Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Bikou and another Wargaming Show

So I'm still working on the mission to clear my painting desk, which is just as well as I'm now starting to paint presents for Christmas, as well as getting started on the next article for the Ancible.  My latest finished piece is Bikou from Bushido.

She's painted in the same colour scheme as the Prefecture of Ryu warband I painted for the Ancible Issue 11.  The black was done slightly differently though:
  • Base coat:  Chaos Black
  • First highlight: Vallejo Model Colour German Grey (big thanks to Pirate Viking Painting for recommending this one)
  • Second highlight:  Adeptus Battlegrey
  • Final highlight:  Codex Grey
  • Glaze:  Very diluted Chaos Black was painted thinly over the black to tone down the highlights
I know the red and yellow aren't exactly "Ninja colours" but I wanted her to tie in with the rest of the Prefecture guys.  This is also why I used the ubiquitous GW grass - if I could do it again, I'd get rid of the GW stuff and use some more realistic stuff for all of them, but hey, it's done now and it doesn't look bad.  In the next week or so I'll post up some pictures of the whole group

The skin tones are different to my normal method:
  • Base coat:  P3 Beast Hide
  • Shade:  1:1 mix of Gryphonne Sepia and Leviathan Purple
  • First highlight:  Beast Hide
  • Second highlight:  Beast Hide and Ryn Flesh
  • Final highlight:  Ryn Flesh
As I've mentioned before, the base is from Dark Templar's rather splendid Malcontent range of resin bases - the bamboo set fit the Bushido game perfectly.  I haven't seen many other Japanese themed resin bases about, so if you're thinking of giving Bushido a try, get some quality funky bases to match!  Here's another picture to show how my first attempt at green stuff worked with the base and the tree trunk of the model:

Bikou was a blast to paint, really simple and fun, and it was nice to add something to the original Starter set. I'm going to get my hands on Mikio (crikey, not sure whether I can do something that looks THAT good), and the yet to be released Shujenga who I think is going to rock in the colour scheme I have.

Last weekend I attended Warfare in Reading.  It was very much in the mould of Colours, but maybe a little smaller.  It was mostly Historical wargaming (particularly the traders stands), but I managed to find some really good stuff:
  • The Deadly Gamesman from Black Scorpion - a fantastic miniature, absolutely oozing character
  • Mad Jim Jones again from Black Scorpion - I know I was going to get Elven Pirates, and I still might one day, but this chap was far too good to pass up.  To be honest I could have spent SO much money at Black Scorpion, but I have enough to paint already and I may have had an unhappy wife if I'd come back with too much!
  • For a long time I've hankered after a Freebooter's Fate miniature, so I got myself Apagado - not the most colourful miniature by any means, but one that I think suits my painting style pretty well.
  • 30mm Dockside Bases from Kerr and King - these are pretty fantastic and I bought them specifically for the Black Scorpion pirates (of which I only have one so far...)
So not the biggest haul, but I got to meet some interesting people, and see some really interesting stuff, and come away with some good ideas.  The range of scenery you can buy at these shows is astounding - well worth a visit just for that.  I can thoroughly recommend Oshiro they are really high quality and fantastic looking.

I really hope I can make it to Salute next year...

I'm currently painting the Fellowship of the Ring (a present for someone), then I'm going to do a little more to my Eldar army, and get started on my Malifaux crew.

As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Corinium - Planet under attack

This is something a little different to my other projects.  I've had this idea for a themed Imperial Guard army knocking around in my head for a few years now, and I thought I'd have it going as a side project to all the other stuff I'm doing.

The Basic Premise
The planet of Corinium (the Roman name for the English town of Cirencester in case anyone was wondering) has been hit hard by enemy attack and the Imperial forces are in disarray.  The incompetent planetary military commander, Nero, has been deposed by his second-in-command and the Comissarriat.  The general staff are trying desperately to rally the forces into some semblance of order, and a hastily arranged defence managed to drive the enemy back from the main hives, but both communications and command structure have broken down.

Strong-point B, Industrial Quarter, Capital Hive 
Strong point B is under the command of Captain Augustus and a small group of veterans, which has become the rallying point for the remaining forces dispersed by the blitz attack of the enemy in that area.  Commanding an ad-hoc force of troops and armour from several different regiments, Augustus is ordered to hold Strong-point B at all costs.

With that little bit of background in mind, a few examples of the troops involved:

Veterans:  The Corinium V Regiment, "The Green-coats"
These chaps form the core of Augustus' force, battle hardened and arrogant, they make up part of the Governors household guard.  They're originally blue-blooded aristocrats (there's a large upper class on Corinium), but exemplary soldiers from other regiments join their ranks as a "reward".  These non-aristos continually have to prove themselves to their aristocratic comrades.  

