Archive for mordheim

My Descent into Chaos, pt. II: A Cult Following…

Posted in Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2013 by krautscientist

RoC_Logo02
Well, we are not done yet with the nostalgia trip, in case you were wondering! After covering my very first chaos army in my last post, today I would like to talk about yet another chaos project from the halcyon days of my youth that should nicely complement the old models I already showed you. So, once again in honour of Slaves to Darkness’ 25th anniversary, here we go:

My chaos army was already quite a ways into its development when GW started publishing the early rules for Mordheim in WD, starting in (German) WD 31. Necromunda had been released about six months earlier, and so adding a more skirmish based variety of WFB to GW’s catalogue seemed like the next logical step. I’m usually not a big fan of the “everything used to be better”-kind of debates, but having an actual ruleset for a game in development published in WD was definitely one of the really great things about those times!

Anyway, the Mordheim rules did not only bring a skirmish system set in the WFB universe, but also one of the most interesting – and, if you ask me, most underused – settings yet developed by GW: The damned city of Mordheim, a medieval nightmare where demented warbands of treasure hunters, daemon worshippers (and worse) fight over the ruins of a once bustling city, trying to amass more and more warpstone in the process. Visually, it was really a Bosch painting come alive, if you will. How could I not have been thrilled by it all?

One of the next issues of WD brought lists and rules for a selection of different warbands, featuring lots and lots of conversions from GW’s own team (since there were no “official” models yet. And, of course, I was immediately hooked! So I set out to build a cult of the Possessed, chaos worshippers brought into the open during Mordheim’s fall.

I wanted my warband to represent a cult of Khorne, trawling the city streets for worthy sacrifices to the blood god. Granted, I did not really think this through all that well: Followers of Khorne are definitely not fans of skulking around in robes and performing hidden rituals to undermine society. They are too on the nose for that. But even back then, Khorne was my favourite, and so Khorne it was 😉

The first thing I needed were some suitable models to represent my cultists, and with much of today’s useful plastic boxes nowhere in sight, I had to fall back on some of GW’s metal models from the time. Fortunately enough, I found what I was looking for in German WD 32, in the form of Paul Muller’s metal chaos cultists:

old_cultists
While these are very different in concept from the more recent Dark Vengeance cultists – the former look much more like members of an organised cult of fanatics, while the latter seem like disgruntled workers and adepts driven to heresy – I still love these models very much: In fact, they are really underappreciated classics for me, and it’s a shame that they only seem to have been on offer for a pretty short window of opportunity.

Anyway, my FLGS carried some of them at least, so I got one blister (with three models — those were the days! 😉 ) and used them for my cult magister and his closest servants:

My first chaos army (34)

Of course, looking back today, I could kick myself for cutting off all those beautiful autopistols, since these guys would be great for 40k or INQ28. Back then, though, I had only just begun to find my feet as a converter, so transforming 40k models into characters for a WFB spinoff game seemed like a wild and edgy thing to do 😉

First up, the cult magister, Albrecht von Nuln:

My first chaos army (35)
As befits a follower of Khorne, his sidearm was replaced with a huge axe (from an Orc acessory sprue, if I recall correctly). My bitzbox was much smaller in those days, and I pretty much had to make ends meet.

This was also the first test model I painted, so he set the standard for the rest of the warband: Sickly, greenish skin (Oh Rotting Flesh, how I loved thee…), dark red robes spattered with the blood of the cult’s victims, plus different shades of metal, bronze and bone.

Next up, Brother Grimoriah, one of his henchmen, again with an Orc axe:

My first chaos army (36)

Looking back now, I shudder at how crudely the weapon was attached to the model’s hand, but those were different times — at least for me. As you can see, I also added some chaotic tattoes to the cultist’s skin: Certainly nothing to write home about, but I was mightily proud about that particular detail back then! I also added nicks and scratches to the models’ weapons, seeing how these guys were really into fighting and killing, so I wanted their weapons to have a worn, much-used look.

