Friday, 27 March 2015

Iron Snakes: Ancient Nestor Build Complete

Hi folks,

During my short break from painting I have been working on some modelling projects. Apart from the Van Diemen's World figures that I am whittling away at, I have finished assembling a Contemptor Dreadnought for my Iron Snakes detachment: Ancient Nestor.

The more I look at this picture the more Nestor is riding a red hoverboard...

I was inspired thematically by the Hecaton Aiakos model from the Forge World Minotaurs Chapter collection. It is a beautiful figure which I desperately wish was an Iron Snake! So, I bought myself a Venerable Contemptor instead and added a few details, including a Lakodeme style combat shield, purity seals and a helmet plume.

Moar plasma!


The name Nestor is from Homer's Illiad; Nestor was the oldest Achaean commander at Troy. Nestor was known for his wisdom, often acting as an adviser to less senior military commanders, especially Agamemnon. The name also shows up on the Dark Angels brass etch sheet, though, somewhat ironically, I can't find a place for it to fit on my Dreadnought!

Originally I was going to have Nestor crushing a Fallen Dark Angels marine under his foot, as the Iron Snakes are intended to be an ally for my Dark Angels. I'm not so sure now, after seeing some of the bases and basing materials available at Scibor Miniatures. I have ordered the following pieces and I am going to see if any of it will fit under his foot.

I have two special characters to add to my force, so they will get one of the bases, and a squad of Iron Snakes Centurions would look great as well (Gah! So many projects!). With holidays coming up I think I am going to be a very busy/happy man.

See you across the table,


P.S. I found my favourite sculpting tool last night after a long period of absence. I can't tell you how relieved I was to find it... it is... precious to me ;-)

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Van Diemen's World Devils: Female Infantry

 Hi folks,

Way back in November I mentioned that I had purchased some Van Dieman's World Devils from Victoria Miniatures, as a present for my good mate Wade. The style of the Van Dieman's World Devils is based on the iconic appearance of the Australian soldier, in particular the slouch hats and fatigues.


The aim is to get them painted for a special ANZAC day memorial game at the end of April, so I have dropped (almost...) everything to prepare them. Out of the twenty figures he has, ten need to be converted with female heads from a different set. This involves cutting the heads out of the male slouch hats, removing the Cadian style helmets from the female troops and bringing the two pieces together in a way that is in no way suggestive of "space mumps".

That's "Space Mumps" on the left and "Smeg Head" on the right.

Here are some pictures of the process for those who are interested in the modelling side of things:

The sprues are washed in a soapy solution to remove any chemical residue form the manufacturing process that may affect glue and paint adhesion.

I grip the male heads above the ears with some wire cutters and slowly squeeze. The higher up the better.

This is what I am left with. Most of this resin must be removed to fit the female head in.

About 1 mm of cutting to go. When the resin is flush with the brim of the hat it is ready for the head.

Far more feminine features. The hair and head needs to be trimmed down to just above the eye-line.

Nearly there. After a bit of cleaning up around the edges I used this one to see how it would look. For the rest of them I will probably file back the head even a fraction more.

A quick comparison to make sure I am on the right track. The only sign of a join between the two head pieces is a break in the hair-line close to the hat. I put a minute ball of greenstuff in there and sculpted some hair with my hobby knife blade.

A quick dry fit followed by some cleaning of flash around the legs and feet.

The lasgun required some heating and bending to straighten the barrel.

Ready for priming; nine to go...

Considering this is the "first pancake" I am fairly happy with the outcome. For the next couple I will lower the hat a fraction and file more resin off the back of the head, to expose the face a little bit by changing the angle of the hat. Hopefully when these guys (and girls!) are finished, we can set up a painting session and production-line them in time for the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

See you across the table,


P.S. A completely relevant beer commercial from my childhood:

Monday, 9 March 2015

Iron Snakes: Squad Lakodeme - TO DONE!

Hi folks,

At last. For those of you who have been following my progress over the past six months, you will know that I have been working on a squad of Iron Snakes Sternguard with siege mantles. They were the first project on my 2014/15 To-Do list, so I guess you could say I am a little behind schedule ;-)

The marines are all equipped with MK III Iron Armour with a simple helmet and shoulder pad swap from Chapterhouse Studios. Seven of the marines are equipped with combi-plasmas (also from Chapterhouse), two have plasma guns and the Veteran Sergeant has a power spear. All of the marines are equipped with siege mantles from Forge World. I have also included in the squad an apothecary and standard bearer, in keeping with the Iron Snakes reference material.

Within the squad, five Iron Snakes factions are represented: Cetus, Aries, Asklepios, Taurus and Scorpios. You can tell which faction each marine belongs to by his helm and/or shield design. I'll explore these factions and the main characters of the squad in my next post; it is time to establish a suitably grim/dark background for these guys!

Veteran Sergeant Thanatos of Cetus

Thanatos and another marine of Cetus

Squad Standard Bearer and a fellow marine of Aries

The Apothecary and fellow marine of Asklepios

Some simple details on the Narthecium. By this stage I didn't have much mojo left...

The heavy hitters; plasma gunners of Taurus.

Marines of Scorpios fighting in the shade.

The most difficult parts of the project were the free-hand shields, which represent the factions I have mentioned. I originally created some digital mock-ups using PowerPoint as a reference. I found this was a great help, as I could plan where the lines should start and finish, as well as identify lines that were vital for the "look" of the image. Get those lines wrong and you may as well pack up for the night.

Scorpios, Cetus, Aries, Asklepios and Taurus. Bonus points if you know where the names come from...

So... I guess the next step is to use them in a game. Hobby-wise, my next step will be to paint an accompanying Contemptor Dreadnought and a Master of the Forge to command them. I am hoping that they don't require an equally epic effort to complete, though there is something very satisfying about getting out the big red stamp for this particular project:

Squad Lakodeme holds the line against Hive Fleet Numereji

See you across the table,


Monday, 2 March 2015

Old Stuff Day!

Hi folks,

Over the past couple of years there has been a movement amongst regular bloggers to rediscover and share classic blog posts. I feel that Old School Gaming hasn't really been around long enough to warrant any serious blogomancy, but I thought I would share some photos of an old project that I am particularly proud of.

I originally posted WIP articles of this project in my old blog "Bravest of the Plains People"  (referring to a recruitment world of the Dark Angels). After the birth of my two children I stopped blogging and actually deleted the old material one fateful night. I blame utter sleep deprivation! So, it being the March 2nd and all, it is time for some Old School style resurrection...

Cast your minds back to the halcyon days of Assault on Black Reach flooding the internet with cheap Space Marine Dreadnoughts and GW bringing out the new Blood Angels Dreadnought kit, which came with enough bits to sink the Bismarck. I hatched a plan to combine the two and make both a Deathwing themed Dreadnought and an Interrogator Chaplain Dreadnought. The Deathwing Dread was armed with lightning claws, a meltagun and a plasma blaster, but could swap one claw out for a Dreadnought sniper rifle. I named it Barakiel "Hawk Talon":

Filing off the sarcophagus felt so sacrilegious...

I remember wet-blending those claws [shudder].

MOAR feathers!

Here it is with the alternate weapon configuration:

This... is my BOOMstick.

The original, larger scale, banner is framed and hanging on the wall of my garage:

+ Emu feathers from an aboriginal community fundraiser in Wilcannia

I'm really pleased to launch this model back into the blogosphere; it took such an incredible amount of fiddling to complete, thinking about it now makes me grin. I look forward to seeing what everyone else finds during their mining for old blog gems. If your number of post views from Australia jumps wildly over the next couple of days, it is probably me checking out your archives!

See you across the table,