The Murrach

An example of Bestia Murrach, more commonly known as a Murrach,  Merrow, or Murr by the inhabitants of Yss. 

The Murrach are a widespread species with many variations across Yss. As an amphibious species they inhabit aquatic climes, from the deepest ocean to the great rivers and wetlands. They pose an ever present threat to seafarers and coastal settlements and regularly make forays along the great rivers raiding and reaving, capturing land dwellers for unknown reasons. The most prevalent theory is that they are a food source, mere prey to these aquatic beasts. Another is that they are used in profane rituals dedicated to their deities. whatever the case, none have returned to confirm these theories. 

From fetishes and charms found on Murr bodies, they appear to follow a pantheon that corresponds to those of the great enemy, though each is wildly different to the traditional forms known, or the variations found amongst other bestials and sentient followers. 

Physically the Murr look fairly lean, but much of their form is exceptionally dense muscle which can deceive an opponent in regards to their strength and speed. Their scaly skin provides an unexpected level of protection, and some sub classes have thick boney plates around their skulls and other areas which provide protection comparable to the steel armour used by us land dwellers. 

The most basic Murr is fully capable of tearing a man apart with its claws and teeth, but most are proficient scavengers and craftsmen. Most that reside inland and close to the coast use scavenged weapons and armour, or craft gear from the detritus of land dwellers. Those that reside in the deep seas and oceans make use of corals and the remains of sea creatures. Make no mistake, while their arms may look simple or ill maintained, they are quite deadly and fully capable of taking down a warrior in full plate if necessary. 

I advise that any incursion by Murr raiders be dealt with as quickly as possible, because for each raid they perform without resistance inevitably leads to them returning emboldened and in greater numbers, striking as regular as the tide itself. 

~ Filib Stjerne, Scholar of Theriology at the Learning Halls of Esel-Din. Author of “The Superior Hunter’s guide to the Beastly Mind. A cultural and psychological treatise on the Gor-kin”

Contrast Paints Review

I’ve avoided writing up anything about GW’s Contrast paints after viewing them at Warhammer Fest as I knew that it would just be another post in a polarising release. I wanted to avoid the patter back and forth about them so I could approach my thoughts on them without influence from others. 

Now as many have said, this isn’t a new thing for many hobbyists, nor is it necessarily cheap at £4.75 a pot. The principle has been around a long time and you can make up any colour yourself simply using water to thin your paint, or with mixes of mediums, flow aid and what have you; though your initial outlay for this method may cost more dependent on a variety of factors and availability in your area. 

I’ve been using Wyldwood and Skeleton Horde on the various wooden and metal sections of my Warcry terrain. Currently the results are positive, but not without issue. 

For clarity, while I did pick up a can of Wraithbone Spray to use with the Contrast paints, I used Hycote Grey Primer (My go to for priming most projects) on my terrain as it worked as a base for the scheme I wanted. 

Application wise I used both paints straight from the pot (well, from the palette) and they go on as well as any other GW paint. The thickness really does change the tone, so while I tried the “One Thick Coat” method as advertised, I ended up moving it around a lot to thin it down over a larger area, as it was far too dark. So if you want a thinner more even coat, either spread it thoroughly or use the medium for a thinner smoother coat.

Results wise it did what GW said it would do; pooling in the deeper areas creating a contrast against the raised areas. With a simple dry brush and a thin wash of Nuln Oil or Agrax Earthshade over the lot it will give me the look I’m after on the wooden parts of the terrain. So thus far, I’m very happy.

But there is a small issue. Contrast paint rubs off very easily, which is a problem for terrain and areas of a mini that get held a lot. And I don’t mean from a lot of contact, just picking up a piece once 24 hours after drying led to some raised parts rubbing off. So if you are painting a mini, be careful while handling it and make sure it gets a good coating of varnish to lock it all in at the end. With the terrain, I had to give it a dusting of matt varnish before I did anything else for fear it would come off during later stages. But now that’s done I feel far more comfortable handling it.

