Choose Your Own Adventurers – Episode 5: Nebuli Tsar, Ventolin Pirate

Choose Your Own Adventurers Logo

My second model in this group painting project is the Ventolin Pirate – the one figure I actually had when I started this project!

Ventolin Pirate and Squats

Nebuli Tsar with a Squat boarding party.

The Adventurer range is full of a great many concepts that weren’t developed further in Warhammer 40,000.  The Ventolin Pirate has two pieces of background written about him. The first is “Ventolin”. The second is “Pirate”. Let’s explore each of these in turn.

ventolin-inhaler

“Ventolin” is a brand of asthma medication that’s been on sale in England since 1969. However, out of context it does look like the name of a planet / alien species / Imperial Army regiment / pirate warband. Presumably Tim Pollard slipped in the name as a joke as the model has a rebreather helmet. I like to think that Ventolin is actually a conehead alien race, and if I get a second figure I may convert it without its helmet on. There was a lot of scope in the early days of Rogue Trader for this type of humanoid alien race with brightly coloured skin and prosthetic rubber foreheads – just take a look at the Ironclaw Pirate range.

If you go with the “space is an ocean” concept, it must have pirates. Instead of being on boats, these Space Pirates are on board spaceships.  Instead of being in sailor garb, they’re in astronaut suits. The model has vacuum-sealed cuffs where armour panels join on his arms and legs. I’ve avoided the stripey trews for this model, and instead he’s painted to match the Furnace Valley Squats for reasons that will become more apparent in future episodes of Choose Your Own Adventurers.

The vacuum-sealed cuffs, rebreather helmet, backpack and studded shoulderpad are reminiscent of the early Rogue Trader Space Marines. I’ve got a theory that this miniature was one of the dozen-or-so rejected Space Marine design attempts that Bob Naismith sculpted before he and Bryan Ansell settled on the LE02 Space Marine.

LE02 Space Marine and Ventolin Pirate

LE02 Space Marine and Ventolin Pirate.

To evoke a Rogue Trader vibe I added a freehand “GET VENT” on the shoulder pad.  The phrase was AJ’s suggestion; others I considered were:

  • VENT THIS
  • VENTI VIDI VICI
  • VENT OUTTA SHAPE
  • VENT YOUR ANGER
  • VIVE LE VENT

I kept the other shoulderpad free for a Claw Nebula Pirate symbol in the future.

Here’s a list of the other episodes in the group project:

CYAO Episode 4 – Short Jern Silvo, Ratling Cook (axiom)

CYAO Episode 3 – Garnier Wangst, Eldar Trader (sho3box)

CYOA Episode 2 – Paradox Zeeman, Pirate Captain (Curis)

CYOA Episode 1 – Obi-Wan Sherlock Clousseau, Inquisitor (axiom)

Stingwing – Cockatrice of Chaos

My teenage Orc and Goblin army featured a Night Goblin shaman on Cockatrice.  I’ve sold the bulk of the army, but hung onto the Cockatrice out of sentimentality.  Bulking out my Frostgrave Chaos into a Dragon Rampant force demanded a fantastic monster, so this mythological bird resurrected itself from the ashes.

cockatrice-in-4e-warhammer

The wings on my Orc and Goblin Cockatrice weren’t the original MM44 ones, but had been nicked from an High Elf Dragon.  I replaced these original replacements with a pair of 15mm Demonworld dragon wings.  Since I was converting the figure with non-Citadel parts, I figured I’d swap the rather dull tail with a scorpion one from the Dark World Manticore.

Cockatrice IngredientsThe Cockatrice torso showing his original yellow paintjob.  He was known as “Lemon Chicken”.

I did plan on him having a Chaos rider, and tried every single mounted Chaos figure in my collection.  However, anything bigger than a weeny Night Goblin shaman looked ridiculous, and the wings and neck all obscure the rider.  So Stingwing is an unbound monster, which also means he’s easier to legitimately field in Age of Sigmar.

cockatrice-rough-assemblage
Chicken stripped.

Attaching the Demonworld wings, and at a different angle to the original MM44 wings, required hacking away the sockets on the torso and some heavy pinning.  I used three layers of putty to first fill the gaps, then sculpt muscles, and then add fur.

cockatrice-snapped-wing

In my efforts to bend the old lead wings into curved shapes I managed to break the left one straight in half.  The metal along the split crumbled, and I had a pig of a time trying to reattach it.  I managed it with pins in the only two places that joined, and a good amount of putty.  Luckily the membranes had very little sculpted detail so my repairs are barely visible.

Anyways, here’s the finished beastie! I went with a mainly flesh, and ran the warband’s signature red colour onto the comb, wattles and scorpion tail.

cockatrice-isolated

chaos-cockatrice-with-thugs

Cockatrice breaks through a clearing in Mourningwood.

Sadly I have no good photos of the six-way Dragon Rampant game from the Knavecon weekend – I’d borrowed sho3box‘s selfie-stick and only managed photographs of my own arm.

superman-socks
Put in black and white, however, this looks intentionally arty. And you can’t see my Superman socks clashing with the hotel carpet.

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.

metal-hurlant

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.

fortisque-in-terrain

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!”

choose-your-own-adventurers-header

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.

space-pirate-crab-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.)

rogue-trader-space-pirate-captain

“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.

space-pirate-captain-and-imperial-guard
“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.

RrRrRrRrRr

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.