Sunday, 30 April 2017

Wolves, wolves, wolves

Crossing a couple of games here, but it would feel a little repetitive making multiple posts on the same topic.

I'm painting wolves. Lots of wolves. Many wolves.

Doing inventory over Christmas on what needed painting and realised I had wolves from several different games - Zombicide: Black Plague, Conan, Warhammer 40,000 and Blood Rage. It occurred to me that if I painted them in two groups - grey and brown, it could give nice variation on the game boards. This is the first batch of the greys for Zombicide and Conan.

It's not a complex formula. Undercoated black, airbrushed grey, then a lighter grey, then heavy washes, then pick out a few details and add eyes. Done! Been a while since I just bashed out tabletop quality units, and after the brain melting complexity of the Hasslefree figures, it was a welcome change of pace - throwing the painting into automatic and just getting something wrapped up.

Hasslefree: Hostrom Hammersmite

More free time, and more Hasslefree! This time it's Hostrom Hammersmite.

I wanted to develop a theme through my little set of figures where each of them is quite muted but has a a different colour on fabrics. So the previous one, Ullr, was blue and this is red ... so something different next. My hope is that when they're all in the same group it will look quite nice - but let's see how that goes.

Only a few on the Hasslefree pile to go now. Which is just as well, as my brain can't handle this detail for too long - something simpler required next!

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Hasslefree: Ullr the Red

Still working through the Salute 2016 backlog and finishing up my Nordic-themed purchases from the super lovely Hasslefree.

Detail on these feels a little beyond me at times. The faces are so intricate and I'm just not there yet for picking out all the features, which is occasionally frustrating - but we got there. This is another without a basing theme as I'm not sure where I want these to go yet.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Warhammer 40k: Space Ork Raiders

This weekend saw the ever enjoyable Salute happen, and a friend of mine flew over from Holland to attend. As he was the brain behind the 90-Minute Miniature Challenge, it seemed a perfect opportunity for us to go head-to-head for our April challenge to see how we do!

Guesses as to who painted which one are welcome. The figure is one of the original RTB02 Space Ork Raiders. I picked up a box of them last year and thought this was a nice step up from recent efforts. Big, chunky features and packed with character.

We were both surprised that around 70 minutes we had all the main detail in place - so it was a case of going back and picking up highlights to push up some contrast. Far more controlled than my recent mad dashes to meet the time limit.

They're not based, as my Ork army is in limbo while I decide what to do with them in 8th edition, and his is going back to Holland for some nefarious purpose.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Broken Toad: The Wicken King

Another model from my Salute 2016 pile that demanded attention. Broken Toad's lovely Wicken King bust.

This is the first bust I've ever painted, so there's been a struggle trying to understand how to play with shadows on something of this size. When it's a 28mm figure, my brain goes "yep, that's fine, more shadow!" but on a larger piece there are natural shadows too - and that needs more thinking.

I wanted it to look like he's wearing some sort of horrific skin mask over his actual face. Lot of things I'm happy with, including the mix of textures and colours but still room for improvement especially in understanding the concept of volume.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Hasslefree: Colonel Hogan

Fresh from Admiral Almos, his firm right hand (oooh, matron) was painted as my March #90MMC figure, and another attempt to do the green/blue uniform but stronger highlights.

He gets a pet too, another of the Colony 87 models, and again I've tried to pair the animal with the person, so it's sitting to attention and literally at his right hand. Clumsy metaphors with miniatures is becoming a specialty it seems.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Hasslefree: Admiral Almos

I'm still playing catch-up, but this was my 90-minute miniature challenge (#90MMC) for February - the wonderfully detailed, and super small, Admiral Almos from Hasslefree's Grymm command squad. He's finally based, so here are the photos!

The base and creature were already painted, but have been sat waiting patiently for him to be finished for a while now. I wanted to capture the "where the hell's my pet tiger?" look in the eyes and positioning. Hopefully that comes across in the pictures.

