Assembly April: Monthly Hobby Challenge

Diorama created by Michal Tafil. More of his work can be found at

Something a bit different this next month for anyone who cares about these things. Not actually a painting challenge this time – the “theme” of April’s hobby challenge is to build or assemble something. For quite a few of you, this is like second nature, for others (aka me) it’s something I rarely get around to doing much of, since I seem to always be trying to finish off the painting of older models, painting one-piece casts, or working on models that have very little assembly/creativity to them, like building a few Space Marines.

Photo from I would have linked to their article, but my browser says "site not secure", so...

Here are some examples:

  • Build a large kit that’s been sitting around, taking up space for ages. That Dreamforge Leviathan, that Baneblade, that Big Bertha, that Promethium Refinery. (Yep, scenery/terrain is fine!)
  • Kitbash or convert a larger model for an army centrepiece or your mantelpiece.
  • Copy I mean be inspired by another hobbyist’s work and create your own version of something you’ve seen online.
  • Kitbash a cool trooper, or hero, or commander.
  • Finally crack open that Start Collecting!/game-with-models/boxed set/ancient blister pack/zip-lock baggie from eBay that has been sitting around forever and assemble (at least some of) the stuff inside.
  • Create a diorama. (Obviously doesn’t need to have all the painting completed or be fully assembled!)

Too many boxed kits. Possibly.

For those of you for which assembling or kitbashing stuff is second nature and also have some time off for Easter that’s not already pre-filled with commitments, you might want to consider a stretch from what you usually do. Or not. Just a thought. 😉

As always, the open and flexible nature of this thing is designed to fit in with a lot of people might be doing or thinking about anyway – and just give that extra boost of motivation.


I hope to build at least one “inspired by” figure as a hero for one of my armies and also assemble something of decent/centrepiece size that’s either made of resin or plastic that’s been sitting around here for long enough to become annoying. Ideally one each of both resin and plastic, but you know how it goes. But yeah, I’ll personally be happy if I get 2-3 builds done. It’s not supposed to be a chore, after all!

Upcoming Challenges: 

May will be completing Neglected Models again.

June will be finishing Squads/Units again.

July will be paint a centrepiece/cool big thing. Maybe the thing that you assemble in April? 😉

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen & Marcus (Squad: March ’18)

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen, Marcus

Yesterday, in my Ape-X post, I mentioned that I had been painting some Gorillas for DUST. These were actually started quite some time ago. Following on from the successful speedpainting of 30 Axis Zombies from DUST in January 2014, I rolled straight into the boxes of Axis Gorillas that I had sitting around. After all – the zombies were easy to do, so how could gorillas (almost entirely furred) be anything different? Fur’s easy to paint, after all!

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen

Alas, It didn’t work out. I got a mental block on two of the aspects of these models – gorilla skin and the “silverbacks”. So they sat there, then got pushed to the side, and eventually ended up in a tub of half-painted models, forgotten forever.

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen

Until this month’s challenge, obviously. They’ve not been a priority to get out and paint at any stage in the interim, since DUST isn’t a game that has gotten much gameplay here, despite it looking like fun. While I’ve been aware that they’re sitting there, even to the point of naming them in the “things I should try to get done this year” post from January, I’d even forgotten about that. So yeah, while rooting around in the tubs, I saw them, and basically had one of those “fuck it, I’m getting these done so I can get them out of here” moments.

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen, Marcus

At some point, I’d also cracked open the Operation “SeeLöwe” box and added the Kampfaffen hero, Marcus to the horde, as well as Reaper’s Ape-X, which I’d gotten in one of their Bones Kickstarters. Because why not? Marcus isn’t technically part of the squad, but I think he fits in just fine with the overall post as he’s supposed to be used with the grunts. Ape-X just makes for a thematic extra, though he obviously doesn’t have any rules in DUST (there’s probably some homebrew ones out there, though!)

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen, Marcus

Anyhow, I did my usual thing of checking some photo references for animal skin and hides and then just made myself do what was needed to finish them off. It wasn’t a lot of fun, but it wasn’t that hard. Now they’re done, and if I ever need a cohort of cyber-gorillas for anything, they’re right there and waiting. Marcus had a little bit of extra detailing, so I tried to make him a little more visually interesting by picking them out with some colour in what is otherwise a very drab set of figures.

