A return to the Albino Forest

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Greetings fellows! Well… it is done. My final dissertation got submitted on Tuesday, and for the first time in 5 years, I am completely free of any study obligations. Woohoo! Ok, so there is the 2 month wait to see how I did, but, (as I keep reminding myself), that is out of my hands, so I’m just enjoying the peace that comes with wrapping up something that has been a big chunk of my life for so long 🙂

Of course, like any good hobbyist I had to celebrate my new-found liberty with a spot of painting, and given that I will be out of circulation for the next three weeks, I thought it best to tie up a few loose ends rather than start anything new, (I hate loose ends anyway, so this makes me happy). Some of this you have seen before, but other items are things that have been languishing in their undercoats, and that you won’t have seen.

Firstly, I went back and tidied up some of the undead I had speed painted for last weekend, and added in some detail where needed. This batch got some highlighting on the bone & I added a spot of OSL:

I also finally got around to adding some detail to this guy’s banner:

 

The Cursed Company got some highlighted to the bone, I did the banner, and painted in some gems on Krueger and the standard bearer:

The bottom scrolls are supposed to say ‘Mors Omnia Aequalia’ (roughly ‘all equal in death’ – seemed appropriate for this unit in particular!):

 

Next up I revisited The Chapel project and finished a few pieces for the Albino Forest, starting with a big tree stump kindly donated by Mark at Heresyofus (than you Mark!!!):

 

Next a Malifaux ‘hanging tree’:

 

You have probably noticed that all of my hollow trees have a collection of heads in the top – sacrifices to appease the forest spirits of the old world, but I really pushed the concept with this next piece. A monster of my own devising – the Charnel Oak was a sacrificial tree like many others, but over the years, the life force of the many victims imbued the oak with a malignant sentience. It became a creeping horror that slowly roams the forest, looking for victims that have fallen into a spoor-induced dream state, are too injured to run escape, or those that have been staked out as a sacrifice. The Charnel Oak drags these unfortunates into its bloated body, slowly digesting the poor victims until naught but their bones remain:

 

Pity those who remain conscious of their fate:

 

Finally, I thought it would be worth posting a high shot of everything I have completed for the Albino Forest to date:

It still looks a bit sparse but I have much more to add in the coming months, which works out very nicely for The Chapel project, and also for a spot of AoS as well:

 

So that’s it for now dudes – I’ll be off the hobby for the next 3 weeks with various travel and work commitments, but I am really looking forward to getting right back into it later in June, when The Chapel project will be my main focus – no doubt with a small side salad of Undead.  Yum! 🙂

Speed painting challenge… OF DEATH!!!!!

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Hello boys and girls, welcome to a pleasantly unscheduled post from yours truly. I have been quiet of late, being deeply immersed in writing the final dissertation in a 5 year mission to explore strange new academic worlds; to seek out new knowledge and new qualifications; to boldly, (after 42 years of consuming oxygen on this good Earth), finally get a bloody degree! This workload has meant that I haven’t really been in the right frame of mind for in-depth hobby stuff like the Chapel project lately – in fact, I hadn’t painted much of anything up until Friday night…

Now, by Friday, I had the vast majority of my dissertation written, and with time in hand, I decided to treat myself to a pleasant Saturday evening of AoS with my Brother-in-Lead Ross, who has one of the most awesome collection of OldHammer Daemons you are likely to see anywhere. He ‘let slip’ that he was going to run a Great Unclean One in a 1000 pt. list, and that caused a bit of panic, because I didn’t have anything like enough painted lead to match that… thus ensued a speed painting session of legendary proportions!

Firstly, I spent Friday night finishing up 18 venerable Nightmare Legion figs I got for cheeps on ebay a while back – the two standard bearers were missing their standards, there were no shields, and one of the troops was missing a head, so the job lot was dirt cheap at £2.30ish per mini. I had previously fixed up the broken bits and added some cool shields from Knightmare Miniatures, and they were already mostly base-coated so it was just a case of doing the metallics, weathering, finishing the bases and highlighting up the bone… but still, 18 finished minis in an evening was pretty frantic! Here they all are:

And here they are forming a nice 20-strong unit with my lovely C17 command squad to lead them:

 

Saturday day was a full on speed painting slog – I had 17 assorted undead based and undercoated… could I do them all in a day?? Well, I was certainly going to give it a bloody good go! First up we have some randoms from the recent Nightmare Creatures Kickstarter from Dark Art Studios:

Spirit hosts or banshees perhaps?

