Monday, 31 December 2012

And we are done...

250pts of Grey Knights and their Inquisitor - painted in one month.

There are a few bits I could still tweak, but I am happy with how these have turned out!

I'll get some proper photos soon, but here they are for now.

3 hours left...

...and the tank is pretty much done!

Now back to the marines

Masking gone, and now some lunch!

Here it is with all the masking removed

Grey done...

I airbrushed the tank in a light coat of black paint and then worked on getting some grey shades and highlights in. I also added some extra black around the bottom of the areas of the tank.

That's the airbrush done now (I think) - time to now remove all the masking and the salt...!

Salt weathering... Done!

My tank is now a mottled silver with various areas masked off.

Salt added - next step, spraying it grey...

Sunday, 30 December 2012

24 hours to go... Grey Knights final push!

So, it is the penultimate day of the month - crunch time for my tale of x gamers challenge.

What have I done?
-Painted 5 Grey Knights to 90% completion
-Painted and converted my Ordo Xenos Inquisitor 95% complete
-Built, prepped and done the initial silver coat on my Razorback

What more do I have left to do?
-Freehand loin cloth on Justicar
-Freehand details on shoulder heraldry
-Paint skullz(TM) on all 6 miniatures
-Hairspray and salt coat the Razorback
-Airbrush the grey on the Razorback and paint the rest of the details

And just 24 hours to do it... *gulp*

Friday, 21 December 2012

A quick Grey Knight update

These are the boys as they stand now. Ignore the blu-tac'd heads... I still have a bit of work to do on the inside of the neck area - needs some decent shading to make the helmets stand out. Stormbolters will be a dark red and I think the cowl of the Justicar needs some colour too.
This guy is the closest to completion. The first shot is the most accurate photo of the grey armour, but the blade is over exposed. The second photo is more over exposed on the armour, but the swords look pretty accurate. From a tabletop standard perspective, I am pretty chuffed with the way these have turned out
I think I need to knock back the yellow glow from the helmet looking at these photos. Its a bit more 'taxi light' orange in the flesh, but it might be a touch too much...

I still have a razorback and my Inquisitor to do before the end of the month... roll on Christmas break!

However, I do now have 5 bases almost ready for their occupants. I think I may need to add some skulls or maybe some spikes to add that GW/Chaotic flavour, but I am pretty happy with the way these have turned out. I also want to add some bolter shells etch strewn over the base.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Tale of Gamers - Grey Knights week 2

Second week down - more of the details on the Marines have been painted, and I have started work on the bases. There are two examples in the photos below - they are made from Super Sculpey, small (1:48) bricks by PK-Pro and a little bit of cork. They are not too tall and should be quick to paint effectively.

I do have a question though... the stormbolters - keep them black or paint them a dark red? The marine's eyes are going to be a dark green, weapon blades will me a silvery blue (NMM style but with a bright silver metallic paint as the base colour + blue ink to shade). I have also added a yellow light at the top of the helmets (not so sure about that, but I will get a proper photo up at some point and ask your opinion)

All the kit and caboodle that I was using on Sunday night to create the bases. (and of course, the boys themselves)

In other news, I played my first game of 40K in 8 years on Friday, at Warhammer World of all places. I was playing 1000pts of MrDee's Imperial Guard army with my ancient Crimson Fists and got my arse handed to me on a plate! Marine corpses lay everywhere... My Chaplain (and 10 Assault Marines) died in a huge ball of plasma, and my squads were all heavily depleted. However, in our scenario kill points were moot - it was all about capturing objectives and by the end of it, the score was 5:6 to me! Huzzah!

I completely fluked a win... but I enjoyed it. I definitely want to play a game with my Grey Knights when they are complete!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Tale of gamers - a little progress

I have progressed a little with my grey knights but don't have any 'proper' photos - just quick shots from my mobile phone, so I am going to keep them quite small. I wanted to do some gritty demon slaying marines rather than the shiny paragons of light that you normally see Grey Knights painted so decided to try a technique which I have seen armour modellers use before - the salt weathering technique.

First up, after undercoating the minis grey, I airbrushed a bright silver over all five of the models.

