Friday 5 September 2014

Wasted Youth: First Ash Wastes Nomad

I've decided that my Brat gang needs some more opposition. Eventually I will finish off the Guilder gang, and have scavvies and techs waiting in the wings, but Ash Waste Nomads really caught my eye. Over the last couple of months I have acquired the classic Citadel and Marauder nomads from the early 1990s and want my gang to have that look: goggles, respirators, layered clothing and (most importantly) broad-brimmed hats!
Excellent Ash Waste Nomad banner by Will Beck

Converting a Nomad
Often I plan conversions for some time without doing anything with them, and the first nomad model was no exception. I'd come up with the concept months ago, but Chico's Conversions Challenge Week provided me with the motivation to build and paint the nomad in a record two evenings.

My starting point was Darvin from the old Warhammer Dogs of War range. You can start to see he's got some of the elements that fit the nomad look - broad-brimmed hat, layered clothing, pouches and canteens.

Darvin...I have plans for you
The conversion itself was fairly involved. I started off by removing the bundle of arrows slung across his chest, as well as his bow and feet. The new boots came from a plastic Heroquest henchman, while Darvin also picked up a plastic Eldar lasgun, Kroot shoulder pad, knife and gasmask from Victoria Miniatures. He also had a small resin backpack added to the rear - I'm not sure of the origins, but it might be from Forgeworld.

The converted figure

After all the assembly was completed, I starting doing some greenstuff repairs and sculpting of new elements. The section at the bottom of his tunic was to cover up the chainmail that Darvin was wearing. He also got new boot tops, a new belt buckle and a new left hand to hold the lasgun.

Midway through painting up the nomad, I decided the tight leggings weren't working for me. So I sculpted a new pair of baggy MC Hammer pants (over some beautifully painted red leggings sadly).

Greenstuffing mid-paintjob is not to be recommended!

I'm glad I took the decision to make the change, as it takes the model even further from the original, and also ties him in better with the Citadel and Marauder nomad figures.

Painting the Ash Wastes Look
I spent a long time considering what colour scheme to go with on the nomads. As the end of the day I took my cue from two sources. The first was to go with bright vibrant colours, because "the ash wastes are a striking and colourful, if somewhat lurid environment...the creatures and nomads that live there are equally colourful, the better to blend into their surroundings." (White Dwarf 130).

As a counterpoint, there is a contradictory note against John Blanche's nomad concept sketches in White Dwarf 131, which says the nomads wear "light neutral colours, offset by bright geometric colours." But I'm going with the first text.
John Blanche nomad concept sketches (WD131)

The second source was to draw on the Mongolian nomad colour palette for clothing - grey/blue and deep red with flashes of yellow and orange. Here's the result:

The use of dags on the headscarf come directly from John Blanche's concept sketches, as does the symbol on the shoulder pad ("representing the shifting ash dunes & clouds").

Finished figure compared against the base model
More nomads still to come

Along with the 5 original Citadel and Marauder figures, I've got plans for several other conversions - watch this space!


  1. Ash waste nomads and Bratts are literally worlds apart ! I really like your approach on them. Definitely not what I would have thought about but it's what I like.
    Giving them some ethnical or tribal signs is a very good way to give them a true identity. I like this a ot.
    I still lack models for mine but I would really like to go for a twisted native americans vibe with red whites and blacks and lots of worn out dusty clothes on top.
    You have another fantastic playground ahead Jon !

    1. I very nearly painted him up in a Mexican style JB, which probably would have been close to the native american vibe. In the end it was a picture of a Mongolian herdsman wearing a blue tunic with a natty trilby hat that took me down this route :)

    2. Believe me you 'd rather have them performing Throat singing (god I love that) than Mariachi songs if they are to get any prestige !

      Man I can't wait to work on some nomads myself now !

    3. I beg to differ..have you heard Metalachi? ;)

      Looking forward to seeing your nomads

  2. Those are some vibrant colors for sure.... blue tunic and baggy red pants? All he needs a legionaire's hat to be a desert Frenchman.

    1. Or a Fez and he'd fit right into a zouave regiment ;)

  3. Such a bloody lovely conversion! I love your chopping up of old lead! I've always liked the Ash Waste Nomads - can't wait to see you paint more of these :)

    1. Thanks Chris! Chopping old lead is one of my favorite things to do...glad you think it's worth it :)