Sunday, May 10, 2020

Torpor - The GameWarden

Once a noble huntsman who kept the King's Grove with integrity and respect for the animals he put on the Noble's tables, the shift into the dark realm proved too dire for the Royal GameWarden.

The King's own madness infects this once loyal subject, as he relentlessly hunts any who dare enter the twisted forest the King's Grove has now become.

The GameWarden was a fun one to make. I've had plans for years to make a similar model for the Inq28/Necromunda setting, but the fantasy-version concept of the character worked so well for the Torpor campaign, I stripped away the technological bits from the original idea and stuck him together.

I'm trying to use as many old pieces I have lying around as I can these days, and the GameWarden is a pretty varied hodgepodge of bits. The horse is from the old mounted Plague Lord, with a cut-down and greenstuffed Chaos Warrior torso. Gun arm is from the Mechanicus Skitarii, and the pointing arm is from an old Empire cannoneer. The head is a plastic Catachan guardsman with the beard, and coif and hat sculpted from greenstuff.

There are two things I noticed as I finished this figure. One was the hugely visible seam on the horse's rump where the two halves of the horse came together, and I forgot to fill it in. The second, is that I just don't give a damn.

The pursuit of perfection stymied a lot of my work over the years, keeping me from getting models finished, and was one of the many things that drove me to break from the hobby a few years ago. Playing D&D this past year, and recently returning to modelling and hobby-blogging, I feel like I have a new perspective on the enjoyment I actually want out of all of this, and things like that seam...meh. Who cares.

Having said that, I do wish I had a decent camera to show off some of the finer details on the base. Ah well.

Thinking of what's next for this week, I'm trying to decide whether to do some batch painting on some models sitting around the desk, or to work on a hunting party for the GameWarden...

Monday, April 27, 2020

WIP - GameWarden

Rummaging through bits and pieces to build a dangerous "boss-level" villain for the King's Grove in the ruins of Torpor.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Torpor - The Lion, the Witch, and the...Bucket

The neighborhood of GreyWater is home to one of the few survivor encampments left in Torpor, after the shift away from the material realm.

Largely comprised of laborers, tradesmen, and a small contingent of city guardsmen, the population of GreyWater found itself in the enviable position of being able to sustain itself over the years against the horrors of the city. The ability to fortify the homes worth saving, and razing those too far gone to provide room for community farming, allowed GreyWater to transform itself from lower-class neighborhood to a working village within the ruins of Torpor.

For those things that prowled the remains of Torpor outside of the village defenses, the people turned to Auntie Gritta the Hedge Witch.

Hedge Witch

 Once an outcast living on the outer edge of GreyWater, Auntie Gritta was rumored to possess unusual talents which, depending on your need, could be considered either those of a healer, or those of a witch.

Gritta's visitors usually consisted of those seeking fortunes, those seeking a doula when a child was wanted, or a "remedy" when a child was not. It is even said that years before the Siege of Torpor, and decades before the King went mad, the King's own court wizard consulted with Auntie Gritta on a few rare occasions, but his purpose and their topic of conversations remains unknown except only to the two of them.

The GreyWater neighborhood (now encampment) sits on the southern edge of the King's Grove - a large swath of forest allowed to flourish through the eastern edge of Torpor, where kings past and present once hunted at their leisure, and the King's own GameWarden and his men provided fresh game for the Royal tables.

After the shift into the dark realms, the King's Grove was just one of the many places where fresh horrors and mutated creatures prowl. With its border along the northern edge of the GreyWater encampment, the villagers turned to Gritta to provide more arcane protections against the dark where the guard's martial prowess fell short, and she has become a sort of Village Elder to lead their group.

Sylvan Lion

Few villagers of GreyWater have seen the Sylvan Lion with their own eyes, but those who have witnessed this terror insist it was largely indifferent to their presence as it hunted for greater dangers in the dark undergrowth of the King's Grove. It is rumored that in her duties to protect GreyWater, Auntie Gritta used her arcane powers to create this monstrosity as a guardian to watch over the village, but the Hedge Witch has refused to confirm if that bit of witchcraft was indeed her doing.

The Sylvan Lion is a seeming hodgepodge of plant and animal, as jumbled and broken as Torpor itself. Its body is largely made up of some beast of unknown origin, fur gone green with moss and lichen, a snapping human skull set deep into a mane of thorny brush.

The Sylvan Lion largely hunts the forest bordering the northern edge of GreyWater, and from all accounts can travel unnaturally within the undergrowth, appearing and disappearing at will from one thicket to another.


