Tyranid Bastion Progress – Green Stuff and Gubbinz!

wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (1)I’ve been working on this bastion for a while now, which is surprising because I was originally going to be happy with just painting it as in and it’s sort of spiraled out of control from there.  First I wound up pulling it apart, covering it in tentacles, and doing up some ridge plates, but none of that seemed like enough.

We ended up with me putting on the hatches and thinking that they looked woefully out of place.  Sure, they seemed to fit the style of the Tyranid army, but they just didn’t blend in with the rest of the model.  My answer was to just cover the model in little bits of green stuff shaped into pseudo-organic blobs.

wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (2)I got to work on this, putting on clumps of green stuff and then going to town with my new set of sculpting tools (I haven’t done a blog post on them for some reason though…).  In general, the bulk of the green stuffing involved two tools: one that let me push little creases into the green stuff and another that is just a ball on a stick which let me make little holes (hint: if you try this at home, I strongly advise you wet the tool so it doesn’t stick to the green stuff).

Those little blobs did their fair share to make the whole thing look a little more bug-like, especially around the top of each of the hatches, but they still didn’t do it for me.  That is, until I reached into my bag of gubbinz and started mashing various little Tyranid bits into the green stuff.  wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (3)I wound up using the various adrenaline and toxin sacs throughout, but the real star to me is the areas where I was able to work in some of the miscellaneous spikes and carapace pieces leftover from the larger Tyranid creatures.

In order to allow the hatches to open, I had to leave access to the hinges basically unfettered.  For the life of me, I’m not sure why I’m still insisting that the hinges still work on the finished piece (And I’m not sure if they will still work after they get all of the build-up of stain from the dipping process).  I did consider building up a ridge of green stuff over the top of it so that it hides the hinge completely, but in order to do so, and to allow the hinge to open fully, you really have to build it up rather thick and I thought that detracted from the style.

Otherwise, that’s about it.  I did use some extra parts of green stuff to try to plug up some of the holes/gaps from the various carnifex carapaces as well.

Oh, I also wound up magnetizing the guns.  For them, I wound up using some of the leftover bits I had from the various Tyranid sprues laying around.  I believe these are barbed strangler bits from a Tyranid Warrior kit that I cut down, drilled out, and magnetized.  I tried to place them–generally speaking–so that they were facing each of the cardinal directions, but also so that they were in somewhat natural looking positions.  I wound up magnetizing them not because they should be removable (you can’t remove the heavy bolters from a standard bastion), but because they stick out precariously and I was worried that they may break off in time.

For each gun, I sculpted a bit of green stuff around the base to cover up the magnets, but I also included a little spot for an eyeball (which is how they address automated firing of the weapon).

Now, all that awaits is for me to paint the damn thing.  Think I’ll get it done before the end of the year?  God, I hope so…

By the way, the thumbnails below were taken in direct sunlight, which is never a good way to take photos of models; feel free to click on them for larger images.

wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (8)  wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (7)  wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (6)  wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (5)  wh39kGreenSTuffBastion (4)


Tyranid Bastion Progress – Hatches

Wh39kTBastionHatches (2)I’m not one that generally does a lot of WIP posts on a given topic.  That’s because I often will get caught up in whatever I’m doing and forget to take pictures.

Blogging isn’t a huge priority for me–it’s just something I do to track my progress, so having a multi-stage work in progress set of posts isn’t exactly my forte.  Of course, when dealing with green stuff, you have delays forced upon you, so I wind up with some downtime between stages.  This is why this particular model has wound up being the subject of more than one post.

I also don’t use tags very much in my blog, but now that I’ve had multiple posts on the subject, I decided to implement one called “Tyranid Fortifications,” so you could see the entire build from start to finish (plus I threw in the one post I had about my Aegis Defense Line into that category as well).

