MOTB: 54mm Bloodletters

Finished product first!

2020 was a hell of a year, and 2021 is looking to be more of the same. At least this time we’ve had a year to figure out how to cope better. In my case, it’s been to buy a lightbox and an LED lamp so I can actually take photos and paint during the winter months without relying on the sun like some ancient oracle.

I’ve been picking away at projects to photograph, and with so many lined up it’s time to start blogging again. First is an early Christmas present to myself – a set of Forgeworld Ruinstorm Brutes that I had been eyeing up to make Inquisitor-scale Bloodletters.

A brief brief

In the World That Was, I was halfway through my first proper Inquisitor campaign, the Gorgon Crystals, at my local store Asgard Wargames. The pandemic hit, and aside from the social, emotional and financial devastation it left (and is still leaving) in its wake, it also left my campaign grossly unfinished.

I still had the Inquisitor bug, and I’ve been having vivid hallucinations about setting up an Inquisitor livestream (but one tangent at a time…), and I had set myself a task to try and create some 54mm Daemons.

Our games of Inquisitor have lots of Ordo Malleus characters and daemon-killing toys, but rarely (if ever) does something pop up. It would be easy (albeit expensive) to just buy one of the plastic Greater Daemons and plonk it down, but it would always look a bit off – it’s just a 28mm Greater Daemon but just a bit smaller. I wanted things that looked right when scaled up a bit.

So, with this needlessly pedantic brief, I set about putting in a Forgeworld order…

Resin for the resin gods

Although they’re not a spitting image for the 28mm versions, I figured it makes them more interesting. They’re much chunkier and covered in protruding spikers – nothing like the battlefield versions you see in the pages of White Dwarf. Chaos Daemons have a few distinctive features, and as long as you can mirror those, I figure you can make just about anything look like an aligned creature of Chaos.

The elongated skull and horns were the bits I wanted to emulate – the rest of the minis were basically perfect. I had to dig through my bits box to find the perfect sets, and although I set out to try and find three identical sets of horns, I much prefer the three different heads. It makes them much more characterful!

I also gave each a unique haircut to help further split them apart. The horns are from various sources – the far left were snipped from an original metal Bloodthirster, the middle horns are from the largest horny skull from GW’s box o’ skulls, and the horns on the right are tentacles/bony growths from the plastic Chaos Spawn kit.

They were coming together excellently. The bodies needed very little doing to them – just some hot water to bend the ankles back to make them less hunched over. The sand is an attempt to emulate the weird bumpy texture on their skin.

I briefly thought about about making balls out of green stuff and gluing them on one at a time, but my sides split from laughing at myself. Even after 9 months of working from home and never leaving the house, there wasn’t enough hours in the day for that nonsense. Just slap some sand on it.

Bloodletter by Pig of Sparta, pinched from Coolminiornot

I thought about replicating the iconic blades out of plasticard, but common sense prevailed. For one, see above about good use of time, and for two, I liked they were all equipped differently. It made them easy to tell apart on the tabletop and I started conjuring up some interesting character concepts – maybe one of them was the fastest, one the strongest, one the best fighter…

The only change was to change the hammer head out for something bladed. I had a cool Khornate lance tip, but then found an OG metal Bloodthirster axe in my box (seriously where did these come from?) and it was just too good a fit to turn down.

They didn’t have much armour, which was fine from a gameplay perspective, but it meant I wasn’t going to get a lot of bronze into the colour scheme. Again, I thought about painstakingly sculpting on some bracers and anklets, maybe some rings and other piercings like the 28mm versions do. Or…

*slaps minis* these bad boys can fit so much jewellers’ chain on them.

I smeared them with some finer textured paint to break up the larger sand particles (and help them stick, I wasn’t convinced PVA on resin was a particularly tough bond). Let’s get some paint on them!

A contrast to my usual style

I figured the year of our lord 2020 was a good time to try out these new-fangled contrast paints that everyone has been banging on about. The minis are organic and almost completely one colour, which from my research was what contrast paints were practically designed to work best with. One black and red purchase later…

Holy moly! Why haven’t I used these before? One thicc coat later and pretty much all the work is done for me – 20 minutes rather than half a dozen hours of painstaking layering. The only downside I found is that they don’t handle well.

I’m an ape who doesn’t use a mini holder when painting, just my big ol’ sausage fingers, and I found the paint rubbing off where I was holding the models to rotate them. After layering over those areas with original paints that seemed to fix the problem, but it was somethign I needed to consider if I planned on using these kinds of paints on minis I expected to handle on the tabletop quite a bit.

Final parade

Time to crack out the light box! About halfway through painting I realised they were missing another key Bloodletter element – a big ol’ licky tongue – so that was added with green stuff between watching paint dry.

And some scale shots…

28mm
54mm
I want to axe you a question

I layered a little extra red over the contrast paint to prevent the aforementioned rubbing off, but otherwise the only major change to the skin tone was touching up the extreme edges with orange.

The spikes were initially done with a black contrast while the red contrast was still wet, and they blended quite nicely into each other. Time saving!

I want to great axe you a question

I went with a classic look for the weapons – edge highlighting up from crimson, through orange, yellow, and finally white on the finest points.

I was mulling over the idea of having the glyphs carved into their flesh expose a lava/magma effect underneath. That seemed like a lot of effort, and then I realised that I hadn’t used ANY of the most important paint on the models – Blood for the Blood God.

I splashed a little bit in the recesses to test and it was perfect! I was worried the two shades of red wouldn’t stand out, but BftBG has a purple hue which contrasts nicely with the yellowy-orange used to highlight the scar edges.

I want to sword you a question

I wanted some fancy bases, but being a lazy-ass I wanted something I could just slap some paint on. The Chaos Waste bases from Micro Art Studio were the perfect fit to the bill, and I picked them up before Brexit made everything horrible.

Drybrushed a few cheeky shades of grey and beige, I splashed a bunch of slightly watered down BtfBG into the skully bits to make them look like horrifying charnel pools. Skulls for the skull throne!

Conclusion

I’m dead happy with them. They came out better than I imagined, and I already have half a dozen different scenario ideas in my head for them.

After looking at the Inquisitor ‘Build a Daemon’ articles from yesteryear’s Exterminatus magazine… wow Bloodletters are absolute shitlords on the tabletop. Maybe three of them is excessive…

Maybe it’s time to get that grey knight conversion off the starting blocks…

2 Replies to “MOTB: 54mm Bloodletters”

  1. Great looking figs. I was trying to figure out where they came from when looking at the preview picture. They definitely look the part of bloodletters at an upsized version.
    There’s a local gamer who has done a few twitch streamed games with the generals being remote and him pushing minis around. Its nice to get some gaming in. I feel like the trick is definitely the viewing angle(s) of the camera(s).
    Any recommendations regarding your light box and lights? I have a home made one that is a bit underwhelming.

    1. For the last 6 years I’ve been using an A3 piece of paper bluetacked to a wine bottle, so anything is a step up from there. I think the key difference is the light sources – the box can be improvised from anything, but the LED lights had to be acquired. IMO you want at least two regular LED light sources – you can get clip LEDs from tinternets for dirt cheap these days, then arrange them so they’re coming at your minis from different angles (ie one above and one in front, or one on either side). You can get built-in LED light strips in a light box, but you don’t get much flexibility on their placement, and the “affordable” versions can be extremely flimsy.

      tl;dr if you’ve already got a ‘box’ setup, you might be best just buying a couple of LED lights (google ‘clip led table lamp’ and go for a ring light or strip light) and don’t buy from Amazon 😉

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