MOTB: Chaos Reavers – The Crimson Wake

Finished product first!

Once upon a time (Yikes – 2017) I built a handful of void-faring space bastards to terrorise my various RPG groups and then… promptly forgot to make a followup post to say I’d painted them.

The paint scheme was straightforward – dark red with a black wash over the top, with plenty of nicks and scratches to represent a life on the hoof, many lightyears away from the nearest B&Q.

Paired with some dark greys and sunless flesh tones, you get get a pleasing colour scheme without having to put much thought in. Splash on some Blood for the Blood God for garnish, and *chef kiss*.

All my build notes are in the WIP post, so there’s not much left to do other than roll the gallery!

Cleaver Dan
Mister Tickle
Hornsome Harry
Lobbing Sally
Axe Daddy
Pump-action pete
Henrietta Hotpocket
Handsome Barry
Double-Barrel Daryl
Freddy Five-toes

I’m very happy with how they came out. They were a joy to assemble and paint, and have seen more action on the tabletop than most of my other mooks I’ve built. Aside from being built for Rogue Trader, they’ve seen action in Dark Heresy, Wrath and Glory, and now a few of them are pressed into service as Hired Guns in Necromunda. What an illustrious career!

I’ve always been tempted to return to these guys and add a few more unarmoured goons to plump the numbers out, but I think that’s a project for another time.

MOTB: Arvus landing pads

Finished product first!

Many moons ago I was fortunate enough to get an Arvus Lighter kit on the cheap and decided over lockdown to put some colour on it. Getting to the chopper is an iconic moment in many games, and owning the equivalent 40k miniature seemed sensible. Plus, the Arvus is indisputably the best and cutest spaceship in existence, and that is scientific fact.

Having an atmospheric brick is great, but what is a spaceship without a landing pad? I still had a bunch of MDF board tiles from my Celestine Wharf build, and with no intention of building any more Celestine tiles, I figured I could press them into service as simple landing pads.

Cutting corners

The first task was simple – knocking the corners off to make it more landing paddy. I had to google what landing pads looked like and it turns out they’re quite boring, so I took some inspiration from the OOP forgeworld landing pad.

I used a mix of embossed plasticard and modelling mesh to break up the surface, and went for a ‘pad within a pad’ design. Thicker plasticard ran the edges to neaten it up.

When it came to gluing these bits down I roughed up the back of the plasticard sheets and glued them down with PVA rather than waste a tonne of superglue. The mesh went down with PVA as well, although I dabbed bits of superglue in the corners and raised areas to help it dry flat, as getting modelling mesh perfectly flat is a Sisyphian task.

With the ol’ pencil and ruler I knocked up a frame out of plasticard (it took hours, I’m so bad at geometry) to overlay the landing pads.

I wanted big chunky rivets for that industrial feel but I have neither the resources nor patience to glue them on by hand, so I grabbed a pointy-but-blunt coping file and jabbed it hard into the back of the plasticard. It was thin enough to emboss, and stabbing a pair of rivets every couple of centimetres did the job.

Some extra strips of plasticard were cut to make the central frame meet the edges, and a few thin strips were added to cover any holes I made in the modelling mesh during assembly.

I also constructed some ramps out of thick plasticard – I did some slip tests to see what the shortest ramp was I could get away with before models start slipping down, so lots of plasticard strips and mesh were added to help give the bases some traction to avoid mid-game slippage.

It all fit together! At this point the Arvus had been largely assembled (with the canopy kept off to paint the pilot) and awaiting its turn on the paint station. There was lots of time to work on other projects during this build – most of the time was spent waiting for PVA to dry weighted under piles of books.

The ramps were designed to fit any of the sides, and were hollow at one end to accommodate the little lights I glued onto the exterior of the landing pad.

The last thing to go on is my textured paint signature dish – a mix of PVA, brown paint, ready-mix filler, sand, and whatever cuttings I’ve swept from my desk. Globbed on to make it interesting to paint and provide crucial extra grippy material on the ramp. After it had dried, it was time for the rattlecans!

painting the pad

All four pieces got several liberal coats of black rattlecan to saturate the MDF, then the walkway sections got a dusting of grey, and the mesh sections got a blast of red.

After they dried, the red becomes more crimson and rusty, while the grey takes on a ghostly blue.

The whole thing was drybrushed grey to pick out the raised sections, and watered-down orange paint splashed liberally into recesses to emulate rust and water damage. Brown paint was dabbed onto extreme edges and corners to look like chipped paint.

Can’t be a landing pad without hazard stripes! Black paint was sponged on as a base, and the areas to be yellow were meticulously marked out with masking tape.

Iyanden Darksun was sponged on with a small piece of foam, and the tape peeled off while it was still wet.

Halfway through constructing these fiddly masked patterns I always wonder if it’s worth the faff – surely it’s quicker to just eyeball it, or brush it on, or make touchups after you’ve finished?

I can confidently tell my past self (and reaffirm to my future self if you’re reading this) it absolutely is worth it. Once the tape is on, it takes 30 seconds to sponge the yellow, and another 30 seconds to peel it off. You get a wonderful chipped-paint texture and there is never any clean up.

Repeat after me, future self: ALWAYS MASK YOUR HAZARD STRIPES.

The only extra I did was re-up the brown paint sponge chipping from an earlier step – the yellow and black stood out too much and needed blending in with the rest of the piece. A good reminder to paint all your block colours before you do your weathering!

The only bit left to do was stencil on some big letters and numbers to make it look more industrial. I opted for LZ for landing zone, then some other numbers that looked nice. Big numbers help your environmental storytelling, implying there are loads more landing pads just like this.

The Arvus was painted in a very similar manner, lots of drybrushing and sponging on brown paint for chipping. Transfers came from old Imperial Guard tank sheets, and the teeth from an old Warhammer Fantasy Orc transfer sheet.

Finally it needed a name, and knowing that the ground crews tended to nickname the Arvus “little hog” for obvious reasons, the name came very easily.

All that’s left is to roll the gallery!

5-by-5, we’re in the pipe

And to top it all off, while I was painting the Arvus I had a lovely message from the Warhammer Community team to host Lucky Pig on the hobby roundup.

What a lovely time in the sun she’s had!