Wh39kTBastionHatches (3)But this particular post isn’t about the tag–it’s supposed to be about hatches.  When I first picked up the base model/toy, I thought that I could probably just paint it and dip it “as is,” and it would suffice, but I opted to take it a step further and customize it a bit.

Well, after cleaning it up and covering it in tentacles, the idea of leaving hatches with metal bits and rings on them seemed out of place.  Originally I figured I’d dismiss it as saying it was an old imperial bastion that had been overtaken by the hivemind, and that’s why you saw remnants of metal fragments; however, the more work I do on the rest of the model, the more it looks out of place. So I decided to try to sculpt some armor plates on them.

Wh39kTBastionHatches (4)To start, I wound up snipping off the various high parts on the hatches (mostly rings, but an occasional rivet or weird growth as well).  When that was done, I started on the green stuff.

I searched online for tutorials, and they all seemed pretty self explanatory, so I didn’t really follow any directly.  One layer at a time, I wound apply the putty and shape it (using some tools I also purchased from Green Stuff Industries–I haven’t done a post on them though, so maybe I’ll get to that before too long).

After I got the putty into the general shape I wanted, I used water to wipe away the fingerprints and then cleaned up the edges with the silicone tools.  Lastly, I wound up putting little notches in the edges of the carapace to make it look worn.

Then I just let it dry and repeated the process for the next two layers.  The end result is unmistakenly a Tyranid carapace, so I count that as a success.

Wh39kTBastionHatches (1)The problem I have is that they look a little too round–too out of place on the bastion now.  The side of the volcano/mountain just suddenly has a nearly perfectly round piece of carapace on it?  It just doesn’t look right to me.

I think I’m going to have to do some more putty work around the hatches after they go on so that they blend in a little better with the rest of the piece.

What do you think?



Tyranid Bastion Progress – All the Tentacles

I fudge a lot of timeline stuff for my blog.

TentaclesMy last progress report on my Tyranid bastion went live just last week, but I’d actually done that work back in February and shelved it until recently.  For anyone that reads my Frugal Gaming page, you would’ve seen that I actually made the purchases for green stuff & tentacle makers back then.  Of course, I’m under no delusion that anyone actually reads that part of my site, but it is there to expose how much of a fraud I really am.

Anywho, time has passed and the green stuff and tentacle maker (along with more sculpting tools) have arrived.  They’ve been here for probably over a month as well, but they took a back seat to <No Hobby Progress>.  In an attempt to buck the trend, I busted out the bastion again and started going to town with tentacles.

First, let me say that the tentacle maker I purchased was from Green stuff industries.  Apparently the version I purchased is no longer for sale (man, I must’ve purchased it right at the end of it’s life), and has now been replaced with the version 2.  I’ve heard about these devices in the past, and had a friend who’d tried them out, but never saw a need for one; however, a big empty bastion seemed like the perfect thing to cover with vermiculated tubes.

If you’ve heard that word before, that probably means you played Everquest back in the day–likely as a druid in the Plane of Fear.  I remember thinking it was an odd word when I played the game and wound up looking it up.  It meant “covered in worm-like markings.”  Sure, I probably used the word incorrectly above, but any chance I have to harken back to my days of nerdom past…

So the tentacle maker came and may or may not have had instructions, but I clearly didn’t follow them.  I just rolled up some green stuff and scrubbed it between the plates to see what it did.  I won’t bore you with too many of the details, but I will go through some of the things I discovered during my use:

