Thursday, 18 April 2019

The Captain's Log Returns - Oldhammer Lizardmen Project Begins

When I first started this blog, I often had odd editorial's filed under the "Captain's Log" tag. As time has gone by, I've dropped a lot of the odd little articles that I used to do, some more due to a lack of time than anything else. Some I'll bring back with time (my terrible fiction will never die!), but it seemed a fitting title to use for this little snippet.

There have been a few years that I've considered entering one of GW's Golden Demon competitions, but I never really had a project in mind. I'm a good painter for sure, but I'm not really up to the standard of those people who spend their whole hobby in search of painting perfection and spend hundreds of hours on every model. The truth is that I don't have the stomach for it, and I've got  enough other things to be getting on with that I don't have that kind of time. With that in mind, my chances of winning anything are pretty low.

That said, it's one of those things that I'd enjoy doing, and would be a great place to test some techniques and work on some skills. I've often thought that it would make more sense to enter something that was more of a personal project - something I'd create to own and enjoy.

So, a few days ago, I got to thinking about my first army - 1990s Lizardmen. I've wanted to revisit them for a whole long time, and to have a go at stripping and re-painting some of the most characterful miniatures of the day. I know that most people probably have no recollection of what the sculpts even looked like back then, but a lot of the metal models were actually really nicely formed and had a lot of character. They'd also make a great palette for experimenting with bright tropical colours and jungle flora, which is something I've never done.

I also absolutely loved the diorama that was made for the Armies Book in 1997. As a kid, I spent what probably amounted to weeks of my life staring at pictures of that thing. It was just amazing at that time, and I recently had the chance to see it in person at Warhammer World too. I started thinking about the 40k Shadowsword that I painted, which was sort of a childhood dream since Epic came out, and I thought - why not really live the dream?

As most people don't remember the models of the time, here's a picture of that famous Diorama featuring them. 

Taking the basic idea, I thought that I'd have a go at making a prehistoric (get it, because they're so old) Lizardman diorama. Something like a jungle scene - a rocky temple backdrop for 2 sides of a base with a sort of central pond. Maybe a waterfall. My old Slann could be relaxing in a temple thing with a view of some type of fish hunting going on below. The idea would be relaxation, they've earned their retirement by now and deserve to enjoy it! I've got pretty much every model from the generation, so a Terradon sailing by somewhere in there, and a submerged Salamander would be easy enough. I'll probably add a bit of a sub plot in with some baddies sneaking up, but I'm still working on that part.

So, earlier today, I clambered through the darkest cupboard of doom. After being assailed on all sides by forgotten childhood memories, Goosebumps books and an old Nirvana cassette tape that nearly bludgeoned me to death; I finally reached my prize. A big box of ancient Lizardmen!

Upon opening the box, perhaps because of the bludgeoning, I became almost convinced that I was in an episode of American Pickers. Yep, I was junk drunk and surrounded by rusty gold. It had the patina, and the price was irresistible!

Oldhammer for the Oldhammer God! I won't be able to use everything, but I wanted plenty of options!

Anyway, I grabbed a bunch of the good stuff and prepped it for stripping. What happens next, who knows, who cares, but at the very least, I expect to enjoy painting a few very deserving models. With any luck plans will work out and I'll get a cool piece I can keep and display with all my favourite childhood models in it - and that'll be pretty priceless. I might even put in a few in-jokes (that Slann needs his Forbidden Rod and Amber Amulet combo for sure!). If it goes well, I'll enter it in Golden Demon just to put a smile on some faces that remember the good old days.

Original metal skinks! Collect the whole set. I know I did!
In some ways, these are the models that I owe a lifetime of fun to. They had hundreds of battles back in the day; probably thousands. I think it's time they retired with the full battle honours they deserve!

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Shadowspear Obliterator - Emperor's Children

Whenever I buy a big box full of cool models, I have that concern that I'm just going to be adding to the inevitable cupboard of shame that every hobbyist seems to build up. So, with that in mind, I'm trying to make some steady progress on some of the new Chaos releases.

This is my first Obliterator from Shadowspear. They're cool models, that really look a bit like miniature Helbrutes really. I like the big and mutated look, and rules wise, they're sure to please. 

It's great that these guys got an update, and I'm sure at some point a new 3 man unit box will be released. The old designs might have been my least favourite models in the whole chaos range. Well, except perhaps for the mutilators... and with good reason!

As with most of my Emperor's Children, I'm following my standard scheme of purple and gold. It's pretty comfortable for me now, and as purple is my favourite colour, I don't really get bored of painting it. I have made a start on the second Obliterator as well, so hopefully I'll finish that off at some point in the not too distant future.

