Sunday, 18 April 2021

So Long, And Thanks for All The Views

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone.

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that this will be my last blog on this page. For a number of reasons I have decided I will no longer continue with this page in it's current format. This is not the end, however. I am giving deep thought to where I will go from here, and it may well be that the blog will return, in some altered capacity perhaps, at some later date.

I would just like to thank all those who have read, followed and commented on my posts here and hope that you will rejoin me in whatever future venture my online presence take.

Live long and prosper.

May the force be with you.

Be excellent to each other.

Toodle pip.

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 16 March 2021

It's Not Just Big Robots, You Know...

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

A few weeks back, I showed you the colours I used on the Botwars Beastlords. They are some of the larger miniatures in the game and, this time, I'm going to be looking at some rather smaller ones. For those who don't know, Botwars is a 10mm skirmish wargame, produced by Traders Galaxy, that is set in an alternate reality 1980's and features giant robots, military and sci-fi vehicles, some of which will be somewhat familiar to anyone who grew up in the real world version of that decade*. I recently painted a set of the Democracy Special Branch army deal and I thought I'd give an overview of the paints I used and a couple of bits of advice for painting models like them.

The Botwars vehicles are mostly single-piece resin castings (although some of the larger ones come in more pieces) and the castings are crisp and sharp and contain just the right amount of detail for miniatures this size and the quality of the castings makes them easy and satisfying to paint.

When painting military models on this scale, you can normally get away with a basecoat, drybrush and pinwash but, as these models are based on street vehicles, with much more bright colours often on show, I felt a slightly more detailed approach was necessary, so they were given the sort of techniques usually reserved for larger scale miniatures. 

There's two very important things to be mindful of when working at this scale (remember, most of these cars are less than 2cm long...) and at this level of finish. The first is to make sure your edge highlighting is very fine and precise, and that your blends are smooth end even. Also, don't be afraid to have quite a stark contrast between the darkest and lightest colours on any given area, as this will help to give the impression of scale. However, large jumps between colours or thick edge highlights will throw off the sense of scale and leave the end result looking messy, which is why it's important to keep things tidy. It's worth taking the time to be careful how you apply your layers to get a neat, smooth finish. I spent a couple of hours on the main body panels of each of these vehicles to get them the way I wanted, before finishing them off with the generic details, such as windows, tyres, etc. 


Over a black undercoat, I painted a coat of Leadbelcher, followed by an all-over wash of Nuln Oil. This was then highlighted with Leadbelcher followed by Ironbreaker, with an edge highlight of Stormhost Silver.


Over a black undercoat I blended a highlight of a mix of Abaddon Black and Dark Reaper, followed by highlights of Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue and a final higlight, just on the edges of the roof, spoiler, etc. of Fenrisian Grey. The gold was Retributor Armour highlighted with Auric Armour Gold. 


Again, using a black undercoat, the lower half was highlighted with a mix of Abaddon Black and Eshin Grey, followed by Eshin Grey and an edge highlight of Dawnstone. The upper half was basecoated with Eshin Grey, highlighted with Dawnstone and given an edge highlight of Dawnstone/Grey Seer mix. The red was Mephiston Red highlighted with Wild Rider Red.


I initially made the mistake of painting this black, as I used the wrong reference image, so it has a black undercoat. This one had a basecoat of The Fang, which was highlighted with Russ Grey, then Fenrisian Grey and a very fine edge highlight of Corax White. 


As with the Phoenix, over a black undercoat, a highlight of a mix of Abaddon Black and Dark Reaper, followed by highlights of Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue and a final higlight, just on the edges of the roof, etc. of Fenrisian Grey. 

Freedom Eagle

Over a white undercoat, I applied a basecoat of Gryph-Hound Orange (contrast) which was highlighted with Fire Dragon Bright then Luggunath Orange before being given a glaze of Cassandora Yellow. 

Freedom Eagle 2

The black bodywork on this was done exactly the same way as the Phoenix and Interceptor. The glowing scanner on the front was done with Evil Sunz Scarlet, highlighted with Dorn Yellow then White Scar. This was glazed with Bloodletter, and a couple of glazes were also applied to the surrounding area to give the glow.