DUST Tactics: Axis Gorilla Kampfaffen, Marcus, Reaper Bones 80001 Ape-X

To finish up, I thought I’d throw in a shot of all the DUST Kampfaffen  Gorillas with their buddy, Ape-X thrown in for good measure. 🙂

Reaper Bones 80001: Ape-X (Monster March ’18)

Reaper Bones 80001: Ape-X

Here’s a figure that at first seems to be an odd entry. It’s a model that came with one of the Bones Kickstarters that I’ve backed, and is now available at retail as Ape-X over on Reaper’s webstore. As with many of the models released in Bones, Ape-X is a reworking of one of their previous models, in this case, Ape-X: Supervillan from their Chronoscope line. Original, metal Ape-X also has a drill attachment for his right arm as well as the gatling gun. I think I may actually have the metal version around somewhere in a tub filled with Reaper models.

Reaper Bones 80001: Ape-X

In any case, this model has been part-painted for a couple of years now – and when I started trying to get some other, similar figures completed for Squad: March, I decided to work on him at the same time in the hopes of also getting him painted to completion. He’s far from my most awesome paintwork, but Bones isn’t the world’s best material to work with (look at the “straight” lines on the power pack on his back!) and so it’s certainly good enough for tabletop – and I’m happy to leave it at that!

Reaper Bones 80001: Ape-X, Necromunda Escher.

He’s not gigantic, but at least Troll or Ogre-sized. That counts, right?

Since he’s a big guy, I thought I’d throw him in here as a small, extra entry for Monster March as well. I’m still fully intending to try and get the proper big guys done (though this weekend was wiped out since I’ve had a throat infection that just killed my painting off) – but think of this guy as something like a Stretch Goal. Just upfront rather than later.

Neglected Model February ’18: Personal Wrap-Up

My Neglected Models February round-up.

I was originally going to combine this post in with the round-up for all of the participants, but then I wanted to give another day just in case I’ve missed someone – and also, frankly because I’ve finished quite a few models that were neglected, and so I’m doing my own wrap-up since it was a main focus of my own painting this month, with quite a few models completed who would otherwise have continued sitting around for many months to come.

Mentor Legion Space Marine models variously started between 1998-2000. Finished this February.

I was pretty happy with what I got done overall, especially since I spent the first half or more of the month painting Plaguebearers and then spent a lot of time working up some of my female models for Fembruary. Luckily all of the Female models also fit neatly into the Neglected Models Challenge as well. There was another Mentor Legion Marine who didn’t get finished, though I expect he’ll be completed within the next few days now.

A pair of Grendel-Escher. I have another four I had hoped to update and complete, but I ran out of time.

There were five other female models I wanted to finish for both the Neglected Model Challenge and Fembruary – four were additional Escher, and the other was that Dark Elf Sorceress. The other Escher got re-shelved, while the Sorceress got a fair bit done. Perhaps I’ll get her finished in March.

Conan Kickstarter Sabretooth Tiger, Dwarf Queen Helgar Longplaits, Female Khorne Bloodreaver, Chaos Dwarf Boar Centaur Whirlwind

The Fantasy contingent of February’s Neglected Models Challenge.

While it was great to see so many other people participate (collective round-up tomorrow!) On a personal level, it was a really worthwhile month for me. It motivated me to finally finish off that Chaos Dwarf Warmachine that has been in pieces for a few years now, that Tiger was stuck for over a year. Helgar had sat on my bench for a couple of years at least, the Bloodreaver had been put away into a container, the Escher had been re-shelved after my initial spurt of enthusiasm when Necro’17 was about to release and of course the Mentor Legion were an unfinished project from basically 2 decades ago.

Khorne Bloodreaver + my #Fembruary 2018 Round-Up

This model is a kitbash using parts from the Shieldwolf Sheildmaiden boxed set, along with selected parts from some of the Khorne Bloodreavers kits. The story behind this kitbash is pretty simple – I wanted to create a female model that could be used as a Champion of Khorne for our games of Gorechosen. After all, there’s no reason that women can’t also be blood-crazed psychopaths, right? It pisses me off that so many people still just default all female worshippers of Chaos to Slaanesh. Because women just = sex, right? Fuck off with that shit! Since this model was started months and months ago, and then sat there neglected, she’s also another Neglected Model February success story. Go me!

It was a bit of a pain in the arse to put together now that I think of it, and I needed to cut down a Space Marine shoulder pad in order to cover the right mess of a join underneath while trying to maintain reasonable proportions. Of course, she has huge arms and rather slight legs, so while I’ve tried to draw some attention away from this with the shackles and cape, we can just use the “skipped leg day” trope there for a bit of a laugh. I mean, it’s Khorne, amirite? I originally planned to overpaint the brass of her helm and pauldron with clear red (not BFTBG) to give them a nice lacquered look, but I left them as-was after the last varnish. I can always go back to the model and redo them, but I’m not so sure. Same applies to applying some fresh blood to the axe – worth doing if the armour is left brass, but not if it’s a lighter wet-look red.

