Friday, 19 April 2019

"Hexgorger Skulls Exist Purely To Destroy Magic."

"Hexgorger Skulls are the physical manifestation of Khorne's hatred of the arcane arts."
These two multi-part plastic 28mm scale models of Hexgorger Skulls can be bought as part of the Judgements Of Khorne boxed set by "Games Workshop", and "are the physical manifestation of Khorne’s hatred of the arcane arts." 'Summoned' by a "friendly Khorne Priest" during "the start of your Hero Phase" the miniatures are approximately 80mm tall from bottom to dome, and cause wizards to "subtract 2 from casting rolls... while they are within 12 inches" of either piece.

Initially undercoated with two layers of "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand, the skulls were heavily shaded using "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, and then enthusiastically dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand. The pair of 'spell-eaters' were then treated to a lighter dry-brush of "Vallejo" White before having their hollow interiors 'stained' with a watered-down 'soup' of "Citadel" Abaddon Black; which was poured in through one of the sockets and carefully swished around.
Bleeding Icon WIPs - The Judgement of Khorne has been spattered with lots of gore
Both pieces' blood streams were simply pigmented using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson. However, as I wanted to try and suggest that the gore occasionally splashes around the Hexgorgoer Skulls' eyes (and nose), some extra Carroburg Crimson was haphazardly applied over these areas too. Later I went back over these 'spoilt' parts with some more "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and White, delicately dry-brushing these colours over the spatter.

For the spiked skull I decided to follow the official paint-scheme by 'picking' the projections out with a little "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil. But preferred to simply apply a heavier dry-brush of "Vallejo" White to the tips of the horned skull. In addition, I used some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna as a base layer on both of the Khorne Judgements' foreheads, before carefully applying Gold, then later, "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, to the emblem of their Blood God.
Grey Knights WIPs - The space marines has been repaired (where bare plastic is showing)
Having had so much fun painting these Hexgorger Skulls, I have perhaps unsurprisingly quickly moved on to painting the next of the models from this "Age Of Sigmar" kit. The Bleeding Icon was somewhat easier to assemble than the skulls, predominantly due to it the two-part ensemble not resting its entire weight upon a couple of somewhat tiny water spurts, and resultantly has been able to withstand some far heavier dry-brushes (which usually provides a quicker finish).

Finally, inspired by some recent "Warhammer 40K" gaming, and the promise of much more to come, I have dug out five plastic Grey Knight space marines I once bought second-hand from a wargaming store for fifteen quid. Sadly, time has not been kind to a couple of the figures, as I have subsequently had to replace some broken weapons, and being pre-built I am stuck with them being an Interceptor Squad rather than my preferred Strike Squad. But I am still highly enthused by the team fighting off the indefinite advances of Bloodletters alongside my Tactical Squad of Black Templars...

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

"No Pity! No Remorse! No Fear!"

"Driven ever onward to righteous battle..."
This 28mm multi-part plastic model of an Adeptus Astartes is produced by “Games Workshop", and has been 'converted' using a single piece from the Nottingham-based company's Black Templars Chapter Upgrade kit to represent the "second founding chapter derived from the Imperial Fists." Probably assembled at least a decade ago, at a time when I first started seriously dabbling in "Warhammer 40K", this particular piece now means I can finally field a full ten-man Space Marine Tactical Squad on the tabletop, complete with both a Sergeant and Special Weapons (Flamer)/Heavy Weapons (Missile Launcher) option.

Initially undercoated "Citadel" Chaos Black, the figure had all of its armour's knee, elbow and wrist joints 'picked out' using a combination of Boltgun Metal and Badab Black, whilst his eyes were 'spotted' with Red Gore and (possibly) Baal Red. In order to break up the Black Templar's somewhat monotonous all-black colour scheme, I also applied some additional Boltgun Metal and Badab Black to certain areas of his backpack and Boltgun.
"Age Of Sigmar" WIPs - The Slaughterpriest and Skulltaker
Finally I applied some "Citadel" Skull White to the Adeptus Astartes' shoulder pads, and applied a decal of his Chapter, taken from the Space Marine Transfer Sheet to the defender of humanity's left pauldron. Unfortunately, I get the impression that the particular decal I used had possibly seen better days, as it quickly began 'breaking up' upon contact with the gloss varnished should pad. But I was easily able to later tidy it up with a dab of "Vallejo" White and "Citadel" Abaddon Black.

