Saturday 24 December 2016

Snakeman redux.

My progress on the Snakemen has recently ground to halt. I tried to figure out why, and concluded that despite them being wonderful miniatures, I had chosen the wrong route for them. Although the paint scheme and approach was fine, I became bored with painting them. So I had left them be for a while, concentrating on assembling my Age of Sigmar 'Death' army, as well as concerned with work and other things. In short, as my lack of blog updates shows, I hit a doldrum in painting.

However all that changed with me looking again at my copy of Rodney Mathews art book 'In Search of Eternity'. The colours and style of art inspired my to looked again at the Snakemen, and to consider a much more brighter colour scheme, with a broader palette. Less dull colours. Also, I don't want to have a mono paint scheme for the army, with all green skinned Snakemen but a mix of vibrant colours. I will probably keep the gold colour for the armour, with a couple of exceptions, as it looks nice.
"Chase the Dragon" (1980).
"Sanctuary" (1981).
 "Tanelorn" (1976). 
(All pictures property of Rodney Matthews, or something else legal here that shows it's his stuff. Check out his website and/or buy the book! :)  )

So the plan is to give the Snakemen more individual skin tones, brighter, with more blues, bright greens, purples, yellows, and as well as more convertional snake colourings. Afterall they are also creatures of Chaos, and suggestive of Slaanesh in the Warhammer setting, and so bright colours and pastels seems more appropriate. It will be more fun too!

I have also rebased them, putting them on my first choice of base, a 40mm lipped round base. I like these bases, and have based many Goblins on the 30mm version. The Snakemen can still be used for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, but they also feel more open if I ever decide to use them for Rogue Trader or skirmish gaming. I'll probably keep the desert basing effect though. Also, I have broken a little with the '1980's only' and added several parts from plastic kits from the 1990s' and 2000's. I have abandoned the purest appraoch for the Snakemen to add a little more different details to them.

In addition, I have also picked up a few more Snakemen from e-bay, bring the total to 45. This works out to four units of 10, one army General, one Army Standard, and two heroes. The last remaining Snakeman I might convert into a Chaos Sorcerer in Chaos Armour. But I'm not above expanding the army.

Enjoy :)
 All 45 of the critters
(please excuse the state of the painting desk!).
 First unit of Snakemen, armed with hand weapons, shields, and wearing heavy armour. They are a mix of the C27 Snakeman miniatures: Higgat Dwarf Slicer; S'lon Life Smasher; S'lararet Splintered Fang. The standard bearer is a converted S'lararet Splintered Fang with a green stuff banner and Vampire Counts plastic Ox head on top.
The second unit of Snakemen largely as above, but with a converted Higgat Dwarf Slicer standard bearer.
The third unit is made up of ten of the Saranth Elf Mangler, with a converted standard bearer.
The fourth and final unit is of ten S'Sirron Fangthrane Snakemen. I need to convert up a standard bearer for this unit. 
The Characters.
From left to right are the Army Standard Bearer; a 'spare' S'Sirron Fangthrane who will probably end up as a Chaos Sorcerer; the Army General; and two Chaos heroes.
The Army Standard bearer. 
I converted him up from a broken Saranth Elf Mangler by adding a standard top from the Warhammer Tomb Kings Necropolis Knight set. It reminds me of the standard top of Thulsa Doom, from the film Conan (1982). I have a wonderful Thulsa Doom miniature to paint as well, but more on that in a later update.
Two unit standard bearers. The one on the right is made using an old Citadel Elf horn.
Another unit standard bearer. I added a little greenstuff banner below the shield, otherwise it looked a little like a lollipop sign!
To add a little variation to the S'lon Life Smasher miniature (and some of the others) I have re-positioned the tails and head angles on some of them. On the left is the original pose, on the right one of the variants. I have repostioned a few of the heads previously, but I stook the idea of moving the the tails and bodies more from a fellow bloggers blog here:
 Another two repostioned S'lon Life Smashers.
The Army General.
He was a Higgat Dwarf Slicer who had seen better days, with a damaged midriff and broken off sword. However with a little green stuff and the addition of a another Tomb Kings item, this a plastic Khopesh, he looks a lot better. I think that the sword give a slightly more exotic and perhaps travelled look to him.
 Two Chaos heroes.
After reading some of the Elric books I thought it would be fun to have one of the Snakemen as an alien aspect of Eternal Champion concept. Orignally this was going to be the Snakeman on the right, but I decided to convert up a S'lararet Splintered Fang with an old 2nd Edition 40k Chaos Marine sword which to me looks a little like a kin of Stombringer. I will paint up this miniature Albino skinned.
The other Snakeman I converted to have a bow. Now I am going to repaint him in red armour and have him as a sort of Rakhir the Red.

