Major Henry Fortisque-Smyth

At this year’s Knavecon, sho3box ran a game of Dinoproof.  He provided a table full of jungle terrain and crates of dinosaurs, and participants had to make a Warhammer 40,000 big game hunter.  This was the excuse I needed to model someone wearing a pith helmet, much like the classic Mœbius character Major Grubert.


Un explorateur colonial un peu ridicule.

Just for this occasion I’d stashed away a Praetorian gunner torso.  His hands, unhitched from a heavy weapon, look like they’re clutching binoculars – a conversion idea seen on countless 1990s tank commanders.  The bottom half of the figure is a Dark Ages archer, as he was wearing a pair of shorts that would reinforce his British pomposity.  (I challenge you to name a 40K human wearing shorts.)

Fortisque WIP 2

“I, of course, do not have a British accent.  That’s just how things sound when they’re properly pronounced.”

I sculpted the bottom of his tunic, then added a pouch and some frag grenades to distract from the Dark Age archer’s slightly narrower waist.  The Plasma Gun is from a Forge World Elysian, which tucked under his arm nicely enough to not have to be carried by an attendant or modelled strapped across his back.

Initially I painted his clothes entirely in Death World Forest, as he’s trying to camouflage himself in a … death world forest. But the epaulettes bothered me – ceremonial affectations seem at odds with jungle stealth.  Then I realised the initial vision of tropical fatigues was further undermined by the dress tunic.  I threw in some more colours and re-imagined the uniform as regimental rather than camouflage.

Fortisque WIP 2

 “An air of superiority is the ultimate expression of military power.”

Major Henry Fortisque-Smyth fared badly in the tropical jungles, being eaten by a series of sho3box’s childhood plastic dinosaurs.


There’s a blog about the dinosaur skeletons here.

There’s a blog about sho3box’s DinoProof Ogryn here.

There’s a blog about testing the DinoProof rules here.

There’s a blog about making chocolate cakes here.

Choose Your Own Adventurers – Episode 2: Captain Paradox Zeeman

“Let’s all paint Adventurers!” cried sho3box. “I have almost all thirty-two of those rare expensive miniatures!”

“Yeah!” axiom responded. “I have all of that overly-fetishised and as such difficult-to-collect range.”

“Yay!” Curis said, getting caught up in the enthusiasm of the group project. “I have … er … maybe … one?  But I’ll do a cool retro-mimic logo!”


To reiterate from axiom’s post, our rules are:

  1. Paint a Rogue Trader Adventurer
  2. Valid miniatures are ones marketed as “Adventurer” in a Mail Order flier, Citadel catalogue or White Dwarf
  3. Let the other two bloggers have a turn, then paint another miniature.

As I had practically no Adventurers, sho3box generously jump-started my collection with the donation of a Pirate Captain.

Teenage-era sho3box had modified the Captain by adding an uzi-style magazine to the pistol and a pouch to the thigh.  He’d also removed the sword, as the lumpen sculpting and lead’s tendency to droop made it “look like a floppy dildo”.  This did give me the opportunity to do some conversion work to ham up the pirate angle – a hook hand.

Sparce Pirate Captain with paperclip claws

The first attempt at a replacement was a “split hook” prostheses, made from two paperclips filed to points and bent into curves.  It didn’t sit well with the chunky 1980s sculpting, so I added a big goofy Lego claw.

“Hello.  I like money.”

The other pirate cliche I went with was stripey trews.  Disappointingly I realised after I’d painted Zeeman that the Studio paintjob also had stripey trews, so I wasn’t doing anything new or edgy.

A lot of the early Rogue Trader figures incorporate anachronistic fantasy elements (either as a deliberate juxtaposition with the science fiction setting, or sculptors falling back on their established bags of tricks) – leather pouches, medieval boots, landsknecht sleeves, et cetera.  It’s interesting that the Pirate Captain’s boots are anachronistic, but aren’t the cliché thigh-high pirate boots of your 17th Century Caribbean pirate; no no no, instead, they’re boring ankle-high medieval boots.  Makes me wonder if he was sculpted as a generic 40K guy and later designated a pirate.  But anyway, to get the boots away from the medieval leather look I painted them gleaming ice-white, imagining Paradox Zeeman as a space-chav displaying his wealth with immaculate footwear.  (I may have also been thinking of the glorious Spacego cover.)


“Oi, innit blud.  Hit the legs, this is well waffle.”

I am thinking about adding freehand insignia to the back of his jacket, possibly the Crab Claw Nebula symbol.  It’d tie in nicely with his claw.  But that’s a finishing touch for another day, when I’ve collected the other Space Pirates in the range and rounded them out to a little trio/squad/army/formation/Apocalypse detachment.

“Feds have landed up, wiv me in charge. You’re merked.”

Next up in Choose Your Own Adventurers – sho3box!

If you missed it, axiom’s excellent first episode is here!

Ghar Proghect Logh 001

Hobby goal: paint a complete Ghar Empire scout force.

Now, normally I don’t play with unpainted miniatures.  It eats at my soul.  But Warlord Games have just started doing a Beyond the Gates of Antares gaming club on alternate Wednesdays and I wanted to join in without having to spend three months beforehand acrylicking them.

Unpainted Ghar

Painting process as advanced as my Antares rules knowledge.

