Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Helsreach Mercenaries - Abdul Goldberg

"I was just minding my own shit, taking my sweet time over my warm milkshake, just feeling the vibe of the tunes playing from the kitchen of Greasy Kim's Bar and Diner. I'd been on the drugs for a while so I was feelin' pretty spaced out and fluffy, not really sure how long I'd been there, or even why I was there. And then "boom!", I nearly shit meself. Not expecting that. Out of the smoke arrives this crew of tough guys, guns out, shouting all loud like. They rough me up asking where some guy called Abdul Goldberg's at. It's a name I'm only just familiar with, maybe a few weeks ago, he's been winning gambles with the best of 'em here and fleecing some of the town's tough guys. They've been looking for him. It's a name you can't forget once you've heard it. He's got a rep now. Anyway I tell these guys that I've never met the fella, no idea what he looks like; not sure why they're bugging me about it, all I'm doing is just tryin' to chill. Apparently he was here earlier, relaxing with his crew. I tell 'em that I kinda remember a group relaxin' and chattin' in the corner,, looking all smug like, but I don't know when they left or where they went. I get a smack in the face for that honest information. Fuckers. I'm pleading with this big thug, sayin I know nuthin and then out of knowhere this crew comes in and shoots the place up, all these thugs around me now slumped over, blood everywhere. No idea how I got missed by all that shootin. And then through the carnage steps this fella, he was the fella I saw earlier in the Diner. I'm focused now. He's all calm and serene like in his movements, real elegant with his long coat swishing behind him. I look into his eyes as he approaches me and somehow his eyes flicker between  hard arse, piercing like and then like the whole things a joke, I didn't know how to read him. Shit meself properly this time. Anyway he comes up to me, pats me on the back, slurps my milkshake and yells out to the kitchen that I need a new, cold one. One of the thugs groans and he sticks him in his gut with his sword, not even looking at the guy, but looking at me. I swear he made it look like the whole thing was one big joke. He clicks his fingers and he and his crew walk out all silent like. I promise this is the truth, exactly what happened, no bullshit. This happened. Who is he then, this Goldburg, really, I wanna know?"

My version of Abdul Goldberg, using a very cool Hasslefree miniature. I'm not sure that he entirely fits my imagination of what Goldberg looks like (based upon the cant information in the Rogue Trader rulebook), I imagined a slightly portly, fun loving gangster with a hard edge. I've caught the hard edge with this mini, but didn't have time to sculpt a belly onto him that would have made him perhaps slightly more jovial.. I was tempted to add some blood and gore onto the sword, but decided he was already tough enough looking and was worried it might go over the top.

The backstory is based on the information given in on pages 243-244 of the Rogue Trader rulebook, where the sub-plot generator is located. This is the excerpt I used to give me some context:

"Abdul Goldberg has crossed you for the last time - it was pure luck that your paths should cross on this isolated planet outside of imperial control. He and his crew are relaxing down at Greasy Kim's Bar and Diner, unaware that you and your crew are ready to pounce. The diner is mostly deserted, with only a few lonely vac-heads and spacers to witness the fight."

Obviously I chose one of the vac-heads/spacers to give his account and changed the outcome slightly, imagining Goldburg to be way too savvy to be caught in a diner by a group of thugs..

Here you can see Goldburg with his crew, post diner chillax, a proper bunch of rogues.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Helsreach Mercenaries - Doc Shivers and Stoksie

Stoksie is a hard bastard. He's got those eyes that penetrate you and search out your weaknesses as well as a physical presence and bulging bulk that intimidates the shit out of you. You only get to see those eyes close-up though and not many have lived to tell that tale, because Stoksie likes nothing more than to get you from a distance. By nature a loner, Stoksie teamed up with Doc Shivers because of his one fear, the fear of being hurt. He's hurt others many, many times, often in quite barbaric circumstances; the red haze descends and the innermost fears pour out in a full beserker's frenzy, so he has seen pain, caused pain, but it scares him shitless, having it done to him. He's trained his body, honed his reactions so that he will always make the first move, fire the first shot, down his man before any response is forthcoming. There's been some close-shaves on his health, but he's survived, relatively unscathed.