The next step, for which I don't have any photos, consisted of a thin layer of varnish (to protect the underlying metalwork) and once that was dry, I sprayed each part with hairspray and sprinkled over some salt. I then airbrushed the whole lot black. This will increase the definition of the weathering at the end of the process.

Once that has dried, its time to start painting the colours properly. So out came the greys and I airbrushed a gradient starting from dark grey and working up to a light grey at the top of the miniature. Here is a WIP shot of that process

Once the gradient was complete and the paint totally dry, I attacked the model with a toothbrush and some warm water. This knocks off and dissolves the salt added earlier and creates bare bits of metal (from stage 1) in a random pattern on the model. The following photos show the Justicar with most of the model glued together and few metallic bits painted, but it shows the battered armour quite well...

Each one of those dinks in the armour needs to be shaded and highlighted, and I need to add oil stains and other muck and grime. Hopefully this should contrast well with the tabard and shoulderpad heraldry which I have yet to paint... I am not 100% satisfied so far, but will try and finish these over the next couple of weeks and make up my mind if I want to use the technique on the rest of the army.

I do need to get some proper photos too!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Putty and Paint - I now have my own account

At the end of November I posted about a new website called Putty and Paint. It is still early days for them and registration is currently controlled and invitation only, but after my post I got an invite to join them (woohoo).

I really recommend that anyone interested in miniature painting and wants to look at some damn good examples head over there right now and peruse their galleries.

I've put up a couple of recent projects which I feel best represent my current painting standard - Dead End, Wolf and my Domaru Butai. I will also put the Avelonian bust up there, but I think I need some new photos of it again... still struggling a little with my camera.

I fully intend to put anything I paint to a decent level up on the site

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tale of Four Gamers... the beginning

Do you remember back in the day, White Dwarf ran a series of articles which basically amounted to painting a certain amount of models a month to slowly build up an army? It was called the "Tale of Four Gamers", and is a really great challenge for people like Toosh and I who are painters rather than gamers as we tend to spend a great deal of time painting individual figures, but jealously look at what wargamers can produce...

With that in mind, a group of us are going to do something similar. We have each picked our armies and started on the first batch of minis. There are few rules - must be at least 250pts a month (although MrDee as a seasoned army painting veteran is likely to do at least twice that... the bastard), and there are two wild cards that can be played for those tricky times over the next 6(ish) months -

  1. the 250 points can be postponed for 1 month, meaning that you need to do at least 500pts in the following month and 
  2. a free month - no models required.

250 pts isnt a lot, but the intent is to encourage T and I to paint more quickly and freely and we are being helped along the way by mrDee and Puppykicker who both play 40K and paint armies already. We may even get a couple of games in as we progress...!

The army choices are as follows:

Me: Grey Knights
Toosh: Dark Eldar
mrDee: Blood Angels
Puppykicker: Ravenwing

My first 250pts
1 x Ordo Xenos Inquisitor (=][= Avicenna lives again!)
5 x Grey Knights in Power Armour
1 x Razorback

Time for some photos.... firstly my Inquisitor - based on an old metal Commissar Yarrick model with the arms from the Inquisitorial walking throne thing:

This is a pic of 28mm Avicenna next to my 54mm Inquisitor Avicenna which was the first mini I posted to Cool Mini or Not and the reason I ended up with that as a username! Now I am resurrecting the character for this 40K army... at 25 points (35 including his power sword) how could I resist (yes, the bionic eye has switched sides, but I don't care :oP)?

And my Grey Knights on sticks....

Onwards and upwards!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Tabletop Standard Marine...

Yup, you read correctly, 'tabletop standard'...

The bunch of guys Toosh and I paint with are all recovering wargamerholics and I have been spending a lot of time recently coveting their beautifully painted armies. The one thing I struggle to do these days is paint multiple miniatures to a decent standard, but I would definitely like to, but I get a bit bored of batch painting, and find a whole army a daunting prospect.

But there is a light at the end of the tunnel - when we were up at the Golem studio there were a number of small personal project around the room which turned out to be a 'Tale of X Gamers' type thing. I remember this sort of thing from White Dwarf a few years ago - those involved would start a new army and set monthly targets of a number of points to complete. This number of points always seemed a reasonable amount to tackle and I think the Golem guys had settled on 250pts of a 40K army of their choice.

