Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Shadespire Steelheart's Champions in Anvils of the Heldenhammer colors

I'm rather busy with actual work so I have to keep today's update quick and short. By the same token I seem to be in a bit of hobby overdrive and I fear that if I don't post these now, they will be pushed into the 'to be posted queue'. That one usually ends up on 'never posted' avenue. As I've cracked and ordered Necromunda, I suspect more painting will be in the near future. So without further ado, I've painted the three Stormcast Eternals from the Shadespire set.

Steelheart and friends stand ready to do something in Shadespire (I have not read the manual yet). 
I've opted for the black armor of the Anvils of the Heldenhammer, taking a small creative liberty with the loincloth. I picked white as I think the contrast helps cover up my still not quite there 'painting black' skill (it's my white whale and I've decided to just keep at it until I'm satisfied). Aside from that what an amazing set of miniatures these are to paint! Nice detail (especially for push-fit models) and the bases are gorgeous. Looking at my own pictures is rather humbling to see my carefully applied 'edge' highlights blown up to gigantic proportions on my computer screen. It looks as if I fingerpaint instead of using brushes and makes the Golden Daemon/Eavy Metal work that much more impressive (as if it needed that). Ah well, at least I can take some pride in the face of mr. Steelheart (although I don't think I'll even master painting pupils).

As it is actually autumn outside the rain is pretty much a constant, making miniature photography a bit more difficult. 
I approached the bases with the intent of adding subtle color to the grey (aside from the autumn leaves) and picked a version of the same approach I took with the Ironjaws Megaboss. This time I put interesting colors in the airbrush (instead of using leftovers) and sprayed thinned down colors on the grey bases. The rest of Shadespire is up next (brilliant concept to keep te model count fixed and small). The five Khorne-guys have jumped ahead of the painting queue (overtaking a large number of Orruks and Trollocs). If I can finish these chaps I might actually get a chance to try and play Shadespire. I've heard good things about it (damn the no-unpainted principles I occasionally still cling to). If only I had more time so I could build some pieces of Shadespire themed terrain....

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Back to the Greenskins: a Megaboss enters the fray

Yesterday I finished my Ironjawz Megaboss model. And even though I foolishly glued the head in place and picked a paint scheme that didn't seem to work while painting, I'm rather pleased with the end result. The rusted metal plate was inspired by the incredible work the various AoS28 (Dark Age of Sigmar) people have been showing off over the past few years. For those of you who missed this I think Ex Profundis is a perfect starting point and the Aos28 Facebook group features some nice work as well. Basically it mixes (attempts at) John Blanche's style of painting, Sigmar models and the gothic horror theme of the Old World. It turns Sigmar's high fantasy setting into a Hieronymus Bosch like hellscape. It's awesome :)

I'm here to swing axe and chew squig, and I'm all out of squig....
The problem with this Orruk (aside from the glued on head (last time I'll mention this, I promise)) is that the armor takes up most of his body. I planned to use the same style I used on my Black Orcs Orruk Ardboys. That is: start by airbrushing a dark metal (Vallejo Gun Metal), zenithal airbrush a lighter metallic tone (Vallejo Steel), follow with a wash of Agrax Earthshade, then apply Gryphonne Sepia and finish with a strong highlight with Stormhost Silver. Then (aside from painting the skin and wooden weapon handles) pick a few interesting pieces of armor and paint them red. This helps to paint a unit of Ardboys quickly and effectively (I think). Here is an example.

The unit of immortals I painted in 2016 is about to receive reinforcements.
The Megaboss is a much larger model and his armor is basically to big for this to work. It turns into a really boring valley of 'nothing to see here'. Thanks to some texture a drybrush helps, but just not enough. As I was painting my Deathwatch marine's base I decided to vent my frustration over the ugly look of the model by going a bit Jackson Pollock on the armor, albeit not with Oil Dripping but with Airbrush leftovers. I thinned down whatever was in the cup (mostly browns and rust tones) with some flow improver and then randomly added small splats of it to the armor. At a certain point I actually added a purple sheen too. It's quite well visible here. All in all don't think just spray and try to feel artistic while doing it.

I don't think I'll ever worry about adding weird colors to metal armor again, just go for extremely thin paints and channel Bob Ross's 'there are no mistakes, just happy little accidents'.
After this step the armor got a lot more interesting, but the model was still suffering from a very serious case of lack of variation. That's when I decided to make the blood indentations in the armor and the cords tying the skulls down red. This extremely small thing helped a lot more then I expected. It manages to make a rusty model look interesting and also ties it in with the rest of my army.