Sticking with "Games Workshop" plastic miniatures, I have continued making some progress on both the Slaughterpriest and Skulltaker models I have yet to finish before I can finally field a 750 point strong Blades of Khorne warband for "Age Of Sigmar". These two models are absolutely packed full of detail, so I am currently slowly working my way up each warrior, layering all their "Vallejo" Gold and Heavy Red areas as I go, so as to get them ready for some hearty washes of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade.
Gelatinous Cube WIPs - The monster's stomach partially-digested contents have been 'picked out'
Lastly, in an effort to clear a considerable area on my painting table, I have dusted down and pigmented an old Gelatinous Cube by "Reaper Miniatures". This translucent "Bones" model is absolutely crammed with the partially-digested, so I wanted to try and give its 'meal' some semblance of colour before it's completely engulfed in the monster's semi-transparent ooze.

Disappointingly, I am however, going to have to wait a few days before I am able to finish this classic "Dungeons & Dragons" creature as my usually trusty "Gale Force Nine" super-glue wasn't up to the job of sticking the two-piece cube together, despite using an elastic band to hold the ensemble together. As a result I am currently awaiting the arrival of some apoxy instead, which should not only make the ravenous blob whole, but subsequently allow me to fill in a few gaps I'm informed I'll still have once the model is complete.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Warhammer 40K Report: Black Templars Verses Bloodletters

This game was played using the "Warhammer 40,000" core rules by “Games Workshop” which can be found within the "First Strike" starter set, and predominantly followed the parameters stipulated for the scenario found inside the booklet's "Only War" chapter. However, in order to allow both sides to get to grips with the rules for the first time and avoid painting numerous models before a die had been thrown in anger, a 'House Rule' was utilised which made each figure a unit within its own right. This meant there would be no unit coherency, and the Morale Phase would affect the entire army rather than a simple squad of space marines or daemons of Khorne. In addition, instead of a player completing all of a turn's different phases (e.g. Moving, Shooting, Charging) before passing over control to their opponent, each side was instead allowed to 'activate' their units during each phase.

"The story so far… Whilst exploring some ruins on the planet Simbad Seven, a small unit of Black Templars have discovered the presence of an ancient relic near to a long abandoned plaza. Lead by Sergeant Munday, the space marines are just within striking distance of their prize when a scouting party of Bloodletters appear before them. Clearly the Blood God, Khorne, intends to steal for relic for himself..."
Totalling 91 points, the seven Black Templars were all armed with a Bolt pistol, Boltgun, Frag grenades and Krak grenades. Sergeant Munday was deployed within the ruins of Terrace Two, whilst three of his warriors were placed in Terrace One and the other three deposited in Terrace Three. Costing just 90 points, the ten-figure strong Bloodletter raiding party all carried Hellblades. Their leader, a Bloodreaper, and three of his red-skinned minions were inside Terrace Four, and were flanked by a trio more of their daemonic brethren in the Tower, as well as more Slaughter-kin in Terrace Five.

As per the scenario's stipulations, before the first turn began, one of the four objective markers [gargoyle statues] was randomly chosen. At the end of the battle it would be worth 6 victory points to the side who controlled it. Ordinarily, the other objective markers would have been removed from the battlefield, but on this occasion they remained on the tabletop as simple pieces of terrain. Objective Four was selected as the Ancient Relic. In addition, both Sergeant Munday and the Bloodreaper rolled the Warlord Trait "Tenacious Survivor" for the duration of the battle, meaning that they could "roll a dice each time" they lost a wound. "On a 6, the Warlord shrugs off the damage and does not lose a wound."
As the Bloodletters were "the Underdog" faction, they went first and decided to "Advance" west with the three lesser daemons emerging from the ruins of Terrace Five so as to reach the Ancient Relic [Objective Four]. To the north, the trio of Khorne's foot-soldiers in the tower seemed to be far more eager, with one actually speeding its way to the outskirts of the Fallen Statue. The Bloodreaper, accompanied by one of his brethren, jumped down from Terrace Four and scampered to the eastern edge of the Plaza, leaving the remaining two Slaughter-kin behind.

 Across the cityscape Sergeant Munday also advanced, leading one of the space marines from Terrace Three out towards the Plaza. The remaining two Adeptus Astartes rushed east towards the ruined Plinth, whilst the three Black Templars inside Terrace One merely lined up outside ready to gun down any daemon foolish enough to show their fork-tongued head.
Unhappily for the Bloodletters one of their number was indeed visible skulking beside the Fallen Statue, and Boltgun fire spat out across the deserted street. The Rapid Fire weapon was "within half the weapon's maximum range" meaning the space marine could double "the number of attacks" it made. Under such intense firepower even the blood-thirsty creature's "Daemonic" invulnerability save couldn't keep it alive, and it quickly died. The rest of the successful Black Templar's squad-mates tried to replicate his feat by firing upon the Bloodletter crouched beside the Bloodreaper. But the Emperor was not with them and they failed to fell the beast. Frustratingly, Sergeant Munday had sight of the Bloodreaper through a gap in the Plaza's ruins, but because he had 'Advanced' this turn he was unable to shoot (or Charge).

