Thursday, 26 January 2012

Nurgle Warriors of Chaos (Workbench)

Greetings all, I had intended to show you some shiney new painting today but an acute attack of the lurgey has put paid to that.

Yup, Mulder and I are under the weather...

Instead - and quite fittingly - I thought you might enjoy taking a look at the work I have been doing on my fledgling Nurgle Chaos Warrior army. This is a project in conjunction with the Beard Bunker and most of the WIP work will be going there but I shall share the finished models with you all too. Without further ado, here we go:

The two chaos warrior units in the army are both 14 strong with a space for a character. I wanted them to be really, really nurgle. In fact I wanted the whole army to feel old school Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness style. To achieve this I went in and attacked every armour plate and weapon with my wannabe dremel to create pitting in the surface that the Jeffrust would make into corroded wrecks. The second quick element was adding some Puppetswar rotting warrior heads to five of the unit. They are pictured below:

contrast messed with to help visibility.
These should give the old school "gifts of the gods" look I wanted. To help the nurgle vibe even more I converted the command group to have appropriate toys. Lets start with the champion:

A quick conversion this, just a couple of quick slices with my trusty Chopper II and an Empire Flagellent scythe became the highly appropriate weapon of an aspiring champion of Nurgle.

The musician was made by combining a cut down standard pole with a plague monk gong and a standard top. Swopping out the weapon head for a plague monk drumstick end made for a nice looking Nurgle musician. A dolorous tolling of a terrible gong made for a more Nurgle feel than a horn. The next unit will have a drum.

Finally the standard bearer had the top of his banner pole extended by about 3/4" and a 40k Chaos Marine Nurgle icon added. Really sets off the banner and pledges their alleigance most firmly.

While we are talking standards, this is for the Marauder horde I am going to use. The horde (50 strong) is going to be a ragged crusade of a mixture of warbands drawn together under one ruler. If you are curious the backstory for this army is on the Beard Bunker. There will be converted flagellents, plague monks, beastmen, a corpse cart and some mantic ghouls as they look like nutters. I wanted the standard bearer to be a walking scripture bearer and I think the model captures that nicely. Handily the Flagellent box includes all sorts of wacky stuff to make for dynamic and crazy looking cultists.

While I was playing with flagellents I decided to make 4 mutants, I thought that 4 in a unit of 50 would be enough to give a "gifted by chaos" feel without making the unit overloaded with mutants.

This fellow is bursting with tentacles. Decided to use a blinded head as though he now uses the tentacles to feel his way like a squishy Blind Pew.

By comparison he got off light.

The last mutant is also the most disturbing. Something about a sinuous neck always freaks me out. Obviously all of these need some liquid green stuffing to smooth out the joins. I always liked how the chaos rewards were always so random. To the chaos gods there is no difference between a third nostril, super strength and the ability to smell colours. They are all gifts.

Anyway, my diseased ramblings are becoming more random. Fare thee well all, I have an appointment with a duvet and mucho orange juice. I leave you with an image of the failed aspiring champion I will have leading the marauders:


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Blood Knights finished!

Well the first half of the massive ten Blood Knight unit is completed!

Previous entries in the Blood Knights chronicles can be found here and here. The only remaining models were the last lancer and the banner bearer. I also had to do the shields and attach them to the unit:

I chose shield designs to complement the blood dragon vampire vibe. A mix of wolves, dragons, bats, fanged skulls and just plain fangs. By painting the icons in the same bone white that the scroll on the banner is painted avoids adding another colour and ties the unit further together.

While the original commission plan called for the Drakenhof banner the new vampire book kinda threw a spanner in the works. Fortunately I hadn't spent hours painting it already so no harm done when the client asked to change the banner to the Banner of Blood Keep. I took the design cues of the studio's original Blood Keep banner design and added some tweaks of my own. The bats flying across the blood toned sky and the halo around the moon. I wanted the red of the banner to be more intense than the armour to help it stand out. It couldn't be too scarlet though as it would loose the "vampire vibe". In the end I settled on a deep bloody red, this was achieved through a smooth basecoat of 50:50 Mechrite and Blood Red glazed in a 3:1 mix of Red to Chestnut ink mixed with Vallejo Thinner medium to help the glazing process. The moon was Rotting Flesh - going for Morrsleib - with darker patches and highlights created by adding black and white respectively. The halo was created with thin washes of the white and Rotting Flesh mix.

To finish off I wanted to show the lovely dynamic effect achieved through carefully positioning the charging, leaping horses to create a "flying wedge" of cavalry. Makes them look much more aggressive and interesting than just being in a straight line. This only really works with horses modelled at the gallop, most horse models (Empire knights for example) are sculpted as trotting and as such should be trotting shoulder to shoulder in formation. Orc Boar Boyz by comparison are wild nutters and would look really nice using this method.

Well, that's it for this commission, next up for commission work are some purple Emperor's Children and a High Elf griffon from the island of blood box. Good times.


Monday, 16 January 2012

Goblins of Character...

Greetings all, quite a short one this time as I only got to do a quick conversion and a single character in my weekend painting. What a character though:

This chap was the limited edition warboss figure for the 2007 White Dwarf sub-in-a-box deal. Essentially he was painted in the same way as the rank and file lads but with each shading and highlighting stage taken two or three layers higher. I'm especially happy with the tone on the face. It is my usual Night Goblin method of Knarloc Green, highlighted with Rotting Flesh and then knocked back with Thraka Green wash but this time I also mixed a little Badab Black into the Thraka Green and lined in the deep shadows. Rehighlighting (way to many gh's in that word) the model with the Knarloc and Rotting Flesh mix made the features pop and a final thin glaze of Thraka Green prevented too-pale chalkiness.

During drying stages I converted myself a Battle Standard Bearer. For an army with such a reprehensible Leadership value a BSB model is conspicuous by its absense. I started (as I normally do with BSB conversions) with a character whose weapon is already fairly appropriate in pose and size. In this case this Night Goblin shaman:

Image taken from Games Workshop for Illustrative purposes only

I then sawed off the double moon weapon head just beneath the lowest metal part. For this I used a jeweller's saw (most often called a razor saw) as this would spare both parts. Clippers would either have mashed the weapon head or the haft. I then rummaged around in my collection of plasticard rods and tubes and found a section of plastic rod of appropriate diameter. The trusty Chopper II gave me a perfect cut and so all that was needed was to pin the rod into place. I then test fitted my chosen banner - the Black Orc standard - onto the pole and snapped a quick picture before removing it to facilitate easy painting of the character!

I think it looks nicely big and imposing, good Battle Standard size. Plus the severed Beastman head will annoy one of my missus' armies! Chuckle. Welp, thats all folks, see you next time!


Friday, 13 January 2012

Mantic Elves reviewed

Greetings all, today I thought I'd do something a little different and take a close look at another company's figures. In this case Mantic.

I will confess that I have been underwhelmed by Mantic's output to date, their dwarfs in particular are really not to my tastes at all. The elves caught my eye though, with the big sale that they've got on I took the opportunity to try some of their models out. Lets unbox 'em and take a gander:

The sprues come in a plastic box reminiscent of an old VHS tape box. There's a layer of foam in each side and apparantly the box is designed to become a figure case for the contents after you are finished with them. The box also contains a sprue of bases, a sheet of stickers (really Mantic? Stickers?) for shields and banner. There is also a poster sized instruction sheet with advice on assembly and painting.

The box above was the Elf Bowmen, lets also have a look at the Spearmen box too.

The sprues have been cut and cast by Renedra, the same company that works with the Perry's. They seem to have a limited amount of mold line and flashing. Oddly enough the models are much better than the box art on the back would lead you to believe. Check this out.

Seems odd to me that you would go to the effort of designing and manufacturing nice models and then not bother commissioning a decent paint job. I know Mantic are allied to the Army Painter crowd (and don't get me started on that) but the box is supposed to convince you to buy the product! Come on Mantic, leave the kiddy cart basecoat and dip stuff for the inner poster. Actually paint the models on the box art eh?

With the exception of the foot joins the models are easy to remove and the channels have been placed in sensible areas to avoid knackering details. The foot joins though are just a teeny bit too narrow. I couldn't get my clippers in to remove them and had to "chew" through the plastic with the tip of my clippers. Not a major problem but something to be aware of with future sprue design.

I started with the bowmen, the cast-on bases integral to the models works quite nicely all on its own and they stand happily. If you want to though Mantic's bases are simplicity itself to drop them into and provide a little more stability or ranking up-ability.

I left them off as I can envision using these as skirmisher models in RPGs rather than on the battlefield.

There is also a few nice extras on the sprue, broken shields and weapons and alternate options. There is also a casualty figure which I presume is needed for the Kings of War rules.

Once all the bow arms are cleaned up and attached the unit looks like this:

Most of the poses are quite passive, models standing as though waiting for action rather than in combat. That is fine though as frequently the rear ranks look better this way. The firing poses though... not sure I would have gone with leaving the shields on the arms. Mantic have fallen into a common sculpting error of having the shields apparantly floating on the arm rather than having a positive attachment like straps. Given how heavy a shield is, adding the weight of a bow would make it tough for a heavily muscled person to aim a bow let alone the waif thin elves. This makes the poses look a little off, you know there is something wrong but not sure what. Sculpting on the heads is also quite soft and in trying to avoid undercuts they have made the helmets seem very tight. This is a shame because there is something about the inhumanly willowy bodies that works for me.

The spearmen, I quickly realised, are the same sprue, same extras, same bodies, same heads even one of the same shield arms with the arrow quiver in the shield. Only the spears and a couple of shields are different. This, I suspect could lead to the units looking very samey across an entire army. The spears are very nice though. Very different in design to the normal elven leaf type spears.

 The pictures above answer one of the big questions I had. Will Mantic's figures be compatible with the Citadel range. Answer, hell no. Far, far too small and thin. A goblin makes them look tiny, a chaos warrior makes them look like children. They would probably work alongside Lord of the Rings figures as their scale is more closely aligned to these.

So to summerise, lets look at the good, the bad and the ugly:

The Good:
Price, very cheap indeed. Heck even without the sale they are only £6-7 for a box of ten.
Elements of design, the spears and armour especially are good.
Ease and speed of assembly.
Integral figure case is a nice idea.

The Bad:
Identical poses regardless of weaponry would make for fairly samey armies.
Face sculpting and some of the fighting poses.

The Ugly:
Stickers rather than transfers, really?
Terrible painting for the inspirational pictures and box.


It took rather a long time to figure out what I thought about these guys. I eventually had a brain wave. This range seems to have been designed for kids. Young kids at that. There is nothing wrong with this at all but it makes all sorts of sense. The simplistic painting (even down to daubed red paint on the spears as blood), the ease of assembly. The integral figure case allowing young uns to store their models easily on their shelves. The pocket money pricing.

I can see some uses for some of the models, I will be using these as classical norse elves from Elfheim (thinking about doing some fantasy Dark Age gaming). But their real strength is for introducing young gamers. If you are a parent and have a 9-11 year old who wants to have a go at wargaming don't reach for Warhammer first, get them some of these. They're cheaper, simpler and easy to store. For the rest of us? I can't see Mantic being the major player that they clearly want to be until they fix some of their design issues and work a little harder on presentation. They will however be the Asda to Games Workshop's Waitrose. Mantic are cheap and cheerful and not terrible in quality. Games Workshop are expensive but top quality.

Hope that this has been helpful to people like me who hadn't seen Mantic's models properly and were curious. Until next time folks.


Thursday, 12 January 2012

Harlequins dance in

Finally, we have a post that includes painted Harlequins! Hurrah!

I won't lie, this commission has been something of a trial so far. I don't have much experiance painting bright, bold colours despite all my time in the hobby. As anyone who reads this blog knows I am a fan of the grunge so I have had to re-teach myself to paint for these guys! Add to that the wrist-crippling in the middle of it and it has taken far, far too long as a result! Now to business, the interesting bits of painting: All of the bright colours have to be applied over a white undercoat otherwise they lack intensity. Given that harlequins have a whole "riot of colours" thing going on you have to choose a couple of features that will bind them as a group. In this case I chose the masks and the wraithbone. Lets take a squint at the masks first.

I wanted to create a mirrored effect on the masks as the old fluff for the harlequins had their masks mirroring your worst fears. In this case the masks are basecoated in mithril silver. I then created a horizon line reflection with glazes of inks (green, brown and blue) to make it seem as though the mask reflects the surroundings. Rehighlighting the mask with mithril tones down the glazes and a layer of gloss varnish finishes the mirror finish. Seems to work well enough.

The models are a mix of the new and the old, all of them treated the same way to try to bind the models together. Instead of the incredibly laborious lozenge patterns that harlequins are usually painted in I decided to go with a more Cirque du Soleil look. Bold patterns across the bodysuits. To balance this I chose a very neutral leather and wraithbone contrast. Lets have a closer look at the wraithbone:

Wraithbone is a living psycho-plastic so needs to be bone, but not bone. My method starts with a clean basecoat of Dheneb Stone, I then use Ogryn Flesh wash to warm the colour and shade it, that gives it a disturbing fleshy quality. I then highlight first with Dheneb Stone and then with increasing amounts of white added to increase the highlights. Dheneb is a very dead colour and creates the look of artificial bone nicely.

This trio of bad-asses are the Death Jesters. I painted all at the same time to make them as identical as possible. The black was achieved through layer upon layer of badab black over a dark bone colour to create a smoothly toned and unusual shade. The rest of it was just the wraithbone and purple as contrast.

The last model (in this batch, there's about three more batches this size) is the old solitare model. Using black for the undersuits creates contrast for the bold colour without introducing yet another shade. The odd weapon in his hand seems to be a crystalline gun grown from wraithbone handle. I made the colour transition from the wraithbone into a blue crystal. I used mithril as the base shade again before glazing in layers of blue and adding white catchlights and gloss varnish.

Thats all for today folks, more soon!


Monday, 9 January 2012

Taming a Butterfly Brain: Resolutions

I am going to straight up steal an idea today. Dave Taylor's excellent blog has long been a source of inspiration for me and today is no different. He makes hobby resolutions at the start of a year and then checks at the start of the next year to see how many he kept. I like this idea, focus is nifty and helpful when dealing with the kind of butterfly minded creature that I am. Charlie actually talks about this in today's Beard Bunker blogpost btw.

Judge Mulder now in session...
So, the hobby resolutions for 2012 are as follows (note that these are for my personal hobby rather than client work):

  1. The Night Goblins army will be finished. Ideally in the first quarter as there really, really is not much more to do! Finished means that 2500 points will be painted and based.
  2. I will paint the 2000 point Nurgle Chaos Warriors army that is to tie into the Beard Bunker Blog's 2013 campaign.
  3. If I paint 40k stuff for myself it will be the new Imperial Guard I have waiting in the wings.
  4. I will paint my Napoleonic British army to 1000 points.
That sounds realistic. Not too ambitious. The Night Goblins are all but done just one and a half more hordes and some cool stuff. Less than it sounds. The Nurgle Chaos army is a small one as everything costs so many flamin' points! The Imperial Guard is not targetted as a points value but as a focus. If my hobby magpie pecks at 40k I will be painting Imperial Guard, that is my declaration! The Napoleonic British one is the hard resolution as that is a LOT of very complex figures. Seriously, eight white belts on every red jacket?

So with the hobby resolutions out of the way, what am I wanting to achieve with the blog in 2012?

  1. At least one post with pictures of finished work every single week. No dry spells. There will be weeks where I upload three or four times, doesn't matter. At least one in every calendar week.
  2. More full tutorials. I actually like doing them and people seem to like them. I'd like to do one every couple of months but I will resolve conservatively and say four this year. I've got one in mind on painting horses for openers...
  3. I will support the Beard Bunker with content more skewed toward gaming and practicalities of Wargaming. Pirate Viking Painting will remain a pure painting blog
 There are other things I would like to do (more reviews spring to mind) but these are the things that I will commit to. What I would like is for everyone reading this now to place a comment below. Declare just one hobby resolution before Judge Mulder and then next year we will come together to review.


GW, you confuse me sometimes...

I have a decent level of confusion. The subject of the confusion is Warhammer Magic Cards. I think that they are one hell of a good idea, everyone who uses them agrees. The problem is availability, today is Monday, the Vampire Cards went on advance order sale on Saturday. I go to buy them, they are sold out. Now I totally understand how the thinking was for the first sets of cards. Make them limited edition because no-one wants to be stuck with several thousand units of unsellable products. But many, many sell-out editions later it surely must be sinking in that people want these things! They are dirt cheap to mnufacture so why the hell are they limited edition?

It confuses the hell out of me why they are denying themselves the easiest add-on sale to an army book the world has seen? Their current strategy only benefits one group of customers. Those who bulk buy the cards and then sell them online at inflated prices. I am thus mystified as to why they don't just re-order and re-release when they run out? It would chop the legs from the resale market instantly and would please a load of customers, good PR and good business.

As it is I have all of the magic cards except High Elves and Vampire Counts. While I was just missing the Elves I was content to continue collecting them. Now, I don't see I'll be bothering as I can't have a complete set ever.

Confusing as hell. Anyone from GW want to comment?


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Announcing the Beard Bunker!

I have frequently posted lovely images of models created by friends of mine. Search FoPVP if you've not seen them. Go on, I can wait.... nice huh? Well, after some inspiring and cajoling the members of the House of Beard have started their very own conduit of hobby craziness in the form of the Beard Bunker Blog, obey the penguin below! Click the link!

Awesome badge from

Thus while Pirate Viking Painting will always be my home I now also contribute to the Beard Bunker so I urge everyone to check it out and support it while they all find their blogging legs. I guarantee fascinating stuff*.


*Warning, your fascination levels may vary from those experianced by Jeff...