Monday, 14 November 2016

Review: How To Paint Citadel Miniatures: The Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero

Morning all!
So, this morning I picked up How To Paint Citadel Miniatures: The Horus Heresy: Burning of Prospero (which is a bit of a mouthful so will, for the rest of this post, be referred to as HBOP) which is the latest of GW's painting supplements and is tied in to the boxed game.
I've never bought one of these books before, as I kinda reckon it's probably not aimed at someone with my experience but, seeing as it's so cheap (£6) and I've just got my hands on a set of Custodians I thought I'd give it a look.

First impressions are excellent. One thing you always know you are going to get with GW is high production values and this doesn't disappoint. The 48-page book is printed on thick, high-quality gloss paper with a matt card cover. and is presented in the style of the Forge World Horus Heresy books. This is a quality product.
Inside you have a couple of pages of introduction and then a couple of pages each for a bit of background to the Space Wolves and Thousand Sons and the part they play in the Prospero conflict. Then it's in to the meat of the painting guides themselves.
The first guide is the longest and focuses 6 pages on a single Legionary, in detail, from start to finish. Although the Space Wolves are used as the example the techniques are explained clearly and in a way that makes them easily applicable to any Legion colour scheme.
Next the Custodian Guard, Sisters of Silence, Geigor Fell-Hand and Ahzek Ahriman are given four pages apiece to focus on particular elements on them.
Finally each of the 18 Legions are given a page each, with basic colour guides for each. there is then a single page given over to favourite paint combinations for the most commonly used areas, such as gold, etc.
I am blown away by this book. Far from not being usable for someone with my experience I think I'm going to be referring to it quite often and I cannot recommend it highly enough. If I have one issue it's the lack of an 'eavy Metal showcase but that is a very minor complaint indeed.
To sum up: a great book for any level of experience at a brilliant price. Pick it up here and, while you're at it, have a look at the rest of GW's painting guides. I know I will be.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Bouncy, ratty little guys.

Afternoon all!
It can't have escaped your notice that Blood Bowl is back. An old favourite of mine, I remember having a great time playtesting the previous version of the game (or was it the version before?) as part of the studio league. I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy (hint hint, oh precious family members...) but, in the meantime, here's some Blood Bowl-ish figures I did a while back.

This team of Vermins is by Black Scorpion Miniatures, an indie miniatures company run by sculptor Adam Clarke. These are great, characterful miniatures, cast in resin and make a really great alternative to the standard Skaven teams. I did have one issue though. The castings, on a few of the players, have quite a lot of undercuts around the arms and need careful scalpel work (and may need a little work with green stuff) to prepare them for painting. This is a minor niggle, though, and shouldn't put you off checking them out. Actually, check them out anyway, because their Tombstone and Pirates ranges really are superb. Adam's single figures are terrific, as you can see from this wench (a limited edition (I think) which was used as a mascot/slave/provider of half-time cheese slices and whatever rats drink after a game for the team.)

That's all from me for this week. There's some more pictures of the Vermin team on my Facebook page and, while you're here, why don't you check out my page of unpainted miniatures I have for sale. You never know, you might find something you like....
All the best,
Stuart

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Diary of a Demon Entry Part 1: Beginning NMM

So, for the second entry to the blog this week we have the first part of my ongoing diary charting the progress of my entry for next year's Golden Demon (scheduled for some time in May, I think.) Hopefully getting started now should give me some time to actually get something finished. We'll see if that actually works out.

Anyhow, I've decided on the figure I want to do. It's Ionus Crypborn, Lord Relictor of the Hammers of Sigmar from the Age of Sigmar starter set. My reasons for choosing this model were:
i) I've had the boxed set since it came out and I've been itching to have a go at some of the figures,
ii) I wanted to do a single figure that stood out from the rank and file and would catch the judges' eye and the reliquary standard this figure is holding should do the trick,
iii) I thought I'd have a go at this NMM thing everybody makes such a fuss about (more on this below),
iv) I wanted to do a named character piece but stay within the rules for a single figure and,
v) It's a cool figure, especially with that standard, and slightly different from the rest of the Stormcasts in the set.

