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!! 🙂

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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. 🙂

Second February challenge – ‘finish a neglected model’

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Hello again, and Wow, second post in two days guys – been a while since I’ve done that! This one is nice and quick, because I managed to crank out a mini last night (as per Azazel’s ‘finish off a neglected mini’ challenge for February… talk about taking it to the wire!) This guy is something that I’ve had kicking around for a couple of months, and is the most ambitious bit of sculpting that I have tried to date…

He was inspired in part by watching Westworld over Christmas, (absolutely brilliant series btw), by the artwork of Simon Stålenhag, (especially this picture), and of course by Clint Eastwood’s ‘man with no name’ in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. I was disappointed with the results if I’m honest, and I don’t think any of the professional sculptors out there need to be worried for their jobs, but I figured that I should just get over myself and paint the bugger. He looks much better for being painted I think, and I’ve gone from seeing him as a symbol of how shit my sculpting is to actually quite liking the fella. I’m quite pleased with the freehand on the poncho 🙂

I imagine him as being the sole survivor of a Necron mass extinction event, who has ‘lived’ to see a frontier human population grow on his homeworld. Separated from the influence of his dynasty, he has had to adapt to being an independent creature, and has decided to attempt to blend in with the humans. I don’t imagine that many in the Imperium would necessarily know what a Necron is, so he might be accepted on the fringes of a backward society… who knows how such a creature might evolve! I don’t know if this concept has legs or not, but I may expand on it at some point…

Anyway, that’s all for now folks – have a good weekend & catch you all soon

Fembruary challenge part 3 – Poppy, Switch and Christine

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Greetings Earthlings, and welcome back for another post – this one covers my final stretch for the finish line on Fembruary! I managed to get three ladies finished since my last post, and given the Siouxsie and the Banshees inspiration, I went back over the band’s discography & picked a name from tracks on each of their eleven studio albums. First up we have Poppy:

 

Next is Switch:

 

Finally, we have Christine:

 

Logically, this leaves eight names to be assigned, (and I will certainly continue to add to this gang & use these names further down the road), but the Fembruary tranche of Banshees are done:

 

It has been a great little project thus far, and I am so chuffed with the wider take-up on Fembruary – it has been a good talking point I think, and a healthy way to challenge how we all think about the representation of women in our male dominated hobby. Thank you to everyone who got involved, and (if no one objects), I’m going to go back over the various blog posts that I have seen on the subject and pull down pics of your contributions for a ‘Fembruary round-up’ post. I’m aiming for the 8th of March (International Woman’s Day) to do that – that seems an auspicious day to collate and share the excellent kick-ass female miniatures you folks have put together. I’ll also be continuing with The Banshees during March for Women’s History Month, (so plenty more to look forward to on this subject). But… before that, I have one evening to do something for Azazel’s ‘finish a neglected model in February’ challenge… 😉

Fembruary challenge part 2 – Vasquez

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Greetings all, I’m very happy to be able to show off my second mini for ‘February’, but before I do that, I have a little terrain distraction to share with you… I picked up the ‘Legions of Nagash’ book for AoS last weekend – it is a great book, and gives the forces of death much more nuance and flexibility. There are a number of changes to how the armies of Nagash operate, but one of the major differences is how summoning works. Very briefly, you now get to set up four graveyards from which your summonable units can spawn – obviously, the Gardens of Morr kit is the go-to choice for the discerning modeler, so I got mine down from the loft of holding, and got the four main bits built & painted:

It is worth mentioning that the new ruling calls for a nominated ‘point’ on the battle field, so using a fairly big piece of scenery would be cheaty… the first two pieces have an obvious single point, but the second pair don’t, so I painted a gold ornament on one end of these two. I’m pretty pleased with how they came out, and they really are lovely kits that don’t take long at all – especially if you leave out the fence!

Here’s a nice atmospheric shot of Gorgo Romero raising a zombie horde, (with thanks to my wife for vaping hard to add the special effects 😉 )

 

Moving on to ‘Fembruary’, I just want to say how delighted I am with the support for this – I have been admiring and commenting on the many excellent contributions that have been popping up among my fellow bloggers and beyond – good on you all for getting involved, representing, and spreading the word. I’ll have to curate a round-up of images and do an end-of-month recap – a task I look forward to immensely.

Anyway, time to introduce my second effort – I have named her after the awesome Vasquez, (played by Jenette Goldstein), of Aliens fame. I know the mini doesn’t look particularly like the movie character, but hey, she’s never been mistaken for a man either, and the gun seals the deal for me 🙂

 

And here she is with Siouxsie:

 

I had great fun painting Vas – she’s a cracking mini, and it was great to mix it up a bit with the skin tone. I think the purple/yellow/red flashes work nicely with the more utilitarian bits of uniform, but the star of the show has to be the pink dreads… They just look so damn cool! I have three more of these Ghosts of Gia in various stages of being painted – I optimistically thought I might get 10 done, but no way that is happening, so I’m going to crack on with getting five of them painted before the month is out. I also have a long-neglected character to paint as part of Azazel’s latest challenge, so plenty to keep the brush busy over the next ten days! Until next time folks 🙂