And finally, probably my favourite model of the bunch, Brother Maleachi

My first chaos army (37)
I really love this guy’s composition! An old WoC plastic shield was added to his left arm, and to tell you the truth, I still rather like the way I painted the blood-stained shield:

My first chaos army (38)
You really immediately get what this guy is about 😉

 

In addition to the cult brethren, I also built two bowmen, based on Chaos Archers from Battle Masters. Alas, only one those remains; the other one was demolished when I needed the head for something different. Anyway, here’s Initiate Vaxillus:

My first chaos army (39)
A very easy conversion, to tell you the truth: The head of a plastic warrior of chaos was added, and the right arm was replaced with that of a Gorkamorka Orc. The right hand originally gripped a wicked looking dagger (actually the tip of a chaos knight’s lance), but that particular detail was lost somewhere along the way. I also added an Orc shield to the model’s back:

My first chaos army (40)
This model may not look like much nowadays, but back then, I considered this a fairly involved conversion. Silly me 😉

 

Anyway, I also built two Possessed, Ezeekiel and Duriel. Both of them are once again based on Battle Masters Chaos Archers, with varying degrees of mutation added on top. Take a look:

My first chaos army (45)
My first chaos army (46)
The first guy simply received a pair of reeeally old Tyranid Warrior arms, sponsored by my buddy Phil. I wanted him to look like the additional pair of arms were erupting from his torso and served as his main weapon.

The second Possessed was a far more involved conversion, using the same base model and yet more old Tyranid bitz (among them a leftover head from an old metal Hive Tyrant):

My first chaos army (42)
My first chaos army (41)
My first chaos army (43)
My first chaos army (44)
I wanted the model to look like the daemonic possession had really started to manifest in earnest, the warped, daemonic part of the body almost erupting out of the poor Possessed’s torso. Modelling putty was used to build up the transition between regular body and twisted, daemonic flesh.

And finally, both of them together:

My first chaos army (47)
Granted, the models may be a trainwrecks by today’s standards, but back then, they seemed so sinister and twisted to me, since I had never attempted anything like this before.

 

So here are all of the cult members together:

My first chaos army (33)
Where my WoC army basically consisted of me trying to approximate the official GW studio pieces as closely as I could, this warband shows I was getting more ambitious and adventurous. So since these guys may actually have aged less gracefully than my regular chaos army, they nevertheless mark an important, maybe even crucial, step in my personal hobby “career”: I was actually trying to explore what chaos meant to me, beyond any tabletop rules and army lists.

As for the rest of my Mordheim-related activities, I also had an Empire Witchhunter warband, based on a Necromunda Redemptionist gang, for these guys to face off against — although I’ll be damned if I know where I put most of the models…

Both warbands didn’t actually see that much action: I only remember a single test game – against my dad, if I remember correctly – using the preliminary Mordheim rules from WD. But that’s beside the point: The Mordheim stuff published in WD got my creative juices flowing in a new and exciting ways, and was partly responsible for me becoming the avid kitbasher and fluffbunny I am today.

One last conundrum for you to figure out: If this game was set in a town, why on earth did I base these guys using green flock? Because that’s the way it was done back then, that’s why 😉

 

And with that, our little trip down memory lane is concluded. I hope it’s been enjoyable for you to witness the humble beginnings of my descent into chaos. Rest assured that the next models I’ll post on this blog will be more …recent ones.

Oh, and happy birthday, Chaos! It has been brilliant so far!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

An orky update…

Posted in Conversions, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by krautscientist

Last week, I introduced you to two small hobby projects of mine involving greenskins. Now with a couple of models already built, the time had come to actually test the waters and get something painted.

To be honest with you, I was a bit nervous: After all, I had painted my last Orc over ten years ago, and those models haven’t really managed to hold up all that well. Still, I was reasonably sure that my painting had improved a fair bit since then, so I sat down, took a deep breath and started to work.

I started by painting my Mordheim test model:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (3)
Before actually getting some paint on this guy, though, I added a few bitz: Some pouches hanging from his belt as well as a Bretonnian helmet and an amulet in the shaped of the two-pronged comet of Sigmar. And a dwarven buckler, crudely reinforced with metal straps: I want my Orcs to look like they are scavenging whatever they can off the streets, taking all kinds of kit and every trinket they like off their defeated enemies. However, I took care not to go overboard with the additional bitz on this model, seeing how this was, after all, a test piece.

When it came to actually painting the model, I wanted this guy to have a gritty, battle hardened look, in keeping with the game’s background. I also didn’t want the Mordheim Orcs to look too much like something out of a comic book, so I kept the colour palette pretty limited for this project.

The model was undercoated using brown spray paint. Then the skin was painted (more on that later!), and the different pieces of armour were picked out in very dark grey (I’ve found that a pretty convincing start for an area that is supposed to look black or near-black on the finished model). The model’s clothes were either left brown or painted in a slightly darker tone. The weapons were painted silver. Then the whole model was liberally washed using GW Gryphonne Sepia (for the skin), GW Nuln Oil (for the armour and metallic parts) and GW Agrax Earthshade (for pretty much everything). I then added accents, scratches and overall grime (lightly drybrushing the brown areas with GW Graveyard Earth provided a nice accent while also making the model’s clothes look suitably worn and grimy). I even added one of the Orcs’ trademark sawtooth patterns to parts of the armour, using GW Bleached Bone.