A couple of zombies

Some skellies

Some more (slightly weirder) skellies

 

As if that wasn’t enough, I also had nine of GW’s ‘Cursed CompanyDogs of War minis undercoated and ready to paint! I picked these up a few weeks ago because I thought that they would go very nicely with the racially diverse skellies I got from the Dungeon Monsters Kickstarter last year. Here they are in groups:

No, I don’t know why the orcs are naked either…. Ahem. Anyway, I decided that I would use the champion ‘Richter Kreugar’ as a second Wight King, so I separated him from his unit but the rest got rolled into a 30-strong mob with the Dungeon Monsters KS skellies, the four skellies from the Dark Art Studios KS and a couple of randoms:

 

Ok, so they are a bit rough and ready – I need to go back and highlight the bone on Saturday’s output and finish the Cursed Company banner, but they are certainly good enough for table-top I reckon, and hell – 35 completed minis in 21 hours is pretty incredible, right? So why the mad rush? Well, partly it was two weeks of pent-up painting frustration, but mostly it was the result of the arms race mechanic of AoS… Allow me to explain.

In AoS, 10 Skellies gives you 10 attacks per turn, hitting on 4+ and wounding on 4+… Pretty naff, right? But wait – add another 10 skellies to the unit and you get a bonus +1 attack per model for a total of 40 attacks, (base 20 + bonus 20), while 30 figures gives you an additional +1 bonus per model for a total of 90 attacks (base 30 + bonus 60)… trebling the model count makes the unit 9 times hittier! Add in a command squad, (for no cost), and the champion gets you an extra attack, the musician gives a guaranteed minimum 6” charge, and the banner/icon bearer allows you regenerate D6 models each hero phase… Suddenly these chumps are looking a bit more serious!

But that’s not all folks – if you have a Wight King within 18”, he can use his ‘Lord of Bones’ command ability to grant the unit an additional attack per turn, so that puts our 30-strong unit of humble skellies up to a whopping 120 attacks (or 121 with the champion). But that still isn’t all! Add in a Necromancer with ‘Vanhels’s Danse Macabre’, and you get to do it all again in the same combat round! Phew! A maximum 242 attacks, which due to the power of mathematics should equate to 60.5 wounds… Enough to deal with a Great Unclean One? You betcha… last night saw a very rare victory for team Leadballoony and the forces of (un)death!

I think I’m getting a feel for AoS – it kind of feels like a computer game, where buffs and debuffs are king, and getting the army balance right is really important. Big heroes and monsters have their place, but massed ranks with stacking bonuses are pretty powerful, and your big beasties need to pick their battles carefully. I’m starting to enjoy it as a system, and I am quite looking forward to the skirmish version that is due out soon.

Anyhow, that’s enough waffle for this post, I need to crack on with my dissertation! It is due in on Thursday, and then I have a crazy few weeks of weddings and work travel to get through. Normal service will be resumed mid-June, when I am very much looking forward to cracking on with my warband for The Chapel project. Thanks for bearing with me during this time 🙂

A bone to pick with AoS…

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Hi guys, this will be a quick post today – life is hectic at the moment, so the hobby is very much on the back burner for a few weeks. I did however paint up a few birthday gifts from my brother-in-lead Ross (he of Classic Chaos Daemon fame), who most excellently got me a classic C17 Skeleton command to buff my fledgling AoS undead – I just love these guys, just so much character to them… if you can’t appreciate a skeleton with a Mohawk then you are in the wrong hobby my friend 😉  I also bashed out a skelly emerging from the ground to take my skeleton unit up to the magic AoS 20, (irritating that some units only get good when the multiples of 10 start stacking… go buy more stuff kids!). Ok, so technically the unit is at 19.5, but I am rounding up, ok? OK?? Right… fine… anyway, here they are:

