Saturday 30 September 2023

Two Renegade Robots

 The great thing about this whole Stargrave project (for me at least) is that it doesn't really have to end. I can just keep on making little space people until I go a bit mad. I also really like the creative freedom it gives. Warhammer is fine, but you can get a bit bored with skulls and purity seals (I always read that as "purty seals" like a redneck at an aquarium).

So, here are two robot weirdos, with not a sepia wash in sight. On the left is a plastic 40k chaos cultist, who seems to be partly inspired by Furiosa from Mad Max. I replaced her left hand, which was basically a hook, with a hand from the Stargrave kits. Her head is from a biker sprue for the game Project Z, which was a zombie survival thing that Warlord Games used to sell. She looks like a damaged and possibly renegade android, who has had to make basic repairs before she can acquire some new artificial skin.

The big red chap on the right is an oddity that I found in the bargain bucket at my local games shop for about one pound. I think he's a leftover from the Prodos version of Warzone. He had a strange, tiny head, which I replaced with a strange, large head from a 40k chaos tank sprue. He's an incredibly detailed model, covered in pipes and cables, all of which feel unnecessary. Sometimes, simple is good. Anyhow, I warmed to the model as I painted it and now I'm quite pleased with the result. He'd make a nice Stargrave warbot.

Incidentally, I've just got a new phone, and I'm still figuring the camera out, so apologies if these pictures are actually worse than the usual ones!


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

Tuesday 26 September 2023

Even More Stargravers

 Here are some more criminals, adventurers and bandits made with the Stargrave Scavengers set. I didn't intend to make them colour-coded (it's the space teletubbies!) but it seems to have worked out that way.

The guy in the red jacket has a Bolt Action Russian body and Stargrave head and arms. They go together pretty well. I think he's some kind of runner, carrying important documents.

Blue coat man is a pilot. To begin with, his coat looked excessive, but I like the bright colour, especially contrasted with his red visor.

The middle guy looks like a Star Wars sand person crossed with the Invisible Man. I imagine he's creeping up on someone with his machete. His right arm is supposed to be for a Stargrave zombie, but I reckon it works.

The green crouching bloke has a Bolt Action Russian body and Stargrave head and arms. The Bolt Action bodies aren't as detailed as the Stargrave ones, or as well cast, but they're more varied and dynamic in pose. 

The final chap is pure Stargrave. He reminds me of one of the NCR rangers from Fallout Vegas. I like his visor and his long, tatty coat.

I really like making these guys!

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Wave Serpent 2

 A while ago, I painted an Eldar Wave Serpent tank. It looked like this:

I had another Wave Serpent, kindly given to me by my friend Mark (thanks Mark!). I thought I'd have a go at painting it in similar, slightly trippy colours.

The tank was already assembled. There were quite a lot of nasty mould lines, especially on the two lascannons (or brightlances as the young folk call them). I filed them down as best as I could, but it wasn't perfect. The aerial on the turret had snapped off, and I replaced it with the barrel of some kind of Dark Eldar gun.

For a lot of my Eldar, I've been inspired by paintings by people like Chris Foss, Roger Dean and Moebius. I had a look at various psychedelic science-fiction pictures for inspiration, and eventually found this painting by Roger Dean, who used to draw album covers for the prog band Yes:

I tried to copy these colours onto the front prongs, or wings of the Wave Serpent. I painted the rear part in blue, shading some panels into purple, as I'd done on my jetbikes and Vitriol skimmers. I used a Turbo Dork paint to colour some of the small bumpy bits, and painted the big spirit stones to resemble gems.

As with some of my other skimmers, the cockpit was painted to look as if it was reflecting the landscape outside, as the Wave Serpent flies over it. Red was used on the gun barrels to link the Wave Serpent to the rest of the army's heavy weapons.

So that's Wave Serpent 2! I have learned that red and yellow is hard to shade. I can't help but feel that this thing needs a bit "more", especially on the front end, but I'm not sure what to do without making it look worse. I'm quite pleased with it, though. 

Monday 11 September 2023

Space Crusade Chaos Marines

 I was looking through some of the boxes of random junk I have knocking around, and I found some ancient Space Crusade chaos marines. I have no idea at all why I've got these. Space Crusade came out in 1990, and I have vague memories of thinking that they looked quite cool when I was young, so maybe I bought them off a schoolfriend. 

(There was always a steady trade in second-hand miniatures at my school, as older boys flogged off their models to get cash for, I assume, girls and booze. I can clearly recall buying some Fire Dragons from a bloke named Alan.)

It turns out that the Space Crusade chaos space marines could be an awful lot worse. Compared to the regular marines in the game, they're brilliant. Compared to recent chaos marines, they're a bit ropey, but they're certainly not too awful to use. In fact, they've got some really nice little details. The rank and file guys have a cool Giger-esque feel, and the leader is remarkably ornate. 

