So, I’ve been busy, but work has continued on this squad of traitor marines. I’m not in any particular rush, so I have been happy to take my time and make sure I get the effect I am happy with.
This is the squad champion – as evidenced by his massive power claw. I was particularly happy with how his face came out. I think doing the augmetic part in a bronze/gold has worked really well, although he still looks like the terminator… The marine helmet on his trophy rack is a red, because I am forever fighting my Dad’s Blood Angels!
This is his left side – basically just the massive power claw off the Warsmith model. I think it works fairly well. Painting the chevrons on the claw itself was abit of a pain, but the effect is what I was after
This is, well, the other guy. He doesn’t even get a name yet!
Atys – the heavy weapons trooper in what is going to be a chosen squad. I picked a missile launcher because of its versatility. Again I am really pleased with the way his face came out, and I think the understated chevrons on the launcher work ok.
I had to take the missile launcher arm back off in order to paint the face, and then ended up painting a load of stuff you can’t see. But I think he looks suitably unhappy that he has a giant horn sprouting out of the side of his head. Poor guy.
Last shot just showing the launcher. I am trying to keep the chevrons where I think they should be – so weapons, and on the weapons on the points of danger and so I have them on the muzzle and at the back where presumably all the gases get discharged when the thing goes off. I really like this model, and I think picking out the missiles in red works as a decent contrast to the more muted tones of the rest of the figure.
Now, I’ve got a new camera which I haven’t entirely figured out the macros for yet, but here are some pics of what I have been painting recently – mainly Iron Warriors, and some spawn which came out much better than I’d thought they would.
These guys are fairly traditionally painted – black undercoat, boltgun metal and a wash of Devlan Mud before some simple highlighting. I think it looks nice and clean and effective.
The burnt effect on the melta gun was done using a mix of boltgun metal and bestial brown/scorched brown/black and gently blending it.
This guy is pretty standard. For the chevrons I painted the area white, then yellow, and then did the black stripes over that. It is a little fiddly to do, but it looks ok (from a distance!). Personally I like the irony of putting warning chevrons on the end of a chainaxe…
This guy was mostly dwarf flesh with a little bit of brown mixed in, then a wash of Ogryn Flesh and then a highlight up. The spines are crimson gore highlighted with blood red.
I tried to get a little clever here and blend dark green into red… and it sort of worked. The smart people amongst you will realise that if you mix green n red together you get brown… but I still like the effect, and it holds together quite well.
Note – I know that citadel are apparently changing all their colours… nobody asked me, and it will probably take me a few months before I need to go back and buy some more, so you will have to just put up with it.
So, my novel has been read through, proofed, edited, whatever you want to call it. I think the last chapter needs another go, it is a bit rough in places and frankly I was too knackered last night to really work on it. I find myself in the slightly odd place whereby I like the ending but not what comes immediately before it. I would dearly love to send it off to a publisher NOW, but despite myself I don’t think it is ready. Yet! Which is frustrating but I will take a breath and get into it again and iron out those last few kinks. I get that I am never going to be one hundred percent happy with it. Any work of that length and I could spend forever tweaking sentences, paragraphs, pieces of description. But its that feeling you get when something is right. And I’m not getting that feeling yet.
Listen to this…
Well there will be! I just haven’t taken them yet. Had something of a dilemma this morning between painting and writing, but managed to do both… Finished what I started yesterday by painting three Iron Warriors and two chaos spawn – which I thought I was going to hate painting, but then really enjoyed messing about with different skin tones. Courtesy of the new Games Workshop washes they were also pretty quick – basecoat, wash, highlight, done! Pics to follow – when I get some decent daylight, and have finished up doing the bases.
Writingwise, I wrote 1000 words for the Bolthole Read in a Rush competition. Here Its actually an idea I intend to work up into a full short story, an idea which I think may have novel potential as well. We will see what happens when I have another look at it. I also edited 4 chapters of “the novel”. To be honest, these have been edited more than any other part of the book, so it was pretty quick. Hopefully the rest of it won’t take too long, and then I shall despatch it to the publisher and sacrifice a couple of goats to the gods of good fortune!
Until next time.
And here is that piece of writing I was on about, to save you having to go find it. The subject was “ambition”. Enjoy…
Last Refuge of Failure
‘Do you remember Olympia, burning.’ Lochus said. It was more a statement than question, and the Iron Warrior didn’t even raise his head as he spoke. Instead, his great tusked helm remained fixed on the wide head of his battered chain axe. The weapon was older than he was, had been an ancient heirloom, an artifact of the Unification Wars.
Kratero followed his gaze, finding brief amusement in the bright yellow and black warning chevrons that decorated the head of the weapon. Given the number of lives he had personally witnessed Lochus end with it, those warning markers struck him as being viciously ironic, a weary sign of the bitterness that had engulfed them ever since Olympia.
