Monday, October 12, 2020

Sexy Warhammer Ladies: On being a female hobbyist in the #WarhammerCommunity (Xenos Alchemist Podcast)

Coming hot on the heels of our special #Krootoberfest episode of the podcast is this more serious episode, which I recorded back in September with hobbyists LadyDothPaints, Norn.Queen, and Hivfleet_Horror

When we recorded the episode it'd been three months since Games Workshop posted its Warhammer For Everyone message on its Twitter and Facebook accounts, unleashing a deluge of gatekeeping, hating, and other bullshit. We look back on all of that and ask the question "what can male hobbyists do to help female hobbyists feel more welcome and secure in the #WarhammerCommunity?"

Turns out it's not that complicated. 

If you listen to only one episode of the Xenos Alchemist podcast, it should be this one. 

No, we're not perfect, and yes, we've all made mistakes. But it's our job to learn from those mistakes and do better. Here's hoping that this episode is a good place to start!

Here's the YouTube version of the episode, complete with links in the description to all the accounts we reference in the actual episode.

And here's the audio version of the episode:

Also, let us know what you think of the episode in the comments below. Or if you want to confess a time when you might have been a less-than-stellar hobbyist to someone from a different group, you can do that too! Whatever you do, just don't be a jerk ;)

I'll start by admitting what I admitted in the episode: That I, too, was once judgmental of sexy warhammer ladies. But then Charlie set me straight.

What's your hobby confession?

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Sculpting a Krootox (hobby stream)


This week on the #WIPWednesday sculpting stream, I finally got back to work on the Krootox I started back in Kitbashember of 2018. There's a lot of blathering in here, but, eventually, I get to some actual sculpting on the big boy for #Krootoberfest.

Friday, October 02, 2020

#Krootoberfest! The celebration of all things Kroot (Xenos Alchemist podcast)

If you've been following me, you know I've got a soft spot for Xenos races in general, but Kroot in particular. I've previously converted a Kroot Tyranid Hunter, then expanded that concept to a Kroot Tyranid Hunter killteam for Kitbashember 2018. Last year I took this love affair to the next level and agreed to make a full Kroot Tyranid Hunter army for Siege of Pech, the Krootvasion of Adepticon 2020

Though Adepticon 2020 was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Siege of Pech group project has continued, and it has been gathering a lot more steam! 

To catalogue the rollercoaster ride of this project, and to look forward to our next opportunity to celebrate all things Kroot this October as part of #Krootoberfest, I had a chat with @That.Kroot.Guy and @Ironbeak_Mercenaries, the two Kroot die hards who created Siege of Pech on Instagram, as well as @Koszkamade, who was one of the first artists to join the Siege.

If you're the kind of person who loves Kroot, this is the podcast episode for you!

Here's the episode in video and audio formats:


Thursday, September 24, 2020

Dr Tabletop Drop Top Review (hobby stream)

 For this week's WIP Wednesday hobby stream, I start off with a review of the Dr. Tabletop Drop Top, which was created as part of a kickstarter to convert citadel paint pots into dropper bottles. As a long-time proponent of transferring my citadel paint to dropper bottles, I was interested to see how these new Drop Tops would measure up to the old standard of just transferring paint, both in terms of ease of use and cost.

Once I get through messing around with that on the video, I get to more sculpting on my #DominaNid3 Tyranid Dominatrix project, doing some more work on one of its arms.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Hive Fleet Moloch: The exclusive interview (Xenos Alchemist podcast)

Our podcast returns this week with an exclusive interview with one of the most well-known Tyranid artists out there: Hive Fleet Moloch / Marco Schulze!

After years of influencing the Tyranid community with his converted Tyranids, with them having appeared in the official codex and in White Dwarf multiple times, the Mighty Moloch disappeared into the void for a time. However, with his recent resurgence, this felt like the perfect time to share more of his synapse signal with the rest of the hive mind!

In this interview, we take a wide ranging survey of his hobby experience, from his beginnings with Warhammer 40k, to his collaboration with the Games Workshop Studio and other artist, to what has brought him back to the hobby. 

Along the way, we also dip into his other dorky passions, such as collecting Alien memorabilia and scifi cosplaying for Star Wars and Alien. 

Choose your preferred format below, and start listening!


Also, if you've got any messages you'd like to share with Hive Fleet Moloch, please leave them in the comments below.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Sculpting Live Streams on YouTube

For anyone who is still tuned in to the ol' bloggerino:

Thank you.
And I'm sorry.

