Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Between the Bolter and Me: 2017, a year in review

Onward to 2018!

It is hard to believe, but 2017 has come to a close, marking five years for Between the Bolter and Me! Just like each year before it, 2017 proved to be quite different from the previous years. While 2016 was filled with attending collaborative events (the Pilgrym and Curse of the Alabaster), 2017 was much more introspective, as we honed our image of what makes a responsible and effective model (namely by examining female representation as well as logical anatomy). We also learned a lot of new techniques, including resin casting and working with non-acrylic paints. With this post, we wanted to recap all of the projects that we have been working on over the last 12 months.

True-scale Space Marines:
Our first True-scale Space Marine, who was painted by Migs from Iron Sleet.

Our second attempt at creating a better proportioned Space Marine.

Not knowing that Primaris Space Marines were being released, we began the year building our own true-scale Space Marines, focused on correcting the flaws present with the aging design of the classic multipart models. Although it took the better part of the year, slowed by our efforts to create a rubber mold for the model, we are really happy with how the model turned out. The effort culminated in the creation of an Elder One to accompany FPOA’s defenders of the Thorn Moons.

After creating a cast of the second True-scale Space Marine, a Black Templar was built.

Finally, Elder One Othalanga was created, the character that started us on the project to begin with.

Resin Casting:

Our first silicone mold.

A cast of our True-scale Space Marine.

For the last few years we had been meaning to learn how to create silicone molds, allowing us to cast resin copies of some of the models that we create. After spending months painstakingly sculpting our second true-scale Space Marine, we figured there would never be a better time to learn the craft. While conceptually simple, the process of creating a silicone mold is challenging and time-consuming. To make the process easier for people new to the process, we documented the general process, as well as describing a series of things that can be done to improve the casting process.

AoS28: A Crystal World:

“There is an immense reward to be found in that frozen forest... the gift of immortality a direct consequence of the surrender by each of us of our own physical and temporal identities. However apostate we may be in this world, there perforce we become apostles of the prismatic sun."

The Crystal World (1966), J.G. Ballard

Freyvid Hafnar, Barak-Nar Biologis Guild

A mighty Stormcast Eternal fettered to the Mortal Planes due to slow crystallization.

We had the idea of creating a group of lost souls afflicted by a disease that causes slow crystallization from reading J.G. Ballard’s novel The Crystal World (1966). The imagery in the novel, of a forest and everything in it turning to crystal, stayed with us long after reading it. When Jake of Ex Profundis began the AOS28 movement earlier this year, it seemed like an excellent opportunity to make some of these ideas a reality. As of writing this, we have created two crystallized warriors, an orruk and a trapped Stormcast Eternal, in addition to a Kharadron Overlord from the Barak-Nar Biologis Guild investigating the curious outbreak. We hope to continue to add more and more crystallized warriors of the Mortal Realms in 2018!

An unfortunate orruk turning to crystal.

Tor Megiddo:

Seqemose, Bounty Hunter

One of the most exciting parts of 2017 was watching the sun bleached spectacle that was Tor Megiddo, a collaborative hobby event hosted by Alexander Winberg from Echos of the Imperium and Helge "Wilhelminiatures." The event had an incredibly talented group of hobbyists build warbands and ramshackle vehicles to race across the desert ruin that is Tor Megiddo. Although we were not able to make it to the event, we were able to create two models for the event, a pair of bounty hunters, one a grizzled Imperial Guard veteran, while the other a tall and wispy thin humanoid bird creature. We were also fortunate to be able to have Alex join us on our podcast, Dragged into Turbolasers, to talk about the event!

Arkan Vell, Bounty Hunter

Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition - First Strike:

Some slightly converted Primaris Space Marines.

Adeptus Astartes: Raptors

Although we do not often get the chance to play full-scale games of Warhammer 40k, a new edition was released this year, along with a few different starter boxes. Excited with how much the game had changed, we got the smallest starter, First Strike, to give the system a try. While we enjoyed the experience, we were particularly impressed with Games Workshop’s efforts in making the box accessible to new players, both in terms of the models and the presentation of the rules. The three Primaris Space Marines also served as a great canvas for Eric to give miniature painting a try, with the three Space Marines the first miniatures he ever completely painted.

