Monday 28 June 2021

Reaching Krootical Mass

 Funny how things creep up on you sometimes. Like twenty Kroot. I tidied up a few more of these guys, and painted five that I've had knocking around undercoated for years, and suddenly I had a massive horde of them. It's hard to get a decent picture of them all at once, but here is the whole squad/unit/flock, migrating across the desk.

Kroot are quite easy to paint, since they're almost naked and largely green, so you can just use a basecoat, a wash, and a few highlights. I remember Duncan Two-Coats on the Warhammer site saying that you were best off doing the large messy parts of a model first, and then tidying up, and that certainly worked on the Kroot. 

Unfortunately, because they all look rather similar, I'm not sure which ones painted when! So, here are some of the most converted ones. The first three had their legs cut to be crouching down. This was rather fiddly, and ran the risk of losing all the little bits of leg. I particularly like the chap looking at the ground, who is probably examining the tracks of an enemy that he's pursuing.

These ones are all being dynamic. The one on the far-right isn't actually converted, but the arrangement of arm and legs makes him look like a very angry space parrot indeed. The guy in the middle just had his leg cut at the knee and pulled back a little, for a running effect. The chap on the left is protecting himself with a big metal shield. I've no idea where the shield came from, but it's a small nod to the spindly aliens in the film District Nine, one of whom uses a shield towards the end. 

I'm not sure where these guys fit in the with 1950s theme, except that they're generic space monsters, but they're quite cool miniatures for their age. They'd work well as the natives of some steampunk Venus, unreasonably taking exception to be invaded by random humans. 

Thursday 24 June 2021

Rekrootment Drive

 The current Tau project was always meant to be about the repainting of older miniatures instead of me buying a load of new ones. Generally speaking, I've stuck to that, and so far the biggest expenditure has been a pair of knackered battlesuits from ebay.

The second of those two battlesuits was converted to be a Broadside support suit: I used the same method that I used a few posts back, by adding a big gun I picked up in a Mantic sale. Because the gun was a mirror-image of the earlier one, I did the conversion in reverse, cutting and repinning the left arm instead of the right one. I also added a head made from some kind of Space Marine tank sensor, for that all-important "upgraded Wall-E" look. 

I wasn't sure what to put on his base, so I sculpted a little rattlesnake to sit on one of the rocks and hint that the battlesuit was lumbering around the Nevada desert (assuming they have rattlesnakes there). It does look rather like a poo, though.

I also dug out some old Kroot models that I painted a long time ago, tidied them up a bit and gave them new bases. I like the Kroot, mainly because they're bird-people and their homeworld, Pech, is presumably pronounced "Peck". I can respect that.

Anyhow, they're not the best-painted models I've done, but they look alright and, frankly, they won't be on the battlefield for very long. As they don't wear much except trophies and weird leather bras, it was hard to fit them into the retro theme. They were painted a bright green in order to look dramatic and like something from 50s sci-fi. A few were slightly converted to be crouching down or running to make them look a bit more dynamic.

In the 40k background, the Kroot are led by tribal elders, who direct them in battle and tell them who to eat. I made one a while ago, with a combination of leftover Kroot bits and the body of a Mantic Dreadball robot, who was roughly the right shape. I think he works nicely. 

I also painted a random metal object that came with a Gates of Antares field gun. I've no idea what it's for: it might be some kind of ammunition container, or perhaps where the Tau keep their eggs (are they reptiles? It's hard to tell) or maybe just the equivalent of a burning oil drum to stand around. If these guys ever see combat, I'd use it as a missile turret for the Fire Warriors.

Saturday 19 June 2021

Back to the Tau

 Back to normal (pretty much) for this post, as I've decided to give the turnip project a rest for now and return to my sci-fi Tau. I bought a couple of battlesuits from Ebay: they were in a pretty gunked-up state, and needed quite a lot of work. The first of them has just taken off, and is flying over the desert landscape. Below him is the skeleton of some type of cattle, which he may or may not have zapped.

Apart from some repositioning of the legs, he's basically unconverted. I quite like the old battlesuits: they're old and low on details, and they don't make much physical sense, but they've got a certain robotty charm.

Next up, I finished off some Pathfinders that I've had lying around half-painted for ages. I really liked the big rail rifles that they can carry and, although it's not codex-legal as far as I know, I thought a squad of five would look cool. 

There's not much to say about these except that two of them are older metal models, and that the newer plastic Pathfinders are about ten times better than the old Fire Warriors I was making earlier this year. The detailing is so much better. You can even figure out what's going on at the end of their legs!

I love the posing on these guys, especially the bloke reloading his weapon. As I was making them, it occurred to me that the green Tau heads look a lot like the Treens from the old 1950s comic strip Dan Dare. Which, given the space-invader theme of the army, feels very appropriate:

Wednesday 16 June 2021

When Turnips Turn Bad

 This is going to be the last post in the Turnip 28 project for a little while (probably). After all, man cannot live on turnips alone. I thought I'd make a few monsters for the batch of soldiers to fight. It seems to be a rule that the animals of the Turnip world are manky and squalid, and I wanted to incorporate the root veg theme into these strange, mutated beings.

So, what better than to make men turning into turnips, or possibly turnips turning into men?

Our first specimen was made from a Perry body and right arm, with an old chaos hound tail as a left arm. and a skull for a head. Green stuff was used to make the head more turnip-like, along with a trimmed-down Army Painter swamp tuft glued to the top.

