Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Steel Legion Officers (Rust proofing extra)

Hi folks, quickee for you. Just the two lads today:

They're from Project Leviathan and there's only two more to go on that project! Chap on the left is a normal plastic Cadian officer with a third-party metal replacement head, chap on the right is Rommel X from Kabuki models. Sadly his head was a tad on the small side for mixing well with the GW chaps and chapesses so the client asked me to replace it. A tank commander's head seemed to fit the bill nicely. They're both from the Steel Legion - an Armageddon based Imperial Guard army - so their colour scheme is identical. What is interesting is how different the models feel with the ratios of the colour scheme changed. They hang together well but are clearly different units.

Easy one first. To get that classic Steel Legion khaki, first basecoat in Steel Legion Drab (shocker right?) and shade with Agrax Earthshade. Highlight first by adding Baneblade Brown in ever increasing amounts then by adding a tiny bit of Karak Stone to the pure Baneblade Brown. Their leather is covered by Val Leather Brown again shaded by Agrax Earthshade and the dark trousers are Val German Camo Black-Brown shaded with two careful layers of Nuln Oil. There was only one armour colour for "Steel Legion" in my opinion... Steel. Dark metal would appear more soldierly than bright so I started from AP Gunmetal with a bit of black thrown in. AP Plate Mail Metal is the highest the highlighting goes on the armour. His bionic arm got some AK Interactive Engine Oil in the moving parts (that stuff is fast becoming an automatic addition to 40k models, anything with an engine or moving parts is finding itself lubed up these days).

Not-Rommel-X-No-More got treated in exactly the same way, but because he is mostly armour the character of the model is vastly different. I see him as a stormtrooper commander of the Steel Legion, fully armoured, straight backed and arrogant. A nice model to work on.

That's all folks, still ploughing through the last bits (wrist pain and job-hunting slowing me down a little) but we will get there! Until next time


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

A Few Inq28s More

It's cowboy inquisition day here at PVP - hence the Few Dollars More title reference with yet another small Inq28 Warband for that last commission.

They're mostly themed around a kind of Wild West vibe (not sure on manufacturers but I think most are MERCS with a couple of exceptions). Some minor conversions here and there helped 40k-ify them up a bit. In terms of colour scheme for the unit, I felt that practical leather dusters, surplus military green armour and the traditional black, red and white of the Inquisition as spot colours/main tones in the absence of armour and coats. Rather than going through them all - some of the ladies at the back were not the greatest sculpts - I thought I'd focus on the pick of the bunch, the front row. Lets start with the boss whom I have christened Inquisitor Ned Kelly for the metal face:

Pretty sure this chap is from the MERCS range, though he's had inquisitional arms weapon swapped on and a tiny grey knights icon shaved off a bolter and added to his hat. For the most part he's not a bad sculpt, though the posing of the legs is a bit mad. What Blackadder would refer to as a "Heroic Stance". I'm reasoning that he has just jumped down from something high and is taking the fall on bent knees. Unfortunately, and this happens a lot with sculpts like this, because he's almost the same height as the people around him with his legs spread that far apart he must be at least 7ft tall. But heck, heroic imposing Inquisitor, who cares? Painting wise he was nothing too remarkable. The Val Leather Brown coat and Val German Grey shaded down to black for the fatigues dominate the palette. The bits worth picking out are, first, the flame. Always remember that fire is whitest where it is hottest and it is hottest at it's source. So many people go the other way, red up to white, just isn't right. I tend to drybrush a little black around the edges of my flames too for sooty smoke.

Next the pouches. I needed them to stand out from the background black but didn't want to stray too far from the scheme, I could have used an olive drab but this would have been close to the armour colour and it can be a momentary confusion ("wait are the pouches armoured?") a visual equivalent of "had had" and "that that" in writing, to be avoided if you can. Instead a Khaki shade close to the leather but distinct from it did the job nicely. Lastly, the eyes, hatband and sword hilt. The other models in the unit have quite a bit of red on them. I needed just a few tiny spots to help tie him to the rest. I also needed to draw the eye to the metal face under that very, very wide hatbrim. So red lenses for eyes and red leather (that I'd figured out painting Captain America) for the sword and hat brim. Done.