The next update will be on some painted Snakemen!! :) 

Thursday 24 November 2016

Well, I'm not dead...

...but I have been very distracted of late, and not been painting at all.

Work has gotten in the way, as well as a lack of focus, and a weird two weeks of being ill after a spider bite left me very tired and unwell and in need of antibiotics (and I live in Southern England, hardly replete with deadly arachnids). I have also been buying stuff, but not really painting any of it. So as a consequence I have'nt really updated my blog in the last four (yes four!) weeks, which is quite terrible.

However I have been part-focusing on three things:

First are the Snakemen. I want to finish these critters off as they are wonderful miniatures and deserve the time and attention. I also bought yet another one, making a total of 45, to convert into an army standard bearer. I also purchased some Dark Fable Miniatures to complement them but more of that once they are painted.

Secondly, I have been pursuing my interest of Ancient Egypt, ancient civilsations, and the Undead,  by revisiting my old Tomb Kings, and looking into an Age of Sigmar 'Death' army. With the coming of the Age of Sigmar the Tomb Kings have been removed from sale and reduced to a niche aspect. However they can be still be used, with no need for re-basing, and so I have been buying a few more odds and ends, mainly Tomb Guards. The main advantages of Age of Sigmar Tomb Kings is the lack of reliance on a Hierophant, and no limitiations on army list restrictions.

I like Age of Sigmar, and I liked the idea of having an actual Age of Sigmar Army rather than just the Tomb Kings. I have some Ogres, but I am not really that fussed with them. So I turned to Death. The Death army is very similar to the Tomb Kings in many respects, with the Skeletons et al. So I have been intermittently collecting current Death miniatures to create an army with a Tomb Kings twist. This involves basically taking the Death miniatures and adding Tomb Kings parts, such as Tomb Kings shields, banners, and arms to Skeletons and Black Riders, and other items to a Zombie Dragon. As an extra addition I plan to use an old metal Tomb King's King as a Wight King.

Thirdly, I have looked again at the 40k Squats. I like the Squats but have felt my past efforts with them have'nt quite done them justice. So the plan is to paint strip them all and start again, something easier to do now I have discovered that Dettol strips plastic. I will also slightly break my own rule with some of my old armies in that everything should be as it was at the time, by re-basing some of the bikes on modern bases, and adding a few more contemporary items.

The plan with the Squats has been to break them down into their component types. By that I mean have formed seperate forces of original 40k metal Squats the 1987/8 metal Squats designed by the Perry's, the RT301 and RT302 ranges; the Bob Olley Squat range; the 1989 plastic and plastic armed range; and finally a Guild Expeditionary force. For the most part I have done this, and plan to paint each of the forces with their own, or mix of their own, paint schemes. I will also have enough spare for a small force of Chaos Squats, something I have wanted to do since 1989.
Someday I would like to assemble a 'Squat' army consisting of Hasslefree Grymn and Tau hardwear, all painted in Tau colours, but that will have to wait a while.

On a releated topic from the Tomb Kings I bought and am reading a history of Ancient Egypt, 'The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt, by Toby Wilkinson. This inspired me to go shopping for something in an Ancient Eygptian vein. With that in mind I ended up buying (with provenance) an actual Ancient Egyptian Scarab from an antiquites dealer in Mayfair. It's made from from Blue Frit. It is dated from the 18th to 19th Dynasty, approximately 1570-1185 B.C.
I just thought I would include it on my blog as something of interest as I really like it, and it feels strange to own something over 3,000 years old. 