 

Seeing as I was doing some undead, I also dug out some old school Spirit Host minis, (again from Ross, from an earlier birthday), to add to the party. These minis are so goofy, they make me laugh every time I see them! I have split the host, and will be fielding them as Banshees… I’m calling them the three tenors:

 

Finally, I added big chaos champion from one of the rather excellent Pantheon of Chaos kickstarters, (now available as ‘The Sword of Echoes‘ over on Knightmare Games). He’s a big old fella, and, while not sold as an undeader, I’ll be fielding him as a Wight King with black axe for some proper crumping power:

 

And here’s a few group shots with my existing multiracial skellybob unit – just for fun:

 

Painting was all done in a very quick and easy ‘washy’ & ‘stainy’ kind of way – I quite like the faded look that it gives the minis… an appropriate vibe for the shambling undead IMO.

So that’s it for this post chaps, I told you it was a quick one! Not sure when I will next be posting – the next six weeks are just ridiculous with study & work, so hobby time is going to be scant… Bear with me dear reader, this shall pass, and normal service will resume at some point in June 🙂

Lindethiel Gladesinger

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Hi guys, what an exciting day! I’ve finished my first warband member, who just happens to be the leader. It gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Lindethiel Gladesinger:

 

I am particularly pleased with my attempts to turn the male Spiritseer into a female – one thing I really wanted to do in my warband was to take advantage of the lack of gender bias in Eldar lore and have some really strong female characters. I’m chuffed with my attempt to sculpt breasts – hopefully they are realistic and not in any way crass.

I stuck with a very restricted palette of whites, greens, gold and bone for Lindethiel – a scheme that I intend to carry throughout the warband. I really like the interplay of this scheme – the bone suggests death while the green speaks of life, and the gold and gems suggest a grandeur that is offset by the faded and tired looking white of the silver birch. It is far more of a fantasy palette than a sci-fi one really – perfect for Exodites, and I think the crow really adds something in that regard as well.

The actual painting was a challenge… I’m not very well practiced in hard armour plates, so the arms, head and back vane were a slog. Also gems…. Lots of gems…. They ain’t the best I have ever painted – I think I misjudged the colour choice here, and I still have a lot to learn about painting in green, (figuring out what shades worked well together and so on). That said, the robes came out well, and I think the gems look effective en masse. The bit that gave me the most grief was actually the gold on the blade… it’s a big area to cover, and a funny shape to highlight. I’m still pleased with the result though – the palette really helps to distract the eye from some of the dodgier bits I hope 🙂

Conceptually, she is a Spiritseer for my Exodites – a group that use psychically responsive wood in place of Wraithbone. I hope that this is a not-too-difficult leap for people, as I think it ties in rather nicely with the Albino Forest, which in turn forms an important part of the story arc for The Chapel project. I like that it gives me options in terms of coming up with a reason for my warband to be there – always a good start for any narrative-driven game 🙂

With that in mind, here’s some fluff for you:

 

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Lindethiel Gladesinger slept deeply, her thoughts slowing as they weaved through the vastness of the wraith-realm, lulled by the quiet insistence with which it called to her. Her dreams carried her far and wide, deep and high, as she tasted the rivers of sap ebbing and flowing through the forests, heard the echo of crystal caves that no mortal eyes would ever see, swam deep in underground lakes of icy vastness, listened to the scurry and struggle of life in all its forms… Beneath all of this pulsed the fiery molten ocean at the heart of the world – a steady throb of life force that resonated throughout the planet. The harmonies were beguiling, rising and falling with each languorous turn of her awareness, the soothing melodies running counterpoint to the primordial undertone. The wraith-realm sang its sweet song to Lindethiel, calling on her to merge her consciousness with the spiritual gestalt that included the very soul of this world, as well as those of her ancestors. Her life had been one of long service to her people, and she was now ready for peace. Deeper and deeper she drifted, her thoughts slowed and were gradually subsumed further into the world spirit, just as her body was slowly absorbed into the sacred forest grove of her people.

