Olivia Neutron-Bomb

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Greetings Terrans, I hope you’re all well, and that life is being kind. I have a quick post to share with you today – ‘Olivia Neutron Bomb’ is the BOYL 2017 event mini, and is a beautiful sculpt by John Pickford, organised & designed by Old Hammer stalwart Axiom. Most intriguingly, she is closely based on this classic bit of Rogue Trader art:

I actually had Olivia based and primed as part of my Fembruary effort, but I didn’t get around to painting her because she didn’t quite fit the post-apocalypse gang that I had going on. However, she is such a brilliantly strong female mini, so I knew that I wanted to include her somewhere…  Then I remembered these guys from 2016, and I figured that Olivia would be the perfect unit leader for this bunch of reprobates. I broke out my Kantor Blue and started laying down some colour, keeping to the same palette that I used on the older minis but opting to follow the RT artwork rather than freestyling it quite as much as I did on the original guys. Here she is, in all her glory:

The trousers were a real pain – I wanted to keep close to the artwork, but also use the same palette as for the rest of the squad. I think I got there in the end, but her snazzy pants took a few iterations. Otherwise she was a joyful thing to paint – she’s a really lovely mini with such a great story. Here she is leading her team of ultimate bad-asses through the streets of some backwater shithole planet:

So that’s it for now folks, I hope you’ve enjoyed my take on Olivia! I’ll be going dark for a couple of weeks, (a lot of work & life stuff coming up), but I’ll catch you all soon enough. Have a good one 🙂

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Frogs of WAR!!!

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Greetings Earthlings, sorry it has been a while, but I’ve been on a break, so meh 🙂   I had a lovely time hiking with the kids last week – we racked up 60 miles (each) over five days, which is pretty incredible when you consider my youngest is only 8! I’d be back out there now if I could, and even though the weather was crap, the worst day out on the hills is way better than a sunny day in the office… But alas, RL demanded my return, so I have been easing back into the usual routine this week. As such, I only managed to finish up three more Eru-Kin for my planned BOYL army, but these three are kind of interesting because I didn’t really have a clear idea of how they would fit in to the overall army I have in mind… Undeterred, I’ve been painting them slowly in between other jobs & hoping for some inspiration along the way. See what you make of them:

Paint-wise, these guys got my usual Eru-Kin treatment, so nothing exciting to talk about there, (though I did try out the Windsor & Newton artist inks that I mentioned last month on the skin for a more vivid colouration). While painting, I did have the hoped-for inspiration in terms of how they would fit in with the army and theme. The two shield guys look kind of honour-guardy to me, so they could easily flank any character to provide some additional protection, but the other chap was more difficult to figure out… He is marketed as a Musician, and is a cracking mini, but I’m not sold on the whole ‘command group in space’ idea from the RT era – I don’t know why, but it doesn’t quite click for me, so I knew I wouldn’t be using him in his intended role. I did consider using him as some kind of sonic weapon specialist, or maybe a comms operator, but I discounted these ideas because I felt that he would become a bit too anonymous… To be honest, I love the mini and felt that deserved a more prestigious role! Then I had a major flash of inspiration:

Ya see where I’m going with this? That’s right folks, I’m going to use him as a Beast Caller – a rare and highly specialised caste among the Eru-Kin, and therefore worthy of respect and protection from an honour guard. I imagine that the Beast Caller uses his mysterious ululations to repel rare and dangerous indigenous reptiles from the settlement during peace time, but uses these skills to summon them and drive them to assault the enemy in time of war. I see four major attractions to this concept:

1: This should provide an interesting dynamic in-game, with a powerful assaulting force underpinned by a comparatively fragile single link… What would the beasts do if the Caller gets killed? Rampage? Escape? Revenge?

2: It gives me a perfect and long-awaited excuse rational reason to go and buy some lovely minis that I have had my eye on for ages – Toy-Hammer is well and good, but I have the perfect range of pulp dinos in mind for this part of the project… I’ll keep you guys guessing on that for a while 😉

3: The visual impact on the army should be superb – it gets me out of the need for vehicles to add bulk and height to the force, but most importantly, Dinosaurs are frickin’ awesome, and any excuse to get them involved in an army should be grasped with both claws. Immediately.

4: I get to legitimately use the word ‘ululation’ in conversation.

So there we have it – a small but interesting development on the Eru-Kin project. So, what’s next? Well… I’m away on business the week after next so that kind of disrupts any major plans in the short term, but I want to get some more undead sorted out, and I have a load more Eru-Kin to get organised. It’s only(!) 14ish week until BOYL, and I still have heavy fire support, assault, and psyker support to add, plus some Dinosaurs to get sorted! It looks like I’ll be waiting a while for the weather to improve enough for a mass priming session so I suspect that the next week will be all about assembly & basing… It’s necessary work, but very boring for you guys, so I’ll try and finish a mini that has been sat around in her undercoat for a while & do a post before I hit the road again.

