Monday 31 July 2023

Legion of Bones

 My new novel is out! Legion of Bones is a dark fantasy story with a lot of intrigue. Imagine Mordheim meets Assassin's Creed with a extra helping of undead. It's the third in the Dark Renaissance series and, in my unbiased opinion, it absolutely rocks. 

You can get all three of the Dark Renaissance series on Amazon. Just CLICK RIGHT HERE!

In fact, you can click the above link if you fancy reading my Black Library novel, Straken, or any of the Space Captain Smith books, or my stand-alone novel, The Imposters. I write much better than I paint - that's a guarantee!

Oh, and if you'd like some more free stuff, go HERE and sign up to the mailing list, and I'll send you three free stories. Can't say fairer than that, can you?

Tuesday 25 July 2023

The New Book

 Oh and by the way - the proof copy for my new novel has arrived, and it's good. It should be available in a matter of hours!

Here I am with the proof, looking like a character from Gormenghast.

Fancy Fighters For Mordheim


Back to Mordheim now, as I've been painting some more humans to explore the ruins. After the bulk painting of the termagants, I felt like something a bit more detailed. I decided to paint some very bright and fancy humans, perhaps from the wealthy city of Marienburg. White and orange seemed like good colours, and of course they're so easy to paint, too.

I used orange contrast paint for the orange parts, and then highlighted with yellow. Here are a couple of lowly types: a swordsman and a crossbowman. Both are based on some Empire cannon crew that I had lying around, with Mordheim and Empire arms.

This chap is slightly more senior. Perhaps he leads a group of swordsmen. He's a mixture of Mordheim and Empire Pistoleer parts, with a shield from a random historical model. I like his fancy plumed hat. It's hard to see, but I painted his cloak as scuffled leather. I'm not sure what it would actually be made from, but it looks nice. Painting his face was difficult: I think some of the Empire rank-and-file don't have very detailed faces.


This week, GW announced that it is phasing out a large number of older Space Marine kits, including all the plastic scout models, the marine bikes and the land speeders. Some of these models are ancient and not very good - the Space Marine bikes are about as old as I am and they look even worse, the land speeder is a dull, dated kit and the scouts have those silly square-jawed heads that always look better replaced. (And charging £27 for the old bikes or £25 for a land speeder is outrageous.) However, some good models will be going, including a super librarian model.

It seems clear that the old space marines are being phased out. Nothing can stop the primaris gravy train. The old models are from a different era and - the most important thing about Space Marines - they're not big enough. Personally, I find none of the bigmarine kits very exciting (although the new bikes rock), and some of them seem like worse designs than what they replaced, especially the hover-tanks and the weird flying autocannon men.

Anyhow, I bought a scout land speeder. I've always quite liked this kit, which is as much a little diorama as a model, as the riders are doing interesting things. With different heads, it could look really cool. I shall continue collecting little marines for my force of space knights. 

Thursday 20 July 2023

Even More Termagants (And A Substitute Biovore)

 It feels like a while since I posted anything here. Things have been busy and a bit stressful, especially since I've been trying to get the new book sorted out, and I felt like painting something pretty mindless. And what could be more mindless than a fresh horde of termagants, those small cannon-fodder Tyranid beasties?

Some months ago, I managed to buy a fair few old-school termagants off ebay for a decent price. Not only did I get a bunch of plastic monopose termagants (which I like much more than they probably deserve) but there were nine metal hunter-slayers, which is what termagants were called before the first Tyranid army list. They only have two poses - braced for firing and pointing at something - but they're nice enough models. Getting the paint off them was extremely difficult, for some reason. It usually sloughs off older models, but not this time. Perhaps the original owner had used some unusual brand. 

Anyhow, here are the plastic termagants. I don't know why I like these models so much. Maybe it's because they're what I grew up with. Or perhaps it's that they're simple and small: painting them is pleasant and fairly quick. They must be one of Games Workshop's first uses of a ball and socket joint, which enables you to put their heads on at different angles and add a tiny bit of variety.

And here are the metal models. They were also simple and enjoyable to paint. Creatures that are cannon fodder ought to be easy to paint en masse. I feel sorry for Imperial Guard players, who have to crank out hundreds of comparatively complex men in armour and uniforms.

I also painted an old model that would function as a biovore, which is a sort of walking mortar that accompanied the old Tyranids into battle. Unfortunately, as with several of the models introduced in the first Tyranid codex, the old biovore model is pretty awful (and the later ones aren't much better). So, I used the second old Epic dominatrix miniature that I had gathering dust. I painted it exactly the same as the previous one I did. 

That's it for the moment. I've got some fantasy models that I'd like to finish off again, including a man with very jolly trousers. I'm a bit stuck for ideas at the moment, to be honest, but I'm sure that I'll come up with something. I like these old-fashioned Tyranids, although some of the models are ropey and they're extremely difficult to photograph (I think it's the red bodies that the camera finds difficult). 

