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.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Any ol' ion, any ol' ion, ION OH-ION!

Yeah. This is a bit of a weird one. A tribute to an early 90s commercial with a Chaz and Dave style jingle that has been a constant earworm of mine ever since my childhood.

Hammerite Metal Paint.

The advert had three or four knights in different coloured armour dancing about a junk yard, painting each other in coats of rust resistant paint. For some reason this image has always made me chcuckle and has stuck with me down the years.

You may also be familiar with Alternative Armies Ion-Range which includes the Bob Olley sculpted Retained/Crusader Knights. I first picked one of these up years ago and always liked the combination of bulky armour with rudimentary tech. I started painting him up as a bounty hunter for use in Necromunda style skirmish games, but a seed of an idea was growing and I never finished him, with a mind to picking up a couple more at some point in the future. Which I eventually did.

So, now I have three bulky knights-in-power-armour types in need of a colour scheme and a this damned earworm I need to get rid of... let the early 90's mash up commence with the Hammerite Bountyhunter Brothers!

This was the first one I got and which spawned the idea. The green came first, I was convinced one of the knights in the commercial was green, but it turns out I was wrong. I didn't let that stop me though!
I can't actually see this pose in the catalog page I linked to above. Does anybody know if it is a later or variant release?

Again I couldn't see tihs exact pose in the catalog, but this looks to be a variant of Crusader Marine 3

I kept the leather brown and blue-grey colour scheme for the equipment, lookingto both tie the models together and emphasise the low tech nature of their kit, hinting at replaceable parts and vulnerable spots.

Pretty sure this pose is Crusader Marine 11 from the catalogue above

The decision to stick to the blue-grey for the back-pack doesn't work as well with this one as an individual, but I wasn't going to change it as it would mean the models didn't tie in as well as a group. I'm happy enough with how it came out.
Obligatory group shot from CCTV footage of the refinery fire at Glaz-prom in Sub-sector 7, shortly before all those Scumniks got shot up over in Sub-sector 6 last month...

I just hope this little side project, years in the making and finished earlier this Summer, exorcises that demon earworm of a jingle!

Thanks for stopping by :)

Where did the summer go?: Prince August and Scenery September painting challenge updates

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a post complaining about the British weather and our lack of sunshine. In fact I'm writing this and pootling about taking photos of models in the garden whilst enjoying beautiful early autumn weather.

No, this is one of those posts where the author realises they haven't posted for months and really should do something about it. But that is because I have been busy, see!

On top of all sorts of family birthdays and weddings and stuff, and a new role at work that has me seriously considering how to invent time travel, or one of those time twister things from Harry Potter and the Over Committed Academic Timetable (my personal favourite), I've also visited the special Childrens TV Exhibition at Bristol's M Shed Museum where I saw these absolute diamonds of yester year!

The original Tracy Island made by Anthea Turner on Blue Peter! If anyone else is late with their Scenery September Challenge, then there are some good tips from Anthea in the video ;)

And even better than that...

One of the original Eye - Shields from Knightmare!!! I fucking loved that show. My mate Alex 'The living legend' Corrigan was on it. Season 3 Epsiodes 15-16. (Video here - Their bit starts at about 18.20 and carries over to the next episode)

Alex is also behind the awesome Mr Thunderwing Youtube channel which brings you all sorts gaming inspired delights, and has a Deviant Art page featuring all sorts of Transformers related stuff that is well worth a look at if you are a fan.

Anyway, I've also been involved with two monthly painting challenges/themes - Middlehammer's 'Prince August' (paint a noble of any description) and 'Scenery September' - and although I've managed the odd post with terrible mobile pics on the fb group, I've not managed a blog post about either during the relevant months. So this is by way of a catch up:

Firstly, for the 'Prince August' theme I chose two 'High Elf' nobles. Yeah, yeah I know they are actually Wood Elves. Plus, they are probably more Oldhammer than Middlehammer, but I painted them up for use in my WHFB4 High Elf Army, so I think they just about count on both fronts. I also posted pics on the Middlehammer fb group of a 'Nubian Prince' from Prince August themselves, that I'd only very recently finished as a general D&D/Fantasy noble NPC or whatever. So not painted up specially for the theme, or even during August... I think I'm giving myself about 5/10 for fit to brief this time. Anyway, here are the same awful pictures I posted on fb:

Terrible quality moblie WIP shots
My High Elf Lord and his loyal Bodyguard, Jon bon Jovelf
This was my second ever Prince August mini - the casts can be a bit soft it seems, but this was a lovely scultp to paint.
I've used the same red and blue colour scheme on some other generic NPC types so they can come together under Prince August's leadership to form a rival Adventuring Party if needed.
Secondly, for Scenery September I decided to do a combination of very simple scatter terrain and a couple of renovation projects for my desert set up, as not only this is getting a fair bit of use at the moment due to where we are at in our D&D campaign, but the set up needs a bit of work to be able to field a decent Fantasy or 40K battle, so this would help.

This ruined wall section really should have gone in the bin, but it has defied the odds to have survived over 20 years, so I gave it a new lick of paint and the best flocking it has ever had. Still looks like low grade polysyrene badly polyfillered to some floor tile. Because it is.
My 4 year old son helped paint this. I was very chhuffed. Sadly the aquarium plants I used turned out not to be artificial and started to die once sealed with milliput. You can actually see the white mold growingon some of it. So immediately after this photo was taken I cut them off and it is now a tree stump, or possibly a termite mound.
I've included this piece (which I made months ago so not part of the monthly theme), based on idea which I saw replicated on both the Oldhammer and Frostgrave pages, because I think it is a great idea and because it had a starring role in our most recent D&D game where it was guarded by these two Middlehammer era Bloodletters who were masquerading as Fire Salamanders. It's just a slice of coloured agate you can pick up in those crystal stalls in markets, set on its edge in some milliput and flocked with some sand and painted up to match my desert scenery, but when I put that down and told my players they were faced with a mystic portal to the elemental plane of fire, it certainly gave them a focal point. Sometimes scenery is just there to be scenery, or to be functional providing cover or an obstacle, but sometimes it can drive the narrative.

Strangely, that is what I think this piece might do. It is the simplest piece I did, absolutely nothing more than flocking with sand and painting in various shades of brown, but the underlying shape of the flimsy plastic watch packaging, which is what it is, now looks like an ancient piece of mechanical stonework, where if you put enough weight on the cross shaped button, the stone recess shifts and the treasure is revealed! I'm planning on working that in to both my D&D game and when playing 'Heroquest' with my 4 year old.

The strange lichen pile/camp fire looking thing is one of the renovation jobs I was talking about, bits salvaged from a larger piece beyond saving. I need more scatter terrain!
I also decided to do a very simple 'hut-in-a-swamp' in anticipation of a future scene/location in D&D. The basic paintjob is finished and shown below, but it is still WIP really as I'm now working on a mushroom garden around the two slime pools at the side.

As always, the themes have helped keep momentum going on projects that might otherwise stall. I'm planning on doing two, yes two!, projects for Orctober - a unit of 30 Night Goblin Archers (WHFB4 Plastics from the original box) and a Bloodbowl 'conversion' (not really converting much, possibly nothing in fact) for my Rogue Quest project. I've also got a back log of half finished blog posts that I plan to put up as soon as I can, so I hope you pop back to see those too. Thanks for reading :)