I have a penchant for tubular snacks, whether it’s a tower of pringles or a silo of twiglets, there’s something about a big foil-lined cardboard cylinder I find difficult to let go.
Last year I acquired some Galvanic Servohaulers to add some flavourful scatter to my games, and in my idling over the Christmas break discovered that the circular rail the crane sits on is the perfect diameter of the bottom of a Pringles tube. Haha jk but what if…
Buttery biscuit base
The core structure of the project was naturally the Pringles tube, but it needed weight and stability. The bottle of Old Speckled Hen I was enjoying while musing over the project fit so snugly into the tube I didn’t bother trying anything else. I gave both a rinse out and sealed it in with hot glue.
I build a rough box out of old beer mats I had lying about and decorated with lots of lovely gothic MDF inserts from MAD Gaming. I designed it to fit the theme of my Mercy table, which I haven’t shown off yet other than some very early WIPs.
The crane itself was a joy to put together. The only real change I made was to add a kind of balcony so that models could stand at the top. The whole point of building tall towers is so people can climb it and get knocked off, right?
The crane largely stayed in place by friction, but being so unbalanced I didn’t want to chance it toppling off mid-game. I added a pair of magnets at the very centre (one is visible in the first picture) so the crane could still swivel.
After playing with magnets for my Mercy board, I’ve come to appreciate their applications in scenery. I’m still not fully sold on them for minis, perhaps for some larger ones where you want to swap the weapons out between games or remove wings for storage, but being able to fold down scenery for transport seems like a must.
It’s big! Even with a double Move, a Goliath ganger wouldn’t be able to reach the top. Some house rules might be necessary I think…
The finishing touch is to smear on a load of my home-made textured paint recipe. Equal parts PVA, cheap filler, sand and black poster paint. Great for filling gaps and adding texture to flat surfaces.
A crane canvas
This was possibly the largest single piece of scenery I’ve painted to date. Luckily I already had my painting recipe down to a T from painting all my hab blocks (I really should get those photographed soon eh).
Blast everything with black spray paint. MDF often needs two passes, as it tends to absorb a lot of paint.
Give it a zenithal highlight of brick red, I use Autotek Red Primer.
A very light dusting of grey primer, again I use Autotek
Main colours are blocked in – Averland Sunset was used for the yellow parts, Deepkin flesh for the wall sections around the base
All the grubby areas were given a wash with Agrax Earthshade. It also gets splattered and dribbled down walls to look like grime.
Watered-down orange paint was then applied to recesses and walls to look like rusty water damage. Just slap it on anywhere and let it dribble down.
With a bit of torn-off sponge, light brown is dabbed on to exposed edges to emulate paint chipping, followed by a lighter application of dark brown
Posters and decals are added, just tiny bits of paper printed off from a home PC, scrunched up and with some more paint dabbed over the top.
A time consuming process, but it looks wonderfully grubby when it’s done.
I’m very happy with how it turned out! It was relatively quick to paint for its size and does exactly what I wanted it to do on the board – be big and tall and playable.
I’m counting down the days for when someone topples off the balcony. You better believe it falls under the 10″+ category for fall damage…
Quinne is a radical Magos Biologis with a terrifying amount of power, both physical and political. He has a long and productive history with his Biologis peers, and his resume is littered with redacted periods from his time in the Inquisition. He knows exactly how to keep things above board and off books, making sure his science toes the line between “far enough” and “too far”.
Building radical Adeptus Mechanicus minis is always fun, and Lingus Quinne was no exception. The biggest difficulty I actually had was narrowing my options down – I just had too many wacky concepts and weird weapon options to choose from.
Lingus Quinne started life as a different model entirely, and over years of gaming slowly graduated from Inquisitorial retinue member to dangerous radical antagonist. He needed a glow-up.
I had always been enamoured with the classic metal Navigator, and many years ago I bluetacked Hieronomus Tezla’s chain axe to the empty arm socked and thought “Oh yeah, you’ll be an AdMech one day”. He was put back in the box and immediately forgotten about until this project came about.
He wasn’t designed as a player character originally – him and the gang were supposed to be the NPC villains behind the Gorgon Crystals campaign that was sadly abandoned during the first lockdown. As a result I had very little intention of making him fair or balanced to fight against – he was a final boss of sorts, able to take on entire warbands by himself!
Freed from the shackles of even-handedness, my mind wandered to radical places. What if he was also psychic?
The narrative of the campaign centred around a bunch of weird xenos artifacts infused with warp energy, and at the centre of the web was a radical Magos Biologis who had found the keystone that gave him incredible power (with definitely no downsides, obviously). I originally tried to model him telekinetically manipulating the floor hexes around him, creating a barrier or shield, but I wasn’t happy with how it looked.
Using Scarn’s spooky mechanical hand, I flipped it over from ‘jedi mind trick’ to ‘holding a macguffin’, which suited the stoic pose of the Navigator mini far more. With the end snipped off a Dark Eldar heavy weapon to pose as the weird crystal and some thin wire as sparking energy, I knew I was onto a winner. I was just dreading painting it…
The power axe came from the 40k Techpriets Dominus figure, surprisingly well scaled for one of the taller 54mm figures. The awkward angle of the elbow join added an extra uncomfortable element, like there was an extra elbow hidden up his sleeve, or hinting at a non-human form beneath the robes.
The base was made from a now-discontinued TTCombat set – a bunch of laser cut hexagons that I stacked up to create a facsimile of stairs. I imagined his reveal being very Dracula-esque – walking purposefully down an elaborate set of steps, cloak billowing behind him, monologuing about foolish mortals daring to tresspass on his domain.
As with the rest of the gang, his power pack and mechadendrites came from Talos kits. It ties him in aesthetically to the other members of his retinue, and gives him a imposing presence on the tabletop. This fella doesn’t need to hide behind cover, and he knows it.
