Original Space Hulk Terminator.

The Terminators Wont Look Like That In The Box.. Surely!
Space Hulk is my game. Its the first true Games Workshop box game i got. I did own both Hero Quest and Space Crusade but those were joint ventures with Milton Bradley, Space Hulk however was a pure GW board game. My gaming buddy and myself did play Rogue Trader at the time but as anyone from that era knows, RT was not the simplest or most straight forward of games to play. A hybrid of roleplay and tabletop warfare, it lacked the sense of objective in design that Warhammer Fantasy Battle had. RT gave the impression that Rick Priestley had 5 rule books worth of ideas but had to cut them down to just one and it was never quite ironed straight.  Space Hulk on the other hand is war gaming perfection. Space Hulk was and still is s simple design and compared to the other games we played back then it could easily be unboxed, setup and played. 

I am from a smallish town on the west coast of Scotland and GW were a good 6 or 7 years away from opening a store there. So when i asked my folks to buy Space Hulk for me i knew it had loads of Genestealers and also 2 x 5 man squads of Terminators but i had never seen them up close. Now at that time there was not the vast array of models for individual purchase and Terminators came in an 8 man box, multipart, metal and awesome!!. The models are still excellent too but back then my buddy had this box and i didnt. Space Hulk would fix that balance..... or so i thought.

Shit... They Actually Look Worse!
When i got the game for Christmas..... 88? maybe... i was shocked to discover that the 10 Termies supplied with the game were not the high quality miniature perfection i had dreamt but were infact 10 lumps of dark blue plastic! I couldnt get my head around this as on the other sprues the game gave you were loads of multi part, highly detailed and intricate Stealers! How could this be? how could there be such a difference in the quality of the 2 model sets?

Spindley Legs & Arms, Fine Details!
Ive grown a lot older since then and i understand that this was a calculated business desicion. Nothing GW does in this vein is a mistake. The Genestealers at that time had no real use in any other game system and were ring fenced to Space Hulk but the termies couldnt be too good as that might limit sales of the metal box sets that i loved so much. It all makes sense, at the time though i was pissed off!.

Over the years my dislike for the original Termies has dissipated and ive developed a true love for the model and the memories they gave. I always wanted to paint one in a manor i reserved for better designed models but never found the time as i would inevitably choose the cooler mini for my next project. So this is my attempt at giving my last surviving Original Space Hulk Termie the respect and dignity he deserves.

I actually tried a clean and polished look first but the details are so .... shit, that i just didnt like the outcome. Most of my paint jobs these days are quite grimey or weathered. I love the look it gives but it also covers up and helps to mask any limits to my ability. Line highlighting for instance is the thing i hate the most about the GW painting style. It looks cool but i think if a technique is annoying or frustrating and making you stop painting then you should find an alternative. After all this is supposed to be fun. 

I still line highlight but only in specific areas and its limited. Especially on a model that had corrosion or paint chipping like this one. 

For the Blood Angels chapter badge i used a decal... Total mistake i know!. I was trying to cut a corner and i use decals for other things but the decals are either non GW or are Forge World decals and as such are thin and good quality. The GW decals are like cardboard. Even with a gloss prep and Micro Sol and Micro Set this bastard decal would not sit right and as such it was giving me nightmares. In the end i painted over it and with the weathering it turned out fine but if i had just free handed the icon it would have been easy and my shortcut! wouldnt have taken so much time or given me so much stress.

I used Forge World weathering powders for the soot and rust on the back and also the dust and mud at the models feet. I went back and forth with the decision on a base. I did feel he should be based on a Space Hulk interior style base but eventually i decided i wanted him to look more used and appreciated so i went for dust, rocks and mud like a true table top model should.

Ah the cereal box weapon!. This is the thing that destroyed me the most when i was 14. The rest of the model i can kinda get over but the total lazyness of that weapon compared to the detail present on even the worst Space Marine model at the time was a crime too far in my eyes... Ive made my peace with it now though.

