Thursday, 29 December 2016

Deadcember 2016: Skele-guns!

Hi all! Here's my entry for Deadcember 2016: The Quick and the Dead.

As mentioned in a previous post, a lot of people have interpreted the additional theme this year to refer to something fast, yet still undead, bringing promise of Zombie Dragons and Undead Cavalry and chariots etc. Brilliant! That's not the way I've gone however, as the phrase "The Quick and the Dead" always says Wild West gun slinging to me, and that fit in beautifully with a sub project for my ongoing Rogue Quest project, so I grabbed my chance to spend some time on some minis I've really been looking forward to working on.

Here they are, shambling around a small manufactorum...

...and shambling back off again, to do their master's bidding no doubt. What? You don't think undead soldiers from worlds with primitive tech go around raising themselves do you?

They are of course two classic Citadel C17 Skeletons from the March and July 1987 Flyers - the puntastic 'Rambones', and the slightly less imaginative 'Gunner'.

'Gunner' is shown far left, bottom row

Rambones is second from the right on the top row in this colour ad from WD91 (Jul '87)

As suggested by the sculpts themselves, I've based the colour schemes on Vietnam War and English Civil War era equipment. The bone colour on the skeletons was done in exactly the same way as for my Deadcember 2015 fantasy skeletons, except I left out the additional green ink in the last wash, as these boys have been raised from the same dry brown dirt of their bases (to fit in with the other Sci-Fi models they'll be used with).

As usual, I used a mix of Citadel and Valejo paints and inks. A couple of things to mention here I suppose, firstly I used the new(ish) Citadel Dry 'Golden Griffon' to add highlights to the brass shell casings on the two Rambones. I've used it a couple of times before and I do like the effect it gives as a highlight to darker gold base colours, but I find the powdery nature of the paint can be a little imprecise. This is almost certainly down to user error, and I found it worked a little better this time so perhaps practice is the key. A final wash with green ink toned it back down but picked out the individual casings nicely.

Also on display, the scenery my lovely wife made for me for Christmas from a pdf scan on to card stock. Thanks love!

Secondly, on the Civil War era Roundskulls (sorry/not sorry), I used Valejo Model Color Verdigris Glaze. This doesn't show up well in the photos, but I'm really happy I went with this (it felt like a bit of a risk at the time as I was pretty happy with the finish at that point) as it has both toned down the shine of the metal (I used bolt gun metal over black, but even so...) and added some interest as you rotate the model to look at it. This warrants further experimentation!

I do love these minis. Now I want a horde of them!

I do slightly regret painting both sets identically, although this does keep with the theme that they are animated corps's (pun intended) of line troops in uniform, which is what I wanted, they don't have a huge impact as identical pairs. However without major remodelling there was not much to be done about them being identical. I did add plastic grenades from a 3rd edition era Cadian/Catachan bitz bag to both of the Rambones, as the raised arm was crying out for it, and it made no sense to have them both as Skeleton NCOs giving commands by hand signal - that wouldn't fit with how I see them being used anyway - but this just emphasises there sameness in the end.

The only slight variation comes from the fact that one of the Roundskulls is a recast. This became glaringly obvious once I had two next to each other, as both the weight and softness of sculpt were off, combined with the fact the very odd angle of his base tab and feet meant he needed some additional basing material to make him stand at a reasonable angle. Looking at the scale of all four models I'm thinking one of the Rambones might be a recast too, which would make sense as I bought them as a set of two from the same seller on ebay. However, it is not a bad job and other than the additional stone on the base you can't really tell much difference now they are painted up.

The two suspected recasts are far left and far right, which are just a tad larger all over than the other two..

Now, I'm definitely expecting to come in the lower percentile of entries, not least as the standard is obviously going to be very high given the quality of work among the Oldhammer Community, but that is not the point. This is a pretty big deal for me as it is the first time I've ever been happy enough with my efforts to even consider entering a painting competition, friendly, online, or otherwise. I've thought about my entry and it's Oldhammer credentials (not that such things should ever be a primary concern), tied it into an ongoing project, and produced paint jobs I'm happy with, so I'm dead (groan) chuffed with myself.

