Saturday, November 2, 2013


My first go at Blanchitsu circa 2006-07

Today let's take a trip back to the underhive.

Of all the wonderful gangs of Necromunda the scavvies are one you can really go to town on. Back when I made these in 2006 I was particularly fired up by the John Blanche Inquisitor Sketchbook and decided to try a round of blanchitsu on a motley crew of figures from various manufacturers and ranges. I'm not a huge fan of either the original Necromunda scavvies or the later Fanatic imprint versions. I do like the Jes Goodwin confrontation scavvies quite a bit and have those, but for various reasons they didn't make it in the first group here. I also like the Marauder Miniatures confrontation scavvies in principle but the bauble-head style doesn't gel with the other figures I have marked out for this, so those few I did end up using wound up converted. I can't remember now whether I took the dremel to them before or after I learned what they were worth on ebay. ;)

I got together about thirty figures all told, of which these eight are the first to see completion. I think well over a dozen ranges are represented in the initial pile, and this first batch draws from five ranges and three manufacturers. Actually, possibly four manufacturers depending on if you count Marauder as separate from Games Workshop. I didn't have any sculpting experience at the time and did the greenstuff work entirely a toothpick. They came out rough and ugly, but then that's exactly what I was after sculpting scavvies. Mutants are great sculpting practice. I guarantee you the first few heads you sculpt are going to look like mutants even if you're aiming for perfect human proportions. ;)

Mutant with the "exposed brain" mutation, an idea taken from the Inquisitor Sketchbook. It's heavily converted from a Gorkamorka orc.

A converted Marauder Miniatures scavvy. I took a dremel to the head, hands and feet and resculpted them nearer 28mm proportions. I like how the the bat-winged skull on the hat turned out.

Another converted Marauder scavvy. I replaced the head with a plastic chaos marauder one and gave him a new pistol and a scratch-made maul.

This figure is a chem-grunt from the Vor: The Maelstrom Neo-Soviets line. It's stock except I switched out the tubing for a length of tire wire. The weapon can be either a flamer or some kind of toxic hose.

The scavvies' leader. At one point I knew the make of this figure but now I'm not certain. It's sculpted by Bob Olley. There's a chance it was for the K-Force or Shock Force line. Let me know if you can ID it. It had a spear gun originally and I added the hat and mask. The hat is a nod to Ian Miller.

A mutant converted from a Mark Copplestone sculpt for Grenadier's Future Warriors. The head is sculpted from scratch and the weapon was replaced.

Another mutant sculpted over a Gorkamorka orc. Plenty of GW figures have no neck but for some reason it looks really wrong to me here. Good thing he's a mutant so I can say I intended him to have the "no-neck" mutation. In my head I call him No-Neck Joe after a character from an animated short of the same name.

A mutant converted from a Gorkamorka digga (human). I gave him a tunic and sculpted the head from scratch. This guy has gills, handy for sneak attacks from the sump.


I used a desaturated palette with a lot of browns and greens, with a hodge-podge of other colors for clothing and equipment as these guys are going to take whatever they can get. Using colors with little saturation gives the set a more uniform and a more weather-beaten look. Obviously the first step to get the effect is don't use colors that are too bright in the first place, but the real trick is to add gray, rather than white, to build your highlights. Even when I want a bright effect I tend to add light gray (or bone color) to the highlights, but here I made them even more gray by added some GW Fortress Grey (a light neutral gray) to make the medium highlights before going up to the lightest shades made mostly of Vallejo Model Color Light Grey. Dirt was added by stippling a mixture of mostly matte medium with alternately gray, brown, black, etc. In comics when a character is stepping out of shadow in a menacing way the eyes are often just white pinpricks, and I did that here, except for the glowing yellow eyes of the sump-swimmer mutant.

Somewhere in this post I should brag that I won a gold Kubla for these at Kublacon some years back, best squad I think.


I've talked a bit already about sculpting these. It was a good way to get some sculpting chops and I was really happy with the results as these were some of my very first times out with putty and toothpick. Still really happy with these, though I've definitely come a long way from the toothpick days and have graduated to metal and rubber tools.

Here are pics of the conversions. They pics themselves are pretty poor, but these were taken back in 2007 and if my sculpting has come a long way my photography skills have come even further!

There are a couple I don't have pics for the conversions, but here's a "before" shot of the Marauder figure with tall hat to show you what I mean about the crazy proportions:

As always, the collection can be viewed in its entirety at flickr.