Monday, February 12, 2018

The Knight of Shrouds joins my undead horde

You've got to love a long buildup. Just before Christmas GW started hinting at Malign Portents hitting the Mortal Realms in Age of Sigmar (if you're not up-to-date on the background, I've got a primer here). Now as prelude to a worldwide campaign a new book has hit the shelves including four new models (a general each for Order, Destruction, Death and Chaos). Being an easy mark a gaming enthusiast I pre-ordered the book, dice, cards and the general for Death because, well, I think the model look incredibly cool. I've skimmed the book and it looks interesting. As I've decided to take my hobby up to 11 this year, I'm going to attempt to fill every space on the Wargame Hobby Bingo card Rob Hawkins updated this year. I used this as an excuse to go full throttle on the Knight of Shrouds.

GW managed to combine the menace of a Ring Wraith quite nicely with the ghostly appearance required for Night Haunt models. 
One of the spaces on the hobby bingo card is Buy a model and paint it within 48 hours. Assuming the day of receiving the miniature through mail order is equal to buying it, this one qualifies. I actually build, primed and painted it over the course of last Sunday. Long live a good blow dryer to speed things up. I used the Warhammer TV tutorial as the basis for the model, diverging by using an airbrush to get a bit more contrast out of the ghostly greenish robe and painting the scabbard red (I thought the GW one did not stand out enough).

One of my favorite models from the past years is the Cairn Wraith (strangely missing from the GW website at this moment). I think the Knight of Shrouds works perfectly as a commander for these guys.
Only a few more weeks until I move and can get ready to set up something more serious to take photos, in the meantime the beer table will have to suffice :). Still a lovely model, I'm quite curious what will happen when he hits the tabletop. In the meantime I should hop over to my local GW as I managed to miss the release of the Legions of Nagash Battle Tome in all the Malign Portents excitement. Up next I'll jump feet first into a true Oldhammer project that is way beyond my skill level :). Ah nostalgia, I think it's best when mixed with equal doses of novelty.

My Wargame Hobby Bingo so far, the original to this card can be found here
In the meantime my Bingo progress is doing quite nicely so far for a distracted start of the year. I stamped the Buy a model and paint it within 48 hours for this one. The scratch build scenery is the building on my Space Port. I added a group of Ironjawz Brutes to my Greenskins army (and took them out killing the same evening), painted a Wight King that had been languishing in basecoat for at least two years and painted my first Dark Eldar by slapping some color on an ancient Archon.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Landing area terrain for 40K (and other sci-fi games) finished

I'm quite sure I'm not the only one starting out projects with an enormous amount of enthusiasm, only to find it all gone halfway through. This generic landing area is an extreme example of this kind of project. It started out with me wanting to make my own space ship like in this post at Warlord Games. I changed the tune slightly when I saw two discounted Star Wars toys while doing the December shopping for the family. Now, having spend some money on it, I was committed to making a small space port. Well long story short it is (more or less) finished.

A group of Space Wolves scouts checks out the new cargo ships. Where are all the inhabitants? 
The idea was to wink back at Rogue Trader and just build a nice outpost. I spotted a control building over on the Maelstrom's Edge online store and as I already had a few of those excellent terrain sprues I decided to just steal the concept from the art there.

Never mind creativity, there's noting wrong with stealing other peoples ideas when you like them, is there?
The wheels and big barrels are part of some excess toys I bought at a thrift store. The smaller barrels are from the old GW set. The plasma generators are made from the containers for (disgusting) bubble gum.

I think those wheels orignaly formed part of an Action Man vehicle.
The large radar dish was rather stupidly simple to put together. It held ribbon used to decorate gifts handed out at my wedding. I combined it with more thrift store toy parts and a watch tower used for plastic army men.

The radar dish was put together so quickly, I felt quite ashamed when the wife complimented me on it.
At this point I was feeling a bit bored with the entire project, but it was also taking up rather a lot of space. I decided over the past few weeks (in between massive bouts of Subnautica) to just pray and spray the whole project away. All of it was basecoated using rattlecan gun-fu as outlined in an older post here.

