Unlike the “Summer of Stars” I had planned for last year, this time I have actually managed to make some progress.
A lot of the newer stars have very little in the way of background. This can make it tricky to model them since we have so little to go on. Fortunately some of them have very unique and distinctive characteristics. Ithaca is just such a star being an undead dark elf runner. Tueren Redvenom is sometimes used as Ithaca, but I didn’t think that works as he’s a bit too fleshy and looks more like a linemen or blitzer rather than a runner.
I am a big fan of the Queen Khalida model and wanted to use her for a Blood Bowl model somehow. Since elves tend not to distinguish much between male and female when it comes to war or Blood Bowl I decided to use her as the basis for Ithaca. An advantage of the sparse fluff is that you can fill in the blanks with pretty much whatever you want, meaning that Ithaca being female is perfectly reasonable. Sadly the back of the Khalida model is mostly covered by a cloak which meant I could only use the head and top of her torso. I took the body from a metal tomb priest and the arms from the plastic priest, he had a pointing hand which I though suitable for a runner. The other hand was holding a weapon, which I swapped for an open hand and gave her a football to hold against her thigh. So far I’d made a decent looking female khemri player, but she was rather lacking dark elf aspects. To rectify this I glued a decoration from the corsairs onto her headdress and added spikes to her forearm guards. She also go thigh guards taken from a 2nd edition dark elf thrower, who made a noble sacrifice for this conversion.
The TFF forum chose khemri for their 2016 legacy team. Every year a bunch of people on the forum select a team with each person painting up 1 player and then this is raffled off with the winner getting the whole team. Colouring is selected by polls and this year turquoise and gold were chosen. I decided to get involved with this for the first time as having a deadline always helps push me along and with the stars being included in the team I decided to do Ithaca. I hadn’t use turquoise in quite a while, but luckily had a 20+ year old Hawk Turquoise GW paint. Back then they used good pots and the paint was still in perfect condition. I was already using a model unique enough to stand out as a star, but I have always thought star player should have fancier looking uniforms and equipment. To that end I utilised a NMM (Non Metallic Metallics) technique for the gold bits of her armour. I hadn’t used this technique in a while, whilst the actual painting is pretty straight forward, using browns, yellows and white to suggest gold, getting the lighting right is always tricky. I’m reasonably pleased with how she turned out, the mask looks good but some of the smaller areas such as the gold edging left little room so ended up dark yellow.
With Ithaca out the way I turned my attention to the other stars. I prefer to do stars at the same time as I work on a team, but there are a few teams I likely won’t be painting up anytime soon as I have no ideas for them. Some of these are Khemri, Dark elves and Chaos Dwarfs. I’ve looked out the stars I have yet to do that are most associated with these teams; Horkon, Hubris, Humerus, Rashnak and Setekh. I included Jordell even though I would like to do a more conventional Wood Elf team at some stage too.
Another team I am unlikely to do again is Orcs, having painted up 3 orcs teams. I’ve even done all the stars for them, however most of these were for the savage orcs team and heavily themed to match them. Whilst I was happy with that team; Ugroth, Bomber and Scrappa were very unique. I’d already used the 4 GW goblin secret weapon for the circus goblin team, with some pretty simple conversions, meaning those 2 didn’t need to be redone. For Ugroth I liked the original 2nd edition model and purchased him off e-bay.
My initial plans for painting him was to match the orc team I had completed last year. They used a standard Neomics fantasy football orc team with a few head and limb swaps from GW’s 40k and fantasy range to add a bit more armour. I liked the dark red and silver battered armour combined with grey clothing and though that would suit him. It was also very close to the colour scheme from the original illustration. As I started painting him I grew unsatisfied with a star player having the same strip as his mundane counterparts, even though he is just an orc lineman with a chainsaw I still thought he needed some glitz. I looked online for other painted versions of him as well, I found quite a few well painted examples and some great conversions, but not many with cool colour schemes I wanted to copy.
Since I’d written an article on personalising stars I used some of those ideas on him. The first was to add gold rims to certain armour pieces, I could see an Orc star using his hiring fee to pmp out his armour, again I went for NMM. The next step was to add a checked pattern to his middle right shoulder pad, this design is often used on orc/ork character models. Finally I added a white star to his left shoulder pad and some hazard stripes (“safety first” is Ugroth’s mottos) to the chainsaw to break up the bland silver and black look.
