Sunday, April 22, 2018

Batork (Rogues Gallery Spotlight)

Who is Batork?
"I'm Batork."
 So before you think that I have completely fallen off my rocker, allow me to explain this model. This chap was constructed in the early '90s by my pal Scott. It was a spoof based off of the Tim Burton '89 Batman movie which was incredibly popular at that time (Batman shirts everywhere you went. I think even the Prime Minister had one) while we were living in Suffolk England.

Where does he get those toys?
The model comes from the Space Orks boxed set from that time. The cowl and cape were both sculpted out of Milliput, which was our modeling putty of choice back then. I never encountered Batork in a game, but I got such a kick out of it each time that I saw it. Scott used to fully utilize the scenarios from the back of the Rogue Trader book and wrote many unique mission briefs and mini-campaigns with them. At some point he made one to play with his brother and it featured Batork. Sadly I do not have a copy of this to share here.  Nor do I have his stats, but I think he was a Mighty Hero.

Da hero Goff'm needz 
As years went by and life moved on Scott sold off a large portion of his collection and I somehow ended up with Batork. I have no intention of doing anything with him other than preserving this fun call-back to those times. I found his guns recently and reattached them, and decided to take that moment to snap these pics. I forwarded a pic to Scott and this was his response:

"Ha!  Bat-Ork! Funny...I had no idea you ended up with that figure!  Those were fun times."

Fun times indeed! ...I wonder if he ever painted a grot dressed like Robin? (Gob'n? Oh god no...resist! RESIST!).

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Review: Space Wolves, Legends of the Dark Millennium

Space Wolves is a strange book as one's first impression might give it the appearance of an anthology due to the fact that it has four (4) authors. Yet is is not an anthology, but in fact it is a rolling romp that takes you and the Space Wolves through many different warzones while facing quite a variety of foes. The four (4) writers split this book up into eight chapters, each with a title that, again, would make the casual browser assume this is an anothology. They wrote two chapters each, and instead of mixing this up, they instead wrote two chapters back-to-back. Not sure why it was done like this... was there a plot that was structured that was handed off to these writers to fill-in and elaborate on? Or did one guy set the stage for the next guy to twist and roll with and set up for the next guy and so on?

The basic plot is that Logan Grimnar, the Great Wolf himself, along with his entourage, have not reported back from their last Great Hunt. So Ulrick the Slayer and Krom Dragoneye set out with an army of Space Wolves to find him by seeking out the clues to track him down.

OK, onto the juicy details and a ton of SPOILERS!

The first chapter in the book is called The Feast of Lies. (That would have been a great book title huh? Very Black Library...and grimdark.) It is written by Ben Counter. Basically we see what a typical post-Great Hunt feast looks like, as the Wolf Lords gather to boast,  get drunk and hype yarns about the achievements of their respective Companies. Logan Grimnar is late to his own party however,  and Ulrick is concerned. One of the guest speakers from the Fenrisian tribes tells a twisted tale of Logan Grimnar that causes the Space Wolves to have a freak-out rage fit and soon this guest speaker is outted as The Changling itself!

Having just (and finally) read the background material in Wrath of Magnus prior to reading this story, I immediately found this development to be utterly fascinating. And I could not help but wonder if this story was setting the stage for that event. It is a thought that would linger with me throughout this read.

The second chapter, The Caged Wolf, also by Ben Counter, sees Ulrick attempt to track down Logan Grimnar to the planet Dactyla where the book's pseudo-prologue had established he was at fighting Tau. War-porn ensues and we see lots of Tau and Space Wolf death. The chapter ends with Ulrick being stomped by a Tau Battlesuit. It was like Ben Counter was setting up a situation for the next writer to try to get Ulrick out of.

The day is saved when Krom Dragoneye arrives with this Drakeslayers. Krom is a big fan of war porn apparently, and just had to disobey orders to stay put on Fenris and join the ruckus. This is how the third chapter, Eye Of The Dragon by Steve Lyons, starts off. I found reading  Steve Lyons writing to be smoother and I quickly read his Chapters, but this probably is because of how much I enjoyed watching Krom and his gang fight for their lives when the Dark Eldar show up in the Dactyla warzone. By the end of Eye Of The Dragon Krom and a bunch of his Drakeslayers are figbting for their lives in the arenas of The Dark City of Commorragh. The fourth chapter, fittingly titled Dark City, details the hopelessness and cruelty of the Dark Eldar arenas. I found this to be far more entertaining than I thought the book was originally going to go. The Dark City ends on another cliff hanger, as worn out and battle weary Krom is about to be forced to fight a Talos pain engine.