  1. Tentacles (3)Water is your friend.  I found that the green stuff likes to stick to the plates, but if you just coat each one with a little water, they glide smoothly.
  2. At first I would just put the green stuff between the plates however I felt, and that works, but it does have the potential to make the corrugated lines less defined.  This is because the plates are designed to line up with each other.  If you use the supplied guides when making them, you’ll end up with the well defined versions.  If, however, you wing it and do whatever you like, the plates may not line up correctly and that seems to lead to the less well defined lines (and therefore more worm-like appearance).  Frankly, I like them both, but it was interesting to note.
  3. I apparently didn’t capture a picture of it, but if you alternate the plates so they’re facing different directions, you can get an effect that’s similar to an Imperial Termite’s drill bits.  It’s really kind of nifty looking, but not one that I was able to easily recreate.  I wish I’d have taken a picture to show you…
  4. Timing the putty is kind of important.  At first, I rolled up a batch of green stuff and just started going to town.  What I found was that it was very soft and lead to me accidentally touching it when working on other tentacles–it also meant that they stuck together a lot.  Alas, I only seem to have taken photos of the back of it, and the front of it is where I had most of my problems (I likely took the rear pictures because of this–the back just looks cleaner/better).  So what I found later is that it’s best to let the green stuff cure for 30 minutes or so before working with it.  It was much more resilient to my ham-fisted efforts after it had been given time to dry.
  5. Again on the timing, I think that you’re going to want to do this sort of work in stages.  Certainly if you’re building up a model with layers of green stuff, it’s best to let the base cure before adding another layer.  The same logic wound up serving me well here–even though I’m not really dealing with layers.  I found that the tentacles all started drooping if I allowed the model to stand up naturally, so I laid it on it’s side and worked in stages: front, back, & top.

Tentacles (2)This go around I didn’t do any changes to the model other than putting tentacles all over it.  Since it was my first time, I didn’t know what I was doing or where to stop.  I wonder if it’s a little over the top, or if it’s the right amount?  Frankly, I suspect that whatever you want to do is the right amount, but it seemed like a pretty good place to start.

Based upon the sheer quantity of them, it’s probably pretty clear that I had fun making the tentacles.  I’m also really happy with how it makes the armor plates look–they don’t feel as goofy as they did before.  I’m not sure if that’s really the green stuff, or the fact that the model has had several months to grow on me though?

My next stage will be working on some more detail work.  I’ll need to cover up the metal bits on the various hatches, plus I want to try to work in some more transitional elements between the carapace pieces and the underlying tree/volcano structure.  I wound up buying some more sculpting tools to help me out with that.

By the way, if you’re looking into purchasing a tentacle maker, I’d certainly recommend this one.  I found it via ebay, but noticed that if you buy direct from their website, it’s far cheaper.  Shipping is very reasonable, and fast (considering it’s coming from Europe).  Then again, if you’re local, you’re welcome to come borrow mine as well…


Cleaning up my Tyranid Bastion

Back in March, I showed some pictures of a toy I’d picked up to convert into a Tyranid bastion.  That post was mostly just praise to Dwez from 40k Addict for giving me the idea and some size comparison shots, but I’ve finally broken ground and started working on the model.

The bulk of the work really came in three parts: removing unnecessary components, green stuffing gaps, and adding more unnecessary components.

Removing Unnecessary Components:

GreenStuff (2)To start with, I identified those pieces on the model that were completely superfluous and had to be removed.  In general, these are the parts of the figure that looked too cartoony, or out of place in a 40k/tyranid setting.  This included some of the components inside of the tower, but mostly consisted of removing the two spindly arms on the figure, along with the red demon with a punching arm from the back.

Now I’m sure I could’ve worked to make either of those components fit in with the scheme, but they just didn’t look right, so they were removed.  Additionally, I wound up peeling off the stickers from the top of the model (ie. the “lava” stickers) with an exact-o knife and some goof-off.

At this stage, I also wound up gluing the two halfs of the model together.  This was one of those things I debated for a while, but ultimately decided on doing it.  I guess this is akin to assembling a tank without painting the inside, but my thought process was having it in half would leave an unsightly seem.  Weighed against the potential positive of being able to position guys inside (something I doubt I’d ever do–in fact, I had this same debate with my Imperial Bastion and glued that together as well), I opted to glue it together.

