Meanwhile, on the Bench: Cathedral Assault

Our Dark Heresy campaign has made it to the planet of Syracuse -a dank and miserable affair perfect for acolytes tramping around in the mud and rot. For the campaign I wanted some epic set pieces, and even put together a game board to help build the mood.

It was time to return for another brawl, this time to defend an Imperial Cathedral (or what was left of it) from rampaging Undertow during a full-blown civil war.

The setup used parts from previous encounters, as well as some lovely houses from 4Ground to make it appear a little better lived-in than previous encounters. The cathedral came from the Kill Team boxed set I picked up when it was still circulating, and now goes by Sector Imperialis. It’s a nice kit that I went a bit overboard with, and I’m sure will get a write-up at some point.

I wish I’d taken more photos, but c’est la vie. The players were entering on the opposite end of the board to the Cathedral, with angry Undertow in the middle laying siege to the beleaguered Adeptus Arbites defenders (who did have a write-up for them done here.). If the players got to them in time, they would make valuable allies in the war to come.

The rain was bucketing down. Weather was a big part of this campaign, and nasty environmental effects include reduced vision and penalties to shooting. Not ideal for a predominantly ranged band of Acolytes!

The Undertow were out in force, showing that fancy equipment isn’t necessary to be a threat in such environments. Armed with reliable weaponry that won’t jam when dropped in the mud, firebombs filled with water-retardant chemicals and good ol’ fashioned shivs, they were more than a match for the players on the day.

They even set up a heavy weapon in the house across the street, ready to spit out a harrowing amount of lead if the Acolytes didn’t neutralise it.

The gang were joined by a temporary character, an ex-Zini armsman mercenary guardsman handy with a mono-club and with a penchant for explosives. The player would come to be a regular part of our gang in future campaigns, but for now we enjoyed having the extra muscle.

The house with the heavy weapon was unceremoniously lit up by the new guardsman, who had acquired a single-shot missile launcher earlier on and had been holding onto it for a special occasion.

On the players’ right flank, the Arbitrator had made a dynamic entry on a stolen dirt bike, ramping off a pile of debris and landing in the fountain for cover. It kept the Undertow at bay, but not for long. A criminal with a massive two-handed meathook charged up a set of stairs and bit deep into the Adept’s leg, dropping her into -5 Critical damage. It was at this point that we all realised how little armour the Adept was wearing – she still had on her starter set of armour that her career is given at character generation – a flak vest and some loose-fitting robes. In almost 6 years of playing with these characters, it had never come up that she might be under-dressed for the occasion of saving the world!

The mercenary handily finished off the offending criminal before he could finish the job of hacking off the Adept’s leg and swept round clubbing anyone she could find.

Many, many firebombs are thrown back and forth over cover. Some Undertow accidentally blow themselves up, but one particularly mean firebomb scatters over the heads of the tough frontline characters and directly onto the squishy techpriest who was patching up the near-dead adept at the back of the battle. Both immediately catch fire, the Adept passing out from excessive crispiness and the Techpriest doing everything in her power to avoid the same fate.

Meanwhile our damage-dealing characters had broken out into no-man’s land, identifying themselves to the Arbites to avoid getting shot and moving in to support. Everything, of course, is now either on fire or has been set on fire.

With the bulk of the criminals put down by a combination of Arbitrator and Scum, the injured support characters at the back of the pack gingerly move forwards through the fire and smoke.

They get ambushed by one last Undertow who had hid behind a ledge, who gets speared to the floor by an enthusiastic Cleric and choked to unconsciousness for interrogation later. You know what they say – it’s better to dive for the Emperor than live for yourself…

The team rendezvous with the besieged Arbitrators at the Cathedral and plot their final moves against the campaign’s villain(s). A very enjoyable battle to run and great scenery to play it on!

MOTB: Adeptus Arbites

Finished product first!

For all my sins and Dark Heresy games set around investigations, I didn’t own any Adeptus Arbites models. They had cropped up in our sessions before, but only as set dressing or background NPCs. Now, with the finale of our Syracuse campaign looming, I needed some black-clad crime-punchers to either help (or hinder) the player’s assault on an Adeptus Arbites precinct house. They would need to be equipped at the appropriate level to my players, but could reasonably be used in future games in higher or lower power settings.

A uniform approach

I’d seen lots of different conversions of Arbites/Necromunda enforcers, many of them these days involve either Human Blood Bowl team or Imperial Guard Scion bodies with Skitarii heads. They give you a particular look that I’m not too keen on, and despite my own *ahem* use of those heads, I’m loathe to gravitate towards them as I think they’re a bit overdone.