So what did he model end up looking like, you ask? Here you go:

Mordheim Orcs test model (4)
Mordheim Orcs test model (2)
Mordheim Orcs test model (8)
Mordheim Orcs test model (7)
Oh, I almost forgot: The base was built by cutting up some piece of old model train terrain to get a couple of flagstones. Those were then combined with cork and modelling sand. The base was then undercoated black, painted dark grey, liberally washed in black and brown and then drybrushed with white. Easy enough, although I could see myself going with something a tiny bit more refined for the next few models…

All in all, I am really pleased with this guy: He looks like you wouldn’t really want to mess with him, which is pretty much the overall effect I wanted to achieve. I also think he seems right at home on the bloodied streets of a destroyed city.

Mordheim Orcs test model (9)
This model basically establishes a baseline standard for the rest of the gang: Some of the other models will probably be looking more outlandish or be sporting an additional spot colour or two, but in the end, all of them will share the overall look established by this test model.

 

So with the Mordheim side of things taken care of, I turned my attention to my Blood Bowl Team: I would of course need to paint a test model for the Orkheim Ultraz as well, and my choice fell on this lucky fellow, one of my Blitzers:

BB_Blitzers_WIP (3)
Since the model had been kitbashed from all kinds of leftovers, it looked a little rough around the edges: As you can see, the right arm had even been painted in my own, early 2000s’ recipe for Orc skin. However, the rather sorry state of the model made it perfect to serve as a test piece, so I got to work.

I initially approached the whole matter exactly like I had with the Mordheim Orc: Brown undercoat, same recipe for the skin. Basic clothes in various shades of brown. However, to add a visual flourish that would be necessary to make the model look more like an actual Blood Bowl player, all pieces of armour were painted with GW Mephiston Red.

Let me take a moment to tell you that this is the red colour I have always wanted, because it produces a strong, quite vibrant red and works without a hitch, even over a black undercoat. It also still looks good after being thoroughly washed with brown, which clearly differentiates it from the old Mechrite Red – oh, and It also lacks the latter’s “chalky” quality, which is a definite advantage in my book.

Anyway, the red made the model pop rather nicely, even after it had been suitably dirtied and scratched up. Take a look:

Blood Bowl test model (2)
Blood Bowl test model (1)
Blood Bowl test model (4)
As you can see, I went for a tan shirt to make the model look slightly less dark and gritty than the Mordheim piece. Oh, and I also added some pretty old Gorkamorka decals to the model’s armour, since the yellow nicely contrasted with the red.

When it came to doing the base, I wanted to emulate the look of a somewhat roughened up football pitch: still grassy enough, but with patches of trampled mud emerging here and there. So I mixed wood glue with small pieces of cork and modelling sand and generously covered the surface of the base in the mix. When everything had dried, the base was undercoated in black, then painted in brown, then washed and drybrushed to bring out the texture. Then I used a generous helping of static grass to actually make it look like a Blood Bowl pitch. Funny story: I actually got that bag of static grass more than ten years ago at the GW store in Cologne, yet I somehow never got around to using it. And while the strong, slightly synthetic tone of green would probably look wrong for 40k or WFB bases, I think it’s a pretty good fit for a fantasy football pitch 😉

Blood Bowl test model (6)

So with that, my two Orky test pieces were completed. Here they are, side by side:

Orc comparison (2)
While I’ll admit that they share quite a bit of common heritage, I think they still look different enough: The Mordheim Orc is slightly grittier and darker, as befits the setting. As I previously mentioned, both models were painted using the marvelous recipe for Orc skin posted by Brian over at A Gentleman’s Ones, and I simply cannot recommend that recipe enough: Not only did it provide me with the perfect skin tone for my models, it’s also possibly the only recipe I ever got from the internet that looks exactly as described on the finished miniature. If my 18 year old self had had access to that recipe, I might have managed to paint a whole greenskin army after all. Go head over there right now to check it out, if you haven’t already!

 

So with my first two models for my greenskin projects such a success, I found myself itching to proceed. So I sat down and painted two more models:

BB_Goblins (14)
A couple of Night Goblins for my Blood Bowl team. These were built from the remains of an old plastic Night Goblin regiment, and while there may be more recent plastic Night Goblins in GW’s catalogue, I still love these guys to bits: Granted, their scale may be slightly off (especially when compared to human models) and the sculpt may seem a little clunky in places, but they are still absolutely iconic, in my opinion: Those pointy ears and huge noses, and those mean little faces — you simply gotta love ’em! I’ve always had a soft spot for Night Goblins, and these models are perfect representations of all that’s cool about the race — whereas the newer models are just looking a little runtish, if you ask me…

Anyway, these were painted using the same recipe as the Blitzer above. In fact, I tried to push myself in order to see how fast I could finish these, using a slightly impressionistic – even slapdash – approach to painting. In the end, I was able to complete these guys in about one and a half hours, basing included. Not bad, huh? And they are certainly good enough for me!

