual heel (or a stiletto I suppose), so surely the battlesuit would either walk on tiptoe or continually fire his jetpack thrusters to avoid falling onto his metal arse. What is it with GW and the feet of Tau models?

Anyhow, all that considered, he'll make a nice addition to the small force. I really ought to add something to his base, but I'm not sure what. A 1950s soldier, perhaps, or a sign reading "Area 51"?

Sunday 2 May 2021

Little Grey Fire Warriors


Many years ago, I bought a box of Fire Warriors, the standard Tau troops. I thought I'd go back to them as part of the current project and make them a bit more suited to the flying saucer look.

There's a reoccurring theme on this blog of me blaming my tools when models go wrong, and I'm going to do that now. The Fire Warriors are not very well cast, and the sculpting could be more crisp, so that it's quite hard to work out what some of the details are. The legs are particularly weird, especially the little hooves at the bottom. I've never figured out why the Tau, as a technologically-advanced species, seem to be effectively going barefoot. Wouldn't they wear little booties on their hooves?

Anyhow, the sculpts might have been improved since I bought these models about 10 years ago (the pathfinder set is way better) but these are old models and frankly aren't the best.

I made three changes to the models. First, I left off the big left-arm shoulder pads, which look too much like samurai armour and not sleek enough for the style I wanted. Secondly, I felt that the backpacks were a bit too big for the 1950s look, so I took them off and replaced them with what I think are grenade packs from the Fire Warrior sprue. Here's a shot of a Fire Warrior's bum to show what I mean:

The other change was to cut off the lenses from the helmets and use green stuff to make them smooth. Then, two large eye-lenses were sculpted on with more green stuff, in imitation of the classic saucer-people look. I imagine the Tau wear these helmets to help them look less intimidating to the various cows and farmers they abduct in the name of science. I painted the lenses green and gave them a coat of gloss varnish to finish the look off.

Prepare to be enlightened, puny humans!

Saturday 1 May 2021

Protonid Revisited

Rogue Trader contains many strange things, which would eventually either fade into nothing or become the basis for the Warhammer 40,000 we have today. One of those was the first description of the tyranids, and their hive fleets. Back then, tyranid warriors looked like this:

I've always been slightly fascinated by this thing. A model of it appears in Rogue Trader, known as the protonid. However, only seventeen copies of the model were ever made, and now they fetch very high prices as rarities.

One of the first posts I ever made on this blog, back in April 2016, was an attempt to convert my own version of the protonid out of bits and bobs. It was a long way from perfect, but you can see it HERE. I recently discovered on Rogue Heresy and The Casual Cultist that someone had done a "fan-sculpt" of the protonid. I managed to get one from ebay for the reasonable sum of £15, and had a go at painting it. 

First up, the sculpt is very good. I don't think the protonid would have worked all that well as a playable creature (in particular, its rear limbs don't do much except take up space folded up under its tail) but this sculpt is a very accurate representation of it. In particular, the head is very detailed and looks just right. 

I went with a colour scheme inspired by the original Rogue Trader paint scheme, making him look like a mixture of an insect, a gecko and a mutant roast chicken. The gun was painted with black contrast paint: the rest was mixed in the usual way.