Thank you for keeping on keeping subscribed to this blog and for checking in on it regularly. 

And I'm sorry I'm not as good at keeping it up to date as I may like. As captured well in the recent Between the Bolter and Me stream/podcast episode, hobby blogs may have a bit of dust on them these days, but they're still super valuable records/repositories for hobby content. 

The challenge is that, like hobby forums of yesterday, they don't always make it super easy to share content as fluidly as social media does :(

Therefore, if you're ever wondering what I'm up to, the most up to date source will always be my Instagram (and you can check it even if you don't have an instagram account...though the sneaky buggers may force you to sign up to expand a post >:P).

However, I've also gotten a lot more active on my YouTube channel recently, having made my first forays into hobby streaming. I didn't think it would be interesting for folks to just watch me sculpt. Apparently, I was wrong.

So it's now the case that I've gotten into the habit of doing a live hobby stream on YouTube every Wednesday night, around 8 pm / 20:00 EDT. However, I know that's not always ideal for people in other parts of the world, so I'll work at also doing streams on weekends or at other times when more folks can join. 

The best place to find updates on that kind of stuff is the community page of my YouTube Channel. If you were to check that now, you'd find that I've got a stream coming up this Tuesday, September 15th at 2:30pm / 14:30 EDT, or 19:30 GMT. 

Even if you miss the live stream, I archive the videos of each stream, and I've embedded the Hobby Stream playlist above. Though there's a goodly amount of random chatter with the folks commenting, the videos are good opportunities to learn to sculpt things. For example, on the most recent stream, I showed how to sculpt hakama / pleated pants, and quick and dirty hoods:

Here's hoping you'll be able to join one of the streams!

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Sculpting Brains & Eyes: Tyranid enhanced senses (Project Gunbeast)

Next up on was tackling the creature's head. This Tyrannofex is going to be carting around some huge armour plates on its forearms to protect from incoming fire. One of the most important things it is protecting is its targeting array, which I wanted to make look like the organic, Tyranid equivalent of a satellite dish. The head is heavily armoured, but when those armour plates "bloom" open, they reveal all manner of eyes, scent pits, and even hyper sensitive brain matter.

Basically, a horror show of senses meant to detect any and all targets, across a number of wavelengths and spectra.

And I did it all in one go! And you can watch the results below:

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Sculpting Tyranid Weapons - Armour plates on a biocannon (Project Gunbeast)

I've got another video of me working on Project Gunbeast for you (two in one week! Must be on vacation!), still working on the creature's biocannons. This time I'm adding the armour plates to the top, largest cannon, and I try to sculpt them all in one go.

Once again, this creature is meant to represent a Tyrannofex, borrowing heavily from my own Tyranid Exocrine and Dactylis designs.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Sculpting Tyranid Weapons: Bio-Cannons on a Tyrannofex (Project Gunbeast)

Here's some progress on a Tyranid project I've been working on in the background. Years ago I found a KILLER deal on two Tyrannofexes on eBay. It was cheap enough to seem too good to be true, and when they arrived, it turned out it WAS too good to be true.

Alas. Chinacast.

I was so frustrated at how I'd been duped that I burried the models in the bottom of my Tyranid bin and forgot about them. 

Until this year, when I stumbled across them, and resolved to get my revenge on the chinacaster by turning one of them into a badass Tyranid gunbeast. I'm referring to this as Project Gunbeast. On paper, this bad boy is going to rep a Tyrannofex, but you'll find that my design borrows heavily from my previous Tyranid Exocrine and Dactylis designs--particularly the idea of it being a mobile Tyranid gun emplacement that carries its own fortifications around with it!

Anyway, in this livestream I do some detailing on the Gunbeast's back-mounted biocannons.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Project #DominaNid3: Sculpting legs on a Tyranid Dominatrix

In my next adventure in livestream sculpting, I take on one of the legs for the #DominaNid3 Tyranid Dominatrix conversion, trying to make a leg big and stompy enough to match the stompy feet I had already planned.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Necron Warrior conversion - hobby live stream

I decided to try something new: both in terms of models and format. 

With the release of the Indomitus box, I not only took the plunge into Necrons, but also into hobby livestreaming.

And now you can watch me fumble my way through BOTH on this YouTube video! The quality is not stellar as I shot it on my phone, but have a look anyways to see how I make out.

Anyone out there joining me in this new necron plunge, inspired by these stellar new models?

