The Faceless Underhive

Down with the crypto-fascist Emperor and his Administratrum.  Let the light of the Clouded Lord shine in, and embrace Change!TZChaosGroup1024



I’ll admit that it has been a long time since I read Michael Moorcock’s collection of novels. Prior to that, a friend of mine gave him a backhanded compliment to his writing by saying he was ‘a good ideas man’.

It is probably thanks to this golden age of television that we are being treated to currently that our standards for storytelling and characterisation in visual media have been raised.

Moorcock’s novels are written from the perspective of the Eternal Champion, Elric in this case.  I can’t fault him too much, since there are many themes that were being explored in the sixties and seventies in his work – finding time for meaningful players outside of the central figure wasn’t really a factor.

As such, we aren’t given much material for the Melnibonean who is really the great nemesis in Elric’s life.  He is the archetypal cardboard cutout villain, almost evil for the sake of being evil, stooping at nothing to achieve his nefarious goals.

Yyrkoon’s treatment doesn’t really stack up to me.  He’s supposed to be an accomplished sorcerer, a powerful mind.  Yet despite being resourceful enough to find the Mournblade, twin weapon to Elric’s Stormbringer it seems as if his sanity has been consumed when the two cousins meet, probably by the Mournblade.  Yyrkoon should represent the establishment, Old Melnibone, but he cuts a pitiable, desperate figure, we deserved better.

I won’t say much on the roles of women in these novels, but Cymoril being at best a pawn and a plot device at worst is probably about par for the course for the times.

Anyway, on to the mini. Our villain is from the EC05 range from 1987(?) Which I think came in blister packs.  I’ve always really liked the figure, the whole range captures the spirit of the books for me.  Jes Goodwin stamped out many figures similar to Yyrkoon, look no further than the Wood Elf range for Warhammer for some examples.  Nevertheless, he’s got a unique enough flavour.

I have no desire to paint in the style of the era but I did put a little ‘blanchitsu’ on the tops of his boots, although the camera is doing its best to hide it.


Skin: Rakarth Flesh/Fleshshade/Pallid Wych Flesh skin

Armour: Abaddon Black/VGC Jade Green/VGC Jade Green + White

Fur tunic: Space Wolf Grey (yes!)/Drakenhof Nightshade/White



Strangely enough I found the original eBay image on my work laptop. I must have purchased him fairly early on in 2012, just as the Oldhammer thing was taking off, before demand sent prices for old lead skyrocketing.  The original paint job was faithful to the character, I wonder if they were a book reader.


A team photo, in three parts

I’ve unearthed my Foldio a portable light box, something that I kickstarted some years back before it was subsumed a tide of baby paraphernalia.  Amazingly the magnets that hold it in shape hadn’t lost power so it didn’t immediately collapse as I removed it from its dusty sleeve.

Smartphones have become better, but my photography hasn’t, although this grey backing sheet does tend to give a good result.  Since I’ve been augmenting my Chaos Pact team lately I had barely any excuses to try for a team photo, albeit in thirds.


Odd little jobs

With the advent of BB2016 my beloved Chaos Pact have been blessed with a new addition to the roster.  He’s a racist (Animosity in Blood Bowl parlance) Orc Lineman.  The jury is out on how much utility he adds to the roster but he certainly has a role in my squad.punchingbag

He’s cheap and AV9, go straight to the line of scrimmage!  He saves me from having to put an AV8 marauder or the Minotaur in harms way from the get-go.

One of my favourite aspects of the Pact roster is seeing how the different renegades fill roles that are markedly different from their respective native sides.  Skaven lineman are notorious for being little more than fodder, yet my plucky chap is a handy defensive sweeper with an eye for the end zone.  Everyone knows Dark Elf linemen are good, on the Pact roster they’re stars, and Goblins – well they’re Goblins.

So we’ll see with the Orc.  He’s not likely to see too much of the ball, but if he can find his feet (literally?) that AV9 might give him the time to develop into a nice player.


It costs a lot to look this cheap

So, my first real content since my hiatus, and it’s not old lead.  GW’s new found ‘decency’ has taken the edge off my nostalgia and really opened my eyes to the quality of their plastic products.  This Sector Mechanicus terrain is a joy to handle.  It fits together snugly, is superbly detailed and hold’s paint like a boss.  It’s worth the mortgage on your wallet!

