Wednesday 16 August 2023

Stargrave Scavengers - the first five

 It occurred to me recently that, while 40k is a much more playable game these days, and the models are much better from a technical standpoint than they used to be, something has been lost along the way. To me at least, the 40k world just isn't much fun these days. For one thing, the setting is humourless and boringly miserable. Almost all of the characters are drab. For another, the Rogue Trader ethos of making weird people and getting them to have a fight has faded somewhat. It's all far too regimented. Even games like Necromunda are very restrictive. A lot of the creativity has gone.

Which brings me onto the Scavengers kit, made by North Star Games for Stargrave. Let's cut to the chase: this is awesome. For £20, you get 20 bodies (there are 5 varieties) and a load of heads and guns. You can make a variety of shabby-looking space militia types, mainly with assault rifle-type guns but also pistols and crude hand weapons. Yes, the models could be a little bit more detailed, but they really don't need to be. You also get alien heads, if you want them to look a bit Star Trek, and some decayed-looking heads if you feel the need for space zombies. Which I don't, but fair enough. 

I had a go at assembling some of these guys. I decided to use a couple of spare Frostgrave and Bolt Action bodies, to see how well the weapons overlapped. The answer is "very well indeed". In the spirit of Rogue Trader and the lazier episodes of Star Wars, I've given them silly names.

Dilbo Fudge and his brother Trilby are two scumbags on the lookout for strong women and loose booze, or vice versa. They are currently lying low after their recent heist on the National Dubstep Repository, where they made off with some of the galaxy's premium squonking sounds. 

Dilbo uses parts from the Scavengers set, except for his head, which is from a Bolt Action WW2 Russian soldier.

Trilby has a Frostgrave soldier's body, and arms and a head from the Scavengers set.

Stickwell Clagg is a tough customs officer from the Bureau of Firearms, Tobacco, Alcohol and G'Fark. Rumours that he has been snibbling his own supply of G'Fark are completely unfounded.

Clagg was made with bits from the Scavengers kit.

The mysterious warrior-monk known only as The Crimbler provides heavy support with his hefty drum-fed machine gun. No-one has ever seen his face, including himself. This adds to his mystique, although it doesn't help his aim.

The Crimbler is made purely with parts from the Scavengers sprue.

Delaware Crotch used to be a security officer on the moon of Pragnar. During the Purging of the Gonks, he joined the rebellion. The fact that there wasn't actually a rebellion yet did not deter him from becoming a one-man uprising.

Delaware uses a Bolt Action Russian body, a Frostgrave soldier head and arms from the Scavengers set.

So, silly names aside, I think that this is an excellent boxed set. The models are really good and go together excellently. There's tons of potential for variety, even before you get onto conversions and kit-bashing. It's superb value and I'd really recommend it.


If you like Mordheim or Assassin's Creed, check out my Dark Renaissance novels HERE

Saturday 12 August 2023

1990s Marine Challenge (aka Teacup Marine)

 Over on Instagram (I'm on tobyfrostauthor if you feel like following me), Darren Latham created a painting challenge: paint a plastic monopose space marine from the 1990s. I'm slightly wary of these kind of things: for one thing, my painting is total bollocks compared to some of the people on instagram. For another, they're not very good models.

I figured that, if I tried to paint my model in a familiar colour scheme, someone else would have done the same thing much better. I decided to paint it in an unusual colour. At random I had the idea of a porcelain scheme, like the colours of an old teacup. It's ridiculous, but it would stand out!

This is the marine before I went to work on it. It's actually a lieutenant from a boxed set. The arm and backpack were separate, but the rest came in one lump.

Ok. Time for some basic colours. I also mounted him on a 32mm base, like most modern marines, and sculpted him a little hill to stand on, so he'd look a bit less stumpy.

At this point I felt that the project was both completely absurd and could actually be kind of cool. I then had a go at his shoulder pad. I decided to paint on a scene such as you might find on an old teapot (expect with 40k themes). Hence we have a spaceship hovering near a cathedral.

I also added some checks on the wrist and a few faint flames on his fist. 

By this time, I'd invested so much energy in painting him that there was no way back. I got on with the rest of him. His face took ages.

Here's a side view:

And another:

Hmm. He seems to have the two-headed Imperial pelican on his other shoulder.

Anyhow, there he is. I want to tidy him up a bit, but he's 90% done. 

If you like Mordheim or Assassin's Creed, check out my Dark Renaissance novels HERE

Saturday 5 August 2023

Old Metal Space Marines

 I've been pretty busy with my new novel over the last few weeks, but I've managed to paint a few old metal space marine models in the meantime. Although Games Workshop is determined to phase out the little marines, there are some excellent miniatures there, from different periods of GW's history.

These two models are pretty ancient. The guy on the left is from the not-quite-Rogue-Trader period, and appears in the old blue Citadel catalogue. He's wearing what in the 40th millennium is called a Crux Terminatus, and in the rap game is a phat gold rope. He looks pretty pleased with himself. The chap next to him is a 1990s Space Wolf leader. 

These next two are a bit newer. The man on the left is a plastic marine body with a Bretonnian knight's head. I thought it suited the knightly feel of my chapter. His right shoulder pad was painted by a friend of mine who died a long time ago: I ended up with quite a lot of her old miniatures. I thought it was fitting to leave it as it was. Next to him is a veteran marine from the 2000s. I think this last set of metal veterans are some of the best marines that GW has ever made. They're covered in interesting details and are all really well sculpted. I doubt metal rank-and-file models have ever been much better.

The third pair are also veteran miniatures. They were in a job lot of slightly damaged marines. The chap on the left has a new head, and was missing the end of his mace. I used the top of a Sigmarine's hammer to finish his weapon off. The other guy was assembled without conversion. He's a super miniature.


 I also decided to join in a challenge that Darren Latham has created on Instagram. The idea is that you paint a very old plastic space marine from a 1990s set. I'm usually wary of these kinds of things, as inevitably someone (well, most people) will do much better than I will, but I thought "What the heck" and decided to give it a go. Here is the plastic model. He's a leader of some sort, and he is not the greatest miniature I've ever seen.

If you like Mordheim or Assassin's Creed, check out my Dark Renaissance novels HERE