Tuesday 20 December 2016

A Hobby Review of 2016

As 2016 draws to an end, it's time to reflect on the year's hobbying. At the same time last year, I set myself some goals: fun games, enjoying modelling and painting. 

I had ambitions of Melniboneans and Pan Tangians Frostgrave warbands, Genestealer hybrids and Inquisimunda gaming. I also wanted to complete my Citadel and Iron Claw Space Pirates collections.

How did I do with these ambitions? Pretty well, I think! I painted up a Pan Tangian warband and flew across to Ireland to Knavecon to play Frostgrave (and other games) for a weekend with my fellow WIPsters.

Pulpy space adventure in the Dorty Double Dozen at Knavecon
Frostgrave goodness

Late night Brewhouse Bash action

The Water Tower

You know what it's like - you have a burst of energy making something, then it sits unloved on a shelf for 6 months.
I build this water tower ages ago, in about an hour. It's a simple construction from a tin can, some Necromunda bulkheads, plastic rod and a few resin details. And then it sat, gathering dust and occasionally falling on the floor when I knocked it. Until this week, that is!

40kthulhu: Chapter 4 - Old Friends

Something had possessed me to buy that oval stone, even though the very thought of it repulsed me. It sat now, in my pocket, like a malevolent toad in a damp hole. I pushed it out of my mind and paid new attention to the day's task: meeting the holo-vid recordist, Wyld.

I glanced at my wrist-chron - I was late! I swiftly made my way through the alley ways of Urkar to our pre-arranged meeting place at the Queen's Oasis - a well known kulfee house, with a reputation for high quality and exotic blends.

Monday 12 December 2016

Last of the Mohicans - Confrontation Maniac Leader

It's a nice thing when you close out a project, especially when it's for one of your favourite game settings, and one of your favourite ranges of figures.

In this case it's my Maniac Confrontation gang, and the neglected leader. The Maniac leader is a gorgeous sculpt - dynamic, crisply sculpted and packed with nice little details.

Saturday 10 December 2016

Delicious & Tender - Baby Grox

Grox burgers. Roast grox leg. Juicy grox rump steaks. Makes your mouth water, doesn't it? Not familiar with the delicious grox? Here's the summary from Rogue Trader:

Description of the humble grox, Rogue Trader rulebook.
And these vicious, yet tasty beasts look a little like this:

Tony Ackland's grox illustration, Rogue Trader rulebook.

Friday 9 December 2016

'Xhonni' Xhonzhon & Tsalli - Alien Fighter Ace

Interstellar and interspecies wars are undeniably characteristic of the 41st millennium. Some species rouse themselves to galaxy-spanning war with humans, Eldar or Orks. Others confine their attentions to small scale skirmishes contained within a single star-system. Mercenaries bolster stretched forces in return for coin. Space pirates seek plunder from the chaos.
The Starfighter pilot known as 'Xhonni' Xhonzhon is renowned throughout the Tamahl Sector as a brilliant pilot for hire. A member of the largely peaceful Batbayari race, Xhonzhon has incredible spatial awareness and fast reflexes that belie his endomorphic physiology. These are perhaps psychically or biochemically enhanced by the unusual orange-furred cat-like pet, Tsalli. His rugged heavy Starfighter 'Corona' is superbly armed and equipped: in the 73 minute Collar Ring action, Xhonzhon claimed 32 confirmed enemy Starfighters destroyed. Xhonzhon has a history of found supporting oppressed minorities to overthrow dictatorships, even in some instances offering his services for free. For a just cause, and assuming he can be found at the nearest pilot's dive, maybe the best Starfighter ace in the sector can be tempted to sign up.
Rebel pilot Neela Zhorabi attempts to persuade Xhonzhon to join the cause.

Monday 5 December 2016

Doing Some Heavy Lifting - SFD Giant Robot

In the 41st Millennium, circa 1987, Citadel decided to release a limited edition set of Giant Robots. Your imagination goes wild at the thought. These things should be ogre-sized at least. Or possibly, if they have been named correctly, giant-sized.

SFD Giant Robots (image from Stuff of Legends).

It is possible that Citadel created these figures for a Battletech licence (or perhaps a similar in-house game), because in actuality, these giant robots are anything but:

'Scavenger' is barely larger than the Eldar Ghost Warrior or Paranoia robot!

