Saturday, 23 October 2010

Heavy Metal

Greetings all, this week has been something of a hobby non-entity. Family matters have kinda killed my hobby mojo (get better soon Grandad!) and while I have got stuff done; nothing is finished for photography. So I present an older army, my Imperial Guard, the glorious Gethsemanite XVth! This time we will focus on my favourite element of the guard. Their armoured vehicles. So here are the tanks of the third company:

The colour scheme for the army is Charadon Granite and olive drab green (Catachan Green with a Badab Black wash). The tanks add black and a thin Khemri Brown stripe to the mix. The painting starts with a mix of black and Catachan Green drybrushed up through Catachan Green and then a Catachan and Rotting Flesh final highlight. The broad bands of Charadon Granite are painted on and drybrush highlighted with Charadon
and Khemri Brown mix. Next comes a thin stripe of Khemri Brown to break up the quite similar green and brown. Finally thin short bands of black (with a little Scorched Brown added to soften the colour) are painted following the line of the Khemri Brown. The metalwork is painted with Jeff-rust. The weapons are painted the same way as the rest of the army. I wanted to achieve a black anodised look to the guns - imitating the look of modern firearms. This was achieved by painting the gun barrels black and adding thin edge highlights of chainmail to the edges of the metalwork. Once dry a quick gloss varnish brought up the shine and finished off the effect.

Once the painting was finished the weathering - my favourite part - could begin! Now I talked at length about tank weathering in a previous article. These models take the process much, much further. Instead of running the wash into the panel lines I sloshed a very thin Scorched Brown wash over the entire tank. Gravity takes care of pulling the wash to the lower reaches of the tank, it really does look dreadful until it dries! Have faith! I then used the same dust drybrushing as on the Blood Angels razorback. The main difference between the two methods comes before the wash stage. When doing the chips and dings there are some large areas of scoured metalwork (noticably the dozer blades and track guards) that are painted with streaky drybrushing of Jeff-rust.

This old model Hellhound showcases the dozer blade scoured metal quite nicely. I intend to be replacing these with the gorgeous, gorgeous new versions eventually. This design will become a Banewolf as the external tanks seem a good idea when you have filled them with corrosive man-dissolving chemicals.

EDIT: Totally forgot! The tracks also have a wash of Forgeworld's masterclass oil wash (brown ink and gloss varnish) which gives them that nice "heavy machinery" look.

The Chimera below has had quite a lot of small conversion jobs performed on it. The first is the track guards, ordinarily the GW track guards only cover the first quarter of a chimera's tracks. This seemed a trifle silly so I cut the slanted edges off the long "angled" track guard and attached it behind the others.

The second small conversion is on the lasgun ports:

I don't like the lasgun "hedgehog" on the unaltered kit. I know that the idea is to show that the chimera interior is a sealed unit but I prefer to show the squad using their own lasguns to fire out. I decided to make shutters that the unit would open to fire out of. This was achieved with a couple of small bevelled pieces of plastic-card per opening. These were glued behind the opening before assembly.

The pintle-mounted heavy stubber showcases the black anodised effect on the weapons nicely.

Finally some sentinels! These show the squadron markings quite nicely: the coloured triangle denotes the platoon that the squad is attached to, the squad is identified by a greek letter (in this case sigma) and a number to show the position in the squad. For anyone thinking of playing Imperial Guard consider a squadron of sentinels with autocannons. They are fast and manouverable and can get behind other armoured vehicles easily enough. An autocannon is fine for dealing with thin rear armour and scares infantry a lot more than the single shot lascannon. Well, that's all for the armoured showcase! Hopefully my mojo will return soon so that the next update will have shiny new models!


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Children of the Emperor

Here's some shots of the latest commission work! These Emperor's Children were painted with the brief of "classic pink and black". Now pink is one of those colours. It is as difficult as white or yellow to get a smooth coat and is really hard to cover mistakes. This pink was produced with a basecoat of several thin layers of Warlock Purple. The pink was then built up with sequential layers of Warlock Purple and Skull White mixes.

The layers were then blended together with a couple of thin glazes of a Baal Red and Leviathan Purple mixed wash. The recesses were then deepened with the addition of more Leviathan Purple. At this point the models looked more like Barbie's First Space Marine, the pink needed breaking up. I decided to do this with individual patterns of black over the pink. Flames, dags, stripes, thorns, lots of different options for decoration. All of the detail shots below show the patterns I chose for the first five. Weirdly, the models looked fine to the naked eye but the camera shows lots of areas where I will have to go over again with the pink!