I think we are going to take on a similar challenge, and in advance of that, I wanted to try my hand at a very quick Space Marine. I intend to do a small Grey Knight force so have painted this marine in grey with steel and brass details. He is a normal space marine, but just a test so it doesn't matter too much...

I got my Airbrush out for the first time to lay down the initial colour - a grey gradient - but painted the rest by hand.

here are a couple of photos:

As a test piece, there are a few things I'd do differently for my actual army. I would leave the head and backpack off, and possibly the gun (although with Grey Knights there are only a handful of models holding guns across their bodies), and I will also be making some more interesting bases for them. They'll never win an award, but its a start and hopefully should help me learn to paint faster and understand where I can cut corners most efficiently.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

New kid on the block - Putty and Paint

Cool Mini or Not has been a staple for mini painters for ten years now, and for me was the first step outside of Wargames and into miniature painting as a recreational hobby of its very own. They are well known for their 'hot or not' scoring system where people get to score what they see on the site from 1-10 and people build up a portfolio of their works and end up ranked against the other artists.

There are many great things that have come from CMON, my better half for one! So I have some really good friends and fond memories of that place. BUT there are some huge flaws to their voting mechanism which have a significant effect on the scoring. Whilst the score isn't the be all and end all, it can be a great motivational tool but it often ends up demotivating due to sniping of scores by anonymous voters and other people artificially inflating their score to get into the 'top ten'.

But now there is a new site on the scene, only a fledgling right now, but I have big hopes for it and am really interested in trying it out an investing some time in getting involved there. It is all about the eye candy - no forum, no shop and NI anonymous voting! All very interesting!

The name if this new site with great potential?

Putty & Paint -

Get over there and take a look

Imbrian Arts Kickstarter

Kickstarters seem to be all the rage at the moment and, for miniatures at least, there seems to be a couple of different ways they are used.

One is by larger companies as a convenient, hip and 'modern' way of taking pre-orders. This is a bit of a twisting of the idea behind crowd funding, as there is basically a product which is ready to go into production but the Kickstarter allows the company to produce a larger initial run or improve the quality of the product. I have supported a couple of these already - the board games Zombicide (Guillotine Games) and Sedition Wars - Battle for Alabaster (Studio McVey). I have Zombicide already and for me it was a great experience, apart from some very minor delays, I felt it went very smoothly. It looks like the Studio McVey offering will go off in a very similar way, and we should see that in the new year (VERY excited about that one!)

The other type of Kickstarter that I've had experience of is for smaller manufacturers/sculptors who need funding to bring their creations to market. I jumped on the Red Box Games Kickstarter when Tre Manor launched that earlier this year, and also Infamy Miniatures' Indiegogo campaign when they launched their first 3 miniatures. And it is one of these that I want to talk about today.

There is an Australian guy known on t'interwebs as Sprue who's sculpting I have been watching over on OzPainters for quite some time - Tracy bought some of his metal goblins a while back, and his sculpting has really gone from strength to strength. Today he has launched a Kickstarter to release 4 of his sculpts and put some funding towards his new skirmish game (which looks VERY interesting as you cast [resin] finger bones as part of the game mechanic).

His sculpting is superb - really full of character, just take a look at his Blacksands Orc, with a face only his mother could love...
I really like the style of everything he is producing - quirky enough to be interesting without trying too hard to be different. There are 3 other models initially on the kickstarter - a King of Ghouls, a Howling Ghoul and an Arabianesque human fighter - and there are also a couple of interesting stretch goals already announced... how about these:

I highly recommend getting over to the Kickstarter and pledging some of your hard earned cash. From what I've already seen of his sculpting and the plastic he will be using to cast his models, I really don't think you'll be disappointed.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Working on a chaos marine

Just a quick post for a monday morning... this is the Chaos Space Marine I've been working on. I've done some more of the NMM gold and painted the gem in his chest in an 'Eye of Sauron' stylee. These are very quick photos with my phone, so the quality is not the greatest (it is definitely smoother IRL), but I think the NMM is really beginning to pop. I think with the NMM style that Tommie taught us last weekend, the real battle is learning where best to position the light blooms and not being afraid to change them if it doesn't work.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Continuing on from the Golem NMM lesson

So, I promised I'd show what I had achieved at Tommie's NMM lesson at Golem Studios, well here it is. After the full day of learning and several re-starts on the thigh piece, this is what I ended up with on Saturday evening.

Since Saturday I have continued my exploration of the theories and put them into practice on different areas such as the foot, his chest and his abdomen. These photos are a little overly stark when compared to real life, but I think it is really coming together. I am certainly enjoying using the technique!! Let me know what you think...

I also want to point you back int he direction of the thread on Platoon Britannica where photos of all of the models have been put up by Tommie Soule and more discussion is taking place (with extra advice from Mr Soule). Take a look!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Hasslefree Sculpting Comp... Complete!

I didn't post my finished sculpt for the contest?? doh!

This post has been sat here unpublished and unloved for quite some time, but I did get my entry finished, although it is quite plain compared to some of the entries...

It was definitely weird using greenstuff again after quite a long time, I forgot quite how much like chewing gum it is to work with! It wasn't all bad though - the stickiness was certainly a useful property and something I have used since this model when sculpting extra fur onto a wolf.

Completed pics of the other entries start on about page 10 of the thread on the Forum of Doom.

EDIT: Completed pics of ALL the entries are now up on the Hasslefree Miniatures Facebook

Anyhow, here is my entry: Chianti 'Hanibelle' Lector

Monday, 19 November 2012

NMM Workshop at Golem Painting Studio

Now that was a superb event!

Toosh, MrDee and I all took Friday off work and made the long and arduous journey all 200+ miles up to Manchester. We arrived at about 14:30 and decided to try and find the studio the day before the event to make it a much easier morning on the following day....

Having met a number of the guys at the studio a few times before, we cheekily descended on the Golem Painting Studio a day early. Fortunately we were well received and Tommie gave us a guided tour of the building. The Golem Studio is situated in a lovely old red brick cotton mill which has bags of character and the most wonderful atmosphere, just what you need for a days creative work. There are a number of floors of the old  mill dedicated to artistic endeavours - sculptors, painters (canvas), t-shirt printers, clothes designers - an eclectic mix which really added to the vibe.

Once we had stopped pestering the Golem guys we decided to head to our hotel which was in the middle of the city. We wandered along a lovely renovated stretch of canal and through the centre of the city (picking up a tasty burger from the farmers market). I was very impressed by the City to be honest... you always hear horror stories about Manchester, and I didn't really know what to expect but I really liked it! It was big enough to be a proper 'city' but still small enough that all the best bits are in walking distance. I'd probably spend another day there next time to experience the city a bit more.

We met up with Phill AKA Puppykicker (another of our Devon 'crew') and his wife Jules for the evening and went to a highly recommended (thanks Tommie) Korean restaurant called 'Koreana'. It ROCKED. The food was great, the company second to none, and to top it all off, they had a large TV screen in the restaurant and Gangnam Style was the last video we saw before we left... a true Korean experience!

I suppose I should really talk about the actual event... it started at 9:30 on the following day with a round of coffees and a cookie (after a full English at the hotel), and a brief introduction by Tommie. Very quickly we were building a Sanguinary Guard from a selection of parts on the tables, and applying paint in the first of Tommie's techniques and it was onwards and upwards from there. The "Rule of Jewel" was the morning's task... Painting NMM using principals very similar to that of painting a gem. Sounds straight forward, but how that is then applied to cylinders and spheres can get very complicated. Certainly too complicated for this post... Lunch was some home made lasagne and a baked spud which was veeeery tasty (thanks Mike!) and we were back on to the painting with the "Rule of Real" (using the room's lighting to determine placement of highlights/shadows) and the "Rule of Cool" which is how handle the technique to ensure it looks good when the other two rules reach their limits.

Three simple rules, but it will take me a little while to really get to grips with it! I have brought my sanguinary guard home and will have a go and make sure I share with you guys. There is also a thread over on Platoon Britannica where hopefully, people will post shots of their WIPs and how they progress... you can find it here.

