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Nazgul of Dol Guldur

A painting guide for this miniature is available here.

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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!

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Captain-General Trajann Valoris

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

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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!

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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.

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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!

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Painting class at Barwell Bodyworks (17/02/18)

I’ve long had an interest in painting classes but up until now I’d never attended one, either as a student or teacher. Then a few weeks ago I was contacted by Paul Thompson, who runs a brilliant motivational Facebook group for painters in the Leicester area (the Leicester all scars survivor series), and asked if I’d be interested in giving a class at Barwell Bodyworks.

At first I was a little reticent as I know that there are several fantastic painters in the UK that have a great deal of teaching experience and didn’t think I’d be best placed to help the group, but Paul was quite persistent and I eventually agreed to give it a go!

I had a good think about what I could realistically cover in a single day and we settled on a demo of my approach to painting shiny armour, plus an extra session on some of the details if time allowed. Each of the seven attendees was given a short list of recommended paints for the day, and asked to show up with those, a basecoated space marine and all the other standard bits of painting paraphernalia that a hobbyist needs!

Barwell Bodyworks was very easy to find and is a great venue for teaching a painting class. The owner, Steve, runs regular airbrushing classes and sells everything that you could possibly need to paint with an airbrush. A seemingly endless supply of tea, coffee and biscuits was laid on for us, which was much appreciated! Steve was also able to help me out after I idiotically neglected to bring the desk clamp for my painting lamp to the class!

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I split the day into four mini sessions, with each consisting of me giving a demo of a technique and then the attendees having a go for themselves while I wandered around and offered help where it was needed. The first three sessions saw us working on the shiny power armour, and then we had a quick vote on what to cover for the final session, with power sword blades being the clear winner!

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From my point of view it was a fantastic experience, and I really enjoyed the day. More importantly, everyone that attended was very complimentary and said that they found the class really useful!

I definitely hope to teach more classes in the future now that I’ve got a taste for it, so watch this space!

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Unfortunately I didn’t get good photos of the work that the attendees achieved on the day, but here’s a WIP from Jake Bale using the techniques covered in the class. Very impressive!

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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.
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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. 🙂

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Yvraine

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!

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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.

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Miniature Painting Tutorials

You can buy my painting tutorials here. If you’d like to know more about the reasons for me going down this route then read on…

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When I originally set up this blog one of my aspirations was to share my techniques with a wider audience in the hope that it would be useful to my fellow hobbyists. Of course, I didn’t quite realise at the time just how much work goes into creating good quality tutorials! It’s very difficult for me to justify spending so much time doing this when I could be doing something else. (Like painting!)

I’d still like to share this information though, and I have been pondering the best way of doing it. I don’t really want to go down the Patreon route as it doesn’t sit well with me that someone can sign up and immediately get access to everything an artist has produced (and then cancel the subscription if they feel so inclined). It feels like a very raw deal for the people that have been paying for the service for months! I’m also wary of committing myself to having to produce quality content every month.

I’ve therefore decided to try offering individual tutorials for sale on Etsy. I like this approach better, as it means you can just buy a tutorial if you’re interested in it without committing to ongoing payments. And I don’t have to commit myself to producing material on a very regular basis.

I’ve chosen the blood angels chaplain as the subject of my first masterclass because it uses a lot of the same colours and techniques as my slayer sword winning diorama, and I know people are interested in how I went about doing that. The tutorial does assume a certain level of familiarity with painting just to keep the length manageable, so if you are a total beginner then it may not be suitable.

This is a total stab in the dark as I really have no idea how much of an audience there will be for this. I’m hoping for enough sales that I can justify making more tutorials in future! If you do purchase the tutorial then please do let me know your thoughts, as I’m very willing to take on board criticism and improve the format.