Sunday, June 20, 2021

Crossover Time: Vintage Custom Rebel Fleet Trooper

OK readers, from time to time I overlap on the hobby front so bear with me. I just finished this custom Rebel Fleet Trooper from the vintage Star Wars figure range and since it involves modelling and painting I feel OK posting it here as well as on my vintage Star Wars toy blog. Awaaaaay we go then...


I've got a bit of a soft spot for "custom" vintage figures - you know, those figures that Kenner never made but you would've loved to play with, instead of being stuck with dreck like Prune Face or FX-7. One of the prime examples of this is the iconic Rebel Fleet Trooper (as I call him; he's also known as the Rebel Trooper or Alderaan Consular Guard/Security).

The recipe for this figure is simplicity itself: a vintage Han Trenchcoat body and a POTF2 Rebel Trooper head. That's it! I'll take you through the conversion next, but I have to give props to Trash Compactor Custom Figures who posted this great video.

Anyway, you start with a Han Trenchcoat (left) and Rebel Fleet Trooper (right), Don't worry about the condition of the Han Trench - the beatier the better, as he'll just have his head cut off and be repainted anyway. 

The first thing to do is get a cup of boiling water and immerse the figures. This will soften the plastic and allow you to remove the parts you need to swap.

First of all, gently pull off Han Trench's head, and remove the Rebel Fleet Trooper's helmet. It's held on with glue that softens in the boiling water.

Next, take a sharp X-Acto blade and cut off the Trooper's head. You'll be able to stretch his neck a bit when the plastic is soft. Make sure the bottom of the neck is level by just trimming where necessary. 

The next step is to drill a hole in the bottom of the Trooper's neck to allow it to fit on the peg on the Han Trench body. A pin vice or Dremel will do the trick here.

Once the hole is opened in the Trooper head, just push it onto the peg in the Han Trench body. It might take a bit of tweaking to make sure the hole is the right size - but keep test-fitting, and make sure not to make the hole too big. You should be able to turn the head on the peg. 

At this point, all that's left to do is paint the figure! I use acrylic paints for availability, water-solubility, and ease of cleanup. For the Trooper I mixed a custom blue colour for the shirt, used Games Workshop Mournfang Brown for the belts and Rakarth Flesh for the pants, and painted the buckles with Mithril Silver. The boots and vest were left in their original colour, just touched up where necessary with craft black. Leave the helmet till the painting is done, then push-fit it back on the head.

I bought a reproduction Bespin Blaster for the Trooper, but drilled a hole in the grip just so it won't be mistaken for an original.

Here's my custom lineup - from left to right - Corellian pilot BoShek, Grand Moff Tarkin, Rebel Fleet Trooper, Garindan/Long Snoot, and the easiest of all, Biggs Darklighter. I took the opportunity to get some weapons for the rest of the group too -once again, impossible to mistake for originals as they're the wrong colour :-)

Anyway, that's a bit of fun for an afternoon... I especially have to thank my friend KM who supplied the POTF2 Rebel Fleet Trooper for the swap. Thanks man!

Friday, June 18, 2021

Apothecaires for Prospero

Two new apothecaries for the Space Marines...figures from Forge World.

Another small 30k "project" - here are two Apothecaries (i.e. military medics of the Space Marine Legions), one for the XV Legion Astrates (aka the Thousand Sons) and the other for the VI Legion Astrates (aka the Space Wolves). These are resin figures from Forge World - and they may seem distantly familiar, as I have painted similar figures previously for the Sons of Horus.

XV Legion apothecary wearing Mark IV armour.

The fellow in red is from the XV Legion. This figure is wearing Mark IV powered armour, bolstered by the usual panoply of weird Space Marine Apothecary bits...containers of fluids, drills, saws, needles and lights - all for providing helpful "medical care" to fallen or injured Space Marines. Given that this fellow is a member of the Thousand Sons, chances are he or his colleagues can also heal wounded comrades using psychic powers.

