Monday 12 February 2024

A-Haunting We Will go... My Nighthaunt Warcry Warband

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

This week, I thought I'd show you my Nighthaunt warband for Warcry. Along with Kill Team, Warcry is one of my favourite games at the moment and, up until recently, I was playing it at least once a fortnight with a group of friends. I've even managed to get The Better Half to give it a go.* Like Kill Team, it's a game that's quick and easy to learn, with no complicated rules to get bogged down in. Warbands are typically less than a dozen miniatures and games take no more than 90 minutes or so to play. The fact that almost every faction in the Age of Sigmar universe has warband rules (some with multiple warbands available) and each warband has a wide choice of models to choose from makes it ideal for a hobby butterfly (like me) or someone who has access to only a few models for any given faction. It's easy to put together a viable warband from a few cheap Ebay purchases. I have had a few warbands planned for years, mostly making use of models that I already had kicking around, and the Nighthaunt was the first one that I got around to assembling as a viable force. I had loads of models to choose from, as I had collected quite a few from the Mortal Realms partwork, so I chose what I considered to be a good mix of lightweight cheap troops, medium-strength troops, and a couple of real heavy hitters. 

Having assembled my force (and given them a name- Lord Balowskyr's Retinue) I used a few test models to create a paint scheme which meant I could get the warband painted and ready in double-quick time. Here it is:

1. Spray with Grey Seer, then a zenithal overspray of Corax White

2. Then an all-over wash of a mix of Nihalikh Oxide/Hexwraith Flame/Athonian Camoshade.

3. Add in some Dark Angels Green into the previous mix and apply this in a pin wash, just around the deepest recesses, and where the different layers of cloak meet. Also apply this mix on the hands, blending it out up the arms.

4. Apply a wetbrush stipple of Grey Seer.

5. Paint all the details: 

Metal: Leadbelcher; Brass: Runelord Brass; Wood: Gorthor Brown; Leather: Mournfang Brown; Copper: Vallejo Copper; Gravestones: Mechanicus Standard Grey followed by Administratum Grey; Bone: Ushabti Bone followed by Screaming Skull. Then wash all of these areas with a mix of Agrax Earthshade, Athonian Camoshade and Nuln Oil.

6. Using a very soft brush, apply a light drybrush of Grey Seer followed by White Scar.

7. Blend Tesseract Glow around where the ghost form meets the base. 

8. Use the mix from step 3 and apply it to the tips of any ghostly flames. 

9. For the bases, I first applied some Stirland Battlemire, whish was drybrushed with Mournfang Brown then XV-88. I then applied Leaf Litter from Javis, stuck down with PVA glue. When the glue was dry, I sprayed the whole model with gloss varnish, then a spray of matt varnish. I then drybrushed Grey Seer around where the model met the base. Once all that was dry, I washed the base with Agrax Earthshade, then added Nuln Oil wet in wet around edges. And here's how they turned out:**

Lord Balowskyr, Knight of Shrouds
Lady Natasha, Guardian of Souls
The Brothers
Gwen, Edwin and Rikard
Nell, Vyvian, Mhikal

And, if you'd prefer that information in an easier format, here it is- my first one-sheet painting guide*** 

Since I started playing with them, they've fared quite well, I've won a few and lost a few. The playing style for them takes some getting used to, as they're fragile on the battlefield, but have some useful abilities, but they're good fun to play with. The next warband I need to do is to finish painting the Skaven one for The Better Half, that I started months ago****. After that, who knows? I've got miniatures for at least half a dozen other warbands, and a Stormcast Eternals one that is already half-painted (which I started for some other long-forgotten project.) To be honest, I'd happily paint up one of each of all the available warbands, there's so much character in each one. Trouble is, I'd also like to do the same with Blood Bowl, Underworlds, Necromunda...

Thanks for reading!

p.s. if you like what I'm doing here, a click on the link below and the donation of the price of a pot of paint would be a wonderful gesture. I'm thinking of adding special stuff to the Ko-fi, like competitions and prize draws, so it'd be a good idea to at least have a look there now and then 😁 

*True to form, she beat me. She beats me at every game we play...

