‘EAVY METAL part 1

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Greetings Terrans, I hope you and your loved ones are all fit, well, and bearing up in these strange times. I have another slice of oldschool fun for you today – yes, another project idea has been dusted off, reappraised, and dragged into the socially distanced light of day.

In order to provide context, I need to mention that I managed to get hold of the first 40k Compendium a few years ago – it’s a great book that collects a load of WD articles from the dawn of 40k and presents them in one neat bundle. I didn’t have it back in the day, but my mate did, and it is full of fond memories. It was the compendium that inspired the Primaris Legion of the Damned that I posted a few weeks back, but I have another project idea that this book inspired… It all comes from one paragraph:

“The Dreadnought is the ultimate form of personal armour. Inside his giant armoured suit, the wearer – or more correctly the pilot – controls the Dreadnought’s movement, armament and defences. To an extent, a pilot’s awareness becomes merged with his suit controls, sometimes to the point where man and machine are inseparable. As a result of this perculiar (sic) bio-mechanical relationship, experienced Dreadnought pilots cooped up inside their suits for long periods run a high risk of insanity. Perhaps it is fortunate that so few live long enough to go mad! Of those that do survive, some go rogue, joining the notorious ‘Dreadnought Bands’ that roam the galaxy, hiring out as mercenaries or living upon the spoils of wanton pillage.”

Now, I absolutely loved the idea of Dreadnoughts, (still do tbh!), and I thought this was such a cool piece of lore. With hindsight, it is almost certainly the origin of later Ork Dreadmobs, and also maybe the birth of the idea of Marines going insane while interred in their Dreads, or of Eldar ‘ghosts in the shell’ type situations, with long-dead spirits having a tenuous grasp on reality. This is all good fluff that is now firmly entrenched in the lore, but back in ’89, we just had that one throwaway statement… Notorious Dreadnought Bands…

My 14-year-old imagination ran riot with this, and I had visions of renegades from Human, (Dreadnoughts weren’t just a Marine thing back then), Ork and Eldar society putting aside their racial differences and choosing to forge mercenary bands of mechanised warriors who were bound only by their shared ‘bio-mechanical insanity’ – a band of iron brothers that stomped their way through the galaxy, hiring themselves out to the highest bidder… That 14 year old boy didn’t have the money to do anything about this vision, but 30 years later it’s game on, and with that in mind, I’ve been picking up the odd classic Dread here and there for a few years now. It gives me a lot of pleasure to present the first three members of the ‘Metal Heads’ Dreadnought Mercenaries.

First up is a classic Ork ‘Super-attack Onslaughter’ Dreadnought – I’ve always had a soft spot for the old Onslaughter egg-dreads – they are goofy as hell and a sod to put together, but there’s just something about them that makes me happy… They also happen to have the best name ever 😊

I swapped the usual weapon mount situation for a pair of ex-imperial las cannons that mated directly to the chassis. I actually think they work better as twinned Heavy Plasma Cannons, so I gave them a bit of a glow effect to sell that idea. I also replaced a missing top hatch with the pilot from an old Scorcher – no doubt he’s popped his head out for a better view of his target, or possibly to escape the after-effects of a particularly spicy squig curry. Either way, I see this guy as a long range specialist, (though like all good Orks machines, it’s no slouch in combat either, with twinned power claws).

 

The next Dread is a battered old Imperial machine, this one has the thin chassis and the long leg options:

Technically, it’s a Las-cannon equipped ‘Furibundus’ or ‘Fury’ class, but it is missing a twin-bolter arm (donated to another machine, to be revealed in a future post), and instead has a nifty little power claw that I had to hand. It also gave up its imperial pattern las-cannon to equip the Onslaghter above, so it has a slightly less impressive version salvaged from the bits-box. To make up for having such a piddly little cannon, it has a whacking great big missile – no particular reason, I just like it:

 

Finally we have another beaten up ex-Imperial machine – this time with the wider chassis & short legs:

I think this one was also a Fury at one point, but as with the example above, its arm went to a ‘yet-to-be-revealed’ machine, and its las cannon went to the Onslaughter above. Both missing limbs were replaced with missile launchers from the Sentinel kit – I always liked the idea of a mobile firebase type Dreadnought that doubled down on dakka at the expense of any manipulative limbs. I expanded on this idea with a pair of HK missiles to make an even more impressive fire platform, and I think the wide squat frame really sells that idea. As was the fashion at the time, I am christening this variant and am going for ‘Gundogan’ or Gun-Dog for short.

