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Morathi

There is a painting guide for this miniature available here.

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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!

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Golden Demon 2018

On Sunday, 13th May I made my annual pilgrimage to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena to take part in the Golden Demon Classic. I’ve been going to Golden Demon events since 2011, so I’ve got to know a lot of the other painters and studio staff over the years. Consequently the day generally passes in something of a blur as I spend the whole day talking to people (an unfamiliar experience for a hard core introvert like me) and this year was no exception! Nonetheless I thought it would be worth giving a flavour of the day from my own perspective.

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Trajann Valoris, Gold, Warhammer 40,000 Single Miniature

The doors were supposed to open at 10 am but I arrived at the venue at 9:30 and went straight up to the studio area on the top floor, sidestepping the long queue to get into the sales area. This year was the first time that competitors have been able to put miniatures into the contest on Saturday but the cabinets were fairly empty when I arrived so I guess not many people took advantage of that opportunity. I think it’s a great idea to try and extend the length of the event but sadly the reality for many of us is that 2 days away from home is tough to arrange!

Within an hour or so the cabinets had filled up and I tried to get a look at the entrants. This is always really difficult because of the number of people that are trying to do the same! I don’t think there’s a good solution to this, although it would be nice if the organisers were able to do something similar to the days when the contest was held at the NEC and images of the entries would be shown on large screens throughout the day.

This year the lighting in the cabinets had improved a bit (the halogens had been replaced with LEDs) but it is still quite harsh and could definitely be improved with some LED strips.

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Celestant on Dracoth, Silver, Age of Sigmar Single Miniature

As usual I had a fantastic time catching up with all my painter mates and met loads of other great people for the first time. As the years have rolled by, this is definitely the main reason for going to the event for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love picking up trophies as much as the next man, but it’s definitely more of a bonus and not the focus of the day.

At 12 pm the judging began and this year saw another innovation in the form of the highly commended entries. The organisers felt that because there can be a big difference in quality between an entry that scrapes in the finalist category and one that just misses out on a top 3 spot, it would be nice to recognise the latter with the extra award. I think it’s a great idea and there weren’t very many of these awards given out from what I saw so it’s definitely a big achievement if you get one!

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Nazgul of Dol Guldur, Bronze, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit

I’d taken no fewer than 4 entries along with me this year, and as usual I stuck to the single miniature categories. I was really pleased to take the gold in a super competitive 40k single category that was stacked with previous winners and slayer sword holders. This also meant that I successfully defended the gold I took in this category last year! In Age of Sigmar single I got the silver, runner up to Angelo di Chello’s slayer sword winning Horticulous Slimux and picked up a bronze in Lord of the Rings with my Nazgul.

The big shock of the day for me was also getting bronze in open with my Blood Angel lieutenant. This really wasn’t intended as a competition piece and I just brought it along as a last minute decision, putting it in open since I already had my 40k single entry. There was a slightly embarrassing moment when I was called up on stage to receive the award, only to find that the awards for open hadn’t made it to Coventry but I’m happy to say that it’s in the post!

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Blood Angels Lieutenant, Bronze, Open

Speaking of award ceremony cock ups, for the second year running there were no photos of the winning entries on the big screen as the awards were being collected. In my opinion this is pretty unforgivable and really needs to be sorted out. The upshot is that everyone went away from the event not really certain of which entries had won what and until the golden demon website is updated we still don’t know! How difficult can it be to put some pictures on a laptop and hook it up to a projector?

Overall, a fantastic day as usual. Of course there were plenty of other things to see and do as part of the wider Warhammer Fest that I won’t cover here. Despite the difficulty in seeing the entries my impression (confirmed by a few other people in the know) was that the overall standard wasn’t quite as mind blowing as last year, but some categories were definitely as competitive as ever. As usual I came away feeling re-invigorated to paint more miniatures and do better next year! Big thanks to the judges and everyone that had a hand in running the event, and congratulations to all the winners!

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Shadespire Stormcast Eternals

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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.

stormcast1stormcast2stormcast3I’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!

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Vampire Lord (for real this time)

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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.

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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!

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Preparations for Golden Demon 2017

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Up until a couple of weeks ago I wasn’t sure if I’d attend Warhammer Fest. Although I always enjoy chatting to my fellow painters and the studio guys that I know, I find I no longer have the hunger that I used to for winning painting awards. After factoring in the cost of attending, I was leaning towards not going.

It has now transpired that I have another good reason for going (which I won’t go into here), so last week I bought my ticket. And of course if I am going then I may as well enter golden demon! Happily I still had my recent Blood Angels librarian and High Elf sea lord sitting around, so I already had one more entry than I managed to take last year (when I was only able to get Legolas painted in time).

Since these pieces now needed to be competition standard, I spent some more time working on the base for the sea lord. Online reaction to this piece has generally been very good, but I got some great feedback from a handful of my facebook friends regarding the poor standard of modelling on the rocks.