On review I spent too long on the face, trying to get the expression right. This really is a tiny figure and I was determined to bring out the character. It didn't leave me long to finish the rest, but the military uniform was blue and then green highlights with red shading to try and emulate a shiny, pearlescent uniform texture - I had Babylon 5 in mind at the time and wish I'd made the cuffs and trim a red instead of a leather brown. Successful? Not quite, but one for the future to play with when not working inside 90 minutes.

Funny how the ambitious ideas pop up when you're already up against the clock!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Warhammer 40k: Inquisitor with combi-weapon

That was a long five weeks of work, colds, terrible family news, colds, house painting and more colds. Normal service is resumed! Now where was I?

Oh yes, painting that Inquisitor. Having changed jobs at the start of the year, I now find myself within 10 minutes' walking of a GW so have made a habit of trying to get down at least one lunchbreak per week and have a little paint. This is the result of February and early March. The lighting in the shop isn't great - it's designed for product promotion in a dark shop - not painting, and I've only been able to chip away in 30 minute sessions, but I'm happy.

This fellow has a few notable points. It's a sculpt I owned when it originally came out, probably early 90s I guess? He came with a kick-ass Ordo Malleus character. too, so when when both of them were available again through the made-to-order scheme on Games Workshop's site, it was like the mothership calling me home and I was powerless to resist.

The red was fun and the highlights are just yellow glazes to the point of re-visiting the GW Red Period, which I can afford to do as none of my armies would ever use red like this. The base is one of the Sector Imperialis bases, and I'm playing with colours and options - so it's a little unfinished, because they'll be used for all my Space Wolves, and I want to find a scheme that suits all my Imperial forces.

He was rushed in for the local GW painting competition but was beaten into third place by a really well painted Ultramarine, and a reasonably painted Belisarius Cawl - but how superb is that sculpt?

It is, I think, the first figure painted entirely somewhere not my home. Literally stepping outside my comfort zone on this one. Interesting experience. While I'm unlikely to do a full figure end-to-end as the poor lighting bugs me on fine detail and colour choices, I will continue to chip away at larger projects in this way during lunchbreaks.

So that's it! Back into the swing now hopefully. More to follow in the coming weeks now I'm back on track.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Procrastination and Q&A

For the first time this year, I don't have an update ready to go on a Monday, as real life painting of ceilings* has dominated my life in the last week.

Happily, there's still something to share as the excellent St Anderw's wargaming blog has a short Q&A with me as part of their Better Know A Blogger series, and you can read my contribution over here.

Read the older submissions as you'll find a few blogs from his previous Q&As that will definitely be to your taste. Worth mentioning his own blog is also pretty good for hobby progress and fantastic for 40k new unit breakdowns. It's a regular read for me since discovering it.

In addition, here's a WIP of an oldschool favourite that I picked up in the recent GW made-to-order offering - the wonderful Inquisitor in Terminator Armour.

I've been painting this during the occasional lunchbreak in my local GW for their next miniature challenge. Close-ups from my phone always make it look a little harsher than it is in person, but it'll come good before the end - promise!

* I was using something a little larger than a size 2 on this occasion.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Miniature Factory: Uncle Meat

Sculpted by the wonderfully talented Jacques-Alexandre Gillois, this has been sat in my WIP pile for quite some time. In fact since April last year when picking it up at Salute. It's so ridiculously detailed that I wasn't sure it would be done justice by my skills at the time - but now felt like the right time.

I wanted an unhealthy feel to him, but quite practical with it. His only real concession to colour is the chainsaw and a little use of green and blue on the visor and boots. Obviously the visor should be transparent, so I just tried to echo the sky.

Very pleased this one's finally done, and if you want to see how it's done properly then visit the Miniature Factory website to see their studio versions - which are so beautifully done it's a little depressing.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Heresy Miniatures: Colossus Elemental

Now my Colony 87 project is done and dusted, it's time to hit the next projects in the WIP pile from Salute 2016, starting with this beauty - Heresy's Colossus Elemental.

I looked at the official paint job on the Heresy website for this guy, and felt it was a little too monotone and wanted to do something different to play with the elemental side of the figure more than the stone/rock aspect. This was an exercise in OSL and playing with colours I wouldn't normally use on a figure together.