Here are some additional detail shots:

BB_Goblins (1)
BB_Goblins (2)
BB_Goblins (3)
BB_Goblins (4)
I love how this little guy seems to be basking in the crowd’s adoration — you have to wonder though why they would be cheering him in the first place…

His colleague, meanwhile, seems a little more dedicated to the task at hand:

BB_Goblins (7)
BB_Goblins (8)
BB_Goblins (12)
BB_Goblins (11)
And last but not least, here’s another picture of the Orkheim Ultraz‘ humble beginnings:

BB_Test models (1)
So, in closing, my first painting efforts on my greenskins have been both a success and a blast! Expect to see more Orcs and Goblins here pretty soon. Until then, C&C are always welcome!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The future is green!

Posted in Conversions, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, WIP with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by krautscientist

…well, at least in part. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let me start with a small excurse (as I am wont to do). A word of warning, though: This will be a pretty wordy post, as we take another trip down memory lane…

Anyway, let us talk og Orcs, shall we? My sympathy for Orcs and Goblins even predates my knowledge of Tolkien and his books by a couple of years. Indeed, possibly my first exposure to the concept of the Orc per se were this guy and his kin:

HeroQuest Orc (2)

painted by me during the early 90s

While that approach may seem a little backwards, GW’s concept of what an Orc should look like (along with 80’s fantasy art of mostly British origin) had shaped my view of Orcs and Goblins long before I ever read the Hobbit for the first time. Consequently, when I did read the Hobbit, it was absolutely clear to me that the Orcs and Goblins appearing thoughout the story had to be very similar in appearance to the greenskinned creatures populating the labyrinths of HeroQuest.

Another huge influence in my relationship with the greenskins came when Warcraft and Warcraft II were released: Instead of going for a goofy, idiotic and mostly bumbling race of imbeciles, Blizzard’s Orcs where a proud and fierce warrior race, cunning and powerful, if a little lacking in subtlety. But still, Blizzard’s designers were obviously influenced by both Tolkien and GW, so the image of the greenskinned brute with tusk like teeth was further embellished. During all of this, my love of Orcs and Goblins made me get the 5th edition WFB army book for them, but back in those days, starting a greenskin army was prohibitively expensive, with most models only being available in metal. So I only ever got a few of the models, like these classic Brian Nelson Orcs:

Old Orcs (1)

again, one of my older paintjobs: first painted sometime during the late 90s, then slightly touched up in 2000

Old Orcs (3)

When the 6th edition of WFB came around in 2000, the starter box contained lots of brand-new plastic Orcs, and I decided that this was the perfect time to finally start my own army of Orcs & Goblins. Having just finished school back then, I can remember myself during my compulsory term of community service, walking up and down the corridors of the hospital I was working at, with potential colour schemes for my new greenskin army constantly at the back of my head. I was in love with GW’s Orcs and Goblins, and how could I not have been? From a design perspective, the greenskins have been among GW’s finest offerings for a long time now. And they are one of the only factions always managing to blend the legitimately scary with the darkly humorous.

So I started building and painting, and my first models made me hungry for more. Take a look:

Old Orcs (8)
Old Orcs (10)
Old Orcs (12)
Old Orcs (7)

These were all painted during late 2000 and early 2001, when I was hellbent on starting a greenskin army. Alas, it amounted to nothing: The model count needed for a whole army was what defeated my ambitions in the end. So the models went to my cupboard of shame, there to moulder for eternity. I have loved the new greenskin releases over the years, and they always made me feel slightly nostalgic, but I never felt tempted to actually pick up and finish the army: I couldn’t do it when WFB was still much smaller in scope, so I doubt I’d be able to do it now. So it was always with feelings of guilt that I remembered the greenskins resting in my cupboard, and I always took the time to lovingly sift through the different sprues, whenever I had to nick a couple of Orc parts for some INQ28 project or other.

