Sunday, 17 September 2017

Stripping old miniatures

We should talk about cleaning old figures, and Biostrip 20. I finally bought some of this and stripped a few old units for selling on eBay. Holy heck it's good stuff.

Here are my Fiends of Slaanesh before their bathtime ...

Dipped the models individually in the tub then let the excess drip off back into the tub, left an hour and removed all the surface paint. I then repeated the process but put the coated figures in a bowl overnight.

Next morning, armed with a toothbrush and bowl of hot water, I dropped them all in the water then scrubbed the paint away and they're nearly like new. There's no terrible smell like nail polish remover, which was my previous go-to, and did a better job too.

Here's how it looks when they're dry ...

It's £10 for a tub, but I've used maybe 10% of that cleaning down the first batch of old figures. Well worth the investment. The wife hasn't complained about an evil lingering odour, which is an additional bonus. In the dip at the moment are Blue Horrors, a Cauldron of Blood and then there'll be more models going the same way then up for sale.

If you want to have a look on eBay at my OOP pieces going for sale then click the link here.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hobby Progress - September

The problem with painting models in a batch is that the updates don't feel especially interesting and end up less frequent than you'd like. It ends up a little worse when you're fortunate enough to be playing 40k again on a regular basis.

Two of my regular opponents were able to make it across last week, so two evenings set aside for hobby were pulled into gaming against filthy Tau and even filthier Death Guard. The first game was a resounding win for my Wolves, and the second was a crushing defeat at the hands of a Defiler. They're significantly nastier in 8th than they were in 5th!

On the painting side, all my marines are now based and have decals applied before the final weathering stage to the armour. Everything requiring a 32mm base is properly based (40mm pending) and they even have arms glued on - which wasn't the case in the action shots above.

My standard bearer looks a lot happier with an icon in the middle of the banner. Glad I opted for the gradient effect in the background behind the wolf head, as pure yellow on yellow would have looked strange. Still want to repaint the words underneath as the spacing is incorrect and annoying me.

Took the plunge and made a couple of small conversions to my Primaris marines too. So my Lieutenant and Captian now have more appropriate power swords. Clipping these off was a nerve wracking experience, as I rarely convert - and didn't want to ruin the models. Happily it worked out fine, so once painted it should be seamless. Phew.

Finished squads should start appearing in the near future. But as I rarely post WIP content this was a nice change of pace and a reminder things do happen in the background!

Saturday, 19 August 2017


To borrow from the wonderful Granny Weatherwax, I ain't dead - but where on earth did the past few weeks ago?

Things have been happening, I promise. But time has not been kind - with family and work taking priority and the hobby time falling by the wayside. All positive, after I passed probation at my new work and took on more responsibility to keep me out of mischief.

Some painting has happened and my Primaris Inceptors have started to come together slowly.

They've performed reasonably well on the field of battle too. Their ranged fire has been wiping out Death Guard and Tau alike, but then they've failed miserably in close combat.

Alongside this, a friend who doubles as a very good photographer came to visit and gave me some quick pointers on getting all of a figure in focus - so here's my Ancient standard bearer again with a little more clarity.

I'm going to redo the "FENRIS" wording on the banner, finally add a wolf head decal to it as well, add more depth on the beard and add something to the right shoulder as it feels quite flat - but this feels like a more accurate representation of the miniature I see in front of me, than the one in previous pictures.

Couple of months ago I backed the beautiful looking Astropolis II Kickstarter to feed my sci-fi civilian habit, and all the models arrive this week. It's an overwhelming quantity and they're all glorious. I haven't a clue where to start and don't care.

54 miniatures and 4 crates if you're counting. It's projects like this which excite me and terrify me in equal measure!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolves Primaris Ancient

My first finished Primaris Marine for the Space Wolves, and it's the Ancient standard bearer.

I've tried to give the banner a feel of embroidery on the raised surfaces and hopefully that comes across in the photos. It's probably the single most complex thing I've painted this year, due to all the fine detail and how it interacts with the other pieces.

Details to note. This is one of three figures where I'm working out the colour scheme and what to paint, and how. Senior figures, from squad sergeants and up, will have yellow kneepads to distinguish them from normal squad members, which should make removing the correct figures from the board a little easier.

