Wednesday, January 29, 2020

'The Vengeful Spirit' - Flagship of Horus Lupercal - for Burch's Bluff

My friend Greg and I share a great love of the 40K setting that extends back to the original 1st edition 'Rogue Trader'. While my interest in the 40K core game has waxed and waned over the years, I've always remained a big fan of  the whole operatic 'grim dark' feel of the setting, especially when done through its boutique periphery games like Epic, Titanicus, Necromunda, and the various role playing titles.

In 2006 Dan Abnett wrote 'Horus Rising', a novel which tapped into fans' interest in the 'Horus Heresy' and the early history of the Imperium - stuff that until then had only been peripherally alluded to in the margins of the rulebooks. Forge World, sensing an opportunity from the interest, began to issue a series of related figures, rule books and vehicles focused specifically on the Horus Heresy. It's turned out to be a great success for them. Now, with over 60 novels in print and a separate division created exclusively for this 'early period', the Horus Heresy now stands as its own unique entity in the GW stable. 

Mark Strong as Horus. Art from 'The Emperor and His Primarchs' by Miguel Iglesias

In a nutshell the Horus Heresy charts the fall of Horus Luprecal, 'The Warmaster,' chosen son of the Emperor. Horus is one of  20 genetically engineered 'sons' of the Emperor, called Primarchs. Each of these Primarchs controlled a legion of Astartes (Space Marines), huge formations which were far larger and more powerful than the later Chapters found in 40K. 

The Emperor utilized his sons and their forces to conduct a 200 year long Great Crusade to reunify the areas of space previously controlled by mankind. After this huge campaign, the Emperor decided to relinquish control of the Crusade to his chosen son Horus and return to Terra to attend to other duties - activities which, for his own reasons, he kept secret from his sons. Though Horus and the other Primarchs initially embraced this new mission and Horus' role within it, they began to feel abandoned and betrayed by their father's decision to keep them out of his confidence and seemingly left to whither on the vine. 

Horus's ego and plaguing doubts to his father's intentions were preyed upon by eldritch powers within the Warp and he, along with eight other Primarchs, turned against their father. Under the direction of Horus, they rebelled against the Emperor, beginning a galaxy-spanning civil war to install a new Imperium of Mankind where these newfound powers would take up a central role. Thus the Horus Heresy was born. 

The campaigns of the Heresy stretched over 9 years, killing billions, burning out numerous planetary systems and culminating in the cataclysmic Siege of Terra. The siege reached it's  endgame when the Emperor himself teleported aboard Horus' flagship, 'The Vengeful Spirit' to face his wayward son...

Whew! Well, with that little bit of background behind us, I can now show you what I've done for Burch's Bluff. Here is the flagship of Horus Lupercal, 'The Vengeful Spirit' in the livery of his personal legion, 'The Luna Wolves' before they became 'The Sons of Horus'.

When we fanboys think of 'The Vengeful Spirit' we often imagine it as the evil, hulking chaos-ridden flagship of the Arch-Traitor; the place where Horus and the Emperor finally meet to fulfill their tragic destinies. So I thought it might be interesting to depict the ship just before Horus' fall from grace, when his beloved Luna Wolves were the Emperor's finest, when they were the first before their fellow brother Legions. 

This model was sourced as a print file from Thingiverse and generated on my Photon DLP printer. It's a nice multi-part model. I found there were a few small issues with deflection, but they were easily corrected - otherwise it printed and assembled quite well.

The prow fresh from the printer.
It's a pretty neat model, with magnet slots built into its design to allow one to swap around the weapons modules and prow configurations. I have it here with docking bays, gun batteries and a nasty Nova Cannon on the prow. 

For inspiration to the colours I referred to popular artwork depicting the Luna Wolves in their bone white armour. As a contrast to the white, I decided to 'gild' the weapon points and command areas on the hull. 

It's a fairly simple painjob, where most of the effort was in edge-highlighting the various nooks and cranies.

It's all ready for its voyage to the Isstvan system and points beyond.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Trish Scarborough 'The Spy' for Sarah's Balloon

Well, after a short hiatus I'm back to featuring the femme fatales from 'Mansions of Madness'. Sorry folks, but this game is chock full of great pulpy gals so you're just going to have to grin and bear it. 

Okay, so today we have Trish Scarborough, 'The Spy'.

At first glance, Trish Scarborough is simply a middling employee for a nondescript company. Nonetheless, in reality she is a spy for the shadowy organisation, 'The Black Chamber', travelling the world, thwarting occult plots and generally being a heroic badass.

In the game, Trish is a great all-rounder. She has a solid stat line (as long as she keeps away from magic), but her real strong suit is investigating for clues and getting into and out of scrapes.

I had a bit of gaff when working on Trish. I first painted her from memory (ALWAYS a bad idea for me), thinking that her trenchcoat was a classic camel colour. Well, I pulled out the character card to do the pictures and discovered that, no, she actually wears a dark indigo coloured trench. 