To the citizens of GreyWater, the amiable presence of Bucket, Gritta's helper familiar, is often the highlight of their day.

Literally a sentient living bucket, Bucket acts (as much as it can) as Gritta's helper and servant familiar. Bucket can usually be found roaming the encampment, accepting tributes and offerings from the citizens both as thanks and care for the elderly Gritta, and providing components for her witchcraft. The children especially delight in dropping items into the shallow water of Bucket's basin, watching items normally too large to disappear beneath the water, get swallowed up by the brackish murk that sloshes around in Bucket's bucket.

To this end, Bucket acts essentially as a form of sentient Bag of Holding, storing any item within Bucket's water that can fit inside the circumference of the bucket's rim. Unlike a Bag of Holding, Bucket can move and act on its own, and can take orders both to carry out actions, and spit out from the water any item it may be holding, on command.

Bucket's water will generally not spill, but if Bucket is knocked prone as from an attack or surprise, or is hung upside down, the water will spill from the bucket and the held items will not be accessible until Bucket refills itself (takes 1 round after Bucket has returned to upright).

Bucket's water is absolutely undrinkable and any creature attempting to drink the water with immediately stop drinking after the first sip, and will suffer the Poisoned condition for 1 hour on failing a DC 17 Constitution save. The water will not quench any thirst, or provide any other benefit associated with drinking water.

In these strange days of life and hobby, I have been striving to use as much of the hobby and miniatures materials that I have on hand, and though I certainly don't have nearly as much as some hobbyists, I do have a strange mix of bits from the past 30 years. These models largely came from random pairings of old bits rediscovered, and random inspirations from being at home for the past six weeks with too much time to think and too much internet to dive into.

Gritta the Hedge Witch was built on the body of a Vampire Counts Necromancer sans cape, a re-sculpted zombie head, and arms from the zombie bits of a box of Frostgrave Cultists. She was a lot of fun to make, and the hunched and hobbling body of the Necromancer lent itself perfectly to the movement of the old crone.

The Sylvan Lion is the back-half of a 1st edition Warhammer Flesh Hound, static grass, and a GW skull. I wanted something plant related to go along with the Hedge Witch, and took some inspiration from the plant-fusion modelling from the Iron Sleet Thorn Moons Crusade.

Bucket was just pure fun, making a silly magic item. Bucket is the bucket from the Empire Artillery box, and legs from a random gnoblar (I believe).

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Torpor - Ettin

There are only a very select few individuals that know the truth behind the Siege of Torpor, and what part the Saint had in ripping the capital city from of the King of Sorrows grasp, and out of our reality. There are fewer still outside of the pocket of unending darkness that Torpor now resides in that know of the horrors the survivors must endure in their constant fight for survival.

As the outside world stitched itself back together - disparate landmasses jigsawing themselves together to cover the wound on reality the disappearance of Torpor left behind - the city of Torpor was similarly warped out of true as it was thrust through the dimensional barriers. While the once proud city now lies in perpetual ruin, it is Torpor's inhabitants that have undergone the greatest changes.

Rarely seen outside of the most isolated corners of the ruined city, the Torpor Ettin, also known as a "Twinner" or "Joiner" by the survivors, is one of the most disturbing products of Torpor's dimensional shift. Not a true Ettin like those found in the high mountains of the North Kingdom, the Twinner's comparison is obvious - multiple beings fused together into a two-headed monstrosity, giant in stature, its minds permanently damaged by the shock of its new body, the Twinner can only scream its rage into the darkness and sate its madness with violence and destruction.

Over the past few years, I have collected a vast array of miniatures for use in my Dungeons & Dragons games, but when I first laid eyes on this miniature from CMON's, HATE game...oh, yeah...I knew it would find a place in the world of Torpor.

In turning the concept of Torpor into a D&D campaign, I have sought out some of the weirdest, body-horror disasters the miniatures world could offer, and this figure is one of my favorites. Originally called Grock, within the HATE game, it is obviously an Ettin analogue with its size and disturbing take on the two-headed nature of the classic RPG monster.

This mini was strange enough as is, so no modifications or conversions. The paint, I feel, came out alright. It still has my usual disaster of painting faces, but I'm surprisingly pleased with the skin tones which are mostly various inks and glazes.

The red hands have become a sort of subconscious signature to a lot of the monsters of Torpor, where I have inadvertently painted those creatures touched by madness and murder with red-stained extremities.