Over a white undercoat, a basecoat of Blood Angels Red (contrast) with a highlight of Evil Sunz Scarlet, followed by Troll Slayer Orange then Fire Dragon Bright. An edge highlight of a mix of Fire Dragon Bright/Dorn Yellow was followed by an all-over glaze of a Bloodletter/Carroburg Crimson mix. 


A slightly darker red on this one, which was started with Flesh Tearers Red (contrast) over a white undercoat. This was highlighted with Mephiston Red then Wild Rider Red, Fire Dragon Bright and an edge highlight of Fire Dragon Bright/Dorn Yellow mix. This was then given a glaze of Bloodletter/Carroburg Crimson mix.


Over a white undercoat, a basecoat of Thallasar Blue (contrast) was followed by highlights of Caledor Sky, Teclis Blue, Lothern Blue and a final edge highlight of Blue Horror. The jet flames were glaze with a wash of Casandora Yellow. This was then glazed with a couple of coats of Bloodletter, making sure most of the red was concentrated at the bottom. A light drybrush of Mephiston Red was done on the tips.


Again, over a white undercoat, I applied a basecoat of a mix of Thallasar Blue/Ultramarines Blue (both contrast) which was highlighted with Macragge Blue, followed by Altdorf Guard Blue then Calgar Blue, with a final edge highlight of Blue Horror.

Big Bear

Over a white undercoat, a base coat of Volupus Pink (contrast) was given highlights of Pink Horror, then Emperor's Children followed by Fulgrim Pink. This was finished off with a glaze of thinned Carroburg Crimson.


Saving the biggest for last! Over a white undercoat, I started with a coat of Flesh Tearers Red (contrast). This was given a basecoat of Khorne Red, leaving the basecoat only showing in the recesses and gaps. This was then highlightednwith Wazdakka Red, followed by Squig Orange and Fulgrim Pink. I then glazed this with a couple of coats of thinned Carroburg Crimson. The jet flames were done the same way as with Airblade.

And that's the lot! How many did you recognize? I hope these guides were useful.

Thanks for reading!


*A point for each one you recognise...

**The temptation was to paint this one gold. A bonus point for you if you know why...

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Things And Stuff

 Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

This week I'm just going to do a brief post giving a shout out to some cool things out there, a few of which I have a personal interest in. 

First up is the launch of HeroHammer Fanzine. If you're a GW fan of a certain age, you will feel right at home with this new fan-made publication, brought to you from the guys at Crown Of Command. Within it's White Dwarf-inspired pages you'll find painting guides, armies, battle reports, short, everything you'd like to see in a celebration of 90's-era GW. A lot of work has gone into it and, best of all, it's totally free! My involvement in the first issue has been minimal, but I'm hoping to get a fair bit of my painting in there in coming issues. Click on the image below to be taken straight to the webpage, or click here

Next up is something that I've been involved in for a bit longer. If you head over to the 'Eavier Metal Facebook page this Thursday, you will see the winners of this year's 20 Year Challenge painting competition. I think this is the 6th year I've been judging this annual competition and it doesn't get any easier. The basic premise is that, in ordermto qualify, the miniature entered must be at least 20 years old (but can be, of course, a modern paint job.) The scary thing is that, from next year, miniatures released since I left GW will be eligible. 20 years since I left GW...Fuck, I'm old... Anyway, Dave Taylor does a fantastic job running the competition each year, then I leap in at the end, judge it and get all the glory! At least I've not yet had any hate mail from those who didn't win. Obviously it's too late for this year's competition but there's always next year. Click on the image below to be taken to 'Eavier Metal and check in on Thursday for those results...

Next up is something that's all my own work. If you've been looking at my Stuff Of Legends gallery* you'll know that I've done a fair bit of painting for Richard "Orclord" Hale, carving out my own little corner of his incredible miniatures collection. Well, Richard has decided to collect that corner into one page on his Stuff of Legends site. This is really great because a) it's reminded me of quite a few miniatures I'd forgotten about and b) makes it much easier to use his pictures on my page 😁 Richard's gallery can be found by clicking on the toilet below...

Finally, something that I have no involvement in at all, but which certainly deserves a shout out. Long-term readers of this blog will know I'm a big fan of 28 Mag, the magazine of grimdark. It's an incredibly high-quality, totally free publication and I cannot recommend it enough. This week, they've put out a special issue for International Women's Day, with 50+ pages celebrating female creators in the hobby. Click on the image below and download your copy right now. You won't regret it. 

