Saturday, 24 February 2018

Drive it like they nicked it.


This is my looted Land Raider, Mark II conversion. It's another model from my old Ork armoured brigade. It may even be the oldest model in that particular army. Or at least the first to be completed and not then subsequently hacked-up, stripped or rebuilt.

And not only is this one of my earliest Ork vehicles, but the base model, underneath all the conversion work, is one of the first plastic tank kits Citadel Miniatures ever made. It was the Land Raider Mark I, originally released in 1988 as the RTB05 Imperial Land Raiders kit (plural, because you got two of them in the box, for just £12.99).

The 1988 kit was a very exciting release for young me. A seemingly huge tank, the likes of which had hardly been seen before in the fledgling WH40K game. It was so exciting that I was kinda awestruck by it. Scared to even glue the pieces together. And as a result they ended up sitting unconstructed and neglected until an incredible new Land Raider was released about 10 years later. One that had been tweaked and updated to give it a whole new look.

But I'm not talking about the current kit, the Mark III Land Raider. That wasn't released until 2000. No, the kit I'm referring to was the Mark II, brought out in Epic scale in 1998. The Mark I, had come out for Epic three years earlier, but the Mark II gave the tank a more aggressive profile, and heavy duty sponsons. I was immediately taken with it, and vowed to build a 28mm scale version

Here's another variant of the Epic Mark II, with a slightly clearer picture, and here's a very neatly painted one I've just found on Google. These are exactly the kind of images that inspired me to attempt a larger scale portrayal.

But attempt is the apt word here. Knowing my conversions skills weren't good enough to make a crisp, clean tank, I decided it would be easier if the thing had taken an ass whooping on the battlefield, and had then been salvaged or stolen by Orks.

So I grabbed one of the tanks from that old, neglected Imperial Land Raiders kit, and set about extending the front, cutting down the top, and replacing the tracks.

By the time I had finished the basic build, Citadel designer extraordinaire, Brain Nelson, had taken over the Ork range, injecting the entire race with a darker, more brutal aesthetic. It was a simple matter to use spares from his new kits to bring my Land Raider closer in line with his vision.

Not only did the new parts add instant Orky character, but they also served to further hide my shoddy workmanship.


The final addition was the makeshift gun emplacement, thrown together in what I think of as typical Orky style. The sandbags which make up the bulk of it were sculpted roughly out of green stuff, while the rail for the big shootas was just a piece of thick wire.

These days Forge World make a whole bunch of Land Raider variants, including a remodelled Land Raider Mark I, which now seems to be called the Proteus. So there are some easy but expensive alternatives if you don't fancy hundreds of hours of badly cutting up sheets of plasticard, slicing your fingers, getting glue on everything and generally making a bloody mess.

Although clearly no kind of Ork mekboy would ever pass up an opportunity like that.

ADDICTION CHALLENGE
REMAINING: 86



Sunday, 18 February 2018

Waaagh battle tanks


If at first you don't succeed, cheat. That's probably how any self-respecting Ork would have it. Although with them cheat is likely to mean brutally eliminate the competition, whereas in my case it's just about posting pics of old models from my collection because I haven't had time to paint anything new.

So here are two more vehicles from my old Greenskin armoured brigade. These tanks sport killkannons and rotary big shootas, and are probably a little smaller than Forge World's Kill Blasta (or Bursta) tank. I guess I see them as kinda like an Ork equivalent to a Leman Russ Battle Tank without the sponsons.

I've been thinking about my Ork army a lot recently. When I originally put it together I only ever got about halfway through all the things I had planned. I still have a whole bunch of units to complete, most of which are going to involve at least some level of customisation. It's quite a labour-intensive endeavour, even if most Ork conversion work can be fairly easily achieved simply by gluing a load of off-cuts and rivets all over the place.


With the model below, I started with Secret Weapon's awesome 6x6 Rapid Assault Vehicle. It's a great model, so I didn't want to do anything too drastic. I think in the end I simply added an Ork commander (made from a standard Citadel Nob, with a head from Kromlech's Orc Veteran set), then glued a load of those aforementioned off-cuts and rivets all over the place.



And with the second tank it was even easier. I don't think I did a single thing. The original model said it all. It's the Maxmini Scrap Tank. I only needed to paint the sucker. So I tried to make both vehicles feel related by starting with a beaten-up, red paint job, but then use different patterns for detailing, to make each scheme feel a little more unique.


These were completed many years ago, so my Addiction Challenge score remains the same.

ADDICTION CHALLENGE
REMAINING: 86

I'm slowly posting a bit more about my old (yet continuing) Ork army, so if you're a fan of these muscle-bound, green menaces, you can follow the entirety of my thread here.