I also wound up gluing the mouth/door halfway open.  My thought there was that the purple teethy door and the slide/tongue both could act as the door and I didn’t want to get them confused, so I opted to glue this one halfway open to use it as a firing slit later.

Green Stuffing Gaps:

There’s no rocket science here.  I just took blobs of green stuff and filled in the various areas/holes.  In cases where the holes were significant in size, I wound up wadding in balls of tin foil first.  This was because I didn’t have much green stuff to my name at the time (in fact, I had to actually borrow some from Simon to “complete” that stage).

I’m so thankful to have a good group of friends to play toy soldiers with.

But it was really just filling holes and cracks:  essentially the holes made from removing parts and the seams from where pieces went together.  One area I’m pleased with was a big square on the back of the model got some green stuff to make it look like a rounded hole–though the pictures really don’t show it well.  One area that leaves something to be desires is where I did a little braiding thing around one of the holes to try to make it look more tree-ish: it clearly needs some more love.  Good thing I’m not done with it, eh?

Adding More Unnecessary Components:

GreenStuff (1)When originally showed the tower to people, several got the bastion vibe, but a couple of people wound up thinking it was going to be a Chaos model and not a Tyranid one.  Frankly, I thought it was a spitting image of a Tyranid figure, but with the initial confusion, I figured I should do a little something to make it more buggy.

When I paint it, I knew the bulk of the figure would be blue (to match my scheme, of course), but that it could use some extra armor plates for color balance.  Since I had purchased far too many carnifexen over the years, I had a glut of their back plates available, and figured they could work out.  I wound up gluing them all in place and snapping the photos you see in this blog post to show to friends.  Personally, I felt it looked weird and over-the-top (particularly the little spire to the side), but they seemed to disagree.  In fact, one of them insisted that I put more on there!

I wanted to work in some other Tyranid bits, but couldn’t really find any that seemed appropriate.  I did have one of the old plastic hive pieces from the Battle from Macragge  boxed set, and it fit perfectly over another porthole that I thought may be confused for a door, so I wound up covering that up and doing a simple bash of green stuff to blend it on (in hindsight, that needs more work too).

So, that’s where we stand.  Clearly it needs some more work before I can call it finished, but I’ve come to a temporary stopping point as I’ve run out of green stuff.  I also think adding some tentacles would be nice, so maybe it’s time to order a tentacle maker?  More to come…

For anyone who wants to know more about the toy I used as a base, please check out my original post on the subject.








A Bastion for Bugs?

wh39kBugBastion (5)Do you know Dwez from 40k Addict?  You really should.  The guy does some pretty incredible things with models and painting over the years and churns out an astonishing number of posts.

He also has a facebook group for his gaming community, appropriately called 40k Addicts, that he unsolictedly conscripted me into.  Typically I reserve my 40k stuff for my blog, preferring to wall off my facebook profile due to nerdshame, but Dwez brings out the best in me.

Anywho, while on the facebook group one day, he posts a link to an ebay auction for a toy volcano that would seemingly make a good piece of Tyranid terrain (or possibly a fortification).  He hemmed and hawed over the price, but didn’t want to take the plunge.  I suspect it’s because the toy looked like it was the appropriate size/shape for a bastion, and he’d already taken the time (and 18 posts) to scratchbuild one.  I, having no such Tyranid fortifications, wound up intrigued.

wh39kBugBastion (4)The toy is called the “Fire Mountain Playset” from the Italian TV show: Gormiti: the Lords of Nature!  Everything I know about the show comes from the Wikipedia link, but from what I can tell the toys were released in Italy in 2005 and never really caught on outside of that country.  As a result, most of the toys you see for sale are coming out of Europe, and many of them are damaged due to their age.  They don’t sell for very much money, but shipping to the US makes even the cheapest auction cost around $30.

