Biel-tan: Revengeance

The other distraction project this week has been revisiting some Dire Avengers that I sort-of finished last year. I say sort-of finished – I think what I mean is that I got them to a point where they were good enough to hit the tabletop, even though I wasn’t entirely happy with them, but I didn’t really know how to take them forward. Basically I’d left the Avengers in a spot where their metallic blue-purple armour was nicely moody but was a little bit difficult to look at – metallic colour schemes can tend to do that as light cannons off them at all sorts of angles, making them difficult to photograph and a bit tough on the eye.

Inspiration eventually hit me from a direction that I’m sure my little elf friends would strongly disapprove of:

This dude!

The big lad above has kind of a feathered bleached bone highlight all over his armour that stops him from looking too twinkly when light hits him – I decided to try giving the Avengers the same treatment and I think it’s a big improvement.

The big surfaces on the helmets were asking for a little freehand, so I added some totally made-up sigils of vengeance and I’m much happier now to call these guys finished – at least until I learn how to do something else to improve them.

The Man With The Shaggy Pants

Here’s a bit of a random distraction model: Ragnarr Loðbrók, from Footsore miniatures. Ragnar is probably most famous these days from the “History” channel’s Vikings series, which seems to be one of those shows that I can’t stop watching in spite of how terrible I think it is. Historians apparently agree that he probably never existed and that the legendary figure of Ragnar Lodbrok is kind of a composite of lots of different historical figures whose names & deeds have ended up being blurred into a single early-medieval superhero character.

Anyway, I like the model because his name literally means Ragnar Shaggy-breeches and Paul Hicks has accordingly sculpted him with little woolly trousers.

The Black Fathoms: have a name now

We’ve made it as far as the no. 2 engine sump. Visibility is zero except for the arc-lights and of course, there’s not much headroom down here. Still no crew to be found.

That creeping void frost that lined some of the pipes near maintenance access 21-3 is much thicker now. It lines the walls, floors & ceilings, making every step treacherous underfoot. Everywhere around us glistens & sparkles in the lamp-light and we know for sure now that we are heading toward the source of catastrophe, however beautiful it may be.

The work has not been forgotten. Samples have been taken at 100m intervals as we progress. We won’t know the full details until we get the vials back to Harkis at pathology, but an initial readout from Alia-238′s onboard collators told us the frost in no. 2 sump contains traces of blood, something called nitroguanidine (which apparently had some use in early bolter ammunition) and an unknown, unclassifiable algae. An attempt to clarify the nature of the latter caused the servitor to begin leaking (bleeding?) from aug-interface ports 7 through 14, followed by a fit of convulsions and mostly unintelligible speech. 

Mina managed to subdue the servitor and place it in a safe mode configuration – it seems obvious that a full shutdown will knock out its termperature-control functions and jeopardize all the samples collected thus far. We will endeavour to recover it and bring it back on our return leg. For now, Alia-238 idles in maintenance conduit 7, sub-deck 3, no. 2 engine sump, repeating its last, garbled words before being subdued.

“Black fathoms swallow you”

“Black fathoms swallow you” 

“Black fathoms swallow you” 

We press on.

[stubbornly untitled nurglers]: Created in the Image of Suffering

Ringo, John, Paul & George (997.M41)

Kept you waiting, huh? Nah, I haven’t earned that; it’s only been a couple weeks. But the bigger uglies (I’ll have some poxwalkers in there eventually) of this kill team are built and ready for paint! One fighter, one champion and two gunners to add to the dude I painted previously. And Dave the nurglo-skull! Can’t forget Dave.

This fighter is one of the least-converted members of the team, as I really only had to do some very minor repairs. At some point I think I must have been trying to use that axe on a different model, because when I dug it out of storage it had been painted in a completely different colour scheme to the marine himself. The axe needed a replacement power cable and a new haft, which was easily done by nicking a big ol’ thigh bone from the old fantasy zombies kit.

