Flayed Ones, Part II

Papa Nurgle’s been kicking my ass.  And to think... I’m one of his more devoted followers...

So, I’d used some scrap warriors from the bins and a lot of leftover blades to make some passable Flayed Ones.  But they still needed a bit more to really sell it.  Not much, but a few touches.

I’d used some of the blades and old Dark Eldar helmet crests to make spikes along the spines of these guys, but I also wanted the trophies that show up in all the art.  At first I was just going to put some extra skulls on their shoulders, but then I happened to stumble across a few of the skulls-on-spikes that are on the new Dark Eldar Raider.  They worked perfectly, so I scattered about half a dozen of them through the squad.  One guy ended up with two, just to make him stand out as an unofficial sergeant/ champion of the squad.

I also added a few skulls and bones to the base.  I’d found a bunch of Dire Wolf ribs in the bits bins, and they looked nice and creepy.  The Kroot sprue is great for stuff like this, too, and the bins always have tons of Kroot accessories.  There’s severed thigh, part of a ribcage with meat on it, and a cloak lined with bones which makes a great bit of flayed flesh and meat. 

I also used some of these pieces on the base here and there to reinforce and support some of my patched-together feet. 

Then came the big part.  Long pieces of flesh.  I knew the model needed these, but I wanted this to be a simple green stuff project.  Because I know my limits.

I just went for simple strips.  I’d make a very small ball of green stuff (maybe half the size of a pea), roll it into a snake, and then carefully flatten it and stretch it.  I needed this to be thin so it looked like skin and/or hides, but nor so thin it would fall apart if something brushed against it.

For most of the figures I just draped a long piece over the shoulders.  I’d let it hang over an arm on some, and on others it would just sit like a scarf.  On three or four of them, I tried to make loops to help hide some of the scratch-built arms.  They didn’t turn out horrible, but not all that great, either.  Overall, I’m happy with the results.

Helpful Hint—Keep your fingers damp.  Not full-on wet, but damp.  The more complicated the work you’re doing is, the more important it is to keep your fingers damp.  The moment they get dry the green stuff will cling, and when it’s this thin it’ll just tear apart when you try to peel it away (he said from experience).

A few of the dangling bits looked a little too... well, round.  They looked more blobby and melted than sliced and skinned.  So I went back with my clippers and cut a few of the ends to sharper points, and added splits in a few.  It’s a little thing, but I think it helped a lot.

As I’ve said before, I’m not the greatest painter, but here’s what worked for me.  I primed them black and then hit them with an aluminum chrome spray paint I’ve used on all my Necrons.  A drybrush of Leadbelcher actually knocks it down a bit, and then some Abaddon Black on the thighs, upper arms, and spine.  Granted, this means all of my Flayed ones came from the same dynasty, but I like having that bit of unity on the tabletop (maybe I’ll dab in other colors to hint at other dynasties).  I did a few of the thighs in Khorne Red to give the sense of lots and lots of blood that’s dripped down and dried.

Then I did the flesh in different... well, flesh tones, but drybrushed all of them with rotting flesh. Then I splashed on some blood red and red ink (yes, I still have some red ink).  I made a point of painting the hands red, and also the mouths.  The models in the codex just looked a little too neat and clean to me.  The whole idea of the flayer curse is these things are eating their victims, even if they can’t digest them.

And there you have it.  I got the bodies from the bitz bins, so I think this whole project cost me maybe ten bucks total, but it’d be a cheap conversion even if I had to buy a box of Warriors to start with.  In retrospect, I would’ve liked to add in one or two Deathmark heads, just to show some of the different Necrons who’ve fallen to the curse.  Ahhh, well.  Maybe if I find some more bits.  I may even paint up a Necron Lord in gore-colors to be Varghul of the Bone Kingdoms of Drazakh.


Another Quick Filler Post

The holidays (and a prolonged visit from Papa Nurgle) have kept me from finishing the Flayed Ones.  That should be up next week, though.

In the meantime, I thought I'd link back to a little guest post I did over at Atomic Warlords where I mused on a handful of very simple way to improve the forces of Chaos.  Feel free to agree, disagree, mock, or whine like a troll either  over there or here.

Flayed Ones.  Soon.


