Tuesday, 23 May 2017

In the Grim Darkness of the Far Future, There's a Pretty Mixed Bag...

So, the contents of the forthcoming Dark Imperium boxed set for the new Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition was just revealed.

I can't help but notice that the plague-infested mutant hordes that are making up the numbers in the Nurgle-worshipping Death Guard force are called Poxwalkers... the same name as my own shambling demonic hordes. In fairness, a bit of research just now revealed the existence of a Chaos artifact called the Poxwalker Hive that uses insects to create zombies (or something), so I guess Gee-Dub wins this round!

Going from the fluff, a zombie-type creature that's essentially a walking hive for demonic insects would be great... a 40K version of Mushizo from Ninja Scroll. Unfortunately these just look like they've taken the "Nurgle = bone spikes" motif from the Putrid Blightkings (elements I all but removed entirely from my own Plaguetouched), turned it up to 11, and crammed it into human-sized figures. In fact, the whole Death Guard figure range here seems to have gone that same way. Still, the actual Chaos Marines are more ornate anyway, and seem to weather the over-detailed storm better than the mutants (especially the guy with the tentacle-jester-hat and bionic arm, and the one bursting out of his gimp suit).

The flipside to that, in other, more positive, news, is that the new Space Marines have gone the other way! They seem more military and less ornate than many of their predecessors (it helps, not doubt, that the base set will be the 'vanilla' Ultramarines (or whatever other orthodox Chapter one wishes) rather than the more gimmicky Dark/Blood Angels, Space Wolves etc. I'm FINALLY getting the Marines I always wanted: bad asses that actually look like super-soldiers! This guy especially.

So, I guess... in the grim darkness of the far future, there's a pretty mixed bag...


Monday, 22 May 2017

A Morbid Taste For Bones

Having built up a rather hefty flock at this point, I decided that the next addition to the ranks of the Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile would be a couple of shepherds to lead them on their unholy and pestilential crusades.

What I wanted was two models in robes that could pass as vaguely clerical garb. What's more, I really wanted them to look a bit tatty, to reflect their less-than-salubrious existence amongst the faithful of the Order. Beyond that, some deformities to reflect the demonic influence they wield was desirable, but not a deal-breaker. Shopping around for a bit, I found loads of nice-looking necromancers and mages, but none that really hit the nail on the head for me. Then, Nick at North Star sent through some of the new Frostgrave releases for me, including the second pack of Beastcrafters – perfect.

Their fishy, Innsmouth-y look fit nicely into the predominantly Nurgle-inspired line-up of the Order, though I did clip away the existing sickle and club and replaced them with more traditionally wizardly staffs.

Painting was the usual swift combination of the by-now familiar colours, with the addition of a darkish grey for their jackets to contrast with the yellow of the cult robes. The combination works well for me, and means that I can always use them as Confederate cultists as well if I want to!

Currently nameless, and title-less for that matter. Time to hit the books on monastic orders...

Already on the workbench, 5 cult archers to lend a touch of ranged support to the force. They'll be followed, in some order, by 5 cult templars and 10 regular cultists.

  • 10 Poxwalkers – pestilence-ridden demons
  • 5 Plaguetouched – half-demonic berserkers
  • Dirty Frank – blind ghoul king
  • 20 Wretches (here and here)– ghoulish troglodytes
  • 2 Cult Magisters – corrupt priests

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Gribble

A quick post, this one, to catalogue the second batch of Wretches.


As with the first batch, these are Hobbit goblins from GW. Unlike the first ten, I painted these with a different base skin tone, slightly more green than brown, with the intent of mixing the two batches together for a bit more variety. The end result is... negligible!


Also unlike the first ten, I really didn't enjoy painting these at all – and lots of bitty little errors meant that I had to go back and fix more than one of them on more than one occasion. I'm glad they're done!

The Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile currently stands at:


Next up, a Wizard and his Apprentice in the form of two cult magisters, then the cult faithful.


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

LuchaScores: Outrageous

Things I like: Manga. Wargames. Cyberpunk. Lucha Libre.

