Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Banebeasts Chimaera

Hello and welcome to my first and last commission job. Approximately ages ago, my mate Nick decided he wanted the Banebeasts "Chimaera". He really, really wanted it. And then he asked if I’d be willing to paint it. For money.

Me: And you want me to paint it, like, nicely?
Nick: That’s kindof the point, yes.
Me: Judging by the photo on the website, it looks quite big.
Nick: Yep.
Me: It might take me a while.
Nick: Sure.
Me: A long while.
Nick: OK.
Me: Which means commissioning it might cost a fair bit.

I quoted Nick a big number that would have me working for over 70 hours at a low wage. I figured at this point Nick would give up and let me go back to having no money ever.

Nick: Can I pay in instalments?

Clearly I hadn’t appreciated quite how much Nick wanted this model.

Also, I suspect Nick didn’t realise quite how long it’d take me to finish. Admittedly this is more because I’m a dreadful person to hire as a painter, since my brain was challenged to the absolute limit of endurance by this model. It’s more like painting five big and completely different models and then blending them all together. Several of these elements required me to make up techniques previously unknown to me. There was also a lot of research.

I have never, for instance, needed to blend two different types of varnish into each other to create a fade from satin to gloss (hallo, scorpion tail).

Other demanding things included the request that I paint the dragon head blue. Blue? BLUE? BLUE LIZARD HEAD? SCREW YOU, COMMISIONER MAN PERSON. I didn’t even know blue was a thing lizards could be.

Toot toot, Google image search to the rescue. Blue iguanas all up in this shizznit.

With the rest of the model, Nick gave me total freedom. Being a masochist, I decided to blend all the way from amber to jet black, rather than just going for ye classic big black scorpion o’ doom. I really am my own worst enemy.

The goat head was a much simpler affair; I tried to emulate the look of an ibex. Definitely the easiest part of the model.

On the subject of the model itself, as much as it might take an age to paint, the sculpt itself is pretty boss sausage in almost every respect. Every respect except its danglies. If you sculpt a lion’s junk, I have to know how to paint a lion’s junk, which means I have to image search a lion’s junk, which means a) oh god the search history, and b) I now know that balls are balls, but the sausage looks nothing like that in real life. In fact, it’s more of a... actually you probably don’t need to know that. You aren’t painting a little resin lion’s little resin bits.

Assembly was fairly simple; the individual lion claws were fiddly, and other than that, some sculpting was needed to mask the joins.

Technique wise, my main take-home point was painting fur. For me it’s all about starting with a light white or off-white and using glazes to punt it towards the colour you want. The mane, for instance, began as a mid brown overbrushed Dheneb Stone and then drybrushed up to white, followed by five or six successive glazes, each applied before the other had dried, to effectively wet-blend the shades into each other. This made it easy to vary the hue of the fur, and kept the colours vibrant.

The base was something of a project in and of itself. I didn’t want it to distract attention from the model (not that too many things could draw attention away from that thing) but at the same time, couldn’t just have the thing standing on a patch of perfectly flat ground. Would’ve looked weird. Besides, I needed to build parts of the base up a little so that all six of its limbs were connecting fully with the ground. Hence:

I smoothed it all over with filler, and tried to make the finished product look something like semi-boggy moorland. Here it is from the model’s-eye-view:

And now, finally, it is finished. Dear sweet Jeebus. To conclude, here are some photos to put things into scale (beyond the fact that it’s on a base generally reserved for an Arachnarok).

When confronted with his new pet, Nick described it as “bang tidy.” Urban Dictionary has subsequently informed me that this is a good thing.


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

A modern major general

For reasons that will become readily apparent in the next campaign update, I recently found myself in need of a new general for my Hochland army. Whilst plans are still afoot for Hochland’s Elector Count on a griffon, I also wanted someone a bit less points-heavy. More specifically, I wanted a general on foot who could sit in the middle of the battle line (where his leadership bonus would be, you know, relevant).

Thus, without further preamble, I give you General Rikarht von Haas:

Rikarht’s been serving as the captain of the Tussenhof city watch. As much as he’s respected in the city, the most dangerous situations he’s dealt with involve gangs of hungry refugees looting the Tussenhof markets. Being an officer of noble birth, he’s well-schooled in matters of strategy, but he’s got no front line experience; he knows full well that the only reason he’s been given the job is that there’s no-one else left.

The conversion work on the model was relatively limited. The original had a pretty classic neckbeard, and an officer’s... stick... thing. Baton? Whatever. Also a skull badge on the hat. And, crucially, the plimsolls of martial prowess.

Slippers maketh the man.