Rob Sanders kicks off the next set of chapters with The Darkness of Angels, and happily,  he too seems to enjoy writing about Commorragh and it's grisly arena. I am thankful for this, as it proves to be some good story telling. Krom earns the trust of an unlikely ally, Balthus, a Dark Angel Interrogator-Chaplain. And together they take advantage of the situation when a rival Dark Eldar faction attacks the arena. They escape through a web-way portal back into real-space.

The next chapter, the Wolf Within, also by Sanders, reads like it should have been in two parts. The first part dealing with the Space Wolves and Dark Angels almost killing each other via ship-to-ship combat before realizing that a bit of mutual trust and cooperation might help both Chapters with achieving their goal.  Don't let this glossy summary disuade you, this was brilliantly written and actually a bit tense considering all that came before it.

Once they get over their desire to kill each other they decide to follow clues that lead them to the low-grav hive world of Stratovass Ultra where the two forces have tracked down a traitor marine named Sathar the Undone. This was a fun romp through the upper hive spires that ends with one of this book's unique characters mauled to death by a Wulfen. Yeah, that surprised me too.

C.L. Werner, writer of the dreadful novel Runefang (which is apparently so shitty that even the Black Library doesn't acknowledge it.) wrote the last two chapters Scent of a Traitor and Wrath of the Wolf. Werner does good work here, and describes a place in the Hive city that I have never seen described anywhere before: a crematorium. It was a very unique backdrop for a showdown with Sathar. Ulrick ends up making something of a deal with Sathar in exchange for info on how to find Logan Grimnar. The deal, which the Dark Angels absolutely can not know about, has the Space Wolves and Dark Angels assault a chaos cultist summoning ritual. It is Tzeentchian in nature and there are even Thousand Sons present. It was a well staged encounter and it was a fun read. Sathar, the noblest and probably most likable Chaos agent I have read in a long while, is true to his word and gives the Wolves the clue they need to find Logan Grimnar. There is some fascinating internal debate with Ulrick the Slayer coming to terms with the fact that he's relying on chaos agents for assistance. Again, this (in my mind) further sets up and strengthens the Dark Angel involvement in the Fenris Warzone supplements.

Wrath of the Wolf takes the Ulrick and Krom's forces to  the Eye of Terror where they do indeed locate Logan and have an epic show down with the Tzeentchian Daemons who have been maneuvering the Wolves all along apparently. I have spoiled enough of this book so far without being too detailed so I shall not reveal who the ultimate foe is (it isn't The Changling but he is present). The Wulfen do appear to assist with the rescue, and there is a bad-ass Wulfen Runepriest (that I would love to have a model of) who is their apparent leader. The Wulfen stay behind by the story's end and the beaten and battered Space Wolves limp off back to Fenris.

  • Did I like it? For the most part I did. It was a fun romp, however, I couldn't help but have a few complaints. The Space Wolves really seem like a bunch of narrow-minded battle waeary simpletons for too many parts of this book. 
  • Was it hard to put down? The scenes in Commorragh were very difficult to put down, and the last chapter was a real hoot to read through. The book did have some clunky bits though, mostly the second chapter. 
  • Could I care about the characters? Somewhat. Ulrick the Slayer goes from likable to dickhead at the turn of a page and also goes from serious bad-ass to enfeebled old man almost as fast. He got his ass handed to him by some foes that simply shouldn't be that tough. Krom faired far worse however, especially on Commorragh. There were a few unique characters that I enjoyed following along with throughout the story, but in typical Black Library fashion most of these characters proved to be expandable. Throughout this tale the Space Wolves come off as half-competent old men too bad-ass (mostly in their heads) to stray from what they feel is honorable vs. smart. They die in quite spectacular droves to the point that one wonders how they ever lasted this long into the 41st Millennium... Come to think of it, my Space Wolves death toll on the tabletop really isn't that far off from this book. 
  • Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium works in the sense that it doesn't betray or retcon previously established (as I know it) lore? I would say that, yes, these guys handled the material well. The first chapter was a bit weird as it was the most over the top party with extreme bragging and drinking yet written in a way that reminded me of simple Norse tales. I imagine one doesn't just survive living on Fenris without learning how to epically over-exagerate the epic sized animal that you epically killed epically each time you tell the epic tale. 
  • Was I being talked down too? The first chapter felt this way, but as the story unfolded the tone of the story loosened a bit and,  truth be told, these four writters managed to come together to tell a fun tale.
  • How predictable is this story? Not very. Don't get me wrong, it's a man-hunt tale involving the most important Space Wolf shy of Russ himself, it was obvious that they were going to find him. But the story sets you up with thinking that the man protagonists were going to be Tau, the side-step into the arena on Commorragh was quite a pleasant and enjoyable tale. The plot may have been predictable in the sense that they would find Logan, but the twists, turns and trappings were all fresh and difficult to predict. 
  • Do I recommend this book? I do. But only if you like Space Wolves or Klingons (Space Wolf characters often get written like power armored Klingons to me). Especially if you want to read what is sort of a set-up for the Warzone: Fenris campaign books.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Da Goffs 7 ( Part 1)

