Zone Morktalis part 2: Marking Up the Squares

We were finally connected to the internet last night. One thing for not having internet was that I had one less distraction, which has meant that I have had plenty of time time to work on Zone Morktalis. So far I have marked up the squares and started on the building. So far the project looks like this:

zone_morktalis_layout

I marked the tiles into 1” squares (only realising 12 tiles in that I could have got away with 2”). I then mocked up the layout using paper.

I’m currently building up the walls on the tiles, doing one of each type to start with, before working more systematically once I have a good idea of what I can (or cannot) do with each tile type. I have six different designs in total to make up 16 tiles (with two blank ones spare for accidents or expansions). I am going to do the roofs of the sections separately as I want to add things to customise each tile, so that there are rooms rather than just walls. It’s this that’s stretching my imagination a bit far. One advantage of the Forgeworld shiny version is that Imperial architecture is meant to be samey and the impression of kilometre after kilometre of corridors is as appropriate there as in an old Doctor Who episode. One thing you can say about Orks, they are not samey, so, I’m going to have to add some sense of “building” to the tiles. So far I’m thinking about adding Meks’ workshops, squig pens and memora… souv… shiny stuff shops, but that’s only three tiles out of sixteen, so I’m going to have to keep thinking.

For now though, I’m building up the skeleton of each tile. My ultimate goal is 16 built and painted tiles. Knowing me though, I am going to have a series of lesser goals so that there is something ready in time for Christmas that does not involve me painting madly late into the night (as in the past two (sorry, three) times I tried being clever with presents). The first aim is to build and undercoat one of each of the six different tile types to give a 3” by 2” area. Then to add three more tiles to get a 3” by 3” before building a 4” by 4” board. Hopefully, once I get properly started, I can get a production line going, moving between tiles as they dry, so that I could be working on three or more at once.

I’ve got a busy weekend coming up but I’m hoping to have an update in a few days! If you’ve missed the first Zone Morktalis post you can find it here.

Until next time!

L.o.F.

Three Inquisitorial Henchmen WIP

Technically it’s two henchmen and a counts-as Ordo Malleus Inquisitor but it’ll do. One thing that annoys me slightly about the Inquisition codex is a slight lack of flexibility in the units, there is no Interrogator, no tech priest, no arbite etc., all characters that tend to turn up fairly frequently in fiction involving the Inquisition, think of Amberly Vail’s retinue in the Ciaphas Cain books or Eisenhorn’s people in the books by Dan Abnett.

The codex is fairly flexible, you can do a lot with the various different options, but there’s going to be a fair bit of “counts-as” and less WYSIWYG about these guys I’m afraid, particularly as I wrote the back story and then read the codex!

henchmen_unpainted

Interrogator with sniper rifle/ hellrifle

I felt that my Inquisitor needed a trustworthy friend with some skill with a sniper rifle so here he is. Unfortunately, nothing that the henchmen can take goes anywhere near to approximating a sniper rifle, so I had to look at the Ordo Malleus Inquisitor and the Hellrifle, which has the range if not all of the same effects.

This kitbash, as with all the ones here uses several bits bought at a sale. The rifle came from the Cadian Command Squad kit as far as I could tell, unfortunately, I forgot he needed two arms, so I had to build up the left one round a spare Helion arm that I’d used the hand off. The head is from the Wood Elf Wildwood Rangers kit and the torso was another sale item and came, I think, from the Empire Free Company kit. His legs are Eldar Guardian ones (one day I’ll actually build a Guardian from the box, I’m sure) and his sword is a combat knife from the Space Wolves upgrade sprue.

Crusader/Arbite

He’s stretching it a bit as he should have a sword not a maul but the Crusader was as close as I could get. He has a space marine scout’s head (weirdly there isn’t much size difference in heads), an Empire Free Company torso, Dark Elf Cold One Knight arms (I had some spare) and I altered the one holding the mace with an aquilla from the Space Marine Tactical Marine box. The legs are from a guardsman and the storm shield comes from the Space Wolves Pack box with the wolf skull replaced by an =I=.

techpriest_unpainted

Techpriest/Jokaero

This was the biggest stretch and the most complex conversion. I read around the fluff and liked the idea of the Mechanicus Logis as a character. I didn’t want a Xenos member in the retinue so I replaced the Jokaero with this. I used an Elder Guardian as the skeleton, with a Helion head (I’m going to paint those cornrows silver). I picked up the Empire Celestial Hurricanum telescope and sun type thingy at the same time as the torsos and sniper rifle. The servo skulls came from the Devastator kit and the satellite dish thingy came from the Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer upgrade kit with a random skull added. Then I got busy with the green stuff.