So, before launching into the WIP stuff, I'd better talk about the elephant in the room (it's like that for me, at least): NMM
I was originally going to do this figure in the turquoise colours of the Celestial Vindicators, as I painted a Hasslefree space elf in that colour recently and really enjoyed doing so. However, once I'd decided to do the figure as my Golden Demon entry I decided to switch to the posterboys of AoS, The Hammers of Sigmar, partly because I could do him as the character from the set, but mostly because it meant I could have a go at doing NMM on a whole figure.
The thing is, I've never been that much of a fan of NMM, mostly because 99% of the times it's seen it really doesn't look very good. There's a couple of painters who have nailed it and really make it actually look like metal but almost all other cases it looks like leather or biscuit or, well, anything other than metal, really.
It has been a long time since I've tried to do any NMM (before NMM even had a cool TLA) and I never really pulled it off, as can be seen on the Eldar Exarch shown below, so it really was time to see if I was going to be one of the few who could nail it or be one of the majority who couldn't. It may be sheer madness to attempt something like this, experimenting with a technique I barely know, on a competition piece but there you are.
Madness is something I do quite well.
It's another of the reasons I've left myself loads of time. If it doesn't work and I find myself unable to pull it off I'll have time to try something else.
We used to call it "Painting it to look like it was made of gold."


Therefore, with the gauntlet well and truly laid down, here we go:
My first step was to research real golden armour from movies, etc. This is important. It gives an idea about how reflections work in real life, as well as how much depth of colour and highlight to use. I also spent some happy times looking at how artists through history have rendered gold on armour and in still-life. This is also really useful as it gives an idea about which sort of colour combinations could be used and gives me an opportunity to think about what sort of finished effect I am going for. Am I going to go super-shiny or a more dull, unkempt finish? Warm or cold?
Having collated some research I decided I was going to go polished shiny and a middle temperature value, to sit well with the cool blue of the armour inlays on the figure but to also work with the small accents of warm tones, such as the red plume. With that decided, here's the colours I'll be using, at least initially.

Shown with my trusty Winsor & Newton Series 7 size 1, with which I did most of the painting on this miniature
As far as method goes it really is quite simple. Over a black undercoat I did an underpaint of Abaddon Black/Incubi Darkness all over the figure. This was to give me a nice base to work over. The leg, in the photo below, nicely shows the way I've been building up the layers of colour over this underpaint.

I start with a layer of Dryad Bark with a tiny bit of Incubi Darkness mixed in. This goes over almost all of the underpaint, except for the join between the plates. Gorthor Brown is then blended over the top of that, leaving the previous mix to show through as the main shadows. This is used to form the base for the next layer of Averland Sunset to give it a strong foundation. This is the point I've got to on the very top of the knee guard. On the other plates I've gone a bit further by adding in the strong highlights. The first highlight is Pallid Wych Flesh and this is applied with careful blending. I want this to be the smooth highlight from the previous colours so I then glaze it back with Lamenters Yellow before re-applying the highlight. The final stage is shown on the very bottom plate on this leg- a pure white highlight of White Scar. Again, this is glazed with Lamenters Yellow then re-applied. Also a couple of bloom effects are added to finish off the shine.
So far I'm happy with the overall effect as it is, so I'm going to leave it and continue with the rest of the gold. I will have to revisit the whole thing once the other elements of the figure are done, as I'll have to deal with reflections from the other elements so I can review the effect then. If you have any feedback on what's been done so far please feel free to comment. I'd love to hear your thoughts on whether I'm pulling it off or not.

Right, that's me
done for this week. My brother David is doing the Sunday roast and I'm rather looking forward to having a Sunday dinner that I haven't cooked myself! Nom nom nom.

All the best,
Stuart

White Dwarf and 40k Legends: Recommended for you.

Morning all!
Sorry there wasn't an entry last week. I was away visiting a friend so I had no chance to write anythying up and I hadn't got anything prepared in advance (as if...) so, I'm afraid, I had to give it a miss.
However, to make up for it, this week I have got two entries for you.
You LUCKY people!

First up is something that I've been meaning to do for a few weeks now: a couple of brief reviews. Well, I say "reviews" but that's a bit grandiose, really. I'm not much one for reviews (either reading them or writing them) as they are usually so subjective. There's not much point in reading someone else's opinion on something as it's unlikely to be anything near 100% along the lines of what you would think. One man's meat, etc. etc.
So think of these more as personal recommendations rather than in-depth reviews. Take them or leave them as much as you like.

