Tuesday, 16 May 2017

You might be gurning and lumpen, but I still love you!

It transpired my cunning plan to use five, near-identical Oldhammer Scouts wasn't so sensible after all. A recent game of Shadow War: Armageddon mainly consisted of me trying to remember which Scout was which, and who was armed with what. This is neither fun, nor fair on your opponent. I needed something more WYSIWYG. And hence the two guys below.






These are from the plastic sprue released with Advanced Space Crusade. Admittedly they hail from the era of gurning, lumpen plastic miniatures, but I love them all the same. While they don't have the dynamism of their metal counterparts, they do have a kind of solid charm. Plus you really can't miss that MASSIVE gun and bright yellow chainsword, which helps with my 10th Company's identity crisis.

The eagle eyed nerds among you will notice that the Sergeant's pauldrons are rather mis-matched. After Rogue Trader there were several revisions to the Codex scheme of Space Marine iconography and livery. When these Scouts were released this IP was entering its current incarnation but still bedding in, as you can see in this scan below:


What I love about this cra-zy era is the liberal incorporation of  heraldry. I took the the Dave Gallagher White Dwarf cover and 'Eavy Metal miniature below as reference points.




I'm not sure what I'll be painting next for my Blood Angels. Perhaps a Primaris? ;-)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Wode Warrior completed

Having posted a WIP a few weeks go I managed to finish this guy. To be honest, I'm not overly pleased with him, but I did learn a few good lessons so it was worth it.


Early on I got rather intimidated by the amount of detail on him. I spent ages highlighting the top of his shield and decided I couldn't go on that way without risking a melt down, cannibalism or some other malady. So I mixed up a subtle first hightlight dry brushed it on. This worked really well and I added two more highlights, this time using more precise strokes. I carefully dotted-on pin pricks of almost white too, which I'm getting better at and I find really lifts miniatures. Any resulting sloppyness was mitigated by adding the 'scratches', which are really quick to do. The result is a much for equitable balance of effort-to-result.

I managed to mess this up with his wode tattoos. These look really awful and only serve to break up the shape of his body. Never mind. However, the hallucinogenic blood worked quite well and the red vibrates against the olive drab of his shield exactly as it does in the Bisley artwork.

Visual research for Solonchak

I've been thinking more about Solonchak, the dried sea basin this guy inhabits in the Realm of Fire. It's a crazy mix of white-hot salt dunes shot through with luminous oxides. The depressions have become bone-fields where the cartilaginous remains of leviathans slowly crystalise. These Silurian carcasses eventually shatter and are ground to powder under their own weight. There is no sun in the sky that beats down all hours, but a borealis of fire that merely waxes and wanes according to the whim of the gods. In this toxic wasteland a living can be eeked out, but only by denizens that strike first. What remains of society is groups of apex predators, united not by race or species but by their ability to survive.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Synskin Shinobi

If men in flak vests or giants in gaudy Power Armour rock up, you can be certain you've annoyed the Emperor. But whem men in black, skin-tight rubber suits arrive, you know the Man Upstairs is properly miffed.

I wanted to intimidate my opponents more and the recent Made to Order Assassin was an ideal choice. As with all Jes Goodwin's sculpts, he was a joy to paint. Plus he reminds me of Joe Musashi, the hero from the Shiobi series of video games.

I've seen some lovely alternative colours for Assassins, but I chose to stick to the traditional black as an homage to Rogue Trader IP. I used the same technique as I employed on my Death Company - paint black over metal, zenith spray grey, then dump a wash of black ink mixed with black paint over the top. The wash settles in the recesses and knocks the grey back, just leaving it on the raised surfaces, to which you add a few highlights. Boom. There is a vent on top of his backpack which you can just see in the boxout. I highlighted this up with blues and that worked well to separate the element from the rest of the zentai suit (sorry - "synskin").


I also got both the Inquisitor and Demonhunter in Terminator armour to swell the ranks of my retro-clone Imperial agents. They are nowhere near the front of my painting queue, but shuffling around at the back, trying not to stand out while noting down people's names and nodding in a totally un-threatening manner.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

When you're in dire need of vengeance

I promised to post the five new Dire Avengers I completed for my Eldar army. To be honest they're not terribly exciting. The most remarkable thing about them is that they sit really well alongside the previous lot I did about five years ago. So that's a win for writing down your colour recipes.


I gave this squad different colour tabard clothes so I can separate the two lots if I need to. Here is an awkward family photo.


The gloss trims to the bases come out really nicely under lights. The new ones are a bit neater than my first attempts. The trick is to add grit/texture to the base tops and, once the glue has set, sand the trims with fine emery paper to ensure they're really smooth. Then paint and gloss.

Next up I'll be bringing you some psychic fun with my Warlocks.