With the easy part done, it was on to the daunting task of colouring him in.
50 shades of Lahmian Medium
This was a daunting miniature to paint. There were lots of flat surfaces that would benefit from some freehand designs, and two separate parts of the mini that I wanted to try my hand at Object Source Lighting (OSL) on. I’ve done it in the past on smaller test figures, but never on something so large (or as important!).
Despite it being the last thing I did on the model, I want to talk about it first. The OSL was hard. After dropping a dozen or so hours into painting this figure, I was about to spend the same amount again repainting it in a different colour.
My first attempt was so poor I wanted to re-prime the whole model, I didn’t know how I was going to recover it. I watched a lot of youtube tutorials before bringing myself back to have another crack at it.
What I learned? Firstly, watch some damn tutorials. Second to that, patience. When people who do this often say it takes a million thinned layers, they’re not joking. Don’t faff about with water, get some proper blending medium too – Lahmian Medium is what I used, but shop around for your favourite.
Finally, and this was the bit I tripped up on, get your colours right. There are painting tutorials of people much smarter than me who can explain colour theory and lighting far better than I can, but I’ll do my best.
I originally tried to have a mid-range purple and thinly blend that over the existing colours, and highlight up by blending in white. That looked disastrous because I was missing other hues to give it proper depth.
When I started using other purples and pinks, lining them up in rough order of shade, and blending those on top of each other, the results were striking. The recesses were a dark bluey-purple, the mid tones were a warm light red, and close to the origin was electric pink. Pure white was only ever used on the object itself.
And by gum, I think I pulled it off! I made a bunch of mistakes on it, and doing it again I would be more bold with my darker tones, but given how little I’d done before and the stakes involved in getting it wrong, I’m very happy with it.
The first OSL on the model was actually these plasma coils, where I got my eye in for how to thin down colours. I borrowed from this tutorial on plasma glow, which gave me the confidence to try it at a much bigger scale.
Turns out it’s much easier to hide mistakes on a small scale!
Once I got into it and understood what I was supposed to be doing, I massively enjoyed it. I’ve been eying up future minis to experiment on too, so that must be a positive!
The robes colours were also problematic. I had a colour palette from previous retinue members to copy, but annoyingly I used the same colour scheme for armour on the servitors as I did for the robes on the Magos, and Quinne was the only one of the four who had both robes and armour in any real quantity.
With all his layered clothing and armour, I made several attempts at a coherent scheme before I settled with the red/black/white combination. Cog teeth patterns were mandatory, of course.
Deciding what to put on the cloak was fun, but required several re-works too. I definitely wanted the Genetors symbol on there – a stylised double helix representing his background in DNA meddling research. Given his new-found interest in Yu’Vath artifacts, I toyed with the idea of alchemical symbols too.
He’d essentially found a Philosopher’s Stone and could transmute substances previously thought impossible by science. Symbols having two meanings was a nice touch – Iron and Mars having the same symbol (♂) seemed like an obvious choice, and the symbol of Mercury, Spirit and Fusibility (☿) was a nice representation of his new hobby.
Unfortunately when I put them together, he looked like a gendered bathroom sign.
Back to the drawing board! I decided I just wanted one symbol in a cog, perhaps a new sub-faction of Mechanicus he had founded, and found the Philosophers Sulpher symbol (🜎) particularly intriguing. It represented the ultimate ‘spiritual goal’ of alchemy – the perfect marriage of spirit (mercury) and soul (sulfur). Something he’s attempting to do with his psychic awakening from the Yu’Vath artifact perhaps?
It was hocus-pocus enough to be interesting, and I could potentially use it as a plot hook for later down the line. For now though, it’s a cool symbol that toes the line of heresy. Perfect!
The base was painted as the others were – edge highlighted with dark to light greens, then given several thin layers of gloss varnish to give it that xenos feel to it.
And he was finished! The only thing remaining was to put him with the others and see how they looked as a warband.
Pretty bloody excellent I think!
I’m very happy with how he came out. I must have sunk close to 30 hours into him overall, including research and repainting, but it was worth it. Inquisitor minis deserve that level of attention and patience, and I’d like to think the results speak for themselves.
Now I just need to come up with character sheets for them…
Our Dark Heresy campaign needed some bulky enemies. I had intended the cultists to be cut down in droves, potentially even borrowing from Black Crusade’s Horde mechanics for later encounters. Among those would be some hardcore melee mutants that had real staying power – a must for high-level groups.
I had a sprue of poxwalkers from the old Conquest magazine, and it was obvious what had to be done. You can’t have a circus without clowns.
Very little conversion work was done to the models individually – almost everything was adding circus attire with green stuff. A few weapons were swapped for weapon variety and make them more viable for cross-pollinating with Necromunda.
They’ve been a hoot in Necromunda using them as Helot Cultists with Frenzon Collars. Turns out if you’re always on combat drugs, you don’t suffer the side effects from not being on combat drugs. Win win!
And of course with any Necromunda gang, naming convention is important. Despite them being all nameless goons in Dark Heresy, they needed important-sounding names that binded them together. This Bristol primer to all available woad-paste colours in 1574 was ideal.
With their very serious and fearsome-sounding names chosen, it was time to assemble the squad.
This lad probably had the most extensive green stuff work, which wasn’t so bad when working with a large batch of minis. It’s easier to do little bits on all of them and wait for them to cure.
When it’s just one mini I’m working on, the temptation to keep adding layers is far too great, and I always end up smushing my big sausage fingers onto a piece I’ve just spent half an hour sculpting. Patience and layers, people!
