Sunday, January 19, 2020

Blood Bowl General Staff - Anirion the Weather Mage

One of the reasons why I love Blood Bowl is how much extras there is to the game - coaches, staff, cheerleaders, markers, inducements, bonuses, dugouts, scoreboards, etc. While it isn't necessary to the game, it's all a great modeling opportunity - or an excuse to paint a model I wouldn't use in my collection otherwise - like the miniature shown below today.

I noticed this guy when I was browsing Reaper Miniature's range some time ago - and I really liked the model, but I couldn't fit him anywhere. Then I remembered a cheap staff member one can employ for a single match - a Weather Mage - added in the Spike! Magazine Vol. 2. The effect of such a mage is negligible in most plays and I don't expect to use him very often, but that was enough for me to buy and paint this model.

The sculpt of the mini is really good, but when it came to painting, I didn't have any idea how to represent a 'weather mage'... After some thinking, I decided on adorning the various layers of his clothes with representations of weather, especially those appearing in Blood Bowl - so his hood represents a nice, blue sky, his cloak - rain, sleeves - snow, and the lower robe - sweltering heat. Everything's kept in a relatively muted palette - as I imagine those not-very-useful and poorly-paid guys to be humble and subdued.

Overall, a very enjoyable painting experience - more unexpected miniatures will follow.

After spending many, many years in the Ulthuan, learning the art of controlling the Winds of Magic, Anirion was ready to join the exclusive society of researchers and mages, working tirelessly to understand the fickle nature of Chaos. Unfortunately, he was so single-minded in his studies, he completely dismissed the networking and soft skills needed to reach the position he dreamed of - no matter how often he tried, he was rejected by the elitist masters. Bitter, but still in need to make a living, he applied for a position of a mage amongst the brutes playing and enjoying Blood Bowl. He never cared for the flashy spells used by the Sports Wizards, so he joined the Weather Mages - changing the monumental forces of weather was something much more fitting for such a skilled adept of magic. Only later he learned that the salary is meager, fame non-existent and the chances for networking slim… Well, at least it’s honest work!

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Gudvanger's Homunculi

Back when I was working on Haralamb Gudvanger I added two small 'helpers' on his base to improve the composition a bit and make the base seem less empty. They were made out of some random gnoblars with ghoul heads - and they worked surprisingly well! I thought to myself back then that I could make a whole unit of them, a whole gang of little nice helpers of that pleasant character.

Years later I actually bought some gnoblars and even later than that I finally managed to finish painting them! Gathering some extras from the Ogre kits, bits collections and an actually bought unit, I gathered 30 of them and used almost all of my ghoul heads on them. Beyond that, no conversions were made, so I didn't bother with posting the WIP version.

I went through them a bit rougher and faster than I do on my heroes, but those little buggers still took more time than I expected! During the painting process, they were quite colorful (which worried me a bit) but after several layers of grime, they achieved a proper look. Perhaps even too much - they blend together as a monochrome mass, but I think I can live with that - and I'll leave the judgment to you readers.

Despite the irritating process of painting such a (relatively) big unit, I am pretty happy with them - they kinda look like the creepy 'little men' from the forest - just as it was intended for them.

Anyone unfortunate getting lost in the Black Bog - or foolish enough to wander there of their own volition, will find themselves carefully observed by little men, the homunculi of the foul Flesh-stitcher Haralamb Gudvanger. Created through unclear means and materials, they are his loyal and very nasty servants. They study the newcomers from afar, judging if their body parts or equipment could be useful to their master. If not, the little constructs will try to lead them out of the bog - not without playing some mean tricks on them before, of course. If yes, then the homunculi will torment them for an extended amount of time time, leading through the treacherous bog, before finally descending upon them to literally hack them down to pieces. Besides having sheer numbers, they are also surprisingly strong for their size - they have tricked thus many foolhardy adventurers. Still, they are cowardly by nature and prefer to dispatch intruders by leading them into other, much more dangerous creatures living in the Bog.

First, the whole nasty mass:

And then the individuals (most of them) - they may be small and disposable, but they have enough character to warrant showing them a little more up-close.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Blood Bowl Chaos Renegades - Conversions WIP

New year, new Blood Bowl project! I actually got it half a year ago and only now I finally got around to working on it - and it's still much faster than it usually is with my projects.

This merry bunch here is an Alastoran Malice Team from Greebo Games - made to be used as Chaos Renegades/Chaos Pact team for Blood Bowl - a very hit-and-miss mix of various monsters and creatures. The bulk of the team is made out of standard human marauders, supplemented with a single goblin, elf, orc, skaven (with all their quirks included) and rounded off with an ogre, troll and a minotaur, a triple serving of Big Guys - packing a massive punch, but also very prone to all their negative traits.