Thanks for stopping by this cold bleak Deadcember 2016. I hope you come back in the new year when you will hopefully be able to see these gun toting bags of bones in action in a future instalment of Rogue Quest.

Now, go and take a look at the other, far more impressive, entries for Deadcember 2016 over at Rab's Geekly Digest! :)

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Rogue Quest Level 4: Xenos Psionic/Thief

Well hello.. won't you come on in, take a load off, and meet A'Rhea LI, Xenos Psionic Thief and the fourth instalment of my take on the Rogue Quest project.

You can find out more about the concept behind Rogue Quest by checking out my first three party members here, here, and here, but as always I implore you to check out these guys and the three Rogue Quest projects that inspired me to give it a go myself:

Magpie and Old Lead

So, A'Rhea LI, whats her story?

In terms of her role within the party, I've found myself tending towards the same preference I have in online RPGs and am choosing Characters/Classes all of whom have some 'spell casting' type ability in D&D terms, even if this only kicks in at later level in some cases. As a DM and a player I'm a big fan of the potential that a combination of Rogue and Spell Caster presents. The classic example of this is the Illusionist/Thief in D&D and I see A'Rhea LI in that vein. The other great thing about Rogues is all the skill points, so A'Rhea LI has some decent tech savvy to boot. The small 'communicator device' on her wrist boasts some custom electromagnetronics to help her gain entry where others would keep her out.

The hand in the pouch is really evocative of the Thief class, reminding me of the old AD&D 2 rule that Rogues had to try and keep one hand free as much as possible, preventing them from using most two handed weapons, but allowing them to pilfer items at random!
The paint job is not my finest, and these photos don't show up the contrast between the light blue-grey (which ties her shoulder and knee pads in with the webbing worn by some of the other party members) and/or the dark blue of her jacket and the green of her skin, so she looks a bit drab here. I'm annoyed with myself for taking the skin shade too dark. I should have thinned down the last wash of green ink and I've lost a lot of the classic 'Grey' Xenos look she had earlier in the process. It was a learning experience however.

Limitations aside, she does tie in really well with the rest of the group whilst still having her own identity by making much bolder use of the red spot colour. I deliberately voided any purple this time, as I don't want that to become too much of a theme colour for the Xenos elements within the unit. Her equipment was painted up in standard issue cammo green and brown leather to suggest that it has been picked up in a PDF Surplus store somewhere.

I like the relatively low-tech but still obviously Sci-Fi elements, that ties it in nicely to the RT universe in my eyes
The mini is from CP models Sci-Fi 'Hired Guns' range. They are supplied with alternate Human and Xenos heads (which reminds me, I must find where I put the human female head I didn't use... that sounds really bad when you read it back to yourself). I loved the classic look of the Xenos head, but wanted to bring her more into the Rogue Trader universe, so upgraded her pistol to an over sized Laspistol from an early GW weapons sprue.

The original pistol was carefully removed and has already found it's way on to another model that needed a bit of TLC.
The hand in the pouch is a brilliant touch and what absolutely sold me on this sculpt. For me it is an important tie in to the classic D&D/Warhammer Quest Thief class she is portraying, but would serve to emphasise her more 'special ops' role in any force.

I also really appreciate the femininity of the sculpt which has been achieved without losing a sense of functionality about the equipment. I played this up by giving her a little red dress in the Unit spot colour. With the role that I see her playing as both an infiltrator and a spy, the bright red might at first seem incongruous, but I want her to be a bit of a femme fatale, with a hint of Gangster's moll about her past, so she gets to keep her red cocktail dress and uses her psionic abilities to make up for any loss of camouflage.

"Don't mind me boys, just passing through on my way to steal all your stuffs!"

"My name is A'Rhea LI... please... I..." the words appeared in his mind as his harsh demand had appeared in hers.

"WHY DO YOU STEAL FROM US!?" The words came like a psychic assault, battering through her well practised defences, painfully extracting the truth forcing her mind voice to say the words.

"I... I need to raise funds to get off world. Fast. Last job went bad. They're on to me..." She fought to keep from blacking out under the strain.

"How did you get through the perimeter without triggering the lasers? The words were not as painful this time, though the voice still held a tone of command that A'Rhea could not resist.

