Monday 23 December 2013

A sudden surge of progress

I finished work a few days ago for Christmas and I've been hobbying like mad.

I've built another wraithlord, complete with another full set of magnetised weapon options.  This one's jogging into battle.

Here's the second one with the arms of the first:
 And here's the first one, with the arms from the second:
The plastic arms from wraithlord 1 are on here for now because they can be posed better than the weighty metal ones, but they're all fully interchangeable. I've loved these metal Eldar dreads since I was a kid. I have more bits of them in my bitsbox, so I might get around to another at some point.

I wasn't sure how to basecoat all of the weapons easily since they're all small and I didn't want to have to do them in two halves, so I build a little rack with non-ferrous wire and then added a couple of lines of steel wire for them to stick to.

I also finally basecoated a section of fence we've had built for ages and some resin crates.

I made some objective markers from air-drying clay and Wilkinson Christmas decorations (£2 well spent).  They need painting, but I like how they look so far.

And I'm finally ready to start paining my Swooping Hawks.  I spent a long time posing these guys to make each one as different as possible with the small number of poses available, so a squad of 10 doesn't look to repetitious. They're the metal ones everyone seems to want to get rid of. I added wings made from trimmed "wing pendants" bought for a couple of quid on e-bay. I've basecoated them with Army Painter Crystal Blue, ready for shading and detailing.

And finally, I've been painting the sniper model from Deadzone.  Santa is bringing me the prerelease box for Christmas, but I picked this model up so I had something to paint in the meantime.

Now I think about it, I really don't know why I thought I was short on things needing to be done. Everything in this post is half done and needs work.  I also have built the last of the young Nephilim from the Lilith Malifaux starter box I bought ages ago, basecoated and washed another squad of Eldar Guardians, picked up a whole bunch of jetbikes that need stripping, fixing, converting and painting, started working on two Eldar heavy weapon platforms using a mix of the too-small metal weapon platform bases with over-sized mega weapons from wraithknights (I think, I have lots of random bits).

Here's the tray of stuff needing a basecoat:

I made a couple of 2'x2' boards which have been worked on since the photo below, but are still very much unfinished, too.

I'm also scratch-building a Deff Dread for my son's Ork army. I'm probably going to burn out and go back to writing code instead soon, but hopefully I can actually call some of these complete before then.  

Monday 3 June 2013

ScrapDar progress

My big Eldar-army-from-scrap scheme is starting well.  I've completed a small unit of striking scorpions and a mixed metal/plastic wraithlord.  Now I want rangers.

The thing is, I really don't like Eldar heads and the ranger models have bare heads (and knee-high leather boots, for some eason: have a look).  I like Eldar helmets, though.  So, I decided to build something a bit different rather than trying to find rangers on ebay.

Nobody likes swooping hawks, it sees.  You can get them quite cheap.  I got some metal hawks for a couple of quid. I don't want the wings, but the poses are great and really flowing.  I've bent legs and reposed them, sometimes adding something they're leaning on - like catalogue models, maybe. 

I then snipped of the barrels of their guns and made them into sniper rifles with nice long barrels.  I'm quite proud of those guns.  I drilled into the stock and put in a pin.  Then I put the pin into the copper tube and glued it.  The aluminium tube was then cut to make the thicker parts of the barrel.  

And I did it all with a mostly blunt razor saw.  I need to find some blades.

Next I wanted to make them look like sneaky snipers.  So I made them fabulous capes.  I mean, camouflage cloaks.  This was quite fun. I squashed some air-drying clay into mesh material to make sheets of flexible clay that stayed whole and bent up like material when compressed.  The mesh was once wrapped around some flowers from Tesco.  I also pressed some designs into the bottoms of some of the cloaks.
I then shaped this around the model to look like it was draped around them or concealment (like this guy creeping up steps) or flying out behind them as they run  (the ones leaning forward in a dash, thanks to their previous existence as Swooping Hawks).

Cotton to hold everything in place while it dries.

 Here's another.  I curled the bottom up on this one later and made it look like it was caught in the wind. Like a lethal Marilyn Monroe,

And here they are, looking all around for threats and showing of their cloaks.  I resisted the urge to add a cloak to all of them.  It was so fun to do, but I don't want a squad of people pretending to be superman.

I'm priming them for painting right now.  I'm going to go for a grey/blue/black camouflag-ish colouring, I think.

Friday 31 May 2013

Hill progress

I've been quiet for a while due to the volume of work lately, but although I haven't been posting, I have made some progress on the hobby.

First, the poundland hill.  We got some small rocks on, filled in with some decorative rocks (99p for a big jar full of silver rocks) and flock to texture the top surfaces.

When the glue was dry, I doused it with GW's Purity Seal to keep all the bits in place.  Well, it hasn't been much good for anything else yet, so I was glad to actually get some out of the can. And it needs it, too, because there's everything from small rocks to ground coffee on this thing.

Next, I sprayed it all black and white.  The black bits will just be washed and dry-brushed, but the white bits will be painted grass green.

