Astra Rodentia Standard Bearer

The first model of the year is finished and we’re not even halfway through February! Sigh.. But here he is, a standard bearer (/fanatic) for my Astra Rodentia!

He’s been a long time coming, as I built the model nearly a year ago! I guess a big part of why he took so long to get painted was the banner. I had to come up with some kind of a color scheme, something to write on the parchments and then figure out how to do something like NMM on the symbols. The original idea was to also put on a graffiti-style text on top of the design (“Gutter Runners”) to show that these rats have taken some other regiment’s standard and made it their own, but I kinda shot myself in the foot with my chosen color scheme. I couldn’t use yellow, white or red for the lettering, as it would’ve gotten lost and I didn’t want to introduce any further colors like blue, green or pink to the model. Oh well, maybe I’ll get to realize this idea on some other model.

On the whole I’m pretty happy with how the flag came out. The left side of the flag seems to be a bit lighter, I went a bit overboard with the dirt splattering on left side, and I clearly need a lot more practice with NMM, but as a whole I think the banner looks nice.

As for the rest of the model, there wasn’t much that was different from the other Astra Rodentia I painted before. I painted on some wood grain to the banner pole, which was more successful on the left side, and glazed Skrag Brown on the yellow hazard stripes, which looks really nice. One new trick I tried with this model was to use a brush and a toothpick for the splatter effects, rather than a toothbrush and my thumb. Much more accurate! I also used AK’s Ultra Matte Varnish on all the non-metallic areas. It can be used with a brush straight from the bottle and works really well. Maybe a little too well for my liking.. 🙂

Okay, so new year and a new bingo card! Maybe this is the year to complete at least one bingo? We’ll see. I count this model for the “technique you haven’t mastered”.

As a bonus, I though I’d show you the finished bases that I’ve made for upcoming Astra Rodentia reinforcements. There’s the six bases I showed unpainted in the last post and a seventh one (with the T-pipeline and chain) that I built and painted ages ago for my last couple of rats. I’m pretty happy with most of these – the only one giving me pause is the one with the knife. The floor ended up looking too messy – not an unlikely scenario in the real world, but I’d like a little more definition. I might end up repainting it before using it.

WIP: Building Necrons, Industrial Bases

I started my hobby year 2021 by assembling a big bunch of Necrons from the Indomitus box. This was my holiday project – I was on the move and decided that I wouldn’t bring my paints with me and instead concentrate on building and priming some models.

As you can see, I got all of the 20 warriors done, as well as their 6 scarab swarms. They’re all built pretty much according to instructions, the only modification I did was to clip off the blades from the gauss rifles. I’ve never liked them visually, or even conceptually, and there’ll be less to paint. Win-win! Finally, I also assembled one of the characters, the Plasmancer. Señor Skorpekh is cool and all, but for my money this floating dude is the coolest Necron model in the box!

My goal was to base these too and as mentioned, to prime them. As they’re going to be basecoated with steel paint, I decided to buy the very expensive Leadbelcher spray and save myself some time. Unfortunately, my FLGS didn’t have it in stock so the priming had to be put on hold. As I didn’t have to hurry to prime the models, I left the basing undone as well. I’ll continue working on these guys in a month, during my winter holiday.

But even if I didn’t get the ‘crons based, I did work on some bases! I made six new industrial style bases for my future Astra Rodentia models. Overall, I’m really happy with them, especially the two in the middle. Starting to get into real scratchbuilding territory! The bases might’ve used some more wires and maybe a bit of sand, but I ran out of time, and they’re now primed (still have my black can). I’ll probably add some texture during painting..

Okay, now to finish a pair of rats so that the bases will have something to stand on them! And obviously to paint the bases too..

Wrapping Up 2020

Due to my minis being in two different apartments and being away from my own computer and Photoshop  during the holidays I’m a bit late with this post. But better late than never, let’s look back at what I managed to paint in 2020. Here’s the lot:

As per last year, sorry for the image quality – my photography setup is still not ideal for big group photos…

All together they’re 32 models. Quite a bit less than than I imagined I’d paint a year ago, but I’m again very happy with each and every model. And all my painted models still fit in my display cabinet! Just barely though, I think this year I’ve got to start moving some of the older ones to storage.

