Duel Time

So this is the reason I’ve been a little bit quiet recently. I entered The Fang painting competition, which is the Games Workshop painting competition for Northern Europe (they’ve killed the link to it unfortunately). I built a duel and, due to there only being two entries in that category in my local store (Den Haag), I got through to the final which was in Amsterdam. So I dragged my boyfriend to Amsterdam yesterday for the finals. My duel didn’t get anything, which I was pretty much what I had expected, as I’m a fairly novice painter still (it’s been less than two years since I first picked up a paintbrush and started hobbying) and there were some really awesome models in the category (I think the other duel from my local store got a prize). Still, it’s experience and the scene was pretty good fun to make.

So, here it is. I wanted to give it a bit of a narrative, a reason for the duel. It’s supposed to be the end of the chase and the only way out for either side is the death of the other.

duel 1

duel 2

duel 3

duel 4

duel 5

duel 3

The Night Lord is the Aspiring Champion model. I removed the knife and reposed the arm, before building the severed head using a head from the Space Wolf pack box. I shaved the hair off with a scalpel and removed the bottom, before adding the flaps of skin and the exposed bit of bone and the replacement hair using green stuff. I added the tentacles and the scraps of cloth and parchment using green stuff, partly to hid the fact that the shoulder pad turned out to be not poseable.

Night Lord front


For his opponent I used a Tactical Marine with Death Company running legs with the Blood Angels insignia removed. For his dead buddy I used Tac Marine bits and biker arms. I built the bottom of the spike first round a pinning rod. I pinned the model in place and then built the top of the spike and the ripped armour using green stuff and I also used green stuff for the stump. The blood is mostly just Blood Red and Red Gore (Evil Sunz Scarlet and Wazdakka Red) with a spot of Trollslayer orange and a lot of Bloodletter Glaze. I then used a little more of the glaze mixed with water effects to make it look more liquid.

duel 6

duel 7

I built the base round cardboard tubes and plasticard. I used Milliput rather than green stuff as the latter is not really suitable for building at this scale. The elasticity of green stuff, which is what makes it great for fine details really works against it here as it’s harder to get flat, smooth surfaces in-situ. The base itself is a large oval base from Games Workshop and I used Middenland Tufts for the grass. I used water effects for the water (surprisingly).

duel 8

I hope that you enjoy this model as much as I enjoyed building it! If you get the chance to see pictures of the winning entries in The Fang competition, please do, as there were some absolutely amazing models there (and I’m still green with envy at some of the great paint jobs).


The Joy of Kitbash part 2: Kitting things out

One thing I found very early on when I started to hobby was that you fill up a bits box very fast and usually with the things that you do not need! I have bags of spare heads, powerfists and plasma pistols, but never enough legs or backpacks or shoulder pads. Or rather, I have tons of shoulder pads that I can’t use for my army because they are for Ragnar Blackmane’s Great Company or have the pack markings already moulded in place. A while back I found the old Grey Hunters kit for sale in a local shop so I invested in one. It’s basically a Tac Marine set with an added upgrade frame, but it’s given me a few more bits to use. You can still get the accessories sprue from Games Workshop and while the sculpting is a little bit cruder than in the new Space Wolves Pack kit, it does contain some nice bits, in particular, a different Space Wolf backpack and a nice variety of chestplates.

Of course there are other Space Wolves kits. The Space Wolf Terminator kit contains far more bits than you can use, and I have frequently used bits from that elsewhere. I have to admit that I’ve not looked closely at Thunderwolf Cavalry. The kit looks lovely but I find the whole idea of Space Marines riding giant wolves a little bit silly.

The Space Wolf kits are woefully undersupplied when it comes to pouches and holstered weapons (and meltaguns and flamers). Now I like pouches and things on my guys, so this is where other marine kits such as the Devastator and Tactical Squad kits come in really handy. One of my favourite finds though is the Ravenwing Bikers Kit as, not only is it the cheapest way to get bikes, it also contains two sprues of upgrades, some of which can happily be appropriated for Space Wolves.

Another kit that I’ve used is the Iron Hands upgrade kit. I’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship with this kit as the first one was so terribly cast that it had to go back to the shop and the second one is still a bit bubbly in places. However, the details on the kit itself are really good and the undercuts, something which can’t seem to be done on the plastic kits, are great. I’d be tempted to use a Forgeworld kit in future for bionic limbs though.