The Bloodletters by the Ancient Relic scrambled to the eastern edge of the Plinth, and watched as the Bloodreaper moved towards them using the wall of the Plaza as cover. Under the ever-watchful eye of the "Chosen of Khorne" who stood atop Terrace Four, the Slaughter-kin in the north scurried about the Fallen Statue looking to keep solid rock between them and the Boltguns of their foes.
Anticipating a charge, the two space marines by the Plinth moved back to the edge of Terrace Three, whilst the Black Templar accompanying Sergeant Munday made his way to a nearby gargoyle statue [formerly Objective Two]. Munday himself entered the Plaza looking to take a shot at the big bad Bloodreaper skulking about outside its ruined eastern wall if he could. Using his communicator he summoned two of the Adeptus Astartes outside Terrace One to hurry south down the street to Terrace Two.

Both the space marine stood beside a gargoyle statue and Sergeant Munday opened fire upon the Bloodreaper. But the "Warmonger of Khorne" was spared from death by the saving bonus it repeatedly received from the surrounding ruin. In return the southernmost Bloodletter by the Fallen Statue charged towards Munday and remarkably successfully reached its target. The creature was awarded "Unstoppable Ferocity", gaining +1 to its Strength and Attacks "until the end of the turn" and momentarily appeared about to slaughter the Black Templar's leader.

Disconcertingly however, the "Crimson Death" failed to land a blow upon the experienced space marine, and soon afterwards fell to the ground dead with a shattered skull, courtesy of a well-placed punch to the face. The Bloodletters survived the subsequent Morale Phase but despite currently holding the Ancient Relic had lost two of their number in the process, and were about to relinquish control of the centrally-placed Plaza to the Black Templars as well...

To be continued...

Saturday, 13 April 2019

"It's Called A Slyther."

"Mainly it roams the mine area at night in search of food."
This 28mm metal miniature of a "creatures native to Skaro" is produced by “Black Tree Design", and can be bought as Code DW128 Slyther from the manufacturer's "Doctor Who" miniatures range. Regarded "as a sort of pet" by the Black Dalek commanding the Dalek operation at the Bedfordshire mining operation, the monster was operated by Nick Evans and appeared in Terry Nation's November 1964 BBC Television story "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".

Despite being described as "large, black creatures", whose "skins were so thick that they were immune to the stings of the Varga plant on the planet Skaro", I've always personally envisaged the slow moving, tentacled horrors as being green in colour, so inevitably primed my model with two layers of "Vallejo" Heavy Green before drenching the figure in "Citadel" Nuln Oil. I then dry-brushed it with (more) Heavy Green and 'picked out' its eyes using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre and Strong Tone Quickshade by "The Army Painter".
Hexgorger Skulls WIPs - The Judgements of Khorne has been primed, shaded and dry-brushed
Stepping away from science fiction and plummeting headlong into the fantastical Mortal Realms of "Age Of Sigmar" by "Games Workshop", I have made some considerable progress on the first of my Judgements of Khorne models, namely the Hexgorger Skulls. Summoned by "violent vows against sorcerers" these two formidably-tall multi-piece plastic sculpts have been primed, washed and then patiently dry-brushed using "Vallejo" Iraqi Sand and White.

These 'magic hunters' have proved slightly problematic to paint due to my fear of snapping their gushing blood streams at the point where they create an impressively detailed splash. So I've been handling them far more delicately than I usually do for what in essence I view as pieces of terrain. Fortunately, the underwhelming joints, fastened with super-glue, seem to be holding out well under my paint-brush, and should hold out whilst I douse the pair in "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson before tidying the miniatures up.
Kelly Gang WIPs - The criminals have had their shoes and overcoats base layered
Long-time sufferers of this blog will be very aware that if a genre should suddenly catch my attention then I can be prone to dragging a figure (or five) straight to the top of my painting queue, and rather naughtily I have done just that with my Kelly Gang by "Great Escape Games". This marvellously armoured boxed set have really caught my imagination, especially when I thought they might make for a rather fun villainous gang of desperadoes for Mad Max to encounter during his post-apocalyptic Australian travels.

