I’ve always had a love for small scales – you can fit a proper epic sized army on your table and the miniatures are much faster to paint than 32 mm scale. Techniques such as washes and drybrushing tend to fall down when you want to paint large flat surfaces but you don’t have to worry about that at small scales, so you can get really good looking results very quickly.
On top of that, small scale miniatures are particularly well suited to 3D printing. You can happily fit 100 miniatures at 10 mm scale onto the build platform of a small inexpensive resin printer such as the Elegoo Mars or Anycubic Photon, and they’ll typically be printed in under 3 hours with minimal resin usage.
Having acquired a Mars, I’ve recently started sculpting 10 mm fantasy miniatures and I’ve started a patreon so that my supporters can access all of the 3D files that I create. The response has been really encouraging, with nearly 200 patrons signed up in the first couple of months. Initially I’ve been working on wood elves, but my patrons have recently voted for vampires to be the next army, so those will be coming soon!
If you’d like to keep up to date to with what I’m sculpting for this range then be sure to follow @forestdragon3d on instagram or twitter. (my wife runs these accounts in her spare time, as I’m hopeless at social media!)
There are much better photos of the miniatures (still with the supports attached) at printing in detail, who are one of the merchant level backers.
The very first miniature that I made for Games Workshop as a trainee has now been released, so I can finally talk about it!
Xandria Azurebolt (as someone in publications has elected to name her) is the exclusive knight incantor model that comes with issue 5 of the Mortal Realms magazine for Age of Sigmar.
I’d been at GW for less than a month when I was given the brief to make this miniature. After becoming familiar with the team and the software, all the trainee miniature designers are given 3 or 4 training projects. These projects are not in the release schedule so you’re not under time pressure and although you’re told that it would be nice if you produced something that could be released, it’s not expected at this stage.
This then was my first training project in the summer of 2018. To be honest I’ve never been massively excited by Stormcast Eternals but I was given a really cool mock up that Steve Party had made and let loose to try and turn it into a product. The main areas of design work were the stave and the head. I remember going through quite a few iterations of the face until I got something I was reasonably satisfied with.
I was sitting at the desk next to the mighty Darren Latham when I worked on this, and he gave me a lot of help figuring out the engineering side, which was much appreciated. I think it’s fair to say that anything good about the final miniature is down to Steve and Daz, and anything not so good is down to yours truly! But I was pleased when the design managers told me that it would be getting produced.
I decided to paint this in non metallic metal, which was a decision I soon came to regret, because as usual it took me far longer than I wanted it to! I don’t think the finish is as good as it could be in a few places but I didn’t think it was worth investing any more time to try and make it better. There are far more interesting miniatures that I’d like to paint!
There is a full step by step painting guide for these miniatureshere.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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).
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!
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.
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.
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!
I had a fantastic time at Games Workshop but now that I’ve left I still want to carry on sculpting. I work digitally (using blender) and the question is, now that I don’t have a huge team of people working to turn my designs into lovely plastic frames, what is the best way of realising my designs physically?
Before joining GW I mostly relied on Shapeways to print my miniatures. I’m not very keen to go down this route again, mostly because it’s quite expensive but also because I was rarely very satisfied with the quality of the prints I received. So with a range of affordable resin 3d printers now on the market, my thoughts have been turning towards buying my own printer.
In an ideal world the quality of the prints would be good enough for me to paint, but even if they’re not I still feel that being able to see a miniature physically really helps to get the overall composition right. I came to rely on getting quite regular work in progress prints while I was at GW, and I don’t want to lose this facility!
In order to explore my options further I decided to revisit a miniature that I sculpted prior to joining GW. The original phoenix mage was produced in resin by RN Estudio but I thought it would be fun to give it a bit of an overhaul with the benefit of another 18 months experience.
I still need to split this guy up for printing, since I’m pretty sure I won’t want to be doing it as a single piece. But the sculpt is mostly done so I thought it was worth sharing.
If anyone has any experience with 3d printing or recommendations then it would be great to hear your views!
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).
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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)