Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Snakemen of the Moon Goddess.

I have had a very successful week painting. I have managed to paint one regiment of ten Snakemen, some Harpies, and a couple of random Snakemen. However, this blog update will focus just on just the unit of Snakemen, as I want to save the other stuff, namely the Harpies, for a more in-depth update of their own.

The Snakeman regiment I painted is a unit of ten Snakemen, designed to be used as proxy Chaos Warriors in a Chaos Ally Contingent, as per the Warhammer Armies lists. Unlike the Snakemen of the main Snakeman army, I have decided to paint them all as a coherent unit, with the same flesh colour, armour, and largely the same equipment. I have done this so the represent a tribe of allied Snakemen, cousins of the main army from a different settlement.

I painted their armour silver rather than gold, and used a palette of blue shields, and green-grey flesh, to give a colder look, as opposed to the more colourful varied look of the main army, to make them look different from the main army.
When I was painting them I decided I needed a bit of a backstory to give them an identity. In spirituality and many religons, gold is often representative of the Sun, and silver the Moon, and so I decided to give these Snakemen the identity of a tribe who followed a (Chaos) Moon deity. As the Moon is also often represented by a Goddess, they became the Snakemen of the Moon Goddess. I also painted their standard with an image of the Moon through the trees I saw in a picture to finish off the idea. 

Enjoy :)
 The Snakemen of the Moon Goddess. 
I went for a paint scheme of grey-green flesh, orange eyes, blue shields, and silver armour.  By painting them in a uniform set of colours, they were a lot quicker to paint than ten more individual Snakemen from the main army.
To give a little individuality I painted some of the axe shafts and bags differing colours. I did keep most of the clothing and fur the same colours to keep the uniformity, and painted them in natural browns to suggest a more Native American looking feel. 
I also used a mix of miniatures, using all of the five different sculpts of Snakemen. In gaming terms they will be equiped with heavy armour, shield, hand weapon, and double handed weapon.
 The regimental leader, S'lonLife Smasher.
 He had a miscast shield which is a common fault with this miniature, and so I added an old Marauder Miniatures Dark Elf shield of the top of it. Being concave and hollow at the back it fitted over the top nicely.
 A converted broken Saranth Elf Mangler, converted to be a standard bearer. Sometimes the casting of the halberd top of this miniature can be weak, and sometimes breaks, leading to me using three of this miniature in the army as converted standard bearers.
I positioned the standard at an angle because when I first converted it I releaised you could'nt actually see the standard front due to the angle!
The standard is based on a picture of the Moon in a piece of artwork I saw in a shop. I also added some runic lettering on the standard to give a little more detail. I chose the name 'Luna' as the name of the Moon Goddess. Looking straight-on at the standard 'Luna' is written on the left in Dark Elf runes from the Warhammer Forces of Fantasy book. On the right, it is written in Dark Tongue from The Lost and the Damned book.  
 S'lararet Splintered Fang.
I painted his shield with a similar look to the standard.
 The first of four S'Sirron Fangthrane.
 I painted the axe shafts different to add a little individuality.
 The second pair of S'Sirron Fangthrane's.
 A pair of Higgat Dwarf Slicer's.
Finally, last but not least, another S'lonLife Smasher, without a miscast shield. 

Next update I will be focusing on the Harpies I have also painted. I bought six more Bob Olley Iron Claw Harpies from e-bay, and painted stripped them and the one I already had, and painted them.
Painting wise I am getting very close to finishing the army. :)

Monday, 10 April 2017

The Horus Heresy: Betrayal.

As I paint my way through the Snakeman horde, I have got distracted towards a project I have always wanted to do: a Horus Heresy era army using the current miniatures and based on the series of books.

Recently, with the release of GW's 'Burning of Prospero', they have released plastic Mark III Space Marines, at a much lower cost than the Forgeworld ones (even cheaper if you shop around on e-bay, as I did!). Some years ago I bought the 'Betrayal at Calth' box set for the Mark IV Marines, Terminators and the Dreadnought, and so could'nt resist picking up some more plastics now whilst they are still around quite relatively cheap post release. To give it all a framework, I bought (on e-bay cheaper again!) The Horus Heresy Book One: Betrayal.

The book is gorgeous. Really high quality and full of lovely artwork. It, to be frank, also contains the Crusade era army list, which was a prime motivator for purchase. However, that is not to decry the book, which very pretty :)  .