I hope you have enjoyed my ramblings, and I'll post some pics of my attempt soon... (I have now posted my WIP - check it out)

In the meantime, here is a view of what MrDee has done with his Sanguinary Guard:

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Bugle Call 2012 swiftly approaches

Its that time of year again, and the big BMSS show in bath is just round the corner.

Bugle Call is definitely one of my favourite shows of the year with a really good mix of impressive club stands, a very solid painting competition (which uses the 'open' style of judging where you present a small display of your work which gets judged as a group) and some great traders. We attend every year and thoroughly enjoy it every time - if you can get to Bath on Sunday 25th November, this show is HIGHY recommended.

Toosh and I will be exhibiting there and doing some painting demonstrations at our table. We will also have MrDee with us - Golden Demon Winner and thoroughly nice chap. Pop over and say hello!

Bugle Call
Sunday 25th November 2012, 10:00 - 16:00
The Pavilion
North Parade Road

There is more information here

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Gollum... *cough* I mean Golem this Saturday

Golem Painting Studio have another event on this coming weekend (17th November), and in contrast to  the last one, I will be there as a student rather than a tutor. Tommie Soule will be looking specifically at how to paint NMM in his distinctive and vibrant way. This is something I experienced for a couple of hours with Mr Soule back in April, but I am really looking forward to spending a whole day absorbing as much info as possible.

This event is taking place at Golem's own studio based in the centre of Manchester so is a fair way from deep, dark Devon, but from my experience, well worth the effort. We will be painting Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard, and should hopefully come home with something along the lines of this:
I'll report on more when we get back!


Monday, 12 November 2012

Indiegogo go, Go, GO! 'Figure Art' by Roman & Raffa


Alright you crazy cats, the Jungle Brothers are at it again - Raffa and Roman over at Massive Voodoo have launched an Indiegogo campaign to bring their masterpieces to light in printed form. Its something that I am pretty excited about and hope to see more of in the future. Whilst I am all for the information, tutorials and photos these boys supply for free via their website, there is still something special, almost magical, about the printed word... maybe I am showing my age, but I do love flipping through a good art book!

What they say:
"We want to bring you a high quality hardcover book with around 80-100 pages. The book pages will have a Din A4 size (8.3 in × 11.7 in).

Here is a little Preview of what we are currently working on.

The book will be filled with high-resolution photos of our projects and the bigger projects (like e.g. award winning projects) will have some further commentary on them like our ideas for it or how the project developed."

With only 11 days to go, I am coming to the party late, but as Chaucer once said, "better late than never"*! However, what I can report on, coming at it this late, is that not only are the Massive Voodoo apes bringing an art book to print, thanks to the stretch goals over at Indiegogo all $35 backers will also receive a second A4 book (exclusive to the campaign) showing step by steps for some of the duo's most well known projects.

This should really be something special - head over to the campaign page and fill your boots.

Good luck my Ape-Friends!

*well, technically he said "For bet than never is late.", but thats how Yeomen must have spoken in C14!

Monday, 5 November 2012

What have I been working on?

I've not been sat idle... I have done a lot more on Ulric the defiler - in fact, he is rapidly heading towards completion. One thing I am really beginning to wonder though is whether the base is too big for him... its 50mm square and obviously its rather tall. Part of me likes the way the base completely frames the model, but another side of me is screaming "tooooo biiiiiig!". What do you guys think?

I have also been playing with one of those new chaos space marines - Alpha Legion, so the armour is meant to be a pearlescent blue-green. I have gone off piste with the trim, painting NMM gold rather than steel, but if its good enough for the guys at WD then its good enough for me! They are Chosen after all...

I have a few other bits on the painting table at the moment, a conversion/sculpting challenge for myself (hopefully for next year's GDUK), but I have yet to take decent photos of those... I did, however, get some decent photos of the charity miniature I painted for the Frothers Charity event, and some more pics of the Avelonian Recruit which I initially took to Crystal Brush earlier this year, but made some modifications to and re-entered at Euro Militaire at the end of September.


The exciting bit about this is that I managed to exceed my previous Euro Militaire medal haul (3 commended entries) by pulling a bronze and two commendeds this year! The commended entries were the Gladiatorc bust in the converted/scratchbuilt category and the Frothers barbarian (above). The Bronze was with my pride and joy - the re-touched Avelonian bust! Huzzah!