The much bigger effort these last couple weeks has been getting the unit champion ready to go. When I first retrieved him from storage and started stripping the old, aborted paintjob it turned out that he needed substantial repairs to the power fist (which, again, it looks like I’d hacked up with a view to a different model), as well as a replacement for his original head-horn/blade-type thing. One of the downsides to these Dark Vengance renegades is that a lot of the horns, spiky bits and other organic details were modelled in such fine detail that they’re actually rather fragile. It’s a bit too easy to break off the very sharp points, in particular. Anyway, I am fortunate to have horns & spikes a plenty laying around my place, so this guy got a few horns stolen from a bloodletter skull, which were big enough to keep him looking aggressively conspicous and conspicuously aggressive, as a champion of chaos really should be.

His smashy fist was a more involved task, requiring some amount of resculpting. I was pretty pleased with the finish I managed to achieve with the greenstuff (never a strength of mine) but still, I decided to add a patented Giant Skull of Distraction, just to make myself feel a bit more secure with how things were looking. I even got a bit adventurous and decided to try and make it look like the skull was emerging from the armour a little bit, added a couple of rivets and called it good. We’ll see how it all paints up, but I’m encouraged by the initial pass of liquid greenstuff.

All that’s left now is to wait for the humidity to ease up a bit here in tropical north-east England and get to painting! Happy hobbying, everybody.

[currently untitled nurglers]: A Handmade Handgun, part 2.

I’m continuing to slowly plod away at these here plague marines (a pace which I think they’d approve of), adding a second gunner with a blight launcher to the team. This was a bit of a complex, pain in the ass type of conversion, largely owing to the need to build him a completely new set of arms while trying to retain the model’s original shoulders.

Just like with the plague spewer carried by my other gunner, I knew I wanted to keep the actual gun on this guy fairly low-key and offload a lot of the ammo storage and other Worky Gubbinz to a towering, industrial backpack. Inspired by older weapons like the American M79, I decided to take a bolt pistol (which I think used to belong to a chaos raptor?) and simply stick a small length of plastruct tube to the front of it and the butt from a plasma gun on the back. The bolt pistol actually came with a bit of a leering eyeball already emerging from the casing, so I decided to work with what I had and sculpted some nibbly teeth underneath, gobbling up the ammo feed.

The backpack itself is dominated by a pair of heavy bolter magazines (probably from space marine centurions?), with a basic plastruct ‘box’ just underneath to receive the ammo feed and provide a solid base on which to sculpt a big ol’ skull. The ammo feed itself was made possible by a handy dandy pencil sharpener I found on ebay that’s designed to sharpen the lead as much as the wood, allowing me to create a lot of giant hollowpoint style bullets from thin plastruct rod. Yes it was tedious, fiddly work; yes I know this thing is supposed to be a grenade launcher, but after having explored a lot of options I figured out that this was the one that was actually feasible for me to make, so that’s what I went with.

Finally, because the whole project wasn’t fiddly enough already, meet Dave the Nurglo-skull. He’s a plaguebearer skull of course, with a bunch of little bits (including an eye lens) from a regular servo skull. His little wings are cut from a piece of transparent plastic and as you can see, I did go in and reduce the size of that massive horn a little bit.

And there you have it, one gribbly gunner ready for paint. The rest of the conversion work on this team should be much easier, so hopefully I can actually get some paint on these before the year is out.

[currently untitled nurglers]: A Handmade Handgun


Two possibilities exist:

  • I have been at a bit of hobby loose end since finishing my drukhari kill team. Do I plough on with more Thracians, finally finish my Neferata, or make a few more Iron Tusks? Or do I do something different entirely? One can never have too many kill teams…
  • I am a terribly shallow creature, easily swayed by the cheap & easy gratification of social media, and when a random chaos renegade from the Dark Vengeance box that I painted up years ago started getting a bunch of likes on instagram I immediately started rummaging through my hobby drawers for the rest of his mates.

(these possibilties are not mutually exclusive)

Long story short, I’m nurgling now.

That guy was the prototype that I painted years ago. The Dark Vengeance set contained 2 of these sculpts, and while he’s quietly my favourite model GW have ever put out (no joke), I wasn’t about to have two identical marines in a kill team. So I decided to start cutting.

Let’s call that the “oh shit, might’ve bitten off more than I can chew” stage. My man here lost a horn somewhere in storage, so that part wasn’t deliberate, but I did go and hack off his bolter, leaving just the hands to work with. The objective here was to give him a fancy nurgle flamer that could count as a plague spewer or belcher, depending on what points I had spare.

