Monday, 23 January 2017

BitzBox Beastmen

I like my beastmen to be a proper combination of beasts and men, so for this stage of my bitzbox warband challenge, I kitbashed a load of (mostly) plastic and (some) metal parts to create a range of characters that showed a range of hybrids between man and different beasts. I also wanted to have lesser and greater hybrids - the greater hybrids can look far removed from the man and more bestial (but are probably more fun to convert) yet actually I prefer the subtle mutations/changes that you may find on a more human like figure with a few mutations that can almost be hidden. These are mostly greater mutations/hybrids:

So each conversion stuck to the theme of one animal, but with greater or lesser mutations. First up is a more typical beastman - goat head and hoof and an extended belly, but otherwise still retaining much of his soldier background with his uniform and blunderbuss. Not so far down the path to damnation and he can probably function pretty normally:

Here I've again gone for a head swap, adding a fly mutation to an otherwise humanoid body (which is actually a metal savage orc that I found headless in my bitz-box). A heavier mutation - can he speak? Has his brain retained any human elements?

The third beastman is relating to the avian, but with some Nurgleesque gut spillage. A cold-one claw has been added to his feet and I think the head is from a Bretonnian helmet? The arms are from a plaguebearer and have nice talon like fingers to them. I tried to paint the fur of the beastman body to match the feathers on the bird head. I was tempted to give him wings, but realised I needed them for my upcoming harpies. So he's flightless, which must be quite irritating for him:

Next up is my lizardman. Again utilising the head of a cold-one but I tried to position it in a way that made it look dynamic, almost as if he is contorted with pain and rage due to his heavily mutated self. A cold one was again raided for the tail, an old chaos warrior mutated arm was stuck to a plaguebearer body and a metal leg from the Nurgle palanquin champion was added. I think his left arm and axe are orcish. He's more lizard than man now (say this with an Alec Guinness voice):

And finally the cow-centaur. Cow body from the giant sprue, torso from a zombie, head from the chaos warriors mutation sprue, skaven left arm and banner pole and right arm/spear from a goblin. The banner design is straight outta Fighting Fantasy - see the link for the other ones I've completed. Much more heavily mootated than some of the udder beastmen on show here:

And here they all are looking perfectly mutated, chaotic, lost and very damned.

A few more characters need to be painted to complete this warband - I'm determined to stay focused on one project at a time, until it's completion... but I'd really like to kitbash some subtly mutated, robed and diseased flagellants next. They'll have to wait.

Friday, 13 January 2017

An executioner and his prisoner

As I explore a range of different miniature manufacturers, I came across Midlam Miniatures who do several great ranges of quite old school metal models, that are incredibly well sculpted and for very reasonable prices. I was tempted by the slightly scrawny orcs for my Warlock of Firetop Mountain project, but in the end I was seduced by the characterful range of villagers and townsfolk to add to my collection of various npc's. So to accompany my recent scratch-built torturers rack, I got hold of an executioner and his prisoner, as they can also create a new narrative for my games with the kids (and other future games):

I think the executioner has a good side and can be swayed from his grisly task. I wonder whether the adventurers will take that path when they encounter him? I think I need to add a male prisoner too so I'm not relying on the cliched damsel in distress idea; my daughters game with female heroes and they warm to lead female heroines in films (Princess Leia and Rey as two Star Wars examples), so instead they could save the captured (helpless) Duke for example. I'll need to source a new mini for this then...

Posing for the camera in his torture room.

Will he let her go and rebel against his dungeon lord?

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Morcar, Kev Adams and Me

In a bid to tidy up loose ends from 2016, I recently completed this incredibly cool model. The reason it's so great? Well because it combines some amazing aspects of this hobby; a free miniature of Morcar sculpted by Geoff from Oakbound Studios (which I received from BOYL 2016), a Kev Adams custom sculpt of my head (on top of Morcar's) and because I can use it with my kids as we explore Heroquest. But mostly because Kev Adams sculpted my head, and I got to watch a true master at work (and share a beer and chat with him). I was amazed at how he sculpted and used tiny balls of greenstuff to add form and feature to the sculpt and how he managed to produce so many of these personalised portraits over the course of the day (all money raised went to charity) in quite difficult conditions - the temporary flooring moved when people walked past and he was having to listen to all of us enthusiasts ask him a load of questions. Ever the gent he responded with some great stories and details of his experiences and offered my some advice about my own sculpting concerns.