 

Here’s a final shot of the three of them together:

They don’t look especially cohesive at the moment, but wait until we add a few more into the mix…   Until next time!

Odds and ends

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Greetings Terrans, I hope this post finds you well. I have a bit of an assortment of odds and ends for you today – just a wrap-up of various items that I’ve completed in and around other work. First up, I painted a small group of Rogue Trader beasties prior to me running the Wolf Time campaign a few weeks back – I remembered regretting not having some way of balancing the game back when I ran it at BOYL, and was determined not to make the same mistake. I had a rummage in the lead pile and turned up a pair of ‘Crawling Insectoids’ (with slightly converted jaws) and a ‘Xenoursid Predator’ – all made by Knightmare Miniatures – they are clearly designed to match the Ambull and the Cthellean Cudbear in the Rogue Trader bestiary, (hence the purple coat for the Cudbear):

I’m glad I did do these guys – I didn’t need the Ambulls in the end, but the Cudbear came in handy when he attacked the Marines in the rear as they entered Kulo’s Castle. It killed 8 Space Wolves, and made for a much more balanced game in the end.

While I was in the ‘creatures’ section of my lead pile, I also grabbed this fella – not sure where I got him from, but he makes for a nice warp creature:

And here’s a quick pic of these beasties attacking my Olleyan Mercs – just to give you a sense of scale:

 

I also did some painting with the kids – here are three ‘Time Warped’ wizards from Wargames Foundry. My youngest painted the chap with the pink beard, (with a bit of help), My eldest painted the not-Gandalf, while I did the turbaned chap on the right:

 

We were going to play Frostgrave as a trio of Wizards, but my eldest got a bit teenagery about it all, so it has just been me & my youngest son playing co-op. We deliberately went for non-fighty wizards to start – he went Illusionist, and I went for Soothsayer. Neither has any combat spells in their starting deck, and we haven’t taken warbands either, so we’ve been a bit crap really!! 😊  That said, the illusionist can cast ‘Monstrous Form’ or ‘Beauty’, and my son and I agreed that it would be good to have minis to represent this. We roped in a mildly converted Knightmare Miniatures ‘Hook Horror’, and some random nudie elfin lady that I had in the pile. Both got a spooky glow-type paint job to show their illusory & magical nature on the table top:

We are now two games in, and we have enough money for a couple of Grimoires, so I anticipate some Elemental Bolt action next game 😊

 

Finally, my Frostgrave terrain has been left out & has been staring me in the face these last two weeks. It is lovely pre-painted stuff, and has been worth every penny spent on it, but the lack of detail was starting to annoy me. You can see in the pics above that it is just grey, grey and more grey. Usually this stuff gets packed away straight after a game, so I don’t get to dwell on it too much, but I took advantage of it being left out for so long & gave it some attention. Nothing hectic really – a bit of green wash, lichen spots, the odd blood splat and painting up the wood, but I think it makes for a big improvement overall. I also did the same to my Garden of Morr set to tie it all together:

 

And that’s it in terms of painting, but not in terms of hobby… I’ve just embarked on GMing an experimental rpg campaign/tabletop skirmish thing with a few like-minded hobby pals. It is set in the 40k universe, uses the core Frostgrave mechanics for combat, and is being conducted via zoom using hand drawn maps… Yeah, it’s a lot for me to get my head around – I’ve never GMed an RPG before, and I have only sat in on a handful of D&D games… My hat goes off to proper GMs everywhere, especially those that write their own scenarios, because it’s fucking hard core!!! It is taking up all my hobby time at the moment, (there is just so much work in developing and writing the story arc, sketching out maps, etc!), but I am absolutely loving it. Luckily, the party seem to be enjoying it too 😊

