Thursday, January 27, 2011

French and Indian Wars

Just thought I would throw some historical into the mix. These pics are from the collection of Gavin Akers depicting troops of the French and Indian Wars, taken during a skirmish fight played several years ago, soon after the figures were finished. Gavin did the basing.

Mohawk Chief

Coureur de bois

Rogers Ranger

I think the stronghouse is Old Glory, but don't quote me.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Orky Hardware

There is something about Orks. Nasty, dirty, vicious little bastards. But you gotta love them.

The Grot Bomb Clanky Lobber is one of my favourites. Part of the Pearson Collection, it is primarily a Forgeworld construct with GW bits thrown in to keep everyone thinking.

I used the stolen Rhino kit from FW, adding the Grot Bomb Launcher and various FW resin grots (displaying the labourer's ethic - one works, two watch on and comment).

Meanwhile another grot doesn't pay attention while arming the next projectile and gets suspended for his trouble. The armature is taken from the GW Ork Killa Kan plastic kit. The grot is GW also, from the Gargant kit.

And the big boys take this lethal mix to the enemy.

Better shot of the armature.

This piece was a combination of the old Epicast Spleen Ripper body, GW chassis and partial gun barrel, and two FW side sponson machine gunners.

This is the FW Ork Kil Krusha and a complex little monkey it is too. What you see is not all you get. The back is open for some beautiful interior detail. Painting it was a chore but very satisfying, as it had to be painted in separate sections (not easy to do). It was, however, immensely satisfying to see it all fall into place. It isn't truly awe-inspiring until it is all together. And the pieces fit together with the least amount of fuss and juggling, surprising considering how complex it was. Part of CBW's Collection.

Back view, with the master gunner pondering his fate inspired by his pet squig, while a powder monkey ejects a casing. This pic does not do the interior justice.

A small squadron of FW Grot Tanks. Interchangeable grots, track mountings, turrets and weapons systems allow for a huge amount of variation in the vehicles.

The FW Ork Mek Boss and retinue. Little to say, other than a nice piece with reasonably sturdy appendages, considering its material (resin).

I like this piece. Also in CBW's collection, it is one nasty hunk of machinery, constructed from the GW kit without any additions or kit-bashing. Doesn't need it.

Another Killa Kan straight from the box, a suitably scarred vehicle.

A Kan sprints into battle. I don't see these pieces as slow, lumbering behemoths. I see them more as sprightly, swift, lethal. Something like the living dead in the movie "28 Days". Terrifying thing, scared the hell out of me. I saw the Kans as somewhat the same, albeit clanking loudly and smelling like diesel.

To that end, this piece embodies that ideal, leaping over a barricade and letting fly with a missile. Who said Orks couldn't multi-task? The plume of smoke is sculpted in copper wire covered in Green Stuff and Squadron White Putty. I think it works, but I will continue to work on it.

Hope you like. Stay tuned.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Bunch of Guys in Search of a Stoush

Here's a few pics to be going on with, notes being added for the elucidation of the interested bystander. All from the collection of one CBW, a most dedicated and appreciative collector and gamer.

Using the Wargames Factory Stormtroopers as a base, I kit-bashed some Russian-inspired troopers. Using Pig Iron heads and equipment packs, and some GW weapons and bits, with resin bases (unsure of provenance), these will soon be joined by at least another five squads. Will go well with Vostroyans, I expect.

Nice sergeant figure with chainsword. There are so many bits and pieces now available out there that you can honestly create anything, giving any army a unique flavour.

And sometimes the oldies are goodies. Early Rhino painted up for the Legio Primus Chapter (own invention) using MarkIII armour for tank commander and added flamer. Simple yet effective.

Centurion of Legio Primus, Mark III armour, transverse crest from GW Ultra officer and added bits. The idea of the Legio Primus is a  throwback Chapter forgotten for centuries and then rediscovered on a backwater world. It has retained its early armour and equipment, now worse for wear. Rediscovery and new supplies of equipment have revitalised the Chapter, but it takes great pains to never forget its years of isolation, and loyalty to the Emperor, and so much of the new equipment is used in conjunction with surviving ordinance and material.

Organisation is based on the old Roman maniple, or unit of five. An operation team can be of any multiple of five, lending a degree of flexibility, and harking back to the times of severe depletion of manpower when units could sometimes consist of only two or three surviving Marines.

I think it helps with fantasy units and figures to have a bit of backstory, in order to inspire my modelling and to give the figures a solid foundation. The units then retain a degree of "reality" within their own universe. Probably a throwback to my background in film and theatre writing, but it seems to work.

A force to be reckoned with.
Legio Primus tribune. A converted piece from one of our eastern European friends. Nice piece, and one can't have too many imposing characters. The Legio Primus symbology is based on the Space Marine aquila, a nice Roman adaptation if ever there was one. What did someone say about being wary of a nation with the eagle as its symbol?

The animals we have as symbols in Australia are the kangaroo and the emu, both on our coat of arms . . . and both found in our restaurants. Food for thought . . .

Another character of undetermined origin, and various usage. Inquisitor, Marine Grandmaster, Rogue Trader - very adaptable. The base is Scibor, the added censer and holster (unseen) from GW.

Grand master for an as yet unnamed Space Marine unit (Lions of Lakedaemonia?). Mainly Scibor, although I did add the pole weapon, and the shield is from Nimix of Spain. This is an instance where again a bit of a backstory helps the figure. It is obviously Greek in origin, and yet it was armed with only the sword blade that I incorporated into the pole weapon, and the shield had wings and was rather dinky. This is a hoplite, a spear-thrusting, hoplon-hefting, bronze-armoured warrior, descendant of Zeus and Herakles, beloved of Athena and Artemis. It needs to look as if it could take on anything. This guy will stand up to Chaos demon princes and Ork mek bosses. And then eat lamb, taramasolata and dolmades and drink from a wineskin made from the flensed flesh of an Eldar exarch, while dancing and smashing crockery.