Anyhow, more stuff next time!

Tuesday 11 July 2023

New Book Incoming!

I've been working on a new novel and I'm pleased to say that it will be coming out in the next week or two. It's called Legion of Bones, it's a fantasy novel, and it's about hunting the undead in a magical version of the Renaissance. There's murder, intrigue, animated skeletons, a full-on siege and a lot of plot twists. And the lead character gets to surf a tank (sort of). 

 I'll let you know when it's out, but in the meantime there are two other novels in the same series: Up To The Throne and Blood Under Water. If you liked the old Warhammer, especially Mordheim, these will be your kind of thing.



And if that's not enough, and you just want some free stuff, click RIGHT HERE and sign up to the mailing list. You'll get three free stories and regular (but not too regular) updates on what I'm doing. 

Thursday 6 July 2023

Troll 2 - the Conversioning

 Back to the trolls! The Rockgut Troggoth kit is great, but it comes with a weird variety of bits. You get nine heads, six upper bodies, three necks and three lower bodies/legs. Inevitably, you end up with a lot of bits legs over. I wondered if I couldn't sculpt some bits to make an additional troll to join the "official" Warhammer ones (I'll call it a troggoth here, for clarity).

This is one of the lower body parts. They're all very similar.

I wasn't going to be able to sculpt something like this from scratch (if at all). I needed something to base the conversion around. I found this model in the bits box. Ironically, it's another troll, from the Reaper Bones range. It's much smaller than the Warhammer trolls, and like a lot of Bones miniatures, it's not a great model. However, its legs were about the right size, even though the feet were much too small.

So, I took a deep breath and hacked off its head and arms, and cut the upper body down into a cone that would fit into the upper body of the AoS troll.

I then sculpted over the mangled troll with DAS clay to make a suitable belly for the troggoth. I made this, which looks like an egg on legs. The blue pen marks show where the cone would meet the plastic troggoth upper body.

As you can see, I sculpted the new body a loincloth and some suitably huge clawed feet with green stuff. They're both pretty rough. I did a bit more sculpting. I covered the DAS clay with a thinned-down layer of PVA glue to seal it a bit.

The next problem was that I needed a neck for the troggoth. I found a piece of blue casting clay (it's called something like Onymatsu) and used it to make a cast from green stuff. This stuff doesn't hold fine detail all that well, but I waited for the green stuff to dry and carved it with a knife to get a suitably bumpy neck. You can see the ridges on the example on the right below.

The neck was added to the plastic body and the joins hidden with watered-down DAS clay. I chose this particular body because it was holding its weapon across its stomach, which would hide some of my ropey work.

Then it was time to assemble the entire thing, give it a head, and paint it.

One thing I'd not factored in is that the Reaper Bones models are made from some kind of bendy plastic. The weight of the troggoth threatened to bend the Reaper legs. I cut up some cork and a model column, and stuck it to the base to give the model some more support. The rocks touch his ankles and loincloth, and strengthen it all a bit.

And there he is! Was it worth all the effort? Well, sort of. It was a fun project and I'm pleased with the end result. At close inspection, his feet are much worse than the Warhammer once, but he'll pass a quick look, and it's nice to get to use the extra body. It was a lot of work, so I don't know if I'll do it again (I'd have to get another Reaper troll to hack up, for one thing). But I'm happy.

Sunday 2 July 2023

Basic Rusty Necron Warriors

 I've been doing quite a complex conversion on a troll, involving some sculpting, and I really felt like painting something simple without much detail. So, I got hold of some of the new Necron warriors and decided to paint them in a basic, rusty style. 

The new warriors are quite an improvement on the old warrior models, but that's not surprising. The old warriors were very dated and limited models. The new ones are miles better, and have a battered, wonky look suggestive of zombies. It's a shame that they're not aiming their weapons, but they still look decent.

The models I got were allegedly push-fit miniatures. Like most of the push-fit GW models I've assembled, this is nonsense. Pushing these together would be extremely fiddly and might well result in them breaking. Instead I cut off a lot of the pins and used glue to assemble them.

Painting was very simple. I undercoated them black, then put on dark brown to suggest a layer of tarnished metal. I mixed brown and red and blobbed it on in parts to represent rust. Spots of orange and yellow were added to the rust. Then I put Boltgun Metal (or the equivalent) on a sponge and gently added it to the metal, to represent scratched, exposed metal.

The guns were simply grey highlighted with white and washed with thinned-down brown. The eyes were painted green, with white pupils. I used some weathering powder on the lower legs: I expect these guys have been wandering around for a while.

I'm not going to win Gold Demon with these models anytime soon, but they aren't bad. These techniques produce an effective result for not much effort. I might add some more detailing later, but part of the point of these was that they would be quick and simple, and I think they're best left like that.