So why all of this preamble? Well, a short time ago, a colleague told me that she and her husband were quite strongly into playing Blood Bowl. And through her constant gentle niggling, I began to think about actually starting a small BB Orc Team myself, just for the heck of it — after all, I probably had enough plastic Orcs to spare.
And while browsing through my collection of plastic Orc and Goblin bitz, the idea for two pretty different hobby projects was born…

 

I. The Orkheim Ultraz

Like I said, I am going to build and paint an Orcish Blood Bowl team in order to be able to give the game a spin. I have absolutely zero experience playing either football, rugby or Blood Bowl, but I am reasonably sure my colleague will at least be able to help me out with the latter. As I quickly found out, the different Orc plastic kits lend themselves very well to converting Blood Bowl models, and so, after a relatively short while, I had a couple of players tacked together:

BB_Blitzers_WIP (1)
BB_Blitzers_WIP (3)
BB_Linemen_WIP (4)
BB_Linemen_WIP (3)
BB_Linemen_WIP (2)
BB_Linemen_WIP (1)
BB_Throwers_WIP (1)

The Ultraz' star thrower, clearly recognisable by his classic pose...

The Ultraz’ star thrower, clearly recognisable by his classic pose…

A Night Goblin, taking a moment to enjoy the crowd's adoration...

A Night Goblin, taking a moment to enjoy the crowd’s adoration…

...and his rather surly colleague...

…and his rather surly colleague…

All of these were built from leftovers and parts from my bitzbox. I used my usual yellow putty to not only tack the models together but also to show how I wanted them to be placed on the finished base — crucial in most cases, as you can see. Looking at all the Orcs above, trying their darnedest to catch that stupid ball, I think you’ll agree that there’s quite a potential for humor in these models, and that’s what I am going for: I want these to be darkly humorous and slightly goofy.

I also repurposed the members of an old WFB Orc command group to serve as members of the team’s fan club:

Fans WIP (1)

Fans WIP (3)

And a Gnoblar from the Ogre kit was used to serve as the team’s kit man — or “Kit Git”, as it were 😉

Kit Git
I even caved in and finally got the box of Black Orcs I had craved for such a long time. Some of these will be used as blockers in my Blood Bowl Team, and once again, the design of the models made sure that they are looking right at home on a football…erm pardon, Blood Bowl pitch, with only very little conversion work required:

BB_Black_Orcs_WIP (1)

The rest of the Black Orcs, however, will be used in the second hobby project I was talking about. Before we take a look at that, though, here’s the whole team so far:

Orkheim Ultraz Team WIP (4)

 

II. Orcish Gang for Mordheim

Yet another specialist system, huh? Bring it on! While I hope to develop this gang of models back to back with the Blood Bowl team, the project could not be more different in nature. Where I want the BB team to be funny and goofy, these guys will be dark and brutal, imposing and very gothic: I want to channel not only the slightly demented aesthetic of Mordheim itself, but also the dark fantasy tropes present in Blanchian artwork from the late 80s and early 90s — effectively, Tolkien by way of Brueghel and Bosch. This will be quite a daunting task though, so even if I shouldn’t be able to live up to my mission statement, I will at least strive to create a really brutal looking band of Orcs (and, possibly, Goblins). They will have lots and lots of weapons, lots of kit and strange detail, and several models will be based on Black Orcs to begin with, to make them look even more formidable and ferocious. I will probably completely ignore the Mordheim equipment tables and just go with what looks awesome.

And, after all this time, this project will give me the chance of actually using some of the Orcs I built all these years ago for WFB. Rest assured, however, that only the most imposing models will make the cut:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (1)

And even those will probably end up looking like the runts of the litter. Anyway, I also built a first actual test model for the gang, using a mix of Orc and Black Orc parts:

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (3)

Mordheim Orc Gang WIP (2)

This guy is still missing lots and lots of bitz and strange, gothic doodads, but I think you get the picture.

I cannot even be sure whether these guys will ever end up seeing the gaming table at all — after all, this is just a hobby project trying to express both my love for greenskins as well as my admiration for a certain flavour of dark fantasy artwork. Maybe my buddy Frankie will do me the favour of playing a game of Mordheim against me one of those days, though.

 

In any case, by choosing two hobby projects that are limited, if not in scope then at least in model count, I can finally build some great Orc and Goblin models: A goal that was somehow always lost while frantically trying to finish enough models to make up an army. I am really looking forward to this!

I don’t have a clear deadline for either of these projects: The BB team will probably be assembled and painted rather soon, seeing how I want to try my hand at the game. I can easily see the Mordheim gang taking quite a while to complete, since it’s by far the more ambitious project of the two. For now, I have a pile of bitz and Brian’s fantastic recipe for Orc skin. Let’s see where that will take me…

Oh, and for those of you visiting this blog for my World Eaters, Custodes or INQ28 models — don’t fret! A part of the future may indeed be green, but equally sizeable chunks will remain red and bronze, golden or …shadowy and secretive — yes, I realise that those last two aren’t colours 😉

Anyway, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!