I actually do wonder about the design process for the original game. GW were making some excellent stuff even back then and the artist who painted this box art must have had a stroke when he was approached for this job. I can only imagine the conversation where he is asked to do box art for a space ship style game and the good guys are Space Marine Terminators.... "but you have to make the box art termies look like the shit ones we are chucking into the box.... not the awesome ones that this kids best mate has! "

I like how he turned out... 

Glad i didnt continue with the yellow....

Carcharadon Venerable Dreadnought.

This is my finished Carcharadon Venerable Dreadnought.

He has gone through 3 different iterations to get to this point and its been a long stuttering journey. I built the Mk1 version of this dread approx 7 years ago. The GW venerable dread kit had not long been released and i knew i wanted to go nuts with a 50% or 60% conversion. My first plan was to use the legs from the Sisters of Battle Penitent Engine but quickly ditched this idea as they were metal at the time and i wanted more freedom with the pose. Imperial Guard sentinels were really the only choice but that brought 2 issues.
 1. They were spindly and having seen them used before for a dread i knew they could look comical and chicken like if done wrong.
 2. The main issue with using long legs like the ones from the IG sentinel kit was the imbalance it created when you came to the small weapon sponsors the dread kits have as arms which causes a mechanical T-Rex effect.
I have seen people use the arms from Ork mech kits to decent effect and even the arms from the above mentioned Penitent Engine can work too but again with a limit on pose. It wasn't long before i realised there was not a one stop fix for the look i had in mind. I would have to treat both arms like individual conversions in their own right and for the model to look balanced it was best if the structure matched the legs.... so one sentinel kit became 2 sentinel kits.

You may have run the math in your head by this point and realised that this model was not cheap... eeek.

Here is the Mk1 version of the dread i built.

I was pleased at the time with the first pass of this model but as time went by and each time i looked at it something wasn't quite right. I decided at some point that he would be back on the projects list and every time i looked at him i got a cleaner idea on what i didn't like but he stayed like this while i worked through different projects.

Eventually i caved in and realised the 2 arms were poorly done, the pose was nearly what i wanted but i felt you had to tell yourself he was moving at speed and if you didn't the model just looked like he was going to tip over. Also i have no idea what the wings were representing?

First to get an overhaul were the arms. the original main weapon was removed and i knew i had to build my own weapon that was balanced, fit the size of the model correctly and looked like it was actually a weapon designed for a purpose rather than a gun stuck onto a IG Sentinel leg.

I kept the sentinel leg as the main strut and used it also as the barrel of the weapon. The end of a predator auto-cannon completed the barrel conversion while the main body was buffed with the addition of a dread meltagun underbelly.

The left arm was a little more tricky as i actually liked the mace weapon but felt there was something not right with the finished look. The plan was to take the weapon off and rework it but when i removed the weapon i broke the hand... shiiITT! This is one of those moments where a negative actually becomes a positive. Years ago i bought 2 horrifically painted, badly mauled unusable 2nd hand Abbadon The Despoiler models from A1 in Glasgow. I have no idea why i bought them as they just sat in a box.... until this moment. The claw is a reworked venerable dread hand with the fingers chopped and re-positioned and then the lightning claws from the Abbadon character model pinned in place. In my eyes it works better than the mace but it only happened as i broke the original and kinda panic fixed it.
If you are reading this and you sold 2 shitty Abbadon The Despoiler models too A1 in Glasgow about 7 years ago??? here they are...the claws at least.... oh and thank you.

The original base was a normal dread base with 2 terminator size bases cut, shaped and glued together but i was never pleased with it. Rebasing not only makes the finished model look better but allowed me to tweak the pose. The original pose above was supposed to look like the dread was advancing at speed but it also looked unbalanced. I was able to remove the feet and work the joints out a little to give the model a more stable look. He seems to be walking now rather than running.

The head, front armour panels and the wing armour decorations were all changed to new pieces.  As a side note. I fully stripped the model of paint before starting the new conversion work. The model was fully stripped with DIY paint stripper. I covered the model in stripper and leave it for an hour. I then clean it all off with washing up liquid and then re apply more paint stripper to clean any residue. A final clean and dry and its good as it was on the sprue.

