Monday, 11 December 2017

This post probably won't blow you away...

To accompany the previous post's rock themed monster, we have an air elemental:

He's from the same Mage Knight set, and was a fairly speedy but pleasing paintjob. Not speedy in actual time (as it was something like six or seven months between basing and finishing), but once I actually got down to brass tacks, layering up splashes of highlight a little more white at a time was a delight that just flowed rapidly.

Sloppy application of highlights is my favourite way to do it. There are more higher than lower on the model, to make it look like he's coalescing and spinning faster as he forms. I was a little concerned about choosing to paint him blue, thinking he might look more like water than air. The original model's colour scheme was grey, which I figured would look a little blah on a grey base, and too similar to the rock golem previously posted.


47 vs 40 = +7

That's probably it this side of Christmas though, unless someone has a Sanity Claws miniature that they want to send me so that I can paint and post something festive...

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Rock Lobster (has been the draft title for so long I guess it gets to stay)

Wow, the date on the draft of this post is exactly 6 months before when I started writing it...

In an unusual continued burst of productivity, I've finished a very, very grey beastie:

Everyone loves a rock golem, right (imagine the B52s song 'Rock Lobster', but with the word lobster replaced with the word monster, that's what is playing in my head right now), and he can run double duty for Dungeons and Dragons as well as menacing Conan in that project if need be.

My main concern was making sure that the grey of his body was differentiated from the grey of the ground, so I worked up from a brown basecoat rather than the black of the ground. Careful edging gave way to drybrushing as the sharp detail of the larger rock pieces gave way to the softer detail of the other lumpy... bits. Ah, Mage Knight sculpts, thou art so varied in quality. On the same model, sometimes.

The base was built up to look like the golem is either bursting out of the ground, or having just smashed down with such force that the rock around him is rippling with the impact. I'd originally based him on a smaller base than the one I ended up going with, so glued that straight to the top of the larger base to give some additional height:

Torn up cork sheet was then glued around the edge before being blended in with plaster, and then basing was finished in my usual fashion:

Here he is with Conan for scale - I think without the additional size given by the extra base size he would have struggled to really threaten anyone, especially given his hunched pose (I think he would have ended up looking menacingly at a lot of opponent's navels):

Finishing this nice Mid-Boss to speedbump heroes of all denominations brings the Tally to:

46 vs 40 = +6

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Yeld - yellow gold?

And lo, comes the final member of my Spyrer team, the bewinged Yeld:

Dark bodysuit, as befits a model that has the ability to camouflage himself in the darkness of the underhive, contrasted with gleaming gold and silver pinions, because hey we're the rich kids on safari, so we're going to flash the cash.

I imagine that the wings feature some sort of holo projector across the surface, which would blur the edges and make the individual's silhouette harder to make out. Well, that's how I justify to myself painting them as such bright metal! (rule of cool wins again).

Midway through painting, I was googling to look at other people's painted Yeld looking for colour inspiration for his weaponry, when I realised that what I had painted as his bald head and a very prominent brow should perhaps have been a metal skullcap:

I quite liked it though, and decided to leave it as is (picturing him as the slightly older, sees himself as wiser self-appointed leader of the group), but when painting the lenses on his cybernetic eye I coincidentally painted them red and green, inspiration struck and I knew that I had to give him a wobbly freehand spider tattoo on his head:

Spider Jerusalem, in case you aren't familiar with the source of inspiration, explaining democracy:

Finishing him brings the Tally to:

45 vs 40 = +5

and actually completes a playable force for a game system, in a shocking and out of character turn of events:

(I really need to stick a weight under each of their bases to make them a little more stable...)

Can I use this momentous milestone to justify ordering myself the new Necromunda? Probably not, this close to Christmas, I should probably wait and see what Santa brings to avoid raising the ire of the wife...