Ooh, one last thing. I've updated my Middlehammer Memory Lane page with a look back to November 1993 and a certain bright red tank. Go take a look. Wear sunglasses.

That's all for this week. Next week, if all goes according to plan, I'll be talking about how I painted some teeny tiny cars...

Thanks for reading!

*and if not, why not...?

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

Titter Ye Not, Balders, And Don't Mention The War!

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

In this week's blog post I'll be looking at a commission piece that I did last year. Seeing as Richard Hale has recently posted this figure to The Stuff Of Legends, I thought it'd be a good time to say a few words about how he was painted.

He's a design from the early 2000's (a Brian Nelson sculpt, I think), when GW was going for a more generic look to their ranges (not my favourite periods aesthetically, if I'm honest) and, as such, he has no iconography on him, not even a chaos star, and certainly nothing to indicate what power he follows. Despite this, the sculpt itself is quite characterful, but was never released. As I've heard of it being referred to as the "Adolf sorcerer" I'm guessing his resemblance to a certain historical figure is why GW changed the head for a horned skull* for the released version.
Personally, I think he looks more like Rowan Atkinson. Or maybe Frankie Howerd. 

One thing I really don't like about the miniature, though, is the horse. There's nothing wrong with the sculpt of the horse's head (although, what's with the little skull on spider's legs familiar thing holding the reins?) but why did it have to be married up with a generic plastic horse body? It looks awful, the head doesn't fit properly and the two parts don't match at all. Surely a character model, one of the leaders of an army, could have had a one-off horse to ride?
As for the painting, well, as there was no clear power at work here, I took my lead from all the bones and skulls on it and headed for a traditional Nurgle feel, with lots of natural greens and browns.

I started by laying down a load of Contrast washes over an Athonian Camoshade underpaint.
These were:
Flesh: Darkoath Flesh/Plaguebearer Flesh 1/1
Armour: Militarum Green/Black Templar 3/1
Cloak Lining: Guilliman Flesh/Plaguebearer Flesh 1/1
Bone: Skeleton Horde
Horse: Gryph-Charger Grey/Gore-Grunta Fur 1/1
Robe: Basilicanum Grey/Plaguebearer Flesh 1/1
Staff: Cygor Brown
Bag and Boots: Cygor Brown/Skeleton Horde 1/2
Leather: Cygor Brown/Snakebite Leather 1/2
Fur: Nazdreg yellow/Snakebite Leather 1/1
Hair: Black Templar/Apothecary White 1/1
Scrolls: Skeleton Horde/Plaguebearer Flesh 1/1
Then the metallics were given the following basecoats:
Brass: Runelord Brass
Metal: Chainmail
Gold: Retributor Armour
Then the whole model was given a couple of glazes of thinned Athonian Camoshade to unify the colours and provide a bit of deep shading.
Once that was dry, the fun really began!
The first area I tackled was the face. This was given a highlight of Pallid /wych Flesh before being given various glazes to give it some colour. I'm afraid I didn't note down which ones were used, but it would have been greens and red, with a bit of blue around the eyes and blue/grey around the chin. A final highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh would finish it off.
The armour was highlighted with Loren Forest, then Ogryn Camo and Kreig Khaki before a glaze of Athonian Camoshade was washed over it to smooth and unify the colours. A final highlight of Kreig Khaki finishes off the armour.
The robe was given a highlight of Ironrach Skin, followed by Deepkin Flesh.
The fur was given a drybrushed highlight of Flayed One Flesh followed by Wraithbone, before being given shading washes of Seraphim Sepia, Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil.
The horse fur (hair?) was stippled with Steel Legion Drab, followed by Karak Stone then a glaze of Agrax Earthshade. This was then followed up with careful drybrushes of Karak Stone and Screaming /skull, before given washes of Reikland Fleshshade, Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil.
The cloak lining was highlighted with Tau Light Ochre, Ungor Flesh and Pallid Wych Flesh before being glazed with a mix of Reikland Fleshshade and Athonian Camoshade.
The staff was highlighted with Gorthor Brown and Baneblade Brown before being given a wash of Agrax Earthshade.
Leather areas were highlighted with Tau Light Ochre, Zamesi Desert and Wraithobne before being given a glaze of Snakebite Leather followed by Agrax Earthshade.
Bones and skulls were given a highlight of Ushabti Bone, followed by Screaming Skull then Wraithbone, a glaze of Athonian Camoshade and a final highlight of Wraithbone.
Parchments were given a highlight of Karak Stone, followed by Pallid Wych Flesh and White Scar, followed by a wash of Seraphim Sepia. The iconography was done with Fleshtearers Red.
The little areas of gold were picked out with Retributor Armour, highlighted with Liberator Gold and Stormhost Silver.
Bronze areas were picked out in Sycorax Bronze, highlighted with Stormhost Silver and given a wash of Athonian Camoshade.
The metal areas were given a coat of Leadbelcher, highlighted with Stormhost Silver and given a wash of Agrax Earthshade/Nuln Oil mix.
Gems were given a careful wash of Hexwraith Flame followed by Coelia Greenshade then a highlight of White Scar and a glaze of Waywatcher.
Finally, the base was done with a basecoat of Mournfang Brown then drybrushed with Steel Legion Drab, Zandri Dust and Karak /stone before getting a wash of Agrax Earthshade. The stones were painted with Mechanicus Standard Grey, given drybrushed highlights of Dawnstone and Deepkin flesh before getting a wash of Athonian Camoshade/Nuln Oil mix.
And we're done!
Total time was a round 12 hours and I'm quite happy with the result. He looks kinda Nurgle-y but there's more of a feel of a traditional wizard gone to the dark side, which I think really works for this miniature.

