Tuesday, 4 June 2013


Greetings from a wonderfully sunny Cardiff! Just to increase the envy for anyone who has poor weather right now, my office is right next to the back door and so have basically been outside all day. Ahhhh, after the long cold spring this is a whole hell of a lot better. Only problem is that the warm weather does rather bring the bugs out...

Aaaargh! Kill it with fire!!!
And one hell of a bug it is too. This is the Arachnarok spider from the Orc & Goblin range. It. Is. Huge. Crazy big. For scale, here is a goblin in front of it.

I wanted one of these bad boys in the army from the moment they were released. They are such a lovely addition to the forest goblin range as it makes them more than just a fast cavalry choice. Those who are familiar with the model will know that it has a howdah full of forest goblins currently missing from the carapace. This is being painted separately and attached by magnets so that I can have an Arachnarok unbound as a wandering monster for scenarios. Plus, it is a pain in the behind to store with it attached! I was happy with it though so I thought I'd present first the spider itself and then the crew and howdah later. Lets talk painting. First step was research, as I have a truce with web spinning spiders (I know where they are, they don't leap out on you like the hunting spiders do) so I started with a picture of the British garden spider:

One of my philosophies when painting big monsterous stuff is that it is way, way scarier to have a really big normal creature rather than some weird red or purple thing. Hence, research. This is also the species I based the Spider Riders on. Obviously, the scheme is way to complex to perfectly replicate in painting but it gives you a place to start.

I decided to use Vallejo colours for the carapace of the Arachnarok as they have a more desaturated character. Here's the first tip, have a look at the carapace. While it is patterned, the colours hang together despite being very different. This is because all of the shades start from the same one: Val Tan Earth. That made a solid basecoat, then, by adding Val German Camo Black-Brown I apply the mid tone brown. Adding more Val GC Black-Brown I add the darker areas. The darkest areas on the tips of the limbs and the spines have black added. The paler areas are Val Deck Tan mixed with Val Tan Earth. The result is an impression that the carapace is one colour just in different shades.

I think I should apologise to arachnaphobes (rather than the arachna-uncertain like me) right about now.
For the underside and for the gaps between the limp plates I decided to go for maximum creepiness (and match the smaller spiders) and paint it pale and fleshy. Urgh. But hey, it is a monster and should look like one right?

I felt that the base - being huge, and largely uncovered by the model - needed a little work. The large plastic roots are part of the model and hold the pose of the spider. I added a trunk to give the impression of a long since fallen tree. Patches of rocks helped the parched, flinty look that I started with the other gobbos bases. Adding to that a few shrubs with clump foliage (soaked in dilute PVA to strengthen it) and painting the spiders as miniature versions of the spider rider mounts. Once it was all finished it gave a nice feeling of poor soil, maybe a reclaimed quarry (I should know, I was in one at the weekend).

And that's it for today. I'll obviously show you the crew and the howdah when it is finished. I've got a game coming up where the gobbos have their first ever outing. Should be entertaining. Once I've got the Arachnarok finished and the standard bearer it'll be roughly 1500 points. Good for a first outing.

[Edit: They kicked all kinds of Empire ass! Huzzah!]



  1. Very realistic (creepy!). The base is outstanding too. I wish I could get my static grass to look so good. Best, Dean

  2. That is terrifying! Love the colors you've done, it really looks natural (well, as natural as a gigantic freakin' spider can look). Fantastic work, mate!

  3. Wow it's so cool ! awesome !