Given that Games Workshop seem to be planning to update all of the existing main gangs, as well as adding some new ones, I'm intrigued to see what a redesign of the Spyrers with 20 additional years of technology and experience would look like...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Malcado, Malcadon't, it's all the same to me...

Thirdly comes my favourite of the Spyrer Hunting Rigs, the Malcadon. Because if you're a scion of the noble houses killing for thrills in the Underhive, you're obviously going to choose the suit which is a cross between Spider-Man and the Predator. The other types can seem a little silly when looked at with real world sensibilities ('I'm agile and hope you shoot me with energy weapons!' 'I'm punchy!' 'I'm kinda a birdman'), whereas the Malcadon is genuinely threatening and unnerving - you could imagine him stalking his prey through the decrepit gantries and vents, unseen until the very last moment when he drops onto his prey, seen only for an instant before there is the flash of steel (and I seem to recall there being a short story in Inferno magazine back in the day that went pretty much like this).

Unlike the other Spyrers, who got a dazzling selection of brightly coloured suits and greeblies (as they're basically marching into the Underhive with loudspeakers blaring 'we're here to murder you in these high tech killsuits'), the Malcadon got a much more muted selection - reddish purple bodysuit (as I thought 'what colour best describes murder'), and the pipes and tubes of his web spinners and helmet were painted in muted greys and blues, which makes it look almost carapace-like (as I imagine that having a chap that looks very much like some sort of technologically advanced murder beetle drop on you from above would be even more terrifying to the average Necromundan resident)

The only 'bright' points on the model are the pistons on his legs and his claws (which are still a much darker metal than his companions) and the three red dot lights around his eye...

Side note - the Malcadon is the Spyrer that didn't come in the original large box of miniatures, and was donated by my buddy Jimchenko who remembered that he had a broken model when he found out about my acquisition of the other three. A quick repair to reattach an arm and six years later we have a painted miniature ;)

Other side note: I've been considering picking up another Malcadon, as in the Community Edition of the Necromunda rules Spyrer teams have to consist of 5 members, but I'm just not as much of a fan of the other Malcadon sculpt as I am of this one...


44 vs 40 = +4

Honestly, the main thing holding me back from ordering the new Necromunda at this point is that it would plummet the Tally back into the negative, and so close to the end of the year I'd be unlikely to get it back into the black... So for now I'm just stocking up on Pringles and bottlecaps and considering making some terrain...

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Orrus you sure about that? Wow, I'm really losing my touch with these punny titles...

As hinted at in my last post, it's not just a single Spyrer I've been working on;

Next we have the bruiser of the group, the Orrus:

Honestly, I can't remember how I got to the decision to go whitegrey and green as a colourscheme. He looks a little like he wouldn't be out of place fighting mid-90's Spider-man.

Not a lot to say about him other than that, really (except can you see how I snuck Arcane Blue onto him?) - I was oddly unmotivated to paint this miniature, and he was sat with only his flesh painted whilst the other miniatures that I was working on simulataneously approached varying stages of completion, but once I threw myself into painting his armour I started to enjoy him some more! I went for a much cleaner style that my usual, which was very odd - almost like panel lining a model tank painting dark shade in between each armour panel and then sharpening the edges with the highlight colour, rather than my usual approach of slap it on and then scrub around some highlights in a slightly slapdash fashion!

I'm also not sure why I wasn't more inspired to paint him, as my most enduring mental image of the Orrus is from the Kal Jerico comic, where they look like an absolute badass:

I mean, until he gets taken out with a lascannon:

Although at the same time I guess that if it takes incredibly rare and expensive anti-tank weaponry to take you out, that's still fairly respectable...


43 vs 40 = +3

I'm starting to consider getting the new Necromunda, and thinking of it as buying a bunch of models that I can use with old Necromunda that also happens to come with a free Necromunda themed board game that I could also play if I wanted to... 

Friday, 1 December 2017

I can't think of a pun that fits Jakara into it... Jakara be kidding me? No. Dammit.

