Monday, 1 January 2018

More boring Blood Angels (and decals)

I've been meaning to post these guys for a while and was holding off until I did another photo session. With a house move looming, I've just packed away my photography kit. With it stowed, I resorted to a quick and dirty shot of these chaps, otherwise it'll be ages before they get any air-time.

They are the second half of my Heresy-era squad, and are, consequently, not the most exciting guys. The notable exception is the Sergeant, who has some rather natty custom decal work going on on his Power Fist. I need to get a better shot of that at some point. While the others sport my custom Heresy-era decals in black, Mr Big Hat required something more special, so he got two of the gold Blood Angel decal sheets from the new Dark Millennium boxed set transfer sheet. It was only later I learned the new(ish) Forge World decal sheet has gold Heresy decals. Damn.

Fun fact; the Dark Millennium boxed set transfer sheet was one of the last things I worked on while in the GW studio. I often ended up with a bit of space here and there, particularly on the right of the sheet. I worked with the 'Eavy Metal guys to come up with cool extras that could give customers options and add flavour to the Primaris minis. The Space Wolf runes are an example of these and were great fun to do.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Hobby desk

I am shamefully late in mentioning that the excellent Heresy & Heroes invited me to contribute to his post on hobbyists' desks. You can read the post here and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's great to see where and how fellow GW fans do their work.

My contribution is now, however, a pack of lies. By this I mean that I have moved my hobby station to its winter location. And this is what it looks like now:

With the move I took the opportunity to thin things out a bit and stash away those items I use less regularly. To that end I keep my paints in the three draws at the top of the bureau, but those colours I'm currently using I keep in a tray that I can slide away into one of the letter spaces. Being able to close the bureau is great too, as it keeps the dust off everything.

I'm currently doing some colour tests on Moonclan Grots for Age of Sigmar. I hope to show these to you all soon. In the meantime, get back to your hobby desks and put some paint on those miniatures!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

How do you paint your Blood Angels?

A few people have been asking how I paint my Blood Angels, including Willies who sent me a really nice email on the subject. Of course I didn't tell him. Instead I said I'd post my technique so you can all have my secrets.

The first thing to note is that you should always write down your paint recipes. It's an easy thing to skip, but it's so common to forget exactly which shades you've used in what order. Maintaining consistency over years is really only possible if you've got this information to hand. Here is my recipe for 'classic' Blood Angels (ie. your common-or-garden red ones):

Spray black, paying particular attention to getting the black onto the undersides of the mini
Zenith spray (ie spray from overhead, downwards) Mephiston Red (I use a rattle can for this).
Using an airbrush zenith spray with Evil Sunz mixed with Troll Slayer Orange.
Spray entire mini with gloss varnish. The benefits of this are outlined below.
This is what you'll end up with - some lovely shiny Marines with lots of colour gradation. And a dead Terminator.
Also, never accept Blood Angels if the seal is broken.

Apply decals at this stage as the gloss finish helps them to adhere.
Using a fine brush carefully run Nuln Oil into the recesses. The gloss finish helps confine the wash to the cracks. It will help the capillary action draw the wash along the panel lines and into the depressions.

After these steps you should have something like this. Still shiny, but with much more definition.

Using traditional brush blending, highlight with Evil Sunz mixed with Troll Slayer Orange up to pure Troll Slayer Orange. Skip this step if you want a quick result - I skipped it for my Heresy lads you see in this article. Adding these highlights will brighten the mini, which I really like for my Oldhammer Blood Angels.
I tend to block in any black areas at this stage. No reason really, just to know where I'm heading.

Wash all red areas with Yellow Glaze. GW Glazes and Washes are formulated with a 'medium' (the carrier fluid) which has a natural matting function that will get rid of the shine. If you want you can airbrush the glaze to save time and this can give a flatter result. The glaze not only mattes, but makes your red really pop.

As noted above, I airbrushed on the yellow glaze which matted the minis down.
From here on in there is no particular order to doing things so tackle these as you see fit...
For yellow areas:
Basecoat Averland Sunset
Wash with Casandora Yellow
Highlight with Averland and then add white
Glaze with Yellow Glaze

For skin: 
Basecoat Tallern Flesh, wash with Reikland Flesshade.
Highlight with Tallarn Flesh plus white

For hair:
Basecoat Averland Sunset
Shade with Skrag Brown
Highlight with Averland, then add white

For black areas:
Paint black, simply highlight by adding white

For grey areas:
Paint Mechanicus Standard Grey
Wash with Nuln Oil
Highlight with Mechanicus Standard Grey plus white

For brown ares (eg pouches):
Basecoat Dryad Bark
Wash with Nuln Oil
Highlight with Dryad plus white

For metal areas:
Paint black then heavy drybrush with Boltgun Metal
Wash with Nuln Oil Gloss. I love these gloss washes as they give a really 'oily' result which suits metals perfectly.