Anyway, that’s me for now dudes, I’ll catch up with you all the next time I have something painted to share – until then, stay safe and be excellent to each other 😊

Bob’s yer uncle…

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Greetings Terrans, I have quite a treat in store for you today – I’ve ticked off another OldHammer grail quest – collect and paint an entire range of minis. This is actually the 4th time I have managed to do this, having collected and painted all the Praetorians, all the RT601 Pirates, and all the RTB02 Space Ork Raiders. This time, it is the gloriously bonkers IC301 Iron Claw Space Pirates by a certain Mr. Bob Olley.

Now, I must admit, of all early RT sculptors, Bob’s work had the least appeal for me, so I overlooked the Iron Claw Pirates for the longest time… They were gribbly and weird, had odd proportions, and they possessed a grotesqueness that didn’t quite gel with what Naismith, the Perry twins, Aly Morrison & Jes Goodwin were doing at that time. The only sculptor that came close for weirdness was Nick Bibby as far as I could tell, and he seemed to stick to his Zoats!

However… I was on an acquisitive streak about four years ago, (basically prepping for the Covid lock-down as it turns out!), and I started to get my hands on a few of the IC pirates almost by accident. I filed them, (i.e. put them in a box), and didn’t really think about them until JB did such a fantastic job of painting the aliens in the IC301 group as rad-mutants… that really piqued my interest, and a while later, (with some effort), I had the set assembled. Aaaaand then they sat in my ‘to-do’ pile for another year and a half.

It only took a global pandemic but finally I got around to them… I got them based and primed a couple of weeks ago, but prior to basing, I noticed that far from being a single group, the slotta tabs had different descriptions on them. This first lot are all labelled ‘Troops’:

The flyer has them named as ‘Nightwing’, ‘Banzai Jones’, ‘Venk’ and ‘Dambo Kweltz’.

 

These two are labelled ‘Heroes’

The flyer has them down as ‘Captain Dunbar’ and ‘Nixan’.

 

Then we have these two labelled ‘Timelord’ (a possible Dr. Who reference?) and Cybergirl’ respectively:

The flyer refers to this pair as ‘Star Raven’ and ‘Loritta’.

 

The remainder are labelled ‘Mercenaries’. I’ve split these into two groups – the ‘possibly human’:

(‘Little Rico’, ‘Psycho’, ‘Pop Stewart’ and ‘Attitude Gorman’)

And the ‘probably not human’:

(‘Zandar’, ‘Vaal the Asharian’, ‘Ooglorg the Cruel’, ‘Verrington Khosht’ and ‘Col Vlad’)

 

So I think we have a few interesting things going on here… The Troops & Heroes are stylistically similar enough to probably be intended to be together, (though they possibly represent different troop types, almost like proof-of-concept sculpts?). The Mercenaries certainly make for a good stand-alone group, while Loritta fits in nicely with either set. The real odd-one-out is Star Raven/Timelord… I don’t think Bob ever intended for him to be in this range, and I suspect that GW just rolled a bunch of Iron Claw stuff into one product code. I’ll tell you one thing for sure – having painted this guy, I can honestly say that he is right up there as one of the best minis of that period… He would be equally at home in a fantasy game as he would a sci fi game, and while he doesn’t have any of the grotesque gribble, Bob’s excellent use of texture is still evident throughout. He really is a superb sculpt, and I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on a few more!

Notice that there are no close combat weapons in this group – these guys are all about the shootin’. Talking of guns, the range and look of the firearms is just lovely, especially on the ‘aliens’. I never noticed that Zandar’s gun is sculpted to look like a dragon’s head, or that lovely detail on the stock of Col Vlad’s gun for example. These sculpts are full of little details that can’t be captured from a single photo angle, and are just a joy to find and paint.