Tuesday 29 November 2016

Hyams - The Story That Was Never Told

Over the last couple of years, ex-GW illustrator has shared many of his fantastic Warhammer and 40k illustrations  over at his Facebook page. I'm a huge fan of Tony's artwork, and am lucky enough to own some of his nice Eldar pieces. One set of illustrations that caught my eye when Tony first posted them, was a series of 5 images of a character called Hyams. From conversation with Tony, the illustrations were commissioned by GW Books (the publishing arm of GW in the late 1980s and early 1990s) to accompany a novel about Hyams - a hive ganger who has a dream that he should travel to Holy Terra. We don't know who the author was, any more details of the storyline, or indeed why the book was never published. All we have are Tony's wonderful illustrations and tantalising titles:
'Portrait of Hyams'

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Tough Guys Don't Need Armour - Adeptus Custodes

With the release of the new Custodian Guard in Games Workshop's 'Burning of Prospero' game, I decided it was high time that I got on and painted up my Rogue Trader equivalents. The half-naked cloaked figures with tall helmets and spears you see below, are indelibly imprinted in my mind as the image of Adeptus Custodes.

These are Adeptus Custodes.

These are some kind of mega-armoured giants.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Easy Rider - Another Logan's World Outrider

The best thing about a Mad Max style setting are the vehicles. And the coolest type of vehicle is a motorbike! I actually finished the second of my Maniax bikers a month or so ago, but never got round to posting him up. In game terms he's been hugely unsuccessful, failing to turn up on 3 out of 4 occasions. He's probably too busy seeking out new business opportunities for his paymaster.

Thursday 10 November 2016

Sam & Rico - Maniax For Hire

We're now four weeks in to our Helsreach / campaign, and although I painted up the final two members of my Maniac Mercenary crew accompanying my water seller, I haven't had chance to post up any pics.
The figures are from a pretty diverse pair of sources (in as far as 28mm space punks can be!). One the left is Psycho Sam, toting his shotgun and rockstar pose. Sam was sculpted by Mark Copplestone for the 2015 Oldhammer USA weekend. The fantastic guys in the US shipped over a box of the figures to be liberally distributed at the UK equivalent event - Bring Out Your Lead 2015, held at Wargames Foundry. I was lucky enough to be there and to get a copy.
The figure on the right is Little Rico -  a civilian from Metal Magic's Spacelords range, currently stocked by Moonraker Miniatures. I'm particularly fond of his little space monkey!


Tuesday 8 November 2016

40kthulhu: Chapter 1 - The Object in the Bazaar

It was the morning after the sandstorm and the air was thick with tiny particles suspended in the air of the low-G zone. This was what had given rise to the vibrant trading hub at Urkar, just a few leagues distant from ancient Kahire. Merchants, smugglers, traders and many others besides made the most of the gravitic anomaly with both atmospheric craft and space-borne shuttles. In spite of the low visibility, the air above the landing pads was stacked high with craft, impatiently waiting their turn to land.

I had travelled to Urkar at the behest of my old professor, Kendry Mascharino. He had been sent a message from one Soloman Wyld, a junior holo-vid recordist for one of the Magnum Popula publications. According to Wyld, he had recorded some unsettling images at desert ruins near Kahire. Knowing my interest in unusual phenomena, and my studies in the subject, Professor Mascharino had been good enough to charter me an air-car south.

"Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling"

The village had no name, or perhaps it had been forgotten. It lay deep in the chaos wastes and had few visitors bar chaos hordes tramping south, or the occasional Carnival of Nurgle. Each and every villager bore the taint of chaos - the woodsman with axes in place of arms, the porcine butcher, the snake-skinned apothecary. Even the cattle had 6-legs and the sheep had fleshless skulls. Yet village life continued. The young and the strong strode off with bows and their father's swords. Left behind were the old, the lame, the mothers and the children, tending thorned corn, tanning cockatrice leather, building houses from giant bones.

