Friday, 12 July 2019

Horses for courses - and spawns for Harbingers.

Hi guys, a bit of a progress update.

I've been using a Harbinger of Decay for many a game, using my old rotfly riding champion conversion - but since the debut of the Lord of Afflictions, it seems confusing to have two very different characters both riding flys.

While the original model is probably considered a modern classic:

... I have some issues with it; first of all, it's small. Way to small. It originates from the old Warhammer Fantasy, and doesn't scale well at all with the new and bigger scale of AoS. Secondly, it is finecast. I hate finecast. Thirdly, horses seem exceptionally boring to me, in a setting of high fantasy, such as AoS. Therefore, I wanted to make my own, new and improved, Harbinger of Decay. 

A bit of a forestory; some years ago, I stumbled upon an amazingly talented sculptor, namely Jason Hendricks; he has sculpted some insanely cool models, even some of the prototypes for the Warjacks from Warmachine. Especially one miniature enamoured me; The Nightmare Thing:

I stumbled upon someone selling it on a facebook about a year ago, and I promptly bought it, without knowing what to use it for. Upon receiving it, I found it really cool, but also too big to be used as a regular spawn, and some of the details got a bit lost in the casting material (I call it restic - used for lots of board games - apparently cheap, and also quite horrible to work with - cut, scrape, sand - it's equally bad for everything). 

Anyway, it sat in a box, until two nights ago, when I was pondering what to do with my Harbinger, and a light went off; I hurried to my desk, got out the nightmare thing, and started messing around with parts:

I've replaced the head with to heads (one an upside down pink horror mouth, the other an upside down Blight King fly head, with the lower jaw from a pink horror added), and a Stone Troll arm, because I felt it was missing a bit of ye old GW aesthetic. The saddle is from the Maggoth lord (which oddly basically popped into place, as if made for it), and the torso is from the Pusgoyle Blightlords.

I'm really liking it, although I'm still on the fence about the scythe; one, it just seems like such an obvious choice, and two, the 1" range of it really doesn't suggest scythe to me - any suggestions?


I've gotten a bit further, and I'm almost done with the sculpting on the Harbinger:

I particularly like the gross spine sticking out of his back:

I've also decided against using the necromancer model for the sorcerer on top of my Glottkin - it needed to much work and was a bit too weedy for a Rotbringer Sorcerer, so I chopped up the Ethrac model and gave him a new arm and head - I'm pretty happy with this version:

I've also gotten some work done on the Daemon Prince, and he's really starting to come together:

On that note, I'd like to elaborate a bit on conversions. I call this (cue fanfare...): 

Conversion Composition

First of all, I really dislike the word kitbashing; I feel like it belittles the skill and vision required for a cool conversion. A simple weapon swap may be a kitbash, but as soon as you go a bit beyond that, you are basically taking a miniature and converting it into something else, something that better suits your vision of the universe it is being part of. I don't mean to sound snooty or anything, and I'm not suggesting it should be called art, but take some credit in your skill and vision, and stop calling it kitbashing. 

There. I got that off my chest. :) 

I feel like the most important part of any miniature is its composition. Let me elaborate; the composition is a combination of the pose of the miniature and shape of it. Things like details and texture are very important as well, but you can easily find a miniature where these things are there in spades, but it just doesn't work as a miniature - why? Because the composition is bad. 

Let me demonstrate: 

The Skaven Grey Seer model is an example of great composition:

The model, seen as a silhouette, has a nice flow to it (shown by the green line), clearly defined form and the details don't mess up the shape or pose. I would even argue that seeing it only as a silhouette, you would still be able to guess that it's a skaven based on the pole, the iconic way skaven cloth is modelled and the hunched pose - non warhammer players could probably guess that it is a wizard, based on the stretched out hand.

Wulfrik the Wanderer, on the other hand, is a walking composition disaster:

Based on the silhouette, you would probably guess that it is some sort of christmas tree with a scarecrow added and a sword sticking out. There is no flow, no shape, no pose - it just doesn't work. The fact that the sculptor seemingly dipped it in glue and rolled it in his box of skulls only seems to make the issue worse.

My Daemon Prince has (at least I think) a pretty good composition:

You can clearly see the fly wings, the fly legs, and it has some nasty claws and spikes sticking out, adding to the creepiness and wrongness of the thing. It has a good flow and the body parts don't mess up the composition.

The cure for bad conversion composition: 

My advice to any converter is: Get the basic composition in place before you do anything else. The best tool for any converter is holding a miniature up against a lamp to backlit it. You will immediately see the silhouette of the conversion and thereby the composition (again, shape and pose) will jump out.

Don't be afraid to tweak the posing just tiny bits - sometimes moving an arm a few degrees will change to composition completely. Using bluetac or brass pinning wire is great for this - you can change it be moving the part attached with bluetac or bending the brass wire.