Enjoy. :)

 Vampire on Zombie Dragon.
I have removed the saddle from the Dragon's back, and added the howdah from the Tomb Kings War Sphinx. For the Vampire Lord I am going to use a spare plastic Tomb King, although I will add a more Vampire looking head.
Close up of the howdah.
A few of the Skeleton Warriors.
 All I have done is rebased them onto 25mm round bases, and added Tomb King shields, a sword, and banner. I have about 60 of these to assemble and paint.
 Black Knights.
Like the Skeletons I've added some Tomb King parts, and also a few head swaps as well. I plan to have a couple of units of these as an hard hitting mobile alternative to the Chariots which the Death army does not possess. I see them as a slight homage to ancient cavalry, such as Assyrians or Sarmations, but with a Tomb Kings slant.
Musician and Standard Bearer.
Box of Tomb King bit to be sorted out!
I also picked up some Halloween ornaments of giant Skeletal hands for the Tomb Kings. They were only about £4 each, and there seem to be lots on e-bay, so I might get some more.
Squat bikes in need of paint stripping.
I also have another five for the Exo-Armoured Squats.

Snakemen, which I need to finish!
Beware Goblins!!
A friend of mine had this made for me a little while ago, but I kept forgetting to photograph it.
Goblin shown for scale, and mischief purposes, only. ;)
Blue Scarab.
It is 13.6mm x 9.74mm x 6.49mm and made of Blue Frit.
I absolutely love this, the detail is great and it is really charming.
The Scarab has a hole drilled through it (in antiquity), so it could be worn as a pendant.
 The underside, showing a Scarab flanked by a pair of Maat feathers.
To keep it in I had a custom made box made from a box seller in Brighton, taken from the underside decoration of the Scarab.

Next week, I not only intend to update the blog, but also to have painted some Snakemen too!! :)

Tuesday 25 October 2016

Nagash (old version), and 'friends'.

A little while ago I decided to buy and paint up the original Nagash miniature from about 1994. Now, I never liked this miniature at the time, and to make a generalisation, many other people never liked him either. For some it is considered one of the worst miniatures ever made, and is the epitome the over the top designing and over-sized weapons from the mid 1990's/'Middlehammer' period.

I did hear a story which might be true about Gary Morley who sculpted Nagash. Apparently he sculpted a lovely miniature with a human type face, full of character and evil looking, but the GW studio wanted Nagash to be skull faced and more in line with the rest of their line at the time. So, in annoyance, Gary Morley sculpted this version of Nagash, which GW liked and put into production!

So why buy and paint this miniature?
Well I wanted the see if I could take the old Nagash miniature and make him look better in my eyes, and more evil as befitting his reputation. Previous paint schemes suffered from the 1990's predilection to clean and bright (often red) painting, and I wanted to avoid the bright colour schemes of the 1990's and give him a dark look, with a a hint of his Khemri past.

To do this I decided to go for a dark paint scheme, painting the robes black. To hint at Nagash's Khemri background I painted the armour and staff gold-bronze, with some turquoise on the staff. I wanted to keep a very simple paint scheme with a limited palette of colours to contrast with the GW painting. In line with the Khemri feel, I gave him a desert base. Overall I am happy with how he looks and the darker look.

Apart from Nagash I have also had a foray into Age of Sigmar. I have played a demonstration game some time ago, and quite enjoyed it, but my main interest at the moment is wanting to return to painting and rebasing my Tomb Kings army. Now I am aware that Tomb Kings are no longer part of the Age of Sigmar canon but they can still be used for gaming. In addition, the Vampire Counts are still used in the form of the 'Grand Alliance of Death', and so I have been painting up some of the range and adding new items. I have decided to give them a Tomb Kings aspect, giving them Tomb Kings shields and weapons, and going for bronze weapons and armour. More on those, and the Snakemen which I have not forgotten about, in later updates.