WHITE DWARF


It cannot have escaped your attention that White Dwarf, after a brief experiment as a weekly, has reverted to it's monthly format and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Let me say this: I actually liked the weekly. It had its faults, for sure (the format didn't allow for any in-depth articles, far too much of it was promoting the week's releases and there was a lot of wasted space) but I enjoyed my weekly fix of new stuff. Still, for all that, I'm very glad to see the return of the monthly magazine. And a magazine it actually is. No longer can it be dismissed as merely an advert for the month's big release. It has proper articles covering all aspects of the hobby and, along with much of GW's output at the moment, it seems that the management is actually listening to their customer base. Many fan-favourites have returned (proper battle reports, Tale of Gamers, 'eavy Metal Masterclass) and, three issues in, the magazine seems to be finding its feet quite nicely. It's better than it was in the period leading up to the change to weekly and (whisper it) could be heading for another golden age of the Dwarf. Production values are as good as you'd expect, there's a good spread of articles, al ot less white space (they've managed to find a smaller font size...) and they have actually found their sense of humour again. They even have a Facebook page where they welcome feedback and you might even end up on the letters page. A letters page in White Dwarf! The latest issue can be bought here and I recommend you give it a chance, even if you've long since given up on the magazine. You may be presently surprised.

WARHAMMER 40K LEGENDS COLLECTION



This one is a little different. It's one of those partwork thingamies and is produced, under licence, by Hachette. You know how it works, every week (or two weeks, in this case) a new volume is released in order to build up a complete collection. To ensure you buy the complete collection they are not released in the correct numerical order and have a piece of artwork that stretches along the spines. If you don't get the whole lot you don't get the whole picture. It all seems a little sneaky to the cynical type but you can understand the policy- it must cost a lot to produce a set like this and they need a proper return on their investment. However, the buyer equally needs a return on their investment and this set delivers in spades. Covering the Horus Heresy as well as "present day" WH40k stories the hardback books are beautifully produced brand new editions, with a colour section of artwork and background and occasional extra notes from the writer or others. While the choice of stories produced is bound to be somewhat arbitrary and some favourites are bound to be left out, there's no skimping on the quality and they will certainly look superb on the shelf, once all 80(!) volumes are collected. There's also the usual added bonus items for subscribers which are of equal quality. Again, I highly recommend checking these out. It might seem like a large investment but, at just £10 each, these really are a bargain. I was going to add a caveat that they would only really be of interest to those who have not read the stories or got the books before but, with the quality of the editions (and subscriber bonuses), I would have to recommend them to those who already have other editions. Here's hoping they are successful enough to encourage them to do a Warhammer set too (but not until this set is done, please- the wallet won't stretch to two sets running at the same time...) Check out the collection webpage here or their Facebook page and see what you think.


Sunday, 16 October 2016

A slightly different view of the (non) Scoobies and a bit of Oldhammer...

Evening all.
Three weeks in a row! This is getting to be a habit....
Anyway, it's just a quick one this week as I'm pushed for time (honey roast gammon waits for no man, y'know...) and those reviews I mentioned will have to wait for another time.

So, to kick off, here's another version of the Not-At-All-Scooby-Gang-Whatever-Gave-You-That-Idea-Matey from Hasslefree Miniatures.

This time they are in their 'Post-Apocalyptic' guises and so come loaded for bear and looking a little worse for wear. They are all great sculpts with the usual bags of character that we expect from Kev but my favourites out of these are definitely Wolsey and and Louise (the two to the left of Scoo-Hamlet). Is it wrong that I find Louise quite sexy?
Yeah, it probably is.*

Moving on, we have a bit of the Oldhammer (or is it Middlehammer-I'm never quite sure...) with the Chaos Space Marine riding a Chaos Juggernaut.
This was the second version of the Juggernaut and quite a hefty lump of metal. Here he's presented in Pre-Heresy World-Eaters colours. Probably not very accurate, fluff-wise, as the legion had probably gone all-red by the time he got a demon steed but, hey, maybe he liked his old colours better? Great fun to revisit some of these old miniatures and there'll be more in the not-too-distant future.

Well, that's it for me. As usual, more pictures of these models can be found on my Facebook page.
See you next week!

*It definitely is....

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Some girlies and a gang that definitely isn't The Scooby Gang, nuh-huh, nope, nosiree Bob.

I've posted two weeks in a row! See, miracles do happen...
So, to kick off we have a few less than politically correct ladies, starting with Leona Lobo and Bug Hunter from Kabuki.

Both are great little sculpts (sadly I don't know who sculpted them so if anybody can enlighten me...) but I have to take my hat off to whoever painted the examples used in their packaging. I painted these on commission to a set standard, so I wasn't pushing myself on them but I would have struggled, at my very best, to match the standard of their studio ones. Again, I'd love to know who painted them so that I could offer my congratulations.

