Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The road to Coventry...part three

Okeydokeydoo, starting over.
This time, I've gone for a much thinned-down mix of Guass Blaster Green and Baharroth Blue as the base colour, stippled on randomly letting the white undercoat show through, and I'm much happier with the result.
A happy accident of the white undercoat not being 100% whiter-than-white has also allowed a little texture from the combination of white paint and grey plastic to show through, giving the whole thing a little more texture than originally planned. It doesn't really show in the photographs but you can see the subtleties in real life. I wish I could say that that's exactly as planned, but I have to be honest and say it wasn't! Still, these little occurrences are part of the painting process. Sometimes they work in your favour, sometimes not.

I've followed the basecoat up with a couple of passes of a thinned Guilliman Blue/Waywatcher Green mix to strengthen the colour, create more random patterns and to give a bit of shading to the armour. Overall it's a much more satisfactory result, and almost exactly how I'd envisioned it before painting.

Next comes the fun/horribly frustrating and time-consuming bit (delete as applicable, depending on how much you like really fiddly stuff.) I want to add a veining running all through the turquoise, so I've used a mix of the old Citadel black ink (the really opaque, nasty-tasting stuff in the transparent bolter-shell pots- Daler-Rowney do a good alternative in their FW range) and a bit of Mephiston Red. This is painted veeeewy cawefuwwy with a Citadel XS Artificier Layer brush*. The lower edges of these lines are then given a fine highlight of White Scar**.

It is a fiddly and time-consuming process but, after some hours all the armour is done. I then gave it a final glaze of REALLY thinned Guilliman Blue/Waywatcher Green to knock the white highlights back a bit and I'm calling the armour colours done. The next stage is to shade and highlight the armour to finish it off.

Finally, before I go on this entry, I've just one more picture to show. If I have time I'm going to enter another model into this year's competition in the Duel category. It's unlikely that I'll get it finished in time, so it may have to hold over into the rescheduled Age of Sigmar Open Day later in the year, but you never know...Anyway, here's a sneak preview... 😉 More soon!

* A note on brushes. I use (almost exclusively) Windsor & Newton Series 7 brushes sizes 2, 1, and 0, and occasionally a size 00 for really fine detail. I know there's all sorts of other brushes out there that everybody says are just as good and cheaper than those but I've never yet found anything that matches the Series 7s and certainly nothing that's convinced me to change. However, a while back I needed a really fine brush and couldn't wait for a new size 00 to arrive so I bought the GW brush and I have to say it's been excellent. I have a sneaking suspicion it may be a W&N S7 miniature 00 brush with a rebrand, as it seems very similar and I know that the old GW Artificier brushes were S7 rebrands...
**I use the Air version of the paint for fine highlights like this. Pre-thinned, how useful is that?

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Blastings From The Pastings...

That all-round good chap and pillar of the wargaming community, Art Steventon, has recently been posting some images of the superb Eldar army he's working on at the moment. This included some pictures of a conversion he did inspired by Geoff Taylor's artwork for the second edition 40k Eldar Codex and by the conversion that Mike McVey did, and I painted, for the 'Eavy Metal Converting Miniatures book waaay back in the mid-90's. His article can be found here.
As he only had a scan from that book to illustrate his idea I thought I'd take a few piccies of the original for him, especially as some of the details of the paintjob have never really been seen in public. While I was retrieved aforesaid Eldar from my cabinet I thought to myself, "Why not drag a few more of the old bits and bobs out for an airing?"
So, here's the Eldar. I painted a few of the models for the book at the time but, unfortunately, I don't have a copy of the book any more, so I can't say exactly which ones. I remember painting a Chaos Spawn, and a couple of other conversions that Mike did, but the old memories are hazy... I remember, with this one, really trying to match the details of the artwork as closely as I could. At the time, I was insanely proud of it but it doesn't really stand up to modern standards. One day I'll have another go and do a new conversion, like Art has done.