Saturday, July 04, 2020

How to Sculpt Ribs: Video tutorial 9, ft. Hydra

Next up in the How to Sculpt Miniatures video series, we have another guest post from Brother Hydra,  This time focusing on how to sculpt ribs. As this is one of the main textures on Tyranids, it's a really useful one to get down.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

How to Sculpt: Getting Started with greenstuff

I've done a number of sculpting tutorial videos over on YouTube, but if you're just getting started with greenstuff, and you have only 3 minutes to spare, here are my quick tips that you need to know. Once you've got these down, I very much encourage you to check out my other video tutorials on YouTube.

Also! If you're already familiar with my tutorials, and you have a suggestion for other videos I could produce, let me know in the comments below what I can help you sculpt.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Xenos Alchemist: Hobby in the time of Corona

In this episode of Xenos Alchemist, we talk to Hydra about his most recent passion, Frostgrave, and how he's playing miniature games remotely in this time of Corona. There's a lot about Frostgrave and the idea of miniature liberation. However, we also talk about balancing family and hobby, why we're probably not getting into CAD sculpting any time soon, and how #Blanchitsu  and #Inq28 is the equivalent of an artistic revolution.

Even if you're not into Frostgrave (as we're not!), this should still be an interesting listen. We really wanted to have Hydra talk about Frostgrave because its stripped-down approach to rules could be pretty useful for folks who are into Inq28 / AOS28-style gameplay and narrative events.

Based on your preference, we've got two ways to enjoy this episode.

In audio format, like usual:

Or in video format:

However you prefer your podcasts, we've got you covered.

If you're not already following Hydra, you can see more of his work here:

We talk a bit about the #FG28 hashtag, and you can see more about that here:

The featured artists from this episode can be found on on Instagram:

And here are the Instagram handles for the other artists we mentioned:

Let us know what you thought of this episode, and if you have any questions you'd like to ask us or Hydra, you can share them in the comments below or email

Monday, May 18, 2020

Project #DomniaNid3 : Tyranid Dominatrix from a Hierodule rides again

It's that time again: time to return to the Tyranid Dominatrix from a Hierodule concept to see how the intervening years can improve on this community concept.

I call it a community concept since, though I've created two Tyranid Dominatrix from Forgeworld Hierodule models in my time (Tyranid Dominatrix attempt 1, Tyranid Dominatrix attempt 2), it all started with Hydra / Simon Schnitzler and his vision to cut up a pristine Forgeworld model to make something wholly new:

He cleaved pretty close to the classic Forgeworld Tyranid Hierodule model, fixing all of the annoying angry chicken parts of it, but with that he challenged the idea that Forgeworld models couldn't be converted, and he moved the Tyranid Dominatrix concept forward from the classic Epic model...
...into something new and awesome.
And he started something.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Xenos Alchemist bonus episode: Vestigial Twin

Back before Brother Pink and I came up with the Xenos Alchemist podcast, we were experimenting with what a recorded program would be like, and what we'd talk about. Those experiments resulted in this: the Proto Tyranid to Xenos Alchemist's fully-formed plastic Tyranid Warrior.

At the time, we called it "Vestigial Twin."

So, as we're busily working away on our next episode of the proper Xenos Alchemist podcast, we thought we'd share this blast from the past with you to tide you over until the next proper episode of XA drops (we'll try for a week today). And I promise that we'll make the wait worth it with double the content...whatever that means!

Until then, enjoy this. It's mostly just Brother Pink and I shooting the shit, mostly talking about sculpting and various materials. Since it's a proto-cast, the sound quality is not stellar, so consider yourself warned!

ALSO! If you actually read this far, I figured I should check if anyone who's been listening to the podcast has any questions or topics they'd like to suggest for us to cover on the air? If so, you can share them in the comment below or email them to modernsynthesist__at___gmail__dot___com.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Xenos Alchemist: Siege of Pech

We've got a brand new episode of mine and Brother Pink's Xenos Alchemist podcast for you today, and this one's a love letter to one of the best xenos races out there: the Kroot! In this episode we catch up on The Siege of Pech: a group project to stage a Krootvasion of the Adepticon 2021 Team Tournament, and we talk a little about what makes the Kroot so interesting.

This will be the first of two Siege of Pech episodes, and in our second one we hope to interview Ironbeak Mercenaries and That Kroot Guy: the two progenitors of this project.

