Hobby Heresy: Smash Bash Kitbash Event 2023 recap

Smash Bash, the kitbash event put on by @totally_not_panicking on Instagram, wrapped up its third season at the end of June. In case you missed it, you can check out last year’s result here.

The Contest

A theme was introduced for Smash bash: A Brackish Birth. Brackish often refers to water, where rivers meet seawater. It can also refer to something unpleasant or distasteful.  Participants were encouraged to adhere to the theme, but also to interpret it as they see fit. Judging the contest were @totally_not_panicking, @gardensofhecate, and @nickygrillet. Ana Polanšćak (@gardensofhecate) sculpted a set of miniatures/kitbash bits again this year for the event, available in the Smash Bash shop. (Last year’s Corpulent Horrors are still available too!)

Ana’s Brackish Sisters

My Bash

This spring I read the Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance) by Jeff VanderMeer. The story put me on the track to create this human/boar hybrid creature rising from black water. I started with a Schleich Wild Boar toy. It’s hindquarters and left front hoof were cut off with a jewelers saw so that it could be coming off the base at an angle.

Next step was to remove its lower jaw, tusks, snout, and ears. I wanted to make the mouth open, and a face to be where the snout was.  A head added to the front is from the 6th edition Warhammer Fantasy zombie kit. I used a lower jaw from the Ossiarch Bonereapers Lord-Kavalos mount. 

In addition to the boar and human aspects of this creature I wanted vegetation and mushrooms growing from its back. Arms from the Soulblight Gravelords Deadwalker Zombie kit with a branch emerging from its shoulder, and branchy bits from several Sylvaneth kits filled the role. Several mushrooms from 3d printed basing bits were glued to its back too.

Now its ready for the first round of green stuff for gap filling and smoothing the parts together. Gaps around the edges of the vegetation were filled in to create a smooth transition into the back. I sculpted a new left ear. A couple round blobs were used to create two more eyes on the right side of its face. The head on front was filled in around to smoothly transition it into the rest, and to create cheeks connecting to the lower jaw. My idea was to have the front human parts be fleshy. Not shown was A second round of greenstuff making hair overlap the fleshy parts, building out around the new eyes, and making a wavy water surface.

A second round of greenstuff made overlapping hair on the fleshy parts, building out around the new eyes, and a tongue.

Here is my final entry after painting:

Winner Showcase

Categories this year included an approximate base size and square inches to determine where they fit in the contest. Baby Bricolage is for smaller entries, generally around the size of a 40mm base, up to 5 inch x 5 inch x 5 inch. Medial Melange is for the next size up, around 80mm base and 10 inch x 10 inch x10 inch. Colossal Conglomerate is the category for everything bigger, as big as you want! Apprentices is for first timers and anyone not sure about this whole kitbashing thing. 

Baby Bricolage

Bronze: @stone.jaw (Part of the Hive Scum podcast, check it out for all things Grimdark and underground 28!)

“Great and weird critter. I have no idea what it is and it’s perfect! We might come across it on the way and have a sense not to come near it. The choice of colors make it even more alien. Wonderful mood, has a feeling of welcoming uncanniness. Horrible and delicate. Great balance of color and weight.”

Silver: @lukemockridge

“Fantastic atmoshpere and thematic choice! We rarely see underwater scenes, and the colors and textures work really well to convey a sense of deep pressure and exploration. Inspiring! One of the strongest entries overall when it comes to technical execution. Compliments on the composition and colours. Great sense of movement, depth and mood.”

Gold: @kavernofcuriosities

“I mean, it’s weird and asks a lot of questions and the painting and techniques are great and it’s tough not to just say it’s fantastic! Nice dark interpretation of the old ‘stork bringing babies’ myth. Technical execution good overall. The baby jar looks fantastic. Big mood. Brackish birth indeed.”

Medial Melange

Bronze: @empiricsemporium

“This diorama tells a clear story, and its well done composition plays a big part in that. The modelling and painting are solid, and you can almost see the orcs hacking away at the flesh to create something otherworldly, or perhaps just to eat.”

Silver: @grypusthegrey

“The creature design is ace. Colour choices and application, modelled textures, pose, and the addition of hairs all work together to give believability to an alien thing. Positively weird scene that i’d love seeing at the background of a strange movie. The odd bulbous shape and its texture almost looks translucent and it really adds to the otherness of it all. Will show up in my nightmares.”

Gold: @gdbmakesweirdthings

“The colours and textures of pale flesh and oxydised bronze complement each other excellently. The quality of craftsmanship is high. Such a weird amalgam of nonsensical flesh and mysterious machinery! Another piece that asks a lot of questions i’m happy having no answer for!”

Colossal Conglomerate

Bronze: @grimdark_gravis_guy

“Well done dynamic fight scene. The robot monster rightfully dominates the composition, and the action is clear and well executed with both modelling and painting. The scene works really well, and the cubic monstrosity is a nice mysterious graphic shape! Really great job capturing dynamism and stillness throughout, with a clear focus and great execution!”

Silver: @steves_paint_brush

“I really like the atmosphere of what feels like a full set of scenery. the colors fits nicely together, and the subjects feels odd enough that i’d like to know more about this place. Well done! A pleasant diorama with a good variety of shapes and textures, executed with high technical skill. Balanced and intriguing. Easily legible for how huge it is. Great textures.”

Gold: @florescentia.grotesque

“Absolutely bonker idea of using an old doll! And the scene inside looks nicely weird and very skillfully painted. One of the most eye-catching entries this year! The scenes inside the doll are intricate but easy to read. The colours are harmonious. Unlike gaming pieces, dioramas are not usually designed to be touched. This one exceptionally has that tactile component, and it adds character to the piece. Truly encapsulates the premise of the competition, the theme this year, and the category it occupies. Astounding.”


Bronze: @_hellgrammite_

“The Sea mine for a head gives this merman an enigmatic and foreboding feel. Nicely executed pose and base, with a bunch of thoughtful sculpting. Really fantastic atmosphere, the earthy textures work really well against the unnatural colors, and the lighting is marvelous.”

Silver: @yourtrashdaddy

“The colors and textures on this golem of seaweed and bone are all highly believable, from head to base. Really fantastic silhouette and colors atmosphere. The use of a bone as a head works really well.”

Gold: @Aveplastica

“Good sense of movement and weight in this piece. I can almost see the diver slowly climbing out of the water encumbered by their heavy gear, while the wormy mass in their arms writhes and squirms frantically. Wonderful sculpting.”

Final Thoughts

This year was quite the collection of amazing entries. The quality was off the charts. Going through them all to gather the winners was quite a treat. I highly recommend browsing the galleries. The theme was a fun addition this year. I’m looking forward to next years’ event! Nazi punks fuck off.

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