I need to base and paint these three models but I really need another henchman before I can use the detachment. I’ve inherited some guardsmen off my brother so I’ve got some torsos and legs to use if I want. However I may have to do some shopping for torsos and accessories. I’ll of course post about them whenever I get them finished!

L.o.F.

The next “weekly” update

OK, I lost track of time…

After my last post I went on a painting blitz. I didn’t get anything Finished” in time for Haven but I did get it to a tabletop quality- the basic colours on and neat and the models glued on to a base. I’m going to finish them sooner rather than later I hope, because they were nice models and they served me well.

Since then I’ve been doing little things, currently I’m painting up two little somethings for a blog post and waiting for the right conditions to undercoat two kitbashed guys for my Inquisitorial warband. I think that they’ll need a post to themselves though as they’re fairly mixed up in terms of kits and conversions and I want to keep this post fairly brief.

My plans for the next “week” are to finish off the two models for my next blog post and then work on something particular, either my Wolves or my Guardian Jetbikers, I haven’t decided yet.

kitbashed_Long_FangWhile I was painting up my guys the other week I noticed something that I hadn’t realised when the new Space Wolves book came out, namely that most (all but 3) of my Long Fangs are no longer game legal. The issue is that in the old book Long Fangs came with combat blade and bolt pistol and threw away the pistol, whereas now they come with bolter and bolt pistol abd replace their bolter, meaning that all the guys I have holding sharp pointy things are no longer WYSIWYG. The older sculpts are less of an issue as they only wield the ubiquitous combat knife, but this guy (who now has a coat of paint but no up to date photo) has a very illegal chainsword. Now, I really like this conversion and I like the chainsword but I’d rather have a model I can use, so, do I replace the sword or not? And if so, do I risk giving him a bolt pistol? I’m really not sure.

But that’s it for now. Until next time!

L.o.F.

A brief update

So, a few weeks back I moved back to the UK and my laptop promptly broke. I’m currently making do with my ancient and unwieldy tablet which is not particularly good considering that it has no word processing capacity and the multitouch software is a little bit buggy. This meant that the two posts I tried to write using it were binned rather than posted, so I’m writing this on my Mum’s laptop. It’s kind of a pity that I’m disconnected at the moment as there’s so much going on.

First of all the Stormclaw boxset is out and I’ve split a set with my boyfriend. I’ve not seen it yet, seeing as it was sent to him and I’m currently at my folks’ house, but I’m looking forward to it, I need something to encourage me to paint more Space Wolves. The other thing that looks like it might encourage me to paint more Wolves are the current rumours that a new codex is coming very soon. I enjoy playing with my Space Wolves but I need a little new inspiration for models to paint.

Secondly, I’m back building and painting more Exodites. I spent some leftover Christmas money on a couple of kits and I’ve been busy using them for some conversions. I’ll post a little taster here. Sorry for the picture quality, again, I’m missing my laptop. The guy on the Cold One is going to be an Autarch on “Jetbike”. He deserves a post to himself when he’s finished so I’m not going into detail now but he was an impulse build after I flicked through the Eldar Codex and read the description of their wargear and found a use for one of the rather lovely Wood Elf Eternal Guard shields.  The other guy is going to be a Guardian Jetbike rider, although I’ve used mostly Helion bits to build him. I like the fluff that says that Guardians are everyday Eldar from other paths who have answered the call to arms, so I’ve tried to make him look a little less staid and polished than his kin in the Shining Spears. The Terradon Riders kit also screams out for a less rigid rider than the Cold One Knights kit.

exodite progress

Finally, I should encourage you all to go my boyfriend’s new blog at www.redsquigracing.com. He’s my usual Orky opponent as regular readers might already know, and he’s finally set up a blog for his Orks, so go and take a read.

Hopefully I’ll have my computer back in a couple of weeks (with a brand new hard drive- ouch) and I’ll be able to get back into posting with the renewed vim and vigour, I’ve frankly been missing recently.  Until then!