The mini was originally armed with a broken chisel in the left hand, which clearly needed removing. An old Empire pistolier arm was the perfect replacement, and the big poofy sleeves helped tie the mini into the Venetian jester look. A rattly autopistol also serves him well on the tabletop, giving him versatility and making target priority much trickier for opponents.
The jester bells were the trickiest part to figure out, but once I had the technique down I could do them all in one sitting. It involved rolling tiny tiny balls of greenstuff and letting them cure overnight, before supergluing them to the mini with a pair of tweezers.
I must have rolled out about 40 or 50 tiny balls in total, lined them up in order of size, and took the median. I’m bad at eyeballing sizes so I figured if I did shitloads I’m statistically more likely to get ones in a similar range.
The colour scheme followed the same recipe as the cultists – red, yellow and brown with a wash, then highlighted with the same colour.
The diseased flesh was a pale grey-green colour as a base with a sepia wash. Buboes were highlighted again, and particularly gnarly areas of guts or growths had a smash of crimson wash.
This fella had some surgery to remove his broken gas mask head and replaced with something a little more festive. A classic Night Goblin head looked suitably jovial, and was disguised by adding another couple of points to the hat.
The same ball trick was used as before, selecting larger balls for the hat, and smaller ones for the points on his clothing.
Sometimes you don’t need anything other than a two-handed axe and a really big smile. In Ape Laugh’s case, you absolutely needed more than that. He hasn’t had an outing in Dark Heresy yet, but his Necromunda track record has been appalling.
He currently holds the record for a ganger who has been killed the most. Four iterations he had – his great axe being handed down before the previous owner had gone cold. He huffed some Ghast and exploded his brain in the opening turn of the first game. He slipped and fell down a pit, 66ing himself on the way. He ate a melta gun at close range. Finally he was left bleeding on the floor, technically saveable by a doc, but after three failed attempts at getting him off the starting line, his boss decided he was worth more as a fine paste, and sold him to the sausage man.
Maybe next time, eh?
Probably the least work I did to any mini, and the one I think came out the best! Sometimes all you need is a rictus grin and two spiky ham hocks for fists. In Necromunda I ran him as having two mauls, which despite being an objectively bad choice, does make for a fun game.
They are entirely underwhelming weapons (and the only thing in the game that improves the armour save of the victim), but their Damage 2 makes for an unpleasant surprise for an Orlock leader who fails a couple of armour saves.
Spiky bits were done with Ushabti Bone, washed brown, then thin lines of bone painted back on. All the muck on the feed and clothes was Typhus Corrosion stippled on with an old manky brush.
Another lad with a weapon swap, this time from a maul made from old rebar. I already had a lot of clubs in the squad, and despite them being thematic they’re just not very good in either Dark Heresy or Necromunda, especially not when I have the option to give one a chainsword!
I always try to make my model loadouts unique where possible. It encourages me to be creative with parts, and makes them easier to pick out on the tabletop. Which Ganger With Lasgun was this again? Forgettable Larry #5?
In game I’ve counted his tentacle arm as a flail, which turns out to be a disgusting combination with a chainsword and Frenzon collar. This guy cleans house.
Anybody who plays Chaos (or any Outlaw gang) should absolutely be investing in Frenzon Collars for their melee lads. They are absurdly cheap – 30 credits – and make your ganger tough as nails. Nerves of Steel, True Grit and Unstoppable ensure they get into combat, are harder to put down, and heal off Flesh Wounds if left alone too long.
Coupled with the added benefit of a nominated ‘owner’ being able to group activate collared gangers from any distance across the tabletop? shutupandtakemycreds.gif
I enjoy the simplicity of this fella. Just a happy lad taking his grenades for a walk. Another good flail warrior, and gives me scope to write an interesting weapon type for dark heresy!
Bomb flail: 1d10+1 Impact, Primitive, Flexible. On a Critical Hit, in addition to flail damage, centre a frag grenade on the target. On a Critical Fail, centre a frag grenade on the attacker! It’s excitingly random and will likely kill the attacker either way, but it throws up enough variation for players to come up with novel ways of avoiding explosive death at the hands of a mutant clown.
In addition to having a collection of Talents to bump up their meanness in Dark Heresy, the change that has had most impact is giving them Critical Damage. It’s something I reserve almost exclusively to boss characters as it slows the game down massively and ups the bookkeeping for the GM.
However, after dipping my toe back in and giving these lads Critical Damage, it’s been a huge success! It nearly doubles their health without artificially bloating it and makes them feel uncomfortably tough. The bookkeeping becomes easier too, as they’re all uniquely equipped it’s easy to keep track of which clown is missing which arm.
Yikes, maybe I need to cut back on coffee while I take photos. The final lad was another simple weapon swap – exchanging his spiked bar for an axe head, and his little mutant hand for another whole axe.
Axes are cool, fact. They’re also very deadly, both in Dark Heresy and Necromunda, so giving him a pair of them seemed appropriate. I imagined him as a kind of axe juggler, so I made sure to include some throwing axe rules for when players think they’ve got a couple more turns before he gets into melee range.
I also gave him a little tuft of hair, Krusty the Clown style, to help balance out his silhuoette a bit.
I am very happy with how this horrible bunch came out. Simple conversions with a simple paint scheme that work really well together. They’re versatile enough to be used in a range of different systems, and they’re great baddies to roll out when I don’t need any morally grey villains.
Last time we looked at the first wave of cultists for a Dark Heresy/Necromunda crossover project – a group of carnival miscreants called the Bedlam Feast. This time we’re looking at the cultists that infiltrate the upper echelons of society – the Red Revellers.
Cut to the chase
Our Dark Heresy campaign had our characters grapple with all rungs of the social ladder, from the mucky footsoldiers that pursued them from the Red Cages and attack in numberless waves, to the sneering elites that had fallen into the Dark God’s embrace.