Back at the start of the year, I began the 2016 Legacy Project on the Oldhammer forums. If you're not familiar with the concept, participants make, paint and donate a model to a pre-agreed theme. One of the participants then wins all of the models donated at the end of the project. We agreed that the theme for 2016 would be to create an imaginary classic Citadel range - C49 Chaos Villagers. We're nearing the end of the project, and I decided as organiser, it was high time I painted up my entry - the village piper.

I actually converted my figure back in January. He's based on the above piper from the Citadel Militia range, but his pipes are now somewhat more sinister being made from a child's corpse and bones (or a sleeping chaos baby if you prefer). I replaced his head with a squig and the right foot with one from a beastman. The resulting figure looked both sinister and a little bit comedic:


Tuesday 1 November 2016

"That alien looks so naked!"

I was lucky enough to be offered a free figure through the 'Free Mini Friday' initiative over at the Oldhammer Facebook group. The principle is pretty straightforward - someone gives a figure to the first person to ask for it. That person then commits to paint it within a week, and to offer up another figure to someone else on the following Friday.
The figure kindly given to me was a rather terrifying vintage Grenadier Demon from the Fantasy Lords Demon set (thanks Matthew!):

Duke of the Mire

Saturday 22 October 2016

Even MORE Crates

In pretty much the same frame of mind as the last time I painted crates, I had a long day at work on Friday. However, as my wife was away for the evening, I didn't want to waste a painting session. I settled on painting something quick, easy and requiring minimal though - more crates.

I'm of the opinion that any gaming area cannot have enough of this kind of scatter terrain. It serves two purposes - cover for enhancing gameplay, and increased visual realism of the setting. So I pulled out a variety of crates from my pending box, daubed away!

The white crate is GW plastic, as is the canister. The orange one is resin - possibly Ainsty?

Tuesday 18 October 2016

"I will buy with you, sell with you" - A Pair of Merchants

In the bazaars and merchant's quarter of Sandport, trade is king. Itinerant traders from the wastes barter with merchants from the Commerce Guild, off-world hauliers and smugglers. Food and spices, wines, cloth, metal, munitions, slaves, fuel, water, drugs and more; it is all available for the right price and the right word in the right ear.


Monday 10 October 2016

Emergency Breakdown Cover - Ash Wastes Salvage Vehicle

There's something about big civilian sci-fi vehicles that really appeals to me, and it's been a lot of fun working on my Ash Wastes salvage vehicle which I finished off the last few touches earlier. Very little has changed from the build. I essentially sprayed it with a yellow car spray before weathering it within an inch of its life!

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Painting My Own Sculpt - the Interplanetary Merchant

The merchant's quarter was a hectic kaleidoscope of colours, smells and sounds. Traders hawked their wares from brightly coloured stalls - fruit, vegetables, exotic furs and refurbished tech. Nomads haggled with alien stall-holders, starship crew on leave jostled against menial robots.


Monday 19 September 2016

Ash Wastes Crawler - Finished!

Back in December 2014, I showed off a WIP scratch-built Ash Wastes Crawler I'd started making for my Ash Waste Nomads, based on the old Action Force HISS tank.

For the best part of two years, not very much happened with the crawler, other than sitting, gathering dust, unloved and unused. And then motivation in the form of the imminent Ash Wastes campaign came along. In a few weeks, I'll be playing with a new Maniac road gang, accompanying my Water Seller Journeyman on Logan's World. So I've been gradually adding to the crawler - a platform here, am aerial there. And then over the course of a number of painting sessions over the past week, I've finally painted it too:

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Supressing Fire - Confrontation Maniac Ganger for Logan's World

One of the pleasures of making my Logan's World Mercenary gang, is that I'm painting up some pretty obscure figures. In fact, I don't believe I've ever seen all 4 Confrontation Maniacs painted before.
If you can't recall what I'm talking about, it's these guys:
Photo from the excellent Stuff of Legends.
I've previously painted up two of the armless guys, and decided it was high time to paint up the third (also my favourite of the three). As with the earlier pair, I've gone for a fairly restrained colour palette - a dun brown, white, dark blue and black.


