Thursday, 29 June 2017

Scenic Routes

As a side project, (one of many) I've recently been revisiting my scenery collection and sprucing it up a little as over the past few years it's begun to look a little tired. I've always had a soft spot for creating scenery and over the past decade Games Workshop have put out some great pieces of pre-made buildings that really invoke the ridiculously grim-dark architecture of the 41st millennium. Before the advent of Necromunda bulkheads, the only terrain that was available to buy was purely card based and the majority of the scenery used was either found objects such as lumps of cork or crudely made buildings. Last year, I posted a few photos of some Ork buildings I made with my Grandad over 20 years ago last year (christ where has that time gone?) and having some time off work, finally based them up and finished them off this week.


Definately not Ork church.

25 SQUIGS IN THE ROOM NEXT DOOR.

Was tempted to make this into an Ork toilet because I'm 12.

Reasonably happy with the way they've turned out! I tried to reflect as much detail as possible from the old paint job whilst making them look a little more like the amazing 90's Ork terrain the GW studio put out. 


The Squigster's of Mercy gig was good, but the crowd agreed that their earlier material was stronger.

However, I've fallen out of love with the majority of the kit terrain out there because it is all so similar. Even the new Necromunda-esque scenery that came with the new Armageddon Shadow Wars set is a bit suspect. Whilst it is festooned with detail, it leaves little to the imagination like the scratch built model buildings that graced White Dwarf in the 80s and 90s. However, the new shipping containers are incredible! Proper amazing kits to put together and paint. I don't mind each of these looking exactly the same because they're supposed to have that imperialist uniformity. I just can't get on board with the idea that every hive city looks the same. I'm not sure I'll be making much more scenery in the future as I simply don't have much space left to store new pieces. However, I hope to keep going back and adding more detail to the stuff I already have.


Amazon deliveries in the future are even less dependable.

In other hobby news, I'm almost done with my Dark Eldar Armageddon kill team (photos soon) so I'm hoping to get a couple of games in with them. I've also finished off the High Elf Repeater Bolt Thrower, which was fun to do, although the rest of that project will be taking a backseat for a little while so I can concentrate on finishing a few other things off. I'm also glad to say that the very last element of the Emperor's Children has been finished; another Contemptor joins the ranks of the loyalist few of Istvaan III. I've also recently picked up a Fulgrim model too and plan to do a little conversion work to create a pre-fallen version of the Primarch. 


Love these kits so much. That claw is proper threatening

I found it so hard not to festoon this guy in etched brass. However, I couldn't have him out-blunging Rylanor!

All them primary colours.

Lastly, I recently fancied painting a dragon and came across this awesome old Nick Bibby sculpt on eBay for less than £4.00. Couldn't resist the thing and had a blast painting him up. I also got to try using some of the new edge paints on him which are fantastic. Really impressed on how they make features pop. Plus, if the effect is too sharp, you can tone them down really easily with a wash or two. This fella will be joining the High Elves for all those games of Warhammer Fantasy 4th Edition I'll never be playing.


Look at his majesty. 

Love the expression on this guy! Well snaggletooth.

Hopefully going to get back into a fairly regularly pattern of painting now that we've finished some work on the house.  Really looking forward to getting some things ticked off the list! I'm not sure I'll be doing Armies on Parade in October this year as I don't have the space to store a new tile, but may try and doing something for fun for it with stuff I already have because I'm lazy and rubbish.







Monday, 10 April 2017

Quarterly Plod

How is it April already? I've been a little distracted of late and haven't had as much time to paint as usual, but I have managed to make a start on the little High Elf project and finish off a few outstanding single models that have been on the list. I've also been inspired by some of the Dark AOS  stuff that's been doing the rounds and started putting together a random Chaotic centaur dude. I'll hopefully have him finished by the end of the month once I'm happy with the conversion. He's inspired by both the older more canine Khorne features as well as one of my favourite artists - should be a fun project!


GOBLIN GREEN FOREVER.

Firstly, here's the start of the High Elf army. I'm planning on adding an additional regiment of 15 archers and then maybe painting up mage mounted on a griffon, but we'll see. Really looking forward to starting the old repeater bolt-thrower! The Warhammer Quest Ranger was a joy to paint, although I did manage to somehow make him look like a fabulous drag-queen facially. The rest of the army will follow this colour scheme pretty closely.


