Lord Celestant on Dracoth


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!


Blood Angels Primaris Lieutenant

When Games Workshop announced the first Blood Angel specific primaris space marine there was no doubt that I was going to have to paint it! So here you have the Gareth Nicholas version, complete with shiny armour, textured loincloth and underwhelming base (TM). I have some fairly strong views about this miniature that I’d like to get off my chest so I’m going to put them at the bottom of this post where most people won’t bother to read them. 😉

Fans of my painting guides will be pleased to know that this guy features in vol 5 and you can get your copy from the Etsy store as usual.

I used the ‘Eavy Metal version of the miniature as inspiration and kept the yellow shoulder pad with red stripe. It’s reminiscent of Captain Tycho so I stole his icon and added that too. The miniature has a very plain power sword so I replaced it with a more ornate version from the Sanguinary Guard kit and painted it in my preferred style for these weapons. I’ve tried to add some extra shine to the armour on this miniature and it’s definitely something I want to explore further in future.

Review (and rant)

I have to admit that when I first caught sight of this miniature I was somewhat disappointed. In the photos I felt that the pose looked a little awkward but I was prepared to give it the benefit of the doubt and bought it anyway.

Having built the miniature I can report that there’s nothing technically wrong with the pose but I still find it an odd choice as it doesn’t seem to have any angle that looks particularly good. I think it helps if the miniature is positioned at the top of a step as it gives him a reason to be looking down but it’s still not an angle that I like for the head and I would prefer the torso to be a little more in line with the hips.

I also can’t understand why the halo piece is separate from the backpack. It’s not a big deal but it seems like a fiddly bit of assembly that could have easily been avoided.

On the plus side I appreciate that the loincloth doesn’t have any sculpted on detail for once and the face and hair are really great and were very enjoyable to paint. But why does he have a massive scar on his face? A disfigurement like this would surely be anathema to a Blood Angel! Captain Tycho wore a mask to hide a similar injury so why does this guy not care?

The power sword that comes with the mini is very plain. I can’t understand why it doesn’t have any kind of Blood Angels iconography at all. This guy is fairly senior – shouldn’t he have a cool sword?

But the real issue I have with this guy is that he isn’t Dante, Tycho, Mephiston, Astorath, Corbulo or the Sanguinor! Seriously, who thought that what the Blood Angels really needed was a rather plain lieutenant when all these legends of the chapter are languishing with old sculpts in the abomination that is finecast?! It’s a very odd choice in my book when we already have plenty of primaris lieutenants that can be made to be Blood Angels with minimal work.

Here endeth the rant. It’s not a bad miniature and I hope I haven’t offended anyone with my views but I just feel this little release could have been so much more awesome, so I wanted to use my little corner of the internet to voice my ill-informed opinion. 🙂


Shadespire Stormcast Eternals


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!



My painting of the Triumvirate of Ynnead continues with Yvraine, the second miniature for which I have produced a full step by step painting guide that you can get here. Faces and texturing were the most requested topics from people that got in touch following the chaplain tutorial so hopefully this will do the job!


This was another of those miniatures that took far longer than I expected, partly because I took the insane decision to stipple the large surface area of the dress! I wanted to come up with a completely different colour scheme to the ‘Eavy Metal version and I’m quite pleased with what I ended up with.

As is often the way with me, the base is probably not up to the standard of the rest of the miniature. I have to admit that I found it difficult to come up with any good ideas, since the dress requires a very large perfectly flat area to sit on. But regardless, I think Yvraine herself has come out quite well.




Blood Angels Chaplain

I’ve had the blood angels chaplain in my “future projects” pile for years, but with the advent of primaris space marines it became clear to me that if I didn’t get off my backside and make the chaplain a current project pretty soon then he’d probably never get painted!

I’ve been sharing some work in progress on instagram (nicholas.gareth), but here he is in all his finished glory.



If you’d like to know every detail about how I painted this miniature then you can purchase a painting guide here. I’ve used pretty much the same paints and techniques that I used when I painted my slayer sword winning blood angels diorama, so if you’d like some more insight into how that piece was created then this guide is for you!

The chaplain is also for sale, so please contact me if you’re interested in adding him to your collection. Sold, sorry!



The Visarch

When I first saw the Triumvirate of Ynnead I knew straight away that I’d end up buying it. I’ve been a big fan of the Eldar since I started in the hobby and I seem to remember that the first White Dwarf I ever owned featured them quite prominently. (Complete with back banners and goblin green bases!) I love what Jes Goodwin and co have done with all three miniatures in the new box – they’re definitely right up my particular aesthetic street!


The ‘Eavy Metal paint job on the Visarch is pretty special (Aidan Daly’s handiwork I believe) and I referred to it often during the painting of this piece, but I wanted to try and put a unique spin on the piece.

I chose to paint the helmet and parts of the armour black to try and make him more menacing, and the fiery sword is intended to be a nod towards the old Avatar of Khaine. There’s absolutely no good reason for this in the 40k background as far as I know, but I just thought it looked cool! Of course, the danger in having such a colourful sword is that it can draw the viewer’s eye too much. I’ve tried to balance this with the eyes and the gems but I’m not sure I’ve been wholly successful.

