Saturday, 9 February 2019

Ruined Church diorama: WIP #3

And so it continues.

I had a crisis moment after the last update and added more shadows into the recesses, but lost the yellow altogether. I also remembered that shadows don't need to be nearly black, they just need high contrast between the colours. So back we went, with a lot of yellow and a lot of ... bright blue? But it's worked ...

The tiles around the light were too dark, and the blue helps to sell the image of a magical light beaming out. The colour contrast is very pleasing.

Alright, so the shape of the light is off a little when looking at it from overhead, but sssh! If you don't tell then I won't. It should give away where one of the protagonists in the scene will be standing too ...

Even up close this feels much better, and the specular highlights help to sell the effect. Crisis of confidence averted, and we're getting closer to completing this now!

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Kill Team: Skitarii Vanguard WIP #1

The other set from the Kill Team box. Long have they sat on my desk, biding their time.

This colour scheme has been through a few iterations in the last couple of weeks. Initially I had much brighter metals and pastel cloaks (below), to echo what I'd painted with my Genestealer Cult, to show there was little difference between loyal servants of the Imperium, and those on a different path ... but it was too similar.

As I just finished re-reading Dark Adeptus by Ben Counter, the scheme was modified with the remaining loyal inhabitants of Chaeronia in mind. After a thousand years, any loyalists left would have adopted a more practical approach - with well worn leathers, dulled metals and nothing overtly shiny to attract attention. Even in the world of the Adeptus Mechanicus, the environment they have to face on a daily basis is a harsh, unforgiving one.

Much happier with these, even if achieving something leather-esque took a lot longer. If you're interested in the recipe ...

  • Light Rust
  • Smokey Ink glaze
  • Light Rust stippled to create an irregular texture
  • Light Rust + Elf Skintone (4:1) stippled on highlights
  • Soft Tone to knock back the brightness of the Elf Skintone
  • Light Rust + Elf Skintone (2:1) stippled along edges
  • Flat Black glaze into shadows
  • Brown Leather glaze on midtones to soften any transition to black
  • Black Red stippling to break up surfaces
  • Elf Skintone scratches
  • Black Red glaze to soften the scratches


Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Ruined Church diorama: WIP #2

A little more paint added to this one now. Starting to plot out where the light whille come from and go to. Initially this doesn't make any sense when viewed in isolation.

Then you see where the figures will be positioned and how the story comes together. I love these hell dog sculpts from Heresy Miniatures. Painted one when they were first released, and very happy to be painting a couple more after so long.

Finally from the reverse position and some of the lighting and shadows in place to explain what I'm trying to achieve.

Now the lights are in place, I need to work out how best to darken the scene further. Thin glazes of deep brown and purple worked well in the taller corner already as my test, which bodes well for the future.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Hobby Bingo 2018

I joined in the Hobby Bingo challenge in 2018 but frankly it was a bust by the time we closed December. 2018 was a hard year to finish, after such a bright start.

However, some of the challenges were completed! Every title is clickable through to the original post ...

Play and Paint a Model For an Army or Game You haven't Played in Over a Year
Guild Ball Morticians had Veteran Graves and Vileswarm added. I do miss playing this game.

Paint All the Models in a Faction Starter Box
Primaris Marines from the Dark Imperium box. This isn't quite a faction starter box, but it's equivalent - so I'm claiming it!

Paint a Model and Use a Technique You Haven't Mastered
Shadespire Ironskull's Boyz, using NMM copper.

Buy a Model and Paint it Within 48 Hours
Attended Banshee's painting workshop in March, and by the end of the weekend I'd painted the bust that came as part of the course.

Paint a Model in a Color You Don't Normally Use
Word Bearers. I've traditionally stayed away from reds, as mine ended up too pink - but I changed it around and pushed into the shadows for depth, and it worked quite well. So well in fact my daughter practically has a whole army of them now.

Make Something That's Not For the Battlefield
Love my sci-fi vending machines and, while they're part of a larger piece, they meet this requirement admirably. In the grim darkness of the far future there is only a nice row of chocolate bar dispensers.

Finish Painting a Model That's Been in Your Do-Do Pile For a Year 
Norsemen from Hasslefree were a purchase from ... 2016! So nearer two years on the painting pile, but we got there.

However, that's a very poor seven from a potential 25. I plan for 2019 to be a better year on this front.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Ruined Church diorama: WIP #1

I don't usually make dioramas, as I'm seriously lacking in the imagination and creativity required. Thought it was time to make an attempt at one, to see if it was viable. In my head, I have a small scene with a priest holding the doorway of his ruined church against hellbeasts. Simple but a nice enough scene.

This is a combination of blue foam, part of a Rubble City set from Fenis Games (, and Super Sculpey patterned with a roller from Green Stuff World ( Highly recommend both companies, and Fenris are awesome.

I've never used foam or Super Sculpey before, so this is new territory. Happily, my first attempt didn't suck, so it went straight onto the board! Putting hobby projects in the oven for ten minutes on a medium heat is something of a novelty ...

The tiles in the blue foam are one inch square and created by running a toothpick in straight(ish) lines to make it look like large flagstones.

Priming everything makes such a difference in bringing the scene together. No longer are you looking at multiple textures and materials, but the picture starts to emerge.

Next step is starting to define the differences in colour between the inside of the church, the walls, and the courtyard outside. A lot more colour variety is required, but this is a good start and I'm feeling positive about the direction it's going.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Kill Team: Cult of the Rusted Claw

November was a rough month. I fell ill twice, and once was pretty unpleasant ... but I'm back in action again.