Even though I usually shirk away from adding blood to a weapon, it adds the right amount of menace to this model.
Last, but certainly not least was adding blood to the axe and claw. I'm always slightly worried about adding blood as I think it can quickly look like a cheap effect (or worse perform the same ignoble job as badly placed mud (i.e. attempt to cover a painting mistake)). But thanks to this blood painting tutorial by ThirdEyeNuke from Tale of Painters I have a technique that works and looks spectacular (IMHO). Although I usually just mix Tamiya Clear Red with Vallejo Smoke for the effect. For the Megaboss I waited with the blood until the base was glued on so I could add some blood drips to match the location of the axe. All in for a model I've been cursing at for the last few weeks I'm quite satisfied with the end result. I think he looks big, grim, intimidating and deadly enough to boss all my other Greenskins around. As soon as the Orruk bug leaves me I'll shoot a bunch of pictures of my army so far which will serve nicely to get a better sense of size, especially of old models versus the new (my Orruk collection features models from as far back as 1987). 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

I'm temporarily suspending the green tide to bring you this member of the Deathwatch

The local GW here in Eindhoven has sent out a request to all customers to build and paint a Deathwatch Space Marine before the end of November. I think it is actually a cooperation between a lot of European stores, but being very blonde and easily distracted I have to admit I forgot most of the details. I just remember: 'end of November', 'Deathwatch', 'Black rim on base' and 'Paint your own name on the rim'. So the relevant details (I hope ;) ). As I was planning to convert my Primaris marines to Deathwatch I already had some shoulder pads on hand. And here is my marine.

Eat your own medicine you Eldar scum!
As the Deathwatch are allowed naughty things my marine is carrying an Eldar weapon. Sure as the Adeptus Mechanicus would point out it is an ancient and inferior design, but well it was on hand. Being a proud Son of Russ my marine picked it up and is using it anyway. The fact that I will give this model away so I won't be using it in regular games gave me an excuse to make a conversion that is not covered in the (modern) rules.

Given that my Space Marine is holding a flamer and a plasma pistol I have to assume this is someone else's victim.
One of the takeaways from this is that I still suck at painting black. I tried giving some gradients with different shades of grey and finished up with a thinned down purple to make it a bit more interesting (I actually regret that, I don't think it looks that good). I tried subtle highlights but they were practically invisible. Overcompensating I used highlights that look a bit too harsh I guess. So, lets say black is not my color and take some time to paint more black power armors soon, who knows practice may make perfect and all that... I did have a lot of fun setting up the dead Eldar on the base. I also improvised a small dais from bits to make my marine stand out amid the expected crowd of other models.

I think I can finally check 'successfully apply a decal' of my bucket list.
This shoulder pad makes me very happy. I think this is the best decal I ever applied to a model (and to think my initial respons to decals was 'this is cheating'). After painting the shoulder pad I applied a layer of gloss varnish. When this dried I applied Micro Set followed up by the Decal. I gave it some time to dry in place and then applied Micro Sol to melt it down. After that I managed to refrain from immediately applying more gloss varnish (my go to mistake at this point). My Vallejo Gloss reacts with Micro Set forming tiny white grains (and generally destroying all the hard work). I waited for the Micro Set to dry completely overnight and then applied the gloss varnish. After this had dried I ended up using an airbrush for a layer of mat varnish. I think I can safely say this works. So next step: visit my local GW to drop off the model.

Monday, November 13, 2017

An(other) Orruk Warboss steps onto the stage...

Has any serious research been conducted regarding the sanity of wargamers? Just as I was about to actually finish my remaining Orruks I went ahead and bought even more Orruks! *sigh* Anyway a bunch of Black Orcs Orruk 'Ardboyz and an Orruk Warboss (in two versions) have joined the 'to be painted' line of models. It was a second hand offer that proved to nice to resist. As a way of atoning for my reckless spending I've finished the Orruk Warboss on a boar.

I can't wait to bum rush this villain into some hapless enemies. 
I bought this model waving a flag and sporting a different head. A few deft flicks of the scalpel later and it is a warboss with an axe, a shield and a killer one eyed stare. Orruks on boars shouldn't be in the background waving flags, they should run screaming ahead of the horde and start putting the axe to the enemy. I've switched the flag to his counterpart on foot (to be painted).

Blood on the axe, or no blood on the axe? That is the question. I always feel like adding blood to the axe but I'm worried that it will look like a cheap effect so I stop myself.
Of all the things that changed over the years I have to say ready to paint 'ogre face' shields are among my favorites. An ogre face adds a lot of character. Ready made ogre face shields look better than my mediocre freehand skills ever could make a shield look. But back to generalized insanity, here are a few snaps of my trays with models to be painted soon(ish).

