“In the wilds of the world, the winds of evil hang heavy. It seeps into the crags and pores of the earth and infects even the lowliest creatures… and sometimes these creatures come out of their caves not quite like they were before…”
“Blood Moon Rising” is my first proper “diorama”, but is definitelynotmyfirst “warband” style force. What started off as a single painted Goblin (the Shaman) quickly turned into a full-scale display piece, complete with plinth board.
There isn’t too much preamble to this project other than: I love painting small models and in small numbers largely because I can really focus my energy into pinpoint detail and intricacy. This was also my first proper play-around with developing a scene, natural aspects included, if you don’t count my two previous Armies on Display boards.
Hopefully from these pictures you can get a sense for the vibe I was going for: dark and cheeky, like characters drawn from grotesque fairy-tales.
Chaos is a powerful force that taints all, even the meek and capricious. The people of the Old World tend to forget that… until the knives start to emerge from the shadows.
“Tzaablin”, gaunt shaman, touched by da Twista
“Slinth”, perverted assassin, touched by da Slick One
Sit down here by the fire and let me tell you a story; a story about a time when Wizards were Wizards, not Arcane Collegiates, and Dragons were Dragons, not Stardrakes. It was a simpler time, a wilder time. Samurais fought alongside Dwarfs. Treemen basked under the sun as Goblins got drunk beneath their shade…
At least that’s what I imagine! Truth is, the models at the centre of this post were minted up to a decade or more before I was born. They came in sets sold by the blister, for maybe a couple of pence, which my dad bought as a young man in York. They were painted then stored away in mouldy boxes, until a young hobbyist stumbled upon it and let the sun back in.
So these are the first inter-generational models in my collection. They hold a special significance not just because they were painted by my mum and dad, but that I was given the opportunity to clean them up, bring them back to life in my own way. I treated them with much care as I soaked away the old dusty paint in Simple Green and restored them to bare lead. I took even more care painting them, trying not to bend their almost gooey weapons as I worked.
Now, for a bit of a before and after.
These models are all so charming. Most of them are pre-slotta Citadel, namely the Wizard, Goblins, Dwarfs and Treeman (apparently nicknamed “Klinty”) from the mid-80s, while the Dwarf or Halfling with harp is (unless someone can tell me otherwise) a Ral Partha model from 1985 (also, the only one painted by my mum in the mists of time). Together, they make up a rag-tag warband of adventurers, seeking out treasure and power under the guidance of the Shapeshifting Druid.
They were painted, mostly, from a white undercoat, which allows for brighter, more “retro” colour schemes and thinner application. The bases (made from washers) were painted a sickening vintage green on purpose, a throwback to when all bases were all green, all the time. Shame I didn’t actually have any “Goblin Green” paint.
They were also a practice in intricacy, with the Dwarfs wearing pattern clothes and the Druid wearing a sparkling robe. Keep in mind, these minis are a lot more mini than what we are used to today. The Druid/Wizard is perhaps half the height of your average Space Marine.
Citadel Treeman “Klinty” – 1984
2 Citadel Dwarf Warriors – 80s
In the finest Dwarfen garb.
Citadel Wizard – 1983
Citadel Wizard – 1983
(???) Ral Partha Dwarf with Harp – 1985 (???)
“Why dun you fellas act loike proppa Goblins?” Citadel Drunken Goblins – 1983 with Citadel Great Goblin – 1983
Citadel Drunken Goblins – 1983 with Citadel Great Goblin – 1983
The centrepiece of this project is perhaps my most precious miniature… The Ral Partha Imperial Dragon from 1982, released in a limited print. My dad left this grand beastie unpainted for decades, which I can understand. The level of detail on that base is incredible, even by today’s standards.
The Dragon is an amazing sculpt. It’s simple and almost cartoony in a way, but filled with character and depth. It must have been a pain to assemble though, as it weighs a tonne and is plastered with anciet, gap-filling Araldite. It’s also gone through two sloppy paintjobs, applied by me as a younger hobbyist. Only this time, after giving it the attention it deserves, have I come to feel happy with the finished product.
The colour scheme was a tough one to decide. I search endlessly for similar miniatures, storybook dragons, even plush toys for inspiration, but nothing ever stuck… until I went ahead and painted the red, expecting its scales to be a dark ebony or bluish obsidian. I picked up the bottle of teal and decided, on a whim, to splash it on. The contrast was sharp, but I think it worked. I guess it goes to show that, no matter how much you plan and worry while trying to make things perfect, sometimes the perfect thing just comes along and slaps you in the face.