Thanks for reading!

*Because what this miniature needed was another skull...

Monday, 22 February 2021

Beastlords: Robots In Plain View

 Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

Here we go with my latest set of commissioned miniatures, a set of Beastlords from Bot Wars.

For those who don't know, Bot Wars is a skirmish game in 8mm scale from Traders Galaxy. It's set in an alternate 1980's Earth, where armies heavily inspired by the tv and movies of the real 1980's battle it out. One of the main draw points of the game are the giant robots, inspir3ed by a fairly succesful toy franchise. These are resin miniatures, nearly 50mm tall* and present some unique challenges, with all the flat areas and sharp edges.
I had a mad idea to start these off with a base of Citadel Contrast paints. Why  is that a mad idea? Well,  a lot of people will argue that Contrast paints don't work over large flat areas but I thought it was worth a try to see what happened. And, whaddya know, it worked! I found working with the Contrast bases worked really well, as the pooled away from the edges leaving a natural blend that I could work over with normal highlights. It's just a matter of controlling the paint, not letting it pool too much in the wrong places then, once it's dry, laying down a smooth first layer, blended into the base colour, then built up a couple of layers of edge highlighting, being really careful to keep these as neat and tight as possible. Once all the highlights are finished, I then blended back some of the original Contrast colour, where necessary, to strengthen any of the deeper tones that needed a bit of reinforcing, before applying a controlled recess shade of Army Painter Strong Tone or Dark Tone, depending on the colour. This is blended out to form a smooth blend into the strongest shadow. It's a great way of giving more contrast to the shapes, which really helps to give the illusion of scale, especially when combined with the sharp edge highlights. The colour schemes were mostly based on the production artwork for the miniatures and I've outlined the specific colours used on each miniature below. The colour in parenthesis is the Contrast base layer.


Yellow: (Nazdreg Yellow) Averland Sunset, Yriel Yellow, Dorn Yellow.
Orange: (Gryph-Hound Orange) Troll Slayer Orange, Fire Dragon Bright, Luggunath Orange
Red: (Flesh Tearers Red) Mephiston Red, Evil Sunz Scarlet, Luggunath Orange.
White: (Space Wolves Grey) Ulthuan Grey, Corax White, White Scar.
Grey: (Gryph-Charger Grey) Celestra Grey, Ulthuan Grey, Corax White.
Black: (Black Templar) Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue, Fenrisian Grey, Blue Horror.


Yellow: (Nazdreg Yellow) Averland Sunset, Yriel Yellow, Dorn Yellow.
Green: (Warp Lightning) Warpstone Glow, Moot Green, Kreig Khaki.
Red: (Blood Angels Red) Mephiston Red, Evil Sunz Scarlet, Luggunath Orange.
Grey: (Gryph-Charger Grey) Celestra Grey, Ulthuan Grey, Corax White.
Black: (Black Templar) Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue, Fenrisian Grey, Blue Horror.