I’m very happy with this project, both getting the Arvus painted and finding a use for those mdf tiles. Landing pads are a great focus for games so they’ll see plenty of use, and they can act as risers for other buildings if needs be.

And it means I can finally make airplane noises while playing with my toy soldiers – and isn’t that what the hobby is all about?

MOTB: Necron Monument

Finished product first!

The last part of my Wargame Model Mods order is a big one. Previously I made a gang hideout from their Chem Silo kit and assembled some necron-adjacent obelisks, and it was time for the final part of the project – the monument.

The bits were a collection of pre-punched bits in baggies and large plates, with everything labelled clearly. The bulk of the building was assembled while waiting for the Chem Silo to dry, so it was very fast to put together.

Constructing additional pylons

The original kit is designed to act as a defensible building, with firing ports on the ground floor and chest-high walls on the roof. I don’t play any tabletop games that would necessitate that kind of playability from this structure – I don’t play 40k, so I don’t need to occupy it with a squad of goons shooting at another squad of goons.

I would need to adapt it, but how?

By stroke of genius and/or luck, the obelisks I’d already made fit perfectly into the corner recesses on the roof. I don’t see Necrons needing chest high walls so they were abandoned quickly in favour of using the building as a raised dais or monument.

The kit came with little widgets to fill the holes in if you didn’t want firing ports, which was a pleasing bonus. I also wasn’t a fan of the base board – if I have to base it, I have to commit to it belonging to a particular environment. Removing the base means it can stand convincingly against pretty much any backdrop.

It also needed some way of getting to the roof. The kit came with ladders, but I don’t think Necrons use ladders, and I wanted something grander anyway. I had a dig through some old MDF cutoffs and found some suitable pieces.

I had enough leftover plates from building the obelisks to act as the stairs, and conveniently were exactly the right width to fit in the nooks of the pyramid. I had toyed with the idea of having a very long ramp, but I couldn’t make the angle shallow enough to stop heavier 54mm minis from sliding off it, so it had to be thiccboi steps.

I hacked up the chest high walls I wasn’t using and repurposed them as flooring for the stairs to help visually blend them together. A few more random sprue chunks were glued to the sides to give it some interesting shapes to paint.

I also capped the bottom edges of the main building with strips of plasticard, as I’d made a bit of a mess cutting it free from the base.

On to the painting!

2 Edgy 5 me

If I thought the obelisks were a pain to edge highlight, this one really did me in. In my haste to get it finished, I strained my wrist painting for too long and at angles that were very painful. I completed one or two panels of the main building before having to take a 2-3 week rest for the wrist to recover.

When I came back to the project, I used lots of foam blocks at various heights to rest my arms, wrist and building while I was painting, and made sure to only paint for a few hours at a time with lots of wrist stretches in between. I’ve never painted so many edges in my life!

When it was done though, it was all worth it.

Colourful language

I used the same colour scheme as the obelisks – several layers of black spray to saturate the mdf and make a consistent black undercoat, then a thick edge highlight of dark green, a thin edge highlight of mid green, and a very dainty corner and shape highlight with almost flourescent green.

It even comes apart for handy storage, or hiding Big Bad minis inside of it.

You can stack the obelisks on top of it to make a more imposing structure.

All of them together make a neat little complex, taking up as much or as little of the game board as necessary to tell the story. Is it a full-blown Necron crypt, or is it the tip of an iceberg?

Showcase

I’ve photographed my Necron bits almost exclusively against a desert background, so I had to try some different game mats and props to see the contrast!

First, some more desert scenes.

On some far-flung death world, a group of explorers come across some mysterious ruins.

Deep beneath the hive city, a band of scavengers come across a strange glowing structure unearthed by a hive-quake.

The wrap-up

Overall I couldn’t be happier with how it came out. It took a lot more time (and physical pain) than I had anticipated, mostly due to my lack of care and/or airbrush, but the end result is great.

I’d love to pick up some more pieces from the Wargame Model Mod’s Necrotech range, I’ve been eyeing up that tower for a future purchase but I think I’ve painted myself into a corner with the colour scheme. I need to give myself a rest before painting any more green edge highlights!

Now I’ve got all my Necron scenery painted, I should really get round to finishing my Necrons…

MOTB: Necron obelisks

Finished product first!

As part of a recent scenery purchase from a local terrain company, I also snagged some obelisks from Wargame Model Mods’ weird and wonderful Necrotech range. I’d been meaning to do some proper weird alien terrain as a palette cleanser from all the underhive grime I’d been building, and these looked just the ticket.

Getting more for your money

I wanted enough to reasonably scatter across a 6×4 board, and one pack of Obelisk blocks would give me plenty to litter the tabletop with. They arrived in a series of neat little bundles, already punched out.

They fit together very pleasingly, and I was surprised at how big they were. I didn’t get much of a sense of scale from the original images, and even the smaller blocks were quite imposing against a 28mm guardsman.

I hadn’t read the description properly and didn’t realise that half the panels had no detail on them – presumably so you could stick them together into a mega-block like the one advertised.

I wasn’t going to do that with this set (although I may do one in future), I wanted as many individual blocks as possible to have as much variation on the tabletop, including some half-buried in the ground.

I’d need to come up with some clever trick to detail the plain panels I had.

The kit came with an assortment of smaller flat spacers for gluing the obelisks together into a mega-lith, but for me they would be extra panels to fill out the flat surfaces.

By taking two detailed panels and cutting them up, I could arrange those cut out pieces across four plain panels. With some help from some spacers, I now have four detailed panels!

As an absolute mad lad I also own an MDF bits box, filled with the weird inserts and offcuts from MDF sprues that I use for detailing and greebling. They came in perfectly handy for this task.

I picked out a collection of necron-looking bits that would give me some nice clean edges to show up the colour scheme I was planning.

All the main blocks were assembled first to get an idea of how much flat space I needed to cover. And then a terrible thought struck me. What if I could make one block… into two?

Several intense hacking minutes later and I’d made four bits of scatter out of two obelisks. I wanted them to look sunk in the sand, either abandoned or just being unearthed.

I stuck them to some round bases and smeared a load of pre-mixed filler around the join to look like a buildup of sand.

