Saturday, 16 June 2012

House Guards - A new purpose for the Corinium Fifth

Big WH40K or WFB armies just seem out of the question for me these days.  To be honest GWs (understandable from a business point of view) push toward larger and larger armies has put me off a bit - the thought of painting hundreds of figures for a WFB army makes me shudder.  There may be a time when I can get down to painting large armies, but for the foreseeable future I'm concentrating on warband sized armies for skirmish games, special characters, and a bit of whatever takes my fancy.

This has meant my grand(ish) plan for the Corinium Imperial Guard Army has fallen by the way side for now, but the miniatures are not wasted!  Having played our first Rogue Trader session a couple of weeks back, we noted that it was difficult to keep track of what was going on in a positional sense (the words "spatial awareness" were used), so we were using dice on a coffee table to represent where the characters, NPCs, etc were.  I know we're meant to use our imagination, but already having painted a model to represent the Seneschal, I was sat there thinking how much better this would be with some nicely painted up miniatures (I mentioned this at the end of the last post).  So with a major burst of enthusiasm (don't you just love that surge of energy when you get a new idea?), I grabbed a couple of Vostroyan Guardsmen and created a couple of "House Guards" to try and keep our glorious leader from getting himself and the rest of us killed look sharp and intimidating when we're planet-side.

Please forgive me the conceit, but I reckon I hit the spot with these chaps - I tried to combine a lighter colour scheme with some grimdark, and not outshine the paint jobs on the main characters.  Our Rogue Trader, "Roy Siegfried" (I'm not kidding - I'm going to use the Kabuki Scif Fi Napoleon miniature to represent him), is a somewhat extravagant character, so I figured his guards, the "White Tigers", would be ornately armed and armoured.  Their uniform is loosely based on Napoleonic Austrians, which felt appropriate too.

The metalwork was a little different to usual:
  • Base:  Vallejo German Grey
  • Shade:  Badab Black
  • H1:  Dry-brush of Boltgun Metal
  • H2:  Dry-brush of Chainmail
It looks a lot lighter than this in the pictures, but that will be explained later.  The Shakos were based and shaded at the same time with the same colours, but were then highlighted with Adeptus Battlegrey, Codex Grey and white.

I wanted the jackets to be an off white, rather than a pristine uniform colour.  I think it looks a bit more "believable" as a uniform colour than a blu-ish white:
  • Base:  Khemri Brown
  • H1: Karak Stone
  • H2: Karak Stone and white
  • H3: Pure white
I'll admit now I can't for the life of me remember how I did the green.  Devlan Mud was involved (inevitably) and Catachan Green was one of the highlights I'm sure.  Other than that, not a clue - see how important it is to write things down?

The red was my normal scheme, with a slight twist as I try to incorporate more of the new GW range into my painting:
  • Base:  Mechrite Red
  • Shade:  Devlan Mud
  • H1:  Mechrite Red
  • H2:  Blood Red
  • H3:  Blood Red and Squig Orange
  • H4:  Top edge highlight of Squig Orange
GW totally revamping their paint range was initially disappointing for me, as plenty of colours I used (particularly Charadon Granite, like many other people) do not have a decent alternative.  However, this has caused me to start thinking more about the colours and techniques I use, and I'm moving away from the same old schemes that I always used to fall back on - not getting stale is a good thing in my opinion.  Here I've used Squig Orange rather than the old Solar Macharius Orange - the difference isn't huge, but the red is slightly less fiery due to Squig Orange being slightly more peach in colour.

The skin was another area where I tried a new paint, while using my normal Tallarn Flesh and Ogryn Flesh combination, for highlighting I replaced P3 Ryn Flesh with GW's new Kislev Flesh, which is more yellow in colour.

Next up is the browns, and the use of yet another new colour from GW.  I'd used Dryad Bark on the Brutal miniature from the last post, and here I used it as a base coat for both the wood on the gun and the leather pieces, plus the gold bits dotted around the miniatures.  The wood:
  • Base:  Dryad Bark
  • Shade:  Devlan Mud
  • H1:  Dryad Bark
  • H2:  Dryad Bark and Graveyard Earth
  • H3:  Graveyard Earth
Nothing special, but does the trick.

The leather is next - it's nearly the same process as for the wood on the gun, but substituting Snakebite Leather for the Graveyard Earth, and adding in some Dheneb Stone to the mix for an extra final highlight.  At this point I was pretty much done, but I did want to grimdark them up a bit, so using a little Blanchitsu, I washed the whole model in a 1:1:5 mix of Devlan Mud, Gryphonne Sepia and water, and once this was dry, a very, very light drybrush of white to pick out the top highlights.

The last thing to do on the guy with the facemask, was a little OSL from the lenses.  I know this isn't realistic as there's no good reason for light to be coming out of the lenses, but it looks good and quite frankly that's reason enough to do it in my book.

I painted the obvious (protruding) bits in Solar Macharius Orange, then gave the general area a couple of washes of Baal Red, and then a wash of a 1:2 mix of Devlan Mud and water, just to tone everything down to the level of the rest of the miniature.  The raised bits were then picked out again in the Orange, and a final highlight of Iyanden Darksun was added to the edges where appropriate.

...and they were done!  At our last gaming night they were presented to our Rogue Trader for inspection, and he gave them the thumbs up, so we're good to go.  I'll need to get a few more done (he needs a lot of protection - see the upcoming report from Jez in the Ancible next month), and Jez has provided me with a Tech Priest model and some Servitors too.  The models for my Arch Militant and our Missionary have also been ordered, so be prepared for plenty of Rogue Trader themed stuff in the next few months...

As always, comments and criticism welcome! 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Brutal Dissection

Something a little different this time...