Of course, GW charges $41.25 for their equivalent, so $30 didn’t seem so bad to me.  Before buying though, I wanted to do a little research to make sure it was the right scale/etc.  For that, I turned to Amazon’s listing and checked it out.  First, I should say that the cheapest listing on Amazon was north of $80, so I clearly wasn’t going to buy it from there–but I did want to know more about it, and I couldn’t find a better source of information.

First, I checked out the dimensions.  Amazon lists the size at 16.5″ x 11.5″ x 5″.  I couldn’t be bothered to dig my bastions out of their foam to measure them, so I relied on the internet for dimensions.  I found this thread on Dakkadakka that showed various GW fortifications and their dimensions.  Based upon those photos the dimensions of an official bastion are somewhere in the 8″ x 8″ x 9″ (the base is basically 6 inches square but juts out at the top and sides).  With those figures, the Gormiti volcano would likely be too big, but I thought that maybe I could pull off some of the little smokestacks to make it more size appropriate.

wh39kBugBastion (3)The next thing I checked were the reviews of the product.  Let me tell you: the folks at Amazon are not keen on it.  It rates an average of 2.7 stars based upon 10 customer reviews.  Frankly, that doesn’t seem too horrible, but consider that 7 of the ten gave it a one or two star review (in fact, half of them gave it a single star).  Complaints include that the toys don’t figt inside it, that it isn’t as good as it looked in the commercial, that the buttons aren’t age appropriate, etc.  Luckily, none of those matter to me as I’m not using it for it’s originally intended purpose.

The only real issue I could see was size, and I thought that I might be able to make that work, so I eventually bit the bullet when I saw one going cheap on Ebay last December.  The auction had a minimum bid of $14.99 and a shipping price of $8.99.  Not surprisingly, based upon the reviews and the fact that there’s no demand for Italian based TV show toys in the USA, I got it for the minimum.  The seller shipped it rather slowly, but it arrived by the end of the year–and I wasn’t really in any rush to work on it anyway.

wh39kBugBastion (1)Now that it arrived, I’m pleased with the overall purchase.  The size is a better comparison that I’d hoped.  Sure, it’s a tad larger than the bastion (a good bit wider, given the base and the add-ons, and just a smidge deeper, though the height is fairly spot on (excluding the spires).  It has some corny effects and some completely unnecessary moving bits that I’ll probably remove outright.  These include the clawed arms and some red demon/imps that protrude from various points at the push of a button.  I also intend to do some putty work to remove the obvious joints where pieces of plastic come together, and will most likely glue it closed (what need do I have to open it later?).

Forgive the size comparison shots as the lighting was bad and I took the photos with my phone.  Still, I thin you can see that they’re fairly even in size.  In the other photos, you’ll notice I included a grey knight figure I had laying around for scale purposes.  As far as the top goes, I really should build up the edge to give the models up top cover (like they’d get in a normal bastion).  I’ll also have to work to get some Tyranid bits (likely guns–to serve as heavy bolters) and some ripper swarms to make it look more appropriate.

In the end, the exact measurements of the Gormiti piece are hard to say because it’s not as square as the GW equivalent.  I did try to measure it and came up with the dimensions of the volcano itself as 4.25″ x 5″ x 7″.  When you allow for the small additional pillars, that really does put it pretty spot on with the GW bastion at 8″ x 8″ x 9″ (or thereabouts).  See the thumbnail photos at the end of this blog post to see how I measured it.

wh39kBugBastion (2)In total, I think it’ll turn out great and thank Dwez for pointing it out to me.  I’ve also had some friends remark that they thought it would make a nice Chaos bastion as well.  Frankly, it screams Tyranids to me, but I’m probably a little biased.

I think I have my work cut out for me.  It’s a good baseline, but it’s not as simple as painting it blue.  I’m not sure how long it’ll take to finish (probably quite a while, considering my procrastination skills).  Anyone taking bets as to whether I’ll finish it this year or next?

WH39kTyranidBastionMeasured (3)  WH39kTyranidBastionMeasured (2)  WH39kTyranidBastionMeasured (1)