Step one was to shave the little plastic man’s beard. Then, to scrape off the skull hat badge, replace the baton with a shortsword, remove the feather to allow better head positioning, and then to sculpt boot cuffs.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the result. But for the few details I changed, I like the model, and whilst the paint job is nowhere near my best (I rushed several elements) Rikarht looks equal parts craggy and uncertain. To my eyes, at least. Crucially, he has enough bling to mark him apart from the captains in the army – in fact, he’s the only model in the Hochlanders with any gold on him.

Hmm. I seem to have been posting nothing but single miniatures lately. I shall endeavour to get a campaign update out at some point, and maybe some other ramblings. If there’s anything anyone would be particularly interested to hear about, drop something in the comments and I’ll consider it.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Top Quality Advertainment!

This is a shameless plug post. I make no apologies for it.

I recently had the pleasure of finding a new independent games shop in Middlesbrough: Asgard Wargames.

I'm a big fan of businesses setting up in town/city centres – I think that towns should be places for people to go and interact and do all those human things that just don’t really, well, work in retail parks or on the internet.

Anyhow, I found out about Asgard from the Faeit 212 blog.

(If you’re a wargamey person and haven’t come across Faeit 212 here it is: )

Faeit 212 runs a ‘blog exchange’ and one of their chosen blogs was about starting up a games store. Imagine my astonishment to discover that this little Indy start-up was in my very own Middlesbrough. I work nearby so the very same day, I waved goodbye to the circus and popped down town. 

Gilkes Street's Premier Wargame Supplier

The owner greeted me, he was a thoroughly pleasant and engaging chap, and didn't once try to push a hard sale on me. He stocks some core GDub stuff as well as ranges from Mantic, Wyrd Miniatures, Privateer Press and Hawk Wargames.

I walked away with the Malifaux rulebook (I've been curious about Malifaux for a while) and left with new feelings about other ranges:

I'm very tempted by the Dropzone Commander (Hawk Wargames) stuff. As an old Epic 40,000 player, I'm genuinely excited to see a resurrection of small scale Sci Fi. There'snothing as satisying as advancing columns of tanks and massive war machines across the board. 

My biggest perception shift was with Mantic though – their stuff is a lot better than I thought. 
I had a quick game of Dreadball. By my definition I won (2:0 on fatalities) but technically I lost (6:2 on points).

This is my Orx bludgeoning a human into submission (as is right and proper)
Dreadball is a simple, fast paced game and the models are getting there…

Asgard have plans to run an old school Gorkamorka campaign as well and I'm all over that like a Labour peer over an expenses claim form.
Well, Asgard have a website here: and their blog is here:

I always advocate supporting bricks and mortar stores where you can*, but… If you’re going to order something on-lin, maybe you could order it from these chaps for a change, rather than wait a MONTH for a certain internet order company from Essex to send you two pots of paint (for example).

It’s been said by many different people in a variety of locations that we are currently in the golden age of wargaming. For various reasons (Kickstarter is one of them) there are a huge number of different companies out there, all producing miniatures and games (and the little pocket universes in which they exist) at a quality approaching or even equalling that of Games Workshop.
If these games or products are to take off; someone needs to display them, extol their virtues, sell them and get little communities gathering around playing with them.
I'm really happy that there’s another little company helping to do that. It’s a bonus that, as a corollary, they’re bringing trade and footfall to an otherwise quite depressed part of the world.

So that's it. Hope you don't mind the shameless plug, But I think this shop deserves to do well. 
Viva le Geek, Viva Le Boro.

* If someone’s going to take the business risk to have a high overhead store that a customer can come into and actually poke, prod, see and talk about the product that you’re buying and is going to be helpful and friendly about it – all of which is good for the customer – I think that someone deserves the customer’s support.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

What goes whurr, chop, clank, zzap chop, clank, squeak?

A rat on a steam powered death machine (Natch).

A bit like this one:

The Skaven Doom-flayer*
(* another classic Citadel ‘lottery of grimdark’ name)

Now, there’s nothing wrong with this model, apart from it looks a bit like the late and demented Dwarf Deathroller from Bloodbowl.
But... I think of the Doom-flayer as something that the rat has to sit in and carefully operate, rather than stand on and ride - more like a steam train than a cross between a lawnmower and a Segway.

So I had a little think, looked at the available ratty kits and decided that I could make a better (or at least, different) one from parts of the Doomwheel kit. Hopefully mine would look more suited to the battlefields of the old world than a crown green bowls field.