Resultantly, I have been applying a few base layers to the bushwhackers coats and shoes so as to get them ready for some serious shading. Somewhat disappointingly however, I have found a few of the models to be rather poorly cast in places, especially where their windcheaters meet their trousers, and have therefore had to do quite a bit of cleaning up to either remove some 'blobbing' or smooth down some jagged edging... 

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

"Salute" Loot 2019

"Dead Man's Hand" WIPs - John Bridges, the Scarred Man and Ned Kelly
This year's traditional trip to the ExCeL convention centre in Custom House, East London has once again added a few more baubles to my horde of metal, plastic and resin miniatures, as well as greatly widened my interest in yet another genre or two. In fact, one of the main reasons I enjoy attending this show is that some manufacturer somewhere will throw me a real ‘curve ball’ and before I know it, I’ll have bought heavily into a new game system I hadn’t previously even heard of.

Fortunately, financially-wise at least, that didn’t quite happen during “Salute” 2019, but I did still walk away with a few Wild West miniatures by “Great Escape Games” for their “Dead Man’s Hand” rule-set. Even though I don’t currently have any particular intention in purchasing and playing the 28mm skirmish game itself, I did find it impossibly hard to resist purchasing a box of models disconcertingly based upon an Undead Magnificent Seven.
"Time Robbers" WIPs - The Minotaur and two models from the Ultimate Evil set
Obviously I needed some opposition for the skull-headed Malevolent Seven, and spotted amongst the stall’s single figure blister packs an excellent proxy for “DC Comics” Jonah Hex in the guise of the Scarred Man and Rooster Cogburn with John Bridges (albeit I would have much preferred one resembling John Wayne’s original incarnation). In addition, whilst searching this excellent range I also spotted a boxed set featuring Ned Kelly’s formidably armoured lawbreakers. The bucket-wearing Australian bushranger has always been a favourite Wild West villain of mine, even if he did his shooting on the other side of the world, so there was no way I could resist picking his gang up as well…

A couple of years ago at “Salute” 2016 “Northumbrian Tin Soldier” caught me completely off-guard with half a dozen 28mm white metal "Time Robbers” based upon the band of dwarves from the 1981 motion picture "Time Bandits". Rather embarrassingly, apart from basing and priming the figures I have never touched them again, however that may now all change, as at this show the Tyne & Wear-based manufacturer’s captured my imagination once again by serving up both an Ultimate Evil set of four miniatures, alongside a blister comprising of Agamemnon and a giant Minotaur.
"Dust Tactics" WIPs - Three members of the Cultist Fire Squad
Quite possibly one of my most unexpected buys of “Salute” 2019 however, came from a chance encounter with “Dust Studio”, who I had totally forgotten about following a rather painful “Kickstarter” experience way back in 2014. I’d always been a big fan of “Dust Tactics” up until this point, and at the time pledged very enthusiastically for all things “Operation Babylon”. Sadly, ‘behind-the-scene’ bust-ups over backer rewards seemed to stall the distribution of my goodies for an eternity, and ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth for the genre.

To my utter astonishment though, a quick look at the “Dust Studio” display cabinet was all that was needed to immediately reignite my enthusiasm back up as I saw the Hong Kong-headquartered company have recently introduced a Cthulhu Mythos faction into their 1947 A.D. universe, and crammed it with just the sort of baddies one would expect to see in an Indiana Jones or Ray Harryhausen motion picture. Resultantly, I couldn’t stop myself from picking up a box of unassembled Cultist Fire Squad figures, Mi-Go Raiders and (more) Nazi killer Gorilla Squad members, as well as later digging out my dusty old collection of miniatures in anticipation for a painting frenzy…

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Judgements Of Khorne" April 2019

"Bloodletters are Khorne's foot soldiers."
What with the Ninth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge concluding and the “Salute 2019” show having just taken place, this month’s themed attempt to whittle away at my ‘lead mountain’ is already something of a lost cause to be honest as I ended up purchasing far more at the “South London Warlords” one-day event than I could possibly paint within the space of four mere weeks. To that end, I’ve decided to instead predominantly focus upon a number of scenic pieces, namely the recently released Judgements Of Khorne by “Games Workshop”, whilst all the while prepping, basing and priming some of my “Salute” swag.