That's all for this update. Tossing a coin now to decide whether to paint the next five of these or to launch into the Alpha Legion rhino I have got on the workbench for the same client. Hmm. Choices, choices!


Thursday, 7 October 2010

Librarian Conversion

Hi all, the Blood Angels army rumbles ever, ever on (although the Dark Eldar are pulling at my hobby magpie so hard that I have issued edicts to my missus that if I even look like buying them I am to be hit with sticks). This time it is the turn of the Librarian of the 3rd company. For those unfamiliar with Space Marine terminology, Librarians are the psychic warriors of the chapter, they are also responsible for cataloging the chapter's history and accomplishments, hence, Librarian. Think of them as space wizards and you won't go far wrong! As always choosing a model for a character that you will only have one of is a lengthy process. I like most of the current Librarian models - love the terminator one, have to find an excuse to use him - but each has something that I wanted to change. Finally I settled on this one.

Trouble is, there's something on him I don't like as well. The book in his hand is very nice but seems to defy gravity, the pages are stiff, the bookmark wrong somehow. Despite that he is a gorgeous model with just the right stern, calm feel that someone who feels the laws of physics are better off as guidelines should have. I decided that swapping that arm out would give me my own unique model and give me a chance to personalise him with blood angel heraldry. A quick search on "let the dice decide" yielded the parts I needed (for the curious, a left handed bolt pistol arm, the "wait signal" scout sniper hand, a blood angel shoulder pad and backpack). The bits arrived commendably quickly and I got to work, and here he is!:

I wanted to portrey the Librarian as casting one of his powers, a roilling, coruscating bolt of pure psychic energy, compare and contrast the original model and this conversion to see what a difference this reletively minor alteration makes to the feel and tone of the miniature.

 The proceedure was as follows, first, remove the bolt pistol hand from the arm at the wrist leaving a clean cut at the wrist cuff. Attach the scout sniper hand with plastic glue at about 2/3 up the cuff and at a slight upward angle. Attach backpack and shoulder pad. Leave the glue to cure. Then drill a pilot hole into the cuff at roughly the halfway point, make it a good deep one as it will be supporting all of the rest of the work. In to this pilot hole I inserted a length of wire and superglued it in place. I then chopped the wire to length - eyeballing how long I wanted the energy burst to be. Again, leave to cure, superglue may stick instantly but it needs a good quarter hour for all the chemistry to be over and the bond to be secure.

Next came the sculpting of the energy bolt. I wanted to try out a new product - to me anyhow - Squadron Green Putty. Unlike the "green stuff" I am used to this comes ready mixed in a tube, you just squeeze it out and go! I smeared it along the length of the energy bolt and then went to town with a scalpel blade teasing out tiny threads of the the putty to create lots of small spikey voids. This is one of the strengths of doing your own sculpted parts, you could not cast this effect, too many undercuts. The model would never release cleanly from it's mould. I made sure that the splash covered all of the join between the hand and wrist and also washed back along the wrist. I envisioned the psyker conjouring a ball of energy and then firing it at the foe, some of it would wash back at him. Plus it'll look cool when painted!

You'll note some damage to the wrist cuff, this happened when I removed the hand, slightly careless of me. I could repair it with green stuff but I decided to leave it and paint it as battle damaged. On the subject of Squadron Green Putty, I like it but for only certain jobs I think. It has a texture like milliput - slightly grainy on the blade - and dries very fast. It can be filed and sanded so anywhere that needs a perfectly straight edge would be ideal. Unlike green stuff it has almost no shape memory and so can be pushed around more easily. This however is a double edged sword as when combined with its tackiness means that you can pull it out of position easily. I think I will still be using the green stuff for sculpting additions (pouches, straps, hair, etc) and use this Squadron stuff for quick fixes, gap filling and for things that need a random organic feel like this energy bolt. Seems to cure nicely overnight so not too lengthy a process at all.

