Thursday, 24 April 2014

Inq28 - The Bonkers Brigade

Greetings shipmates, even more stuff from the Inq28 commission today (perhaps I should just bunch these together? Somehow it just feels more natural to post what I have finished). Today's offering is the first of a warband that I am referring to mentally as the Bonkers Brigade. You'll see why as it grows.

Yep, that's a plague doctor with a flaming torch, a pirate and a drunken Macaque... Bonkers Brigade. Wait till you see the Inquisitor... Anyway, lets start with the simplest paint job, the Brother Vinni Plague Doctor:

Not much to say about this one, normal red and my current favourite German Grey black. The mask is Val Stone Grey with an Agrax Earthshade wash. The flame is worth mentioning, I figured out a new way of painting them working on a molotov cocktail on some Bolt Action Soviets I'm working on. While this isn't a terribly well sculpted example of flames the effect has photographed nicely. Essentially it's those fluorescent paints of Vallejo's again. Paint the flame white, next a layer of Val Fluorescent Yellow, then build up highlights oddly by darkening the colour toward the outer edges of the flame. Mix increasing amounts of Val Fluorescent Orange to darken it down. On bigger flames you can take it all the way to red and even smears of black to indicate smoke.

I then used some glazes of yellow and orange to tint the clothing around the flame. Difficult to see on the photograph as subtle glazes get eaten by the lamps. I could have used much more direct object source lighting but that would have made the model look like it was in the dark lit only by the torch. I wanted him in the sunlight and thus the light wouldn't impact as strongly.

Next up is a Freebooter's Fate pirate from their Indiegogo campaign (I believe). Nice enough sculpt but suffering a little from "sexy impractical syndrome". Given that the warband is mostly red (it includes the red enforcer from the previous post) I figured a red coat was the way forward. In order to make the torn fabric at the shoulder (thus exposing more skin with no sign of injury, what was she, careless going through a door?) stand out the coat needed some lining. We don't want the lining to glow out of the model and confuse the scheme. Stone Grey was a useful choice, not only because it was already mixed on the palette but also because it will subtly bind the scheme to the plague doctor. Small things linking warbands together.

And finally, a drunken Macaque! One of the weirder jobs this year. I'm choosing to assume she's a wyrd of some sort and he's her familiar. Like all animal paint jobs reference is key. Best colour option for this example is Karak Stone, highlighted with Val Deck Tan which is then used as a basecoat on the belly to lighted it. The bottles have simulations of liquid in them, achieved by basecoating in Caliban Green, shading with Val Black Green Ink and then thin Black Ink. Finally I mix the colour of the liquid with more Caliban Green and paint a horizon line parallel with the ground. fill in the bottom of the bottle and then gloss varnish. Simple enough but a decent effect.

That's all for today folks, more coming soon!


Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Small changes, Big difference

Hi folks, another in the series of Inq28 commissions, in this case a pair of enforcers and their cyber-mastiffs. But this has given me the chance to show how by making the smallest of changes and altering the colour scheme changes the character of a model completely. Lets check out the enforcers first:

So, first and foremost, the pose is obviously the same, only the head and one little bit of Inquisition brass etch are different. Their character though is very different. The top one, with the bold red and bare steel with brass decorations, is very bombastically Imperial. Almost Vostroyan in styling. The second one, with the camo and the coloured ceramic armour plates presents a more understated and sneaky vibe. The top one feels like a palace guard, the bottom, an infiltrator. So by doing this one simple thing you get a very different model. In fact these are the second and third of these models that I've painted and the first was yet another scheme:

You can find more views of him here. Now, if I was to try and make them look really different, I'd swap the weapons out on the second one. But given that they'll be in different warbands it won't matter over-much. They won't be alone though, for they have their faithful hounds:

From reference material found online, I painted the top dog (belonging to the red guy) as an English mastiff, the bottom one, a French. As with all things animal references are key. Something I am really happy with are the glowing red eyes. Tiny pinpricks of light. I did this by painting the eyes white followed by a coat of Val Fluorescent Orange and a glaze of red ink. Created a nice sharp, bright eye and made the dogs look even more artificial. Just a dog skin stretched and stapled around a Jame Cameron terminator-style skeletal structure.