So, it was back to the desk for a quick costume adjustment. Now she is sartorially conforming to MoM canon. A huge sigh of relief from all you viewers, I'm sure.

It's a nicely posed mini, and I kept it fairly simple for the paintjob - dark indigo raincoat (ahem), black turtleneck and brown slacks. The only embellishment I gave her is a nice pearl-handled revolver (really, it compliments her hair).

Trish will serve as my fare for my next journey: to Burch's Bluff!

Friday, January 24, 2020

al-Docherty and al-Millsy's Flying(!) Camel Artillery - for 'Docherty's Dock' and Entry #9 for AHPCX

Mu'tamid al-Millsy steps back and grimaces in expectation of the coming catastrophe.' I don't know brother, this seems to be a very bad idea...'

'I think it's brilliant.' Dawood al-Docherty reaches forward with his lit linstock. 'If the thrice-damned French can have flying horse artillery then why can't we have the same, but with camels?!'

'Yes, I understand, but I'm just concerned about the 'flying' part...'


These figures were from a Westfalia Miniatures Kickstarter for Napoleonic Persians, way back when they were still doing Napoleonics (sniffs in pained remembrance). Wonderful Paul Hicks sculpts. They were an absolute pleasure to work on and I hope they get a smile from Dave and Millsy. Thanks Dave for the location challenge, it was great fun!

Monday, January 20, 2020

Inquisitorial Kill Team - Entry #8 to AHPCX

I thought I'd mix things up a bit for my next trip on Sarah's Balloon by submitting something which is, gasp, not related to 'Mansions of Madness'. 

This time out (up?) we have a 40K Inquisitorial kill team composed of a very self assured inquisitor and her retinue of rock-hard Battle Sisters.

For the past couple of years I've been running a winter 'Dark Heresy' role playing campaign for a few of the guys and, surprisingly enough, Sarah. 

This is Inquisitor Ingrid von Bek of the Ordo Hereticus. She's a badass witch-hunter who will have a prominent role in our upcoming DH campaign. I'll give no more away, but with Sarah's character being an unsanctioned psyker things could get quite interesting. ;)

This model shows her strutting her stuff in a fancy-schmancy suit of power armour, wielding a very rare Inferno Pistol (yes, the name says it all) and sporting really fabulous hair. 

I like the gothic details on these figures like the halo and whacky smokestacks on their power packs.

The other four in von Bek's retinue are Sisters of Battle. Two are armed with Storm Bolters, one with a Heavy Bolter and the last one is a young lass with the gift of the gab, a Dialogus, an adept who is particularly persuasive with encouraging allies and haranguing enemies. I see her as Ingrid's herald, press secretary and factotum.

The Dialogus is an an older, now OOP, GW metal (love eBay), but the rest are from Wargames Exclusive, one of my favourite not-40K figure manufacturers. They are tremendously detailed castings with boatloads of character. The only downside (for me) is that they are cast in resin which makes them feel overly fragile, though to their credit they've taken several tumbles without any damage.  Anyway, to give them a little added heft I've based them using metal washers.

I hope to have another group of Sisters ready later this challenge, but we'll see how the next couple of months unfold. I'm in the midst of several big entries (well, big for me) which are absorbing a lot of my hobby time. Fingers crossed that I can get everything I want done.

Next up: 'Docherty's Dock'!

Thursday, January 16, 2020

French Aide-de-Camp having a Peek - For 'Piper's Peak'

Hi Everybody!

Today I disembark from Sarah's Balloon onto Piper's Peak. I'm really enjoying using the balloon service as it allows me to work on my usual scatter-shot of projects ('focus is for the weak') and just zip to the location of whatever one I'm closest to finishing. This being said, at this rate I'm going to have enough SarahMiles to journey back to the mainland when this is all over!

Anyway, it's a very nice view from here. Much less congested than some other locations on the island. I hear Sander's Sand Dunes is a bit of a nightmare, what with all the t-shirt stands, red light district and the dodgy 'Island Tour' excursions. ;)

Okay, on to business. Piper's Peak asks us to submit and entry that is:
i) associated with mountains; or 
ii) taking a look (a peek); or 
iii) displaying anger ('a fit of pique')
I decided to go with the second option with a small vignette depicting a group of Napoleonic French aides observing (taking a 'peek' at) their distant opponents

I had done a similar one to this several years ago which I gave away as a gift, but as luck would have it the Perry's double shipped my original order so here I am with a redux version.

While cleanup seems to be a perennial issue with Perry metals I'm still a big fan of these figures. Like so many of their offerings they have such evocative, natural poses that really lend themselves to telling stories. I especially like the fellow with his spyglass braced over his saddle, taking a good long look at the enemy lines. You may not see it in the photos, but he has his boots crossed at the ankles conveying a nice, relaxed pose. Terrific stuff. 