Day? Weeks? Months later? It didn’t matter anymore. Her drifting had taken on a timeless quality, and Lindethiel was barely aware of herself as her merging approached completion. Suddenly, a discordant note plucked at her fading consciousness – a single tone that rang false in the greater soundscape of the world, arresting her descent into oblivion. A sense of wrongness bled into the spirit realm, changing the serene beauty to something sinister and fearful. Lindethiel felt her individuality increasing as the world spirit began convulsing, pushing her back towards consciousness and the world of the living. She gathered her identity with a sense of resignation as she rose through layers of her own awareness, sending strands of consciousness out into the world, seeking out the source of the discord… She soon found it – a stream of psychic defilement that emanated from the hidden webway that connected her world to the wider Eldar diaspora. It spread like a bruise, corrupted like an infection, and it defied all of Lindethiel’s attempts to comprehend. At first she feared it might be the taint of chaos, but this was unlike any daemonic incursion that she had ever experienced… this felt older, and it didn’t have the distinctive emotional drives of the great powers… no hunger, no lust, no malice or rage, no urge to corrupt or enslave… the only emotion that she could perceive was one of utter despair, and an overwhelming sense of nihilistic futility… Lindethiel could only conceptualise the incursion with one word – ‘Ending’, and she knew that her world and her people were in dire peril. Reluctantly, she forced her consciousness back towards her body.

Lindethiel awoke. It took her a few moments to adjust to her return to consciousness. She would have fallen, but her body was already in an advanced state of petrification, and she remained rooted to the ground. Just like her ancestors before her, she had come to the sacred grove to pass from the world of the living. The process saw the physical body transform into Wychwood, while the soul travelled through the psychically conductive medium to join the world spirit. In many ways, Wychwood served her people in the same way as the Wraithbone of her Craftworld kin, indeed, this natural repository for the souls of the dead was probably one of the reasons why her ancestors had chosen this planet to be their Exodite home so many generations ago. Now, drawn back to physical life and torn from a deeper spiritual existence, she stood in the dappled shade of the sacred grove, the majority of her body already turned to psychically responsive wood. Lindethiel was unconcerned by her altered state. She had trained and mastered the way of the Shaper throughout her long life, and was able to mould the material to her will with the merest thought. In emergencies, she could even use the wood to create body-constructs capable of being inhabited by the spirits of the dead, so it was no effort to animate the parts of her body that had become petrified.

She glanced down and considered her physical form. Her legs and left arm and torso had already transformed into iron-hard Wychwood, smooth-barked and pale in the beams of soft sunlight, while her head and right side remained flesh. With a though, she began pushing her will deep into the tissues of the wood, and felt it grow supple and obedient to her bidding. Lindethiel began to feel sensation from her new body, and it began to flex and sway as she strengthened her control of the Wychwood. After some time, she felt she had sufficient mastery to withdraw the roots that anchored her to the ground, and to begin walking – haltingly at first, but gathering speed as she gained control of her new body. By the time she reached the edge of the clearing, Lindethiel was moving with all of the grace and fluidity that characterised her race. She began to run soundlessly through the forest, ducking low branches and leaping fallen logs and streams. The untiring Wychwood of her body pushing her faster and further than would be possible for any creature of pure flesh, blood and bone. She knew that she needed to get back to her clan settlement, and that she needed to convince the royal court to sanction an expedition to investigate the source of the sickness that was polluting their world. It would mean a dangerous hunt through the webway to an unknown destination to face an alien threat. The risks were high, but then so were the stakes, for Lindethiel knew that whoever joined the hunt would carry the fate of their world in their hands… 

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So there we have it, my first warband member, and as far as I know the world’s first and only Eldar/Dryad Exodite! I hope you like her as much as I do 🙂

Hraxi Jonas and Samwise Shortround go on a Werewolf hunt!

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Hi guys, just a bit of fun this happy Tuesday – I thought I’d put up a couple of pics of a quick game I ran with my two boys over the weekend. We join Hraxi Jonas, (played by my eldest), and Samwise Shortround, (my youngest), as they set out to hunt down and kill an evil, no good, nasty Werewolf. Enjoy 🙂

The intrepid duo in hiding, checking out a ruined temple…

where crazed cultists enact a dance to call the beast forth, foolishly thinking they can bend the creature to their will!

