Tuesday, 29 June 2010

On the Workbench

I thought I would share a few piccies of work in progress on two commissions I'm currently working on. The first is the first half of a Thousand Sons unit. I almost always paint in batches, 5 for close work, 5-10 for day-to-day or easier schemes, 10-20 for bash it out game standard painting. I have been known to paint in batches of 60 but that was night goblins and it was on a very, very tight deadline. I thought with this unit I would experiment with taking WIP shots to show my painting methodology and allow anyone who feels like following it to have a visual reference. This has proved easier since my photographer father explained that the "food" setting on my camera was best for this kind of thing (no word of a lie, great contrast, great depth of field, macro set up properly - food!), thanks dad! So here they are, client constructed and primed the models, I'm just the painter.
Base coat of regal blue over necron abyss
First crude highlight of Regal Blue and Enchanted Blue (3:1)
Second Highlight of Regal Blue and Enchanted Blue (1:3)
Crude Edge Highlight of Enchanted Blue

Edge Highlight of Enchanted Blue and Space Wolves Grey (2:1)
Wash of Asurmen Blue

I'll continue with the step-by-step if people say they are interested! The yellow will also be a test bed for Blood Angel assault squad helmet colours. The second project is a commission for a role playing character. Calanthe is a half-elven bard with crossbow and sword. The client chose the Arwen model as her starting point, at this point the crude green stuff work is done, no warhammer scale crossbow would work with a LOTR scale model. As a result I have disguised the crossbow under her hair. The bolt quiver is all green stuff with empire quarrels cut from the plastic.
Her lute is being scratch built. The main body is from an empire crossbow (the same donor that gave the bow on her back) with the neck and head carved from the stock. The tuning pegs are the cogs of Empire handgun firing flints shaved off and attached to the head. The body started life as the reverse side of the repeater handgun muzle (it had an appropriate sized hole). I'm building up the sounding chamber from green stuff, the next stage is to smooth out the flat front and bulk out the rear. I'm contemplating using very fine strands of wire to represent strings but I don't know if that would be too much detail at this scale. I'll keep you informed.
Well, there it is with the Workbench post. Let me know what you think (it's always nice to know that your readers are, well, reading!). I've altered the comments field so that anyone can comment, regardless of Blogger membership. Please don't leave anonymous ones if you can, at least use an entertaining user nickname if you don't want your real name out there.


Saturday, 26 June 2010

Ogres, more like onions than cakes apparently...

In a bit of a gear shift from all the 40k of late I thought I'd dig out my Pirate Ogres and share with the group. These are one of those armies that I'm hoping will see a lot more table time under the new rules than they used to (gods they sucked!). But the imagery is nice. First off, the leaders of the host: The Bruiser and the Butcher.

The Pirate Captain Maneater I use as a Bruiser, the whole army concept is a pirate vessel taken over and crewed by Ogres. The Tattoo on the stomach is a combination of the Chaos Star, the compass rose and the Ogre Maw. My favourite part of this figure is the gnoblar on his shoulder dressed as a parrot, complete with tie-on beak and sulking.
The Butcher I wanted to look very unhealthy. The model is one of those that people hesitate before picking up and that is exactly the effect I was going for! The unhealthy, flushed, sweaty pallor of the skin is from repeated red and purple glazes of very thin paint (this is before the days of snackey washes). The blood is a mix of red and chestnut inks (3:1 ratio) with a little gloss varnish. The knife (detail view below) is blooded with the same mix but snow flock was mixed in to give clotted gore and nasty bits (stay tuned for more when the Berserkers are finished!).
Now onto the rank and file. All of the skin on these lads was painted in the same way: Tallarn Flesh base coat, (These days I would insert an Ogryn Flesh wash), highlights were blended up in a streaky fashion to give texture to the corded muscles (the skin is very smooth on the miniatures) using bleached bone mixed into the tallarn flesh. I wanted a very desaturated pallet to the colours so used foundation paints extensively for the cloth. The banners are actual pirate ship flags printed out at the right size and attached to the banner poles.
I had to have the leadbelchers in the army, I love the idea of these guys being in the gun decks of the ship and blasting away at the opposition. Next we move to the rare elements of the army. The Maneaters and the Slave Giant:
These are some of my favourite Ogre models, each just oozes character and are damn hard in the army too.
The Slavegiant continues a theme for me, none of my Giants seem to lead terribly happy lives, this one is chained up (forgeworld modelling chain with thin superglue run along the links to stiffen it) and dragging a millstone with gnoblars jabbing at his heels and calves to make him run at the enemy. Ah, bless. A close up of the gnoblars below:
Wierdly, while I hate the Gnoblars as a unit in the Ogre Kingdoms army they lend a lot of character to it as supporting members of units.