So, here are some examples of a few kitbashes using parts from the kits above. With the exception of a green stuff strap on the meltagun, these three guys are pure kitbashes. I’m aiming for a bit of a chewed up look with these guys (the back-story is that they’ve met one Tyranid too many) and I wanted to use helmets on the models while keeping each guy unique.

grey hunters front

The guy on the left has legs from the Iron Hands kit, chestpiece and bolter from the Space Wolves Pack kit, backpack from the Space Wolves accessories sprue and a helmet from the Ravenwing Bikers kit (with the Dark Angels insignia removed). I really liked the Ravenwing helmet and I really wanted to use it on a model.

The other two guys are less obviously kitbashed. The middle guy has a Tactical Marine chestpiece and a meltagun from the accessories sprue, while the third model has a helmet from the Devastator Squad kit, a Tactical Marine backpack and a knife from the accessories sprue.

grey hunters back

Hopefully these examples show how a kitbash can be everything from adding a knife or a pouch to give a finishing touch to a model, or a complete mash-up of bits from the box.

I’m going to move on to looking at the how of kitbashing rather than the why in the rest of this series but I hope that this inspires you to dig through your bits box and start kitbashing.


The Joy of Kitbash part1: Originality and Necessity

Now I have to admit that I love kitbashing. I like my models to be unique, which is fairly straightforward with Space Wolves. If I want certain units: Swift Claws, Long Fangs etc. then it’s also necessary.

Coots, the Kitbashers of the bird world sometimes get a bit carried away with adding more and unusual bits to their nests!

Coots, the Kitbashers of the bird world sometimes get a bit carried away with adding more and unusual bits to their nests!

The big advantage with making individual Space Wolves compared to Tactical Marines is in the kits. The Space Wolves pack has a wider range of poses for legs, a large choice of heads and a fair amount of choice in weapons and accessories. I bought a Tac Marine box the other day and I was rather shocked to realise that the legs all have the same pose! Of course, it is possible to repose bits and I’ll talk about that in another post, but it’s nice to not have to do so.

Of course, by the third box of guys, there is a risk of them starting to look a bit samey, even with a bits filled kit like the Space Wolf Pack box, this is when kitbashing for originality becomes fun.

In this series of posts I’m going to look at kitbashing both for originality and necessity. Technically there will also be green stuff work involved, so I guess that it’s really conversion rather than kitbashing, but why let accuracy get in the way of a good title! I’m going to look at two cases, both Space Wolves. For originality I am going to look at building troops, Grey Hunters and Blood Claws, whereas for necessity I am going to look at Long Fangs and Swift Claw Bikers.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of kitbashing? Well, I suppose the main advantage is originality. Even a simple head swap can lead to a unique looking miniature, while by playing around a bit you can really customise your models to fit your theme. It’s why I kitbash and it’s also why I like to use freehand. It means that my Space Wolves are not yet more members of Ragnar Blackmane’s Company, they are of Ælfhere Great-Paw’s Great Company, with all the fluff and heraldry that I can think of! The second advantage is that of cost. To buy Ulrik the Slayer or the Rune Priest model from Games Workshop is €16 in Europe, to build one using bits from the Space Wolves Pack kit and a bit of green stuff is around €3 or €4.

The time cost though can be a disadvantage, as a more involved conversion, involving green stuff or reposing can take a considerable amount of time, particularly if you have to wait for things to set. Also, the more detailed and involved the kitbash becomes, the more difficult it becomes, whereas I’ve found that most of the troop-sized models that I’ve built as suggested are fairly straightforward. There is also a risk that parts do not fit together well and bodging or green-stuffing is required to hide an unsightly join. If you’re going for a uniform look, you need to be certain that you have all the bits to make every guy look the same. If one guy in your Ultramarine squad has Death Company legs, while another seems to have borrowed his armour from a Space Wolf, well, things don’t really fit well any more. There’s also a risk that if you go too far the model becomes unrepresentative of the unit type or is no longer game legal: i.e. it is too big or too small or has the wrong type of weapons.

However, while the disadvantages list does seem longer, I think the advantages carry more weight, as most of the disadvantages can be countered by basic planning or experience and hopefully in this series I can show you a few tips and tricks to make kitbashes and conversions a little bit easier.

I’m going to stick to using Games Workshop products in this series. There are plenty of nice conversion bits out there on the web, but if I manage to get a game in it is at a GW store, so I really should try to stick to GW parts. Also, they are fairly easy to get hold of, and I have plenty of bits in my box. Finally, I don’t really have much experience with third party bits, so I feel that I can’t really talk about them.

I guess that I should finally apologise for the lack of posts over the last month. I was preparing a duel for a painting competition (and more about that after next Saturday). I have some free time again now but I was painting and modelling until the day that I entered it so I haven’t really had enough energy to blog, or any time to do much “fun” painting. I am going to try to get back on schedule now and write up a few posts in advance, so I can fill in any gaps, so hopefully I will be back again on Tuesday with another post.