Cheers dudes, keep it (un)real 😉

The Tower of the Dead

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Greetings all, I have a cheeky little terrain post to share with you today – I recently took delivery of a rather sexy little pre-painted tower thingy from a Kickstarter that I backed ages ago. When I first got it, it looked like this:

 

Not bad for a pre-painted piece, but I wanted to embellish it a bit & paint it up to match my Garden of Morr. A quick lick of paint, and I ended up with this:

 

Pretty cool, but ‘so far, so what’ right? I mean, it’s a nice enough tower and all that, but not really deserving of a post all to itself, is it? Well dear reader, this tower does tricks… check this out:

 

How mad is that! The tower is actually the ‘Dark Crypt fog machine’ from Real Game FX, and it houses a pump & ultrasonic transducer (a what now?!?)… The bottom of the tower is basically a reservoir, you turn on the gubbins and voila – instant cold fog comes pouring out of the door & windows. Here are a few examples of me playing around with the photographic possibilities:

 

How good is that eh?! As an added bonus, the guts of the machine come out, so with some clever modelling, I should be able to make other ‘cases’ for the worky-bitz to go in – a venting sci-fi tower, mysterious jungle ruins, whatever I fancy really! Now, I should point out that the fog is (duh) wet… Sounds obvious, but it really is very very wet, and this quickly makes everything around it wet as well. Also, the wires are a bit unsightly from anywhere other than a front-on view, so the tower will only look good around the edge of your board. Also it can be a bit splashy… The pump draws the water from the reservoir at the bottom of the tower, up an internal tube, and on to the sonic doo-dah – it is quite vigorous, and I did find that a bit of water came out of the windows & door. It’s also a pain in the arse to set up, difficult to fill once it is set up, it makes watery noises while running & makes me want to pee, and all the drying & faffing really adds to the packing away time, (I had to leave the models used in these photos out to dry after taking these pics for example). To be honest, it isn’t hugely practical for gaming… But I don’t care – it’s just so cool! I certainly won’t use it in every game, but I love this idea for marking cinematic moments in specific scenarios or for special occasions. It’s also great for the occasional photo shoot, where the impracticalities of the system are less of an issue. All in all, I’m really glad I backed the Kickstarter 🙂

Anyway, that’s me for the next couple of weeks – I’m taking the kids hiking next week and I don’t plan to be on line at all while I’m away, so I’ll catch you all on the flip side. After that, I aim to add more Eru-Kin to my BOYL 2018 army, and I have a load of undead to get based & painted as well… Should be fun!

The last Banshee (for now) – Candy

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Hello chaps & chapettes, I have a very quick update to share today – it has been a funny week with not too much painting, but I did wrap up the last of the Ghosts of Gia*. I’m calling this one ‘Candy’:

 

‘…but Alex, why is her skin blue?’ I hear you ask… (you were asking that, right?)   Weeeell… Candy is actually the oddest of ‘odd ones out’ in the range, because she is the only one who isn’t wearing either a helmet or a re-breather! I was mulling ideas about how to deal with this, including toying with the idea of converting her, but decided to keep her ‘as is’. I then I thought to painting her as a mutant – some genetic twist that allowed her to breath the toxic atmosphere of whatever sump/hive/deathworld that the Banshees happen to come from. The idea grew on me – it was fun from a painting perspective, but it also says a lot about the ethos of the Banshees I think… I really like that they would accept a mutant into the gang, and that their shared femininity is more important to them than anti-mutant prejudice. Speaking of the gang, here’s the whole heart-breaking, life-taking, bad-assery of ’em:

 

So, that’s it for this week – told you it was a quickie! That also wraps up the Banshees for the time being*, and I’m really happy to have focused in on painting a bunch of ‘realistic’ sci-fi women that were only ever made thanks to the determination of Annie Norman (of Bad Squiddo fame) to address the paucity of believable female minis in the hobby. Thank you too to Cupcakesandmachetes for including this effort on your ‘Celebrate the Ladies’ event – there’s some great stuff going on over there, and I’m glad that Annie’s work is represented.