**A gold star if you can identify the inspiration for their names...

***I realise I'm far from the first to do this idea, but I love a good bandwagon...

****She's very patient...

Monday 29 January 2024

A Tale Of Two Kill Teams: Necron Tomb World And Heirotek Circle

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

Today I'm going to talk about my Necrons. Ever since I started collecting the Warhammer 40,000: Conquest magazine a couple of years ago, I'd been working on my Death Guard as my main 40k army. However, having amassed roughly 3,000 points worth, I got about half of them assembled and a few of them painted and...then not a lot happened, which continued to happen for quite a while. The army got quietly abandoned and have remained in a partially done state ever since, tucked away in a box. They've been there so long, in fact, that the follow-up to Conquest, Mortal Realms came and went, and another 40k partwork, Imperium, had begun. The bad guys this time were Necrons. 


Around the time Imperium began, a couple of friends started making noises about starting up some games of Kill Team, and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do something with the Necrons. I figured, if I just put together a Kill Team, I'd avoid getting bogged down with the idea of putting together a whole army, like I had with the Death Guard. Also, if I didn't enjoy putting together and painting the Kill Team then I could sell on the rest of the Necrons from Imperium and try something else. With all that in mind, I designed a Kill Team using the miniatures that had come with the first few issues of the magazine and found I could easily put together the required amount of points.

Then GW released a new edition of Kill Team, with an entirely new method of force creation...

No problem. the miniatures I had worked out perfectly** to make a decent roster based on the Tomb World force from the compendium that I could select my Kill Teams from. I put together fire teams of Warriors, Flayed Ones and Immortals, using the Royal Warden as an Immortal Leader. I worked out a nice quick and easy way to paint them, and got them done in time to start playing some games with them! 

This was more like it- instead of having an army that was half finished* here I was with a fully-playable force, fully painted! Okay, so it was only just over a dozen models but that wasn't the point. It changed my whole outlook on the hobby and I vowed that I would never get bogged down in a huge project again. From now on, skirmish forces were the way to go** It's an important thing to note when painting for the tabletop and for your own collection (and a lesson it's taken me a long time to learn) that there's a balance to be struck between the time you want to spend on the models and the level of finish you want to achieve. I've always been a painter first and a gamer second, and the urge is always going to be to paint everything to the highest level but I know that, even for only a handful of models, that's just not practical if I: a) want to ever get them finished; b) want to be able to play actual games with them, with the potential for them to get broken, worn, chipped... So, the aim is always going to be to get them good enough for me to be satisfied without spending hours and hours on them.

Skip forward a few months and, having played a few games with the force (with a fairly even rate of wins/losses) the Tomb World list gets supplanted by a bespoke list from the Shadowvault boxed set: the Heirotek Circle. I managed to secure myself the upgrade sprue for a bargain price on Ebay and, once again, I had a new Necron force to paint up. This time, I wanted to try something a little different, colour-scheme wise, and I initially played around with a sort of pale, off-white, but they unded up looking too close to my Nighthaunt Warcry warband***  I saw some miniatures online (I think they were some of the new Squats) that were painted a dark teal with a dark red shade**** and that lead me to develop the paint scheme I went with. These ones took me a little longer to get around to getting finished but, in terms of paint time on individual models, they were really quick and easy to do, yet looked good enough to satisfy my aesthetic desires. 

Fast-forward a few months again and our Kill team campaign is drawing to a fiery and dramatic conclusion. I've won a few games, lost a few and drawn a few, and had a lot of fun along the way (always the most important thing) and it's been really nice to be able to play with a mostly fully-painted force. So, where do we go from here with the Necrons? Well, when our Kill Team campaign does come to an end, I'll most likely be retiring the Kill Teams and sticking them on a shelf, where they'll sit as a proud reminder that I can sometimes finish one of my own projects and act as an inspiration for more. I have many more Kill Teams I want to have a go with and I want to shift my attention to them. I'm not completely done with the old undead robots yet, though. I have all the models I need to be able to put together a full Combat Patrol set, and a couple of the guys in my gaming group are twitching to have a go at that format for a few games after the Kill Team campaign is done. I know a change from Necrons would be nice, but it'd also be nice to have one last hurrah with them before moving on. All that remains is to decide how I'm going to paint them: do I go with the colour scheme from the Tomb World Kill Team, or the one I used for the Heirotek Circle, or something completely different? 

As for the Death Guard, well, I don't think they'll stay tucked away in a box forever...

Watch this space...

Thanks for reading!


p.s. if you like what I'm doing here, a click on the link below and the donation of the price of a pot of paint would be a wonderful gesture. I'm thinking of adding special stuff to the Ko-fi, like competitions and prize draws, so it'd be a good idea to at least have a look there now and then 😁 

*and that's being very generous. Half-started would be more like the truth...