I wanted them since I read their rooster and rules for them, and even considered making extensive conversions of GW miniatures, but then I found this exceptional range from Greebo and casually mentioned that it could be a super nice birthday present (which I got, thanks for that!).

Here is the whole team. I tried my best in photoshop, but metal, unpainted miniatures are really hard to photograph well (or at least I cannot do it) - the upcoming painted photos will hopefully remedy that.

And here I showcase all the players that got some conversions. The miniatures are very nice so I left them as they are in most cases, only adding minor flavor or something that signifies their upgrades and mutations.

First, the orc got some disgusting boils, ogre a helmet to make him more sporty and the goblin a second gnoblar head on his back to make him a dodging nightmare for the opposite team. Then, there's a horned skaven, a multi-armed marauder and a wolverine'y marauder with claws. On the final photos, there's a marauder with a mohawk (to remind me that he has the same skill as dwarven slayers), a dark elf with a helmet ornament (to make him similar to the Dreadspear Dragons) and a female marauder that I modified a bit to make her a Thrower.

Once again, sorry for the photos, the glare on that metal is just unbelievable.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sculpting Tips - Mounted Model's Cape

Two weeks ago I presented you a mounted vampire, Viktor von Greifen - he is a kitbashed model sitting on a horse from a Chaos Lord and I wanted to give him a very similar cape. It took me some time to think out the whole process, but in the end, it wasn't that difficult, so I decided to record and share the process.

I started with the cavalryman completely ready, only without any cape or pauldrons.

A long time ago I thought that sculpting capes is easy - just make a flat shape and let physics do its job. Unfortunately, the physics work a bit differently at this scale and that's not even counting the fact that greenstuff is not a free-flowing fabric. To do it properly, we'll have to cheat and simulate the physics on our own.

I started with creating a flat shape out of greenstuff in the shape that you can see below, with the top part having roughly the same width as the model's shoulders:

Which is then placed on the model like this. You can use some super glue to secure it in place, but with so much area of connection, greenstuff should work fine on its own.

Now it's time for the proper sculpting. Here I was using the big, round clay shaper and the small, round clay shaper, depending on which could fit better. First, I smoothened out the cape along the middle part and made it fall almost completely vertically on the horse - this is the part mostly affected by gravity. When that was done, I took some flat tweezers and stretched the side parts a little - those have a place to flow down a bit. The wind would also move the edges the most, so I flanged them to the back. When the shape was done, I smoothened out any weird wrinkles with the round clay shapers. I also added some extra greenstuff to the left side to make it stand out even more - it was difficult to stretch it even more back then.

If someone wants it quick-and-dirty, this could be a possible step to call it a day and be happy with it.

For anyone wanting something more, it's time to add the parts of the cape that 'pile-up' in the middle (after the previous phase has already cured that is!). I start this step by rolling a long blob of greenstuff and placing it a little to the left, on the arch created by the cape resting on the horse's back.

Then I took the sharp, pointy clay shaper, together with flat, sharp clay shaper and started smoothing the blob out - pressing it against the surface of the cape and bringing out a sharp edge in the 'front'. You can see it illustrated on that section drawing on the right.

When the previous step is done and cured, it's time to do the same thing, only adding the blob a little to the right, overlapping slightly over the middle part with the previous crease and bringing it out to the point too.

This is also a step when I thought to myself that it looks pretty nice already and could work as is it too.

But then, I wanted to make it look like on that Chaos Lord, with the cape having three big, vertical folds that connect the shoulders with the 'pile' down below. I started it by adding three teardrop-shaped blobs on his back, like this:

Now is the hard part, smoothening those blobs together with the rest of the cape - that's a lot of greenstuff to force into rather precise shapes all at once. I was using mostly the flat, sharp clay shaper to press the blobs against the cape, establish the deep creases between them with the edge of the tool and bring out the edges on 'top'. The bottom parts of those folds should come to a pointy triangle (illustrated on the diagram on the right), while the top parts should gradually flatten to merge with the shoulders.

When the previous part was well established, I took the flat, sharp clay shaper's edge and marked extra triangles on the bottom of the folds (illustrated with a red line on the picture above) and pressed the parts below it to create an 'intermediate' part between the vertical folds and the pile below. I also used the big, round clay shaper to flatten out the top parts even more.

I wanted to cover the shoulders with some pauldrons, skulls and other details, so I needed the cape over there to be flat, but if someone's doing it cape-only, then the creases should be translated into further folds that will go over the shoulders. I added a rough sketch over the photo to illustrate how I would do it - mostly creating folds and creases in the same way as we did so far.