Now I'll just need to paint him! Oh, and name him... now unusually I am drawing a total blank here. Usually I am fine with naming but he seems to be causing me problems! Hence I am announcing a "name my Librarian" competition. He's in an army with Tycho and Lemartes so something different to those two would be nice. The winning entry gets fame, prestiege and my eternal thanks! Suggestions in the comments please! Finally this week I would like to clue everyone in to an awesome website: this is an archive of every Golden Demon winner from every country that they can find! There is some truly inspirational work on this site from the undisputed best painters in the world, I heartily reccomend perusing it. This sort of thing used to make me jealous of others talent. Now it just spurs and inspires me to improve my own work and to try and achieve effects that they have. Oh, and go back just a few years and see what used to be good enough to win Golden Demon. Food for thought!


Friday, 1 October 2010

High Elves and K9!

It's been a quiet week on the blog hasn't it? Well, here are the fruits of my latest labours:

I've recently acquired the frankly gorgeous Island of Blood High Elves. I spent a long time wandering the halls of the interwebs looking at colour schemes and combinations. I didn't want to do the stereotypical blue and white but needed a "clean" look to the army. I finally found one that was almost entirely cream, brown and gold on cool mini or not and loved the effect. The effect is very subtle and looks better in real life than in photography but I'm really happy with the finished look.

The colour combination basecoat is Dheneb Stone for the cream, Scorched Brown for the leather and Khemri Brown for the woodwork. The metalwork is simply Mithril Silver washed with a 1:1 blend of Badab Black and Asurman Blue and rehighlighted with Mithril Silver. The leatherwork is worked up from the Scorched Brown by first highlighting with a 1:1 mix of Scorched Brown and Bestial Brown and then a final highlight of Bestial Brown before shading down with Devlan Mud. The cream is shaded down with Gryphonne Sepia and then gradually highlighted up again, first with Dheneb Stone and then with increasing amounts of Skull White added to the Dheneb Stone.

The woodwork is achieved by lining in the woodgrain with a mix of Khemri Brown and Bleached Bone and Khemri Brown and Chaos Black. I just got some new brushes - a brand called Raphael - and they are wonderful for this sort of work. I can't stress enough about how important good brushes are. You simply cannot paint well with lousy brushes, I know a bad craftsman blames his tools but you will never be a good craftsman without them. Shell out some cash (these are £5 each minimum) and then look after them! You'll be glad you did.

The cream would look a bit washed out without at least one accent colour to lift the scheme. I was going to go with a rich purple but thought that it would look weird on the dragons. Instead I figured a strong red would work better and went with it:

The only problem was the sea and seaweed-esque (a word I never thought I would type!) ribbons on some of the sea guard. It needed to work as a "sea" colour but not leap out of the model and alter the balance of the model. As a general tip, if you want a desaturated effect build it from a foundation colour. For this mix I used roughly 1:1 Hawk Turquoise and Adeptus Battlegrey with a tiny dot of Chaos Black. Highlights and shading were done simply with Skull White and more Chaos Black. I've talked a lot about red lately what with Blood Angels and all so simply put; the red on the High Elves is the standard Blood Angels method with a tiny bit of Liche Purple added to deepen the tone. I'm really happy with how the gemstones turned out. It's a tricky thing to explain but I hope to do a proper tutorial at some point. The only part I'm unhappy with is the skin. For some reason I tried to use Elf Flesh again, I don't know what I do wrong but it always, always ends up chalky and a bit naff. Thankfully these are rear rankers and won't be noticed in the unit. I'll be going back to my tried and tested Tallarn/Ogryn/Bone mixes thank you very much!

Also this week we have another in the series of Doctor "Hugh" models that Heresy are producing. I present K9 for your delification and delight!

I decided to paint him in his modern - slightly battered - form, his "skin" is a nice metallic grey tone that I had to really think about how to replicate. I ended up mixing Fenris Grey and Boltgun Metal with a little Chaos Black. Try this mix! It's great! I was so happy with the overall finish that I am trying to find an excuse to use it again. Maybe some truly grey Grey Knights... hmm, something to muse on. Anyway, more K9 pics!

Yep, that's a tartan collar. 1.5mm across. For this I can thank my dear lady wife who pointed out that K9 has a cute tartan collar and if I was being authentic then so would the model! Thanks dear! It turned out fairly nicely anyhow.

So here is a nice group shot of my growing Doctor Who "gang" to finish this post. I've just got the next lot of commission models from my Chaos client - an Alpha Legion rhino and some Emperor's Children Noise Marines - so these will be up soon!