"My bracelet, some security counter measures of my own design, and a simple planting of a noise in the Eldar's brain, exploiting the fact he had sensed something amiss to send him off in the wrong direction..." Her mind voice was cut off. She could feel the other mind probing deeper. Even her breathing seemed like it was being controlled. She'd never felt psychic power like this before and didn't care to again.

"Impressive. Most impressive. You say you need to get off world. What if I gave you that opportunity, and an offer of employment to boot?"

"I... I'd say I was interested, but..."


"But I have a debt to pay first. A friend who helped me, who will suffer if they are caught by those who follow me. I need to get them out of town first." There was a long silence, followed by a sense of release of pressure in her mind, her lungs, her muscles...

"Very well. If you can rejoin me here in 3 hours time, you shall have you passage off this world and gainful employment that will suit your specialist talents. Although, you should bear in mind that we will of course be improving security with immediate effect. It appears we've had an unfortunate breach you see..."

2.68 standard Terran hours later A'Rhea LI stood at a porthole watching the rapidly disappearing speck that was Nate's Point as the Unit made it's way off planet and on to the next job.

A'Rhea LI's Mag-lock decoder bracelet does the business for a second time
Sven is left scratching his beard after the laser fence posts are disabled again, even after he remodulated the control algorithms from the default factory setting!

Bonus Laser Fence Posts!!!

I'm really chuffed with the laser fence posts/sc-fi objective markers. I wonder if anyone recognises what they are? The release of the latest film in a certain franchise might give you a clue.

That's right! They are made out of the front end of Corellian Corvette Blockade Runners out of StarWars Kinder Surprise eggs stolen from recovered after being discarded by my children. I've rescued a few potentially useful bits from the ships that came with these weird over sized plastic heads sticking out of the top of them. Luckily both C3-PO and Princess Leia giant heads came with Corvettes, so I have plenty of them, but it was actually the engine pieces that originally caught my attention - they look like multi-launchers for vehicles, or maybe sentry guns? More on them another time possibly.

The Kinder-Corvettes have annoying wholes where the giant heads connect the two halves, so they got a slap of milliput to fill them in, which then also got flocked to make it seem like the posts are a bit more embedded in the ground.
Anyway, they got such a simple treatment with the paints that it's not worth repeating in detail, because there is no detail, but they do the job admirably I think. It's precisely because of how simple they were to make that I like them.

The MDF bases are actually 27mm off cuts from Dave the Scenery Savant, no good for basing models (or objectives for that matter) for gaming purists, but handy enough for this.
I kept thinking about the sonic towers from Lost whilst I was making them. I wonder if Sven the Squat Tech-Bard might be able to hook these babies up with sonic emitters and program them with the Brown Note?
I also like them because I definitely wouldn't have got round to making them so quickly after having the idea if I hadn't been doing the Rogue Quest project, so it's another case of being spurred to more productivity by Oldhammer projects and blogging.

The next level of Rogue Quest has also spurred a spin off project! A villain no less, not the Big Bad, you understand, but definitely a... Bad? But that will all have to wait for the New Year (well sort of) as I'm going to be working on finishing off my entry for Deadcember 2016: The Quick and the Dead between now and the end of the year. That and the drinking. Let's not forget the drinking.

Stay tuned folks :)

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Vermember 2016

So I've been having my own private painting theme for November 2016.

When I got back into the Hobby last year, and then really got into the Oldhammer Community over the summer of 2015, Erny's idea for Orctober really caught my attention and imagination. Sadly I couldn't quite my brushes lined up for Vermember (which I think sort of sprung up as slightly tongue in cheek reaction to Orctober, but I'm not 100% about that) as I had too many other projects on the go, even though I had some of the old Fantasy Regiments white plactic crack Skaven undercoated. I did manage to get myself sorted for Deadcember 2015 and had an absolute blast bringing these guys back from the dead.

So I kept hold of my undercoated Skaven with a mind to this year and some cozy, uninterupted autumn evenings being warmed by lukewarm cups of tea and the glow of the daylight bulb in the painting lamp. Ha! Haha. Hahahahahahahahahhaaaaaaaaa!!!!! *sobs* *sniffs* Yeah that didn't happen.