Flayed Ones

have to admit, the original Flayed Ones never did it for me.  They felt like a unit that was missing something, both in their rules and their backstory.  I still think their rules are a little off (they’re a bit pricey, I think, and Rage or Furious Charge would’ve given them more flavor) but I think their fluff is fantastic now.  They’re essentially mechanical zombies, mindless eating machines that get nothing from what they eat.

And zombies have a special appeal to me.

Alas, nine dollars per model is a bit too steep for my taste, especially for the points cost.  Considering you need to use at least ten Flayed Ones to make a decent unit, they’re just too expensive.  And, I have to admit, it does grate on me a bit that Games Workshop theoretically created Finecast as a money-saving move, then refused to pass those savings on to the customers.

So... cheap Flayed Ones.
Some of you may remember from a while back, I’d lucked out and found a bunch of Necron Warriors in my local gaming store’s bits bins.  A lot of them were broken or poorly assembled.  Some had thick, gloppy paint jobs.  A few were missing arms or heads.  But I realized they’d make a good base to start from.  Heck, even if I had to buy a box of brand new Warriors for this project, it’d still make them less than half the price of the same number of Flayed Ones models.

First step was to cut off the weapons (assuming they hadn’t been broken off already).  I tried to save as much of the hand as possible, but didn’t worry about it too much if the arms ended at the wrist.  This gave me a basic Necron figure.

Some of these guys needed feet, too.  I think the thin ankles are tough for some younger Overlords to work with.  Since the Flayed Ones are supposed to be a bit deformed, I just built new feet from a few pieces of card and some small bits of sprue.  I added in some plastic rod in places where the break made them too short.

Helpful Hint – The easiest thing to do was just cut a pair of triangle This gave me a foot that looked a bit like a mechanical claw, and that works great for Flayed Ones.

Next was repositioning.  By nature of holding a rifle, all the Warriors are in more or less the same stance.  I cut some arms in the center of the upper arm and rotated them a bit.  This gave them wider and more dynamic poses.  I also cut a few Warriors across the thin part of the back, filed them a bit, and then re-attached them to give the figures a bit more of a hunch.  This helped with some of the models that had been assembled looking up at the sky.

Helpful Hint – Don’t worry too much about things lining up when you reposition them.  You want it to be solid, yes, but any odd seams can either be written off as part of the Flayed Ones mutated forms or it’ll get hidden by folds of skin (as explained in a bit).

A few of them needed arms, too.  I had a few spares that I’d picked up here and there, and in one or two places I found arms from Lychguard or Immortals that fit fine (if they looked a little oversized or distorted... all the better).  Some are Fantasy skeleton arms.  I even made one set from a zombie scythe handle and another from a skeleton spear.  I know they look really crude like this, but they’re going to be fine by the end of this.

The hands were the next part.  They are kind of the defining feature of a Flayed One.  On the old models they had very Freddy Kruger-ish fingers, but these new ones are a bit more random.  It fits their twisted, mutated nature and it makes for easy scratch-builds.  

Two or three of these guys have elaborate hands made out of blades.  Some just have a scissors-like arrangement.  A few just have one big cutting blade, set up either like a sword or a scythe.  I tried to space these out between models so the different arrangements felt a bit random.

Helpful Hint – There are tons of knives and blades kicking about the GW lines.  Tons.  Space Marines of all flavors and allegiances, new and old, come with knives.  Kroot come with extra rifles that are covered with blades.  Dark Eldar have some nice ones.  Heck, if you saved any old Dark Eldar figures, there were blades on everything (even their pistols and helmets).  This doesn’t even count the number of things you can find in the Fantasy line--swords, daggers, spears--all sorts of nastiness.

I also really like the art in the new codex that shows a Flayed One with a small forest of spikes or blades growing out of its back.  I used a few more blades for those.  These helped reinforce the spine where I’d cut it, too.

Next week I’ll add some details to the base, some skin to the spikes, and some paint to the whole model.


TARDIS Objective

Another quick fill-in blog.  Pathetic, I know.  I’ve been using my time on a lot of fill-in projects that most of you wouldn’t find that interesting, like patching together some more Dark Eldar warriors from old and new parts, and building a small allied force for my Relictors.

Considering today, though, I thought I could take a moment to show off one of my favorite objective markers.  The TARDIS, in 40K scale.  I put it together years ago and I’m always making little tweaks and adjustments to it.  Orks and Space Marines have frequently fought to claim this prize.  It showed up on an Apocalypse battlefield once where the Guard were trying to hold off a Tyranid swarm.