Things I have read recently: Infinity: Outrage – Kenny Ruiz, Victor Santos

No luchadores (alas!), but a stonking good sci-fi military Manga set in the universe of Infinity. Infinity is a sci-fi wargame setting from Corvus Belli that incorporates a heavy dose of both Cyberpunk and Manga influences – Ghost in the Shell meets Apocalypse Now meets a touch of Cowboy Bebop meets the Takeshi Kovacs series from Richard K. Morgan – and avoids playing too heavily into the generic tropes. Yes, we have a classic Americans-in-Spaaaace faction, but they're a somewhat old-fashioned force thanks to having colonized an isolated planet along with Cossack, French and Scottish settlers, making for a strange multi-cultural force... with werewolves. By contrast, the major high-tech power in the galaxy is a nation with heavy Oceanic, Brazilian, Indian, and Scandinavian influences... and a number of religious orders. It's balls-to-the-wall crazy, and massively fun.

However.

I really don't care for the game set in this universe. It's not that I don't recognize its quality – it's massively popular for a reason – I just can't get on board with it. So, when I saw that Infinity was going to put out a Manga, I was very pleased, and promptly pre-ordered it. The book turned up today, along with a limited edition mini (also very nice), and was rapidly devoured.

Art-wise, it's gorgeous. Classic Manga lines, but with a slightly European comic influence in presentation. Action sequences are clear yet dramatic – there were a couple of instances where I had to double-check that I'd identified the correct character amongst all the gunfire and chaos, but these were few and far between.

My immediate concern with tie-in fiction is that it can all-too-easily descend into a game of getting in as many references as possible, in order to satisfy as many existing fans as possible, and we did have the early "getting the team together" scene, which featured iconic troop types from a number of the game's usually rival factions. Despite this, it doesn't play out in that way at all, and while the various characters each get some screen time and a chance to show off their specialties, there's a deeper story at work behind the slam-bang action sequences.

It's a relatively short read, so the plot cracks along at a decent pace, but doesn't feel rushed except in a couple of places (which, in fairness, are not massive faults, but which could have been a bit more developed to the benefit of the plot). I do wish it was a bit longer, though. The ending, while satisfying enough, is a little predictable, and feels like the start of a series – it's got quite a 'prologue' feel to it. If a series does come from this, I will not be complaining!

4 Luchas

Monday, 24 April 2017

Scuttle, Scuttle

So, hot on the heels of Dirty Frank come his minions in the form of the first ten (of twenty) Wretches. These guys are simply the Hobbit goblins with a brown-ish paint-job. No conversions, save to remove a whip from one of them and to remove the slotta tabs.


I'm not a huge fan of the models, to be honest – the aesthetic is spot-on for what I'm after, but the sculpts themselves, being single-piece, leave a little to be desired. There are certain vague elements, especially around the ears, hair, and shoulders where distinction is rather vague, to say the least. Still, they paint up quickly enough, and are meant to be pretty grimy and grotty, so they'll do.

The little guy (far right in the above pic, and left below) is tiny – had I not got a couple of additional models on the Goblin King sprue to round out the mob to a full twenty, I'd have cherry-picked my favourites, and run with just ten.


As of press time, the Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile comprises:


To come, 10 more Wretches, a couple of cult leaders, and the faithful cult members. After that, I think a little break... if only to restock on brown paints!


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Dirty Frank

I always like to have a big model as a centrepiece in my warbands, if at all possible, and for the growing Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile, my recent Plaguetouched just weren't cutting it in the size stakes, so I went looking for a big, pestilential model...

The existing Nurgle options from GW aren't my cup of tea, not to mention being more than a little pricey! They were also a little too big and over-the-top – I needed a troll or ogre, rather than an immense demon. I discounted all the not-Nurgle options from various companies for similar reasons.

Having decided to include some Hobbit Goblintown goblins in the warband, I took another look at the Goblin King model. Turns out, what made me hate him in the movie (alongside oh-so-many other issues) was what made it work for me in this context – he's big, deformed, and liberally covered in pustules without being too excessive (I wanted something a little less plague-ridden to act as a halfway house between the demonic troops and the forthcoming human cultists).