**up until Warhammer: The Old World came along...

***I must remember to show these at some point

****I wish I could remember who did them, so I could thank and credit them for the inspiration

Monday 8 January 2024

Warhammer The Old World: Choices, Choices...

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

So, Warhammer: The Old World is finally here (look at that logo-I love the colours used...) I've been eagerly anticipating this release since it was first tentatively announced years ago* and it looks like they've knocked it out of the park. I'm not one of those that have moaned ad infinitum about the death of the old Warhammer Fantasy, and the creation of Age Of Sigmar- I understand completely the reasons behind that decision and I really enjoy the new setting and the game(s) set within it but there's no doubt I have a soft spot for the old Warhammer world and all that was created for it. After all, I worked at the design studio during one of the best times in Warhammer history, when a lot of what is now taken as long-established lore, design and style was nailed down. Whether you prefer the relatively realistic, roleplay-heavy stylings of the very early days, the bright, primary colours and cartoony, heroic aspects of the 90s, the more grimdark version that emerged in the 00s, or the epic, bombastic nature of the last incarnation, Warhammer Fantasy had a rich and vibrant history and it was a shame to see it go. I'm very glad to see it return and I'm very much looking forward to where they go with it.

The initial releases of Tomb Kings and Bretonnians have a fantastic mix of old and new models in plastic, resin and even metal! It makes me wish I hadn't sold off my skeleton chariots a few years ago- there's a lesson here: miniatures are like cables, as soon as you've got rid of them, you'll find you needed them...Still, even if my Tomb Kings now only amount to one Warsphinx (which I'm saving for a special paint job- there's no way I'm going to go tabletop-ready on one of my all-time favourite miniatures) and a bucketload of plastic skeleton horses (maybe an entirely cavalry army one day...?) I know I've got a plethora** of other old Warhammer miniatures to choose from. After much rummaging and sorting I discovered I have the High Elf half of Island of Blood, most of the 6th edition starter set Orcs and Empire, and a load of Goblins from Battle For Skull Pass. None of these are really enough to make solid armies from, although that could drastically change when the starter army boxes for these are released later down the line. Thanks to the generosity of Nic Sinton, an old friend, I have a substantial collection of metal Empire centrepiece models like the War Alter and War Wagon but, like with the Warsphinx , I'd kinda like to do showcase paintjobs on these pieces and I don't really have any units to speak of anyway. Similarly, I have a small force of Chaos Dwarfs and Hobgoblins (again, thanks Nic!) but it's not enough to make a playable army (even though I'm itching to paint them up) and, as they aren't going to be one of the supported armies (at least for the forseeable future) filling in the gaps is going to be prohibitively expensive and thus completely out of the question, so they may have to be a more skirmish-sized force that I do later down the line, or maybe I'll save them for a showcase at some point***.

Which leaves me with the Dwarfs (an army with which I have a deep affinity, for some reason) of which I have a sizeable chunk: A Runelord, 2 Lords, a Battle Standard Bearer, 2 units of 20 Warriors, 2 units of 10 Handgunners, 20 Miners, 16 Quarellers, 5 Hammerers, 5 Longbeards and 2 Cannons with crew. I reckon that's a pretty goodly-sized army. All it needs is another box of Hammerers/Longbeards to fill out the units and I reckon that'd be perfect. Of course, I'd need to see the rulebook for the proper points but I reckon that'll  be enough to be going along with, and I'll be really interested to see what new and old stuff gets released when it's their turn.

About 10 years ago, I painted one of them up as a test for an army that never happened, and here he is and, y'know, I don't think he looks too bad. 

Unfortunately, either I didn't write down my process for him, or it's got lost in the mists of time, so I've had to have another go...

I reckon that's good enough for any tabletop, and I like the way he looks on the larger base (although I might go with the Rhinox Hide instead of black...) as it enables me to go with an "island" base style, which I've always rather liked. An hour from bare plastic to ready to photograph is an ideal amount of time when I've got to paint up to 150 of the little buggers, too! Painting this one has really got my juices flowing as well, and I'm super-stoked to start a project in a way I haven't been for a long time. It's serendipitous, and fits in with my thoughts of making a bit of a fresh start that I touched upon in last week's post. I've never done a New Year New Army before but this feels like the perfect time to embark on such a thing. I did try to order a copy of the Forces Of Fantasy book but my FLGS has informed me (as I was writing this) that they can't get hold of a copy, so I'm going to have to wait a while to be able to get my army list finalised properly. In the meantime, I've got a lot of prepping and basing to do. After all, I doubt very much whether the basis of a Dwarf army has changed much...  

