The very first miniature that I made for Games Workshop as a trainee has now been released, so I can finally talk about it!
Xandria Azurebolt (as someone in publications has elected to name her) is the exclusive knight incantor model that comes with issue 5 of the Mortal Realms magazine for Age of Sigmar.
I’d been at GW for less than a month when I was given the brief to make this miniature. After becoming familiar with the team and the software, all the trainee miniature designers are given 3 or 4 training projects. These projects are not in the release schedule so you’re not under time pressure and although you’re told that it would be nice if you produced something that could be released, it’s not expected at this stage.
This then was my first training project in the summer of 2018. To be honest I’ve never been massively excited by Stormcast Eternals but I was given a really cool mock up that Steve Party had made and let loose to try and turn it into a product. The main areas of design work were the stave and the head. I remember going through quite a few iterations of the face until I got something I was reasonably satisfied with.
I was sitting at the desk next to the mighty Darren Latham when I worked on this, and he gave me a lot of help figuring out the engineering side, which was much appreciated. I think it’s fair to say that anything good about the final miniature is down to Steve and Daz, and anything not so good is down to yours truly! But I was pleased when the design managers told me that it would be getting produced.
I decided to paint this in non metallic metal, which was a decision I soon came to regret, because as usual it took me far longer than I wanted it to! I don’t think the finish is as good as it could be in a few places but I didn’t think it was worth investing any more time to try and make it better. There are far more interesting miniatures that I’d like to paint!
There is a painting guide for this miniature available here.
I painted this miniature as a bit of post golden demon fun. As usual I wanted to try something a little different from the Eavy Metal scheme and went with purple and red as the main colours, with turquoise and ochre accents.
Overall I’m reasonably pleased with how it turned out. I put the most effort into the face and although I got a nice clean finish I probably should have considered how to get a bit more menace into her expression.
Before anyone asks, it’s extremely unlikely I’ll be painting the big Morathi in this lifetime!
I’ve had the Vandus Hammerhand sprue from the Age of Sigmar starter box lying around for a long time now and I finally decided that his time had come. Unfortunately because this was an ebay purchase I didn’t have any assembly instructions and there are one or two places where construction is a little tricky. I got there in the end though!
My approach was to fully assemble the dracoth before painting, and then add the stormcast rider piece by piece, making sure that any inaccessible parts were painted first. The base is built out of modelling board (ureol).
It took me quite a long time to decide on the colour scheme. I love the ‘Eavy Metal version but I didn’t just want to copy that. In the end I went with something similar to the Celestial Vindicators but swapped red for magenta. Rather than going with pure non metallic metal I’ve elected for a combined nmm and metallic approach in the same way as my terminator librarian from last year. This approach never looks quite as impressive as full nmm in photos but I am a big fan of the effect when you see the miniature in person.
The main colours used on the armour are stegadon scale green, VMC turquoise and VMC blue green, while the cloak uses screamer pink and VMC magenta. I used the citadel metallics (if you’re curious about the exact recipe then I documented it in my previous stormcast painting guide).
When painting the dracoth I found that simply shading the stegadon scale green basecoat with black was making it look very lifeless so I have included khorne red in the shadows, which has definitely helped. I’ve also glazed a little of the screamer pink/magenta around the regions where the dark scales meet the paler areas.
Due to the size of the miniature it took an exceedingly long time to paint as I didn’t want to compromise on quality in any way. Painting large pieces like this is not really my forte (I had previously abandoned my attempt at a varanguard), so it was satisfying to see the project through to completion. There are a lot of subtle texturing effects that only become apparent when you can look at the miniature very closely.
I had intended to enter this piece at the AoS open day but the horrendous weather in the UK put paid to that. I daresay he may get an outing in May at the classic golden demon instead!
Fans of this blog may remember my first 30 mm sculpt, the Dragon Maiden. I’m pleased to say that RN Estudio are now selling resin copies of this miniature here. (In case anyone is wondering, I’m not making any money from this myself.)
