Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Corsair Night Spinners

Hello to one and all. Goodness, Corsair posts are like buses aren't they, you wait for ages and then three show up at once. Today a pair of genuinly horrifying weapons, the Eldar Night Spinners:

I remember when they first invented these horrible things back in the old epic scale Space Marine days. They were nasty then and I still think they are nasty now! For those who don't know: Night Spinners/Doom Weavers or whatever else they are called work by spinning a huge web of monofiliament wire - thinner and sharper than cheesewire - and blows it into the air. Eventually, over it's target it spreads and descends like a parachute cutting through anything in it's path and acting as a razor edged net trapping those imprisoned within. Very, very unpleasant and quite out of character for the normally very neat and precise Eldar! Perfect for the slightly more hardcore corsairs though...

As has become traditional for this army they look better in person than in pictures! The spinnarettes on the barrels of the guns are the business end of the weapon system and I knew I didn't just want them to be solid wraithbone. This had me scratching my head for a few minutes conjuring the "look" that I was picturing inside my mind. I figured that watching the weapon build to firing would be like watching candyfloss (cotton candy for those over the pond) be produced at the fairground. I pictured clear windows through which you see a cloud of whipping fibres coil together and spin around. Once there are enough of them they can be blown out of the end. To keep the turquoise spot colour consistant with the gems (and I am loving painting turquoise gemstones by the way) I painted the glass a dark shade of Stegadon Scale Green and used Thunderhawk Blue to indicate the twisting fibres within. A thin layer of wet effects left a nice glassy effect.

The finished effect is quite nice. I was worried that the bone weapons sticking out the top would unbalance the scheme but I needn't have worried. The pale tone minimises the impact of the gun and makes them seem lighter and thus not top heavy. Don't ask me why it works, it just did! Well, next on my workbench are a trio of rather lovely Wasp Assault Walkers so they'll be up probably middle of next week. Until then:


Monday, 25 November 2013

Corsair Double Feature

Hi folks, now that the excitement over the time-bothering, phonebox dwelling vagrant is dying down again I can return you to our regular programming. Pirate Space Elves!

First on the menu are the other half of the Corsair squad, these are all the special and heavy weapons and the leader. Check out the first article for the other half. I'm rather taken with these chaps, especially the heavy weapon troopers. The models look so much better in the flesh than on the Forgeworld website. Let's check out the heavies first:

yikes, the camera really chopped through the blending on the shoulder, looks better in real life.
A shuriken cannon and a missile launcher make for a hefty firepower upgrade for the squad. I know that the grav-platforms are more normal for the Eldar but these forearm-mount style weapons look crackin'. I've altered the wraithbone mix a little. Rather than the fairly unpredictable results of the layers of parchment wash I'm mixing Ceramite White and Zandri Dust for the colour in various ratios and still using Seraphim Sepia for the shading. It's a bit more straightforward and predictable.

The special weapons are likewise lovely and elegant. I tried to get a hunched, furtive look to the meltagunner (on the right). I envisioned him creeping up behind some armoured target to take it out with the critical shot.

With the leader you can see the backpack form nicely, that sword is lovely too, classic scimitar given an Eldar tweak. I had thought to put the Void Dragon's glyph on the vanes of the backpack but the transfers are too large. I'll pick through some of the smaller icons and see if there is any that would be suitable. They look great as plain red though so if nothing works it won't be a complete tragedy.

Speaking of tragedies... no, just kidding. For those who read Today I've Mostly Been the saga of these Dire Avengers has been a long one. They've had two different blue shades, three different greys, the details at the back are cast soft and so are tricky to pick out cleanly - essential for Eldar - and so over the course of weeks of trying to get them right they became something of an albatross. Purely a psychological one though because now they are finished I think they look all right! It's important to acknowledge that these things happen and to try and find strategies to get past them. For me it is usually to stick them back in a box, paint something else and wait for a day where I am feeling full of get up and go in order to attack them again. It works out in the end.

The Exarch, who is armed as all sensible Dire Avengers must be with paired Shuriken Catapults, is one of the better sculpts in the box. The sword especially is nice as is the pose which doesn't pretend that you can aim and fire paired weapons but rather empty one and then bring up the next. Massive firepower, minimum reload. The loincloth really helps balance the odd, bum-wrap too so it doesn't look as weird. On the subject of that bum wrap:

The model pictured is one of my favourite poses from the box, but. The sculpts are really showing their age and have one really, really odd choice. There is a sort of bum-wrap hanging down like a reverse loincloth. This seems to wrap around the armour plate covering the buttocks... despite the fact that no Eldar model has such an armour plate. It seems to float, attached to the buttocks for no good reason, are Dire Avengers inflicted with some horrible diarrhoea that necessitates nappies? I suspect, given the samurai overtones in a lot of the Eldar range that it is intended to be a sort of pseudo-Obi (Obi are the broad silk belts worn around the kimono and through which the sword scabbard is worn). If this went around the waist it would be a lovely Japanese stylistic touch that would reinforce some of the designs. Having it just floating there just makes no sense whatsoever. Because of this it just melts into the undersuit and creates problems choosing where the belt ends and the undersuit begins. Ho hum, a rare Eldar mistep there. Probably a tech-restriction from back whent they were molded.