I've never had a complete Warhammer Fantasy army before so, by hook, crook or anvil, I'm going to have one. It's going to be complete, game-legal and fully painted. I hope I'll one day get to play a game with it but, frankly, that's by the by. I just want to have a fully painted Warhammer fantasy army. Every home should have one. Ideally, I'd like to have all that I've currently got painted and ready to go by the time that they get around to releasing anything new (or re-releasing some of the old stuff) but I realise that's probably unlikely. I am going to make the promise to myself that I am not going to buy anything new for the army until I've got all my existing stuff ready and painted. Honest. 

By the way, if you want all the most up to date news on The Old World, the official website is right HERE and, of course, you can buy all your square-based need at the Warhammer website (when they come back in stock...)

I'm gonna paint me an army

Thanks for reading!

p.s. if you like what I'm doing here, a click on the link below and the donation of the price of a pot of paint would be a wonderful gesture. I'm thinking of adding special stuff to the Ko-fi, like competitions and prize draws, so it'd be a good idea to at least have a look there now and then 😁 

*I even set up the first Facebook page dedicated to it, almost as soon as it was announced, but the less said about that, the better
**a whole plethora, not just a half-plethora.
***maybe even an Armies On Parade entry- could that even happen one day...?
****Although, as I write this article, I've just been informed by my FLGS that they can't get hold of a copy for me.

Sunday 31 December 2023

Happy New Year Everyone, And Welcome Back!

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

The blessings of The Grandfather be upon you...
(they sure as hell were upon me...)

Welcome to 2024, and welcome back to my blog! It's been a while since I posted anything here and I've been meaning to get back to it for a while so, during my (somewhat enforced) downtime over the festive period, I decided to knuckle down and actually do something about it, and here we are! To be honest, I'm glad to see the back of 2023, it's not been a great year for me. Don't get me wrong, there's been no major disasters or upheavals, and the year has had its share of high points but, on average, it's not gone the way I wanted it to. health issues, bad planning and organising on my part and various other things have meant that my work has suffered a lot. I've missed deadlines, let people down and, frankly, I've nobody to blame but myself, although there have often been extenuating circumstances beyond my control. All of this has caused spiralling depression in the last quarter of the year, which I've struggled to pull myself out of and the year has ended with a horrendous bout of food poisoning that began on December 26th and which, as I write this on new year's eve, I still haven't fully recovered from. So, all in all, not a flagship year for me.

But it's not all doom and gloom. If nothing else, my enforced absence from the painting table since Christmas Eve has given me the opportunity to step back and switch off from worrying about all the outstanding jobs I've got to finish (there's not much point stressing about something when there's literally nothing you can do to about it) and it's turned out to be exactly what I needed to clear my head and regroup. For the last couple of months I've been dreading going up to my painting table, and not enjoying what I've been doing while I've been there. Now, having had this time out, I'm actually really looking forward to getting back to painting, both on my commissions and my own work. I feel motivated again for the first time in months, which is why I felt it was a good time to restart the blog. Part of why I hadn't done anything with it for so long was that I just didn't feel inspired by my work to write anything about it. I'm hoping that's changed. So, I've dusted off a load of half-finished, barely started or just ideas-in-the-making articles and I'm hoping I'll be able to maintain a regular posting schedule. Please keep checking in on Mondays (or sign up to get notifications) and let me know what you think of how I'm getting on. Suggestions for articles are always welcome, too.  

Something that I have managed to do, which I've been meaning to get done for ages now, is to get all my collection of minis organised, more or less. I've done army lists for Kill Teams and Combat Patrols for 40k; sorted my Age Of Sigmar stuff into Warcry warbands and potential starter armies for whatever they're going to come up with as the AOS version of Combat Patrols in 4th Edition; and sorted out my old fantasy miniatures into potential small starter armies to throw together when The Old World drops. I've even sorted out lots of my old lead into a bucket list of classic minis I want to paint just for the sheer hell of it. I know none of this is actually going to help get any of these projects actually done, but it organises it better in my headspace, and that's really important for a hobby butterfly like me. This way, if I feel like dipping into one of these boxes for a bit of hobby time, at least I'll know why I'm painting up Model X, or Unit Y. Giving everything its own little bit of purpose is, to me, a strong motivator. 