Gagging on Elven eleganza.

Lastly, I was lucky enough to snag a limited edition Canoness Veridyan model when they were released in January. I remember being enthralled by John Blanche's artwork that this figure is based on and even now it's an incredibly evocative image. The model itself was a bit of a pain to paint as the face had next to no detail to the right of the nose, so the eye and all the facial contouring on that side had to be painted in. 


-2 movement modifier for hobble heels.


I promise you there is an eye painted underneath that fringe!

Close up, it is a little clumsy, but overall I'm happy. It's so nice to see models based on original artwork. I'd be stoked to see more of this kind of thing from GW, particularly if they revisited more of John Blanche or maybe Mark Gibbons's old work!


Fucking nails. Those stabby pointe moves are kill. GW, I dare you to make this.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Paint Flashback

There seems to have been a recent trend in the Oldhammer camp for tracking down and making good old, out of production paint. I must admit to having thought about purchasing some of the old sets, having a fondness for the artwork on the boxes and a reoccurring desire to paint something in Moody Blue or Worm Purple (OG Genestealers I'm looking at you). However, it wasn't until recently I managed to luck out on purchasing one of the later, hex-bottle styled Citadel Colour paint sets that I started to think that there may be some reason other than nostalgia for collecting old paint. 


All sealed, still with original brush!

At the most basic level, this stuff still works. When you seal one of these pots, they remain sealed. The most recent selection of GW paints are terrible when it comes to both tightness of seal and longevity of use. I've thrown away over a dozen pots in the past year because the paint has solidified despite being fully closed. The new pot design is also more susceptible to rim clogging (hurhurhur), which wastes paint and further prevents the lids from closing. You're also getting more paint in these older pots too. Whilst the coverage isn't as good as the new base paints (which are fantastic) the majority of the older paints still lay down a solid cover over a coat or two. Also, the old paints can be picked up for the same price, if not cheaper if you're lucky. Whilst the 1993 range may lack the breadth and technical optionality of the modern collection, it more than makes up for in Goblin Green, Blood Red and Snakebite Leather. Plus they smell nicer too. I've tentative plans to create a small fourth edition High Elf army using these paints as I've recently had a real urge to visit them as a  (another!!) distraction project. 


Because I'm an obsessive dick, I bought a working copy too.

On the subject of paint, I finished off my Colourblind Demon entry for the local shop competition last week. The idea behind the event is that you randomly pick four different paints from sealed containers and choose another two from the rack. If you're lucky you'll then have six colours that work together on any model of your choosing. Thankfully I picked out a few greens and one of the new Thousand Son blue and had the perfect figure waiting for it! Meet Bogbrush, a 1988 Bob Olley Black Orc.


Minty fresh Orc.

I must admit, I'm looking forward to actually finishing this fella off as without being able to add any other colours to highlight or shade with, he feels only around 70% done. Still, I did manage to play about with using some of the Silver Birch leaves I collected during the Autumn on the base, pretty stoked on how they came out!

Monday, 16 January 2017

New Year Times!

Ack! Two weeks deep into 2017 without a predictable 'plans for the year' post. Thankfully, I'm not planning to tie myself into any vain-glorious hobby resolutions other than to paint up stuff on the pile of shame, learn to paint better and to play a few more games than last year. I've already made good progress on finishing up the Emperor's Children and I've a tub of cleaned, based and undercoated figures to crack on with over the next few weeks. I've also tentatively made plans to get involved with a painting group in Liverpool in February as I've been wanting to push my painting in a more crafted direction. I'm hoping to make it down to paint with people down at the local store order pro-painted models from Romania more often this year too so we'll see how that goes. 2017 ahoy!


Purple people eater mincer.

I was lucky enough to receive this wonderful kit as a birthday present from my long-suffering partner in October last year. Initial impressions when it arrived went from excitement to panic when I realised how different large lumps of resin feel in comparison to plastic. This kit has so much more weight to it and demanded much more clean-up work that I expected. I doubt I'll ever get involved with a resin kit as big as this again as the material weirds me out so much, but it was really fun to paint once I got going. It was based up for the local stores 'Armies on a Plate' competition (I know, it was pushing it as an entry, but it was a good incentive to get it finished!) I had a lot of fun messing around with heat-bloom washes on the lascannons and finally got around to having a proper muck about with some FW weathering powders on the tracks.


