Category Archives: Modeling

Ave Omnissiah



Lachrymalus Magos Prime Sohai

I’ve been working like a maniac on my Heresy-era Ryza Mechanicum Taghmata (I really should abbreviate that. H.R.M.T?)

We just had a long weekend and I was really run down. My day job’s been mental, I’ve got two paid art commissions at the moment, and I’ve been taking medication for a duodenal ulcer, which has been hurting like mad for about six months. It’s finally getting better. Things are looking up. I pretty much just painted models in the living room all three days of the weekend while the family watched movies, taking breaks to play sword fights with my son and going out to pick up food. It was very relaxing.

And I got it all done! Well, all the niggly little half-finished units anyway. You can see them all at the Warp Signal instie account (link here), but above is my first magos prime, and below are my combat engineers, who I particularly like. Probably because they’re grey.


I hope I can keep up this momentum. To make 1000 points I need to build ten chainsaw wielding tech-thralls, six scyllax guardian automata (not looking forward to these little bastards), two more magi prime, and two more sentinels. Heresy is intense. I suppose I don’t really need the magi prime, but now I’m firmly lodged in the Heresy era, mechanicum are my natural element. They’re like the 40k Inquisition in terms of modelling opportunities – so many options, and pretty much free reign to model bizarre Blanchian monsters. I only need two magi but I have three planned, each one a unique cyborg.

Oh yeah, the sentinels. These are skitarii scout mecha, counting as Imperialis Militia sentinels. I make them out of kastelan robots and various other bits:


This one has a heavy flamer and a combat blade. There’s a bit of an internet parable to go with these guys. When I first had the idea, it was really hard to work out if a kastelan and a sentinel were of comparable size. I found measurements, and it seemed like a crouching sentinel was shorter than a kastelan, and a standing one was slightly taller. Out of habit, I went to a venerable 40k forum (one of the big old ones, I won’t mention the name because they’re going to come off a little… negatively in this story). I asked the people what they thought, did they reckon I could get away with it reasonably, etc.

I got six or so responses, all telling me not to do it. Not one person said “hey that sounds like a cool idea, you should do it.” Most of them voiced some variant of “oh no no no, they’re not exactly the same size and shape, you’ll be cheating, etc.” Several ignored that I wanted to make mecha, and told me to use 40k ironstriders. If I wanted a two-legged avian walker guess what, I’d use a bloody sentinel! Not wanting to settle for the frankly conservative answers I was getting, I went to my local Heresy era facebook group. Since they’re the only people I’ll ever actually play against, I asked them. Surprise surprise, got an overwhelmingly positive response. People were all like “sick dude, rule of cool, etc.”

The moral of this parable as I see it is that forums are of questionable use these days. Unless you don’t have a local community at all, and everything you’re doing is hypothetical (I’m sure we’ve all been there at one time or another), I can’t think of anything a forum is good for that isn’t done better by a local social media group or chat. Plus, having people I don’t know tell me what to do like they know what’s best for me? It seemed weird, even though I did ask. So there it is. I’ve been involved with forums to do with the hobby, with various levels of intensity, for over a decade now. But I’m pretty sure from now on I’m done with them, except to lurk and steal ideas find inspiration.

Does anyone out there still find hobby forums useful? Just wondering.

Anyway, got to go. Till next time.

Work in Progress Titan Base


The photos you can see here are the work of my regular opponent Capn Stoogey.  Incidentally, why don’t we call them “play-mates” instead of “opponents” I wonder?  I guess it doesn’t sound very tough.

IMG_0274 IMG_0273

Anyway, he’s been working on a scenic base for his Reaver Titan.  This one has a grav-tank being crushed, and the Biel-Tan paint-job is in homage to the guy who first got him into 40k many years ago.  He also has a Warhound which will have a Wave Serpent being stepped on, and that Wave Serpent will be painted by Yours Truly in Iybraesil style.

