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Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Second ship ahoy!

Here’s the second of my ships for Bring Out Your Lead 2015. She was the first ship I bought for this project after seeing Harry’s nice Megabloks ships. The detail on these toys is realy very good and with an expert paintjob they’d come up really nicely. Mine will not be an expert job in part because I find at the moment I don’t have much patience and would rather devote the times when I find the focus to painting miniatures (and, of course, sculpting more Space Dorfs). So the painting is rather rushed and I might go back and work into it if I feel like it nearer the time. I did notice that fellow Oldhammerer Paul Ede has the same boat in his hobby cupboard so it will be interesting to see his take on it. Right, to the step by step….

The concept for the ship was initially an Orc hulk, then it was an Orc hulk under the captainship of my favourite old Ogre and towed by a Goblin airship (stay tuned…) but now the back story is a pirate Orc crew that was ‘rescued’ from their shipwreck by a mysterious Ogre shaman. Turns out he owed patronage to Father Nurgle and the Orcs and their Goblin skivvies are now fated to sail the seas forever in thrall to the plague ship THE NURGLITCH. If they ever set foot on land the rot would catch up with them and they would crumble to the dust beneath their feet.

The ship itself is a plastic Megabloks pirate ship so it has bumps all over the deck. First job, do away with the bumps! Originally I planned to grind them back and carve in extra detail with a dremel since the sculpted planks are actually quite nice. But that plan kind of disintegrated and I opted for the quicker method of covering the studs with lolly sticks. They were snapped rather than cut to give an old, weathered look and I left the studs on under them to make it look a bit gappy.
Oh, before I did this I chopped a chunk out of the middle of the ship since it was a bit long as it was and I wanted it to have a stumpier, Orcy, hulky look. That left some space in the middle to be filled with splintered lolly sticks and I also built a platform on one side so the crew could get down to a couple of dinghies. In our trial game one of my crew leapt spectacularly onto an island and splatted himself across the beach so from now on dinghies are a good idea! Except, I know, fluff says they die if they touch land… there is another piece to this jigsaw but that’s for another post!

A note on Squigs. One of the things to come out of our trial game was the idea of having a Squig Minelayer and so I have moved the ribcagey bits of the ship around to give myself a Squig Launsher on the bow. The Squigs are in a ready-made pit in the deck and are hoisted onto the ribcage stone thrower with the hook on the jib arm. Then they are flung across the waves. If they hit a ship or land they count just like a stone thrower and the unfortunate Squig is splattered across whoever happens to be in the way. If the Squig lands in the water, however, it acts as a mine, chomping a big chunk out of the hull of any ship that bumps into it. For this purpose I made some submerged Squig counters. The Nurglitch is limited to 5 Squig mines, but it has a little hatch in the stern for retrieving Squigs which scamper up a reinforced corridor in the ship to be flung again from the bow.

There is another hole in the stern of the boat which leads to the aforementioned hatch. The bone pile around this I like but the hole I’m not so keen on so I dug around for something to fill it. I settled on this guy. He’s an Arabyan relic, a monument to the plagues that destroyed the Arabyan tribesmen who had enslaved the Ogre Shaman’s clan and forced them to labour at building great cities and temples. Through the plague they were liberated… hence, or perhaps due to, the Shaman’s allegiance with Chaos. I added the boils, scarring and entrails to one side of the statue and perched the closest thing to a Nurgling I have (an Oakbound Minis Bugle) on its shoulder.

Bases! I’d never painted miniatures on one base and then cut their slotta tabs and pinned them on other, more scenic bases until I decided to rebase my Fimir. Pleased with the results I thought I’d try it intentionally this time. So here are the basic bases I’ll be going for, boarding to match the ship deck. I’ve used Rackham Confrontation bases because they have a slightly steeper slope, slightly smaller top and are a bit higher. All things I think look nicer. To make sure they match I painted the bases at the same time as the ship, masking the black sides to keep them fresh, I find painting base sides black never looks as nice as the original plastic.

So the painting begins… now this doesn’t look much different from the original I grant you! I wanted to keep a pale, weather-beaten and ghostly/unwell look. I have, however, given it a base of dark brown, misted a dark green, a pale green and an ochre over the top to give some mottling, texture and variation to break up the surface.