Over the course of the year I've also aquired a number of other giant rats, and ratmen from a number of oldhammer job lots. Different time periods and manufactures repreented here, and I'm not entirely sure of all of them to be honest, so if anyone can help identify them that would be much appreciated! So I had myself a little collection of outsized anthropomorphic vermin to paint up for my own Vermember challenge :)

Also over time I'd aquired this already painted Skaven Jezzail team. I quite like the pale flesh and bright red-orange claws, and the green and purple colour scheme on the clothes matches the colour scheme I use for my broad alliance of Warhammer Fantasy bad guys, which I was also planning to use on the 3rd edition Skaven themselves. So I decided that these would be my rough guide to what I wanted to end up with.

I've forgotten when I got these, and I don' think I had a plan for them other than I've always liked the model and it would have been a bargain on ebay.
It has been hanging around a bit unloved tbh, so it needed a few touch ups where it had got bashed.
Not sure I have achieved that, as I've only brought them up to my usual 'table top ready' standard, which will fit in with the the rest of my WFB horde, but they sit alongside each other reasonably well in the end so I'm happy enough.

Back to bright green painted bases, but they fit the rest of my WFB forces, and at least I fill in the gaps with putty these days.

Imagine your HeroQuest Barabarian came round the corner to a Skaven Jezzail aimed at crotch height, with only his loin cloth to protect the family jewels...

I used a similar colour palette to both the Jezzail team, and my rag tag WFB mercs, painting their clothes in the appropriately verminous colours of scab red, worm purple, hideous blue, and err... forest green. I used London Grey from Valejo for the leather armour, strapping and wrist bands, as I like the slight shine it has which gives it a heavy quality on fabric, leather etc, but then inked that down quite heavily to give the armour both grime and some definition. I freehanded the red skaven symbols and decided to call it a day pretty much.

One thing I'm not massively happy with is the eyes. I debated whether to go for the classic opaque red glow, or whether to leave them unpainted, as the inking had left them with a shadowy sinsiter look. In the end I opted to try and tie them in with the lycanthrope vibe by using the same style of eyes as I had on a recent werewolf. As these guys are potentially going to act as wererats in my D&D campaign I liked the idea of lycanthropes having the same mad staring eyes. Unfortunately the sickly yellow eyeball with a red pupil, while making them look manic, has also made them look a bit cartoonish and in the end detracted from the overall finish. I painted the rest of the giant rats with red eyes if the eye ball was prominent, or left them shadowy if not and I'm happier with those.

I really should have left the eyes shadowy from the inks, but unpainted, for a more naturalistic look. I like the bright red claws though, even though they are just as cartoonish.
I enjoyed painting the tails, highlighting up from Tanned Flesh to Dwarf Flesh. The pouch is Billious Brown with Flesh Wash. Blades are Bolt Gun Metal with Armour Wash.
The random giant and were rats have been based up for use in D&D etc. so I've gone for a simple basing treatment that will keep them usable for D&D, HeroQuest, Frostgrave etc. They really are a mixed bunch and one in particular was a very ropey specimen indeed. One of them I've really come to love however.

I quite like the diversity of wererat forms this provides me for my D&D campaign, where they were an early feature that I hope we return to.
I'd focussed primarily on the unit of 3rd Ed Plastic Skaven and time for my Vermember project was running out, so the giant rats and the smaller of the two ratmen all got the same treatment of Bestial Brown up to Snakebite Leather for teh fur, and Tanned Flesh up to Dwarf Flesh for the feet and tails, and then a thinned down Armour Wash over the whole lot. I then went for the same bright red claws which I liked so much on the skaven, also as a bit of a tie in even though the basing is completely different. As previously mentioned, I left the eyes shaded, or picked them out in red depending on the sculpt. Could have done more with these, but ran out of steam and needed to move on.