I’ve got some other stars to work on and am made a small amount of progress on the ogre team as well. The rest of my model related time has been spent writing another article for the NAF site, this time about Blood Bowl specific bases. This is the fourth I have done so far, I still need to revamp the painting article that was previewed here ages ago but it requires quite a lot of new models to be painted up for illustrating specific points. I am also thinking of doing another on the peripheral models such as coaching staff, inducement and game markers.
Blood Bowl Bases
The other 3 articles are as follows.
Below is a sample from the 4000+ words Bases article, it includes some of the bases pics I like best that are featured in it.
Bases can be themed to the environment associated with that team to add extra character. This can be as simple as modifying the grass; High elves would play on a pristine pitch, a less well off human team might have a few patches of bare earth worn away over the season and it would be more overgrown for wood elves.
Of course plenty of races don’t live in environments conducive to the growing of neatly tended grass and have to play on a variety of other pitch types. Many teams can’t afford a large stadium and are forced to clear a patch of open ground to play on.
The very presence of certain teams will damage natural wildlife, others can only afford to play on a barren surface or care little for the upkeep of the grounds. The undead and chaotic teams in particular tend to kill off all plant life just through the nature of their magic. These teams would play on bare earth or rocky ground, maybe with a few patches of hardy vegetation. You’d most commonly see the less civilised or evil races playing on these types of surfaces.
Sand is glued to this base to represent rocky ground with patches of earth to represent an area with harsher weather or a well-used pitch, it still has some greenery. It is ideal for poorer humans, orcs or ogres.
In this example the base has the sand painted black with grey highlights and a few scattered bits of static grass to represent hardy plants eking out an existence. Desolate wastelands with little growing are more commonly seen with chaotic or undead teams.
Certain races live in areas where little if any plants can grow, they may well end up playing on sand or dry, cracked earth. These could also represent teams that play in warmer areas that often suffer from droughts (if you roll sweltering heat a lot), there may have been grass before but it has since been killed off.
A very simple and easy surface to do is sand, it can be left as is or painted brown and drybrushed with light shades such as this example. This gives the impression of a sand desert or even a beach, the most likely team to play on this would be Khemri teams.
In comparison this is an American style desert with cracked bare earth, some rocks and a few dry plants. This effect is done by spreading crackle paint in the centre and gluing fine grade sand round the edges. The whole base is painted a warm grey and then drybrushed with lighter shades of brownish grey before patches of static grass were added. Khermi teams could play on this as could humans or orcs that live in hotter climates.
If you look carefully at the 3rd edition cardboard pitch you can see all manner of extra detail. Churned up earth caused by particularly violent encounters, trash or rocks thrown by fans and even bits of armour or body parts from players! Adding these things like this will give your team more character and better represent them as playing on a Blood Bowl pitch rather than some random field or bit of wasteland.
Only appropriate for certain surfaces, the brutal clashes or acrobatic displays can have an impact on the field. Players may well have slid about whilst battling for dominance on the LOS or when diving to catch a pass.
It is pretty easy to represent this, just get some putty and stick it to the base, then either use a tool or the foot of a model to drag it into shape. This can then be painted brown and any flock or grass left off that part. You can go one stage further by adding the divots or clumps of earth dug up by this activity.
The addition of this bit of torn up earth made from greenstuff with some stones adds a lot more character to the otherwise flat green base.
Blood Bowl Specific Trash
As a game progresses debris will tend to accumulate, it might be trash or rocks thrown by fans, bits of armour broken loose during collisions or even body parts from unfortunate players themselves! Some of this debris might not be cleared up after each game, certain teams won’t be bothered by mess and may feel more at home playing on a pitch covered in rubbish and rotting body parts (Skaven, Undead and Nurgle all spring to mind).
The Blood Bowl fluff is filled with many pun versions of existing brands and these can be brought into model form by adding some trash to the base. Things like cans of Orca Cola, bottles of Bloodweiser, newspaper or programs and pennants or scarves from fans could also feature.
A vinyl grass matt was painted brown and drybrushed the represent sand. The can of Orca-cola was made from a plastic rod and the newspaper was a bit of tattered bit of cloth chopped from an undead model.