Luckily, Puppets War had me covered. I can always recommend those guys for heads of any type, they’ve got a great selection and I often find myself buying heads for projects I’ll never get round to, just so I can own some heads! Plastic space marine scout bodies formed the rest of the mini – I’ve always liked those models (even if the heads are a bit goofy) and it was super cheap to pick up a group of 6 pre-made scouts off ebay.

The finished WIP

The only thing that was missing was a big silly shoulder pad with an Aquila on it. I’d purchased some brass aquilas a while back, but I didn’t feel I could easily get those to fit on a round surface, so I hit the bits sites. Luckily, one particular shoulder pad from a Blood Angels kit was the perfect size and eagleness. You only got one per sprue, so luckily I found a bits site that would sell me 7 at once, and I just prayed they would fit…

It wouldn’t be a squad without Screaming Leader

They fitted perfectly over the regular scout shoulder pads, and even though they’re comically over-sized, I think they absolutely work with the Arbites OTT aesthetic. Some green stuff was used to give some key areas some Arbites-typical padded armour, like gloves, boots and kneepads, and that set the look off nicely.

Deciding what weapons to give them was tricky, as I wanted them to have as much utility as possible for the future, but bearing in mind that whatever they’re equipped with, the players will want to ruthlessly loot in the likely event of an NPC death, accidental or otherwise.

The greatest hero of them all.

I settled on a ‘combat guy leader’, a handful of combat shotguns, a bizarre combi-weapon from an Anvil industry pack that looks like a melta gun but could easily be a stun-gun or web launcher, and a weird looking heavy weapon made from a cut-down Action Man toy pistol. It could easily be a heavy webber, heavy stubber or some kind of laser weapon – whatever I would need at the time!

The bases were ‘Old Factory bases’ from Micro Art Studios, giving the perfect impression of some tired battle-weary enforcers slogging through a broken city in the middle of a riot. With that done, it was on to the base coat!

Squad, fall in!
Trooping the colours

After putting them all together, the levels of Dredd were almost overwhelming. I know the Arbites are based off 2000AD’s bastard-cop, but these guys were close to carbon-copy with those Puppets War heads. Although the flirted with the idea of painting them in typical Judge colours, I bowed out at the last minute for a more typical Arbites colour scheme. It would be quicker to paint, and it would be very clearly Arbites with some Judge Dredd influences, rather than actual Dredd on the tabletop. I like references in my work, but I like them subtle.

*Shotgun racking noises*

I continued to channel my 2018 mantra of ‘finished not perfect’, and went with a striking colour scheme that wouldn’t involve too much work. Black armour, white highlights and a red spot colour.

The fatigues of the armour were painted in dark grey, the armour left black from the undercoat and the whole model was washed with Nuln Oil (praise be unto it) to pull the hues together and remove some of the shininess from the base coat. Armour edges were picked out in a lighter grey and left at that.

Your move, creep

White parts were painted in very light grey, washed back and highlighted back up to white. Red and bronze got the same treatment – basecoat, nuln oil wash and fine edge highlight. Simple!

I played with three skin tones as well to try and break up the monotony. The 41st millennium is a brutal, oppressive, theocratic dystopia, but that doesn’t stop it being diverse.

Weapon casings, the visor and stripes on the armour were all picked out in red to make the weapons stand out on the tabletop. I toyed with traditional necromunda chevrons for the chainsword but I decided against them in the end.

The bases were painted in similar colours to the rest of my Syracuse terrain – brown with hues of green and highlighted with a fine drybrush of Pale Flesh. I wanted the necrotic feeling of a rotting city coming through wherever possible.

Light brown was drybrushed around the base of the models, legs and dangly bits mostly, to give them the impression of having been out on the march for a long time.

I saved chevrons for the special weapons, namely the weird combi-weapon and Action Man heavy web blaster thing. Hopefully it would help make them stand out as something of note, especially against the drab scenery they’d be playing on.

Black Widow pose

All in all I’m very pleased with how they came out. The conversions were simple to do and surprisingly effective. The colour scheme was similarly simple and very striking on the tabletop, especially when deployed together.

I have a few extra scouts in the box that might make themselves into more named characters in the future now I’ve seen the effectiveness of the conversion, but I’m happy with them for now. I’m looking forward to terrorising some Dark Heresy acolytes!

MOTB: Servo-skulls and cyber mastiffs

Finished product first!