I love the Vostroyan models and I think they make great veterans, and by calling them the 5th Regiment, I can keep the "V" on their uniforms.  Another example of my "base everything in Charadon Granite and wash with Badab Black".  The green was Orkhide Shade highlighted with Goblin Green (I think) and then Rotting Flesh.  The ornamented armour and antique looking guns fits in well with the idea of household guard.

Citizen Soldiers: Planetary Defence Force, 38th Regiment
When the attack came, these men left their places of work, grabbed their uniform and lasgun and headed for their assembly point.  I grabbed the small box of two-piece guardsmen to see what they were like to paint.  I want them to look like part time soldiers, with older equipment and mismatched uniforms.

More of the Charadon Granite/Badab Black based colour scheme.  When I get the rest of the unit, there will be some with grey jackets and khaki trousers.  The idea is that they look like the first British troops that went to Afghanistan with their mismatched camo.  The green here isn't the same as for the Corinium V, I highlighted Orkhide Shade with added Codex Grey.

The poses on these soldiers aren't great, but they were quick to paint and look effective.  In the narrative they will arrive at Strong-point B in a dilapidated Chimera, called "Nero's Chariot" - I have a second hand Chimera with no frills, which will fit the role perfectly.  This will be stripped down, detailed and repainted.

Off-Worlders:  Glevum 4th Recon
When news of the impending attack of Corinium reached Glevum (the Roman name for Gloucester - anyone spot a theme?), they sent two regiments to Corinium.  The 72nd Armoured Regiment was destroyed in space by an enemy ambush, but the 4th Recon made planetfall hours before the enemy assault on the planet.  The 4th are very mobile scouting troops, used to fighting in the industrial landscape of Glevum, and did as much to stem the enemy tide as any regiment in defence of the main hives.  Quiet and ruthless, the 4th excel at ambushing overconfident invaders in the narrow streets of Corinium's urban centres

I inherited these old metal Catachans from a friend who had given up the hobby a long time ago.  The lasguns are a little chunkier than the newer plastic examples, but they still look good.  In the 10 man squad I have a chap with a Meltagun and a Missile Launcher team, which will need to be re-based (I don't like the WFB Cavalry bases in WH40K).

The group shot shows them all together - I'm hoping they don't look too diverse and can work as a cohesive(ish) army?  There's still plenty of background for me to come up with, plus I have some other stuff to work in:
  • 5 Attilan Rough Riders - after trying my arm with green stuff, I'm going to have a go at converting these into the Corinium Horseguards, a la John from Santa Cruz Warhammer.  They'll have been rushed to the front to help anyway they can, even though Cavalry will be difficult to use in an urban environment
  • 1 very old Commissar model - I can imagine the general staff dispatching Commissars to the front ASAP to get morale back in order
  • 1 Sentinel (I'll probably get another one too) - I'm going to make this fit in with the dilapidated Chimera, so it looks like they've sent out all the mothballed armour and weapons they can find.  I won this one in a painting competition at the Swindon GW store and haven't done anything with it yet...
I think that's about all I have for now, please let me know what you think.  I doubt I'll do much more than 500-750 points worth as it's a narrative/modelling project that I'd like to field at the GW store occasionally, but you never know.  As the narrative grows I might want to build more into it - I've just started playing World Of Tanks, so that might have an effect...

As always comments and criticism welcome!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Ancible Issue 12

Today Issue 12 of the Ancible has been released!


  • Incursion SNAFU
  • Watching Paint Dry:  For this issue I've painted some Doctor Who stuff
  • Twilight:  The fantasy miniatures game, NOT the teen Vampire stuff
  • Discworld:  A great board game, the Walker household are big fans
  • Wargods
  • Confrontation

With the latest article done and dusted, I should be able to catch up on some of my own painting for a bit - there are a few things still left to finish on the painting table, then it's on to some cool new stuff.

(So that one post a week plan went well then...)

As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Witch King and fun with greenstuff...

So the mission to clear my painting desk continues – I've had the Witch King model sat around waiting to be finished for a long, long time (more than a year) – I've been stuck on painting the flaming sword.  The GW studio paint job just doesn't do it for me, so in the end I bit the bullet and had another go with OSL.

It’s by no means perfect, but I think it looks OK, and it at least gives a good effect, even if the technique needs some work.  The black was highlighted with Charadon Granite and Dheneb Stone, then glazed over with diluted black again, which works pretty well, and provides a good surround for the flame and light.

Originally I had painted the sword metallic and tried to blend the flame colours into it, but that didn't look at all right, so I went for a solid yellow, highlighted out to a very pale yellow on the opposite edge of the blade. The OSL on the sleeve looks pretty good - I tried to imagine the sphere of light around the blade and paint the OSL effect with that in mind - I think it might stop a bit short on the end of the sleeve.  From the back view, I'm really pleased with the way the helmet looks - it actually looks like it's reflecting the flame properly.