Speaking of painting, I originally painted the ‘Troops’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Loritta’ together, thinking that I would probably split the group and differentiate between these guys and the ‘Mercenaries’. I deliberately kept to a tight palette of green, shades of leather, neutral white, and red as the spot colour. However, when I came to paint the ‘human’ Mercenaries, I realised that the same scheme would work just as well, and so I continued with it. By the time I got to the ‘not-human’ mercenaries, it seemed silly to split the group, so again I followed the scheme, and I deliberately painted the flesh in human shades… Inspired by JB all those years ago, I wanted my guys to be mutant human rather than alien. Finally, Star Raven got his paint job. I used the same palette so as to tie him in with the group, but in different ratios to set him apart. Here’s the whole lot as a group:

 

Don’t they look cool as a cohesive group? As I was painting them, I couldn’t help but come up with some fluff:

The Olleyan system was first settled during the earliest expansion of the Imperium, and is an extensive system with multiple habitable worlds and moons. It was subsequently cut off for millennia during the age of strife, and as a result, the slow process of non-warp related mutation ran unchecked. Consequently, the system has a high proportion of stable Abhuman worlds, (the high gravity Squat homeworld ‘Olley Prime’ is a good example, as is the Ogryn population of the Deathmoon ‘Olley’s Folly’). Even the baseline humans of the planet ‘Olley’s Landing’ have a high incidence of non-warp related mutation, most notably, the high rate of expression of the so-called ‘fugly gene’ – a gene that results in extensive cranial and facial distortion. The most severely affected are barely recognisable as human, and even the most unmutated of Olleyans is still a sight to make an Ork shudder. Indeed, it is often said that, not only did the Olleyans all jump out of the tallest ugly tree, (hitting every branch on their way down), most of ‘em climbed right back up for another jump.

Despite this, the Olleyan system is a fertile recruiting ground for the Imperium, providing skilled frontline infantry and superb Ogryn shock troopers. All are well equipped by their in-system Squat brethren, are incredibly self sufficient, and they punch well above their weight in any conflict. They tend to work most effectively when kept to their own units  – this is just as well, as it is not unheard of for Imperial troops from other systems to mistake Olleyan forces for enemy aliens or mutants. This has led to several regrettable ‘blue on blue’ incidents, (which tended to end badly for the mistaken Imperial unit in question). That said, it is not unheard of for small numbers of Olleyans to find themselves in mixed units across the galaxy, or operating as pirates or mercenaries in other mixed crews.

 

Suffice to say that I am a convert with respect to Bob’s early work, and I have the urge to expand this little collection out to a full Olleyan Platoon, so more troops (including conversions), the Iron Claw squats, and of course, the wonderful Olley Ogryns. Don’t hold your breath though, I have a load more things to get through before I start buying up more lead!!

Peace out dudes, catch you all soon.

The ‘paint the crap you already own’ challenge – D’onne “Mad D’onna” Ulanti

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Greeting Terrans, how goes it? So I have a small interlude for you today – an item that I am submitting to Ann’s challenge for this month to ‘Paint the crap you already own!

I’ve gone one further, and painted something that I have had based and primed for an embarrassingly long time. You see, I originally intended to complete D’onne in the summer of 2018, but this passed me by, so I aimed for Fembruary 2019… and again in 2020… but each time I looked at the mini, she just scared the hell out of me with the level of detail! Finally I reached the point where I could no longer stand her glaring at me from my project box – her every line mocking my lack of painterly manliness… I finally put my big boy pants on, and put paint to mini:

 

 

As with my version of Kal Jeriko back in July 2018, I based my paint job on the cover art from a Necromunda book – this time it’s ‘Survival Instinct’, with cover art provided by Clint Langley:

 

I must admit, the colour choices on the cover art aren’t what I would’ve picked for a 28mm model – that hot pink looks great on the cover of a book for example, but is fiddly and subdued on a mini. Also, painting fishnets and a basque at this scale is exactly as difficult as it sounds! That said, there is a certain satisfaction to being as faithful as possible to an existing piece of art, and I am really pleased with the outcome.