While this whole part was still at least a bit soft, it was time to add the pauldrons. I simply pressed them into the greenstuff over there and when I was satisfied with their position, I added extra creases that would be created by the pressure created by those pieces - using the edge of the pointy sculpting tool, allowing for some finer touches. Pressure applied to a small area on fabrics tends to create creases radiating from the point of pressure - like I illustrated with the arrows.

With the greenstuff partially cured, it's a good time to revisit the earlier parts with the flat, sharp clay shaper to smooth out any irregularities and sharpen the edges - not-so-fresh greenstuff is a bit better at holding an edge.

And that's basically it, ready to cover any questionable parts with fur or skulls or any extra knick-knacks. Feel free to ask any questions.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Blood Bowl Star Player - Tolly Glocklinger

First post since moving back to Poland, after five years in Germany! Thankfully I prepared a small backlog to secure regular postings here during this chaotic period.

Regardless, it's time for the Nurgle Star Players for Blood Bowl - I converted/kitbashed 4 of them some time ago (you can see the WIPs HERE) and now they are getting painted. I did good Tolly first because I really liked how he turned out and because I wanted to use him in the game as soon as possible! He is a rather cheap Star Player with a 'Ball and Chain' skill, allowing him to really smash around his opponents around (with some extra randomness involved). The use of such weapons is disallowed, so one has to add some bribes for the referees to his cost to really get the most out of him.

The color scheme was chosen to fit my Putrid Punters team - so yellowish flesh, dark/black armor, and green clothes, with all the extra slime and blood that comes with Nurgle. I could exercise the last part here a little more because of Tolly's choice of the chain for his weapon.

Tolly’s story as a circus strongman and a musician turned into a Blood Bowl star is well known in the current Blood Bowl world. Even Putrid Punters remember the powerful player from before their last warp-jump. They always thought of him fondly because of his background - back in their early days, ‘Blood Bowl and circuses’ was a well-known phrase describing the folk’s important needs! Now, when the rematch with the Dreadspear Dragons was drawing near, the Punters’ coach started thinking about employing Tolly for a match or two, hoping the star could be interested in listening to the tales about ancient circuses and arenas (besides the usual monetary encouragement of course).

Also, trying to create something for the little competition on Carpe Noctem, I sculpted a Santa hat for him, so he can be jolly and jingle his bells around, fitting with the current season.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Viktor von Greifen, Captain of the Prenzlauer Guard - WIP

The Prenzlauer Guard are one of the oldest miniatures that I have in my undead collection - which means that they grew to look a bit dated to me - and I think about repainting them to my current standards from time to time. This would mean not painting new things and not moving forward, so I never actually did it. An opportunity showed itself when I found a Chaos Lord horse cheaply on ebay - it has a similar style to the Chaos Knights that I used last time, so it was perfect. Besides, I love that model. I decided to kitbash on it a leader for that unit, allowing me to try doing another take on a chaos-based-vampire.

In the end, the kitbash ended looking very similar to the original Lord - he is made mostly out of Skullcrusher bits, with a head from the Terrogheist kit, a big hammer and a shield and a cloak (which will be on the next installment of Sculpting Tips). After starting with Instagram I also found tons of cool kitbashing inspiration - and that's why he has so many little details hanging around, I love that style. It's still quite reserved, though - I will try doing something much more cluttered in the future.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Blood Bowl Match Report 1: "Around Elves, Watch Yourselves!"

Now that the Putrid Punters are finished, I decided to test them out on the pitch against the Dreadspear Dragons coached by my wife. Being so happy with my rotten bloodbowlers, I decided to take some photos and actually try doing a Match Report here. We'll see how it'll work out and if it's worth the effort - so please share your thoughts and criticism about my take on this. Now, without the further ado:

After a memorable match when the greenskins from The Badlands Badbuttz crushed and destroyed the Dark Elves from the Dreadspear Dragons, fans were itching to see their rematch - to see if extra sacrifices to Khaine would help the Druchii this time. Unfortunately, the orcs got into an internal disagreement which ended in the hospitalization of half their team, leaving them unable to play. Still, their stadium was ready, the elves were ready, the fans were ready - you couldn't just cancel everything! Thankfully, the followers of Nurgle from the Putrid Punters, who recently managed to get their whole team back together, were ready to step in and play their first match since the last warp-time-jump.

The Punters won the initial coin toss and decided to use the ages-old trick of allowing the elves to attack first, score quickly and turning the tables on them later. Favorites of the Plague God set themselves up in a tight wall formation, while the Druchii opted for an adaptive, loose set up.

