Tuesday 31 January 2023

There Is Only War, and Music

 As a break from the usual stuff, I thought I'd stop to consider one of the most important questions of wargaming: what music do people listen to in 40k? Some answers are pretty obvious - the Catachans, for instance, would appreciate Credence Clearwater Revival, preferably played over the sound of helicopter rotor blades - but others are harder to work out.

"I see a Bad Moon Rising, I hear the orks are on their way."

Space Marines - Well, they're templar knights in space, so I think they'd go for a bit of Gregorian chanting. That said, given their place in the rules, anything Middle Of the Road would probably do. So if it turns out that Roboute Guilliman is really into Bryan Adams, now you know why.

The things you can find online...

Imperial Guard (or Armius Spaceius or whatever they're called now) - Hard to say, as the Guard consists of such a range of legions. I reckon they'd be ordered to listen to hymns, and perhaps Russian Choral Music, circa WW2. That said, each regiment probably has its own favourites. The Vostroyans probably enjoy the balalaika, while the Praetorians might like something from the Victorian Music Hall, probably with a title like "Whoops Where's Me Lasgun, Mrs Juggins?"

Adeptus Mechanicus - More Gregorian chanting, played through really tinny speakers. Or else Kraftwerk. Or maybe just white noise.

Chaos - The forces of Chaos obviously like Metal, mainly because they are Metal; most of them look like something off a cheesy album cover. Different factions probably favour different sub-genres: I could see the Berserkers of Khorne flailing about to Thrash and Speed Metal, while the Thousand Sons probably like acts with a slightly proggy feel. And obviously the followers of Nurgle would like Doom and Sludge. But there's really only one option,  really, and it's been officially sanctioned by GW: Bolt Thrower. All together now - "Wuuurrrrrrld... Eeeeeetaaaahh..."

Orks - Apologies to Games Workshop, but I don't actually think that orks would listen to Goth (Goff?) Rock: it's much too slow and gloomy. I could see them enjoying something faster and more energetic, to fire them up for violence and speed. How about Speed Metal, Punk or even Rockabilly? Some of Rob Zombie's more rednecky numbers might work. Although the more traditional orks might get by with banjo music. The Snakebite clan would probably do their whooping and stomping to Bluegrass.

Eldar - Tricky one. Either some kind of complex, new-age techno (the Orb, maybe, or Orbital) or very long prog. Long prog sounds painful. So probably Yes.

Dark Eldar - Now, these are the people who enjoy Goth. In as much as they enjoy anything. I reckon they'd probably quite like the grindier, squelchier end of Industrial, too. A bit of NIN would bring much PLEASURE (snarled, a la Pinhead) to the Dark Eldar.

Genestealer Cults - The genestealer cults, being cults, probably indulge in some kind of hymn-singing or chanting. But for fun, well, consider this: they've come from the streets, they're not big on the law, and they like fancy limousines. It's got to be Gangsta Rap. Some of the more righteous cults might go for more political stuff, maybe Rage Against the Machine(-God), but I think they'd be pretty gangsta. 

As painted by me!

Necrons - Doom Metal, inevitably, although the sound of a rusty door being opened is probably quite enjoyable to them. If not downright erotic.

Tau - The tau have a clean, shiny look, and so some kind of sleek Pop would seem like a natural choice. Of course, with all those mech suits, there's something of a Japanese influence, so the poor creatures might be stuck with J-Pop. If anything is going to send me on a bloody rampage in a robot suit, it's the shriller end of J-Pop.

Dis'co T'au was the closest I dared search for.

Tyranids - To enjoy music, do you have to be self-aware? The Tyranids don't seem to actually know that they are Tyranids, so choosing music is probably a bit beyond them. That said, I reckon they'd enjoy the slow, ominous heartbeat of the hive ships, and the wet sounds of some unwholesome bio-weapon reading itself to discharge. Ick.

So there you go. The important issues of the day are answered. Normal service will be resumed next post.

Thursday 26 January 2023

Space Knight and Flying Marine!

It feels like ages since I posted here - it's actually eight days. In that time, I've painted a couple more space marines. 

Our first chap is another cloaked space knight type. He's a bladeguard veteran from the Black Templars. He's a metal model from that period where GW's metal models had reached a peak: really detailed and nicely sculpted, with tons of interesting stuff hanging off his armour. I made one tiny conversion, to replace a skull on his cloak-fastener (or whatever it is) with a plastic grail from the Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard set, of which more shortly.