Despite my lofty goals about working through Shadowspear, I picked up a Lord Discordant at the weekend. I've mostly finished the build, but I'm working on quite a nice little conversion on it that I think people will like (well maybe depending on taste). I'm happy with the work so far, so I'm hoping to post up the build once its complete some time later this week.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Keeper of Secrets - Avatar of Shaah Complete

Well, this was one fast project. I started work on Saturday; picking up where I'd left off in the build 2 years ago, and started painting on Thursday morning. 24 hours later and I'm done!

To be fair, the speed of the paint process was mostly due to the nature of the model. I also maximised the amount of work I did with the airbrush, so I spent about 2 hours on that part of the paint. After that, it was just a matter of sorting out the details. Oh, and fair warning, this post contains moderate resin boobies!

For those who aren't familiar with the model, this is the Avatar of Shaah by Raging Heroes. It's about 8 inches tall to the top of the sword and is all resin. I've written a review of the kit lower down, if you're interested.

My favourite part of the paint is the glowing eyes. They didn't take a lot of work, and I'm really happy with the final result. I basically just airbrushed them with dark angels green, then Vallejo escorpina green. After that, I washed around the area with a little Biel-Tan Green and then just highlighted the central eyes with a ever lightening mix of moot green and white.

Considering the time spent on paint, I'm really happy with how she came out. It's also nice to take something out of the cupboard of shame and get it finished for once. I'm planning to pick up a Lord Discordant tomorrow, and I never thought in a million years that I'd actually finish this model before then.

Anyway, that about rounds it out for the Avatar itself. Due to some difficulties with this kit, I've also written about the process of building it (which is basically just a massive page long complaint), but if you're just here for cool pictures, you can skip that bit.

Kit Review

I'm happy with the look of the final model now that it's done, but honestly it was a horrible experience to build. Resin can be hard to work with, and I've gone through plenty of resin models in my time, but in a number of ways Raging Heroes really dropped the ball on this one.

A gap in the claw you can fit your thumb in...
For one, the kit was rather shiny and coated in a very noticeable quantity of release agent which was resistant to cleaning and took a lot of work just to prep. The fitting for the individual parts was also quite poor, and even with the best will, there were a number of gaps that you could easily fit a thumb nail in all over the model.

I expect to spend some time with greenstuff filling gaps, but the position of the seams was just plain terrible, and the kit honestly feels poorly designed. Often seam lines between parts seemed to be arbitrarily cut straight through crucial rounded areas that were next to impossible to fill cleanly.

Looking at a mock up of the model before paint or greenstuff, if you enlarge the picture, you'll see that there are seams running though every inch or so of the claw on the right. The front side is the better fitting one, and let me tell you it took quite a bit of time to fix all of that.

The worst seam on the whole thing? the butt. For some reason, they decided to cut the legs at the hip to the groin (which you can also see in this picture). That would've worked well if the avatar had clothes, but with a bare demon ass to contend with, it basically left a large horrible seam right across the body that was really unnecessarily hard to fill and work with. Why they didn't follow the line of the chains, I'll never know.

Detail pickup is ok, but far from ideal as well. It just feels slightly blunted and lacking in the crispness that you see in other manufacturers (eg: Anvil, Forgeworld, Prodos, Black Sun, Wargame Exclusive, Nocturna, even Finecast). Overall, if you like the model, I'd still get one, but just know that it'll be a ton of work, and honestly don't even go there unless you're an experienced model-maker.

I don't like slamming a manufacturer, but I've got other Raging Heroes models from the kickstarter, and it'll probably be a few years till I can face working on any of them either. It's a shame, but that's the reason I shelved this project in the first place, and it's a real problem. Does it look nice now? yeah, but I had a ton of work just getting it together in the first place, and it's mostly down to poor design choices.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Emperor's Children Venom Crawler Finished!

Well, Monster March is over, but I had a spare week after finishing the Shadowsword and I didn't want to let it go to waste. I picked up Shadowspear on the release day, and I've been working on the Chaos models since.

Obviously, the Venom Crawler was always going to be a nice thing to add to my army. I use a lot of Daemon Engines, and it's a cool design. I have to say that it was a real pain in the ass to paint though. It just has a lot of legs and a lot of filigree to get to grips with - so pretty much any painters worst nightmare! (which pretty much describes anything Chaos anyway)

I'm really happy with how it came out though. I've used my usual scheme for my Emperor's Children. The only differences are that I've moved to using the airbrush for the purples, and I also used some Blood for the Blood God on the tongue and demon maw bits on the side of the body. It's a nice high-gloss effect that I really like in moderation.

I haven't seen a lot of Venom Crawlers around online yet, so I think it's quite interesting to get a look at the model from different angles. Personally, I think there's a lot of cool details to be appreciated. I'll be working on some of the other Shadowspear models soon, so hopefully I can showcase them as I go. Next up is probably the Obliterators.

I'm looking forwards to the wave of new models we're seeing too. In particular, I'll definitely be looking to add a Lord Discordant, and one of the new Keeper of Secrets models to my army soon!