A plague belcher.

First task: the core of the gun and its weird muzzle. Because it’s a distinctive part that does a lot to differentiate the weapon from other flamers and if I can’t get that right, I might have to revise this entire model. I also wanted to add a little bit of warp-cursed mutation to the weapon to tie it in with the rest of the model’s armour.

The basis for the main part of the gun was a small piece of flat plasticard to fill the gap between the two hands and a bit of 1.5 mm dia plastruct rod for the gun barrel. So far, so simple. For the muzzle, I started by nicking a handy horn from a different chaos kit (probably), chopping its point off and repurposing it as the basis for that flared muzzle. Easier to sculpt over an existing shape. The bulbous bit before the muzzle proper got sculpted first (adding some reinforcement to the join between barrel & muzzle), before I went in and added ribs to each side of the muzzle and finally a little spine to bring the whole thing together. I’m very proud of myself that I actually had the good sense & patience to leave each little stage of green stuff for a good 8 hours before working on the next bit. I am not normally that sensible and typically cause myself a lot of unnecessary grief!

Second stage: worky bitz. Let’s try and make it a semi-convincing sci-fi gun. There’s not actually that much to be done here – I knew I didn’t want to make the back end of the weapon look anywhere near as heavy as the GW version, preferring the simple tube format of WW2 flame throwers (yes, those ones that werf flammen). Nevertheless the weapons of the Warhammer 40,000 universe have certain standards and we expect to see at least one unnecessary canister and some cool hoses on any gun worth worrying about and I do not like to disappoint.

This one was a pretty simple case of taking the fuel canister off another flamer I had laying around, carving a little slot out of it so it could attach to the side of the gun and then drilling a hole in the top of it. Once that was well secured, I drilled a similar size hole near the crook of his elbow and threaded one of Jeff Wilhelm’s handy dandy metal hoses through the gap and into the canister. The last step was to take some thin sections of 3mm plastruct tubing and cut them into little hoops to secure the hose and also reinforce the area around the left hand.

Finishing touches: obviously I needed to find a replacement horn. It’s bigger than the original, but it’s a chaos model, so we like asymmetry. The backpack is monstrously large, but in a way I can totally enjoy. If it’s not obvious, the big turbine is half of a raptor’s jump pack. I added a plaguebearer skull on one end to help receive a much bigger hose (again, shout outs to Jeff Wilhelm at Dragon Forge) and drilled a correspondingly larger hole under his trigger hand, as if that hose feeds directly into the grip of the gun. Finally, I did an incredibly delicate bit of work to make the little chimney bit that sits behind the muzzle, drilling a 1mm hole into some 1.5mm plastruct rod, and then drilling .3mm holes in the side of that. I am frankly amazed that I didn’t mangle the whole thing beyond use.

And there he is finished! Fiddliest conversion I’ve done in some time, but very satisfying all the same. I have three more guys to make (and one of those is going to need a scratch-built blight launcher) so it’ll be a little while before this one sees paint, but for now he’s enjoyable to stare at while making whooshy fire extinguisher noises. Happy hobbying, folks.


Having reached a point with the rowdy goatherds where I felt like it was time for a break, I’ve spent the last couple of weeks finishing up the last few drukhari for my kill team, hereby officially named The Murmaiderers. These flooded chemical forest dwellers have only taken the best part of 6 months to get done, which for me is practically speed painting! Away thee from the Shelf of Shame, and unto the Cabinet of Completion you go.

Gethys Ancarryn, called The Last; Skaithe, Spite-sayer of Anhar Sump, Aenurh Mistdancer

Feiverh “Dream” Vaxal; Ievann Skol, thrice-dead; Yseult Trestyn, The Red Rain
Keryth Malhadris; Xorel Noosewinder; Brythene the Unmaker
Senua Xanthris, Bladewife of Bathor Arena

Thracians: armoured/corps


I am and have always been terrible at doing hobby projects for any sort of deadline, whether it be a painting competition, a tournament, or some sort of community challenge. But if that challenge involves something I was going to do anyway? Different fuckin story!