Basically I needed some fancy-dancy slicey-dicey NPCs that could threaten our players in otherwise “safe” social situations, or provide dangerous and unpredictable muscle in traditional combat encounters.
The campaign book called them Redjacks, barbershop-looking nutjobs with sliced up faces and wielding cutthroat razors. I would reskin them slightly to fit the carnival theme of the Bedlam Feast, and I wanted some mean Assassins Creed-looking assholes to act as Champs or Leaders for potential Chaos Helot gangs in Necromunda.
I looked around a lot, and the rather excellent Brotherhood range from Freebooter Miniatures fit the bill perfectly. To date this project massively, this was pre-Brexit postage fees. I dread to think how much it would cost for a handful of (admittedly brilliant) miniatures like that these days.
When my handful of revellers arrived, there wasn’t much to do except assemble, base, and paint them.
What’s yellow, white, and red all over?
The first lad is the most regal looking, potentially a leader of sorts. He is the Master Assassin miniature, and certainly looks the part. The only editing I did to the base model is remove the crossbow in favour of another sword.
I knew I wanted to paint him in yellow so I could lean into the Lovecraft ‘king in yellow’ vibe if I needed to. I just really, really didn’t want to paint yellow…
I’m glad I did though, as it’s come out rather well. I guess that’s what tediously painting 10+ layers of watered down yellow will do, huh.
The miniature also had a strange split across its face, the store model painted to look like a kind of skull face? I wasn’t really sure what the intention was, but for me it was an opportunity to break out my favourite gore paint, Blood For The Blood God.
These guys would be big on self-mutilation and hiding it behind their masks, and what better than having a creepy leader who has a mask in place of skin?
A little trickle of blood on the inside of the mask and dribbling down his top helps sell the imagery, and he definitely looks like someone who’s going to cause trouble when the mask comes off.
What’s the matter, never seen a black and white before?
Next up was this sneakthief from the Coscritti and Harlequin set. I wanted to do a domino look with white and black alternating patterns, but there was a lot more cloak than I was anticipating.
I didn’t have the time or energy to give the stitched-together cloak as much attention as it deserved, so I went for a boring grey on the outside.
I wanted to have some unifying colours across all the squad, so even though they were brightly coloured and individual, you could tell they ran as a pack.
The inside of all the cloaks were painted the same crimson, and traces of fresh wounds are visible under all their masks. Finally, all their weapons were given a blue wash rather than the usual brown or black, giving them a slightly uncomfortable hue.
Maybe if I had more time I would have painted different shades of grey on the cloak patches to emphasize the domino look. But hey, perfect is the enemy of finished.
Digging the Dancing green
This lady I really liked. She is the other half of the Coscritti and Harlequin set and had such a dynamic pose I couldn’t help but spend some extra time on her. I opted for green as her base palette, but I had real difficulty figuring out which bits of clothing ended where, and which shade they should be as a result.
I am particularly proud of the pinstripe pattern across her arms and legs that match her feathery headdress. It actually came about by accident, as I was painting different coloured swatches onto her legs to figure out which kind of green worked better against the darker tone I’d picked for her corset and poofy leg bits.
The contrast of both stripes really worked and I talked myself into doing some freehand across the arms and legs, and I’m glad I did!
I used Athonian Camoshade as the wash for most of this miniature so the green tones come through more. I also took a craft knife to her face before priming so there would be lots of lovely gouges I could splash some gore paint into.
The bases were same as the other Bedlam Feast – cobblestone resin bases from Ragnarok Hobbies – painted in various shades of grey and tan, then given a heavy black wash. Typhus Corrosion was stippled around to look like muck, and flicked onto cape hems and boots.
Silent night, holey night
This was my favourite by far. The Bonaccia miniature, unchanged, and painted in a variety of purples. This lady struck a chord with me, I think because she reminded me a lot of one of my favourite Oldhammer minis, Aenur.
The silhouette is very different, but the vibes are the same for me. It has the same stoic pose (with thigh high boots), grasping the cloak in one hand, and a single blade in the other. They both have an aura of menace about them.
You can tell I enjoyed painting this mini because I went all out on the cloak. A freehand starry night scene, complete with multi-tone blended background? Who on earth am I trying to impress with that?
I tried to bring the design over to the front as well, painting a little star on her mask, but I’m not sure how well that translated.
I also very much enjoyed her ruff collar, a clear visual tie-in to something I attempted with my previous mooks and I would continue on to use on my killer clowns…
But that’s a story for another time!
I’m very happy with how these came out, especially given the short time I had allotted myself for painting them. They had their first brief outing in the World That Was, so I’m excited to bring them back out again when we start out game nights back up. Perhaps this time with slightly better stats!
In the World That Was, I was running a Dark Heresy game that was entering its final stages of escalation. Our mid-high level characters had woken up naked and bloody in a pit of despair, deep in the filthy clutches of the Beast House. After escaping, they find themselves in the middle of an end-of-the-world carnival riddled with mutants, heretics and witches.
Where those three venn diagram circles overlap, you get the Bedlam Feast. A Chaos faction out for mayhem who have been responsible for several atrocities in our characters’ lives and are now moving to put their final plan into action. For this, I needed some cultists.
A brief interlude
I needed at least a dozen cultists, as I expected them to be mown down in droves by the climax of the campaign, along with some specialists and hero-type units. They needed to be carnival/circus-themed, as its imagery I’ve been obsessed with since Mordheim’s Carnival of Chaos range.
I wasn’t about to drop triple digits of cash on some ancient metal models, and I’d always wanted to own a set of the (now long oop) Dark Vengeance cultists. Anvil Industry do some excellent hooded cultist and masquerade heads turn out to be a perfect fit for human-sized 40k miniatures, who’da thunk?! I’d also identified some potential hero figures from TTcombat’s Carnevale range, but we’ll come back to those later.