That's all for today, more coming soon. Including, believe it or not, a drunken Macaque, not even kidding...


Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Greetings one and all, hope you had a splendid Easter break (I suspect you are grateful I didn't inflict this on you all again). We're back with a bang (but a fairly quick post) with a trio of nifty MERCS miniatures for you, first up, a man with a seriously enormous gun:

I love it when sculptors make weapons that feel like they'd work! The armoured ammo feed is a touch fiddly but well worth it. I decided to repeat the urban camo from the enforcers as this would allow the two groups to work together seamlessly. With projects like this its an advantage to allow the individual sections to be swopped around for versatility. Not always possible, but where you can, you should.

This sneaky wee chap got a replacement laspistol for the feeble pistol he was sporting and the horribly thick, almost club-like knife was thinned with files to improve the look. I figure the backpack is either some sort of stealth field or a grav-chute of some sort. Obviously it's got a purpose for the MERCS game but I've no idea what that was! I took care with these not to wash the camo fatigues with the black that was going over the armour, metal and leather. I wanted the areas of camo to shine out (bizarrely) as I knew that the models would end up very dark overall.

The final offering is a little more conventional than the others, looking like a private military contractor. There are some nice touches on this model, like the gas mask attached to his thigh or the equipment scattered over the backpack. Makes them look like soldiers. Not sure why only one sleeve is rolled up but there must be some logic there. The rubber mask is Skavenblight Dinge by the way which is a cracking colour for rubber. Use it on tyres. Looks ace.

More soon!


Monday, 14 April 2014

More Inq 28 Goodies

Hi folks, bit of a disjointed one for you today, four more members of various Inquisitor warbands for the Inq28 commission. Starting with one of my very favourite 40k figures:

This is the second one of these that I've painted in recent times (the first can be found here). I love this figure. It just screams "Warhammer 40,000" to me, a man whose body has been more and more replaced until the only organic component remaining is the brain and a face (fleshmask in mechanicus parlance). I used more or less the same techniques as the first one just using Val Russian Uniform green to bind him to the rest of the girls in the same warband. Speaking of the girls...

One more to add to that warband. This one a smidgeon more armoured! This fine lady is a Sister Hospitalier of the Adepta Sororitas - the Sisters of Battle. Nuns with guns in power armour effectively. This is what one of their doctors look like. I knew I wanted the green robes and was musing as to what the other colours would be. Gold seemed to be a decent bet, but what about the armour? There are three colours associated with the Sisters. Red, black and white. Red and green make for a christmas elf unless you are very careful. Black would have made for a very dark scheme and somehow didn't fit "doctor" in my mind. White it was then! Fortunately, there was rather a lot of red and black coming up to make up for picking a very tricky colour on this one.

This poor chap is a forgeworld servitor. He really isn't a tech priest. More like a walking computer strapped to a socket wrench. The Mechanicum is very fond of red so that was an easy choice and the comparative lack of detail meant red was kinda... it. I have to say, I'm not sold on this model. The spindly hand looks weak, while the trailing cables would drag in the ground. There's lots of dials and readouts but nothing seems designed to "do something". He's still a decent servitor but unlike the first cyborg in this post which has a lovely "story" and seems to "work" this one doesn't so much. Just a personal opinion.

Next up is another of Brother Vinni's Fallout inspired miniatures. This one a Brotherhood of Steel character re-purposed as a tech adept. As I've mentioned before, Brother Vinni does very well executed "inspired by" stuff and this chap is no exception. I plumbed for red and black mechanicus colours again with a splash of yellow in the power cords recharging his laser. The pipboy (a wrist mounted computer) got the best readout looking thing I could manage considering the size and with that, he was pretty much done. I've actually painted a bunch of Brother Vinni stuff this week but a lot of them are a bit too NSFW for this blog ;)

Finally we have the servo skull affectionately known in wargaming circles as the flying toilet roll holder. It is really tough to avoid that impression so I kinda just surrendered to the inevitable and made sure there was lots of script on there that the transcribing arms are writing (I figure its a stenographer) in an attempt to avert too much loo-roll-ness.