On the subjet of pretty, my idea is to gradually assemble an Emperor's Children army. I have always liked this Legion, and liked them in the books. I also liked them in the older art book from GW/The Black Library, 'The Horus Heresy Collected visions'. When building the army, I have that books look of the Emperor's Children, with the current army list and miniatures to fulfil that ideal. With that in mind have I painted three test miniatures, a Mark III; a Mark IV; and a Mark VI. I also re-based my 'Classical' scenery to give it a more battlefield look, and to act as a backdrop for photography.

All this is something I am doing in the background, I am still painting the Snakeman army, but they will be finished very soon. I have an allied contingent of ten half painted on my table as I type.

Enjoy :)
 The Horus Heresy Book One: Betrayal.
 Emperor's Children.
I am going for a 'pinker' look to mine, as per earlier artwork. I will also have a few more Mark III armoured Marines than it consider, as I like them, and the Legion did use them, just not as much as others.
 The Horus Heresy: Collected Visions. 
A large book packed full of Horus Heresy inspired artwork used in the eponymous Collectable Card Game.
 Emperor's Children.
I am aiming for roughly this look.
Plastic Emperor's Children. 
I have not as of yet painted any numbers or iconography on the shoulder pads. These are really little more than test models to refine the armour colour.
 Mark III.
I have added 1cm square plastic card on the bases to suggest wrecked marble flagstones.
 Mark IV with Missile Launcher. 
I plan to use a Heavy Support choice for on a squad of these, and equip them with Flakk Missiles. 
The bulk of the armour in the army will be Mark IV.
 Mark VI Marine. 
I thought that a squad of Mark VI's would be fun to have and very Horus Heresy rather than just the usual Marks II, III, IV, and sometimes V.
A lot of the ruined cities in the 'Collected Visions' book look Neo-Classical, and so I thought this scenery, and the Marines bases, would suit.
 Front view.
 More ruins.
 The larger one is a converted fish tank ruin, as are the ruined statues.
 Legion Tactical Support Squad in Mark III armour.
Making more flagstones! 

Next week, Snakemen!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Native American Trolls, and a couple of random nonsenses.

A fair a scattering random stuff this update.

Continuing with the Native American theme for the Snakemen, I have added a bit of muscle, but not brains, to the army in the form of a pair of Trolls. I wanted a couple of bigger sized monsters to take on any other larger monsters the Snakemen may encounter. So Trolls.

I bought pair of the old C20 Trolls from e-bay. One of them, Hobol Firebreath, was broken, missing the end of his hammer. So I added a spare Snakeman halberd head to tie-in with the Snakeman army, and gave him the addition of a fine looking headress from an old broken toy soldier. The other Troll was much easier to convert more to a Native American look by just adding a large stone headed axe to his open hand.

Other than the Trolls I randomly painted up a C01 Fighter, and the Witch King from Citadels 1980's Lord of the Rings range. I have been inspired to look again at the Lord of the Rings and have been sorting out both my old 1980's Lord of the Rings miniatures, and the Fantasy Tribes/C16 ranges of Orcs with an eye (a red eye, wreathed in flames maybe!) to building up a couple of Orcs armies. More on that in a later update, as I still have more Snakemen to finsh. I have also been wondering whether to re-base my Slaves to Darkness era Chaos Marines to 32mm, and so tried out a couple of test miniatures.

Enjoy :)
Native American Trolls. 
I gave them a more Native american skin tone, and some warpaint losely based on artwork from an Osprey book on the American West.
'Bigchief'  Hobol Firebreath.
As I mentioned I have replaced  hammer head, and added headress.
 Rear view.
 Davogrod Gitsucker.
 Rear view.
The mounted ME63 Lord of the Nazgul.
 C01 Fighter 'Atari'.
I always liked this miniature and just randomly decided to paint him. I painted him mainly green as I used to play a lot of Civilzation III some time ago, and when I played the Japanese, the icons were green. So, bizarrely I wanted him green. 
I built up the base a little with Milliput as he is quite short, and now he looks a little more heoric standing on a mound.
 Rear view.
 A pair of World Eater Renegades.
I have re-based them on the current Space Marine sized 32mm bases instead of the traditional 25mm bases. I think that they look better, and make the miniatures look bigger. It gives them more room, without having feet or guns dangling over the edges of the bases to a great degree. 
I am not 100% decided on whether to do this. Twenty Seven years of having Marine on 25mm, as well as my natural inclination to keep everything 'as was'.
The other day I popped into my local gaming shop, The Dice Saloon in Brighton, as the owner asked me to identify some of his collection of old 1980's miniatures, which was a fun way to spend a couple of hours in the afternoon.
Here's the link to the Dice Saloon:

Next update will be the Orcs I am painting as an lly contingent. I need to focus on really getting some serious painting done. I might get the odd Snakeman painted too. Only 17 more to go!!
I am also getting distratced by the Horus Heresy. With the release of the Burning of Prospero and the Mark III armour, I am slowly, bit by bit, making a 'contempary' style Space Marine army. s

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Saruman, Snakemen, Spectre, and Savages!