So playing catch-up, here's my Genestealer Cult kill team completed and in all their glory.

I'm happy with the contrast on the colours, which is usually somewhere I fall over, and how well they sit on my standard basing scheme. The skintone is unpleasant, and the neutral areas with beige and white sit well together.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Display Shelves

I've wanted a display cabinet for my miniatures for years. In fact, it can be measured in decades. They look brilliant, and showcase the effort you've put in to your collection.

At various points I didn't have the space, inclination to work it out, or the time to effect change.

Finally I had all three, and here's the result.

The cabinet itself is just an Ikea Billy bookcase, with Oxberg doors. I added glass shelves to maximimise the space that would benefit from the lights.

Lighting is Ikea Ledberg strips, and this is the only moderately complicated part. Ledberg comes in three connectable lighting strips and when the three strips are connected, they're a perfect fit for the internal width as the bookcase. But sadly you need add power in one end, and this makes it too long to fit.

The easiest solution would be to use only two lighting strips, but then that would leave dark spaces to the sides and reduce the usefulness of the display area. Looking at the strips, I realised it should (note: should) be possible to trim part of a strip, make a small solder to rejoin the positive and negative connections and then ... it'll work? Right?

It did! So I trimmed each third lighting strip about a third of the way down its length and added a dab of solder. Pleased with how that turned out.

I measured under the shelves, and set the light strips back about three inches from the front, then screwed in the clips to hold the lights. I used three clips, but in hindsight would probably have used four - with one near each end and two to support the joints between lighting strips. But I didn't, and here we are, but you can!

Holes were drilled through the back panel of the bookcase, behind where the shelf will be positioned. This has two benefits:
  • It gives the cables sufficient space to pull through correctly, and remain hidden.
  • When the shelf is seated, it pinches the cable a little and holds it in position tightly without damaging the cable.

Be very, very sure of the shelf positioning before you do this. I spent a good hour or two doing "what if?" testing with miniatures of varying heights and sizes before settling on the final heights. The lower shelf is slightly taller than the upper shelf, but if you reversed that, it would look wrong.

To fix the light switches in place, I applied the first part of a velcro strip to the side of the bookcase, applied the second part of velcro to the rear of each light switch.

Ensure you place all the large bulky display pieces on the shelf under glass, not on the glass. It means light gets through to everything underneath, and doesn't create awkward shadow areas. Position your best pieces directly under the lighting strip, and you're done!

I'm going to add dust proofing to this using 3mm insulation tape on the top and bottom of the doors. But that's a project for another day.

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Sector Imperialis: Summary

With the main pieces completed, I can breathe a little sigh of relief and reflect on the success of the project, because I'm super happy with the outcome. But here's how you can get similar results.

None of the little tips and tricks here to add detail on these terrain pieces are new.

A good number are stolen from the excellent He's awesome. Especially his Dino Gas station ( which is honestly inspiring and encouraged me not to be so lazy when making my terrain pieces - his pieces look so lived in.

I went on a basing course with the excellent Mamikon Khachikyan aka NokiStudio ( and gained some great insight into thinking about themes, colour choices, contrast and texture. I've tried to pull some of those learnings through.

Magazine clutter is TV listings from a local newspaper. Glued on the back and folded over, then flattened.  This gave me a slightly wrinkled texture because I used PVA, which worked really well.. Then cut up into tiny magazine-sized pieces, put in different coloured paints, taken out and left to dry.

Rich did 5x5mm, but I've made mine rectangular for the most part, but no specific shape, so there's a little more visual variety when placed at random angles. It's glued down, then weathered to dampen the colours.

These were from a, now, long-lost, PDF someone made available on AmmoBunker many moons ago. I printed out a number of these onto photo paper and kept them in a drawer. They've been weathered in the same way as everything else - so crumpled up, covered in translucent paint, then stuck down to things.

I never pay attention to ceilings, or the inside of terrain generally. But since Noki's course, I will be doing more detailing. First step here is giving the feel that it isn't an arid environment, by adding effects to convey moisture being present. The mould in the ceilings is a mix of ground down clump foliage and fine flock from Woodland Scenics.

Experimentation with a few different medium as the transport method to place and secure it yielded a winner ... cheap glue from Hobbycraft. It's sticky enough to hold the flock in place, but thin enough to push around where I want it to go. If the mould needs to creep a little further, then matt medium is surprisingly good in combination.

Video Screens
Every working screen is painted differently, and they're all a homage to the Amiga. Only one is on display in this set of scenery, but there are more coming! This is entirely the fault of Tetrisdroid ( who started painting up retro computer screens on his, and it just fired my brain! Ridiculous, frankly, and a detail that will go overlooked everywhere ... but I love it.

Hope you enjoyed the pieces, and I look forward to sharing more in the future.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Sector Imperialis: Sanctum

Here's the final piece of the terrain build, the Sanctum. It's dull, a curious shade of grey, and literally rotting from within. I felt that was an appropriate metaphor for the grimdark Imperium.

There's blood splatter, control panels, candles, posters, gang markings and old papers. I do love adding the detail on these.


Saturday, 15 September 2018

Sector Imperialis: Schola Progenium

This building represents a ruined training facility for the Adeptus Ministorum.

An execution against a proclamation, more gang graffiti, torn down posters and everlasting candles. Details, details, details.

I've had a lot of fun with some of the smaller details, like the blown out windows having dust gathered in the corners.