Thursday 28 April 2022

Mordheim/Frostgrave Odds And Ends

 A few more random Mordheim/Frostgrave bits and bobs. I decided to paint some of the old stuff knocking around in various boxes. None of it filled me with wild enthusiasm, but I thought it might be the kind of thing that proves useful in fantasy games.

First we've got a couple of piles of bones. I bought a plastic troll off ebay recently: it was from an old  Warhammer boxed set called Battle of Skull Valley or the like, and the seller sent me a few extra bits with it. They included two bone piles. I assume they're some kind of objective markers. The skulls would seem to be from trolls, as they're the right shape and size. I accidentally spilled some glue into one of the eye sockets, so I painted it to look like an eyeball. They're not very exciting, but I like the models and I'm quite pleased with the painting.

Next up on this thrilling tour of the underworld are four plastic rats. They came with a truly ancient plastic set of swarms, in which you got snotlings, rats, bats and spiders. I cut them off their lumpy bases and stuck them onto some Renedra bases, which make them fit with my skaven. They're not amazing miniatures, but they'll do the job. Their skin was painted in the red undercoat style, for maximum unwholesomeness.

The quality now gets worse, because we're in Reaper Bones territory. The rest of the models came with the first ever Bones Kickstarter, so feel free to look away now. I painted two piles of spiders (lovely) and two giant spiders. Frankly, the spiders look as if they fell out of a Christmas cracker, but what the heck. I did what I could. Actually, I probably could have done more, but it's hard to be inspired by models you don't like.

That's it for now. I've got some more skaven to paint, some human adventurers, and a pair of bonkers vehicles, which will be fun. 

Tuesday 26 April 2022

The Black Banner of Doom!


To be honest, I think he's more a terrain piece than a character - for one thing, Mordheim guys don't really have banners. I was tempted to paint him as if he was stone, but that felt like a waste somehow. I expect he just appears where necessary, to unsettle the characters and provide a bit of cover. 

A few weeks back, I saw an old chaos sorcerer for sale on ebay. He was broken, as the top of his staff was missing, and was only a few pounds. I liked the crouching pose and the Grim Reaper feel of the model, so I bought him. I think he is called The Plague Priest in the old red catalogue.

As luck would have it, many years ago I bought a vampire on horseback from Gamezone miniatures. Gamezone did loads of really nice models: I don't know if they're still going. This guy was a standard bearer, but I replaced his banner with a sword... and I still had his banner lying around. 

The banner was a cool-looking representation of the Reaper holding up an hourglass. Being largely cloth, it would fit well with the guy holding it. With some drilling and pinning, I managed to attach them together and covered the joints with green stuff.

I felt that he was a bit low to the ground, so I put him on a rock made of dried-out DAS clay. This was pure fluke: the clay had got old, and dried into a large slab of stone.

I added a skull in a helmet (the skull is GW, the helmet from Warlord Games) and a Mantic skeleton's sword to the base for extra variety. And then the formatting went weird.

Painting the model was a problem, as I find black very hard to shade, especially with grey. I wondered if I could use blue instead, like in this picture, called Death and the Gravedigger, which looks quite Mordheimish anyhow. Death even seems to be holding some glowing weirdstone, although she looks rather less grim than I'd expect from the Grim Reaper.

So, I used blue on the standard bearer and his standard. The rocks were unsurprisingly grey, with some brown and green washes to suggest dirt and moss, and to make it look less monochrome. Hopefully the small pieces of colour stop the model from being too drab, and suggest what it actually is. The very small pink bit is the banner-waver's arm, which has come up in the photo much lighter than it actually is.

Sunday 24 April 2022

Back to Mordheim

 "Repent! Repent, ye sinners, for the black banner is raised, and it shall not be lowered in our lifetimes! Behold, the things of the warp are warping things, and great lamentation shall fall upon those who are destined to be fallen upon! That which was shall not be, and that yet to be shall yet not be, except for that not to be which is destined to be, as it has always been! 

"Also, heresy."

                                                                       The third or fourth prophesy of Gustavus the Vague.

