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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
Fans of this blog may remember my first 30 mm sculpt, the Dragon Maiden. I’m pleased to say that RN Estudio are now selling resin copies of this miniature here. (In case anyone is wondering, I’m not making any money from this myself.)
Of course, it was only fitting that I give her a snazzy new paint job to celebrate this development! I’ve gone for non metallic metal again just because it looks better in photographs and I knew a good picture would be needed for the store.
Unfortunately there’s no painting tutorial for this piece but it uses the same recipes as the fantasy football high elf I painted recently, so that guide is highly recommended for anyone wishing to emulate my version!
Before producing the miniature, Rafael asked me to create an alternative right hand, which I was very happy to do. I also took the opportunity to fix her eyes, which were far too bulbous on the original. Her face is still not the right shape and I have had to disguise this with my paint work. I’ve corrected this deficiency on my more recent sculpts though!
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.
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. 🙂
My first completed miniature of 2018 is another of my own sculpts. Actually this one was sculpted quite a long time ago (well before Drazhar) and was the first miniature where I discovered how to use rigging in blender.
The delay in presenting the finished miniature was because my friends at RN Estudio are putting this piece into production (which is very exciting for me!), so you can now buy resin copies from them if you wish.
I’ve gone for non metallic metal again when painting this piece and stuck with the classic high elf colours. My technique is still evolving gradually and I’m fairly satisfied with how it has turned out here.
I’ve made another painting guide where I’ve tried to take on board some of the fantastic feedback I’ve had following the first three. I think this is the most in depth guide to my approach to painting nmm so far and I hope it will be useful to people even if they have no interest in this particular miniature! I’m aware that there is some repetition between the guides and this is something I’m going to have to think about a bit more.
The miniature bundled with the painting guide is here, or you can buy the miniature with no guide here. Or if you just want the painting guide I’ve also put it up on my Etsy store.