I mentioned before that there were 3 versions of this dread. The 2nd version was the rebuilt model but painted in the original red of my own marine chapter. I am not a great fan of constantly stripping paint. I only really do it now for one off models or old rare pieces that have not been given the level of quality they deserve but i decided to change this dreads colour scheme as for one very simple reason but im going into that in a later blog post.

Why Carcharadons?

Carcharadons are a fairly unknown entity in the background of the 40k universe. When i was a kid they were only called Space Sharks but as 40k grew up a little bit and started to take itself alot more seriously, the Space Sharks vanished as GW became drenched in Ultra Marines, Blood Angels & Space Wolves.
Forge World and their Imperial Armour books finally brought them back to life under the guise of The Carcharadons with new symbolism and a very loose back story. Now the reasons i love them so much stem from my childhood.... and Chaos.

In appearance they are almost Chaos Renegades. Pale white or grey skin with pupil-less eyes that are simply jet black wells and mouths filled with serrated razor sharp teeth...... sharks basically.
They are also very close to Chaos in their style of warfare. Brutal and pretty over the top with no real care for things in the way. Systematically crippling the plasma cores on Badab Pimaris causing the the death of an entire planet and rendering the planet inhospitable when your orders are to take the planet at any cost is maybe too literal for some but if you wanted nicely nice then maybe be more specific. All in all in my mind they take as much enjoyment from fighting Imperial forces as they do from helping them. In D&D they would be Chaotic Good. They are the good guys until you give them a reason to be the bad guys.
The vague back story allows me to do what ever i want with them too. When i started in the hobby, I always played Chaos but that was a time when Chaos was an unregulated force for destruction and carnage but in my head it was an unregulated force for creativity and experimentation. Each Chaos renegade was a an island. Totally different from the next until GW felt they could make more money buy essentially turning Chaos Renegades into just evil Space Marines. This change turned them into a regulated marine chapter prime for mass consumption with the only difference being the inclusion of 8 pointed stars, spikes and tusks..... bloody tusks.
Carcharadons are the Chaos Renegades i want but without planting a flag and burdening the whole thing with expectation, rules and canon. Simply put, they are an official clean slate that can fight everybody.

Final Model Component List:::

  • Space Marine Venerable Dreadnought.
  • Imperial Guard Sentinel Walker Kit x2.
  • Space Marine Predator Auto Cannon.
  • Space Marine Dreadnought Meltagun.
  • Chaos Knight Head.
  • Abbadon The Despoiler Lightning Claw.
  • Undead Command Sprue Banner.
  • Electronic Chip From My Bank Card. Yes Really.
  • Thousand Sons Chaos Space Marine.
  • Cables From The ForgeWorld Blight Drone.
  • Space Marine Rhino Hatch Storm Bolter.
I hope you like the finished model.


The Gamers Journey.

A Very Upset Berserker.
Some time ago i was accepted onto the Games Workshop store managers course but for one reason or another it didn't work out and i decided to stay in the job i had so i never fully became a GW employee. During that whole process i learned some very interesting things about the company and how they inteact and view their players. One of the best happened during a chat with my interviewers at GW headquarters in Nottingham.

I was explaining my hobby past and how i had stopped playing at a point and then come back to the hobby and both interviewers smiled. They then explained to me that GW knew the hobby journey that most enthusiast take and for the majority it can be predicted.

For ease ill refer to us as "Gamers". The GW analysis was as follows.

1. Gamer discovers the GW hobby and starts collecting via a box game or through White Dwarf magazine and this usually happens around the time the Gamer starts high school. They either get into the hobby and commit or they leave and are gone.

2. Gamers that do commit then become loyal customers and are enthusiastic about the hobby which spreads over various gaming systems and even then to other companies and products.

3. Gamers then reach the age of 15, 16 and 17 and discover the opposite sex, drinking, pubs and clubs and even drugs. This is usually the point the Gamer drifts away from the hobby with Gamers who go on to university generally stopping all together.

4. Ex Gamer re-discovers the hobby which has sat dormant. The Ex Gamer is now an adult and around the age of 21 - 25 and has left higher education, has a job and gotten over the drinking and drugs and has started to settle. The Gamer returns.... Usually with a vengeance. The Gamer now has a steady income and can look to "more" and "bigger". Forge World.