Tuesday 13 September 2016

Ash Wastes Salvage Vehicle - The Build

When you mention to a friend that you are looking for parts to make civilian vehicles, and the friend gives you one of these...:

...the only correct thing to do is to knuckle down and make a civilian vehicle out of it. If you don't recognise the nice big chunk of resin above, it's the chassis from the Forgeworld Solar Auxilia Dracosan Armoured Transport. Which usually looks like this:

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Born To Be Wild - a Logan's World Outrider

Next up for my Logan's World Maniax is a bike-riding Outrider. In the Ash Wastes rules, Outriders are scouts for a Journeyman gang, so I wanted my Outriders to be mounted on rugged, well-equipped bikes. The first of my Outriders fits the bill - mounted on a heavy bike, laden down with plenty of gear!


The Red City of Yowbin - a Gaming Day (Part 1)

"I'd like to run a gaming day at my place" said Graham. "I'll build the scenery, you bring the models."
"Sounds great" I said, "Just tell me when!"
And that's how myself and Chris went to Graham's house, to play games with Graham, Stuart and John. Our morning game was an Inquisimunda session, played on the Red City of Yowbin...
+++Imperial Briefing (extract)+++
A long range Imperial Exploratory drone has been sent down to the planet's surface. It transmitted a blurred picture of a being of unknown origin, seemingly gliding above the ground with the use of wings.
Inquisitor Dirske is ordered to make planetfall on Yowbin and locate the beings as a matter of utmost urgency.
Three factions make planefall into the Red City - Inquisitor Dirske and his team, a Tech Priest and his Imperial Guard detachment, and a mysterious corporation faction.
The Red City

Monday 29 August 2016

Gang Warfare - Necromundan Spiders Kill Team

As a general rule, I'm not that keen on buying painted figures. Apart from a very few exceptions (such as gifts from friends), I prefer to paint my own figures - I like the process, and the ability to interpret colour schemes and overall look.
The other day, I broke this philosophical approach when I bought this set of 6 figures on ebay, listed as an Imperial Guard / Necromunda gang:
Ebay auction pic.

Friday 26 August 2016

The Mystery of the Ivory Statues - An Inquisimunda Game Report

Inquisitor Verhoeven mused over the facts. A renegade former Inquisitor, going by the name of 'Drosk'. A consignment of Xenos artefacts being sold by unscrupulous black market traders. Furtive Eldar traders sighted in starport bars. Apparently, even the local Adeptus Arbites had started to take an interest. This was going to require further investigation.

Inquisitor Verhoeven as played by cheetor from Sho3box.

Rogue Trader Ptolome Jones as played by antipixi.

Imperial Snatch Squad Aranea as played by @Curis.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

More Crates

Last night I wanted to paint something quick, easy and requiring minimal brain work. So I pulled out a pair of resin crates from my unpainted terrain pile and set to work.

The crates are from Daemonscape and are solid resin. I'm not entirely sure why I only have 2 from the set. Perhaps the third is around in a box somewhere!


Tuesday 23 August 2016

Talk Fantasy Football Legacy Team 2016 - Khemri Skeleton

I haven't painted any Blood Bowl models for an age - largely symptomatic to the winding down of my local Blood Bowl league, with several folks moving away, and others of us becoming more interested in Inquisimunda. Over the last couple of years, I ran the Talk Fantasy Football forums annual Legacy Team - each contributor makes and submits a model, there's a draw, and the winner gets the team. This year, I decided not to make it 4 years in a row, and let Rory (aka Frogboy) take the reins. He's done a grand job marshalling the contributors and cajoling people into completing their models before the 1st of September deadline.

This year the theme was a Khemri team, with a strip in turquoise and gold. I signed up to make a Skeleton, and this was the result:


Top Gear - Ash Wastes Dune Buggy

I'm still working on my vehicle-based gang for the upcoming Logan's World campaign I'll be participating in. Most importantly, I hadn't got round to painting up any vehicles. In order to rectify this, I decided to paint up my mobile fire support vehicle - a small, light wheeled buggy, armed with a heavy stubber.
The vehicle is a resin and metal (now out of production) Future Warriors buggy. I did some adaptation to it - adding the gun (a plastic Genestealer hybrid autocannon), roll cage from brass tube, rear platform from plasticard, and the mesh (car body mesh):

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Droning On and On and On and....

I'll be running a game for a few friends in a few weeks. As part of the set-up, I needed some drones (the purpose is secret for now, for fear of giving anything away).