Lots of saws apparently needed for battlefield medicine in the dark, distant future...

The fellow in grey is from the VI Legion. He is wearing Mark II powered armour, but again, has all manor of additional add-ons useful for Apothecaries in the 30k setting. There is a chain sword, drill, funny cables and liquids etc.

Medical care for The Rout!

Apothecaries are minor little character additions to 30k forces. They are not terribly "powerful" - equipped with bolt pistols and chainswords, they can pitch in to a fight when you attach them to other units. The rules do, however, allow for them to "heal" wounded Space Marines. This is handled in an abstract fashion and, for whatever reason, this has led to many hilarious moments during our assorted 30k games over the years. Seeing a Space Marine is zapped by a terrible weapon, only to bounce back thanks to the rules around the Apothecaries, is a lot of fun - as long as it was your Marine that reappears on the table!

As always, lots of extra lenses on the helmet - and the ominous "medical" insignia on the shoulder pauldron.

The excellent decal sheet of the Space Wolves come in handy once again...

Knowing they can lead to this kind of silly fun, I am glad to add more of these figures to these two Legions in my collection, and I thought it would be right to paint one up for each side of the Battle of Propsero.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading - hope everyone is doing well out there!

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Ahzek Ahriman - Contrast Paint Edition

"Prepare for your doom!" Ahzek Ahriman is here to help...

Some more fun/experimenting using GW's Contrast Paint range for the XV Legion Astrates, the Thousand Sons. This is Ahzek Ahriman - he is a major character and senior figure within the XV Legion, a powerful fighter and gifted psyker. GW included a multi-part plastic figure version of Ahriman to lead the Thousand Sons in the their "Burning of Propsero" boxed game. I had already painted up an Ahriman figure for the game, but as I had purchased a couple of boxes of that game (hey, it was a great way to get plastic Mark III marines), I had a few spares of the Ahriman figure, so I thought I would try to see if this newer Contrast Paint method I used on a Mark IV armoured squad would work on a XV Legion character figure.

He is bracing himself against a fallen VI Legion is a cool pose...

Azhek Ahriman is a very powerful special character in the 30k game. I have only used the figure in games of "The Burning of Prospero" - and he is a handful for the loyalist side to deal with - but in "regular" 30k games he is a beast. Recall that, officially, the 30k rules are still pretty much the 7th edition 40k rules, where psykers could have quite an impact - so the 30k version of Ahriman would be a potent command hero for a XV Legion force. 

A mysterious breeze whips up as he prepares to unleash some manner of forbidden warp power...

I do love this rendition of Ahriman - GW's sculptors did a great job on the figure. Even through his elaborate armour, you can feel him preparing to summon doom upon his foe, his cape and vestments stirring amid a strange breeze as he braces himself (upon a fallen marine, no less) to unleash his powers. Of course, in the story Ahriman ends up doomed along with his tedious Primarch and the rest of his Legion...but that is a 40k issue...for 30k purposes, Ahriman is good fun!

The staff was...meh...OK, not that great....but still fun to experiment.

So much cool detail on this figure - a great piece of kit from GW.

In terms of the use of the Contrast Paints, I think it looks OK - I do like the effect on the armour, although the armour plating is not so much the point of focus on this figure. I was less keen on the effects on the blade of his staff, and the beaded chains hanging from this area, the Contrast Paints were not so effective - or I just didn't make proper use of them. I also struggled to get much a cool effect on the blade of his staff...I think the previous paint job from 2017 turned out better in those areas. So, overall, still more areas where practice is called for!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Great War 28mm Highlander Command

Back at it again after a time away from the brushes... these wee lads had unfortunately languished half-completed for far too long. They are, of course, the 1914 Scottish Command pack (B104) from Great War Miniatures.

I have a load of mono-posed early-war Highlanders from Foundry, but since they never made command figures in Highland rig I had to cast about for some from another manufacturer. This is unfortunately a "tall order" (heh) nowadays, for the Foundry Great War range (advertised in their catalog at the time as "26mm models") are unfashionably undersized by 2021 standards.