Recently I picked up some ‘Necrohounds’ from Maxmini to piggyback of someone else’s postage fees, and it tied quite nicely into a project for our long-running Dark Heresy campaign. Our heroes were about to assault an Arbites Precinct run by a Marshall who had been corrupted by a daemon as the climactic chapter finale.

With our various games of Necromunda and Rogue Trader going on in the background as well, a set of generic cyber-mastiffs would be great to fill out gang rosters or goon squads. It was then a rude thought struck me – I didn’t have any servo-skull models! They are such a staple of 40k and a great way of increasing the threat of a group of enemies without just bumping up their numbers.

None of the servo-skulls on the market particularly took my fancy, so I challenged myself to build some from my bits box to go along with my new cyber-mastiffs.

How to get ahead in life

Naturally, the first step was acquiring skulls. Luckily for me, my partner had just bought one of the massive box o’ skulls from GW and there were plenty rattling around in my bits box.

I’ve got plenty of experience working with guitar wire, so a few different thicknesses drilled into the bottom of the skulls and carefully bent with some needle nose pliers gave them the mechadendrites trailing behind them. I personally prefer building a ‘flying’ stance into the pose of a model rather than have them suspended on a clear stand.

The trick to bending guitar cable is to do it a bit at a time – give it a slight bend, move the pliers a few mm, give it another slight bend. This helps give more organic curves and avoids any unsightly right angles or separations in the coil that runs round the centre cable of the guitar string.

[tiny beep boop]

I’d decided to do quite a few to give me some options – I was unlikely to build servo-skulls again in the future so I may as well get them all done now! I wanted 2 med skulls, 2 combat skulls and 2 gun skulls, but circumstances prevented me from making the melee skulls so I replaced them with more gun skulls. The med skulls could double up if needs be – I simply couldn’t find any suitable combat bits that small!

The gun skulls would be split into two types – las and solid projectile. These are largely arbitrary distinctions, but it gave me a challenge to work towards!

The optics for the skulls were taken from Skitarii backpacks and shaved down to fit. The backpacks also provided a host of other useful bits, including censers, cables and antennae that doubled up for manipulators for my med skulls.

The las weapons were made from cut-down Cadian lasguns – snip the end off and glue the las pack to the back of it to make a self-contained unit! It needed a bit of shaving down to fit, but from arm’s reach you wouldn’t know.

A pair of revolvers from Anvil Industry glued upside-down made up the “autopistol” skulls, and a selection of medical equipment from various sources made up the med-skulls. I also tried to vary the silhouette of each type too – las skulls had their weapons on the right side, autopistol skulls had their weapons on the left side, and med skulls had an extra tentacle and optics on their left side of the head.

Necks-level paint job

Painting the skullies was pleasingly simple – drybrush them silver, pick out details in a brown metallic and give them a liberal wash!

Other details were picked out to draw attention to them too – the las-skulls had their barrels painted in chevrons to help pick them out from other skulls, and every skull got a little red optic eye to give them that lovely gothic feel.

Each skull also had a roman numeral painted onto the back of their heads so I could track their stats. In the unlikely occasion someone shot it and didn’t kill it, I could ask players to tell me what number it was. It seemed like a more organic way of doing it than putting a number on the base.

Release the hounds

The Necrohounds were a pain in the ass to put together, however. They are cast in white metal and clearly painstakingly designed to fit together flawlessly so long as there aren’t any deviations in the casting. In my case, that meant a lot of weird-fitting joints and copious green stuff.

The other exciting part was not being 100% sure if the models were designed to go on flat bases or not. The website images show them on scenic bases, which I originally thought was an aesthetic choice, but now realise it was probably a necessity to get the little buggers to have all four feet on the ground.

I had to shuffle each mini around on half a dozen different pre-moulded bases to find which arrangement of lumps and bumps sat well with their feet at different altitudes without it looking forced, and for one of them I had to throw in the towel and glue an extra piece to the base to make it look like he was stepping forwards, rather than gazing idly into the sky.

The actual minis themselves are lovely and were an absolute joy to paint. I don’t like doing ‘normal’ paint jobs on things (ie things based off real-world colours) because it’s very easy to get wrong, but I appreciate the usefulness in having a visual shorthand. If you paint dogs like Rottweilers, you know they’re probably guard dogs.

The design isn’t typically 40k, their sci-fi aesthetic is more sleek and smooth than gothic and spiky, but I think it works well here as a generic cyber-doggo who could realistically be aligned to anyone. These guys wouldn’t look out of place next to the Emperor’s Finest or a Chaos cult.

Teehee

All in all I’m very happy with how they all came out. It took me about two evenings to paint all these guys up, which considering their versatility I’m very happy with!