There you go! This is quite an old project (some three or four years now) and it is gratifying to see how my painting has moved on, I remain, however, quite proud of this army and look forward to it doing better on the tabletop!


Thursday, 24 June 2010

And just in case we weren't bored of Orks... more Orks!

Ok, Ok, last old Ork post for a while I promise! Besides, the transfers have arrived for the Razorback (Ta Maisey) so I can get on with that EDIT: [Never, NEVER, use Tamiya Flat Base as a matt varnish; I've just this minute used it on the Razorback over the transfers, almost immediately it turned chalky white, I've been able to get the worst off by rubbing with water but it is still a bit of a disaster. To re-iterate, DO NOT use Tamiya Flat Base]. The following are two sets of conversions I did for my Ork army a while ago. The first is the Ard Boyz. These are made from Ork Boy and Black Orc bits and were inspired by prototypes that the former manager of GW Oxford - Jason Smith - made. I think the camo armour looks great for being from my "bash it out" days, and when combined with their trukk they are quite a frightening unit.
The next picture features the Nob and big shoota, the Nob was made with the arm from the Assault on Black Reach Warboss (I had a couple kicking around due to an unfortunate Deathkopta addiction). The big shoota is made with a loota gun mounted on the Black Orc shoulder.
Finally, back in the bad old days before we had spiffy new plastic killa kans we had to make do with slightly rubbish metal ones. Worse, two of the best weapons - kustom mega blastas and grotzookas - were unavailable. So I did what everyone did, made 'em myself. The KMB's are easy, loota weapons just grafted on. The grotzookas sounded like blunderbuss mortar things, so I made a double barrelled mortar out of Imperial Guard mortar tubes and a few random plastic bits.
Anyone who doesn't use these awesome weapons on their 'Kans is just kidding themselves. Only Grots should have the one shot KMB's as their marginally higher BS makes them actually useful. As for the Grotzooka? It is terrifying. S6, AP5, Heavy 2, Blast. A squadron of three of these can make even Space Marines duck and cover, get a small template out and try it out. 6 blast templates. Now make the Wound and Save throws. Now gibber a bit or cackle maniacally depending on your army choice. Told you, Grotzookas for the win.

Thats all for now, hopefully should have a Razorback for you next post followed by some shiney new commission figs (Thousand Sons and World Eaters in their heresy colours of blue, white and lots of gore).


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Boss Snikrot

Heya folks, just a quickee today showcasing another past project, one of my favourite Ork models of all time, Boss Snikrot. This was my first ever attempt at object lighting and I followed the advice given in White Dwarf about painting Skaven Warpstone, just replaced green shades with red. You can't see from this angle but the finger that he is holding up to shush the kommandos is also lit as it was in the radius of reflected light.

I'm in the middle of converting the Red Skull Kommandos to join him at the moment. They are being modelled crossing a swamp with some in deep water and I don't yet know exactly how I am going to paint the water/swamp. Hence, his base is currently not finished. My Blood Axe army already has one Kommando unit (and Gods are they hardcore) and they are pictured below.
I wanted a really old school look to the Kommandos, those who remember the original metal models will know they were very SAS in appearance. In homage to this bit of Ork history all of the converted Kommandos in my army have the rolled balaclava beany hats modelled out of green stuff. The only other modifications were swopping all to weapons for knives and an Imperial Guard heavy weapon team backpack. It is amazing how much three small changes alter a model's appearance.


Monday, 21 June 2010

Orks sir! Thousands of 'em!

Nattering about rust in my last update led me to thinking about my Ork army and I thought I'd share some pics of the stuff I'm happiest with. Sort of a blast from the past to break up all that red in the blog! First off, my Ork Trukk:

The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice that the rust is exactly the same technique from the previous post but with substantially less boltgun metal drybrushed over the top. Just to remind everyone of the method for the rust painting, here it is:
Essentially it is a progressive stippled highlight that follows this pattern:
1) Basecoat: Dark Flesh
2) Heavy Stipple: Vermin Brown
3) Stipple: Macharius Solar Orange
4) Drybrush: Boltgun Metal
5) Wash: Badab Black or Devlan Mud
The degree of "rustiness" is controlled by stages 4 and 5. A lighter drybrush of Boltgun Metal will achieve a rustier vehicle (at stage 3 it looks completely rusted). Replacing Black with Brown in the wash stage will also achieve a more ramshackle appearance.
The close-up below illustrates the finished effect nicely:
Areas of curved or large flat areas - like the piping - have the boltgun metal stippled on instead of drybrushed to give texture. These areas are perfectly smooth in the model and need a bit of texture to look heavy and "real". If you want to add paint-chipped effects over the top it cannot be easier, just paint the colour you want in the middle and stipple out until you leave an edge chipped around the colouring. This is how I do heavy paint weathering, light paint weathering will be seen in the Razorback when part two goes up.
Other useful tips: The lens of the lamp is black highlighted with fenris grey before catchlight and gloss varnish is added. This gives a "switched-off" look to the lamp which I generally prefer to the bright yellow-white usually seen on models. The rubber tyres were achieved with a graveyard earth and black mix washed in badab black and then with graveyard earth washed into the recesses. This gives a lovely convincing dusty rubber effect that has served me very well.

Tomorrow I'll put up some shots of one of my favourite Orks of all time, Boss Snikrot and the converted Kommandos that go with him. Till then...


Friday, 18 June 2010

"Factory Finish" Razorback

Given that I rarely stop at this point of a tank painting project I thought I'd take the opportunity to take a couple of shots of a "factory fresh" razorback. The chapter markings are still to be added but lacking both transfers and matt varnish (I ardcoat first, apply transfer and matt down the finish to eliminate the carrier film) this was going to be tricky. While I wait for some sheets through the post (thanks Maisey!) I have to stop the weathering process, so here it is... the before shots:
I've had lots of nice things said about the red I am using so I thought I'd run through the process:
1) Basecoat: 2:2:1 Mechrite Red : Blood Red : Dark Flesh
2) Lining in:  2:1:1 Blood Red : Dark Flesh : Black 
(all of the shadows and panel lines on a normal figure skip for tanks)
3) First Highlight: 2:1 Blood Red : Dark Flesh
4) Second Highlight: Blood Red
5) Coarse Edge Highlight: Blazing Orange
6) Edge Highlight: 2:1 Blazing Orange : Vomit Brown
7) Wash: Baal Red
(for tanks make it a thin filter of Baal Red avoiding any pooling)
8) Final Edge Highlight: 2:1 Blazing Orange : Vomit Brown
(around helmets and other prominant locations).
Obviously for tanks and similar you ignore stage 2 and use progressively lighter drybrushing to achieve stages 3-6. Ignore stage 8 as it will achieve precious little.

The "heavy" look on the tracks and exhausts is achieved using something that is still called "Jeff Rust" in the GW Stores that I taught it in. Essentially it is a progressive stippled highlight that follows this pattern:
1) Basecoat: Dark Flesh
2) Heavy Stipple: Vermin Brown
3) Stipple: Macharius Solar Orange
4) Drybrush: Boltgun Metal
5) Wash: Badab Black or Devlan Mud
The degree of "rustiness" is controlled by stages 4 and 5. A lighter drybrush of Boltgun Metal will achieve a rustier vehicle (at stage 3 it looks completely rusted). Replacing Black with Brown in the wash stage will also achieve a more ramshackle appearance. Given that this is an Imperial vehicle I made the rust minimal but all those layers add a nice sense of depth and weight.

Anyhow, when transfers arrive I shall apply those and go through the weathering processes that turn it from a toy vehicle into a war-torn weapon of war!


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

First tactical squad finally finished

Well, here it is folks, the whole shebang, all ten members of the second tactical squad of the third company of the Blood Angels. I decided to go ultra traditional with the squad markings (hence the heinous task of freehand painting all those white-on-blue kneepad skulls).
Along with the team shot I took some portraits of some of the more interesting squad members, especially the heavy bolter - that I just couldn't get in focus on the left of the frame (any tips?). Let me know what you think. Next up will be the squad's razorback or the next batch of commission work (whichever gets to the bench first!) TTFN.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

My Blood Angels

In the interim between painting commissions I've had a chance to work on some of my own figures. These are the first of my Blood Angels. In a departure from my former painting style (which could charitably be called "bash it out") I have decided to do my best work possible on this army. This could be due to many factors, maybe I want a better professional portfolio. Maybe not having discount of jamminess makes me slow down a bit. Maybe I just want the armies to look better. Who knows? Anyhow, here they are. They aren't the best pictures, sky was overcast so I had to balance the contrast in photoshop.

Let me know what you think, second half of the Tactical Squad is under the brush now. Will post when it is done. TTFN