I’ll put up more shots of this one when it’s finished.  And we’ll get a camera instead of using a phone…


The Ratling Project: Final Concept Art

Svirfneblin snipers standing around dramatically in some smoke

My brother Chris has sent me some final concept art for our alternative Svirfneblin-inspired Ratling project (or “the nebos” as he’s taken to calling them in his very . . . Aussie fashion).  He’s just finishing up another miniatures project, and then he’s ready to start sculpting the greens.  I think they will look pretty amazing.

Svirfneblin snipers on a break

Svirfneblin sniper rifles

There are more images on Chris’s blog here.  I particularly like the NCO.

The Ratling Project

Svirfneblin snipers

A little while ago I mentioned that I was dissatisfied with GW’s hobbit-inspired ratlings, and the only way I could see getting my hands on ratlings I liked was either to do a massive modelling project or commission a sculptor.

Well, last week you might remember I mentioned my brother Chris’s blog, which mainly chronicles his D&D adventures.  Chris is a trained printmedia artist with a long-term interest in sculpting miniatures, and I had a chat with him about making some tough, leathery little bastards inspired by the aesthetic of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Svirfneblin (deep gnomes).

He agreed to give it a go and the above sketch is his first rough whack at the job.  I’m pretty excited, and will of course keep track of how this goes on my blog.  He has a cartoonish style that I think suits this idea well, given the exaggerated features I’m after. I particularly like the mandarin collars, the sneaky ninja boots and the felt helmets, which Chris tells me are based on World War One Romanian felt helmets.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to some greens he has made and some of his future projects in miniature design.

Talking About Ratlings

The current iteration of Ratlings in Warhammer 40,000. Nice models I guess, but way too Sam Gamgee for my liking.

Today I’m going to return to Warhammer 40,00 and talk a little about a subject near-ish to my heart (maybe somewhere in the vicinity of the pancreas) – Ratlings.  That’s right, Games Workshop’s throwback space hobbit snipers.

I’m genuinely surprised whenever they manage to sneak into a new Imperial Guard book, so someone in the studio must like them.  You can tell how the community really feels about something though by looking at Black Library novels.  I can’t remember the last time a Ratling was even a character in one, but Ogryns for example pop up quite regularly.

Online you see almost universal disdain for the little buggers.  I think there are a few reasons for this.  Continue reading

A Few Modeling Resources

Hey everyone, I thought today I’d give a bit of a heads-up on some useful stuff I’ve discovered.  I do a lot of talking and fancy pontificating hereabouts, and it’s been too long since I actually posted anything of practical value to the community.

Firstly, my mate Capn Stoogey lent me his Forgeworld Imperial Armour Model Masterclass books, and if anyone hasn’t seen them you should check them out.  They remind me of when I was a kid, I used to sit in the local library reading these manuals on historical military model building.  I think those books were as much an influence on me as a painter and modeler as GW was.

These Forgeworld books are full of step-by-step instructions on how to achieve realistic weathering effects.  The first one is particularly good as it was written before FW started making their own weathering products.  This means it gives you practical tips on how to use other companies’ products and even everyday materials, such as – crushing up cheapo artist’s pastels to make weathering powders!

Similarly, when I was in the newsagent the other day I picked up a military modeling magazine.  I normally just kind of ignore these.  The magazines I get are either video-game mags, Fortean Times (to which I’m subscribed) or sometimes White Dwarf if it has, oh, I don’t know, a Sisters of Battle codex in it.

Anyway, the military modeler’s magazine was basically one of those Forgeworld books but for ten bucks!  The main article was a step-by-step weathering of a German tank using the hairspray technique, one of the methods described by Forgeworld.  It even had some useful info that Forgeworld left out, i.e. that hairspray comes in different strengths and you need to use the weakest or you’ll lose your paint down to the plastic.  There was also an article on how to paint a realistic horse.