And on the subject of motivation, I'm going to be starting my painting/hobby streak again, trying to maintain a daily post of my progress on commissions and personal projects on the social medias, so please keep an eye out for those, as well. I had a really good response to the last streak, and some positive feedback from people who'd been inspired to do the same thing (not that I'm taking any credit for the idea of the streak, just take a look at #thestreak (or any variant of it) on Instagram and you'll see dozens of creatives who've been doing it much longer than me.)

Right, well, that's about it for now. All that remains is for me to wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous 2024. Hopefully I'll see you all next week with a proper article!*

Thanks for reading!


p.s. if you like what I'm doing here, a click on the link below and the donation of the price of a pot of paint would be a wonderful gesture. I'm thinking of adding special stuff to the Ko-fi, like competitions and prize draws, so it'd be a good idea to at least have a look there now and then 😁 

*With proper footnotes... 

Monday 8 May 2023

How To Not Win A Golden Demon, And Other Short Stories...

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

Well, once again it's been a huge long time since I last posted anything here and, for that, I apologise. I wish I could say there's been a proper reason for it but, truth be told, it's just that I haven't got around to finishing off any of the posts I had prepped. Some needed editing, some rewriting, some needed photos sorting out...and I just couldn't find the time to do anything about them so nothing ended up being done. the blog isn't the only thing that's been affected, and I've fallen far behind on my list of painting commissions, which has been really frustrating. There have been some extenuating circumstances: pressures of my real-world job, general life stuff, health issues and a host of other bits and pieces have taken up more time than I would have liked recently so I've made a big decision that should have considerable impact on my output. I've decided to drop my hours at my real-world job (night shifts in a care home) to the bare minimum of one 12-hour shift a week, and make my commission painting my primary job. It's a bit of a risk, as is any freelance situation, but I think I can keep enough work coming in to make it feasible. It's something I needed to do for the sake of my health and, I think, for my sanity. I love the care work, but I was really struggling doing multiple night shifts, and trying to switch between day/night sleeping cycles and I think I'll be a lot better off, physically and mentally, going forward. So, hopefully, I'll be able to maintain a much more reliable and consistent painting schedule, and finally get caught up with all my commissions. And it means that, all being well, I'll be able to maintain a regular blog posting schedule as well. I've got loads of posts prepped and nearly ready to share, so keep watching this space!

So that's what's happening from now onwards but now I want to talk about a few things that have been happening while I've been off-air. Firstly, while I was away, my follower count on Instagram cracked the 1,000 mark, and I'm now nearly at 1,250, which I find amazing! My Twitter is nearly at 500, too, and I'm going to try to post more content there from now on as well, as I've kind of neglected it recently.  I'm so grateful that so many people have taken the time out to look at my stuff. I know it's small potatoes compared to the big names on the social medias, but it still means an awful lot to me, so thank you to everybody who has followed me!

Of course, the main thing that has happened while I've been offline has been Golden Demon/Warhammer Fest. Right up to less than a month before the event, I didn't know if I was going to be able to get the time off work to get there, so I'd kind of abandoned all thought of entering Golden Demon, especially as my plans for models to enter had already pretty much fallen by the wayside due to my health issues earlier in the year anyway. Then, with only 3 weeks to go, I finally got the confirmation of the time off work and I thought it would be daft not to go all that way and not enter something, even if I was only making up the numbers so I decided to grab something from my Pile of Temporary Abandonment and finish it off. And here it is:

Given the amount of time I had given myself to work with I'm quite pleased with the end result. I knew there was absolutely no chance of winning, or even getting a coveted finalist pin, but that wasn't the point. I knew I had to have something to put in, no matter what. In the end, I was proven right, as it didn't even receive a single sticker on it's card but I don't care. It was there, and that's all that matters. Plus (and this is a real big bonus, as far as I'm concerned) I finished one of my painting projects that had been started and abandoned years ago. It's a really nice feeling to get one of these old projects done, and I'm going to be doing a few more in the upcoming months. Who knows, I may even finish one of the ones I planned to do for this year's Golden Demon...!