On the inaugural games night I “played” against Concord and Algoryn – I say “played” as I was largely being spoon-fed the rules by my patient opponents.  I’ve now got a basic enough grasp to be able to digest and retain the contents of the rulebook.  And, importantly, the gaming has given me the enthusiasm to paint the first unit – Flitters.

Beyond the Gates of Antares Ghar Flitters

RrRrRrRrRrRr.  Flitting.  RrRrRrRr.  Flit flit flit.

Flitters are the Ghar’s targeting drones, scouting ahead of the main battleline to relay back targeting data and generally be a nuisance.  Drawn to the enemy like tiny birds are drawn to tasty cookie crumbs.  RrRrRrRrRrRr.


RrRrRrRrRrRr. RrRrRrRr.

I’ve gone for dark teal armour and light orange bases, which contrast with each other nicely.  The teal is available as a spray paint so battlesuits and large vehicles like the command crawler can be painted quickly and smoothly.

Beyond the Gates of Antares Ghar Flitters

Flitters flocking around Andy Hobday’s Concord. RrRrRrRrRrRr.  RrRrRrRr.

Additionally the Flitters are small enough miniatures that I can fire them out and feel like I’ve made serious inroads into the army.  Wahey!  One unit done with only two evenings of painting – that means 25% of the army finished!

Beyond the Gates of Antares Ghar Flitters

Flitters marking Matt Adlard’s Concord behind their energy line defences. RrRrRrRrRrRr.  RrRrRrRr.

Next off, seeing if the colour scheme and painting method translate up to the larger Ghar battlesuits.

Godbreak 84th: Tactical Squad Howard

I’ve been building up a collection of vintage Imperial Army.  As a kid I wanted a large Imperial Guard army, but there being very few plastics (only the ginormo-head RTB07 and monopose 2E Stormtrooper with lasgun) meant they’d be mainly metal.  This combined with the low points cost meant a playable army would be very expensive.  But now I’m older I’m indulging myself.


Left to right: Trpr Trewevas, Trpr Peart, Trpr Laiout, Trpr Jenkins, Sgt Howard, Trpr Langton, Trpr Bruce, Trpr Kelly, Trpr Emerson and Trpr Rutherford. 

The aim of my Godbreak 84th project is to build a collection out of pre-1994 Citadel Miniatures.  The models are mainly one-piece castings with a lot of individuality and character.  I want the collection to be flexible enough to be fielded using old Rogue Trader lists, 2E Warhammer 40,000 and modern 7E Warhammer 40,000 (all with some cheeky opponent’s-permission tweaks).


Tactical Squad Howard in some Kill Team action at Warhammer World. 

Additionally the aim of the project is to have a collection that is contemporaneous (miniatures-wise) with my Furnace Valley Squats.  I will field them together as a combined Forces of the Imperium.  Ultimately, when the Squat and Imperial Army collections are big enough I can justify painting and gaming with some classic resin Titans!


Trpr Trewevas alongside a super-heavy axle.

As well as providing a context for Titans, the Godbreak 84th project provides as excuse to scratchbuild the White Dwarf 120 Baneblade.  Onwards!

Antares Ice Effect Bases

I painted an Algoryn AI Squad plus a Support Team for the Beyond the Gates of Antares rulebook.  With the Antares universe being a whole new science fiction universe to explore I thought I’d get away from my normal sand ‘n’ tuft fare with some ice effect bases.

Beyond the Gates of Antares Algoryn

Normally Antares infantry are on 25mm round bases, but with Games Workshop’s Space Marines being bumped to 32mm I thought I’d do likewise.  Using Games Workshop bases gives me access to a massive range of sizes, including a wealth of large ovals which will be great for monsters and vehicles.

The bases are built up with tarantula bark, a Games Workshop snow texture paint, bits of coarse sand and Anarchy Models blue “Heisenberg” crystals.

Algoryn WIP bases

Here’s the exact method:

  1. Undercoat the base white with spray paint.  This makes it easier for PVA and texture paints to stick.
  2. Glue on pieces of bark in random shapes.  You want a mix of shapes across the bases so you can find one that fits any given pose of miniature.  A mix of shapes also helps break up the unit visually.
  3. Fill the gaps with Games Workshop Mourn Mountain Snow.  While this is drying lightly sprinkle on some extra gritty sand to break up the texture.
  4. Spray the base white.
  5. Give several thin coats of Vallejo Model Colour Pale Blue Grey.
  6. Lightly drybrush the base pure white.
  7. Glue on the Anarchy crystals in little patches.  Hide the join with snow effect, VMC Pale Blue Grey and a tiny drybrush of pure white.
  8. Lightly mist the base with white spray form on top.  This makes the crystals look more frosty, and also smooths out the drybrushing.
  9. Highlight the edges of the crystals with pure white.
  10. Paint the rims black.
  11. Pin on the figure.  Hide any awkward foot-join by lumping on snow effect and VMC Blue Grey and a tiny drybrush of pure white.

I entered the unit, plus a bonus AI Commander, into the Salute 2016 painting contest where they were awarded a finalist pin. Click for big!


To keep the squad in a visually pleasing formation I mounted them on a simple piece of glass.

Next up, the rest of the AI Command Squad to accompany that Commander, and push the collection closer to being a 500 points Scouting Force.