So if you haven’t tried to weather vehicles yet but want to, or just want to lift your game generally, pick up a military modeling mag.  Seems obvious, but I only just thought of it so there you go!  And get the Imperial Armour Model Masterclass if you want a useful and beautiful book to put in your toilet/on your coffee table/let your kids pore over.

The other thing I wanted to pass on is this excellent list of alternative parts suppliers for converting 40k models at Twitchy Droid Painting.  This blog is a new addition to my roll, but I found this post really useful.  Check it out.

My Perry Miniatures British Hussars arrived, so hopefully this weekend I can make a start on 40k-ing them up into some St. Arkham Lancers.

Night Goblins!

I found this nice Night Goblins picture on Deviant Art, click for original link.

I’ve been thinking more and more about what I wrote in this article, about finding imaginative ways to quickly paint the large armies that the current editions of 40k and Warhammer demand.  I’m getting excited about the project, so I’ve decided to give it a go and start an army for a system I don’t currently play or have any models for – Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

I was going to go with Skaven.  The new models just look fantastic.  But I’ve discovered that a potential future opponent has already claimed them.  I’m glad really because it made me think about something different, and brought me back to an army I’ve always wanted to try: Night Goblins.  Ever since the 90s when they first appeared I just really liked the hooded creepy-cute look, and the background about them being madcap mushroom-eating freaks with units like fanatics and squig hoppers was just the icing on the cake.  They’re evil little goblins, they’re cute, they’re crazy and they’re fun.  Heh.  Night Goblins rule.

So, since I don’t do things by halves I’m now set on coming up with a super-efficient but great-looking way to paint an army, and I’ve gone with a horde.  Good plan right?

My basic plan is this:

  1. Base them with gravel
  2. Spray them all midnight blue
  3. Blast them from above with a lighter blue for a bold zenith highlight
  4. Wash them with black and brown and other dirty colours
  5. Give the impression of glinting weapons and shield rims with some quick strokes of metallic
  6. Pick out the eyes in bright yellow

If this works I’m thinking it’ll give them a sort of two-tone anime style light-and-shadow effect and make them look like they are scuttling in the dark with glowing eyes.  Something like this:

Drawing by me.

For consistency I need to do everything the same way, but I know it’ll be hard not to put extra touches on the characters, so I’ll try to give them reeeally subtle highlights at the highest points that blend into the lighter blue.  Oh and I’m doing the army on the cheap too because I don’t hate myself that much. I’m really looking forward to making some awesome unit fillers for extra cheapiness.

So I grabbed twenty gobbos from eBay and they’re waiting.  The first hitch has been sourcing midnight blue matte finish spray paint.  It’s harder than you think.  Even artist quality spray paint seems to be made in gloss only.  Buying gloss and then spraying them all with a matte sealer seems a bit wasteful, but I might have to.

Adesha – Iybraesil Eldar Wraithlord


The Wraithlord towered above the Eldar warriors as they scanned the abandoned settlement.  Even ancient Balora the Farseer had been born on Iybraesil and did not remember the primaeval, vibrant worlds of her people that had been destroyed in the Fall.  These Crone worlds were all that remained of that unknown past.  

The embodied hero who loomed against the chaotic sky was another matter entirely.  Her wraithbone body creaked softly in the eerie silence.  Adesha remembered, had wept in horror and psychic shock as the fledgling craftworlders saw the birth of She Who Thirsts from space.  She had fought as one of the Goddess’s warriors for countless ages, had led her people in war, and now had been summoned again.  The ancient wraithbone body had been grown for her a long time ago.  A receptacle for her shade, drawn from Iybraesil’s Infinity circuit.  She could feel the hot blood of the infinity rune painted on the face of her helm.  It was one of the only things she could feel.

The ghost in the machine concentrated, drawing the strands of herself from within the lattice of the wraithbone core to form a point of awareness.  Adesha would speak.

*Do you sense enemies yet, Farseer?  My thoughts grow thin.  If I am not needed I would return to the Goddess.*  Communication was a burden.  Combat was not.

