Sunday, 31 July 2016

Toy Story (WIP)

Inspired by Westrider's 'Cowering in Terror' post over on Cascadian Grimdark I decided to use the idea for a Lictor model that I haven't gotten round to building yet.  I've depicted various marines, guardsmen and Necrons on my nid bases in the past.  Usually in various stages of imminent death, incontinence and decollation.

I was impressed with Westrider's cowardly guardsman.  It really brings the whole thing alive; its not just a base anymore but a mini diorama. This sort of thing works especially well with Tyranids.  The utterly alien and unknowable face of the Great Devourer cannot tell it's own story, otherwise it would spoil the whole scary alien and unknowable thing.  You aren't meant to identify with the Hive Mind, you're just supposed to be terrified by it.  I guess that's why there aren't many Black Library books about Tyranids.  They don't make very good protagonists.  A story from the Termagant perspective would probably go something like:  I/WE BORN! FIND PREY. EAT-EAT-EAT! JUMP INTO DIGESTION POOL. I/WE MELTING! and would leave it's audience unfulfilled.  A story from the Hive Mind perspective would probably go: billions-of-voices-clamouring-simultaneously-in-gestalt-entity. Conscious-overload-sense-of-self-eradicated-human-mind-cannot-comprehend-brain-explodes...

And so we glue hapless redshirts, bricking themselves on our monster bases to convey the story.  Something that can invoke terror in a scarred veteran or an unflappable astartes has got to be pretty horrible right?

You've got to be careful that you don't 'over-egg the pudding' though and turn the whole thing into a farce.  Pouring a pot of Tamiya Red over a pile of spare space marine legs, glued in a jumble at the foot of your bad ass behemoth is only disturbing to your mother. A kind, caring parent who wonders whether you should get out of the house more and make 'real' friends.  Or is it?  Actually, its exactly the sort of thing Slaanesh would do, isn't it?  Assaulting your senses with something outrageous, grisly and improbable.  'Sweet, merciful Emperor! is that real or just some corrupted child's dream!?!'.

I remember once, a few years ago, coming second in a conversion competition. Losing to someone who had depicted a giant with an arrow in his eye and his entire midsection missing, leaving a huge, wet puddle of intestines resting neatly between his feet.  I seem to remember being confident of a win that day, so what do I know about the macabre?  Revulsion is in the eye of the beholder.  I would have modelled him stepping in his own intestines had it been me, but maybe that's where the farce part comes in.

Anyway, in this case I haven't gone for grisly or outlandish.  I liked the fact that Westrider's guardsman was on his knees, unmanned by fear and thought it would be good to try a kneeling down Tempestus Scion. A tricky challenge. I managed to get that part done but in the end decided to model the Trooper taking cover round the back of a pillar. Just starting to peer around it to catch sight of his enemy. He's still screaming though. The Lictor will, of course, be behind him.  Just like panto!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

On Hallowed Ground

Just as thousands of wanderers have journeyed before me, I finally made the pilgrimage half way round the world to Warhammer World in Nottingham, England.  Ok, to be perfectly frank, I lived in the UK for 30 odd years only a couple of hours drive from the place and could never be bothered to go. But that just goes to show that you should never take anything for granted.  A bit like the National Health Service and that Joni Mitchell song; you don't know what you've got till its gone.

I returned to the UK for the first time in 6 years this July and we managed to fit a day trip to sunny Nottingham into our busy schedule.  Everyone else in the family was either actively sceptical or completely indifferent but I assured them it would be well worth it.  Having dispatched my wife and mother-in-law to Nottingham city centre, I dashed inside the fabled gates and spent 20 minutes in the foyer just taking it all in, quivering with anticipation.  My teenage sons were instantly bored but I resolutely ignored them.

At this point my wife returned with the grave news that she could not find the bus/tram stop into town and the plaintiff cries of my children were spoiling my zen-like state of bliss.  We adjourned to Bugman's Bar where a meal and, more importantly, free Wi-Fi were procured.  Our blood cholesterol levels increased tenfold and a tram route into town was established on Google Maps.  My wife departed, clutching her credit card with murderous intent and I abandoned my children to their fate. They barely noticed since they were busy downloading Fallout Shelter and Pokemon Go on their cell phones.

I spent the next 3 hours craning and perched at unnatural angles, trying to climb into the display cabinets.  A few anxious sales assistants approached me but I was oblivious to them for the most part.  The photos don't really do it justice.  The quality of the painting and the sheer volume of miniatures is overwhelming.  I could have stayed there all week and still not really seen everything.

Eventually my sons turned up and feigned interest, allowing me to take a few pictures and maintain the father-son bond.  They remained politely interested and a little bemused.  Ha! I had finally turned the tables on them!  All those Saturdays spent driving to Junglerama, watching them cavort with glee in the foam covered child cages and bored out of my tiny mind.  Well now the shoe was on the other foot! They had to watch me behaving oddly and grinning like a fool whilst pretending to show interest.  They had to calm me down when I got too hot and bothered and remind me to eat something and they had to gently dissuade me from stealing things in the gift shop.

Most of my pictures are blurry failures of course and I've only posted a tiny portion of them since they will all have been photographed hundreds of times anyway and you've probably seen them all already.  You can't really get the scale of the dioramas in a picture.  Some of them fill an entire room.  A large room at that.

All too soon, my wife reappeared, laden with suspicious packages and called a halt to the festivities.  I was the very model of restraint however and only bought Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower (with some extra heroes.  I'm a sucker for the up-sell).  Now this is what I call a great family day out.  I don't think anyone else called it that but what do they know?

Thats some serious resin right there

Painting the inside of Storm Ravens. See? I'm not the only one!

My favourite primarch.  My wife preferred Primark. Ba-dum-tish!