This took a lot longer than expected, but it feels right. Happy that the basing scheme looks good (phew) and while there are obviously some parts that I can go back and improve on for the next Marine, this is a good starting point.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Warhammer 40: Space Wolves Primaris progress #2

My Space Wolves are advancing, slowly. I hit a low point last weekend when after spending so much time painting grey, when I realised they were pretty much back to sprue grey - which feels like you haven't achieved anything despite the time spent.

However! After edge highlighting, chipping and shading I'm at this stage with a couple of the test troops.

Pardon the wobbly photo, but hopefully it gives an idea of how much weathering I'm attempting to apply. This also helped to give me afirmation that this is the effect and style I want in these troops - they've reached the battlefield and thrown themselves in at the deep end.

Adding the redish brown as the shade helps to lift the greys, as it was quite desaturated with the cool greys, and this gives some much needed definition. Next up is adding highlights under a few of the larger and medium sized chips, then painting the shoulderpads and knees with chapter colours.

Picking out suitable heads to bring that Space Wolf feel to the figures is key, and rummaging through my bits box has yielded a lot more heads than I thought ...

27 heads there and there were another ~10 heads available, but they didn't sit correctly inside the armour and I've discarded those for this project. The next challenge is working out which head fits best with each figure to give the right feel. Hooded models like the Captain and Inceptors need shorter hair, whereas the Intercessors can afford the crazier Viking/anime haircuts.

There's a painting competition at my local GW next weekend, and one of these figures needs to be finished. Upside: it's next weekend. Downside: I only have until Wednesday night as I'm away next weekend. This will be entertaining for a serial procrastinator like myself.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Terrain, and weathering with chipping medium

Well this was a more productive weekend than expected ... here's all the scenery finished up!

A reminder that this is all from the wonderful Crooked Dice, just to give them the recognition they deserve for such excellent pieces. If it has an orange earth then it's from their Junk Piles range, and if it doesn't then it's from the Drum & Crate Barricades selection.

Initial attempts at using the chipping medium didn't yield the results I wanted. My first attempts were only successful in spreading paint around instead of removing it. Bit of (metaphorical) hair pulling and reading, and this excellent tutorial by Tibbs, which covers it succinctly. In short, I was doing it wrong. Not just dabbing the area with water but soaking it then taking away the excess. After that, it's sharper objects like toothpicks that yield the best results and taking away

Here's a few close-up shots to see detail a little better - but I'm happy with the final result of pieces and the natural weathering effect the chipping method provided.

Terrain everywhere. So much of it.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Warhammer 40k: Space Wolves Primaris progress

... or how to spend seven hours feeling like you've achieved nothing. NOTHING.

After priming my marines, I wanted to weather them differently to how my other marines have been done. The old method was sponge dabbing the chips on, but this time I wanted to try a different method - chipping medium.

First step is to apply two different browns on the models - starting with all over Dark Fleshtone, then covering a random 50% of each model with Parasite Brown.

Out of shot, I've applied the same process to arms, legs and other missing pieces. But you don't need to see those in the test shot.

After this, a full coverage of Vallejo's Chipping Medium - which works surprisingly well straight through the airbrush from the pot. Then it's Dark Grey Blue to cover everything so no brown is visible.

So after two full sessions I'm now back to sprue grey! Brilliant. Well done me, what a great use of time.

It's a little demoralising at this point to realise nothing appears to have changed, but I'm hopeful the next few stages will help change that impression. This approach takes a little longer in the preparation but I'm hopeful the extra effort is worthwhile, and will look great on the support vehicles later too. Bear with me, future posts should be more interesting - but this feels like an important stage of the process.

Before the chipping begins, I've also started painting some terrain pieces to act as my test area for this technique. It's designed to be debris and ruins, so if everything goes horribly wrong at this point ... it doesn't matter so much! This makes me feel better than trying it straight on the marines and failing hard.

Shout out to the excellent Crooked Dice for their junk piles and containers shown above, they're great scenery pieces and the range they had on display at Salute 2017 was excellent. Perfect test material for new techniques. Ignore the ork shaman in the corner. He's for another post at some point :)

I played with a few test colours to get an idea of how I want the highlight stages to go - and below is the very, very rough sketch of colour transitions.