Yellow: (Nazdreg Yellow) Averland Sunset, Yriel Yellow, Dorn Yellow.
Blue: (Leviadon Blue) Kantor Blue, Aliatoc Blue, Fenrisian Grey, Blue Horror
Red: (Flesh Tearers Red) Mephiston Red, Evil Sunz Scarlet, Luggunath Orange.
Grey: (Space Wolves Grey) Celestra Grey, Grey Seer, Ulthuan Grey
Black: (Black Templar) Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue, Fenrisian Grey, Blue Horror.


Yellow: (Nazdreg Yellow) Averland Sunset, Yriel Yellow, Dorn Yellow.
Purple: (Leviadon Blue) Naggaroth Night, Xereus Purple, Genestealer Purple, Slaanesh Grey.
Red: (Blood Angels Red) Mephiston Red, Evil Sunz Scarlet, Luggunath Orange.
White: (Gryph-Charger Grey) Celestra Grey, Ulthuan Grey, Corax White.
Black: (Black Templar) Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue, Fenrisian Grey, Blue Horror.


White: (Apothecary White) Grey Seer, Corax White
Green: (Ork Flesh) Warpstone Glow, Skarsnik Green, Nurgling Green
Red: (Blood Angels Red) Evil Sunz Scarlet, Wild Rider Red, Luggunath Orange
Blue: (Ultramarines Blue) Kantor Blue, Aliatoc Blue, Hoeth Blue,
Fenrisian Grey
Yellow: (Iyanden Yellow) Averland Sunset, Flash Gitz Yellow, Dorn Yellow
Black: (Black Templar) Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue, Grey Seer


White: (Apothecary White) Grey Seer, Corax White
Grey: (Space Wolves Grey) Celestra Grey, Grey Seer
Deep Red: (Shyish Purple) Gal Vorbak Red, Word Bearers Red, Squig Orange
Red: (Blood Angels Red) Evil Sunz Scarlet, Wild Rider Red, Luggunath Orange
Light Blue: (Gryph-Charger Grey) Russ Grey, Fenrisian Grey, Grey Seer
Yellow: (Iyanden Yellow) Averland Sunset, Flash Gitz Yellow, Dorn Yellow
Black: (Black Templar) Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue, Grey Seer


White: (Apothecary White) Grey Seer, Corax White
Deep Red: (Shyish Purple) Gal Vorbak Red, Word Bearers Red, Squig Orange
Red: (Blood Angels Red) Evil Sunz Scarlet, Wild Rider Red, Luggunath Orange
Blue: (Tallassar Blue) Sotek Green, Temple Guard Blue, Fenrisian Grey
Light Blue: (Gryph-Charger Grey) Russ Grey, Fenrisian Grey, Grey Seer
Yellow: (Iyanden Yellow) Averland Sunset, Flash Gitz Yellow, Dorn Yellow
Black: (Black Templar) Dark Reaper, Thunderhawk Blue, Grey Seer

So, there you have it. Seven Beastlords. I had a lot of fun with these. All in all, each one took roughly ten hours to do, and I'm fairly pleased with the results. The sculpts are clean, with just the right level of detail, and the castings are crisp and smooth, and I can highly recommend them. It won't be my last foray into the world of Botwar, either, so watch this space for some more from this range soon.

Thanks for reading!

*which makes them around 12 metres tall in scale terms!

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

The Inevitable March Of Decay And Entropy. And Nurglings.

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

If you read last week's post you'll have seen my review of the new Death Guard codex and an army list of my very own Death Guard army.

Today I'm going to talk about my first proper army since...oooh, probably before some of you reading this were born...

When the new Death Guard were originally released in 2017, with the launch of the Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition, I was quite taken with the miniatures. Particularly, as a painter, I was extremely impressed with the work the 'eavy Metal team had done on the miniatures, managing to make them look suitably dirty and manky, yet maintaining the clean, bright house painting style*. 

Having got my hands on the Dark Imperium boxed set I planned to paint up both factions (the Death Guard and Primaris Astartes) into small skirmish forces. The advent of the Conquest partwork made me decide to expand that into two full armies. 

Of course, that never happened.