Since my last post featuring my Goffs I kinda been distracted by these old Orks and that is pretty much all I have worked on. At the end of that post I had already declared that I was going to knock out these last seven Goffs and that I was going for a more rugged approach with their paint jobs. But I looked at the 40k 2nd edition boxed art and threw that notion to the wind. Yup, I went full flame'n 2nd ed Goff on this guy!

"The '90s called..."
 I totally tried to copy one of the Orks from that painting, right down to the red horns, triangles on the shoulder pads, etc. I even crudely painted the red stripes onto the yellow gun also.

"I seez red. It 'urtz me 'ead." 
 Unlike the models I painted 20 years ago, I decided to ditch the browns on the leathers and the wooden axe handle. This axe handle on this one is just a dark gray drybrushed over black.

Seriously, how long could you stand like this? 

Here is a snip from the John Blanche art that adorned the 2nd ed boxed set.  My feeble attempt to replicate the white jags on the helm were abandoned and painted over. And despite my embrace of the red horns or this mini, I just couldn't bring myself to paint the gun clip red. Still, I wish the final models had those spikes on the shoulder pads, it would have vastly improved these boyz.

Goff painted by John Blanche*
So there you have it, my retro Goff. Ah, but what about the other six minis? Well, they are progressing...

The other six.

*Art by John Blanche (C) Games Workshop Ltd 1993, image used for reference purposes and not as a challege to copyright.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Goff Talk

Yes, today I am talking about Goffs. The Space Orks clan of axe-wielding, horn-headed, bull-skull love'n boyz in black. Specifically my Goffs. The Goffs are my primary Ork Clan. Sure, I have some Bad Moons, Snake Bites, etc. But the primary theme for the army is Goffs.

These Goffs I am talking about today are the models that came with the Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition starter set. That set came with twenty mono-pose (OK, yes, technically you can raise or lower the gun arm, but whatever) Goff Orks. The box had a brilliantly executed John Blanche painting on it that was totally inspiring. And the 2nd Ed Ork Codex had a color section in it that showcased a variety of different Goff color schemes. Please keep in mind that this was the mid-'90s. The RED '90s. Over 20 years ago.

I decided to paint these guys in squads of five so I could break them up into smaller units if I ever needed to. To best pull this off I chose to paint these groups using the 2nd Ed Ork codex as a guide.

The first group I painted is essentially my go-to Goff scheme. The "Ork Pizza" boyz that I first posted on here way back in 2011, in a post called Orky Love, are sort of based on this scheme, sans the red.

Mostly black Goff.
One boy has a uniquely painted gun inspired by the Blanche art. I really like this and I wonder why I never repeated this on any of the other boyz...
The Goff with the yellow gun.
My favorite color scheme was this one with the dark green flak armor. I think If I painted this group today I would play down the red and ditch the tan pants for red.

The green Goff scheme.
The red and white Goffs are very...disco. Yet I like them. Not sure how I would tweak this if I were to do it now.

Red and White Goff.
The red orks. Definitely a product of their time!

The so-red-it-hurts Goff.
In time I added more Goff Orks to the original twenty but I never painted them. Well, witb exception to two metal Orks, one of whom was this Nob that I am still quite proud of.

Redklaw Da Kripple.
 Old Redklaw, and other two metal Goffs (they are front and center in the top pic) were the only Goff boyz to have their bases flocked back then. And I am glad for that as these will be redone, in time, with the brown color that I like to use.

