Reaching well beyond my grasp

I am here because I have been inspired. The Bloodbowl community has created some amazing customised teams and I have decided I'd like to try building my own team.

I have never done this before, my painting skills are mediocre at best and my modelling skills....well non existent. This is in all likelihood a doomed journey. But I hope it gives others of my skill level and ambition the courage to try.

This is my first attempt at blogging, so some things I feel you should know.
The good blogs out there post on a weekly basis, yeah... this isn't going to be one of those good blogs.
Also I take terrible photos. Really. You have been warned.

UPDATE: I have added a Lessons Learnt page. Here I note little tips I learn as I go along. A summary of things that may help others who decide to give kit bashing a go.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Big Toof Troll

The Badlands Big Toof Tigerz were going to have a troll. I also knew that eventually I was going to get myself a goblin team, which would have two trolls.

Fortunately I had the GW river troll set that came with 3 trolls.

At first I thought I would only use two of them, but then realised that I wanted to paint the Orc team troll in the team colours. I was also pretty sure that my Goblin team would have different team colours, which meant if I used the orc troll in the goblin team it wouldn't have the same team colours.

I could  paint the troll in a neutral scheme, but since I had 3 trolls I decided to use all 3, one for the Orcs and two for the Goblins.

I will come back to the Goblin Trolls at a later date. After the Tigerz are completed.

I started by thinking how I wanted the troll to look. One idea I had was that the troll was imitating a troll slayer. I would give it a mohawk and fake beard. But I also wanted the troll to have armour to fit in with the rest of the look of the team, which didn't fit with the troll slayer idea. In the end I put the troll trollslayer idea to one side.

I found the river troll set from GW to be really good. Lots of parts to play with and good value for money. I understand it is no longer being made due to it not being AoS, so will be hard to find now.

I had brought a number of armour parts and bits from Bitzbox, a site that sells parts of sprues and bits of model sets. For the troll I had purchased an imperial guard orgyn breast plate and bits from an an Ork Deff Dread.

The Troll was given two fists with one raised above his head ready to smash down on anything in front of it. I had to cut a weapon away from one of the hands/fists. The breast plate was added on. It was the right size to cover the front of the troll and also the right shape, in that it looks a poor fit, which I think is in character for the model. I may try to add my own straps to it later.

 The large bit of ork dreadnought armour I put over the troll's left shoulder and back. Again the size and shape worked out really well. The only thing I am unsure about if the flat edge of the armour at the top of the shoulder behind the troll's head. I think it should maybe be look a bit more ragged.

 I wanted the armour to continue down the troll's left arm. I used an Orruk Shield. It covered the fore arm and the jagged edges over hung the troll's fist.

I then added a Orc motif to the front of the breastplate. I think this came from either the Stormboyz set or the Orruks set. I really like the effect of adding a bit of detail on top of something else has. I feel it gives the model  a bit of character and depth and helps add to the hodge-podge look of the troll.

While I didn't plan to at the start I ended up having the troll having armour only on it's left side. I quite like how that has turned out. I just wanted to find something for it's left leg/knee I will be happy with leaving it at that.

Looking through the sprues I had, the Stormboyz had rocket packs where the top cone of the rockets looked like knee pads to me. See below.
 It even had what looked like two straps across it.

I cut away the pins from the inside that would have been used to attach it to the other half of the cone so I could glue to the troll's left knee.

Pictures below of the Troll.

I am happy with how it has turned out. It needs some minor cleaning up/ cutting away of excess plastic. The only other thing that I would have liked to do is add some strapping to the armour and pads, but not sure how to go about that. At the moment it means some fine detail work with putty and I would rather find a cheat, then attempt to model in putty.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Last Goblin fanboy

My 4 Orc Blitzers are each carry a goblin in a barrel on their backs.
I had sorted the barrels and put together 3 of the goblin fanboys ( as I have taken to call them). One with a catapult, one with a blunderbuss and one with a grabber.

The idea I had for the last fanboy goblin was for the goblin to have his arms up looking like he is about to catch a ball. The idea being the Orc and Goblin working together, the Blitzer facing forward running towards the endzone with the goblin on his back catching a ball for him. The kind of cheating you would expect from an Orc team.

I looked through the kits I had and found a goblin that was almost right for the job.
At this point I would like to apologise for the lack of photos of the original miniature. I forgot to take a photo of it before I started working on it. However I do have a photo of a picture from the Stormboyz set that show the goblin in question.

I wanted to use this model because it was standing up straight and had an arm up already .
The first thing I did was cut the left arm and re-glue pointing upwards. I then decide to cut away the hand holding the bomb-stik. Looking back, I can't actually remember why I thought that would be a good idea...

Below is what I ended up with.
Leaving the missing hand for a moment, the pose was okay. I would have liked the arms to be closer together, in a just about to catch pose, so that the goblin could actually hold the ball during the game if that Blitzer had it. But it still looked like the Goblin was "calling" for the ball, which seemed fine. I did briefly play with the idea of trying to re-position the arms by either physically bending them or cutting at the elbow and using greenstuff to put together again. But at this point I wasn't willing to try and remodel the arms, or make anymore drastic cuts.