Along with some Bretonnian and Empire odds and ends from my bits box, I cobbled together a test miniature with a GSC grenade launcher and was very happy with the fit.
After examining the minis I’d be converting, nearly all of them had a kind of mantle that the hood would join up to. This would make the red/yellow circus tent colour scheme I had in my head work very well, but some lads had the nerve to be topless.
Some like it ruff
I didn’t fancy sculpting mantles on everyone, so in-keeping with the venetian clown aesthetic, some had large ruff collars sculpted on them to hide the joins.
The cultists are equipped with a variety of hand weapons as standard, but I didn’t want that for my lot. From both a book-keeping and a deadliness perspective I wanted more axes – a simple melee weapon that can still threaten a well armoured high-end PC, whereas clubs tend to bounce off.
Hot or not?
I wanted to include some classic entertainer archetypes, and the firebreather was one I was desperate to include. Not only does being on fire really, really suck in Dark Heresy, but the mini could very reasonably double up as a flamer or witch in Necromunda. Reusability of minis is always at the forefront of my mind!
This lad was made from an Empire Flagellant with a Skaven cleaver right arm. I always avoid sculpting where possible because I’m incredibly lazy, and to commit to making a jet of flame seemed like absolute madness.
Luckily I had the perfect piece in the bits box – a scenic flame piece that I honestly cannot identify any more. I thought it was from a Chaos Lord of some kind, and I can vividly picture it being part of the classic mounted Archaon kit but my Google-fu has failed me. Anyone know what it is?
I did a bit of hacking down to make it look more directional, but I was extremely happy I had exactly the right piece for the feel I was going for. I’ve gone 32 years on this planet without ever having to sculpt flames, and I’m not about to start now.
Another archetype I wanted was a loon juggling some grenades and some kind of spooky plague doctor. Luckily the Bretonnian men-at-arms had a jester-type sculpt perfect for me, and some absolutely painstaking pinning and gluing with some Goliath stick grenades gave me a rather excellent juggler.
The plague doctor was another Men-at-arms (Emperor bless that kit) body, with an Anvil masquerade head, a sickle from a Mantic kit, and a big spooky head potion from the classic Empire Wizard plastic kit. Simple but effective!
Painting the town red
Finished, not perfect. I needed a lot of these guys done quickly, so they’d be painted in my signature ‘speed paint’ style – Base, Wash, Highlight with Base Colour.
My Agrax Earthshade was reaching the end of the pot so some of them came out with a little oily sheen in the recesses. Not the intended outcome, and were it a more important mini I’d likely be a little upset at the effect, but as it’s for a bunch of grubby bullet-fodder I don’t think it takes anything away.
The skin tones were done with Idoneth Deepkin (or a pale grey/green) with a sepia wash, extreme edges highlighted with Deepkin again. Any sores/piercings had a little spot of Carroburg Crimson wash dotted on them to make them look inflamed.
Guns were Leadbelcher with a wash of Agrax. The dark grey/black robes were Eshin Grey, a splash of Nuln Oil, and an edge highlight with Mechanicum Grey.
I was happy to paint as many cultists as I could assemble. They’re lovely miniatures to have for just about any purpose, and they’re a great nemesis in Dark Heresy. Don’t underestimate the power of a handful of mooks with autoguns firing on Full Auto!
I think the circus theme really comes into its own on sculpts like the juggler. I’ve also had great fun in a recent Necromunda campaign running him as a Helot Cultist armed with frag grenades and two clubs. Every game, without fail, he would flub his frag grenade, immediately fail his ammo check for more frag grenades, charge into combat with his clubs and get kerb-stomped by a retaliation attack. 10/10 game of the year.
I wasn’t quite sure what I’d use the plague dorctor mini for, but the parts just came together serendipitously as I was sifting through my bits box for inspiration. She’s already had an outing in Necromunda as a Helot Cultist with Shard Grenades from the black market.
She never directly took anyone out, but the look you get from a Goliath player when you ask them to make a Willpower check on their cluster of heavy hitters is worth its weight in guilder creds.
I’ll concoct something suitably nasty for our Dark Heresy group too, likely with oodles of corruption points.
Finally my firebreather. This was my second-ish time of painting fire, so you could say I was getting pretty hot at it by now. I still had to pore over tutorials and reference images, paralysed in fear of getting it wrong. I shouldn’t have worried.
Drybrushing was the biggest help here. Previously I’d attempted to wet blend, which usually results in obsessively picking over details with diminishing returns. This was quick and easy, and with enough natural variation in texture that it looks good from a few feet away.
Were this a different project and I had more time/resources/inclination I might have attempted some OSL from the fire to add some drama to the mini, but as a wise woman once said, ain’t nobody got time for that.
The gang’s all here
And just like that, the first wave of basic fodder cultists was done! I have a collection of others on their way to bulk them out, including some heavies, specialists, and a few hero units, but I have to finish painting them first…
Once upon a time (Yikes – 2017) I built a handful of void-faring space bastards to terrorise my various RPG groups and then… promptly forgot to make a followup post to say I’d painted them.
The paint scheme was straightforward – dark red with a black wash over the top, with plenty of nicks and scratches to represent a life on the hoof, many lightyears away from the nearest B&Q.
Paired with some dark greys and sunless flesh tones, you get get a pleasing colour scheme without having to put much thought in. Splash on some Blood for the Blood God for garnish, and *chef kiss*.
All my build notes are in the WIP post, so there’s not much left to do other than roll the gallery!
I’m very happy with how they came out. They were a joy to assemble and paint, and have seen more action on the tabletop than most of my other mooks I’ve built. Aside from being built for Rogue Trader, they’ve seen action in Dark Heresy, Wrath and Glory, and now a few of them are pressed into service as Hired Guns in Necromunda. What an illustrious career!
