Monday, December 21, 2020

Oldhammer Original

Mercenary Abbadon

They say he was there at the beginning.  One of the originals; witnessed the birth of the Imperium.  But that's impossible... he's just a man, a lowly spacer.  Still, the glitchy old holos don't lie; there he is.

This figure is easily one of the most vintage models I own.  First appearing in 1987, the sculpt dates all the way back to the early days of Citadel Miniatures' "Rogue Trader", when there was a lot less rigid backstory or structure to their catalog.  Later, the Rogue Trader universe became the skull-piled Warhammer 40,000 we all know and (problematically) love, and street-level characters like Abbadon, Plunderino Pete, and Irn-Bonce the Squat are now a thing of the past...

1987: first appearance as "Ground Combat Trooper".

... then "Abbadon" a few months later.

It's an odd sculpt, hunched and bandy-legged with a very vague helmeted face that's almost skeletal.  But I like it, it has a grimy working-class-in-space appeal.

I picked this model up years ago, and a recent post by Matt S. of Oldenhammer in Toronto spurred me to paint it up.  I love his bold, lively painter's hand, and I think this paint job is definitely influenced by it.  I tried not to mimic his version of the figure, but the shoulder patches are identical as a small homage.

(Abbadon's name was of course recycled for a much different, more skull-licious 40k character later on)

"How long were you out there, old timer?... Hmm, a man of few words, I guess."

Friday, December 18, 2020

Chernobyl Man

Pripyat intruder

I'm nuclear
I'm wild
I'm breaking up inside
A heart of broken glass defiled
Deep inside the abandoned child

To enter the Chernobyl Incident Exclusion Zone is forbidden.  But some do it anyway, out of curiosity, desire for adventure, or to scavenge any remaining valuables.  It's certainly a risky venture however; while radiation levels are now low enough that exposure doesn't mean certain death, there are other, more immediate perils lurking within...

This is an Alternative Armies figure with a bit of detail added to the rifle and gasmask (giving it an oddly spider-like appearance).  The fences and sign are scratchbuilt, with model barbed wire.

"Good you are here, tovarisches!  They are escaping!"


Note: this figure and terrain are inspired by fiction like the PC game "S.T.A.L.K.E.R.", depicting the Exclusion Zone as a bleak, sinister, apocalyptic landscape full of savage, mutated horrors.  While this is a cool fantasy, the real Zone is actually what many areas abandoned by humans rapidly become: a safe haven for wildlife and flora to flourish without disruption:

The Exclusion Zone can even be visited safely, without automatic weapons and creepy, grotty Soviet-surplus gasmasks, via professional guided tours that visit highlights like abandoned schools, parks, and even the plant itself.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Paws of Sorcery

Solan, Persian Warlock

28mm scale

Solan paced the perimeter of the summoning circle, uttering the words of power that would draw forth an entity from the planes beyond ours.  One mistake and the spell would fail, or worse, the spirit would escape, free to perform whatever mischief it chose on our world... and the spellcaster who sought to bind it.  Solan's protective wards and potions were formulated with this in mind...

I had a hard time deciding which of my Cats & Catacombs figures to paint after my monk and fighter pair... but since I tend to have a shortage of magic-users in my display case, this guy was a great choice!  He has a distinctive pacing, slightly curved posture, which fits perfectly with a summoning circle on his base to give him a bit of a story.

Removing this little guy from his attached base was a very good idea; I don't know if you could even paint his belly completely without doing it.

 The bottles are from the same WizKids Deep Cuts purchase as the lighted cauldron I posted earlier (though these are from the wizard's accessories).  I drilled them out and painted the inside surfaces to make them look filled with liquid; the plastic's a bit soft and oddly hard to drill cleanly. But the result works, I think.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Light show



Aim for the target
With laser and lights
Releasing the trigger
Puts victory in sight

This was a fun one-day project I did last week on a day off work.  The figure is an Alternative Armies "Star Viking" I've had for a while but was never inspired by before.  I just saw it in the pile, and the idea to paint it up with a gun blast effect and OSL just came to me.  The result, I think, is actually pretty badass.

Witch's Cauldron

28mm scale


I picked up a couple of WizKids Deep Cuts sets recently: "Witch's Den" and "Wizard's Room".  so now I have a fun assemblage of arcane dungeon dressing that I'll probably use to embellish bases or set up some fun photos.  The coolest item was a cauldron with a clear insert for the "potion" inside!  So I did the obvious :)


This was actually pretty easy, just a bit of drilling and positioning to get the LED snug inside.  The hardest part was fitting the wires under the very thin base I used.  I'd suggest a regular 30mm base if you want to make something like this.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Lady Liberty

Sunrise on Liberty
28 mm

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


I've had this great little Hasslefree Miniatures model for ages, I probably got it in a mini exchange back when I was a regular on Cool Mini or not.  It's not a perfect replica of the actual Statue of Liberty, rather it's one of a range of figures modeled after the proprietor Kev's wife.

Anyway, for some reason I felt like now was the time to paint it up.  I wanted something a bit more dramatic than "statue on pedestal", so I tried some heavy directional lighting here, as if the statue is facing dawn over the water, complete with an unlit back and a shadow cast behind it.  I'm not super happy with how the "light" looks on the rocks or water, but the statue itself has a good warm glow that I'm satisfied with.

The "rocks" are obviously just cork, and the waves are haphazardly sculpted from clear acrylic gel medium.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Paws-itively Adventurous

Cats & Catacombs - Fighter and Monk
28mm scale

Having unsuccessfully searched the castle library for the necromancer's grimoire or any useful magical items, Sonya and Han were taking a moment to plan their next move when suddenly, the heavy oaken door began to creak open...

