Sunday, August 26, 2018

Varsavian Hermits

The unpainted version can be seen HERE.

As I wrote in the WIP post, I never really liked those old bedsheet Spirit Hosts that GW was selling before upgrading them in 2014. Even so, when I noticed some of them on ebay recently, I realized that I actually want them! They possessed enough oldschool charm to add them to the collection, but that didn't mean that I wouldn't convert them. To make them more Slavic and also add some variance to the unit, I decided to fashion them after hermits that lived in russia in old times. The whole idea, together with a painting that inspired me, can be found in the WIP post, linked above.

I painted them in the same way I did with my last banshees - only this time I wasn't sweating as much about detail. Well, they aren't as much detailed as the banshees too. I wetblended them first - dark green on the bottom parts and light green on the top parts. When that was dry I highlighted the top with a white paint and added several layers of black shade on the bottom parts, especially in the recesses. Then I added some Coelia Greenshade, mixed with Vallejo Glaze Medium on the middle parts to blend two extremes together. Then it was just a matter of some refining touches, like on the hands or on their faces. In the end, it was pretty quick to do, I remember that banshees were more labor-intensive.

Faith in the harsh land of Kislev values frugality and abstinence - and while common people remember about it only a few times a year, some people take it much, much more seriously. Those ascetic hermits can be found all over Kislev, but they are especially common in dangerous Varsavian forests, where they can really test their bodies and faith. Here they preach spirituality and peace, sometimes acting as quite effective neutral mediators between warring chieftains. The problem was, Constantin wanted the Varsavian chieftains to wage endless wars between themselves, to make them easier to control and contain - and to have a steady supply of dead to be raised in the vampires’ armies. Because of that, he had Sorin and Ioana hunt down every single hermit hiding in the forests. Violently murdered despite their innocence, their disturbed spirits were easy to shackle down, to serve their killers even after death. Vampires find them useful both on the battlefield and to haunt the countryside, ruining the hermits’ reputation for years to come.

Three groups of Spirit Host miniatures for Warhammer, on square bases, visible from several angles. They are converted to resemble old russian hermits and are painted in a gradient-like color scheme, from black on the bottom, through green, to white, so give a 'ghostly' impression. They are usable in WFB or AoS.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Zombie Legion - Cavalry

Part of the Zombie Legion

I really love cavalry miniatures and of course I couldn't skip on them in the Zombie Legion. The problem was that they usually go on 25x50mm bases and I had to stick them on 20x40mm ones - they have some difficulties fitting in, but with right neighbours they manage all right. You can see the unpainted versions of most of them HERE.

Most zombies walk by themselves, because it is usually tricky to make both the rider and the beast move in unison - but sometimes, an exception is made - even if such zombies can barely stay on their mounts, not to mention fighting. Still, Constantin loves to mock his defeated enemies, so if his forces manage to slay a high-ranking officer, a noble, or a member of an elite unit, he raises his corpse and puts it on a horse as a vile parody. Bretonnians - his most hated enemy - make this especially difficult. Knights will never suffer anyone of them be raised in such a manner, so they always bring their fallen comrades back with them or - should he really be raised - he’s hunted down with extreme prejudice. To express their disdain properly, vampires had to ‘build’ their own knight - out of random bodies, wooden scrap and farm tools. After some time Constantin decided that this solution was even better than having a real undead knight.

First is the Empire officer with his untypical vertical orientation. He is converted slightly - I took away his head, put an eye in the crow's beak, sculpted some guts hanging out from the horse's belly and added a gash in its eye socket. When it came to painting, I had an idea to make him really nice and glossy, using black and gold (inspired by Nilfgard colors from the Witcher franchise) and then cover him rather thickly with dust and mud and see how it'll turn out. In the end, I think I overdid the mud a bit, the glossy parts are really subtle - but at least he still fits with his colleagues.

And the the rest - a winged hussar, a rusted knight, bretonnian knight mockup and an acrobat. The first one is a greenstuffed kitbash mounted on a metal horse with some rather straightforward painting.

The second one is quite a veteran of the legion, built and painted for the first expansion to the unit - but he didn't have any cavalry friends back then. I always wanted to have a limp corpse being carried on a horse in my army and a really, really rusted knight too - so he counts here for both. The rust is different than most of the legion, I painted him before I started using pigments for rust.

The third one started as am attempt to kitbash an undead Bretonnian knight. While doing that, I noticed that I either don't have good bits to do it, or making them out of greenstuff would take too much time. That's why I started using much more 'rural' accesories, to create some sort of a mockup my Vampires could build up. Then came the backstory explanation for it and it all worked out fine in the end. To bring the idea further, I painted him in washed-out, natural colors, something a peasant would use, not like those colorful nobles.