L.o.F.

Raagh! (Or a Shining Spear Exarch)

shining exarch FL

This guy took me a lot longer than I had hoped, partly because I went a bit overboard with the conversion. I won the Dark Elf War Hydra tail in a painting contest at my local GW a few months back. The prize was three bits from the box and as soon as I saw the tail I knew what I wanted to do with it. It took a fair bit of effort to get it to fit on a Cold One model and I didn’t entirely succeed but it makes for a larger (much larger) and more powerful looking mount for what (unless he gets a promotion) is currently my Shining Spears Exarch for my dinosaur riding Exodites. I had to extend the neck of the Cold One with some green stuff in order to balance the model. The rider himself has Dark Elf Cold One Knight’s legs (I broke the Shining Spears ones), a Shining Spear torso and sword arm, a Dark Eldar Hellion head and an Eldar Guardian left arm.

shining exarch neck tail

The feathered cloak is green stuff and was built by using a sharp modelling tool to rip and cut into soft green stuff to make a feathering effect layer by layer from the outside in on top of the basic cloak base. Sorry for the quality of the photos of the unpainted model. I obviously can’t go back and take better ones and I didn’t realise just how bad they were at the time!

shining exarch green stuff

I used the same paint scheme as for my other Shining Spear so I won’t go over it again. For the cloak I started with Kantor Blue, washing with Drakenhof Nightshade and highlighting with Macragge Blue, Hawk Turquoise (Sotek Green), Ice Blue (Lothern Blue), Space Wolves Grey (Fenrisian Grey) and Skull White (White Scar).

shining exarch side

shining exarch BR

I based the model using a piece of cardboard tube from a roll of clingfilm for the skeleton of my tree chunk with a crushed cinnamon stick as bark. I used Middenland Tufts for the longgrass and liberal amounts of Lustrian Undergrowth and Agrellan Earth to add texture. The spider came from the Deathworld’s basing kit. I love the new Nurgle’s Rot paint and I used a fair bit to add slime to the model, particularly as my water effects stuff has dried up.

shining exarch FR

shining exarch F

Anyhow, that’s one more model done for my Exodites. I’m going to paint a few marines next I think for a change of pace!

L.o.F.

Bolter Time

My wrist is still bad which means that I haven’t been able to do much hobbying recently. I built a Space Marine the other day and instantly regretted it. I was planning on putting together the start of a codex Space Marine killteam based on the Marines Malevolent but if cutting and gluing sprues is enough to muck up my wrist, I can’t do all the conversion work I was planning with these guys. I did get a couple of bolter conversions done. I need to splurge out on some Forgeworld bits but part of me objects to buying MORE bolters when I have bags of them already. I made the box mag boltgun by cutting off the magazine from a Space Wolves Terminator Storm Bolter (I have more than enough of those) and replacing the sickle shaped magazine with it. I still need to drill out the barrel but I’m waiting until I can reliably do it and still be able to paint afterwards!

box mag

One thing with Marines Malevolent is that due to their piratical and impoverished nature, I can use all my castoff bits from other projects. I’ve got a few old style backpacks that I’m going to use and I can raid bits from the Space Wolves and Ravenwing sprues that I have. It’s a small scale project but one which I hope will be a change of pace to my Eldar and Wolves.

Exodite Shining Spear

I took a decisive step forward with my Eldar Exodites and built and painted my first Shining Spear. I love the cover of Promethean Sun and the dinosaur riding Eldar on the front and so I’ve used that idea for my Shining Spears.

shining spear 1 front

I used the Dark Elf Cold Ones Knights kit for the mount and the head. The rest of the model was from the Shining Spear upgrade kit.

I removed the head from the Shining Spear model and the controls from the left hand. I have to admit that I was glad that the model was Finecast (shocking I know!). The soft resin is much easier to cut than plastic or metal and I could adjust how the rider sat on the dinosaur with judicious blasts of the hairdryer! I can cope with bubbles and flash if I can save several days of work elsewhere!

shining spear 1 left

I used green stuff to bring the neck and torso together and for the scrap of hide on the left shoulder.