‘Of course.’ Kratero replied. He had removed his own helm – he still could – and his ruddy flesh was marked with a pattern of pale, raised scarlines. A legacy of ten thousand years of fighting.
‘That was the beginning of the end for us.’ Lochus continued. He had produced a ratchet and began to disassemble his weapon. He had done this a thousand times before, replacing sheared off teeth, worn gears and broken belts. Just watching Lochus work reminded Kratero of the fighting on Bors. In the bloody carnage of the final assault, the head of Lochus’s chainaxe had snapped clean off, embedded in the torso of an Ultramarine. Afterwards, with infinite patience and skill, Lochus had rebuilt it. Krateros doubted that even a single component remained of the original weapon. Yet Lochus honoured it just the same.
‘We are not defeated,’ Krateros replied, flexing the fingers of his power claw. ‘We fight on.’
‘And for what?’ Lochus snarled, his vox doing little to disguise the acidic bitterness of his tone. For the first time he looked up from his weapon, stared at Krateros through the fathomless black of the vision slit in his helm. ‘What have we achieved in ten thousand years but gradual decay? A pitiful decline into the annals of history. Even Morsi, itinerant wordsmith that he is, has found little to write about in these latter years.’
‘Which is why Warsmith Erostratus has brought us here.’ Krateros said. Around them, the constant background rumble of the rhino APC had come to a halt.
‘Hah,’ Lochus spat, tightening the final bolt on his chainaxe and thumbing the weapon into momentary life. It roared for a moment, teeth clawing at the air, as if tasting it. Krateros had already got to his feet, and Lochus joined him as the rear disembarkation ramp whined open on stiff hydraulics. Dusty air swept in, carrying with it the acrid stink of war.
Ahead of them, across lines of trenches, beyond clouds of dust and smoke and batteries of heavy artillery, the squat fortress, Cronach, was a blur of black iron battlements, impregnable walls and rising towers.
‘Remind me of why we came here?’ Lochus said as they walked down the ramp, their grey ceramite boots clanking against the plasteel.
Krateros grinned without humour before reaching down for his helm. He placed it over his head, gave momentary pause as the HUD display flickered into life before his eyes. His helmet was unadorned, save for a ragged plume of blue feathers, an ancient, primitive symbol of rank and seniority.
‘You spoke of our descent into anonymity, Lochus.’ Krateros said, voice now twisted with a mechanical vox-rasp. ‘Erostratus designed and built Cronach, ten thousand years ago, when we fought under different colours. We abandoned it, on the orders of our father, Perturabo. And for ten thousand years it has stood defiantly against us, a bitter reminder of what we used to be and a bastion of the loyalists pathetic hope in their broken Emperor.’
‘And now?’ Lochus said.
They had dropped down into the rearmost supply trenches. It was rank here; the long months of the siege had taken their toll and mud and other filth lingered in the base of the each trench. Thick clods of it stuck to their boots, and splatters of dirt coated their shin and thigh guards as they strode through the muck.
‘Erostratus is making a play, Lochus.’ Krateros said. ‘He wishes to rise above our current station. He wishes to become memorable.’
‘Erostratus does nothing that is not for his own fame and fortune,’ Lochus sneered. He gave a few practice swings of his chainaxe.
They were nearing the frontlines now. Shells burst above them, shattered against the fortifications, showering the Iron Warriors with gravel and shrapnel. It bounced off their ceramite armour like so much rain against a window. Around them their battle-brothers were gathering, squad by squad, company by company. They each had their orders, their own set objectives. Erostratus was an egotistical maniac who grew more unbalanced with each passing day. But beneath the outbursts, the… odd behaviours, he remained an Iron Warrior. He had planned and won a thousand sieges. This one would be no different. The Imperials were still weeks, maybe months from support. Cronach would fall. And it would fall today. Krateros merely hoped that he wasn’t about to die to sate his liege’s desperate ambition.
Around another kink in the trench, war now thunderous around them, and they came across their squad – Krateros’s squad. He had long since cared less who they were. It was enough that they fought under his command. Enough that they didn’t fail. With the exceptions of Morsi and the ever present Lochus, they were but numbers to him.
He squatted in the muck and briefed them anyway.
Afterwards, Lochus and Morsi beside him, Krateros ran through the final pre-battle rites on his armour and weapons. The combi-melta hummed and vented scalding air as he powered it up. Lochus opened a vox channel to him. Krateros acknowledged it.
‘Morsi wishes to hear the rest of your tedious lecture, brother.’
‘There is little more to tell,’ Krateros said. ‘Erostratus wishes to gain fame for himself. He wishes to show his ability, he wishes to attract attention.’
