Monday, January 24, 2022

BMQ Concepts (Art Monday)


BMQ, the zine that almost was...

Greetings. Welcome to a very special Art Monday. What you see below is a 11"x 17" copy from my sketchbook of some concepts that we, Trevor and I, were working out for our Warhammer 40,000 fanzine in the mid to late '90s.  Our fanzine was going to be called Battle Methodology Quarterly. We had hoped to produce this thing 4 times a year and be everything we ever wanted to see from a 40k zine or even GW publications like Citadel Journal or White Dwarf.  

It's important to know that this was during Warhammer 40,000's 2nd edition. One of the most driving features in White Dwarf at the time were the brilliant battle reports that they used to publish. (They are still oh so lacking now) But we wanted more, and we waned to show some of the stuff that really involved players of the game typically experienced. For example, the GW battle reports never really showed just how cheesey the Eldar of the 2nd edition could be, or the weird and wacky stuff that Orks could pull off, or grenades being used to their maximum potential, etc. And we wanted to show that. A lot. We would also use these as a type of forum to workout and explore some of the more trickier aspects of the rules 

BMQ was going to be robust. 100 pages per issue. If I recall we were looking at something like 50 pages of Battle Reports, 25 pages of articles and a 25 page comic book (by me!). In every issue. In hindsight, I think our bite was going to be bigger than what we could chew. But we were young, hella ambitious, and just enthralled by everything Games-Workshop and Warhammer 40,000. After securing a blessing from GW's Alan Merrit we launched into the thing.

We had all the battle reports played and written for the first issue. Including a Blood Bowl game that Trevor and I played via email. I had most of the art done for the first issue and had some finished or started for the second one. The comic was done for the first issue as well. We had articles written and more planned. The Ornsworld PDF was going to be in issue 2 and issue 3 was going to be a Death World list where the player fields and army of plants. Yes it was ambitious for sure. We had a board game written and play tested and nearly ready to go as well. We even had an interview with Rick Priestly (which we did at Games Day '99 in Baltimore). My brother even designed and launched a website for us (it didn't make into this century sadly).

 But... we took too long. 3rd edition was now coming out so we waited to see what was going to change. So we waited. After all, who would buy a fanzine for last edition's game? Then it came out and was so radically different from 2nd edition that we had the wind knocked completely out of our sails. Also, not long after that, GW got into the comics publishing game with Inferno and Warhammer Monthly. And we were not under the impression that a fanzine with a full-sized comic strip was going to fly with GW. So we moved onto other things. 

 But the art still remains! So here is a concept piece that I hope you get a kick out of :

This is the full page. 

There is A LOT going on here. So let me try to break it down. 

This first bit is an idea that I had to make rules for the Emperor's Youth. The idea is a fusion between the Hitler's Youth from World War II and Boy Scouts programs from my youth (I was in both the American and British Cub Scouts and still have their handbooks).  Even back then the 'Grim Darkness' of the Imperium was not a subtle thing, and an indoctrination / officer recruitment program targeted at the youth of the Imperium's hiveworlds seemed like something that would be a thing. I had even incorporated them into the comic I was working on. So I worked out how their badge program would work, what their kerchief looked like, etc. We were going to do a list for Necromunda and a unit entry to let you take them as an Imperial Agents unit for 40k. What you see here are the concepts worked out, and not what would have been the finished art. 

Best of luck trying to decipher my handwriting

They were going to be led by a Commissar (that smile could be right off of a Propaganda poster couldn't it?*) and the models were going to be converted Necromunda Youths. I imagine lots of green stuff was going to be used. 

Next are the three main characters from the comic strip. The Gothic warship Captain and the Ratling Colonel was shown already in an earlier Art Monday post. I could talk about them more here, but wouldn't you rather that I just post that 25 page comic instead? 

These guys were a lot of fun to draw.

* Indeed, but I wasn't thinking a historical one but rather the fictional one from the original V series from the '80's.  The subversive implications can't be denied. food! 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Deathwatch Rhinoback (Part 2)

 Just a quick update this week. Since the first post I have modeled up a few more options and primed the model. Being a Deathwatch tank, heck, a black prime damn near completes it!   

