Monday, 19 February 2018

Chaotic Distractions

Starting with Abbadon and Fabius Bile that were featured in the last blog entry, I've been going through a spate of painting up a series of Chaos miniatures that were released in 1996. This is mainly because I'm easily distracted idiot, torn away from other painting projects by the slightest hint of 'old model that I always wanted to paint'  and because they're wonderful, wonderful figures. These  excuses have been compounded by the recent acquisition of some 90's gems that demanded attention including these 1996 release Terminators. These guys are hecka nails, they're covered in spikes and trophies and are perfect examples of Goodwin's Chaos output. They were a joy to paint up too and Abbadon doesn't seem as lonely as he has done.

Worst stag do ever.

The mid-90's were an awesome time for little men. However, there's a very disparate clash of sculpting styles within this release, with the confident, classic GW stylings of Jes Goodwin, (blessed be his name) the Khornate marines and Juggernaut by Dave Andrews to the more (excuse the expression) chaotic output of Aly Morrison. Whilst I may be accused of being a Goodwin fanboy, it cannot be ignored that the majority of his sculpts from this period are still relevant and officially obtainable today, whilst the passage of time hasn't been quite so kind to the other releases.

'What this stormbolter needs is a chainsaw'.

'What this combo-melta needs is a chainsaw'.

'What this power fist needs is less digits and more chainsaw'.

I think the main downfall of the non-Goodwin sculpts is that they don't have the same solidity of design. Much of the armour looks organic, (more of a smashed trifle on the floor than HR Giger) and despite incorporating some great ideas such as furs, pendents and older-looking equipment, none of this coalesces into a pleasing final form. There's two many horns, oversized gloves and funky-looking weapons. The helms of the marines themselves are puggish and ill defined. I've a few Aly Morrison figures knocking about which I love, but these are definitely not his best work. That said, these miniatures cannot be mistaken for anything other than Chaos marines; there's no way you could convert them into anything else without loosing that element of them, so they succeed in that aspect. However, it feels like a missed opportunity to have had some decent bad lad spacemen who didn't look like they were made of blu-tac.

B R A Z E N  D O O M

"We're going to need a bigger pooper scooper".

Although the Juggernaut by Andrews may be criticised for being a very static looking model, it is a huge improvement on the earlier incarnation which looked like an angry egg. I've waxed lyrical about his previously released Khornate marines and would love to get a chance to paint some of those up some day. Seldom seen on the tabletop, they scream feral brutality some 20 years on. In summary (and if I recall correctly) Andy Chambers once said that 'not all Chaos marines are possessed mutants, most of them are just really bad men'. In essence, less is more design wise. Unless you're a Khorne Berzerker then more is more. I'm not really aiming to make an army out of these guys as the models I'd like for it are a little too expensive on the second hand market right now. However, I'm looking forward to indulging myself over the next few months as I've been lucky enough to acquire a lot of these figures through job lots. To finish off, here's a rad little Epic Great Unclean one for the Corehammer monthly paint competition. Productive month so far!

Gonna need more antibiotics.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Perdidit Occasiones

Another year gone and sadly I've not achieved all I wanted to. I'd like to be able to say it was because I was so busy doing other things, but in reality I was a little lazy when it came to painting and gaming this year. I could have finished a few projects and got a couple more sessions in than I did, but I chose to waste time in other less productive ways and I'm a little ashamed of myself for that. However, I think I've rekindled the hobby flame in the past month or two and have reacquainted myself with some ongoing things. Here's how they're going so far,.

Digger-dumpers from the future.

This kit of futuristic tractors is so good. Infact, it's the kit that was responsible for firing up the hobby mojo again. Sometimes it's nice to have a quick win and these were cleaned, assembled and painted within the space of a week or so. They're fantastic narrative pieces too!

Originally I was going to submit a Sons of Horus army for the Armies on Parade competition this year. I'd finished a squad and a character model but ran out of steam after assembling a Knight Titan from House Aerthegn and the whole project sat on the hearth for four months. Thankfully, I finished the Knight in early December and have since been planning to add a Heavy Bolter support squad as well as a Reaver squad together to fill out the infantry. I'll most likely add a Predator and some Justarians to finish it off and may well enter them next year.