The referee whistled and the ball went off! Deadly quick elves moved instantly - and as if guided by Khaine and Nuffle themselves - attacked mercilessly! The dauntless Gerwant, famed monster-slayer, even managed to strike down the opposing captain. That assault would mangle any lesser being beyond any help, but Nurgle's blessings are more potent than that - and Rotticus Pax managed to regenerate his wounds. Still, he was forced to watch the rest of the drive from behind the sidelines!

The bloated Punters were slower to react, but they still decided to respond in kind. Sloth the Sloth, the enormous, yet friendly Rotspawn of Nurgle - who was itching for some action already - was unleashed upon the elves. Unfortunately, when it really came to it, shyness overcame him and he curled up embarrassed. Kind Ted applied some affectionate gestures to the back-spikes to assure him of being a good boy, but the poor Rotspawn still refused to go. Well, some players do have problems with their team spirit!

Impatient and irritated by the tardiness on the line of scrimmage, Toandoro rushed from behind and gored the witch Yeneffrys with his horns. Even as strong as she was, she couldn't withstand that assault.

And so the game turned into a slugfest, with the Punters really dedicated to grinding their agile opponents down. Still, the Druchii are not known for playing around (unlike some other elves!) and they focused on organizing themselves around the ball and preparing the offensive.

Even the shadowy Assassin Ezion moved into the fray, managing to plunge his dagger underneath Putronious' helmet. 'Nothing personal' heard the Bloater while he was falling down, clutching his neck, trying to hold all the blood and pus spilling from the wound.

The nimble Runner Helles took the risk of grabbing the ball as rushed through the opening prepared by his teammates. Unfortunately for him, he was so focused on holding on to the ball, passing his enemies and looking intimidating, he didn't notice the two-headed Mi Kharnn rushing straight at him.

The fragile runner didn't hope to keep standing after that charge, but he kept his nerves about and managed to quickly pass the ball to his team-mate, Witch Elf Danerys - who, thanks to Nuffle, managed to catch it despite the distracting buzzing of the insects and vomit-inducing smell of Putronius' spilled blood.

Determined as ever, Danerys clutched the ball tighter and charged at the Pestigor who caused this whole situation. With a swift kick, she sent him to the ground and then - still full of energy - rushed forward towards the end-zone, faster than ever, leaving her opponents in the dust.

The remaining Punters could only watch from afar at the whole development. It was all part of their strategy, but they still got frustrated - so they ganged around the other Witch and stomped hard on her while she was down. They didn't inflict any lasting injuries, though - and to make it worse for them, the ungracious Rotter Bob, kicking the elf long after his teammates stopped, got noticed by the referee and immediately set off the pitch!

The drive ended - naturally - with Danerys effortlessly strutting to the end-zone and scoring a Touchdown for the Dragons. Now it was time for the Punters to attack. Both teams set up their players in a deep formation to react more easily to whatever will unravel after the kick-off.

This time, the Punters' onslaught was severe, with elves flying left and right. Even Sloth the Sloth managed to join in on the fun! After clearing the line of scrimmage, the three-armed Mu'mulgor picked up the ball ran forward, with his teammates immediately forming a disgusting, yet resilient cage around him. Now they were ready to run through their opponents like a plague does through a tightly-packed city.

Like angry, purple hornets, the elves from the back quickly shifted to the side, forming a nasty obstacle course for their rotting opponents. While they were busy dishing it out, Ezion the Assassin approached Sloth the Sloth. The Rotspawn thought that the elf was a new friend to cuddle with, but instead, he attacked the beast with a dagger. Once again, the blade struck true, piercing a particularly important and sensitive boil. Sloth the Sloth squeaked loudly and fell to the ground - the wound was so severe, he had to be transported off the pitch! What's worse for the Punters, he was so sad at that 'terrible betrayal by a good friend' that his regeneration didn't activate in time to make him Blood Bowl-ready during this match.

Ezion waved his cape menacingly.

Seeing their beloved mascot moved to the dugout made the Punters' hearts waver. Still, they fought valiantly through the intrusive elves, breaking many noses, ears and one leg, but they couldn't break through completely. The Druchii played as if possessed, their moves effective and well-planned - they pressed the Pestigors against the sidelines and forced them into a mistake, which sent the ball behind the elf-wall. In a situation like that, in the last minutes of the first half, the Punters were unable to score the much-needed equalizer and resorted to good old violence. Then the referee's whistle sounded and the players ran off to the locker rooms.