Next week I’ll have a cool bit of scenery to finish & share with you all, (trust me, you’ll love it!), plus I have a few half-finished Eru-Kin that might get done as well. Hobby time gets a bit choppy after that with holidays & work travel coming up fast, but we’ll see how it all goes. Have a great weekend & catch you next week 🙂

 

*I’m actually missing one mini from the first run of the Ghosts of Gia, (fuck knows where she’s gone!), plus the second Kickstarter is due to drop through my letterbox any time now… Yey!! 🙂

More femmes fatal – Voodoo, Cascade & Belladonna

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Greetings Earthlings, I have three new recruits for the Banshees to share with you today – yes, I’m still working my way through the delightful Ghosts of Gia 1, but there seems to be a slight change of vibe going on with a couple of minis in the tail-end of the range. Take a look, and you’ll see what I mean!

First we have a rogue psyker that I’m calling Voodoo. I seem to recall that the official background had something about her being ravaged by her own psychic energy, hence all the bandages. I really liked that idea, so went with the theme by washing what little flesh you can see to make it look burned and disfigured. Glowing eyes and Storm-esque hair complete the look, making it clear that this lady is channelling some serious power:

 

Next we have a more traditional sci-fi soldier type that I’m calling Cascade. This is one of the ‘odd-one-out’ minis in the range – in that she departs significantly from the post-apoc style… so much so that I didn’t feel it appropriate to go with the late 80’s punk/new romantic painting vibe. Instead, I’ve used several of the colours that I’m using to tie the gang together, but in a more limited way that is secondary to a more utilitarian palette. I also experimented with some Windsor & Newton artist inks for the visor – the inks are very heavily pigmented liquid shellac with a naturally glossy finish. I’m pretty happy with how the visor came out, but might go back and add an extra  layer of clear gloss to give it some depth:

 

Finally, we have another ‘odd-one-out’ that I’m calling Belladonna. Of all the Ghosts of Gia, she is probably the biggest departure from the post-apoc vibe, and as a result, she has a very different paint job, (I can’t even begin to get my head around what a punk/NR sniper in ghillie suit might look like!). What I ended up with is a pretty boring paint job, but I did have a play with the Windsor & Newton inks to give some areas of armour a glossy look, and I also tried a different visor colour.

 

Visually, these three are hard to reconcile with the rest of the crew, (Voodoo less so maybe, but certainly Cascade & Belladonna are a poor fit), but I imagine that the Banshees are a loose confederation of survivors rather than the rigid ‘one look’ kind of gang that GW peddle, so fuck it – they can be outlanders, bounty hunters, or whatever. Whichever way you look at it, they make for a deadly looking trio :

 

I have just one more mini to finish from this range, plus some random Eru-Kin to wrap up before I paint up the stunning female Imperial Guardswoman from BOYL last year. After that, I’ll be getting some more undead on the table (zombies, skellies and some random monsters), more Eru-Kin (assault, heavy support & magic), and maybe some Wild-West Necrons… All good fun!

International Women’s day, Women’s History Month & a Fembruary round-up

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Greetings all & welcome – happy International Women’s Day to you all. This post is a bit unusual for me – nothing new painted, and it is (mostly) presenting the work of other people. Today I am summarising and collating the various pics of work that many excellent hobbyists contributed to a little challenge idea that I called ‘Fembruary’. Just for fun, I am also going choose my personal favourite Fembruary entry, and award it a virtual award of high-fives and ‘we are not worthy’ kudos – the artistry shown in the winning entry is (in my opinion) quite stunning! But before that, let’s recap on what Fembruary is all about.

So, first off, for those not involved in the wargaming/wargame modelling hobby, an explanation on the whole month thing. There are quite a few themed months within the community, so ‘Orctober’ (paint Orcs/Orks), ‘Deadcember’ (paint undead), and ‘Slaanuary’ (paint – you guessed it – Slaan), are all things… and there are many more beside!

Second thing to bear in mind – wargamming is a very male-dominated hobby, with most of the sculptors and designers being of the male variety, so small surprise that quite a lot of the portrayals of femininity in the hobby are (at best) unrealistic, and (at worst) blatantly and unnecessarily sexualised. This is probably more noticable for older minis, but I think it is telling that even GW’s latest releases for the Daughters of Khaine and the recent Escher reboot can’t seem to dress themselves fully… Ok, so I guess they all have to be lithe and graceful ‘because Elves’, or ‘because dystopian warrior-women’, but surely, we should’ve moved beyond ‘battle bikinis’ by now? FFS, even the half-snake/half-elves in the new DoK have war-bras on…  I’m not trying to be puritanical in making this point – empowered and informed clothing choices are A-OK in my book, but let’s at least ask ourselves why these minis are dressed as they are. Is this a deliberate design choice that is intended to entice empowered women to the hobby? If not, then who are these design choices actually aimed at? Most importantly, was there a different way that the talented designers at GW could have articulated their vision for these factions?  More questions arise when we look at the backgrounds – vengeful & killy she-Elves, (Daughters of Khaine), or drug-crazed man haters (Escher)… Hmmm… not exactly breaking the mould here are they :-/

This February thing is therefore about getting a conversation going about how women are presented within our hobby – asking questions, and challenging some assumptions. It also becomes a celebration of the growing movement and taste for more plausible representations of females in the hobby, whether by design, or converted.