As for Warhammer Fest itself...Well, I have to say I found the whole thing a bit of a let-down. The last Fest I went to was the last one held in Coventry and that one had been great- there had been demo games, both digital and traditional, being run by loads of licensees, participation and demo games, big miniature displays and a great studio presence with White Dwarf staff, the 'eavy Metal team, the sculptors, artists, writers, games developers all present with displays of their work, as well as other displays and things going on, such as seminars. This time there was almost none of that. There was demo sessions of the new 40k set, due out in the summer, where you could play a couple of turns of the game, a handful of digital developers showcasing their games, Cubicle 7 showing off their Warhammer RPGs, a demo game of 40k-scale Adeptus Titanicus, a pick-up and paint area and a board game cafe. That, along with the tournament tables (taking up nearly half of the immense main hall) and Golden Demon displays was about all there was to do. I know there were some painting masterclasses available, as well as a couple of other painting-based activities but these were on a ticket-only basis, as was the laser tag*. There was no studio presence at all, which is one of the biggest parts of the event for me. Warhammer Fest was always one of the occasions where I could catch up with some old friends I still have amongst the studio staff. Without that a lot of the appeal of the event is lost.  And, because of the general lack of things to do, what there was to do was massively over-subscribed. Queues were ridiculous. The queue to try out the new Boltgun videogame was anything between 1 and three hours, depending on the time of the day, the queue for trying out the new 40k was up to 4 hours! Even the queue for the shop was up to two hours at some points!** I heard that one person gave up on the queue, dumped the stuff he was buying on a table, left the event, bought the same stuff at the nearby Manchester Warhammer store, put it in his car, returned to the event and his friend, who he'd been queuing with, still hadn't made it to the checkouts. Now, that might be apocryphal but, given the enormity of the queues, I can well believe it. This issue of oversubscription meant that many couldn't get into the preview announcements during the weekend (even though the auditorium held 700 people!) but at least you could see these events on the screens outside the auditorium but then, even these weren't great: four or five large-ish monitors down each side of the main hall. There were no monitors at all in the food hall, where all the seats were, and no large screen, for everybody queueing up for other things in the main hall, to be able to see. I would have liked to have tried out some of the games but I really wasn't prepared to queue for so long to do so. I will admit, the queues were a bit better on Sunday, and much better on Monday (due to there being less and less people there) but, by then, I was so tired I couldn't be arsed. All in all, it was a bit crap, to be honest and poor value for money. There wasn't even any goody bags! If the format is the same next year I'm going to have to think very hard about going at all (especially considering the 6-hour drive each way and hotel costs, etc.) and, if I do, I'll certainly not be going for the full three days. All that being said, the staff were all superb, from the floor staff, to the till-jockeys, to the licensees, to the Golden Demon desk operators.*** I've worked these sort of events and I know how draining they can be and I didn't see one single staff member looking pissed off, or hear one complaint. I had a brief chat with one of the guys on the tills on Monday and he said he'd been there all weekend, and was still going to be working the take-down the following day. Hats off to him and all the others like him, and thanks to all the staff who all did their best. It wasn't their fault that decisions had been made, far above their pay grades, that made the event, in my opinion, such a damp squib. I do realise that some of the issues I've had with this year's event have been of my own making, and I accept that, with a little foresight, maybe going for the whole three days wasn't the right thing to do, but I've seen a lot of comments online that show that I'm not the only one that was left feeling a little disappointed with the overall event. Oh, and there wasn't a proper bar, either, which was a huge let-down. At Coventry I was able to prop up the bar, have a relaxing pint and watch the crowd go by, whilst chatting with some mates. Couldn't do that this time...

It wasn't all bad news though. I did manage to meet up with some lovely people on each day. These are what made the event for me, and On the Saturday afternoon I had a good chinwag with old chum Jamie Hutber, who was busily taking photos of the event and he introduced me to Albert Moreto Font, the man who would take the Slayer Sword this year. On Sunday I managed to get into the Warhammer: The Old World and Horus Heresy preview with Dave Taylor, one of the admins of 'Eavier Metal on Facebook (he's the wonderful chap that organises the 20th Century Challenge painting competition that I've been judging for the last few years.) Without him, I doubt I'd have made it into the preview, such was the queue. I even bumped into Max Faleij just before he was due to start the Golden Demon judging, something which I don't envy him for. Finally, on Sunday I met up with Mike McVey, who I'd really wanted to catch up with and haven't chatted to since we worked together nearly 30 years ago! and Tommie Soule, aka The Miniature Painting Tutor. Tommie is one of the greats of the miniature painting hobby, a genuinely lovely bloke and I had a cracking time with him and Daphne at the Golden Demon awards ceremony****. I have to say a huge thanks to Tommie for honouring me with a signed copy of his book. If you haven't ordered yourself a copy yet, I urge you to do so. Tommie has distilled his years of teaching experience into what is likely to become the definitive book on miniature painting techniques. His work is an incredible resource, and useful to those of any level of the painting hobby. It's available here (UK)here (USA) and here (digital) and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