With that we are done, just a quick dash around the painting table today really! See you all later in the week.


Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Son, You've Got A Condition...

The drying time model (something I paint while batches of wash are drying and so on) over the last week or so has been a big 'un.

Yep! It's the Incredible Hulk! Knight Models have been absolutely knocking them out of the park with the Marvel Universe sculpts and Hulk is no exception. At first I was baulking a little at the cost of him (he ain't cheap). However, a combination of knowing that licensed models like this are a bit "smoke 'em if you got 'em" - i.e. they can up and vanish like Knight Models excellent Star Wars line - combined with seeing the sheer size of the model convinced me. Oh, the size you say? Surely that's a normal sized base right?

you can see more of Iron Man here
Nope. Hulk is HUGE. The biggest solid metal model I've worked with in years. I had to remember a bunch of tricks from back in the day to get him together. Most companies with models this big use resin. Not Knight Models, oh no, this bad boy is solid white metal and heavy with it. I needed to put him down for a rest several times during painting. Something remarkable though is the balance. Hulk's centre of mass is absolutely slap bang on that base. He doesn't even wobble. Really, really nice work Knight.

best photo of skin tone, convenient no? He really does have eyes btw...

So, to business! Painting wise, there is an obvious place to start, the skin. Because lets face it, it's The Hulk. You're gonna be painting green. But which green? Stick Hulk into google and scroll through some images. You are going to see every shade of green going. Most of them kinda highly saturated and very yellow. I wanted a bit more of an "Avenger's Movie Hulk Green" to give it it's car showroom name. This was a fairly easy fix. The Avenger's Hulk works because he is quite a fleshy green. So I started with Castellan Green for the khaki green base. I shaded it down with Athonian Camoshade to deepen the shadows. It was at this point that I knew that delicately blending every highlight on a model this size would send me insane. Just insane. Instead, given the texture of the model I decided to tap a little used technique for this kind of thing, drybrushing. Drybrushing takes a bit of flack in our hobby. It's seen as a newbie technique and that's largely because people don't do it right. You use as many carefully gradiated layers of colour as you would for blending. But instead you apply it with a very, very dry brush. If there is any moisture at all it will streak. Use a lighter and lighter touch with each successive layer, each layer was essentially just Castellan Green with increasing amounts of Kislev Flesh. Finally I glazed it with Val Black-Green Ink to intensify the green tone and deepen the shadows.

The whacking great lump of masonry in his hand presented an opportunity for a contrast colour so red brick was going to be the win. I've got a fairly reliable method these days. Val Saddle Brown is the base coat, add various brown and bone tones to the Saddle Brown and pick out a couple of bricks in each. It creates natural variation and makes a more believable effect. Lastly, I wash the whole thing in very thinned Val Stone Grey which is a decent analogue for old school mortar. I dabbed off the excess with some tissue leaving mortar in the cracks and some mortar dust on the bricks.

Mercifully, Knight sculpted the traditional torn and strained clothes onto El Hulko otherwise he would just be green and a bit more boring. The clothes break up the large areas of colour and maintain visual interest. It is, by the way, the reason for super heroes wearing trunks on the outside of costumes. It breaks up the colour. There were options for the trousers, they're sculpted as denim jeans. But a traditionalist spark in me made me reach for the colour that the Hulk's trousers have always been. Purple. Makes no sense, colour theory wise (had something to do with 3 colour printing from the silver age of comics) but looks right because, well, the Hulk's trousers are purple.

And that's all folks! I have Captain America on the drying time workbench but he'll have to wait. There'll be more Inq28 stuff by the end of the week. If that isn't enough for you though, the Goblin's Popular Front await on the Beard Bunker. Until then


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Ah Shall Say Zis... Only Once

Eyup folks, today we continue on the Inq28 commission with some lovely Andrew Rae sculpts from Statuesque miniatures. They are all from their "resistance" range, hence the 'Allo 'Allo references.