So, I decided to take the figures I could find nearest in size and style, and do what I could to shrink them, which is to say, not much. I filed down their metal bases to paper-thinness and based 'em the same as their Foundry comrades, but they're still noticeably bigger. Oh well.

They do look cool though. In the pack you get two rifle-toting sergeants, one officer with a cane, and two with revolvers. The officers wear a mix of kilts and trews with puttees, with Glengarries all round. I painted the kilts and trews in a quasi-Black Watch sett so hopefully the lads will go easy on me if they're ever fielded as a unit that sported a different sett.

Of course their other gear is pretty much standard Imperial/Commonwealth kit so they can fit in most anywhere.

Here they are with the rest of the platoon. I would say this command pack was fun to paint, and they were, but I'm so glad I upgraded my brushes before attempting the tartan. The superfine Kolinsky sables worked a treat.

Well that's it for now, hope everyone's staying safe and getting vaccinated.  

Friday, June 11, 2021

Here Come The Summer Sons - 30k Thousand Sons Marines

Reinforcement for the XV Legion Astrates, the "Thousand Sons"

More 30k? Why, of course - more 30k. Now that I have gone and opened up the 30k box from the move, and pulled out the many treasures inside, I am tempted to finish off the many previously-primed-but-not-yet-painted bits found therein. Here we have a veteran tactical squad for the XV Legion Astrates, the "Thousand Sons", wearing Mark IV power armour. With a single exception in the unit, they are painted in a different fashion from my previous units for this Legion - I have started to experiment more and more with GW's "Contrast" paint range, and these figures represent some early results.

Thousand Sons Armour: New Painting Approach

On the left, the painting approach from 2017. On the right, the new approach, using GW "Contrast" paints.

I first painted some XV Legion units back in 2017, for the GW boxed game "The Burning of Prospero" (which turned out, in fact, to be an excellent game, especially for quarantine times). The Thousand Sons' forces in that box game are not large in terms of overall model count - two 10-marine veteran tactical squads, a five-marine squad of terminator marines in Tartaros pattern armour, and a hero - Azhek Ahriman, to lead them. This small force will allow you to play the campaign included in "The Burning of Prospero" box set, and when you consider that all of these Space Marines would be psykers, and that Ahriman is a pretty powerful character, it gives you a nice little starting force to play Horus Heresy games in general.

Another comparison shot - 2017 on the left, and 2021 on the right.

I recall at the time seeing the Thousand Sons figures painted by the GW studio artists (as well as many others online), and one thing that stood out was the armour - a really, really cool metallic red. At the time in 2017, achieving something like that would have required an airbrush and use of glazes and other tricks, and that is beyond my skills. There was, however, a great GW tutorial suggesting how to paint the models using a nice mix of red paints - it did not get you that metallic finish, but it still looked really nice. I used that method to paint Ahriman and his colleagues, and I was pleased with the results. 

Some of the tactical marines in Mark IV armour.

Since 2017, I have built up my VI Legion forces a fair bit, and in that time it has been in my hobby mind to bolster the Thousand Sons as well (and yes, in general, I can never have enough Space Marines *shrug*). In or around the spring of 2019, I built and primed a squad of plastic Mark IV armoured marines as a step in this direction, and painted a single test model using the same techniques and colours as I has in 2017...but then my squirrel-hobby-brain went to some other interest, and this squad was placed in storage, waiting for a return of my 30k interests...

Another view of the tactical marines.

Special weapon troops...plasma gun and heavy bolter.

In the interim, GW released its new "Contrast" paints. You can find better evaluations from better painters elsewhere online, but while the breathless marketing exaggeration you see from some folks about these paints makes me laugh, they ARE a neat tool to add to your painting kit. I have been looking at different tutorials featuring these paints, and I came across this one from GW...a chance to get a metallic red without an airbrush? THAT is worth a shot! I pulled out this assembled-and-primed squad of Mark IV marines, and designated them for experimentation...

