Monday 27 March 2023

Beastmen and a Monster Hunter

 I've never painted any beastmen before, but I've always liked the concept of them. They're the rural equivalent of the skaven: while the skaven are plague and urban squalor personified, the beastmen represent the brutal, violent side of nature, always looking for hapless peasants to batter and kill. 

I found some plastic 40k beastmen from the game Blackstone Fortress on ebay. They're quite recent models, and are very nice sculpts. They come in pieces, so you can introduce a little bit of variation by swapping their faces around. They've got slightly less bestial faces than the Warhammer beastmen, but still look as if they've come straight from the island of Doctor Moreau, and aren't happy about it.

I did some conversions to make them suitable for Mordheim. This involved cutting off their pistols and some grenades from their belts. I sculpted a rag over the former grenades on one of the beastmen. The other one (the one with running legs) had more mess to cover. Luckily, I had a metal plate taken from a plastic ogre which fitted really well. I stuck that on and painted them. The standing guy got stripey trousers, which he probably stole from some unfortunate treasure-hunter. Their decrepit shields - also probably stolen - were taken from some old plastic skeletons. the running bloke got a new sword, also from the skeleton frame.

Next up is a metal Privateer Press model. This isn't the cheapest miniature I've ever bought off ebay, but it's close: it cost me the king's ransom of £2, and had some slight damage to the bow protruding over its shoulder. This guy is Victor Pendrake, a sort of travelling scholar/monster hunter. His combination of cloak/coat and armour reminds me of the Mordheim witch hunters. There's lots of nice detail on the model, especially given that it's quite old and from a period when Privateer Press sculpts could be quite ropey: he's got books in his pockets and little spectacles on his face.

I found that it was too easy to paint him in shades of brown and metal, so his coat got a red lining and his armour had a blue wash for variety. I really like the way that he's got his boot up on what looks like a beastman's head. I repaired the top of his bow with - oddly - a spare Eldar shuriken catapult magazine. He reminds me of a cross between Blade and the Witcher, which seems appropriate.

Thursday 23 March 2023

Terrain Question

 I went to the local model railway shop last week and had a look around. If you thought Games Workshop charged outrageous prices, you should see what a model train costs... Anyhow, I found some platforms made by a company called Pico, and thought I could use them in my fantasy town.

I added some extra bits to them, in the form of little stone tubes sticking out of the brickwork, presumably to help drain the platforms of whatever filth accumulates on top of them. The tubes were made by cutting some plastic discs from old sprue, and then drilling holes through them before sticking them on. They were painted to look as if they were leaking sludge, and are almost invisible. Oh well.

I also added a couple of baskets and barrels to make the platforms a bit more interesting. The barrels were from Renedra, and aren't the greatest miniatures ever, but I don't think it matters much here.

The problem is that the platforms have flat tops, presumably meant to be made out of concrete. My question is whether I ought to add plasticard to make them look as if they're made of cobblestones. It'd be a faff, though. I don't know if it would be worth the bother.

Here's the platforms with some buildings. I like the idea of varying the heights of the buildings in Tableton, as it creates variety and gives people something to jump off.

Sunday 19 March 2023

Back to the Harlequins

 I often find that I get very into a painting project, buy a ton of stuff for it, and only make three-quarters of what I've got, if that. This week, I thought I'd go back to the harlequins that I was doing this time last year, and finish off a few more of them.

The big theme of last year was the Eldar repaint, and it was the harlequins that started it off. The Eldar gave me the opportunity to try new things and improve my painting, and I'm very pleased with some of the stuff I made. So it's nice to go back to these teeny Jes Goodwin models and paint miniscule diamonds on their loud trousers.

First up, here are a pair of suitably lurid types. I think the guy on the left is a minor hero. The blue Citadel catalogue describes him as a "warlock". The guy on the right is a Solitaire, and was missing his left hand. I gave him a new plastic pistol that I had lying around. I really am in awe of the sculpting on these models: the detail is incredible.

Next we've got a Death Jester. These guys provide ranged support for the other harlequins and have a macabre, slightly voodoo feel. Again, the miniature is really little, but the detail is super. The way that the ammo feeds out of a skull on his back is so cool. It seems that the harlequin models were pretty popular, as there are a lot of them knocking around, but the Death Jesters seem to be somewhat rarer. 

Finally, here is a High Warlock. I think this guy would have been a wizard, effectively: the equivalent of the current Shadow Seer. It's got a very cool blank faceplate, which I would have tried to paint to look like a reflection - like the canopies on some of the flyers I've done - if the rest of the model hadn't already been blue. As ever, it was a challenge to paint, but really enjoyable.

And while I'm giving everyone chequered trousers, I decided to finish off a plastic Mordheim/Frostgrave mercenary that's been sitting on my desk for a year or so. He's also got outrageous trousers. He was made out of plastic Empire parts, with a shield from a set of skeleton warriors that I've been slowly pillaging for bits. I will never paint chequers any smaller like this.

Right then, I'm going to rest my eyes for a while!