Next up is the rather steampunk-ey lady who I suspect is designed as a doctor. In my head though as I painted her I was thinking how cold it would be for this prim, proper, Mary Poppins style character to be the interrogator. The gladstone bag full of "confession encouragers". A calm, neat, precise, terrifying individual. Cool huh? She's a lovely sculpt, I need to chase down who makes her as I think I want one for my own band of miscreants. As with most really nice models she practically painted herself. Just a matter of deciding which of the scheme's colours would go where. A red jacket - won't show the blood see - to cover the demure white frilly blouse seemed to be a win.

Then we come to yet another Brother Vinni model. This one is another from their "Totally not Fallout, nope siree" range that I rather like. The weapons have been swapped out for more 40k choices but otherwise untouched. Rather like Inquisitor Ned Kelly, this chap felt like he needed a utilitarian, military scheme which left not a lot of room for red. A small helmet detail sorted this out and believe it or not really helped bind him to the rest of the unit. I tried doing some pseudo-writing on his name badge but it just looked like a squiggle without more lines of text to help it. Blank beats bad in my book (same for eyes, if you can't paint a good eye yet, just leave a darkened socket, it will look better, trust me).

And finally we come to the Infinity model sneaking around at the flanks. As with most Infinity models she's a clean, crisp job, nice to have an Infinity female sculpt that doesn't look like it's about to be picked up for soliciting too... I replaced her weapon - which looked weedy for 40k - with an Elysian lasgun that fitted the existing bullpup grip very nicely. I saw this character as an infiltrator type, sneaking about with the hood up to distort the lines of her head and the sword as a primary weapon. The gun is for when the midden hits the windmill and someone yells "go loud" through the comms. Hence the red being only for the lining of the coat and the bindings on the katana. Like a lot of the Infinity sculpts her face is a little spare on the detailing so you have to force some features in with the painting.

Thats all for today folks. With models remaining on this commission down to about a dozen and a handful of tanks, the end is in sight. Fortunately I've been keeping the best Inquisitors as treats to paint so there will be quite the conclave at the end.


Saturday, 14 June 2014

The Star Spangled Man With A Plan

It's Superhero Saturday once again here at Casa PVP, today's offering is the First Avenger, the Star Spangled Man, it's Knight Model's Captain America:

Before we go any further, a minor grr, none of the photos I took of dear Ol' Cap. were terribly sharp, the focus just seemed to wander off of the details. Mentally sharpen them up would you folks? For those not terribly familiar with the character you may dismiss this chap - as I did until I got to know the character - as a jingoistic propaganda tool, a (literally) wrapped in the flag stereotype. For the longest time I did too, but that was because I had only seen the rubbish story-lines. At his worst handled Captain America is essentially Team America World Police: The Super Hero Years. With clumsy authoring he is almost unbearably "America! F*** Yeah!". But get him in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing and he becomes something very interesting indeed. He's a tragic character, trapped out of time without the cushion of years to soften the transition between the 1940's and today. He is, also, genuinely a hero, he embodies most of the Ideal of the classic hero which America like to freight those they consider heroes and then are furious when they don't live up to them. The Cap is the other way around, he genuinely is all those things and it is the world around him that constantly lets him down.

Even his powers are just juiced up regular human, peak of physical ability with just a slight push into the super-human. He regularly is a leader, not the lone gun so many super heroes are. Heck in the war years he had a whole commando unit he led plucked from the various allied nations. He also has a very rare thing within superheroes, he's fine with killing. He is a soldier, was made as such. Where Batman will go to sometimes ridiculous lengths to save the lives of those he hunts, Captain America will pick up a gun and shoot if the person he is firing at presents a danger or is a threat too dangerous to live. With all this he occupies an interesting place in the super hero canon. Humble, self-sacrificing, disciplined, a leader and a soldier first, he is the soul of Shield and keeps them on the straight and narrow as much as he can. He's a genuine hero.

And I really, really didn't get him until recently.

Enough of that though, painting! That's why we're here! Knight's first Captain America model (I'm not-so-secretly hoping for a war years one with the Howling Commandos and - please, pretty, please Knight - a Red Skull and Hydra lackeys) is modelled on the original comic book version rather than the movies. This means the Puerto Rico flag outfit (seriously, check it out, it's not the American flag at all). I knew I wanted the colours to be a little muted and naturalistic rather than the rather strident scheme you normally see (except the shield, more later). So starting with the blue I went with a grey blue worked up from The Fang, through Russ and Fenrisian Grey. This was then glazed in two layers of thinned blue ink with the usual Lahmian Medium thrown in. This made for a denim blue that pleased me so on with the show. The red I handled in two different ways, the cloth was just painted straight red with the usual highlighting, the gloves and boots I wanted as red leather so they got Rhinox Hide added at each stage of the highlighting process. The white was just the usual half dozen tedious thin layers of ever lighter grey. Yawn.