Here’s a list of all the models above, and links to the showcase posts if you want to take a closer look:

As you can see, last year I painted mostly single models or very small groups of models. The only project with more than three models was the Scout Squad, and that was only five as well. 2021 might see a change here, as I intend to work on the Indomitus box during the year, but we’ll see how it goes. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed painting single minis a lot, and I’ve certainly painted my best work this year, at least technically speaking. Picking a favorite is difficult, but I guess the top three would be Mollog and the two priests. The Ork Boyz and the Cabalists are up there too, though, and the Sentinel from 2019 still gives these guys a good run for the money among my favorite models!

Speaking of the Sentinel, my one regret for last year was that I didn’t finish any new models for my Astra Rodentia. Whereas all my other armies/collections (Space Marines, Underworlds, Orks, Blades of Khorne, Stormcast Eternals) received some new models, and I started working on a few new collections as well (Imperial Cult, Nurgle, Tyranids, Warcry), the space rats didn’t get any finished models in 2020. I did build two, however, and started painting them just before the holidays, so they should be my first finished models of 2021!

So what happened with my Hobby Bingo? Unfortunaltely, as in 2019, I failed to score any bingos. It was a bit of a shame as it would’ve been rather easy to “sculpt something on a model” and “scratch-build a piece of scenery”, but alas, somehow it just didn’t come to be. Maybe this year though!  I did complete one more square than previously, so it wasn’t all bad. I’ll keep trying this year!

One final thing I’d like to address is the state of the blog. As you’ve probably noticed, my posting has been less and less frequent. This is mostly due to work, and partly due to playing video games a bit more once again.. But I’ve been doing some hobbying too every once in a while, so I should have something new to show you before too long! Realistically speaking though, I don’t see the posting speed improving anytime soon, but it is what it is.

Even so, I have to say I’m baffled, flabbergasted even to see that the blog still gets a dozen or so visitors and 20-30 views every day! I mean, it’s not like there’s fresh new content frequently, and I doubt that people would look at a post more than once or maybe twice.. Who are these people and where do they come from? I might never know, but it warms my heart even so. Thanks to everyone who has stumbled upon this blog or has stuck around for longer, and especially to those who have taken the time to leave a comment!

Corvus Cabal Shrike Talon

My Cabal is getting reinforced with another model, as I’ve finished one of the coolest models of 2019! Here’s the Shrike Talon.

As with the Cabalist, I pretty much followed the ‘Eavy Metal color scheme with this model. One of the challenges with the scheme and with this model in particular is the separation of different black elements. Following the painting guide in the assembly instructions booklet (and looking at the studio models), I highlighted the feathers with blue and the hood with brown tones. I’m not sure if the colors still read as blacks, but I’m happy either way! I guess the biggest difference to the studio scheme is that I left out the painted, diamond-shape eyes from the hood. I get why they’re there in the original – to draw attention to the head, but I never liked them that much aesthetically.

I feel some parts of this model were painted a bit sloppily. As I mentioned in the last posts, I haven’t gotten quite as much painting done as I would’ve wanted lately. I noticed that this translated into less accurate painting. After a day or two I seemed to get back to the swing of things though, and the paint started to go where I wanted it to. Last week I made a conscious effort to get back to painting, and decided that I would at least put paint on my brush (if not the model) every day. Every time I did, I ended up painting for at least an hour! Let’s see how long I can keep this up…

Oh yeah, a small PSA: I’ve treated myself to some new electronics which might affect the photos on this here blog. I got a new Pixel 4a phone with that fancy camera software, which hopefully should lead to WIP shots that have much better color accuracy than before. And from the Black Friday sales I bought a new monitor to replace my previous, 10-year-old one. The important bit is that this new one has an IPS panel which is much better with colors than the TN panel in the old monitor. So, chances are that from now on the photos will be a bit less saturated, as I probably over-saturated everything a bit with the old monitor. Shouldn’t be a dramatic change, but just a heads-up if anyone notices it.

Mollog’s Mob

Praise Gork (or maybe Mork?)! New finished models, at long last!

I painted Mollog quite a while back in June, but didn’t have time to paint his minions. They ended up sitting primed until October, when I decided that it was time for them to get painted. I guess Bat Squig counts as my Orktober project?