Base with Retributor Gold, wash with Gloss Reikland Fleshshade then selectively wash any deep areas with Gloss Nuln Oil

Basecoat Dryad Bark. Paint most of the area white but take care to leave the Dryad in the recesses, then wash with Riekland and then Nuln in the recesses. Highlight up with white. This gives a very high-contrast white.

Paint whole area with Caliban Green
Mix in increasing amounts of Moot Green up to pure Moot Green
Add a tiny dot of white in one dark corner

Basecoat with Caledor Sky. Highlight up with Calgar Blue

Buff (eg Scout trousers):
Spray white, wash with mix of Riekland, Yellow Glaze and Lahmian. Highlight by adding white.

Chip if you want using a the sponge technique. I chip first with black, then with silver.

For bases:
Before adding sand, paint the top of the base Dryad Bark
Glue the sand with PVA then, when dry, paint with Mournfang Brown mixed with black
Drybrush first with Skrag Brown then with Screaming Skull
At this point I tend to sand my base rims with fine emery paper so they're super-smooth. Then paint the rim with a couple of coats of Mournfang Brown.

 Here's a shot of the guys about 80% done without much in the way of highlighting

Here is a close-up of a fully finished guy. I rarely apply more than two or three highlights by brush for line troops.

So there you have it. Easy, right? Credit should go to the amazing Mark Bedford (of Forge World) who has been a great source of tips on painting. He often gives seminars at Forge World open days and Warhammer Fests and you should catch these if you can. He has lots of wonderful time-saving techniques, which is how I learnt about zenith spraying and using gloss to improve decal adhesion and wash definition. He also talks about the psychology of painting armies, which is fascinating.
I hope this has been helpful and please let me know in the comments if you want me to bore you with my Death Company painting technique.
PS - sorry if I've referred to some older paints in this article. Some have lasted me so well I've not had cause to replace these shades with their new versions. I don't really subscribe to the idea that older paints are better - I generally prefer the new ones.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Beastly bounty hunter

Like most people, I hadn't seen a Beastman in 40K for years. And Tzaangors don't really count.

So I was pretty stunned when I saw the new bounty hunter for Necromunda. I was lucky to receive a pre-production cast of this fellow a few months back. He's a lovely sculpt channeling Rogue Trader goodness, which is something Specialist Games and Forge World do so well. He went together like a dream and was equally pleasurable to paint.

I must confess I think my colour choice wasn't great. He's rather dull for my liking and the official paint job is much nicer. The one thing that saved my attempt was the decals, which really serve to lift the mini and add a bit of punch. Oh well, live and learn.

He'll join my growing group of 'odds and sods' outcasts, all with their retro-clone brown bases. Now all I need is, in the words of Dr. Octagon, a halfsharkhalfaligator halfman.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

I'm fine, thanks

Regular readers will have noticed a slow down in my posts of late. 2017 as been, to put it mildly, a challenging year and this has certainly affected my hobby and creative projects. That said, I'm determined to make sure 2018 has more cool stuff for you, dear readers.

To tide you over, here are some things which have been going on:

I've added to my Stormtonnians. I painted up the three Retributors from the core boxed set. I need to find time to shoot them properly but here's a photo from a recent encounter.

I used them to play an awesome game of Age of Sigmar Skirmish with all-round-nice-guy Operation Asgard. You can see his 'glamour shots' of both our forces here, and read his full report here.

I finished my squad of Heresy MKIV Blood Angels. Again, no final shots yet but here is a WIP.

I'm hanging out mostly on Instagram at present and trying to post at least once a day. Follow my adventures here.

I've been getting more into live music recently, especially metal. No, really. A lot of doom, sludge and then some black metal inspired Viking folk. Part of the fun has been learning all about the metal's endless lists of imaginatively-named subgenres. Anyway, here is one of my favourite tracks:

Part of my black metal trip was inspired by Becoming the Forest, an awesome zine produced by Una Hamilton Helle. In this era of boutique zines and magazines, I often find myself picking up one issue but never more. Becoming is so diverse in its offering that I don't find myself suffering from this fatigue and am very much looking forward to the next issue.

I travelled back to the 1990s to see two British bands who were big in the early part of that decade: Senser and Pop Will Eat Itself. Seeing 40-year-old blokes moshing is quite scary. Throughout their career PWEI collaborated with British design giants The Designer's Republic. TDR are possibly most famous for their work on the Wipeout series of games. Here's one of their covers for PWEI:

Due to Firefox add-ons not keeping pace with the browser's updates my tumblr stalled for a bit, but now I'm posting again. Check out the all the monochrome.

I know a lot of you are hobbyists and I can't remember if I mentioned that I started a lovely new job at Games Workshop. I now work in their in-house Licensing team helping GW's partners make all sorts of awesome licensed products, including video games. There have been lots of stunning releases on this front recently, with many more to come. So if you're a GW fan and love video games, check out our offerings for all your favourite properties like Total War Warhammer II, Vermintide, Dawn of War III and Warhammer Quest 2: The End Times.