Monday, 29 January 2018

Track team, part two


I've painted two more miniatures. For me this level of attainment is unheard of. There's no stopping me. I'm like a machine. Although, clearly not anywhere near as like a machine as these two servitors.

They've both been the victims of some pretty serious surgery, 41st millennium style. And most likely against their will. It's a harsh penal system in the Imperium of Man: been overheard disrespecting your manufactory guild? That's an extended lifetime as a near mindless slave, grafted to some awful machine, performing dull, repetitious work then.

I was going to try for a gag about how that sounds similar to painting miniatures, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. The truth is more like the exact opposite. I loved constructing these tiny characters and bringing them to life. You can read a little bit about it and see some earlier, unpainted shots of them here.



And, as if completion isn't it's own reward, and I wasn't feeling smug enough, I'm also inching ever closer to settling my addiction challenge. Although the smugness is quickly quashed by a glance at how far I still have left to go.

ADDICTION CHALLENGE
REMAINING: 86


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Munitorum Armoured Containers


There's no fancy title for today's post. Instead, we're simply doing what it says on the tin. Except, in this case, because it says Munitorum Armoured Containers, they pretty much are the tin.

This was one of my favourite Games Workshop releases of recent years – for a number of reasons:

1) Not only do you get a good spread of scenery in each box (three Armoured Containers, nine Promethium Barrels, and twelve Supply Crates)...

2) Not only are the containers a very satisfying chunky, gothic design (without going overboard on the extraneous detail)...

3) And not only are they a joy to paint (with plenty of surface detail, great for quicker techniques like dry-brushing and washes)...

4) But their release also marked a shift for Citadel Miniatures in ramping up our glimpses of civilian life in the Imperium. Although when I say civilian, I ought to clarify. This is, after all, the 41st Millennium we're talking about, where everything is grim and dark and there is only war. Therefore in this context civilian tends to mean slightly less martial than everything else. So to that end the containers can be up-gunned with some fairly serious firepower, if that's your bag.

It's not mine. In my mind the containers look better without the weapons. More like just another urban background element. So far I've only painted the first two. My original plan was to paint each of the three containers in a different colour, but when I decided to glue one of the doors open I thought it would be good to have a similar coloured model with the doors closed, in case I ever wanted to represent it both ways. Thus the first two containers ended up being slightly different shades of green – enough to look different when seen next to each other, but also similar enough to pass for the same model at a glance. I also followed this logic for the details, making them subtly different from one another, but not overly so.



For my addiction challenge these are a straightforward one point each, so my new score looks like this:

ADDICTION CHALLENGE
REMAINING: 88


Friday, 29 December 2017

A Quiz of Thrones (now with added legibility)


A quick post today. But not the one I was expecting to write. I've finished a couple of models I'd like to share but, what with Christmas and New Year, I just can't find the time to photograph them.

Instead, what I have managed to find is the file containing the live type for my Game of Thrones quiz. You may have previously seen it in this post, where it was a little tricky to read.


The quiz is based mainly on the television show (not the books), and was written at the end of season six, before season seven had aired. I've pasted it below for any GoT fans to peruse, but please bear in mind some of the answers may have been superseded by the more recent episodes. At a quick glance I can't see anything that's been contradicted, but if you do find something, please let me know in the comments section. The quiz is made up of 3 rounds, with 25 questions in total, giving you 50 possible points up for grabs.

QUESTIONS


Round One: Names


1. Which one of these three fierce lords should you least want officiating at your wedding?
• Jeor Mormont
• Walder Frey
• Baylon Greyjoy


2. What character is sometimes referred to as The Spider?

3. The sparrows and the faith militant were intent on upholding religion as a pillar of the Seven Kingdoms. Which god or gods did they follow?
• The God of Light
• The Seven
• The Old Gods?

4. Which one of these noble knights should you least want to babysit your teenage daughter?
• Ser Meryn Trant
• Ser Barristan Selmy
• Ser Alliser Thorne

5. Two major characters share the surname Clegane. What are they more commonly known as? A point for each nickname, and a bonus point for each of the first names.

6. What is (the Onion Knight) Ser Davos’s surname?

7. What is the name of the dragon that went rogue, forcing the other two to be locked up underground?

8. Which one of these forts or castles did I invent for this question?
• The Dreadfort
• Dragonstone Castle
• The Black Fort
• Casterly Rock

9. What’s the name of the eunuch army from Astapor in Slaver’s Bay?

10. Sam killed a white walker with a dragon glass dagger. Dragon glass is said to be glass forged naturaly in the heat of a volcano, like frozen fire. What is the other common name for it? 

