December 26, 2009

Burning Armour - A tutorial

A few people on the Warhammer Forum have asked about a tutorial for the armour I painted on my Chaos Warriors. I have finally managed to get something together. It is not perfect but it should give a good idea of how to do it. I have popped this tutorial there and on the Northerns Wwasters site too. I have been slowly getting my Forsakonettes done for this months challenge on the Northern Wasters site. They are approaching the finished state. I might have them finished by next weekends deadline if I am lucky. Thankfully New Years comes with a few holiday days around it, however it also comes with parties! Maybe I will have some time. While doing their armour this weekend I have photographed the process.

Step 1
PhotobucketThe armour is basecoated from a mix of paints. I used to use Dwarven Bronze but as GW don't make that anymore I have mixed my own. I start with Brazen brass and add a lot of black ink. It thins the paint a lot and darkens it nicely. It needs a lot of mixing and it will separate for a few weeks but after a while it settles well. The dark bronze colour this achieves is still very metallic. I then give this a wash with GW Badab black. It is important not to water this wash down as it loses the quality needed to give the burnished effect. Once this is done and dry, which thankfully does not take too long, I begin with the first Orange. The Chaos Warriors' armour was much easier to do as the flat plates lend themselvels to edging. The Deamonttes are a different mater entirely! I am not sure if what I have done is actually that good but considering their ribbed armour it came out alright. Anyway Vallejo (VJ) Hot Orange is the first colour. It is laid down lightly along the natural edges of the armour. I lay it down thinly and over a thicker area than I intend to have in the end. I want it to form a failry translucent band along the edges. I then lightly trace in the lines between the edges ot in this case along the indents in the armour. As I said with flat plates this is a lot easier! Again I try to creat a translucent band. This stage is shown above.

Step 2
PhotobucketThe second stage is designed to have the previous orange blend a little into the armour and form a base for the stronger brighter effect of the later stages. It also serves to dull the armour down and give only the highest points a metallic effect. The blackness of the armour accentuates the lava\burning effect but the higher metallic areas make it still look like armour. Anyway this stage is simply a second wash of undiluted Gw Badab Black. Just don't allow it to pool too much in the recesses.

Step 3
This step is important, possibly the most important to get right. It is once again easier on the Warriors but is still okay to do on the Daemonettes. The orange is very dull after the wash and looks terrible. It blends well into the armour though. I use VJ Hot Orange again but in thin strong lines to give the heat. The previous orange then looks like the heat dissipating into the metal. On this model my orange lines are a little too thick due to the form of the Daemonette armour. The delicate models don't give you much room to play with! I was also a little out of practise and heavy handed when it came to the strokes I think.

Step 4
Photobucket(Sorry for the poor photograph, I didn't realise it was so out of focus. It is too late to go back now though)
This stage really gives the model some heat! Again I missed a few tricks but the principle is easy to explain. I use VJ Orange Fire for this layer. Here what I am trying to achieve is the warming of the lines. I highlight the areas where the lines meet. So basically where one line intercepts another you paint in the brighter orange leaving a little of the darker one showing. I also sometimes paint the brighter orange on the raised areas. This gives a nice effect.

Step 5
PhotobucketThankfully the more you do of this effect the quicker the steps become. The second last colour to go on is GW Sunburst Yellow. This is used sparingly right at the intersection points of the lines and on some of the most raised areas. The paint is really thin which works to my advantage. I can take a little and work it into the lines in two coats. As it is transparent it highlights perfectly. Its that simple! Just ensure not to get any of the yellow outside the orange lines as it really defeats the effect.

Step 6
PhotobucketThe final painting layer is optional. I actually left it off most of the Daemonettes. The exact meeting point of the lines of orange should be given a very thin coat of white. I use GW Skull White but having just bought VJ Dead White I have come to prefer it already. I also pick out certain areas that have received a yellow highlight with the white. The Deamonettes white skin however might not suit this so I really kept it to a minimum on this model just to show what it should be like.

Thats pretty much it for the burning armour. I do have to say again that my inspiration came from the Warriors of Chaos book. There is a much nicer effect achieved there that a bit of study should be able to recreate well. If anyone else has tried this please let me know so that I can learn what might work better in future! I will be doing this on my Chaos Knights once I get to them. Hopefully it will look nice there too!

December 23, 2009

A game a week?

So a game a week then? I have heard about this aim in White Dwarf and it actually is appealing. A game a week should be possible? To be honest I doubt it but I am going to try. After spending so much money and time preparing an army I might as well get some use out of it. The gaming should help to keep me motivated about the painting too. The lead collection has already begun to mount in Germany. I really need to stop collecting... as if that would actually be possible. I have two days off over Christmas so I don't know if I will actually get that much painting done. The Forsakenettes need to be finished soon as I can't really be bothered with them anymore. While I will need them to bulk out the army a bit until I have knights and stuff ready I don't see myself using them. They are really sub-optimal. I don't think they would even be good for fun games!

