Sunday, February 25, 2018

Zombie Legion - Trolls

Part of the Zombie Legion

Another batch of zombies - trolls this time.

The one in the middle was sculpted and painted much earlier than the other two - in July 2016 to be precise. I wanted to have a zombie troll in my army, but I didn't have much troll parts other than some arms and heads from the GW River Trolls set - so I had to work with exactly that. Besides those two arms, the top half of the head, the ribcage and the branches - it's all sculpted. Back then it was probably my biggest sculpting project - thankfully decaying zombies are pretty forgiving and it was easy enough. You can see the pictures of it unpainted HERE. While I was at it, I added branches and some fungi on it to make it a Forest Troll - which fits my theme pretty nicely.

Other two are recent stuff. One on the left is an Undead Troll from Reaper Miniatures and I gave it a big nose and much larger ears to make it resemble a Stone Troll from the WFB universe. The one on the right is a Zombie Snow Troll from Frostgrave and it isn't converted at all. Both of them are metal and pretty heavy - bases needed more magnets than usual to make them stick to the tray. You can see them unpainted HERE.

Many kinds of trolls can be found in Varsavia. Local ones take characteristics from their environment and are easily recognizable by branches, moss or bark covering their bodies. Orcish incursions can bring stone and river trolls, and roaming black trolls always come down from the mountains in search of food here. Vampires need to deal with them rather regularly. Thankfully, despite their regenerative abilities, they can still be killed and raised as zombies - and they rot much slower too! Their stupidity legendary, they are also probably the only creatures in the world that get actually smarter after becoming mindless undead.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Zombie Legion - Chaos Gorebeast

Part of the Zombie Legion

I once bought some bits from the Chaos Chariot set to get those horses - and the sprues came with a whole gorebeast included. It was an easy decision to turn it into a zombie and add it to my horde. I mangled the beast's armor, added some exposed gore and stuck some spears into it's back - also to offset the front-heavy composition of the miniature. The color scheme was switched a few times before I finally chose this one with the light skin. Adding weathering on both steel and copper was pretty interesting - one with rust, another with verdigris - it makes for a nice contrast, I'll have to try to use it more in future projects.

The unpainted conversion can be seen HERE.

During one of the clashes with chaos marauders, von Greifen faced a chariot drawn by a gorebeast - ferocious and stubborn beast smashing its way through the undead forces. Surely, it made the chariot more dangerous than one drawn by horses, but it was also much less smart and it was easy to bait the vehicle into the forest. The chariot with its crew got quickly smashed on trees and roots, but the gorebeast kept charging. It was found dead, days later, many kilometers into the woods - after having fought with goblins, villagers, militia from Kislev, local wildlife and probably many others. Constantin knew that as a raised corpse it wouldn’t be just as effective as alive, but he was willing to settle for something close enough - even a fraction of that destructive power would be useful in his legion.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Zombie Legion - The Oldest

Part of the Zombie Legion

My collection of all the old Cursed Company miniatures that I managed to hunt down on eBay. I painted them around August 2017, but I never made good photos of them, they got lost in the whole horde of zombies - so I am fixing my mistake right now! I got the champion, the dwarf, the orc and the saurus without their shields, so I had to get them some replacements from my bitz box. The lizardman got also a more modern weapon to fit his shield better and the orc got a pauldron to make him a bit bulkier - not much converting, but still.

Forced members of Constantin's zombie hordes come and go very quickly - but there are a tiny few of such ‘recruits’ that accompany the vampire much, much longer than any other raised dead. Through all the years and battles their flesh managed to rot off their bones, but they still hold their gear and follow the horde loyally as always. This group is called either 'the oldest' or 'the luckiest' amongst the vampires. At this point, their master has grown fond of them and always tries to raise them back, should any of them fall during an encounter - that diverse bunch has become a prized element of his gruesome collection of undead.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Zombie Legion - WIP #11

And in the early December, I managed to build all the four units that I still needed for my great zombie legion. This makes 8 of them - 50 wounds each, 400 in total. Last ones are really plain - I was out of bits and ideas to make them look extra special, they are using standard zombie and Empire Free Company bits. But there are still the statues, that is. Last fillers that I did when I knew exactly how much I need. That gave us also the last spider.

When I built the last zombies in December, I actually lacked three more bases - they were reserved for a boar I wanted to zombify - and I needed to take that boar from home when I was visiting there for Christmas. Unfortunately, I didn't make a photo of it when it was unpainted so this sprayed version will have to suffice. I stuck a lot of weapons in it, covered it with boils and exposed some bone on the face and leg.