Did I mention how much I love Forgeworld's etched brass?

The large etched legion markings have been great to work with and I personally think work better than their resin counterparts. Overall, I'm pleased with how it came out, even if the paint job is a little basic in comparison to many other examples online. My narrative excuse is that it's a work-horse Land Raider that never made it to the artificer's gilding workshop. Fulgrim won't be pleased!


Don't you know they're gonna kill your suns?

Fancy resin lascannons!

The last squad I wanted to add for reasons of both and fluff and symmetry were the 'Sunkiller' heavy lascannon support. I've been keen to avoid using the usual Emperor's Children tropes and I thought that these guys were never properly represented in the way the Phoenix Terminators, Palatine Blades or Kakophoni were. Plus, the resin underslung lascannons look amazing and although fiddly to assemble, were great to paint. I was lucky enough to be hooked up with some additional studded pads and helmet by one of the Corehammer dudes with these - thanks so much to Stephen for helping me out!


N O N E   M O R E   H E A V Y 

Out of everything I've painted recently, this set of Cataphractii terminators were the most rewarding. I've painted an awful lot of terminators in my life and these were by far the most fun. The kit itself is clean, simple to put together and creates an overall silhouette and tabletop presence that is awesome. They positively hum leaden menace and I'm half tempted at times to do another squad of these as a Sons of Horus Justarians because they're that nice.


Shredded nails for breakfast

Mole-manned into oblivion

The Emperor's Children project is more or less complete now, with only some final varnishing and a single Contemptor pattern dreadnought to paint now. I doubt I'll be adding any further units to this army as it'll mean buying considerably more and I really want to concentrate on unfinished projects and odd, single figures I've had lurking in the pile this year. Speaking of which, with the recent return of Blood Bowl, I finally got around to painting the only remaining team member from my 12th Birthday present.


Go long!

So yeah, loads to be getting on with. In the next few months I hope to finish off the Beastman contingent to my AOS Chaos army and get some games in with them. I also plan to finish off my Frostgrave band which is slowly coming together with loads of sick LOTR figures that have been gathering dust over the years. Then theres still the 2nd Edition Tyranids, Wild in the Streets goffs, Skitarrii, Space Hulk remnants, Pob's Epic Eldar, Colour Blind Demon.....

Sod it, I should just go skating instead.




Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Michael's Models - World Aids Day

You may ask what aids has to do with painting and mucking about with little men. For most people, it has zero connection. However, in my case, it has a massive part of how my hobby and personal landscape was formed. My Mum was and still is a community nurse (correction, community matron and a very good one at that!) and she was one of the first people in our old area to look after a patient that was dying of aids. At that point, there was a lot of stigma around the disease and the work my Mum did went a long way into structuring the process of palliative care people suffering from aids received. The guy she cared for was in his early 30s, and was named Michael; apart from a story about how he and his partner showed my Mum with beer one Christmas as a surprise, I sadly know little more about him. I imagine my Mum spoke to him about my hobby of painting little men at the time because he did the same thing. Micheal had a large collection of mostly Mithril Lord of the Rings miniatures, but with a selection of Grenadier, Prince August and Citadel figures too. They were all painted in a neat, matte style and some with carefully colour-coded bases. These, alongside a hardback copy of Lord of the Rings were gifted by him to me as the disease robbed him of his sight.


Every tray of this case is filled, in some cases, with more than one model per slot.

Small example of the Mithril LOTR range. Bonus Ring-Wraith lurking in the back!

Nasty little Hobbitses. Love the little dioramas that Mithril do - the Gollum and Bilbo one on the right of this is awesome.

I imagine that for someone so talented with a brush, to loose his vision must have been unbearable. Sadly, I don't think I appreciated this fact at the time. For a narrow-minded kid of 11 whose only example of fantasy miniatures were in the Citadel style, I didn't know quite what to do with them. There was also a horrid shadow of schoolyard homophobia that lurked over me at that age. Being a skinny see-through white kid who was no good at sports meant I over compensated somewhat in the pre-pubescent big-mouth masculinity stakes. Thank the gods skateboarding was to come and save me from team sport mentality only a few years later. Of course I was grateful to receive all these models alongside a book that would shape my taste in fantasy literature for life, but the enormity of this gift didn't strike home for a long time afterward. At that point in time, the gift as well as the context in which it was received just didn't fit my soft-eggshell world. However, their arrival in my life was the nudge I needed to reconsider many previously held thoughts and beleifs.