Well, that's all for today! I'm returning to vehicles tomorrow and trying to get the two Night Spinners finished nice and quickly. 'Till next time;


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Happy Birthday Doctor!

50 Years ago a very strange man stepped out of a time and space travelling blue police box. Five decades later, he's still doing it! Yes, it's Doctor Who's birthday, frankly, if you are British you'd have to have lived under a rock not to know. Sorry non-Whovians, I'm throwing my hat into the ring too!

I had already painted a fair few pieces of Doctor Who stuff but I knew I wanted to do something extra for the 50th anniversary. Then Andy Foster of Heresy Miniatures brought out his Dr. Payne miniature which bore an uncanny resemblance to John Hurt's "War Doctor" from the anniversary episode (haven't seen it at the time of writing). The plan crystallised: I would represent one of each of the available regenerations of the Doctor. A quick order to Andy and suddenly my one Doctor had become four! Let's go in chronological order, which we now know to be:

John Hurt. I am very chuffed with how this one came out. My favourite of the three new ones. His costume was painted from vague promotional shots so I might need to make some small adjustments after the episode tonight. The black leather I'll talk about in the Ecclestone section, but of the rest the most interesting bits are actually the waistcoat and hair. In the shots I could get my hands on the waistcoat is a rust red with bronze brocade. Now, I'm not a Golden Demon winning lunatic so I needed to indicate the effect without actually painting it! What I ended up doing was putting a red basecoat mixed from Mephiston Red and Mournfang Brown. Adding XV-88 to the mix gave me a slightly yellow tone of the base colour which was mottled on to the base colour. A wash of Reikland Fleshtone and a remottling with more XV-88 added finished a nice deep layered colour that was a good approximation of what the waistcoat looks like from distance. The hair was one of those revalation moments. John Hurt has that salt-and-pepper greying hair that is so hard to paint. I suddenly figured how to do it. Basecoat the hair and beard with Dryad Bark. Then drybrush the hair first with Astronomicon Grey and then Ulthuan Grey. Go heavier on the beard, beards grey first and faster (trust me). Finally wash the whole hair with Agrax Earthshade. The finished effect looks pretty right. Another one for the memory banks!

Chris Ecclestone comes next in the timeline. Frankly, the reason I left the black leather description for this chap is that there is not a lot else to his paint job! The first of the New-Who Doctors had the most BORING costume! I've played with a lot of different methods for black leather but I like this one a lot. Basecoat with Val Leather Brown. Next, glaze with multiple layers of black wash. I used Secret Weapon Heavy Body Black as this stains quite badly and is fairly shiny. Perfect for this task. Two layers of that gave that lovely brown-black tone. A light drybrush of Val Leather Brown around the edges reinforced the worn leather look and finished it off nicely. As I reckon the Eccleston coat is the same one from the Hurt incarnation I painted them identically. Next death!

David Tennant, the man who made Russell T Davies's scripts watchable. Great Doctor. I'm not completely happy with the face, might have another go at some point (I only really had a day to paint these three). His painting is fairly unremarkable but if someone wants to replicate the colours: the suit is Val Luftwaffe Blue and Macragge Blue mixed. The coat is Val English Uniform highlighted with Val US Field Drab. Athonian Camoshade glazes and shades the colour nicely. Some mucky red and white Converse trainers finish his "look". Mucky white is fairly easy. Ceramite White is washed in a thin mix of Steel Legion Drab and then highlighted with a mix of Ceramite White and Steel Legion Drab. Simples. Another death, another Doctor:

My Matt Smith doctor was painted a while ago (he's my favourite NewWho to date, see). I have a full article on him from back then so I won't go over it and instead talk basing for a moment:

The bases are the nice Black Cat base toppers, metal casts. For three of the Doctors I've used their victorian brick paving as it fits the time bothering nature of the character. For whatever reason Chris Ecclestone's Doctor always feels more rooted in a council estate in Norf Landon so he got an urban one instead.