He took a bullet to his right bicep in the last gunfight. It hurt like fuck. He wasn't careful enough, didn't see the fourth man until it was a split second too late and took the bullet. The initial response was one of pure fury, bullets spraying with unerring accuracy and ferocity; one of his battle lusts that make him seemingly transcend his own body and operate on a different time scale to his adversaries. They didn't survive; the man who shot his arm, died looking into those eyes.

Then, the shock of mortality, the pain, the blood. He could just about deal with those, although he hated the sight of his own blood, but what scared him, really scared him, was that this wound could be the one that debilitated him, made him microscopically slower or fractionally less flexible. Worsten his performance, make him a less effective killer.

So he teamed up with Doc Shivers, a fugitive found hiding in a warehouse, on the run. He offered the Doc unshakeable protection from the Slavers who he had escaped from (and all the others that wanted their revenge upon him) in return for medical support and reassurance. Doc Shivers was more than happy to team up, especially with someone who asked for so little in return, rarely spoke and had already been brutally efficient in keeping the Doc alive.

That's all Doc Shiver's wanted, to survive. He'd swindled so, so many, charging astronomical sums for surgical work that needn't have been so complex. Performing operations that deliberately enfeebled the patient - paid for by rich clients and bounty hunters - conducted deliberately unsuccessful identity face swaps and even adding bizarre mutations on unsuspecting patients. Doc Shivers was not a man of morals, but he was a bloody good surgeon who's skills were renowned and much sought. But he had made too many enemies and needed to re-group, survive and eventually flee to a safer, location, away from his assailants. Stoksie may well be that ticket, but was certainly that protection...

These two are both from the Copplestone range of miniatures and are really nice, clean and crisp sculpts, as you'd expect from such a talented sculptor. The clean lines and crisp details make the painting experience nice and easy and there's a good amount of character and dynamism in the faces and poses.

I like the ripped clothing and the little bits of flesh poking through, break up the larger areas of fabric whilst there's always some detail to keep you interested as a painter; whether it's the sunglasses, the knee pads or the bandana. With Doc Shivers, I went for a slightly medical looking pale blue/white suit that I hoped would help make him stand out from the rest of the crew as less of a hard warrior and more of a supporting/civilian type who still knows how to look after himself with a gun.

You can see how they line up with their new mercenary chums, all dirty and dusty:

I've started work on the Mad Max style car for them (although I'm now thinking of also making some sort of camping van for the group to help transport them all around) and I'll post up some Wip photos in due course. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Making quick and easy scratchbuilt barrels

Scraping the barrel of blog posts here. Nothing new from me at the moment, the school exam period is taking up too much of my time, but I did photo-document my procedure for making scratch-built, rusty, battered barrels. So here it is, it may be of some use to some of you..:

1. Using some thick cartridge paper, wrap it around a battery (or similar shaped object). Use superglue to attach the ends to create a cylinder.

2. Remove the battery and cut the cylindrical piece of paper to the correct barrel height.

3. Using the battery as a guide again, cut out the circles which will act as the top and bottom of the barrel. Remember they need to fit inside your cylinder so should be a touch smaller in diameter.

4. To insert them inside the cylinder, I used some blu-tac on the end of a pencil. Stuff it inside.

5. Superglue it in place, remembering that it should not be flush with the end of the cylinder so as to create a lip to the barrel.

6. You can see that the top of the barrel is slightly dented, this is a good thing. I then superglued a bead on the top to act as the screw top for the barrel.

7. I used some fuse wire as it is thin and really flexible; this was wrapped around the battery to create the correct circumference that will go around the barrel.

8. Super-glued into place. Imperfections are ok, this is a battered barrel.

9. Rather creatively (I thought) I pva glued some strips of rusty brown tissue paper onto the barrel, ensuring it covered the wire and smoothed out the protruding edges of the wire.
10. They were primed grey and then a quick burst of brown aerosol was added. Some of the brown colour of the tissue paper shows through. Some rusty washes were applied with some cheap acrylic paints.