Most of the Citadel figures - those Dwarf adventurers are sick, although my addition of  the painted eyes leaves a little to be desired.

Mithril Orcs - Stoked on the mixture of Mordor and Isenguard guys here! The diorama is proper grim too!

A selection of the Prince August sculpts - these are really nice models.

Thankfully, I had sense enough to store these models in the best way I could at the time. I took a long break from any kind of painting from the age of 13 and Michael's collection was stored in the attic along with my other models. When I returned to the hobby (being slightly older and wiser and with multiple readings of LOTR under my belt) I knew I had to make sure these figures were stored safely. They now all belong together in a hard case, but sadly many of them were damaged during the interim storage years and it'll be a project to restore and repaint where necessary in the future.


Another selection of Mithril LOTR figures - the armoured elf and the Iceni-esque female fighter are great  sculpts.

This fucking book. Micheal's references are on the right. One day I'm just going to bake a load of biscuits and go walking just to see where the road takes me. Then I'll meet some Elves and get drunk - it'll be awesome.

I have no idea what life must be like to have the main boulevard of creative output removed from existence. What I do know is that Michael's gift made me a better person in more ways than one. Firstly, they helped make my world bigger. They made me realise that there's more out there than just what I'd hear at school or see in magazines. Secondly, they opened me up to different ways of painting. These figures were some of the first that had a sense of personal style to them and also the first that used fictional references for colour schemes. Lastly, they helped me to overcome my preconceptions of people with different lifestyles. I acknowledge that it should have never taken something like this in order to do so (you and me both want to give 11 year old me a proper kick in) but that's how it happened. I hope Micheal would be happy that his work is still thought of and continuing to inspire me to this day. Be sure to drop some cash into the donation tin during world aids day and remember Michael's work when you do.

Cheers fella.



Sunday, 6 November 2016

Armies on Parade in a Space Hulk

Agh, can't believe that the Armies on Parade comp was over three weeks ago now! Thankfully I managed to get everything finished in time and I was pretty pleased with the board in the end, having successfully managed to play with some weathering powders to create some different effects. Again, our local store had the most entries on the planet, beating Warhammer World itself as well as the previous record set last year. The entries were fantastic, so many different styles of painting, force composition and narrative on display. My particular favourite was a multi-level Genestealer Cult vs Inquisitorial force, complete with atmospheric lighting! I didn't manage to take any of my own photees, so I've nabbed them from the local shop Facebook page.


Who's competing with that? So sick!

There were so many other great entries too, standouts including Lewis's fantastic Vampire Counts army complete  with a towering, skeleton festooned tree, Gaz's Orcs with a beast of a Mawcrusher and a great narrative board based on the film Zulu, featuring the excellent and under-exposed Praetorian Guard regiment against some brutal looking Orks which came complete with a soundtrack! An honourable mention goes out to the excellent Helm's Deep diorama, a Khorne / Nurgle Daemon army which featured some excellent freehand and loads of sculpted eyeballs and the the pictured Imperial Guard / Mechanicus force that had some great airbrush and weathering work.


Such symmetry, very balanced, much pleasing to my OCD.

Here's my entry, in it's final form.  kind of wish I could have done a little more the the board, but overall I'm really happy with it. I particularly enjoyed painting up the battered gold Shrine of the Aquila and working out how to do scorch-marks with the sooty weathering powders. It was awesome to get good feedback too, I was a little worried that after the varnish frosting incident the army would look a little dull.


The faithful few of Istvaan.

I've already got plans for next year and I'm hoping to pull off a narrative board, based on a battle between my half completed second edition Tyranids and another force I've yet to decide upon. Either way, it's going to be super fun to do. In the meantime, there's a fun little mini competition coming up in December based on whatever you can fit onto one of the larger model bases - I'm hoping to use that as an incentive to finish off the Emperor's Children force. Since finishing off the Armies on Parade project, I've returned to painting up more terminators. I've pretty much finished the RTB09 boxed set and saved the best of the classic figures for last - the Captain and Librarian.


Nearly thirty years old and still rad as fuck.

