Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Monday 27 February 2017

The Drift [Part IV]: I Need No Eyes To See The Void

"I Need No Eyes To See The Void"

Captain Maxilla tried to still his breathing, coarse and loud in the black. The metal bulkhead against his back was chill. The heat is seeping out in the void, he thought. My ship is dead.

The screams of his crew had stopped. The Void Pirates had finished their sweep, obviously, and would soon start to offload the precious cargo of food. But how could they find us after they killed the lights? The thought was fleeting, but worrying. Right now the darkness was the only cover Maxilla had; is it enough?

Footsteps. Pausing. As though... looking? Maxilla held his breath.

In the flashes of the gunfire Maxilla had time for one final thought: but he has no eyes at all. How did he see me?


When the Arcadia system was closed down, there were still some void ships in the Outer Rim. Although the colonies were fragmented by the Tyranid infestation and cut off from the inner system and The Drift by the Chaos incursion, they did survive. There evolved a complex ecosystem of traders and miners - some of whom were good enough to make the run to the Inner Worlds. And preying upon these were the void pirates, the most feared of which were the Fox Cadre; they had some element of psyker taint, as shown by the fact that most of the their pirates would loose their own eyes in exposure to vacuum as part of the initiation rite to join the crew yet were still able to function effectively in combat. The exact mechanism behind this remains unknown. 

-The History of The Drift, Erasmus Crake, 376.M41.

This was a relatively simple build; the basic chassis was from the Genestealer Acolyte box, with addition of a new head and another bolter for the John Woo two gun feel. The deck plates were made from plasticard.

Painting was very easy as well - using the same dirty technique as with the previous Drift characters this time I borrowed the colour scheme from the Moebius spacesuits from Alien:

Overall, another very satisfying build and painting experience. I have a few ideas for some more of the Void Pirates and a few more ground pounders. But I think next up will be some some more AoS28 fantasy miniatures...

Saturday 25 February 2017

The Drift [Part III]

So the first three inhabitants of The Drift are complete.

The painting was relatively simple; a lot of washes and inks to add texture and depth. The key was not to highlight up but to start with quite a light colour over the zenithal priming and then dirty down. The basic tones and palette were stolen shamelessly from Bosch which - given his influence on Ian Miller and John Blanche - permeate the 40k world.

I think there will be a final drybrush of grey ash but I want to make a few more inhabitants before I fully commit myself to that.

I liked the idea of putting an epigram or quote on each base to emphasise the uniqueness of each character; and, I suppose, to underline that these are more an art project than playing pieces.

Next up will, I think, be some Void Pirates who haunt the Outer Rim. I bought myself a couple of boxes of miniatures purely to use as fodder for conversions, which is a first for me:

It wasn't until after I took the picture that I realised you could see the word the Eldest was teaching himself to spell; obviously watching the Hobbit has succeeded in dragging him into our world....

Friday 24 February 2017

The Star Speaker - AoS28

He wanders the realms, trailing scraps of paper covered in strange glyphs. It is said that most cannot read his peculiar script; but those that can are immediately awestruck. Those than can read it read the Truth of the Old Ones, the Truth of the Stars; and they walk away from their homes, from their families, from their loved ones, from their lives to follow this strange prophet who never speaks a word but simply thrusts paper into the faces of those he meets.

This is a first attempt at doing something a bit different with the leftover Lizards that I bought for my son. Similarly to Inq28 there is a current movement afoot to do something similar with Age of Sigmar. I don't find the world of AoS to be anywhere near as interesting or engaging as the Old World of Warhammer or the grim future of 40K. But some of the miniatures are interesting and some of the work  being done under the AoS28 banner is very inspirational.

The build was relatively simple; I took the body of an empire flagellant and replaced the feet with lizard claws. It was then simply a case of kitbashing the other parts. Colour I kept very muddy and indistinct. I painted big stripes of shade and slapped on highlights for the skin to wet blend it. The overall effect is quite pleasing, I think, and substantially different to my usual style.

The pages were simply done on a piece of paper and then cut out. The rope work was done using the skills I developed rigging the Napoleonic Ships

Overall I'm very happy with this chap; I think he oozes character and tells a story all by himself. This, like the Inq28 stuff is something I can see myself exploring a little more. 

Thursday 23 February 2017

The Drift [Part II]

Combat Servitor Penitent NX-01

"Does it have to do that?"
"Repent... Repent... Repent..."
The constant mutter could be heard even over the howling of the dust devils and crackle of las fire. The Servitor shambled forward, servo-skull waving like a cobra, picking off targets with pinpoint accuracy.
"Repent.... Repent... Repent..."
"Yes," Smith murmured, looking away from what had once been a man. "I rather think he does."

This new inhabitant of The Drift is a combat servitor constructed from some leftover catachan bits and some gubbins. The key thing I wanted to add was a servo-skull; it was the only clear image I had before I started the build.

I experimented a bit with thin brass rod  - the same stuff I used on the Napoleonic ships – to create some thinner wires. I think I’d like to experiment with some guitar string next time.