And now for the bouncing squig in the room..the missing hand....yeah......

I think that I wanted both hands to be open and the right hand was in a fist. So I removed it with out really think about what I would do once it was removed.
I didn't have another open right hand I could use from another model. The two options I could think of were:
1) Use putty to make a mold of the left hand, then reverse it to make a mirror right.
2) Try and model a right open hand out of putty.

Neither option filled me with confidence. option 1 seemed much more do-able then option 2 though.
So the plan was to make a mirror of the left hand by making a mold. But before I attempted that I decided to try and "sculpt" a hand. I expected it to be rubbish, but I thought the practice would be good.

Yep it was laughably bad.

But from failure can come inspiration, and so it was for my hand less goblin. Looking at my horribly mis-proportioned, mis-shaped attempt, I saw an idea. Foam Hands!
That, I felt I could do, and it would fit perfectly with the idea of them being fanboyz goblins.

I decided to give the goblin two foam hands, rather then keep the hand that was okay and make the foam hand for the hand that was missing, I went and built on top of the existing hand.

It should be noted that when I get a little excited about an idea I tend to stop making sensible decisions. In hindsight making the foam hand for the missing hand first would have made more sense. I started with the shape being very flat, and planned to add layers of putty to give it some depth.

Overall I am really quite pleased with the idea. The execution needs improving but I am happy with the above model. I need to gain a bit of patience, control and concept of proportion in my modelling ability.
Now I know some of you will have had the same thought I did...why not "middle finger" the foam hands. And yes that would have looked funny, and yes it would have been in keeping with the mentality of an Orc team with Goblin fans. But I decided to keep the team family friendly. I am more comfortably with them that way. I want to be able to play with them anywhere with out worrying about age appropriateness.

Foam Goblin in his barrel.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Seeing the woods from the trees; or Barrels from Drums

I had been putting together my goblins in barrels. These goblins would be carried in barrels on the back of orc blitzers. It was fun putting the goblins together, bu the barrels themselves were proving to be hard work. Turning the rocket packs from the Stormboyz kit in to the barrel meant working with Green Stuff. So far I had tried to approaches.

The first way was to shape stripes of putty and stick them vertically to the rocket pack so it looked like planks of wood.
The individual stripes method

The second way was to roll out a sheet of green stuff and wrap it around the rocket and then press/ shape/ scrape with a sculpting tool the planks. I preferred the second method because I find it quicker and neater.

The wrap around method

So there I was working away with the putty when I had a light bulb moment. I had only recently come to the realisation that kit bashing is about using what already exists in a different way.
The Orruks kit comes with a Drummer, who I had put together as is and intended to use as a cheerleader model. The kit came with 3 drummer sets.

My light bulb moment was to look at the drum in a different way. 180 degrees different to be exact.

That my friends looks a lot like a broken barrel that a goblin would ride in.
The drum came in 2 pieces, one piece has an Orruk arm wrapped around it holding the drum. This was easy enough to saw off and file down. That rough side would go against the back of the Blitzer and be mostly hidden anyway.

I got one of the models I was going to use as a Blitzer and attached the new barrel to the back of it

 I am really pleased with how that looks. Really pleased. I can neaten up the join between the Blitzers's back and the barrel with putty, but that will be a lot less work and much easier then using the putty to the shape the barrel.

I already had made 2 barrels and there were 2 drums left in the kit so that covered all four Blitzers. My only problem was these new barrels required the goblin models to have legs, while the original two I had made need them not to have legs. That meant one goblin was shorter then necessary as I had already cut in half.

Looking desperately through my off cuts. ( When kit bashing NEVER throw anything away) I found one leg, the other was too far gone to reuse.

Looking at the model above I also felt that the pole was too long and grabber to big for the game board. It would interfere with other models on the board and quickly become annoying. So I made the pole shorter and changed the end of it.

My plan is to add a team pennant to hang off the pole. The legs wouldn't be seen, they just added height to the model so it is looking out of the barrel. I glued on a bit of sprue to act as the other leg so the model stood evenly in the barrel.

I think when it comes to painting these models I will paint the goblins separately and then glue to the barrel when both models (Blitzer and goblin) are finished.

Really happy with how the Blitzers are turning out. It makes the team more unique and gives the team character.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Goblins in barrels

Last time a started to put together the Blitzers. Each Blitzer would have a barrel on their back carrying a Goblin. The first goblin I made was pointing a blunderbuss, shooting a ball.

I wanted one of the goblins to be shooting a catapult. Looking at the Gretchin kit there was one that had two arms up separately. After removing the sword and the pistol I got the below.

