Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Thousand Sons Praetor

Thousand Sons Praetor in Cataphractii armour - figure from Forge World

My painting desk continues to be dominated by 30k projects large and small. This fellow is a Praetor for the XV Legion Astrates, the "Thousand Sons" from GW's Horus Heresy setting. As befitting a senior commander in the Legion, this fellow is wearing bespoke terminator armor, covered in all manner of fancy markings and designs with the faux-ancient-Egyptian theme seen with these Space Marines. His power weapon also sports a blade with an ancient-Egypt cut and curve. This is a 28mm figure from Forge World.

The weapons look scary, but his psyker-type powers will be even scarier!

I ordered this figure years ago, right around the time I started painting the figures for the "Burning of Prospero" board game. I love the sculpt - in addition to the fancy bespoke elements, this figure has a nice sense of movement that you don't generally find otherwise on figures wearing the bulky, slab-sided "Cataphractii" pattern Terminator armour.

As is so often the case, the period between purchasing the figure and actually painting it developed into quite the lag! This was one of many assembled and primed 30k figures which have been waiting for paint for well over a year. It is nice to finally get him finished.

I probably should have put some kind of cool lodge symbol on the cloak, but I had to mess around enough with the green that I decided to leave well-enough alone.

If the "fluff" of the Horus Heresy setting, the Thousand Sons are known to feature a number of powerful psykers among their ranks. Disputes about how to handle and manage these gifts within the confines of the "Imperial Truth" ultimately leads to their censure and subsequent violent downfall at the hands of the VI Legion, one of the many winding sub plots to be found in the Horus Heresy. Indeed the Thousand Sons make so many poor decisions that it is hard to believe they are somehow stocked with powerful psykers, many of whom can allegedly see the future, when in fact they make the management of the Toronto Maple Leafs appear prescient.

The sculptors did such an excellent job on this figure - I love the sense of motion, even though he is wearing heavy/scary Terminator plate.

The upshot of all of this is that I expect the Thousand Sons are a different sort of force to play in the Horus Heresy - there are so many psykers that it reminds me much more of an Eldar-type pace of play. They are essentially a magic society crossed with a Space Marine Legion, and still have all of the strength, weapons and abilities of the Space Marine is a potent combo. As a senior commander, I expect this fellow to be zapping enemies with scary psyker powers as much as his combi-bolter.

That's all for now. Thanks for reading - I hope those of you in Canada are able to enjoy Canada Day and a nice weekend to follow. Cheers!

Monday, June 28, 2021

Orc Companies of Mordor

This is the last of my Lord of the Rings mega-projects, and the one that took the longest. I started this just after I had completed my Elven Heroes of Rivendell and Lothlórien back in April. The first company of orcs took approximately a week to paint, the second company took two, and the third nearly a month and an half. It was a combination of burnout after cranking out nearly 300 minis over the winter, plus the lure of longer days and nicer weather that pulled me away from my workbench. However they are now complete - three companies of Mordor Orcs each consisting of a captain, a banner, four bow, four two-handed weapon, eight spear, and eight hand weapon and shield, 78 minis in total. 34 are the newer plastic figures, while the rest are all metal, including 38 'old school' releases that I picked up secondhand about the same time as I bought my metal Dwarves. 
All the figures were mounted on their bases, and sand and pebbles were glued on before priming everything black using a rattle can. The paints were primarily Vallejo water-based acrylics using lots of different shades of gray and brown with the occasional muted red, blue, or olive green. Once the base colours were applied the figures were treated with Army Painter Strong Tone Quick Shade. I then painted the bases and applied some pale green flocking to give them a unique look, different from my other Lord of the Rings armies. Once all the ground work was complete, they all got sprayed with a few light coats of Rust-Oleum Matte Clear spray to take down the shine left by the Quick Shade. I still have an armoured troll waiting in the wings to supplement all these orcs to provide a serious threat on the battlefield for the forces of Mordor.

Numerous, cruel and utterly incapable of redemption or compassion, the race of Orcs is nonetheless sprung from the same stock as the immortal and graceful Elves. Indeed, the first Orcs were once Elves, yet their fate was to be a very different one to that of their brothers after Morgoth's taint fell upon them. These ruined beings swiftly multiplied, as all unwholesome things are wont to do, and their numbers fed the armies of darkness, first of Morgoth and then of Sauron.
In the late years of the Third Age, Orcs are to be found in all the dark places in the world, from which they pose a constant threat to the Free Peoples. Fortunately, the fractious and quarrelsome nature of Orcs ensures that without an exceptional leader, or overwhelming numbers, they are a poor match for the well-trained and organized armies of the western kingdoms. It is only when under the command of one of the Nazgûl or another of Sauron's dread lieutenants that the mailed first of the Orc becomes a thing of power, for Orcs fight with unceasing fury when they fear that which is behind more than that which stands before them.
Radbug's Ruffians - for the captain I used a 'Grishnákh' figure to which I added a shield from my bits box. (On a completely random note, Grishnákh is left-handed.)

Lagduf's Lads

Shargo's Snagas - for the captain I used a 'Gorbag' figure to which I added a shield made from a small thumbtack.


I am happy that these are finally off my workbench, and not mocking me on a daily basis. Now that things are starting to open up a bit more locally, I am going to take a break from Lord of the Rings painting for a while, although I hope to be motivated enough to do some Bolt Action figures. I have a few boxes of plastic Russians that need attention.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Minotaurs Chapter Vehicles

 For Fathers Day I competed 2 vehicles for my Minotaurs Space Marine Chapter. The majority of the army consists of models I already owned and stripped of their previous paint job. However, these two vehicles are new additions to my collection. The Rhino was bought online used and already assembled (there was just one issue that couldn't be corrected). It was missing a few parts, but luckily I have an ample supply of Rhino bits! The second vehicle is the Vindicator. It sports a demolisher cannon and massive dozer blade. The Minotarus are supposed to be siege experts and well supplied with vehicles, so the Vindicator fits the bill. In the current Space Marine meta, I don't think vehicles rate all that high, but since my army is already disqualified from GW events due to every model being covered in 3D printed bits, I don't think the meta matters much.


I really wanted to add that storm bolter in case the Demolisher doesn't do the job!

The left track guard was misaligned due to imprecise fitting of the top hull to the sides. The savings on the used rhino didn't justify ripping the vehicle apart to fix it. I'd have just bought a new rhino in that case.

3D printed bits everywhere!

Thanks for visiting.

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

Apothecaries 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.