I happen to have seven more of these style Orks and the notion hit me to finally finish them. This whole post started when I decided I wanted to finish these two models from the path to Gorkamorka posts.  But I couldn't recall exactly how I painted my older Goffs so I dug them out to look at them and saw these gits just begging for paint.

Totally begging for paint. 

I started on them right away by basecoating their skin and painting their bases. And I think, sticking with tradition here, that I will paint these boyz, with their own five-man subgroup, in a weird fusion of these two color schemes. But I will likely down-play the reds.

A date with fusion.

They will get their own post at some point. Also I plan on finally basing the older painted guys. It should be a lot of fun!

Monday, April 02, 2018

Daemonettes En Plastique (Part 2)

It took some time, but progress was made since Daemonettes En Plastique part-1. Not so much individually, but as a collective.

"What are you screaming for? We're finally getting painted!"

There are twenty of these fiends (two squads of ten) and working on them in this assembly takes some time.  I worked on them during fleeting moments, applying the Warpfiend Grey basecoat as carefully as I could, as well as painting the Territorial Beige on the bases.

One half of the column...

...the other half of the column.
After that the Druchii Violet wash was applied. Thankfully I was able to get that accomplished in one afternoon when a two hour window of opportunity opened for me.

Druchii Violet wash 
At this point I am thinking of focusing on these Daemonettes five models at a time, like what I'm doing with the Concord c3 Strike Troopers, so that they don't end up looking like they have been rushed. It's a noble thought anyway...

Friday, March 30, 2018

Celestial Lions Land Speeder (Part 6 -Finished!)

And here we are:

Yes, I finished this thing -finally! Here are the final steps leading up to the finish. This next pic shows the addition of the middle stabilizing strut thingy that hangs down from the Land Speeder's hill. The trick here is to eye-ball it just right to get it as centered as possible.

Centering of the stabilizing thing.
Next was the time comsuming and agonzing hand painting of the Celestial Lions icons. I think the ones on the marine pauldrons turned out alright but the ones on the Speeder are just OK. And OK enough to not feel the desire to redo them.
Icons done. 
Next came the addition of the ball-joint mount.  Unlike a previous Land Speeder I remembered to lube the ball joint with some petroleum jelly so that it moves better and removes easier. If the ball breaks off inside the mount it is a real pain in the ass getting it back out!

Mount and ball joint flight stand.
And it's done! Woo-hoo! A Land Speeder Tornado with all the weapon options fully magnetized!

Multi-melta and Heavy Flamer

Heavy Bolter and Heavy Flamer

Heavy Bolter with Assault Cannon.

Multi-Melta and Multi-melta. For extra meltiness!

All-in-all it was a fun project and despite the span of a year I am really very satisfied with how it turned out. Now I just need to get The Bob or some other volunteer to blow it up on the first turn of a Kill Team game!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mime Time

Mime Time! 
Back in May of last year my Harlequins took to the field of battle for the first (and still only) time. It was my first (and still only) game of Shadow War: Armageddon). In that game I had two "juve level" models called Mimes. It bothered me that the models were not WYSIWYG and I set about correcting that problem. After acquiring the models I wanted to use, in this case two of the passenger models from the Shadow Weaver kit, I kit-bashed them with a few Dark Eldar bits, most notably the mirror heads from the Wyches box set.

After some time I picked these clowns up again and began painting them in the Reaper's Mirth scheme that I have selected to paint my Harlequin force in.

Base coats.

Happily I can claim that it didn't take very long to complete these two.

Already finished?
 I will note a few changes to this scheme: The backpacks on the plastic Harlequins are a bit more dsitinguished then they are on the really old metals, so following the guide in the Warriors of the Laughing God paint guide I opted to paint these in a metallic color. I did this with Bolt Gun metal, Nuln Oil and a highlight of Mitheril Silver.

Back pack units. 
 The mirror masks, sword and knife were painted in Mitheril Silver, then a glaze of Drakenhof Nightshade, the highlighted slightly with Mitheril Silver again.

Final Highlights.
After that, I drew their icons onto their knee pads using a micron. I deviated their placement with the justification that these are 'juve-level' Harleys and this is a another way to distinguish that.

I have also started on another model used in that Shadow War game, but I will include him in a future Clowning Around post.

For the future.