Some of them got extra smaller blocks added on top to imitate the obelisks at different stages of decay. It was also at this point that it really hit home how big all of these were going to be, and how tricky they would be to paint…

And that was all of them assembled! A thoroughly enjoyable kit to build and very modular, especially if you’re a hobby sadist like myself who likes to squeeze more content out of their kits.

The only thing I’d like to see moving foward is the option to purchase either/or when it comes to the non-detailed plates. Perhaps an option to upgrade/replace to fully detailed plates so you can build 16 obelisks out of the box, as currently you can only “technically” build 8 fully detailed obelisks, with the other 8 being blank.

Great if you want to build a chunky obelisk with only a handful of outward facing sides, but a fully detailed plate option would be ideal!

Absolute tool

Every artist has their “aha” moment when it comes to new tools. Mine came during this project. Specifically, “Aha, I should have bought an airbrush (and pracised with it) a year ago, because holy dicks this would have been a breeze”.

Instead, I gave myself RSI and several grumpy weeks of not being able to paint anything. Note to future self – when your wrist starts to hurt – STOP PAINTING.

Lines upon lines upon lines

I am so glad I persisted however – the overall effect is exactly what I’d hoped. I must have spent at least an evening on each block, repeating the same recipe over and over. Extremely satisfying to paint, so much so that I found it easy to get carried away into the wee hours and cramp my wrist…

  1. Generous undercoat in matt black, two or three coats in some places. MDF is thirsty for paint, so I did a few passes (letting it dry in between) to make sure it was fully saturated.
  2. Thicc line of Caliban Green
  3. Thin line of Warpstone Glow
  4. Tickle the corners and fill the shapes with Scorpion Green.

The last paint is OOP, but moot green didn’t cut it. I wanted an acidic, almost fluro yellow/green for the final stage to give it a proper glow.

The bases were textured paint, then undercoated with Zandri Dust and drybrushed with Bleached Bone, topped with cheeky grass tufts.

The colours for the base were decided before I bought the battlemat, and given they’ll most likely be deployed against this background, I’m tempted to go back over the bases and darken them down a bit to match. A project for another time, I think!

Megalith

I mentioned previously about making a huge obelisk rather than multiple smaller ones, and it’s something I’m genuinely considering for the future. For now, my existing kits can be bundled together fairly convincingly to create weird looking structures.

And, naturally, it works great at 54mm scale. Perfect for Inquisitor!

Standing Stone-Vation

Not much else to say on the painting – simple scheme, tedious to apply, but looks ace when it’s done. I bet it would have been so flippin’ easy to do with an airbrush too. Oh well, I know for next time!

On with the scale shots.

Wrapping up

What a wonderful little kit this is! Aside from some self-inflicted enthusiasm injuries, these have been a joy to build and paint. They’re ideal for all the games I play – Necromunda, Inquisitor, a few TTRPGs like Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader or Wrath and Glory, and they’re super convenient to store.

I’ve already got my eye set on some more obelisks for future projects, and I’ve got a large necron building from the same range that needs photographing, so watch this space!

I picked all these up from Wargaming Model Mods for under £20, so go toss come coins to a small independent business.

Let’s hear it for the humble obelisk!

MOTB: Twiglet tube silos

Finished product first!

Last week I put the finishing touches on a gang hideout in an abandoned chemical facility and I happened to have some snack tubes leftover from various Christmas indulgences. They can’t be recycled, but they can be reused, and with a few extra bits here and there, would look very nice in my weird chemical facility family.

The prototype

I made this one long before Christmas to use up some bits from the box and loved the design so much, I put off finishing it until after the inevitable holiday crispageddon furnished me with excess foiled tubes.

Simply put, it was just about finding interesting-looking parts that worked well with together. I talked about the design flow of scenery in last week’s Chem Silo article, and although putting it up on stilts looked cool and gave it the underhive water tower aesthetic I was going for, functionally it was a bit weak. The legs don’t provide much cover, the bulk of the tower doesn’t block much line of sight, and the whole thing was a bit wobbly.

Luckily for me, my partner had just finished up their subscription to Conquest magazine and had a bunch of random battlefield scatter they weren’t using soooooo……

I experimented with a single ladder to the ground and didn’t like it. Adding a platform with a railing meant models could be placed halfway up if they don’t get all their movement, and provides a modicum of cover at the expense of field of view.

Totally tubular

I was in love with the design, and ate many more baked snacks over the next few weeks. I had to draw the line at the number of silos I was going to make however – I already had boxes of scenery piling up in my bedroom, so I had to start being choosy about the volume of scenery I was making.

Three more silos built – this time of varying heights and playability. I wanted them to look of similar design but with slightly different purpose so should the need arise to have a scenario about poisoning water tanks or destroying fuel supplies, they all present different challenges.

Big shout out to this Gothic Upgrade Pack from MAD Gaming – you get a huge number of interesting buttresses, uprights and other greebling for your money. I had some for a specific hab project, but kept buying more becuase they’re so useful for sticking onto literally anything to make it look 40k.

Other features were made from bits of plasticard or random scraps from the bits box. I’m not the proud owner of an MDF bits box too after a particularly long and wood-filled pandemic spent hobbying, so there was a lot of spare bits to arrange in interesting ways.

Once everything was dry, it was time for a hearty dollop of my homemade textured paint – a mix of ready-mixed filler, modelling sand, PVA glue and a splash of poster paint for colour.

Once dried again, everything got undercoated in black, zenithal highlighted with a grey rattlecan, and key areas picked out with a rusty red colour from my local hobby shop.

A series of tubes

Painting was straightforward, and used the same recipe as the Chem Silo, the main difference being a lot more flat surface to paint. On one hand, it meant I got to experiment with masking tape and sponging on the red decal, but it also meant a lot of manual brushwork.

I’m sure there’s a technical name for the technique I use for walls and panels in this style, but it’s basically very heavy drybrushing. I get a natty old brush, wipe a lot of paint off it, and roll it round on the surface to create uneven, patchy layers. Over a dark-ish undercoat, it creates a nice weathered effect, looking like actual paint that has worn off over time.