The thing that I was going to do anyway involves a conversion of one of Victrix’ plastic hoplites, which I did a little preparatory work for a couple months back in expectation of the Mortal Gods core box arriving chez moi. Mortal Gods, of course, is a skirmish game set in ancient Greece whose name should always be pronounced a bit like:

Anyhow, I Did The Thing and put together an entry for Azazel’s Armoured / Army AprilAnathaetes,a heavy hero for my Thracians.

This is one of those rare conversions that happened more or less exactly how I planned it out. All the prototypey stuff I did previously made it into the final product as intended – his cloak sits on him quite comfortably and looks pretty comparable to the Foundry peltasts. His rhomphaia is probably still a little bit long, but the proportions are right and you get a good sense of this weird, spindly blade in comparison to some other swords from the period.

Wear it like you stole it, I guess.

His armour maybe bears talking about a little bit – the Thracians were overwhelmingly known for using much less armour than most people in their part of the world, preferring to fight as highly mobile skirmishers. Greaves & helmets started to see wider use from the 4th century BC, but big old breastplates like this one were almost unheard of, with the notable exception of the royal household cavalry. So this dude is pretty much dressed up as one of them, minus a horse and spear, plus a rhomphaia and a healthy respect for the Rule of Cool. Anyway, with his bronze helmet, cuirass and greaves he is easily the most heavily armoured Thracian I own, so he’s my Armoured April entry.

The other half of the monthly challenge is Army April, which is a simple case of putting together some nice group shots of your long-term labours and a great opportunity for me to admit: I probably own more of these dudes than I’m ever likely to need.

That right there is easily 450pts worth of Thracians for Mortal Kombat Gods. You probably need about 250 to get started with? 350 is a pretty big game. 450 might be… Unwieldy.

But they do look nice. A bonus element of the challenge was to add some new stuff to said army, which of course I did with the big man up top, as well as this dude:

Diethenaerys is a converted Aventine miniature, with a shield from the Victrix sprues and another custom rhomphaia. He’s actually intended to be a slightly more historically-accurate substitute for this guy:

And I think he’s come out rather well. The other additions this month were a set of Footsore’s brand new Thracian peltasts!

These models are actually so new, they’re not even really out yet. Footsore made a few of them in advance of the full release to sell at Salute, and I was lucky enough to be able to snag a few of the leftovers from that show. They’re expensive and, having more folds in their cloaks, they’re quite a bit more difficult to paint than some of the other models in my collection, but I think they’re really gorgeous models. Lovely sculpts, great faces – and extremely well cast to boot. I am a happy bunny. And I have so, so many Thracians.

Happy hobbying, everybody.

Drukhari: The Bladewife of Bathor Arena (and friends)

Nothing quite finished to show off just yet (because if it ain’t based, then it’s not finished, is it?) but I did manage to get most of the way there on another three Wyches this week. 3 left and I’m done!

It must be said that pictured here they look like an incredibly disjointed bunch! I always add a few variant colour schemes into my armies & kill teams – it just so happens these are all three of those at once.

L-R: Ievann Skol, the Thrice-dead; Senua Xanthris, Bladewife of Bathor Arena; Yseult Trestyn, called The Red Rain; Brythene the Unmaker; Aneurh Mistdancer; Feiverh “Dream” Vaxal; Xorel Noosecrafter.

Does that make any more sense? Will I ever manage to effectively photograph a model that’s leaning forward off her toe like that? Who can say.

Anyway, I might go back and make young Feiverh’s coral-pink hair a little more noticeably pink, but otherwise I’m pretty happy with them.

Drukhari: dynamite fishing

After an extended Thracian vacation (Holiday in Bulgaria?), I decided to return to my toxic forest friends.

Your standard impaler is kind of a two-pronged, giant toasting fork type of thing, which obviously is designed to evoke the trident of the retiarus gladiator. I decided I wanted something heavier & stabbier, so I nicked a different spear from the scourges and flipped it so that she uses it overhand.


This blaster warrior got a simple head swap (also from the scourges) and then a hair swap – the braid on the original head would have stuck out a mile and almost certainly broken off as soon as I transported this dude for a game, so I nicked a different haircut from the wyches and now the whole model fits a bit more comfortably on its base.

Anyway, enjoy some cool mermaid hair and be careful in your local haunted forest.