My local model shop had run out of the Humbrol matt varnish I usually spray on my models, so I took a chance and bought a can of the Tamiya equivalent.  Now bearing in mind I've not had the best of experiences with Tamiya paint (I still can't get that one pot open), I probably should have thought twice about it.

I was a bit impatient however, and bought the Tamiya stuff, without doing any research (yeah, I know).  Looking on the web afterwards, some people recommended not using it as it can do funny things to the paint beneath, but after trying it out on a test model first, the Witch King got a coat of varnish.  What I didn't notice from the test model was it's a little shinier than the finish I get from the Humbrol spray - it appears somewhere between the Humbrol Matt and GW's Purity Seal.  It's not bad, but it is noticeable - I think I will be going back to the Humbrol spray, or, finally getting around to ordering myself some Testor's Dullcote.

...and I'm going to be leaving anything made by Tamiya well alone.

In other news, I've actually used green stuff for the first time!  Yes I know, it's taken me long enough, and I haven't done anything particularly clever with it, but the results are pretty good for a first attempt.

I followed Dark Templar's advice and sculpted in more trunk and some roots, so it looks a little more natural.  The base will be the first thing I paint on this mini, so I should have some work in progress shots soon.

Work on the next article continues, as the deadline is the end of the week (I'm not panicking, honest).  I've done a bit of practicing with the camera recently and I'm going to be looking at some new backgrounds for the photos.  I've set myself a target of one blog post a week, usually on a Saturday or Sunday - we'll see how that goes...

As always comments and criticism welcome!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

A Beast among us…

So the DIY is on hold for a week or so until the plaster is properly dry - a bit annoying, but nothing I can do about it other than be patient.

I’m still on my “clearing the painting desk” mission, and my next finished miniature is this beauty from Reaper:

Beastman at Kenny's

My photography has improved a little – this picture was taken under the supervision of Kenny, owner of the Ancible and the guy who takes all the pictures of my finished miniatures for the articles, using his setup.  He gave me a crash course on taking pictures of miniatures, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot.  One of the main things I’ve learned is that I don’t have anywhere near enough light (see my pictures below).  Not sure how I’m going to solve that bit yet, without spending plenty of money…

Beastman Angle

This miniature was an absolute blast to paint (yep, he’s meant to look Khornate) – the skin I’m particularly pleased with:

  • Base:  P3 Beast Hide
  • Shade:  Devlan Mud
  • 1st highlight: Beast Hide
  • 2nd highlight: 1:1 mix of Beast Hide and P3 Ryn Flesh
  • 3rd highlight: Ryn Flesh
  • Glaze: Gryphonne Sepia

The final glaze really seemed to tone everything down and tie it all together, I’m tempted to use it more often.

Beastman Rear

The rest of the miniature was painted how I usually do things, the horns were a bit of a challenge as in trying to remove some pretty nasty mould lines, I had to sacrifice some of the ridge detail, which had to be recreated using paint.  Thankfully the tops of the horns were clear of mould lines, and they painted up really nicely.  It’s often tempting to dry-brush things like that, but painting on the highlights with a fine detail brush really can make a difference.

Just another bit on photography.  I’ve also learned that trying to do things on automatic really isn’t going to work, this stuff has to be done manually to get decent pictures.  Yet another area where it doesn’t pay to take short cuts!

I retook a picture of the assassin from the last post:

Better Assassin Kneeling

Still not perfect, but definitely better than the previous pictures!

A quick list of things learned:

  • You can never have too much light
  • The camera settings need to be done manually, automatic doesn’t cut it
  • Background light (from windows, overhead lights, etc) can have a huge effect
  • The background you put your model in front of can have a huge effect too…

Beastman on Red Background (I won’t be using a red background often…)

So a big thank you to our glorious dictator leader for the crash course.  I now have to get some photography practice in, and when the lair is set up properly I’ll have a permanent place to have the camera set up

The next article, Bikou, and maybe something else are next on my plate.  Off to Warfare at Reading next month, I noticed Black Scorpion Miniatures will be there, so I maybe picking up some Elven Pirates…

As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Getting there…

It’s been a while!  All work and no play makes Andy a dull boy.  I’m trying to make some time every day to paint, but it’s been a bit tricky recently.  I’m slowly clearing all the half finished projects on my workbench – first up is the Reaper Assassin I started a while back.  The photos were taken quickly as I don’t have somewhere to set up properly at the moment

Assassin Front

I wasn’t quite sure how to paint him, I didn’t want to do variations on black as it wouldn’t be much fun to paint, and I wanted to do something a little more colourful, but not gaudy.  so I tried the old “Charadon Granite as a basecoat for everything and wash it all with Badab Black” trick that I’ve used on Warhammer Fantasy models in the past.  I had somewhat mixed results with this - the cloak, the boots and the green elements worked really well with this method, but the purple really did not, so I had to re-base the purple.