‘But why?’ Lochus asked.
‘Ask him yourself,’ Krateros said. ‘I do not know the man’s mind. But it can be nothing sane.’
‘Ambition is the last refuge of failure,’ Morsi said, levelly.
Krateros glared down the line at him, scowling beneath his helm. Morsi’s impassive ceramite faceplate gave nothing but a blank stare in response.
Final orders crackled across the vox. Krateros raised a fist and together, squad one three seven of the Iron Warriors fourteenth grand company surged out of their trenches and towards the destruction of the fortress they had once laboured so hard to create.
Author’s note – Yes, I borrowed from a Greek myth and stole a quote from Oscar Wilde. Well done for noticing.
Awesome band – finally got their debut album today after seeing them at Glastonbury way back in June last year. His vocals might not be to everyone’s taste, but they are definitely worth a listen.
I am currently sketching out an idea I had whilst washing up. I think it will make a good short story. Currently the main character is a cooking pot.
Oh, and I switched the layout/theme or whatnot. I think I prefer this one
Anyway, Dry the River. Check them out – check out this video. The sheer rising crescendo of it is worth hanging around for!
Well, it feels like it anyway. Truth is I have been absurdly busy but hopefully in a couple of weeks time I will free up some time, and then you will get to here all about how I am trying to get that novel what I wrote published. So that might be interesting, hopefully! I will certainly keep you updated, and maybe let you know what else is going on, writing-wise
In the meantime, I spent the weekend up in Nottingham at the Black Library Live! day, and you can read about it over on the Black Library Bolthole Blog http://www.thebolthole.org/blog/
threatened promised I am trying to document my 2012 reading, and provide some handy reviews all at once. This first one is abit of a cheat, since I read at least half of this book in 2011, but there’s nothing like hitting the ground running, besides I’m just not that much of a pedant!
Anyway, let’s get on with this.
Its Steampunk. Its a reimagined Victorian London, complete with ludicrous fogs, steampowered bicycles, airships, mutant monsters, time travel, and rudimentary genetic engineering. It is almost as if Hodder has taken the entire genre and shovelled it, belts and braces, into this novel.
Its totally barmy, really nuts at times, but full marks to Hodder for melding a whole host of popular legends into something that is almost original. I say almost, because it doesn’t remake the mould.
What Hodder does do though, is utilise an impressive array of historical characters, subvert them to an impressive degree and then weld them into an intriguing narrative which really doesn’t make any sense until you get to the second half of the book. Which may explain why it took me a good while to properly read it. The first half does meander a little bit, almost as if Hodder had assembled such a varied and wonderful cast of characters that he then felt compelled to use all of them.
However, once we get to the crux of the matter – the true story behind Spring Heeled Jack, that is – and this has to be one of my all time favourite riffs on the time traveller idea – the story sheds its excess baggage and veritably hums along, finishing with a couple of glorious set pieces and an ending that shows Hodder is prepared to stick to his guns where the essential characteristics of his main protagonist, Richard Burton are concerned.
If I had to rate it, I’d give the first half 3/5 and the second half 4/5. Its nearly very good, but not quite.
But if you love steampunk, victoriana with a healthy does of everyone’s favourite mad scientist thrown in for good measure, you will like this book, and I would recommend it.
I am now reading this. Which is totally not steampunk, and much more cyberpunk. If that helps. Oh and the cover art is gorgeous!
(I started reading this is 2011 as well. I’ve been busy, alright!)
I guess it wouldnt be right to let this one go by without a quick post, and besides, I have been abit lax of late.
So, the novel is done. All eighty seven thousand words of it. It needs abit of an edit, and a few bits of work done to make sure the continuity works, but otherwise, I am pretty chuffed with it. I’ve given myself until March to get it into shipshape and then I will be sending it off to a publisher, and then writing something else!
So that’s pretty exciting, and I already have a fair idea of what I will be writing next – another novel, set in the same fictional world – it seems a shame to waste what I have spent so much time building, and I know there are so many more stories I can tell within it. With any luck, and using all the lessons I have learned from writing the first one, I will have the second novel complete by the end of 2012, about the time the first one should have been rejected. Then I will have something else to send off, and if I have as much fun writing the second one as I did the first, then I know it is a worthwhile endeavour, no matter the outcome.
That is about it at the moment on the writing front. I have some work stuff coming up which is going to take up all my free time until March, so I wont have any chance of starting something new, but I think editing the novel will give me something diverting to do when I get a chance.
Lets just hope that the publishers like it as much as I do!
Oh, and I am going to try and start some sort of a reading blog this year, so keep posted for that. I literally cannot remember which books I have read this year, so I’m going to try a little harder to keep a tally.
Hope you all had a good end of 2011 and all the best for 2012!