Sunday, 14 April 2019

Light 'em up

 Serendipity!  I was busy wiring up Chickenhawk's head using plasticard rods.  The original intention was to make cables out of green stuff for this job.  I'd already used some wire-reinforced green stuff tentacles/cables to affix the head in a secure position.  This was great for getting the posing right but made it almost impossible to fit more tentacles in the gaps.  So I bought two different thicknesses of plasticard rod and drilled holes to anchor them before bending the other end and gluing it into the head. 

This was fiddly as fuck and still didn't seem right so I added some Canoptek Wraith claws for even more variety.  An image of an old Magic the Gathering card kept surfacing in the back of my mind.  I've always liked the Clockwork Beast artifact monster but can't understand why this Knight keeps making me think of it.

Anyhoo, whilst dicking around and generally not making any real progress, the LED which is supposed to light up the face plate accidentally flipped out of the head and into the neck.  I started to curse roundly and call my sanity into question, but then I noticed that the effect was awesome.  I'd left the neck hollow in order to fit the wires through.  The light in this space was much more interesting but left the face unlit.  The problem was easily remedied by adding another one.  So now he has green eyes.  I rushed to get a picture because there is no way in hell I'll manage to get the sodding things to stay in this position for the end product.  Looks pretty damn sweet for now though!

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Weapon Symbiote

I've gone a bit Tyranid/Cthulhu on the arms. I'm not an engineer and its unclear how effective tentacles are as weapon mounts.  They probably make a decent emergency defense measure in melee combat.  I suppose it doesn't matter when it comes to Chaos and anything goes really.  But the geek in me which loves world building and wants to preserve the suspension of disbelief keeps trying to figure out why tech adepts would attach mechanical tentacles to the arm socket of an Imperial Knight.

Maybe they just spontaneously grew out of the body because Tzeentch thought it would be funny.  I definitely want to give the impression that the torso contains something ghastly and organic and this helps.

The influence of Lovecraftian horror and The Hive Mind continues on the gun barrel.  I used a Forgefiend Hades Autocannon in place of the Avenger Gatling Cannon and was wondering what to do about the large socket where the weapon is supposed to be mounted.  The hole is so big I figured I could put a marble in there and pretend it was some kind of monstrous eye.  But my marbles didn't fit.  Unperturbed, I smashed a couple with a hammer and used a broken shard.  In a way it turned out better because the coloured streak of plastic in the centre was missing and so I had to hand paint an iris on the inside.  Leaving the pupil as clear glass produced fairly convincing results.

The 'shoulders' were sculpted from scratch with epoxy putty.  This was fairly time consuming and I practiced on some old models first but I quite enjoyed it.  I'm getting better with green/grey stuff and it's mostly down to the tools I use.  If you are just getting into green-stuffing then I recommend watching a series of videos on the subject by The Modern Synthesist.  It was Mr. Pink who first put me on to 'clay shapers' which are absolutely indispensable if you are going for a smooth look.  I didn't really plan it out and only wanted to bulk out the tops of the arms and attach the tentacles initially.  So I just put some ambient trance music on and went with the flow.  I added some plasticard rods and used my trusty tentacle maker to give it a more bio-mechanical look.

 The Thunderstrike Gauntlet was easier, mainly because the claws that come in a Heldrake kit make for the most excellent ready-made fingers.  I'd seen other converters use them in the past but they mainly mount the digits on the arm supplied in the original kit.  I didn't possess this bit of kit however so had to make do with a Maulerfiend forearm.  I was stoked with how it turned out and think it looks very sinister, like an elongated claw hand.  Initially I wanted to model it as a clenched fist but I'm glad I opened the hand up now.

I need to work on the head and torso next which will be tricky because the LEDs and battery have to fit inside and I want to be able to change the bulbs if they break or if the mood takes me.   I'm also going to change the paint scheme and have gone for 'Psychotic Illusions' colorshift paint which blends from green to purple (see opening picture).  I'm sure Nyarlathotep would approve.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019


A work in progress shot of my Renegade Knight.  Of course, hardly anything is glued because it's going to be painted in a bajillion sub assemblies.  I even tried out a colour scheme for the carapace... *ahem* - armour plating.  This is Cobalt Blue Colourshift metal paint over the top of a gloss black primer.  My airbrush is hardly professional quality but I think it looks veeery interesting.

