Saturday, 31 August 2013

Forest Gobbo Spider Hero

Greetings all! Today we learn how to save over a tenner on a Forest Goblin Hero on Gigantic Spider!

It was my birthday yesterday (I'm 34 this time) so I treated myself to goblin painting. I knew from the off that I wanted each flavour of Goblin in the army to feel like a real army in it's own right. So the Forest Goblins now have a leader and will have a shaman too, helps me to see the army as - currently - two tribes bound by fear of Rhagat Neckchopper. Should there ever be a re-cutting of the common goblins and the spider riders then there will be three tribes. But, for now, on with the Big Boss show!

Disturbingly, the scale is appropriate for the male and female of the same species. So... The Arachnarok is Mother... shudder.

The model in question is a conversion of the Heresy Miniatures Monstrous Spider. When I assembled the Arachnarok I realised that you got a free shaman model if you didn't want a character level of blummin' big spider. This got my brain rolling as the £23 price tag of the GW character spider is perchance a little steep for an ok spider, nothing special. The dude riding him is nice but... Then I remembered that I had picked up a Heresy spider a while back. Buah ha ha haaa!

Starting from the Catchweb Spidershrine piece from the Arachnarok kit, I constructed a rough wooden platform out of Plasticard planks and rods. I added woodgrain by scraping a razor saw across it to cut grain into it. I was totally intending to photograph this as it would have made for a neat how-to but failed utterly to do so. I'll just have to do more scratch building won't I? With the platform/howdah finished I turned my attention to the rider:

I already had a shaman planned for the army so didn't want this chap to look like one. Conversion time! The weapon was going to be based on the staff of the shaman so needed to be some sort of polearm. I kinda wanted it to be a non-goblin weapon so I went for one of my favourite looking weapons, the Tomb Kings Khopesh. Painting it as antique, patina'd bronze was fun too. I needed a shield too, well, following on from my usual policy of shaming armies I either own or play regularly I decided that he had "liberated" a Dwarf shield from it's owner. Job done. Incidently, I totally hadn't noticed the extra freaking eyes on this chap before I started working on him! I suspect the legs are also supposed to be mutant features but they looked more like a vanity feature held on with webs. His story has become that his spores landed in the nest of the Arachnarok and the growing gestational fungus was repeatedly attacked by the magically mutated babies causing some physiological changes. His appearance - and the brain damage from repeated neonatal poisonings causing aggression - meant he rose to the top of the heap in the Blackhead tribe.

The patina on the antique bronze was created by stippling a few layers of Val Scurvy Green with increasing amounts of white added. Another layer of the Sycorax Bronze was stippled on top and painted to create a sharpened edge before the whole thing was glazed on Coelia Greenshade.

The niftiest bit? I magnetised the howdah so that I could use "Father" as a normal spider too! Yay! Plus he's much, much easier to transport. But that's not all!

While painting the spider my brain was whirring away on the subject of using hordes (I'm drafting a Beard Bunker article) and it occurred to me that I had not followed one of my main points. That adding a hero to a horde turns a horde from an inconvenience to a full blown problem. The solution? Change the army list, save myself £30 in trolls and add another big boss! Now, every version of this model I've seen painted has been dominated by the squig. Why? Because it is always bright freaking scarlet. Why? Because squigs were invented during GW's red period and the scheme kinda stuck. Following my usual policy of monstrous things being more scary if painted as real things I decided that toads were probably the closest thing to a squig in the real world. A quick google search gave me the message that pale underbelly and stippled dark topside would be the win. It was fairly experimental and I was playing a lot so I can't give you exact mixes but Val Stone Grey and Val Camo Black-Brown were involved along with a wash of Athonian Camoshade. I really like the effect, whaddaya think? If I ever expand the army beyond the 3k it is at Squig-toads will totally be a thing.

Finally, this is totally not the first of these I've made, the chap above was made at least five years ago, probably more, as a conversion contest thing. He's based on the shelob monstrous spider doodad and has a scratch built howdah nailed to the carapace. I really, really, don't need this chap anymore. He's not even based so would fit into whatever army you have. Anyone want to buy him? About £30 or nearest offer. Email me if you want him :)

Well that's it for today, more Eldar in next week.


Friday, 23 August 2013

Night Gobbo hordes, now in pairs...

Hi folks, remember these lads? Well, they're back and they brought friends, another fifty of them...

These are the Blood Moon Bruisers, the second horde of Night Goblins for my army. There will be a third, for my part I feel that units of this size are the natural strength that gobbos should be fielded in. They should feel like hordes anyway, it's just nice that the rules now reward this kind of deployment. The painting method is no different to the original unit (follow the link above) just with the new paints. Happily, with night goblins the black clothing is the unifying factor across the army so you can rather radically change the spot colours between the units. The third mob will be bone moons, so yellow, red and bone. This means the 2.5k workometer is getting verrry close to done!