I’ve always been tempted to return to these guys and add a few more unarmoured goons to plump the numbers out, but I think that’s a project for another time.
Many moons ago I was fortunate enough to get an Arvus Lighter kit on the cheap and decided over lockdown to put some colour on it. Getting to the chopper is an iconic moment in many games, and owning the equivalent 40k miniature seemed sensible. Plus, the Arvus is indisputably the best and cutest spaceship in existence, and that is scientific fact.
Having an atmospheric brick is great, but what is a spaceship without a landing pad? I still had a bunch of MDF board tiles from my Celestine Wharf build, and with no intention of building any more Celestine tiles, I figured I could press them into service as simple landing pads.
The first task was simple – knocking the corners off to make it more landing paddy. I had to google what landing pads looked like and it turns out they’re quite boring, so I took some inspiration from the OOP forgeworld landing pad.
I used a mix of embossed plasticard and modelling mesh to break up the surface, and went for a ‘pad within a pad’ design. Thicker plasticard ran the edges to neaten it up.
When it came to gluing these bits down I roughed up the back of the plasticard sheets and glued them down with PVA rather than waste a tonne of superglue. The mesh went down with PVA as well, although I dabbed bits of superglue in the corners and raised areas to help it dry flat, as getting modelling mesh perfectly flat is a Sisyphian task.
With the ol’ pencil and ruler I knocked up a frame out of plasticard (it took hours, I’m so bad at geometry) to overlay the landing pads.
I wanted big chunky rivets for that industrial feel but I have neither the resources nor patience to glue them on by hand, so I grabbed a pointy-but-blunt coping file and jabbed it hard into the back of the plasticard. It was thin enough to emboss, and stabbing a pair of rivets every couple of centimetres did the job.
Some extra strips of plasticard were cut to make the central frame meet the edges, and a few thin strips were added to cover any holes I made in the modelling mesh during assembly.
I also constructed some ramps out of thick plasticard – I did some slip tests to see what the shortest ramp was I could get away with before models start slipping down, so lots of plasticard strips and mesh were added to help give the bases some traction to avoid mid-game slippage.
It all fit together! At this point the Arvus had been largely assembled (with the canopy kept off to paint the pilot) and awaiting its turn on the paint station. There was lots of time to work on other projects during this build – most of the time was spent waiting for PVA to dry weighted under piles of books.
The ramps were designed to fit any of the sides, and were hollow at one end to accommodate the little lights I glued onto the exterior of the landing pad.
The last thing to go on is my textured paint signature dish – a mix of PVA, brown paint, ready-mix filler, sand, and whatever cuttings I’ve swept from my desk. Globbed on to make it interesting to paint and provide crucial extra grippy material on the ramp. After it had dried, it was time for the rattlecans!
painting the pad
All four pieces got several liberal coats of black rattlecan to saturate the MDF, then the walkway sections got a dusting of grey, and the mesh sections got a blast of red.
After they dried, the red becomes more crimson and rusty, while the grey takes on a ghostly blue.
The whole thing was drybrushed grey to pick out the raised sections, and watered-down orange paint splashed liberally into recesses to emulate rust and water damage. Brown paint was dabbed onto extreme edges and corners to look like chipped paint.
Can’t be a landing pad without hazard stripes! Black paint was sponged on as a base, and the areas to be yellow were meticulously marked out with masking tape.
Iyanden Darksun was sponged on with a small piece of foam, and the tape peeled off while it was still wet.
Halfway through constructing these fiddly masked patterns I always wonder if it’s worth the faff – surely it’s quicker to just eyeball it, or brush it on, or make touchups after you’ve finished?
I can confidently tell my past self (and reaffirm to my future self if you’re reading this) it absolutely is worth it. Once the tape is on, it takes 30 seconds to sponge the yellow, and another 30 seconds to peel it off. You get a wonderful chipped-paint texture and there is never any clean up.
Repeat after me, future self: ALWAYS MASK YOUR HAZARD STRIPES.
The only extra I did was re-up the brown paint sponge chipping from an earlier step – the yellow and black stood out too much and needed blending in with the rest of the piece. A good reminder to paint all your block colours before you do your weathering!
The only bit left to do was stencil on some big letters and numbers to make it look more industrial. I opted for LZ for landing zone, then some other numbers that looked nice. Big numbers help your environmental storytelling, implying there are loads more landing pads just like this.
The Arvus was painted in a very similar manner, lots of drybrushing and sponging on brown paint for chipping. Transfers came from old Imperial Guard tank sheets, and the teeth from an old Warhammer Fantasy Orc transfer sheet.
Finally it needed a name, and knowing that the ground crews tended to nickname the Arvus “little hog” for obvious reasons, the name came very easily.
All that’s left is to roll the gallery!
5-by-5, we’re in the pipe
And to top it all off, while I was painting the Arvus I had a lovely message from the Warhammer Community team to host Lucky Pig on the hobby roundup.
What a lovely time in the sun she’s had!
I’m very happy with this project, both getting the Arvus painted and finding a use for those mdf tiles. Landing pads are a great focus for games so they’ll see plenty of use, and they can act as risers for other buildings if needs be.
And it means I can finally make airplane noises while playing with my toy soldiers – and isn’t that what the hobby is all about?
The bits were a collection of pre-punched bits in baggies and large plates, with everything labelled clearly. The bulk of the building was assembled while waiting for the Chem Silo to dry, so it was very fast to put together.
Constructing additional pylons
The original kit is designed to act as a defensible building, with firing ports on the ground floor and chest-high walls on the roof. I don’t play any tabletop games that would necessitate that kind of playability from this structure – I don’t play 40k, so I don’t need to occupy it with a squad of goons shooting at another squad of goons.