Mordheim (aka "fantasy Necromunda") is Games Workshop's skirmish game set in a ruined city, in which small warbands fight over magical warpstone in an ongoing campaign, somewhat like Necromunda (aka "Mordheim in space"). It is utterly miserable, even by Warhammer standards, and makes A Game of Thrones look like Mary Poppins. The artwork seems to involve a lot of dead bodies, rats,  flagellants shouting "Heresy" and angry men waving fish around. It's as though John Blanche was locked in a plague house for forty days, with only a keg of absinthe and a book about scurvy for company.

Which makes it highly entertaining. Whether or not GW found it sort-of-amusing, I certainly do. For one thing, Mordheim looks a lot like Terry Gilliam's Jabberwocky. Anyhow, it's a good excuse to listen to metal, stick some random model parts together and claim that this is normal among the Chaos Cult of the Brandished Fish.

Thus inspired, I dug out a conversion that I'd started about 15 years ago. For reasons now forgotten, I'd combined a Dark Elf corsair upper body (together with its cool cloak) with some legs from one of those crappy plastic Dark Eldar warriors from about 1995. I'd also cut the front off the model's feet. 

I gave the model a masked head from a Stormcast Sigmarine. I thought that the spikes around the head reflected the spikes on the cloak's collar, and the rather impractical spikes coming out of the model's legs. The arms were from the ever-excellent  Frostgrave female wizards set, which work well for smaller, older models.

It seemed only right to paint an outfit like that a dark red. The mask was painted brass, in order to stand out. The exposed flesh got an unhealthy grey/pink shade, with a purple glaze for added nastiness. And I painted the end of the wand to look like a chunk of warpstone (although it looks rather like a torch). I attempted some object source lighting, but as usual I'm not entirely happy with it.

That's enough Mordheim for now. I've got another model in the works, but more of that next time.

Friday 15 April 2022

Chaos Armiger, Pt 2

Having done the conversion work, it was time to paint the chaos armiger. It was inevitably going to be in the not-quite-Black Legion scheme that I've used before, with a lot of dust and weathering. The base still looked rather large and empty, even with two bits of broken stone (from the basing kit), so I needed to add some more details.

First up, the base got a couple of bits of cork rock, a tuft of static grass and a skull. All fairly standard, but it needed a bit more.

I added a piece of manky old tree, left over from that Nurgle tree kit. I actually cut and turned part of the tree, so that the metal ring attached to it would hang down instead of up, which looked more realistic. It was painted to look pretty much dead. I don't know if it makes any difference, but I attached it to the base to be pointing in the same direction that the armiger was walking.

Next up I added a weird snake thing that I'd had in my bits box for years. It was actually made out of two mutated arms from an ancient "conversion bits" sprue, which I stuck together many years ago for reasons now unknown. The metal brace on the snake (who put it there?) somehow reinforces its unwholesomeness. I gave it a nasty fleshy paint job.

[Pretentious diversion: it reminds me of a picture called "Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion" by Francis Bacon, which apparently inspired the chestburster from Alien. Pure coincidence.]

I imagine that this thing is snapping at the armiger's ankles. The chaos wastes are probably full of such delightful, friendly creatures.

So, now for the whole thing. Time to break out the weathering powder! I attempted a bit of a glow on the guns, but I don't enjoy painting object source lighting and it usually goes wrong, so I went pretty easy on that. I gave the machine red "flesh", rather than manky pink because (a) I didn't want it to look weak and (b) it's a demonic robot dinosaur.

Well, I'm happy with that! Onto the next project!

Monday 11 April 2022

Chaos Armiger, Pt 1

I bought the box of Games Workshop Armigers, which are small Imperial Knights - but are still a fair bit bigger than a dreadnought. You get two armigers to a box, and I thought I'd make a bad armiger for my chaos army, and a good one for my knightly space marines. I had a lot of chaos bits and pieces that I'd got off ebay, mainly from dreadnought and maulerfiend kits, and I decided to go all-out on this thing.

First, I added a head from the maulerfiend. I cut the tongue off - I find those protruding tongues look a bit silly - and filled the gap. I needed a neck to attach it to the body. For bits like this, you just need some random tech, and I found that part of a chaos backpack would do. The attached head looked like a dinosaur's, and that was the style I'd follow.

I decided to replace the autocannons on the original kit with two ectoplasma cannons from the maulerfiend. The cannons have teeth or claws around the barrels, like pincers, and would make good arms. I'd keep the upper part of the arms, which form mountings for the guns. Connecting the cannons wasn't easy, as they attach from the side, not the top like the autocannons. I found two headlamps in the bits box - from a batmobile, I think! - and used them to connect the cannons to the upper arms. 