So, there we have it. At least the weekend wasn't a total loss and, when it all boils down to it, the social aspect of these events is one of the main draws (after all, it's the main reason I was so disappointed in the lack of studio presence) and I have to admit, socialising doesn't come easily to me (I get completely overwhelmed in big crowds and the first few hours at the event I was utterly out of my depth) which means I'm normally in my own little bubble of nerves at events like this, especially as I usually go on my own, so being able to relax and chat with such great people really did make the event for me. Thanks all.
So that's that. I have to admit I've already started on planning for next year's competition, with the idea of doing it properly this time (if I do indeed end up going). All those plans will, of course, go out of the window and I'll probably end up throwing something together at the last minute, as usual...
Aaand...I think that's enough rambling on from me for now. Fingers crossed, I should be back next week with, hopefully, that Deathwatch tutorial I promised weeks ago. Or maybe something else...

Thanks for reading!

p.s. if you like what I'm doing here, a click on the link below and the donation of the price of a pot of paint would be a wonderful gesture. I'm thinking of adding special stuff to the Ko-fi, like competitions and prize draws, so it'd be a good idea to at least have a look there now and then 😁 

*Yeah, the extra charges...some of them were truly eye-watering. Tournament passes were £50 extra, painting classes were between £35 and £80, even entering Golden Demon itself was an extra £10! When you're already paying a hefty price for the event, this is a bit much...

**And...this I really don't get. Apart form a couple of event-exclusive miniatures and event merch (hats, t-shirts, etc.) everything else is available online through the GW store at exactly the same price so why do people buy so much stuff at the event? It only means the queues are even bigger and they have to carry it around with them all day...

***apart from one guy, working on one of the licensee stalls, who turned his back on me and walked away literally half way through me asking him a question. I guess he had a one question per punter limit.

****one of the parts of the event that was done really well, congrats to all involved and, of course, to the winners.

Monday 20 March 2023

We have normality*. Anything you still can't cope with is therefore your own problem**

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

I've been away a few weeks and, for that, I apologise. The reason for my absence is simple illness. Over the course of the last month I've had two colds and one weird bug/virus/somethingoranother that had me with room spins, nausea and vomiting. None of these things, alone, would have been an issue normally but I've fund, since having Covid a couple of years ago, that my resistance to things like that has been severely diminished and I find myself knocked on my arse by things I would have merrily strode through before. Even as I write this, the cold that started ten days ago is still lingering on, I feel physically drained and the 2-mile walk to work has just about done for me. It feels ridiculous that I can be knocked back by such minor things but it is what it is. 

The real trouble is that being ill, having time off, not getting stuff done is a real trigger for my depression. The longer I'm inactive, the more I struggle with the Bad Head Stuff and this is why I've dropped off the radar for the last few weeks. I know from bitter experience that trying to force myself out of a depressive period can be the worst thing to do. I've lost count of the amount of work that's gone in the paint stripper (or worse- in the bin) because my head's been in the worng place and I've hated the work I've done, which leads me further down the spiral, as I then beat myself up for wasting time, or destroying work that was probably salvageable which leads to self-doubt...etc, etc. It's a horrible slippery slope. So I took myself out of the equation. Tried to relax, stopped the blog and the Instagram posts, took the pressure off. I did manage to sneak in the occasional few hours' work here and there and got a couple of jobs, that were nearly done anyway, finished just to test my headspace but, for the most part, I've been playing games, watching tv and reading, until I felt ready to raise my head above the parapet again.

Unfortunately, the upshot of all this is that I'm now massively behind on everything. Money is tight because all the commissons I was expecting to finish over the last month have ground to a halt and my Golden Demon projects have barely started. So I've got a LOT of catching up to do. As I said, I did manage to get a few bits finished, such as the Deathwatch and Chosen shown below, and I've got blog posts regarding them pretty much ready to go over the next couple of weeks, along with a couple of other posts I've been working on, so I've got plenty of content to keep things ticking over here for a month or so. 