The Shield though, that needed to be all kinds of bright and shiny. Again, it hasn't photographed terribly well but I hope you can get the idea. I used the same trick as I did with Iron Man. Just buffed the white metal part up with finer and finer sanding sticks until it was a mirror, used inks to colour the bits that needed colouring, scratched a few dings and nicks into the paintwork and then glossed the whole thing to prevent the metal oxidising back to a matt grey finish. Easy, but effective, the shield really stands out from the whole.

Fun thought, the pose of the Cap works really, really well paired off against the Hulk. I can see my Avengers being deployed in the cabinet in one of their all-too-regular missions: Stop the rampaging Hulk.

yes those are three of The Watchmen behind the paints
And finally, something that made me smile. A model with a colour scheme that simple, needed that many paints... So any new painters out there, when your folks ask you "Do you really need all those paints?" the answer is... "yup!"

Happy painting.


Thursday, 12 June 2014

Inquisitorial Rhinos

As promised, here they are! Two shiny new Inquisitorial Rhinos for the Inq28 project:

The client and I debated how to go on the colours of these pair. Initially, we thought to assign the various tanks (the scout car, these two and a land raider to come) to individual warbands and tie the colour scheme to them. But that would limit usefulness and versatility. Instead we thought a consistent scheme across the transports (camo for the scout car) would make it seem like the vehicles had all been requisitioned from the local Ordos pool rather than Inquisitors transporting battle tanks across the galaxy. The client had done quite a bit of kit-bashing with nifty plastic eagles, - from where I know not sadly - Scibor plates on the door and a Cities of Death terrain piece replacing the front of the right hand rhino. This meant they looked great but needed restraint in paint scheme to stop looking too busy.

There's a trick with rhinos and two tone schemes where if you use the accent colour in the cut-out bits of the sides and carry it across the front you get a natural break between elements of the scheme. Gold made a pleasing contrast against the black and works alongside the red. This left just the decorative elements which needed a fourth, muted colour to stop the scheme becoming gaudy. Stone seemed to be the answer there. I think it worked. The weathering needed to match the normal urban basing I have been doing for the rest of the Inq28 models. This meant fairly limited muck and dirt, not much mud in the inner cities. Instead just grey concrete dust supplied by AK Dust Effects and lightly airbrushed on. Urban pacification rather than battlefield conditions.

Loved those forgeworld Inquisition rear doors for ages. I knew that stone plaques would be nice for the script between the gold rails but what of the rear icon? I needed it to stand out while tying in to the existing scheme. As I was pondering this I was considering the self same problem on Inquisitor Huron and the image search for marble for his shoulder turned up the answer to this one too! A red marble plaque worked nicely and blended with the red in the scheme.

Matching the rear doors, the forgeworld inquisition top hatch is also cracking. Stone icon and very shiny gold icon for air recognition purposes. Tanks often have a prominent symbol on the roofs - especially if their side has air superiority - in order to prevent unfortunate blue-on-blue accidents. After all, no thunderbolt pilot wants an inquisitor's death on their jacket...

Finishing with a quick detail shot of the launcher and lamp. The launcher is the first time I've painted this part and been happy with it. Adding the burned ends of the tubes made it look less "part loaded" and more "part fired". The lamps are the new recipe I have for the unlit glass. Dark Reaper is shaded with black ink and then highlighted first with more Dark Reaper and then Thunderhawk Blue. A dab of wet effects finishes the effect. I tend to prefer to paint the lenses of lamps unlit as otherwise you need a bunch of object source lighting to make them work.

That's all folks. Back to infantry tomorrow while I muse on how this scheme will roll on to the Land Raider.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Inquisitor Huron

Hi folks, yeah, I know, he doesn't look a lot like a pair of rhinos but he got finished first so here he is! This is the second of the Inquisitors for the Inq28 commission (there's a bunch more to come), the first - who I have mentally named Bling-nor of the Hill People - can be found here. Today's entry is a tiny bit more understated:

Yep, that's Forgeworld's Lugft Huron (he's the chap who became the Huron Blackheart, the Tyrant of Badab) remade - a bit - into a servant of the Holy Ordos of the Inquisition. As the second of the Terminator armoured Inquisitors I wanted him to look very, very different to "Inquisitor Bling-nor". That meant a darker, more utilitarian scheme. I'd figured that black would look nifty with red and white/steel accents but another colour was going to be needed. Gold would have been too close to Bling-nor. Highly polished brass though? That would work.