Pretty sure this is a GW Giant Rat from a WFB swarm. The white metal alloy suggests Middlehammer period, but my Skaven knowledge is poor.
I picked these up in a job lot on the Oldhammer Trading Post, and one of them was a really ropey, dare I say amateurish sculpt. It's an oversized and impractical beast, the tail overhanging even a 25mm base, and his feet/claws look like there is a twist in the leg at the ankle. As I painted him he came to remind me of one of these little blighters, which did little to endear him to me. However, on the day I came to finish him I ended up watching the Princess Bride with Son#1 at ridiculous o'clock in the moring whilst his Mother valiantly tried to get Son#2 back to sleep, and I saw the fight with the amateurish, mishapen, giant vole rats, and suddenly all was forgiven.

I sort of like him now he's done. He can do service as a Dire Rat thanks to his size. Does anyone have any clue as to the manufacturer?
Not the best photo to show it off, but this chap is interesting as he is holding a short sword. I really like the pathetic aesthetic this model has, which really fits the D&D wererat mythos for me. The inclusion of the sword promises the threat of a backstab from the shadows, possibly from that sewer grate you just stepped over and are now being dragged back into by dozens of sharp little claws, all you can see are red eyes gleaming in the darkness, and the stink... oh the stink!

I really like this model, bags of character. I'm already coming up with a character and backstory for him.
This last one was a different manufacturer again. A very thick solid base with no obvious markings on the bottom. Now that I'm thinking about it, the only models with similar bases I've had in my own possession have been the Alternative Armies Ion Knights, so maybe I'll check out the rest of their ranges.

He's a big beast, and the two handed polearm said Stormvermin to me so I painted him up with a view to him being a veteran, with white patchy fur and skin showing through (pretty sure this is intended by the sculpt). The leather armour is Scab Red up to Blood Red with two coats of Armour Wash for a laquered leather look. The metal, pouch and claws all got the same treatment as outlined at various points above. The thing I regret on this one is having the colours of the rope and brocade around the weapon the wrong way round. Blue rope with gold brocade would look much better. The more I look at it the more it bugs me, and I don't know why I did it.

There's bags of detail on this model, from the extra blade on the belt, with the same leather loops that attach the puch on the other side, and a giant rat huddled protectively under his haunches. This really deserved more time than I gave it, even though I gave it more time than the others. I did give a little extra thought (but probably not care) to the base, marking in two drainage channels filled with dubious brown run off, hopefully giving him a more sewery vibe.

So with that my Vermember challenge was over. Except it wasn't, as that was 30th November and my challenge to myself included this blog post. At least the painting was done within time (although probably rushed because of it, yet again they probably wouldn't have been painted at all without a monthly challenge), and I could move on with the next awesome Oldhammer monthly painting challenge! Except I can't quite yet, as I'm painting up a load of Discworld miniatures as Christmas presents and they mostly need finishing by this weekend...

Anyway, the next awesome Oldhammer monthly painting challenge is now well under way -Rab's Geekly Digest brings us Deadcember 2016! Hoorah!

There is an additional theme this year "The Quick and the Dead" which an awful lot of people are taking to mean something hat can move fast, and a fair number have chosen to paint up their long horded Tom Meier Zombie Dragons in celebration! We really are in for a treat :)

My own take on the theme, and I think this was shared by a few other fb group members, is more gun smoke and chewing tobacco. Always keen to harness the motivating power of a monthly painting challenge, I've siezed the opportunity to work on a project within a project, that I've been planning for a while, which involves gun slinging undead.

Pretty sure the one on the far left is a recast now that I have them next to each other, but its not terrible.
The classic Citadel skeletons with Blunder Buss and Machine Gun are obvious choices, but I love the models. Anyway, I'd hoped to have these based up and undercoated by now at least, but I suspect this is going to be a project for the later part of the month now. I'm really looking forward to them though and hope you come back to see how they turn out.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Orctober 2016!

Orctober 2016! Woooohoooo! *Ahem* I mean Waaaaaaggghhh! ...obviously.

Firstly and most importantly, big shout out to Erny, the Oldhammer blogging legend behind Orctober, for this year's banner! And to his brother Snickit for poking him with a stick encouraging him!

This was supposed to be a post detailing my Orctober pledge. Sadly it has been another busy month of REAL LIFE and even my week off, planned to be full of nerdly goodness, was hijacked both being poorly and looking after poorly family members. Booooo!