Of course, it was only fitting that I give her a snazzy new paint job to celebrate this development! I’ve gone for non metallic metal again just because it looks better in photographs and I knew a good picture would be needed for the store.
Unfortunately there’s no painting tutorial for this piece but it uses the same recipes as the fantasy football high elf I painted recently, so that guide is highly recommended for anyone wishing to emulate my version!
Before producing the miniature, Rafael asked me to create an alternative right hand, which I was very happy to do. I also took the opportunity to fix her eyes, which were far too bulbous on the original. Her face is still not the right shape and I have had to disguise this with my paint work. I’ve corrected this deficiency on my more recent sculpts though!
I was very excited to see Games Workshop release Shadespire. From time to time I have considered painting an army (Blood Angels or High Elves, naturally 😉 ) in order to play the games but the reality is that I know I’d probably lose interest before the first unit was painted! I can definitely paint three miniatures to a reasonable standard in a sensible time frame though, so Shadespire got my attention.
I have previously painted Stormcast in white armour and I wanted to try a slightly different take for these miniatures, so I made use of the Warcolours blue grey set to achieve a colder finish.
I’m fairly happy with how these have turned out considering the time spent. (Around 10 hours per miniature, which is seriously fast compared to the other projects I’ve been doing recently!) I’ve made a painting guide to see if there’s any interest in a slightly less than super high end display standard.
I’ve only managed to have a couple of games of Shadespire so far but first impressions are very positive. It plays quickly and is simple to learn but great fun, so I’m looking forward to more games!
My latest sculpting and painting project is this vampire lord. I’m not really sure what motivated me to make a vampire – normally I’m quite happy sticking to elves!
This is actually my second attempt at a vampire: avid readers of this blog may remember that I showed some renders a few months back. I did actually get that guy printed but soon realised that there was just too much wrong with my sculpt to bother painting it. There’s plenty wrong with this version as well, but I’m pleased that it’s at least an improvement over his predecessor!
I’ve sculpted him at a scale which should mean he fits quite well into the Warhammer Age of Sigmar universe. It’s the biggest miniature I’ve made so far, which sadly increases the cost of getting him 3D printed. The miniature in the pictures is mounted on a 32 mm base.
As usual, you can buy a copy from Shapeways should you wish.
Inspired by the slayer sword winning Nagash diorama I went with non metallic metal and experimented with a different palette to my usual tried and tested steel and gold recipes. I actually regret going down the nmm route now – I got bored painting about half way through and decided to go for a “good enough” paint job rather than a competition standard paint job. I could definitely make this better if I was prepared to put more hours into it, but I have other exciting projects that I want to work on at the moment!
I’m still using blender for all my sculpting. I’d like to get zbrush but after getting a free trial I wasn’t able to justify spending so much for a few neat tricks that I can’t do with blender. I think it’s still the user rather than the software that is the limiting factor at the moment!
I’ll finish this post off with some renders of the sculpt and something new for me: my first ever youtube video!
This post has been updated with new pictures 24/05/17 after I made alterations to the base.
At long last I have completed the base for my high elf sea lord! I’m very pleased to have this project finished.
This miniature dates from the dark age of GW communication 😉 but I’m reliably informed that the sculpt is by Martin Footit. Admittedly I am biased but this is a great mini. Just the right amount of details while leaving some opportunities for free hand. I imagine that he is shouting because he has just spotted some dark elf raiders off the coast of Ulthuan.
I went with non metallic metal on this mini, mostly because I thought it would be more fun than true metallic on the helmet and the trident blade. I kept the colour scheme quite simple with only minor alterations to the ‘Eavy Metal version. I’ve painted some texture on the inside of his cape and picked out some individual hair strands and threads on the end of his sash.
I usually favour quite a minimalist base but I really wanted to have this guy overlooking the sea, so I had a go at modelling it. Overall I think I did ok, but I’m sure it’s not the finest example of this kind of scene.