For now, here's part one:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Too Many Nicks - A Xenos Alchemist Experiment

So k0rdhal and I have been joking that we should start up a random podcast. His name's Nick, and my name's Nick, so we mused it could be called "Too Many Nicks!". Wasn't really sure what the focus would be, but for this inaugural episode, we tried doing some hot takes on this weekend's reveals from Games Workshop. Give it a watch and let us know if its the kind of randomness you'd like to see more of. Think of it as a hold over thing until the next proper podcast episode of Xenos Alchemist.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

The return of Xenos Alchemist - Interviewing The Hydra / Simon Schnitzler

Well, it's been a bloody long time since Brother Pink and I put out our previous episode of our fledgling Xenos Alchemist podcast. However, now that I've restarted all the cogitators, re-established our link to the Hive Mind, and moved us off Soundcloud, I'm looking forward to doing a lot more of these. But first: let's clear the backlog of episodes Brother Pink had already produced before we went off the air.

No better way to mark our triumphant return than with an interview with Simon Schnitzler, one of my hobby heroes who is probably better known as Hydra over on his website H Archive, or as 4ydra over on Instagram. Simon and I met way back in 2006, and our friendship has blossomed well beyond the hobby in years since. Still, he remains one of the most prodigious builders of Tyranids I've ever seen, and his hobby brilliance has been rewarded with several Golden Demons.

Though this interview was meant to be about sculpting, we do a fair bit of digging through Simon's hobby history, and also wind up reflecting on our collective love for 90s action figures. Here's the episode for your listening pleasure:

...and if you've been subscribed to the blog for a while now, I wanted to point out that we've shifted our host from Soundcloud to Buzzsprout. Buzzsprout assures me that their system handled this seamlessly, and that anyone who was subscribed to us before should still be subscribed to us now. However, if you wanted to find us on Buzzsprout, you could do that here.

And, as we're dusting off our podcasting muscles, please let us know in the comments below if there are certain topics that you'd like to see Xenos Alchemist take on in podcast form.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Tyranid Broodlord Genestealer Patriarch Conversion - Nyarlathotep

I can't say no to a commission that involves creating a horrible monster. Ostensibly, this one was meant to be a big Tyranid beastie: either a Broodlord or a patriarch for a Genestealer brood that had taken a decidedly Eldrict turn somewhere along the way.

However it could just as easily be any kind of horrible chaos demon.

Usually clients allow me a lot of freedom when developing the design for the beasties they ask me to build for them. This client, however, was pretty exacting about keeping the design very close to the source material, which was this Yugioh card for Lovecraft fan favorite: NYARLATHOTEP!



To say I was thrilled by the challenge would be an understatement. Not only did I get to give flesh to an ancient horror, I got to do it in the service of the Hive Mind!

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Old Strains: Genoproject and the Genestealer Hybrids

Or, "How I once converted a Eldar Genestealer and Ork Genestealer"
What feels like a thousand years ago, the revised plastic Genestealer kit released to much fanfare. However, that fanfare was pretty negative as this was the early days of the Internet, and the advance photo of the new plastic Genestealer that leaked was taken from the front, the with crumby, potato phone camera pointed right up its nose!

Thus began Stealergate: the controversy of the entire 40k community panning the new genestealer models before they were even released for having giant nostrils, and Jes Goodwin swearing off the online community for them having prejudged a model they hadn't even seen yet.

So, when the new plastic Genestealers finally released in the Battle for Macragge they did so under a bit of a pall. However, there was a group of us Tyranid hobbyist who couldn't be dissuaded by net negativity. We appointed ourselves Goodwin's Army, and we decided that we would embark on a project to show what the plastic Genestealer was really capable of!

Or at least I think that's how we started. Regardless, the Genoproject was born!

Monday, March 30, 2020

How to Sculpt Teeth: Video tutorial 8, featuring guest sculptor Hydra

Faithful blog followers, I owe you an apology. If you also follow me on YouTube, you'll know that this How to Sculpt video has been up for.... a while (COUGH--3 months pretty much to the day--COUGH). I'm sorry it has taken me so long to share it here, but I'd say that's more proof that you should probably subscribe to my channel on YouTube to get the freshest content as it drops!

To make up for that disappointment, I've got good news: this video features special guest sculptor Hydra. Why should you care about Hydra? Well, he's the guy who taught me everything I know about sculpting, so there's that! He's also got a sexy German accent >:)


Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Siege of Pech - Krootvasion of Adepticon

Some Shmexy kroot art from my dear and very talented friend Evgeny Pasternak
If you've been noticing a lot of Kroot conversions popping up on Instagram these days, you also may have come across the hashtag #SiegeOfPech or #Krootvasion. I've been meaning to do an explainer post on Siege of Pech for some time now, so here it is!