This was one of those projects that sat in an unfinished state for many months, so it’s good to finally clear it off my desk! I had to park it for a while due to all the commissions I’ve been doing recently and I was struggling with the armour anyway. It turns out that it’s very difficult to make all that embossed detail work with my painting style. It’s a tough miniature to paint anyway – sub assemblies are definitely the order of the day! I’m trying not to think too much about the Yncarne right now…

The Visarch is for sale, so if you’re interested in acquiring him then drop me a line and he could soon be travelling through the webway to you!

Sold, sorry!


White Scar Primaris Lieutenant

The new 40k box set Dark Imperium has been out for quite a while now, so it was high time I painted one of those shiny new primaris space marines…


This will be my last painting commission for the foreseeable future, so it was great to be given a very open brief to work with. After a small experiment with painting white armour on my version of Drazhar, I was keen to paint a whole mini in this style. The lieutenant is my favourite miniature from the new starter set, so after a little visit to ebay I was all set.

I bought a few Warcolours paints (specifically the blue grey set) after seeing various painters raving about them, and this seemed like an ideal opportunity to try them out. They have a gel medium and are certainly a bit different to work with than my customary citadel or reaper paints. The drying time is noticeably slower, which does make blending easier and suits my painting style. It did catch me out a few times when glazing though – I’d return to an area I’d glazed only to find that it hadn’t dried fully and end up messing up the previous application. I got the hang of it eventually!

I’ll be picking up more Warcolours paints in the future as and when I need to replace existing supplies. I really like the bottles they come in too! I’m not sure I’d buy another full set like the blue grey set though – I found the tones too close together for my painting style and ended up only using blue grey 1 and blue grey 5 plus black and white on this miniature (although this was also partly to avoid making the white armour too blue). In future I think I’d be tempted to buy the lightest and the darkest for each colour, plus the tone with the greatest colour saturation.

The base coat was 1:1 blue grey 1 and white. I tried airbrushing it but I pretty much suck with an airbrush and I didn’t feel the paint was going down very smoothly because I got the consistency wrong so I switched to a good old massive brush to finish the job.

After that I just applied my standard techniques, highlighting with more white and shading with the darkest blue grey shade. I used 1:1 blue grey 5 and black in the deepest recesses.

I wanted to go with true metallics rather than nmm for the details but I thought the sword blade would work better with nmm so I painted everything else in this style. Overall I’m quite pleased with how this mini turned out, as I was definitely concerned about how well the white armour would come out!


Tribune Ixion Hale

My latest commission paint job is Tribune Ixion Hale of the Legio Custodes. This is a Forge World Horus Heresy miniature that can only be acquired at events and at Warhammer World.


I’m famously not a big fan of resin miniatures, and I’m really not sure what madness overcame me when I agreed to take on this commission. Ixion Hale has an insane amount of fine detail, and the client wanted full nmm so I knew I was in for the long haul! This is the first Forge World miniature I’ve painted that has been digitally sculpted and I have to say that it did improve the experience somewhat compared to the last time. It’s still a complete pain to work with compared to plastic though!

The colours were quite carefully planned and agreed before I started painting. In the end this commission took more than a hundred hours of work. I switched to using the current citadel line for the gold nmm: base coat of 1:1 balor and mournfang, highlighted with balor and bone, shaded with doombull and black. I did take some pictures during the painting so I’ll try and post some step by step on this piece when time allows. 🙂


Drazhar, Master of Blades

Update: I’ve been getting a lot of requests to sell copies of Drazhar via Shapeways. While it’s very flattering, I’m sorry to say that I won’t be doing this. Drazhar is very much Games Workshop’s IP and putting aside the legality of it, I wouldn’t feel comfortable selling my version when a miniature already exists. And no, I won’t be selling my .stl either!

During the process of painting the Archon commission I was perusing my Dark Eldar codex when I came across a great bit of art depicting Drazhar, the mysterious champion of the Incubi.

Drazhar art

Unfortunately the existing miniature for Drazhar is very old (released in 1999 as far as I can tell) and doesn’t quite capture the character, presumably due to the limitations of moulding at the time. I therefore set out to try and make my own version armed only with the reference picture and my very limited sculpting skills!

As usual, I used Blender for the digital sculpting. To help me get somewhere near the pose I learnt how to rig a simple model and then played around with it until it felt about right. I intended to scale Drazhar to be similar in size to the new Eldar Visarch, but in the end I don’t think I made him quite slender enough and I don’t think the proportions are quite right.

drazhar v2 sculptdrazhar v2 sculpt2

I had to make some changes to get something that would print ok at Shapeways, mostly by reducing the amount of spiky parts and hanging pieces. I also reversed the grip on the swords to something that felt more natural to me.

Happily one of my loyal customers was keen to have a copy of the finished sculpt painted for his collection so we came up with a colour scheme that is fairly close to the original model. I particularly enjoyed painting the helmet – I don’t often get an opportunity to paint white armour so that was a nice challenge. The main colours used were incubi darkness and kabalite green for the armour, liche purple and magenta for the cloth and other details, and moot green for the glowing green details.


I’m looking forward to painting a professionally sculpted miniature for my next big project!