These are figures that have been on the 'always wanted to paint' list. I think I've painted the Librarian before, but the Captain was certainly a first. Sadly, the Captain's left shoulder icon was a little battered, but aside from that, both models were still pretty sharp casts. The Librarian provided a great excuse to try out contrasting colour highlights on the weapon, something I may play around with more in the future!


In the 41st Millennium, 80's Van Damme haircuts are legit.

The Captain stands out as one of Jes Goodwin's (have I mentioned how much I love Jes recently? Because I do) most iconic sculpts. There's something so solid about the composition and feel of this figure. Despite it being a relatively simple three-piece model, it oozes presence and character. One of my old friends had this miniature and I always loved the way he'd painted it. Whilst it's not an exact replica ( I seem to recall more yellow / white on his) it's definitely a little nod to the past.


Iconography based on the sculpted kneepad
May add more to this one, feels like there's too much blue space now!

I'm really pleased at how the freehand on the right shoulders turned out. I've recently changed brushes and I'm having much better results with the new ones as they hold a point without splitting and seem to be a little more robust than the older ones I've used. So now I've only another squad of five of these to do and I can officially play nearly all of the original Space Hulk scenarios! I'm also currently working on a squad of five second edition Deathwing as well as finishing off the five Emperor's Children Cataphractii terminators. It's amazing to see how much the scale of these figures has changed so much over the last three decades whilst still remaining some of the greatest models to paint. I hope to have all of these project wrapped up before Christmas so I can start on something different in the new year - need to get a move on!

Thursday, 6 October 2016

EC Show and Tell

I can't ever recall painting as many figures this quickly before. Over the past few weeks, I've been constantly surprised walking into our front room and seeing the force slowly growing every morning - stoked to know that it's possible for me to churn out a decent sized force in just over a month given proper incentive and enthusiasm! That said, I've had a little more time in the last week to work on painting as I've been off looking after my partner who has been recovering from surgery. I'm hyped that I've been able to spend time helping them to get back on their feet and hack away at some crafting too!


Meat and Potatoes.

Long-range Pudding.

This is the main bulk of the force - apologies for the awful photos! As part of the narrative, all the models have been based on ashy, grey bases with white marble chipping to represent the ruins of the Choral City on Istvaan. Being a massive cheapskate, I didn't spurge on special EC units from Forgeworld; instead I based the core of the force around basic bitch legionnaire tactical squads and support squads from the afore mentioned excellent Betrayal at Calth boxset. So far, I've two tactical squads of fifteen completed and one heavy missile launcher support squad, but I've got enough parts to work on another lascannon-armed support squad after the AOP event (which is to appease my OCD for symmetrically organised armies as much as it is for tactical reasons). I also have a certain suspicion that I may be getting a Landraider Proteus for my birthday (kjsdnvo[ ere'a /nvasgi[bv !!!!!!) and that'll look amazing in the middle of the whole ensemble.


Ancient Rylanor. 

The Contemptor Dreadnought is an absolute dream of a model - so many posing options! This is the largest resin kit I've worked with so far and it wasn't as scary as anticipated. He's based roughly on the concept art featured in one of the black library books, but I went for the more basic chassis as I'm not keen on the fluted armour of the venerable versions. I also got to use some of the FW etched brass on this guy too - love that stuff!


Captain Saul Tarvitz.

Really enjoyed modelling and painting this guy up too. His body is mainly composed of EC Palatine Blades bits, whilst his sword comes from an old Terminator. His gun (which you can't really see) is a proper Frankenstein kit-bash and is made up of about 6 separate parts. Whilst I'm not 100% happy with the hair-sculpt (I'm crap with green stuff) I think this guy makes a good Captain stand in, regardless of loyalties!


THIS IS MY HAIR. I DON'T WEAR WIGS.

As for the paint job, he's pretty much exactly the same as the rest of the force. However, I did experiment with trying to do blended reflections on his massive sword. The result isn't quite what I was hoping for, but if I find times before the event to touch it up I reckon I can sort it out! The only super lame thing that happened whilst painting these guys up was an unfortunate incident with the final varnish. Sadly I frosted the shit out on the majority of the force and had to re-wash and re-paint some stuff to bring it back. However, the overall look adds to the dusty, war-ravaged nature of the narrative I'm going for, so no real damage done. All I have to sort out now the actual display board which hopefully shouldn't be too much of a rush for a change! If I get chance, I'm going to see if I can speed through painting some Terminators too.


Not that much to do then,....