And here is the photo of those last 4 units completed, being ready to be based and painted. The stegadon got finished earlier because I used him in a competition on Carpe Noctem. You can see that undead dinosaur HERE.

And this makes it also the last post which isn't about my current work - I managed to post all my archived stuff and the blog is up-to-date. Now I am painting all those zombies - with one exception, they are being painted all at once - basing for all of them, then applying flat colors, then shading and so on - just a one long production line. I will group them up in batches at the highlighting step and post them here, batch after batch, like I already did earlier with the Minotaur or the Stirlanders, for example. There are some things that are on my CN blog that aren't posted here, as I need to reorganize them with the new stuff and then post them here again.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Zombie Legion - Undead Stegadon

Part of the Zombie Legion

And by the end of November 2017, I managed to finish painting the undead stegadon - you can find the WIP post HERE.

The beast being hollow inside, with all the zombies on top made it quite difficult to paint - it's really a wonder I managed to avoid sticking one of those pikes in my eye. I had some problems deciding what color should it's skin be - green would fit well, because most of my undead are green and red seemed like the obvious choice, but I was worried about it making the gore stand out less - and blue was also an option. In the end, I painted him this dirty reddish hue - somehow I wasn't able to envision him different than red - some strange stubbornness on my part. In hindsight, I think I could have tried harder making its skin less flat and maybe give those zombies uniforms in similar colors - but then I remember that it's part of a zombie horde and he looks good enough for that.

Nobody really knows how the giant carcass of a Lustrian stegadon managed to make its way into Kislev, but it didn't really matter - Constantin happily added it to his zombie horde, making it the crowning piece of his morbid collection. Mimicking the lizardmen way of combat, some zombies are ordered on top of it, but that's mostly just for show - they are not capable enough of both staying on top of the beast and fighting back. To add to that, this rotting behemoth is just a slow, lumbering wall of flesh - barely capable of dealing any real damage. All that doesn't matter though, for it is hellishly resilient and capable of stopping almost everything in its tracks and helped the varsavian vampires many times. It makes for excellent surprises too - vampires love the look on their enemies' faces when that beast arrives on the battlefield in the middle of a Varsavian forest.

Zombie Legion - WIP #10 - Varsavian Warriors

Early in November 2017, when I had to wait for some Milliput to cure, I took a box I bought lately and started putting it together - that was Frostgrave Barbarians. I thought that with some light converting I'll be able to make them look vaguely Slavic as an alternative to kislevites in my zombie horde - just as pre-Christian Slavs are to polish commonwealth nobles. It's a nice set, by the way, the quality is good and the options are varied.

Here you can see the whole 20-man unit ready to be based and sprayed.

Zombie Legion - WIP #9

Even more zombies - I managed to build yet another two units. That was the end of October 2017. Here is how that new messy rabble looked like:

And now for some highlights of that part. First, the spiders. Because who said that only vertebrates can become zombies? Only something had to be done about those static and monopose models. Shame that they were so hard to work with - it was quite difficult to cut the legs away from the body - I did that with a red-hot scalpel, really testing its heat resistance. Setting them up in new positions also required lots of pinning. Good that I didn't have to do so many of them - three here, with one more coming up later. They will be a great occasion to try doing stringy gore out of glue and paint.

Here are some single miniatures, two made out of 40K chaos cultists and one elf. One in the middle is supposed to be a victim of an alleged Viking execution method called the blood eagle.

The tree of the dead. An idea I had for quite a long time - it came to me when I noticed how many of those cage bits I had laying around. It was also good to use that 'hanged zombie' as intended for a change. Aptly, yet another creepy cultist is overlooking it.

And last ones of this part, more trolls to accompany the one I did earlier. The first one, an Undead Troll from Reaper Miniatures got refaced a bit to resemble a classic WFB Stone Trolls - because I really like them. The second one is from Frostgrave and it was nice and undead enough to not need any conversions - and that's rare in this project.

Blutmane von Nachthoof

And a spontaneous side project that I painted to enter a Halloween 2017 competition on Carpe Noctem - a vampire horse! I finished it few days before the beforementioned holiday. It was quick, but it was also a good excuse to try two things: copying a horse tail using greenstuff mould and painting glossy red armor - both of which will be helpful in the future.

Behold, Blutmane von Nachthoof, a genuine Blood Dragon horse!

Ever since the times of ancient Lahmia and first vampires, words were spoken about a mysterious terror galloping through the nights, searching for worthy challengers. He changed his names many times through the ages, but now he's known as Blutmane von Nachthoof, the stallion of blood. Countless men, women and beasts were felled by him and even whole empires crumbled because of his influence - and nobody knows how he does it because anyone that sees him drawing a sword, dies. If you ever hear someone challenging you using horse puns, know that Blutmane has come for you.