As a disclaimer up front, building it was very easy, but it did cost a bit in plasticard.  Exact prices may vary depending on what you’ve got on hand and where

The main body is just a box 1”x 1”x 2” tall.  I used small sprue scraps inside to help it hold its shape.  Once it was solid, I set the whole thing on a slightly larger square (1 3/8”) for the base.  Then I built up the door panels and other details with 5/32” plastic strips I had.

Helpful Hint—If you buy plastic in sheets or strips, make sure to check how thick it is.   Know what you’re buying.  A difference of .015” to .01” may seem miniscule in the store, but once you start building with it it can become a huge headache.  It’s all a matter of scale...

The “roof” of the TARDIS is two stacked fantasy bases, a 20mm on top of a 25mm.  The light is one of the round extrusions that show up on the corners of sprues, although a small piece of tubing would work, too. 

When the whole thing was built I went over a few of the seams with putty to hide some odd joins.  Some blue paint, white for the windows, black for the signs, and... voila.  I really need to get an ultrafine white paint pen, though, to do some text on the signs along the top.

Alternately, there are tons of paper models of the TARDIS out there (and also here and here, for example), and it wouldn’t take too much work to adjust one down to 40K scale and use some of the various Paperhammer hints here to make it solid and even more detailed.

With some of the new rules for terrain and objectives and the narrative approach the game’s taken, I’ve always thought this little blue box could get some wonderful archeotech abilities...
Safely out of the way of rampaging beasts...


Ork Dreadnaught

Just stumbled across this cheap, cool upgrade and thought I’d share it.

I’ve had one of the old Ork Dreadnaughts sitting on my “to build” shelf for about, oh, twelve years now.  I’m not entirely sure why I’ve avoided it for so long.  Pretty sure part of the reason is that it’s a big chunk of metal, and that means lots of filing and gluing.  Plus a lot of scraping and swearing when the glue just doesn’t hold for some reason and parts drop off or never even stick. 

I just haven’t had the time for that.  Or the patience.

Plus, there’s that mild frustration because the new Deff Dreads have come out and they’re really nice.  The metal ones have always had a good, patched-together look, but the new ones had an unquestionable Orky vibe to them.  Which led to nagging regrets about not building the old metal one sooner and wondering if I’d be happy with it if I did.


I decided to finally build it and only cracked one molar grinding my teeth when the legs kept falling off.  But while I did, I tried to think of something I could add or replace on it to bring it to a slightly more “modern” esthetic.  There’s so many extra back banners and armor plates and such in the Ork sets that my girlfriend and I have piles of extras.  There had to be something I could do to make the old Dreadnaught look a little snazzier.

Inspiration came while cleaning up my previous project.  A year ago, when I got my deal with Random House, I’d bought a Stompa to celebrate.  It sat in my office for about six months before I finally built it, and I was pretty happy with how it came out.  And there were more leftovers still on the sprue to check out.

One of them was the alternate faceplate.  The Stompa comes with two, and I had the more skull-like one left.  The Deff Dread has that big skull-face option, so I checked the Stompa faceplate against the old Dreadnaught, just for the heck of it.  Much to my surprise, it fit perfectly.  It’s the right size and it even matches the curve of the hull.

Even better, there are tons of these floating around.  Anyone who has a Stompa has at least one, which means you can probably give an old Dreadnaught a facelift for a few pennies at most.

I’ll post a picture of this guy once he’s done.  Assuming his legs stay on...


SkullHamma Upgrades

Some of you who’ve been following this for a while may remember my SkullHamma.  It was one of the first models I ever talked about here, and I still enjoy taking it out to do some damage.

In a recent Apocalypse game, though, I came to realize the SkullHamma wasn’t doing enough damage.  On reflection, I realized it needed to embody one of the basic tenets of Orky war tactics, that tenet being “Moar Shooty!”  And, as luck would have it, I’d kind of planned for this way back when.

Y’see, back when I first assembled the SkullHamma, I put a rare earth magnet in the hull.  It's along the port side, right behind the big shoota turret.  I knew at some point I’d want to give the tank a lot of “rokkit” options, I was just waiting for the right idea to strike.  And it finally did.
I found a scrap of plasticard and cut a piece 1/2” x  1 1/2”.  This was going to be my base.  I used two mortars from the Imperial Guard heavy weapons team for “arms” to support the missile array.  With the aquilla filed off, they can pass for pistons, easy.  They went at either end of the rectangle. 