Here he is, looking fancy. I tried a scuffed leather effect on his cloak, but it might actually be too subtle! More scuffing is clearly required.

I've had a few old Dark Angel bodies - the robed sort - lying around for a while, and I thought it would be cool to use them as a particular sort of space knight.

While most of the Shining Knights favour close combat, some bold warriors use jump packs to hurl themselves at the foe. Their zeal for battle and their white robes has earned them the title of the Brotherhood of the Jumping Monks. While some see this as undignified, it certainly works. Many enemies of the Jumping Monks have thought "I can see up your habit", just before their doom crashes down from above. 

I decided to make a leader for this unit, who would be much fancier than his colleagues. I built him out of a Dark Angels body and Sanguinary Guard arms and head, with a green stuff hood.

A suitably colossal sword!

Unexciting rear view

He needed a jump pack, so I used a Sanguinary Guard one with wings. Classy! After all that, it seemed only right to paint him in as showy a way as possible, so all his wings and laurels got a brass colour.

I painted the brass with brass over a black overcoat to start with, and then washed the whole thing with chestnut ink. Once that was dry, I added darker shadows at the edges of the feathers - basically, the dark recesses - with strong tone. I then highlighted by adding silver to the brass colour. I think this gives the brass a nice rich feel.

Silly? Yes. Impressive? Hopefully. I certainly wouldn't want this chap to drop out of the sky onto my head.

Close observers might notice that he's holding his enormous sword in a slightly unusual way. Apparently, this is a legitimate Renaissance style. Frankly, I doubt it would matter much: he could just bounce onto his enemies and squash them. Although that might cramp his style.

EDIT: Last night I had a go at photographing a couple of marine squads. It's not perfect, but I suspect that, without a different camera, this is the best that it's going to get.

Wednesday 18 January 2023

Blokes in Cloaks

 Here are a few more marines.

This guy is a very old model, glimpsed in the last post, and probably from the Rogue Trader/Blue Catalogue time. He's holding a tiny hand flamer and a plasma gun, and has that odd bent-legged "going to the toilet" pose that was quite common back then. The detail is quite soft and simple, with the result that there's a lot of space to add freehand (which I've not added) and shading.

The second model is slightly more recent: I think he came out around the time they came up with the Eldar aspects. He's a marine captain with a bionic leg, and he reminds me of Patrick Stewart. His cloak is a big lump of metal attached to his metal backpack, and it weighs an absolute ton!

The last chap (assuming he is a chap - it's hard to tell under all that armour) is a plastic model, using the upper body of an old captain, the head of a Grey Knight and arms and an axe from the Space Wolves, that happened to be in the bits box. I could have been a bit sharper on the paint job but I like the way the bits go together. Sometimes it's fun to just sit down a make a random bloke. 

It would be entertaining to try to write some fluff to explain why all these guys look the way they do. As is probably obvious, I've added in bits from all kinds of places, on the basis that they just look cool. Something like this, perhaps?

The Shining Knights employ a wide range of heraldry, much of which does not have a single fixed meaning across the Chapter. The blue-and-red quartered shield is almost always displayed, as is the bone-coloured shoulder and/or knee protector, but additional heraldry is usually added by the individual marine. 

The marines are often separated, pursuing small-scale missions or even solitary quests, and as a result ornamentation reflects the marine himself and not the squad he has joined. By and large, the more quests the knight has completed, and the more honour they have acquired, the more ornate the armour will be. Beyond that, it is very much up to the knight.

Friday 13 January 2023

Strange Tyranid Creatures

 Time for some more tyranid weirdness. I bought a copy of Shadow War: Armageddon off ebay this week. It's a skirmish game, in which small teams of orks, Imperial Guard and space marine scouts fight it out in the ruins of the hive-world Armageddon. It was released in 2017, but feels like something from a long way before that. 

While SWA sounds like it should be like Kill Team (actually, SWA sounds like it should be an early 90s rap band), it's actually based on the rules for the original version of Necromunda, slightly streamlined and slimmed down. I really like the idea of a skirmish game involving lots of different species, although in the only game I ever played of SWA, a force of orks was utterly wiped out by harlequins, which suggests some balancing issues.