Dusty old Sons O' Horus

Thanks Citadel matt varnish for de-saturating ANOTHER load of models. When will I learn? 

I've got a couple of Knights kicking around on the pile and this was a great opportunity to assemble and paint one up. I liked the idea of the Sons Of Horus being a small but heavily armoured force, packing the might of a renegade Knight Titan as an ally. They're really nice kits and the biggest challenge was deciding on a good design for the heraldry. House Aerthegn is usually represented by a nautical star or crossed spears, but I decided to freehand a bat-winged arrow as Carfax's personal heraldry which has come out okay. Definitely going to plan the design a little better next time though! 

Carfax, Knight of House Aerthegn.

As close as you can get to Carfax without getting your face irradiated.

As a weird coincidence, I ended up assembling and painting an old Abbadon miniature which ticked another 'classic figure I wanted as a kid' from the list. He was an utter delight to paint and so I'm going to be following him up with a squad of matching Chaos Terminators to form a Black Legion bodyguard. I've recently come into possession of a bucketload of 90's Chaos stuff too, so this project could go anywhere. Whilst digging through the pile of rescue miniatures, I also decided to pick out and paint Fabius Bile - who knows what Chaotic plans 2018 has for this group of veteran bad guys?

Despoiling worlds since 1996. Keep up the good work fella!

Creepy Uncle Fabius gonna steal your genes.

Fabius was actually a bit of an effort to finish as I imagine he'd been battered through various bits boxes and paint jobs before he came to me. One side of his skin-coat was covered in superglue too, so it became more of a restoration project than a painting exercise! Still quite stoked on how he's come out, particularly enjoyed playing around with the reflective effects on his ichor vats.

The High Elf project is sat firmly on the back burner for now, but I'm looking forward to revisiting them. I've a mind to collect a small Undead and Empire army of the same period, but they're very distant projects. Likewise, the Space Hulk project has been temporarily suspended, but I've recently come into possession of the original Chaos Terminators, so I imagine they'll be causing a ruckus in the void at some point!

Sadly, despite a burning desire, I didn't get on the Necromunda reissue train. There were a few bills that had to be paid (real life eh??) and I've still yet to venture back into the Underhive. However, when I do, it'll be with an OG Escher gang backed up with a hired thug based on Purple Aki. Gonna be well grim.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Scenic Routes

As a side project, (one of many) I've recently been revisiting my scenery collection and sprucing it up a little as over the past few years it's begun to look a little tired. I've always had a soft spot for creating scenery and over the past decade Games Workshop have put out some great pieces of pre-made buildings that really invoke the ridiculously grim-dark architecture of the 41st millennium. Before the advent of Necromunda bulkheads, the only terrain that was available to buy was purely card based and the majority of the scenery used was either found objects such as lumps of cork or crudely made buildings. Last year, I posted a few photos of some Ork buildings I made with my Grandad over 20 years ago last year (christ where has that time gone?) and having some time off work, finally based them up and finished them off this week.

Definately not Ork church.


Was tempted to make this into an Ork toilet because I'm 12.

Reasonably happy with the way they've turned out! I tried to reflect as much detail as possible from the old paint job whilst making them look a little more like the amazing 90's Ork terrain the GW studio put out. 

The Squigster's of Mercy gig was good, but the crowd agreed that their earlier material was stronger.

However, I've fallen out of love with the majority of the kit terrain out there because it is all so similar. Even the new Necromunda-esque scenery that came with the new Armageddon Shadow Wars set is a bit suspect. Whilst it is festooned with detail, it leaves little to the imagination like the scratch built model buildings that graced White Dwarf in the 80s and 90s. However, the new shipping containers are incredible! Proper amazing kits to put together and paint. I don't mind each of these looking exactly the same because they're supposed to have that imperialist uniformity. I just can't get on board with the idea that every hive city looks the same. I'm not sure I'll be making much more scenery in the future as I simply don't have much space left to store new pieces. However, I hope to keep going back and adding more detail to the stuff I already have.

Amazon deliveries in the future are even less dependable.