A bit of a mix this week.

Recently I purchased the mounted Saruman miniature from Citadel's 1980's Lord of the Rings range. I bought him to go with the Uruk-Hai, which I blogged about last week. The miniature was part of a set, one dismounted version (which I don't own), and the mounted version. I like the mounted version, the details are great, although I am not a 100% convinced on the design of his staff. It looks a little too much like a 'fly swatter' of the White Hand!

Leaving aside the staff, he has a more unusual look than other versions of Saruman. To me, he looks similar to Gandalf, which makes sense given that they were fellow Istari. Also, he look less 'sharp' and evil, and almost more 'twee'. I like this look. For me, Saruman was'nt harsh and inherantly evil looking, as portrayed in the films or many pieces of artwork. In the books and background, Saruman was essentially a good wizard (the best in fact), who felt betrayed Cirdan for giving a Ring of Power to Gandalf, and who felt undermined by Gandalf and the Elves. So, he ended up introverted, distrustful and desirous of power for himself. This led him to be corrupted by the desire for the One Ring, and, for a time, by Sauron, although he broke free of Sauron. Saruman seemed to be to some extent a tragic figure.

Other than Saruman, I have painted more Snakemen, including a converted Snakeman with pistol. In addition I painted a Reaper Miniatures Ghost miniature for use as a Spectre for the Snakeman army. Finally, I have painted and based a couple of Savage Orcs. These are also for use with the Snakeman army. The idea is to have an Orc Ally Contingent, containing 20 Orc Archers and Contingent Commander, to add some much needed missile troops. They will be more on those next week, once I have painted them.

Enjoy :)
 ME 62 Saruman the White. 
I have, unsuprisingly, gone for a white colour scheme, and thought the pony might look good white as well.
As I mentioned above, he looks more twee than terrifying.
 He is mounted on a 40mm round lipped base.
 Right side with the fly swatter staff.
 Rear view.
 More Snakemen.
The painting of Snakemen never seems to end!
 A converted S'lararet Splintered Fang. 
I bought him from e-bay, but he had a hand missing, so I added a spare pistol hand from GW's Empire Milita set.
 Another S'lararet Splintered Fang. 
I converted him slightly by twisting the tail 90 degrees.
 Higgat Dwarf Slicer.
 A converted Higgat Dwarf Slicer. 
I twisted the left arm so it looks like he is more 'en garde'.
 Desert Spectre.
This a Reaper Miniatures Ghost or Wraith, or something. I bought it about 15 years ago, painted it rather badly, and so recently paint stripped and re-painted it. I have painted it to suggest a desert blanket, and to be used as a Spectre for a bound Etheral Host for the Snakemen.
 Rear view.
It is mounted on a 40mm Lippeed Round base to give you an idea of the size.
 Two of Citadel's 1980's ORC2 range Savage Orcs. 
On the left is 'Grobble', and on the right Slobl'. 
I have painted them up in an roughly Native American style, with a slight nod to the Apache. The idea is to have an Ally Contingent for the Snakemen that suggests the Snakemen have allied with a tribe or two of Orcs dwelling in the South of the New World. 
Incidentally, they will be normal Orcs, rather than actual Savage Orcs.
Rear view. 

Next week will hopefully be the completed Orc ally Contingent, and maybe a couple more Snakemen.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Jes Goodwin's 1980's Citadel Lord of the Rings Alternative range of Uruk-Hai.

As the overlong title suggests, this blog update is on the alternative range of Uruk-Hai miniatures which Jes Goodwin sculpted for Citadel's Lord of the Rings range of Uruk-Hai. Don't worry Snakeman fans, I am still painting my way through the army (and other things!). However, I managed to buy the last few Uruk-Hai miniatures from this range recently, and so I wanted to update about them.

From 1985 until 1987 Citadel Miniatures produced a range of figures based on the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit books. The miniatures were sculpted similar to Citadels style of their general fantasy miniatures of the time, and some of the Orcs later ended up being used as the basis for other sculpts in Citadel's Warhammer Orc ranges. The Lord of the Rings range as a whole was sculpted by several of the sculptors working for Citadel at the time. The range, with some exceptions, was slotta based.