To finish I would like to mention that I have reached 260,346 views on my blog. Considering the slightly less frequent updating of late, I am very pleased and flattered that people have been taking such an interest in my blog. Thank you to everyone who has.

Enjoy :)
 The old Nagash from the 1990's.
 My darker version of Nagash.
I slightly repositioned his body and arms to give the impression of him walking forward and slightly to the right as his legs suggest.
Close up of the 'face'. 
In conversations with people on the Oldhammer Facebook group it was suggested that Nagashs face might be better painted more a flesh colour than bone white. So I opted for a pallid looking flesh tone.
Nagash's staff top: gold, turquoise, and bone colours, reminiscent of Khemri.
Nagash's sword, Zefet-nebtar, the Mortis blade. It is actually a lot more blue in real life, but the photograph doesn't quite capture it.  
Rear view.
Scale photograph of old Nagash and a Tomb Kings Tomb Guard.
Morghast Archai.
These are quite newly produced miniatures, 2015, and are part of the Age of Sigmar 'Grand Alliance of Death'. I have painted them up more Khemri in look to match my Tomb King-equse 'Death' army. 
I had fun painting these, but found that they were a pain to assemble beforehand.
Front view.
I like the armour plates, which whilst are meant to be painted black/dark, I painted gold.
Rear view of the wings and the lost spirits conecting the Morghast to the base. I do like the screaming souls on it, nice idea.
Close up.
The other Morghast.
More screaming spirit wings.
Skull face and armour.
Scale shot with the Tomb Guard again.
The Morghasts are quite large miniatures and look quite impressive.
Cairn Wraith. 
To keep with the Tomb King feel I added a death mask from the Tomb Guard set (minus the eagle on top) and painted the robes as a shroud. I did intent to add Egyptian Hieroglyphics to the robes, but I think it looks fine as it is.
Close up.

Next week might be on any number things I am currently doing, probably Tomb Kings or Death Miniatures, but I do have the Snakemen still to finish.

Monday 10 October 2016

Meeting Ian Miller at the Corridor Gallery, Brighton.

On Friday last (7th October 2016) I lucky enough to attend a viewing of the current art exhibition of the work of the artist Ian Miller, held at the Corridor Gallery in Brighton (East Sussex, UK), at which Ian Miller himself attended.

For those of you unaware, Ian Miller is an artist who contributed a body of work to many of the GW publications during the 1980's, very notablity Slaves to Darkness. In addition, he provided work for the Tolkien Bestiary (in the late 1970's), and a wealth of art since.

It was a great evening. The gallery was very busy, and had quite a lot of Ian Miller's artwork on show, with signed prints to buy, of with I bought two, as well as most of the artwork itself for sale as well. I chatted to Ian Miller about his current art, and the art which he did for GW in the 1980's. I did take a photograph of the general crowds in the gallery, which included Ian Miller, but I did'nt publish it on my blog out of respect for his privacy.

He mentioned that he no longer owned a lot of the art he did for GW, and that during the 1980's he was given 'boxes' of miniatures from at the time, which he recently sold! I had taken my old copy of Slaves to Darkness with me, and as I was showing other people at the show Ian Miller offered (and did) sign and dedicate it. All in all he is a very pleasant and interesting man to chat to, and after liking his art for the last 30 years, it was great to finally meet him and see his new work.

Here are the links for Ian Millers and the Corridor Gallery websites. Both are well worth a visit, and the exhibition is on until 31st October 2016 (closed Mondays), and worth a trip to Brighton if you are able:

Enjoy. :)
The front of the Corridor Gallery (it's not for sale by the way! LOL)

The two prints which I bought. They are signed and numbered, about A3 sized, and were £20 each. 
Both of the originals are on show, and for sale.
Print entitled 'Mote 1'.
Print entitled 'The Dragon Tree'.
Ian Millers signing and deidcation in my copy of Slaves to Darkness.

Next update will be probably either Snakemen, or Tomb Kings, or maybe both. :)