Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Lady's Gardeners - WIP

This Sunday I have a big converting project to share, some Sylvaneth Dryads.

Years ago I came up with the idea of introducing some visceral, flesh-horror themes (think John Carpenter's "The Thing") in my collection - mostly in the 'Dwellers of the Bog' faction - and the first example of that were the Flying Horrors. Now I am going back to this topic, bringing you some progress on the Lady's Gardeners - Dryads 'blessed' by the Lady of the Bog.

I always liked this kit and wanted to do something with it, especially when I decided to make my army forest-themed - but they didn't work in my undead army at all. Only later when my painting became less about creating a valid army and more about creating my own themes I have found a place for those tree ladies. I thought of them as foul parodies of real Dryads, pieces of wood which the Lady forces into movement through flesh-bending magic and uses them as horrifying guardians in her realm.

Thanks to that I had a lot of possibilities when converting them, adding various fleshy and bony bits that I found in my box and sculpting tentacles and other fleshy appendages. For the faces they have just the Lady's sigil carved into them. The only irritating part of the kit were the mold lines - removing them from all the branches were worse than scraping them off ribcages!

Here are them all together. Only one picture because unpainted and in those numbers, they are quite a mess:

20-model strong unit of unpainted, converted Sylvaneth Dryads

And the close-ups on the singular Gardeners:

Closeups of 20 singular models of converted Sylvaneth Dryads for AoS


Recently I thought that I could make those WIP posts a little more interesting by actually showing the sculpting progress and the techniques that I used.

Here I decided to show how I made the one on the bony 'stilts', probably my favorite from the bunch. I started with cutting the limbs at the knees and elbows, drilling holes inside them, gluing thin brass rods inside and securing them at the connection with small amounts of milliput - mostly because those rods tend to rotate inside their holes after fiddling with them too much and milliput helps to prevent that.

WIP photo of the conversion of a Sylvaneth Dryad, showing thin brass wire being used as a 'skeleton' for later use of putty

After that, I create a mixture of greenstuff and milliput (ratio 1:2) to sculpt the bony horns. In 'reality' They are supposed to be hard, bony material, so using milliput-heavy mix makes the sculpting more convincing and also much easier to sand afterward.

WIP photo of the conversion of a Sylvaneth Dryad, showing first, thick and uneven application of milliput and greenstuff on the limbs

Using that much milliput made it more difficult to sculpt it properly, so I sanded it to smooth, sharp finish - exactly how I envision bony protrusions on creatures such as this one.

WIP photo of the conversion of a Sylvaneth Dryad, showing the sculpted limbs after sanding, smooth and sharp

And finally, I used pure greenstuff to sculpt some fleshy connection between the spikes and the wooden body of the Dryad. I was making thin pieces of putty, which I was then 'draping' them over the joints, adding additional ridges or stretching them with the sculpting tool as needed.

WIP photo of the conversion of a Sylvaneth Dryad, showing final stage of the process, where thin strips of greenstuff were used to connect the sculpted limbs with the plastic body.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Blood Bowl Additional Players - Orc Blockers and Blitzers

The unpainted WIP versions can be found HERE.

Today I bring you the positionals for my existing Orc Blood Bowl team, the Badlands Badbuttz - namely, two Black Orc Blockers and two Blitzers. The 2016 box comes with two of each, while the rules allow for four of each - and using all of them really helps to make the most out of the greenskin team. I used WFB miniatures, Black Orcs and Savage Orcs respectively, converted a bit to fit both the game and the other members of the team.

After initial successes in the new season, the head coach of Badlands Badbuttz decided to expand and recruit some new players, especially some ever-useful blockers and blitzers. Sadly, he got to it a little late in the season - most players were already taken, leaving only broken, mangled and/or useless rejects. Not discouraged, he sent his headhunter Tugtig deep into the world to look for promising players in their local leagues. The industrious goblin returned many weeks later with some rather, "exotic" greenskins. First were the black orcs from the Dark Lands league, used to heavy armor, prone to aggressive bursts and hardened after playing countless seasons with the hated Chaos Dwarfs teams. Second were the savage orc Blitzers from the scorched southern Badlands, completely crazy and frenzied from all the sun and using magical warpaint instead of armor. Getting them to play with the rest of the team will be even more difficult than usual, but well, the Badbuttz are nothing if not known for their diversity and some internal rivalries!

4 painted miniatures for Blood Bowl, 2 Orc Blitzers for Bloodbowl converted out of Savage Orcs for AoS and 2 Black Orc Blockers converted out of Ardboyz for AoS, both sets kitbashed a bit.

The painting of the Blockers was rather straightforward - it was the same thing as with the original team, lots of red, black, white markings. The one holding a human head in his hand has a red-white shield on his other hand - referencing the icon for the 'Guard' skill that's used in the video game - now it should be clear who has it! It was also the first time when I used a sponge to add weathering on their armor - and I must say, I am pretty satisfied with the effects.