This moves from pure Dark Grey Blue up to pure Wolf Grey, with a few inbetween steps. Just to stress, the above is only a sketch to let me see each colour over the top of the last. My hope is the final version will be a lot smoother!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Warhammer 40k: Space Wolves Primaris emerge

I'm jumping back into 40k with 8th edition. Hello to you Mr Bandwagon.

My gaming pretty much stopperd when 6th edition landed due to a family emerging and everything else taking priority. In the interim I've gotten big grown-up jobs and felt it was justifiable to treat myself and went all in ... so that meant a collector's edition, all five indexes and the Dark Imperium starter set.

Would I recommend the collector's edition for the price tag? Hmm, not sure - it's very expensive for what you get, and in an ideal world it would have been around the £150 mark ... but that's what tax rebates are for! However, quality is excellent and I'm a happy chap.

Building of the Marines has now commenced. I'm trying to built them as sub assemblies with the least effort possible - which is pretty straight forward so far. Mostly involving not gluing on the gun arm for the majority of figures. Assault marines glues at weird angles temporarily, because I want to do something with them that doesn't involve the transparent plastic rods.

What do I want to do with them, you ask? I haven't a flippin' clue at the moment, but can't abide their default pose which looks like they're in a local amateur theatre production with wire-flying. Next up is the painful process of mould line removal ...

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Wolves, wolves, wolves - final groupshots

Well here we are - all the wolves from Zombicide: Black Plague, Conan, Blood Rage and 40k finished up! Phew. Here are the full group shots of everything.

That's a total of 40 wolves, and I feel vindicated in my decision to paint them in two large batches using the same techniques but different colours. It adds enough variety to not feel monotonous, and that's just what I wanted - so this has been a great success. They've also served a purpose as a useful palette cleanser between other, more complex pieces too. Would definitely take this approach again, as there's enormous satisfaction to see more figures leave the pile of grey and join the painted ranks.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Warhammer 40k: Fenrisian Wolves pt.2

And here we are with the definitely, positively, absolutely last wolves to be painted - the final four Fenrisian Wolves. Well ... until I realise more are needed, obviously ...

Similar approach to the grey test model. Started with a black undercoat and have airbrushed up to lighter colours, then washed and drybryshed. They're not much more than tabletop quality, and that's fine with me.

You may be able to see a glint of metal from underneath the base. I've added a washer to each figure. Purpose is two-fold: to add weight and to use for transportation on a magnetic sheet in the future.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Wolves, wolves, wolves pt.2

The second large tabletop-quality batch of wolves - covering Zombicide: Black Plague and Conan.

Again, there's nothing complex here, just block painted to get them in our games soon as possible. I make no apologies for the liberal use of blood - thanks to various mixes of Tamiya X-27 Clear Red and purple ink.

More figures that can move from the "to do" to the "completed" list and adding that little more character to our Tuesday night gaming sessions. Marvellous.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Homebrew Objective Markers

Dusting off the 40k boxes and found old objective markers I made from scratch and thought I'd share. Not fancy, but effective on the table.

The former is empty paintpots, and the latter is MDF offcuts from an old project, and some sort of plug that was lying around.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

2017 Goals - Half Year Review

Approaching the half year mark already, so it feels fair to look back at my Painting Backlog Goals and my progress against that to-date.

Infamy [3] - No progress.

Colony 87 [9] - Completed all 9.

Hasslefree Miniatures [12] - Completed 4.

Heresy Miniatures [3] - Completed 1.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolves [28] - Wolves in progress. First 62 bases completed.

Warhammer 40,000 Death Guard [16] - One test model done, but will pause this as I plan to swap to Word Bearers instead later in the year.

Guild Ball Morticians [3] - Completed 1.

Guild Ball Fishermen [5] - No progress.

Willy Miniatures [1] - No progress.

So a lot still to do from the original list - but with the above progress and other pieces, that's 41 models done so far. I feel the Colony 87 were the real highlight in the first six months.