After drybrushing up to neat white around the edges (looks especially nice around the bases, contrasting with the black border) and yellowing the bones with some washes (very dilute flesh wash and khaki) I painted in the sculpted ropes and ironwork in black and did the sea in the same way as the Ironclad (except the wave tops, haven’t got there yet). The metal will get a good rusting. The ghostly sections on the side I washed and then drybrushed in a Nurgly purple, blending the wash into the surrounding wood to give a bruised look. Then I dribbled weedy green down the sides of the ship. The sides will get some crackly rust weathering as well.

Lastly I mixed up some standard polyester layup resin and dribbled it in pools and on some of the bases. This dries nicely translucent and glossy giving a slimy effect, although it hasn’t photographed very well. I’ll do some more down the steps in a while as I think they would benefit from being a bit sludgier!

And there she is so far. Still more to do, but at least the crew for this one is nearly painted! Just over two months to go…


Saturday, 23 May 2015

Oldhammer Ahoy! BOYL 2015

It didn’t take long after Bring Out Your Lead 2014 for ideas to form for next year… in fact about ten minutes in the car on the way home saw plans begin to develop! The most ambitious of these is a large naval battle we’re calling OLDHAMMER AHOY! The game will use the rules for ships in the General’s Compedium, altered a bit for speed and Oldhammerishness. Initially my plan was to bring one ship, something I’d been working on for a little while anyhow. Then I was going to have one ship pulling another large hulk. Then, as these things do, it got a bit out of hand and I will now be bringing five ships if all goes well! The plan is to have a number of ‘stock’ ships and crews available for anyone to grab one and jump in. Over the next few blog posts I’ll walk through a few of the ships in progress.

The first of these is the CUTTING SNARK, a Chaos Dwarf submersible ironclad. A bit of an odd one as Oldhammer Ahoy goes in that it won’t have a crew per se and will have to be severely handicapped since it might be quite hard to destroy and carries some serious firepower… rules yet to be decided. 
This ship started life from a discarded vacuum form. As some people know I started a new job as a modelmaking technician at a university in October and one of the student projects is a vacuum formed iron to learn product design prototype modelling skills. Inevitably some of these forms don’t go so well and it seemed a shame to waste them so I got to wondering what I could turn one into. Since I’d also been doing some revision work on Tripods! the board game Ironclads were very much in my mind and the shape just cried out to me as a perfect basis. The week was quite quiet so I started trimming sections of plastic rod and gluing rivets…

The first step was to mark where the plates of the Ironclad would go. I wanted an industrial, Victorian look for the ship so went for big plates and rivets. I used a marker to rough out the plates, then cut oodles and oodles of tiny lengths of plastic rod and used a pin and small pools of superglue to stick these ‘rivets’ in place. Then I cut mm wide strips of masking tape and stuck them along my pen lines to mark the joins between plates. The chimneys were sections of plastic pipe cut to length and blended into the side of the ship with milliput. The turret and paddlewheel at the rear I made from lolly sticks cut to length and joined with superglue and reinforcing strips of paper.

To make the plates stand out I sprayed about 8 thin coats of primer over the form...
...let it set and carefully peeled off the masking tape, leaving recesses between the ‘plates’.
Then I added a hull-mounted cannon and a turret-mounted mortar made from various bits from my junk drawer and some green stuff to make suitably oriental gargoyle heads to adorn the muzzles. I also green stuffed the tops of the funnels with some roughly-shaped bearded heads and skulls and added some nasty-looking 40K meat hooks. The water was created by dabbing poly filler onto the base with a stirrer, making sure that the water was most ‘agitated’ around the bow to give the impression of movement. Polyfiller was also applied to the lower blades of the paddlewheel to simulate their churning through the ocean.
Then everything got a light coat of matt black...
...followed by a light overspray of beige (with the can held at quite a distance).

Next the drybrushing began. First three fine coats of grey followed by an even lighter layer of white brushed downwards and focusing on the ‘corners’ of the hull shape. Then each of the rivets was outlined with an oil-effect wash, dragging some of the wash downwards to look like drips. This is also good for hiding the bits of over-enthusiastic dry brushing! The gaps between the plates had cd-marker pen lines to reinforce the outlines.  