Unfortunately, some of the guns were lost to time, but I was surprised to discover that modern chaos marine guns would fit really well. They only needed a tiny bit of green stuff and they looked cool. It's interesting how a miniature doesn't have to be covered in detail to work: the sharpness of the replacement guns draws the eye nicely and compensates for the weaker aspects.

They got a standard Not-Black Legion paintjob. For once the black was a real pleasure to paint. I've got to say, I'm surprised how well these old board game models came out!


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

Thursday 7 September 2023

A Couple of Random Models

 Just a small post. I made a mystic space lady out of Frostgrave wizard arms and head, and the slightly cut-down body of an Afghan tribesman (Perry miniatures, I think). I wanted to use some bright colours and do some blending.

I also painted (yet!) another retro plastic tyranid. They're all basically the same model, but I do love these guys.


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

Sunday 3 September 2023

Metal Tyranid Warriors - making the best of a bad job

 I'm a big fan of the plastic tyranid warriors that were released at the time of Advanced Space Crusade. They're strange, well-cast models, and while they don't have many options for variety, they look interesting and they have lots of detail (not least at the back end of the warrior's deathspitter, where the warrior has, er, inserted his fist). 

And then we come to the first metal tyranid warriors. These are... well, they're awful. They are goofy and silly-looking, missing a lot of detail, as if the original warrior had been sketched from memory for a children's cartoon. The eldar, space marines and chaos marines of the time were an older style of model, but they were still good. The tyranid warriors aren't. 


To be honest, even in the better metal tyranids - the carnifex and the hive tyrant - you can see the first elements of dippiness creeping in. The biovore and lictor were pretty ropey from the start. My suspicion is that these models were an attempt to copy John Blanche concept drawings too literally. 

In a fit of optimism, I bought two metal warriors from ebay and decided to see if I could raise them from "dreadful" to "okay". Both have venom cannons and rending claws. One was missing its head and one of its arms.

The original models don't have necks: the head squashes straight onto the shoulders. I cut the barrels off two Dark Eldar pistols to make suitably ridged necks and used them to raise the heads up a bit. I think this looks much better. 

The partial warrior got a left arm made from a plastic spinefist, cut and repositioned to fit the gun. This was quite complex and required a load of green stuff. He also got a head from a modern plastic warrior, which helped make him look more sensible. I cut out the tongue. Why can't GW make a tyranid model that hasn't got a silly lolling tongue?

They both required a lot of pinning and mucking about to assemble. The partial warrior was stuck in quite a "closed" position: this hides his banana-like claws to an extent and creates more points of contact, which makes it more likely that he won't fall apart. It also made him a complete sod to paint. Still, they got done. I think I've made as good a job of them as I could do.

Here's the "by the book" version, with his extended neck and happy-dog tongue.

Tyrannidus Derpi

And here's the incomplete version. I think the replacement head and the "closed" position helps a lot, although the model is always going to look ropey.


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

Friday 1 September 2023

More Stargrave Guys

 Here are some more Stargrave guys. On each sprue you get a huge amount of spare bits and pieces. I decided to continue combining these with random WW2 miniatures to make space people. I mean, it worked for the guys who made Star Wars, after all.

I wanted to make a female model, but I found that the Stargrave survivor bodies are a bit too hefty. So, I used a Bolt Action WW2 plastic US marine, who was slighter. He seemed to have rolled-up trousers like the shorter trousers some women wear (are they called pedal pushers?). The head came from the Frostgrave female wizards, and the arms and backpack were from the Stargrave survivors. The arms required a little trimming and green stuff to fit, but it all came together quite well.

The bloke on the right is a psychic, made purely from the Stargrave scavenger sprue. His left arm is meant to be used by a space zombie, but I think it looks as if he is holding it out to cast some kind of spell. His hood and long coat give him a Jedi-type feel.

The chap on the left is entirely made of bits from the Stargrave scavenger sprue, except for his head, which is from the Frostgrave soldiers kit. He's got a bit of an old sea-dog feel, which I rather like. 

The other guy started off as the spotter for some kind of WW2 radio team. He was a metal model and seemed very small. I took off his head and right arm, and gave him one of the alien heads from the survivor sprue. I really like the way that his hand (which was originally shielding his eyes) is now adjusting his visor. The right arm was from the survivors. 

 On the left is a model made from Bolt Action WW2 pieces and a Frostgrave wizard head. I really like her expression.

The little bulldog-man on the right is a Hasslefree model that I've had knocking around for ages. I thought he would look good in this crew.

Here's a group shot:

As a bonus, here are some androids made from the Stargrave Mercenaries and Scavenger bits, inspired by the Working Joe robots from the Alien computer games.

More to follow!


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