Anyway, that’s enough of a story for tonight, adventurer. Rest up, because soon you face the Dragon.
The dead do not rest peacefully along the tainted borders of Praag. The city long ago became a distended hive for daemons and other warped creatures. The walls wail with the souls of the trapped and butchered. The graveyards and churches are now haunted by beings not quite living, not quite dead and not quite sane.
But still there are noble souls in the city, or at least something like that.
Stomping, grunting and galloping up and down the length of Praag’s great walls are thirteen horesemen, knights of an unknown order who stand in eternal vigil. Twisted and broken by the powers of Chaos, these beings know no rest.
Whether they be daemon, undead or some almagamation of both, no one can be sure. Some bear the arms and armour of Norse Marauders, others the ragged colours of Empire knights. One amongst them even carries Elder blades and wears a phoenix helm. Whatever their previous allegiance, it is obvious that they now serve a greater, more mysterious master. Repelling invaders and looters from the Northlands, mountains and great cities alike, they are silent guardians of the entombed city.
The Thirteenth Horseman was a fun little conversion, made largely from the bitz-box of my local hobby store. I remember spotting a cute “skeletaur” conversion in one of the very first Golden Demon publications (all the way from the 80s). It’s really liberating and enjoyable to challenge yourself with “complex” conversions for the simple sake of creating, instead of hacking and pasting weapons for WYSIWYG gaming.
The most challenging parts of this conversion were those involved in making the Horseman look like he was “leaping” over the barricade. I had to do a bit of cutting and greenstuffing around the back legs to make the plastic horse skeleton to “rear up”. It’s quite simple to do this, just follow the contours already in place as designed by the modeller, cut into them and then fill the space with greenstuff. It can be painful to watch it slowly droop and fall apart as the greenstuff dries, but just hold it in a neutral position so that the weight does not pull it down. Look for more of a tutorial on this in the future!
The painting style was very much inspired by the recent influx of “Blanchitsu” warbands and, in particular, the blog Ex Profundis, one of my favourite hobby websites ever!
The Horseman’s armour is caked with grave grime (made from GW’s new crackle texture paints)
The Horseman leaps and bounds over the graves of the unquiet dead
An ancient battlefield stands silent as the grave, frozen over
It was a bit before my time, but holy Warp Entities, Realm of Chaos is by far my favourite supplement to the Warhammer world.
For those who aren’t familiar with the dark glory of 80s Warhammer (I suggest you take a look here), Realm of Chaos was a two-book supplement all about the four dark gods, the daemons and lesser gods of the Warp, their spawn and their mortal champions. They delve into ridiculously deep detail in terms of lore, on par with the later Liber Chaotica books, while also delivering a set of rules for fielding a Chaos warband. They are also chocked full of the most evocative artwork ever published by Games Workshop (from the likes of Ian Miller and John Blanche) and colour scheme examples that really do seem insane (by today’s standards at least).
Realm of Chaos is centred around the idea of mortal “Champions” rising through slaughter, gaining chaotic gifts and mutations from their patron god and potentially reaching daemonhood. As such, armies were small, personal affairs, sort of like modern-day Inq28 or Kill Team forces instead of 2,000 point armies.
Almost everything could be randomised. You could even create lesser gods and their daemonic pantheons from d1000 tables, rolling to see what animal they take the image of, what weapons they favour and what gifts they bestow upon their followers, etc. etc. It truly was a golden time for weird and whacky role-playing fun.
And since I’ve always had a bit of a crush on retro Warhammer models (there’s something so full-of-life, simple, almost naive about them that drives me crazy) and, of course, the daring colour schemes of pinks, blues, greens and stripes that accompany them. In 2015 I went on a bit of a spending spree, hunting through ebay and second-hand stores until I had enough for a small warband. And so, The Host of Ashmodeus was born, not from random tables, but from much searching.
The Host of Ashmodeus was a practice in painting as bright as I possibly could. Even know, the army stands out among my display cabinet. It was also my first time painting from a white undercoat (Games Workshop’s Skull White which, as you know, is pretty unreliable). I ran into a few problems with chipping, but apart from that, it was a really fun experience. In the near future, I’ll put up a tutorial on making these colours and working with white in general.
It was also an excuse to work my magic writing lore for every miniature in the force. Because each model has “gifts” (mutations and weapons) that mark them out as special, I created a backstory for them, connecting their stories under the Lord Ashmodeus, a Slaaneshi prince gifted with technology from a dark future.
