Thursday, 23 August 2018

I apologise unreservedly

...for getting bored, changing my mind and pressing 'pause' on my Oldhammer Mordheim project. Sometimes these things have to be done. In this case it's because I have a good reason.

I have a better idea.

Occasionally you hear a throw-away comment and it sparks something profound. And, like Don John's canker in a hedge, it festers. This happened to me a few weeks ago and its not just taken root, its entirely displaced my initial plans. So here it is...

Ostermark. Twenty years after the comet struck Mordheim. The city is a no-go zone. The State officials know it's bad. Damn, even the Emperor knows its a catastrophe. Warpstone contaminating the area for miles around, fuelling mutation and inciting corruption. Dust-borne residue is killing peasants and livestock. On the fringes of the infected area Imperial scholars gather. The best minds, you would think? Alas no - they are mad, bad and dangerous to know. They scheme and plot. How can they study the carrion-city? These days, none who enter return sane. Their records show this was not always the case. In the short years following the impact, mercenaries could seemingly get in and out, smuggling warpstone as if it were gold. So they scheme and plot ad nausium. This takes time. Time. If they could send men back in time. So they enlist Chronomancers. And convicts (expendable, you see). And thus were born the Creepers. Forgotten and despised, they risk their bodies and souls to travel back and gather samples from the city just after the impact. Samples that will help the Emperor, they are told. Samples that are vital, they are told. Samples. Bring us samples. We need warpstone...

I want my warband to be a dystopian hybrid of the Strugatsky brothers and Marker - a fusion of Roadside Picnic/Stalker and La Jetée/Twelve Monkeys. Desperate men dragged through time into a mind-bending 'zone'. The temporal distortion of looking back 20 years to the edition of Mordheim released in 1999 will be articulated through these miniatures. I want them to appear strange, fusing the Franco-Russian influences of the two key works with the likes of Patrick Tatopoulos' Silent Hill costumes, Ian Miller and Jean-Pierre Jeunet's first film The Bunker of the Last Gunshots. More post-apocalyptic and out-of-time rather than slavish to the look of the world of 20 years ago.

Here is some of the visual material I've been mining:

I hope you'll forgive me this abrupt change of direction, but it seems like too good an idea to pass up. And good ideas need to be respected, else they will fester. As the Stalker says in Tarkovsky's film:

The Zone wants to be respected. Otherwise it will punish.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Adeptus Titanicus buildings

What could be cooler than giant robots smashing each other's faces in? What's that you say? Them doing this in the midst of a city? And perhaps the loser would even crash into a building, demolishing it as it stumbled to its knees?

To facilitate your desire for unnecessarily cinematic destruction, GW has some excellent plastic buildings to accompany their new Adeptus Titanicus game. These little devils are fully modular and infinitely configurable. I went to town on mine and, as you may be able to spot, even converted a couple with some 40k parts. I also injected a bit of variety into their colourways by using different sprays. These were applied from a zenithal angle to get a bit of shading in, which was further enhanced by careful application of Citadel Shades and Washes. I added flock to give the impression that the city is abandoned and overgrown. Clearly the news of the forthcoming titan-brawl scared the residents off some years ago.

Don't forget; home is where the heart is. Even if your heart is buried in a ruin under the giant metal carcass of a Warlord titan.

Friday, 10 August 2018

The road to Oldhammer Mordheim

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of Mordheim, released two decades ago amid the pre-millennial angst that gripped the public in the final throws of the last century. Real world fears of the Millennium Bug and general apocalypse were aped (and mocked) by GW in what was their most dystopian vision of the Old World. Until the End Times. When things got really bad.

The awesome Echoes of Imperium invited me to join a Mordheim game planned for next year. The effort is a celebration of the visual tour-de-force that is Mordheim. The core book is undoubtedly one of the strongest, purist and most consistent of GW's products in terms of illustration and design. It is a living testament to the effect that John Blanche had (and still has) on the company. And is darkly-hilarious to boot. As a homage to this mighty tome we have opted to confine ourselves to the material contained in the core book. Mordheim as a system went to some weird and wonderful places in its later life, but we want to channel the burned-out medieval dystopia that was at the blackened heart of the setting.

In the chats that followed the initiation of this project some of us mused about our love for older miniatures. I reaslised then that this would be a great chance to resurrect some old lead. Always a fan of getting stuck in early I wanted to lock down which way I was going to jump. In the end I opted for the undead. I wanted to make use of as many miniatures as I could from my (depressingly large) lead pile. Hence some of these proxy for other units in the rules. Mortarion, for example, will get the rules for an Ogre hired sword. The only new acquisitions were an old Fiend Factory Medusa (who will act as a Dreg) kindly donated by Operation Asgard. Oh, and the vampire himself, who I found on ebay. I didn't really have a good, old vampire in my collection and felt I really needed one to do the warband justice.

The 'football hooligan' Ghosts forced me to break my basing strategy. They are prone to capsizing, so as individuals needed much larger bases. The 40mm rounds also feature the 'lug hole' system which gives a much stronger joint between base and drunken Ghost.

I am really looking forward to coming up with some background for this ungodly cabal and seeing the personalities emerge. I have a clear idea of their paint scheme, but that's for another post. There is also the possibility of bespoke cards too.

But I don't want to get ahead of myself. I'll leave you with some pages from the book that started it all.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Adeptus Titanicus Knights

Imperial Knights are pretty special to me. In my time in the Studio system at GW I have been lucky to work on the line drawings, iconography and decals for the Knights from when the range was being rebooted. It's like they are a part of me, and a tiny bit of me is in their genetic code.

You can imagine my excitement when I given some early versions of the Knights from the forthcoming Adeptus Titanicus game. I decided to make them House Hawkshroud so they tie them to my existing collection of Heresy-era Imperial Fists. So I set-to these guys with gusto. In retrospect, perhaps a little too much gusto. You see, what I failed to do was read my old painting recipe, so they are a markedly different shade of yellow to my older miniatures. Which I am a bit annoyed by. OK, a lot annoyed by. But lesson learned. And they still look cool.

In fact, they look really cool. These little blighters are incredibly faithful facsimiles of their larger cousins. The designers in Specialist Games have done a wonderful job of balancing the details with the challenges of scaling. So if you like Knights, you're going to love them.

At the time the Adeptus Titanicus decal sheet hadn't been made, so I cobbled together various tiny and suitably heraldic decals, particularly from places like the Black Templars Forge World sheet. Plus I used some of the smaller Hawkshroud icons to denote their allegiance. The addition of such decals really helps to scale the knights which is evident in the plan photo below.

For more details about the awesomeness that is Adeptus Titanicus, check out this month's White Dwarf magazine and the GW Community website.