He's painted up to feel like he's grown from a crystalline formation on the ground, and powered by something in the chest. All the blues, greys and purples were airbrushed to try and achieve a smoother gradient then highlights added by brush.

The scenery is a bit of a cheat as it's an old piece I found in my bitz box and wanted to use up and happily it illustrates the scale of the model towering above. Few tufts of different grasses on there, and we're done!

Very happy it's a resin figure, because this would be far too heavy as a metal model to handle comfortably. This was a timely reminder that Andy at Heresy cranks out such a wide variety of great figures. More power to him.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Colony 87: Conclusion

So that's it - the whole set of figures painted during January. Phew.

Personal highlights would be the Recordist, Junker and Botanist - but generally I'm happy with how everything turned out. Here's all 12 characters from the two projects to highlight the wonderful variety in the sculpts.

That's 12 characters and 3 pets over the past 18 months, and they're so rich in character it was a real pleasure spending time on them. As a side project for this year, I'd love to work out a diorama to feature all of them - but so many other things to finish before that thinking starts!

If you like the look of these figures, I'd recommend following the project creator on Kickstarter as there was talk of a third wave later this year. He's delivered both projects on time, with zero delays and no drama - and I can't speak highly enough of how well the projects were managed.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Colony 87: Mechanic Asa Stent

The final piece in the jigsaw, the mechanic Asa Stent - she's a no-nonsense lady with a wrench.

Very happy with how the face turned out here. Green eyes, and better shading in evidence. Playing around again with blues on black, and pushing up contrasts on her jacket and hat. With hindsight, she would probably benefit from a little glazing, but that's one for the future.

But we're finished! I'll post up some group shots during the week.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Colony 87: The Animals

As I close in on completing the Colony 87 figures, here's a little quickly painted bonus - the animals! Say hello to Chameleiod, Vermilepus and Karakulak. They were given as a freebie for people who backed the first Colony 87 Kickstarter, but I think you could also buy them separately. Initially they didn't fire my enthusiasm, but once basecoated they really came to life.

Karakulak has been painted in similar markings to Bubastis from Watchmen. Vermilepus reminded me of an oboe-playing character from one of the bands that appear in Star Wars. Chameleiod was painted to look like it's shifting from rich blues and purples to match the more muted, orange tones of the landscape everything else is based on.

While they are finished, they aren't based yet, because I want to use them as pets on larger bases to accompany other figures. So watch out, as they'll make an appearance in-situ when other figures join my civilians project.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Colony 87: Junker Korl Feldspar

This is the badass of the group. Not much else to say about him at the top, so here are the pictures!

I did make a small error and over-egged the highlighting on the front, but it still turned out fine(ish) with a bit of hasty glazing. Wanted the face to feel like blotchy skin where he may encounter unexpected splashes while hunting through the wastes, but kept the back of the head normal or it would have looked a little too Gorbachev.

This was a nice experiment in trying to use layering and glazing a little better on fabrics, and it feels like I'm heading in the right direction with more patience in the colour transition.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

2017 Goals - Painting Backlog

When I started writing everything down I realised it was becoming quite a lengthy post, so have split it into three sections. Summary, Hobby and Backlog. Here are the broader goals around the painting backlog

This year I wanted to be a little more disciplined in my approach and wrap up projects, rather than let whimsy take me where it will and end up with too much start on the workbench. So here are my goals with which I'll judge myself by end of year.

Infamy [3]
With pretty much the whole range of figures sat in a cupboard, I'm waiting for my  Twistered pledge to arrive before dive into this lot as I want to have a consistent feel through everything - so crazy as it sounds most of these will wait until 2018. But I do have a couple of larger 54mm automatas and a Tesla bust to improve my larger scale painting with.

Colony 87 [9]
Finish all the figures from the second set released last year, completing the set and bringing the total to 15 models in all.

Hasslefree Miniatures [12]
Paint everything I picked up at Salute - Admiral Almos, Colonel Hogan, Hostrom Hammersmith, Ullr the Red, Bolverk the Bold, Howling Gorvhogguth, TradKarl, Weird West Boudi, Harby, Rogue Drax, Blanche and Mystic Warrior Jen.

