Saturday, 10 March 2018

Link roundup

The move of my secret headquarters is now done. I've gone from definitely-not-haunted Victorian pile to Blade Runner 2049-esque flat. The psychogeography of the new place is very different, and one I want to explore on this blog at a later date.

Having endured the obligatory no-internet-for-two weeks, I'm enjoying the digital world once more and here are some cool things I've been reading:
And this:

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Just shut up and do it

I recently realised that I had got into a bad cycle of procrastination when it came to painting miniatures. And I blame it all on you.

The blogosphere is great for our hobby but it does rather raise the bar on quality. No doubt you lovely people like to come here to look at all my shiny toys and I thank you all for your kind praise. I can also tell you that working in an environment saturated with amazing paint jobs reinforces the feeling that only the best is good enough. I had a moment of realisation when I caught myself thinking that I couldn't possibly find time to paint a faction for Shadespire. Now, at its best that's only three miniatures (I'm looking at you here, Mr Steelheart). Which is pretty lame on my part. So I decided to just shut up and do it.

The solution was simple; to regard the time invested as a more important part of the equation. The faster I can paint the more I would see that as a 'win' on a par with quality.

So let me introduce Garrek's Reavers:

I've previously mentioned Mark Bedford's painting tips. I plundered these mercilessly when it came to Garrek and Chums. Start over a black undercoat, then zenith red spray followed by airbrushing the skin blue then white. 

Garrek and Chums after the spray and airbrush stages.

Block in the details, a few highlights and washes on selected areas and then lots of BLOOD!
Most notably, beyond the spraying and airbrushing I didn't do any further highlights to the flesh or cloth. Creating a little stand so your minis can sit over a radiator is a good tip too just to shorten drying times. Everyone has their own rust technique and mine is: wash Skrag Brown thinned with lots of Lahmian Medium over a black basecoat, then drybrush with Ironbreaker and then sponge-on Stormhost Silver. Pretty quick but really effective.

Most importantly I found I really enjoyed painting Garrek and Chums. The sense of achievement at seeing these guys go from plastic to done in one weekend was really rewarding. I feel like I can 'crack on' with quite a few projects that have been sitting around.

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 special, so he got two of the gold Blood Angel decals 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,