So, it is a post detailing my meagre efforts for Orctober 2016 retrospectively. However, without the motivation of the monthly painting theme I'm not sure I would have got much if anything finished this month. At least I managed to get the bulk of what I had planned done. And that was...

28 Night Goblin Archers from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle 4th Edition box set!

Here they are lined up in black undercoat behind a test piece to get the colour scheme right
I have to say I have a real soft spot for these guys, and to a slightly lesser extent their spear wielding brethren from the same set (I have 28 of those coming up too, but they were never part of the Orctober plan, as I have to press mould a ton more shields before I can do that). It's a cheap and cheerful plastic monopose sculpt, and many people lament the rise of such miniatures in the history of GW, but their cheeky yet malevolent faces still manage to convey something of what was the quintessential Warhammer (dare I say Oldhammer? I do think this was lost in later editions) Goblin vibe.

'Da Yellaz' ranked up in front of the set of hills Dave the Scenery Savant made for me
I've painted these to match my existing greenskin army - i.e. as if they had been done by a young teen aged me with just three pots of paint and one brush with only two hairs left on it - and I think I have achieved that aim admirably! I've gone for what AVP Shaun would euphemistically refer to as 'Tournament Ready' (meaning they are fully covered in paint and have at least three colours on them, but not much more than that), making full use of a healthy coat of black under coat in the finished model.

They are a sister unit to one that was already painted, which was itself just carrying on the black and red paint job that the previous owner had started.

Here you can see Da Redz as the yarrived in the post. I decided to just upcycle them rather than satrting again. They were pretty close to the colour scheme I had in mind anyway.
I wanted these to fit with that look but be distinct as a separate unit so after the same super quick Snot Green/Orc Flesh Wash treatment, I went for yellow as the unit theme colour, using Bubonic Brown on everything that wasn't going to be green or black (I find it gives fantastic coverage over dark colours and lets you work up to some really vibrant yellows), and then either flesh wash for the leather parts or yellow wash for the arrow fletchings and bow tips. And that was it.

See, they are just as terrible from the back as they are from the front
Here you can see Da Yellaz next to Da Redz. I'm slightly annoyed I forgot to do one unit leader with the colours on the bow reversed as Da Redz have, but then I plan to add proper champions, standards and musicians to both units before sorting out movement trays once final numbers are known, so Da Yellaz unit leader can also be sorted out in time.

Both units badly need command. Large mobs of gobbos going around without any direction like this is why the yare so easily bullied into things they'd rather not do. Of course having command doesn't help that much either, but...
Hopefully you get the sense of them being two distinct units, but from the same tribe or army
I'd hoped to be able to finish a few other choice pieces for Orctober, and to a much higher standard than the Gobbo archers, including a Blood Bowl to Rogue Trader conversion for my ongoing Rogue Quest project that would have been a nod to the 40K theme suggested by Erny's awesome banner. Sadly this was not to be. The only other piece I got finished this month (today in fact) that qualifies for Orctober is a Bugbear from the Citadel AD&D Dungeon Monsters set.

I wanted for a different look for the eyes, not just red like I tend to for my Warhammer greenskins. I thought they should be beady so I went for dark blue with a very light grey fleck, I think it has worked OK.
More Bubonic Brown and Flesh Wash here, as well as Bestial Brown and Back Ink for the skin and fur of the Bugbear. Fairly classic colouration and in keeping with the description in the AD&D Monstrous Manual. He's due to make an appearance in my D&D game this coming weekend, so another great example of monthly painting challenges fuelling productivity for actual gaming.

I really, really need to get a better camera/lighting set up.

Scenery September Update!


I've also finished the 'Hut in the Swamp' I started as part of the Middlehammer group's Scenery September challenge, adding a mushroom garden around the two slime pools, and some seasonal pumpkin heads around the entrance. Ultimately, it still looks like a box turned upside down and painted brown, but I'm only aiming for producing usable pieces that add something to our gaming at the moment, so I think it will do the job nicely.