Here’s a few more angles of the 12th daughter of Sylvanus Ulanti – note the attempted tattoo on the left cheek:

 

Also, she forms a very nice diptych with Kal:

 

Or triptych with Scabs:

 

So that’s all for now – back to the ‘planned’ stuff over the weekend 😊

 

Get to the chopper!

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Greetings Terrans, how goes it? So, week four of isolation eh? Anyone else really really pleased they have enough hobby projects on the back burner to outlast any virus? I know I am – otherwise I reckon I would be climbing the walls by now.

So yeah, last week was fun. I had a week off work, (or a week of not having to work from home at least), and so I ran the Wolf Time campaign for my kids. The eldest one dropped out after the warm-up games due to some spectacular nose removal of the face spiting variety, but my youngest stuck to his Orky guns throughout and managed to win the day! It was a close-run thing though, and we had a good laugh along the way. It has even given my youngest a bit of a taste for the hobby, and he has been working on painting a wizard up since then! We try a bit of co-op Frostgrave next – I’ll let you know how that goes 😊   Meanwhile, I’ve managed a few bits too – some neglected bits that have been taking up space for far too long.

First up, a bit of ToyHammer to make this rough and ready civilian flyer:

This was a cheap drone that my boss bought for himself a while back, and the minute I saw it I knew that I could do something cool with it… I asked if I could have it if it ever broke, and being a cheap piece of crap from China, it duly it ended up in my ‘pile of potential’. Last week was he perfect opportunity to get some shed time in and get busy with the glue & rattle cans.

It’s lightly armed, (being a civilian craft), but I think it works really well as terrain item, or as a plot point in a game of something sci fi.

Scale-wise, I reckon it is pretty much perfect!

 

 

While I was on a roll, I also got this finished:

It’s an MDF storage crate from Grumpy Old Tin – I think it’s a BOYL special, and I was lucky enough to get it handed to me at BOYL last year. It has been half done for months, but I pulled my finger out and finished it off in and around other things. Here’s a few more shots:

And all together:

 

That isn’t the sum of my hobby last week – I got a whole range of Oldschool minis cleaned up, based, primed, and ready to pick over as the fancy takes me, so you can expect to see some classic Bob Olly goodness over the next week or two. I also finished the main build phase on a real bucket-list project – a small army that 14 year old me could only dream of owning! You’ll have to wait and see what it is though – I’m keeping it schtum until I’m finished and ready for the big reveal… feel free to try & guess of course 😉

Until next time!

Legion of the Damned – Continued

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Greetings Terrans, I have a bit of a photo dump for you today – a bunch more LotD for your viewing pleasure. I apologies in advance, I’m not sure what each type is called, and I can’t be arsed to check. Also, these came out of a big crate I have that is just full of Conquest frames, so there is no rhyme or reason to these – I just built what came to hand, and I built them as they were meant to be made… Nothing fancy here, other than chips and scratched carved in, and the removal of all purity seals. So in no particular order:

First up, a 5 man unit:

And a top down view to show off their shoulder pads a bit:

I used all the guys without scopes on their bolters for this squad, and gave them a dynamic squad leader type. Not sure if he is a Sergeant or a Lieutenant, but he looks suitably aggressive for this unit.

 

Second, another 5 man unit:

And another top-down:

I used all the guys with scopes this time – they look a bit more ‘stand-off and shoot’ to me, and the squad leader reflects that. I also included the standard in this unit – I’m rather pleased with how it came out!

 

Finally, we have some specialist types:

And top down:

I think the Plasma guys are called Hellblasters, and I think the big jump-pack guy is an Aggressor? Whatever they are called, they made a fun change from the Bolter boys. One thing to note here – I really don’t like using flying bases on mins if I can help it, and I didn’t want to use one on the jump-pack guy. I tried to make it look like he was just dropping over the wall, and had kicked a bit of rubble off as he clipped the top. The illusion isn’t perfect, but I still prefer it to a flying stand…

 

Anyway, that’s it for today – I’ll be coming back to these guys at a later date, but we’re done for now. Next week I have been forced to take leave, so I’m going to go through the Wolf Time campaign again with the kids. Every cloud has a silver lining and all that 😊