I like running Rhinos with two storm bolters and it was really bugging me that I didn't have an option for a second storm bolter.  So I gave in and built a guy manning one. It's not a perfect fit, but it fits nevertheless. Plus I thought it would be neat to have a gunner up there. What chapter will he be from is still something I have yet to decide. Maybe I will randomly pick one of Cheef's Chapters? 

If you look to the rear you'll see that I added a radar dish; I just thought it looked interesting back there.

So, that's all for now. Next will come the basecoats and the rest of the proper painting. 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Squat Living Ancestor (Art Monday)

 Just when I thought I had featured all of my Squat art I realize I overlooked this one. Weird, because it's one of my favorites. This one is unpublished but I think it's possible it may have  appeared on this blog as part of some other post. I dunno. Anyway, here he is! 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Deathwatch Rhinoback (Part 1)

 It's actually a Rhino and a Razorback (I was being cute with the names on the title). Sorta. You see I am buying this thing so that I can use this vehicle for either a Rhino or a Razorback by simply swapping out the back hatch for the twin linked heavy weapon base. 


I bought this thing for a 'Tanksgiving challenge' (i.e. paint a tank in November) but there was no way the events in my life would let that happen. So instead I decided to kick off the New Year with it.  I haven't built this version of the Rhino before. Yeah, I know it's been around for over 20 years now, but I haven't had a need for the "new" version until now. I have quite a few of the old ones however, and I think they do the job just fine. I have never built a Razorback before in any version, so I decided to make this into one. But I am really enjoying this kit so far and it's been a fun highlight to this whole Deathwatch project. 

Bound up and wound up so tight.

I built this in slow stages, using rubber bands to apply pressure so that the glue can bound better and reduce gaps. I get a kick out of models with interior details and this kit was no exception. Although I wonder how tore up that console is going to get by the bulky armored Marines scrapping past it when it uses the right-side door. It could also explain all the marines that died in previous editions who couldn't get out fast enough when their vehicle exploded...

How obstructed is that door?

The console itself was a lot of fun, I just painted the screens with White Scar and then applied a few washes of Tesseract Glow over that.  

Hatch view of the interior.

The interior was spray painted with a brown color. I dry brushed a metallic over tthe flor and batch for the final look. It leaves those areas looking a bit weathered or dirty which I think works well. The walls were done using a leather brown color and dried brushed with a sand stone. Again, it looks rough, worn and dirty, which I expect a well used APC to be.

Sandstone colored walls.

Here you can see the interior is done. I don't see any point in detailing this any further as anyone seeing this is only going to get a fleeting glance of it when the rear hatch is opened. But I enjoy a level of satisfaction just knowing that it's there. 

But before I moved on, I just had to add a bit of graffiti...
It's not advice, it's a proven tactic! 

After this, the assembly continued. The top hull was attached and again I employed rubberbands to secure the tightest bond.

It was at this point I decided to make it so that I could switch out between a Razorback and a Rhino. And I am building it so I have the option to use, or not use, a Hunterkiller Missile, Stormbolter, a searchlight* or just an empty spot in case there is no points available for the nifty extras.. The top hatches just fit right on, and I am not even going to bother with magnets. 

Options are awesome.

Next I will build the Razorback weapons before moving on to the rest of the painting.

*I come from a time when these were seriously relevant. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Blood Axe Kommandos (Art Monday)

 Hello, and welcome back to Art Mondays where I show off some of the 40k fan art I produced over 20 years ago.  Today's a special one, as it is still one of my personal favorites from that time.  This is my illustration of a Blood Axe Kommando team setting up to ambush a Leman Russ tank squadron as it emerges from a temperate forest. In the foreground the Kommando Kaptin is calling in a support strike. I still get a kick out of the grot cranking the radio. Heck, I get a kick out of the idea of a crank powered transmitter like that! These are the original Warhammer 40,000 second edition era Blood Axe Kommandos, complete with power axes and Swiss Army knives is! 