The Hut in the Swamp is going to feature in a future D&D session, but was made very much with longer term use for Warhammer in mind.
Assorted mushrooms and toadstools made from Milliput and lentils. Snake made from left over green stuff.
The slime pools were made with a hot glue gun. The photos don't show the colour variation, but there was still a lot that could have been done to improve them.
The pumpkin lanterns are press moulded from the head of The Carver from Malifaux
Thanks for stopping by, and if you've been working on any of your own Orctober projects please leave links in the comments. I'd love to see them!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Rogue Quest Level 3 - Eldar Ranger

Say hello to Kelechi Iheanacho*1 - Eldar Ranger, and the third installment of my Rogue Quest Project, seen here with an unknown Xenomorph known colloquially as a 'Spine Critter.'

Kelechi comes face to face with the Spine Critter in the rocky wastes outside Nate's Point trading post
*1 Back in the day*2 AVP Shaun had a tradition of only playing Elves in my D&D campaigns, and with one notable and campaign spanning exception, he named these elves after members of the Nigerian national football team. This 'Eldar Ranger' has been named in honour of that tradition.

*2 It was a Thursday.

Rogue Quest is a project to produce a band of 6 Adventurers that match the classic D&D/Warhammer Quest character classes, but for the Rogue Trader universe!

Check out my first two party members here and here, but far more importantly check out these guys and the three Rogue Quest projects that inspired me to undertake this project!

Magpie and Old Lead

When playing PC games in the Baldurs Gate, Ice Wind Dale or Ruins of Myth Drannor series I almost always tend towards choosing a Ranger for my main hero, often Half Elven (I know, I know, cliched or what?), and when thinking about the Rogue Quest party I settled on an Eldar Ranger pretty easily. I definitely don't see him as the romatic wilderness hero on this occassion however. My own D&D campaigns have featured a number of memorable Elven Rangers over the years, nearly always played by AVP Shaun, and therefore nearly always had some dark and twisted element to their character. I see Kelechi very much more in this second category. Way more Rogue Trader that way, and every good adventuring party needs some internal strife I reckon!

As I commented to a fellow Oldhammerer while I was in the process of painting him up, I was surprised to find the sculpt (Scout 05) had been in production since 1991 as I'd always associated it with the 2nd Edition Eldar, but then that was obvioulsy a transition period looking back. The fact that it stayed in production for so long is no surprise. It's not necessarily an absolute Jes Goodwin classic, but for me it is an example of the quality that suffused all his work on the Eldar.

I also like the way his longcoat is swept back and his left hand is hovering near his holster, which gives it a bit of a gun slinger type feel
There are some things about the finished model I'm happy with. I think the colour pallete works well, I'm happy with the 'wraithbone' sniper rifle, and the way the red hair band really pops out as a spot colour and serves to tie him in to the rest of the unit when you see them next to each other.

Wait! What's that? A Spine Critter you say?
However, there are some things I'm not so happy with. Although the colour pallette works, the green and purple mean he looks far too similar to the alien Maw Beasts and Spine Critter. On the one hand this serves to link him more to his alien quarry than his fellow party members, and maybe gives a sense that the green and purple is almost like camoflage for a xeno-hunter. On the other hand, when you see them all next to each other it looks like they are the only two colours I have in my paint rack.

Kelechi has used his ranger skills to find the only remants of giant sea creatures in the otherwise barren landscape around Nate's Point
I'm also not happy with the basing. This model was actually completed a good few months ago now (only this blog post being unfinished has prevented me from posting) and was one of my early forays into anything other than flat painted bases. I'm not saying I'm against overhanging scenic bases, but here it serves little to no aesthetic purpose (i.e. it looks crap! :) ) and is a barrier to playability. I imagine I'll rebase it at some point.

Anyway, what do we know about Kelechi Iheanacho the Eldar Ranger?

Kelechi kept himself very much to himself and rarely said anything other than to confirm orders and offer politenesses without any warmth in them to his fellow party members. He said he was from a nomadic clan of  Exodites whose home planet had slowly turned from a colonised paradise into a deathworld. Dragon riders who would hunt the savage monsters of their world to keep their people safe. Well, that would certainly explain his expertise in tracking and taking xenos prey alright, but something about that explanation never did sit quite sit right with Sven.