Rainbow Warriors Project:

Space Marine Chaplain: Rainbow Warriors

In an effort to promote diversity and inclusiveness in the miniature wargaming community, we, along with a group of other like-minded hobbyists, helped build a Rainbow Warriors Space Marine army. Our contribution was to convert a chaplain for the army, which we did by splicing together a Primaris Space Marine and one of the character models from the Betrayal at Calth.

Death Guard Challenge:

Death Guard Plague Marine

2017 was a major year for Nurgle, as a whole line of Death Guard models were released. Unfortunately, the release suffered from a number of design issues that prevented us from being excited about the majority of the new models. Amazingly, despite being released alongside the Primaris Space Marines, the Death Guard still suffer from the flawed anatomy of earlier Space Marine models, including a lack of abdomens and curiously attached legs. Instead of only complaining about these concerns, we created a challenge (at the suggestion on Bigbossredskullz) to encourage people to try their hand at correcting some of the most obvious issues with the new Death Guard models. We were thrilled by the large number of talented hobbyists that took up the challenge and created a series of stunning Death Guard models! Not to be outdone, we also created a Death Guard Plague Marine, using pieces from a Plague Marine from the Dark Imperium box and a Primaris Space Marine.

Thorn Moons Crusade:

Elder One Othalanga

Defender of the Thorn Moons WIP

Throughout the entire year we have slowly been creating models for Iron Sleet’s next collaborative Warhammer 40k project, the Thorn Moons Crusade. First, we built Elder One Othalanga to join FPOA’s other Elder Ones to defend the Thorn Moons. Towards the end of the year, Iron Sleet announced their second Invitational, inviting people to build 5 human-sized models that would fight alongside the many factions looking to wage war amongst the Thorn Moons. Although we did not get to enter any models, we are creating some soldiers of the Imperial Army that originally explored the Crataegus Fragmentum during the Great Crusade, and has now spent the last 10,000 years cut off from the wider Imperium. To bolster the Thorn Moon’s defenses, we also converted a light tank out of a 1:35 scale T-26.

A T-26 in the 41ist millennium.

We hope you enjoyed looking back over the things that we were working on throughout 2017. It was a productive and rewarding year, one that was made possible by all of your support and encouragement! Thanks to all of you, and we are thrilled for what 2018 will bring!

- Eric, Adam, and Greg Wier


  1. Those early attempts at casting were the highlight of the year for me reading this. I still have a picture of the knight with the face bubble that makes him look jowly saved on my phone. I'm torn between Seqemose and the Crystal World figures as a close second; both are so evocative, and make me want to play with them and tell stories about them and make them have adventures around my house. Great stuff.

    Here's where I get to be a pain in the ass, though: you did the post on sexism in miniature gaming, but... did you make any female models last year?

    1. Yeah, learning how to cast stuff was a big step, one that we can hopefully take more advantage of in 2018! No female models were finished in 2017, but Adam started to sculpt some for the Thorn Moons Crusade, which we are pretty excited about because it will allow us to make a cast of the bodies. Therefore we will finally be able to make Imperial Guard models as they should be, with an equal mix of genders!

  2. You guys put up some great content this year - as always it was fun to follow along at home.
    I even managed a bit of painting listening to the occasional podcast. I think your Crystal Storm Cast and Raptors are the two standouts for me - though your truescale shenanigans were also interesting to see develop. Hope you all have a great 2018 and I look forward to seeing what you create this year.

    1. Thanks for all your support over the years! It is nice to hear that our podcast was able to keep you company while painting :D

  3. Great year guys! Lets keep up the collaborations in 2018 🤝🤜🤛

    1. I couldn't agree more about continuing to collaborate! Lets continue to push each other in new directions!

  4. Happy new year; good luck for 2018 and keep up the great work!

  5. Another excellent year! Super stuff as always, I’m very partial to the anatomically correct Astartes being my favorite but all of the stuff you guys have done is great! Here’s to another year of BetweentheBolterandMe badassery!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! I am sure we will continue to explore proper anatomy in 2018, hopefully we can shift away from just doing Space Marines, however :D