Thursday, 31 October 2013

You Want to Live Forever?!

Ahoy shipmates and a happy halloween (and a splendid Samhain to my more pagan friends!). Yep, I'm back and I brought a friend:

This Totally-not-Ibram-Gaunt-No-Siree-Bob model is a Brother Vinni Commissar. He's the first of a fairly big clutch of Imperial Guard characters that I am painting for a client as a command staff for his fairly huge Imperial Guard collection. The sculpting really isn't too bad, there's a tiny bit of wonkiness in the proportions of the hands and the face is a little "soft" but overall, not bad. Clearly Russian copyright law just laughs at external claims because he has this chap and a bunch of Fallout minis available (like mine). The paint job - for the most part - is fairly unremarkable, a mixture of grey and brown highlighted black (grey for the cloth, brown for the leather). My quick and dirty non metallic gold for the braid and the usual flesh. The cloak though...

When looking at the model I was initially intending to paint the cloak as anything other than camo as it would help dispel the "it really is Gaunt" thing. But the sculpt has a hood and is fairly ragged. It really is not a dress uniform type item. Definately functional. "Ah what the heck," thought I, "Gaunt won't be the only one with designs on not getting shot while stealthing." I did though want to do something a little bit different for it and I have been itching to have a go at the British armed forces new Multi-Terrain Pattern camouflage. It's too complicated to really have a chance at being painted well across a whole army (says the man who painted dozens of flecktarn wearing lads) but would contrast the dark uniform nicely. Karak Stone forms the base colour, then Val US Dark Green is applied in the wide stripes as the "2nd layer" of the pattern (spot the photoshop user). Next it is Val Beige Brown for the first layer of strange spindly shapes, Val German Camo Black Brown the next lot. Finally some dots and stripes of Val Deck Tan for the bright spots and a thinned wash of Agrax Earthshade to provide some shading.

So there you have it. For those wondering where I have been these past weeks, the answer is: Not Well At All. Nurgle visited me in a big way and left me with some serious frequent flyer miles at the doctors (five trips in two weeks is I think a record for me). I am now pretty much better but the time spent ill has really backed everything up so production will be spotty for another week (give or take a few days) but then I shall be back apace and racing to Christmas. Have fun with things going bump in the night one and all and until then.


Friday, 18 October 2013

Dwarfs! Ponies! Important information on Comments!

Hi folks, this has been the most bouncy of butterfly brained weeks. Haven't been able to lock on to one single project all week. Just ricocheting from one to another. It happens sometimes. I did though paint this guy:

This cheery chappy is Braelin "Barelip" Stormborne. He's being added to the growing clan of dwarfs rocking around in Hochland in the Beard Bunker's campaign. He's the Clan Stormborne's main point of merchantile contact with the humans and has gone a touch native in his style of dress and mannerisms. Of course, the same mannerisms that make him seem clownish and harmless to some make him ideal as his secondary purpose. Intelligence gathering on the humans...

This model is one of the older (much, much older) dwarfs in my collection. Sadly it kinda shows in places! The sculpting is a little clunky, the casting is a touch gritty but he just oozes character. I especially like the little brass weighing scales. When you are dealing with older models like this it is worth keeping in mind that you are just not going to get the same results as you would with a more modern casting. The texture will prevent the finish being completely smooth. Don't try to make a silk purse out of a sows ear, just do the best you can! In this case that included using a few glazes of very thinned Carroburg Crimson to make that outsized nose look like it belongs to a heavy drinker. Braelin likes a wee nip from minute to minute...

Hunkhi the pony carries the load for Braelin. He's one of the Lord of the Rings "Bill the Pony" models. I wanted the pony to be able to rank up with other dwarfs in regiments I couldn't have him on a 25mm wide cavalry base. Instead I glued two 20mm bases together and filled the gap. My (not at all) resident Beard Bunker pony expert (Emma) assures me that this chap is a haflinger or haflinger/welsh cobb cross. As is normal for animal work and me it's references, references, references. The lovely golden honey brown starts from a solid basecoat of Skragg Brown highlighted with Deathclaw Brown. With that though we need to stop talking fun stuff and talk law:

Edit: Good news, most of the paragraph below is invalidated if you are in the UK as our own government are passing laws to protect us from this nonsense.

Those of you who have posted comments in the last day or so might have noticed I've moved onto a pre-moderation system for comments. I'm afraid this is essential for those of us living in the EU, at least for now. A recent EU Supreme Court ruling (currently being appealed) is laying responsibility for actionable statements (defamatory or libelous for example) at the feet of the owner of the site. Even if they delete the comment afterwards. Not the author of the comment, oh no, the owner of the site it was published on. This is clearly ridiculous and I expect the appeal to succeed as the big boys like European versions of facebook and youtube may be affected too and will fight this. Until then, I am not being liable for some toerag who writes "GW eats babies" (allegedly) or something so pre-moderation it is. Grump.

Anyway, until next time folks.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Corsair Banshees

Hi folks, just a quickee today to show off some more of the Void Dragon Corsairs, this time: Howling Banshees.

wraithbone weapons very tricky to cut from the background so no pretty blue fade, sorry!

As with the warlocks, I was conscious that these needed to be corsair banshees, not craftwold banshees. As a result I decided to abandon the traditional bone that these girls normally come dressed in and use the grey and red that we've been using throughout the project. There was also some kind of weapon arm mishap somewhere between the client's bits boxes and my workbench so the banshees have had new arms scavenged from storm guardian sprues so that makes them a little different again.

There's not a lot more to say about them. The wraithbone method was covered in the warlock post and the grey is just a straight series of highlights from Mechanicus Standard Grey up to Administratum Grey via a shading wash of Nuln Oil and a layer of Dawnstone. Dire Avengers next!