I would need to adapt it, but how?
By stroke of genius and/or luck, the obelisks I’d already made fit perfectly into the corner recesses on the roof. I don’t see Necrons needing chest high walls so they were abandoned quickly in favour of using the building as a raised dais or monument.
The kit came with little widgets to fill the holes in if you didn’t want firing ports, which was a pleasing bonus. I also wasn’t a fan of the base board – if I have to base it, I have to commit to it belonging to a particular environment. Removing the base means it can stand convincingly against pretty much any backdrop.
It also needed some way of getting to the roof. The kit came with ladders, but I don’t think Necrons use ladders, and I wanted something grander anyway. I had a dig through some old MDF cutoffs and found some suitable pieces.
I had enough leftover plates from building the obelisks to act as the stairs, and conveniently were exactly the right width to fit in the nooks of the pyramid. I had toyed with the idea of having a very long ramp, but I couldn’t make the angle shallow enough to stop heavier 54mm minis from sliding off it, so it had to be thiccboi steps.
I hacked up the chest high walls I wasn’t using and repurposed them as flooring for the stairs to help visually blend them together. A few more random sprue chunks were glued to the sides to give it some interesting shapes to paint.
I also capped the bottom edges of the main building with strips of plasticard, as I’d made a bit of a mess cutting it free from the base.
On to the painting!
2 Edgy 5 me
If I thought the obelisks were a pain to edge highlight, this one really did me in. In my haste to get it finished, I strained my wrist painting for too long and at angles that were very painful. I completed one or two panels of the main building before having to take a 2-3 week rest for the wrist to recover.
When I came back to the project, I used lots of foam blocks at various heights to rest my arms, wrist and building while I was painting, and made sure to only paint for a few hours at a time with lots of wrist stretches in between. I’ve never painted so many edges in my life!
When it was done though, it was all worth it.
I used the same colour scheme as the obelisks – several layers of black spray to saturate the mdf and make a consistent black undercoat, then a thick edge highlight of dark green, a thin edge highlight of mid green, and a very dainty corner and shape highlight with almost flourescent green.
It even comes apart for handy storage, or hiding Big Bad minis inside of it.
You can stack the obelisks on top of it to make a more imposing structure.
All of them together make a neat little complex, taking up as much or as little of the game board as necessary to tell the story. Is it a full-blown Necron crypt, or is it the tip of an iceberg?
I’ve photographed my Necron bits almost exclusively against a desert background, so I had to try some different game mats and props to see the contrast!
First, some more desert scenes.
On some far-flung death world, a group of explorers come across some mysterious ruins.
Deep beneath the hive city, a band of scavengers come across a strange glowing structure unearthed by a hive-quake.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with how it came out. It took a lot more time (and physical pain) than I had anticipated, mostly due to my lack of care and/or airbrush, but the end result is great.
I’d love to pick up some more pieces from the Wargame Model Mod’s Necrotech range, I’ve been eyeing up that tower for a future purchase but I think I’ve painted myself into a corner with the colour scheme. I need to give myself a rest before painting any more green edge highlights!
Now I’ve got all my Necron scenery painted, I should really get round to finishing my Necrons…
As part of a recent scenery purchase from a local terrain company, I also snagged some obelisks from Wargame Model Mods’ weird and wonderful Necrotech range. I’d been meaning to do some proper weird alien terrain as a palette cleanser from all the underhive grime I’d been building, and these looked just the ticket.
Getting more for your money
I wanted enough to reasonably scatter across a 6×4 board, and one pack of Obelisk blocks would give me plenty to litter the tabletop with. They arrived in a series of neat little bundles, already punched out.
They fit together very pleasingly, and I was surprised at how big they were. I didn’t get much of a sense of scale from the original images, and even the smaller blocks were quite imposing against a 28mm guardsman.
I hadn’t read the description properly and didn’t realise that half the panels had no detail on them – presumably so you could stick them together into a mega-block like the one advertised.
I wasn’t going to do that with this set (although I may do one in future), I wanted as many individual blocks as possible to have as much variation on the tabletop, including some half-buried in the ground.
I’d need to come up with some clever trick to detail the plain panels I had.
The kit came with an assortment of smaller flat spacers for gluing the obelisks together into a mega-lith, but for me they would be extra panels to fill out the flat surfaces.
By taking two detailed panels and cutting them up, I could arrange those cut out pieces across four plain panels. With some help from some spacers, I now have four detailed panels!
As an absolute mad lad I also own an MDF bits box, filled with the weird inserts and offcuts from MDF sprues that I use for detailing and greebling. They came in perfectly handy for this task.
I picked out a collection of necron-looking bits that would give me some nice clean edges to show up the colour scheme I was planning.
All the main blocks were assembled first to get an idea of how much flat space I needed to cover. And then a terrible thought struck me. What if I could make one block… into two?
Several intense hacking minutes later and I’d made four bits of scatter out of two obelisks. I wanted them to look sunk in the sand, either abandoned or just being unearthed.
I stuck them to some round bases and smeared a load of pre-mixed filler around the join to look like a buildup of sand.
Some of them got extra smaller blocks added on top to imitate the obelisks at different stages of decay. It was also at this point that it really hit home how big all of these were going to be, and how tricky they would be to paint…
And that was all of them assembled! A thoroughly enjoyable kit to build and very modular, especially if you’re a hobby sadist like myself who likes to squeeze more content out of their kits.
The only thing I’d like to see moving foward is the option to purchase either/or when it comes to the non-detailed plates. Perhaps an option to upgrade/replace to fully detailed plates so you can build 16 obelisks out of the box, as currently you can only “technically” build 8 fully detailed obelisks, with the other 8 being blank.