So, as you probably can't help but have noticed if you have internet access, Games Workshop have recently re-released a version of the pinnacle of skirmish wargaming, Necromunda. It's probably not just nostalgia talking, it was genuinely the best thing ever.

Rather than rushing out and snapping up a copy of the new game that would most likely just end up atop the precariously stacked pile of games that I will one day get round to painting and playing (I'm looking at you copy of Officio Assassinorum Execution Force) I thought I'd dig through my pile of half-finished projects and finish something up from the last time I decided to journey to Necromunda.

Six years ago, I bought a box of secondhand miniatures on a well-known gaming forum, that I dutifully stripped and set about repainting. I was halfway through typing 'a selection of which you've seen posted', but a quick snoop through my posts reveals it looks like I've not actually finished a single one of the 95 miniatures that were in that box... 

One of the reasons that I bought the box were that I saw that it contained three different Necromunda Spyrers, a gang that I had always coveted as a youth, and one of which is the first to get finished and posted, the Jakara:

I was somewhat conflicted over whether to give her pink hair, as such punky affectations tend to be reserved for gangers, but 'rule of cool' won out in the end. The bone and blue colour scheme was chosen by me sitting down with a post-it note and scribbling out pairs of colours that I misremembered seeing the Studio models painted as in old issues of White Dwarf.

The mirror shield got painted as shiny and single toned, again due to my vague recollections - me remembering that it was called a 'mirror shield' and assuming that the surface was, well, a mirror, whereas actual descriptions of it have a number of different nodules that store energy rather than just reflecting it straight back...

I had a play with trying out a crackling energy / alien technology effect on the blade (having finally cracked open my pot of P3 Arcane Blue, which is such a lovely colour that you will be seeing it creep in somewhere on the next few posts), which looks a bit crap, admittedly, but I kind of like it anyway...

All of her tubes and equipment were painted as shiny as new, figuring that this is her on her first jaunt into the Underhive, and the little chambers on her backpack were again painted with Arcane Blue with white squiggles, to look like containment cells for captured energy waiting to be unleashed back against her foes!

Finishing her brings the Tally to:

42 vs 40 = +2

Death doesn't stalk the Underhive alone though...

Sunday, 12 November 2017

What is best in life?

Yeah, it's everyone's favourite brooding Cimmerian, Conan:

Mood music:

I love Conan, and have had vague plans to game in Hyperborea for several years now. Small scale, run using the Song of Blades and Heroes ruleset, borrowing models liberally from the other fantasy projects, it's yet another one of those ideas I had where I thought 'this is small enough that I'll be able to finish it and actually get a game in' that then ended up getting mothballed until my attention swung back round again...

Admittedly part of the reason for the delay was finding a miniature that I was happy with for the main man, but in the end I went with this lovely lad from Hasslefree. 

You might notice a slight bit of shininess and or discolouration around his axe arm, which is a result of repairs and some minor cosmetic surgery after an escape attempt:

I have vague plans for a 'tree' style campaign (the kind where if Player A wins a game, you play one scenario next, but if player B, you take a different branch, potentially unlocking additional reinforcements or other boons in a final climatic battle along the way), which I'm sure I started sketching out on a scrap of paper that I should probably try and track down...

But wait, there's more!

Conan doesn't want to take on the cult of various snake gods on his lonesome, though, so I've also finished one of the chums I have for him in the painting queue:

Nice, classic Grenadier/em4 barbarian. Chosen almost entirely because I love the idea of a near-nude berserker taking the precaution of wearing a full helm (I assume his mother made him promise to never go out without wearing his helmet, and so he always has). He was also painted to a lighter skintone than Conan, to make the big guy seem all the more bronzed by comparison.

I feel like I might have missed a trick by not giving him a comedic beauty mark or heart tattoo on his backside though...

And here's the pair of them together:

The Grenadier barbarian looks a little bigger and chunkier than Conan, but that's fine, he's in a more dynamic pose, and was always described as being athletic as well as beefy, so I'm still happy with my choice!