2 Black Orc Blockers kitbashed out of AoS Ardboyz, converted and painted, visible from several angles.

Savage Orc Blitzers were much more interesting in comparison - there was no metal, lots of bone and lines, with the skin coming forward as the most important area. It was the first time since many, many years when I had to paint so much of orc skin - and a good opportunity to get the right hue of green for them. I was so happy with the result that I kinda didn't want to cover it with warpaint - but it was important for their theme and to somehow represent their high Armor Value - and it also turned out rather ok.

2 Orc Blitzers kitbashed out of AoS Savage Orruks, converted and painted, visible from several angles.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Alarich Schwering

Some time ago I showed you my necromancer conversions - to be seen HERE - and now it's time finally start posting the painted ones. First comes Alarich, who I imagined as a crazy survivalist necromancer, one that has some Lore of the Beasts theme to him.

He is the most converted one from the whole group, but also the most straightforward one when it came to painting - just some more of my standard dirty, green color scheme. Well, that and a tiger on his back - those freehands were some added value - gems too, I haven't painted those for a long time now.

When Hautfell met Constantin von Greifen, he was the most powerful magic user in the band and enjoyed great influence thanks to it. Yet, his position was getting weaker and weaker with every new vampire coming to aid von Greifens and with wights becoming more independent than ever. And while his apprentice Krebs was easily manipulated - that means “reliable” - he lacked a true talent that would be needed when all local tensions will finally burst. That’s why he needed someone capable to help him in this fight for Varsavia, so full of undead to be controlled. With the help of the mysterious Haughr found the right person in Alarich Schwering - an old Necromancer residing deep in the Troll Country. Even though he got a little strange after all the years spent alone in the wilderness and was almost blind, he was surely skilled enough to survive in the land full of skaven and monsters - a quality that Hautfell was looking for. After some creative convincing, Schwering moved to Varsavia, ready to push vampires and wights out of it and rule over the undead there with other necromancers.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Beast of Preytov

Today I bring you yet another miniature from my backlog - a Forge World Preyton bought a long time ago. When I started pushing the forest theme in my army I noticed that this particular creature would fit pretty well in my collection, but sadly, at that point, Forge World stopped selling those miniatures. Many months later I managed to catch one on eBay - probably a recast, though - wings were really thin, there were some difficult mold lines, etc. But well, it had to work for me somehow, better this than nothing.

My concept when painting was to create an impression of a mismatched, chaotic beast, so there are many different patterns and hues used (while keeping everything comfortably dark and dirty of course). When I was painting it I was rather unsatisfied with my work, but in the end, it turned out not that bad - especially the wings, the part which I normally dislike to paint, even if it took quite a bit of glazes to get the shade just right.

Living in the Varsavian village of Preytov has many advantages - there’s a small river there, the soil is fertile, there’s plenty of game in the nearby forest and the bandit raids are practically nonexistent. It would be actually perfect - if not for the Beast that made this area it’s hunting grounds. Never looking the same, the creature has some polymorphic abilities, changing into many different animals, though the transitions are never clean - the forms are always mixed and distorted in unnatural ways. Most often it lures potential victims looking and crying like a prey animal and then turning into a large predatory monster to run the unfortunate being down, sometimes growing wings, horns or other additional limbs if necessary. To make it all worse, the Beast is actively malevolent, killing its victims slowly, painfully and messily, without any care for its own injuries. Some brave warriors have tried to kill it - and many even succeeded - but it always comes back somehow. Nevertheless, a small number of people living there have accepted their fate, thinking that losing people to the Beast from time to time while profiting from the otherwise safe and fertile land is preferable to trying their luck in the dangerous, lawless lands of the rest of Varsavia. Because of that, some people believe that the Beast is a violent, but protective god of Preytov - and their blood is the price they pay for their fortune - but the truth is, naturally, unknown.

Preyton from Forge World, painted in dark and muted colors - a miniature winger monster usable in Warhammer Fantasy Battle (WFB) or Age of Sigmar (AoS).

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Gudvanger's Body Puppets

Continuing with the Nurgle theme, here is my (somewhat) non-Nurgle take on the Putrid Blightkings. From the narrative standpoint, they are supposed to be botched clones of Haralamb Gudvanger and just like he, they are bloated and distorted servants of the Lady of the Bog, not Nurgle worshippers - so they keep the bodies and mutations, but all the chaos iconography is filed off. You can see the unpainted, converted minis together with some design principles HERE.

I had a lot of fun building them and painting was the same - it was really enjoyable to paint all the different hues, reddened, mutated flesh, discolorations, boils and lesions. The basecoat was wetblended to achieve a mix of various colors from the beginning, which were then brought together with shades, glazes and highlights.

The bases saw my second use of two-ingredient water effects and I'm pretty satisfied with the results. The resin actually seeped into the sand that I used as the first layer, creating a pretty interesting, muddy impression. I also stuck those thin, long strands into some of the tufts to imitate lone strands of long grass that I noticed in the wetlands during my last vacation - and I think they help to sell the 'bog' effect a little better - what do you think about them?