I've done a lot of work on the model but I haven't actually finished anything and tend to just sit there, patting myself on the back whilst opening another Tuatara craft beer.  It was all becoming a bit self indulgent.  I thought a blog post might help me get my shit together and determined that I should finish the legs first:

I've used quite a few bits of kit on it now and keep going out to buy new stuff.  40k is like a disease.  Brand new Maulerfiend and Heldrake kits have been sacrificed to the cause in order to make the shin guards and arms.  I think I've got enough plastic crack to finish it now.

This is yet another reverse joint walker so I have named him Chickenhawk.  Lots of Admech sigils on him at the moment but I need to Chaos it up at some point.  I don't just want to stick spikes on it though.

I'm currently debating whether to remove the pauldrons altogether and sculpt some fleshmetal or nurgly shoulders.  At least I've made some measurable progress.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Old Stuff Day

Time for a spot of necromancy in the form of  'Old Stuff Day'.

"A chance to dig up those old posts, dust them off, and maybe put on a new coat of paint for the masses." as Warhammer39999 puts it.

First off, I discovered this gem some time ago over on 'The Lead Plague':

This 5 year old post concerns the delicate and almost reverential unboxing of an ancient Rogue Trader era Chaos Dreadnought.  It rapidly descends into a kind of surreal madness and never fails to make me smile.  Undoubtedly one of the best blog posts I have ever read (although my blog digestion is a bit random), I always wanted an excuse to share it.  I strongly urge you to read it now if you haven't already.

As for my own back catalogue, I always felt that my 'Tergivon Poop' post from 2013 was sadly neglected and decided to unearth it again.  I think it has been read by several hundred web crawler servitors over the years and that's about it.

Tervigons were my first real foray into converting 40k miniatures and now that I think about it, this is probably the reason why I am still in the hobby.  In retrospect, I must commend Games Workshop's insane decision to release the rules for this beast back in 5th edition, but not the model.  After chopping up my first Mawloc and creating 'Tilly the Tervigon' (pictured on the left in the original blog post) I was well and truly hooked and went on an unprecedented 40k spending spree of such magnitude that I nearly asked my bank to defer the mortgage payment for that month.  Surely they couldn't have foreseen this unexpected outcome?  Or maybe it was just as planned.  Poor old Tilly has long since been dismembered and cannibalised for other projects.  I was never really happy with her and immediately built a second version in an attempt to improve my converting skills.  I'm happy to say that 'Gertie the Tervigon' is alive and well although she hasn't seen the tabletop for about 3 years now.

In honour of her resurrection I decided to put a fresh coat of mucus on the emerging baby Termagant.  Unfortunately, I had just come home from the pub when I began this endeavour.

Playing with UHU glue whilst drunk is quite a lot of fun but I think I may have overdone it a little.  Not to worry, Gertie will always be beautiful to me and owns a special place in my heart.

Sunday, 24 February 2019


Well, it looks like Slaanesh crashed the party and decided zhe liked the look of of our pointy eared friends more than the Necrons.  The model reminds me of Drukhari more than anything else now.  I probably shouldn't have swapped in the Splinter pistol but it just seemed like a natural choice at the time.  I spent ages turning the right handed Archon grip into a left handed Witch Elf grip and changing it back would have been difficult and potentially disastrous. I think she would prefer a sleek pistol to a blocky Stubcarbine anyway.