As for their first outing, you know how these things go. It all started off so promisingly, the Acolytes infiltrating through the basement with some loyal Arbites and some hired mooks in tow, trying to avoid detection from the automated defenses…

They made it a whole half a turn before the alarm was raised. Doors were kicked down, servo-skulls were exploded on sight and one of the robo-doggos chewed someone into Critical Damage before they even took their turn.

Then everything was on fire.

A good session I’d say!

(Eagle-eyed viewers may notice some suspicious Dredd-looking Arbites in some of these picture. Fear not, they’ll be in a MOTB soon ūüėČ )

MOTB: Ogryn Servitor

Finished product first!

So a new Necromunda campaign has begun in earnest and the Dreadquill blog has been lacking over Christmas, so what better way to get back into the swing of posting than with a glut of Necromunda related goodies?

Last year I posted some WIPs of an Ogryn Servitor¬†kitbashed from a bunch of parts I had lying around, and it remained base coated for several months (mostly because I didn’t want to tackle painting yellow. Over Christmas it got the paintjob it deserved.

The inspiration is, hopefully, obvious. It needed to be High Vis to give it that utilitarian look and offset the weird grimdark parts of it. Yes it’s a lobotomised mutant with a flamethrower and crushing claw, but it’s designed for carrying your luggage.

Gratuitous use of hazard stripes was also a must – how else are people going to know it’s dangerous and shouldn’t get too near?

I experimented with a new chipping technique I’d seen on some Primaris marines on instagram. Paint squiggly brown/black lines and highlight the lower part with your edge colour, giving them a sense of depth. A right royal pain in the arse to do, but overall I think it came out quite well.

The rest of the model I wasn’t too fussed about, so I experimented with a few other techniques. I’ve avoided drybrushing for years, preferring the time-consuming method of wet-blending instead. This year I’m trying to push my techniques a bit more (as well as save time), so the old drybrushes have been pulled out of storage.

The metal had been painted brown, with copious stippling of orange and strategic washes in the recesses. Orange stippling was used on some of the other metally-but-not-quite-metal parts too to simulate rust, something I experimented on with my original necromunda bases.

As this was a mini of new techniques, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try my hand at marble for the first time. A recipe I found involved lots of wet blended colours going on first (ranging from dark grey up to nearly white) in swooping patterns, then cracks painted on with black and highlighted up again.

I feel indifferent towards it? Maybe I’ll try a different marble colour next time – black and green has always been a favourite of mine.

Overall I’m very happy with how it came out. I found myself very uninspired getting him started off, but once the yellow went on the rest just fell into place.

Watch out for him opening an archeotech vault near you!

MOTB: War Pig WIP

“Generals gathered in their masses…”

In a previous episode of our long-running Rogue Trader game¬†our plucky band of privileged plunderers stumbled across a custom Taurox, left behind by the previous noble inhabitants. The inhabitants were in no real position to refute the claim of its new owners, and the Orthesian Dynasty rode off into the sunset with their brand new whip, quickly dubbed ‘War Pig’ after shooting a palace in half with its main guns.

“It would be terrible if they got into a combat situation and I didn’t have a suitable proxy model for it” I chanted in my head as I handed over my cash at my local game store.

So I was the owner of a brand new Taurox, and the first vehicle I have painted in almost half a decade.

One in the pink

I wanted to do something fancy with it. I mentioned it was a converted Taurox, the original owners modifying it to protect them from the peasantry and look hashtag lit while doing it, so it needed something a little different to make it look less military.

I came across this super cool Taurox from Mr Pink’s instagram while aggressively googling Taurox conversion ideas. Couldn’t be that hard right?

Inspiration from Mr Pink!

Low ride

So I was going to lower my Taurox, keeping it looking butch but with a slight hint of roadster. Time to begin assembling the chassis.

The first thing that had to go was the mudguards. No combination of dry fitting was going to work – there was no wiggle room at all for raising the wheel height and lowering the chassis while they were still attached.

Otherwise, nothing else at this stage looked like it needed work doing to it. It still needed the carry capacity so i wasn’t about to trim its booty down any, and there were no real alternate assembly options, so it was time to crack on with attaching the wheels.

I couldn’t find any guide to help me with this, so I ploughed ahead with the most powerful tool at my disposal – optimistic guesswork.

These little sluts attach the inside of the wheels to the bottom of the chassis. The chassis practically touched the floor already, so it was going to need a fair bit of work to lower it (or give it the illusion of being lowered) without it scraping the floor.

