Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Face off - How to start a venator gang for confrontation

OK, if you read yesterday's post, you might have seen some models captured in blue putty to get their faces copied. The mold has been made and the resin has been poured...

But what is all of this about?

Well, if you've ever read the confrontation rules published in a series of White dwarf magasines  between n°130 something and 140 something, you might have come across some of this :

And I am pretty sure it must have left a trace inside of you. It's evocative, it feels crazy and it's full of little details (like staff faces as you can see here).

Confrontation is getting a lot of interest these days and it appears it has never truly left people's mind (amongst those who've read and tried the stuff at least)
This game published directly in white dwarf gave birth to Necromunda and Inquisitor (which also spawned some unofficial but yet very good games likes inquisimunda and many others that enabled skirmish/roleplay in the 40k universe.)
I'm not to tell the story of this game for others have done it before and far much better than I could.

Can't help but find this one somehow looks like Kirk Hammett...

What I want to show you is the gang I plan to build from scratch which is the venator gang.
In the rules, they're described as bounty hunters who purge mutants, psykers or any other problem.

A bunch of sketches by Jes Goodwin were joined in the rules along the fabulous drawing by John Blanche opening this post. As you can see a lot of the design got into the later necromunda redemptionists and Cawdor gangers (GW never truly wastes good ideas).

Some miniatures were even released by marauder but they go for ridiculous prices on ebay. The other major drawback of this series is that it's not a very convincing one. It doesn't capture what I see in John Blanche's drawings.

Getting my hands on the right heads was going to be the main issue from what I could see and I selected a few potential donors.

Now you know why I chose these guys.

As I wasn't confident in my casting skill, I raised the question on the oldhammer forum and I got a very positive response from theottovonbismark.

As you can see in his first and second post about the subject, he is coming up with the best version of the JB picture possible. (check out his other projects, I promise you some good time and many brilliant ideas to steal).

Just check it :



with a convincing test model 

So how is my own work getting along in all of this?

Well not as good as I had hoped. The first batch was a complete failure with bubbles everywhere and the resin being far too fragile. (first row)

The second batch (second row) proved to be better on half of the casts (not far to a finecast result if you consider the bubbles...) but one of the models got serious troubles and I accidently broke the mould (good bye Lucrezia chest copies...)

 The result on the last 4 of second row are good enough to try something with since they just need some little putty here and there. Mots of the piece will be filed anyway to fit on a normal head.
I'm relly pissed it didn't work for Lucrezia because I actually already made a good replication of it before to make a female vampire :

I blame the poor results on the resin. The bottle says it lasts 3 months after first opening and that it should be stored between 15°C and 25°C. My resin has been opened in 2007 and has been kept in the garage where temperatures must have come close to 0°C... The unused resin that cured in the mixing pot had a weird texture like I had never seen before. My bad, next time I won't try to use overaged resin and maybe it will keep me from ruining molds...

to sum up what I've learnt :
  • mix the 2 components of the resin with a large tool with slow movements to avoid traping thin air bubbles in the mix and try to mix it as well as you can
  • when pourring resin in small siligum molds, just pour one drop and bend the mold so that it covers all the inner surface and use a toothpick gently to open the recesses and let the resin go everywhere.
  • Then slowly pour the rest to fill the mold making sure you don't trap a big bubble
  • Use fresh resin or store yours in the right conditions, I know mine was a good one since it already worked a lot of time but this time it didn't behave like it used to...

Once I have all the parts but the heads, I'll make a plan on how I'm going to build this and how I want it to look like. There is going to be some kitbashing but also some heavy conversion and sculpting job too (the hardest being done by theottovonbismark). I want to take my time to do the best job on these.

After (or even during) the creation of this gang, some more gangs will follow but built from existing models I've gathered here and there, mixing old references (some from the first rogue trader release) with soem very recent ones (Imperial guard still has some great models hidden even if the scale is not right)

On a side note (you have to occupy yourself when resin cures) :
I also started throwing some Green stuff on the grav-attack (with heavy Ian miller influence in mind) and some glue on pieces I've just received...