Heresy Miniatures [3]
Finish everything I picked up at Salute. Started with an Ogre at the end of 2016, and have a few more left - the Colossus, Ghoul King and Brother Bude.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolves [28]
Dust off and rebase my existing models with the new Sector Imperialis basing kit. Paint up the whole Ironclaw Strike Force that may have been purchased over Christmas. Whoops.

Warhammer 40,000 Death Guard [16]
Complete two tactical squads and a random Demon Prince I found in the cupboard.

Guild Ball Morticians [3]
Complete the Season 1 & 2 roster with Scalpel, Vileswarm and Veteran Graves.

Guild Ball Fishermen [5]
Complete the Season 1 & 2 roster with alternate Shark, Corsair, Sakana, Jac and Tentacles.

Willy Miniatures [1]
Sportscasters. I finished the Ogre (let's call him Bob) last year and have the Vampire (who is definitely not Jim Johnson from Blood Bowl) and then that completes my homebrew Guild Ball NPC collection.

This sets my initial goals at 80 figures, which would be more than I've completed in a calendar year since returning to painting at the start of 2015. That's an average of over 1.5 figures a week, consistently through the year. Quite a challenge for me I hope. Now a number of these will be tabletop or thereabouts, but a few will be stepping stones in pushing my ability.

Achieving this would also mean I can play a nice selection of rosters for Guild Ball or Kill Team events in 40k. It also helps flesh out my sci-fi civilian options for a diorama that's brewing in the back of my mind.

There's a bonus entry here too. Complete everything in my Zombicide Black Plague monster set. That's a little more ambitious as I think there's about 100-150 figures in that pile. Note that doesn't even include the hero characters - because I have 66 of those sods, which is a year on its own at my speed! This one is definitely not very smart, but that's why it's down here as a bonus.

So that's me and the plan for the coming year. You'll already see I've managed to start into the Colony 87 figures but need to pick up the pace - as one figure a week isn't going to be enough to meet the targets. Especially when there's such variety in there, but let's see I we do!

2017 Goals - The Hobby

When I started writing everything down I realised it was becoming quite a lengthy post, so have split it into three sections. Summary, Hobby and Backlog. Here are the broader goals around the hobby itself.

I want to lift the standards of my individual figure painting to the next level. I'm talking better use of colour theory, smoother layering and glazing and even improving simple accuracy on the basics.

There's a Games Workshop five minutes' walk from where I work, and I want to get into the habit of competing at small local events. From looking in the store window they've got some competent painters attending, and even though it's a friendly affair - I'd quite like to win a monthly painting competition there!

Thanks to the AmmoBunker's OMAM (One Miniature A Month) challenge, I've been able to paint something each month for the last two years. That's 24 consecutive months of progress! While the challenge itself slowed down considerably on the forum in the second half of 2016, it proved a value motivator for me - and I'll be tracking my own progress again with this as a benchmark. Feel free to join in.

My blog entries over the past year have mostly been finished figures and accompanying text. I'd like to try and add a few more posts on the in-progress pieces, or tips and tricks I've acquired. Reasonably sure that while most of this won't be new to you, but if I don't share ... we don't know if it is :)

A good friend of mine, Omero, had the idea of pushing his painting to see what could be achieved on a figure with only 90 minutes of painting which we've created the #90MMC hashtag for - 90-Minute Miniature Challenge. There's a twofold benefit here - it means you're always finishing a figure, whether the outcome is brilliant or not, there's a quantifiable way to improve your paintjobs through the year. Also, it helps dent the backlog. Imagine ticking off a standard squad figure each month with this method. 12 figures for a total of 18 hours in the year. Then you get to compare your December figure with the January one to see where you've progressed. Everyone can do that, right?

I've never been to Warhammer World. As someone who has been playing, on and off, with Games Workshop miniatures since 1988 this seems like a heinous oversight and one I plan to correct this year. Your suggestions and recommendations for what to do and when to go are very welcome.