5. Gamer has reignited his hobby and is fully back on track but now a partner is in the picture and then comes kids. Gamer has no time for gaming any more and the hobby stops....again.

6. The kids are growing and eventually the Gamer comes back as time becomes more available.

The whole thing is a solid description of my interaction with this hobby. GW expect Gamers to leave for a large gap during the transition into the adult world but the second come back can happen quite fast like in my case. I was away for 11 years the first time and then only out for 2 years when i had a child. however it can happen when the Gamers kids are old enough to discover the hobby for themselves which then sparks the interest of the Gamer who can now share the experience with their children.

Both GW and myself understand that this is not canon. plenty of gamers have never left and some leave and never come back but there is a very solid pattern for the player base and GW were and i think still are confident that during the life of a gamer they will "get them" 3 times.

The Axe Is A Replacement.

As for myself. I left the first time around 17 years old. I moved to Newcastle in England and had a good job with more money than i knew what to do with and i found out that i loved whiskey. eventually i found other entertainments too and distractions but the friends i made in Newcastle were hobbyists just like me. We didn't meet via gaming it just happened that i discovered they were into roleplay and mostly Epic and WFB.

This didn't stop me from ditching the hobby however. Actually we all drifted and left together. But one night sitting in my friends house we got out the paint and i painted a dwarf berserker. I didn't know it at the time but I wouldn't touch another miniature for 11 years.

Eventually i came back. It started as a small thing where me and a friend agreed to build a small force each for a trip down memory lane and that would be it. HA....

Finally Looking Good.
Most of my minis were long gone. Given away or just lost. I had a few left at a friends house in his loft along with rule books and the like but i still had with me that berserker. He had suffered though. The original paint job was chipped badly and his axe was broken. I dunked him in stripper for 5 mins and he was clean again, fixed his axe with a replacement from an undead sprue and sorted a base. I never got round to painting him again as time had come to stop my hobby again due to another little berserker who needed more of my attention.

Anyway, i promised myself that when i picked this all up again as i have done, That berserker would be in the first 5 things i painted. As it turns out he is number 2.
I decided to avoid the original paint job which was dark and he had a Saltire tattoo, which is the reason i kept him i think. i was very pleased with that paint job. I started fresh and here he is.

Imperial Light Trooper?... Deserter More Likely!

I've decided to take a break from painting my "Very Upset Dwarf" as he is making me very upset. I had forgotten how much i hate painting models with over 50% skin. Its boring and im never happy with the results but ill battle through as i usually do.

Imperial Light Trooper - March 1988 - Citadel

This is the Imperial Light Trooper released in march 1988 by Citadel. I love the simplicity of this miniature. The name for him says trooper but i always saw him more as a downed pilot of some kind or maybe a deserter. He looks alone and vulnerable to me, his face is not one brimming with confidence. Without a doubt he is one of my favourite Rogue Trader era miniatures.

I based him, i must have been happy with the finish.

I had considered stripping this model. Removing the paint job i completed a number of years ago and starting from scratch but i think that makes the whole point redundant. I think that part of the reason for collecting and painting miniatures is to catalogue your own ability and have a visual record of that development. Stripping minis too often wipes that record and i feel you lose the best guide to your own modelling history. Its ok to have a badly painted miniature if the next one is better.

I have no idea why i painted his pack silver?

However, i am not zealous about this at all. I have stripped many miniatures in the past and some were warranted and some i wish i hadn't but its totally down to the individual. I have settled to a point where on occasion its perfectly fine to strip a miniature and start from scratch if you make a mess of the job at the first attempt or you feel a particular model is rare enough that your early attempts dont do it justice. I know i was happy with the finish on this guy at the time and i think thats a good enough reason to keep him the way he is. On a side note.... i can always tell if i was happy with a miniature, i based him and put in some effort.

The full Citadel Release flyer with our guy on the top right. 60p?? what!

I put this miniature up on my old blog but at the time the pictures were very dark and in hindsight i should have waited but my camera EQ wasn't up to the job and this time around my lighting is better. In a way thats improved the look on the paint job 10 fold without dunking him in Nitro Mors.

How Much Lead Does One Man Need.

Collecting For Collectings Sake.

Having spent 2 years away from the hobby other than occasionally opening a box to see what was in it has changed my perspective dramatically. Aside from the obvious need for more space that having a kid brings i have come to the conclusion that most of the models, books and games i owned are junk.... well to me at least.

I had a large collection, small in comparison with a lot of collectors i know but to me it was a good effort. Most of the collection however was gathered on impulse.

"I should own that!" essentially drove my collection in an attempt to purchase my youth through miniatures i had or my friends had when i was 14 years old. Now there is nothing wrong with this at all and if i had the space and the money i would never really have stopped but the fate of the collection was always to sit on a box for years untouched and unused. I spent 2 years not taking much interest in the hobby and in that relativity short time i totally forgot what the vast bulk of my collection was made of. Like a plastic and lead fantasy version of Schroedinger cat i couldn't actually tell you what was in and what wasn't in the boxes piled high in my utility room and this undermined the importance i had placed on the models in the first place. What was the point of collecting something that i cared so little for that i had forgotten i owned?

Sold - I was gutted to sell this but i was never going to use it.

So i sold a lot.... and i mean ALOT!. Some of the things i sold i was really gutted to see go but although they were awesome items, i knew they would never be truly used by me. Other items i was stunned i had actually paid money for. At one point i bought a copy of the 3rd edition Talisman box game that was only 25% complete. I have never played or will play Talisman, i have no real love for the minis or the box art.... but i paid someone money for it and it then took up space in my closet rather than the previous owners. I have since sold it on and hopefully its new owner finds a better use for it than i did.

Sold - They may be old but they are awful
Anyway the main point i am making is that all those miniatures and box games were actually holding me back. The dumb need and pressure to build an army of this or collect all of that meant i had a projects list that was unlimited in terms of what a single person could get through whilst still maintaining love for the hobby and not come to resent it all. The weight of all those unstarted projects was causing me to digress from starting any of them.

I still have a decent diluted collection that contains the miniatures that are truly from my youth or that i just love to look at and since i cut the numbers its now all achievable, one at a time. I should also say that my collection is not finished, i got rid of lots of stuff that i had no want for but there are miniatures not in my collection that will still be bought but they will be bought to be painted and to be displayed and all within a realistic time scale.

Totally 'Armless.
All of this is what works for me. I understand most collectors are much more focused than i am and find pleasure in a wider variety of items than i do but if you find yourself staring at your collection and wondering what to do with it, where to put it or even just discover you are losing your drive but dont know why, maybe you need to have a clear out too.

HeroQuest Barbarian Rescue.

Converted Hero Quest Barbarian
I have not painted anything for over 2 years. Having a baby put an end to glue, paint and sharp things for a while.
Times are changing however and i am getting the time and motivation to start it all up again. My old blogs are long gone, my paint is congealed and for some reason my bits boxes were consolidated into one terrifying mass of random parts.

I wanted to start up again with something straight forward but also a miniature that wasn't part done. I have a few projects sitting that i was working on when i put the brakes on and packed things away but i wont be deluding myself into thinking my brush skill and technique will just continue from where i left off so ive chosen a few "starter" projects to get me back into the swing of things.

My first choice is actually a broken and beat up Hero Quest barbarian. I got him in an Ebay job lot purchase. The previous owner had broken the sword off, hacked away the base and swabbed some paint over him.

Hero Quest minis seem like an easy choice to paint but the miniatures are actually quite a tough ask. They are simple sculpts but that makes life difficult due to soft edges and non committed details such as the hair, faces and transition areas like the arms to chest or where the hair on this model touches the hands and weapon. They require a little creativity to dig out the detail and essentially create detail that isn't actually there if the finished project is to look the part.

OOO a Side View.

The sword i replaced with a flaming upgrade from the Empire Wizards set and the base is a resin cast from Micro Art Studio. Their Temple Battle Base set to be precise.

The paint time was about 5 hours spread over 2 evenings and has been a good start to my re entry to "The Hobby"

Hope you like him.