  1. Nice one, I didn't see those concept sketches before - or if I did I didn't remember them. Resin bubbles are a bit of a nightmare. Is there any other product that would be better for cold casting? I like the look of this stuff, I will try it in the new year I think.

    Also see:

    1. I'm using a french equivalent to the first link you posted and I'm pretty sire a good quality resin is unavoidable to make a good cast.
      The second link is also very useful and well documented.
      I'll put the casting son hold for the time being and concentrate on the rest.

      the concept sketches are from the rules and were in I don't know which WD.


  2. Amazing. This project instils awesomeness, I'm totally hooked! Casting is far away from my poor skills, so you have my admiration. Need to see your progress on this!

    1. Well my progress on casting is not to be seen soon but I have good hope the gang will take shape quite rapidly !
      Thanks for the support !

  3. A very cool project, Mr. ALMan. And inspirational! You might even see some Blue Blob Head Gangs running around the privates eternal at some point.

    1. Oh, I would definiitely love to see that ! Your kill team surely would be up to the task ! Fighting against a horde of characters parasited by blue blob face huggers would be grand, a sort of mix between "It came from space" and other B-series movies and Half-life...

  4. Although not what you totally wanted, the results aren't too bad. I think being out of practice and using old resin are more to blame than anything else. Keep at it, you'll get it.

    1. You're right, I actually learnt from the mistakes and I know how to improve things so it's not so bad !
      Maybe the failed faces will look good with some putty and paint...

  5. Copying and casting the faces is a great idea! Many may disagree, but I'm very much of the opinion that casting is the answer to so many modelling problems! I look forward to seeing the gang when it's finished. :)

    1. Well, in this case the main heads to be used will be the ones sculpted by theottovnbismark and my own casts concern pieces only an djust for my own purpose so in this case I cant' see any harm to anyone.
      If the necromunda redemptionists has still been in production I would surely have ended buying some !

  6. That artwork is still the way I imagine the 40k universe to be, most of the newer images are very nice, but they just do not convey that same feeling.

    I love the mask you created for the test model, that almost "moon-face" really captures the imagery of the classic artwork.

    I think I have a pdf of the collected Confrontation article on my hard-drive somewhere, may have to dig it out and give it a whirl. My friend and I used the Dark Heresy RPG book to play a very detailed skirmish game recently, that was a lot of fun.

    And I'm really looking forward to seeing the classic bottle Grav-tank come together, keep up the great work :)

  7. Thanks, The grim moonfaced is not mine though, it's theottovonbismark who sculpted this and who is doing a terrific job on it (see his blog).
    I agree these pictures are closer to the idea I have of the 40k universe where everything is not about war and religin but about strufggle to survive with more mature content.
    The grav-attack is taking shape and is starting to look how I wanted it to. i'm going to steal a few of the tricks you used on your late nurgle beast to improve it a bit more.

    1. You know what? I knew it wasn't. Because I followed the links you provided when I was reading your post.
      But then somehow whilst I was writing my comment, that information just evaporated away...

      *facepalm*... I can be a fool at times.

      I also just remembered something else I was going to write in my first comment and forgot.
      When Dark Vengeance was released, I did what many people did and thought those cultist would make pretty nice gangers with a little conversion work, haven't got around to it though. My plan was to make some Cawdor/Redemptionists, by using some of the some of the spare Night Goblin heads. Cut the points from the hoods and sculpt new hoods/cowls to fit the figures and paint the goblin faces as masks.

      I don't know if this will be useful for your Grav-Tank sculpt but you could experiment on a piece of card or blister pack and see if you like it.
      Brush on some p.v.a. glue, drip, superglue all over it, when it dries you get some pretty cool organic textures.

      It's pretty random, that's why I recommend trying it on some scrap first. That's how I did some of the texture on my Nurgle bases.

    2. Gah..
      Sorry, I need to write slower and read what I've written more carefully. :(

    3. Sure thing it's gonna be useful, it's exactly the kind of tips I like to experiment! I'll have a go on some P-card. thanks a lot.


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