Making little posters is a lot of fun, I've printed up a lot of old WW2 propaganda posters that seem fitting to the setting. All the way to the right is a scan from an old Tyranid codex. 
I decided to go for slightly less lazy then previously and add a top coat to most buildings. Seeing this video over at the Tabletop Miniouns channel on YouTube helped inspire that as well. By the way, it is bloody hard to get rid of all the salt if you use the salt and hairspray method shown here (I may have oversalted the dish though).

I love these bubblegum containers, they are just made for sci-fi.
Now I should put more detail on the space ships (guns and engines come to mind), and I might paint more detail on the barrels and the generators. But I'm not going to (for now). Because for right now I'm quite done with this piece and I think it is 'ok for now'.

Another close up of the Action Man wheels, glued together crookedly in some factory somewhere.
So here are a few more pictures as I quickly descend back to the Mortal Realms. GW is dropping a rather interesting looking supplement and I've already seen one idea I'm going to steal quite shamelessly as soon as I'm able.

I love the window on the control tower, everything went right painting that one. It made the utter failure to replicate the technique on the windows of the space ships all the more miserable. 
In the meantime, hope you enjoy the sight of this collection of scenery. I'll probably neaten it up at a later point (most likely around the time I've painted all my miniatures ;) ).

I should plan a game around this scenery set somewhere soon. Pity it is rather too fragile to store over at the gaming club. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Freezing green stuff

I made the joyous mistake of purchasing a new computer game called Subnautica. Set in a science fiction background you take the role of a lone survivor crash landed on an ocean world. It basically combines survival games with a fascinating storyline. All well and good, but it does take a humongous bite out of my painting time. So a bit of a boring update this week as I waste my spare time swimming in a fictitious ocean. Green stuff, also known as Kneadite, we all know it and (some of us) love it. I buy mine in 36 inch rolls through an e-bay trader called Trolltrader. Unfortunately Green Stuff has a shelf life and with my limited sculpting ability it usually starts going a bit tough around the time I'm halfway through a roll. As tough a the forgotten (and right up there with 'sand' overpriced) pack of Green Stuff at your local GW. I usually turn my green stuff into sand bags when it starts to go. With the arrival of a new supply I thought 'time for an experiment'.

I should not have basecoated buildings quite so close to my ruler...
I read somewhere on a Facebook sculpting group (yes it begins with a dream (and usually ends with waking up)) about freezing Green Stuff. Apparently freezing helps keep green stuff fresh and the advice is to just unfreeze the limited amount you need and keep the rest well frozen. I'm going to be doing just that. Unfortunately I'm low on squeeze bags (no idea what these are actually called). So I opted for sixteen strips measuring about five centimeters (two inches) each (the bagged ten centimeter strip is for direct use).

Running out of baggies, I am definitely not a druk dealer (or a very successful one).
After sticking them in separate bags, I collected the lot in a bigger bag.
Small baggies in bigger bag.
And stuck this in a drawer in the freezer (that most definitely should be de-iced and cleaned, but that is for another time.
Bigger bag in freezer drawer (mental note: come summer, clean freezer).
I'll see in about six months whether this has worked or not. Expect another riveting update around that time ;). Now back to my computer game addiction, hopefully I'll shake it off in time to finish my first squad of flying Dwarves around the time of the next update.

Yes I should be painting, but look at this!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Orruk Brutes, ready to be unleashed

Yesterday I found myself with an unexpected day off. A pleasant surprise I used to catch up on my paintwork. As part of the 'Finish the Orruks Project' I started last year I glued these five Orruk Brutes together. To help with painting I did not glue the breastplates on (except for the one wielding the comically oversized double handed blade Gore-choppa). Over the course of the last few months one of the breastplates went missing. Luckily this weekend I found said breastplate at the bottom of a box of Vallejo paints. Taking it as a sign I decided to finish the Brutes before more parts could go missing.

My Orruk Brutes are ready to smash and kill.
I love the Ironjawz battletome. These hulking brutes armor themselves by banging metal into shape with their bare hands. They seek out the biggest creatures on the battlefield to pound them into dust. And see any large obstacle as a reason to 'mob up' and take it down. My first encounter with Orruk Brutes was when I foolishly charged a Troggoth Hag into a unit of five, only to watch it fly back into my ranks in small bits.