I felt that this was a good enough pose for the catapult goblin. With the catapult in it's right hand pulling back on the sling with it's left. The bottom part of the pistol would stay to form the catapult. My first thought was to try to make the rest of the catapult from putty. I quickly put that thought away remembering what I had learned from trying to make the blunderbuss ( see previous post). I stared long and hard at the sprues in front of me. Until...

This was part of a "prodder" for the Gruntherd. Do you see it? That U shape. I could use that as the base of the catapult.
I stuck the U shape to the top of the goblin's left hand and then used putty to model the elastic band.

The band ended up looking lax. I added a small round piece of plastic as a ball bearing to the other hand. I think with the band maybe I should have come back to the putty after it was half set. I like that the goblin is wearing a baseball cap. The head position is a bit awkward, but I think it was the best I could do with it.

The third goblin was more straight forward. There was a set of model arms raised.

 To this I simple added what I call a "grabber"

I also tried a different method to make the barrel. instead of doing strips of putty and rolled out flat sections and wrapped it around the cylinder. Then used the edge of a sculpting tool cut/indent the pattern/ shape of the wood planks. This was bit faster to do and gave a thinner finish. I think it looks neater then my first attempt.

The fourth goblin got interrupted by a barrel brainwave I had. More of that next time.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Barrelling Biltzers


For the four blitzers of the team I had already formed an idea of what I wanted them to look like. I used the Orruk Ardboyz kit as the main basis of the models. I also had a 40K gretchin box and 40k orc stormboyz. Looking at the models on the various sprues a picture started forming in my head.

One of the great things about the Ardboyz is that they are from the the same range as the Orruk Brutes which I used for the Black Orc Blockers. Size wise the Ardboyz models are smaller then the Brutes so on the game board the models will look the the right proportions to each other.

An Orc blitzer with a barrel on it's back in which was riding a goblin. The goblins would be in a number of poses "assisting" the blitzer in some non legal fashion. Rules wise they are just Blitzers but background wise it would give the team a unique ( I hope) visual representation.

I started by blu-tacking a model together with all the components, to see if it would work.

 For the photo above I took an Ardboy model cutting away any weapons. I then took the rocket pack from the Stormboyz set , cut a gretchin in half and put that in the top of the rocket barrel. Originally I only put the model together to see if it worked. I didn't want a Goblin with a gun as that would have looked out of place. Looking at the model above, however, gave me an idea. I could turn the gun into a blunderbuss! A blunderbuss would fit fine in the bloodbowl setting I think. I could make a cone out of putty and add it to the end of the gun. I could then add a ball to it so it would look like the goblin was shooting the ball.

I am pretty pleased with this idea.

The Orc models were easy enough to put together and didn't involve much modification. Just weapons removed and arms posed. The Goblins in barrels would take much more work.

The Stormboyz kit has rocket packs. I put together the central circular piece and cut off the other rocket parts that were attached. In the photo above you can see the circular body with a fin still attached which I cut off later.

Next I shaped some strips of putty and put them vertically on the rocket body. This was an attempt to make planks, to make it look like a barrel. See photos below for work in progress.

I wasn't sure if I was getting the barrel plank look I wanted so I decided to leave the barrel and concentrate on the blunderbuss. I thought I could model the cone/trumpet piece out of putty and stick it to the end of the rifle. I thought wrong.

When I started this project I knew that I was pushing well beyond my skill level, But trying to model with the putty has been a nightmare. Size, proportion, shape, all these things to take into account. What I thought would be a simple task was in fact beyond me. I was pretty frustrated with myself at this point and was ready to give up on the project.

But then it happened. Staring despondently at the sprues on the table; I had an epiphany. Those rocket packs had a cone shaped exhaust piece. CONE SHAPED! Suddenly what I was supposed to be doing became clear. Don't try and create some thing from nothing/scratch. Take what already exists and reuse it in a different more useful way. Stop looking at the plastic bits as they were originally intended and look at them as potential pieces for my model.

From the photos below you can see that if the that plastic piece was used as it was intended the cone bit would be on the inside

I glued it 'backward to the end of the rifle and got the beginnings of a blunderbuss.

From there I was happy to use the putty to join the pieces together shape wise.

I am quite please with how it has turned out so far. I need to be neater with the putty. As you can see I also carried on with the barrel. It is far from perfect, but I can live with it. I have an idea I want to try for the next barrel anyway. Still need to add a football to the end of the blunderbuss.

Liquid Green Stuff

I bought a pot of GW liquid green stuff. To use to cover over/ smooth out the chain mail on the models. I found it quite useful. It takes a number of layers to build up, but the effect looks much smoother then what I was getting with the putty. It also covers up finger prints in the putty, which I seem to get a lot of when using the putty.

I actually find the putty frustrating to use. It sticks to my cutting mat and/or the metal sculpting tools, resulting in it being difficult to get the putty to stay on the model as I want it. I bought some rubber tools used for working with clay, and these give a much cleaner/ smoother finish. I am also wondering if I should work the putty on a baking sheet and seeing if adding water will make it easier to work with.

New set of rubber sculpting tools