Anyhow, if you're mental enough, you can take a squad of tyranids! To my surprise, this involves just the big tyranids. I've already got three oldhammer warriors painted up, and the list allows you to take a "gunbeast", which I assume is meant to be a warrior with a heavy weapon. However, I thought this was a nice opportunity to make something more unusual.

I dug out a really old metal model for the game Epic. This was the oddly-named "tyranid dominatrix" (there's a mental image for you), a sort of massive armadillo-type thing with a big gun on its back and a little dude who looks suspiciously like the dead space jockey from Alien (before Ridley Scott ruined it all, but that's a different sad story). It's much more animalistic than the warriors, but then a lot of the Epic tyranid models were wacky to the point of daftness.

Next up, some very little critters. The original tyranid army list was quite interesting: it was published in White Dwarf and allowed you to take all sorts of odd stuff, including genestealer hybrids and several hundred points from any other army (they were mind-controlled, you see). It also allowed you to take swarms of goofy-looking squigs. These were soon replaced by ripper swarms, which feel much less silly and more alien, and the squigs went back to being purely ork-related.

Here are some of the creatures from the squig swarm, which I've probably had lying around for 20 years or so. I don't think they have separate rules. They were such charming models that I thought they deserved separate bases.

This little guy is largely made of legs and teeth. I painted him in an unwholesome flesh colour, rather like the facehugger in Alien, and dotted in his pupils so that he would be looking upward - either at his owner or, more likely, at his next meal.

The next animal looks rather like a cross between an ork and a slug. The very orky face inspired me to paint him green - a bit brighter than I'd usually do ork skin - and the blue hairdo just seemed to contrast nicely. I expect he crawls around, eating whatever unwholesome things he can find, probably leaving a trail of slime.

This little creature is perhaps the most wholesome of the three, but it's a close thing.

First contact!

Sunday 8 January 2023

Back to the Marines

 Right then, back to the huge pile of unpainted lead! 

I've realised that I have a tendency to get into a project, then buy a huge heap of models for that project and only paint about half of them before moving onto a different idea. In my current efforts to buy less models, I'm hoping to go back to some of those abandoned miniatures and sort them out.

So, here are some more space marines.

First up, we've got a couple of veteran marines. They're both metal, with one plastic arm each. I think some of these fairly late normal-scale metal miniatures were superb. The detail is excellent.

The next model was in a job lot of models that I bought a while ago. They were all broken and missing bits. This chap is resin and definitely not a Games Workshop model. I suspect he's from Puppetswar or a similar third party company. He's got a very Dark Angels/Black Templar feel. Well, he's now joined the Shining Knights of Space or whatever I'm calling these guys. Lucky him.

He's a slightly weird size, in that he's a bit bigger than the usual GW marines, but not large enough to be anything else. He doesn't have a backpack, as there's an odd turbine-type device sculpted into his armour. Anyway, he'll fit in.

And last up are two more metal scouts. I do like these models. They remind me of the Colonial Marines from Aliens. I gave them both slightly unusual skin colours, for variety: the chap on the left has darker skin, and the guy on the right was shaded with chestnut ink instead of Strong Tone. As tends to happen, the camera has washed out most of the detail. Damn.

Monday 2 January 2023

The Last Viper/Venom/Vitriol Jetbike!

 I've finally finished my squad of not-Viper jetbikes for my Eldar! I've had this final model on sprues for at least two years, at the back of a cupboard. Since one of my new year's resolutions is to stop buying (so many) miniatures, I dug it out and got to work.

It got the same conversion job as the others, with the front lamp/sensor replaced with the barrel of a plastic shuriken cannon. I left off all the Dark Eldar-type additions, as well as the crew, to keep the lines as smooth as possible.

Then it was just a matter of painting it. I went for the same blue scheme as with the other two, fading at points into purple. However, for this machine I painted part of the canopy in a similar manner to the dreadnought that I did at the end of last year, modelled on Chris Foss' spaceship art. I reckon that this colour scheme might represent a unit leader or an ace.

The canopy itself got the same "reflected landscape" design as the other flyers. I deliberately left the edges of the canopy entirely yellow, instead of adding black stripes, so it would stand out a bit.

And, well, that's pretty much it! I really like these things. I'm very pleased with the conversion. Given that it's a different sort of machine, and given that Venoms and Vipers are both named after poisonous things, I think I'll christen these models of flyer the "Vitriol", which is an old word for acid. 

The brown mark on the canopy is a reflection, by the way.

And here's the entire squad. Neeeeeow!