Helpful Hint—I used a piece of plastic trough I had to make sure the two arms were parallel, but anything flat would work.  Just make sure it sits flush to both pieces.

Once I had the pistons even, I glued the piece of trough in place.  Because I could get it from two sides, it made this piece rock-solid.  Then I dug up another rare earth magnet and checked placement against the one in the hull.   Once I knew were to make this sit I used a drop of superglue (just a drop—see below) and glued the magnet in place.

Helpful Hint—Take a moment before gluing to double and triple check that you’ve got the magnet the right way .  Nothing worse than having your two components repel each other.  Very limiting on the battlefield.

Once the magnet was in place, I dug around and found a little “box” piece from the old Rhino sets. I needed to scrape the inside walls just a bit with my hobby knife, but once I did it fit right over the magnet.  I glued it down and that gave the base a bit more of a mechanical/manufactured look.  I didn’t want it to stick out, visually, when it was mounted on the SkullHamma.  I added a few small scraps of plasticard onto the base, too, to look like extra struts and straps.  I’ll also take a moment here to apologize for all the blindingly white plastic.  It doesn’t always make for great follow-along photos.

Next I took a small leftover piece of plastic girder—about 2 3/4” long—and added it on.  I’ve had this little fragment for years, just waiting for something, and it struck me that it would work very well for this.  It also helped with the “building up) aspect, making a believably large missile gantry on top of a smaller base.  Also, as the picture shows, this makes the piece officially top heavy and off-centered, so from here on in I had to lay it down to dry. 

Next... supa-rokkits.  The Skullhamma can take up to three  I had two leftover Stompa rokkits, but I also played with putting a big, almost comical collection of different hunter-killer missiles on here (maybe eight or nine of them), giving them Orky paint jobs, and letting it be a counts-as.  But the Stompa ones are so much larger it really had to be one or the other.  At least, until I remembered that old Imperial HK missile came with a slightly larger housing sleeve-launcher.  Scrape the aquilla off that and it made a nice addition to the Stompa rokkits on this framework.

I still may use the counts-as idea for something else though.  I do love the idea of an Ork vehicle with a very Warner Brothers-esque arsenal.

Helpful Hint—It’s a little silly to write this out but... remember that rare earth magnets don’t have infinite power.  They get talked up a lot, but at the end of the day they only can hold so much weight.  And you need to take leverage into account, too.  They’re not going to hold up everything, especially if the missiles are reaching too far out to the side.  Note that this assembly goes up more than out.

And that was pretty much it.  More shooty to unleash at the Imperium.  Or Chaos.  Or the Tau.  Or Eldar.  Or Tyranids.  Or other Orks. 

Let’s face it—they’re Orks.  There’s a good chance they’ll shoot off all the rokkits before the battle even starts.


Space Marine Captain

Staying on the Space Marine bandwagon for one more week with a project I’ve been playing with for a while.

As I’ve mentioned before, my big loyalist army is, ironically, the Relictors.  I’ve got over 3500 points, plus some in-the-works things.  Like most Space Marine players, I’ve also entertained the idea of building up an entire chapter (or as much of a chapter as the Relictors have left these days).  One of the easy targets, so to speak, is special characters, and (also like most Marine players) I’ve often toyed with the idea of building the ten company captains... each with a unique twist that lets them fit into the Relictors army.
Maybe a year or so back I was digging through the bits bins at my local store and found the back half of the Captain from the Assault on Black Reach set.  It was a bit banged up and had a few connection holes plugged, but overall it was in very good shape.  You may recall this model had a front half that included his head, chestplate, tabard, left arm, and bolter.  Without that piece this figure was a little... well, bare.


As it turns out, a regular Space Marine chestplate fits where the bulk of that piece normally would.  Fits perfectly, in fact.  It even merges with the collar to form a standard head-socket.  All I needed to do was shave down the pins on the back of the chestplate.  I went with a Mk. 8 because I feel like the stylized aquilla makes the wings very prominent.  And wings are good, as I’ll get to in a minute...

