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...

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Talisman Plastics, As You've Never Seen Them Before...

 Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

So, last week I updated the Middlehammer Memory Lane page to include the second half of 1994, which covered the release of Talisman 3rd edition. In that post, I bemoaned the fact that precious little was made of the set of miniatures I painted for it, in that only the minotaur was featured in the article and all the rest of the models remained unseen. I mentioned that there was a reason that the miniatures didn't get featured on the Talisman box and cards, and that was because the miniatures simply weren't ready in time. It wasn't uncommon for plastic miniatures to not be available when final production artwork had to go off to the printers and it was thus with Talisman, so there wasn't any pictures of the models themselves in the finished product and probably why they didn't end up in the launch article in White Dwarf (although White Dwarf would have been prepared long after the product was finished so I'm not sure if that's actually the case in this instance.) Whatever the reason they weren't featured*, it's a real shame, as they were superb sculpts, certainly the best plastic sculpts of the time, and I was very proud of the work I'd done on them. 

However, as luck would have it, I am able to show some of those models here. You see, once they had served their purpose (or lack of it, as it turned out) I was allowed to keep some of the models I painted. These days they are in the hands of Jon New (who runs the thoroughly excellent Talisman Island website- the ultimate resource for all things Talisman) but I took some decent photos of them before giving them to him. So, here they are, some of the heroes I painted for 3rd edition Talisman, including never-before-seen back views. 

There we go. I hope you liked these. Hard to believe these were painted nearly 30 years ago! The halfling is my favourite, without a doubt, but I think they're all great sculpts (even the minotaur, which really could have benefitted from being in more than one piece and not been wearing gloves.) One day, I'll get around to painting a whole new set (including another dragon) so that the whole lot can be shown off all in the same place. One day...

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 😁 

*This wouldn't be the only time Talisman would be let down in the pages of White Dwarf. The plastic dragon I painted for Dragon's Tower, a gorgeous sculpt by Trish Carden that would go on to be the basis of many other Citadel dragons, was never featured anywhere and disappeared without a trace. 

Thursday, 19 January 2023

I'm Just A 20th Century Boy...

 Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

Back in 2016 I was approached by Dave Taylor, admin of the Eavier Metal Facebook group, and asked if I would be interested in judging a competition he was organising as an offshoot of his "Throwback Thursday" slot in the group. The competition would be to paint miniatures that were at least 20 years old. I said I'd be honoured to do so and thus my fate was sealed. the 20 Year Challenge would go on to be an annual thing from then on. It's even made it into the illustrious pages of Fantasy Figures Internatonal!

This year, we've decided to change things up a bit, as it seemed a bit odd to have a throwback-based competition that covered up to 2003...* and so the 20 Year Challenge has become the 20th Century Challenge! So, seeing as the 20 Year Challenge has now (sort of) come to an end I thought it would be a good time to look back on all the winners from previous years...


The first year we really didn't know what to expect, and the turnout was much better than we'd thought it would be. We hadn't really bothered laying down any "proper" rules so the field was wide open, leading to some major headaches when it came to judging. 

1st Martin Grandbarbe
2nd Adrian Walters
3rd Marco Bariselli


This time, we decided to place a restriction on the maximum base size, to make it more of a level playing field, and to make it easier to do the judging. While it helped with the former, it really didn't help with the latter!

1st Johan Philipsen
2nd Dana Low
3rd Martin Waller

This year, as we'd been getting such a large variety of models and, again, in an attempt to make the judging process a little easier, we decided to split into two categories. I mean, in one regard it made it a little easier to sort through things, but it also meant I had doubled my workload when it came to making decisions! Also, apparently, this would turn out to be the year of the troll. I have no idea how that happened.
1st Euan Bingham
2nd Patric Sand
3rd Steven Rath
1st Scott Orr
2nd Richard Davis
3rd Steven Walk

People were getting used to the idea of this being an annual event by now, and were better prepared  when the time of the competition came around again. This meant a large jump in the amount of entries. 

1st Martin Grandbarbe
2nd Juan Fransisco Hidalgo
3rd Piers Brand
1st Martin Besomes
2nd Mariano Sanchez
3rd Donald Johanssen

We were really getting into our stride with the competition now. The categories and limitations had been nailed down for a couple of years, and we kept them the same to ensure as little confusion as possible. 
1st Chris Webb
2nd Dan Tibbals
3rd Walter Nunziati
1st Carl Bostrom
2nd Frederick Lybek
3rd Steven Rowlinson


1st Florian Tuffskull
2nd Lee Sandilands
3rd Frederick Lybek
1st Barnado Mtnz Grdo
2nd Dan Tibbals
3rd Alan Harper


1st Tim Marsh
2nd Alexandre Gill
3rd Keith Burden
1st Walter Nunziati
2nd Paulus Zubera
3rd Andy Cook

So there we have it, all the winners from the last seven years (and apologies if I've spelt anybody's names wrong!) Farewell to the 20 Year challenge, and welcome to the 20th Century Challenge! And, if you want to have a go at this year's competition, head on over to the Eavier Metal Facebook page and look for Dave Taylor's post with the rules. A couple of words of advice if you do feel like giving it a go: as this is an online competition, I don't have the luxury of having the models in-hand when it comes to judging them so good photos are essential. There's plenty of guides to photographing models online (Garfy's one over on Tale Of Painters is very good) and good results can be had with a good light and a decent mobile phone. Don't forget that you can upload more than one photo of your entry so, if there's a particularly great bit of it you want to show off, take an extra photo focusing on that bit. Also make sure you are following the rules. I try not to be too militant when it comes to applying them but lines eventually have to be drawn and it's heartbreaking to see a beautiful piece of work get pushed aside because the painter didn't follow the rules. There's not many rules in this competition, so following them shouldn't be hard. And that's it. I very much look forward to seeing what you all come up with and having a couple of stressful evenings going through what's entered. And good luck!

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 😁 

* because, as we all know, 2003 was only a couple of years ago...