Sunday, 6 October 2013

The Anvil of Doom... and our 300th post!

Greetings one and all! When I posted the previous blog entry it suddenly occurred to me that a milestone, long impending, had actually arrived. The next post would be my 300th. Woohoo! And as for a subject... kinda had to be Dwarfs:

Yup, I decided it was time to give Dwalin Gravenrune an Anvil of Doom. He hasn't earned it yet - in the Beard Bunker narrative campaign - but it's there when he needs it! For those who don't know, the Anvils of Doom are Dwarven artifacts, magical foci that allow Runelords to craft their mightiest runic creations. But that isn't all, they can also allow the Runelord to crystallise raw magic out of the air, beat it into complex runic forms and then unleash the effects upon the enemy. With this artifact, even Dwarfs can cast magic.

Of course, I didn't want to bind the Dwalin model to the anvil permanently, so I sacrificed some aesthetics to leave him on his base. This'll help with some of the skirmish scenarios we do too as it'll allow me to move him from his post.

From above you can see that the anvil is stood upon three discs of stone, stepping up to form a dais. I envisioned these as being individual stone tiles, layed out in particular patterns - Stargate style - to focus and draw in the magical winds to best advantage. I used my usual system of varying the base colour slightly in between tiles/planks/whatever to give a hint of natural variance in colour. Use the same highlight colour for all of them and it binds the whole piece together regardless. The anvil itself was a source of much head scratching. I couldn't decide initially whether I wanted it blingtastic - totally a word - covered in gold, enamel, jewels... That could have worked, but I kept coming back to the core of what this thing is. It is a tool. It is a mechanism that allows a Runesmith to craft magical devices and bend the laws of reality. Somehow, it looks better painted an unassuming iron. To me anyway!

I'd managed to lose the shields for the guardians but there is a perfect design on one of the warrior shields. So donation here we go! Not a lot to say about these lads. Unusually for me they have painted woodwork on the hafts of their hammers but that was to get a little more of the army colour scheme on the models. Now, I just have to uncover enough of Karak Hoch (the imaginary, long abandoned hold that we are retaking at the heart of Hochland) to discover the Hearth and Hoard. There... an anvil awaits!

Mulder always fights in the shade. With his skin tone, you kinda have to!
So whoa, 300 posts of random ramblings about painting models. I am often struck by the weirdness of this situation. I've never once felt like a "pro-painter" or "expert" in my life. I'm not a Golden Demon winner, I've just painted models for a few decades. That so many people come here, to read my ramblings, look at pretty pictures of my work and join the conversation in the comments is genuinely humbling. I've learned a huge amount from these interactions and look forward to many many more. You are all people, clearly, of impeccible taste and quality, handsome too I'd wager.

Thanks folks, here's to the next hundred.


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Corsair Warlocks

Hi folks, today we present the lowest rung of the psychic might of the Eldar Corsairs, a pair of pirate Warlocks:

These pair served as the test models for the farseers still to come. I needed to find a way to make the grey and red corsair scheme work on the more obviously craftworld models. Initially I had the grey of the robes roughly the same as the armour colour but this just looked dreadful. For some reason it just homogenised into one grey mass that looked for all the world like unpainted plastic. Darkening the robes and putting a very light edge highlight on the armour differentiated the areas and actually turned them into painted models, phew!

Balancing the red across the models was mostly achieved with the gemstones, rather than just use the turquoise from the vehicles I used some red ones too. That allowed the colour to be spread subtly across the model rather than in a stripe at head height. The Void Dragon scheme has red hands and faceplate you see, so with both hands up the red would just have been in a horizontal strip. I initially thought to paint the entire singing spear in wraithbone but this seemed to be a bit too much. Talking of wraithbone...

The step by step above runs left to right, first a couple of coats of Ceramite White establishes the basecoat for the bone areas. Note the difference between the first and second images. It is worth making the effort to put the second coat on. Every layer after this is very weak colour and will not cover properly without this solid basecoat. Next we use two layers of Secret Weapon Miniatures' Parchment wash. I picked this up along with both his blacks as I was on my constant quest to find Badab Black again. Sad to say, Secret Weapon aren't it. They stain too much. But, this very property makes it perfect for the wraithbone and I dare say for Deathwing too. Once they've dried off Seraphim Sepia defines the shadoes. Normally I just run the wash into the recesses of the weaponry but this time I had a mishap and so the whole thing got coated. It's fine, just needs more layers of highlight is all. The final image shows the models after a couple of highlights of white mixed with the SWM Parchment are applied. This crisps up the colour and makes for a nice artificial bone look.

While on the subject of weaponry, the warlock's are a good example of an older model - 20 years or so - which has stood the test of time beautifully save for one element. The blades. Old school sculpting and casting led to a requirement for blades of weapons to be more like clubs with a 1-2mm thick edge. This warlock still looks awesome thanks to the genius of one Jes Goodwin but the blade does age it terribly. Easy enough to fix though. This is one of the occasions where a metal file is not the tool for the job. Use a flexible emery board (bit of sandpaper on card) with a medium grain and sand it down moving from the centre to the edge. Essentially you sharpen the blade as if it were real. Keep checking the edges to make sure you are getting a consistant thickness - especially these complex curving edges of the eldar swords. Keep checking the central spine of the blade too as otherwise you can end up making it look bendy. The transformation from left to right took about ten minutes. Well worth it to update this classic model.

Once painted you can see how nice and crisp the esges of the sword look now. Before I go I should mention gemstones, I'm trying a new method for these and it seems to be working. Paint the basecoat and then glaze it with black ink. This creates the dark areas really nicely and then you just work up the highlights as normal. Seems to be doing the job! Anyway, with the experimentation over it is onwards and upwards with these lads. Until next time.