As with Mollog, I pretty much followed the studio scheme, just altering the colors to be less purple. Because each of the minions has a different color scheme I painted them individually to completion before moving onto the next. This was great fun, and I once again tried wetblending and other more “freeform” techniques. This group was also a great exercise in how to tie the different color schemes together: even with the box art as reference I had to really think about the color choices. I actually ended up repainting the white on Spiteshroom, as the first iteration was too white! In the end I think I managed a cohesive unit, so I’m very happy with the result.

One minor thing that I kind of messed up was the bases, which ended up a bit lighter compared to Mollog’s due to too aggressive drybrushing. And speaking of bases, my word all those mushrooms took a long time to paint!

Update, Still Here

It’s been close to two months since I last posted, and I thought I’d make a small post saying I’m still around.

Now, I’ve actually finished a couple of models since the last post: Mollog’s minions are finally done. I’ll be showing them off soon, but I decided that I’d write this update first. As you might have noticed, my painting / posting has slowed to a very slow crawl. The main reason is that work has been taking quite a lot of my time. Even in the evenings, if I’m not working, I’m so tired that watching Netflix or YouTube is what I end up doing. And so I’ve noticed that I’m only hobbying during the weekends nowadays, which obviously slows my progress.

Of course, I did have that week’s break, but as I travelled to the other side of the country again, I decided that I’d just build, prime and basecoat a few new/old models. Hopefully that translates to finishing some models quicker in the future! I also magnetized the bases of my Underworlds collection.

So what does a man do when he doesn’t have much time to paint anymore? Buys a mountain of new minis to add to the pile of possibility of course! With the impending brexit and whatever it comes with I’ve been stocking up on cheap (relatively speaking) plastic from the UK. If and when there’s additional taxes and more expensive shipping costs to Europe next year, I’m covered! No need to buy any more minis in years! Of course, that never stopped anyone… Nevertheless, the latest additions to the queue are as follows:

  • Primaris Intercessors
  • Battle Sisters
  • Skitarii Rangers / Vanguard
  • Ork Boyz
  • Poxwalkers (from Dark Imperium box)
  • Flagellants
  • Chainrasps
  • Glaivewraith Stalkers (from Soul Wars box)
  • 3 Nightvault warbands

And that made-to-order Indomitus box is being delivered as I write this. Not to mention the previous backlog… But in any case, you might see a pattern here. Aside from completing my Nightvault closet collection it’s just basic troop models from various 40k and AoS armies. I find that often these most lowly of game pieces are some of the best looking models from their respective armies. These were pretty much all bought as painting and modeling projects, they won’t be painted as complete (game-legal) squads. The Intercessors, Sisters and Flagellants for example will be used to expand my “Imperial Cult” collection.

All right, now to write that post about Mollog and his entourage, and get some actual content back to this blog…

WIP: Nu-Marines, More Cabalites; Magnetized Storage; Molds

I’ve been on build mode again, and let me just get on record and say: I’m as slow with my modeling as I am with painting! I had the whole weekend for hobbying, and managed to build a grand total of three and a half models, plus their bases.. I’ve also been working on a storage solution and some rudimentary mold making.

So first up, the new models! Well, new-ish. I bought the ETB Intercessors triple pack (now OOP, it seems) last spring during the lockdown period and even started working on one of the models (the guy on the left in the pic above). I’m not a huge fan of the bolt rifle design, much preferring the old bolters and pistols. Likewise, the mk7 helmets and backpacks look better than mkX to me. Thankfully they’re all more or less interchangeable with the Primaris kit! So yeah, the first guy got his bolter, a mk7 backpack and a custom mk7 helmet. It might not show well in the photo, but I’ve carved the helmet a bit to join the two eye lenses into a single visor. It’s actually a conversion I first created back in my teenage years, inspired by Doomguy (/Doom Slayer).

The second Intercessor also got some mk7 weapons, but a mk3 helmet and backpack. I don’t really care for those on mini-marines, so I’ve still got plenty of them left after building my Devastator squad. They look great on the Primaris bodies though, especially for the more knightly chapters. This one will be a Black Templar! One additional modification I did was shave his chest (:D) smooth for some extra freehand room. (Cawdor ganger for a size comparison.)