Next up are two figures, from two manufacturers, following a theme. We have Brigitte, the Naughty French Maid from Reaper's Chronoscope range.
A brilliant sculpt by Werner Klocke with a superb, characterful face and a joy to paint.
Then there's Mia The Homicidal Domestic from Shadowforge.

While perhaps not as a refined sculpt as the previous ones shown today, this was still a lot of fun to paint and I'd cheerfully have a go at more models from this small company.

Finally today we have a group shot of five of Hasslefree's Modern Adventurers sculpted, as ever, by the indomitable Kev White.
Full of character and a joy to paint and somewhat reminiscent of a certain group of paranormal investigators...

So, that's all from me this week. Next week I'm hoping to have a couple of reviews to throw at you, as well as some more miniatures from mybacklog of photos.

Thanks for looking,
Stu


Sunday, 2 October 2016

A couple of familiar faces and something in white(ish)...

Well, it only took me a month to get the time to put some actual content up. So much for every week.
Anyhow.
First off, here's a couple of rogues that I finished recently. They are, of course, Han Solo and Chewbacca and, this time, they are represented in 28mm from Knight Models.





 They are both great little miniatures and the likenesses (particularly on Han) are excellent. The only issue I have is that Chewie should be bigger. In this set he is pretty much the same eye level as Han whereas, even slightly bent over as he is, he should be considerably taller. Still, it's a minor niggle on what is a great pair of models. I'm not very au fait with the Knight Models range but I'm hoping to get the chance to have a go at a few more some time. There's more pictures of these two on my Facebook page.

 And now for something completely different...
I completed this GW Tau Commander in Vior'la Sept colours a while back. A terrific model with loads of options (all of which were magnetised on this particular piece) and details. This was the first Tau I'd ever painted properly (I played about with a unit of Fire Warriors a while back but never finished them) and it has really whetted my appetite. I can see me doing more in the future.
The white armour with weathering was something I had never attempted before so it was a fun painting challenge for me. The client asked me if I could provide him with a breakdown of the colours used so that he could replicate it on the rest of his army and, as I always keep notes of what I'm using for future reference, this was not problem but I thought I'd go one step further and share them with all. Unfortunately I don't have any step-by-step pictures to share but, if there's any interest shown, I may do a full tutorial on some Tau at a later date.


So, here we go:

Over a white undercoat I painted an all-over wash of a mix of Army Painter Dark Tone and Strong Tone with a dash of Lahmian Medium, approximately a 40/40/20 mix. I then worked over that with a few thin layers of White Scar, building the opacity towards the highlights.
Moving on to the red areas, I started with a base of Mephiston Red then highlighted with Evil Sunz Scarlet, Wild Rider Red/Fire Dragon Bright 50/50 mix and  then Lugganath Orange edge highlights. This was then glazed with a mix of Carroburg Crimson, Bloodletter and Lahmian Medium.
The grey areas of the armour where then basecoated Dawnstone which was washed over with Nuln Oil then highlighted with Dawnstone then Administratum Grey with a final Pallid Wych Flesh highlight.
The last pieces to be done before the weathering would be added were the black areas. These were basecoated Abaddon black then highlighted with Skavenblight Dinge then Stormvermin Fur. Nuln Oil was washed all over before a final edge highlight of Dawnstone was applied.
The weathering was a mix of Tin Bitz/Ironbreaker/Eshin Grey/Rhinox hide that was applied with a mix of sponging and stippling before a highlight of Tin Bitz/Ironbreaker was applied with a brush. A final highlight on Ironbreaker was applied sparingly, before the weathering was washed with a mix of Dark Tone/Strong Tone/Lahmian Medium.
The bronze panels were basecoated with Warplock Bronze then highlighted with Skullcrusher Brass then Leadbelcher before being given a wash of Reikland Fleshshade/Agrax Earthshade then a thinned wash of Nuln Oil/Lahmian Medium. This was highlighted with Leadbelcher before being given two washes of Seraphim Sepia.
The last major area to be tackled was the metal and this was simply a basecoat of Ironbreaker, a highlight of Leadbelcher and a wash of Dark Tone/Strong Tone/Lahmian Medium.
Finally, weapon glows were added using various inks of the appropriate colours with the centre of the glows painted with White Scar.
And there yer has it. If you have any questions or want me to elaborate on anything please feel free to comment below. There's loads more pictures of this chappie here.

Hookay, that's me done for the day. More stuff soon (hopefully in less than a month...)

Stu