I think this worked best on the tall silo, I went too heavy on the pair of medium silos and lost a lot of the texture around the corners of the panels. I tried to make up for it during the weathering stage, but it wasn’t the same effect. Shame really!

Glamour shots

On with some closeups, with our classic bickering couple to give a sense of scale and how the silos might be used in game.

Overall I’m happy with how they turned out. I’m a little disappointed that one of them came out much better than the others, something I only really noticed when I put them all together and started taking photos of them. I liked the effect up close, but it was only when arranging them on the tabletop I realised what I should have done.

Oh well, live and learn!

The family photo

MOTB: Chem silo scenery

Finished product first!

I recently discovered a local scenery company called Wargame Model Mods and put an order in over lockdown. They did some of the better mdf xenos scenery on the market, and picked up one of their (very reasonably priced) Chemical Silo to see what it was like. I had a few tubular buildings of my own built from Christmas snacks, and thought this would round out the collection very nicely.

pakidge

I barely had time to clear some space on my bench before it arrived. My house was soon awash with the blissful smell of lasercut wood once more.

Such neat little packages! Most of the components came pre-punched, bundled and baggied for ease of identification – something I’d not encountered before in my many years of scenery building. I’d ordered three kits – two of them filthy xenos technology – so I set the extra pieces aside while I worked on the silo.

Quality and quantity

I was impressed by the quality of the kit (especially for the price!), and the material was thinner and denser than other mdf kits from other suppliers. It made the whole kit much lighter than I expected, and the smaller pieces were much less liable to explode into dust.

The only real criticism I’d make is the instructions were a little sparse. It asked for certain named parts from the sprues (like walkway railings) but didn’t suggest which ones they might be.

There are three simililarly-shaped walkway sections – two of which I put the wrong way round. It was straightforward to fix as the glue hadn’t dried yet, but some clearer images on the instructions or website would be a very easy fix to this problem.

Internal workings

Removable roof you say? I’m a sucker for a good building you can put little toy soldiers in, so of course I’m going to assemble it with the optional removable roof. I laid down some textured plasticard to act as a floor.

All those little holes are for LEDs – you can spend a few extra gold coins on the webstore and get a fully-working lighting kit thrown in too. Nearly all their kits are designed specifically for moving parts or fancy wired lighting – how cool is that!

In my excitement, I fear I lost a vital piece of the puzzle. I must have misplaced a piece to use as the actual floor, so the plasticard just sat over a void in the base board. This isn’t particularly durable and sounds like a drum when you put a mini on it, so I reinforced it with bits of offcut sprue from the kit.

I had also taken it upon myself at this point to overcomplicate the task at hand. I had been sizing up different bits of plastic scenery to help blend this kit in with my collection, and although the kit came with its own mdf door, I had a neat GW pressure door from the (sadly discontinued) Rogue Trader Killteam set that looked perfect.

Unfortunately it meant hacking a huge hole in the side of the building and carving massive gouges from the door frame to fit.

When building scenery, I like to design with playability in mind first. Why would players want to send their gangers into/on top of these overly-intricate creations? Usually for buildings, it’s because they have windows or ports to shoot from, giving them decent protection from any return fire.

There aren’t any windows on this little hut and I didn’t feel like agonisingly cutting into the dense fibreboard any more, so a new plan was concocted.

I kept it open enough so objectives could be placed inside – it’s a secure enough location, and gangers might want to stash things inside. A couple of tubes and consoles gives a loose implication of the shack’s original purpose – perhaps some kind of monitoring station for whatever is in the silo? Whatever it is probably isnt working any more, and the silo has been repurposed by entrepreneurial individuals.

A few bits of plasticard stuck around help break up the flat wall panels and I installed a ladder to the roof.

After a lot of deliberation, I decided the main draw for the terrain would be a hideout installed on the roof. I’ve been obsessed with people’s conversions of turning GW containers into living spaces and wanted to do one myself. I found the container was the perfect height to match with the top walkway on the silos, and an idea formed.

Penthouse suite

I added some gothic buttresses from my personal collection to help blend it with some of my other buildings and fill out the dead space on the baseboard.

I’m generally not a fan of scenery on bases unless the base can help tell the story, so I planned to fill it with spare barrels and pipes to provide more cover and allude to what the site was once used for.

I built a little shack on the roof, furnished it with odds and ends from the bits box to make it look more lived in. I’ve mentioned playability of scenery before, and the key principle of that to me is flow – gameplay should be able to flow across the scenery.

Going with the flow

Height and cover are the mechanical benefits for using scenery in games like Necromunda, so you want to encourage players to seek out those benefits by making them enticing and interesting.

By building a walkway from the top of the container to the silos and adding a ladder to the roof, fighters can now traverse the entire structure without touching the ground. It would have been easier for me to stick a ladder on the outside of the building and call it a day, but that would relegate the building to a boring wooden box that serves only as a spacer for the diorama on top.

By building the ladder inside and adding a hatch on the roof, the fighters naturally have to enter the building to access the roof. This creates natural chokepoints and opportunities to use in-game mechanics – a rickety walkway, an open hatch, a lockable door. A ganger has sealed the hatch and is using the vantage point to pick off members of the rival gang – will they risk trying to unseal the hatch, or take the safer (but longer) route round the back to take her out?

Rather than just being a simple line-of-sight blocker, the flow of the scenery now creates interesting situations that sparks exciting narrative and (hopefully!) thrilling gameplay.

Finishing touches

Of course, no scenery piece is complete without lots of little details to make it feel lived in -some chimneys, an oil drum bbq, a sack, some candles on a crate, a mattress in the container. Some pieces are there to form cover, while others are just there for worldbuilding.

A piece of tissue paper soaked in watered-down layers of PVA formed the tarp over the propped-open container door, a neat little visual short-hand for “someone probably lives here”.

Small squares of plasticard were stuck haphazardly about to simlulate repairs or access panels and helps break up large flat areas when painting.

Once it was dry, everything got a liberal dousing with my Secret Scenery Sauce. This is just an extremely low budget textured paint, consisting of PVA glue, ready-made all-purpose filler, a small dollop of black paint, and mixed modelling sand. I tend to shake off my cutting mat into my modelling sand after building things to help vary the size and texture of the particles too. Waste not!

Painting the silo

The entire piece was undercoated in matt black, with a zenithal grey spray highlight. Key areas were picked out in a rusty red colour (also rattlecan), such as roofs and walkways. I was working on some other silo projects alongside this, so I sprayed them all up at once.

It never ceases to amaze me how much a piece comes together ocne you’ve undercoated it. Painting it was straightforward, as I already had a recipe from the Mercy scenery I finished last year (but have not got round to photographing because I’m a monster).

Final photos
  1. Drybrush all raised edges with Dawnstone/light grey.

2. Tear off a little bit of sponge (rougher edges work better, I find) and sponge on some light brown around the edges of metal sections to emulate paint chipping. Concentrate it around areas most likely to be touched or roughed up. I use a pair of tweezers and a little cube of sponge about a half-inch thick, but I’ll use a bigger bit for larger scenery pieces. Repeat with a darker brown around concentrated areas to look like deeper chipping.

3. Paint blocks of colour – orange and silver for barrels, bone colour for the tarp, grey-green for the container, pale green for the wall panels, some yellow/black hazard stripes around key areas.

4. Liberal application of Agrax Earthshade, usually splashed into recesses and corners to create depth/dirt, but some bits get completely covered (like metals, boxes or tarps). The barrels got a wash with Nuln Oil, and the tarp got a second wash with Athonian Camoshade.

5. Once that’s dry, I get a mix of very watered down orange and apply rusty streaks where water from above would naturally pool. I used to do multiple extremely thin layers of orange, but who has the time for that?

6. Decals! I have a collection of little posters I’ve acquired from across the internet (usually by googling 40k posters) and made a few myself related to our own games, which will get a blog post of their own at some point no doubt.

I download them and print them out on regular paper. Once they’re cut out, I tear off a corner or two, scrunch them up real good, then paint some PVA onto the reverse and attach them roughly to the intended surface. The trick is not to make it look too neat – they look best when they’re folded over on themselves, slightly peeling away from the wall, and overlapping each other.

7. The final touch is some good ol’ Typhus Corrosion. This is usually applied with a big stiff paintbrush, and either flicked or stippled on to surfaces that are still too flat or boring. Typically posters get a little attention to help blend them in with their background.

And that’s it! It can take a few evenings of labour to get them finished, but having the recipe in place makes it easy to paint large batches of scenery without too much thought. I’ll be inevitably acquiring an airbrush in the near future to help me deal with some other bits of scenery, so it’ll be interesting to see how much this recipe changes once I’ve got the hang of my new toy.

Glamour shots

You’ve read enough words by now, time to roll out the pictures. Enjoy!

Two thumbs up

Overall, the Chemical Silo kit was a delight to work with. It comes with enough detail that you cansplash a few colours across it and use as-is, or you can fill in some of the gaps with other bits of scenery from your bits box to blend it in with your collection. There are loads of other kits with similar designs so you could easily fill a board with various factory pieces, silos, conveyor belts, etc.

If you haven’t checked them out yet, go buy some stuff from Wargame Model Mods. They’re a small company with a huge range of stuff (battery-powered mechanised scenery anyone?) and could absolutely use your Imperial Credits over some of the larger companies.

I had a blast working on this, and it sparked enough creativity that I wanted to see the project through as quickly as possible. I’m really looking forward to playing with it now!

MOTB: Prototype Arco-Flagellant X206

Finished product first!

The next addition to my latest Inquisitor warband – a band of questionable Magos Biologis and their experiments – including Genetor Vacillus and their stompy Beetle-back retriever.

This is prototype Arco-Flagellant X206 – the product of some late-night radical brainstorming something along these lines:

LOTR second breakfast meme, Pippin is a radical magos, Aragorn is the Mechanicus. What about electric whip limbs? We already have it. We've had one, yes. What about a second set of electric whip limbs?
Designing X206

I knew I wanted a melee monster for the warband. The Zeta-phi “Beetle-back” forms an immovable front line and Magos Vacillus provides ranged support, so I needed something to round out their battlefield roles.

I had lots of Arco-Flagellant bits floating around (hah!) as I never made one for myself. I always found them grossly overpowered for average play, but I loved their horrifying aesthetic.

I ended up with lots of Talos bits left over from building the Zeta-phi servitor, including an uncomfortable amount of neat-looking tentacles. The arms were a perfect fit for the arco-flagellant body, but I wasn’t happy with the running legs. Unless…

The hovering base of the Talos was a perfect fit, and filled with the remaining tentacles and weird fluid vials gave it the perfect Mechanicus side-project aesthetic. It even encouraged me to model it in-flight, as though it was sweeping through the halls like an angry electric squid. Very big Matrix Sentinel vibes.

Very long pins were put through the two tentacles touching the base (with a LOT of superglue) and the resulting pose is surprisingly stable. A little mechanicus backpack covered all the injector holes that come with the torso, and he’s ready for the rattlecan.

A prototype paint scheme

Although I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about painting all that naked flesh (I tossed around the ideas of electoos but seriously, ain’t nobody got time for that), the base colour schemes were already decided by the previous two lads.

The big stinker was figuring out how I was going to do the tentacles without destroying my will to live. I must have done about five or six repaints before settling on the ‘inner glow’ look here.

A few choice pipes were picked out for the yellow/dark grey stripy treatment, as I enjoy hazard stripes as a spot colour (and fits with the Mechanicus aesthetic quite nicely). In the grim darkness of the far future, there are still sacred health and safety tenets that must be unquestioningly followed.

One colour scheme involved lots of electric blue. Although it was different, it was a pig to paint, and really went against the colour scheme. I stuck with the ‘mystery green fluid’ aesthetic that seems to power all the weapons in the warband – the unnatural fit ties everything together visually, as well as reinforces the themes of being powered by something inhuman.

I’ve toyed with some ideas for how he’ll be on the battlefield, but the bottom line is moving fast and hitting hard. His main unique selling point is swimming through the air on electro-aetheric propulsion, so obstacles and pitfalls aren’t really a concern. Unless of course, someone has a haywire grenade…

To balance out his massive mobility, he’ll be significantly toned down from a ‘true’ arco-flagellant. Of course he’ll still be an electric murder machine, but he won’t have all the combat drugs that can be activated to turn him into horrifying 200-something strength monstrosity that melts space marines.