The Squat's xeno-linguistic and database had revealed some interesting results when his recordings of the Eldar's speech patterns were analysed, and his suspcions having grown over the few months that Kelechi had been with The Unit, were roused further when his snooping device identified the use of Pirate Argot in Kelechi's secretive exchanges with fellow hunters in the saloon at Nate's Point, on the trail of that damned Spine Critter.

When Sven quietly raised the Eldar's background with the Unit's leader back on board their ship, he received nothing but an arch smile and a raised eyebrow in reply. He decided to keep his concerns to himself, but would definitely be keeping a watchful eye on the so called Exodite Ranger.

Kelechi, for his part, kept silent as he polished his long and fragile looking wraithbone rifle, pretending his keen Eldar ears had not heard the Squat voice his concerns. As the squat walked back out to the hold whistling however, Kelechi's eyes were boring into the back of his skull.


The Spine Critter

This model was one that I came across when searching for alien animal companions late last year when I was preparing for the Rogue Quest project. At first I considered it as a possible companion for the Eldar Ranger, but in the end the model didn't fit that role, it's more predatory in aspect, and neither did the idea of an animal companion fit with the evolving character concept for Kelechi as a hunter and stalker rather than a nature warrior. Instead the Spine Critter became the perfect candidate as a target for The Unit.

To be honest, although I'm happy enough with the paint job I'm again not happy with my choice of colour scheme. In seeking to avoid it looking like an old school Genestealer dark blue/purple colour scheme I've ended up with it looking far too similar to the two Maw Beasts I painted up as companions for Doktor Krackpotnik (the Wyrd Beastmaster - Druid). At least I did a slightly better job on the purple highlights this time.

I really need to get a better camera if I'm going to keep doing this

It was only ever meant to be a basic paintjob, so I'm OK with how it turned out, from a not very sharply defined plastic cast, but the slightly shiny plastic did give me some problems and made me appreciate GW plastics a bit more.
The model is apparently from Galaxy Defenders published by Ares Games. I got a little card with the model which had some stats/abilities on it, so I decided this would make a good basis for it's profile in Rogue Trader.

M:6 Ws:5 Bs:3 S:4 T:4 I:6 A:3 W:3 Ld7 Int:5 Cl:7 Wp:7

1) Feral senses: ignore stealth - I'm interpreting this as an enhanced ability to sense hidden models, and an increased chance to detect models protected by things like chamelioline, holosuits, etc. and possibly and increased susceptability to sound/light/smell(?) effects.

2) Against single oponents the Spine Critter prefers to use it's claws and powerful bite (S4), but when facing more than one opponent it can launch it's spines in a short range area effect attack. I'm interpreting this as being equivalent to a handflamer attack (but without the chance to set things on fire), which the creature can deploy in a 360° arc once per turn in the shooting phase.

3) It's behaviour pattern leads it to prioritise targeting wounded models when charging/engaging in close combat.The Spine Critter must charge/engage wounded models first if they are in range/base to base contact (in order of most wounded first). However, the Spine Critter will not disengage from combat with a healthy oponent to charge a wounded opponent who is not already in base to base contact with it.

Dr Krackpotnik and his Maw Beasts have got the Spine Critter's scent and try to flush it out into the open for Kelechi to take the 'kill shot.'
4) Acid Blood - fairly standard for unknown xenomorphs. When the Spine Critter is killed it explodes with the force of its pressurised acid blood being released. I've interpreted this as a 2" blast marker with the effect of a flamer, instead of catching people on fire the lasting effect is whether the acid continues to burn (same dice roll/damage/save mod as a flamer).

5) It has some 'armour' - looking at the model, and thinking about various armour types and ratings in Rogue Trader, I think a 5+ Armour Save is about right.

The Critter is trying to escape the Druid's rabid Maw Beasts, but the Eldar Ranger has anticipated it's behaviour and steps out from hiding to take a simple ranged shot to the back of the creatures head.
I enjoyed expanding the project out to include some foes for my Rogue Questers and I've now got plans for some other obstacles or NPCs to go alongside future installments!

Rogue Quest Level Four is already painted (has been for ages!) so only needs a blog post to be written up. Expect that sometime around Christmas then ;)

Thanks for reading, and remember, take care of yourself, and each other.