In order to balance the brass colour across the shoulder pads I needed the Crux Terminatus (the icon on the left shoulder pad) to be be a warm yellow/brown. Traditionally though, it's stone (the icon is supposed to contain a tiny fragment of the Emperor's own armour from the Great Crusade). The answer? Marble. One of the brown coloured ones (it comes in all sorts of colours).

I like this model a lot, but the jewel in the crown? That claw. Damn is that claw cool. Eagle style talons paired with the traditional wolverine style lightning claws. So, so cool. It was impossible to photograph but there is Huron's clenched fist visible amongst the talons. Really, really nice component.

With that, we're done for the day. Just the one figure, those tanks are almost there, so nifty tank pics soon.


Monday, 9 June 2014

Eisenkern Mules

Hi folks, a quickee today, I mentioned in the Eisenkern Imperial Guard article that mechanisms and devices were the strength of the Dreamforge kit. The jewel in the crown of the Eisenkern though are their luggage robots... no really:

These are the Eisenkern Mules. Luggage lugging robots designed around the same principles as the Big Dog robots being developed for the US army. They're ingeniously designed - if a little fiddly, three part legs etc. - and allow an insane level of posing. Really, really nice kits that I can heartily reccommend. You can see better pictures of the posing below. I thought about making cargo for the top but then realised just how easy it would be to make "drop in" cargos, casualties etc. for scenario specific purposes. It freed them up for multiple uses to leave them empty.

The first of the Mules I painted in a sort of military fatigue green. with bare metal everywhere else. I picked out some of the areas of the "head" to be glass covered sensor arrays. Most of the work on these was actually done with weathering. A few thin layers of thin rust and dusty enamel washes lent them a "middle of a warzone but without the presence of mind to dust self down" vibe. Other than that, some oil washes at the joins and Robert's your father's brother.

The second of the Mules I decided to go with a more "civilian" vibe. I used the sensor-ish head for this one and it felt like a warehouse cargo hauler rather than a military load lifter. Black and the ubiquitous 40k hazard stripes were given the same treatment as the military one with the weathering. The two feel very different despite much the same processes being used which pleased me (they're designed to be shared among the client's Inq28 groups).

And that is it for today. On the workbench are a pair of Inquisitorial rhinos which are looking fairly spanky and should be finished tomorrow, expect piccies!


Thursday, 5 June 2014

Ork Kaptain My Kaptain

Ahoy me hearties! Increasing the pirate:ninja ratio on this blog (in the proper direction once more) is a big bad Ork, Kaptain Badrukk:

This nutter is a character upgrade for Flash Gitz, a freebooter (clanless) Ork with a whacking great gun (Entirely coincidently new flash git pictures leaked this week). This job was a favour for a friend that I used as a bit of a "palette cleanser" in between Imperial agents and others. As this chap is kind of a riot of colours and features I thought I'd talk about balancing the individual elements. There is a problem - especially with models with big back banners - that attention can be drawn from the real focal element of the model. The face. This is compounded by using the sort of bright, primary colours that Orks are fond of. The dodge here is to use weathering (in this case streaking grime and rust from AK) to mute and merge the colours while leaving the face bright and clean. Speaking of the face, I think I've finally figured out the Ork skin thing, the last element I was missing was the lower lip and gums. I used to just treat these as the same as the rest of the skin but they never popped quite right. Now I'm adding Bugman's Glow to the green mix which puts a bit of mucosal flush into the gums and lips. Seems to work nicely.

The coat is also weathered with a mix of blended enamel earth and mud effects from AK. There's not much of a trick to this, its just building up layers. The strap of the gun I'm happy with, wanted it to be canvas rather than leather so I faked a bit of texture into the fabric by streaking drybrushing in a sort of cross-hatching pattern.

This detail shot shows one of my favourite bits of the model (next to the face), the map that the studio painted on the loincloth was a brilliant choice, so I did my own homage to it. Next to it is the treasure chest. A brilliant example of designers actually thinking because instead of coins its full of teeth, Orks use their teeth as currency so a rich Ork should have piles of teeth to hand. Badrukk is a very, very rich ork.

That's all for today folks, more soon!