Assassin Side

I’m really, really happy with the dagger, particularly the blade, which came out fantastically (the pictures don’t do it justice to be honest) .  I also feel like I’m getting the hang of skin tones – for this chap I wanted a paler skin, so I tried a different method:

  • Base:  Dheneb Stone
  • Wash: Gryphonne Sepia
  • 1st highlight: Dheneb Stone
  • 2nd highlight: Dheneb Stone and Skull White

The cloak was a simply highlighting with Charadon Granite and more and more Dheneb Stone added, and finished up with a glaze of very diluted Badab Black to tie it all together.

Assassin Rear

Not a complicated paint job by any means, and he was pretty quick to paint.  He’s quite a classic fantasy type of miniature, feeling a bit “old school D&D”.  With my current love for Reaper miniatures, it would be nice to find a good set of universal fantasy skirmish rules to use these guys in – anyone know of any?

Work on the new lair continues, and I think most of the hard work is done, and the painting should be finished by next weekend.  I did the major job today and plastered the old fireplace:

Lair WIP

I think it’s fair to say that I won’t be putting plasterers out of business any time soon, and it’s going to take some Polycell products to make it all smooth, but for my first attempt at plastering it’s not too bad.  It was a much easier process than I thought it would be – and once you get into the flow of it, it’s actually quite relaxing.

Miniatures wise, next up is Bikou (the Ninja from Bushido), another Reaper mini and stuff for my next Ancible article.

As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

TARDIS needed…

Anyone know of a good way to get more time in the day?  Or make weekends longer?  It’s late on Sunday and I have no idea where the weekend has gone or how I’m going to get everything done next week – at work and at home!

I actually managed to get some painting done this week though.  A friend I’ve worked with for over 10 years has moved on to pastures new - he’s gone to University to pursue the career he was meant to have, the lucky swine.  He’s a massive Doctor Who fan, so my contribution to his leaving present was this little beauty from Ainsty Castings:


He was over the moon with it (thankfully!) and it got quite a few admiring glances from other people (one person asked if I did commissions!).  The wife has also demanded one – I’m not sure how I feel about batch painting TARDIS’s…

Painting “Police Box” four times was torture.

Work on “The New Lair” continues – the fireplace is still a gaping hole, but I’ve got a base-coat on 3/4 of the walls now, and probably 3/4 of the woodwork is primed.  I’m doing things in stages as I have to shift some furniture around, all good fun!  But at least I’m doing something constructive, and with the Polycell basecoat on the walls (and a lot of woodwork now white), I’m getting more of a feel of how the room is going to look.

I don’t usually get excited about DIY, so this is about as close as I’m going to get.  To be honest I’m more than a little impatient and wish it was all done already…

Bikou hasn’t progressed at all, and I was right in worrying about the pin being long enough (it wasn’t) so deeper holes have been drilled.  Lord only knows when I’m going to get some paint on her.

This post has been brought to you by the wonders of Microsoft Live Writer – I think I prefer it to Google’s in browser offering and a couple of other clients I’ve tried.  I haven’t clicked “Publish” yet though, so we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway onwards and upwards (and probably sideways and backwards at times)!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Bikou, a base, and bugger all else...

Due to work pressures (24 hours overtime this weekend - rather unhealthy Andy at the moment), not much has been done since the last post, lair or painting wise.  In the new lair I'm currently trying to clear up the mess from the work done recently (how much dust?!), lots of sanding, and repairing plaster.  The actual plastering of the fireplace I'm building myself up to - everyone keeps giving me funny looks when I talk about doing it myself...

Painting/modelling wise, I've got Bikou glued to a base (seriously, this is about as much as I've got done in 2 weeks):

One of the really great things about the Bushido miniatures is the quality of the casting (I mentioned this in the Ancible article) - very little in the way of flash or mold lines (certainly no hedgehogification), and the limited amount there is there is easily removed with a file and/or knife. 

The base is from Dark Templar's Malcontent bamboo range - very appropriate for the Samurai/Ninja theme, and really looks the part.  Aside from using a "base topper" from GW's 40K basing kit (used on Pedro Kantor), this is the first time I've used a proper resin base - tonight I was outside with a camping light, wearing a face mask, busy sanding away - if anyone looked into our back garden they must have wondered what the hell was going on.  The base has sanded up well, the casting is detailed and crisp and there are no bubbles/flaws that I could see.  Having a small amount of the bamboo decking next to a large amount of dirt means the tree trunk doesn't look too out of place/weird.

Worryingly, I may not have used a long enough pin into the base, so I may have to change that - we'll see how well the glue holds first.  I'll also need to glue a little basing material where the trunk meets the base, just so there's no gap, and so the dead(?) tree looks like it's coming out of the ground.  I'm tempted to use some of my new "autumnal grass with fallen leaves" basing material, or maybe get some of the grass with blossom, for a "cherry blossom" effect.

Picard was not impressed with Andy's attempt at basing...