I will freely admit that I’ve never particularly enjoyed basing. I really appreciate the amazing work that so many people in the community put out in this area, but I’ve never felt that this is where my talents lie. I love super clean, precise painting and this doesn’t really sit well with the approaches needed to create believable looking scenes. But I wanted to make the piece as good as it could be, so I took the feedback on board and had a go at improving the cliff face with the aid of some milliput and reference pictures on google. I’m sure it’s still not great, but I hope it’s better than it was.

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Sea Lord before modifications

 

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And after!

 

I was happy with the librarian as is, so my thoughts turned to whether or not I could get a third entry done in time. It seemed only right that I should attempt to defend my title as Lord of the Rings/Hobbit champion from last year, so I needed to get my hands on a simple miniature that I could paint fairly quickly. After perusing the GW website for a while I settled on Thranduil, King of Mirkwood.

Now at this point, particularly observant readers may be thinking that the purple robed lady in the first picture is a funny looking Thranduil. And yes, I have to report that unfortunately my plan to paint this lovely looking miniature was undone by the abomination that is finecast. It has been a good long while since I bought any resin from GW and having heard reports that it has improved recently I foolishly thought I’d give it another go. Sadly I received the all too familiar mix of bubbles, warped parts and chunks of resin obscuring details.

Happily I had hedged against this possibility and also ordered Arwen in good old solid dependable metal, so she will be my final entry. More pictures of Arwen coming soon!

So there we have it – three entries ready for golden demon next Sunday. I honestly have no idea how I’ll get on in the competition. The standard seems to be driven ever higher each year and I’ve already seen pictures of jaw dropping work from the likes of David Soper and Michal Pisarski that make me think I’m in for a serious schooling! But regardless, I’m sure I’ll have a great time meeting up with everyone. Looking forward to it!

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Knight-Questor

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I’ve not given up on painting at least the heroes from the silver tower, although I can’t really afford to spend a lot of time on them. 😦

Painting this guy was made more difficult because he was fully assembled – I’d definitely leave the shield off if I was painting this for competition!

I tried out the new citadel gold metallic and the gloss shade – overall very impressed with these! I think the deepest recesses need to be made a little darker with paint rather than relying on the shade, but I do like the way it doesn’t dull the shine.

I was going for a fairly ‘eavy metal style on this piece. It’s funny, but the more I paint miniatures, the more I appreciate this approach since it looks good in all light conditions. And I think achieving a good result is more difficult than a lot of people think.

From now on I’m going to try and note down colours that I’ve used in these posts. Partly to aid my ailing memory and partly because I often get asked what colours I’ve used and it seems sensible to me to just write it once!

Main colours used on this piece were as follows:

Armour

Basecoat: VMC deck tan (pallid wych flesh is a close match for this).

Shade: 1:1 rakarth flesh/cloudy grey (reaper) and add some black. The deepest recesses end up being a fairly dark grey.

Highlight: white.

Purple trim

Basecoat: naggaroth night

Shade: VGA Imperial blue and black

Highlight: VMC violet, genestealer purple, add white

Gold

Basecoat: retributor armour

Shade: reikland flesh (gloss), dark flesh/black mix for deepest recesses

Highlight: liberator gold, mithril silver

Plume and sword handle

Basecoat: 2:1 warlock purple: wazdakka red

Shade: liche purple, add black

Highlight: add white to basecoat

Glaze with wazdakka

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Mistweaver Saih

AoS compI had every intention of resisting the temptation to pick up the Silver Tower when it was announced, since I knew there was no chance I’d ever paint 50-odd miniatures. But I got the chance to see the minis up close at Warhammer Fest and I liked what I saw of the gameplay, and thus my fate was sealed.

I didn’t have to think too hard before deciding to paint the Mistweaver. Although the Age of Sigmar releases thus far have been pretty amazing, tragically there has been a distinct lack of elves. The Mistweaver is nothing like the classic Warhammer elves that I know and love, but it’s a very dynamic sculpt and has some interesting details that looked like fun to paint. Mistweaver2mistweaver3mistweaver4I deliberately spent more time than usual planning the colours on this piece, as I wanted to do something different to the studio colour scheme but not get halfway through the piece and realise that it wasn’t working. I was given a handy tip by the ‘Eavy Metal guys and tested colours using the greyscale image from the assembly guide before committing to the miniature. I had thought about trying to blend the mist into the clothing but the sculpted transition is quite stark and I wasn’t confident I’d be able to disguise it well with paint.

I wanted a base that would match the tiles from the Silver Tower so I used some textured plasticard and added a suitable Tzeentch shape on top. As the piece was going to be entered into an online painting competition on the Age of Sigmar facebook page I added a totally unnecessary freehand onto the robe in an effort to wow the judges.

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I gave the Mistweaver to sculptor David Waeselynck at the recent Golden Demon winners’ day up at Warhammer World and he seemed quite pleased. (No idea what the Star Wars reference is about mind you…)

Gareth and David W