Tbis is one of the few larger illustrations I did back then, it's done at a full 10"x15". When it was published by Inquisitor Magazine (#14) it was reduced all the down to the size of a playing card. It came out great  thankfully, but I was still bummed it wasn't printed at a bigger size. A large part of this is due to how much work I put into this one.

The finished piece.

You see, I had a heck of a time figuring out how I wanted to put down the blacks (i.e. the large areas of black). The foreground was hardly the problem, but rather the mid and backgrounds. I needed to get the balance right so that the mood would be how I wanted it and so that the images and characters would 'pop' out at the viewer and not get lost. I reached a point while inking this that I just had to stop and really explore this. Oddly, this left the original line drawing looking Iike a coloring book page!*

The original line art.

So off to my local library**  I went to make some copies. These are just done on standard 8.5"x11" copy paper, reduced to fit of course. I then took my time to 'spot the blacks' on each one trying out a different area each time. 

Black balance tests.

Some things I had just had to try to see it. Upon seeing it, I either hated it or loved it it, and I just kept going until I reached a decision. The finished piece is an amalgamation of a ideas pulled from each of these experiments.  I still do test pieces like this, especially when it comes to coloring a piece, to help me see my way to the finish line.

More balance tests.

I was still a bit apprehensive however, so I took the line drawing into Kinkos and had them copy it onto a card stock (90lb ledger). I simply finished the piece on the cardstock. The sky on the finished piece was done using zipatone, a product I dearly miss***, and that resulting gray tone helped set the balance between black and white areas that I was looking for all along. And there you have it, a bit of 'behind the curtain' peak into my art process. I hope you enjoyed this one.

*Seriously, who wouldn't buy an Ork coloring book? GW, here's a niche market you guys could easily tap into! 

**Back in the '90s the Jonesborough TN Public Library had one of the best photocopiers around, and it was also the closest one to home!.

*** Yes, it's still made overseas at a smaller size, but I am referring to the original Letraset products.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Deathwatch Veteran Bikers

 Let's kick this New Year off right! 

This was a fun unit to build and make ready for war: it's the Deathwatch Veteran Bikers. While digging though my bits collection I discovered I had enough remnants of a few Space Marine Bikes to make a squad. My original inspiration was to added these to my Ultramarines who are currently woefully lacking in Assault and Fast Attack choices.  But I happened to be flicking through the Deathwatch Codex and came across the entry for Deathwatch Veteran Bikers.  They are simply better than the typical bikers and my Deathwatch are also lacking in a strong Fast Attack option and these models will be better suited in that force. 

Inspired, I assembled these models over the span of the last two months. Lots of personal stuff happening, as well as the holidays, and picking and poking at these models in my fleeting moments of spare time was a relaxing repite from all of that. 

I wanted the unit leader to be bold and imposing. An ork skull adorns the front of his ride, he had a combi plasma and a power fist, which he is using to steer his bike (I get a kick out of this). 

I wasn't too thrilled with my flesh highlight on this guy's head so I mixed Kislev Flesh with with some Delta Ceramcoat Queen Ann's Lace (surprise, they mix together just fine) and got the desired color. 

The rest of the steps were really straightforward, I just kept at it until I was satisfied.

The two basic guys are armed with Chainswords, but the options available to these chaps are pretty impressive. However I decided to keep it simple, and ' cheap' (points- wise) and just stick with Astartes Chainswords. 

The squad leader I approached differently. I wanted a Power Fist for a powerful punch in the Assault phase and a combi plasma for some longer range support. 

All in all, I am happy with how these chaps turned out. I am considering adding an Attack Bike for a bit more support, but we shall see how the other projects shake out first...

Monday, January 03, 2022

Charging Squat (Art Monday)

 It's Monday, and here's some old art of mine. This one was published in Inquisitor Magazine #15 for their Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition army list. He was featured on the Wargear Cards page. 

This is one of my favorites from the bunch even though it comes off as a bit cartoony, I dig the action and it's vibe still to this today.