This still left a big hole in the... well, the codpiece region.  And this isn’t really a standard component in any version of Marine model I’ve dealt with.  What is standard, though, are various pieces to cover this region.  Tabards, cingulums, pteruges, purity seals, and so on.  I dug around in my space marine jar and found one of the short tabards with a purity seal on either side.  It’s not a perfect fit, but with a tiny bit of filing to give the right leg some room, it works pretty well.  I also glued the captain onto his base at this point.

Now...this is going to be fourth company Captain Daedalus, the Master of the Fleet (see, wings are good).  According to most fluff, this means he should be armed with a thunder hammer, a symbol of the massive firepower he can call down.  But he is a Relictors captain—a high ranking one, too—so there should be a bit of a Chaos influence in his weaponry.  There’s a good chance he’s part of the Conclave, after all.

I have a pile of parts from the old Fantasy Chaos Warriors, the really old ones that were kind of like cartoony, armored hunchbacks.  One of the hands has a warhammer, but it’s single-sided and has kind of a short handle.  So I tried to think of a cool way to combine two of them into a Chaos thunder hammer.  Here’s what I came up with.

On one of them, I cut the whole gauntlet off the arm and then the back spike off the warhammer.  Then I cut the hammer-head off the other piece and glued it in place.  It took a few moments of scraping and wiggling to make it sit just right.

Helpful Hint—Whenever I’m doing conversions with little pieces like this, I always try to clean all the mold lines before I cut.  Trying to do it after the fact with tiny bits is nigh- impossible and always causes problems.

Once the hammer head itself was good, I cut off the haft of the de-hammered warhammer and added it to my weapon-in-progress.  I needed to shave the base of the w-i-p flat and also do the same with the addition.  The leftover spike made for a nice touch at the base of the thunder hammer.

Helpful Hint—Weapons are almost always going to be focal points, so they’re going to get looked at a lot.  Take as much time as they need.  In this case, I knew the shaft of the hammer had to be straight, so I spent almost ten minutes checking it from every angle.

The gauntlet was just a bit too short to connect to that elbow piece.  I cut a piece of 1/4 square plastic and trimmed the corners with my hobby knife until it was more or less round (it’s barely going to be visible).  I glued it onto the “cuff” of the gauntlet and it gave the arm that little bit of length it needed to look right.

I debated for a while what to do with the other hand.  The “traditional” Master of the Fleet just has his hammer, so I went through my bits looking for a good empty hand.  I thought about giving him a ranged weapon of some sort.  In the end, I settled on a storm shield.  I know the shield is generally a symbol of the Master of the Fortress (second company) but there’s nothing that says the Master of the Fleet can’t have one (and it is a pretty classic combination).  Besides, if anyone’s going to be a little off from tradition, it’d probably be the Relictors...

The shield is also from the Fantasy Chaos Warriors.  I shaved off a few of the studs and spikes so I could drop a few purity seals on it.  I want to almost conceal the chaos nature of the shield.  I cut off an old bolter arm just above the elbow and this all went together perfectly.

All of my Relictors wear their helmets.  There isn’t a bare head in the entire army.  It’s a simple, subtle theme that helps imply they’re hiding something.  Even my scouts have balaclavas and goggles.  So I wanted to give Daedalus an ornate-looking helmet.  I’d recently come into one of the new Sternguard sets, and I briefly considered giving him the helmet with the big Roman crest.  However, because of the large aquilla “collar” on the back of the model it didn’t sit right, and that was before I even put the crest on.  Instead I went with one of the Mk. VI “Corvus” helmets (the beakies).  The Sternguard one even had a matching aquilla on it.

As a final touch, I added a few more purity seals (Relictors can never have too many purity seals).  I also dug around and found one of the Crux pendants from the Terminator set.  Hooked to his belt, it’s a symbol of his history and also helps hide a tiny gap between the tabard and the torso.

And there you have it.  Relictors Captain Daedalus of the Fourth Company, Master of the Fleet, and member of the Conclave.  He may get an iron halo or some other backpack icon, but other than that I think he’s ready to go out on the battlefield.


Standard Template Construction

In the couple of years since I started this page, I’ve noticed that a lot of Paperhammer resources on the web have... well, folded.  Some archives have vanished altogether.  A few of the ones that have stuck around have become a bit more insular and less likely to let in new folks.  So I decided I’d set up a little archive and share a lot of what I have for anyone who needs it.