(Also because I don’t like calculating all the new stats on the turn you want them to kill something ayyy lmao)

As for defence, I’m on de fence (hah!). I’ve got two visions for him, and I don’t know which would be more fun to play with/against. The first involves him moving silently – a tentacled horror stalking darkened hallways, barely giving off its presence save for a few dancing lights like a deep sea predator.

The other involves manipulating the unnatural energies into a crackling force field – he’ll be far more resilient but stealth won’t be an option. Instead he’ll be more like a frightening living antibody – an electric nightmare that beelines for its target and doesn’t stop until they are subdued or disintegrated.

The wrap-up

Given how this electric lad sat on my bench for 3-4 years before I got round to finishing him, I’m extremely happy how he turned out. You can see from the WIP photo that he was basically all finished, I just ran out of ideas on how to fill all the little injection holes, whether I’d give him back tentacles, make them from guitar string, whatever. He just needed a little backpack, and that was all the motivation I needed to start slinging some paint on him.

I’m very excited to get him on the tabletop (one day!) as I feel like he rounds the team off nicely. Now all I need to do is finish off the big guy himself…

MOTB: 54mm Genetor Vacillus

Finished product first!

This is Genetor Vacillus, the second minion in service to the radical Magos Quinn from our cancelled Inquisitor campaign, the first being this big stabby chappy

MAGOS BIOLOGIS WARBAND

The main antagonists of the campaign are a radical Mechanicus sect headed by Magos Biologis Lingus Quinn, who is very interested in ++++REDACTED++++ in the campaign. His hobbies include tentacles, electricity, and vats of green goo. He surrounds himself with prototypes, experiments, and like-minded tech adepts who can be trusted to not ask too many questions in the quest for knowledge. Vacillus is just such a like-minded tech adept.

Evolution of a miniature

Vacillus was one of the first models I ever scratch-built back in the noughties, starting life as just a head and an arm. You can tell how old it is, 720p was the native resolution for whatever device I took this photo on.

It was inspired by an iconic piece of imagery from the Inquisitor rulebook, and armed with a block of green stuff and some vaseline, I set to work.

He ended up as a cool Adeptus Mechanicus character (originally called Lingus Quinn!) who worked for my own warband’s Inquisitor. He ended up being the villain of so many games of Dark Heresy that he ended up splitting off from the Inquisitor to do his own thing, and his notoriety was born.

I wanted to keep the name but change the model for something a little more imposing, so old Quinn didn’t have a purpose any more. I figured what could be more honourable than giving him a refurb and having him fight alongside his namesake?

To fit the theme he needed a few adjustments and a new paintjob, but I had plenty of Talos bits still lying around…

Waste not

This must have been one of those beginners’ luck sculpts, as I’ve struggled to do anything as good as this since! Nothing needed changing on the body or left arm, I only wanted to swap his gun out for something more imposing and give him some new gubbins and cables.

I feel much more confident installing cables on models now, and I feel they give that added *chef kiss* to Mechanicus miniatures especially.

I’d picked up a few Talos kits in the past for various conversions – they are an absolute godsend for Mechanicus/Dark Mechanicum projects – and I had one of the cool goo-spitter arms handy.

I loved how it fit on his arm (once I’d popped off his drum stubber) and gave him a really weird “admin guy with prototype mega-stapler” vibe that I think perfectly suited the warband.

I added a few pipes and vials from the same kit, and used the Greenstuff World pipe roller to make the rest (which is another Mechanicus fan must-have).

I wasn’t quite sure what would be in the pipes and vials, but they’d be painted the same eerie green as the Zeta-Phi Servitor’s vials to help tie the warband together.

I was still on the fence about what the weapon would actually be. Initially I was thinking some kind of acid thrower, using a combination of the acid spit and flamer rules, but I was also toying with a Neural Shredder as they don’t get a lot of table time.

Then my mind wandered into dangerous territory – perhaps it’s an experimental mutagen that helps flesh bind with metal? He could act as handyman/medic for the servitor minions, while having a wicked spray weapon that could potentially prompt victims to roll on the minor mutations table… Is that too evil?

The backpack was made from some kind of heavy weapon platform from Anvil Industry, picked up during one of their grab-bag sales. It had a pleasing amount of greebles on it to look like a tech power pack with side tank/ammunition storage for his super soaker.

The extra mechadendrite is from the classic Inquisitor range, bent slightly to my purposes. It balances the model out nicely, and I figured he’d want more than one spare hand, what with the squirt gun taking up the entire right hand side of his body.

The power pack on his front is a backpack from the plastic Skitarii range, chopped down a bit to hide its origins, which gave him some nice detail on the front that would take paint well.

As for his paint job, I’d already done most of the hard work with the Zeta-Phi Servitor hashing out the colour scheme, so it was a simple job to apply that palette to this guy.

Conclusion

I’m very happy with how he turned out! It was a bit nerve-wracking taking apart one of my favourite models, but the glow-up he got was well worth the risk. I’m undecided about his backstory and main armament, but it doesn’t look like the Backstreet Boys World Tour is letting up any time soon, so I’m in no rush. Plenty of time to playtest, methinks…

MOTB: 54mm Biologis Servitor, Zeta-Phi pattern

Finished product first!

When our Inquisitor campaign was unceremoniously cancelled last year by the Back Street Boys’ Reunion Tour, I never got round to displaying all the miniatures I had lined up. I wanted to keep them secret so I could do a Big Reveal in the campaign, but a year later, I’ve accepted that it could be another year before I’m comfortable back in a store setting breathing on each other across a table.

Time to showcase some more 54mm Inquisitor goodness!

Magos Biologis warband

The main antagonists are a radical Mechanicus sect headed by Magos Biologis Lingus Quinn, who is very interested in ++++REDACTED++++ in the campaign. His hobbies include tentacles, electricity, and vats of green goo. He surrounds himself with prototypes, experiments, and like-minded tech adepts who can be trusted to not ask too many questions in the quest for knowledge. One such prototype is the Zeta-Phi pattern Specimen Recovery Servitor.