2017 Goals - Summary

Hello 2017.

With the massive bastard of a year we called 2016 behind us, it's time to quit dragging my heels and be a little more active on the hobby front.

I didn't set any hobby targets for last year. This was mostly down to a big change in my working life (I went self employed) it wasn't clear how much time would be available with this shift in working - so setting goals because gauging my free time seemed counterproductive. Happily it was more than expected and I completed 58 models, large and small, and attended two fantastic courses to understand how to paint better.

With a good idea of my working plan for the first half of the year, this led me to think about better structure for 2017 and pushing out of the comfort zone - but keeping it achievable. You can read more on the following two posts:
Most of you will be familiar with the concept of SMART goals. For this purpose I've opted for the definitions to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-related. In layman's terms this means I'm picking figures, planning to finish them, think I can, ensuring they're related to a project and will be done this year. Easy!


Monday, 16 January 2017

Colony 87: Recordist Junger

Another Monday, and another Colony 87 figure - this time it's the data nerd. I love this guy, there's so many nifty little touches.

I tried to paint the cables in the back of his head to give the illusion of a data flow, so there's a little OSL tint on the metals and I've done a dashed colour pattern in different sizes to try and visualise it pulsing. Lots of other touches on the model that made me want to tarnish the metals as though the equipment he's using is older than he is.

Love, love, love this figure.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Colony 87: Botanist Hereward Osman

So this is the botanist of the party, or "Futuristic Terry Pratchett" as I like to think of him.

Very much dressed with simple colour choices as I wanted the flowers he's holding to be more the focus with their vibrancy sitting in front of the muted clothes. Tried to introduce a little glazing on the bracers to bring up a yellow tone.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Colony 87: Chamber Secretary Felix Saponya

Another quick one done - it's a sculpt I wasn't too keen on but need to finish up as part of the Colony 87 set. Wasn't timing myself on this, so can't say it met the 90 minute criteria but it was an evening's single session.

Glad this one's out the way, it's my least favourite of the six main figures in the set. A shame, as the robes, and cloth work are lovely. His staff is a strange one, and I've gone with wood grain for the main staff and then tarnished golds for the end. Again, the warm green makes an appearance to tie him to the main group.

Again, the fur irks me, but the hands also - so I've opted to make his fingers feel long and spindly. This chap felt somewhere between an evil vizier and a man of the cloth, so he got a lighter, more lavender variant of the blues that appear elsewhere in the set. I imagine him with an unpleasant nasal quality to his voice, stroking that wispy beard of his and offering Wormtongue-esque words in the ear of Lord Greiss.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Colony 87: High Priestess Cardinia of the Benevolent Motherhood

Happy New Year! Whatever your circumstance, here's hoping your 2017 is better than your 2016 was.

As part of my ongoing improvement as a painter, a friend suggested a 90-minute challenge. It's as simple as it sounds - paint a figure, not including priming or basing, in ... 90 minutes. That's it! The aim is to complete at least one of these 90-minute challenges each month and then, in December, review my progress to see how well I've done at improving speed for figures.

Looking at some of the figures top painters can produce in a couple of hours is inspiring stuff (check this from Andy Wardle), and this is a small step toward that as a long-term goal.

To start things off, here's High Priestess Cardinia of the Benevolent Motherhood, from the Return to Colony 87 Kickstarter. She's also now known as "Cardie" to her friends ... because I won't be typing that out every time I refer to her.

Colour scheme on Cardie was quite straight forward, and kept in line with the previous Colony 87 figures I've painted. Greys, blues with green as a spot colour and tied to the scheme of Lord & Lady Greiss from 2015. I opted for a red tinge to the bottom half of the face to offer a nod that something terrible could be under the neckline.

One thing I don't like about the figures in general is fur. This is no exception, and the cat creature wasn't fun to paint, but it does look suitably sinister with red eyes with an attempt at a glow around them. To be honest, I feel the figure would have been better without the pet but such is life.

Minor touch up to the black base and Cardie's finished. Overall I think this came in around 90-100 minutes but close enough. Without a cloak repaint at the halfway point, this would have been on time.