Sunday, 22 July 2012


I got jealous, looking at all the shiny models appearing over the last few weeks. Time to crack out the paints and get back in the game. I knew it had been a while since I last did that, because the first thing I had to do was a spot of weeding.
It doesn't how matter much water I mix in with a stick, I'm not getting anything from this one.
Nothing like opening the old bottles to see what you can't use any more. Skull White and Chaos black are always the worst culprits, I find. It's probably because they're the two paints I find most useful. I mix my own shades a lot, so they often stand open longer than they should as I blend.

Or GW knows they're invaluable basics, so they add chemicals to make them dry out faster. That way they know I'll be back soon for another couple of pots. And a 50% chance of a £50 Land Raider, depending on my WP test result.

I lose four pots in the end, although I'm sure there are more in there somewhere.

The Honoured Dead. They Shall Not Grow Old, etc. 
Frankly, it's a constant miracle I've got any paints left at all. As you can tell from these photos, some of my tubs hark back over twenty years. That Space Wolves Grey in the snap above? That's late eighties vintage, that. My old dad used it when he was a boy. There's a Hornby Jinty Tank Loco 47458 in the attic somewhere that was used by Leman Russ himself.

GW Pots Through the Ages - starting in the 2000s on the left and going back through time to the right. And ending in heretical non-brand paints, because they were cheaper. 
Anyway, back to doing some actual painting. Once I've set up my hi-tec studio and subdued my wife's qualms about our antique dining table by placing some discardable magazines on it, I can leap my next hurdle, which is the brushes. They've also not seen daylight for a while.
Most of them have ended up with their business ends shoved up against the sides of the Cadbury's Christmas biscuit tin they travelled over the North Sea in. So quite a few have an interesting slant at the end, as though the entire brush is a big tick on an art teacher's mark sheet. But a quick soak in some water, and some delicate teasing, and they soon revert more or less to their original state.

Da Vinci worked like this. Only upside down. 
At which point, it's time to bring out the actual lead.

Tonight's project? Well, there's this WoffBoot coming up. I have a terrible track record at Fantasy Battle. My sister used to beat me when we were teens and I'd convince her to play (mostly out of pity. She quickly worked out that if one Bloodthirster isn't enough, two always is, this being back in the day before Troop choices needed to outweigh HQ choices).

In fact, the only game I actually remember ever winning was round at General Stylus's place, about eight years ago. And even then, my Chaos warband got several key rules wrong/cheated hugely, so the win I'd scraped was negated.

So I need some serious firepower to add to whatever army I get to borrow. But I want to bring some of my own models, so it's going to have to be some mercenaries. Or Dogs of War. Or War Dogs.

Time to bring out the big guns.

In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. 
This team of ex-paramilitary mercs have seen action across a number of war zones. These days, they've gone way off the rails, and are as likely to be found as the bodyguards of Columbian drug lords as they are shooting at UN troops in Syria just for kicks. Not, of course, that they'd find any there.

They're an Orc's Nest buy, a cheerful tenner for a blister pack of decent-looking general purpose gang thugs. I bought them originally for use with the Rogue Trader campaign I'm running. Here, they could be used as henchmen, hive scum, shipboard armsmen or red-shirt Chain Sparrows as required. Since I sold my copy of Necromunda to Luke a while back, the old Bag of Limitless Minions is a bit light on modern-day firepower.

They're an extremely mixed looking bag. I figure they really are the dregs of society. Some of them are armed with decent looking military gear, some are rejects from MacGuyver Villain of the Week auditions. Some have clearly seen professional action, some are coke-addled psychos. So five very nice character pieces, each with a unique look.

Tonight, Matthew, we'll be appearing as the following classic shades.
At the same time want a colour scheme that ties them together but still allows maximum flexibility. As I undercoat them (in a variety of light greens and browns, because the Skull White isn't dry but isn't quite wet either), I discover all of them are wearing incredibly battered clothing. Rips, tears, broken open shoes - they must have been in the field for a while.

