Monday, 27 August 2012

Inquisitorial Stormtroopers

Greetings crew, today's post is another part of the fun little project I'm working on. My Grey Knights are being expanded with the addition of five Stormtroopers to the Inquisitor's retinue.

Why am I painting stuff for my army today; rather than working like I should be? Frankly, I needed some fun, I'm afraid Mrs PVP and I had some bad news. After just three months in our shiny new house we have been told that it is to be sold. Our contract will not be extended beyond November and we have to move house again. Gutted doesn't begin to cover it. So apologies to all my clients, this week has mostly been wrecked and these five were my mojo-recovery charms. Anyway, on with the fun and interesting bit! Painting!

I wanted these chaps to be more understated than the typical red, white and black stormtroopers you usually see with an Inquisitor. My guy is a bit more incognito than the gold power armour-wearing psychopaths you normally see in a 40k game! Plus with him being a Hereticus Inquisitor; I see him as having to kick down a lot of doors cult-hunting. I therefore wanted a very soldierly, SWAT-esque vibe off these fellas. Their colour scheme is fairly straightforward although it took the devils own time to figure out where all those colours should go! All the armoured locations (helmets, bracers, greaves, body armour) were painted Castellan Green. The cloth areas (backpacks, webbing, pouches and the thermal sleeves on the hellguns) were basecoated Vallejo English Uniform. Both of these areas got a nice dousing of Athonian Camoshade and then worked back up with a little bone added for highlights.

The most striking feature of these models are the dull brass hellguns. I wanted these high-power laser weapons to look a bit pimpier (totally a word) than normal lasguns. Brass seemed to be the obvious choice. To balance the hellguns I also painted the visors brass. Not totally convinced on the finish on these. I wanted to get the kind of astronaut gold-plated look but didn't quite get there. They look more like armour plates than metallised glass. Ho hum, one of the hazards of painting really.

I like the volume of equipment these models are carrying. Really makes them look ready for anything. I envision these fellas kicking in doors and firing breaching charges Rainbow Six stylee. On the battlefield they are just adding the brutal punch of their hellguns to the Inquisitor's retinue.

Speaking of the retinue, here it is so far! I'm relieved that the priest fits in with the rest of the troopers, helps to carry colours over between the models. In this case the brass bell and the green chainsword match the brass hellguns and green body armour. I also think I've finally nailed my new favourite skin method with the new paints (took a little while). Start with a basecoat of Bugman's Glow. This will be almost invisible under the next layers but provides a warm undertone to the much more transparent layer paints. Cadian Fleshtone is layered on leaving Bugman's Glow only in the deepest recesses. Then wash the whole lot with Reikland Fleshtone. Rehighlight with with Cadian Fleshtone then pick out the highest points with Kislev Flesh. Pick out lower lips in Bugman's Glow and then highlight with a 50:50 mix of Bugman's and Kislev Flesh. Paint the eyes and Robert's yer father's brother.

So with the workometer filling nicely and some mojo restored I launch back into my work. Should be some more pretty pictures very soon as I've got some more harlequins on the cusp of finished. Until then folks.


Friday, 24 August 2012

A ton and a half of trouble

Hi folks! Some of you might remember I was on a bit of an oriental kick a few months back with another D&D party. Well, I've finally got the fourth member finished:

Yep, big fella at the front is a GCT Studios Bushido Sumo. He's called Mikio on their site and is being used as a monk in my Oriental Adventures party. Monks in D&D are usually portreyed as being lithe Bruce Lee types, they fight with their fists and eschew armour for mobility. Well, thought I, why can't the rules support a different sort of monk? A bit of fiddling later and it turns out that Sumo wrestlers make perfect Monks, just stear clear of the nippy feats! But now the important bit, painting:

Once again, GCT have outdone themselves on the sculpting, this fella is a dream to paint. I started, obviously enough with the skin. Unusually for me a white undercoat was the primer of choice. I knew that the tone of the skin and the vibrancy of it would make or break this paint job. The method for the skin was the same as the 54mm Ninja and seems to have worked nicely. Essentially adding some Vallejo Bronze Fleshtone to your normal skin tone knocks the skin colour that step sallower needed for oriental flesh. Hmm, that was a complex sentence...

The various scars and scratches are easy these days, just give them a basecoat of Bugman Glow and highlight with a little bone added, simples. What was less simple was the tattoo. Now, I cannot give you a blow by blow of what I used, how and when as it was one of those organic processes. I can however tell you the philosophy behind the process. I started by laying out the orange carp in roughly the right positions. Every paint colour used had a little flesh colour mixed in. I then blocked in the dark turquoise water and started adding abstract splashes and swirls in a whiter shade of the water colour. I then added the yellow-ey fins of the carp and the darker details of their faces. The scales were hinted at with a stippling of lighter shades of the carp base colour. Finally I added some lotus-ish flowers floating in the water as there wasn't enough colour by that point. The last stage was a bit of a "squeeky bum time" as the Doctor would call it. I glazed the whole thing with a couple of VERY thin layers of the basic fleshtone. This knocked down the vibrancy of the colours and seemingly pressed the design beneath the top layer of skin. Turned out alright in the end.

It's easy with tattoos and the like to try to put too much detail in and loose the overall sense of the design in a mess of lines and details. Instead I went for almost an "abstract" version of the classic carp sleeve, something that gives the impression of the design and allows the viewer to fill in the blanks.

Turns out there isn't much more to tell on this fella. The skin and tattoo are pretty much the whole story! With the Oriental Adventures party complete I am a step closer to having my mad plan of possessing a model for every single class in the Pathfinder rules set! The workometer looks like this:

Need to decide which party to paint next really. I'm drawn to Group 2 as that means that I will be working on the stunning Studio McVey Seraphine model as an Oracle. Sounds like my mind is made up folks! Until next time,


Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Musings on the New Paints

Greetings all, I am back from my week of camping in the woods and once more connected to this interweb thing. It looks like Mulder pressed the buttons on time and posted last week's efforts in my absence so all is well!

I promised recently that I would share with you all my musings on the new paint range that Citadel have brought out. I now feel ready to do so, having spent a few weeks working with them. The easiest way is probably to split up the range into it's component parts and examine each in turn.

The base paint range is essentially what the old foundation paint range brought to the party. Solid coverage, clean base shades, does what it says on the tin. There is one important difference though, whereas the old foundation paints used to be entirely dull, desaturated colours; these new ones are bright and vibrant. Lots of colours now have a cool and a warm version of themselves in the base paints and the addition of Ceramite White is one of those innovations that should have choirs of angels singing the first time you pick up the pot! In short, I love the new base paints. The only foundation paint I haven't got a decent analogue for - and mourn its absense - is Charadon Granite.

Just like the base paints the shading washes are essentially an upgrade on the previous wash range. I know people have been grumbling about them but I really cannot see the problem. I think the new range has more intensely and finely ground pigments. The medium the pigments is suspended in dries smoother and leaves nice gradiated shading. The major difference between these and the previous shades is that the new ones provide a slight glaze and thus change the tone of the underlying paint. If you want the original wash effect just thin them a little. A major advantage is the lack of foul reeking stench to the new washes. The old ones used to kiff more than a little. Games Workshop seem keen to promote Base-Shade-Layer-Layer as the method du jour, I respectfully disagree, instead use Base-Layer-Shade-Layer-Layer. Gives a smooth transition.

The layer paints are effectively the old range of paints with one important difference, coverage. The new layer paints are a little more translucent than the old citadel colour range. This may seem like a problem but is actually an advantage, the translucence gives a nice boost to blending layers of colour. Just don't try to use a layer paint in place of a base, it simply will not cover well enough. Get into the habit of using a base paint, any base paint as a colour primer beneath the layers.

How to describe the Dry Compounds? They are kind of like blancmange in texture and are absolutely laden with intense pigment. You dip the brush in and wipe off the excess, the result is brilliant. Far less chalkiness than using layer paints and the different shades make it easy to choose the right one. It is a shame that the highest tones of the new paints are only available in dry compounds but I suspect - haven't tried it yet - that adding some thinner medium and water would create more normal paint.

To my mind one of the biggest shames of the new range is that there are only four glazes. They work wonderfully well to enrich the tones of the paint they are applied over. I just wish there was a flesh one, a brown one etc. For red, blue, yellow and green though these are hard to beat. Don't forget though that a watered down shading wash with some glaze medium added will perform a similar task.

I've played with these but I must confess, they are the worst element of the new range. I'd much rather have had six extra glazes or something similar. Truthfully I don't like using these much. The pigmented nature of them means that it is hard to avoid messing up the painted feet of the miniature you are basing. As a result the "simplicity" of the new textures is undone by the care needed to apply them. I won't be bothering with these much and sticking to sand and PVA. I might play with adding texture to scenery with these but I haven't done so yet.

In short, I really do think that the new paints are an improvement on the previous range. You do need to make some small adjustments to your painting technique to gain the best from them but they are worth it. The new shades and bases are the stand out successes for me and are well worth your time and cash! Are they perfect? No, of course there are some colours that you will probably never use, the textures are kinda pointless too. On the whole though? Very pleased. Hopefully you will be too.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Converting the Inquisition

Greetings to all of you, this post is a bit of a departure from the norm for me. I don't usually do the work in progress stuff, preferring instead to showcase only the finished product. This, however, is an example of a model where the process of making it was the primary motivation for the entire project!

So who is this handsome chap? Well, he starts life as an Empire Witch-hunter and looks like this:

From the moment I saw this sculpt I knew that I wanted to make him into an Inquisitor. The coat, the hat, the baroque armour, the scowling, older face. It all screamed Inquisitor to me. Then with the descision to do some Grey Knights I knew that I would have access to a few spares to make him even better suited to the role.

First stop with any Finecast project is to inspect the casting for any slight defects in the model - big defects get replaced by GW. I've got to say, they seem to have gotten the hang of the Finecast process and this was a model designed for the medium. There were only a few little bubbles - in the brim of the hat - so there's precious little work to do there.


Next stage is Sprue Looting. I went through the Grey Knight sprue and harvested any little Inquisition icons I could find and also one of the Warding Staves to be a Null Rod. I wanted the Eisenhorn style staff on him anyway!

So, here was my little pile of parts with which to work. In the end I wouldn't need them all but handy to have them right there. I decided on the sword and pistol combo 'backpack' rather than the whacking great sword. This was for two reasons, one, I knew that I would have a big staff on the back and didn't want it competing with the greatsword for visual impact, two, I could see a future for that sword on other models!

Next stage was getting the hat sorted out. I liquid green stuffed the holes in the brim - leaving a little one to indicate a hat with character and damage. I then sliced off the "iron cross" decoration on the front of the hatband and replaced it with one of the Inquisition Icons from the heap. When doing this sort of work I tend to always switch out my scalpel blade for a new one. The old one gets used to apply superglue in precise areas, pour a little pool of it on a bit of tin foil or whatever and then dip the point of the blade in to transfer a little glue to the exact area it is needed.

Next, I managed - with tweezers - to sneak one of the pendant icons under the gun holster and attach it in the region of his waistband.

Now, the biggie, I needed to figure out the back mounting. First, I dry fitted the pack onto the main model to get a sense of where everything was and more crucially, how much space was available.

Now I eyeballed the fit of the staff (which I had labouriously - and needlessly in the end - cut and shut to remove the hand). I debated having it under the gun holster, rejected because it would have needed too much coat detail to be removed. Having it in place of the scrolls, rejected as it would have been too upright for the flow of the model. And having it alongside the sword. This was also rejected as there was just not enough room. Eventually I had to concede that the sword would have to go and be replaced with the staff.

I cut it at an angle so that the staff would follow the diagonal flow of the model. I could have drilled right through the pack and used a pin to secure it but in the end I just eyeballed the fit.

To disguise the lower join and to add to the flowing motion of the coat, I added a long flowing purity seal. Make sure with this kind of thing that the flow of the purity seal matches the flow of the garment it is attached to. If you are not careful then you will break the illusion of wind blowing.

And there he was, done! I could have gone further but I liked the original model so much that I wanted it to be very recognisable. The few little Inquisitional touches and the staff help to pull it into the 41st millenium rather than the fantasy Empire model it was based from.

I've not yet finished the backstory for him in my mind, that'll happen during painting, but he will be Ordo Hereticus as they are my favourites! Until next time folks.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

In the Emperor's Name!

And now for something completely different...

With the rise of Allies in the 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000 I wanted to do a small force that would work well with any of my Imperial armies. The obvious choice was Grey Knights as I love the models and they work nicely with any non-chaos force! I designed the army to feel like it was the Inquisitor and retinue that were with the army and the Grey Knights were called in later:

I essentially designed the army to operate legally both in its own right as a small 1k army and as an allied force. Having the Inquisitor leading it rather than a mighty hero of the Grey Knights makes it feel more believable for me. Deploying 15 Grey Knights and a fire support dreadnought feels about right. I can only see a large Grey Knight army being deployed when you are fighting an entire Daemon army. Sending what is essentially a stiffened tactical squad feels right for taking on a possessed army commander or whathaveyou.

The angry fellow that is the focus of this post, however, is the Banisher of the Inquisitor's warband. He's one of the figures I had lying around and I'd always loved the pose. Rather than go for the multi-tone scheme that the GW studio went for, I wanted an understated, monastic feel. See the side by side comparison below to see what I mean.

The robes were taken from Dryad Bark up through Gorthor Brown to Baneblade Brown and then shaded down with Agrax Earthshade. I decided that the icon and bell would be simple brass. I kinda felt that the story of this guy would be a pious guard veteran sergeant (hence chainsword and holstered pistol) who retired to a monestary which was attacked by the forces of the archenemy. His faith was strong enough to turn back a daemon and that feat got him noticed by the Inquisitor. He got his old souveniers out of storage and followed the Inquisitor as his banisher. See? A little story like that and he is suddenly much more interesting and makes painting choices easy. The chainsword in matt camo green, the bag and holster in black leather. The icon and bell in cheap, worthy materials.

In order to raise the badass quotient I added some stubble residue to the beard and head. Just Russ Grey and Black mixed and then really, really thinned to wash over the regions required. Rehighlighting these regions with the flesh highlights push the stubble "under" the skin and help with the realism.

Grey Knights Workometer

So, as the workometer shows, I am one down and 26 to go! Small elite armies are quite comforting in this respect. I have a single unit of Dwarfs in my Warhammer army project which has the same number of infantry as this army. Hell, my Goblins come in batches of 50! I'll be showcasing more of these chaps over the next few months as they are going to be a "painted when I have five minutes or so" type of project. The banisher - for example - was painted in two and a half hours over an evening. Until next time:


Friday, 10 August 2012

The Black Crusade Completed

It is done! All five of Grandfather Nurgle's drippiest terminators are complete and will be posted off to join the Black Crusade this afternoon! Lets take a look at the last three:

I spoke extensively about the painting methods for these lads in the previous post. Thus I'll just pull out the interesting bits of these three to showcase.

This chap is an example of how thinking about assembly can create a sort of theme in the model. In this case the repeating eye of horus motief on the shoulder and chest.

The aspiring champion of the unit needed a little more to subtly differentiate him from the rest of the unit. The central trophy rack - with skewered Blood Raven helmet - helped but I decided to add some design work to the loincloth. The open, drooling mouth is an old Nurgle transfer that I trimmed to remove as much carrier film as I could manage - sharp blades for the win. Then with copious amounts of MicroSol I gradually softened and dissolved the carrier film forcing the printed region to conform to the shape of the cloth. Finally I added some Seraphim Sepia to kill the very white transfer.

Love those lightning claws, so crude and brutal. I oiled the exposed workings with a couple of layers of brown ink. Also quite chuffed with how the freshly severed hand came out.

The last of the Puppetswar plague warrior heads was a doozy. This poor fellow is in the process of developing the face of a plaguebearer. The gods bestow their gifts uncaringly after all. I love how this was sculpted, the nose seems to have collapsed inward leaving room for the eyes to merge into the classic plaguebearer cyclopean orb. The teeth have sharpened and the classic single horn has erupted. The original brow ridge and facial architecture is still present. Very cool. I adjusted my usual skin painting to include a thin wash of Athonian Camoshade to create a greenish tinge.

I was so torn about the big skull shoulder pad. Part of me wanted it brass, I couldn't see any justification for bone so in the end I just left it rusted! Worked for me.

And so here they are! Proper bad ass terminators. If you want them then there is still time! Go to the Black Crusade website and contribute. You'll get an entry for every $1 you donate.

Well, that's all from me, next week we are on holiday but I have two posts scheduled and ready to go, just have to rely on Mulder to push the button. See you in a week folks!

Hmm, Mulder doesn't seem to be concentrating on posts...


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Black Crusade: Forward, for the Grandfather!

Greetings all, today - in somewhat stark contast to last post's Harlequin Troupe Master - we look at a pair of completed Black Crusade Nurgle Terminators.

In my previous posts (Assembly and rusting) I talked about the parts I used and their posing and also mentioned the rusting and basic weathering so I will brush past them and just take you around some of the key features of these delightful gents.

I've always, always loves this chainfist. Just such a brutal design, it is specifically built to catch the opponant and pull into the body for maximum damage. The double edged construction also means he can strike on the return stroke as well! I've added some brass detailing to break up all that rust. The new brass tones are lovely (Warplock Bronze base, Brass Scorpion highlight and Runelord Brass second highlight) and a quick wash of Sotek Green and White Scar mixed in roughly a 2:1 ratio gives a nice verdigrised finish.

That chaos marine champion headon the terminator bodies works very nicely. I debated for some time about which chapter to skewer on the trophy rack. Imperial Fists or White Scars would draw the eye from the face, Dark Angels, Crimson Fists or Black Templars would blend with the armour, in the end good old Ultramarines was a smart choice, the cool blue contrasts the warm greens and browns without leaping out too much. Speaking of leaping out, the lenses needed those brass rims as the green lenses dropped into the background without them.

Lord alone knows what is leaking from that bag on the trophy rack. I'm thinking loyalist proganoid organs to corrupt and implant in new Death Guard. The insignia is an old transfer which I applied using my usual method (see tutorials above).

A nice shot showing the final colour of the armour. This was achieved entirely with streaky glazes of shading washes, specifically: First a fairly comprehensive wash of Athonian Camoshade over the Vallejo Grey-Green. Once this has dried I applied streaks of Seraphim Sepia making sure to "stump" the streaks (feathering the edges with a clean damp brush to prevent ugly tide marks). Finally very thin streaks of Agrax Earthshade gave texture and depth. This, on top of the scratched rust showing through from previous stages left a lovely deeply textured finish.

The bases are Secret Weapon Bone Field 40mm bases which were kindly donated to the Black Crusade project. After painting the earth Dryad Bark and the skeletons, well, bone, I added copious amounts of water effects - these bases have a raised lip to contain water effects - and stirred in thin streaks of my blood mix (3:1 red ink to chestnut ink), Athonian Camoshade and brown ink to add colour, depth and the ewww factor.

Speaking of the ewww factor his friend has it in spades. This is one of the Puppetswar plague warrior heads and they look great in place. This one has some aweful form of necrotising fasciatis eating away the skin of his face while leaving the poor sufferer alive. Ick. Several thin layers of blood mix and then some mixed 2:1 with brown ink for older blood made a decent job of it.

Decent shot of the exposed, rotting brain (add grey to a pinkish flesh tone and then liberally wash with blood mix, I'm a Biomedical Scientist, I like to get these things right... don't judge me!) and of the severed hand dangling from the waist.

And then yaay, more copse parts! This chap was painted with a 50:50 mix of Ratskin Flesh and Rakarth Flesh with more Rakarth Flesh added for highlights, then treated the same way as the exposed skull.

The ranged weapons were painted black to add a little more colour interest to the models. I painted them in a stippling fashion leaving the edges rusty to give the appearance of chipped and flaking paint.

Finally another Secret Weapons Bone Field base, this one with more room for water. I like the finish this achieves, reminds me of the plague swamps encountered by the Sons of Horus in False Gods.

So, two down, three to go! Should have all of them done by the end of the week and then pack them up and send them off to Black Crusade central. Like what you see? Why not contribute to the charity drive and win them!  More soon folks.