Followers of this blog may have noticed that I’m something of a fan of elves. Happily Games Workshop have got me covered whenever I feel the need to do something with space elves, but the fantasy side is a bit more tricky. I enjoyed painting Elrond from the Lord of the Rings range recently, but what I really want is the Warhammer Fantasy High Elves of my youth. Unfortunately with the advent of Age of Sigmar, the High Elf line has been abandoned in favour of Lumineth Realm Lords.

The problem for me is that while I can appreciate aspects of the Lumineth range, in the main they are not my cup of tea and I feel that the older High Elf aesthetic is superior. I certainly don’t intend any disrespect to the fine gentleman behind the Lumineth and much of the Age of Sigmar range – he is a far, far, far better and more creative miniature designer than I will ever be! But cow-themed elves with hammers and flying foxes don’t sit right with me. And it doesn’t help that many of the elves are wearing clothing that brings the tracksuit to mind. No I’m sorry, I like my elves robed and associated with fearsome beasts such as phoenixes, dragons and lions (these latter two now appropriated by the Stormcast Eternals it seems).

While I could go scouring eBay for High Elves, there are a couple of problems. Firstly, the prices on much of this stuff have got a bit silly recently. Also I’m not really interested in painting metal miniatures, and I’m certainly never going to waste another penny on finecast! What I really want is plastic, made to the standards of today but with the old aesthetic. Clearly that’s not going to happen any time soon (perhaps we can hold out a little hope of something coming with the Old World, although as that’s coming from Specialist Games I fear that resin will be more the order of the day).

I therefore decided that, as with Fuegan, it was once again time for me to sculpt my own miniature in order to create something I wanted to paint. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit jaded with the endless warlike stuff, so I wanted to explore the slightly softer side of the Warhammer setting and I decided to have a crack at Alarielle. (Obviously I’m talking about the classic High Elf Alarielle here, not her modern humongous incarnation atop a beetle.)

The most recent High Elf Alarielle miniature has a lot going for it, and I copied much of the design for my own version. Although huge hats are a staple of Warhammer, I’ve always felt that the headgear on this miniature looked a little too bulky for her delicate form and I wanted to try scaling it back a bit. I also decided to adjust the design of the staff a bit (in order to get rid of the sausage that appears to have been embedded in it) and took away some of the sculpted design on the loincloth to create a bit more room for runes, such as those on this artwork that represents the older Alarielle miniature. Classic magic user stuff here, and a lovely open pose to make the painting enjoyable.

I sculpted my version of Alarielle in blender, and printed her on my Elegoo Mars 3 at an appropriate Warhammer size (she is 32 mm to the eye). With hindsight there are of course some things I’d do differently. I think the biggest mistake I made was leaving the base of the dress solid, rather than making it a thin layer. I’ve been sculpting a great deal of small scale miniatures over the last couple of years, and I need to remember that there are things you can get away with at 10 mm that you can’t at 32 mm!

For the painting I didn’t really see how the most recent Games Workshop miniature could be improved upon. (I don’t know who painted it, but I strongly suspect the hand of Darren Latham. Possibly Joe Tomaszewski – I think it’s the right era for either of them!)

In the end, although I gave the miniature a good paint job, I didn’t paint it all the way up to what I would consider competition standard. For one thing, I don’t intend on ever putting it in a competition, but there are also some rough areas arising from the fact that this is a printed miniature. The Mars 3 is a 4k printer, and it’s an amazing piece of kit for the price, but even with it perfectly dialled in you’re still going to see some light layer lines in some places. I sanded most of these away but there were a few areas that were quite inaccessible. I’ve considered purchasing a Phrozen Sonic Mini 8k, but I’m not sure if there would be enough of an improvement over the Mars 3 to justify the expense.

I tried out the Pro Acryl golds for the first time on this miniature and I have to say I was a little disappointed with the results. I found that the coverage wasn’t great and it was very difficult to avoid building up texture with multiple layers. It’s surprising as I’ve heard very good things about these from painters that I respect. I daresay the fault is with me and further experimentation is needed. I’ve just been spoilt by Vallejo metal color I suppose, it’s just a shame they don’t make a gold with a warmer tone. I shaded the gold with Liquitex inks, and this was a more successful experiment.

As a reward for the few that have made it this far, I’ll just note down the rest of the colours I used as I know some people find it useful. The dress was painted using mixes of kabalite green from Citadel and AK white (I used lots of glazes rather than stippling as I wanted a very clean look). The skin was Vallejo basic skintone, shaded with beige red and then adding in khorne red and rhinox hide from Citadel, and highlighted with Vallejo light flesh. For the hair I used tallarn sand, ushabti bone and screaming skull from Citadel, and shaded with rhinox hide. There are some XV-88 glazes as well. Finally for the sashes and flowers I used pink 1 through 3 from warcolours (use some flow improver if you’re trying to basecoat with these – and be prepared for many layers!) and shaded with screamer pink from Citadel. The base used a similar palette to the hair.