In other hobby news, I'm almost done with my Dark Eldar Armageddon kill team (photos soon) so I'm hoping to get a couple of games in with them. I've also finished off the High Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower, which was fun to do, although the rest of that project will be taking a backseat for a little while so I can concentrate on finishing a few other things off. I'm also glad to say that the very last element of the Emperor's Children has been finished; another Contemptor joins the ranks of the loyalist few of Istvaan III. I've also recently picked up a Fulgrim model too and plan to do a little conversion work to create a pre-fallen version of the Primarch. 

Love these kits so much. That claw is proper threatening

I found it so hard not to festoon this guy in etched brass. However, I couldn't have him out-blunging Rylanor!

All them primary colours.

Lastly, I recently fancied painting a dragon and came across this awesome old Nick Bibby sculpt on eBay for less than £4.00. Couldn't resist the thing and had a blast painting him up. I also got to try using some of the new edge paints on him which are fantastic. Really impressed on how they make features pop. Plus, if the effect is too sharp, you can tone them down really easily with a wash or two. This fella will be joining the High Elves for all those games of Warhammer Fantasy 4th Edition I'll never be playing.

Look at his majesty. 

Love the expression on this guy! Well snaggletooth.

Hopefully going to get back into a fairly regularly pattern of painting now that we've finished some work on the house.  Really looking forward to getting some things ticked off the list! I'm not sure I'll be doing Armies on Parade in October this year as I don't have the space to store a new tile, but may try and doing something for fun for it with stuff I already have because I'm lazy and rubbish.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Quarterly Plod

How is it April already? I've been a little distracted of late and haven't had as much time to paint as usual, but I have managed to make a start on the little High Elf project and finish off a few outstanding single models that have been on the list. I've also been inspired by some of the Dark AOS  stuff that's been doing the rounds and started putting together a random Chaotic centaur dude. I'll hopefully have him finished by the end of the month once I'm happy with the conversion. He's inspired by both the older more canine Khorne features as well as one of my favourite artists - should be a fun project!


Firstly, here's the start of the High Elf army. I'm planning on adding an additional regiment of 15 archers and then maybe painting up mage mounted on a griffon, but we'll see. Really looking forward to starting the old repeater bolt-thrower! The Warhammer Quest Ranger was a joy to paint, although I did manage to somehow make him look like a fabulous drag-queen facially. The rest of the army will follow this colour scheme pretty closely.

Gagging on Elven eleganza.

Lastly, I was lucky enough to snag a limited edition Canoness Veridyan model when they were released in January. I remember being enthralled by John Blanche's artwork that this figure is based on and even now it's an incredibly evocative image. The model itself was a bit of a pain to paint as the face had next to no detail to the right of the nose, so the eye and all the facial contouring on that side had to be painted in. 

-2 movement modifier for hobble heels.

I promise you there is an eye painted underneath that fringe!

Close up, it is a little clumsy, but overall I'm happy. It's so nice to see models based on original artwork. I'd be stoked to see more of this kind of thing from GW, particularly if they revisited more of John Blanche or maybe Mark Gibbons's old work!

Fucking nails. Those stabby pointe moves are kill. GW, I dare you to make this.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Paint Flashback

There seems to have been a recent trend in the Oldhammer camp for tracking down and making good old, out of production paint. I must admit to having thought about purchasing some of the old sets, having a fondness for the artwork on the boxes and a reoccurring desire to paint something in Moody Blue or Worm Purple (OG Genestealers I'm looking at you). However, it wasn't until recently I managed to luck out on purchasing one of the later, hex-bottle styled Citadel Colour paint sets that I started to think that there may be some reason other than nostalgia for collecting old paint. 

All sealed, still with original brush!

At the most basic level, this stuff still works. When you seal one of these pots, they remain sealed. The most recent selection of GW paints are terrible when it comes to both tightness of seal and longevity of use. I've thrown away over a dozen pots in the past year because the paint has solidified despite being fully closed. The new pot design is also more susceptible to rim clogging (hurhurhur), which wastes paint and further prevents the lids from closing. You're also getting more paint in these older pots too. Whilst the coverage isn't as good as the new base paints (which are fantastic) the majority of the older paints still lay down a solid cover over a coat or two. Also, the old paints can be picked up for the same price, if not cheaper if you're lucky. Whilst the 1993 range may lack the breadth and technical optionality of the modern collection, it more than makes up for in Goblin Green, Blood Red and Snakebite Leather. Plus they smell nicer too. I've tentative plans to create a small fourth edition High Elf army using these paints as I've recently had a real urge to visit them as a  (another!!) distraction project. 