Screw focus, just work on everything at once!
My main tray features Goblin crews for my Spear Chukka's and Doom Diver catapults (and one catapult and two Spear Chukka's). I've also assembled two metal giants that were languishing in the to-do box, two trolls that are 'almost finished', three ancient Ruglud Orcs that I just purchased to fill out that unit to twenty strong. Some of the new Orruk Brutes and a Skaven Doom Flayer that has inexplicably surfaced on this tray....Oh yeah and a bunch of Squig Herders and Grot Fanatics.

Almost done: just add a few more washes, some edge highlights, green for the skin, a few browns and some reds.
Tray number two currently features twenty Ardboyz. I painted a unit of ten metal Arboyz a few years back, and bought another ten metal Arboyz from a friend. With the plastic set I acquired two weeks ago I could finally glue together the right sort of Ardboyz to make one unit of twenty with two hand weapons (and command) and one of ten with two-handed weapons (and command). That'll save me a lot of head scratching and counting whilst playing. One major change Orruk 'Ardboyz have undergone as they metamorphosed from Black Orc is that you have to choose before battle what weapon combination they use instead of alternating between rounds. The models above have already been painted (airbrushed) metal and partly washed. It should not be a massive job to get the lot painted up. (at least that's what I keep telling myself).

Who was the idiot that glued this guys face to his body before painting? I was that idiot!
Last but not least is an Orruk Meganob in (currently) very boring armor. I do not want to follow GW's lead and paint it bright yellow, blue or red. But just metal and a bit of washing is not going to cut it. As I've already foolishly glued the head to the body (making it impossible to give the face a proper paint job) I think I'm going to go wild with this model and just experiment away. Not shown on the painting station is a solitary Deathwatch Space Marine. The local store manager has asked all customers to build and paint one for a special plan, and who am I not to join in on the fun?

A quick snap of the ten Orruk Ardboyz awaiting reinforcements in my display cabinet (with apologies for the poor lighting).
Anyway with the end of painting Orruks almost in sight I've foolishly bought even more Orruks to paint. Add to that an order of Shadespire and breaking ranks and ordering a non-GW miniatures game and I have more then enough to keep me painting for a long while....However Christmas is around the corner and with it will probably come the (special price) collection boxes...oh dear the to-do-list will just grow....let's not mention Necromunda just yet....no really...I should not go and pick up a copy....I can wait until January....oh oh....

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Boyz, Boyz, Boyz, get ready for a Waaagh!

Not that they need it, but my Snotlings have got some backup in the form of twenty angry Orruk Boyz.

Hack, slay, blood, gore, nothing less, nothing more!
As part if my (extended) Orctober I assembled these models and undercoated them with a Mournfang brown spray I had on hand. After that I painted five (the boss, banner bearer, drummer and two random boyz), planning to paint the rest in groups of five. As with the Snotlings this didn't work out, so inspired by just forcing myself to paint 'the lot' I sat down and painted them all (Ken Burn's excellent The Vietnam War documentary provided a very nice background that helped me keep going through the painting).

I love the expressions on Orruk models, and think the most important part of painting is giving some extra love to the faces. 
The banner is a piece of paper on a set of spare Pig Stikka's that come with the Orruk Boyz. It had to be done as I like big banners. With all the work on the Chariots last month I think I'm actually running out of spare Pig Stikka's.

After a single freehand I thought 'no', and decided not to do more. I'll save it for more important models.
The Orruk boyz could be spiced up with a some freehands (like the one in the center of the image above), but I have a lot more Orruks to paint, and I'm slowly but surely getting the ambition to actually paint my way through the entire supposedly green colored part of the lead&plastic pile. In other words, I'm calling this group finished.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Snotling gits reinforce my Greenskin ranks...well they'll be sort of standing there in the background....

Why would anyone in his or her right mind add Snotlings to a Greenskin army? Please feel free to put your answer in the comments, I don't have one ;) As to this ragtag group: a few years ago I had the chance to buy back almost all the lead models I sold around the start of the nineties. Among that lot was my Snotling Pump Wagon. I think I bought it in a blister when I just started collecting. On re-acquiring the Basic Pump Wagon I stripped and repainted it. As Age of Sigmar was not on the radar I based it square and stuck it in my display cabinet. Zap forward to opening my Orruk project box in September. It contained a rather large collection of unpainted Snotlings (41 plus a pair of drunk Snotlings) and a second (half-finished) pump wagon with expansion (a second deck was optional way back then). To jump forward to the conclusion of this post, all of the models have a coat of paint on them now and the old pump wagon has received a new base.