A few points, just to be clear.  I didn’t create any of these templates.  All along I’ve tried to give credit where credit is due, and if you ever spot something of yours here that you don’t want out in the world, just say the word and it’ll be gone (I'm big on creator's rights).  The flipside of that...everything here is available somewhere else on the web—a huge amount of it is at the BWC Archives—so please don’t complain if you can’t find anything new here.  This also isn’t everything I have (not by a long shot), but that’s a deliberate choice. 

Y’see, I think this is kind of a unique (or very rare) resource.  Pretty much every model I’m sharing is something I’ve built here at In The Grim Cheapness of the Future.  From the bare-bones Rhino to the Baneblade, from Ork Kans to a Necron Monolith.  So you can grab a template you like, browse the cloud on the right, and see step-by-step instructions for how it goes together.  There’ll be hints, corrections, and suggestions to get the most out of each model.  And a fair amount of photos for every step.

So, please check it out, let me know if I missed something, and I’ll keep adding to it as I work on new projects.


Snap Marines

Everyone’s talking about Space Marines right now, so I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon...

Pretty much since the dawn of Warhammer 40,000, there have been snap together Space Marines.  When I started playing, back during third edition, Games Workshop was actually selling fire squads to get rid of old stock.  Anyone else remember that little box?

They’ve still got snap-together Marines today, of course, and they’re almost indistinguishable from the regular ones.  About the only bad thing about them is the fact that they are pretty much solidly one pose.  There’s not much you can do except maybe add on a few more purity seals or a pouch here or there.  This also means you’re pretty much screwed if you lose or damage part of the Marine.

I’m guessing that’s why I keep finding some of these guys in the bitz bins.  Usually they’re missing the front hands-bolter piece, and sometimes their backpack, too.  I tend to grab them if they’re not too chewed up or overpainted.  It’s easy to replace backpacks, but the bolters are a little more work and would eat up a lot more resources.  And just the other day I realized an easy fix for them.

Y’see, there’s only so many ways to hold a bolter, especially when the model has it close to their chest.  As it turns out, a lot of the Space Marine Scout poses mirror the regular Marine poses.  And since I modeled my Scouts with either shotguns or pistol/ccw combos, I have a bunch of these pieces with a bolter and two hands on it.

All I had to do was check a few to get a close match and then cut off the arm at the wrist.  That’s it.  It took about three minutes per Marine and I didn’t use anything more complicated than my hobby knife and some glue.  This would work with the snap Marines right out of the box, too, if you wanted to customize them a bit.  Once they’re painted, they’ll blend right in with the rest of my Relictors.


Helpful Hint

Just a quick reminder...

We are now in the Halloween retail season.  That means your local discount stores probably have tons of really cheap plastic skulls,  tiny coffins, weird glasses, and tons of rings and necklaces that are decked out in tiny bones of all types.

You can go drop three or four dollars and come home with a pile of items that could make decent objectives, super-heavy details, scenery details, or even whole scenery pieces.

So go check it out and see if there’s any gothic you could add to your grim future.


Ogres to Ogryns, Pt 2.1

Two quick things...

First, wanted to show the Ogryns with some paint on them.  Not a lot of paint, mind you, but right now they’re in the “broad swaths of color” phase and it’s enough to get a general sense of how the conversion turned out.  As I’ve said many, many times, painting is not my strength.  If we waited for me to finish, the blog would probably go another four or five months without an update...
Assorted Ogryns, ready to pound the jungle flat.
The Bonehead with his pauldron.
Assorted pouches, straps, and "frag grenades."

Not bad, I think.  I’m happy with how the ripper guns turned out.  The putty abs look good, and the gear really helps carry them out of Fantasy and into 40K, even with some of their bags and bear traps. 

The second thing was a big Friday the 13th sale that one of my publishers, Permuted Press, is having.  Almost all of their ebooks are under five dollars, most of them are just 99¢.  That Times of Trouble anthology there on the right is on sale.  So is my mash up novel, The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe, and also my novella The Junkie Quatrain.  Grab them all by Monday morning when the publisher gets back in the office and resets all the prices.