Zeta-pHi pattern servitors

Nicknamed “Beetle-backs” for their hunched gait, these now-proscribed servitors were pioneered by the Mechanicus of the Zeta-Phi Facility on Kreato to help with their studies of the native lifeforms. While nearly all the life on the planet is microscopic parasites, gathering the rare, larger speciments required something more advanced than a bucket on a rope.

The planet’s constant lightning storms make long-range communication unreliable, so the Zeta-Phi Facility built their recovery servitors to work alone or in packs, independent of constant commands. They were built with dozens of failsafes, self-repair protocols and armed with non-lethal capture tools, so in the most cataclysmic of circumstances they would hurt nobody and/or simply return to base.

Tragically, the facility was targeted by radicals looking to destroy their research. Something about “you can’t put parasites in our food to make us work harder”. The radicals introrudced a mind-rusting agent to the facility’s organic noospheric network, polluting the machine spirit of the facility.

The only place that remained untouched was the generatorium deep beneath the facility – the plasma glow apparently staving off the worst effects of the mind-rust. The Tech Priests began to die off, and the Beetle-backs started saving them the only way they knew how.

One by one the living Tech Priests of Zeta-Phi were subdued and grafted together in a horrifying pillar of flesh, suspended above the generatorium. They were alive in the strictest technical sense, but their suffering bled back into the noospheric network and overrode the facility’s mindrusted defenses. The Zeta-Phi facility gained a tortured sentience and sealed itself off from the world while the servitors continued to keep it alive.

An Inquisitorial purge was lead into the facility a year after this tragedy occurred, burning out the mind-rust and destroying the flesh amalgam and its servitor carers. All the Zeta-Phi pattern servitors were proscribed for their abhorrent behavious and all were scheduled for incineration.

In an unrelated turn of affairs, a subsidiary of Quinn Enterprises was negotiating the contract to handle logistics for the incineration. The errant servitors were shipped off by the subsidiary, and although conflicting reports arose of delays and an additional stop-off en route to their destination, the servitors were reported as destroyed.

These machines would serve Magos Quinn’s interests perfectly.

Building the beetle-back

For my sins I have failed to get any WIP shots of these creations, so I will break down the parts as best I remember.

The bulk of this servitor is a plastic sentinel and plastic Talos kitbashed together. The legs are from the sentinel, with Talos arm-plates over the shins, and joined at the spine to the Talos body and arms.

A beacon objective marker from the Battle for Macragge box set served as a power generator and tail analogue to help balance it out a bit.

The upper half is almost completely from the Talos kit. The arms were reshuffled a bit to fit more naturally on the shoulders, and the left arm had to be rebuilt with some mystery greeble from my bits box as I’d already used the other upper arm on another project (tune in next week!).

The only Inquisitor bit used was the head – an arco-flagellant head from the Simeon 38x expansion kit with the horn filed down. A few purity seals and Imperial shoulder-pads secured the “Imperial but only just” look I was aiming for.

The base is lasercut MDF – not the ideal material to work with for a base, as its extremely porous surface makes it hard to get an even flat coat when trying to do something Necron-adjacent.

TTcombat have since discontinued this line of bases and are doing far more impressive resin versions, which I would have opted for had I started this project today, rather than a million years ago.

Armed and dangerous

This is an imposing figure, looking an Inquisitor-scale miniature in the eye, and I wanted its armament to be equally imposing. Both straight from the Talos kit, it’s equipped with a barbed grappling hook hand and a large injector needle filled with vials of green goop.

It would be easy to make a servitor with heavy armament, but I wanted this giant to be (relatively) gentle, using a range of non-lethal tools to take down opponents.

It’s not been playtested yet, but the general idea is the hook launcher would be a melee/short ranged weapon of 6″-8″. The servitor would cast it out like a fishing line at an intended target, digging into different locations to make it tricky to remove. It then reels the target in, delivers a cocktail of pacification drugs, and slings the target over its back to take home.

Although it would be a powerful (and difficult to kill) character on the tabletop, its “power” is tempered by its focus. It aims to neutralise a single target and leave, avoiding the armoured rampage that many powerful servitor characters tend to gravitate towards in Inquisitor.

Debrief

I’m extremely happy with how this project came out. It was something I visualised for a Dark Heresy campaign of yesteryear and brought to the material world through plastic kits. I’m very excited to get to play with it (whenever that will be…) and even more excited to show off the whole warband together.

I just need to dial in my lightbox setup a bit…

MOTB: Slaver Guild Entourage

Finished product first!

In the World That Was, I was involved in a Necromunda campaign where I unlocked the Slave Guild as allies to my gang. Aside from a few perks and pitfalls, the Guild and Criminal Organisation alliances also grant you a small mini-gang to deploy along with your regular gang. You get 3-5 extra characters (using pre-built statlines and equipment) and only take the place of a single ganger, so they’re something you want to convert up and get to the tabletop quickly!

At the time, there were no miniatures announced or released for any of the ~10 different Guilds and Criminal Organisations. Inevitably, the only thing that has ever been released since then has been the “official” Slaver Guild Entourage on Forgeworld, so my enthusiasm for painting them after I’d assembled them diminished.

I got involved in a painting competition earlier this year with my local FLGS Asgard Wargames and it was a good excuse to bust out the old minis and slap a coat of paint on them.

Bits box only

When I decided to build the Entourage, I wanted to only use bits from the bits box. It’s getting dangerously full and I didn’t want to spend any (more) money on something that might never see the tabletop, so this little creative exercise was perfect.

There are four characters in an Entourage – the Chain Lord, the Shakleman, and two Pit Fighters. Their equipment was set apart from the Chain Lord, who had the option of chain glaive or whip and chain axe. I can’t resist a good sword-on-a-stick, so chain glaive it was.

I’ll try to identify all the bits as we go, but some are so eclectic even I can’t place them!

Chain lord WIP

The big boss man, described as bloated and hedonistic, but also juiced up to the eyeballs on combat drugs. The head from Neferata had this wonderful Pharoah vibe that I couldn’t turn down, and the little pointy goatee had to come with it. The head is from Anvil’s Bionic Heads collection, shaved down a bit to fit the new headress.