11. Which of these actors has appeared in GoT? One point for each correct answer.
• Peter Davidson
• Rupert Everett
• Paul Kay
• Ian McShane
• Honor Blackman
• Richard E Grant
• Keith Allen
• Tim McInnerny
• Robson Green
• Max von Sydow

12. It is said that George R R Martin was convinced to let David Benioff and D. B. Weiss make this TV show when they correctly answered a single question: Who is Jon Snow’s mother? What is the answer? 

Round Two: Wolves 

13. There are (or were) six Stark Dire Wolves. Can you match their correct names to the Stark children to whom they were given? One point for a correct name, and another for a correct match. This question is easiest to complete if you use the cards shown below. The choices for the Dire Wolves are shown in blue, and the Stark children are red.



Round Three: Misc 

14. How many actors have played the Mountain?

15. Which Golden Globe nominated Netflix drama features Pedro Pascal (the actor who plays the Red Viper, Oberyn of the house Martell) as a US law enforcement agent?

16. What is (or was) the familial relationship of the Blackfish (Ser Brynden Tully) to Kaitlyn Stark?

17. In Star Wars The Force Awakens, Captain Phasma is played by an actor from GoT – what was that actor’s character called in GoT?

18. According to the publishing order, Game of Thrones is the title of which book in the literary series?

19. Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Stormborn) have both played the same strong female lead in a major science fiction franchise. Who is that female character?

20. Which of these locations is yet to have suffered significant fire damage?
• The Sept of Baelor
• Harrenhal
• Riverrun
• Vaes Dothrak

21. Translate these commonly used Valarian phrases (one point each):
• Valar Morghulis
• Valar Dohaeris
• Dracarys

22. What fort or castle is home to the Moon Door?

23. As typified by the final episode of the last season, what would be the the usual order of appearance for these four locations in the opening credit sequence?
• Dorne
• King’s Landing
• Winterfell
• The Twins

24. Which one of these four roles has not been officially given to Tyrion Lannister?
• Hand of the King
• Master of War
• Hand of the Queen
• Master of Coin

25. Which of these is not a quote by Tyrion Lannister?
A) It may be good luck to rub the head of a dwarf, but it is even better luck to suck a dwarf’s cock.
B) Alcohol, taken in sufficient quantities, may produce all the effects of drunkeness.
C) It’s not easy being drunk all the time. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
D) I’m not questioning your honour, I am denying its existence.


ANSWERS

1. Walder Frey
2. Varys
3. The Seven
4. Ser Meryn Trant
5. The Mountain (Gregor) and the Hound (Sandor)
6. 
Seaworthy

7. Drogon
8. The Black Fort
9. The Unsullied.
10. Obsidian 
11. Paul Kay, Ian McShane, Richard E Grant, Tim McInnerny and Max von Sydow
12. Lyanna Stark
13. Grey Wind (Robb), Ghost (Jon Snow), Lady (Sansa), Nymeria (Arya), Summer (Bran), Shaggy Dog (Rickon) 
14. 3
15. Narcos
16. Blackfish is 
Kaitlyn's uncle 
17. Brienne of Tarth (played by Gwendoline Christie)
18. This is a contentious answer. I originally thought it was second (after A Knight of Seven Kingdoms and before A Clash of Kings), but most people seem to agree it was the first.
19. Sarah Connor (from the Terminator films and TV show)
20. Riverrun was taken peacefully. (Harrenhal was already fire damaged when introduced to the show) 
21. Valar Morghulis is all men must die. Valar Dohaeris is all men must serve. Dracarys is dragonfire (or the command to burn)
22. 
The Eyrie
23. King’s Landing, The Twins, Winterfell, Dorne
24. Master of War
25. B (actually said by Oscar Wilde) 

And then finally, just on the off-chance you were enjoying that, here are some extra tie-breaker questions.

SPARE QUESTIONS

1. What was the name of the Hand of the King who died just prior to the beginning of the show, setting in motion the main chain of events?

2. Only a few actors have portrayed multiple characters. One of those actors, Dean-Charles Chapman, played both a Lannister and a Baratheon. Can you give the first name of either of those two characters?

3. The Seven – the God of Seven – The Seven-Faced God – The New Gods. Can you name any of the seven aspects? One point for each.

4. What is the relationship between Jon Snow’s father and Daenerys Stormborn?

5. The armillary sphere, or astrolabe (the thing like a sun floating above the clockwork map) from the opening credit sequence (or at least something that looks a lot like it) actually appeared briefly as a candelabra in the final episode of season six. Where did we see it?