I still can't believe he sculpted teeth on such a small scale.

My painting is below, but this is more about the amazing skills of both Geoff and Kev who combined to make this figure - sirs, I doff my cap and hope one day I can create something even remotely as good as this.

I thought I'd blur out my face deliberately for a blog post that is largely about my face! (it didn't look as bad as a thumbnail..)

As a model he'll be used when I game with my kids - he can represent me as the evil dungeon master or the helpful mage, joining or offering advice to the adventurer party. I therefore deliberately painted him with colours that could represent either alignment and ensured that he received brown eyes and a ginge tinge to the hair (I wish I had this much hair - I think Kev was being kind). 

Here you can see me standing amongst my tomes, skulls and altar, maybe the incantation requires me to rock out. (I had to google that, I'm not sure I've ever done that particular hand pose, I'm not very rocky). 

Rocking in my dungeon, surrounded by all that I need (and love).

And here's the original sculpt[s]:


Wednesday, 4 January 2017

From 2016 into 2017

I much prefer to look forwards than backwards, but sometimes a little bit of reflection upon the last 12 months doesn't go amiss, and can actually help me look forward even further to the coming year, in terms of my hobby output.

Next year I want to complete more of my projects, convert my miniatures a lot more (like I used to - but working with nostalgic models has made me wary of "spoiling" an original and has therefore stunted my creativity with form and originality) and not buy so much stuff on a whim. Here's what I've got lined up to paint over an (undesignated) period of time (at a future date I'll show what's lined up to convert):

Primed and ready to go..

Roughly from left to right; there's my bitzbox warband leader (primed black) and some of his minions that still need painting (damn it's been well over a year); a load of npc's from Otherworld and Black Scorpion, some old Citadel Skaven for my (almost completed Retinue table challenge - the unconverted minotaurs are at the back and the harpies are still in my bitzbox), a free Oldhammer miniature from BOYL, the start of a Bob Olley space gang, a Scibor necromancer, some creatures for my Frostgrave Bestiary, a load of Citadel Orcs for my newest project, a few Chaosy warriors, a Giant worm for my Warlock of Firetop Mountain mission and the rest of my baggage train. Phew. And I'm sure I'll just paint these, no other distractions....

So these lucky models were the chosen few to make it to my pizzabox/spraybooth as:

1. They were all prepared
2. Pretty much relevant to completing some unfinished business from 2016 (and, hmm 2015).
3. The majority of them I'm looking forward to painting.

2016 saw me paint more than I've ever done in a calender year before (even before I blogged and perhaps even more than when I was a young teen - although admittedly those days are not seen with such clarity now). The blog breakdown:

  • 66 blog posts (four more than last year)
  • 87 miniatures (including completing my Nurgle Holy Grail)
  • 41 pieces of scenery (including dungeon tiles, doors, gold/skull piles, walls etc)
  • 5 dioramas (including my son's castle, 40k scenery, fantasy backdrop and Warlock stuff)
  • 1 Vehicle (Mad Max based)
  • 2 pieces of artwork - the banner for this blog and a portrait of my sister's dog for Xmas (undocumented on here).
  • A lot of games with my kids (THE most fun part of all this) and another visit to BOYL

That's a fair few more painted than last year all round, so my pace (or maybe time efficiency) is improved and I've added a few extra tekkers to my painting repertoire too - happy days - all 366 of them. Well in case you missed out, here's the 5 most popular blog posts from last year for you to peruse if you like and therefore adding a few extra hits to them, making them further popular:

I should at this point give a massive shout-out to all my Russian readers who obviously love reading my shit, avidly, daily and in vast numbers: Спасибо за прочтение!

Happy New Year to you all!