Shockingly, it has been well over four years since I painted a Lord of the Rings miniature, and rather longer than that since I painted one where I was even moderately satisfied with the end result. In the arrogance of my younger years I actually gave away or sold almost all of my LotR pieces – at the time it seemed like no big deal as I was sure I would simply be able to paint something equally as good any time I wished. Unfortunately I’ve gradually realised over the last year or so that my ability to focus close to my face is on the wane, and that maybe my confidence was misplaced! I therefore decided to try and paint a new LotR miniature as close as I could to my old competition standard before my aged eyes deteriorate any further.

Fortunately GW has been releasing some very nice plastic LotR miniatures over recent years, although if I were being critical I would say that I miss the occasional character that isn’t armed and standing in a warlike pose. It seems that since the Perry twins left the company, the beautiful simplicity of miniatures such as Celeborn and Galadriel has been lost. I suppose the focus is very much on the tabletop game and there is no interest in making display pieces for collectors.

In any case, I was looking forward to painting Elrond, as it’s a great little miniature that offers a nice mix of materials and an un-helmeted head. Unfortunately he does have something of a closed pose, which meant that painting in sub assemblies was very much the order of the day. Before painting I gouged out some plastic to create a hole in the top of the scabbard – the limitations of injection molding meant that this was flat across the top, but I knew that simply painting this area black wouldn’t give a very convincing result, as you always get some light reflecting from the surface. My main complaint about the sculpting of the miniature is that I found the hair somewhat chaotic at the back – I would have preferred it to flow as more of a body to allow for better highlighting. The odd strand out of place is fine, but here I found it a little overdone.

I decided to deviate from the box art colour scheme based on the films, and flipped the areas of blue and green, while also going for a colder green and more of a turquoise than a pure blue. My reasoning was that these colours would balance nicely against the warm gold armour and the face, but I tested the scheme digitally before committing paint to miniature. I painted the areas of cloth with the finest stippling I could manage and introduced a little freehand design on the cape, mostly because I always used to try and get some freehand on my LotR competition pieces.

I found the armour quite challenging, partly because I’m somewhat out of practice painting non metallic metal, and partly because it’s always tricky to get a convincing result when there is sculpted detail running over the surface, such as on the vambraces. A little touch I’m quite pleased with, but that doesn’t show up very well on the photos, is that there are some green reflections painted onto the armour and chainmail where it is close to the cape. Overall I don’t think it’s the best armour I’ve ever painted, but it’s not too bad.

With LotR miniatures I always like to try and paint the face to look like the actor, but it’s generally beyond me to achieve this as the faces are only a few mm in height and in any case, I think the limitations of the injection molding mean that the underlying sculpt can’t be as true to the reality as one would wish.

For the base I simply mounted the finished miniature directly onto a plinth from Taro Modelmaker, which I built up with some Vallejo ground effects, sand, and various tufts. The ruined archway I designed and printed myself.

Throughout the process of painting I used magnification (apart from base coating – sadly this is just reality for me these days). Most of the time I find I can get by just wearing some 3.0x magnification reading glasses, but for the really fine work I can see more clearly through an Optivisor. Wearing this does give me something of the air of the 40-Year-Old-Virgin, much to my wife’s amusement, but needs must. Unfortunately I don’t have my previous LotR competition pieces to check against, but I think I have been able to get something like the same level of finish that I used to, which was the main object of the exercise. It’s comforting to know that I can still do it!


Drazhar (again)

On my first day in the Games Workshop miniatures design studio I was thrilled to be shown to my desk alongside the mighty Darren Latham. Once I’d recovered sufficiently from this excitement I was delighted to find that he was in the process of sculpting a new version of Drazhar (with plenty of input from the legendary Jes Goodwin of course).

Long time readers of my blog may remember that I tried my hand at sculpting my own version of Drazhar before I joined GW, based on some codex artwork. Although I was quite pleased with it at the time, looking back on this piece now it’s quite obvious that I got the proportions wrong, among various other deficiencies. So I was really pleased to get my hands on the fantastic new version. It’s a lovely kit, goes together really nicely, and can be almost fully assembled before painting (I think I painted the head separately).

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I wanted to revisit the green armour I used previously, so I went with a similar colour scheme to my previous version. For the armour I used incubi darkness, kabalite green and sybarite green, mixing white into the final highlights and shading the deepest recesses with a mix of naggaroth night and black. Rather than using gold I went with silver non metallic metal, and the spot colour was moot green.


I’m afraid there won’t be a painting tutorial for this miniature as I didn’t take many photos during the painting process but I’m pleased to say that my Etsy shop is now open again and there will be some new guides coming soon!


Sister Amalia Novena

Just a quick update to demonstrate that this blog hasn’t totally died and to share pictures of Sister Amalia Novena, the vanguard of the new range of Sisters of Battle that are coming soon.

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One of the perks of working in the studio is that I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy directly from the man that sculpted her (the legendary Darren Latham) several months before she hit the shelves. The miniature is based on Karl Kopinski’s iconic artwork, and I think it’s safe to say that Daz did an excellent job of translating the artwork to miniature.