Normally this three-striped part sits vertically, locking the t-shaped wheel legs onto the chassis and giving it plenty of surface area to glue to. I opted to ignore this and create my own bastard child.

Spinning it 90 degrees gave me a little bit of extra height and the much missing extension away from the body – the wheels simply couldn’t be lowered any more without being further away.

The wheel legs (that’s what I’m calling them now, get with it) were rotated 180 degrees in their sockets. This gave me a lot of dip and sufficiently lowered the frame, but presented a complicated problem for attaching it to the chassis. I hacked away a wedge at the end of each leg to make them sit more flush with their new position.

A perfect fit! It protrudes a good centimetre out from either side and glued to the weird sideways plate without much hassle. It was at this point I also realised there was a slight miscast on one of my track parts, but at 1am I couldn’t really be bothered putting in a request for a new piece and was just gonna fill it in later with weathering.

And a view from the front, it’s a pretty good fit! I’ll go back and fill in all the gaps later, but nobody is all that bothered about the underneath of a vehicle anyway. Time for the back wheels.

These suckers were a bit more problematic. There was less room at the back for wheels to be flush with the bodywork (the Taurox has a big ol’ booty) to they needed padding to extend far enough out from the connection point on the chassis. Some knackered bits of sprue will help here!

Fits very pleasingly! Sure the join isn’t super flash but who cares? The only time people will be looking at this is when it’s in a smoking heap on the floor because the Voidmaster took it off one ramp too many.

I was very happy with the overall silhouette. Crouched low to the ground, ready to pounce. To me it looks more maneuverable as well, giving those wheels extra room to move around. Time to weaponise it!

It had already been written in with autocannons, and there’s a pleasingly brutal fancy to them that the other weapon options didn’t really tickle. I tinkered with having a ‘none’ weapon options hatch, perhaps with some observation equipment, but nothing really came of my bits bashing.

Who’s driving this thing

I assembled the rear of the vehicle and worked out how I was going to populate the driver’s seat. It was almost inevitable that one of the PCs was going to be driving it, but the model didn’t seem right without a driver, so out came the bits to see what options I had.

The combination of Bretonnian heads and sci-fi bodies was becoming ubiquitous in my Orthesian conversions. I figured the drivers/pilots probably had a little more high-tech jackets than the armsmen, so I opted for one from the Genestealer Cult Neophytes kit.

His arm and hip joins needed shaving down to fit the flat-sided parts of the original driver, but that wasn’t an issue with a sharp craft knife.

Noot noot! With the driver in place, I was happy I didn’t need a gunner – he was all the scale that was necessary.

finishing the pig

The only part that I had still to decide on was the front grille. The kit comes with a very cool grille that I desperately wanted to use, but no longer fitted the silhouette of the vehicle any more. I also wanted to affix lights to it, but with the mudguards gone I couldn’t fit them on top of the wheels any longer. They needed to go somewhere else…

With a bit of shaving I discovered they fitted perfectly around the outside of the nose of the vehicle; they couldn’t look any more like porcine nostrils if they tried. After digging around in my bits box I also stumbled across a set of spikes from the front of an old Sisters of Battle Rhino, and their Gothic-But-Chunky appearance (title of your sex tape) gave me the perfect flare I was looking for.

And it was finished! I’m very happy with how it came out, and unfortunately I’ve found myself in a position where I need to actually paint the bugger now. I’m still not happy with the amount of flare on it – I’d like a few more gothic stylings, perhaps some railings across the top of the wheel covers, or some kind of gargoyles to break up the flat surfaces. I do have a few gothic buttresses from a recent project

 

MOTB: Hab Block part 1

(Semi) finished product first!

A long time ago I found myself with a HMRC-related windfall which coincided with the release of a neat-looking kickstarter for a modular mdf terrain system. I was very taken with it, especially with the Gothic Upgrade pack making it look like the creepy hive city hab block from my dreams. I dropped some cash on the project and forgot about it for a year.

Fast forward past a house move and some postage misadventures and this (very) heavy box was sitting on my proverbial bench.

What’s in the box?!

Unpack the block

I don’t know why it surprises me how much mdf weighs whenever it arrives. I had a hundred and one other things that needed to be done that day, so I of course cancelled all my plans and tore into the package.

A tight fit

Lovely packaging, barely an inch of wasted space. It began to dawn on me how much assembling I was going to have to do.