The banner was a late addition but I think it finishes him off nicely.

The painting style was another experiment; to create a grimier look for the inhabitants of The Drift.

Wednesday 22 February 2017

The Drift [Part I]

"My Lord, we have multiple contacts to spinwards."

The Lord Militant stared at the hololith with a sick feeling in his stomach. The chatter of crew and servitors around him seemed to die away, leaving only the sound of the blood in his ears. He spoke; later, he would swear that he was sure he spoke so quietly that no-one could have heard him. But his soft words brought the bridge of the warship to silence.

"Signal the Fleet. We are leaving."

"My Lord Militant?" The adjutant broke the silence, his tone as queasy as the Lord Militant felt.

"We have insurrections on the two inner planets, an infestation at the outer rim and now..." he gestured at the multiple red runes, spreading as more and more ships of the Enemy dropped out of the Warp, "...this. We are leaving."

"My Lord," the Adminsitratum drone yelped, "the Inquisition is in system. Surely if--"

"And I wish them the very best of luck. But only a fool fights a war on two fronts and only an idiot fights one on three. Fool I may be, but I am no-one's idiot. Prepare the Fleet to transition to Warp."

The Lord Militant took a deep breath. "And before we go... target the main spaceport and astrotelepathic station. Launch a high yield device; I want there to be no chance of this infection spreading."

"My Lord, that will cut off all outside--"

"I am well aware of the likely outcome of my orders, thank you. Maybe the Emperor will have mercy on their souls."

The Lord Militant turned and swept from the room. Only later did the adjutant admit the last three words that no-one else heard.

"And on mine."


"My Lord Governor, I don't think you quite understand the chagne in your circumstances. Whatever authority you had left with Battle Fleet Elysium and whatever hope you had of rescue died when the spaceport was vapourised along with half the Primaris Hive. Whatever hope of survival you had withered with the crops when the fallout from that strike turned most of your world into Ash Dunes drifting over everything. I am an Inquisitor and I am - basically - all the Imperial Authority there is left. Perhaps more importantly, you fail to grasp that this is no longer a matter of treating a disease. That is over. Your planet has a cancer and it is inoperable. You world is dying and the only thing left to us is to ensure that the tumor does not outlive the host. Understand this: there is no hope of rescue, there will be no happy ending. Now I am certain that you are recording this, or more likely broadcasting it live to the Noble Houses that cluster round this palace like parasites on a mangy dog. So I speak to you all: you. Are. Going. To. Die. The only choice left open to you is how you go to meet your Emperor; on your knees, begging, or on your feet with a weapon in your hand. This is The Drift. This is where we draw a line."


The Old Man cackled. It had no humour in it. 

"This was all fields once. You can't blame them for leaving, up there in their ships. Cultists down here; 'Nids on the Outer Colonies and then a load of horrors boiling out of the warp. But hitting the port? All the.." he groped for the right word, gave up, shrugged. "Stuff in the ships. Poison in the air. Turned the fields into this." 

Their eyes turned to the grey waste flecked with burning embers outside. 

"But do we give up? We do not. That's what people do, see? They keep walking when their feet are bloodied. They keep breathing when their lungs are filled with ash. They fight when they've forgotten what they're fighting for."

The Old Man looked out at the wastes and smiled a thin smile; they thought that maybe he was seeing the old verdant world that had been. Surely he could not value the hellhole their world had become?

"This is The Drift. This is where we make our stand."


After the major job of the Carnosaur, I needed a change of pace. Something small and intricate. Thankfully, Inq28 is just the ticket.

For those people who aren't in the loop, the idea of Inq28 is to play small games in the Warhammer 40k universe. But perhaps more appealingly for me, it's all about mood and narrative expressed through individual figures. So I sat down with some old historical sprues, my bits box, some greenstuff, Radio 3 and just went where the muse took me. 

The joy of this is that what you are doing is emergent; the character and setting are revealed by the choices you make in the construction of the figure. The world you see above was created by these characters.

The first one is an old soldier. An ash waste wanderer, veteran of a thousand battlefields, now trying to bring order to the forgotten areas of The Drift; fighting because he's forgotten how to do anything else. Obviously kept alive by multiple augmentations and transplants. 

He was constructed from the torso of a British Line Infantryman from the Zulu Wars, the legs and coattails from an ECW Parliamentarian and then some Space Marine bits. The addition of plasticard bracers helped disguise some of the scale issues, and the floral wire tubes helped sell the slightly too large head. 

The second is based on the old WFRP ratcatcher. The basic chassis was a Black Scorpion resin cowboy who arrived with a miscast rifle. 

"Powerful big rats, gentlemen," the stranger rasped as the monstrosity quivered and twitched on the ground before them. He holstered his bolt pistol and drew a chainsword. "The pelt will fetch a pretty penny at Rorke's, though." The glass orbs of his mask turned towards them. "Are you peckish?"

I'm quite happy with these two and now just need to think of a slightly different painting style. I want them to be very grungey, very muted and muddy. 

I started with zenithal highlighting as that gives quite a hard contrast to work from and will let you know what transpires