I also built two more Corvus Cabalists, this time the characters in the gang – the Shrike Talon and the Shadow Piercer. I think the Talon is one of the coolest models in the GW’s current lineup, and was built accord to instructions. The Piercer received a tiny conversion: I clipped off the tip of her sword to give it a bit cleaner lines. For both of their bases I added some plasticard tiles to hint at a ruined city. The Shrike Talon’s 40mm base maybe could’ve used some more decoration, but I didn’t want to give the model any more height (with cork board or such), as he already towers over his mates. Maybe I’ll add some discarded weapons or other bits before priming..

Then on to the magnets and storage! A couple of months back I decided that it was time to build a magnetized container to store/transport miniatures in. I bought a plastic tub and a big sheet of 0.7mm steel, which I cut into smaller ones at my workplace. I ended up with six 25x33cm sheets, so plenty for future boxes as well. A good thing, as I switched jobs and don’t have access to a proper quillotine anymore! I attached the steel sheets to the plastic tubs with nuts, bolts and some washers (see here for a closer look). There’s plenty of room for “regular” sized models (9-10cm), and taller boxes are available should I ever get myself an Imperial Knight! These boxes are stackable and the lid locks securely with kind of clips, which are easy to open.

I got a pack of 3x2mm magnets from GreenStuffWorld and attached them to models’ bases with Milliput. I’ve seen people do this with Greenstuff, but Milliput is cheaper and can be used as an adhesive itself. I was able to pry of a magnet attached with Milliput, but I’m hoping they won’t fall of with normal use. If they do, I’ll super glue them.

Of course, one always mixes up too much Milliput (/Greenstuff)! I used the extra to finally try out a Blue Stuff mold I made a couple months back. The molds are not perfect (one’s okay, the other pretty bad) and the casting added further imperfections, but I reckon they’ll be fine for some terrain! I think I’ll try to do the wheel mold(s) one more time, but then I really need to take the (plastic) wheel and get on building my final biker!

More Poxwalkers

I’ve slowly been settling down to the new digs and the new schedule. While I’ve painted a bit less than before, I’ve now managed to finish a few new models! Here are the rest of the Poxwalkers from the ETB kit:

Not too much to say about the painting that I didn’t say last time – these guys were basecoated with Contrast paints and then refined with “regular” ones. For some reason the whole process was a lot longer than last time. I think I was a bit more careful with the painting and did a bit more back-and-forth in some areas. The extra time probably doesn’t show anywhere (I hope they’re consistent with the last batch), but nevertheless I found the painting very enjoyable and relaxing.

While some of the sculpts have room for improvement (the big guy’s pose being a prime example), I’d quite like to get a hold of the Dark Imperium Poxwalkers as well. As I said, these models are fun to paint and would make good conversion fodder, models for dioramas, or just a nice looking horde for a plague lord to boss around. But as they’ve now gone OOP, they might soon cost as much as the Dark Vengeance Cultists, at which point there are other cool models to consider. I guess I’ll have to keep an eye out for eBay “bargains”..

Visiting the Hobby Shops in the Capital City

One of the perks of moving down south for work is that Finland’s one and only Warhammer store is now quite a bit closer. As in, a 45min drive instead of seven hours! When Games Workshop recently announced that each of their stores would sell Sergeant “Ripper” Jackson from 12th-20th of September, I thought what the heck, I’ll go and get her. And while I’d be in Helsinki I thought I’d check out a couple other hobby shops as well!

The result of my shopping spree

I ended up going to four in total and buying an item or two from each. First stop was Poromagia, an independent hobby shop / gaming club. Not only did they have a great supply of GW’s products, they also stocked a lot of AK Interactive and Greenstuffworld products. This is great, as I’ll be able to get all the cool things without waiting 2-3 weeks for a delivery! But the highlight of the store for me were the many display cases, all filled with beautifully painted models. I even found the “Orange Mechanicus Orks” I saw in the Warhammer store a couple years back, and stupidly didn’t take a photo of. They were a big influence on my own orange Orks, so I was very happy to be able to correct my mistake and take a picture of them. I bought some GSW barbed wire and a bottle of VMC Gold.

