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Blood Angels Space Marine

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Every good performance deserves an encore, right? I was really pleased to be asked to paint this commission in the same style as my Blood Angels diorama (right down to the base).

There were plenty of opportunities for freehand with the parts that were chosen. I took inspiration for the loin cloth from the art on the cover of an old blood angels codex. It’s difficult to make out on the pictures but there is texturing on both this and the banner. The design on the right shoulder pad was adapted from space hulk.

I filled the indented crosses on the knees since neither I or the client were particularly keen on them, and it provided the opportunity to get a squad marking on the left knee.

Full non metallic metal was requested for this one, and I’m quite pleased with the result I achieved on the gold trim. I also experimented with a slightly different approach on the power sword, but the position of the power node thing is further down the blade than I’d like, which I found a little restrictive in terms of the effects I could employ.

My next painting project will be another commission – a dark elder archon this time. In the background I’m continuing to work on my sculpting too, focussing on 30 mm scale miniatures at the moment.

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Geigor Fell-Hand

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This was a fun little project that I painted as a gift for a friend.

Sculpted by Darren Latham for the Burning of Prospero box, Geigor Fell-Hand is my first ever Space Wolf (only taken me 24 years to get round to it!). Loads of cool details on this: wolf pelts, armour trim, plenty of weapons, gems… I particularly enjoyed painting the face for some reason – I don’t recall ever painting a mini with sculpted eyebrows before, but it was great!

I aimed for a fairly ‘Eavy Metal style with true metallics and lots of edge highlighting. I believe that technically heresy era Space Wolves are supposed to have a neutral grey armour but I wanted to paint it closer to the 40k scheme, so I ended up with a kind of halfway house with a bluish grey. I took inspiration from an old ‘Eavy Metal masterclass by Neil Green and went with red hair and yellow trim rather than the blond and red from the box art.

I added some damage to armour in the places where it was most likely to occur: more on the front than the back and plenty around the lightning claw and the bottom of the boots. Not many opportunities for freehand on this mini, but I was at least able to paint his name onto the claw!

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High Elf Sea Lord

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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.

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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!

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Blood Angels Terminator Librarian

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The librarian is now finished! Since the last update I painted the axe, went back and touched up the armour (particularly some of the transitions on the red shoulder pads that I wasn’t happy with), painted the gems and spent a little more time working on his face. Oh, and the base. 😉

For the force axe I base coated with black and then applied area highlights in two stages using a mix of turquoise and white (about 1:1 and then with more white added). I then painted on the lightning using a brush with a good point and applied some glazes here and there until it looked right. Unusually for me I didn’t use the maximum colour saturation (unmixed turquoise) at any point. The miniature is already pretty colourful and I didn’t want to overdo it.

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I’ve glazed some more purple and blue tones into the shadows on the face, as I wanted to convey that this guy isn’t super healthy and the psychic ability is taking a toll on him. I’ve painted some veins around the temples to emphasise this too. For some reason I’ve struggled to get the mouth looking right on this miniature – in the end this was the best I could do!

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I thought long and hard about adding some damage to the armour. Having spent the time getting to a point of shiny perfection I find it very difficult to then do something that will detract from this, and I’ve bottled out of doing it in the past. On this occasion I came to the conclusion that damaged armour would suit the somewhat stressed-looking face better than a factory fresh suit, so I took a deep breath and plunged in! Here’s a picture of how he looked before:

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I’m happy with my decision and it was good to push myself out of my comfort zone. That’s two new things on this piece, since I had never attempted textured freehand before either. 🙂

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I built the base out of ureol modelling board, plasticard and a couple of brass etch pieces from forgeworld. It’s quite simple, but that is very much my style – I’m still having headaches over the high elf sea base at the moment too, and I couldn’t handle having two difficult basing projects on my plate!

Overall I very much enjoyed this project. It’s a great sculpt by Ed Cottrell for the best space marines chapter 😉 and hopefully I’ve done it justice!

You can find earlier work in progress here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Blood Angels Librarian Part 3

Another week goes by and some more progress on the librarian.

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I’ve finished up the glazing on the blue armour and moved on to the red. I used the citadel reds here – it brought back happy memories of the hundreds of hours I spent on my blood angels diorama a couple of years ago! The base coat is mephiston red, then I highlighted with a mix of evil sunz scarlet and white, then again with more white. To shade I just added abaddon black to mephiston red. Then lots of glazes with mephiston and evil sunz.

I plan to go back to tidy up the armour a little more towards the end of the process and apply some final spot highlights. I think the lighting/camera has done something funny to the red armour in these quick pictures too – the transition between red and shade is definitely more gradual in reality than it appears here! Gah.

I’ve elected to go with true metallics on this piece rather than non metallic metal. I think it’s fair to say that the combination of this kind of shiny armour and true metallics is a bit of a marmite style. Personally I like this approach as the shinyness gives the miniature some extra impact in the hand but I have to admit that it doesn’t photograph as well as non metallic would.

For the gold I’ve used retributor armour, with a mix of dark flesh and black in the recesses, then highlighted with liberator gold and mithril silver. The steel is vallejo gun metal, shaded with black and highlighted with stormhost silver and mithril silver. Both metals get final spot highlights with vallejo metallic medium.