Monday 15 April 2013

Poundland finds

OK, so the craft knife that snapped was not a good purchase.  However, these  kneeling pads are quite good.

The kids and I have been making them into a suitable hill for the gaming table.

The pattern will be smothered by poundland grout, which should also make the shape a little less regular.

Sunday 17 March 2013


So, I have a plan.

Build an Eldar army from scrap/spare/found/cheap bits.  I'll build the ramshackle nature of the final thing into its own fluff: scattered orphans of a dozen destroyed worlds, joined together under the command of a new, young and frighteningly powerful farseer (Eldrad with a new name, natch) - you get the idea.

So far, I have:

  • 10 guardians.  I've got some spare Wraithlord weapons and intend to have them all magnetised so I can swap them in and out. I'm building a weapon platform for the guardian squad.
  • 1 warlock to hand around with the guardians casting embolden if necessary. Half built from odd bits of bodies.
  • 5 striking scorpions with exarch including home-made biting blade.  The blade is a bit bulky looking, but very spiky.  I quite like it, but will have to see how it looks painted. 
  • 1 Wraithlord.  It's the head/body/legs of an old Eldar dreadnought (something I wanted since I was a kid) with modern wraithlord arms and weapons.  I may see if I can get hold of some of the epic titans for parts or other bits.  I'm pleased with how this is going.
  • 7 rangers with sniper rifles.  These are actually made from wingless metal swooping hawks.  I chopped off the end of the guns and built long sniper rifle-like bits for them from thin aluminium and copper pipe.  I'm quite pleased with how these look so far. I intend to make cloaks for them if I can.  I was thinking about building a light framework of clear plastic (from packaging)  and draping thin material over it and then painting it with thin PVA.  I need to experiment.
  • Eldrad character.  Pretty much a complete metal model that just needs something doing to the staff.
This is all just what I can knock together with the odd piles of stuff I have from ebay and the rare individual bargain to be found there.

I'm aiming to start with around a 1000 point list.  The only thing I haven't really got a start on but want for the list is a small squad of warp spiders for general harassment while the wraithlord and rangers shoot stuff and the striking scorpions fight things that get too close to the guardians.   

If the list gets bigger, I really want a squad of 10 wraithguard so that they're troops and add their own warlock so they don't go blind randomly. I love the idea of wraithguard troops.  I might also like to increase the ranger and guardian squad size.

Photos will be coming soon...

Sunday 10 March 2013

Odd characters and sporadic progress

Progress on anything has been slow lately. Too much real-life stuff happening.

Sam and I played a 40K game against someone in the GW shop in Wolverhampton as part of their beginner tutorial sessions.  It was very useful to have a human being on hand who knows the rules inside-out. We'll be trying to do that again some time.

My daughter, Emma, decided she wants to get in on the painting so I've built her a marine with a rocket-launcher.  He'll be our first plain Chaos Space Marine.  I need a few more to make a unit.  Something scoring but more durable than the cultists.  Damned cultists.  They die so quickly I think I should have modelled them all horizontal.

And while the bits box was open, I also built Sam a new Ravenwing biker to add to his unit of 3.  He has lots of guns.

And, finally, I found a hope for the shot-gun-cultist-leader's head that I removed a while back.  I now have a traitorous guardsman (cultist) with a grenade and a knife.  I wanted to get him to look like he's just about to lob the grenade while in the middle of fighting with his knife.  I think it sort-of worked, too.

I also built a dead/dying Eldar holding a metal pipe to sit against a barrier we've been building.  And a genestealer head to sit on the floor next to him.

And, finally, I have build and basecoated Lilith and a Mature Nephilim for Malifaux.  I have yet to play a game, but once the Lilith starter crew is done I will proxy in some other crew and play a game by myself to get used to the rules.  The fluff is great, though.

Monday 18 February 2013

Terrain progress (28m)

 Sam and I played a game of 40k last week.  We really need to get moving on the terrain.  The coffee-jar lids stacked up will make good sci-fi towers, I think, when they're glued and painted to look like cement.  And the yeast tin should make a good oil tank.  We have a bit of fence/barrier that needs finishing.  And some cone shaped things that need to be painted too.  Lots of stuff, none finished.  I'm trying to avoid the typical ruined gothic manufactoria that seem to litter the 40k universe.

Thursday 31 January 2013

Helbrute and Kranon nearly done

I keep finding little bits to touch up or tweak, but I'm pretty much as done as my skill will allow.  I'm quite pleased as long as I don't look at any of the Golden Demon winners again.

Sunday 27 January 2013

Painting large batches

I bought 40 Zidhe from before Christmas.  The idea was to be able to play the Terminus scenarios from Barking Ironss (see my previous post for links). It actually calls for 60 enemies in one case, but knowing how soul-crushingly laborious  it could be to see that many, I thought I'd use some of the (already painted) chaos cultists I have from the Dark Vengeance box set.  OK, they'll be enormous giants, but it would do for a while.