The horrific Flesh-stitcher Haralamb Gudvanger may be known best for his lumbering monsters, but he considers himself his best handiwork. For countless years he has been building replacement body puppets, which continuously replace him after each death. It all started when he was still learning the secrets of anatomy by himself, fruitlessly looking for a way to cheat death and achieve immortality. Only when he started to study under the Lady of the Bog he discovered that while he can’t stop his own body from eventual deterioration in any acceptable way, he could build a puppet, a duplicate of himself - one so perfect, it could replace him without any loss at all. Since then, every time his body died, a puppet woke in its place, identical to the original, with the same memory and intellect, continuing his work as if nothing happened - everything a secret he keeps from everyone but the Lady herself. Still, the process is difficult and some results are… botched. They are unusable as replacements but those flesh automatons have their use - Gudvanger arms them and commands them to patrol and guard his domain. Thus they lumber tirelessly through the mists around the Black Bog, attacking anyone they stumble upon. To some extent, they believe to be the Flesh-stitcher too, that’s why sometimes they will hack away the hands of their victims, or try to build gruesome compositions out of their victims’ bodies. Terrifyingly strong, resilient and unrelenting in following their creator’s (their own?) commands, they are almost as dangerous as Gudvanger himself.

First, the whole group of six fleshy automatons - a little from above to make the bases easier to see:

Unit of 6 converted Putrid Blightkings with swamp bases, standing on a unit tray made out of bardboard and balsawood

And some close-ups of the individual creatures, the first three:

3 converted Putrid Blightkings painted in a Dark Souls / AoS28 aesthetic viewed from several angles

The second three:

3 converted Putrid Blightkings painted in a Dark Souls / AoS28 aesthetic viewed from several angles

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Blood Bowl Nurgle Team - Pestigors WIP

After the Rotters for my Nurgle Blood Bowl team, it was time for some Pestigors, the scorers. Those available in the official box look good enough, but there's only two of them and it's the same sculpt - and I wanted four different ones. Thankfully, GW released a chaos team earlier, with four different beastman sculpts - so I got those and converted them to look the part. This basis let me achieve a similar look to the one from the video game - where they are bloated and sick, but still agile and fast. Just like the small guys, they have all leveled once and I had a lot of fun applying various skills, upgrades and mutations to them.

Here are they all together:

4 unpainted Pestigors of Nurgle for use in Blood Bowl, converted from the Doom Lords Beastmen with greenstuff and bits

And the close-ups.

Here is the one with Sprint and one with Extra Hands skills. To show Sprint, I wanted to convey some sense of speed - and the most obvious way to do that with Nurgle was to just leave some random intestine trailing behind him, as he's risking running that one extra step. The second one has a plaguebearer hand grafted on his back - also an idea taken from the video game. Besides that, they both got some smaller conversions, like bloated bellies, lesions, corroded armor plates and other such typical Nurgle pleasantries.

2 converted, unpainted Pestigors of Nurgle for use in Blood Bowl, one with the 'Sprint' skill, other with 'Extra Hands'

And the second pair, one with +Strength and one with Two Heads. The strong one was easy and enjoyable - I just piled lots and lots of greenstuff on him, kinda like a fatsuit, to add more bulk and power to his rather slender build. Everything textured with grandfather's blessings of course. The second one follows the idea from the video game - the additional head hangs close to the first one, a mutated and malformed one, screaming in pain. The last picture shows it the best of all the possible angles - it should be much clearer once they are all painted.

2 converted, unpainted Pestigors of Nurgle for use in Blood Bowl, one with the additional Strength, other with 'Two Heads' skill

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Dungeon Twister Miniatures

Another side-project - miniatures from the Dungeon Twister board game, painted as a (late) birthday gift for a friend.

The game is about two teams of diverse adventurers and creatures who got teleported by an evil wizard into a dungeon - after which they try to escape while fighting each other. Each team is composed of the same 8 types - each miniature is duplicated and only color makes them different. This proved to be a unique painting challenge - to paint 8 miniatures using yellow as the main color and then paint the same 8 miniatures using a blue scheme. You can see the comparison below, on the Mekanorc, my favorite miniature from the whole bunch:

Two Mekanorcs painted for use in Dungeon Twister game, one yellow, one blue

The miniature themselves are somewhat hit-and-miss - some of them are very good, while others have weird proportions or anatomy. The quality differs a bit too, but it wasn't anything too noticeable. Still, the sculpts are clear and the detail is sharp, so the work on them was pleasant enough, especially seeing that I went through them relatively quickly. My wife also helped with the base colors, so that's something new too!

I also wanted to mention that I never encountered such hard-to-work resin ever in my life - paint was getting scraped off the miniatures after the slightest touch, worse than with metal minis! That's why I varnished them pretty thickly afterward, hopefully they'll be able to survive handling on the tabletop.

Here is the Blue Team:

Showcase of 8 fantasy miniatures from Dungeon Twister, the whole blue team

And the Yellow Team:

Showcase of 8 fantasy miniatures from Dungeon Twister, the whole yellow team

And the picture of all of them together.

All the miniatures for use in Dungeon Twister boardgame, both blue and yellow team together