Overall I’m very happy with the results, even with its issues. While I’m very comfortable making my own mixes, I’m not unhappy about having something consistent that I can use straight from the pot. It certainly won’t replace my custom mixes, but It doesn’t hurt having something else in the tool box to play with. I can also see them being helpful not just for newcomers, but also disabled hobbyists that may not be able to spend time creating custom mixes for whatever reason. If I had had access to these prior to my transplant I would have been over the moon with the time and energy saving nature of them compared to making my own. They are a tad pricey per pot, but for the day to day painter or the hobby novice I can see a pot lasting a while, though less so if you are doing a lot of large scale stuff. I’ve used half a pot of Wyldwood on the terrain so far, which is quite a lot comparatively. 

I’d certainly recommend giving the Contrast Paints a try, particularly Skeleton Horde (I can see it getting a lot of use), having a play around and making your own mind up.

Thanks for reading ~ Mark

Nazgob Triumphant!

A bit of an indulgence away from the usual stuff.

My local GW store, in Milton Keynes, had it’s anniversary today. Along with all the usual goodies and special edition models, they held their store competition. And I did pretty well with Nazgob as my entry, nabbing the award for best converted mini. 

Needless to say I’m pretty chuffed. It’s a huge boost to my confidence in my skills, particularly sculpting and converting. So much so that I’m considering a few endeavors that I’m hoping will come to fruition next year, so watch this space!

~ Mark Talmer

Building Yss

I felt it was time to build a new gaming board that could be used for AoS (and occasionally for Historicals). I’ve spent about six or so months looking up youtube tutorials and educating myself on various techniques and materials in preperation for the big build. 

Board wise I contemplated a number of options and their pro’s and cons, before settling on a modular system which I could add scatter terrain to. In the end I went for Sally 4th’s Terra-Former Tiles, a well rounded range of MDF frames with a magnetic locking system. The frames themselves are well designed and do pretty much what they say on the site. The neodynium magnets really lock them together really well and the frames are nice and sturdy. I used superglue to put mine together for speed and efficiency, but woodglue would be perfect if drying times aren’t an issue for you.

The frames require some form of polystyrene filler, either the simple jablite stuff or the lovely pink insulation foam. I went with jablite for affordabilities sake and ease of access. While jablite isn’t my first choice for terrain building it is fine for this, as it will be covered up with filler and pva to strengthen it. To save time I whipped up a template to help with cutting out the inserts. Having to hand measure each one prior to cutting would have been labourious and tedious. With the template it was barely a twenty minute job to cut all of them out and fit them. Make sure you use a nice sharp blade to cut them, I used a snap off knife with the blade extended all the way to cut mine clean through.

Then it was a case of gluing and adding detail. The cliff faces are made from discarded slate shards I found in the fathers hoarded building material pile. I just stacked them up and glued them in place. I used PVA which I regretted, as it didn’t really stick them down all too well, it was the filler that really secured them in place. Next time I’ll use the hot glue gun. 

Then it was on to adding filler. I used plain old polyfiller. I did start putting it on with a spatula, but it started looking unnatural, so I slipped on some gloves and applied it by hand. It’s helped maintain a natural look and allowed me to get the filler into all the nooks and crannies around the cliffs and into the stream bed.

Once dry, I added some citadel trees and textured the board with coarse and light sand, along with aquarium gravel for smaller rocks. The larger rocks were either slate or decorative garden stones. When applying the sand I used a watered down mix of pva with a little flow aid added.

Then I painted it all. A black undercoat on everything, with some zenithal highlights of a medium grey on the trees, cliffs, and rocks, along with some splashes on the dirt. Then I added a chocolate brown emulsion, and once dried I used a large make up powder brush to drybrush the whole board with Buff Titanium from Daler Rowney. It took about thirty minutes to drybrush the whole board. I’ll be buying more make up brushes from mini painting after seeing how effective it was, after a quick wash it was good as new with zero wear. If I had used my usual choice it would have killed the brush and only been good for rubbish jobs after. 

Flocking was fairly easy, I used the same watered down pva mix with flow aid to spritz the sections. Then I went along the edges of each section with the mid green flock so as to prevent strange lines cutting off between sections. Then I gently added light and dark tones before giving the whole thing a hit with mid green flock. I simply sprinkled everything on, as just chucking on the flock creates a lot of waste. 

After this I started detailing….

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Some links for folks.

Materials.

Sally 4th, suppliers of the Terra-Former Tiles.

Arcane Scenery, suppliers of the various flocks, foliage etc. 

B&Q, for the polystyrene, woodglue etc. 

Tutorials.

TheTerrainTutor

Lukes APS