Anyway, here’s my journey into and beyond the Ferratonic Furnace…

Still on the sprue after a nice dose of Chaos Black spray.  GW spray is also good (I’m turning into a shill, HELP!!!)


I’ve assembled the furnace and dry brushed the parts I want to have a metallic finish.  Leadbelcher and some Necron Compound edges for the silver, Balthasar Gold (it’s bronze!) and Sycorax Bronze for that big grimdark skull.


After masking the metallic section, I’ve sprayed the furnace, door and top-piece (is it a ‘roof’?) with VGC Charred Brown (Rhinox Hide), VMC Amaranth Red and VMA Brown in varying concentrations.  The dereliction is starting to take shape thanks to this rusty cocktail.

I then gave the furnace and door a nice coat of hairspray, which is why it looks a little glossy in the picture


My inspiration for the sickly green blue panel colour is from the industries on the Harkonnen homeworld of Giedi Prime in David Lynch’s Dune.  Unfortunately I neglected to capture an unweathered photo of it, maybe due to the beer I was drinking at the time.

This wonderful concoction is a unrepeatable mix of VMC German Uniform, VMC Light Sea Grey and VGC Glacier Blue.  I love it – but I don’t even know what to call it.

I tried to spray one even coat because the paint will tear during the weathering process if it ends up too thick.  It looks rubbish, trust me.

Anyway, I’ve been using the green kitchen scourer – a fresh one in this case to gently rub off this top coat, maybe about 15 minutes after the spray was completed.  It lets the paint cure just a little as to not come off too easily but not dry enough to make it too much work.  Dab on some water and start scratching!


After removing the masking tape, I painted on some rusty streaks with a watery mix of Agrax Earthshade and Amaranth Red.  I don’t like to over do this, mostly because I’m lazy, but also partly because I have PTSD from an earlier attempt to paint this type terrain with a brush.  Some masochists do though!

I’m also a recent convert to dry pigments, and the furnace has a mix of Vallejo Pigments Rust and Burnt Umber, applied liberally around anything rusty, and onto the metallic areas.


All up it took about three hours, half of which was spent cleaning the airbrush.  Even then, it’s still about a million times more fun than using a regular brush.  Really.

I haven’t completed the furnace roof yet, so I put the base of an alchomite stack on top for the pic.

He’s not dead, he’s frozen.

I’ve always been a hobbyist with a purpose.  No purpose, no hobby. Minis are a means to an end, I don’t do vanity projects or dust-able objects.  After a fairly solid six years of regular Blood Bowl, I burned out over the course of one league season. I was struggling to find teams that I enjoyed playing, Specialist Games was still dead and I couldn’t see anything fresh on the horizon to keep me interested.  I longed for a game that could offer new content and a shifting meta, something alive! And so, the minis collected dust and some of the paints dried up.

So what did I do with the few daily scraps of spare time instead? I re-discovered video games, and rapier-ed, rolled and saw-cleft my way through Dark Souls, Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne (BEST GAME EVA).  I bought a fitness band and started running.  I played more board games, and I immersed myself in the near-future dystopia of Android Netrunner.  I ran two Store Championships for Netrunner at Spieledeluxe.

In this time, Games Workshop had a changing of the guard – the misanthropic dinosaur Tom Kirby fell on his power sword, and a new era began. Specialist Games was reborn, the company began to treat its customers more like valued clients rather than battered wives or money sacs and started engaging them using 21st century media. What a turn around!

The ice in my hardened heart is still melting – there are a few barbs of angst regarding the re-releases of Blood Bowl, Necromunda (drip feeding rules via thin paperbacks) but by and large everything seems largely positive from this quarter.  It’s a strange feeling to speak of Games Workshop without descending into incandescent rage and frustration. Tomorrow I might wake up to a community post informing me that Citadel is migrating their paint range to dropper bottles.  What a world that would be, and I could believe it!

Trump in the white house? Right-wing nut jobs in the ascendance the world over? Brinkmanship on the Korean peninsula?  Might as well fork out for some Sector Mechanicus and a box of Shadespire, what have we got to lose?