Here's the results of my random rummaging from my collection of miniatures painted during my time at GW in the 90's.
This Marauder Skeleton was always a favourite of mine from the range, with his mutated legs, and was to be the start of my Skeleton army, that I had assembled and ranked up on my desk, in the studio, ready to be painted...
This was, inevitably, the only one that ever got painted, and is the only one left from that army...
Next up is a Daemonette. I can't remember why I painted this one. It may have been for an alternative colour scheme for a Warhammer Armies: Chaos book but I'm not entirely sure. It may have just been me messing about with an alternate colour scheme for the hell of it...
Finally, we have a plastic Space Marine, of the Lamenters Chapter, from the second edition 40k boxed set, I believe. Now, I think this one may have been done to illustrate a different chapter colour scheme for the Ultramarines Codex but, again, I'm not 100% sure on that. What I do know is this was done specifically to find a better way of painting yellow, without actually using any yellow paint. I find it difficult to understand the nostalgia around the old paints from the late 80's, early 90's. They were often a nightmare to work with, with a lot of the colours have very poor coverage and strength of pigment. Red was one particularly bad colour, but yellow was worse. This Marine was painted by using Hobgoblin Orange, highlighted to white and then glazed with yellow ink (the inks of that time, known as the Expert Paint Set, being the only paints from that era that were really outstanding) then finished off with sepia ink in the deepest shadows. This is basically the method I use for painting yellow to this day, even with the far superior paints that are available now.
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane. It's nice to trot these old models out into the limelight again and I'll dig some more out soon.

Friday, 6 April 2018

The road to Coventry...part two.

So, it's time to make a start. I'd decided what I wanted to do was to give the armour the look of real turquoise, with a bit of texture and patterning to it, and maybe a bit of marbling too. Kind of like what I did many years ago with this Dark Eldar...
So, with a mixture of stippling and sponging, using various combinations of Ahriman Blue, Baharroth Blue and Guass Blaster Green I had this:
Then I played about with some darker tones, using washes applied carefully with a sponge, leaving it looking like this:
I then painted on a couple of layers of matt varnish to smooth it over and left it a couple of days to dry. 

Looking at it fresh a couple of days later I decided it wasn't going the way I wanted it to at all. I really wanted to introduce some marbling to it and the overall effect was too dark for that. Unfortunately, I'd put the paint on quite thick to get the textured effect and this, coupled with the layers of varnish, meant that it was not possible to simply paint over it to lighten it up so I decided to strip it and start over. It's drastic, I know, but better that than spend ages trying to salvage it and maybe having to strip it in the end. 
All is not lost, though, as it give me the opportunity to provide...


It's something that comes up over and over again wherever there is discussion on miniature painting: "How do you strip the paint off your models?" and all sorts of solutions are usually put forward, from the everyday household chemicals (Dettol, Biostrip, Simple Green*) to the downright dangerous (brake fluid.) Personally, I've been using Dettol for years and it does the job well, but it's a pain in the arse to use, expensive (you can only really use it once) and it stinks. Recently, however, one of the attendees of my local painting group (hi Seb!)put me on to this stuff from Superdrug
And it's bloody brilliant. It does the job faster and better than Dettol. Simply soak the miniature in it for a couple of hours (or overnight if you prefer- it won't hurt the model), scrub with a toothbrush and rinse off with warm water. The active ingredient is isopropyl alcohol so look out for any where that is the main ingredient. Even better is this one:
from Poundland, as it's pure isopropyl alcohol but, being Poundland, I can't find the stuff in there on a regular basis.
Anyway, isopropyl alcohol is now my go-to stuff for stripping miniatures. It's clean, re-useable, relatively safe to use and it's cheap. I've no doubt that, if you have a friendly or local industrial chemical supplier, you could buy it by the bucketload even cheaper. And, if you want proof that it works, here's my Questor after soaking overnight and a two-minute scrub:
So, it's back to the start we go...