Another trick, in lieu of having a backlit setup (and which I use most of the time) is to just squint your eyes - it works almost as good. Again the silhoutte will jump out. Another good tip is to use your camera phone to take some quick pics of the pose, once you find one that works - even if you're tweaking it more, to see if it can get even better, you now have some pics to return it to it's original state.

Once the basic composition is good, you can start adding details and textures, but ONLY if they add to the conversion. Remember to check the silhouette regularly to see if it is starting to get cluttered, and be willing to remove parts again, even if you think a particular part is really cool. Don't be afraid to "kill your darlings" or rip something apart and start over. It is bit like cooking - you're free to use spices, but even the best spices won't make up for a dish that is basically lacking. Many conversions I see on my google search journeys are using way too many bits and lacking basic composition - try googling "obliterator conversion" for example; I've lost track of the times I've seen a plastic chaos terminator that looks like it's been dipped in glue and rolled in a guns bits box. Get the basic pose right, even if it takes some tries - walk away from it, sleep on it, get back to it, and make it the best you can. Good luck! :)

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Ship Ahoy!

I'm taking babysteps (pun intended) with the progress, thanks to "The Squig". However, I've been intrigued by the idea of using Gutrot Spume as a way to deepstrike a unit of Blight Kings, and reading Plague Garden by Josh Reynolds, I've become intrigued by the character Spume as well.

However, I've already used the (admittedly, quite cool) model for my Blight Kings as a unit leader, so I went on an inspiration search on the internet, to find out what people had done for conversions of him. Sadly, there wasn't too much, but I found this guy:

Billedresultat for gutrot spume conversion

(Sadly, I don't know who's done it, so I can't give him credit - If you recognise it, please let me know)

While there are definitely things I'd do differently, the basic idea of using the Gellerpox mutant tentacles and Typhus legs I really liked - so I set about making my own version:

I spent a lot of time scraping and cutting away any 40k-ish parts on the legs, and used gut-maw belly from the Pusgoyle Blightlord kit (mostly because I love the old-school gut-maws), made a huge axe from a combination of a 40k Death Shroud scythe and a minotaur axe, gave him a chain loin cloth, and used the "crab-hand" from the Khorne AoS starter set lord, to continue the nautical mutation theme - and finished it off with a back banner from the 40k Lord of Contagion kit. Obviously still needs a lot of sculpting, but I really like the basic idea - plus, he is HUGE:

I've also gotten a bit further on my Glottkin conversion; I've made a gladiator style shoulder pad (still needs distressing, though) for two reasons - both for having a place to put the dark green I used for the army, to tie him together with the rest of them, and besides; shoulder pads are awesome. :) 

I've also started the wizard on his shoulder - I'm a bit on the fence about him. While I have the Ethrac Glott model, I kinda wanted something thinner, more wasted and weedier - we'll see. 

Lastly, I got inspired to start a Daemon Prince conversion - this is extremely rough, sketch stage-ish, and he needs some fly wings, but I think this could work. 

As always, comments are much appreciated. :)

Monday, 24 June 2019

Scarcity of time

As always, I apologise for the long time since my last update, but this time I actually have a valid excuse! My wife gave birth to a little baby boy two weeks ago (affectionately known as "The Squig"), and believe me, when they say that babies eat up all your free time, it's true! It's wonderful and magical and the craziest thing ever and really tough getting next to no sleep - but I wouldn't trade it for the world. :)

Anyway - I've managed to get some work done (most of it before "The Age of Squig"), so I wanted to share them - they still need to get details, varnish, and blood and rust effects, so WIP.

First up, my Great Unclean One - I really like the way the shoulder pad turned out, it's nice to get some of the green of the Blight Kings onto this guy:

Lord of Afflictions:

Also, said Blight Kings:

My Maggoth Lord conversion (probably gonna count as a Verminlord Corruptor, once the wizard rider gets done)

And the project I'm mostly excited about; I bought a Glottkin a loooooong time ago, and made a new head for it, since I wasn't really a fan of the original one. However, I wasn't really happy with the model overall either - It's always struck me as a great concept, with a somewhat lacklustre execution.

I took a deep breath, dunked him in rubbing alcohol, and stripped the old paintjob. I ripped my original converted head off him, and made a new one from the "arm-face" of Rotigus, combined with the horns from one of the GUO heads, and the lower jaw of Ghurk - now THATS more like it! Much more tormented and evil looking. The other change was his right arm - I love the lamprey maw, but the arm just seemed weirdly short and out of place on such a big model. I cut it of and reposed it, and added the censer from the Skaven Plague Furnace, as a giant wrecking ball - YEAH! Now we're getting somewhere!
Lastly I added some claws from some sort of Tyranid monster to the tentacle, since I thought it was a bit weedy looking - more spikes are always more gooder!

