Monday, 17 July 2017

Waaagh bikes don't leak oil, they mark their territory

Following on from my previous post about the arrival of the Death Guard, I'd like to introduce the other faction that's been plaguing my little corner of the Warhammer 40,000 galaxy. Although, this time, when I say 'plaguing', I mean less in a bubonic sort of way and more biblical: masses of angry things, springing up suddenly and infesting entire regions.

This bike squad belongs to an army I first started collecting at the very birth of Warhammer 40,000 – back in 1987 when Rogue Trader was originally published and the Orks made their first appearance in the RTB02 boxset*. Although I've had lots of Orks kicking about the place since then, this little gang are probably the first unit I ever actually completed for them.

Back in the early nineties, after I saw the warring motorcycle gangs in the film Akira, I remember thinking that something similar, with a ragtag, post-apocalyptic, Mad Max Road Warrior look, would be a really great fit for Orks.**

Fast forward something like 22 years and the models shown here were finally complete. As with most of my modelling projects they use a variety of bits from various places.

The squad leader above is based on Golg the Terrible from Ramshackle Games (one of my favourite suppliers of all things Orky or post-apocalyptic). I just gave Golg a head swap, added the extra firepower to the front of the bike, and borrowed an idea I saw online*** for making the 'eyes' on the front fairing more orky.

This one was my take on an Ork version of Kaneda's iconic bike (from Akira). It was pretty much scratch built using whatever parts I had lying around. The back looks like it may once have been a Chaos Space Marine Bike, and there are several bits of the plastic Space Marine jump pack dotted around. The area where the rider is sitting was the original Space Marine Jet-Cycle from way back.

The guy above was a plastic Ork boy chopped up and repositioned to sit on a Chaos Space Marine bike (with the plasticard front fairing and a bunch of other bits added to dial up the Ork quotient).

The next three, above, are the current (and awesome) Games Workshop Warbiker Mob. It's a great kit so I only made a couple of minor changes – mainly to the riders' heads and bodies.

This is another scratch built one. The front wheel and petrol tank look like they were probably from Ramshackle Games again (I told you I liked them), while the back wheel may have been from a toy quad bike I found in a pound shop at the time.

And this final bike, with a pillion passenger, was based on the previous Ork Warbike plastic kit. I never remotely liked that kit so made as many changes as I could realistically manage.

As with the Death Guard, a lot of these models, and others from my Ork horde, started life as drawings and sketches – exploring and recording ideas far quicker than I could ever hope to achieve on the miniatures. Here are my original notes.

Some of the ideas jotted above have probably made it into other Ork models from my collection, so they'll most likely appear as I share more of that in the future.

Sadly for me, everything on this page was completed about 5 or 6 years ago, so my score in the Addiction Challenge remains unchanged. Hopefully my next post will dent it a little.


*A few other Orks were released at about the same time, but surely the first spacefaring greenskin from Citadel Miniatures must be the LE1 limited edition Space Orc, released around 1985?

**Especially as Games Workshop had already inspired the idea with another of their limited edition Orc models. This time the Sleazy Rider – a Hells Angel biker, not meant as an official Space Ork release, but later updated to these guys so as to be included in the range.
***I made my Golg the Terrible conversion quite a few years ago, and lost any record of where exactly that inspiration came from. I've just spent half an hour rooting around the internet in vain, trying to find the picture that I blatantly copied. If you've got an old conversion that looks suspiciously like mine, let me know and I'll add a credit and a link.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Here come the nasties

Auto-cast pict-capts have been received from an extraction facility on Ancora Prime. The disturbing images show the mining compound being overrun by dishevelled warriors in heavily-adapted Astartes battle plate – their disordered appearance belying their precise teamwork and accurate marksmanship. Although most likely human, many of the warriors appear to be hideously mutated. In some instances they are not so much wearing their armour as biologically fused with it.

The new WH40K boxset (along with the Addiction Challenge) has rekindled my interest in the Death Guard and their fellow Plague Marines. This is a squad leader – my first finished model for this potential new faction. I've only just finished painting him, even though I did most of the conversion work quite a few years ago. Back then I vaguely remember wanting to see if I could cram some kind of narrative on to one of the smaller 25mm bases (the newer, 32mm base he's on now came later). I was taken by the idea that a Plague Knife would inflict some real nastiness on its victims, sucking out life and causing almost instant decay. The dismembered Marine on the base has been partially modelled into the ground to represent this.*

The Death Guard's head was taken from an out-of-print metal Chaos Champion of Nurgle, while his torso started life as part of the plastic Chaos Marauders sprue. There was a fair bit of green-stuffing involved to build up the rolls of flesh, so I used the larger shoulders from the Ork Boyz sprue to match the bulk. Both the Power Fists started life somewhere in the loyalist Marine arsenal – with one of them, I think, coming from the original RTB01 box. The legs are nearly as old, originally belonging to the push-fit, static-posed Space Marines that came in the 2nd edition WH40K boxset. I chopped them up and reposed them a bit, and gave them extra detail wherever possible. As far as I can tell, the only orthodox Chaos Space Marine part is the backpack.

When starting a new army or project, especially one involving a lot of conversion work, I usually begin by sketching out a few of the ideas that interest me. It's a quick way of collecting my thoughts and means some of the experimenting can be done on paper, much faster than trying it all on the actual model.

Yet equally as shoddy

A lot of the ideas that are blurted on to paper will never see fruition. But that's no bad thing. Far better to discard a five minute sketch than a model that's sucked up hours of work.

Anyway, another complete miniature means I am officially one twentieth of the way through my painting challenge. That's pretty good going for me and my sloth-like pace as we're only about a month in. It's almost cause for celebration.

Especially if that celebration involves painting the remaining ninety-five miniatures.


*The dead Marine is painted in the colours of my old homegrown chapter, the Storm Guard, nodding to the fact that I'm thinking of retiring them now.