First thing to go was the excessively pointy crown – I don't see this guy as a leader as much as a tank (more along the lines of the cave troll in the Moria sequence in Fellowship of the Ring, before they started throwing trolls at everything...). This has left him with a rather odd circlet, but... meh. I'll cobble together some rationale at some point or another...

The real work, such as it was, lay in clipping away the big old staff/mace the model was originally holding. This necessitated a minor resculpt on his hand, to add in a couple of knuckles that were previously covered.

Painting, as with all the recent Nurgle stuff, was swift and simple – flesh, green/purple wash, drybrush with more flesh, paint loincloth, pick out pustules and warts, wash the lot. He's come out much darker than I expected, not that I dislike it, but it's definitely not what I originally had in my head. It does set it apart from the usual paintjobs I see on the model, which lean much more towards the pale. Still, minor niggles aside, I think he fits in well with the gang so far:


The four-day Easter break was productive – I got this guy finished, and ten of his goblin minions (to be reskinned as ghoulish troglodytes) painted. More on those when the basing is done and dusted.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Plaguetouched

I was really pleased with how the Plaguebearers came out recently, and set my mind to painting some more stuff in the same vein.

Enter, stage left, one box of Putrid Blightkings. I've had my eye on these for a while, but never really had cause to pull the trigger on getting them (a very un-wargamer attitude, I know – I once came back from Salute having spent just £2.50...). Still, I was on a roll, and I found a box dirt cheap on Ebay...

I also picked up the plastic Lord of Plagues, with a view to adding him in as a 6th model for a Dragon Rampant unit. That plan didn't come to pass: having built all 6 models, I dropped one (fortunately, my least favourite), and stood on it... its sword ended up in my foot, its arm broke off, and I cursed and threw it in the bin. Oh well, it's by no means my worst modelling accident. Five it is – at least this will save me having to paint up two more Plaguebearers...


Construction was straightforward, with the only real alterations coming in the form of a simplification of their armour – helmets were sheared down to plain metal masks, removing the horns and plumes, and the shoulderpads were chosen for simplicity, some having spines removed and replaced with drilled-in rust holes. I also chopped down a weapon or two, limited most of them to a single weapon, and carved a Nugling out of a stomach cavity. I'm not a huge fan of the over-the-top look, and much prefer the pin-headed, brutal anonymity of these guys.


Painting-wise, I followed a similar approach to these guys as I did for the Plagubearers, starting with a brown basecoat, which is now my preferred approach – the clarity compared to black is great, and it's much more forgiving in the nooks and crannies. Fleshtone were mixed – I threw in some Army Painter Barbarian Flesh and Necrotic Flesh (the latter was used for the Plaguebearers) and added a touch of ochre for a couple of the models. Everything then got a really sloppy wash of green and purple to add a varied and unhealthy hue to different body parts. Finally, I gave a few areas a little wash of watered-down Barbarian Flesh to bring the complexion back up to 'human' in parts. I think it gives them a really quite disconcerting part-human, part-demon appearance.



Slap on some plate metal, and everything else was a doddle – dark yellow for the cult robes, which will be continued on the cannon fodder (it also picks up on the larger boils on the Plaguebearers, tying – I hope – these two units together), boils and pustules picked out in cream, white and bright yellow, open wounds in bright red, and the weird spherical blisters in a dark pink. Wash everything top to tail and job's a good'un.


With a couple of exceptions (e.g. a tentacle mistakenly painted as a ragged length of loincloth, a skintone a little too close to the yellow of the robes), I'm really happy with these models. They represent a noticeable (for me, anyway) evolution in my painting, and were painted with a confidence that I don't normally have when it comes to painting. There's a long way to go before painting takes the place of kitbashing in my affections, but...

The Plaguetouched, berserkers of the Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile.

Next up for the Choleric Order of the Yellow Bile (in no particular order): the faithful (Frostgrave Cultists) and the wretched (Hobbit Goblins).