Towards the end of their licence, Citadel produced an alternative range of Uruk-Hai miniatures, sculpted by Jes Goodwin (famous for his wonderful Elf and Eternal Champion ranges from the time). At the time their Lord of the Rings range only had three Uruk-Hai models, and so it seems that this range was sculpted to add variety.

Now, I can only assume that Citadel did'nt realise that they were going lose the licence, as why sculpt a new range? After they lost the licence, this range of Uruk-Hai ceased production, and so was only available for a few months in 1987. I think they may have been available as stock clearance via mail order for a month or two longer, but then were gone. I again can only assume that this was because of intellectual property, as the miniatures had been marketed as Uruk-Hai and then could'nt have been re-branded and sold as a different range. So whilst not breathtakingly rare, they are still quite rare.

Anyway, the range consisted of fifteen miniatures. There were three distinct types; the Archers, the Swordmen, and the Pole-arms. There were three base sculpts for the range which went on to form the basis for the sculpt of that type. There were five sculpts for each of the Archers, Swordsmen, and Pole-arms.

Aesthetically I think they are wonderful. They are excellently detailed, crisp, sculpts. The faces are amazing. They are full of life and character, with a nice sense of movement. The variations of sculpting from the base sculpt are great, offering fiffteen distinct and yet coherent miniatures. If you were to build units/an army from these miniatures, as was the intention, they would have formed a good basis. With a little bit of conversion, many of the miniatures would have provided even greater variation. Personally, I think it was a great loss to the miniatures world that this range disappeared so soon.

So what am I going to do with them?
My plan, at a later date but not yet, is to paint these Uruk-Hai and use them as the basis of a 1980's Lord of the Rings skirmish force. Despite a couple of the sculpts having the Eye of Sauron on their helms, I will use these as the core of Saruman's 'Army of the White Hand', and paint them with the symbol of the White hand on their shields. I will use the original Uruk-Hai sculpts, which are more overtly Mordor in design with the more prominent Eyes of Sauron on them, for the forces of the Dark Lord.

Enjoy :)
 The range, as appeared in White Dwarf #99.
I am not sure why they painted them green, but they look very in keeping with many of Citadel's Goblinoids of the time.
One of the interesting and cool things about this range is how very similar miniatures have been given a very different look and sense of movement by having the heads facing in differing directions. They also look similar to the way Tolkien described Uruk-Hai/Orcs, "crooked legged and long armed". 
 My full set of Uruk-Hai.  :)
Like all of my 1980's Lord of the Rings miniatures I am basing the infantry on 30mm round lipped bases.
Originally however the range would have been on 25mm square bases. The Swordsmen and the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai have a boss on the hand to allow the addition of the plastic Citadel shields. I have equipped mine with the largest of the round shields.
 The five pole-armed Uruk-Hai.
 The five Swordsmen Uruk-Hai.
 The five Archer Uruk-Hai.
The first of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, armed with a pole-mace, and looking straight ahead.
The second of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai with a double-handed axe,and looking left. His mop of hair makes him look like a bit of a 'metal-head', or perhaps one of the Beatles from the late 1960's!
The third of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, armed with a long bladed spear, looking right, and sporting a rather fetching mohawk haircut.
The fourth of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, with another long bladed spear. He has the same look as the first Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, although the blade is slightly different.
The fifth and final of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai, with a type of hooked halberd.
Rear view of the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai. They are all the same in this respect.
The first of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai. 
He has quite a fancy helmet, and it has an Eye of Sauron on it. If these miniatures were very commmon I would file this off as I am meaning to use them as Uruk-Hai of the White Hand. However, as they are not common, I have'nt the heart to, and so will just leave it metal coloured as the rest of the helmet.
The second of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai with a spiked helmet.
The third of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai, wearing a leather helment with metal discs on, and looking to the left like he is about to swing his sword.
The fourth of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai, yelling, and wearing a plumed helmet.
The final of the Swordsmen Uruk-Hai. Compared to the other sculpts he is a little more sedate (if an Uruk-Hai could be described as such), but he is great none the less.
Rear view of the Swordsmen, again like the Pole-armed Uruk-Hai the are the same for each of the five. 
The first of the Archers.
He is wearing a hood emblazened with the Eye of Sauron on. 
Unlike the Pole-Arm and Sword wielding Uruk-Hai, all the archers are in the smae pose and facing the same way.
The second of the Archers, wearing a helmet.
The third Archer, this time bare-headed with a top knot.
The fourth Archer is wearing a wonderful ridged helmet.
The final Archer has a leather, with a few studs around the rim and ends.
Read and side views of the Archers. 

Next update will be back to the Snakemen.