Although this seems hopelessly extravagant; (the Doomwheel kit costs £5.00 more than the Grinder) there are a number of advantages:

1. It means I don’t have to work with Finecast
2. I get to make a thing unique to my army.
3. I get a lot of spare bits to work with. I can then use these bits to make more ratty contraptions of doom. I like bits - maybe a bit too much. 
4. It'll be fun. 

I started, and as usual, forgot to take enough photos.

So this is the build, about 70% in. The cockpit area has been cut out of the Doomwheel kit and the rear steering wheel brought forward so that the contraption (just) fits onto a cavalry base.
I started with horizontally reciprocating blades at the front. These looked rubbish and I had to change them for something else - But what?  
The Ork in me wanted choppas; the rat in me wanted warpstone generator. The schizophrenic evil genius in me picked both.
As they say: That which doesn’t kill you, will electrocute you with mutagenic lightning.

Sweet, sweet mutagenic lightning.
Sweet, sweet choppas.

That seems sufficient to look like it can achieve what it is meant to achieve - i.e. messy and bloody death. 

I have a ‘thing’ when I’m doing conversions - I like to give the impression that the thing I’m building could work, and it doesn’t have to rely on hidden mechanisms or (even worse- magic).
 So, using micro surgery and much patience, I stuck together a rod system on eccentric drive wheels to drive the choppa mechanism. Here it is drying in the vice like grip of my reverse tweezers.

I painted it, and the finished contraption looks something like this:

Voltik's photographic helper 'Chudders'. Helps with scale and make-up. 

I took it out against Charlie’s Empire and it got shot, pretty much instantly. I was sad.

So that's it. Just as they say; If you're meglomaniacal and ruthless enough, you can make your army of minions achieve anything for your glory. Or something. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

It's a Bomma! Part 2.

Welcome back to the second instalment of the Blasta Bomma project log

It’ll seem like I've made a lot of progress since the last post - I haven’t (sad face). These posts are retrospective and any progress is progress that has happened in the past.
At some point, the progress in the past will become (in respect to this point of time) progress that happened in the future. Of course, the future progress will be past (or current) progress when I blog about it. If I report that progress that will happen in the future as if it were progress that occurred in the past; everyone will get confused. Also, I won’t be able to take photos of it unless I invent a tachyon camera. I don’t think I'm very likely to do that, because if I had done so in the future, I should already be receiving photos from it in the past, which is now; well, then.   And I'm not, so I didn't, or won’t.

Well, I'm glad that’s all cleared up.

In respect of taking pictures: I haven’t done enough of that either. Some of what I have done, you can’t see in progress, so you’ll have to take my word for some things. Some of what I have done will happen in a big “yay, everything is complete now” plot jump thing.

Take me on your mighty wings
Bearing that previous comment in mind: wings have magically occurred. I deviated significantly from the A10 pattern on this - the wings ended up at the top of the fuselage rather than at the bottom.
This is for aesthetic and practical reasons.
       Aesthetic: I think it’ll look better this way.
       Practical: I couldn't put the wings at the bottom as there was nothing there to give much support to them.        - See previous comments on planning - or lack of.
The wings will be packing much ordnance, and I didn't want that ordnance to foul the ground when the plane was being used as scenery.

The wings will end up being heavy, so I wanted something more than plasticard at the core of them.
My second maxim states “If in doubt, apply copious M√čTAL” and the black strip running through the plumbing pipe tube is a steel strip.
To stop the metal strip from moving laterally, the strip had two holes drilled in it at either side of the plumbing pipe and cotter pins made from steel rod inserted.
To cement the joint, two part epoxy resin (specifically Unibond Repair eXpress power putty) was moulded round the joint and this has set like granite. These wings aren't going anywhere.

To create the wing cross section shape, a template was made, cut and copied. A central section was removed from each for placement on the steel strip.
Channel strip was glued between the sections for strength and to prevent the sections from moving along the wing. When the plating is laid down on the wings (one of the final sections of the build) the sections will help to set the shape of the wing.

The tail section was also created at this stage. This was going to be much lighter than the wing and I was happy that plasticard alone would support the weight

Come on and let me see you shake that tail feather. 
The rest of the tail piece was built up with rectangular tubing for the flat sections and twin layered plasticard for the uprights. Again, the built sections will be scaffolding for later plating. Holes were left for me to build up the rudders later. 

I've perched Ug the Unpainted (an Ork boy) on top of the Bomma for scale. It's going to be a big 'un.

I've run out of rubbish captions. 

And that’s it for now. The Bomma is beginning to look a little like a plane.

The next post will be about the cockpit, which is retrospectively taking shape (has taken shape) in the the future (the past) nicely.