Sunday 12 March 2023

Shire Dragon and Red Admiral

 Once again I've been trying to sort out some of the models that have been sitting on my desk for ages. About two years ago, I bought myself a Mirliton Miniatures "Shire Dragon" for Christmas. I assembled it (I remember that a lot of drilling and pinning was involved), put some basic colours on it, and then left it there. I thought it was time to finish him off.

I was slightly surprised to find that I'd used a dark blue wash on the green parts of the model. I'm not sure why I did that, but I decided to leave it in place. I seemed to have highlighted the green scales in two ways, one involving a lighter green and the other involving adding yellow to dark green. Oh well, it seemed to work.

Making the base was enjoyable. The metal model came with a lot of sculpted grass around the lower legs, and I stuck it onto an MDF circle. I added DAS clay to make the ground undulate a bit, and pushed some bits of cork and slate into the clay to be rocks. I painted the base as usual: green flock with patches of watered-down dark green and brown, followed by a light yellow drybrush. I added quite a lot of static grass tufts and flowers.

He actually came with a couple of small human figures, but I didn't add them as they would have been out of scale.

I could have done the wings a bit better (I never like painting wings) but otherwise I'm pretty pleased with that. His face looks nice. In fact, his expression of vague contentment makes me think he's been at the hobbits' weed. 

I also painted another Durgin Forge model. Again, it's a great sculpt: very slightly caricatured, but with excellent detail. This guy is, apparently, a Bluecoat Admiral (I thought that was a sort of butterfly) but I painted him to fit with the other two soldiers. 

Monday 6 March 2023

Eldar Jetbike Squad

 Over the last couple of weeks, I've been quite busy setting up my new writing website and mailing list (at - join mailing list, get free stories). However, I've been chipping away at some old Eldar jetbikes as well.

There have been three incarnations of Eldar jetbike: the really ancient all-metal ones, the early plastic models, and more recent versions where the pilot lies forward along the length of the bike. In the plastic models that I own, the pilot is positioned more like the rider of a Harley-Davidson type motorbike, with high handlebars and a stretched-out seated position.

Unfortunately, although I had all the pieces to make the bikes, I didn't have the right bits to make the riders. The old plastic jetbike rider consisted of a pair of seated legs, a torso/head (they didn't seem to have necks back then), and two special arms. The hands were cupped, so that they'd grip the handlebars in standard bicycle fashion. 

I realised that I could use old left arms from Eldar Guardian models for the left arms of the riders. The Guardian left arms also ended in a cupped shape, although the other way up in order to hold the barrel of a shuriken catapult, like a left hand supporting a rifle. All I needed to do was to cut the hands at the wrists and turn them to be able to hold the handlebars.

I had no such luck with the right hands: it seems that all Eldar are right-handed. Instead, I used some very old Guardian right arms to hold pistols and a sword. The chest pieces were fine (the riders seem to be wearing leather waistcoats over their armour) but one of the heads was a bit miscast and had very soft detail. I replaced it with a spare Guardian helmet, like this:

By the time I'd got to making the squad leader, I'd run out of jetbike rider legs. I hit upon a good idea: some of the rank-and-file Guardians have braced legs that are quite open and have the weight spread about equally between them. I took such a pair of legs and got to work. I had to cut the legs behind the knee and bend them a bit, and Green Stuff was needed to fit them onto the body. The leader's body was found online. I added some grenades to the waist to hide the iffy join marks.

I didn't convert the bikes at all. The leader's bike was equipped with a shuriken cannon, which was a metal conversion/upgrade piece that GW made for this purpose, which I found on ebay. I decided to paint them in a similar scheme to the other skimmers that I've made for this army, without a lot of freehand detail, but using a bit of blending.

I started to paint a design on the leader's bike's canopy, but I decided that I didn't like it enough and started again.

Here they are. This is the only unconverted pilot.

This guy has a replacement right arm:

And this guy has a new right arm, left arm and head. The design for the helmet is slightly different to the others: I assume that GW changed the style of Guardian helmets in this period.

The leader got a power sword and a raised hand, both of which came from very old Guardian models. I painted the canopy with a tiger-stripe design to reflect that of the lead Vitriol skimmer, which in turn was nicked from a Chris Foss painting.

And here is the whole squad.

Thursday 2 March 2023

We Interrupt This Blog...

 As I might have mentioned in the past, my other hobby is writing books. It's the hobby I'm actually fairly good at: I used to write from Black Library, back in the day, and the 40k novel Straken is my work.

Anyhow, in an attempt to get a bit more professional about my writing, I've gone and got a shiny new website. It's at The best thing about this is that you can join the mailing list, and I'll send you some free stories and a super (but not too frequent) newsletter about upcoming books. 

One of the stories is set in the retro spies-in-space world of The Imposters, and the other two involve the magical Renaissance city of Pagalia, where the nights are dark and the knives sharp. Think of Mordheim meets Assassin's Creed, with a bit of 40s private eye, and you're pretty much there...

So, that's Right then, I'm off now: I've got some jetbikes to paint and a sequel or two to write...