The wooden areas had a coat of Vallejo Dark Flesh, then Filthy Brown and finally a light brush of Khaki, working from the middle out to leave dark areas toward the banding. These need further detailing with a finer brush (tomorrow’s job possibly) to do the grain, gaps between planks etc. The metal areas got a coat of Vallejo Bronze and were washed with old school Citadel Expert Rust Red Ink. They still need proper highlights and shading.

The water was painted with a dark blue poster paint, then had an emerald and grass green readymix paint dabbed into it whilst wet to provide variation in colour suggesting depth. Although I think we’ll be gaming in blue seas at BOYL 2015, the water on my own terrain boards is green so I’ve tried to go for a blend of the two, perhaps leaning more towards the green. The very tips of the roughest waves were given a gentle white drybrush, but because I did this whilst the green was still wet the result is a nice blend from the foamy white tips into a lighter green wave. Finally a layer of black ink was painted along the line where the waves meet the hull to provide definition and clean up any ‘sea’ which had got onto the hull.

And there she is, the Cutting Snark. Still lots of detailing to do, so there’ll be another post with her finished and her background and rules detailed. But for now I hear another ship calling for me to finish planking its deck….


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Circle of Chaos- an Oldhammer Sculpting Project

There's a new Facebook group on the scene, well there are several actually, they seem to be multiplying at a rapid pace! But the one I'm talking about is the Oldhammer Sculpting Group where established sculptors and newcomers alike can share tips, ideas and examples of their work as they create new pieces of art that fit the 'Oldhammer' vibe.

Curtis of Ramshackle Games has been leading a team of intrepid sculptors in a quest to put together a Chaos warband which is being called the "Circle of Chaos". You can find more on the Facebook page, but here's my (still WIP) submission to the project with some background story. Qikdeath Gallbroiler started as a Realm of Chaos champion of Nurgle generation- Skaven, Limb Loss (both arms), Chaos Weapon, Head of a Beast of Nurgle.

Qikdeath Gallbroiler raised its snout from the carcass of the white deer and held its nostrils to the wind. Though it was no longer Skaven the ratbeast’s nostrils were still keen and there was something in the winds today that would have quickened its heart were it still beating. The scent was not flowing in the natural wind, this was coming over the fens to the west and carried with it the usual pungent odour of marsh gas and decay. Such scents brought pleasure to Nurgle’s creations, but it was not this that excited Qikdeath. No, the scent which had stirred him from his feasting was borne on the subtler winds of Chaos, flowing down from the North, and that way he turned his muzzle.

The Gallbroiler had found the white deer here a few hours ago. The animal had been dead several days and its remaining flesh was putrid and green, satisfyingly pulpy to the spawn’s tastes. It had not failed to notice the remains of the crudely drawn circle of summoning, the chalky marks on the obsidian-black standing stones or the disturbed earth which told of a rite disturbed and a skirmish lost. Qikdeath had been tracking a motley band of travellers over the last month after they had passed by his hole. Normally it left well-equipped warrior-types alone, but in this instance there was something drawing it out of its lair and after the strange party. Something in the winds of Chaos. Something it smelt again now. The green-clad travellers with the white arrow mark on their shields and cloaks had continued southwards into the marshes at great speed and Qikdeath had lost sight of them as it struggled to keep up. At least one of the travellers was riding a horse, one other was mounted on a giant dog, another on a bear and another was a centaur. Together with a forbiddingly large giant they were covering open ground swiftly and the spawn was loathe to follow too closely for fear of being seen so it kept to the scrubby woodland, forcing it to detour and struggle to keep up. It had been a week since the Gallbroiler’s four eyes had caught a glimpse of the warband but the remnants of the site at which he was now gorging on deerflesh told him he was still on the right track.

Scanning the winds of Chaos for some sign, some message, the spawn suddenly found a firm conviction growing in the remnants of its simple mind. There was no need to follow the band further, not yet. The ritual had not been completely in vain. The cultists’ work was not entirely unfinished. Qikdeath would wait here. Others were coming, others drawn by the same wind, others with greater patronage and understanding. Once more the Gallbroiler would not be alone, it would fight once more for the infernal powers. Maybe in time it would be raised to higher things. The ratbeast turned its eyestalks to the broken and scuffed summoning circle on the ground. When the others came the markings would be restored, the Circle of Chaos would be completed.


Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's