The Sergeant at mid-stage in the painting process...just covered mostly in "Retributor Armour", the figure feels like it is ruined, but...

No need to go over the specifics of the method in this post (the GW video provides a better explanation that I could regardless), but in general it involves use of the Contrast "Blood Angels Red" applied over a base of "Retributor Armour" (a very bright gold). I can say that at the half-way point in this painting process I was SURE I had ruined the figures - a just a Space Marine covered in gold paint...but in the end, it comes together nicely, and I really enjoy the results. 

Completed Sergeant with one of his troopers.


Rear view, showing the power packs and combat blades/swords.

So, what to do with the test model from 2019, the one painted using the previous non-Contrast approach? I considered re-painting the figure, but that seemed like bad luck or I just left him as-is...he pretty-much-mostly blends in...besides, the ways of the Thousand Sons are mysterious, so perhaps this lone guy will contribute to some kind of numerology-omen or something...

Let the defence of Prospero begin!

There are still some kinks to work out - for example, I find the paint-on gloss to be too thick - if I want the armour to shine, I'm going to need to find a thinner gloss finish that the GW "Hardcoat". But overall, I am enjoying this new look, so watch this space for some more XV Legion characters and units to arrive over the coming summer. 

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Primaris Lieutenant for Raven Guard

The (relatively) new(ish) Primaris Lieutenant from GW.

Here is a "Primaris Lieutenant" from GW's new range of Space Marines for Warhammer 40k. This is a "28mm" plastic figure from GW, sporting a shoulder icon from Pop Goes The Monkey. This figure comes from the "Indomitus" box set, released last year to go along with (yet another - the 9th, I think) version of the Warhammer 40k rules. It was an interesting effort, released in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and I picked up a box from the FLGS here in Sault Ste Marie last summer.

Skulls on the shield? But of course! You can also see the nice shoulder emblem from Pop Goes The Monkey.

The Indomitus box includes quite a haul of plastic multi-part goodies - you get a number of new "Primaris" Space Marines, and quite an assortment of Necron bad guys as well. While my own personal painting interests tend toward 30k more than 40k when it comes to GW, my curiousity was piqued at the time - and I painted up a small assortment of Primaris Marines last summer and fall.

The Indomitus box takes the evolution/replacement of GW's Space Marine lineup further along, with new officers, a new brand of basic troop type, some new elite-types, bike-riding Marines and some other characters. Overall, the Marine figures are pretty interesting, with the possible exception of the "Judiciar", who looks like a LARP-reject who has been kicked out of his parents' basement. 

"Sure, I'm carrying a power sword that is like half-a-metre long, but still, take THAT!"

In particular, the Marine elites/officers in this box have a bit of a pseudo-medieval touch to them...there are tabards, swords, relic bits and big shields. And skulls and skeletons of course :) This Lieutenant figure is an example of all of these aspects...he has a tabard, a huge sword, a fancy shield and lots of trinkets and purity seals etc. For all that, it should be noted that he still has a nice gun too...a "neo-volkite pistol" - nice to see the 30k volkite weapons getting a shout-out in the new edition of 40k.

Lots of character on this character figure. Fun to paint.

Most Indomitus fans have already painted all of their Indomitus box set miniatures. Me? Well, having had the Indomitus box for a year, I thought it was time to finally paint at least ONE of the miniatures inside, so I put him together a couple weeks ago. I have to say, he was fun to paint! I also have to vouch for the stuff from "Pop Goes The Monkey" - there a lot of great accessories available there, with many that will work perfectly with the new "Primaris" marines. It was great to be able to slap a Raven Guard icon on the shoulder guard of this figure - looks so much better than a decal, especially considering all of the other schwag/flare this fellow is carrying around. 