Because I'm an obsessive dick, I bought a working copy too.

On the subject of paint, I finished off my Colourblind Demon entry for the local shop competition last week. The idea behind the event is that you randomly pick four different paints from sealed containers and choose another two from the rack. If you're lucky you'll then have six colours that work together on any model of your choosing. Thankfully I picked out a few greens and one of the new Thousand Son blue and had the perfect figure waiting for it! Meet Bogbrush, a 1988 Bob Olley Black Orc.

Minty fresh Orc.

I must admit, I'm looking forward to actually finishing this fella off as without being able to add any other colours to highlight or shade with, he feels only around 70% done. Still, I did manage to play about with using some of the Silver Birch leaves I collected during the Autumn on the base, pretty stoked on how they came out!

Monday, 16 January 2017

New Year Times!

Ack! Two weeks deep into 2017 without a predictable 'plans for the year' post. Thankfully, I'm not planning to tie myself into any vain-glorious hobby resolutions other than to paint up stuff on the pile of shame, learn to paint better and to play a few more games than last year. I've already made good progress on finishing up the Emperor's Children and I've a tub of cleaned, based and undercoated figures to crack on with over the next few weeks. I've also tentatively made plans to get involved with a painting group in Liverpool in February as I've been wanting to push my painting in a more crafted direction. I'm hoping to make it down to paint with people down at the local store order pro-painted models from Romania more often this year too so we'll see how that goes. 2017 ahoy!

Purple people eater mincer.

I was lucky enough to receive this wonderful kit as a birthday present from my long-suffering partner in October last year. Initial impressions when it arrived went from excitement to panic when I realised how different large lumps of resin feel in comparison to plastic. This kit has so much more weight to it and demanded much more clean-up work that I expected. I doubt I'll ever get involved with a resin kit as big as this again as the material weirds me out so much, but it was really fun to paint once I got going. It was based up for the local stores 'Armies on a Plate' competition (I know, it was pushing it as an entry, but it was a good incentive to get it finished!) I had a lot of fun messing around with heat-bloom washes on the lascannons and finally got around to having a proper muck about with some FW weathering powders on the tracks.

Did I mention how much I love Forgeworld's etched brass?

The large etched legion markings have been great to work with and I personally think work better than their resin counterparts. Overall, I'm pleased with how it came out, even if the paint job is a little basic in comparison to many other examples online. My narrative excuse is that it's a work-horse Land Raider that never made it to the artificer's gilding workshop. Fulgrim won't be pleased!

Don't you know they're gonna kill your suns?

Fancy resin lascannons!

The last squad I wanted to add for reasons of both and fluff and symmetry were the 'Sunkiller' heavy lascannon support. I've been keen to avoid using the usual Emperor's Children tropes and I thought that these guys were never properly represented in the way the Phoenix Terminators, Palatine Blades or Kakophoni were. Plus, the resin underslung lascannons look amazing and although fiddly to assemble, were great to paint. I was lucky enough to be hooked up with some additional studded pads and helmet by one of the Corehammer dudes with these - thanks so much to Stephen for helping me out!

N O N E   M O R E   H E A V Y 

Out of everything I've painted recently, this set of Cataphractii terminators were the most rewarding. I've painted an awful lot of terminators in my life and these were by far the most fun. The kit itself is clean, simple to put together and creates an overall silhouette and tabletop presence that is awesome. They positively hum leaden menace and I'm half tempted at times to do another squad of these as a Sons of Horus Justarians because they're that nice.

Shredded nails for breakfast

Mole-manned into oblivion

The Emperor's Children project is more or less complete now, with only some final varnishing and a single Contemptor pattern dreadnought to paint now. I doubt I'll be adding any further units to this army as it'll mean buying considerably more and I really want to concentrate on unfinished projects and odd, single figures I've had lurking in the pile this year. Speaking of which, with the recent return of Blood Bowl, I finally got around to painting the only remaining team member from my 12th Birthday present.

Go long!