So there you have it. My tribute to one of my favourite sci-fi characters. Why do I like the Doctor so much? Well, the format helps, he can have a new setting, a new foe every week. The enemies are mostly ace (occasionally deeply naff) and when it is well done it is creepy without being traumatic so you can watch it with kids. But the most important thing? Do me a favour, picture in your head what you hear when I say "Male lead, action hero". I'm guessing that there will be clean cut, cool, probably all-American, square-jawed hero probably with a firearm. The Doctor is smart, dorky, pacifist and awkward. He solves his problems with tricks, cunning and guile. Violence is always a last resort but he can stick up for himself if he needs to. And with all of that he is still awesome. A manic blur of energy and complex vocabulary in a malfunctioning spaceship. There are precious few decent role models for geeky lads. The ones who will never be jocks. Never be cool, top of the attainment tables and bottom of the heap status-wise. The Doctor is their hero, and he's always coming to save the day.

So where next with my own little Whoniverse? Well, that rather depends on how many of us wheedle Andy to make more Doctors! I want all of 'em! I'd like companions too, there are models out there but their likenesses aren't as good as Heresy's. More bad guys are definately in the offing. If I can find Cybermen then they are in. Probably some Weeping Angels from Crooked Dice. Otherwise known as Paint All The Things! I doubt they'll ever make it to a wargame, they're the closest thing to display models I do. So happy birthday Doctor Who. May you have many, many more.


Friday, 22 November 2013

UK Wargamers, you need to take notice of this:

Hi folks, quick public service announcement. If like me you order a lot of your paint online then the Not-Royal-Anymore Mail are about to make that a LOT more expensive:

They are intending to make sending more than four containers of water-based paint against their terms and conditions. They still allow a litre of alcohol on a box. But 125ml of water-based paint is somehow a dire threat to their operations.

There is a petition to stop this insanity please sign it, share it and ask the formerly-Royal Mail what the hell justification it has for this idiocy. Their parcel charge structure has already struck a gut punch to the small providers and producers. This? This has no basis even in logic.

On more real news, work is proceeding and my bulbs are en route. More shiny pictures very soon.


Monday, 18 November 2013

Electrical help please!

Hi folks, given that I know that you are all people of impeccable character and good taste (handsome too I wouldn't wonder), I was wondering if some clever people out there could answer a question for me:

What the dickens is killing my daylight bulbs? Both of mine have gone in the space of a week. Obviously, you're going to need a smidgeon more information than that so here goes: I use a pair of desk lamps to light my work space, in both I use energy saving daylight bulbs (this one:big lamp and this one:little lamp). The lamps themselves are rated for wattages far in excess of the 30W and 11W that the bulbs draw:

40W has small edison screw, 60W standard bayonette.
Now these bulbs are supposed to last for tens of thousands of hours. I'm replacing them after about four months. My usage is about 8 hours on a day, no switching on or off regularly. Have I miscalculated? Is the problem that the output of these bulbs is worth 150W and 60W respectively? I assumed it was all about the draw, not the output. Or is it just that four months is a realistic timeframe for modern (presumably less well made now they are mass market) energy savers?

Thoughts clever people? I've no intention of making this a debate between Camp Incandescent and Camp Energy Saver because frankly, especially in the EU, incandescents are dead. Like a lot of nineteenth century technologies. If it is the shades that are the problem I could probably remove them. Who knows? I'd like to!

I've got the replacements ordered from Energy Bulbs (who are ace and deliver very fast) so lost time isn't too much of a problem but I want to know if this is just a reality I should be budgeting for, a mistake in lamp choice (more annoying as it would be more expensive than a bulb ;) ) or something else? Thanks in advance.

Edit: I've had info that apparantly it is output and the heat generated that the lamps are rated for so that might be it. Righto! If anyone has more info, please share! Looks like I'll be using the replacement bulbs in these for a while until I can source more bulb friendly versions.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

He's a Pirate and a Scallywag..

Ahoy mateys! I've got some pirates for ye all! Granted, they use the name Corsairs and are a bit more pointy eared than wooden legged but Pirates!

Once more, cutting the guns out is a bit of a chore so we have the retro white background.
These are the first half of the corsair guardians for the growing Void Dragon commission. Those expecting to see Dire Avengers... well, they've been put in a box until I have more of the infantry done and I can fathom what the hell is wrong with the colour scheme. Something is seriously out of whack and I've wasted too much time puzzling over it. Instead we have these chaps! Their painting is fairly unremarkable as I've talked a lot about how to get the tones and effects I have going on them (click the corsair tag at the bottom to see more). Instead I thought I'd talk about these models a bit and the stirrings of a notion about why I am struggling to make this colour scheme work.