Monday, 1 May 2017

You can't hide the truth from... MINDHORN!

Mindhorn is a high-grade-capoeira detective with the power to SEE the truth with his bionic eye. He's also, sadly, not real, but the on-screen persona of Richard Thorncroft. What's also sad is that Thorncroft hasn't had much work since his 80s hit series and has just lost his agent. If only he could somehow redeem his career in a wildly implausible and hilarious manner? Well, step this way, sir...

Back in the real world, Mindhorn is the new offering from ex-Boosh duo Julian Barratt and Simon Farnaby. It's a hilarious romp in the vein of Hot Fuzz and Alpha Papa, gently poking fun at classic British detective dramas, crap TV merchandise and the Isle of Man. It sees Barratt waddle his way from one farce to another in a punchy, well constructed comedy.

On Saturday Barratt and Farnaby came to sunny* Nottingham to accompany a showing and give a Q&A afterwards. They are as amusing in the flesh as on-screen and the audience was consistently reduced to giggles. One of the aspects they touched on was all the retro-clone merchandise that was created to dress the film's sets. In the fictional world, the TV show Mindhorn spawned endless bits of clutter like dolls, stickers, videos and shatter-proof rulers, all of which had to be created by the art department. Some of these items are shown on the great site belonging to the Art Department intern Emma Rosling in her excellent portfolio. These bits of ephemera are spot-on and really help to build the world of Mindhorn.

Chief amongst this glut of merch is the Mindhorn doll. Barratt was asked if he kept one of them. He doesn't. Nor, sadly, are there any plans to mass-produce the item for sale. Barratt is afraid that the film will bomb, the dolls won't sell, and he'll be found hanging in a room surrounded by tiny facsimiles of his fictional self. Yikes!





*Nottingham is rarely sunny. It is, at best, overcast.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Woad Kill

An admirably muscled Slaughterpriest stumbled into my clutches recently and inspiration hit. I had been looking at some old Bisley art and was reminded of his amazing colour palette. While there are some aspects of his work I'm not so keen on, Bisley's portrait of Slaine is just awesome. I also love his cover for The Bitmap Brothers' Gods, which again uses the same blues and oranges that vibrate against each other. At the same time I've been reading a bit about the Dying Earth genre with its post-apocalyptic-meets-fantasy vibe. All this went into the mental soup.

I figured this guy might be a wanderer in Aqshy, the Realm of Fire. His native land is a vast, dried sea that the flames of Aqshy have evaporated, leaving the denizens to walk the cracked crust of what was the sea floor. If you look closely you can just make out a few shells I've worked into his base. I unashamedly stole the technique for using them from the amazing Don Hans. The shells were kindly donated by the awesome Julian Bayliss, whose work you can see of Ex Profundis (IMHO one of the best hobby blogs around at the moment).

I chopped the Slaughterpriest up a bit and gave him some Seraphon bits. I love the primitive-but-ornate feeling that these items conjure. They give the exact post-apocalyptic, desert raider vibe I wanted. He's at the wash stage at the moment and will get brighter with subsequentl stages. I think he needs a bit more variety in his colours though. I'm might try some gold on his weapon, plus he'll get azure-blue woad daubings too. I might end up calling him the Max the Woad Warrior.

Sorry, I'll stop with the puns now.



Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Basement booty: Realm of Battle

I'm hoping I'm not alone in having a basement which mostly functions mostly as A Place Where Things Go to Die. During a recent expedition into the depths I discovered an old Realm of Battle tile. I'd been given some time ago and had always intended to paint the thing as a skirmish board. With the unusually fine weather upon us, I rolled up my sleeves, brushed off the spiders (from the board, not me) and got stuck in.

I decided I wanted it to be generic affair which could be put to all sorts of uses and opted for traditional greens. However, I really wanted the exposed rocks to have naturalistic variation of colour. I started by blocking in the colours and working wet-in-wet with the acrylics to achieve the kind of colour transitions I wanted. This was actually really good fun. Because the weather was warm you have to be quick with acrylics as they go tacky in a very short space of time.

Below are some shots when the painting is nearing completion. I worked inks into the recesses in the rocks to add some depth and tone.

Below are shots of the flocking in progress. Top tip: don't flock when it's breezy. It doesn't end well. I was trying to build up a variety of types of grass and so layering the different types of flock onto the landscape.

Below is a shot of the finished tile. The glue is actually drying at this point on some of the grass areas so they appear slightly lighter. I wasn't too pleased with the deep green which forms the bulk of the grass. I feel the colour of the flock is too 'mono'. It'd be cooler if there was more variety there. Ah well, I'll know for next time.


I'd love to take some shots of minis in action on this table, and maybe use it for a bit of photography for painted Oldhammer minis. In the meantime, I need to sweep up a load of escaped flock...