Something lurking in the forest, drawn by all the chanting…

It looks a tad angry to me! :-/

And then the killing starts – the Werewolf tears through the cultists like a hot werewolf through butter, while Hraxi and Shortround pick off a few crazies themselves before finally confronting the beast on the temple alter….

After a flurry of blows, Hraxi eventually traps the beast with his whip, (thanks to a reroll granted by his lucky hat), which allows Shortround to deliver a crushing punch to the creature’s unmentionables – the beast falls and the heroes win the day! Hurah!

All in all, this was a fun little game with the kids – loose rules, quick action, a bit of mental arithmetic and plenty of narrative to keep them interested 🙂

Tune in tomorrow for a new painted thing!!

Ready for painting and splitting hares

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Hello chaps, I’ve managed a little progress on my Exodite warband this last week – all of the Wraithwood constructs are now finalised, based and primed, so the whole warband is ready to paint… exciting times! But before I go in to that, I just want to share a bit of fun with you all. I was visiting my parents over Easter, and had a request to do some painting for my Mum. She had picked up a couple of bargain hare sculptures – resin, but badly painted to look like bronze (i.e. they had a patchy matt brown coat of paint, with bits of pink resin showing through). A couple of hours with some Waplock Bronze, Agrax Earthshade and Nihilakh Oxide, followed by a drybrush up through bronze to Runelord Brass, and this is what we end up with:

I wish I had taken a before shot, but you’ll just have to trust me that it is a huge improvement. My mum was delighted, and I really enjoyed the process – it was genuinely nice to do something ‘useful’ with my hobby!

 

Anyway, back to the warband. Here are the Striking Scorpions – they had some re-posing work to get them looking more insectoid and dynamic, and I added a loincloth and refined the helmet shape a bit to look more like Eldar. I also textured the helmet to suggest wood, and they also got some hive type structures sculpted on to the shoulders, both to add bulk and to suggest a tertiary weapon system to represent Scorpion Mandiblasters, (an excellent suggestion from Lasgunpacker!). They still look a bit Xenomorph, (especially in their black basecoats), but I reckon they’ll be fine once painted:

 

Next we have my walker entry, a Wraithwood WarWalker. I think this is my favourite of the constructs so far – the base model is superb and took the Eldar doodabs quite nicely. I’ve added a loincloth and gun-banners, (‘packer’s suggestion again), and tendrils to hold the guns. I also textured the head to blend it all together a bit more closely:

 

I also finished up my Wraithguard, but I forgot to take a photo (duh!). For those that can’t remember, here’s the WiP. Since then, I have fixed the left leg so that he’s striding rather than trotting into battle, and I added a loincloth and textured up the head. I really like this guy – more so that the Scorpions above, so I might include him in the warband instead… He’s big enough to count for two regular Henchmen I think… We’ll see how I feel after painting.

So, that leaves the warband as follows:

  • Leader & psyker – Spiritseer
  • Champion – Dire Avenger Exarch
  • Walker – WarWalker proxy
  • Henchmen – 4x Dire Avengers & either 2x Scorpions or 1x Wraithguard…

That leaves me deliberately short by one member – I’ve had something very specific in mind for my final ‘character’ slot for quite a while, and I’ve been looking forward to introducing you to her! Keeping up the fantasy/40k cross over theme, I’ve added a lone Harlequin Shadowseer to the warband:

 

I don’t know if this conversion has been done before – I haven’t seen one, but then I haven’t been looking either. Regardless, as soon as I saw the superb Silver Tower Mistweaver mini I thought of splicing her with the Shadowseer… she went together like a dream, and I am delighted with the result – it’s a subtle conversion, but very effective in my opinion. She will add some much needed warp-power to my warband, and her psychological shenanigans should bring a unique flavour to the game 🙂

Anyway, that’s it for now – it’s time to grab my hairy stick and give them all a bloody good tickle!! Until next time 🙂