A few people have asked about the bases. Greg and I base our Napoleonic collections on metal sheeting. The corners can be wicked sharp, but it gives a nice, thin profile on the tabletop and allows us to use magnetic sheathed carriers for transport.

This vignette will join the other two sets that I had done up a while back.

A group shot of all the REMFs to-date.
I like using these to help add more colour to the tabletop. I like to place them at the trail of artillery batteries to try convey the formation's greater depth (Yes, I should have limbers to do this, but that way madness lies). Now I just need to do a few more of these for the Brits and Austrians...

Next up is, you guessed it, another balloon trip! Weee!!


Monday, January 13, 2020

Kate Winthrop 'The Scientist' from 'Mansions of Madness' - Entry #6 to AHPCX

Continuing on my riff of heroines from 'Mansions of Madness' I present to you Kate Winthrop, 'The Scientist'.

In the game's background, Kate witnessed one of her fellow scientists being ripped apart by a strange being from anther dimension. From that horrific experience she was determined to create a device to combat these terrible creatures - thus the 'Flux Stabilizer' was born. In game terms, this allows her to disrupt the placement and movement of monsters on the board, which can come in very, very handy.

This being said, Kate's a bit of a hot-n-cold character. In monster-heavy scenarios her Flux Stabilizer can be an absolute game winner, but if the setting is more investigative then her special ability will not be as on-point and she may struggle a bit.  

A somewhat rough and quick paintjob, I found the figure for Kate to be a little soft in detail, so I tried to amp it up by layering in some high contrast on her lab coat and giving her a touch of vibrant blue as a counterpoint. 


Next destination for me: Piper's Peak!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

'For Joshua' - Red Dragon and Knights at O'Grady's Gulch

O'Grady's Gulch asks us to paint a figure for a friend and so I thought this was a suitable spot for me to offer my submission to James' poignant and very worthy 'For Joshua' project.

I excavated through my Lead Shed to see if I had something suitable, and was delighted to come across this old chestnut. Here we have a very OOP Imperial Dragon from GW's venerable, but excellent 10mm Warmaster range.

A nice lump of metal and suitably imposing on the battlefield. 

Also included is a unit of Bretonnian knights, ready to charge and get gloriously char broiled in their plate armour. 'Off you go, good lads. I hope you put on your SPF 1 Billion...'

As GW also made a 10mm  'Battle of the Five Armie's boxed set years ago, I think, in a pinch, he'd also make a spiffing (smoking? smoldering?) Smaug.

I hope you like them James.


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Entry #4 to AHPCX: Cartel Gangers and their Hideout

Happy New Year Everybody! 

This is a book-end entry to my SAS post from last week. Here we have a nasty band of cartel members, in the midst of a shoot-out next to their seedy caravan hideout.

Similar to my previous post, these figures are all from Spectre Miniatures. I find them to be  very characterful sculpts and a lot of fun to paint. 

As with most of my skirmishy collection, I sawed off the original metal bases on all the figures and replaced them with acrylic bases supplied by my good friend Byron over at Northern Lights Terrain (as we all know, Byron's both a participant and a long-time Challenge sponsor, bless him). It's a bit of a pain to do, but I like the effect of being able to see the table surface though the bases.

The caravan/housetrailer is from Sarissa Precision. I really like their kits as they are seemingly specifically designed for muppets like me. I managed to put this thing together in under 30 minutes AND without completely screwing it up. Bonus.

I wanted to this to be a really dodgy place, definitely not an AirBnB Superhost location, so I went pretty hard on the weathering. For the siding I wanted an effect of faded, peeling paint which I attempted to convey with various shades of simple craft paints. It's pretty rough, but I think it works at arms length.

I kept the interior fairly basic. As opposed to the exterior these guys must be minimalist neat freaks...

I wanted the skylights to be just as nasty as the exterior so I smeared superglue on the surface and misted it with water to get a frosted, scaled effect. I then drybrushed them both light khaki to convey they being filthy and cracked.

Now for a little tabletop scatter. These trash piles, cardboard boxes and stacks of concrete bricks are also from Spectre. 

I find the piled trash bags to be especially neat additions to the terrain collection. 

The largest pile of bags is cast flat along the rear so it can be placed flush along a building. I think they all help give the tabletop that lived-in, urban-decay look.

The Ford F-150 Raptor was a very late addition and has a little story behind it. It was Sarah's birthday this past Monday and a few days prior I was at a ladies gift shop picking something out for her. After I made my purchase I spied in the children's section a group of diecast vehicles. This truck caught my eye and I plunked down for it thinking that, with a little weathering, it will serve nicely as a ride for my cartel boss. 

Thanks for checking in. Now, I put on my pith helmet and head back to Challenge Island.