Friday, March 27, 2020

HorseFace Annie

Originally, Annie was to be the first character for a cadre of Techno-Barbarians for Inq28, but since I've largely been playing Dungeons & Dragons exclusively for the past year and haven't worked much within the Inq community of late, I decided she was better served as grim-visaged fantasy Barbarian to use as PC or NPC, whichever the situation called for.

HorseFace Annie is built on a massively repurposed Nurgle Champion/Plague Lord model, chopped, cut, and greenstuffed into a not-overtly sexual (but dangerously attractive) female Barbarian. I didn't want a Frazetta-esque fur bikini bombshell, but rather a full-figured ass-beater of a woman that was massive in scale, and had some visual interest not often seen in female figures.

I'm especially fond of the hair from the plastic Dark Elf Sorceress (or whatever Games Workshop has named her now), stuck onto a Tomb Kings horse skull.

The armored arm is obviously a power fist from the WH40K range, dented, scratched, and de-mechanized.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Imperial Space Marine 2016 - Rogue Trader

I remember when I first saw the Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader rulebook.

The year was 1988, and a few friends and I had already been playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition, when one of the group pulled out his brother's copy of the Rogue Trader rulebook.

At that point, I didn't have a strong grasp of what the sci-fi genre offered beyond spacemen and aliens, and of course, Star Wars. At the time, I was firmly in the grips of the sword-and-board combat of Warhammer Fantasy, and I remember being offended when my friend said that his single terminator could take out all of our fantasy armies in battle at once. I mean really, who the hell did he think he was?

It only took a quick look through the book, and a sample battle at his house for me to put aside my undead army, and start collecting Space Marines.

The Rogue Trader rulebook was a revelation. It was dirty and mean; a science fiction where there were no heroes, only hard-scrabble adventurers whose existence depended on killing the other guy first. It was the wild-west in space, where anything was possible, including a mystical leader whose body was kept alive by machines and the sacrifice of thousands on a daily basis. It was nothing I had ever seen before. And the artwork? Blew my mind.

While the Space Marines became my bread and butter army-wise, it was the concept of the Rogue Trader that really captured my imagination. A no-holds barred space adventurer, the Rogue Trader was a true pioneer that lived and died by his own rules and cunning ways, eking out a living on the very edges of spacebound civilization. If there had been a good way to represent them on the tabletop, I would have run an RT force all the way, but sadly, to an 11 year old me, if it wasn't on the shelves at the game shop, the idea of creating that force myself just wasn't in my head as a possibility.

Over the years, with the release of Slaves to Darkness, I got a relative taste of what it was like to play with an independent force, although in the form of a chaos warband, and in Lost and the Damned, I got the closest to it with the Sensei warband, which I really wish had caught on stronger with players - so much untapped potential there.

How do you not love those kneepads?

I never had the original Imperial Marine figure, but when I saw the 30th Anniversary Imperial Marine, the retro Rogue Trader throwback styling of the figure rekindled a lot of those early feelings I had with the 40K RT rulebook, and I knew that I was going to buy it. I knew two other things: I was going to finally get the Rogue Trader figure of my dreams, and I was going to chop the hell out this thing.

The Brothers Wier over at Between the Bolter and Me, have done a wonderful job reviewing the figure, as well as making an unboxing video, so if you really want the lowdown in the figure itself, I encourage you to go check out their material on it.

As for my figure, I  began scouring my bits box and the entire range of GW products for inspiration on how to build my own adventurer, spurred on by my favorite piece of artwork related to the Rogue Trader archetype:


With a few bits in hand, a story began to take shape. I wanted a ramshackle, scrappy adventurer, that looked like he had been through the wringer on his travels, but had come out the other side with fists full of treasure. I wanted a legend - an individual, but a true representation of the archetype. A science fiction rogue with a dubious past, and ability without compare. Flash Gordon meets Elric of Melnibone.

A few more scrounged pieces, and some special order bits and I had my Rogue Trader. And...he got kind of weird.

Lost to the shifting timespace of the Warp for countless lifetimes, he reemerged into realspace carrying with him the trinkets, treasures, and trophies from centuries of adventures.

Okay, not exactly the typical Rogue Trader, but he's mine, and I love how insane he got at the end.

My favorite thing about him is the power armor itself. Not only are there some amazing details in the sculpt, but it's also man-sized. When I think of Space Marines now, I think artscale, so this model worked perfectly for the common man's powered armor, and has that look of some arcane pattern of armor made for personal use.

A few more details and some backstory, and I can call him done. Except for paint...I need to get back to painting...