This model lacks its own jaw, having replaced it with an iron prosthetic. 
What I like a bit less about the Ironjawz is the painting style GW has decided on. The bright yellow color looks a bit too 40K for my taste. But that's the joy of painting (Warhammer style), you can give your own twist to models. For my Brutes I decided on the same look as the Ironjaw Megaboss I painted last year. That is to say: rusty metal plates and fresh blood.

If the claw hits the club hits automatically, making this brute a real killing machine. The one with the Gore-choppa gets extra range and damage.
The Brutes are covered with thick metal plates. I painted these Leadbelcher, picking some trusty German Grey for the pants (a nice and neutral deep grey) and painting the skin is Vallejo Goblin Green washed. I covered the models in a fat slosh of Agrax Earthshade. After the Eartshade dried I layered the skin with 50/50 Goblin Green/GW Nurgling Green and highlighted with pure Nurgling Green.

Another shot of the Gore-choppa wielder, this model is harder to paint then the rest as you can't practically leave the breastplate off before painting. 
For the armor I loaded my airbrush with a lot of flow improver and a small drop of a purple (Vallejo Imperial Blue Game Air) adding small patches of semi-transparant blueish-purple to some places. I repeated this proces with Vallejo Rust and Vallejo Orange. Then I allowed the models to dry. Next up for the armor was a light drybrush with Ironbreaker followed by a selective edge highlight with Stormhost Silver.

I love the intimidating pose of the Orruk with the two axes.
Teeth and most bandage straps holding the armor in place where painted Zandri Dust, followed by Agrax Earthshade and highlighted with Ushabti Bone. I then selectively washed bits with Gryphonne Sepia to break the monotony. I also watered down a bit of Dryad Bark and washed other bandages with that for the same reason.

Last in the line is mr. Barefoot the dual sword wielder. Somewhere in the Ironjaw battletome is a hint that barefooted Orruks are smarter then their shoe wearing counterparts. No idea of that is an in-joke, a reference I don't get or just one of those wink/smile things to spice up the battletome.
The bases are a bit too simple for my taste, but I wanted to bring the models to table directly after painting them (and succeeded) so I went for Vallejo Dark Earth Paste painted with watered down Dryad Bark and drybrushed with Tyrant Skull. I added some Gamers Grass tufts and flowers. Although I bought the flowers for my Highborn Aelfs I love adding them to Destruction bases. It causes a nice clash between base and model.

A shot of the back, the daylight reflects a bit more of the metal look then you usually see on the table, you'll just have to take my word that these guys look quite rusty and dirty.
Last but not least was adding blood with a technique based on the by now often mentioned tutorial of Tale of Painters. I diverged slightly from and used the following steps (allow time to dry between each step).

  1. Splash a random pattern of Reikland Fleshshade Gloss. 
  2. Repeat step 1.
  3. Mix 30/70 GW Evil Sunz Scarlet with Vallejo Smoke, water it down to create a wash and add it randomly to the patterns made in step 1 and 2.
  4. Mix Vallejo Smoke with Tamiya Clear Red (about 40/60) and apply as the first 'solid' layer of blood'. Remember less is more.
  5. Add pure Tamiya Clear Red sparingly to get some fresh blood on the weapon.
  6. Add small drops of Blood for the Blood god. After applying use an old brush to stiple the applied Blood for the Blood got around a bit (it is a rather thick paint).  

The advantage of this technique over just applying some Blood for the Blood God is that details on the weapons don't get covered and the blood pattern looks a bit more realistic and interesting (IMHO).

My Brutes and Megaboss form a small but deadly formation.
Here's a last shot of the Orruk Brutes accompanied by my Megaboss. During the fight with Kharadron Overlords yesterday my Megaboss got reduced to 1 wound by taking (among other things) a cannon blast to the chest. Then he was cut down as I discovered Arakanaut Admirals get to strike first if they want to. The brutes on the other hand made short work of one (silly weak) Arkanaut Company and a unit of Endrinriggers. They did show their main disadvantages as well (a 4 inch move means it takes time to get into 'the thick of it' and a low bravery means the unit runs after taking a few casualties). I'll finish off with a quick shot of the Brutes getting stuck in (top-left).