ANSWERS TO SPARE QUESTIONS

1. Jon Arryn 
2. King Tommen Baratheon and Martyn Lannister
3. The Father, the Mother, the Maiden, the Crone, the Warrior, the Smith, the Stranger 
4. He is most likely Rhaegar Targaryen, Daenerys’s elder brother. Meaning Jon is her nephew.
5. When Sam entered the library of the Citadel in Old Town


Friday, 1 December 2017

A weaving of the threads


It's unlikely there's anyone out there who pays particularly close attention to this little ol' blog (anyone other than me that is). But if there was, they might be aware that in among all the jumping around between subject matter, a number of themes have started to arise.

One of the things I've talked about a lot is my fondness for huge great, scary-ass robots. This has been evident in my Miniature Giants series (the first few models of which can be found here, here and here) and also in my almost-complete Giant Robo Alphabot illustration project.*

Another notable theme could be my experimentation with oil paints to apply weathering to models. I now add a little rust or verdigris, in varying degrees, to almost every model I paint. The culmination of this would probably be these wrecked and abandoned cars, where I tried to make them look utterly devastated by painting them almost entirely with oils.

And finally, more recently, I've started adding to my Plague Marines. I bought a handful of troops many years ago, but only started working on them in earnest when the release of Dark Imperium rekindled my interest and turned my small, unpainted war-band into the beginnings of a serious force. My first completed Death Guard model, some kind of lieutenant, can be found here.

Hopefully, the pictures here make it fairly obvious why I'm I going on about all these previous projects. It's because these two new dreadnoughts neatly encapsulate a coming together of those previous three themes: Rusty Death Guard robots.



The idea for spider-noughts first struck me after I bought the Robogear boxset just over a decade ago. Robogear was Airfix's abortive attempt to tap into the wargaming market, and although most of the models in the starter set were not that great, some of the individual components were incredible. Especially at a time before Games Workshop's plastic range was as huge and all-encompassing as it is now.

In this case the mechanical, insectoid legs I used significantly pre-dated Games Workshop's Defiler and Onager kits, yet still managed to make me think they'd be great motive systems for Chaos dreadnoughts.

The rest of the bits were a mixture of Games Workshop parts (bought as individual components from Bitzbox), Forge World dreadnought arms (bought directly from them) and whatever doodads I had lying around from other kits – namely a spare weapon arm, the banners, skulls, censers, and a very live and well Space Marine, who, when combined with an old skeleton body became the much deader impaled marine you can see on the fire support variant (the one with the missile launcher and autocannon).

And then to top it all off, there were a few scratch-built pieces made from cocktail sticks and plastic tubing, and the two lovely, but somewhat hidden, helmets from Chapterhouse Studios.



So with these two newly finished miniatures I'm finally able to adjust my Addiction Challenge score. Hopefully I'll be knocking some more points off with the next post too. More to come...

ADDICTION CHALLENGE
REMAINING: 90


*My obsession with these clanking monstrosities can probably be traced back to a childhood spent reading the comic 2000AD, back in the early 80s. Anyone who read that comic will remember the ABC Warriors, a group of artificial soldiers of fortune, designed to withstand Atomic, Biological and Chemical attack. They were led by Hammerstein, a humanoid, war robot veteran of the Volgan War, armed with a giant hammer, whose major appearances I've documented here.


Monday, 27 November 2017

More generic sci-fi scenery, but this time because Necromunda

Before we get into this week's post, another apology. It's a big sorry to anyone who visits this blog looking to see models from the Warhammer 40,000 universe (or maybe Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Age of Sigmar). If you've flicked through my last few posts it won't have escaped your notice that things have not been very miniatures-focussed of late.

This is for all the usual reasons, plus a few unusual ones. But essentially it goes like this: really busy, blah, blah, stuff to do on house, blah, blah, looking after the kids, blah, blah, sorting out my career, blah blah, watching Star Trek Discovery and Stranger Things on Netflix, woo hoo.

If you do occasionally visit this blog you may be aware I've been going on about creating a section of an Imperial Hive City. One that I call Kruenta Karoliina Arx Rotunda, on the planet Ancora Fornax, or just Kru for short. You may also know that although I've built civilians, servitors, vehicles, tools, and robots for Kru, I haven't actually managed to finish a single building yet. But that's not to say I haven't started any. A while back I posted some work-in-progress pics of my first piece of terrain – a cobbled together industrial storage depot of some kind. I made much of it using some classic techniques published in an old White Dwarf. There should be some further development on this building in the near future, but in the meantime I've also been working on a second one. It's a Biocidic Filtration Tower, an installation likely to be found alongside storage tanks on Imperial worlds with similar industries to Ancora Fornax.

But more importantly than that, it's a tall open building with platforms, gantries, walkways, and ladders that should be useful in miniature-based wargames, especially the brand new re-release of Necromunda.

It's not quite finished yet, but I think these pictures give a pretty good idea of where I'm going with it.