Painting-wise I really wasn’t pushing myself here – I just wanted a nice relaxing project that I could paint without it taking very long. I decided to call my version Alexis before I knew what the official name was going to be, so that’s the reason for that being painted on the bolter! Anyway, I don’t feel I fully did the miniature justice but happily I do have another copy that I’d like to paint in a different colour scheme at some point in the future.

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It has been nearly six months since I last updated the blog, so it’s definitely overdue! A few people have contacted me to ask whether I’m still in the land of the living and I’m happy to say that I definitely am! I started a new job as a trainee Citadel Miniatures designer in July, and the subsequent upheaval left me with greatly reduced time for painting. But I’m happy to finally have a new project to show off: Inquisitor Eisenhorn!


The miniature was a gift from Maxime Corbeil, who is the very talented gentleman that sculpted Eisenhorn (and also a fantastic painter in his own right). I love the Eavy Metal version of this miniature painted by Aiden Daly, but I wanted to do something a little different. Fortunately Maxime had the clever suggestion of using the original 54 mm paint job from the Inquisitor game as inspiration (reproduced here without permission).


I made a few tweaks to adapt the colour scheme to the smaller scale, but I’ve tried to stick fairly close to the original and I’m quite pleased with the final result.


Now that things are starting to settle down a bit I’m hoping to get more time for painting, so it shouldn’t be quite so long before the next update!

Unfortunately I can’t produce any more pdf tutorials at the moment, but I am starting to share more step by step stuff on my instagram feed (nicholas,gareth), so feel free to follow me there!



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!



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.

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.

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!

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!

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!


Nazgul of Dol Guldur

A painting guide for this miniature is available here.


I was really pleased to see Forgeworld bringing out the Nazgul miniatures after what seemed like endless dwarf, orc and lake town nonsense from the terrible Hobbit movies! I think that technically the Nazgul are from the Hobbit too but they’re also in the Lord of the Rings so that’s good enough for me!

It was a challenge to try and think of something interesting to do with this miniature since it’s very much just steel with a black cloak! I’ve added some subtle texture to the cloak and tried to make the non metallic metal a little interesting by highlighting it with cold green and including some reflections from a far off fire, which could be the fires of mount doom or just a camp fire made by some foolish hobbits! In reality the highlights are a bit greener than they appear in these pictures, but I really struggled to get an accurate colour balance on this miniature for some reason.

I was surprised to find that the Nazgul have been sculpted by hand, as I thought pretty much everything had been switched over to digital by now. I think CAD would have been a better choice with so much armour on the miniature – some of the surfaces were not as smooth or as precise as I would have liked and did have to spend some time with sandpaper and putty just correcting various areas. I’m pleased to say that the casting was pretty good though! The Nazgul are also larger than I expected – this guy towers over the other Lord of the Rings miniatures that I’ve got lying around. I’m not sure if this was intentional or just a bit of scale creep.

I’ll enter this into golden demon in a couple of weeks but without any great hope of winning anything, as I don’t think it’s the best choice of miniature for a competition piece. Still, after taking gold in this category in 2016 and 2017 I don’t think I can complain too much!


Captain-General Trajann Valoris

There is a full step by step painting guide for this miniature available here.


With Golden Demon looming on the horizon it was high time to turn my attention to this year’s entry for 40k single miniature, in a (probably doomed) attempt to defend the gold I got last year with my terminator librarian.

With some trepidation I elected to paint Captain-General Trajann Valoris of the Adeptus Custodes. It’s a fantastic looking miniature, but this guy is big (he’s supplied with a 40mm base, which seems woefully inadequate if you ask me) and he is absolutely festooned with detail so I knew I was in for the very long haul again!


As is often the case, I wanted to do something different to the ‘Eavy Metal paintjob and decided to find out what he would look like in the white armour of the Solar Watch. I’ve been wanting to revisit white armour since I painted the primaris lieutenant last year, as it is quite the challenge to get it looking good and I learnt some things from that piece that I thought could help me here. Once again I’ve used the excellent Warcolours blue grey set to paint the armour.


A few thoughts on the miniature:

  • Fantastic sculpt (Matt Holland). Nothing much to criticise in my opinion! The only thing I would say is that viewed from the side he seems a little flat and 2-dimensional, like an old metal miniature. Maybe it would look more interesting with the cloak billowing out a bit, but then again it wouldn’t appear to have so much weight and gravitas if it did that.
  • This was the first single mini I’ve purchased that came in a box and what I was really impressed with was the fact that the two sprues were held apart from each other so none of the fine detail could get damaged in transit. Big improvement!
  • As with so many citadel miniatures these days, painting this guy is sub assembly hell. But there is an extra challenge because when you can finally put the cloak on, it comes in several pieces and there is a very obvious yet difficult to access join line right around where the handle of his dagger is. Getting rid of that was tricky!

Overall I’m pretty pleased with how the piece has turned out and I think it’s a fairly unique interpretation of the miniature. I think I need to paint something a little less challenging next though!



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!