Both factions languished in boxes, doomed to gather dust with the rest of the Pile Of Shame. That is, until my friend Ollie announced that he'd like to start collecting a 40k army (Astra Militarum, to be exact) in order to start playing some games. I decided to dust off the Death Guard and do something with them at last. Why not the Primaris? 
Four reasons:
1. I'd just finished painting rather a lot of Adeptus Astartes on commission, and was somewhat burned out on them. 
2. My friend Jack was planning to do an Imperial Fists force, and I didn't see the point in having two Astartes forces in our little gaming group.
3. I wanted an army that would be fairly quick to paint and one thing that my experience has taught me is that it can be very difficult and frustrating to paint Astartes quickly to a standard that I would be happy with.
4. The Death Guard playstyle of basically just plodding forward and rolling over the enemy, while soaking up any incoming fire, sounded about right for my level of tactical sophistication.

So, with the Death Guard chosen as my army, the next thing would be to decide how to paint them. As I mentioned, I wanted to be able to burn through them pretty quickly. I know what I'm like for flitting between projects and I knew that, if I wanted to get this one done, I would need to make it easy and quick to do. However, they have to look good enough to appease my delicate artistic sensibilities, so I needed a scheme that would strike a balance between speed, ease of painting and looking good on the tabletop. I knew I wanted to go for a version of the Death Guard's Heresy-era scheme of grey armour and green pauldrons and so I began experimenting on a few of the spare miniatures from Conquest, that I wouldn't be using in my force. 
The Death Guard miniatures are very detailed, with all their mutations, gribbly bits and whatnot, some of them are very busy miniatures, and that can look a bit overwhelming, especially before painting, when the whole model is the same shade of grey all over. I've seen some excellent conversions, where people have cut back a lot (if not all) the bone protrusions and tentacles and they look really good but it did look like a lot of work and, as I said before, I didn't want this project to drag on, so I decided to go ahead with them as they were. In the end, I'm glad I stuck to my guns as, once I started putting some paint on, what had initially seemed an overwhelming level of detail really started to come together and I was reminded why I liked them in the first place. 

On to the painting...
As I said, I wanted to get them done quickly. I didn't want to get bogged down in yet another unfinished project. I was determined to get this army fully painted and tabletop ready. I usually go for a clean, 'eavy Metal style but that sort of style does not lend itself to getting done quickly. I wasn't looking to spending 10+ hours on each miniature here! Luckily, the Death Guard lend themselves well to a rough and loose paint style but it's a bit of a step into the unknown for me so I've been looked at a lot of the grimdark-style painting for inspiration. I can highly recommend 28 Magazine if you want to see some incredible work in this grim and gritty style. I'm not trying to match the artistry presented there, by any means, but it certainly is a great source for ideas and, after a bit of experimenting, I had a method that I thought would do the job, giving me miniatures that would satisfy me by looking good on the tabletop but be quick and easy to do.
The miniatures were given a spray undercoat of grey primer. I use this one because, well, it works and it's cheap. After that, all the armour areas were stippled with a couple of coats of Grey Seer. Now, I could have gone with a zenithal overspray of the Grey Seer spray, and it would have worked quite well, as well as being really quick, but I wanted the texture that stippling would give. As for technique, you want to use a good-but-past-it's-best brush. I used an old Series 7 size 1 that won't form a point any more. Taking the paint straight from the pot and loading the brush well, wipe most of the paint off on a tissue and use a stabbing motion to build up the colour. Don't worry that it looks so messy, that's kind of the idea. I did a couple of passes of this, building the layers randomly.

The next step was to basecoat all the other areas with the appropriate colours. The shoulder pauldrons were stippled with Death Guard Green, the flesh areas were painted with Rakarth Flesh and the zits, slimy and gribbly bits were painted with Ironrach Skin. The rubber undersuit areas and pipes were painted with Skavenblight Dinge, the boney protrusions with Morghast Bone, and the gun cases with Corvus Black. The wood was done with XV-88, leather with Mournfang Brown and the Cloaks with Gal Vorbak Red. Finally, the metal areas were done with Iron Hands Steel and the Bronze areas with Runelord Brass. Again, I've not bothered to be perfectly neat and tidy here. The focus has been on getting them done quickly, rather than going for any showcase quality.