The second turnipoid is also based on a Perry model, with a Mantic zombie head that I enlarged with green stuff. The branches coming out of his back were cut from a plastic GW dryad, many years ago.

Specimen three was made from a Mantic zombie. All I did was to replace the head with a ball of green stuff with another tuft stuck on top. Strangely creepy, for a vegetable.

Our fourth turnip-monster started life as a GW Blood Bowl Nurgle player. I left the head off and smoothed over the rotting stomach with clay. Because he was so big, he got an entire swamp tuft instead of a head.

And with paint...

Here's a group shot.

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Turnipocalypse Now

Time for some more wretched survivors of the turnipocalypse. First up, here's another soldier. He has a Warlord Games commando body, Perry Napoleonics arms, and a head and gun-shield from Perry medievals. I took the opportunity to paint some insignia on the shield like that in the original Turnip 28 design sketches.

Gervaise Pavaise is the unit's sharpshooter, mainly because he has a rhyming name. Also, he might as well be doing something useful whilst cowering behind his huge metal shield.

Next, a couple of desperate survivors. This guy has a Perry body, a Warlord commando head (with painted-on beard!) and arms from the Frostgrave female wizards sprue. I painted him with a green jacket to distinguish him from the other useless chaff in the warband (and to enable him to fight them if needs be).

Jake Gripney is a brutal, sullen maniac whose hobbies include murder, theft and folk music. In his wanderings, he has buried many men and turnip-based monsters six feet under - which, in the case of the turnip monsters, probably wasn't a good idea.

I bought a child model from the local gaming shop. She was from the Nolzur's Marvellous Miniatures range and, like a lot of their character models, had a lot of mould lines and needed some cleaning up. I replaced her hand (it was holding an apple), with an old pistol I had lying around, and widened her sleeves with green stuff. Painting the grimy dress was enjoyable: painting the fiddly face, less so.

When Jake's sister was killed by bandits, her dying wish was for him to take care of her daughter Eliza. Assuming "take care of" meant "throw off a cliff", Jake happily agreed. Now that small mistake has  been cleared up, he's stuck with the little blighter.

But what sort of horrors will these ruthless scavengers face? Well, last week I ordered a model in a sale that might do the trick. It was an officer from a range called Precinct Omega, which I've never heard of before or since. The model turned out to be completely the wrong scale: much too tall and very spindly. It wouldn't pass as human, but... 

I happened to have the head from an ancient squig that I'd hacked off its body many years ago. I replaced the officer's head with the squig's, and produced a weird and nightmarish creature that looked like a cross between Rawhead Rex and one of those German nutcrackers that you see at Christmas. Perhaps inevitably, its head was painted as a massive turnip.

After monsters, cultists and demons, I think this is one of the most sinister models I've ever made. It really is quite creepy (as well as ridiculous).

There are many cautionary tales for children: indeed, the village of Blott hosts an annual contest, where the person who terrifies the most infants with their tale wins a handful of carrots. Many an adult still flinches at the thought of Doctor Nostrils, Wootie the Child-Scyther or the dreaded Dentistry Gnomes. Most stories are just nonsense intended to terrify children into shutting up, but a few may have a basis in fact...

Then I decided to give him stripey trousers.

Saturday 5 June 2021

For A Few Turnips More

 It's been a busy week in the world of the turnip, and I've been able to make a few more wretched soldiers. A uniform seems to be developing, despite me using bits from medieval, Napoleonic and WW2 commando kits. A lot of Napoleonic British soldiers seem to have flasks of some kind on their belts, which can be easily painted to look like turnips. Here are the new soldiers in their questionable glory.

Private Nozzle is young and idealistic, and eagerly plays a fanfare on his trumpet whenever his comrades find a good turnip, which helps nobody.

Private First Class Gripknee is known for his excellent aim, and not for his personal hygiene.

Private Clencher is so well-armoured that nobody has seen his face for many years. Or perhaps this is his face. It's better not to inquire.

Corporal Shalegrind is a tough soldier with many years of hunting vegetables under his belt. Why he hunts vegetables under his belt, nobody knows. Most people just look in the ground. Here he is carrying a raw turnip as a tasty snack/new best friend/minor deity.

I was wondering who would dare take arms against these bold warriors. Obviously, there will be the soldiers of other warbands and grotty provinces, but what strange creatures do they face? I hope to have answers soon.

Wednesday 2 June 2021

And now with added drama...

 After the surprising results of the black box photography for the turnip soldiers, I've been mucking about with the camera, trying to capture the same effect on other models. As my photography skills are pretty much non-existent, it's mainly been a process of trial and error. Here is the converted bounty hunter I made a few posts ago, in "dramavision":

That's, er, quite good really, for me at least. At any rate, it's the first time I've shaded something grey (her trousers, in this case) and they haven't looked grainy and stark. 

Flushed with success, I thought I'd have a try at using this style on the Warband of the Seasons I made a while back, which is one of the "darker" set of models I've made recently. Here are the members of the warband without the "auto adjust colours" option being applied, which I sometimes have to use to make pictures presentable.

They look quite cool, probably because you can't see all the godawful mistakes I've made in painting them. They've got a certain "painting in a house where you wouldn't want to stay overnight" quality. This is how they look with the "auto adjust colours" feature activated:

I'm not quite sure what to make of all this. I like the moody style, but it doesn't show the details terribly well and I think my own models are usually more cheerful than this type of lighting. I don't think I'd use it for the 1950s Tau, say. Anyhow, it's interesting, and I'm pleased with the results. On with the turnippers.