Despite the different outfits these ladies needed to hang together as a group. That meant finding a colour palette that worked across the military and civilian-ish styling. The military types had a Cold War era Russian feel to my mind so Val Russian Uniform green seemed like a place to start.

expand the pictures, they're not as underexposed as the thumbnails for some reason.

The uniforms were painted in the Val Russian Uniform, the webbing was picked out in Val Grey Green (a cracking webbing colour) and the whole thing was washed in Athonian Camoshade. Caliban Green provided a basecoat for the helmet and shaded it with Val Black-Green Ink wash-i-fied with the addition of Lahmian Medium. The green is rehighlighted, first with pure Russian Uniform then with Russian Uniform with a dash of Grey Green added (it was already wet on the palette, lots of mixes go this way). Webbing was edged in the Grey Green.

Something I was really happy with was finally capturing the colour of "modern" assault rifles (think AK-47 and friends). It's tricky, you need a dark overall tone with bright edge highlights. I've been pratting around with different methods over the years but this one really seems to work. A mix of AP Gunmetal and Black is painted on as a basecoat. Then a wash of black (I use black ink mixed with Lahmian Medium). Once this is dry you really push the contrast by very lightly drybrushing with AP Shining Silver. This picks up the edges and makes the finished weapon pop. People who have already figured this out will be going "durr!" now but painting conundrums are one of those things. They're simple once you know how.

For the "inbetween style" model, I needed to introduce some more colours. I decided that a neutral grey for shirts, socks, anything small and unobtrusive would work. Val German Grey highlighted up with addition of Ulthuan Grey. The coats are another favourite colour Val English Uniform. I used it for the scarves on the military style ones too so they subconsciously bind together as a unit.

Swapping the main and spot colours out can completely change a model's character while keeping them in keeping them "in theme". In this case, the grey and the leather become the dominant colour while the Russian Uniform diminishes into a spot colour. Character of the miniature wildly different, colour scheme maintained. I have to mention at this point that this one is the weakest of the sculpts in my opinion. The rest are wonderfully posed with decent - if willowy - anatomy and cracking sculpting. This one...  she's just too skinny. Supermodel physique is not maintained by running around and fighting, that packs on muscle. She's either 11 in which case she is too tall and has implants or she is anorexic in which case the whole running and fighting shtick is a problem. It isn't awful by a long way but one disappointing apple in a very well executed barrel.

she really does have two eyes, the camera just ignored the other one.

But on with the show! Here again, a model that brings the grey to the fore and does it in some style. This is one of the only "futuristic" armaments the girls brought to the party. I'd deliberately painted the group in ambiguous colours so they could be used for all sorts of roles and periods in gaming (multi-use if possible is a big thing with me) but this one needed all the sci-fi. I seized on the chance to play with a new toy. Valejo's Fluorescent Green, I got a few of these colours recently after reading a Massive Voodoo article on using them in Object Source Lighting. Let me tell you, they work. Over a white base in the gaps I layered on a couple of very thinned layers of the Fluo Green. The fluorescent paints are not great paints, very thick and tarry, but it's the pigment you are after. Just thin with water and medium. Highlighting went on by adding white to the Fluo Green. The Fluo Green can also be used brilliantly to glaze the area around the source. Works a treat.

Finally, my favourite sculpt in this group. I just adore the pose, the fact that she is fairly muscled in comparison to her fellows and has an appropriately sized but massive gun bracing against the recoil. The painting has all been discussed (except the leather, Rhinox Hide, shaded with Agrax Earthshade and highlighted by adding Mournfang Brown) so just drink in the design and enjoy!

That's it for the miniatures this week, but I thought I'd share a slightly larger painting project I knocked out over the weekend:

Yup, in the category of "Jeff makes weird stuff sometimes" this is a foam latex anvil. Carved from upholstery foam, sealed in layers of liquid latex and then painted with vallejo colours mixed with more liquid latex. Doesn't look too bad for a first attempt if I say so myself. With that, we are done so...