Jez passed me a few of these bad boys (and girls) to paint, they're from Dark Art Miniatures "Brutal" game. This chap is known as the "Di-sector", definitely not my favourite of their miniatures (I'm leaving my favourite until last), as his pose is a bit odd, and it was pointed out he has rather spindly legs, but he's not a bad figure.  I went for a dark industrial look, inspired by the "Carnivora" scenes in Dan Abnett's Ravenor books - so lots of dirt, grunge and blood.

I gave the whole miniature a basecoat of GW Dryad Bark - I like this new colour, it's a much duller brown, and works well as the ground in dirt effect.  This was washed all over with Badab Black, being careful not to swamp the model.  The metal parts were then dry-brushed with Tin Bitz, then Boltgun Metal, then Chainmail - I didn't use Mithril Silver as it would have made it too bright.

The skin was painted next - P3 Beast Hide was shaded with Gryphonne Sepia, then highlighted with Beast Hide, Ryn Flesh and finally Thrall Flesh was mixed in to give it a more unhealthy tone

The yellow was a quick process - I started mixing in Tausept Ochre into the Dryad Bark and blending it in until it was almost pure Tausept Ochre, and then mixed in Dheneb Stone (shut it Jez ;-) ) for the top highlights.  The blending was a bit rough here, just to help accentuate the beat up nature of the yellow sections (particularly the greaves).  The whole lot was then given a little dose of Blanchitsu - a 1:1:2 mix of Devlan Mud, Gryphonne Sepia and water was washed over the whole miniature, and when this was dry, it was very lightly dry-brushed with pure white.

I've mentioned this technique before (a long old time ago), but this is the first time I've used it in a while, and I'm really pleased with the result, as it certainly adds to the grimdark/grunge look I was going for.  With the Di-sector suitably Blanchitsu'd up, I gave him a spray of Humbrol matt varnish.

The blood is where I messed up.  The effect is about right, particularly on that nasty looking drill bit, but on the blade and the chest, the blood is too light, so it kind of looks more like strawberry jam than blood - I should have stopped at Scab Red (having started with Chestnut Ink), but I got excited and used Red Gore too, and it ended up too bright.  The liberally applied gloss 'Ardcoat works nicely though, and it's a useful lesson learned.

The miniature is back with his rightful owner now, so it's on to the next few projects mentioned in the previous post, plus some more miniatures for our ongoing Rogue Trader RPG campaign.  I know the game doesn't need miniatures, but it's always fun to do stuff like that, and I might end up with a inq28 warband by the end of it...

As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Lucius, the full group and a pedestal

I'm back in the land of the living, and the Malifaux crew are finished!  Still messing about with this photography malarkey, the first picture is the result of using a .NEF file (RAW apparently, I still need to read up on this) rather than jpeg to mess about with.  The resulting photo is quite nice, it's just a shame I can't seem to get them to come out right for the rest of the shots.

As you'll know if you've read this blog over the last couple of weeks, Lucius was the last of my small crew to paint.  He's pretty much followed the standard paint scheme, the only difference really being the jacket, where I went for a richer red, rather than the dirty red of the other figures.

I used a Mechrite Red base, applied in several coats to ensure I had a solid block of colour, which was then washed with Devlan Mud.  I used Mechrite Red as the first highlight, then gradually mixed in Red Gore, and finally some Squig Orange.

I'm really pleased with the way these guys have come out, and I reckon they're some of my best stuff so far. Yep they're quite dark, but intentionally so, and I think the sewer bases really help with that look.

Moving on...
I've been talking to the rest of the Ancible team recently about terrain and buildings and the best way to create them.  I've been looking at not just terrain pieces but display aids/background pieces for my miniature cabinets and photos.  For a few years I've looked at Hirst Arts (not to be confused with Damien Hirst Art, which would just be weird...) moulds and wondered what they would be like to use.  The team already have several moulds and had cast up plenty of bits already, so I nabbed a few bits, to see what they were like to put together.  

Jez had used some artists plaster with some additives - the pieces are quite heavy but seem durable.  The bits glue together nicely, and the PVA glue helps fill in any gaps, with some liquid Green Stuff to finish off.  It all sands down easily enough (one of my main concerns), and you can get a nice smooth finish

As a test to see how it paints up, I created a little pedestal for miniatures to be photographed/displayed upon.  Two bottom sections for a column were glued together, filled, sanded and then sprayed with matt grey primer.  The material seems to accept the primer well, but for larger pieces I'll be tempted to go to B&Q and get some exterior wall paint as recommended by the Hirst Arts site.  The piece was washed liberally with Badab Black, then dry-brushed with Codex Grey, a 1:1 mix of the grey and Dheneb Stone (to give it a slightly more natural stone feel), then a 2:1 mix of the grey-stone and white.  I think it looks really good and "stone-like" - on further attempts I'll add some creepers/ivy/moss for a bit more variation.

The top of the piece is 30mm in diameter, so the round lipped bases work really nicely sat on top of it.  I think the praying knight from a previous post makes a nice example.

So I've borrowed some moulds from Kenny, and pinched some plaster from Jez, so next weekend will be my first foray into casting some building blocks.  All things going well I'll be ordering some moulds of my own, the good news being that Hirst Arts is based in Sedalia where the in-laws live, so Trans-Atlantic shipping may become a little cheaper.  I think the fieldstone range will work for a number of games:  WFB, anything Barbarian based, WarmaHordes, and the Gothic range will do for WH40K, anything steam-punk/Victoriana, etc.  I'm even considering casting up a whole tile-set for Advanced HeroQuest, but that may be a while off yet...

Still a few more ongoing projects to finish up, and then I need to decide what to do next.  I've got the Freebooter Assassins starter boxed set on the way (I hope), and they'll be too tempting to resist.

As always, comments and criticism welcome!