GCT studios have got a painting competition closing at the end of the month - can I get Bikou done in time?

Probably not...

I've been playing around with the blog itself.  You'll notice I've got a new little widget for the Ancible articles, but I'm also wondering about a whole new template, as this one's a bit busy - any opinions? 

I'm not a big fan of writing my blog posts in the current blogger web interface, it feels a bit clunky, and I don't feel like I've got a lot of control (I work in IT so I like to fiddle with this stuff).  I've tried using ScribeFire, in both Firefox and Chrome, but I can't upload images in Firefox (where the interface is nicer), and in Chrome there appears to be no preview functionality, so this may be a no-go. Does anyone use Windows Live Writer?  I've noticed this has a Picasa plug-in which may be useful, although this is sat on "determining disk space requirements" now I'm trying to install it - marvellous.

I wouldn't mind so much, but I have to deal with enough rubbish software at work, I could do with something that works properly at home.

Anyway, I'll hopefully have something decent to show for my efforts at the end of the week.  If I don't have anything, feel free to complain to the management... ;-)

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Ancible Issue 11

It's come around again, the latest issue of The Ancible is out!

Issue Contents:
  • Bushido the Game
  • Watching Paint Dry (my article, I got to paint some lovely Samurai)
  • Descent
  • 7TV
  • Claustrophobia
  • Aeronef Battle Report
  • Warcanto
The Samurai I got to paint for this issue are some lovely miniatures, and I'm going to be buying myself the other factions to paint too - I have to say it's nice to see some Japanese themed stuff that's not Anime-ish.

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Colours 2011

As I mentioned yesterday, I attended Colours 2011 today at Newbury race course with some of the Ancible team.  Loads and loads of good stuff around and got to meet some really cool people.  This was my small haul of loot from the show (I could have bought so much more...):

Not the best of pictures, so a brief run down:
There was a lot of other stuff I could have bought too - both Warlord Games and Perry Miniatures have so much to tempt me, but I already have too much to paint...

Friday, 9 September 2011

A New Lair (Phase 2a)

Feast your eyes on this bad boy:

This isn't a Chaos Weapon, or a medieval torture device, this is the Perforator (imagine movie trailer voice man saying it for added effect).  It's sole purpose in life is to get rolled across walls and poke holes in thick wallpaper so the steam can get in and "unstick" (technical term).

Without this weapon I would have still been stripping the damn wall paper off today, even with an industrial strength wallpaper stripper steam machine thing.  As it was, stripping the wallpaper was hard work, especially as the steam machine turns the room into a sauna...

It was all worth it though as Phase 2a is complete!  All the destructive tasks have been completed, but in doing so we've uncovered a bit of a nightmare in the fireplace.

So my next task is to build a false wall across the fireplace opening and plaster across it.  I've never tried plastering before so it should be interesting!  I figured if I don't get it right the first time it's not that much hassle to start again if necessary.  The other slight problem is the gaps in the ceiling board either side, they'll have to be filled too.

On the positive side, my estimating of how much the chimney breast had been extended by has turned out to be a little conservative:

As you can see in the photo the gap is nearly double the size now.  So I might be having a rethink about what I do desk and shelf-wise in that corner.  As you can see the walls are in a bit of a state, but they've been recovered using Polycell Smooth-over paint - which is awesome.  I don't get excited about DIY products that much, but that stuff is the business.  The corner in the picture above is pretty much all white now, and I've started repairing the plaster further up the chimney breast.

Unsurprisingly there's been no painting done for a couple of weeks, but my latest article and photos have been sent off to the Ancible, and the next issue should be out soon.

I'm off to Colours 2011 in Newbury with some of the Ancible team tomorrow, really looking forward to that, and I might just spend some money there...

Hopefully another update this time next week!

As always comments and criticism welcome...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A New Lair (phase 1)

There has been tension in the Walker household, as the compact previous incarnation of the lair seen here:

...has started to outgrow it's limited confines and spread further into our living room (see previous post on new photo set up).  As useful as the "Painting Station of Doom" has been it just wasn't enough room to work properly, and the bench wasn't a comfortable seat.

So agreement has been reached and one of the spare bedrooms in our house will become the new lair!  It will still double as a guest bedroom as there will be a rather comfortable IKEA sofa bed (the same model as seen recently at Tentakel Games) staying, but the majority of the room will be turned over to the dark arts.

Like all diabolical schemes, it will be multi-phase and phase 1 has been achieved:

Some notes on the pictures:
  1. A blind will be going up at the window, to save premature blindness
  2. The ironing board is going...
  3. In the bottom of the second picture, note the black and white furry demon, Hex, bane of anything small enough to bat off a table (and he tries to drink my brush washing water too...).  
So phase 1 is complete, including the TV in the corner, which means I can keep up to date with news and the football, or watch QI and Mock the Week while painting.  Mrs Walker is happier that all my stuff is out of the living room and we don't have to worry about the cats (oh yes, we have more than one) knocking things over.