41 vs 40 = +1

Back in the black!

Necromunda pre-orders went up today though. I've been good so far.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Only in death does duty end...

...and even then that's not a given, as if you're suitably pious you might get a small anti-grav device attached to your cleaned skull so that you might be able to bip around looking menacing near an inquisitor, and if you're doubly lucky you might even get a laspistol grafted on, to ineffectually highlight to the enemies of Mankind your exact location so that their vengeance might be swift and terrible.

So, I finished a couple of servo skulls! They're a bit silly, but so quintessentially grimdark I couldn't resist. There's two, despite the fact that warbands can only take one in inquisimunda, but I guess it gives me the option of taking one with a small gun or one with a pair of crafty manipulators. It shouldn't matter that only one has a weapon, because we should be all about narrative over power gaming. I'm not competitive. No sir. 


39 vs 40 = -1 

Necromunda is going up on pre-order soon, so I think I might have to have a bit of a clear-out and list some unused projects on eBay! Why would you do this so close to Christmas GW, don't you know we have families to buy presents for?

Monday, 30 October 2017

We're off to see some zombies, some horrible zombies oh god!

A day late for Zomtober but a day early for Halloween... I was aiming to get this posted last night (when the miniatures were painted!) but when it hit 11 and the pictures were still uploading I realised I wasn't going to hit that deadline, and so am now writing this post on an iPad stood waiting for a train [and then some more sat at a station hours later waiting for a different train...]

As should come as no surprise given the content of the last few Zomtober posts, I've finished Dorothy and Toto from the Studio Miniatures Wizard of Oz set:

Please note my attempt at painting gingham as a reference to the film. Just don't look too closely. Maybe squint, too, if you wouldn't mind.

And here's the back of Dorothy:

There aren't any more pictures of Toto, as he didn't come out as I'd hoped - I tried giving subtle variations in colour on his fur, aiming for a grey brown like the original, but it just didn't come out right and I ended up settling for a flatter finish. His fur was very smooth, so my attempts at drybrushing were somewhat foiled...

The back of her jacket also contains some terrible freehand and squiggly approximations of text - as I was lying in bed Saturday night/Sunday morning wondering whether the clocks had gone back yet (after having fallen asleep earlier that evening putting my daughter to bed when I'd originally planned to finish painting these minis), I was struck with inspiration- what if I painted a biker back patch on the back of Dorothy, with a little cartoon witch head with crosses for eyes and the slogan 'witches get stitches'? This is my attempt at that. Unfortunately, her back is absolutely tiny compared to its size in my late night/early morning memory/imagination, so I had to go with an approximation of the text, but I quite like it nevertheless...

And here they are all together! Which, technically, crosses another challenge off of the list:

2017 Challenges:

  • Finish 5 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (5/5)
  • Finish 10 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (10/10)
  • Finish 15 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (16/15)
  • Finish something years old
  • Finish something SUPER old (as in, pre-blog old) x2
  • Finish a piece of terrain x3 
  • Empty out my stripping pot
  • Paint something from the stripping pot
  • Prep all of the monkeys in the monkey box
  • Build a wargames board
  • Paint all of the miniatures in a boxed game
  • Open Star Wars Imperial Assault and paint all the miniatures from it
  • Paint all the miniatures needed to replace the tokens in the Imperial Assault Core Game
  •  Paint a complete box of miniatures (either a full regiment or starter)
  •  Finish a complete skirmish force for a project (at least 16 miniatures, unless it's for a much smaller scale game like Batman)
  • Repaint something (either a miniature that I have previously painted, or one that was received painted)
I think when I'd set the 'complete box' challenge, I was trying to bait my future self into painting up my Joker starter for the Batman Miniatures game (as I've had it since before there was a rule set, and they're now on their second edition), but I'm counting it!

But wait, there's more! Not content with just survivors this week, I've also finished a zombie!