Interesting to see on my painting desk how easily distracted I am. In between inventing work for myself with the mass wolf painting, there's a lot of undercoated pieces which aren't listed above - that have somehow, magically made it to my desk. For someone who considers themselves reasonably focused for work, it's interesting how I've let that slide when it comes to hobby ... so greater discpline is required.

Onward to greater heights for the second half of the year!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Something a little different

I want to share a piece of work by another painter, and explain of why.

Neil Hollis (aka neilpaints) is a very accomplished painter and serial trophy winner as you can see from his Golden Demon collection. In addition to this he's also co-host on the 30k  Horus Heresy podcast, The Imperial Truth. In recent episodes Neil mentioned he would be putting up a model up on eBay to raise money for Evelina London Children's Hospital, a cause close to his heart.

As a sucker for good causes, excellent painting and having a reference piece for a colour scheme on my own traitor marines, I threw a bid in and was fortunate enough to win the figure. Here's how it looks.

As you'd expect, photos don't really do it justice. Neil was kind enough to drop it off in person and stop in for a chat, which was a real surprise and treat - always a pleasure to talk hobby with like-minded people in person. It's little things like this which get the mojo going!

So please consider making a donation to Evelina London Children's Hospital. You can also visit Neil's recently launched blog over here to follow his painting adventures.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Warhammer 40k: Fenrisian Wolves pt.1

Another day, another wolf - and this is the first from my test batch of new bases for my Space Wolves in 8th edition.

Seeing the greys against the base is a big moment. I'm delighted that the colour choices have worked out here! Especially as I'm now 62 bases into the project and hadn't done a test run. With hindsight, trying a single base and a model first would probably have been the smarter idea ... right?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Blood Rage: Fenrir

As part of the soon-to-conclude wolf project, I completed Fenrir from Blood Rage. Easily the largest wolf of the set, this is a lovely sculpt and packed with menace.

After over-committing to a proper basing scheme with the original Zombicide: Black Plague bases, an error on my part, these will all be plain black. Which is just as well, because there's about another 100 to finish up. Not to mention the other tabletop games in the queue ...

Played around with a lot of greys just to let the blue glow pop out. Hopefully that comes across in the photos.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Warhammer 40k: Sector Imperialis bases

Prepping for the new, and rather excellent looking Primaris Space Marines, I've started building out a new basing scheme and finished the first set of 58x 32mm bases! Phew.

If you're interested in repeating the scheme:

  • Basecoated with Gunmetal Metal, Brassy Brass, Beasty Brown and Martian Earth on the four main areas
  • Metals shaded with Army Painter Dark Wash
  • Brassy Brass then corroded with Nihilakh Oxide
  • Drybrushing Orange Fire over Martian Earth, and Plague Brown over Beasty Brown
  • Higlights picked out with Chainmail Silver over Gunmetal Metal and Bright Bronze over Brassy Brass
If you were wondering where the missing two bases from the set of 60 have gone, they were prototypes for refining the scheme and you can find them on my Inquisitor and Daemonhunter.

Just another 20x 40mm, 40x 25mm and a few 50mm and 60mm bases and ... well, anyway ... there's few to do before it's all done. Why so many? I'm keen to get them finished up while the scheme's familiar to me - and frankly it's too warm to do detailed work on individual figures.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Warhammer 40k: Ordo Malleus Daemonhunter

With 8th edition here, there's a fresh sense of urgency about clearing the desk of the in-progress models, so here's my 90-minute paintjob for June - a Daemonhunterof the Ordo Malleus.

It's only now I realise how much I dislike the pose on the model. The Inquisitor figure from a while back is far superior, and benefits from not having the ridiculous leaning forward. At some point I should learn how to convert models, or at least how to cut the back out of knees.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Guild Ball Morticians: Scalpel

Life delays have taken a toll but hopefully it's back to normal now. All is well, just no time to sit down and photograph anything. And indeed, no desk until the other week.

Couple of quick paintjobs done in the last month to keep the momentum going - so it's still moving forward, albeit slowly. Here's Scalpel from my Guild Ball Morticians coming in around 90 minutes.

She felt very utilitarian, so everything is shades of brown and leather. "Brown and leather" may be the name of my first glam metal album.