Finally a couple of Crocodile Games Wendigo, just because I like them.

Peter C.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Gargant: an Epic Man Against Machine Story - Part 2.

Okay, so all the preliminary stuff was done.

The casing, or bottom section of the gargant was suitably beaten up and reworked to resemble a battle-hardened war-machine. I placed as much battle damage on this bottom piece as I thought the Gargant could aesthetically bear. My idea was that this was the spot that would receive most damage as the Gargant crashed through buildings and fortifications, and took weapons fire. Higher sections would consequently take less damage and have a cleaner aspect.

The casing was given a black base coat in preparation. I tend to use brushes more than anything else. I don't own an airbrush. They worry me. I don't seem to be able to get the damn things to work properly, and they tend to spit at me. I may come to terms with air-brushing eventually, but at the moment we agree to disagree.

So, out comes the No.8's. A massive dry-brush ensued, with several layers defining the details, and reminding me what had been added. There was a fair amount of detail, especially at the back, which had received two additional constructs, but more of that anon.

Then areas were masked in a rough checkerboard pattern, and several pale tones, based on black, tan and increasing amounts of white, were applied leading to an off-white highlight. Don't forget, this is a big piece, so colour will cover a larger area and therefore stand out, especially white against black. Having brilliant white would be a little stark.

This shows the base of the Gargant almost completed. As you can see, too big for the light box. There are better pics so be patient. The feet are attached, the huge phallic cannon is in place, and you might just make out the honking great chainsaw armature jutting out from the side. This is one of the surprises I mentioned in Part 1.

I just felt the casing was a little barren in front and though it had firepower in the cannon, needed something that could cause a real mess of any opposition close-up. Imagine a Lumberjack Special hurtling towards your specially commissioned command Rhino. That would put the wind up anybody.

This pic gives a pretty good idea of the paint job. The checkerboard pattern slowly disappeared under the weight of rust, dirt and smoking ruin, becoming more symbolic than defining. The plates were given different colours in some cases, to emphasise the salvaged  and repaired nature of the Ork philosophy. For example one shows part of an imperial eagle. Can only imagine what that may have been ripped off.

The feet having some colour stand out a little, like the Gargant is wearing it's best sneakers. They had been painted nearly two years before I did this whole process, but they proved too pristine and so I beat them up a bit and made them a little more deadly. I thought of having impaled bodies on the spikes, but that may be gilding the lily. Leave them wanting more, I say.

The chainsaw is built straight from the box, being a part of GW's plastic Gargant. Nice and nasty.

A word about rust. Some may say that I have gone overboard with the application of rust, obscuring what would otherwise be spaces for beautiful Ork graffiti and other scintillating objet d'arts. To them I say, fie on you. I'm kicking this pig, go get your own gargant.

The base colour for the rust was Model Master's Rust, with the addition of yellow and white for highlights, and Tamiya XF-8 Flat Blue for shadow.

The cannon was enhanced with more bits from the GW plastic Gargant as well as two Forgeworld resin gretchin. Not much to say about this, it's an extremely overbearing lump of firepower, and protruding from the beast's belly as it does, leaves little to the imagination.

At the back I wanted something a little more business-like, more domestic. In my mind this is where the garbage bins are kept. So we see the back door, with a steam powered mechanical something next to it, probably to open the big sliding back doors that have the yellow and black stripes painted on them.

Jutting out from the back is the verandah, or back porch, made from a large piece of flooring again from the GW Gargant, and for the wall a section cut down from the GW resin barricades, with three heavy weapons added from the Forgeworld Ork weapons pack.

And on the other side is a small gretchin turret, taken from the GW plastic Ork truck. Basically when the porch was test-fitted, I realised that there was a huge empty space and the whole thing felt out of balance. So yet again I, the intrepid miniaturist armed only with an Exacto and a dream, attacked a defenceless plastic toy and denuded it of all dignity.

Don't care, looks great.

And that is that to date. The next piece of casing (the next level) will include window treatments, interior decoration and a crashed land speeder - maybe.

Stay tuned, boys and girls. Best is yet to come.

Peter C.

PS. Encore again. Love this piece. Another for Mr.Pearson and apparently a favourite of us both.

In all things, humour. Else what is it all for.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Beauty of Flight

Found this piece of footage on YouTube. The birds are A4 Skyhawks with the RNZAF, originally with the RAN Fleet Air Arm, 805 and 724 squadrons. My father commanded both these squadrons at various times during the late 60's and early 70's out of RANAS Albatros near Nowra, and off the HMAS Melbourne.

These particular aircraft were later sold to the RNZAF. This footage shows them as aerobatic aircraft, a subsidiary role to their roles as front-line fighter-bombers. My dad had started the team in Nowra in the early 60's, using these aircraft and performing many of the sequences shown in the clip. The team was called the "Ramjets".

The interesting thing about this aerobatic role is that although the Skyhawk was also used by the US Blue Angels aerobatic team, the US team used modified Skyhawks built especially for aerobatics. Neither the Australians nor the New Zealanders modified their aircraft.

This pic is of my father and the men of 805 in 1973.

Hope you enjoy the clip:

A couple of other pics:

Dad in the middle, publicity shot on the flight line, showing the "Ramjets" aerobatic team in 1969. With my father, who at the time was C/O of 724 Squadron, are Errol "Klump" Kavanaugh and Graham "Dusty" King.

And not to leave out my mum, back row, second from the right, HMAS Cerberus, about 1955.

Peter C.