Still smelling of fresh paint, my Brutes wandered into battle the same evening. Also pictured is a finished Orruk Warboss with Battle Banner I finished yesterday as well. I'll put him up some other time on the blog.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Science fiction feature show style Dark Eldar Archon

Yesterday I not only managed to catch up on the weekly episodes of the excellent The Great War series on YouTube, I also finished this classic Dark Eldar Archon. This model is from the 'let's teleport down to the planet and raid the adult store'-era of the Dark Eldar. I have to admit to not liking most of the models in this range (kudos to mr. Phil Kelly for reinventing the Dark Eldar). This model however is one of the exceptions to the rule. It has just the right amount of camp to really appreciate it (and to make me want to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show again).

You have got to appreciate the I'm here and I like camp attitude this model expresses. 
I tried three new techniques on the model (and failed at at least one old one). First off I tried painting an eye by going for black and dotting in white. Thanks to my brilliant photography (stop laughing in the back row!) it is hardly visible. I did however find my hand steady enough to go for a bit of an exaggerated goth look befitting this model. The second technique I tried was to apply makeup as a glaze. And even though the pink is quite pronounced on the picture it still works and it is a lot more subtle in real life. So that is a technique I will try again.

Not mentioned in the running text: the lazy OSL on the staff and pistol failed rather miserably. Reason: turned out I forgot to properly clean my airbrush after spraying the Wight King with varnish. 
The third technique I tried was shading red with blue. I should've known it would work (as it works for others, but I was still quite amazed and pleased at how well a bit of blue shades red. Now please stop giggling all you fancy color theory pro painters out there. On the other hand, please carry on, we all have to learn somewhere.

Blue works excellently as a shade for red. Everybody else probably knew this already, but now I do too.
The red started out as GW Khorne Red build up with Wazdakka Red and highlighted with Squig Orange. The shadows where created with a mix of Khorne Red and Vallejo Prussian Blue I thought it all looked a bit muted, then I found a forgotten bottle of P3 Red Ink among my paints. I though 'what the hell, why not'. took a bit of dabbing with a q-tip to tone down the first wave, but on drying no one can argue that this dress is not red!

Yeah the make-up works on this model. I'm a happy painter!
As an aside I first painted her hair blue (in keeping with one of the colors used on the model) but it looked awful so in the end I repainted it to blond. It is my private very humble opinion that all elves (both high and dark) should default to blond as befitting their ridiculous racial superiority complex. But I digress...All in all a fun model to paint, maybe once I get around to painting my Ynnari warband I'll actually field her on the table as well. Now what to do with the remaining lot of 'former adult store employees posing as Dark Eldar' on the leadpile? Ah well, let them rest for a bit longer....

Monday, January 22, 2018

In steps another Wight King

Somehow I actually found some time to sit down and paint this weekend. I squandered rather a lot of it on stripping paint of some ancient Harlequins. The bit that remained was divided between agonizing over a color scheme for my Kharadron Overlords (Barak-Ziflin, I'm going with I?) and actual painting. I decided to grab a couple of individual miniatures to plaster paint on try this glazing thing I hear so much about. The first one, a classic Dark Eldar Archon, is not finished yet. The other one is this Wight King who has been waiting rather patiently for a coat of paint for years now.

This king is so bad, even the grass dies in his presence. 
It is absolutely invisible on the pictures but I actually used two rather different coats of paint on the base layer of his robes. The first a purplish blue (Vallejo Imperial Blue) and the second a green tone (I've forgotten which one) thinned down with Flow Improver. I higlighted the edges by adding a bit of Wolf Grey to the Imperial Blue. The shield was painted separately and a (Google: simple skull tattoo) inspired freehand was applied. I got carried away and failed to center that one properly. I'll blame some faceless undead minions for that one....

Lesson learned: Spraying different colors on someone's robes looks interesting while airbrushing, but does not always translate to a visible effect on the finished model.
I wanted the armour to look dark, so I added black to my usual leadbelcher. Before highlighting/drybrushing I washed a bit of blue and yellow around interesting bits. I finished up the model by taking a black wash (Nuln Oil) to recesses. I painted a red orb at the end of the sword to give the model a bit of a break from all the black and blue. I added some GW Spiritstone Red to it, but the Vallejo Polyurethane Satin Varnish destroyed that effect. On the plus side this stopped paint chipping of the metal.