Now these gits are ready for almost nothing!
Back to the 'why Snotlings?' question. Well there is the nostalgia fueled basic pump wagon. The other pump wagon has a nostalgia claim a well. I always regretted not buying an expanded pump wagon and had the chance to get one second hand. As for the Snotling bases I have to make an admission. I actually bought two bases of Snotlings from Games Workshop a few years back (against my all second hand rule for the Greenskin army). I was hit by a completionist vibe towards my expanding Greenskin collection and decided painting two bases of Snotlings fell within the realm of sanity. A week later I bought a second hand lot. In this case a badly photographed box labeled 'assorted warhammer' on the second hand website. Fate has a wicked sense of humor so Snotlings to cover another two bases turned up in this lot. Exit sanity enter a total of 41 Snotlings (and two drunks) to paint.
In Age of Sigmar regular Orruks inspire Snotlings that fight close by, this still does not make the Snotlings useful in a fight.
The hard part about painting Snotlings is that these models are actually lovingly sculpted. They have funny facial expressions that beg to be pulled out by the brush and they carry more accessoires then you would expect. On the other hand they are tiny, die in droves and manage to turn invisible when you put them between other models. Also I had 41 of them. The odds of finishing that many Snotlings to any sort of standard are small (at least for me). Attempting it will more likely result in putting my own collection in a second hand box labeled 'Warhammer' and selling it for next to nothing. I decided not to go down that road.

A dreaded part of any half-forgotten project: counting how many models you actually have.
Instead I assembled the Snotlings on my cutting mat and decided a number needed to be washed of excess old paint. Into the Aceton with you, my diminutive troops!

There they are, all washed and ready to be bascoated.
After (tooth-)brushing them I dropped them on some paper towel and allowed the Aceton to evaporate.

One advantage of Snotlings is that they don't wear more than a loincloth.
The next step was basecoating them by airbrush and after allowing the basecoat to set spraying the lot (Vallejo) Goblin Green.

I admit it! I dipped the little runts....I couldn't think of a quicker way to get them washed.

I followed this step by turning to the dark side. I used my large pot of Vallejo Sepia Wash to just dip the lot. As I lost all joy in painting Snotlings at this point I gave them ample time (weeks) to dry.

One Snotling done, another forty to go....groan.....
After some time I manned up and decided to finish a single Snotling. Only forty more to go! At this point I decided to go for a 'one a day' approach with the intent of finishing the lot within a month and a half. The next day I followed up by not painting a single Snotling. Another week passed and the kitchen towel with green painted, sepia-dipped Snotlings started to weigh on my mind. Was it watching me accusingly as I lavished attention on chariots and shamans? In the end I decided action was needed. I executed evil plan number two: drybrushing the lot.

Drybrushing is a fine technique for furs, chainmail and quickly getting a blob of Snotlings in a basic coat of paint.
To ease my conscious I then carefully applied a thin line of (human) skin color on the bottom lips of all Snotlings involved in the process. At this point all it took was for me to sit myself down twice. Once on Friday evening and again on Saturday morning I just had to take a few hours to finish the lot up. Not pictured: me cursing all Snotlings and the Warhammer painting hobby.

Two ends of a toothpick attached to a bit of plastic rod and we have something resembling a pump handle.
During this cursing I found time to make a quick emergency repair to the two story pump wagon (its crew and the pump handle are missing). Yes I really hate this hobby....mumble mumble...okay it's actually a lot of fun....

Just add some Mournfang Brown....
Sitting on the bottom floor I'm going to pretend the crew have taken a quick break from pumping to pelt the enemy with mushrooms, small rocks and harsh language.

Cleverly hidden on the bottom deck of the pump wagon: my improvised handle.
I have to admit I rushed the project just to finish it. Also the larger wagon is still missing a base as I had to mail order a fresh one and it isn't in yet. As to the other base I'm quite happy with the green stuff mushrooms I made for it. Should do that more often. So a bit of a rush job (between the scenes as it was spread out over almost two months), but still better then the alternative. I'm quite sure these Snotlings would be terrorizing a plastic bag at the bottom of a project box if I had tried to paint them with all bells and whistles. So there they are, ready to fail at achieving any serious battlefield goals. But where are the two drunk ones? They haven't been finished. Over the years I think I have painted the drunk Snotlings about a dozen times and every time I finish I hate the paint job so much I have to start over...it's just something of a tick I have with models I love a bit too much. Next up: me finishing a unit of boyz (maybe).