The models themselves are quite nice, I wasn't convinced when I saw them on the website, but the huge sashimono style wings make sense when you can see the jetpacks. They're designed to control the descent of the corsair rather than to allow them to fly per se. I imagine only the Eldar with their psychic control mechanisms moving at the speed of thought could use something like this (I see Imperial Guardsmen spinning like sycamore seeds). They make for elegant and sensible flight options for the eldar and I quite like 'em. The guns are likewise pleasantly designed but - and I sigh heavily here - again we see Forgeworld simply not taking the time or trouble to quality control their expensive product properly. There was some quite bad mold slippage here, so bad that I had to conceal with painting rather than modelling as it would have necessitated a lot of green stuff work. C'mon Forgeworld, the internet at large gives you a free pass that GW would kill for. No rage about prices, no complaints about having componants that don't fit without surgery or hot water baths, no righteous indignation about your lousy instructions. Well, yeah, I do all that but the community at large seems content. I'm very keen for the Forgeworld machine to raise it's game to match it's premium pricing and generated image. That's all for now, I promise.

Now, colour scheme and why, I think, I am having trouble. You don't see many painted models in the books from forgeworld, lots of nice illustrations though and it is an illustration I am working from now. The trouble is, what can look gorgeous on a 3 inch long illustration with total control of how the light plays on the surface etc etc is often VERY difficult to achieve on models. Some schemes just don't "pop" when reduced to 28mm. Sadly, greys are one of them. With the requirement for the urban bases too (all the client's scenery is urban) it means that they simply do not photograph well and indeed struggle to have that spark that makes them instantly look good. They do actually look quite handsome and I think on the tabletop they will be a very military looking force with appropriate camo and the like. They just will never look quite as nice as their alternatively coloured cousins in pictures. Just the way these things go I guess! This revelation has made me feel better about the project (I was starting to rend my hair in a kind of "Why isn't this working?" fervour worthy of some of the more scenery chewing actors out there) and we'll be full steam ahead from here!

Finally, if you're a warmachiner, I'm selling off my Cygnar force. So if you know one or are one then I am open to offers!


Monday, 11 November 2013

For Sale - Painted Cygnar army

This army has been provisionally sold 


Hi folks, it's been a bit quiet on the blog front of late, I know. This is all to do with that pesky RealLife getting all over my business and my personal hobby. I am back to work now and updates will be more frequent. During this time though, I've been able to take stock of my life and changes are on the way (more on this much later when things are firm). As part of this I am also examining my hobby life and deciding what are real projects that I am both excited by and likely to complete and which have rather failed at the pilot stage and need to be abandoned. One of these is the cygnar army.

I had some fun painting it, my thesis for the project was that the Privateer Press models weren't actually as bad as I thought and that the studio paint scheme did them no favours at all. I was right. I much prefer my darker, more realistic look and think that there is some decent sculpting work among their ranges hidden under fairly unflattering bright cartoony paint. However. The more I find out about the game; the less I care about it. Somehow, it just hasn't set my hobby-heart alight with glee. For this reason I have decided to sell what I have already painted and the couple of bits that I haven't gotten around to. Here is what is in the army:

Captain Alaistair Caine
Cyclone Heavy Warjack

Grenadier Light Warjack

Hunter Light Warjack

Unpainted Ironclad Heavy Warjack
10-Man Trencher unit

Unpainted 10-Man Long Gunner unit
Journeyman Warcaster

Previously unpublished Squire (just couldn't get decent photos! Looks great in real life)
The army weighs in at 47 points (I intended to add a Trencher Officer and Sniper) when the last two units are painted and comes complete with a KR multicase with plenty of space for expansion:

So, what am I asking for this painted 35 point army with unpainted expansion to near as damnit 50? Lets figure it out:

to buy the army unpainted:
Alaister Caine: £8.95
Cyclone: £23.75
Ironclad: £23.75
Hunter: £9.95
Trenchers: £36.95
Long Gunner Unit: £29.95
Journeyman Warcaster: £5.95
Squire: £5.95
KR Case: £24.99
Total unpainted: £180.14

Normally to have this painted would add £250. It represents a hell of a lot of time, the models are all weathered and lovingly based. I'm not going to ask that as I don't think that there will be a market for a £430 army. Instead I shall ask £220 in total. Yep:

Painted and based army in case:
£220 £150


I will consider lower offers but do consider the £180 starting price and the time involved in painting this. It would make an awesome pressie for the Warmachiner in your life even if you are not one yourself. Please bear in mind that the price to post this 1.4kg medium parcel in the uk is £11 (assuming the post office online calculator isn't lying again). So please include this in your calculations.

Please contact me through and payment could be made either by bank transfer, cheque or PayPal. I prefer bank transfer as it has no funds and doesn't require me to cash a cheque before I can post it or inflict PayPal's fees on people.

I hope the Cygnar folks can find a good home. I'll be eagerly awaiting an email from a happy adopter!