Not pictured: me painting and repainting that damned small skull sticking out beneath a sea of helmet.
The model looks slightly better in real life (I should get a better photography studio then 'outside' I guess). All in all I'm quite satisfied to add another Wight King to the ranks of my undead horde. I especially like the bird helmet this guy is wearing. I'm actively assuming it does all the talking for the two. Scenario: Enemy walks up to the Wight King. Bird turns out to be surprisingly eloquent. As eyebrows are raised, the Wight King's sword comes down. And another zombie is raised a turn later....queue a cackling helmet-bird. For the near future: A Dark Eldar Archon, some terrain and a lot of flying Dwarves in IKEA colors (for now....).

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Mortis Engine manifests just in time for the new year

Wow the last weeks went quite the opposite way as planned. I was about to put the final signatures on paper and move when the new house fell through, so I've been a bit busy searching for a replacement home to house the family (both my wife and son seem to be opposed to living in a scale model building made out of balsa wood, foamboard and plasticard). Luckily I finished this guy just before the excrement slapped against the fan (a large industrial one that still looks like a computer fan of course). As it was on my bingo card I've decided to put him in the last post of the year.

As usual I haven't actually read the rules to this unit, so here's hoping it does something useful on the tabletop.
To paint this Mortis Engine I used an old article in White Dwarf so the entire job started by figuring out what new colors more or less the colors when this article was printed. This also ticks of the Try to replicate the paint job of someone that inspires you box on the Miniature Painting Bingo chart. Speaking of that chart, Rob Hawkins has made a new and improved one I'll be using next year to get some extra motivation (assuming I'm not living in a box by then (damn you flat screen tv's you can't house a family of three in those boxes!).
I have a lot of White Dwarves and I'm still wondering why I don't have a subscription now. I have an even large archive of pdf'ed White Dwarves (from number one). For those keeping score: the first letter complaining White Dwarf was no longer as good as it used to be was in number three :)
I diverged from the White Dwarf version of the blind Corpsemaster on top. Well I actually tried to follow along going from Dark Angles (Caliban) Green up to Rotting Flesh (Nurgling Green) but as usual with edge highlights it looked like the town drunk had painted a way to contrasting color on top of a dark one. So I washed it all down with a few layers of Nuln Oil. I think it works.

Getting better at edge highlighting is on my skills wishlist for next year. This White Dwarf article did rather nicely illustrate how a combination of edge highlighting, home made washes and drybrushing leads to nice results.
One of the things I can never resist is going wild in big spell books some models have. This engine has a beautiful black magic tome that begs to be made extra mysterious by splashing some color and semi-illustrations in it.

Always paint cockpit controls and books, it gives you something to point out to your opponent while playing, the 'wow' that usually follows gives the ego a nice small stroke.
Another thing I went to town on was the hidden casket that features the locked-up corpse of a powerful Necromancer. Here is a bit of a problem with a CAD-designed kit like this. Let me illustrate it with pictures.

The casket leaning against my wet pallet while being detailed.
Here is the altar with the yellowed candles, I even took the time to paint the roses and skulls at the bottom and edge highlight the stonework.

The casket looking cool inside the Mortis Engine.
After this step I decided to do the skulls and roses on the rest of the Mortis Engine as well. Looking cool (I even remembered not to bother too much with the bits that will be hidden under the Corpsemaster's robes.

And with the last step I glued to gate to the casket in place, ensuring htat my hard work detailing the inner sanctum will only really be visible if I accidentally drop this model and the bits break off. A well, knowing a reasonably painted bit is hiding might just improve the good will of the dice gods. All in all I'll quite proudly bolster my undead forces with this Mortis Engine. Next up, finding a place to stow my hobby overflow (and live), there is time, so it will work out in the end. Lets end with a quote from the venerable Bob Ross to kick off the new hobby year: “All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.” Happy new year everyone and carry on painting!