And the last one came to be when I was trying to mount a ghoul model on a skeleton horse. I couldn't fit it there nicely, no matter how I tried but I noticed I could make it simply stand on its spine, like an acrobat. Seeing how zombies can be made more humorous than your usual undead, I just ran with it.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Vaclav the Red, the Dragonrider

Finally, after starting this project in November 2016, I managed to finish it!

It started with me buying an old model of High Elf Imrik - I loved that model ever since I saw it as a child! Then I wanted to incorporate it in my undead army - but I also wanted to avoid butchering the model turning it into a zombie. I decided to make it look scarier and more evil - a dragon befitting a vampire. To achieve that, I covered him almost completely with new, pointy scales out of greenstuff. It was a tedious task, but I managed to change the details while keeping the original form still there. Then I mounted on it a vampire that was leftover from the Terrorgheist set. The whole conversion process is documented in THIS post, while the base with the falling trees is documented HERE.

THIS photo and THIS artwork were the main inspirations, both for the sculpting phase and the painting one.

The painting proved no less tedious than the sculpting! I didn't consider the fact, that with those new scales, its surface area increased significantly. Other than that, it was really difficult to hold this spiny beast. I have been holding it by the wings the whole time and painted them only after I glued it to the base. One of them even broke off after all the turning and rotating. Then there was the fact that red is quite a difficult color to work with - I had to go several times with basecoat, shades, wetblended layers, glazes, hightlights - all that through every scale. Thankfully, after that was done, the rest was much easier and more enjoyable.

The base itself was quite a challenge too, but a welcome one - it was the first opportunity to use dirt mix on such a big base instead of the usual drybrushed sand. Besides, I bought a lot of basing materials specifically for this occasion after paying extra attention when I was biking through forests this summer. I even used my Johann (he would be probably more like Jan in my story) model to make it extra special.

One of the main reasons why Lady Ecaterina wasn’t replaced by another upstart pretender during all the years is Vaclav, known in Varsavia as Vaclav the Red. He’s unconditionally loyal to his mistress, ready to do anything for her - yet nobody, perhaps besides himself and Ecaterina, knows why is that so. If the fact that he’s one of the true Blood Dragons and has the skill to prove it isn’t enough to deter enemies, his giant red dragon - his loyal companion and mount - usually is. Together they impaled, incinerated and torn into pieces countless foes. Still, even they weren’t able to overcome the numbers and wit von Greifens brought with them - and Lady Ecaterina was forced to parley. But if not for him, she probably would be forced into unconditional surrender or killed outright. Their current cooperation with von Greifens is questionable at best, but Constantin is willing to improve it if only to get the dragon knight on his side.

A Vampire Lord miniature riding a heavily converted High Elf Dragon, one from Imrik. The dragon is covered in pointy scales, made out of greenstuff painted red and is going through a forest, felling down trees. The whole diorama-like composition is visible from several angles and usable in WFB or AoS. The last picture shows up a close-up on the vampire rider.

And the second picture, because I couldn't fit all the views I wanted to show in a single one.

A Vampire Lord miniature riding a heavily converted High Elf Dragon, one from Imrik. The dragon is covered in pointy scales, made out of greenstuff painted red and is going through a forest, felling down trees. The whole diorama-like composition is visible from several angles and usable in WFB or AoS. The last picture shows a close-up on the dragon's face.

And a little bonus picture!

Such is the life in Varsavia - if the dead are not rising from their graves, if the witches are not kidnapping your children to make soup out of them, if the mythical beasts are not slaughtering your livestock, then it's the dragons that are dropping trees on your head!

An additional close-up photo of the terrified Johann miniature that was added to the base, he's running away from the dragon emerging from the forest.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Daremnych the Great Liche Priest - WIP

A small conversion work. Miniature from the Avatars of War range, one called the 'Necromancer Lord'. He was sculpted by Gary Morley, the author of the infamous oldschool Nagash model - and seeing how this model looks, it's safe to say that this one is a much subtler reimagining of that old clown. I bought the miniature because I found it really cool, even if I didn't have absolutely any use for him on the battlefield - there are no necromancers or wights in WFB or AoS that big! Still, he'll be a good excuse in my background to greatly expand on the wights and the rest of the 'Ancients' subfaction.

As cool as this model is, I needed him to fit the aesthetics of my other wights, make him more Slavic and get rid of the 'mysterious eye' symbols that were all over him. To achieve that, I gave him a pointy crown/helmet and added much more Slavic iconography. I also scratchbuilt a new sword scabbard for him, as the original one was way too weird and fantastic for me.

Also, only on the photos, I noticed that the needle in his helmet is showing - I need to fix it up! His dagger is also missing here, but I still need to consider if I need it at all.

EDIT: The finished model can be seen HERE.

A single Necromancer Lord miniature from Avatars of War, sculpted by Gary Morley, on a square base, converted to be used as powerful Liche character in WFB or AoS. The whole miniature is made out of metal, with converted elements visible as white plasticard and green greenstuff. The whole model is seen from several angles.