For the base I used some scraps of cinnamon sticks from and old packet in my kitchen for the logs and some bits of a fake plant for the leaves. Once I had painted the model I used Water Effects mixed with either Devlan Mud, Guilliman Blue + Waywatcher Green or Waywatcher Green for the more liquid parts of the base and some Middenland Tufts for the clumps of grass.

shining spear 1 back

I’m using autumn colours on this army so, having painted the dinosaur green, I used reds and oranges on the model. I wanted to make the Shining Spears a bit different from the Rangers, so I used the orange to break up the red.

shining spear 1 right

I need to build the rest of these guys now and finish the Rangers. While the Shining Spear was great fun to paint (even if the scales were a bit wearing after a while) he took more than a day to build so I guess that it will take me some time to do the other three. Still, this project isn’t so much about speed but about building and converting an army that is a bit different and which allows me to be a little bit creative.

L.o.F.

The Joy of Kitbash part 4: Reposing Limbs

For the penultimate part of this series, I’m going to look at something a bit more complex, reposing limbs. It’s something that I’ve done a few times and it can be very, very frustrating. On the other hand, it gives a unique pose. I have to admit that the example shown here was not my most successful attempt, I used Tactical Marine legs (as that’s what I’ve got at the moment) rather than the running legs available in the Space Wolves Pack kit, and not only is the Tac Marine pose a bit weird it’s a bit of a nightmare to repose as I had to adjust the ankle as well as the knee and hip joints. I suppose that my first bit of advice then is to try to pick a limb (or set of limbs) that is as close in shape to the final pose as possible.

The second thing to look at is the material from which the limb is made. Oddly enough, given its reputation, Finecast is easier to work with than plastic in this case as limited reposing can be done using a hairdryer. All you need to do is heat the limb for about thirty seconds (hairdryers vary so I’d recommend heating then testing every few seconds) before gently bending them to the right shape. I had to repose a set of Shining Spear legs this weekend and it took seconds in order to pose them. If they had been plastic it would either have relied on judicious shaving of limbs and mount or several hours with wire and scalpel and if they had been metal, well, I’d probably have ended up sitting on the floor rocking back and fore trying to figure out how to jam them together.

For this article I’m going to start with reposing legs. I’ve done this a few times now (well, at least four) and it’s fairly straightforward, it just requires a bit of work, some planning and a lot of patience. As I play a Space Marine variant army I’m going to use Marine legs to do this. It should also be possible to do something similar with other races but you’ll need to think about how you’ll model the joints as power armour has convenient corrugated bits at the joints (can’t think of the proper name for them right now). You will need:

  • a set of Tactical Marine legs. Other variants are fine. In fact it’s probably easier to use running legs as I did for my Rune Priest and this Swiftclaw.

unposed legs

  • Green stuff
  • Some fairly stiff wire (~1mm in diameter)
  • A scalpel
  • modelling tool with a pointy end
  • file
  • wire clippers
  • drill bit (slightly wider in diameter than the wire)
  • Super Glue
  • A plaster/bandaid (at least if you’re me)

The first job is to stop and think. I’m serious, honest! Before you cut anything you need to consider what pose you’re planning and how you’re going to do it. Are you just shifting one knee so that the guy is striking a heroic pose or are you going to have to move every joint? Is the pose anatomically possible? I have been known to try and pose heroically on a chair to try and figure out what I’m about to do. Fortunately my boyfriend hasn’t taken any photos as I don’t do heroic particularly well!

The next job is to cut up the set of legs. I use a scalpel rather than a razor saw as it removes less material (if somewhat more finger). If you’re going to be doing a lot of joints, you may want to label them.

reposed legs cut up

Then you need to drill through the cut up pieces. If a piece needs connecting at both ends (such as the thighs of the example), drill all the way through, otherwise drill deep enough into the plastic to hold the wire securely just as you would when pinning.