Thursday, 15 March 2018

The Eldar Phantom Titan: The Prologue

So here we are with the biggest single job I've ever been faced with: The Forge World Eldar Phantom Titan. A monstrous collection of resin parts that come together to make a huge, elegant war machine, towering over the battlefield. I've never even attempted a kit this big (unless you count the 1/72 Millenium Falcon, Saturn V and Space Shuttle kits I did as a wee lad) so to say it is somewhat daunting is to exhibit huge understatement.
However, we must rise to these challenges!
I knew this would be unlike any other project I had attempted before, so I did my research. Fortunately there are a couple of blogs by those who have attempted such a project here and here, and these have proved invaluable, if only to get me thinking outside my usual parameters of projects of no more than 50mm in height...
As this is a Forge World model, the first thing to do was to check that I had all the components...

My first reaction was, "Gosh*, that's a lot of bits."
My second reaction was, "Crikey**, some of those bits are really big. This thing is even bigger than I thought it was."
So, once I'd got over my initial shock, it was time to make some trips to the kitchen sink and give all these bits a thorough soaking and scrubbing in soapy water, to try and get all the mould release agent off. Having done that I needed to straighten out a couple of the bits (mostly the guns) with the aid of my trusty hair dryer and steel myself for the construction of this beastie.
But first, I had to make its base...

To Be Continued...

*I might not have used the word, "Gosh."
**I definitely didn't use the word, "Crikey."

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The road to Coventry...part one

It's time to start preparing for the 2018 Golden Demons.
Last year, a miracle happened. Actually two miracles happened. The first miracle was that I actually finished an entry for Golden Demon. Here it is:
It was entered into the 'Eavy Metal Masters category, which sounds an awful lot grander than it is. What it is is a level playing field, where no conversions are allowed, the specific miniature to paint being chosen by the judges and announced before the event. So the competition comes down to the best paint job on the specific miniature.
And I came third! This was the second miracle because the competition was tough and, frankly, I'd have been chuffed if I'd just placed as a finalist. To win a bronze trophy was way above what I could have hoped for.
Which brings us to this year. 
This is the miniature they've chosen for this year's competition:
It's the Stormcast Eternal Errant Questor from Warhammer Quest. It's a good choice, with lots of scope for different things to do with it. I've actually already painted one for a commission a little while ago. Here it is:
As you can see, I've gone for a darker variation of the standard colours on this one. Now, there's nothing wrong with that 'un, but it's obviously far short of Golden Demon standard, although it was good practice. 
So, what am I going to do with my new one? Well, I've got me a hankering to do it in the colours of the Celestial Vindicators. Their armour is a rich turquoise, which is a colour I really like and that works well on the armour of these models. Here's where I'm at so far:
So, loads of progress made so far...Well, it's a start...
I'll be updating this as I go along. The aim this year is to top last year, so I'm looking for a silver at least. I know it's a big ask, and I'll be happy just to place but, hey, if you don't set goals, you can't achieve them...and, hey, maybe another miracle (or two) can happen!
Also, I have plans for other category entries to, time willing. More on that soon.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

It's my blog and I'll re-start it if I want to...

Greetings, salutations and good morning to you all!
Welcome to my new(ish) blog. Seeing as the existing blog was almost totally non-existent  I have, in my infinite wisdom, decided to start over. New year, new logo (and I promise I'll stick with this one...) With previous attempts I've struggled to keep up with new stuff (for various reasons) but I'm hoping that, this time, I'm going to be able to maintain a higher rate of updates and new posts.
I've got some interesting projects on the go at the moment, both in terms of commissions (including the biggest single piece I've ever done, or am ever likely to do...) and a few personal projects, and I'll be showing the progress of them. I'm also planning some tutorials  and reviews as well as a few other bits and pieces so, hopefully, I'll have plenty of content to throw at you.
I've got a few posts half-prepared already and I'll be uploading them over the next few days so please keep an eye out, keep following and tell all your friends!
Right now, though, it's George Lucas time (11:38) and I've got stuff to be getting on with.
More soon!