Actually, now I re-read all that there has been quite a lot going on so perhaps I shouldn't feel too bad.

Have a jolly Yule and don't stray too far from the fire,


Saturday, 21 October 2017

Open to Question - Clive Barker

"It's mine, for better or worse." says the softly spoken Barker in this interview from 1987. He is answering a question from an earnest interviewer about the vision of psycho-sexual horrors he conjured up in Hellraiser, released earlier that year.

The interview, below, is a fascinating watch for several reasons. It's a window into the mindset not only of Barker (a floppy-haired, charismatic man who looks a decade younger than he was when this was shot) but also the British public. An audience of very 80s Scottish youths grill the film maker on his 'obsession' with violence and his contribution to the media boogie man of the day - the 'video nasty'. This was a term invented by the press earlier that decade to describe extreme horror movies that were circulating as video tape became a household media. Hellraiser was lumped-in to this category with the likes of Cannibal Ferox and Barker eloquently describes why he feels this is unfair.

Today these questions seems trivial. We live in a world where google will show you anything you want, from real life piranha victims to (probably fake) creepy pasta stories about Russian sleep deprivation experiments. We are in an age of deregulation and and we accept the state having little control over such content.

Another thing of interest is Barker's critique of building figures of horror into anti-heroes. He cites Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street and argues that make Freddie a joker rooted for by the viewing public is damaging. Little did he know that his creation Pinhead would, arguably, become a similar icon. Thanks to Barker's masterful work, Pinhead grew into a spiky poster-boy for the early 90s alt/metal/horror scene. The (pretty abysmal) Hellraiser III even lurched into horror-comedy territory. Hell, I've even got a replica puzzle box in my spare room. I should get a replica Freddie glove to put next to it, just to annoy Barker.

So take a pew and watch this window into the late 80s. In the words of Pinhead, "We have such sights to show you."

Friday, 6 October 2017

Pointy-eared death match

Having cut their teeth fighting toothy bio constructs, my oldskool Harlequins were eager to find new opponents. Hence they jumped at the chance to fight some oldskool Craftworld Eldar owned by the (in)famous Phil Kelly. After a quick trip to Bugman's, Phil and I lined up what must be a couple of kilos of 25 year-old lead and prepared for carnage!

Phil's boney Ulthwé Eldar in all their glory

Before anyone in dance pyjamas hit the ground, I unloaded my special Harlequin dice. Surely these sparkly blighters would do me proud? 'Course they will, old son...

Deployment was a tasty affair as we were fighting on a 4x4 table. Our respective space pixies eyed one another across mere inches of board. Team Weeping Dawn barely kept their pre-show nerves in check as they huddled behind various defences, whispering like excited schoolgirls.

As the intro music swelled all my performers leaped forward. Some awesome moves were busted, but none more so than by Solitaire Mickie Bluecaps who gave precisely no figs and piled across the board into some Banshees. The girls were momentarily stunned by the sight of the luminous twonk bounding towards them, a veritable stripey nightmare. There was much rending of limbs leaving seven dead but Mickie injured too.


Ultra violence erupted in the centre. Several jumpsuits were soiled in fear as a pack of Striking Scorpions emerged behind the main force, and Swooping Hawks descended from the heavens. "Oh rats" thought the Skyweavers as chainswords entered their exhaust ports. At length, the Troupe Master and Shadowseer figured they needed to get their act together, and took down the Scorpions in a bloody-body-popping heartbeat.

Scorpion Surprise!

Entirely unforeseen Swooping Hawks

Phil's Wraithguard proved that being dead made them largely immune to Harlequin antics, and these crunchy puppets waltzed through and entire Troupe. The Troupe Master figured enough was enough, and charged the assailants. The move was short lived as their D-weaponry sent him on his merry way to meet Slaanesh. "Ah, balls" thought the Shadowseer. And he legged it to try and secure an objective.

Surveying all of this was my Death Jester. He was reduced to sniggers at the sight of the Wrathguard scaling his sniper's nest in ungainly, awkward fashion. Seeing lumbering undead constructs climb is pretty funny, until you realise their implacable nature means there's probably only one outcome. And it's not good for you. Which is what happened.

The last turn was a merry-go-round of slaughter. The remaining Banshees met their end at the hands of the Troupe holding an objective, which served them right. My last Skyweaver had his mind exploded as he attempted to ram raid the Farseer's dress. Which served him right.

This elf-on-elf battle was clearly a well-thought-out affair because it's not like the Eldar are a dying race or anything. All in all it was a close-run thing and I won by one Victory Point. Which was slightly baffling as I thought I had lost. I reiterate my belief that Power Values are the best thing ever, leading to very balanced games. And I think the Best In Show goes to Phil's Wraithguard, who took all the shade my Harles could throw at them. Daaaamn, girl!