Phase 2 is planned and a week away from commencement.  You may have noted the bizarre gothic style fire place.  To fit the ridiculously large mantelpiece (origin and construction unknown, no STC found, possibly xenos...I've still yet to work out how the damn thing is attached to the wall), a previous owner of the property used plaster board to extend the width of the chimney breast - and yes dear reader, those words in your head match the ones in mine when I discovered this.

The picture below helps show the extent of the insanity:

By process of knocking on the wall and seeing where the hollow sounds stop and the solid sounds begin, I've found the extension of the chimney breast begins at roughly the centre of the mantelpiece support column.  So Phase 2a will be somewhat destructive, removing the hollow bits, and stripping the wallpaper (the woodchip variety, scourge of DIY).  Phase 2b will then be the painting of the room using a lovely shade of white to maximise the light in the room.  Phase 2a and 2b are planned for next week which I'm taking off from work.

Phase 2c will involve adding this splendid piece of furniture in the corner and I'll probably be getting a new chair too. Hurrah!

As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011


The wife and I attended WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) again this year, saw some fantastic acts, particularly Ayarkhaan, AnDa Union (Music to paint miniatures by I reckon), Lau and Booker T Jones (legend!) and ate some fantastic food.  I'm now knackered and looking forward to a quiet weekend.  Unsurprisingly no painting got done (living out of a tent would make it difficult), but some of the costumes were good painting inspiration!

A little progress has been made on the Rackham miniature I started a while back - the face needs some work, but I'm very pleased with the leather around his midriff, and a really simple scheme too:
  • Base coat:  Calthan Brown
  • Shade:  Devlan Mud (surprised?)
  • First highlight: Calthan Brown
  • Second highlight: Snakebite Leather blended in

The buckles were outlined with a targeted wash of Devlan Mud and then highlighted with Chainmail. The blue was also something different, with a base coat of several thinned coats of Necron Abyss highlighted with a mix of Necron Abyss and increasing amounts of Hormagaunt Purple added in.

I'll be adding to him in and around my other projects - but he's such a delicate and interesting model that he really needs some dedicated time and effort spent on him.  So don't expect him finished any time soon!  I went for a grey undercoat for this model as I wanted to experiment with some different methods for different colours - I really think the leather work has benefited from a different approach.  I'll admit I get very stuck in my ways and tend not to experiment too much with colours - this is going to change from now on, so while I will go back to some colour schemes I know work, I will be branching out a bit more.

In other news, the article work is ongoing - the photography element really does slow things up from a painting perspective, but it does mean I'm concentrating that much harder on getting things to look right at very close up.  The Reaper miniatures from the last post will be undercoated tomorrow (hopefully), and should be started (and maybe completed?) this weekend.

The football season starts this Saturday, so I'll have something else to distract me!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Not such a grim Reaper...

Not too much painting going on this week, I've done a little bit for my next article, and I've got the next couple of side projects started.  My love affair with Reaper miniatures continues:

Not quite sure what I'm going to do with this chap yet, I'm thinking different hues of black, with some dulled metalwork.  The other side project is Boris MkII:

I'd like to keep with the "Boris the Black" theme, so I'm thinking black cloak with some freehand on the back, and some beaten up armour - plenty of dents and scratches with some rust in places.  Or maybe black armour (still beaten up) with a dark red cloak?  Opinions (and alternative ideas) would be most welcome!

As you can see I've only pinned them to the 30mm bases so far, the next stage will be to fill in the gaps between the metal base and the edge of the rounded lip with modelling sand (and for Boris MkII, some bits of slate, stuck up at the front), and then they'll be undercoated.  Also on the horizon is Gandalf on his cart full of fireworks, and at some point the other Warjack from my Khador box set.

Then there are the Eldar Dire Avengers...

...and some Confrontation minis...

...and for some reason I'm itching to paint a Space Marine again as well - what's that about? 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Big Bad Bald Bearded Boris

I'm really pleased with this chap - he does look like he's been ripped right of World of Warcraft (his fists are bigger than his head for a start), but that's no bad thing, and it was nice to do something a bit brighter than usual.  Boris was a single piece miniature, and quite two dimensional, but I love the pose, and it feels quite "old school". (early WIP shot here)

The blue was simple enough, a Necron Abyss base coat, highlighted with Regal Blue and then Ice Blue (with a little mixing for in-between stages).  The highlighting was done with drybrushing rather than blending - this chap was meant to be a little light relief in between projects, so I wasn't going to stress out blending each individual scale.

The horns and sword hilt were simply a progression through Charadon Granite, Khemri Brown, Dheneb Stone and for the sword hilt only a top highlight of Skull White - these were blended/layered as the surface areas were larger.  Charadon Granite and Chaos Black were used to paint the striations on the horns.