Ashmodeus Harkonnen – Champion of Slaanesh with Large Wings, Chaos Lord, Chaos Armour, Technological Weapon – Bolter
Feyd Slithertoe – Witch Champion of Slaanesh with Agility, Bestial Face of an Ant, Feathered Hide, Bewitched Mace
Halradoch Silvertower – Dark Elf with Vividly Coloured Skin, Incredibly Thin, Freezing Spear, Fast
Xinbard Ux – Champion of Tzeentch with Face of a Horror, Third Arm, Mace Tail, Daemon Weapon – Horror
Zazziiir’s summoned familiar, an Epic/Warmaster scale Lord of Change
Zazziiir, Render of the Firmament – Champion of Tzeentch with Vividly Coloured Skin, Disc of Tzeentch, Hand of a Flamer, Massive Intellect, Axe of Magic Absorption, Summoned Power Familiar
Shorgock – Dragon Ogre with Rapid Regeneration, Alcoholism, Hypnotic Gaze
The Brilliant Swords of Alzanesh – Warriors of Chaos with Daemon Weapon – Keeper of Secrets, Featureless Face
Some lurid shield designs
The Emasculators – Daemonettes with Tentacle Arm, Spits Acid, Two Steeds of Slaanesh
The Boo-Ha-Ha Klan are a famously good-humoured Night Goblin clan that, long ago, infested the ruins of Lugrumdumbz and the nearby mountain passages near the infamous city of Krüll. They have a propensity for practical jokes and sabotage, as well as an incredible thirst for potent Fungus Brew.
The Goblins of The Boo-Ha-Ha Clan are never happy unless they are heavily intoxicated. The clan is more often than not raiding distilleries or celebrating pointless, hilarous deaths in their dank hideout. More exotic and toxic fungi grow in their caves than almost anywhere in the North, which allows a healthy Squig population to exist. Soldiers and mercenaries should be aware that The Boo-Ha-Ha clan are highly specialized in Squigly warfare and have a large number of Fanatics among their ranks.
In fact, that is but the surface of the truth. Within the depths of Lugrumdumbz and its labyrinthine cave systems, something else calls the shots… something… bouncy.
The Squiggly King is a beast of pure, regal destruction. It rarely pops its head out from its cavern, as the Boo-Ha-Ha Goblins are keen to keep it satisfied with a constant flow of sacrifices. Better that, than have a glowing ball of angry fungus and teeth running wild through your cramped campsite.
Lesser Squiggly beasts rally to the call of the Squiggly King and it takes a truly powerful Night Goblin to corral them all into battle.
My Squig-themed army is perhaps my favourite past project and so I’m super happy to finally get around to sharing it with you all! Who doesn’t love these little balls of destruction, especially when they’re painted in bright, garish colours?
While I actually see my Squig army as seperate to my previously painted Goblin horde, they can still be played as one, of course (in case I wanted to run some unfortunate army over with a truly apocalyptic horde of green and teeth).
Most of these models are old metal ones from back in my own day, mixed in with a couple of finecast Squigs and some Forgeworld resin (you can actually read about my trip to Nottingham, where I bought these models, in my travel blog here). I decided to paint them up in crazy, fantasy fungi colours instead of traditional red and orange. Because, you know, it’s more fun that way! It actually leads to a surprisingly cohesive looking force when put all together.
I won’t say anymore, other than I hope you enjoy the madness!
Skarsnik & Gobbla
Wurzagg da Great Green Prophet
Wrinkle da Kullur Bearur and MastaBlasta da Shaman
Don Squixote on his faithful mount, Rozzinanteeth
Da Bloody Gob
A vampiric Squig with an unhealthy bloodlust
Da Squiggly King himself!
Da Great White Squig, Morky
Da Creepy Crawla
Agg-me-Ayyz da Shaman
Squig Poppers, for when the battle-line gets a bit too out of line
Old School Herders
The Whole Herd together
My Squiggly army also took part in the 2016 Games Workshop “Armies on Parade” competition, in which they took away a shiny bronze medal! I unfortunately don’t have any better shots of the finished board, but hopefully these give you a good idea of the finished product.
The story?: Don Squixote has heard rumour of a “Heart of Power” deep within the lush woods. Hoping to find it and swallow it for its special powers, Squixote leads a bouncing, doom-bringing, rather-doomed-itself expedition into the heart of the forest… only to find the “Heart” guarded by ruinous champions.
In the realms of fantasy, there are heroes untold. Thousands of charismatic characters and perilous personalities. There are also plenty of villains and monsters for them to fight.
In this post, you’ll find a whole host of these heroes and villains that I’ve painted over the years. For the most part, these individual models were either painted as practice, for a bit of fun, diversion from larger projects or for painting competitions (like the monthly Paint Club at my local hobby store).