11. Scratching on some metallic paint using an old kitchen scourer

12. The last stage was to add some rust texture using a small amount of matt medium and some dry pigment.

13. Some oil spills were liberally dribbled on with Nuln Oil and then some dusty dry pigments added so as to fit in with my barren, post-apocalyptic landscape.

Friday, 6 May 2016

A new banner for my blog


I've decided to improve my little corner of the web here with some of my own art and a slight change in ambience, trying to make it easier on the eye and a little bit more damned looking. When I first starting blogging, I was entirely unprepared and unoriginal in choosing Les Edwards iconic illustration from the cover of the Lost and the Damned itself. It really is an image that stayed with me from a teenager to a middle aged geek and seemed appropriate for the introduction of this blog of mine.

However as the blog's developed and my influences increased, I started thinking about creating my own unique illustration, based on some of my favourite GW artwork from when I was a kid, particularly that of Adrian Smith and also some of the illustration from Fighting Fantasy which I have already used liberally in miniature projects.
For example the illustration of some Nurgle Warriors, below by Adrian Smith, has the characters facing us head on, in lovely contrasting black and whites, with a somewhat blighted background. But I have a personal dislike of compositions where the legs and feet are completely cut off, it prevents the figures from having the same grounding in their environment.

So I'd kind of decided upon the style (black and white, contrasting tones) with a Nurgle based subject matter - characters face on to the viewer with a dark ambience in the background and starting playing around with some black and white acrylics and inks:

I then decided that I did not want to lose all connections with the Lost and the Damned tome, so I thought about how I could incorporate some of the text from the book into my illustration. The art teacher in me thought instantly of good old Mod-Podge:

 and with a  mirrored photocopy of the opening page of Nurgle from the great book I was able to combine the text onto my background and re-work into it with some additional tones and drips etc.

So what for the illustration itself? I played around with the idea of creating my own Nurgle characters, but I wanted to link back to miniature painting exploits on this blog, perhaps drawing up one of my favourite models or greatest accomplishments. And then it hit me! Having recently completed the collecting and painting of all the original Nurgle Champions I considered working from one of my very own photographs of my very own models, this one in particular:

Below you can see the initial drawing outlined in black pen (and the title of the blog Mod-Podged on)

And then bringing in some further contrasting highlights with some white acrylic washes:


I think there's still room for improvement in the contrasting and definition of each drawn figure (although I wish I hadn't worked in A4 size - what a simple mistake - always work larger and scale down!), but I am interested in hearing your thoughts. Cheers in advance!

Ps. How do I resize the image at the top and why have I suddenly lost a load of my comments, I think all those from Google +? All help and comments appreciated (if they show!)

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Helsreach Mercenaries: Saffron and Mal (lovers and fighters)

Saffron and Mal. Sometime lovers, always fighters, these two have history and reputation. Mal was a one time famous smuggler and captain of his own ship, now desperately trying to raise funds, through mercenary activities, to buy a new ship and hire a new crew, ultimately trying to recapture his halcyon days. Those days were in decline as soon as he met Saffron, the swindler, the con-artist. When she entered his life, he (understandably) let his guard down as she used all of her cunning, training and charms to disarm the rogue and take from him as he took from others. Slowly but steadily his steadfast power as leader of the crew diminished as her hold over him increased. He became obsessed by the challenge she presented.

As his attentions became more and more focused on her and the challenges she bought to his authority and self-restraint, his motley crew grew uneasy without Mal's strong leadership. His distraction caused several missions to go wrong, endangering the crew and limiting what was being pocketed. It was not long before they mutinied and stole his ship and cargo in embarrassingly easy circumstances, discarding the two squabbling lovers and fighters in a far flung corner of the system that became known to them as Helsreach.