Of course, this being me I can't just leave it there. Oh no. So here is the almost inevitable 3k list. I've got the models - except the trolls - already so it just needed a little more work :)

One of the units in this lot is the Doom Diver Catapult. I didn't have one to hand and while I rather like the current model but, it is a lot of money for what it is... and they aren't Night Goblins. To most people this wouldn't matter but I'm a theme obsessive. So, with my army based in Hochland and wanting it to be Night Gobbo and forest gobbo all the way I created... this:

Yup, it's a Doom Diver Clown Cannon! A looted mortar plus blind optimism creates a kamikazi goblin delivery system. I've got a couple of the classic doom diver models from the land of eBay and converted up a couple of crew.

The parts are just balanced together to make for easy-paint sub-assemblies. The crew are converted with empire cannon/mortar parts.

With this fella I also added the mushroom-plugged jar from the fanatic sprue. I figure this has the fine ground powder for the touch-hole while the barrel is for the main powder. Dread to think how "goblin precision" plus black powder works out...

Obviously, painted pictures soon! Until then


Monday, 19 August 2013

Warp Hunters

Hi folks, today marks the completion of the fist stage of a new commission project: Corsair Eldar.

The client asked for a varient on the Void Dragons from the Doom of Mymeara book. Charcoal grey and a warm metallic red. Now, a true metallic red is one of the holy grails of paint manufacture. It is almost impossible. They wind up pink and metallic or red and matt. After a day or so of experimenting and fiddling I came up with a workable option a roughly 3:2 mix of Mephiston Red and Hashut Copper creates a nice strong red with a metallic sheen. It doesn't look metallic until it is in the light but when it does it reflects nicely.

The client wanted a hex-pattern similar to scales on the red panels, I figured I needed to use metallics to shade and highlight the hexes as it would increase the sheen. First, the outlines of the hexes. I used the current basecoat mix and darkened it with Warplock Bronze. Then, again starting from the main base colour I added more Hashut Copper until I had reversed the original mix (2:3 Mephiston red and Hashut Copper). This I painted around the entire edge of each hex. Finally, I mixed yet more Hashut Copper in to form a 2:1 Hashut Copper:Mephiston Red highlight. This I painted on the 3 edges in the top left corner to help the 3-dimensional appearance and accordingly even more metallic gleam.

I love the shape of the Warp Hunters, they're just a delivery system for a whacking great cannon. I debated a few different colour schemes for a while before realising that wraithbone would be the best option and would contrast beautifully with the black and red. The effect is a lot easier to achieve than I had feared. Just get a nice solid white basecoat - 2 coats of Ceramite White does it, what a lovely paint that is - to work from. Next I used a new paint for me, Secret Weapon Parchment wash. I'd picked this up along with a couple of different blacks in my ongoing search for Badab Black. I'm afraid the blacks are just not good enough as they glaze something fierce. But, this property made the Parchment wash perfect for tinting the white to create a very, very pale, bright, clean bone. Two glazes of Parchment gave the base tone and then careful pin washes (where you run the wash into the details rather than sloshing it all over) of Seraphim Sepia sealed the deal. Very happy. A quick check of the colour wheel indicated that turquoise would be the gemstone colour of choice here. Glad to see colour theory was right again!

These are but the first of many, many more! Enjoy!


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Nice doggy! Aargh, my hand!

Hi folks, in between sessions of experimental painting trying to get an Eldar colour scheme right I was able to bash out this pack of fearsome beasts:

These are Fell Wargs from Games Workshop's Hobbit range (a range of models so evidently and patiently awaiting a certain dragon and five armies to get going that it is almost funny). I decided that simple would be better for these lads, less is more and all that, and so based the whole scheme around Mournfang Brown. I drybrushed up highlights from the Mournfang base with increasingly lighter shades for the main body. Drybrushing, by the way, is often rather maligned in our hobby as a "noob" technique. Nonsense. It isn't for everything but especially with animals that have been sculpted "smooth" rather than furry it imparts a delicious texture that helps to sell the paint scheme. The underbellys got a lighter tone and the muzzle and furs got some Agrax Earthshade to help the differentiation of regions and textures. All that is a rather long winded way of saying 5 drybrush stages and a thin wash!

I'm rather taken with the range of motion GW have gotten with this kit. There's a nice flow to the unit that gives a dynamic appearance on the table. I think these might make lovely mounts for goblin wolf riders, if that plan wouldn't add £18 to the cost of every six wolf riders...