Then thread the wire through, gluing it in place. Leave enough space at the joints so that you keep the model’s proportions once it is posed. Using wire lets you repose the model a bit, so that you can get it just right.

reposed legs wired

Next up, you need to use green stuff to fill in the joints and tidy up any mess you made when cutting up the model, such as with the ankles on the example legs, which had to be dug out rather than cut cleanly. Please take your time when doing this. Do one joint at a time and wait for it to be set before starting the next one. I’m serious. If you store mixed together green stuff in the freezer it will stay soft for about a day and a half. Simply warm it in your hands for a minute or so before using.

reposed legs greenstuffed

File or sand any rough edges and your reposed legs should be ready to use. I’ve used the same technique to repose arms too.

reposed legs and arms

A simpler way to repose arms is to play with how the limb connects to the body. You can trim and file the joint before filling in any gaps with green stuff. It’s much simpler than making a new joint but is only really suitable if you just want to tweak a pose slightly.

reposed bloodclaw

There’ll be one last post in this series but I need to find the bits, something which is turning out to be harder than I thought.

L.o.F.

The Joy of Kitbash part 3: Weapon Swaps

So, today I’m going to talk about weapon swaps. Sometimes the weapon that a model wants to use is simply unavailable or requires buying a kit for just one bit. Perhaps the way the weapon is posed is not quite right or you want a WYSIWYG model and your model doesn’t have quite enough hands. If this is the case then it’s time for a weapon swap.

Some weapon swaps are trivial, for instance in building Long Fangs from the Devastator kit or giving a model a sword or pistol from another kit. It gets a little more complicated when you need a weapon for which you don’t have the kit or want to pose the weapon in a different way. I’m going to cover reposing of limbs in a later post so today I’m just going to look at what the limbs are holding.

So what should we consider when doing a weapon swap on a model? The first thing to think about is how the weapon is going to be fixed to the model. Is it in the model’s hand ready to use or is it stowed? Is it one-handed or two handed? If it’s stowed, does it need strapping down in any way? If it’s in use, is it in one hand or two? In which direction do you want it to point?

Below are some examples of stowed weapons. The sword that the Wolf Scout is carrying is a cut down power sword from the Space Wolves pack (representing a combat knife). I had to build up the hilt with green stuff and I added the chain to make it look as if it were strapped on. I also built the green stuff fur cloak around the blade, so that the sword blends in with the rest of the model. The meltagun on the first Grey Hunter is slung from a sling made from green stuff. Here, I just glued the meltagun to the thigh of the model and used two thin bits of greenstuff to make it seem as if it is slung from a strap over his shoulder (don’t you just love big shoulder pads sometimes). The final stowed weapon is the simplest. I just glued the bolt gun to the backpack to represent a weapon that is maglocked in place.

stowed weapons

So, stowed weapons are fairly straightforward. Now we come to weapons modelled as if they’re in use. The trivial example (although it doesn’t feel like that when you’re juggling arms and bolters) is swapping out a bolt gun for a plasma or melta gun. A more dynamic pose can be made by having the model wield the weapon one-handed. For the flamer wielding Blood Claw below I used a plasma pistol wielding arm from the Space Wolves Pack box and a flamer from the Tactical Marine box (1). I trimmed off the plasma pistol using a scalpel and trimmed the grip area of the flamer to match (2). Then it was straightforward to glue the two pieces together(3-4).

Flamer diagram jpg

Then there are weapons and items that do not exist, for example the only Space Wolf Crozius Arcanum comes with Ulrik the Slayer. Fortunately it’s very easy to make your own. All you need is a thunder hammer (of which you’ll have plenty if you own the Space Wolves Pack kit) and one of the backpack icons from either the Space Wolves Pack or Terminators kit. Trim off the head of the thunder hammer and glue on the icon. It really is that simple!

crozius

So, what should you try to remember when kitbashing or converting weapons. Well, firstly, you need to consider what the weapon represents. For example I built my Rune Priest with a staff, which caused no problems when I fielded him in 5th Ed., but caused me much confusion when I first got him into close combat in 6th (it should be a power stave). The next thing to think about is the aesthetics- how you want the model to look. For instance if you want a WYSIWYG model you need to work out how to fit everything on which, when you have a model with two or more weapons, stops being trivial very quickly! The third thing that you need to consider is transport and storage. Unless you only play at home and store your figures on a shelf, you will need to be able to pack up and move your models. If you want to kitbash or convert a model with a particularly epic or thematic pose you may want to think about either keeping everything close to the body of the model (for ease of packing) or using magnets.

Hopefully this post gives you a few ideas about how to be creative with a weapon swap. In the next post of this series I’m going to look at reposing limbs. Until then!

L.o.F.

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

ultramarine

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).

L.o.F.