Stranded with just their clothes and some basic weapons, both soon realising that they could actually work together quite effectively, rather than in opposition. Exploring the area and surviving by whatever means possible (always at the expense of others) they eventually overstepped into the domain and dealings of the notorious local crime lord, Adelei Niska. Realising their skills and potential to serve him, he hired them to complete a series of dirty missions, which they completed with great success. The loot they've taken from these jobs and the payments they've received means they are getting closer to be able to buy that new ship, maybe just one more big job would do it..... or maybe they can double-cross their employer....

Both of these figures are from the Foundry "Gangers" range which I picked up from last years BOYL. I think they've got some real character in the sculpts; mean and grizzled, proper versatile veterans of a post-apocalyptic world. You can see the use of MIG pigment dust a bit more clearly on this picture, it's really helped me create this barren and dry landscape that will be the setting for my 40k gangs.

I took a punt on their outfits, Mal had this mesh design sculpted over his torso, which I decided should become a string vest underneath his long leather jacket. With Saffron, I wanted a splash of colour in this drab world, so she got some pink dyed hair, a pale blue cowboy hat and a Batman t-shirt (this was inspired by an illustration in the Logan's World section of the Rogue Trader rulebook, where a Squat is wearing the same logo).

And here are Saffron and Mal hooking up (slightly reluctantly) with Psycho Sam preparing for a new, paid mission. But they need some more crew and are currently looking out for a few more comrades and a car....

Monday, 2 May 2016

Helsreach Mercenaries: Psycho Sam

Wandering the barren desert wastes with a mission and a reputation; Psycho Sam. The crazed punk who had a hunger for violence, who shot and then judged, yet who sought a redemption and a metamorphosis into someone better. But not just yet, he had to fulfil a self-imposed quest. 

He had committed many vile deeds, cared little for anyone and knew that he saw life on Helsreach as cheap fodder for his own gains and for his own survival. But he knew could be a better person, could fulfil a transformation into a more splendid person and undo all of his dirty, ugly, yet necessary past. He remembered his mum, or at least an older woman, reading to him as a child, books with faded colour pictures from a different world and time. The older hand brushing the dust away from the pictures of that hungry caterpillar and all that juicy, intoxicating food, foodstuffs that he had never even seen the like of in the bleak sepia of his childhood. Never so colourful and so appetising. But if he could just eat that chocolate cake, that ice cream, that pickle, that Swiss cheese, that salami, that lollipop, that cherry pie, that sausage, that cupcake and that watermelon then maybe he could transform into that beautiful, new different species and his current past would become someone else's.

Some of these foods Sam had already come across of course. Meat products were only available now wrapped in skin and all reputable drinking establishments had an assortment of pickled products on their shelves. A few years ago he had inadvertently stumbled upon an old chupa chupa vending machine in a derelict mall and smashed it open to recover it's colourful and flavoursome riches. Eight lollipops in all, only two left to suck. He'd had cheese of a sort, but it looked nothing like that holey, yellow image. But it would do for now. The baked goods and the ice cream, that's what drove him on, spurred him to an even more elevated psychosis and ever more despairing acts of violence. He had acquired an old recipe book and some of the ingredients, but was a long way from any kitchen or baker who could help the transformation from bare parts into a new whole. But it would happen, he knew, it was his destiny.

so Psycho Sam continued to wander the wastelands alone, accompanied by his reputation, his quest and a couple of tatty old books. And his shotgun. 

The Oldhammer miniature from BOYL 2015, sculpted by Mark Copplestone. I went for some earthy camo trousers with a deliberately brown overall palette, as will feature on most of my gang. I imagine a bleak world not just because of prospects but also due to a lack of colour, everything faded and simplified. His plastic blue shades being the only speck of bright colour (plastic being a very expensive commodity).
For this post-apocalyptic setting, I'll be using plenty of dry pigment to get the barren and dry look that I wanted to create. I've generally mixed the dry pigment with some matte varnish and dabbed that on and whilst still wet I've sprinkled some of the dry stuff straight on top. I've even drybrushed it onto the shrubs to make them look dusty too. For all of this I've used mig pigments after reading that they were probably the best out these. So far pretty happy with the results!