The skin tone is my favourite thing about the model , a base coat of Tallarn Flesh was washed with Gryphonne Sepia.  This was highlighted (blending) with Tallarn Flesh and then a 1:1 mix of Tallarn Flesh and Elf Flesh. finally a top highlight of Privateers P3 Ryn Flesh was blended in.  This gives a slightly paler flesh tone than I would usually use, but it works well with the ginger beard and eyebrows, a World of Warcraft inspired colouring.

The Gold started with a base coat of Tin Bitz, shaded with Devlan Mud.  This was then highlighted with multiple thin layers of Burnished Gold working towards the edges of the armour.  Then a 1:1 mix of Burnished Gold and Mithril Silver was applied as a top highlight.  The sword blade was Boltgun Metal shaded with Badab Black, with a blended highlight of Chainmail.  Some Devlan Mud was applied to the blade, just beneath the skull hilt to add a little more shading.

The cloak and tabard is my normal "exciting" scheme of Khemri Brown, shaded with Devlan Mud and blend/layer highlighted with Khemri Brown and Dheneb Stone.  To continue the WoW theme I added some moss and lichen to the base (also to mask where the lump of metal he stood on joined the base I added him to), and he was complete!  A quick, easy and funky looking model which was fun to paint, it's nice to have something like Boris on your painting table to give you a break from the serious projects.

I'm a huge fan of Reaper miniatures ( - they're not all brilliant, but there are so many lovely looking miniatures full of character, that it's easy to find something fun to paint.  Also I recommend the search section on the galleries - really helps if you're looking for something specific (e.g. someone human male, in plate armour, dual wielding...).

As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Polluted Royalty

I've posted about this chap a while back, but hadn't progressed him for ages.  I'd got a bit stuck with him, but in my desire to get my workstation cleared ready for the next projects, I put some serious effort into getting him finished.  Only quick pictures today, I'm going to sit down next weekend and learn how to use this camera properly...

I've described the green method before, but here it is again:
  • Charadon Granite base coat
  • Devlan Mud wash
  • Charadon Granite overbrushed highlight
  • Charadon Granite + Catachan Green
  • Catachan Green
  • Catachan Green + Camo Green
  • Camo Green
  • Camo Green + Dheneb Stone as a thin edge/point highlight

As I've said I'd toyed with the idea of leaving it "clean", but this didn't feel right for a Nurgle Lord, so I painted in some discolouration patches
  • Base coat: Scorched Brown
  • Shade: Devlan Mud applied to the recesses
  • First highlight: Bestial Brown
  • Second highlight: Snakebite leather
This was also the scheme used for the Chaos Star quarters on the corners of the cloak.

I ditched the original brown colour of the cloak for a khaki/beige look .
  • Base coat: Khemri Brown
  • Shade: Liberally applied Devlan Mud
  • First highlight Khemri Brown
  • Second highlight: 1:1 mix of Khemri Brown and Dheneb Stone
  • Final highlight: Dheneb Stone
I think this works much better against the green.  I'm really pleased with the freehand - nothing complicated, but it's come out nicely, and not too big to be overwhelming.  I don't do a lot of freehand work, so it's something I'm going to be practicing more of from now on.

I wanted to make the metalwork look aged without it being too rusty looking - I know he's a follower of Nurgle, but a Lord still wouldn't be too impressed with having to use rusty axes I'm sure...
  • Base coat: Tin Bitz
  • Shade: Devlan Mud applied liberally
  • First highlight: Tin Bitz
  • Second highlight: P3 Blighted Gold (similar to the very old Citadel Colour Shining Gold, but a little darker)
  • Third highlight: Chainmail
  • Wash: 1:1 diluted Devlan Mud
  • Glaze: Heavily thinned Scorched Brown
  • Final highlight: Chainmail blended in to edges, top surfaces and points
  • Final shade: Devlan Mud applied to recesses
It's a bit laborious and it came about because the Blighted Gold wasn't really working for me, but I'm pleased with the end result.

The skulls, horns and axe handles were all painted the same way.
  • Base coat: Charadon Granite
  • First highlight: Khemri Brown
  • Second highlight: Dheneb Stone
  • Final highlight (skulls only): Skull White
I'm not sure about the base, but I think it's alright, I hadn't used lichen before and to be honest it's a bit of a pain, but I think it will get easier with practice.  I think varied colours would also help - particularly with a chaos figure brownish lichen, to suggest the plant life has died, would probably have been more appropriate.  Still it's not a bad effect, and something I'm going to be using more of in the future.

Question - does me listing all the colour I use help?  Do you guys read it all, or does it just get in the way?  Would I be better off posting pictures and shutting up?  I'm no expert but I like to share how I do things if it will help others.  I really would appreciate some feedback on this, so if I'm missing stuff too, let me know.

As always comments and criticism welcome, have at it!