Freebies!

an inelegant start

I can’t talk about the kit without mentioning the elephant in the room when it comes to MAD gaming – there were a lot of problems with the Kickstarter. They raised money in orders of magnitude greater than they (apparently) planned for, which caused massive backlogs of production. Their expected delivery time went up from one month to another month, to next month, to the month after…

I stopped following after the first few months – there was only so many times I could read “Hey so we’re delayed again because of [some other reason] sorry backers” before I got bored of checking in. They were on Pledge level 2 after the first few months, I was waiting for Pledge 6.

There were some issues with postage and an ill-conceived attempt to plug the next Kickstarter before they’d finished delivering on their already super-late current Kickstarter. If the product wasn’t great, I’d find it difficult to recommend MAD Gaming Terrain.

As it stands though, the product is well-made and extremely well engineered. I found myself genuinely daunted at the prospect of assembling it from the sheer volume of options available. As of right now, most of this stuff is also available to purchase from their local supplier too, and depending on how this assembly goes I may well be picking more up in the future.

If regular online shopping goes well, I will be back to recommend them whole-heartedly!

So many parts

There were a¬†lot¬†of sprues, many of which I couldn’t work out the utility of. The assembly instructions were very useful, but when it came to optional parts the rules were “Go nuts” or “Check out our videos on Youtube for ideas”.

I am unreasonably angry by such blatant abuse of hy-phens

I am loathe to watch construction videos – I don’t like scrolling through a 15 minute video of people talking about their product to get a grainy 480p flyby of the thing I’m looking for. Give me a big picture to pore over or give me death.

It’ll look pretty when it’s done!

I began to unpack in earnest, trying to work out the best way to approach the project. After several hours I came to the conclusion that there was no best way – I was just going to chunk through random sprues and pray it worked out.

Got Wood ™

I picked things that had instructions – namely the base hab blocks and the walkways. It was all straight forward and well-documented – I had no issues following the base instructions that came with the kits.

In fact, the only problem I encountered was boredom after assembling my millionth walkway – which I only have myself to blame for trying to build everything in an afternoon (and for ordering so much damn wood).

I had to enlist a few extra pairs of hands

Coming together

I love building complicated kits, and although they are a ballache or tedious (or both) to assemble, the finished article is very impressive. I’m a huge fan of kits that have enough detail on them that makes painting easier, as applying colour is something I find particularly difficult. These kits look like they’ll take a few rattlecans very nicely, and after they’ve been tickled with a drybrush and had a few details picked out, they’ll look amazing on the tabletop.

It’s starting to look like a block of habs

I also had an experiment with the Gothic upgrade sprues. I remember adding a few of them to my Kickstarter, as I’d prefer to have too many than not enough. I was endlessly impressed by the modular nature of the whole kit – everything can be attached basically anywhere, which is a nightmare for someone who hates having too many options.

I compromised by adding a few gothic buttresses and lights to a roof and one of the bases just to see how the kits worked. I was very impressed by how well they all stacked up on top of each other.

It was starting to take shape, and the prospect of making harder decisions with the resources I had was daunting. I also wasn’t sure I had enough magnets to see me through the magnetisation process, and I didn’t want to be caught short.

The plan of attack for this building session was to get all the core stuff assembled – let’s see how tall I can make this sucker.

“Citizens of Peach Trees…”

Turns out, quite tall. I already began visualising some daft things I could do with magnetised walkways coiling round the outside of this. It’s a terrible design for playing in, but it looks cool!

I was impressed with how well it all slotted together considering how slap-dash I was in assembly. I’m looking forward to having the whole kit together.

to be continued

This is where everything was left – all the hab pieces assembled with a couple of experimental Gothic parts added. Most of the walkways are tucked away waiting to have magnets added once I build up the courage to take them out of their box again.

The full spread

Overall I’m very impressed with the kit. I can easily populate a board with them in ‘unstacked’ mode, but it remains to be seen how much I can cover once I start layering them up. As of a week or two ago, MAD have started selling the individual habs on their store, so depending on how it looks like when I’m finished, it’s nice to know I can always pick up a few extras to round off my collection.

As for construction, perhaps Christmas will have a few spare days for me to bite the bullet and finish the project off. Watch this space!

 

MOTB: Warp Geists

In a previous episode of the Orthesian Herald, we had our band of noble scallywags have their first bad warp jump coincide with their first daemon encounter.

I wanted to make some Ebon Geists – an interesting warp predator from the back of the Rogue Trader core rulebook. They’re not affiliated with any of the four main Chaos gods, so I felt easy throwing them at the party without any of our 40k veterans being able to guess what they were up against.

They had a spooky introduction, as the crew were responding to a faulty life support conduit deep in the underdecks of their ship. When the wall of ice from a leaking pipe came to life and shredded an armsman like an egg slice, there was considerable panic.