The first half left the followers of Nurgle severely weakened - now, only 8 of them stood on the pitch. With the three-armed Mu'mulgor removed by the elves, the Punters had to relegate Ted the Great to handle the ball - while agile, he slower than a beastman. Better that than trying to push a Bloater to the end zone!

Elves set themselves in a careful defensive formation far from the line of scrimmage.

The Dragons lost their skilled kicker in the previous half, so they had to rely on Nuffle's favor when starting the drive. That was a foolish hope, for the ball landed close to Ted, allowing the Punters to quickly and easily form a secure cage. When the captain Rotticus saw that this was taken care of, he relaxed and moved to the fun part - attacking! Poor Tyrres never really liked the Line-of-scrimmage-duty he had to endure from time to time.

Striking the iron while it's hot, Globbmax continued with the offensive, blitzing along the left flank. 'THAT'S FOR PUTRONIUS!' he gurgled, barely intelligible, before swinging his disgusting arm-club at Ezion. The assassin flew high and fell stunned on the ground, blissfully unaware of his surroundings for a time. It was a mighty blow, but the elf would live to stab another day.

Still, the Nurgle team's optimism wouldn't last - the elves were many and they were vicious! The cage was trudging along the edge, but the Druchii were putting hard pressure on it, slowly dismantling it and getting it loose. Smelly players on the other side tried to tie as many elves as they could, but they knew how to fight, not like the pansies they were used to.

Rotticus Pax alone was having a time of his life blocking, tackling and bashing together with three Dark Elves - until he overdid his attack on the Runner Dunkles. Unable to regain his balance after swinging his claw, he fell to the ground together with the elf, where they continued to fight some more. This kerfuffle left the Bloater stunned - and the Runner left the pitch on a stretcher.

Finally, the Elves managed to break the cage into pieces - with the Witch Elf Yenefrys leading the charge, in an unholy rage, wanting to wipe the smug grin off Ted's face.

Ted usually grossly overestimates his skills - but truth to be told, he is a damned good Rotter. Still, in the face of an unnaturally strong Witch Elf determined to take the ball from you, 'damned good' is not enough. After a barrage of blows, Yenefrys sent him to the ground - but the ball fell outside the bounds. It was thrown in towards the middle of the pitch, far from the action so far.

It was pretty late and the Nurgle players knew that they wouldn't be able to score - they were too slow, too few - unlike the elves! All the rotting players that were still on the pitch focused themselves and ran towards the ball - not to grab it, but to bait the Dragons to come and get it. The Druchii knew well that it was a trap, but they didn't care anymore - they also ran towards the middle for some scrap.

With the dreaded Witch Elf gone, Ted the Great stood up and also ran to get in on the action. Then he fell on his face while doing that. Then he stood up again and creeped behind Ezion, trying to out-sneak the sneakster. Sadly for him, his attack was thwarted by the Assassin when he decided to wave his cape menacingly (he does that often) - poor Ted got tangled up in it and once again fell on the ground. The journalists would have a field day with him, calling him 'Ted the Okay' for some time after such an excellent performance.

Both teams spent the last moments of the match trying to grind themselves down around the ball. Whatever blessings Khaine provided to the determined elves were spent at this point, because the Punters sent many of them off the pitch. Well, only the Bloaters that is, the ancient warriors were just about the only Nurgle-loyal players still standing after the Druchii onslaught. Then, without reaching anything else, the referee sounded his whistle and the match was over, just like that - with the Dreadspear Dragons winning with a single Touchdown.

That signal also woke up Putronius from blocking-and-punching trance - only now he stopped to observe his surroundings - and only now he saw that the ball was so close to him the whole time! Confused for a bit, he remembered what kind of game he played and that someone should throw it somewhere or whatever.

Putronius' surprise was even bigger when he was slowly trudging towards the locker rooms and the assistants stopped him to inform him that he was chosen as the MVP of the match. Puzzled, he was brought to the center for a commemorative warp-photo - where the moderator announced that he won the award for 'exceptional perseverance in the face of difficulties and perfect execution of the game plan". The MVP from the Dragons' team was Sirius - awarded for "quick thinking and good team coordination on the pitch which allowed for his team's splendid victory". Sadly, he was still knocked out cold after an unlucky encounter with Sloth the Sloth in the first half and wasn't able to really strike a pose for the photo.

(We use the rules where MVPs are awarded completely random.)


We were expecting the Nurgle team to just stomp on the poor elves, but it seems they turned the tables on them! It was a pleasurable match and preparing this report scratched my writing itch a little more than the minimal snippets of backstory for the minis. As I mentioned above, feel free to share your thoughts and comments! One thing I know already, I should paint the damn balls!