Zombie Legion - WIP #8 - Undead Stegadon

EDIT: The finished model can be seen HERE.

And here's the conversion process for the biggest rotten jewel in my horde, a crowning piece of it all - an undead stegadon. I saw a crewless one on eBay and thought to myself "why not?" - this beast as a filler was sure to take a lot of space!

Here's the beginning of it all - in October 2017. I started with opening its belly, adding some Milliput ribs, breaking off one of the horns, adding some entrails he'll be dragging along and some other damages to the body.

Following a suggestion I got on Carpe Noctem I replaced the weird 'ladder' that was lodged in the beast's leg with a zombie nailed to it. Something like Captain Ahab and Moby Dick. Not only it is an aesthetic improvement, but also adds another zombie to the composition, making it fit a bit better in the whole horde.

And by the end of the month, I managed to complete converting the monster itself, leaving me only with basing still to do. As you can see, I added all the zombie crewmen on top of it, ready to stab foe and friend alike - one of them holding a chain - that element was tricky. The flag will bear yet another symbol of my vampires, adding more verticality to the horde. There is also some more damage and dangling skin and I turned it into a beast of burden by adding all the pouches, barrels, bottles and other clutter. All of that was to emulate the style of miniatures from the 6th Edition of Warhammer Fantasy Battle when they all had those little bags, potions, scrolls and other such things on them. I really like my miniatures 'busy' - as you can see below.

Zombie Legion - WIP #7

Zombiecrafting continues! These are from October 2017.

Seeing that I went from 350 planned zombies to 400, I needed one more command group - for I had only 7 sets of those. So I built these three guys. The cart for the musician is made out of balsa wood. Below them, you can see some of the more interesting single ones - like two additional creepy cultists, twins too! There's also guy proudly raising the shot bird, while also being pierced with an arrow.

And here are some more imposing beasts. First one is the Gorebeast from a Chaos Chariot - I bought some bits for it to get the horses - and it came with a complete Gorebeast. I made it into a zombie, of course. The second one on this picture is a mummified drake - a miniature from Fenryll. I bought it cheaply on eBay specifically for this purpose. It came with wings, but they were connected to the body rather awkwardly, so I left them out.

Here you can see a Skaven Wolf Rat converted slightly to fit in the legion. This also marked a moment when I used fancy and expensive models from Forge World to be used as lousy zombie filler in my army - I was really running out of ideas for fillers! The second one is a whipper mounted on a Slavic-style idol sculpture - more of those will come later. Idols, that is, not whippers.

Now, some cavalry. First one is a kitbashed Bretonnian 'knight'. It's supposed to look like something a necromancer would build out of scrap bodies, old wood, farming tools and a looted helmet to only resemble a real knight of Bretonnia. The second one is an Empire General - he didn't need much converting to fit in the legion as a headless horseman. The third one is supposed to emulate famous winged hussars. I used a metal horse of unknown manufacturer, mounted a skeleton on it and greenstuffed some flesh. The wings are made out of pieces of sprue with wire and greenstuff for feathers. Below them, you can see an ogre cannon that is being used for some of the more 'shooty' zombies as high ground. It's a great occasion to try some heavy weathering on all that metal.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Zombie Legion - WIP #6 - The Brutes

And we're back to zombies. I had 200 ready and I needed to have 200 more - so I started sculpting them. I really, really wanted to finish this project and move on to other things...

This time, brutes - big buys filling 40x40mm bases by themselves - all of them with some oppressive feel and using many orc bits.

First one is a converted WH40K Ork and he's carrying a breaking wheel - I always wanted to do something like this. Not being able to find any fitting bits, I sculpted the wheel from scratch and mounted a mangled zombie on top.

The second one is carrying a cage. At first, I considered building a carriage for it and have some wretch pulling it. Then I thought that omitting the cart and making the wretch buff will be much, much better. Still needs some rope - I'll add this when they're painted and glued together.

And a headsman/headhunter - I really liked the idea of someone large with an unnaturally small head hidden inside a helmet. It's also a good way to deal with all the heads in my bitzbox and to add some vertical elements to the horde.

Sir Baranowski

And now for something completely different - a Kislev Boyar from Games Workshop - painted in October 2017. There was a competition on Carpe Noctem with the topic 'Duel' - and I wanted to use this mini together with Kislev zombies to create a small diorama. I didn't manage to build the diorama, but I still painted the Boyar - the first living human in my current collection that wasn't a present of some sort.