As a result I aim to expand my current 500-point strong Blades Of Khorne Army for “Age Of Sigmar” to 750 points, incorporating the Wrath-axe, Bleeding Icon and Hexgorger Skulls into my force, along with the Slaughterpriest needed to summon them. Unfortunately, having assembled the fourteen-piece plastic kit which provides the “Blood God’s answer to endless spells” it has become abundantly clear to me that some of the pieces should probably be painted as separate parts as opposed to a single piece.
Blades Of Khorne WIPs - A Slaughterpriest and the Hexgorger Skulls
The eye sockets belonging to the Hexgorger Skulls for example, are impossible to properly darken as the marvellous sculpts are actually hollow and even the thinnest of my brushes can’t reach all of the nooks and crannies found inside. This means I’ve had to make a watered-down “Citadel” Abaddon Black soup with which to pour through the eyes and then swirl around inside in the hope of it at least providing the grey plastic with a minimal undercoat.

The Wraith-axe is similarly problematic in that it’s now near impossible to reach anywhere close to the bottom of its axe-head or ‘pick out’ several of the many skulls dotted about its flaming shroud. Luckily I don’t think this will too much of a problem though, as for my own sanity’s sake I’m hoping that a lot of the sculpt’s intricate detail will simply be ‘highlighted’ with a little dry-brushing here and there.
Judgements Of Khorne WIPs - The Wraith-axe and Bleeding Icon
Finally, I have assembled the Slaughterpriest with Hackblade and Wrath-hammer who will be conjuring up these bloody nightmares upon my battlefield. “Games Workshop” currently produce a formidably-tall demagogue, but luckily I found an alternative miniature from my own plastic pile, that as memory serves was given out free with a copy of the September 2016 issue of their “White Dwarf” monthly magazine.

Of course, I still need to put the finishing touches to the 500-point Khorne warhost I began painting a couple of months ago. However, having been enthused by the arrival of my Judgements Of Khorne I have now completed the last three of the Bloodletters required to field a twenty-model strong unit of the chaos daemons on the tabletop. This means I just need to finish my force’s general, Skulltaker, before fully setting my sights upon the Blood God’s Judgements and his Slaughterpriest.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

"With These New Battle Droids We Built For You..."

"...You'll have the finest army in the galaxy."
These four 28mm scale plastic "Wizards Of The Coast" Super Battle Droids are all miniature number 32 from the company's now out of production "Star Wars Miniatures" range. "An advanced battle droid used by the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars", these B2 super battle droids made their first appearance during the Battle of Geonosis in George Lucas’ 2002 American epic space opera film “Attack Of The Clones”.

Having re-based each of models onto 25mm round bases, they were all primed with a coat of "Citadel" Abaddon Black and subsequently treated to two layers of Leadbelcher. I then heavily washed them with "Citadel" Nuln Oil before dry-brushing them with (more) Leadbelcher.
Aztec Style Serpent Statue WIPs - The totem has been primed, washed and dry-brushed
Initially, I was actually tempted to leave the Baktoid Combat Automata-built robots at that, but having looked more closely at some of their 'on-screen' counterparts, took the opportunity to significantly darken their waists with a further application of "Citadel" Nuln Oil, and 'spot' a light-emitting diode on their chest using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Red and "Citadel" Carroburg Crimson.

In addition to pigmenting a quartet of Super Battle Droids I have also been making some steady progress on a piece of scenery by "Wargames Terrain Workshop" for my "Conan - Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of" project. Dave Stone's formidable-looking Aztec Style Serpent Statue should definitely fit the bill for any scenarios featuring Serpent Men or hooded cultists as it smacks of the Hyborian Age's Stygian serpent-god Set. 
Skulltaker WIPs - The Herald of Khorne is slowly having all his intricate details 'picked out'.
 I've actually settled down to work on this piece a few times in the past, but on this occasion have finally managed to get past its simple "Vallejo" Dark Grey undercoat by using the formidably-sized totem as a testing site for my recently arrived "Citadel" Small Layer Brush; which came courtesy of "Hachette Partworks Limited" and their "Warhammer 40,000: Conquest" magazine. I still haven't made my mind up as to whether I'll actually 'fork out' and buy any more of the "hand made, with pure sable bristles" brushes, as I still much prefer my ever-trusty "Winsor & Newton" University series when it comes to applying the fine black detail lines I tend to rely upon with my miniature painting.

Lastly, I have made some significant inroads on my "Finecast" model of Skulltaker for "Age Of Sigmar". Most of the work on the Bloodletter's numerous skull trophies has been completed, and I now just need to patiently work my way up the miniature, tidying up the legendary Herald of Khorne's significant gold trim as I go...