Side note - I can't find my current pot of TCR anywhere, which turned the 'five minutes' I told my wife I'd be finishing up these before Sunday night games night into ten minutes of grumpily searching drawers and boxes before giving up and trying to use Blood for the Blood God as a substitute, which doesn't work quite the same sadly

(As I tend to mix in inks and whatnot to get different 'shades' of blood - more black for zombies etc - and TCR goes pleasingly thick when mixed with inks, which behaves very differently when painting to runny BFTBG, hence the larger 'splashes' of blood rather than my usual 'flecks')

Despite that setback, I managed to finish this chap:

Another of the Horrorclix zombies that I got as part of my initial foray back into the hobby proper, and I think the last remaining sculpt of the batch! He's a fairly hench sculpt, that I'd been considering basing and using as a 'brute zombie', but while he is bigger than most of the horde, he doesn't have the same mass as the other 'brute' zombies I've painted, so he gets to be an ordinary biter.

And so, that brings another Zomtober to a clo-

What's that?

Additional bonus entry you say?

After watching the latest series of Game of Thrones, after seeing the zombie polar bear (spoilers, btw) I was inspired to add something similar to my project to go with last year's offerings:

While I didn't have a polar bear miniature, I did have a Horrorclix Zombie Reindeer in my bits box - as such the original sculpt was impaled with a hunting rifle, but a few minutes with a scalpel and a pot of liquid green stuff saw to that!

Ah, fur with detail deep enough that you can actually use drybrushing and washes to build it up, I don't miss you until you're gone...

The hand was painted in the same fashion as my wights, as a little inside joke reference to the hand taken as proof of their existence at the start of the book series...

Finishing these brings the Tally to:

37 vs 40 = -3

Well, being back in the black is tantalisingly close isn't it? Now, what shall I paint next?

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Something something heart something

Unusually on schedule this week with the next Zomtober offering - another Studio Miniatures Wizard of Oz themed survivor:

The Cowardly Lion reimagined as a sports mascot. There was a weird vogue for these when I started the zombie project (I think Zombiesmith may have made a couple that just seemed to crop up everywhere), but I think I'm far enough behind that it's become niche again! 

I guess there's some logic to the idea too - although you'd lose pretty much all manoeuvrability, the thick padding might actually make a pretty decent defence against zombie bites...

I'm sure there are better weapons than a hockey stick to protect yourself from the undead though (although it's something you can swing with both hands, and can be used to keep biters at arms length while you make good your escape... hmm, maybe I've undersold the hockey stick in the past!). Uniform colour was selected entirely randomly - I was rooting around in my paints and unearthed a pot of Sotek Green. Yellow stripes and badge were added just to give a little flourish, rather than any attempt to emulate any actual sports teams insignia!


33 vs 40 = -7

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Oh if I only had some braaaaaaaaaainsss...

Playing catch-up a little this week, we have two finished miniatures for my week 2 and 3 Zomtober entries!

First is the next of the Studio Miniatures Wizard of Oz themed Survivors box, a pitchfork wielding vagrant with overtones of Scarecrow:

Good fun to paint, even if the detail on his face was a little squiff (although it might just be that I've been spoilt by having painted Hasslefree miniatures, that even my modest level of skill can make look quite nice), but judicious application of a five-o-clock shadow came out looking pretty good I think and distracts from that! His eyes are a mote wonky, mostly because my daughter chose the exact moment to grab my chair and yell boo that the micron pen was making contact with miniature...

He got straw blond hair to suit the Scarecrow theme, and his clothes were painted dirty and worn partly for theme, partly because there's just something satisfying about scrubbing on some weathering with a ragged old brush!