Noa Kaistinen’s Orks @Poromagia

Next I visited Hobby Point, which is a big crafting and model making store. It doesn’t sell wargaming miniatures, but scale models and model railroad stuff (among other things). They had a lot of Noch stuff, which could be useful in the future. Now I just grabbed a trio of paints and additives before proceeding to the Warhammer store. It’s a rather small space, and with Covid-19 there wasn’t as many gaming / display tables as there used to be, but it’s well stocked with minis and the staff was friendly and helpful. I got my Ripper and grabbed a copy of Helsreach novel too (I’m a bit excited about Black Templars at the moment).

Finally, I decided to check out Fantasiapelit as well. They are a bigger company and have a store in many/all of the big cities here, but I guess this one in the capital is the biggest. Certainly well stocked with GW kits! The biggest surprise was stumbling on some really cool models in an unassuming, largely empty display case surrounded by manga books. I saw the models and thought to myself “whoa, someone’s really pulled off the Blanche style..” I then circled around the case and read the card beside the models – “Creator: John Blanche”. So now I’ve seen genuine models from GW’s creative mastermind in plastic and paint! Of course, while I was surprised, I remembered that mr. Blanche visited Helsinki for Mordheim 2019, so that’s how the models got here. Apparently, the models were gifted to Tuomas Pirinen (the creator of Mordheim), who then loaned them to Fantasiapelit so that everyone could see them. Kudos, Tuomas!

John Blanche’s Nighthaunt models @Fantasiapelit Helsinki

I almost made it out of Fantasiapelit without buying anything, but then I noticed a copy of Gretchinz!, a board game which I remember reading about quite a while back and liking the look of. As the price wasn’t too bad I grabbed it. Don’t know when I’ll get to try it out or with whom, but that’s beside the point!

So yeah, four really cool shops with amazing inventory. I’ll surely be visiting them at least a couple of times before my eventual move back north. Oh, if only I’d have the space and time, I’d buy all the things..

WIP: Cawdor Heavy Stubber

Time for another work in progress post, and a pretty exciting one at that! I’ve finally built my first model from the wonderful Cawdor box, and I’ve jumped straight to a conversion.

I wasn’t around when the original Necromunda was available, but after seeing some of the old metal Cawdor cultists with heavy stubbers (thanks, Azazel!) I got the idea of making my own, modern and plastic version. Now, I know there’s a heavy stubber in a Forge World weapon set, but as that costs almost as much as a new box of gangers, I can’t really justify getting it. Plus, making your own unique model is always cool! I ended up ordering a Chimera stubber from eBay for a couple of bucks, as it was the cheapest option and the scale looked about right.

In the Cawdor box there wasn’t a complete body that would’ve worked “as is”, so I needed to combine the body and arms from one assembly with the legs from another. Thankfully the sawing and glueing went much easier than expected, and the seam doesn’t stand out. Attaching the stubber was a bit fiddly and required slightly trimming the body/noose for the gun to fit as well as it could. The barrel was also shortened quite a bit, about a centimeter, to make it look more manageable (there’s “heroic scale” and then there’s “silly big”). The barrel might still be just a bit too thick, but as I don’t have the materials to scratch-build a new one, I say it’s close enough. The original ammo box was likewise way too big to use, but I found an ancient SM vehicle storm bolter from my bits box, which seems to fit very nicely. I finished the gun with a piece of an equally ancient CSM heavy bolter ammo belt. Finally, to balance the model a bit more I gave it a GSC heavy stubber backpack, which actually has ammo boxes on it quite similar to the storm bolter box!

Now, I don’t actually envision him to be a Cawdor ganger, strictly speaking, but an Imperial cultist wreaking havoc with Uriah Jacobus and friends. So rather than going with a stock Necromunda base I built a chapel-themed, tiled base. For added scene-setting I glued on some kind of a hose made out of greenstuff. Hopefully it’ll add some 40k techno flavor to the (eventually) white marble floors.

Looking at the pictures now I see there’s a couple of small things I need to fix/add to the model, but on the whole I’m really happy with how it has come out so far. The pose looks feasible and the gun functional, now I just have to think about the specifics of the color scheme!