Initially I painted the legs black but they looked so much like stockings and suspenders that I dubbed the model 'Lady Marmalade'.   Further experiments with silvering of the metal reduced the high-camp, burlesque effect somewhat and I changed her name to 'Ungoliant'.  She's not quite the primordial incarnation of darkness depicted in Tolkien lore but I want her to be "Beautiful and terrible as the night" rather than "Mocha chocolata ya-ya (ooh, yeah)" (As an aside, why that skinny bitch Christina gets top billing is beyond me.  I prefer the heart-stopping curves of Pink and Lil' Kim)

Someone on Facebook commented that the model needed ''less Necronic techno-magic bullshit' which annoyed me at first but I could see that he had a point and more Chaos imagery was needed.  So I re-carved the etched circles on the wraith plates into chaos stars.  This looked horrible and I tried burning them in with a hot pin.  It was impossible for me to get clean lines so I cheated by painting them all rusty.  I'm definitely improving with Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust which is a relief.  I added a bit of Agrax and Fire Dragon Blight for more contrast.

The skin was hardest part because I'm a messy painter by nature and don't airbrush as a rule.  I also didn't paint it in sub assemblies (apart from the base) and some of the crevices were maddening to reach.

Constant re-touching makes the paint go blotchy and textured which is the opposite of the smooth effect I was going for.  But I managed to blend Mordian Blue, Thunderhawk blue, Fenrisian Grey and Ulthuan Grey into something approximating Drow flesh in the end.

Space Marine shown for scale (and because he needs love too)

As for what the model is...  I have no idea.  If I ever get round to building that Dark Mechanicum army I'd probably run it as some sort of character.  Maybe a Datasmith.  She's way too small to be anything beefy and too costly (in real money and time) to spam as battle servitors.  I've been thinking that I would like to turn some Kastelan Robots into Mars Attacks! robots and they'd need a datasmith (I think).  Maybe I should come out of the closet and start a Deldar army.

Maybe, as Asslessman points out, I should just model and paint for fun sometimes.  Or maybe Yvraine angered the goddess Lolth, who ordered the Dark Mechanicum to turn her into a Mecha-Drider as a punishment.  How about that for non-canonical heresy?

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Vile Heresy

It's Waitangi day here in NZ which is a public holiday.  I decided to celebrate the birth of a nation by spending the day in the garage, working on my conversion.  A true patriot! (albeit a naturalized NZ citizen and a filthy immigrant really).  I processed all the feedback from my previous post and made some fairly drastic changes and additions.

The abdomen needed the most work and was built mainly out of a Bloodletter torso glued back to back with a Deathmark torso.

I can't remember what the gun on the end of her bottom is.  Something Necron Destroyery I think.  I also don't know what gun she is holding in her hand.  I just liked the look of it.

Playing Warhammer 40k Mechanicus made me realise that there are those adepts of Mars who would eagerly embrace Necron technology.  There might have been some among the ranks of the Tech Priests, nascent heretics, who considered the bio-transference of the Necrontyr as the apotheosis of mortal flesh.

But of course Ad-Mech are not Necrontyr and dabbling in forbidden arts has always attracted the denizens of The Warp. The perversions of Chaos would inevitably seep in, corrupting their ideals of pure intelligence unhampered by emotion.  What rough beast, its hour come round at last, skitters towards Bethlehem to be born?

I needed a suitably apocalyptic base to go with it.  I had a decent spare in the form of the Roboute Guilliman model. This was chopped down to size so that it would fit on a large infantry base.  It is perhaps too small but I have no idea what this model is supposed to be in 40k terms.  Some sort of Sicaraian Infiltrator?  A corrupted Cryptek?  A daemonic Datasmith?  I don't know and I refuse to be constrained by a codex.  It is what it is.

The base was full of holes so I started delving for parts in the bits box.  Skulls seemed to be the appropriate flora.  Yes, yeeess! My base depicts a broken Imperial eagle and a dead CSM.  All it needed was dead Elfs!  Some no-good, Mary-Sue, cheating, sanctimonious Elves! So I started rummaging and I looked and I looked but I couldn't find any dead (and inanimate) Eldar at all.  Goddamnit Games Workshop why do you never see a fucking Elf Skull?!  You do bird skulls and Genestealer skulls.  You do frickin skulls for races of aliens that don't even have any rules and are barely mentioned in the lore at all!  This is a travesty!! I guess they look too similar to human skulls and the pointy ears are only made of gristle.

Then it hit me.  High cheekbones, pointy ears, sinuous body...

I have depicted Elves as the frickin master race.

+++does not compute+++

+++unholy malfunction+++

+++segmentation fault+++

+++core dumped+++

Sunday, 27 January 2019

All your base

Interesting times ahead.  My newfound status as an ageing, single male coupled with a career change back to contracting which didn't pay me for two months appeared to have killed all creative impulses.  I am definitely out of my comfort zone.  Thank The Lord for video games.

All your base are belong to us
My first base was eaten by Tyranids

I belatedly discovered Subnautica, which swallowed me whole for the entire holiday period.  I more or less forgot to eat, sleep and wash (it is possible to survive on banana smoothies). If I could have swapped my computer chair for a commode, I would have done so.  Fortunately, the kids spent xmas with their mother.

A Reaper has his way with my trusty Seamoth

I spent most of my time building ridiculously impractical sea bases and playing chicken with leviathans.  But that was just scratching the surface and I had to go deeper.  If anyone tells you that Subnautica is an underwater survival game, they're wrong.  That's like saying The Hobbit is a crime caper or a heist story.  Its much more than that.  Its a journey.  Or maybe it was just an interesting diversion which helped me through an unsettling period in my life.  Either way, I clocked over a hundred and fifty hours, so you can't argue about value for money.

Oh dear God, he's seen me!  Wait! Is that a coffee machine?

Sadly, real life started to get in the way of my underwater adventures.  This was a good thing really and the return to reality reminded me that I was going to build a Dark Mechanicum army.  I wanted to buy Anacharis Scoria but he might be a bit out of my price range now.  So, instead I wasted even more money by trying to cobble together a Witch Aelf, a Wraith and four Sicarian Ruststalkers.  On the plus side, I didn't have to buy any new kits.

On fire, under attack and taking on water.  But its the Lava Leeches on the windscreen that really scare me.

I was always fascinated by the Daughters of Khaine but never actually wanted to play them as the Daughters of Khaine.  I built one as a Drow Rogue for a D&D game ages ago.  I also tinkered with the idea of using one as a Tiefling but it never came to fruition.  Finally I used one for a head swap on my Cursebreakers.

But I didn't really want to build an army.  Seeing them all lined up on the box art was a bit of a put off.  They reminded me of something out of a beauty pageant.  The swimwear section of Miss World 1968 Barbarella edition.  Whilst the paint jobs are good, it reinforced the doll-like qualities for me.  An uncomfortable feeling.  There is a very fine line between playing toy soldiers and actually playing with Barbie dolls it seems.

Techno Beetle

I wanted something a bit more melodramatic, so I built a 'Mecha-Drider'.  Suitably dark and mechanical or so I thought.  However, it looked more 'Techno-Beetle' than Mecha-Drider.  I was pretty much done with it at this point and about to submerse myself in Subnautica again when I saw this superb piece of art by Victor Guerra

That's more like it! This picture really inspired me. Its so... androgynous.  Except for the shapely but nipple-less breasts, the creature could almost be a male.  Strangely it's the spider that is feminine for me.  The way the torso fits the thorax and has the flared lines of a woman's hips.  The choice of hairless, tapering spider.  A Black Widow?  The shape of the legs look like a sort of wire frame for an 18th Century ballroom dress.  Definitely female, but very odd and intriguing.

I attempted to capture the look and feel of the beast.  But the legs were too short and stubby.  And there weren't enough of them.  I had enough Sicarians to add an extra pair but in Victor's picture the spider appears to have ten legs.  Surely that was wrong?  A quick check on Google revealed that the front ones are actually 'pedipalps'.  Who knew?  I thought pedipalps were something they gave to old people for incontinence.  Anyway, I decided not to add a fifth pair and figured that her arms would make up the numbers and perform the same function as pedipalps.  Four pairs of legs looked even stubbier than three though.  I needed to make them look more tapered and rummaged around in my bits box for ages, to no avail.  There was nothing delicate but strong enough in there to support the body.  I needed something thin, but strong.  The answer was, of course, safety pins.

Anything with more than four legs is abhorrent.

I've still got a ways to go with this conversion but I'm slowly getting back into it.  I think.