I came across the very nice Dweorg Scout Drones by Gydran Miniatures and ordered three sets. I spent no more than 2 hours painting them up in the same colour scheme as my Engineering crew and the job was done!

A single squadron of three drones.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Recruiting for the Orange Star Line

Back in 2015 I painted up a few starport type civilians, including a couple of mechanics by Four A Miniatures and a Spacelords pilot and crewman. It just so happened that my good friend Graham is hosting myself and a couple of others for a day of gaming later in August. Graham's providing an entirely virgin cityscape for an Inquisimunda campaign, and asked if I could help by providing some of the figures.

"No problem!" I said, I've got dozens of figures, perfect for Inquisimunda, "what do you need?".

"An Inquisitorial themed party, (easy!) and some sort of human non-Imperial independent type band."

"Like an interstellar trading company?"

"That would be perfect."

I told Graham this would be no problem, and then assembled some of my figures. The trouble was, I had plenty of individual mercenary types, but no real coherent band that looked like an interstellar trading company. So I just bit the bullet and decided some new figures were in order, to complement the starport civilians I painted last year.

First up were a pair of Servitors (to lug cargo and the like around).


Tuesday 19 July 2016

Silwon Fisk - the Water Seller

With four of my Helsreach mercenaries painted up, I wanted to spend some time on the Water Seller they would be guarding. The Water Seller will be my Journeyman in the Ash Wastes rules - the leader of the gang, travelling across the wastes in his crawler, looking for previously untapped sources of water.
The Water Sellers in Carl Critchlow's Logan's World illustrations (Rogue Trader rulebook) have a very distinctive look. They are fat, and heavily tattooed, with baggy trousers and wide waist sashes:


Tuesday 12 July 2016

Heavy Calibre Maniac with 'Auto Cannon'

I managed to find time to paint up another member of my Maniac Helsreach Mercenary gang this week - this time in the form of some heavy firepower.
RT era human models with heavy weapons are almost exclusively of the 'shoulder-mounted' school of design, but there is a nice Vasquez-style female Imperial Guard who totes a rather nice underslung heavy weapon:
Of course, "Auto Cannon" didn't have quite the right look for my Maniacs, so I rectified that by giving her a head swap from Venus Bluegenes from the Citadel Rogue Trooper range. A little bit of resculpting to the neck and back-pack, and she's good to go.


Tuesday 5 July 2016

Teaching Myself to Sculpt - Embiggening a Spacefarer

Over the course of the last 10 years or so, I've done dozens of conversions. Some have required minor gap filling, whereas others have needed completely resculpted elements. But I've never considered myself to be able or willing to sculpt a full figure from scratch. But some taunting and encouragement (mainly from theottovonbismark) prompted me to at least give it a go.
Donated armature gratefully received
A kind person over at the Oldhammer Sculpting Facebook group donated an armature and some corks. I already had the requisite sculpting tools, clay shapers and a micro-scalpel, so all that was left to so was to decide on the subject matter.
After some deliberation, I elected to upscale a character from the old 25mm Citadel Spacefarers range - the Interplanetary Merchant. Why select the Interplanetary Merchant as my first sculpt?
  1. I figured that I might be able to do an approximation of the character, being a relatively uncomplicated and forgiving shape.
  2. I was frustrated that the excellent and characterful Spacefarers range is just a fraction too small to be compatible with Rogue Trader figures.
  3. He's just the sort of character who might see use amongst my other Rogue Trader civilians.

The Interplanetary Merchant. Pics courtesy of David Wood.

Wednesday 29 June 2016

The Blind Mage - Astropath Alsus

One thing I've really enjoyed about the direction of my hobby over the last 10 years or so, is the way that the internet has allowed me to meet and engage with people outside of my local circles. I've gamed with people from Germany, Finland and France. I've been to Ireland for a convention. I've played pick up games with kind people at their homes whilst away on business. I've undertaken collaborative projects with people in other parts of the world. It's very exciting and very rewarding.
Recently, I was in conversation with Gretchin over at Greenstuff Gretchin. "I have an Astropath conversion", she says. "Would you like it?"
I've expressed my fondness for Astropaths numerous times previously, so there was no hesitation. A few days later, this rather lovely conversion arrived through my letterbox:
Figure converted by Gretchin