Right… I think that sets the scene, so let’s look at some pics shall we?! Huge thanks to everyone who took part & contributed. I counted 9 10 bloggers who got on board – I may have missed some supporters or pics, but please don’t be offended if I missed anything – this curating malarkey is tricky!! All the pictures here are totally stolen, but are credited & links provided to the appropriate blog where possible. So, in no particular order:

Argent Badger @ The Bovine Overlord completed Hannah, Chief Freikorps Archivist for Malifaux, and dedicated her to Fembruary. I’m not hugely familiar with the Malifaux line, but I do love a bit of Steampunk, and Hannah rocks it (literaly) in this hulking battle suit!

Huge apologies to Argent Badger btw – I missed this out of the original post, but edited it in once I had it pointed out to me (told you curating was tricky!)

 

Mark @ Heresy of us gave us this utterly gorgeous paint job on a classic JB ‘Femme Militants’ figure. The whites/off-whites and shading are beautifully rendered – no surprises there – Mark has a wonderfully painterly style, and he certainly doesn’t dissapoint here.

 

Azazel @ Azazel’s bitz box really went to town with 5 minis – and covers 4 ‘races’ to boot! (ok, the Nurgle Daemons are stretching it a little Az, but hey, who am I to judge!) There is some brilliant work here, but just look at that Dwarven Queen – outstanding!

 

Man of Tin really got stuck in – I know the Land Army gals are painted by him, but I’m not sure about the others (collected? Painted?), and there are more on his blog. I should probably note that MoT works in a part of the hobby that I’m not familiar with, so I may not be doing his stuff justice, but it’s great to see Fembruary spreading beyond my immediate circle! Man of Tin & Heart of Gold.

 

Thomas @ High Times on the Eastern Fringe gave us Trung Gozen, Archon of the Kabal of Infinite Sorrow. By his own admission, Thomas was outside his comfort zone with the face on this mini, (he usually paints brutes, monsters, and power armour!), but I love it! She is wild, savage, and definitely in charge – perfect!

 

Wugugast @ Convert or die gave us two trademark figures – I love how Wudugast deals with black, and the way he gets a really cool desaturated look to his minis for an almost fairy-tale quality… It’s quite a Scandie look, and must be a special quality of that cold Scottish light 🙂

 

Speaking of fairy-tale quality, the eponymous Imperial Rebel Ork has produced a beautiful diorama for Fembruary, as well as one of his more trademark conversions, (wonderfully bonkers). Unusually for IRO, the diorama was inspired by the art in a graphic novel called ‘The girl from the other side’, and really is special for its departure from a ‘normal’ figure painting approach.

 

Inchmurrin, (sorry, don’t know the blog site), gave us ‘Rachel’, a no-nonsense exo armoured conversion – she’s really cool, and certainly looks ready to put in a heavy shift at the coalface!

 

Mikeland82 @ of the Starship Vorenus has knocked the ball out of the park, and given us a whole Escher gang! They have a beautifully vibrant and coherent colour scheme, and we got an excellent female soldier (WW2?) as a bonus as well!

 

Kraut Scientist @ The Eternal Hunt converted and painted this stunning Inquisitor for us – Krauty is one of the best converters out there, and I am a huge fan of how he handles red in particular, (no doubt refined through years of worshiping the Blood God!). This is a beautiful example of his work.

 

Finally, my own humble submission is a 5-strong gang of post-apocalyptic ladies – I have focussed on creating as diverse a group as possible here, while still hopefully keeping a coherent look to the gang.

 

Phew, how cool is that! What a superb and diverse collection – I hope you enjoyed the round-up! Now, I did say that I would pick out my favourite of the bunch… Tough task, because there are some superb projects in this lot, but I have to say that IRO’s ‘The girl from the other side’ diorama takes the cake for me. I love the monochrome ‘drawn’ style that IRO has used here, and the narrative is brilliant. This girl is strong – that looming presence behind her is supporting and protective, but she’s clearly the one in charge as she fearlessly walks through the darkness. The sheer uniqueness of this work is really appealing… it is just so atmospheric!

Go check out the whole blog post if you haven’t already.

Anyhow, that’s all folks! Well done IRO – virtual high-fives and kudos to you dude 🙂  Thank you again to all those who contributed – I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, and thanks as well to those stopping by for a look. Do feel free to drop a comment below, vote your favourite, etc. 🙂