One thing I learned is that I need some new white can see the finish on the helmet and shield looks pretty streaky/chalky...something to sort out over the summer, as I slowly assemble more figures from the Indomitus box and get them ready for painting. I haven't even decided if I will paint the others as Raven Guard figures, or something else...who knows? Something for my hobby brain to worry away about.

Thanks for visiting - hope you are somewhere the COVID restrictions are able to be relaxed!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Minotaurs Dreadnoughts

 More progress on the Minotaurs despite the Provinces best attempts to abolish public education! This offering is two more space marine dreadnoughts. These aren’t the fancy new primaris redemptor dreadnoughts or the relic Contemptor. Just plain old classic walking coffins. Back in the time of 4th and 5th addition these guys served me well. The twin lascannon and missile launcher combo was particularly effective. Subsequent additions were less generous. 9th edition has juiced up dreadnoughts considerably and should provide some solid support for the tactical squads. Unfortunately, their shiny new paint job probably means they have to get that first game out of the way! Whenever that’ll be.

The multi-melta and plasma cannon are both from Pop goes the Monkey as are the Minotaur icons. All the weapons are magnetized and all the polarities match so the weapon arms can be swapped between dreads!

The one on the left was painted a few months ago

Thanks for visiting.

Monday, May 31, 2021

XVI Legion Veteran Tactical Squad

A Veteran Tactical Squad for the Sons of Horus. 28mm figures from Forge World

Some more reinforcement for the XVI Legion Astrates - a Veteran Tactical Squad, wearing Mark II power armour, carrying later model bolt guns. The squad includes a meltagunner and a heavy bolter, and the Marines themselves enhanced with a number of small accent bits from different packs of GW and Forge World bits.

Trooper carrying a meltagun, flanked by Marines carrying fancy bolt guns.

Lots of intricacies on the power packs - you also can see the handy chainswords carried by the veteran troopers.

I have painted a fair bit of Horus Heresy stuff over the years, but this is the first squad I have painted wearing the Mark II armour. I do like the look of the armour design, but I have to say, from a subjective point of view, the Mark III variant armour is probably still more appealing. Like the Mark III variant, The Mark II power armour has a very segmented look, with lots of seams and rivets, but it does not look as heavy as the Mark III. One other feature I find a bit defining for the Mark II plate is the "monobrow" look to the helmet visor, which has just a single vision slit. On the whole, it is a very sort of proto-medieval sci-fi kind of look - well done by the sculptors.

Vox operator on the left, Vexillary on the right.

More detail on the backpacks - I quite like the bizarre little details on the communications pack.

The squad sergeant's ominous "power claws" and plasma pistol point, while in the background you see the trooper with the heavy bolter, a support weapon.

A lot of rivets and segments in the Mark II power armour...a bit of a challenge to paint, and I was pretty rusty in terms of painting these guys, but they still came out OK.

These marine may be wearing "early" pattern armour, but carrying "later" patterns of bolt guns, with box magainzes. The chainswords they are carrying are spares from the plastic Mark III marine figure set, as are the special weapons seen on the officer. The heavy bolter is a plastic accessory from the plastic Mark IV marine figure set. So a lot of different component packs came together here, which was great. Besides, I figure veterans would be the sort to keep the older armour, but ensure they got their choice of the nicest/newest weapons :)

Horus for hope!

You may see that the transfers are still quite glossy in these photos - it has not been "safe" to spray the final coat of matte spray on these figures - it has somehow managed to be at once too cool and too humid outside to safely spray on the Krylon, so that may wait for some time - it is something I will get to at a later date.

The embossed shoulder armour plates are great - not the cheapest thing to decide to like, but I do love them. Once you put them on one squad, however, you find yourself making excuses that you need them for every squad...oh well :)

Like the Moritat I posted earlier, these figures had been sitting primed for a while before finally getting under the paintbrush. It is always good to get these "pending" projects finished with! And now that I've opened up the 30k supply box, I find I am suddenly working on a bunch of new 30k projects for this summer, as we continue to stagger through this interminable pandemic.

Thanks for reading, I hope everyone is doing well out there.