They were assembled from some parts of spirit hosts I had from my bits box, as well as a healthy helping of weird Chaos tentacles and probably a Tyranid bit or two to bulk them out.

They were assembled in an evening with copious amounts of plastic glue, so it didn’t hugely matter if things didn’t line up.

They needed to be painted up super quick, as I was playing on the same day as I finished making them!

A white undercoat followed by a number of different washes did the job. Blue all over, with a black wash towards the extremities and a crimson wash in the centre.

They had a good going-over with a grey-blue drybrush with a very fine drybrush of white at the extremities and they were done! I painted the bases to match my other minis, and the black rim around the edge to tidy them up was still drying as I read the intro to the game. Close call!

In the game they were quite brutal – a combination of Phase and Warp Weapon meant they could move about quite freely and harass players at the back of the group who thought they’d be away from melee range.

They were the cause of our first limb-loss as well, with one of them pulling our Explorator’s arm clean out of its socket with an unexpectedly deadly strike.

All in all I’m very pleased with how they came out for a few hours of kitbashing and washing – our players got their first taste of the warp and I managed to satiate my GM’s bloodlust for a little longer!

I’ll definitely be making some more of these guys for future though, I don’t think two alone can threaten the party any more…

MOTB: Ogryn servitor WIP

Our Necromunda Callowdecks campaign has been great fun, and it’s presented me with a bunch of cool new modelling challenges too.

One of those challenges was to produce a ‘robot automata’ model as represented in the ‘Archeo-hunt’ scenario. Basically you use a big stompy robot that stands in the middle of the map and gangs have to fight for control over it, guiding it to a vault to break it open and steal the goodies inside.

It hilariously recommends using the Ambot model, recommending it as ideal to represent the automata. A bit dry, considering (at time of writing) they’ve not even announced the Ambot model (despite us knowing it exists from a grainy image in one of the Gang War books) let alone have it available for sale.

Official, yet unattainable

Additionally, one of the generic Brutes you can purchase is an Ogryn Servitor, complete with plasma hand for when you don’t just want to knead and punch something until the consistency of skittles is achieved, but you also want to set it on fire too.

Time to crack out the bits box.

This guy was going to stand in as both ‘generic automata’ and ‘Ogryn servitor’, so the weapons needed to be generic enough to represent whatever was on those stat lines. In this case, it was big hitty hand and melta gun/plasma cutter, so something suitably shooty in the other hand.

The base was the last plastic Ogre Kingdoms mini I had in my possession from the Bag o’ Doom and it was heavily soiled in thick paint. I’m lazy, so I just scratched most of it off with a knife. Finished, not perfect!

The face piece was from a plastic Lord of the Rings armoured troll helmet turned upside down, the belly plate from some Ork vehicle.

The arms came from a bunch of toys that were recycled from a friend’s old office space – they were going to be thrown out, so he harvested all their tech arms and donated them to my bits box. I couldn’t tell you where they were from – perhaps transformers? Regardless, they’ve been too big to use on most projects I’ve done so far, but they were the perfect size for this one.

Cables were made with trusty guitar wire, the thickest I could find. I’ve not tried bass guitar wire yet, but I’ve got a few more beep-boop projects ahead, so there’s still time!

The Ogre Kingdoms range come with adorable little Sinbad slippers, which wasn’t quite the aesthetic I was going for. I shaved the toes down and stick on some heavy shoulder pads from Anvil Industries to give them a reinforced look. A searchlight from an Imperial vehicle sprue finished off the Angry JCB look I was going for.

All told I’m very pleased with how he came out! Considering he was nothing but a bunch of weird bits and cables for a long time, I’m excited to slap some paint onto him. I’m not super excited about the prospect of painting so much yellow, though…

And he’s undercoated!

MOTB: Gun servitors

Finished product first!

Last week I built some friendly beep-boops out of odds and ends from my bits box, this week I got round to painting them.

Hellgun beep-boop

These guys were a cheap and cheerful colour scheme – undercoated black, base colours layered on and washes applied. The metal was simply Leadbelcher with a black wash followed by a brown wash – no extra highlights applied. It was particularly harrowing to not go back and highlight it, but it probably saved me an entire evening’s work.

Heavy bolter beep-boop

The heavy servitors were painted to look more ‘official’ – they would be Navy-issue battle servitors, so needed a uniform on the lower half, along with some heraldry to make them look a bit fancy. The paper was just a bone coloured paint with a sepia wash (really loving the sepia wash at the moment, might even start preferring it to Agrax…)

The final touch was the Mechanicus heraldry on the shield. The cogboys keep the servitors going, even if they’re loaning them out to others. I wanted something to visually tie it back to my tech gang 16th Law as well, so the red and white helped.