Orc Pirate (Mordheim themed painting challenge)
Dwarf Runesmith (Dwarf painting contest)
Wood Elf Waywatcher Lord (Wood Elf painting contest)
Wight King (Undead painting contest)
Freelancer Knight (for DnD)
Tiefling Warrior (converted from Games Workshop’s Krell, for DnD))
The Boo-Ha-Ha Clan are a famously good-humoured Night Goblin clan that, long ago, infested the ruins of Lugrumdumbz and the nearby mountain passages near the infamous city of Krüll. They have a propensity for practical jokes and sabotage, as well as an incredible thirst for potent Fungus Brew.
The Goblins of The Boo-Ha-Ha Clan are never happy unless they are heavily intoxicated. The clan is more often than not raiding distilleries or celebrating pointless, hilarious deaths in their dank hideout. More exotic and toxic fungi grow in their caves than almost anywhere in the North, which allows a healthy Squig population to exist. Soldiers and mercenaries should be aware that The Boo-Ha-Ha clan are highly specialized in Squigly warfare and have a large number of Fanatics among their ranks.
Though Imperial propaganda insists that the clan is relatively harmless, more likely to sleep off hangovers in their caves than come out to fight, this could not be further from the truth. Many a traveler has been caught off guard by hordes of Squigs and tornadoes of Fanatics that suddenly burst from the caves and ruins.
The First Wave – 2014
Da Boo-Ha-Ha Klan are, perhaps, my pride-and-joy army. You know the one, that force that captured your heart and imagination. The one you keep coming back to, refusing to call finished. That’s them for me. I love these little grinning, green guys.
This army was born out of a huge collection of unpainted Night Goblins from Battle for Skull Pass and Skaven from The Island of Blood. I hadn’t painted a “horde” style force before, and thought it would be an interesting challenge. After a month or so, I’d painted more than 100 Goblins and developed repetitive strain injury. But it was worth it.
There are a number of conversions among the ranks that I’d like to note and share, in particular the “Slaya” and the Hob-Goblins made from shaved Skaven slaves (with their tales cut off as well).
Grinna’s Gobbos and Squig Food
Da Lanky Ladz of Lugrumdumbz, converted from Skaven Slaves
Da Pointee Eyes
KORNAN DA OOGE
HE’S PRETTY OOGE
Mag Mag Da Exploder and AAAAAAGH Da Screamer
Squarg Da Unpleasant and Sid
Gobsmak Da Slaya
The plastic Dwarf Slayer served as an interesting base
In the dark temporal forest of 2014, Games Workshop Adelaide began hosting a monthly paint club. Each month we picked a single model and everyone in the club painted it to the best of their abilities for the prize of picking the next model. It was an expensive game, but one that really pushed you learn knew techniques and learn from one another.
One of the models to be release that year was a Finecast Warrior Priest, who I painted up as a Witch Hunter, complete with burning brazier and eye-patch. This was my first time painting realistic fire (white at the base, darker to the top, rather than the other way round), and also such fine clothing details. The tartan wasn’t really the most… thematically Germanic choice, but it was a stylistic choice to represent hardened woodsmen from the realm of Hochland.
After painting the Witch Hunter, I just had to keep going. The grittiness and personality of Mordheim really entranced me. I had to make some sort of gothic fantasy fighting force of desperados and zealots, and so was born the Hochlander Hexenjäger!
The Dragon Keepers were a practice in speed painting, and I think the results sort of, well… they show a bit.
Basically, I had the Island of Blood set sitting in my closet and needed a break from my then-current project: The Flesh-Eaters of Krüll. The complete opposite of my dark, blue and purple daemon-vikings would, naturally, be glittering, gold and red elves.
The Dragon Keeps were members of an elite sect within the Realm of Caledor. The Keepers believed that Elf and Dragon are one, and that the power of the great drakes runs through the veins of every son and daughter of Ulthuan.
Though I can’t say I’m particularly happy with the finished models, I did have a lot of fun forcing myself to get them painted as quickly as possible. If memory serves, it only took me a couple of weeks of painting on-and-off to get ’em done. If I every played tournament games, I’m sure I’d have a good chance of getting a new army painted quickly.
I was also reading The Silmarillion at this point, so there’s a lot of elfish-nods to Tolkien in the force, such as the Mounted Prince, Turin, The Black Blade.
Krüll was a large and beautiful city sitting near the Western entrance to The High Pass. For all of its promise and early glory, it quickly became a much maligned place. After a few decades, not many in the Empire would even admit that Krüll existed, or at least, that it was populated by any sort of civilised man.