Balora cocked her head as the papery voice of the revenant hero entered her mind.  The Wraithlord sounded flat, as one would imagine the dead would sound.

*Soon, Adesha.*  She returned silently.  *Soon the enemy will come.*


This is Adesha, the first of two Wraithlords I have planned for my Iybraesil Eldar warhost.  She’s armed for anti-tank as there’s no other anti-tank capability in my 500 point army, and I thought it would probably still be a good configuration later.

I’ve wanted a Wraithlord model for years and I finally got one.  It’s more difficult to make it dynamically posed than I expected.  I thought the arms and legs would be in two parts each but they’re only one, so the poses straight out of the box are a bit on the Frankenstein side.  I looked at a bunch of anime mecha pictures to get a good sense of how an elegant humanoid machine should look, and then I added the scythe from the Empire Wizard kit to the shoulder and it really balanced the pose.  I’ve been trying to use that piece for ages!

The painting was fun.  Again, I went for an organic, aged look, and if you’ve ever seen old chipped animal skulls (I grew up in the country) then you’ll agree it turned out pretty well.

Overall they’re a great-looking model.  It looks sort of spidery and almost Tyranid-like I think, but also like a mecha, which is cool.

Next up I’m painting my Domaru Butai for Infinity.  Should be fun.  You gotta love a cyberpunk samurai.

ANUCON 2011 Results and Pics

Someone noticed the freehand on my Banewolf! I'm pretty proud of it but people usually don't see it because the colours are a bit subtle.

The full results are out from ANUCon 2011, along with some pictures people took at the event.  It turned out there were only 26 players, and I came in at a horrible 17th place overall!  I did get 29 out of 30 for sports, and 18 out of 20 for comp, but at a measly 15 out of a possible 50 battle points I won’t be moving up too many ranks from this one!  Painting was a requirement, and there was a Best Army prize based on judge’s decison, but it didn’t affect a player’s overall score.

I had a lot of fun and I think so did everyone else.  There’s been no negative feedback at all on the host club’s feedback forum thread, which as you all know is pretty amazing for the internet.

In case you’re interested all the pics can be seen here, but I’ve posted a few below of armies I particularly liked, plus some of my army, including my Death Riders (before they got broken).

I don’t actually have a full shot of my own army all ranked up – it’s something I’ve been meaning to do for a while, but until then these will have to do.  Thanks to all the photographers by the way – it’s a real kick to see someone liked your army enough to stop and take a photo. Continue reading

Japan Makes Me Cry

I’ve mentioned before that my favourite manga series of all time is Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita (Gunnm in Japan).  When I was in high school I owned this resin garage kit:

The main thing I remember about this kit was that the fingers were frighteningly thin and brittle.

Unfortunately it’s vanished into the mists of time.  I remembered it a little while ago though and had (what I thought was) a great idea.  I’d get a resin garage kit, maybe 1/32 or 1/48 scale, of a shirtless anime guy in tight pants. Then I’d go nuts and make him into an Avatar for my Iybraesil Eldar. Anime dudes are skinny but muscular, like Eldar, and I thought the chances of finding one with leather pants was pretty good.  Hey, I’ve seen anime.

I should have known better.  If anyone reading this is into anime kits and can help me out it’d be much appreciated!  The only remotely appropriate design I found was a Devilman, 1/6 scale (18″ tall).  The Avatar is pretty boss, but he’s not bigger than a warlord titan.

Everything else was . . . well . . . type “resin model anime” into Google image search and see what happens.  Even with the safe search on moderate I felt like a predator.  I think the second or third picture was a naked pregnant girl.  The rest seemed to be Rei and/or Asuka from Evangelion in provocative poses, or school girls in underwear with massive guns or axes. All beautifully sculpted and masterfully painted, which kind of made it even worse.

Hence the title of this post.  I just wanted a sweet-looking, unique Eldar Avatar.

Why Japan? Why do you use your powers for evil?

%d bloggers like this: