Friday, 29 June 2012

Paint a Ninja (how to paint black!)

Greetings all, today I've got something a little different to my normal work. This is a Pegaso models 54mm ninja (54mm is roughly double the normal height of my normal 28mm models). This was a pressie from Charlie of the Beard Bunker and represented a pallete cleansing afternoon of painting in the middle of other projects.

He has formed a nice study of how I paint areas of adjacent black as a ninja is nothing but adjacent black tones! There is always a problem with capturing these subtle differences in tone on camera but you can clearly see each element of clothing. That would not be the case with using one colour. On this model there are an absolute ton of different colours used, the next image shows where:

Each of those colours were mixed with a little black for the basecoat. A Badab Black wash was then used to darken all of the shades and to provide the deep shading. Using one colour for the shades also helps to unify the shades across the model. You'll also note that I've made extensive use of foundation colours. This is deliberate as the less saturated colours give a more natural feel to the cloth. The exception is the saya (sheath) of the ninjato (sword) and the silk bindings on the hilt. These have been painted with what is now called a layer paint. Fully saturated and making a contrast between the hard saya and the soft cloth. Once the shading wash had dried I went in and highlighted the raised area with the original colour. On a 28mm miniature I would have used a second highlight with a little bone added for more kick. This is not needed on a 54mm as the light does a lot of the work for you. Much of the extreme highlighting you see on 28mm miniatures is there to simulate the light's effect.

One of the things I love about Pegaso are their posing and casting. Absolutely brilliant. He came with that scenic base too.

I've been painting a fair amount of oriental models lately and have settled on an oriental skin tone that I am happy with. It starts with a 3:2 mix of Tallarn Flesh and Vallejo Bronze Fleshtone. My usual shading of Ogryn Flesh is followed up with the original mixture as highlighting and then further highlights of the mix with increasing amounts of bone. The eyes were painted a mix of bone and white as pure white looks unrealistic on a larger scale miniature. Rather than just dotting in a pupil I first painted a larger brown iris and put the pupil in the centre. Seriously, don't try this on 28mm minis, your own eyes will bleed.

This shot shows how the adjacent blacks work, take a look at the sandle straps. You can clearly see them but they don't stand out. Now, while the base was nice I felt it needed a little more interest. Thus I glued tufts of static grass in the vertices of the cracks between stones and scattered some Antenoceti's Workshop leaves around to give it a more natural feel. That's all for now folks.


Monday, 25 June 2012

Ashigaru and Ikko Ikki

No, those are not the names of two new teletubbies. The Ashigaru are the footsoldiers of the ancient Japanese Shogunate. Well, I say ancient, they were still exactly the same in the 1600's! The Ikko Ikki were the name of peasant bands using farming implements and stolen armour to try to fight back against the more oppressive of the Samurai warlords. Why am I giving you this history lesson? Because I've painted some:

Now I don't recommend zooming all of the way in on these lads. The reason is twofold, one, the client just wanted a quick basic job and two, something that upset me greatly. The casting is awful. Seriously, it's so bad that I initially thought that the sculpting was at fault. But having remembered that these were from the Perry Samurai range I gave that a rethink. The hands and toes have a tendency to blur into flat plates, the faces are lopsided on some models (that is why there are no painted eyes, it would call attention to the problems). Worst of all, the bare arms are mangled and means that no matter how much silk purse painting you do you will be left with a sows ear. Caveat Emptor dear readers...

But enough whinging. These Ashigaru are for a fantasy asian kingdom called the Five Thunders and thus could be painted however I liked. I went for a dark green on the armour - Orkhide Shade with a Badab Black wash - which was given a gloss varnish to shine it into a lacquer. The clothing was base coated with Vermin Brown and highlighted with Bleached Bone in order to make a pastel brown-orange. The Sashimono back banners were detailed with the kanji for Thunder and a simple diamond Kamon to indicate a household. The same mon was used on the helmets to link the imagery.

So with the regulars out of the way, let's take a look at some troops that could not be more irregular if they tried. All of them are wearing a mixture of traditional Japanese farming clothing and as a result look a little weird to our western eyes! Most of the feel of the models came from this clothing so I went to town a little on the patterns and colours. The two furry looking ones are actually wearing traditional straw rain capes. You literally wear a thatch cloak.

The chap pictured above is wearing clothing suitable for rice farming. You want bare legs in the flooded paddy fields. The pink crysanthanum pattern on the shirt was just Red Gore and white mixed.

Its tough to see in the picture but the minty green shirt has a sort of brickwork pattern in the fabric, this is another traditional pattern, the internet is a wonderful tool for this sort of research.

I've left my favourite outfit till last. This is a perfectly sculpted and researched rough peasant kimono, bound with a strip of fabric to keep the sleeves out of the way and thrust into the hakima trousers. The gap in the side is perfect. I know this because I own several from my days doing Iajitsu (Japanese Samurai sword). It was this that finally convinced me that the sculpting wasn't at fault but rather the casting for the problems.

These were fun but have convinced me that I will not be doing a full Samurai army for myself! A serious advantage of commission work is that you can get a taster of models and determine whether or not you want them for yourself! Until next time folks.


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Behold the Black Crusade!

Some of you may remember the Storm Wardens charity project from last year. It was a great event combining the talents of painters from all over the wargaming Blogosphere to create an army and then auction it for charity. Well, it's back in a new form, behold the Black Crusade!

The most exciting part, for me at any rate, is that I am part of it this year! I'm painting a squad of Death Guard terminators for the project and have decided to up the ante. Remember these?

This army is sold, you can't have it anymore!

Yup, I am donating a portion of the sale to the Crusade. So in addition to the kick ass army you get 100 chances to win ANOTHER kick ass army! Huzzah huh? Anyway, this cannot be any more first come first served as I only have the one of these, so if you want in get in quickly! Until next time folks, 


Friday, 15 June 2012

Gaming Table Showcase

Last time I showed you our best shots of the game we played. The table was awesome and it was far, far from the only awesome table there. Today therefore I show you what were - in my opinion - the best tables at Warhammer World.

Tau jungle table, huge!
The water looks awesome. I'd have drabbed down the foliage with matt varnish but that is a minor gripe.
Love this combination of large Bastion and Skyshield, the blending of the colour into the board makes it wonderful too.
From the same table, this warhound wreck looked awesome, where else will you find £245 scatter terrain?
This Osgiliath suburbs table was made from cast plaster and a realm of battle. The buildings were great.
This Khemri table didn't photograph as well as I had hoped. Subtle changes in tone make a splendid monochrome gaming table.
Chaos Wastes table with tortured ground formed into massive skulls.
The huge astronomers tower, deathknell watch and witchfate tor mash-up from the Chaos Wastes table.
Charlie correctly pointed out that the massive city table needed some more details to make it feel "lived in" but the sheer scale of the thing was awesome.
For me though the broad-strokes ideas were inspirational. Just a couple of plates from the Shrine of the Aquilla kit made an Imperium-scale gateway. Worked too as you can see from the scratches.
Another Skyshield mashup. Mine is already together but I really feel that if I do another it will be built into a larger structure.
My favourite element of the city table. This bridge is so simple but so effective. Then there is the cathedral behind it, immense!
While I will never have the resources or space to make these sorts of tables (heck, it's why we go to Nottingham for Nerd Thunder events) the inspiration that seeing something like that and then adapting it for a smaller scale is worth the trip alone.

Next time we will be back to my painting but until then...


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Apocalypse! - Nerd Thunder 3

There is a companion article here which tells the whole story!

Every year for the past three years, the Beard Bunker boys (Charlie, Mark, Maisey and I) go up to Warhammer World in Nottingham and have a really BIG game. This isn't your normal Apocalypse either. Every single model has to be painted, the game needs to have a theme and a narrative scenario and the table needs to be one of the best. Hence Warhammer World. Here, for your delification and delight is the 8,500 point a side first battle of Hellsreach Hive:

As my Blood Angels were combat dropping in on the second turn I had the opportunity to take a team photo of the whole 4000 points of them!

To boost the awesome Warhammer World scenery we brought along the beard bunker Mek's Workshop scenery.

A model's eye view of the business end of a Vindicator tank!

Maisey's White Hands marines awaiting deployment

The centre of the awesome 12'x6' Hellsreach Bridge scenery, the cracked river bed is apparantly made by spreading plaster on muslin and then flexing it to create the Wadi

White Hands assault troops

White Hand deployment, we were playing that the Blood Angels were answering an overrun distress call from the White Hands.

The remaining Red Shirts Imperial Guard huddle in the ruins with the last of the air support

The Amaranthean "Red Shirts" taking position. We were delighted how closely our basing matched the table. Really made the game look awesome.

The Deathskulls amass to destroy the Red Shirts

Go, go Lootafex!

Blood Angels reinforcements arrive, on the wrong side of the bridge!

The table in all its glory, it is huge!

Blood Angel reinforcements hammer down to engage the Bad Moons

Blood Angels terminators valiently - but unfortunately unsuccessfully - attempt to stall the Meganobz

Vehicular carnage was very much the order of the day. We envisioned a pall of thick oily smoke hanging over the table.

A devastating wave of Bad Moon reinforcements thunder into the Blood Angels

What happens when the Imperial Guard meet Orks in Close Combat.

DEATH OR GLORY! Sadly... death. A White Hands Dreadnought is smashed by the Battlewagon.

The killing blow for the marines, 2000 points of extra Speed Freaks rumble on to the board.

Speed Freaks battlewagon smashes through the ruins.

There were lots more photos but those were the best ones for general consumption. Charlie will be writing the battle up as a report for the Beard Bunker so I will leave the details to him! I will be doing a Sights of Warhammer World post soon with pictures of some of the best tables at Warhammer World. Until then:


Sunday, 10 June 2012

New Squats! (Hasslefree Grymn actually)

Greetings all, and finally some hobby content! As usual after an extended break from painting I prefer to warm up with something straightforward. In this case the happy coincidence of being commissioned as one of Hasslefree Miniatures paint slaves and having some of their Grymn (known to you and I as old-school Squats!) as a first job.

These are wonderful little models, like all Hasslefree models that I have painted they have clean lines and neat details and are a joy to paint. I decided to paint them in a scheme reminiscent of modern soldiers with a little bit of Mass Effect stylings thrown in.

The paint scheme starts with a solid basecoat of Vallejo English Uniform over the entire model. This is then shaded with thinned Devlan Mud and highlighted with a mix of English Uniform and Kommando Khaki. Next I picked out the armour plates in Vallejo Iraqi Sand, this needed a couple of coats to get a nice clean colour. Visors were painted with Mithril Silver and then thinned inks were used to create a reflective finish. Blue for the sky, a mix of Brown and Yellow inks for the desert sand. Badab Black for the guns. I then rehighlighted with Mithril Silver to dilute the intensity of the ink colour.

The armour plates were then lined in with Devlan Mud and highlighted with a mix of Iraqi Sand and Pale Sand. The leather areas were my now familiar Vallejo Leather Brown shaded with Devlan Mud and highlighted by adding a little Bleached Bone. The guns are Vallejo Blue Grey and the pouches are Grey Green. This all created the modern military look that I was after. A thin line of red along some of the gun furnitures gave the futuristic Mass Effect stylings to the weaponry.

All in all I am delighted with how these turned out, they are splendid sculpts and a lovely re-working of the classic Squat look. I should be painting their entire Grymn range and look forward to finding some way to make an army out of them! Suggestions? Anyway, that's all for this update, my current schedule has me working 3 days out of 5 on client work and 2 days on what I call "Industry" work, painting for miniature companies. As a result I have a few half finished projects ready to finish off and show to the world. They'll have to wait a few days though as tomorrow I shall be away to Warhammer World with the Beard Bunker lads for our annual Nerd Thunder event. Pictures shall follow! Until then...