The other miniature offered up this week is this militaristic zombie:

Back when I got back into the hobby in my early twenties, I was inspired to start a zombie project after seeing all of the great stuff happening over on the Lead Adventure Forum (which I'd joined to ask a member a question about where they'd gotten some miniatures that I'd stumbled on while googling for AEWWII miniatures). To get started, I bought a bunch of Horrorclix zombies from a nice guy in Spain (username PredatorPT iirc), and this chap is one of the last pair of that bunch to get painted (the other of which is currently sat half finished on my desk). The Horrorclix zombies are a mixed bunch - variable sizes, wildly variable sculpting quality, but they got me started and over a hundred zombies later I still like them (I think the Zombie Ventriloquist is still one of my favourite members of the horde).

This particular zombie is one of the better sculpts though - fairly crisp detail, characterful, but straightforward enough that he looks great with three or four colours and some weathering! Painting was fairly straightforward: I basecoated everything, weathered the lot, and then washed and highlighted anything that wasn't black before coming back to do a pass to pick out a couple of small details like the handle of his holstered pistol, the buttons on his pouches, and his teeth! I was tempted to apply some blood effects (as it's been a while since I got to play with my pot of TCR) but figured that given how dark overall the model is, you wouldn't really notice the blood on him...

Here are the two miniatures squaring off - you'll see what I mean when I say that the Horrorclix zombies are a little big! Mixed into the crowd though the scale difference isn't quite as noticeable...


32 vs 40 = -8

Coming next week:more of the same, hopefully!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Zomtober - you have my axe...

Zomtober is here again!

Doubly exciting this year, as my daughter has learned what Halloween is, so our house currently rings to repeated viewings of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Hallowen songs like these, so painting zombies feels festively apt!

So here for my first offering (a day later than originally planned) is the Tin Woodman themed survivor from Studio Miniatures' Wizard of Oz themed set:

Selected for my first week's submission mostly because time really got away with me and he was the one that I was able to get finished in the least number of steps on Saturday and Sunday night!

Ugh, my photography is doing me no favours with him is it? I used a variety of washes and shades (as well as various bits of weathering) to visually differentiate between the different parts of his makeshift armour; with his hair I was going for a 'hints of chestnut' rather than my usual 'bright ginger' that I seem to end up with when I get carried away from a Vermin Brown undercoat; the sculpt of the face is a little odd, but I did what I could.

Which brings the Tally to:

30 vs 40 = -10

In theory I might still hit the 1 miniature a week average by the end of the year, but who knows?


What do you mean where have I been?

[checks date on last post] wow, it has been three months hasn't it.

A number of factors contributed to this.

Shortly after my last post, I managed to slice through the end of my thumb with a meat cleaver, which made holding miniatures to model or paint very difficult:

I have also sunk a number of hours into the videogame The Witcher 3, which it turns out is super good, although I seem to be approaching the end of the game already, unlike Fallout 4 which took me actual years. This may have more to do with my daughter's bedtime being slightly earlier these days than the relative complexities of the two games though... I even got round to reading the advance copy of the first novel that I was sent nearly a decade ago, which is also very good. The multi million selling series of novels and videogames that came out in the interim are probably more of a testament to that than my much belated approval though...

I've not been completely out of the hobby though; I've built some scatter terrain (as was briefly alluded to in my last post) that is now sat undercoated in the basement:

(pre-undercoat sneak preview that those of you that follow me on Instagram will have seen months back)

as well as having half-painted several things that I won't name on the off chance that I manage to finish them once we're out of Zomtober, and having built about a billion (well, twenty odd, but it felt like a billion) wildlings whilst the latest series of Game of Thrones was on, until I realised that I was almost out of non-GW 25mm round bases for them (I'm oddly obsessive about what bases get used for what) and now they're sat forlornly on my desk waiting for their turn back in the spotlight. I also had a hankering to build some Gundam models (having been watching Gundam Build Fighters with my daughter of a weekend when we're up before Mummy), but rather than the logical response to that of ordering some Gundam models to build, I started writing the basis of a set of 1/144 scale giant robot combat rules, as you do. Maybe with a polish and a playtest I'll publish it, eventually. 

So, hopefully see you in a week rather than three months!