Monday, 11 July 2011


...evich, Kommander Harkevich to be precise, is the first miniature I painted for the new FLGS here in Swindon, called Game Craft.  I delivered it this lunch time, and the new owner is very pleased with it, but damn, it was hard to give it up!  Trying different stuff with the camera again, this time I think the pictures are a little too light, but I think I've got the white balance right... 

This miniature was an absolute joy to paint, loads of interesting detail, and no large flat areas.  I'm not totally sure about his weapon, as I think it looks a little daft.  It was fun to paint though, it just looks a bit odd.  I think if I was to buy this chap myself, I'd be tempted to swap it for an axe, and turn the hand at the wrist 90 degrees, so it was horizontal rather than vertical.  Although I'd been given no requirements for the paint scheme, I wanted to keep reasonably true to the studio scheme, as the miniatures I paint for Game Craft are to be used to promote the Privateer Press games.  This was also the first time I've used some of Privateer's P3 paints, and I have to say I'm quite impressed so far.

The gold was done more traditionally than my normal method:
  • Base coat:  Tin Bitz
  • Shade: Devlan Mud wash
  • 1st highlight: Dwarf Bronze
  • 2nd highlight: Burnished Gold
It's come out really well I think, and certainly benefits from the "zenithal" highlighting method - I'm especially pleased with how the forearm guards look.

The steel was also slightly different to how I usually do things, particularly for the plates along the bottom of the cloak, which I didn't want to come out too bright, particularly with that amount of metal that was there:
  • Base coat: Charadon Granite
  • Shade: Badab Black wash
  • First highlight: Boltgun Metal was painted over pretty much everything leaving a ring of shade around each of the studs
  • Second highlight: Chainmail was painted on each stud and blended in along the top of each plate
  • Wash: Diluted Badab Black (around 1:1 mix with water) was washed over the plates, toning the metal down.
The rest of the steel was painted similarly, although I didn't do the final stage on the mace as I wanted to keep this reasonably bright.

The red armour was a little different again - I wanted to keep the red fairly bright, but make it look a little dirty, like it had been through a battle or two:
  • Base coat: Scorched Brown
  • Wash: Devlan Mud
  • First highlight: P3 Sanguine Base - it's a little more purple than I was expecting, but it works
  • Second highlight: Scab Red
  • Third highlight: Blood Red
  • Final highlight: Blood Red and Solar Macharius Orange
The first three stages give the dark and dirty undertone, while the last three stages bring the raised areas up, but without being too bright - hopefully a "dust of the battlefield" look.  There was a slight temptation to add some battle damage to the armour, but I decided against it (that stuff can take me a lot of time...).

The coat and blanket were painted my favourite grey-green colour (almost olive drab) to compliment the red armour:
  • Base coat: Charadon Granite
  • Wash: Devlan Mud
  • First highlight: Catachan Green
  • Second highlight: Catachan Green and P3 Thrall Flesh (I picked this up as an alternative to GW's Rotting Flesh, and it really did the business)
The brighter top highlight was intended to give the fabric a worn look, and I'm really pleased with the result.

The brown fur trim, pouches, pockets and straps were done pretty quickly:
  • Base coat: Scorched Brown
  • Wash: Devlan Mud
  • First highlight: Calthan Brown
  • Second highlight: Calthan Brown mixed with Dheneb Stone
The fur trim areas were carefully drybrushed - I don't drybrush much, and the temptation is to do it quickly and roughly, when like all other painting it should be a slow carefully applied process.  Taking a bit more care with the drybrushing really pays dividends - and I can't recommend GW's drybrushes enough for this, they really are good.

The beard was P3 Cryx Bane Base, drybrushed with Codex Grey and washed with Badab Black - simple but effective.  After highlighting the "brown bits", I still had some thinned Calthan Brown, so I used that as a the base coat for the face - not something I've ever done before but I thought I'd give it a go.  I carefully applied some Devlan Mud to the eye socket and mouth, and then highlighted first with Tallarn Flesh, and then Dheneb Stone.  It certainly doesn't work any worse than my other skin techniques, so I'm happy with it.

Now here's something that I've found Privateer are better at than GW - defined eyeballs, for me so far (and I may have just been lucky), the eyeballs on Privateer's miniatures are easier to paint than on GW's, they might not be quite as realistic, but they're easier to get the paint in the right place.  For the eye and teeth, I used Dheneb Stone, and then added a Chaos Black dot for the pupil of the eye.

The final stage was the harnessed power in the mace - I seriously need to read some back story so I know what half this stuff is called.  This was nothing more than a base coat of Ultramarine Blue (making sure to fill all the cavity) and a dot or line down the centre of Ice Blue - simple and effective.

So there we have it, one finished miniature and one happy receiver (plus a happy painter too)!

Up next is article number 3 for the Ancible (which I'm starting in the next couple of days), something for the in-laws, and finishing off some projects on the work bench.

As always comments and criticism welcome!