Sir Baranowski is the nobleman who was leading a patrolling party that was sent from Kislev proper into Varsavia. Almost by accident, he met there with von Greifen brothers - his party was massacred by the undead forces, but he fled into the forest. He may be a gluttonous coward, but he still managed to brave the woods and inform his superiors about a vampiric presence in the land. Drawing attention to themselves and angering their powerful neighbor was the last thing von Greifens needed at that time.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Vaclav the Red, the Dragonrider - WIP

And now it's time for the project that is being worked on for the longest time - a Vampire Lord on a Dragon. I liked the Dragon that Imrik is riding ever since I saw it as a child - and I still think it's the best dragon GW managed to produce (maybe it's nostalgia speaking, of course). So I asked myself - why shouldn't I incorporate it in my army? I wouldn't make it a dirty undead dragon, but a proud and fierce red dragon - a dragon fitting a bloody vampire. Simply repainting the original wouldn't be enough. I wanted to keep the main form of the dragon but change its detail and appearance. THIS photo and THIS artwork were the main inspirations - I wanted to cover it completely with new scales. It would be a very tedious task, but I am nothing if not patient and persistent.

This was the state of things in November 2016.

And here in December 2016. I added a saddle on top of him - the Vampire Lord that was left from the Terrorgheist set was perfect for this project.

After a long break I came back to this dragon in April 2017 - wings are finally attached, together with some new scales for them. You can see that I drilled some ridges on the wings to make them more interesting and easier to shade.

By the end of April, I managed to bring the pointy scales up to the dragon's nose. While greenstuff on this lizard was drying, I was building and converting zombies.

Now it was time to go back with the scales - this time, on the underbelly. This was in May 2017.

And finally, in September 2017, I managed to finish the dragon itself - adding the underbelly plates and covering the remaining limbs with scales. All that work made the dragon much more imposing, scarier and bulkier. Another great part of it all is that there are no mold lines!

There's still basing to be done. I want to have the dragon push on some trees - to reinforce the forest theme I have going in my army and to make its arms a little busier - they look a bit weird by themselves. One tree will be uprooted, another will be snapped.

And that's all for now - I will be back to this one after I finish my zombies.

Zombie Legion - A Hardy Minotaur + WIP

Part of the Zombie Legion

An undead minotaur - painted in July 2017. I bought him specifically for this purpose - and instead of skinning him and hacking his limbs off, I just stuck a lot of weapons into him. It was probably the first time when I was using a heated scalpel to cut holes in a plastic miniature - quite handy, even if a bit messy too. He was fun to convert and the painting was much easier and quicker than I expected.

Numerous places in the world are festering with beastmen and Varsavia, being a woodland close to Chaos Wastes is certainly not an exception. Von Greifens often fought with them and it usually involved facing minotaurs. Those large, ravenous, bull-headed beastmen are very tough and can take a lot of punishment before they can be brought down. One of them was exceptionally resilient and it took almost an armory of weapons to kill it. Constantin found the beast especially impressive and raised it into his zombie legions, with all the spears, swords, arrows and axes still lodged in him - as a twisted souvenir of sorts. They severely limit its movability, but that doesn't make a big difference for a brain-dead zombie.

And how did he look before the painting:

Zombie Legion - The Stirlanders

Part of the Zombie Legion

Empire zombies - painted in July 2017. During all the years of hobbying, I managed to gather quite a lot of imperial bits - and this project was putting them up to good use. At first, I looked at the map and tried to choose a province neighboring Kislev to make it all sensible from the fluff standpoint - but I didn't like their colors at all. So I choose Striland which fits my color scheme, but doesn't make as much sense geographically... still, it's the lesser evil in my opinion.

Recently some provinces of the Empire were waging a war with Kislev - and it was a Strilander force that was moving through Varsavia. Von Greifens kept themselves hidden, not wanting to go between two large realms' war, reacting only when absolutely necessary. After skirmishes with the undead and the forest itself taking their men, soldiers of Empire were an easy target for Kislevites, who quickly crushed them and moved away. Since that time the yellow, green and brown of Striland became a very popular color amongst the zombies' ranks.

First, the cannon, together with zombies futilely trying to get it to shoot.

And the infantry of the Stirland Expeditionary Force - first, some historical-style pikemen. They are kinda unwieldy, so I understand why GW went for much shorter spears and halberds. But as I said in the WIP post about them - the effect of those pikes protruding from the undead horde are definitely worth it.

And the rest of the unfortunate soldiers.