I've been painting the Zidhe in batches. Each one has slight colour-scheme changes to cut down the repetition slightly when they're all together, but nothing major.  I'm on the last batch:

Saturday 26 January 2013

For the low, low price of £1

Stores that sell things for £1 (or 99p, or even 98p) are everywhere these days. I'm addicted to them, fascinated by them and generally pleased and disappointed in equal measure.

Recently, I bought a big bag of National Trust bird food for £1.  WIN!
I bought two rubber-foam-stuff kneeling pads for 99p. WIN! (these will soon become hills for the tabletop),
And I also bought a set of craft knives, in a box, for 99p.  EPIC WIN!  Oh, wait:
OK, maybe that wasn't such a good buy. That goes on the pile with the tripod that breaks under the weight of a (smallish) camera and the pliers that only open half a centimetre, the jaws of which don't quite fit together properly.

So, it's about 50:50 win/loss. But if you got odds like that at a casino, I'd maybe start gambling there, too.


OK, so first an experiment.  The big (for 15mm) gun from Rebel Minis has been painted with Vallejo silver (I love the Vallejo metallics) and then gloss-varnished.  It will later be painted with beiges, greens and black which, when dry, can be scratched off to show the metal underneath.  Hopefully.

Also, some progress with the Helbrute and Kranon has been made tonight.  Before (high-contrast -- I thought it looked good):

The metal is still bright, but that will be toned down with some artist inks next.  There are plenty of places that the bronze has run onto the black, too.  This is partly because of the very liquid nature of the Vallejo metallics and partly because I never seem to be able to clean my brush when using these paints and don't want to ruin a £4 fine paintbrush. I'll touch the black up later.  It's actually dark blue-grey but I will touch up with black, which should make a nice dark edge.

Some new minis...

I have a bunch of bits and pieces from Rebel Minis that arrived yesterday.  I have the "remote gun" basecoated and ready.  I'm most excited about the Saber (sic) class dropship and the VIPER, but want to see how painting the gun goes first.  There are a bunch of minis in there as well as some scenic odds and ends (shipping containers, barrels and crates).

I still haven't finished the Helbrute and Kranon figures from the WH40K Dark Vengeance set yet, either.  Too much to do!  I can only imagine how much time it must take if actually play these games, too.

Wednesday 2 January 2013


Why are some pennies not made of iron-ey  stuff?  I'm really annoyed that some of my penny-based figures can't be held in place with magnets. I'm going to have to add another penny underneath.

Plants from old Christmas decorations

We finally got rid of a garland/swag/thing decoration this year. It's something we've had for a long time and was always put across the fireplace.  As I was stuffing it into a black bin-liner, I realised it had a whole bunch of interestingly shaped bits and pieces attached to it.  I plucked them all off and kept them.

Here's what some of them turned into:

I mounted them on 2in squares of plasticard, modelled exposed roots with epoxy putty and added tendrils made of wire coming from the openings.  Painted, I think they look quite good.  I like the dotted lines that make some of the spheres a little melon-like.

I'm imagining them having special rules in some games.  Like this: you can use them for cover, but for every save made because of them, you have to roll another D6.  Should it be a 1, the bulbous gas-sac explodes and does template-based damage in a given radius. Maybe they could even be targeted  exploding on a penetrating hit.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

More figures painted

I now have 23 figures painted.  That's 10 muster infantry, 2 muster heavy weapons, 1 muster commander and 10 Zidhe, all from  That's enough to play the Terminus: Planet-Fall scenario from

I kept the painting fairly simple.  Just a few colours for each army. I'm using mostly Vallejo Model Colour paints for miniatures and the 70p to £1.50 tubs/tubes from Hobbycraft/The Works/Hooties/etc for terrain.

For these 15mm models, I'm also not doing any shading (well, very little).  I'm using Army Painter Quickshade to add shading and a tough gloss coat.   I've tried quickshade on 28mm fibures in the past and not been impressed, but when compared to trying to shade endless squads of 15mm figures, it seemed worth another go.  Very lazy, but very quick and the results is pretty good. I'm leaving them gloss because I quite like it on these small figures, but you can get a mattifying spray.

I've also almost finished the hill I've stood some of the models on for the photo.  It needs a last highlight  on the rock (pale blue-white) and a few layers of greens on the grass.  I may add some tufts of grass to areas that models can't use, too.

Terrain, scenery, props

One of the things I've always enjoyed is making little bits and pieces of terrain/scenery/props. I like to make rather than buy for the most part.

I don't have any of the stuff I made as a kid.  Which is a shame, because I spent many hours putting tiles on roofs.  I've been going for sci-fi scenery so far.  I have some plants made from old Christmas decorations that I'm quite pleased with, but also I've been making things out of bits of packaging.

My favourites so far are the tomato-tray-buildings and the salad-lid-landing-pad.

Here's a tray that you get tomatoes in:
 And here's what you get if you use it as a mould for plaster-of-Paris.  Didn't shake it enough to get all the bubbles out.  I added some odds and ends.  I have this painted but no photos yet.
 My landing pad, made from the lid of a a Tesco salad box plus some plastic for the legs and left-over metal corners from an Ikea cardboard tray:

A 15mm figure (from for scale: