Saturday 27 April 2024

The 'Bork. Persistence is fertile.

"Right lads, fanks fer ya patience. Patients. Geddit? Hurrhur.

You done good, not dying or nuthin. Just lying there looking up at da bloodsprays on da ceiling.

Or at least the 6 of you still here done good. Oh, wait, no, not Snazzbag, da wimp's stopped breathin'. So 5 then. 5 of you done good. Them other lads just bleedin' all over the place, wiv der organs flappin' about, gettin' me gear all wet, an' then croakin' it – dey was just useless. More like grots than 'ardboy nobs. You make a couple of tiny cuts, and pull out a couple of soft pulpy innards... Some Orks just ain't as tough as dey should be.

But da good news is dat I've got da parts. Dat's right, da parts we need to finish your... er, recov'ry. 

And yeah, Radblast, yeah, I knows you only came in for a toothache, but you gotta admit it's gone now, ain't it?

What's that? So are your legs? Well they was part of the problem, see. It's complicated medical stuff, don't worry your pretty little head about it. Well, what was once your pretty little head. Not so much now, is it? Hurrhur.

Anyways, da parts is finally here. Highly spechulised stuff this. Very hard to track down. Took my grots weeks scouring battlefields to find dem armour plates with the right colour yellow and black stripes. You can't just go picking up any old metal. It's gotta be any old metal with the right coloured paint, see?

It's a proper valuable commodity. I can't make oddities like you without commodities like that, can I? Hurrhur.

Eh, what's dat? Why couldn't I just paint da stripes on da metal afterwards?

Well, I... er, didn't fink of dat."

Like the Dok in the intro, I'm not afraid to sit on a project for a ludicrously long period of time. These Cyborks are another unit that has taken years to complete. I started building them a
bout the time this box of plastic Nobz was released. Back when the Ork Codex still had a listing for a squad of Cyborks as an upgrade to the regular Nobz*.

I got all excited, grabbed a pack of robot legs from Kromlech, decided I didn't quite like the tracked variant enough, searched my bits box for anything else that looked vaguely like it might pass as a robotic limb for sentient, humanoid fungi, and then didn't get much further.

Death Face 2000

Fragga Ironside

Meat-Hoppa Tuffguts

Stomper Slice-N-Dice


But eventually, after an age, I built the models you can see below. 

And then, after another age, decided I didn't like them enough to paint them. 

And then, another age later, just a few weeks ago, I upgraded and rebuilt the ones I wasn't so keen on, before finally getting some paint on the whole bunch, and being able to call them done.

And so that's another unit of infantry completed for my Ork Armoured Brigade, meaning I can now rush out and buy way too many new models that will probably sit around in a dark corner of my house for yet another age.

*Instead of what later seemed to become a singular warrior with a Super Cybork Body. I haven't yet seen the latest version of the Codex. Are there any Cyborks in there at all? Not a problem if not, as these guys will just become regular Nobz, sporting a few snazzy 'upgrades'.

Monday 12 February 2024

'Ard Boy Ork Breachers, part two

KNOCK KNOCK! My heavily armoured Ork 'Ard Boyz are back. And this time they've got paint on. 

We last saw them a few weeks ago, at the beginning of this year, here, without paint, where I had dug them out of their decade long stasis to remount them on slightly larger bases. Since then I have added an extra member to the squad – the character carrying the battering ram from the excellent Ork Kommandos Kill Team. I tweaked him a bit to sport one of the older, larger faces, with headgear matching the rest of the team, and then removed some of the redundant spikes from the front of his ram.

In the spirit of last month's post (where I compared some miniatures I had painted with their original promotional images from Forge World), I've isolated all the finished, painted shields here, in the same manner that I presented their original design sketches in part one of this post that I linked above. They're not exactly the same, but the sketches definitely played their part in getting me to the final product.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

Agents of the Imperium, shoulder to shoulder, side by side

I'm doing something a little different today. I wanted to try out an idea, so for this single exercise I've briefly changed my approach to the hobby. But before I get into that, a bit of backstory.

In late 1998, Forge World was unleashed on the world as a specialist offshoot of Games Workshop aimed at older, more experienced hobbyists. Although it was meant to concentrate on large scale busts and terrain, by the early 2000s it had dramatically expanded its scope to include an incredible selection of 28mm resin models.

There were so many amazing sets available, from just about every variation of Imperial Guard tank you could imagine, to mobile Ork fortresses on caterpillar tracks, huge Chaos War Mammoths, Death Korps of Krieg troops mounted on gas-mask-wearing horses, servitors, Inquisitors, dragons, aircraft and a hundred other models that I really wish I'd bought.

Forge World's Krieg Death Riders and Ork Battle Fortress. The latter is sadly out of print these days.
And the Chaos War Mammoth and Marauder Bomber. The elephant might be one of the rarest kits in existence.

In that last category 'models I wish I'd bought' were the Titan Crew On Foot, consisting of a Princeps and two Moderati, sculpted by Simon Egan. When they were first released they cost something like £12. My younger, naive self didn't know what was to come with the prices of models, and I think I found them too expensive. Yet they stayed in the range for about another decade, slowly creeping up in price to around £17, before eventually being consigned to the big-glass-display-cabinet-in-the-sky in the mid-to-late 2010s.

As soon as they disappeared from the Forge World website, I realised how much I wanted them in my collection. More so than any of the other fantastic models that were still available. A feeling I'm sure many other hobbyists out there are frustratingly familiar with. So I then spent several years scouring eBay trying to find them, in the hope of not having to pay the £70 to £100 they were routinely going for.

Finally, about a year ago, I found them for not much more than their original store price. Result! The downside was that as well as having been painted in colours not to my taste, they had also been converted slightly. But these were minor gripes, and it was still an opportunity too good to miss. So I bought them, dipped them in Dettol until the paint came off, then stripped away all the extra parts that had been added. To my relief the base models were almost 100% intact.

Last week I thought it would be an interesting project to get some paint back on them. I realised that the original Forge World paint job was pretty much exactly what I was after, so that got me thinking about the aforementioned experiment. I decided to break out my smallest brush and do my absolute very best to emulate the display colour scheme of the finished Forge World models as closely as I could. Obviously having the small brush wasn't enough in its own right, and unfortunately my lack of any real painting talent soon came into play.

Nonetheless I've posted the results here for all to see. Below are the original models, expertly painted by Stuart Witter for the catalogue, and then after that, my somewhat less expert attempt to copy the colour scheme and photograph them from the same angle.

Once I got started I soon realised that these characters sported some serious detail. So much so that I actually couldn't see it, even wearing my strongest reading glasses. For the first time in my hobby career I tried using a magnifying glass, but that made it extraordinarily difficult to coordinate the brush, so instead I came up with a rather foolish looking solution. I wore two pairs of glasses at the same time – and it revealed a whole wealth of detail that I had no idea was even there. Below are some more shots of Stuart Witter's beautiful smooth paintjob, followed immediately by my not-so-smooth effort.

Although this has confirmed my suspicions that I'll never be a superstar painter, I have actually surpassed my meagre expectations and am secretly quite pleased with the results. These guys will be a proud addition to my collection, going in among the various denizens of my hive city, Kruenta Karoliina Arx Rotunda.

So now I just need a Titan to go with them.

RIP Forge World of old, you will be sorely missed.

Thursday 11 January 2024

'Ard Boy Ork Breachers, part one

Later this year we are due to see the release of the video game, Space Marine 2. It will be the long awaited sequel to the original third-person-shooter-slash-hack-n-slay, that was released in 2011.

Where the new game looks set to feature Tyranids as the main foe, the original game had Orks. Lots and lots of Orks. And it's one of the Orks from that game that has inspired my next set of models.

In WH40K the Ork 'Ard Boy unit takes 'Eavy Armour (and a correspondingly adjusted Save profile) to distinguish it from the regular lads, but in the Space Marine console game the 'Ard Boyz were given breacher shields as well. A simple adjustment that to my mind was a major visual upgrade. Especially as in the tabletop game, even a die-hard stickler-for-the-rules can see it's not much of a stretch to say the shield just counts as that aforementioned extra armour.

Here are some images (from a Space Marine Fandom Wiki article) that show just how tough theses rock-solid brutes looked in action in the original game.

Younger me was immediately taken by the vicious, hard-to-kill monstrosities, and I vowed to recreate a game legal version for the tabletop, armed with Slugga (pistol), Choppa (hand weapon), and, of course, the shield. 

And so where to start? It seemed like the first thing I'd need, after picking up a box of Ork Boyz, would be a bunch of suitably derelict and neglected-looking riot shields – enough to equip a small unit. It seemed only fair and Orky to try to ensure that they all look ever-so-slightly different, so, before I got out my plasticard and scalpel, I grabbed a pen and paper and started sketching.

Once I got to the above stage, it was time to look through my bits box and see what else I could throw together. I figured a few extra plates of armour, some additional pouches, spare magazines, helmets and iron gobs would do the trick. This was still over a decade ago, and back then spare parts were a bit thinner on the ground. You only got a couple of extra pouches on the Ork Boyz frames, so finding more gear for an entire unit of models could be quite tricky. There used to be a small metal 'Ard Boyz upgrade sprue, that had a few extra helmeted heads, iron gobs, and shoulder pads, so I grabbed a pack of them and set about creating some of the other kit with more plasticard. You can see all the troops I managed to build below, plus the larger Nob that I added a bit later. 

They then, as is all too often the case with me, sat in boxes, or on a high-up shelf, looking unprimed and dusty, for what must have been something like 10 or 12 years, until a couple of months ago when I realised Games Workshop was re-basing its Ork models on larger, 32mm bases, so I did the same. 

And when I got them out to do this, and looked at them again after all this time, I realised I quite liked them. So just the other day, while checking my re-basing job, I finally decided it was about the right time to get my paints out. More on that when and if I ever get them finished.

Tuesday 19 December 2023

A break from the green

I've made a bit of progress with my Ork Armoured Brigade recently, so a few weeks ago I decided to take a break from painting all that green. Unfortunately I figured it would be good to add a few more gribbly Nurgle types to my Chaos Warrior Winter Warband, and, what with these guys being dedicated to all things rotten, they, of course, tend to be painted in various verdant, putrid or bilious shades of green.

Luckily, however, that's not at all what I had in mind.

I wanted them to fit in with my other Slaves to Darkness warriors – worshippers of my homegrown deity, Gshtaad, (a kind of mash-up between Khorne, the Blood God and the aforementioned Nurgle, Lord of Decay). These guys tend to be clad in rough leather and dark, badly-maintained armour, with pallid skin, on crisp, snowy bases.

To achieve the look I was after, I made some minor adjustments to the Putrid Blightkings' suggested build. Instead of following the instructions in the box, I used as much armour and as many helmets as I could, opted to keep overtly Nurglish symbols to a minimum, and to only have a few mutations on show. As a result there was a little green stuff work involved to blend together disparate components, or remove the odd mutation*, but not enough deviation from the box versions to warrant me recording it. Therefore there is no "Behold raw Chaos in all its glory!" photo today.

But here are some (admittedly slightly out-of-focus) close-ups of the finished characters.**

*To be fair, most Chaos mutations look pretty odd.
**The Lord of Plagues, in the middle of the third image, was painted a while ago and has only been included here for completeness. This is actually the third time he has appeared on this blog. Only fitting for such a great sculpt.

Thursday 5 October 2023

Deff metal clanker

"Ere, where's dat runty Ork, Kikbag? It's time for his krumpin'. Stop him gettin' all uppity."

"Boss, what's dat noise?"

"He's not just snide and mean, dere's bad stuff too. He's like a humie, that one. Always whingeing and whining. Reckons he deserves more 'n his lot, don't he?"

Stomp... stomp...

"Er, boss."

"Shaddup. Fortunately I'm here wiv his daily dose of clobber, to keep him on da straight and narrow. I'm all heart, me. So where is da weedy little disgrace for a git?"

Stomp... stomp...

"Always 'anging around with dat crazy old doc and dat one-eyed mechboy. I oughtta put a stop to dem three."


click... whirrr... WHIRRR... SLICE... SPLASH

Everybody loves a ramshackle, post-apocalyptic, bipedal war mech, right? Everybody except that Ork Warboss. And maybe people who play Eldar. In fact perhaps not everyone loves this kind of thing at all. Maybe it's only me? But it's lucky for Kikbag that I do, as this little buzzsaw wielding can of whup-ass was a proper labour of love, taking me years to complete.

It was originally inspired by (and the chassis based on) the Werewolf Walker model in the ill-fated Airfix Robogear starter set from decades ago. Although the Werewolf was pretty far from being a masterpiece, the introductory boxset was an absolute gift to sci-fi modellers. I talked a bit about it back here, but basically the Robogear starter set was full of not-particularly-good models that were constructed from some really cool parts (like jet engines, robot legs, cockpits, tank tracks etc.) so it was fantastic fodder for people who liked chopping fings up and putting 'em back together diff-rent.

The starter set contained a bunch of models, most of which were also available separately.

Some of the separate Robogear kits were actually quite good. This was not one of them.

In the end I kept only a few aspects of the original model, changing most of its shape and details, then adding a load of spare parts from the official Deff Dread and Killa Kan models, and popping a visible Ork pilot inside.

The Ork pilot idea actually came from a really old Warhammer 40,000 comic book series. In Dan Abnett's Titan God-Machine there is a brief moment when an Imperial base gets attacked by a greenskin horde and we get a page (below right), drawn by Anthony Williams and inked by Andy Lanning, that shows us some unusual designs for Ork walkers. It inspired me to try to ensure that none of my Ork vehicles ever looked too similar to one another.

This one is the second completed member of what will be a larger Dread Mob (you can see the first one, the Mega Dread, here), so I decided I could go all out with the spinning, whirring, choppy close-combat theme and give it the full complement of four rotary saw blade arms.

I'm happy with how the model turned out, and excited to see how it looks alongside the rest of the unit I've got planned. But I'm less happy with my current camera. I bought the wrong phone that didn't have the macro function, and my pics have been blurry and vague ever since. If I'm able to get a better upgrade, I'll post some new pictures in the future. In the meantime, for the sake of completeness, here are couple of the now-mandatory 'nude' shots.

Thursday 17 August 2023

Cooking with gas

It's been a while since my previous post, but, for once, that's not for lack of effort. I've been furiously working away in the background, trying to get through some of the (many) remaining units for my Ork Armoured Brigade. 

I finished these little walking Zippos this week, a unit of ten Burna Boys. They're made up of a cross section of models from some of the various releases since the revamp of the Ork range for 3rd edition WH40K, circa 20 years ago.

There was a tiny amount of conversion work to get them to feel like a cohesive unit, and not a bunch of disparate re-designs – but that was mainly focussed on trimming down some of the excess bulk from the troops in the Loota/Burna Boys boxset. Other than that it was only really a few head swaps to narrow down their design to a mix of face masks, goggles and bandanas.

So now these guys are done and ready to join their rowdy green comrades in my ever-growing Ork horde, while I move on to the next handful of boisterous, muscular, humanoid fungi.

Turn up the heat!