I'm having to seriously rethink my Golden Demon entries. My priority has to be finishing off my outstanding commissions which is going to leave me precious little time to work on my own stuff.  I have to accept that there's no way I'm going to get entries done that stand the slightest chance of placing (not that I expected to produce winning-level entries anyway, with the standard of the competition these days...) andthe grand plans I had will have to be abandoned, but I'm determined that I'm going to take something along, even if it's just to make up the numbers. It's not the winning that counts, after all, but the taking part and, besides, I wanted to use the event to catch up with some people more than anything else and that's far more important to me. So I'm going to use the opportunity to finish off some projects from the lost and the nameless box- my huge collection of unfinished projects. That way I can take some personal satisfaction from getting them done, even if they don't cut the mustard in the competition. 

The other thing that's fallen by the wayside in my time away has been #TheStreak23 that I've been running over on my Instagram posts. This has been a real disappointment as I'd managed to get it up to 40 days and it's a shame to have to start over. I've thought about ignoring the time off and take a sickness mulligan but I thought better to start over. Then I thought, if I add a .1 to #TheStreak23 I can keep an eye on how many ties I have had to restart when I get to the end of the year. Clever, no?

So there we go.  Again, I apologise for being away but it really was circumstance beyond my control. Apologies also to my patient customers, and thank you for putting up with my absence. I'll be back next week with a painting guide for either the Chosen or the Deathwatch (whichever I get finished first) and the daily Instagram posts will start again tomorrow. Ooh, and don't forget to log in to Die Rolling over on Twitch on Tuesday evening at 7.30pm (UK time) for some D&D-based shenanigans!

Thanks for reading!


p.s. if you like what I'm doing here, a click on the link below and the donation of the price of a pot of paint would be a wonderful gesture. I'm thinking of adding special stuff to the Ko-fi, like competitions and prize draws, so it'd be a good idea to at least have a look there now and then 😁 

*What we laughingly refer to as normal around here, anyway...

**A gold star to the first person who identifies the quote...

Monday 6 February 2023

Brains...Braiiins...Botwar Floating Brains of Dooooom....

Good morning/afternoon/avening everyone!

This week's post is just a quick one, looking at a small set of Botwar miniatures I painted for Trader's Galaxy promo shots last year, the Gorg/Overlord multi-set, available here. This is quite an unusual set, with more than a hint of the old Transformers villains, The Quintessons, about them*. Being, essentially, giant brains with tentacles, there wasn't an awful lot to painting them, and I made good use of washes and glazes...

I started with a zenithal white primer over grey. For the brain bits I first applied a wash of Berserker Bloodshade. When this was dry I applied a stippled highlight of Rckarth Flesh, followed by a stippled highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh. Over the top of all of this I washed a glaze of Carroburg Crimson and, just to give it a nice, nasty grey feshy effect, while this was still wet I mixed in small drops of Basilicanum Grey. 

For the tentacles I started with an all-over wash of Tesseract Glow, followed by a wash of Hexwraith Flame/Athonian Camoshade mix, then a wash of Hexwraith Flame/Tesseract Glow. These weren't applied all over, rather strategically in certain areas to give shape to the tentacles. I then added a highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh with a glaze of Tesseract Glow to finish them off. the suckers were painted with Emperor's Children, then Fulgrim Pink, then a Carroburg Crimson glaze to finish, which was blended into the surrounding green.

The other areas were pretty straightforward. the purple armoured areas were done with a basecoat Naggaroth Night, followed by layers of, Xereus Purple, Genestealer Purple and Dechala Lilac. all the black and grey areas were basecoated with thinned Abaddon Black and painted with, respectively: 

Skavenblight Dinge, Stormvermin Fur,  Dawnstone.

Mechanicus Standard Grey,  Dawnstone,  Administratum Grey.

Corvus Black, Eshin Grey, Mechanicus Standard Grey, Dawnstone.

All these areas werethen finished off with glazes of Nuln Oil.

Finally, the yellow areas were done with Averland Sunset,  Nazdreg Yellow, Ice Yellow and White Scar and the gemstones done with Sigismund Yellow, Angron Red, Abaddon Black, Angron Red and White Scar for the little spots of light

And that's it! I can now tick "painted some giant floating tentacled brains of doom" off my bucket list...

Thanks for reading!

p.s. if you like what I'm doing here, a click on the link below and the donation of the price of a pot of paint would be a wonderful gesture. I'm thinking of adding special stuff to the Ko-fi, like competitions and prize draws, so it'd be a good idea to at least have a look there now and then 😁 

*With maybe a bit of MODOK thrown in for good measure...