Great if you want to build a chunky obelisk with only a handful of outward facing sides, but a fully detailed plate option would be ideal!
Every artist has their “aha” moment when it comes to new tools. Mine came during this project. Specifically, “Aha, I should have bought an airbrush (and pracised with it) a year ago, because holy dicks this would have been a breeze”.
Instead, I gave myself RSI and several grumpy weeks of not being able to paint anything. Note to future self – when your wrist starts to hurt – STOP PAINTING.
Lines upon lines upon lines
I am so glad I persisted however – the overall effect is exactly what I’d hoped. I must have spent at least an evening on each block, repeating the same recipe over and over. Extremely satisfying to paint, so much so that I found it easy to get carried away into the wee hours and cramp my wrist…
Generous undercoat in matt black, two or three coats in some places. MDF is thirsty for paint, so I did a few passes (letting it dry in between) to make sure it was fully saturated.
Thicc line of Caliban Green
Thin line of Warpstone Glow
Tickle the corners and fill the shapes with Scorpion Green.
The last paint is OOP, but moot green didn’t cut it. I wanted an acidic, almost fluro yellow/green for the final stage to give it a proper glow.
The bases were textured paint, then undercoated with Zandri Dust and drybrushed with Bleached Bone, topped with cheeky grass tufts.
The colours for the base were decided before I bought the battlemat, and given they’ll most likely be deployed against this background, I’m tempted to go back over the bases and darken them down a bit to match. A project for another time, I think!
I mentioned previously about making a huge obelisk rather than multiple smaller ones, and it’s something I’m genuinely considering for the future. For now, my existing kits can be bundled together fairly convincingly to create weird looking structures.
And, naturally, it works great at 54mm scale. Perfect for Inquisitor!
Not much else to say on the painting – simple scheme, tedious to apply, but looks ace when it’s done. I bet it would have been so flippin’ easy to do with an airbrush too. Oh well, I know for next time!
On with the scale shots.
What a wonderful little kit this is! Aside from some self-inflicted enthusiasm injuries, these have been a joy to build and paint. They’re ideal for all the games I play – Necromunda, Inquisitor, a few TTRPGs like Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader or Wrath and Glory, and they’re super convenient to store.
I’ve already got my eye set on some more obelisks for future projects, and I’ve got a large necron building from the same range that needs photographing, so watch this space!
I picked all these up from Wargaming Model Mods for under £20, so go toss come coins to a small independent business.
Last week I put the finishing touches on a gang hideout in an abandoned chemical facility and I happened to have some snack tubes leftover from various Christmas indulgences. They can’t be recycled, but they can be reused, and with a few extra bits here and there, would look very nice in my weird chemical facility family.
I made this one long before Christmas to use up some bits from the box and loved the design so much, I put off finishing it until after the inevitable holiday crispageddon furnished me with excess foiled tubes.
Simply put, it was just about finding interesting-looking parts that worked well with together. I talked about the design flow of scenery in last week’s Chem Silo article, and although putting it up on stilts looked cool and gave it the underhive water tower aesthetic I was going for, functionally it was a bit weak. The legs don’t provide much cover, the bulk of the tower doesn’t block much line of sight, and the whole thing was a bit wobbly.
Luckily for me, my partner had just finished up their subscription to Conquest magazine and had a bunch of random battlefield scatter they weren’t using soooooo……
I experimented with a single ladder to the ground and didn’t like it. Adding a platform with a railing meant models could be placed halfway up if they don’t get all their movement, and provides a modicum of cover at the expense of field of view.
I was in love with the design, and ate many more baked snacks over the next few weeks. I had to draw the line at the number of silos I was going to make however – I already had boxes of scenery piling up in my bedroom, so I had to start being choosy about the volume of scenery I was making.
Three more silos built – this time of varying heights and playability. I wanted them to look of similar design but with slightly different purpose so should the need arise to have a scenario about poisoning water tanks or destroying fuel supplies, they all present different challenges.
Big shout out to this Gothic Upgrade Pack from MAD Gaming – you get a huge number of interesting buttresses, uprights and other greebling for your money. I had some for a specific hab project, but kept buying more becuase they’re so useful for sticking onto literally anything to make it look 40k.
Other features were made from bits of plasticard or random scraps from the bits box. I’m not the proud owner of an MDF bits box too after a particularly long and wood-filled pandemic spent hobbying, so there was a lot of spare bits to arrange in interesting ways.
Once everything was dry, it was time for a hearty dollop of my homemade textured paint – a mix of ready-mixed filler, modelling sand, PVA glue and a splash of poster paint for colour.
Once dried again, everything got undercoated in black, zenithal highlighted with a grey rattlecan, and key areas picked out with a rusty red colour from my local hobby shop.
A series of tubes
Painting was straightforward, and used the same recipe as the Chem Silo, the main difference being a lot more flat surface to paint. On one hand, it meant I got to experiment with masking tape and sponging on the red decal, but it also meant a lot of manual brushwork.
I’m sure there’s a technical name for the technique I use for walls and panels in this style, but it’s basically very heavy drybrushing. I get a natty old brush, wipe a lot of paint off it, and roll it round on the surface to create uneven, patchy layers. Over a dark-ish undercoat, it creates a nice weathered effect, looking like actual paint that has worn off over time.
I think this worked best on the tall silo, I went too heavy on the pair of medium silos and lost a lot of the texture around the corners of the panels. I tried to make up for it during the weathering stage, but it wasn’t the same effect. Shame really!
On with some closeups, with our classic bickering couple to give a sense of scale and how the silos might be used in game.
Overall I’m happy with how they turned out. I’m a little disappointed that one of them came out much better than the others, something I only really noticed when I put them all together and started taking photos of them. I liked the effect up close, but it was only when arranging them on the tabletop I realised what I should have done.