I left off the usual shoulder pads and used a pair of random dreadnought plates, which were much more spiky and chaotic. Attaching the arms to the body, they looked like this:

The larger body was going to make the legs look a bit spindly, and the new head stuck out quite a way, overbalancing the model a bit. I couldn't let my giant robot dinosaur look unrealistic! It needed a tail. I also wanted to echo the spiky look of the upper body in the legs.

The tail came from the random dreadnought bits. It was one of three lashes on a dreadnought whip-type weapon, and looked like a mechanical tentacle. It fitted fairly well onto the back of the groin section.

There were some large gaps between the tail and the groin section, which had to be filled with green stuff and DAS clay. It was missing the tip, so I stuck a plastic blade from an old skaven sword on there instead. Useful for jabbing the mewling lapdogs of the false emperor!

There is a shield piece that goes on the front of the groin. I left it off and replaced it with a very old fantasy chaos shield, which looked much more, well, chaotic.

I had a few organic spikes left over from and old tyranid carnifex kit. There were several small metal hoops on the armiger's legs - clearly where ropes or chains might be attached - but they didn't look chaotic enough. So, I carefully sliced the hoops off and replaced them with the carnifex spikes, which made nice dewclaws on the back of the monster's legs.

The original kit has extra plates to protect its ankles. They look cool, but slightly too heraldic and "clean" for a chaos machine. So, I took them off and gave the robot spiky new ankle protectors made from the shoulder plates of some old fantasy chaos knights. Handy for punting the minions of the corpse-god! The original ankle protectors were raised to brace the legs just under the knee, so that it would look a bit more bulky.

The bits on the base were from the old large basing kit. 

So that's where we are! Here are some finished pictures. It's just time to stick this thing together and paint it. 

Saturday 9 April 2022

Harlequins - The Completed Squad

 So here are the last two harlequins, at least for the moment. I bought them both on ebay. One is just a regular chap. He was missing his left arm from the elbow down, so I replaced it with a dark elf arm that was holding a dagger point-down. The many pads on his armour made him quite difficult to paint, and it was hard to put a lot of checks on the plates.

The other chap is, I think, an old solitaire model. I tried to give him a slightly darker colour scheme, which isn't very obvious. The odd crystaline gun he carries is a neuro disruptor. I've no idea what it does, beyond disrupting neuros.

Here is the whole group. I have to say, I'm very pleased with them all. I think I got increasingly confident as the squad grew, and I could add smaller markings and brighter colours. 

While painting these, I suddenly realised that almost none of them had the grinning face-masks that I associate with harlequins. Most have very stylised masks that don't look like any particular species. Only one, who might be a minor champion, has a mask with a face on it, and that's only half a face (the other half is smooth and featureless). 

Looking at the old late-80s colour schemes, the checks-on-everything painting style hadn't appeared yet, either. It's sort-of-interesting that the style we have now took a couple of iterations to work out.

Anyhow, I've very pleased with this squad. They're probably some of the best models that I've ever painted, and I've really enjoyed doing them. Now I'm going to convert something and paint it in drab, messy colours. I think I've earned that!

Monday 4 April 2022

Harlequins, Yet Again

 Here are two more harlequins, bringing the unit up to eight models. As with the others, these two are unconverted, and come from the very old metal range. The detail on them is pretty amazing. 

They're fairly slow models to paint, partly because of all the fiddly details, and partly because I have to come up with new and suitably garish paint schemes for each model. Still, I like them. It's nice to paint something with no real concessions to feasibility (not that Warhammer has a lot of that). 

Time for another group shot:

In other news, my friend Mark dropped around last weekend and I played my first proper game in two years - well, against someone other than myself. We had a got at Warcry, which was fun. It's fairly simple once you figure out the core mechanic. The models are very detailed and well-sculpted, but the potential for converting them is pretty limited. Gone are the Mordheim days of sticking together a bunch of random heads, legs, bodies and arms. This seems to be a trend with GW: Kill Team and Necromunda seem to work much the same way.

Oh well. I'm now tempted to buy a warband for it, but I've got plenty to be getting on with. Death Jesters, jetbikes, and two "small" Imperial knights as well...