In truth, Krüll was once great enough to match many of the Empire’s great cities in war, trade and culture, but it was these strengths would ultimately prove Krüll’s downfall. For all of Krüll’s glory, it was ruled by a base and brutal regime of pleasure lovers that rejected the rule of The Empire.
In gilded, ivory towers, the elite of Krüll wined and dined on the blood and labour of the poor. The dangers of the wastes outside and harshness of life in the poorer sections of the city meant nothing to the city’s lords and ladies. They lived well, safe in their towers, while the majority of the city slowly died in effort to feed them.
Slowly, but surely, the city turned foul and began to fracture. Cults dedicated to dark powers arose in both sides of Krüll. The high-society turned to the worship of a beautiful and devious entity they called Shalth, practicing ritual sacrifice and taking part in massive orgies for the pure pleasure of it. Down below, in the sewers and slums so neglected by the Lords, worship of a hugely-bloated, talking she-rat bearing the name of Ungalla began. The poor turned to magic and sacrifices of their own in an effort to assuage their daily pain.
Darkness rose over Krüll. Peasants and paupers took to brutal murder and theft. The Lords of Krüll continued to ignore their vassals, instead turning inwards to perverted arts. Many a man was turned inside out and splayed across a room simply because some Lady thought it was beautiful to see the walls painted red. The Eyes of the Gods turned towards Krüll.
Two warbands eventually descended upon Krüll. For what purpose, none could say. Perhaps it was to absorb the pools of dark power that had seeped into the walls of the city. Perhaps it was to recruit new warriors. Perhaps it was to destroy and plunder. The purpose hardly mattered in the end. They came, and with them they brought Chaos to Krüll.
The Heirophant was the first to arrive. On a slithering, unearthly steed, he rode up to the inner sanctum of Krüll unopposed by any guard. With him came a band of incredible warriors, seven foot tall at their shortest and clad in darkly glistening armour. Like a knife cutting through butter, The Heirophant (for he went by no-other name and never removed his immaculate armour) installed himself as the ruler of Krüll. The Lords and Ladies worshiped him, and in return, he taught them dark secrets and blasphemies that none should ever know.
After the Perfect One arrived the Putrid. Luvrot the Unbearable appeared in the sewers of Krüll, as if from the muck itself, surrounded by braying, rotting hounds. Luvrot killed and devoured the she-rat Ungalla in front of her poor, diseased worshipers and presented to them, instead, a greater god. Luvrot told of the Great Father of Plague and the twisted love that he bore for every living creature. The newly installed Lord of the Slums taught a hopeless and bleak gospel that caught on like wildfire. The lower class of Krüll accepted their glorious new role, to spread pain, fear and disease, and they did so, dancing through the streets and laughing all the while.
And so it was that Krüll became a city, not of men, but of Chaos. The inner struggles of the city quickly sorted themselves out and a new way of life was accepted. The Dark Gods, Nurgle and Slaanesh, ruled and from the unholy union was born a great army. The Flesh-Twisters rode forth, shambling plague carts beside beautiful stallions, intent on spreading woe and glorious death wherever they could sow it.
So here we go! The Flesh-Twisters of Krüll were one of my biggest army projects ever and my main table-top force for the majority of my gaming years. The project began with the release of the fantastic plastic Nurgle Lord and grew from there! I was so excited to finally be collecting a proper Warhammer Fantasy army (I’d painted Battle for Skull Pass before but never really expanded upon that), in about a week I’d amassed enough models for a 1,500 point force, including Warriors, wolves, The Heirophant himself and even a Hellcannon (in Finecast…)!
I would spend the next three years collecting and painting the terrible warriors from Krüll. The last major expansion I finished for the army was a small “Carnival of Nurgle” detachment that I added sometime in 2015.
The important thing to note about the Flesh-Twisters is the unified colour palette that draws the disparate aesthetics of Nurgle and Slaanesh together. The soft purple and bright blue is repeated on almost every model. On the Slaaneshi warriors, the bronze and splash colours are more pronounced. On the Nurglitch models, I’ve painted a lot of ooze, stitches, rust, etc. I think I overdid it with the cartoony “verdigris”, though. If I had the time and energy to go back and paint over it to make the bronze more, well, bronze, I definitely would.
Maybe some day soon, The Flesh-Twisters will ride again. But for now, I’m sure they’re happy committing their special brand of debauchery in the depths of their evil city.
The Heirophant himself! Masked sycophant, beautiful torturer!