Once all that is done, the next stage is to do an overall wash to shade all the colours and to tie the composition together. In the grimdark style, this is often done with oil or enamel paints but I wanted to see if I could get the effect I wanted with acrylics. I made up a mix of Athonian Camoshade/Nuln Oil/Agrax Earthshade in a 2/1/1 ratio and washed this over the entire miniature and you know what? I was actually well pleased with the result. 

Once the overall wash was dry I applied extra washes to some of the other areas, to introduce some variety into the colours. The tentacles are given a wash of Drucchi Violet/Carroburg Crimson mix, sores and boils get a mix of Drucchi Violet and Bloodletter. while these mixes are still wet on my pallette, I mixed a little Blood for the Blood God in with them and started applying them randomly, wet-in-wet over all the skin areas, adding touches of water to let it flow a bit better where necessary. Finally, some Nurgle's Rot was added into the mixes and this was applied as a glaze over all organic areas, leaving them with a lovely, grotty sheen...

The final stage is to stipple the armour with Grey Seer again. This stage is probably unnecessary but it really does finish them off nicely, giving the armour the look of having been painted and repainted over and over. You'll notice some stuff on the base in this photo too. This is Extra Course Pumice Gel from Golden Artists Colour. It's a transparent medium that has these hard crystals in it. The plan is to use them as a base for a sort of mud effect. I dunno if it's going to work yet, and it's going to take some experimenting with I think, but I've got plenty more miniatures to paint yet, before I need to do the bases.

So, there we go. I'm happy with the way they look as a unit and they only took me two hours each. Result! At this rate I'm actually going to have a functional, fully-painted army by the time I can play some games against my friends!

Thanks for reading!

*I actually asked Max Faleij about it at Warhammer Fest the year they were released. What a nice chap.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

"You Bought ANOTHER Book? Haven't You Already Got That One?!!" A Comparison Of Two Death Guard Codexes...

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

The Better Half was less than impressed when I explained that, yes, I did have this book already, but that this was an updated version with new rules and...stuff. 

"Well, at least you'll actually use this one." She said, indicating my growing Death Guard army on my shelves. 

"Yeah, and I've got almost all the miniatures I need for it, too!"


"Ooh, look what the cat's doing over there, isn't that cute?!!"


So, having got my hot and sticky little hands* on the new edition of the Death Guard Codex I thought I'd see how it stacks up against the previous edition. For once, I can look at a Codex from the point of view of a proper collector/gamer as I do have a decent-sized Death Guard army that I'm working on (more on that next week) so I figured I could see how the new edition affects the army I am building.

So, first up, a little bit of a review of the new book, and a look back at how it stacks up against its predecessor. 

See, not the same book at all...

The first and most obvious thing you'll notice if you compare the two books is the new one is significantly thinner. DG1 is 104 pages, whereas DG2 is 96, and that's a bit of an issue for me. DG2 is £5 more expensive than DG1, which means you're paying 20% more for a considerable cut in content. What's more, when you look at the other Codexes so far released, at the same price as this one, the Necron book is 120 pages, the Adeptus Astartes one is a whopping 204 pages. Even the Space Wolves supplement is 88 pages, and that's only £17.50... You can't help feeling a little short-changed here, especially when you see what's been excised from the book. 
DG1 has 51 pages of background: timelines, colour schemes, history, and details of all the troop types and characters; DG2 has just 20 pages. It wouldn't be so bad if some of the descriptive text had maybe been moved to the datasheets section but no, it's just gone. There's one less page in the miniatures showcase section, too, and the example army spread has gone. There's more text in the showcase pages meaning there's less pictures of actual miniatures although there are some individual shots in the datasheets section, which is a little jarring, if I'm being picky. Why stick a whole page of Plague Marine miniature photos opposite the datasheet when it could have gone in the showcase section as it was? Why add photos to the bottom of the Terminators pages, but not to other pages, like the Defiler, where there's a faded illustration instead? Other aesthetic things irritate, too. Some of the datasheets have photos of the miniature to illustrate them, others do not. Okay, some of those that don't have photos don't have Death Guard-specific miniatures available, like th Predator and Land Raider, but neither do the Chaos Cultists, and they get a photo. I know it's a minor, niggling thing but it smacks of a lack of thought and lazy design, and neither of those things should apply when you're paying these sort of prices.
At least in the rules section we get a lot more in this version, with new rules for Matched Play, Detachment Abilities, Stratagems, Deadly Pathogens, Contagion Disciplines and a big chunk of Crusade rules. These are well-presented and easy to negotiate, and give a lot of much-needed flavour to the army. The datasheets are nicely laid out, too, and include one for the new Miasmic Malignifier scenery piece. Don't expect to find the datasheets for any of the Nurgle Daemons though, as they aren't here (which, of course, means you'll have to buy another book later if you want to field Daemons alongside your Death Guard army...)
One major positive change is in the layout of the points tables. Each unit now has associated upgrades listed with it, which means you don't have to keep flipping back to the datasheet to reference your available options when working out your points cost. 
So, to sum up: the new Death Guard Codex is something of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it does contain everything you need in order to field your army (except for all those daemons, of course) it misses out on a lot of the things that should be in there, especially at this price tag. I'm not usually one to complain about GW's pricing choices (although I do think most of the single figures are overpriced) but the price of this book really sticks in my craw, especially when compared to others in the range. Either up the page count to the size of at least the Necron book, or drop the damn price. 