With such simple models, I felt that a slight upgrade in the basing department was called for. Cue cork piece rocks and pools of muddy water. I used some of the AK Fresh Mud more normally used on tank tracks to stain the legs of the wargs as though they were splashing through freshly rained-on earth. One quick point on the groundwork on the bases. The rocks fit in with the soil don't they? That's because I mixed 'soil' colour in with the greyish rock tone and the last highlight for both the rocks and the soil is the same. It's important to do this. I constantly see deep brown soil with bright grey rocks in paint schemes. Sadly that isn't how soil works. A lot of soil is actually the weathered down remnants of the local rocks mixed with organic matter. Thus the soil has a similar - but darker - hue to the local stone. It's made of it! With that, I am getting back to tanks, I think I've got it sorted now!


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

RPG Rogue

Eyup folks! After a morning of fiddling around with Eldar infantry assembly I needed a therapeutic paint job for the afternoon, cue:

Another RPG character commission. I have to say, while I adore army building - it's my favourite part of the hobby - it is these single character commissions, especially for RPGs, that are my favoured commissions. I just love 'em. You can lavish attention and bring someone to life. This one has a slightly "Resident Evil" vibe for some reason. Maybe Ms. Jovovich wore something similar one time. Who knows.

The brief was a hired hand, leathers and black leather boots. I used an array of different leather tones - Doombull brown being the dress - and shaded everything with Agrax Earthshade to help the colours hang together. The client had asked that she be wearing leather leggings so as to avoid the usual fantasy female 6 inch heels 3 inches of fabric look that so many fall in to. The black is highlighted with Val Leather Brown in order to give the appearance of black leather. Because the pale leather colour of the undersuit is technically a skin tone I needed to clearly emphasise which areas on her were skin. For that I went very pale on the flesh. Paler than it appears on the camera. This helps her hands stand out from the sleeves and also gives a lovely contrast with the dark hood.

I did feel the need to talk about the sculpting a little. I think this is a Rackham piece and has a couple of common crimes nicely illustrated. The first is Continuity of Sculpting. This is when, because of the nature of the beast, you have to sculpt in many many small stages to avoid messing up what has gone before. Trouble is you really, really have to watch that new details follow logically from the old. It's like a watch switching wrists in a movie, continuity fail. In this case it is the bag. From the back it is clear that the strap goes over the shoulder and is pulled taut by the weight of her arm pressing on it. From the front, suddenly that weight has gone, she is actually pulling it up, while gravity ignores the strap as otherwise the strap would move between the breasts or would partially flatten the one it is pulled over. It is a small thing but it makes it seem like two different moments in time on the same figure.

The second is Single Aspect Sculpting. All models have their best angle. It is inevitable as the molds are in two parts so there will be a front-back plane on which the sculpting looks it's best and from side to side there are compromises made. Lots of sculptors work to a 3/4 turn casting angle rather than head on to allow some movement and animation in the sculpt (very complicated, I'll either talk about it later or find links to more professional knowledge!). HOWEVER. You cannot sculpt with only this front-back aspect in mind otherwise weird stuff happens at the sides. Go back and look at the shots above - taken from flattering angles. Looks fine right? Now look at the one above of the profile. She just isn't there. The girl could hide behind a sapling. The sculptor has clearly spent a lot of time worrying about the front and the back and forgotten to add any depth.

Both of these don't detract totally from the fact that she is a nice figure. I like the overall effect. But it did have the best examples of those two minor sculpting crimes I'd seen in a while so I thought I'd share. Until next time folks.


Friday, 2 August 2013

RPG Elf Adventurer

Greetings one and all! Slight change of pace today:

This lovely lady is the Privateer Press Lady Aiyana model. I painted her as a commission for an RPG character. The brief was white and light blues, black hair and gold accents. I quite like the sculpt, nice to have a character in a pose other than mid combat sometimes. Couple of things to note though, there is a weird sculpt of the right leg, seems to be sculpted as fabric under the stockings. No reason I can think of of this so went with painting it skin coloured. The texture of the model is also surprisingly rough. I was using very thin layers of paint and the camera has picked up the strange, almost gritty cast texture. I'd recommend sanding the larger areas of privateer press stuff if this is a consistant problem.

The banded layers of the dress suggested a graduated scheme to me. Starting with the edge paint Blue Horror, I added increasing amounts of Caledor Sky to the mix moving down the skirt. Pale leather and gold provide a nice contrast to the blue as does the black hair with the white cloak. You can hardly see them, but I decided to paint the tiny, tiny gemstones as amber to further contrast the blue.

There's another of these RPG adventurers in the queue but the focus is definately shifting to pointy ears of another time. The Eldar Corsairs are next on my table...