I sculpted the waves with green stuff and then applied layers of water effect after painting it (Vallejo still water). After many experiments I found that a very small amount of white paint added to Vallejo transparent water gel made a fairly convincing foam, so I carefully applied that mix on the wave crest and around the rocks. The seagull is actually included on the skycutter sprue, which is a really nice touch so I had to use that too! Unfortunately it has made the piece horrendously fragile…
I’m still looking forward to seeing what GW do with the high elves in Age of Sigmar. Elves of all flavours have been conspicuously absent so far (apart from a couple of shady characters in the silver tower), but the game is nearly two years old now. Surely it can’t be too much longer?! C’mon guys, don’t make me sculpt my own again!
I’ve finished painting the sea lord now and I’m very pleased with how this has turned out. I’ve spent a lot of time on this over the last month but it has been worthwhile. It’s a lovely miniature with lots of great little details. I wish I knew who sculpted it, so if you know then please tell me!
The outside of the cape is still a little glossy and I’m unsure about committing myself to using a spray can on it (testors dullcote) since the thought of something going wrong with so many hours invested in the mini is very scary. I’ve applied a couple of coats of lahmian medium and that has definitely helped, so I think I’ll probably just leave it as is.
I’ve spent quite some time putting extra little touches into the model that are hard to see from the pictures: wood grain on the inside of the shield, very fine hair strands, a texture on the inside of the cape, and some more texture on the ends of his sash. You can maybe make out some of these on the picture below:
I’m now into the phase of experimenting with various water effects for the base, so he won’t be completely finished for a while yet. I’ve therefore started my next painting project, and it’s back to 40k! Very early days for this Blood Angels librarian at the moment. I’m painting the head before I complete the assembly:
True metallic on this piece. But I’ll be doing my trademark shiny armour as well… 😉
It has been a little while since I posted anything, so having a few spare minutes I thought I’d snap my current work in progress for the blog.
A fair amount still to do here. None of the NMM is finished yet for example, although some parts are further along than others. I’ve only just attached the trident arm, so that’s not had as much work as the rest of the mini.
I think this miniature will benefit from being photographed against a slightly darker background when it’s done – these pictures are definitely not the best!
Sadly parts of the mini seem to have picked up quite a glossy sheen so I’ll need to do something about that at some point. I do have a can of testor’s lying around somewhere but I’ve never used it before so I suspect there will be a heart in mouth moment coming up! I’ll be ‘test’ing it on something I haven’t put quite so many hours into first though. 😉
I’ve also recently acquired some water effects so I’ll be having a play with that on the base.
Let’s see if I actually manage to finish this one without something going wrong! My success rate has been poor of late…
I had some time off work this week (yay!) so I was able to make some more progress on the Varanguard.
Everything still very much WIP at this stage. (It’s starting to feel like this project will never end!) Since last week I’ve at least got paint on every part of the mount, painted the base and made a start on the rider. I’ve worked on the OSL a little, but I’m still not particularly happy with it yet.
For the bronze metals I’ve used a base of balthasar gold, painted the recesses with black and highlighted with fulgurite copper and then speed metal from Scale 75. It’s the first time I’ve used fulgurite copper and like the other new (slightly more expensive) metallics in the citadel line it’s very very nice to use. I’m not sure what they’ve done differently with these paints but they have a distinctive smell when you open the pot – reminiscent of alcohol based paints. I’ll probably still push the highlights a bit further. I still need to work on the steel areas anyway.
I spent quite a lot of time painting the various horns and teeth using the same colours I used on the hooves. There are another six horns that I haven’t glued on to the mount yet because I know if I do then I’ll just keep catching them while I work on other bits!
The legs on the rider haven’t been shaded or glazed yet, so you can see the difference that these steps make when comparing to the armour on the mount. Mind you, the mount’s armour isn’t completely finished either! I tend to leave final highlights until the end because of my tendency to accidently rub them off or catch them with another colour. I’ll probably add some battle damage too.
That’s probably my last post for this year, since I don’t expect to have much hobby time until the new year. I hope everyone reading this has a great Christmas (if you celebrate it) and a fantastic 2017.