The whole Fembruary thing of Alex’ has got me thinking though – about representation of female models in our hobby, most specifically GW’s portrayal of them over the years, since I’m most engaged with GW’s IP. Now, don’t SJW me here, because SJWs and MRAs can both fuck off and die in the same car fire as far as I’m concerned. I just believe in equality, regardless of <whatever>.

Now, before I keep going, I’m well aware of manufacturers like Stonehaven (I’ve got a bunch of their dwarves – both female and male) and obviously, Bad Squiddo (along with Hasslefree and so on and so forth). But I’m going to talk about the Big Dog here, Roman Reigns Games Workshop.

Speaking from my own personal opinion, I don’t think Games Workshop/Citadel’s portrayal of female in miniature form is actually the worst, and while it’s far from perfect, it’s a lot better than others. Both Corvus Belli and Reaper seem to be a lot further down cheesecake town than Citadel’s own output. But still, the main issue they have from my own perspective is that most of GW’s female models tend to fall into one of two tropes – either Joan of Arc or The Bangles.

Models that are Joan of Arc are the single (or few) female model amongst an army of men. There are lots of examples – current-situation Celestine is like that. Nominally a Soriritas, as far as available models, it’s just her and the Gemini twins readily available, so she’s a Joan. Any number of other female magic users across other armies, particularly elven armies and Brettonia deleted forces also fit this trope. 40k lore also drops this from time to time, with the odd random female Inquisitor or Lt. Mira from the Space Marine videogame. Shadowsun from the Tau empires seems to be the only female Tau with a model. Likewise, Helga Longplaits, who I just posted up is another strong example of that. She’s cool and everything, but she’s also one of …I dunno? Five? Less? Female Dwarf models that Citadel has put out over decades compared to the hundreds of male dwarf sculpts. I mean, I can’t think of any other female dwarf models off the top of my head besides the joke figure of Dwarf Cheerleader for Blood Bowl back in 2nd or 3rd edition. I’m sure there’s been another joke female dwarf like a bar wench or some such, but I can’t think of any other female dwarf warrior types. There might be a couple, but I can’t think of any.

And sure, WHFB is rooted in both historical gaming and Tolkien, and neither of those were exactly overflowing with female warriors, but then this is fantasy, and current year argument is actually a good argument for a bit more representation. What kind? I’ll get to that a bit later.

Khorne Bloodreavers. One Male, one Female, both badass.

The other trope that GW’s female models fall into I’ll call The Bangles. (I chose The Bangles because they were more than “a girl group”, being actual musicians and songwriters rather than a manufactured group put together via auditions and management.) This is the “All-female” unit, that can be anything from the metal-bikini-clad Witch Elves to the armoured Sisters of Silence or Sisters of Battle, to Sisters of the Thorn, to… well, you get the idea. Escher, anyone? And yes, I know that these units have existed historically, and even exist today.

An entirely female #Fembruary

So what’s my beef? Well, I’d just like to see GW do better. It doesn’t mean all-female armies, nor all-female units or more female heroes in male armies. I’d actually just like to see more mixed units – which for some reason very rarely seems to be a thing. 40k’s Elves, the various Eldar (Aeldari) forces are actually better than most armies here across the board. Their varied units such as Guardians, Wyches, Hellions, Kabalites, Scourges, feature both male and female torsos and heads – though being elves, a number of the bare heads can be seen as androgynous enough via their sharp, fine details to work for males or females.

…and with the month’s Plaguebearers. Some of which are undoubtedly female and others male, but I’m not looking underneath to figure out which ones are which!

So where are these mixed units in non-elf armies? The closest thing I can find are the Plaguebearers, which I posted and wrote about at the start of the month, along with an interesting discussion in the comments of that post about the background as it relates to them. It doesn’t mean I want the mono-gender units (of either type) removed, or that everything needs to be integrated. I’m okay with Loyalist Astartes still all being male in the lore (unless you want to kitbash some females, in which case, go right ahead) but I could certainly see the Heretic Legions incorporating female recruits. More obviously, I’d like to see female models become a normal thing in baseline troop units, across both 40k and AoS. There are, what? Two female Stormcast models with one being a special character and the other being a Shadespire model (despite female Stormcast apparently being pretty common in the lore, and the argument of “they all wear the same armour” kind of fell apart when they released Stormcast with very different proportions.

