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Battle Sisters

There is a full step by step painting guide for these miniatures here.

I haven’t got much history with Sisters of Battle, since their second edition codex was released just after I’d drifted away from the hobby, and by the time I came back they had been unsupported for so long that they weren’t really relevant. For that reason I wasn’t particularly interested when the news broke that they were to be re imagined in plastic. But it just goes to show that you should never be closed minded, because now the Adeptus Sororitas are here and I absolutely love them!

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These miniatures are from the multi part battle sisters kit that Joe Tomaszewski designed (with I would imagine significant input from project lead Martin Footit and design manager Ben Jefferson). Joe has outdone himself with this kit – it’s simply fantastic! So many options, fantastic poses, beautifully rendered cloth… the list goes on and on.

The only slight negative for me about the sisters is that the 6 official orders don’t have the widest range of colour schemes – it’s very much variations on white, red and black. So I decided to invent my own order and be totally revolutionary by throwing purple into the mix.

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I’ve gone for a fairly standard ‘Eavy Metal style of painting on these because I didn’t want to spend forever on them, and I’m happy with the result considering the time spent. On the superior I tried out a different skin tone to my usual recipes, which I think turned out ok, and of course I couldn’t resist a bit of non metallic metal on the sword blade.

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Of course, now I’m being severely tempted by the Triumph of Saint Catherine (which should probably be referred to as the Triumph of Mr Footit). I don’t think I can commit the time it deserves to it though – maybe in the next lifetime!

 

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Howling Banshee Exarch

When I left Games Workshop I was surprised and overwhelmed by the generosity of Gaku Matsubayashi, who gave me a copy of Jes Goodwin’s Eldar sketchbook as a leaving gift. Of course, I had to do something to try and repay such generosity, so I painted the Howling Banshee Exarch as a gift for Gaku (he sculpted the excellent plastic banshees kit).

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I wanted to try a different colour scheme, and settled on the classic combination of magenta/purple and teal, despite some misgivings about it being a bit too Slaaneshy. I decided to retain the pale armour, but moved away from the bone into warm grey (I used pallid wych flesh shaded with skavenblight dinge). I didn’t want to make this look super reflective and shiny (I imagined more of a plastic, super advanced lightweight material), so I just shaded towards the recesses and in one or two other areas to add some visual interest, and edge highlighted with white.

I decided to try something different to the classic Eldar crystalline sword, so I used more of a conventional non metallic metal approach, but introduced more teal towards the body of the miniature to try and guide the eye inwards. The small details are painted with true metallic paints, which I always find add an extra level of contrast when viewing the miniature in the hand (but unfortunately doesn’t translate so well to photos).

I don’t want to criticise the ‘Eavy Metal team, who I think do wonderful work (to tight deadlines). But I do think that they sometimes have a tendency to go too far with the shading on female faces, with the result that to me they often look quite masculine. I’ve gone for a more subtle approach here, which is much more to my taste. Fortunately Gaku has sculpted some lovely big, well defined eyes so I was able to paint the irises without too much difficulty!

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I also painted one of the optional exarch helmets to see how it would look, but in the end preferred the unhelmeted version, so that was the one I glued in place before giving the miniature to Gaku.

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Best leaving gift ever – thank you Gaku-san!
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Dark Elf Dragon Queen

Another sculpt I’ve been playing with recently is this dark elf lady, which I shared with Vince Venturella towards the end of the interview I did with him on YouTube recently. As with the high elf it’s designed at warhammer scale.

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One of my main focuses with this piece was to get a satisfying composition. I also spent quite a while on the armour, trying to get the right amount of detail and make it suitably elfy looking. She’s supposed to have a menacing smile, although I’m not sure how successful this will be.

I haven’t invested in a 3D printer yet but it’s high up the priority list for 2020. I’ve got this one and the high elf split up into pieces that should be reasonably easy to print, so I hope I’ll be able to hit the ground running on that front!

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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.

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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!

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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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Primaris Space Marine Captain

Update: There’s now a full painting guide for this miniature available here.

Due to my own idiocy I didn’t think I would be able to attend Warhammer Fest until a few weeks before it took place. Consequently I hadn’t given much thought to an entry, but when I realised that I had got my dates wrong it was clear that I needed to get my skates on and finish the space marine I was painting!

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Although on the face of it this is yet another boring shiny space marine, I did try out a new effect by adding the small purple reflections to the armour. I’d decided to paint the plasma pistol glow in colours I remember from when I worked with real plasma in a previous life, so the idea behind the reflections was that there would be other plasma weaponry being discharged in the area. This allowed me to get a little more purple into the piece.

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The captain was designed by the legend that is Darren Latham, and as with all of his kits the attention to detail and the way it goes together is exquisite. It’s a great miniature for practicing freehand with the cape and all those little shields! My purity seal text can be a bit hit or miss but I was fairly pleased with the result this time. And in another of my trademarks I added some subtle texture to the inside of the cape.

As a staff member I was restricted to entering the Open competition at Golden Demon. I was delighted to get the gold, but at the same time I did feel a bit disappointed in myself for what I think has ended up as quite an unimaginative entry! I really want to push myself out of my comfort zone for next year so I need to get thinking!

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Eldar Autarch

A full painting tutorial for this miniature is available here.

The plastic Autarch has been around for several years now and although I’ve always thought it was fantastic I’ve somehow never got round to painting it! I decided to put that right and paint up a version in Alaitoc colours, using the box art from the old finecast version as inspiration.

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I chose to paint this miniature in more of an ‘Eavy Metal style than I often do, by which I mean edge highlighting and recess shading rather than trying to apply large area highlights. Working in the studio and seeing the amazing work that the team do first hand almost certainly influenced this choice!

Since I’m not currently able to produce full tutorials I’ve been doing my best to share step by step images and recipes on instagram, so follow me there if that’s something that would interest you! (My handle is nicholas.gareth)

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Eisenhorn

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!

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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).

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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.

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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!

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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!