Plenty of parchment on this guy. After all, he’s a librarian so it makes perfect sense that he’d strap parts of his library to himself before heading into battle. 😉 For this I base coated with creamy ivory (reaper) over an initial layer of creamy ivory and khemri brown to help with coverage. Then I shaded with rhinox hide and a little black before highlighting with some white added to the ivory. After I painted on the text squiggles (a mix of rhinox and black) I used a wash of gryphonne sepia to yellow it up and increase the difference in colour with the robe a bit more.

Not too much more to do now, although I’m sure the final stages will take twice as long as I expect as usual! I should be able to get onto the axe this week. 🙂

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Blood Angels Librarian Part 2

After the very early WIP here, I’ve made a decent amount of progress with the blood angels librarian this week.

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As you can see, he’s now fully assembled. I reduced the shadows under the cheek bones a bit before gluing the chest piece in, as I felt I’d gone a bit too far with those.

I have to say that I’m finding this miniature a joy to paint. The sculpt is by Ed Cottrell and it’s a lovely open stance with some fantastic details. I’ve made some minor modifications by removing the sculpted on detail from the loin cloth and cleaning up a couple of areas on the legs where the limitations of injection moulding had required some filled in detail.

At the moment I’m working on the armour. So far I’ve base coated using kantor blue through my airbrush (I like to use the airbrush for base coating as it saves a little time). Then I built up the highlights using 1:1 enchanted blue (old citadel) and ghost white (reaper), then with more ghost white added following the technique described here. I shaded with abaddon black.

On the lower half of the miniature I’ve been applying glazes of enchanted blue and kantor blue, but I haven’t started this above the waist yet, so you can see the difference this makes. Still some way to go before the armour is done. I’m thinking I’ll add a little bit of battle damage too…

BA_loinclothFor the loincloth I wanted to experiment with combining some texturing with freehand as it’s not something I’ve done before.

I base coated with a mix of deck tan (vallejo) and rakarth flesh (citadel). Then I shaded quite roughly with 1:1 rakarth and cloudy grey (reaper), then 1:1 rakarth and abaddon black. The next step was to paint the freehand design, for which I used mephiston red (citadel). I then went over the whole loincloth using a brush with a very good point and just building up lots of dots using my previous mixes and going up to pure white dots on the creases. For the red areas I added black for the shade and the highlight dots were a mix of evil sunz scarlet (citadel), bestigor flesh (citadel) and deck tan. Looking at the pictures I may push the shading a little further, but I’m fairly happy with how this experiment has turned out.

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More work in progress

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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:

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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:

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True metallic on this piece. But I’ll be doing my trademark shiny armour as well… 😉

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Work in progress: High Elf Sea Lord

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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…

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Scale and Perfectionism

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I haven’t posted for a few weeks simply because I haven’t made as much progress with current projects as I’d hoped. The Varanguard has reached a fully assembled state… and stalled. Partly this is because I fell into my old trap and didn’t plan as thoroughly as I should have done. Consequently I’m underwhelmed with the effect of the lighting coming from the lava (in my head it just looked so much cooler!) and one or two other things. But I’ve realised that really the problem is more to do with scale.

The Varanguard is big. It’s difficult to get a true sense of it from pictures but I placed it next to a pre Age of Sigmar cavalry model (a High Elf Dragon Prince) and the difference is startling. The overall surface area that needs painting is vast in comparison, and of course this means that it takes far longer to complete the project. For this miniature there are also a great deal of details which add to the time needed.

There was a time in the not so distant past when I would have been prepared to plough 100 hours into a single model, but these days I find my willingness to commit to projects of this nature greatly reduced. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I’m no longer chasing competition glory but just painting for the fun of it. Beyond a certain point I tend to get bored with a miniature and want to move on to the next thing. With the motivation of competition I was able to push through this and on to completion but if I’m painting for fun and it’s starting to become not fun then what is the point?

One possible solution to this conundrum would be to back off on the quality a bit to reduce the painting time. But I know that when I do this I’m inevitably unsatisfied with what I’ve produced. So this is a non-starter (although the Varanguard will probably end up getting this treatment just so I can get it off my desk). The only other possibility I can see is to work at a smaller scale so that I can indulge my perfectionism while keeping the total project time down to a manageable level.

I had a lot fun last year painting my own 15 mm sculpts, and this is something I’d like to do more of in the future. On those minis I could really go to town, painting everything in non metallic metal and even getting in some bits of freehand while still keeping the total time per mini to 10-20 hours. However, I have to concede that such diminutive miniatures just don’t have the impact of larger figures. I’d also like to be able to paint something without having to sculpt it and get it printed first!

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been painting up a Tauriel from the Hobbit line, and I’ve come to the conclusion that this sits right in my sweet spot for scale. It’s a lovely sculpt, and the face in particular is better than I had thought from the box art (although I still need to tidy it up a little). The project is nearing completion and I’m not sick of looking at it yet despite pushing myself to the limit of my ability.

So I think that’s the answer for me – in the future I’ll be focussing again on single miniatures on foot when it comes to painting. It’s just a bit of a shame that there are so few LotR/Hobbit characters available in plastic because I really don’t like dealing with all the imperfections that come with resin and metal! I think I’ll be ok going up in scale to the smaller Warhammer miniatures, but I need to test that. This will open up a much larger range of possibilities but I worry a little about the trend towards huge character models that GW has been exhibiting recently. Don’t get me wrong: they’re fantastic miniatures, absolutely brilliant sculpts. They just don’t fit into my hobby at the moment.

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Varanguard work in progress 2

I had some time off work this week (yay!) so I was able to make some more progress on the Varanguard.

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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.