I’m also totally fine with Witch Elves and their bikini armour. You won’t see me out there with a placard telling GW to cover them up. They’re currently still rolling out the Daughters of Khaine sub-faction made up of all that was vaguely Witch-elfy from the WHFB range with some shiny new toys, but from what I’ve seen of them, I’ll probably buy the whole bloody range. (See what I did there?)

But really – how about some Imperial Guard Infantry? Tau Fire Warriors? Chaos Cultists? It would just take some heads for some of the lines, because as the new Star Wars films have proved – armour doesn’t need to incorporate huge boob-plates (and yes, I will DIY my own instead of waiting, I have a couple of batches of the aforementioned Statuesque heads waiting for when I get back around to the IG). I’m okay with Orks and Orcs just being themselves, and Necrons don’t need boob-plate.

And of course, some mixed gangs for Necromunda. Just like the “Grendel” gang I used back when the original game was released.

In 1995.


Squaduary 2018 Wrap-Up

Plaguebearers of Nurgle and Wolves

I’d never heard of Squaduary until Westrider mentioned it was a thing in the comments of my post discussing Community Painting Challenges for this year. Since I planned on trying to paint all of my metal Plaguebeaers after finding a stash of 27 of them in my Great Unclean One’s box late last year (with the actual GUO nowhere to be seen), I decided to join in. After all, I planned on painting the things anyway, and so that part was easy – and if the challenge could help to motivate me to get them all done in that time frame, so much the better. So over the course of the month, I managed to get all of the Plaguebearers done, a batch at a time. I’m not sure if Squaduary helped motivate me to get these done, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

I also had a bunch of wolves from various sources that I’d gathered together, and they had been kicking around for ages, getting in the way and generally being annoying. Since models with fur are relatively easy, and Squaduary is a “start-to-finish” type challenge, I decided to try my hand at them as well. Finishing them off a few days ago, after all of the Plaguebearers. For these, I can definitely credit Squaduary for motivating me to get them done.

So my total Squaduary models come to 27 Plaguebearers, plus 9 wolves. 36 models, so not too shabby.

With three (work) days left in February, and half of a Sunday (yes, I’m writing this blog post before the day it goes up and throwing it into the auto-post queue!), It’s time to see what else I can manage to complete for Alex’s Fembruary, and my own Neglected Model February. Now if only I could find my Vallejo Light Grey Wash…

Squad: March! Painting Challenge 2018

With a week left of February and (at least) three paint challenges running concurrently (Fembruary, Squaduary, and Neglected Model February), I thought it time to flag my paint challenge plans for next month. I’m calling it “Squad: March!” in the fine tradition of NCOs and officers bellowing at their charges on the parade ground.

The objective, fine reader, is simply to complete a squad or unit. Now, I’m being a little more specific than on some previous challenges – we’re looking at troops of some kind here. Not 40k’s narrow and specific definition of troops versus elites versus fast attach, etc – but a unit containing at least three members. So no Dreadnoughts or Heroes or Greater Daemons or Tanks this time.

Of course, I’ll happily allow exceptions, so if you’re the sort that thinks big, and you want to complete a Zug of Panzers, or a Maniple of Battle-Automata, or a Contemptor Talon, then sure – go for it!

Probably the biggest distinction between this challenge and ones like Squaduary are that I only care about you completing these units. It’s not a “start-to-finish” challenge set during a single month, so regardless of whether you just missed out on finishing that squad during Squaduary, or you’ve got stuff that you’ve been chipping away at for six months, or if you’ve got units that have been shelved for months or even years, feel free to dig them out and join in.

Similarly, if you want to go start-to-finish, then feel free to go right ahead. If you have a squad of five figures and two are complete while the other three are bare plastic or metal, that’s fine too. It’s about completing units. The challenge is designed to easily fit into your (and my) painting schedule and be flexible enough to encompass quite a lot, and hopefully just act as a bit of an impetus or inspiration for people.

Since this March Painting challenge is a “minor” one, like February’s – I won’t be posting updates over the month on it. I’ll likely do a round-up of all the participants I’m aware of just after the end of the month, though. If anyone is wondering why this comes on the heels of Squaduary, it’s because I had planned on doing squads in March before I knew Squaduary was a thing, and I ain’t changing my plans.

That’s pretty much it. If you might be interested, you’ve got a week for thinking about it before the challenge starts – though if you’re keen there’s also no reason you can’t be working on your models. Because it’s only about completing models in March! 😉