So I mostly go for military drabs - Catachan Green, Kommando Khaki and Graveyard Earth are the paints for the first coats. A spot of Tin Bitz or Chaos Black for weapons, Dwarf Flesh or Scorched Earth for skin tones. I'll use Blood Red for a few flashes of colour and my obstinate classic, Sod All, for the bases.

An hour and a half later, here's the early stages. I'm realising how out of practise I am. Even with my threadbare and oddly angular brushes, it's blobby and rough work. I don't have a regular gauge brush for large areas, and have to use a drybrush that's seen heavy action (and has the same hairdo as Maelcum below). But that's fine, I'll get back into it, and this is only the primer, broad-stroke-coat-stage anyway.

Gentlemen - meet the Warthogs.

This Green Beret is going to kick your big ass!
 Herc the Merc has definitely seen proper military action. He's got serious gear in fairly good nick. Sadly, he's decided he's too serious to need a shirt any more. I'm thinking even more bug-eyed machismo than Cooke in Commando. Herc is the group's scary muscle guy. If you chew some of this, you'll be a goddam sexual tyrannosaurus, just like him.

Now there is only a Sioux named Dances With Wolves
Next, the Ratskin scout with a shotgun. He bears a marked resemblance to the classic Necromunda model of the same name. Must be from the same tribe. He goes by Red Crow Westerman, with his neckerchief matching Herc's.

Jah Love, Case
Maelcum here has popped in from Babylon via Neuromancer. A dependable stoner/racial stereotype, he  also provides the group's tech support. By now, I'm thinking of a sort of clapped-out jungle camo look for them all, maybe with some mustard yellow stripes so they're not too drab.

This is like the gun I used in 'Nam.
The Heavy is a rather androgynous model sporting what could be an antique Bren gun. Could be a slender young lady, could be an overly muscular young chap, hard to say. Kids today have such confusing hairstyles. My idea for Thailand Robin is to go for an Asian look, seeing as the Warthogs' work experience scheme is very right on. If only the last guy was in a wheelchair.

"Bring me everyone."
"What do you mean, everyone?"
Victor 'Razors' Alfonso is the team leader, simply because Herc doesn't actually want to end up taking the fall if anything goes wrong. If his Uzi 9mm doesn't get you, he can simply throw an entire suitcase of blow in your face and leg it, a tactic used by many octopi from the wrong side of town. Vic's jeans were initially Snot Green, but that really didn't work, so I went with Shadow Grey instead. A colour flash is provided by his red converse pumps, because a leader needs Style.

More once they're done.


  1. I share the pain of the perishable paint pot. I hear the new batch are better (time will tell), but the previous three incarnations had mayfly-like life expectancy.

    However, I still have a few veterans from 1991 (Striking Scorpion Green, Go Fasta Red, Hawk Turquoise) that are good as ever - back before GW realised they could make more money selling bad paint than good.

    The Warhogs look to be shaping up well (are you planning to field machine guns in Fantasy Battle - is this some handicapping system?). And I'm going to play my BA War Studies card: I suspect Thailand Robin is toting a Browning Automatic Rifle, not a Bren Gun.

    (all right, that wasn't my War Studies degree, it was my subscription to Battle Picture Weekly)

  2. I think you're right - a Bren has that characteristic curved ammo above the barrel, now I think about it.

    I'm writing up some scratch rules for machine guns that I think everyone will find fair and balanced. Bearing in mind they come from the future, where such things are commonplace and cheap, I think +2 points per model is fair for 3d6 S5 attacks per round. I'll lower their BS by one for balance. My own levels of BS will remain unabated.

    And speaking of off-brand models, lovers of copyright infringement will definitely enjoy this website, who've clearly started their games concepts from the ground up in a majestic display of convergent evolution: -

  3. You may be joking with the machine guns (or not - this is the FNGM talking after all), but someone has already written up rules for using Space Marines in Warhammer Battle.

    I quite like the look of Mantic Games (note their inclusion in the sidebar of off-brand games outlets) and the 'Orx' army has to be the cleverest brand infringement since the release of Cocoa-Cola (Just For The Chocolatey Taste Of It).