Underhive and Underbudget

So, some of you longfangs here might remember Necromunda.  It was one of the older Games Workshop side-games that was more-or-less Warhammer 40K but with gang warfare instead of planetary battles. Normally you’d control an army, in Necromunda you’d just control seven or eight individual models.   GW tried to bring it back a few years ago, but as far as I can tell it never really caught on (or got much support).  Rumor has it that the new Inquisition game is going to be a tighter, more Imperium-centric version of Necromunda.
Then again, rumor also said we’d be getting a plastic Warhound a few Christmases back...
Anyway, one of the defining traits of Necromunda was the dense scenery.  The new 6th Edition rules of Warhammer 40K really allow for some neat stuff with denser game tables, too.  So my friend Marcus had been playing around with a few mission ideas in that vein.  A few weeks back he invited a few of us over one night to watch bad Sy-Fy movies, have a few drinks, and build a bunch of scenery.  My job was to help make it look as good as possible for as little as possible.
Most of what we used were just old containers that were heading for the bin.  Oatmeal, fish food, some random nut containers, stuff like that.  Almost anything made of mostly cardboard would work for this.  We also had a few cereal and pizza boxes to use for raw cardstock where we needed it.  And we had a few plastic bits as well, like cat treats and yogurt drinks. 

For tools, the only semi-exotic things we had were Ms. Gillian’s hot glue gun and my own 1/16” hole punch.  You may remember I use said punch for rivets, which add a huge level of texture and detail for minimal effort.  Everything else was done with scissors, white glue, and your basic hobby knife

The first step was just fastening containers down onto some bases Gillian had cut.  There wasn’t a lot of planning here, just grouping things together in ways that looked vaguely industrial.

Then we added some broad details.  Squares and rectangles make great panels.  I’d give them a slight curve with the handle of my hobby knife and then glue them in place.

Helpful Hint—Putting panels in the same place on multiple pieces gives a standardized, manufactured look.  It’s one of those tiny, subtle touches that’ll stand out. 

Once I had a bunch of panels in place, I added rivets to them.  I tried to space them evenly—again, to give it that standardized look. I've found on a project like this, the best thing to do is have a pile of rivets pre-punches and a small blob of white glue.  I use the tip of my knife to put a tiny drop of glue wherever I want the rivet, wipe it off, and then use the tip to put the rivet in place.  I hold it in place for five or six seconds and then move on to the next one.  Once I've got it down, I can usually do four or five rivets a minute.  These towers took about twenty minutes.

Helpful Hint – An easy way to add quick detail is to just apply rivets around an existing shape.  On most food packages you’ll find a logo, a nutrition block, or a bar code which sits very square with the rest of the package.  Just line that rectangle or square with rivets.  When you paint over it, you’ll suddenly have a bunch of texture on the flat surface.

Of course, you could also go Orky with a lot of this and just add panels and “patches” at random.  If you work the cardstock a bit, it’ll get soft and you can even have two patches overlap.  Depending on if your scenery is supposed to be Ork-built or something they’ve adopted as their own, you may want to have something more manufactured as a base layer of detail and then add Orkiness on top of it.

Marcus had a few random tubes, pipes, and other scenery bits.  Those got hot glued on here and there, but we went pretty light on them overall.

And really... that’s it.  Four of us spent a little over three hours and built eight or nine of these pieces.  That’s enough to fill a good chunk of a battlefield with dense urban terrain, and most of it came out of the trash.  


Ogres to Ogryns, Pt 2

Well, this only took a few months.  More like half a year.  Pathetic, isn’t it?  Sad as it is to say, these guys have been sitting half-done on my cutting mat the whole time.

So, the basic bodies are done.  What I need now are weapons.

The ripper guns weren’t that hard.  I wanted to stick to the combat shotgun idea from the Imperial Guard codex, but I didn’t have a problem with them looking a little simplistic and Ogryn-friendly.  My previous Ogre-Ogryn conversion (for my Penal Legion) had used the autocannon magazine on the side, but I wanted to see if I could make something that looked more like an industrial Thompson sub-machine gun.

The most notable part of a Tommy gun (and a ripper gun) is the ammunition drum.  I played around with a few ideas, including building the drums from scratch.  What I finally decided on was gluing together a pair of old Fantasy shields.  It gave a size and depth to the drum that I liked, plus some tiny details around the edges.

The main body/barrel of the ripper gun is 3/16” tubing.  I cut a 1/4” section and then a 1/2” section.  These would go on either side of my magazine.  On the shorter, back half, I also added a wheel hub to serve as a machined-looking butt to the weapon.  