So, with that out of the way, what of my own nearly complete army? How does the arrival of the new book change things? Well, not an awful lot, actually, at least in terms of putting units together and getting them ready to paint and play with. My army is probably not very strategically organised (I've not bothered to think about detachments, Pathogens, etc. at the moment) as I'm basically just putting together the miniatures I have, and adding in the other ones I want later**. I've never been one for planning an army based on how to win, rather on what miniatures I want in my collection, so I'm fairly sure that the army I have (and the additions I have planned) isn't even legal but, hey-ho, it's not like I'll ever enter a tournament anyway... If you want to get a really good overview of the tactical and organisational changes, I heartily recommend this article over on Goonhammer. They know what they're talking about much more than I do...
One of the major changes (at least, that has affected the way I organise my collection) has been the change to the way weapon upgrades are available to Plague Marine squads. Whereas before you could have, for example, up to two plasma guns in any Plague Marine squad, now you can have only one per five models. This means that my 7-man squads, one with two Blight Launchers and one with two Plasma Guns, are now illegal, unless I increase the unit sizes to 10 each. It's no biggie, really, as I can just swap one miniature over from each squad, but it has lost a little bit of character to the units, I feel. So, with these things in mind, here's how my army stacks up at the moment:

Lord of Contagion

Noxious Blightbringer
Plague Surgeon
Foul Blightspawn
Biologus Putrifier

Plague Marines (7 inc. Champion with Plasma Gun and Power Fist, 1x Plasma Gun, 1x Blight Launcher, 1x Icon of Despair)
Plague Marines (7 inc. Champion with Plague Blade and Power Fist, 1x Plasma Gun, 1x Blight Launcher, 1x Sigil of Decay)
Poxwalkers (20)
Poxwalkers (20)
Chaos Cultists (10 inc. Flamer)
Cultists (10 inc. Heavy Stubber)

2x Myphitic Blight Haulers
2x Foetid Bloat Drones with 2x Plaguespitters

Plagueburst Crawler with 2x Plaguespitters, Heavy Stubber
Plagueburst Crawler with 2x Entropy Cannon, Rothail Gun

TOTAL POINTS: 2289 (I think)

Later on I'm going to add one of the new Lords of Virulence, a squad made up of the Space Marine Heroes set (I also want to get the Malignant Plaguecaster that goes with that set, too, but he's going to be a bugger to get hold of for a reasonable price...) and I'd like to get one squad of Blightlord Terminators and one squad of Deathshroud Terminators. I'd also love a Helbrute and Defiler, but I really wish they'd come up with Nurgle-specific miniatures for them. I also want all my units to be eventually mounted in transports but, being that I'd need at least two Land Raiders and five Rhinos (or equivalent) to mount everything, that may never happen, especially as, again, there's no Nurgle-specific miniatures available, and third-party conversion kits are really expensive. Talking of expensive, there's always Mortarion, too...

Okay, that's it for now. Next week I'll be showing off my first painted Death Guard miniatures, as well as a painting guide for them.

Thanks for reading!

*Possibly not the best phrase to use when dealing with Nurgle...

**Don't tell The Better Half...