Heavy stubber beep-boop

For the more ‘civilian’ models I originally had them in dark grey, but quickly got bored of that as everything I paint is dark grey these days. One of my gaming circle had just finished painting up some Poxwalkers in Convict Orange, and I really liked the contasting colours, so tried to do something similar.

These were just an orange base, washed black and highlighted again with the same orange. I drew the line at highlighting more – finished, not perfect!

Heavy flamer beep-boop

Who doesn’t like fire? These servitors were my first experiment with multi toned flesh. Ironrach Skin was used as the base, washed with Athonian Camoshade to get a sickly hue and highlighted with Ironrach again.

Some crimson washes were dabbed liberally around painful areas where metal meets flesh, then another highlight of Ironrach on extreme edges. Quite pleased with how all that came out!

Very happy with how all my beep-boops came out. I don’t have any more Goliath bodies to make more big servitors, but I’ve got quite a few odds and ends to make little ones. Perhaps some combat servitors are on the distant horizon…

MOTB: Gun servitors WIP

Finished product first!

I use gun servitors a lot in our games of Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy and have always eyed up the old gun servitor models on offer on ebay, but could never justify forking out a tenner for a single model, given I would need quite a few.

The original beep boops

As our Callowdecks campaign has got into full swing, my own personal Orlock gang has been saving up its pennies to pick up one of the ‘Lugger’ Servitor Brutes that is available to them. 3+ armour save from the front, 3 Wounds, Toughness 5 and can move and shoot with a Heavy Bolter? Sign me up!

The brief had become clear – build me an army of robo-friends worthy of Mordor. They needed to be suitable for use across multiple systems, so different weapon configurations were a must, and one of them needed to have a heavy bolter. Easy peasy!

Automated construction

Assembling the smaller servitors was fun Рthe heads were from Pig Iron miniatures from an old Dark Heresy project I had lying around, suitably grotesque but with their faces largely covered. The bodies were from the Genestealer Neophytes kit, and the legs donated from some old plastic Space Marine scouts with the pouches shaved down.

 

This first lad was given a heavy stubber from the Orlock kit, which with a bit of random circular plastic I had lying in my bits box, made the perfect cowling to glue the weapon straight onto the arm socket.

Robots, so hot right now

The next one build used a piece I’ve had in my bits box since I first started the hobby waaaaay back in the 7th Century. I have a lot of weird sponson weapons from old plastic vehicle kits that never fit on anything other than vehicles, or in this case, boopy robo-friends.

Flamers are great fun and dangerous to PCs regardless of what system you’re using.

Laser-like focus

I also wanted to build some slightly larger servitors, partially for variety, partially because I’d run out of scout legs, partially because I’d seen someone make them out of Goliath parts and I happened to have to spare in my bits box. They would make good military-grade war-bots rather than your run-of-the-mill civilian grade, plus sticking a heavy bolter to the side of those Neophyte bodies would be hilarious but woefully lopsided.

I had some bits from a vehicle project I’m working on, the heavy fusion repeating hellgun hot-shot volley-gun thing from the side of a Taurox. It is helpfully completely absent from the 40kRPG lines regarding rules, and it’s still a (relatively) new addition to the traditional Imperial armoury, so its silhouette is not as recognisable as, say, a lascannon. This would give me free reign to upscale it or downscale it depending on the encounter without someone going “why is that shooting like a lascannon when it’s clearly a lasgun”

absolute unit

In awe of the size of this lad. The final servitor would be the one (hopefully) attached to my Orlock gang. They got some extra heraldry odds and ends to cover up the worst of the Goliath furnace plating and give them a bit of extra bulk.

This head was from the classic Space Marine tactical squad, the bionics made from a combination of Anvil Industry bionic parts and odds and ends from my bits box. The heavy bolter, again, from a weapon mount for a vehicle – this time the pintle heavy bolter from the sidecar of a Space Marine attack bike with the stand snipped off. Some little bits of guitar wire as cabling rounded them off quite nicely.

I’m very happy with how they’ve all turned out, to the point where I wished I’d made another 8 for a full gamut of robo-lads. I’ve been staring intently at some ebay lots going soon, but those kinds of projects will have to wait til after Christmas I think.

Sneak preview

And in a sneaky sneaky preview, here’s a quick snap of the lads all painted up. I’ll get some better pictures up once I’ve had an opportunity to snap them in daylight!