Obviously he still needs quite a bit of sculpting, blending and detailing, and a rider added (I'm contemplating a guy with a cannon, actually), and I'm thinking about magnetising him to his base, so I can have two bases and use him as either The Glottkin or a Soul Grinder. Still, I'm really excited about him, and I really like where it's going:

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

WIP Wednesday.

Yup, WIP Wednesday. Apparently, it's a thing. At least it is now. Since I have a WIP and it's wednesday.

This guy (the Maggoth Beast, that is) is OLD. I'm not sure if I made it back when the Maggoths first came out, during the end times in 2014, or if he's a little younger, perhaps when I started messing with AoS at first, shortly after it's release.

Anyway, I kinda like the Maggoths at first, but they suffer from a bit of the same malady as the Mutalith - it has a tendency to look a little flat from certain angles. I wanted to make it wilder and more chaosy, and since it came with two extra arms, and extra heads, I thought "why not?" and decided to make this crazy beast. And then, it sat in my cabinet of stranded projects for some years. Until now.

The rider, I made yesterday. I wanted him to be less fighter-y and more sorcerer-y, and I think he conveys a quiet malediction, that somehow gives a cool contrast to the wild beast.

I'm not sure what he's going to be played as; perhaps a Verminlord corruptor? (Tongue = tail attacks, lots of melee attacks = four arms, wizard = the rider on top), or maybe even a Mutalith vortex beast - I don't know yet, but suggestions are welcomed. I just think it's a cool model and it needs to get on the tabletop.

(PS: The real Maggoth lord warscrolls are pretty boring to me, so I'd rather not use those).

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Progress in the garden...

A bit of progress on the Nurgle guys - after having played practically every game with a Harbinger of Decay as a general, I wanted to try something different, so I've put together a Lord of Afflictions, which I think came out pretty cool:

I think the standard one is very bland, while this one is quite a bit more menacing.

Also, a bit of colour on the tree - much more to come, but hey, it's something. Also, I'm working on Gnarlmaw #2, which is more of less scratchbuilt.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

A small break from the little blue buggers.

Yep, I needed a break from the little blue guys. The squigs are mostly done (needing a final highlight on the teeth and gums), and then it's on to the riders. And the rest of the of the army. ;)

Before that, though, I took a small detour and made some reinforcements for my Nurgle army. I've only used a Harbinger of Decay as a general, and for some reason I haven't considered the Great Unclean One as a general. After looking at his warscroll, he seems really cool and brings a whole new thing to the army (one of the things I really like about AoS is the way a general can change an armys synergy), so I decided to try him out.

Last january, the new plastic GUO arrived. A buddy had given me a recast version of the FW GUO some time ago, and while I really like the quiet menacing look he has, I like the new dynamic pose of the plastic GUO even more, so I got one, and started to go to town.

I gave him the classic iconic sword and flail (mostly because it looks cool), but while building him, I was wondering where to put the dark green I use for the armour of my Nurgle army, so I got the idea to make him a gladiator style shoulder pad. It'l obviously get scratched, dinged and rotted up later, but the basic idea is there. Also, for some reason I felt compelled to have a tree with bells growing out of his left shoulder - I'll try to come up with some fluff to explain it. Please note the adorable nurgling posing on the branch. :D

The other addition to my army is a Gnarlmaw. While it has some pretty cool rules, the real bonus, I think, is the way it gives extra contagion points. So I needed one.
However, I wasn't really a fan of the model as is. The branches seemed to weedy to my, and I felt GW missed a chance to make a REALLY creepy tree.
I started experimenting with some spare wyldwood trees, and once it got glued together and greenstuffed, I like it much better than the standard. I'm still deciding whether or not it needs the bells.

Lastly, I need to get my Pestigors (counts as plaguebearers) based and painted.

Small update - I got some more work done on his shoulder pad. I've tried to explain how I do it on the picture:

Here you can see how it looks more like a piece of the miniature now, rather than just tacked on. Still needs the leather strap done, though.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Slowly but surely...

... I'm getting these little squiggies painted.

While it may not look like much, I can assure you, highlighting and blending 30 Squigs is.

I've gotten the blue done on all 30, and as you can see, starting to paint the mouths on the first 10. I'm taking this 10 at a time, doing the gums and teeth, since I was starting to go bonkers painting 30 at a time. The blue may need some touch ups here and there, but for the most part the front row of squigs are done (the riders obviously need to be painted next). Thankfully the mouth and teeth are pretty easy and quick to paint, so I'm hopefully getting to the riders soon.

Still, even a picture such as this is unforgiving - I'm starting to notice all the little blotches, errors, bad blends, etc - I need to remind myself that these guys are meant for the gaming table.