Then I took some 1/8” wide plastic and cut a 7/8”strip.  This would be the top of my ripper gun and help tie the whole thing together, both  visually (it helps hide the fact that a few of the front and back pieces don’t line up perfectly) and structurally (it was going to serve as a sort of spine for the next bit).  I lined it up to the back so any excess hung out over the end of the barrel.

I made a few 1/4” squares and put them on either side of the rear section, placing them so they “connected” to the top strip.  This gave a bit more bulk to the body of the ripper gun.  I put 1/4” x 1/8” pieces on the front, also lined up with the top strip and butting up against the magazine.  It gave the whole thing a nice, solid look.  I finished it off with a thin strip along each edge and a 1/16” strip along the top.

The last touch was to cut a 3/8” piece of 1/8” tubing and slide it in the front of the ripper gun to give it a muzzle.  I left 1/8” sticking out and filed it a bit to make it perpendicular to the barrel.  I toyed with the idea of putting iron sights on the front of the muzzle, but for the moment I’ve decided against it.  Since ripper guns are made exclusively for Ogryns, I can’t see them being manufactured with any level of accuracy in mind.  I may change my mind at the last minute before priming, though.

Next step was to mount the weapons on the Ogryns.  The Ogres come with a lot of large, square blades that look a lot like machetes, and I like that look for Ogryns who were going to be in the jungle.  Since those blades are all right-handed, I had the choice of making all the ripper guns left-handed, or doing a lot of modeling work to switch everyone’s hands around.  I decided to stick with machetes on the right, rippers on the left—mostly because I like how this works with a lot of the arm poses (which are pretty inflexible on the Ogres)

(keen-eyed readers may note one of those is a right hand.  I did a cool knife bit with the Ogre musician hand, so I had to put that ripper on the opposite side.  The other option would’ve been having it slung over said Ogryn’s shoulder, but that would’ve involved building a sling and a trigger mechanism and, well, I didn’t want to do all that and have it come out half-assed.  Plus it’d leave me with the oddness of what to put in the other hand...)

I cut the weapons away from the hands and filed them flat above and below the fist.  I tried to make sure the flat sections were parallel, so I could add a base to the grip (just a little square of plastic) that would line up.  This is one of those subtle little things that can really gnaw at you if you get it wrong, and it’ll take forever to figure out why.

Helpful Hint – I attached the fists to the bodies before I attached them to the weapons.  Most of the Ogre arms are tight against the torso and I didn’t want to risk attaching the hand to the weapon at a point where it would prevent me from attaching that whole assembly to the body.  So hand to body and then weapon to hand.

Ogryns get frag grenades, but all the standard grenades look ridiculously small on them.   So I tried to think what a group of near-feral abhumans would use.  Oh, sure, they might just use oversized frag grenades, and I even had an Inquisitor-scale grenade, but I thought it’d look a little weird to only have one model in the squad with a visible grenade.  Plus, I wanted something that would sell their borderline bestiality with something a little more fun.

As it turned out, the answer was right there on the Ogre sprues.  Bear traps.  They’re big, primitive, fit into the jungle setting well, and... well, let’s be honest.  They work as frag grenades.  If someone throws half a dozen open bear traps at you, you’re sure as hell going to put your head down.

I also added a bit of random greenery from different Fantasy sets onto the bases.  Especially for a jungle-themed army, I find the big empty swaths of base are kind of distracting.  I find these leaves and weeds all the time in the bitz bins (I think they’re from Wood Elf sets, or maybe Dryads), and this is a great use for them.

I tried to pick some of the less-crazy Ogre heads.  Even so, I filed down a lot of the weird bumps and pins on their heads.  I’m toying with the idea of using a little bit of green stuff and making simple bandanas on them.  It would tie them to the Catachans even more... and also give me some more time to consider those iron sights.

But, there they are.  A good-sized squad of Ogryns for about a third the price it would cost to buy as many actual figures.  If I’d been able to work on them straight through, this was maybe three days of non-intensive work.  I might toss up a picture later once they’re primed and have some basic colors on them.

Next time (which will be, I swear to God, in one week) I’ll show you how some friends and I whipped up a bunch of good-looking, dirt cheap scenery in just a few hours.