So yeah, loads to be getting on with. In the next few months I hope to finish off the Beastman contingent to my AOS Chaos army and get some games in with them. I also plan to finish off my Frostgrave band which is slowly coming together with loads of sick LOTR figures that have been gathering dust over the years. Then theres still the 2nd Edition Tyranids, Wild in the Streets goffs, Skitarrii, Space Hulk remnants, Pob's Epic Eldar, Colour Blind Demon.....

Sod it, I should just go skating instead.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Michael's Models - World Aids Day

You may ask what aids has to do with painting and mucking about with little men. For most people, it has zero connection. However, in my case, it has a massive part of how my hobby and personal landscape was formed. My Mum was and still is a community nurse (correction, community matron and a very good one at that!) and she was one of the first people in our old area to look after a patient that was dying of aids. At that point, there was a lot of stigma around the disease and the work my Mum did went a long way into structuring the process of palliative care people suffering from aids received. The guy she cared for was in his early 30s, and was named Michael; apart from a story about how he and his partner showed my Mum with beer one Christmas as a surprise, I sadly know little more about him. I imagine my Mum spoke to him about my hobby of painting little men at the time because he did the same thing. Micheal had a large collection of mostly Mithril Lord of the Rings miniatures, but with a selection of Grenadier, Prince August and Citadel figures too. They were all painted in a neat, matte style and some with carefully colour-coded bases. These, alongside a hardback copy of Lord of the Rings were gifted by him to me as the disease robbed him of his sight.

Every tray of this case is filled, in some cases, with more than one model per slot.

Small example of the Mithril LOTR range. Bonus Ring-Wraith lurking in the back!

Nasty little Hobbitses. Love the little dioramas that Mithril do - the Gollum and Bilbo one on the right of this is awesome.

I imagine that for someone so talented with a brush, to loose his vision must have been unbearable. Sadly, I don't think I appreciated this fact at the time. For a narrow-minded kid of 11 whose only example of fantasy miniatures were in the Citadel style, I didn't know quite what to do with them. There was also a horrid shadow of schoolyard homophobia that lurked over me at that age. Being a skinny see-through white kid who was no good at sports meant I over compensated somewhat in the pre-pubescent big-mouth masculinity stakes. Thank the gods skateboarding was to come and save me from team sport mentality only a few years later. Of course I was grateful to receive all these models alongside a book that would shape my taste in fantasy literature for life, but the enormity of this gift didn't strike home for a long time afterward. At that point in time, the gift as well as the context in which it was received just didn't fit my soft-eggshell world. However, their arrival in my life was the nudge I needed to reconsider many previously held thoughts and beleifs.

Most of the Citadel figures - those Dwarf adventurers are sick, although my addition of  the painted eyes leaves a little to be desired.

Mithril Orcs - Stoked on the mixture of Mordor and Isenguard guys here! The diorama is proper grim too!

A selection of the Prince August sculpts - these are really nice models.

Thankfully, I had sense enough to store these models in the best way I could at the time. I took a long break from any kind of painting from the age of 13 and Michael's collection was stored in the attic along with my other models. When I returned to the hobby (being slightly older and wiser and with multiple readings of LOTR under my belt) I knew I had to make sure these figures were stored safely. They now all belong together in a hard case, but sadly many of them were damaged during the interim storage years and it'll be a project to restore and repaint where necessary in the future.

Another selection of Mithril LOTR figures - the armoured elf and the Iceni-esque female fighter are great  sculpts.

This fucking book. Micheal's references are on the right. One day I'm just going to bake a load of biscuits and go walking just to see where the road takes me. Then I'll meet some Elves and get drunk - it'll be awesome.

I have no idea what life must be like to have the main boulevard of creative output removed from existence. What I do know is that Michael's gift made me a better person in more ways than one. Firstly, they helped make my world bigger. They made me realise that there's more out there than just what I'd hear at school or see in magazines. Secondly, they opened me up to different ways of painting. These figures were some of the first that had a sense of personal style to them and also the first that used fictional references for colour schemes. Lastly, they helped me to overcome my preconceptions of people with different lifestyles. I acknowledge that it should have never taken something like this in order to do so (you and me both want to give 11 year old me a proper kick in) but that's how it happened. I hope Micheal would be happy that his work is still thought of and continuing to inspire me to this day. Be sure to drop some cash into the donation tin during world aids day and remember Michael's work when you do.

Cheers fella.