A few months ago I snagged a small pack of these amazing Cats and Catacombs figures at my FLGS.  They're AMAZING!  I love cats so really, anything cat-related is a pretty easy sell, but cat versions of D&D characters?  As the meme says, "shut up and take my money".

I had previously painted some "Dungeons and Doggies" figures for a friend, and they went very well, but I felt that I should have done something with the attached bases.  So for these, I snipped the bases off and based them properly, with a bit of dungeon or castle flavour, adding stone floors and the coins and candle (unlit, to spare Sonya's fluffy tail!) beside the stack of books.


I'm particularly proud of the fish snack hanging from the monk's belt:

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Orctober surprise

Grot Gunslinger
28 mm scale

Don't take your guns to town son
Leave your guns at home Bill
Don't take your guns to town

I grabbed this figure out of the depths of my lead pile as an entry in the popular "Orc-tober challenge" on Instagram, started by Old Man Paints.  I don't expect to win, and I'm not even sure what the prizes are, but it was a fun exercise.  I don't usually do greenskins at all, and it was a chance to stretch my style a bit and do another "dark style" figure... without it being largely black like my Plague Doctor.  I also follow Grave Wraith Terrain on Instagram and love his unique style - grim and dark without being monochromatic.  I didn't go quite that far this time... but I should try it.

The mini itself is apparently a Gorkamorka grot from c. 1999, which doesn't seem that "Oldhammer" to me... but it's as old as many of my coworkers, so I think it qualifies :)  I added the gunsmoke as an impulse at the last minute, and was convinced I'd wrecked it, but it turned out greasy and wispy which really suits him.

"I don't like the looks of that fella who just walked in..."

Monday, October 12, 2020

Everyday people

Sci-fi civilians

I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do


Sure, the swashbuckling space smugglers, adventurers, alien death bots, and heavily armored troopers get all the glory... but somebody has to live in the universe of the shiny spacey future.  Those somebodies are all the workers, merchants, spacers and countless other "little people".  And they deserve their own figures :)

I had a lot of fun with these; I think they turned out as real little characters, all unique.  The minis are from CP models and Ground Zero Games, with a few light conversions.


Come and play, everything's a-okay
Friendly neighbors, yes that's where we meet
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street?

Sunday, October 04, 2020

Doctor Death

Plague Doctor
28 mm

Ah, the classic medieval plague doctor.  Robed and masked to prevent infection, he might show up at your bedside to poke your armpits with a long stick and inevitably deliver tragic news to your loved ones.  Or he might... roam around the muddy streets with a skull on a chain, just being generally creepy.  Since they hadn't invented golf yet.


I actually love this figure, despite its odd choice of accessories.  The original CP Models figure had a ball and chain, but I felt that was pretty non sequitur, so I sculpted a (somewhat lantern-jawed) skull over it to provide a visual focus on what I'd already planned to be a very dark-coloured character.



I mixed a very brownish black for his robes, and a straight black for his mask; a subtle difference that's supposed to indicate the difference between fabric and leather, but is of course completely invisible in these photos.  Oh well...

Of course it's raining... it's always raining...

Happy Spooktober!

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The Carceral State

Alien prisoners and guards

Early one morning
The blues came fallin' down
I was all locked up in jail
And prison bound


Technology and culture may evolve but apparently throwing society's rule breakers into confinement always stays in fashion... this group of non-human convicts might be petty hustlers, violent career criminals, or even hapless political prisoners of a despotic regime. Their heavily-armed guards march them around, tolerating no disobedience or attempts to escape.

I think these two CP Models sets (boiler-suited aliens and guards) that come with a choice of heads are such a great idea.  Depending on the head used, the characters really turn out feeling very different, especially the guards who could be anything from simple gas-masked near-future humans to genetically-engineered apes or very weird aliens!  The "boiler suits" can easily be spacers' jumpsuits, uniforms, or as here, prison garb.

"Stay in line, scum, or it's the box for you!"

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

More human than human

Cyborg Specialist

I am doll eyes, doll mouth, doll legs

I love this CP miniatures figure!  Is she a remorseless android killer, or a superhuman hero in an era when even humanity itself is a vague designation?  As a "Ghost in the Shell" fan, I obviously chose the latter... But still, the cyborg Major Kusanagi cuts an eerie figure, a living doll with a human brain, who rains destruction on lesser foes and has more in common with her enemies than her allies.  This model isn't the closest version of her out there, but it's close enough, and it has a great transhuman-cyborg aesthetic with the human head and visibly artificial, jointed body.

A figure whose body is largely monochromatic isn't always so interesting to look at, so I thought I'd try some ambient light effects on this piece.  I pictured her walking through an area with coloured neon lights on both sides reflected on her skin, and on the wet pavement and detritus beneath her.  Once I'd finished that, it seemed that a painted backdrop would suit her too...
🎶 Put on my best Sunday dress
And I walk straight into this mess of mine 🎶

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

The sincerest form of flattery

Mimic chest
28mm scale

Sometimes you hunt the treasure... sometimes the treasure hunts you


Mimic chests are a very popular subject for miniatures right now for some reason and I've wanted one for a while.  This Nolzur's version is perhaps not the most unique, but it's definitely iconic. I love the lunging motion, and that giant tongue whipping out to snare unsuspecting adventurers into that horrible mouth :O

This was a quick paint job; it's not going to win any contests but I'm very pleased with the result!  Nolzur's minis are generally really easy to paint, the one drawback being that their multipart nature means there are often deep recesses that are hard to get paint INTO.  The mouth here is a good example.

"Why does the boss even keep this thing around?  It's a menace!"