The body is from three generations of Chaos Warriors – the breastplate from a Khorne Knight, the cloak from a previous generation Chaos Warrior, and the legs from the classic plastic Chaos Warriors from the 20th century.

The arms and staff came from a Nurgle plague lord(?) left over from my Jackal Mask conversion with the chainsword blade from a Khorne Berserker. I wanted to pick a kind of chainsword I had three of so I could duplicate the look across the whole Entourage. The pommel(?) of the chain glaive came from a Tau Battlesuit, some kind of radar gubbins or something.

The rest of him was adorned with various chains from the Empire Flagellant kit and my personal favourite bits, some vials from a Dark Eldar Talos Engine to represent his combat drugs.

Everything was blended together with green stuff, there were some gaps where the body halfs met each other and some damage around the fur on the cloak. Nothing fancy, just rough and ready.

Pit Fighters

I had a lot of classic plastic Marauders in my box from an old ebay lot I acquired a million years ago, and with their hilariously buff physique, scant clothing and two-handed weapon grip, they were the perfect base for some chain glaive-wielding pit fighters.

The heads are from the plastic Blood Angels Honour Guard, a set of heads I’d kept for a while for their creepy cult death-mask vibe, and they’re a perfect fit for this! They needed something to represent all their combat drug injectors, but I didn’t want to use all my good Talos vials for these scrubs.

Super-conveniently I had a bunch of smoke launchers from various tank kits I’d owned over the years, and angled correctly (and with the right paintjob) they could look like a little peacock fan of injectors, and make the models’ silhuoettes more interesting.

Shakleman

I’m a dummy and didn’t get a closeup of the Shakleman’s WIP but you can scroll down for the finished photos and piece it together with the power of imagination.

This guy was the hardest to figure out – he had a lot of weird equipment and seemingly not enough hands – a cult icon, a shock stave and a harpoon gun. Two of those have been modelled as two-handed weapons, so unless I could come up with a very convincing argument why this five-armed guy wasn’t a genestealer cultist, I’d have to get pretty creative.

I went for a hunched Ork body to make him more distinct from the other ‘fighters’ – he’s described as a weasly character who preys on the weak, and I couldn’t shake the image of the cackling jailer from Life of Brian.

I found an old skaven back banner that would work for the cult icon (I had no idea what I’d paint on it, but that was a problem for Future Me) and a cool Ork Nob arm with a built-in harpoon gun thing, so that was a definite. The head came from a classic plastic cultist who’d been decapitated for another project.

I take umbrage with weapons that are described as having a 2″ reach and then being the same size as the regular zap-stick on the official models, so I wanted something long and archaic-looking. Something you could really stick between the bars of a jail cell or use to keep the Talent at a safe distance.

I had loads of Khorne Knight lances lying around, and I’d sequestered the blade on another project, so this was begging for some kind of zappy bit on the end. A skitarii electro-prod fit the bill, and it was finished off with some chain heraldry from the Bretonnian Men At Arms kit.

A small pauldren crest helped hide the join between the knight arm and ork body and I can punish myself with more freehand later. More skulls and chains and the Shakleman was finished!

Painting the entourage

As part of the competition I was in these guys needed to be painted in under a week, so naturally I decided to try a new painting technique and a colour palette I rarely use. Why not make things harder for myself?

I wanted a dark purple/scarlet colour scheme, and wanted to experiment with coloured washes over metallics. I went through a different variations, but settled on Ironbreaker silver with Carroburg Crimson splashed over the top. This was then weathered with chips done in Rhinox Hide and Ironbreaker and a healthy dollop of Blood for the Blood God.

I’ve got an enthusiasm for banners and heraldry (directly in contradiction with my disdain for painting banners and heraldry) so I wanted to tie these guys into my larger universe. Some chrono-gladiators have appeared in other games I’ve run, including Inquisitor, so I wanted to build on that.

In that warband, ‘Aries’ is a callsign for an old Chrono-gladiator, and I picked Leo (or ‘Lio’ to High Gothicify it a bit) as the symbol for this group, with a two-tone banner and the Deathclocks guild logo appears on the Shakleman’s banner.

Chain Lord

Everything was done with a base colour with a wash, very little was highlighted afterwards – quick ‘n’ dirty. There are a few exceptions here – the fur lining on the cloak was picked out and the flesh was blended up from its original colour, but I didn’t waste any time trying to highlight the metal or armour.

The themes of purple and dark grey were the unifying colours across the Entourage, represented in his armour and both sides of his cloak. His ‘Lio’ symbol was painted a few times on his shoulderpads and kneepad, although they didn’t come out very well and just look like dicks, but the one on his cloak I’m quite proud of.

The vials were painted with this classic Duncan tutorial, and the green is a good spot colour that contrasts nicely with the dark red/purple of the rest of the model.

Shakleman

This fella took the most re-working out of the four. It took me several attempts before I was happy with the exact combination of light grey/dark grey/purple for his various straps, belts, and bits of clothing.

I tried not to go overboard with the freehand, as despite hating it, I can get very carried away once I start.

He has the most heraldry, and is the only one sporting Deathclocks colours too, rather than just the purple and grey Lio colours. I figure he’s Geoff from Corporate, here to keep an eye on things down in Lio branch.

Pit fighters

My favourite boys! I enjoyed painting these guys the most, I think because they were the most dynamic of the four and the ones I’m most likely to get use of outside of Necromunda.

Similar techniques were used as above, except there was a lot more flesh on show, which gave me an opportunity to do some Bane-like green veins pulging through the skin to help integrate the combat drug design a bit more.

Side note, these guys had their trousers repainted three times, and they’re back at the colour I originally decided for them. It was a surprisingly hard colour scheme to work with, Ikept changing my mind on how to implement the limited palette. I only mention this as I forgot to wash one of their trousers after painting them back to original purple, which I’m not only noticing in editing… It’s not all sunshine and rainbows in Dreadquill Towers!

Conclusion

All in all I’m very happy with how they came out. I could easily have spent more time on them and had them on my bench for a month, but getting them finished in under a week was a very satisfying experience. I’d got to experiment with some new techniques and generate some content for the ol’ blogaroo too.

I’m so happy with them in fact, I’ve been eyeing up other sidelined projects due for a lick of paint…

WIP Chrono-gladiators anyone?