The extra gaming would be great in terms of improving my gameplay. I have noticed that I am not that sharp anymore (in game terms!). I make really stupid mistakes and while I don't believe my army choice is optimal I make things far worse for myself by not paying attention. The mistakes can be ironed out by playing more. The army list is something else entirely though... In terms of army choice or list making I have so much useless things in there. My 2000pt army is bigger than most horde armies. I could almost challenge the new skaven for sheer numbers! I have bought a few new toys to change the army a little. Two spawn should give me better options as will a Warshrine. The Spawn models are pretty terrible though. When I finally saw them 'in the flesh' I was dissapointed.. They have poor poses, poor sculpts and not really that many options. Still they will do for now. The one I was sculpting myself won't be done for a while! The Warshrine I am converting from the Corpse Cart. I have to figure out a way to have it pulled by a Chaos Steed though. It also needs to fit inside the foam case, which thankfully has a slot for a chariot at least. The Warshrine has the potential to make for a very powerful unit somewhere on the board. It also gives a nice focal point for the army. With what I already have and the additions I should be able to come up with a

December 13, 2009

Christmas parties

As Christmas approaches it seems I am getting less and less time to paint! It is my own fault really as recovering from my work Christmas Party has taken most of this weekend! Having an effective public transport system that runs 24 hours a day means that parties tend to run on that little bit longer than back home in Dublin! My other excuse this weekend for not painting is because I have a roleplaying session today. We shall be forming a new group here in the city and today is the first session. I guess it is just to see what players suit and are available. I believe we will be playing Spellslinger. The setting seems interesting but I am not too happy that it is 3rd edition DnD. That system is supposed to suck and as I have never played it before this should be an interesting beginning. I am looking at my 4th edition collection here and wishing I could get someone to run that!

My online 4th edition game has been good. It suffers a little from the fact that we can't get maptools to easily work for us. Having to open ports on our routers has proven next to impossible. That means we can't easily use maps and therefore the tactics of the combat scenes are lost a little. The timing has proven okay at least so we can regularly meet without too much disruption. Currently I think we are playing through an old Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay scenario. I can't remember which but as the story goes on it feels more and more similar! Online roleplay has been good. The dynamics of the group work differently but there still seems to be a lot of fun. The familiarity generally created between players takes a lot long to build up but we are getting there. I wonder what it will be like with a bunch of Germans playing Spellslinger today... fun I hope?!

The North Wexford Gamers have begun another painting competition here. This one comes with prize support from Battlecry miniatures. I will hopefully be entering with Crom. I really need to get working on him. As you can see there is still a lot to be done! The armour is almost complete. I made a few mistakes here and there that are not visible in the picture. I have to tidy these up and then get into the more detailed work. The miniature has loads of little details that should provide some nice contrast against the dark armour. I have finally converted and base coated his shield. I am experimenting with some different methods for painting bronze. So far it is coming out well without having to put too much effort in. Thats always good! I have found that the GW purple wash gives an interesting tint to the gold. It is very easy to overdo it though. I haven't green yet but I assume it should also be good. I really think with Crom I should have cut the horns off the helmet though. The more I look at the model the more I hate them. The only handy thing is that it is easy to pick the model up with them. Maybe once they are painted I hope I will be happier.

December 6, 2009

The Forsaken

I managed to get some painting done dispite the lack of daylight. The Daemonettes have been basecoated and I have done up a test model to see how the scheme will look. I wish I had canverted these models but I couldn't think how. The models are pretty goos already. They don't fit into my theme that much and making them look 'viking' didn't seem possible. Anyway so far I am pretty happy with them. I incorporated the burning lava armour from the Chaos Warriors. So they should fit visually at least that way! Big furry cloaks just didn't seem appropriate.

I haven't really done much with the skin on these ladies. The little I have done has shown me that there is not much contrast on the skin once I begin to hightlight it. While that is essentially what I want I don't want them to look like they are just pure white. I began the process by painting them white, a good solid basecoat. I washed this with a very dark purple. It actually dried quite pink which was suprising. It looked alright though but not perfect. I then highlighted up with pure white. The white is transparent enough that it takes a few thin coats to build up to a pure white. Anyway you can't see this in the photographs as I hadn't done it by the time I was taking them. Maybe during the week I will get a few more work in progress shots and have gotten closer to a better skin.

I had actually intended to give these a very pale flesh colour. However after I had washed them all purple I remembered it! I had the wash on before I thought about what I had intended to do. It was too late by then. Anyway I think they look okay this way. The armour has come out a lot better than I though it would. It gives a very good contrast to the skin. I don't know how I will do the claws though. I have looked at a few different things but at the moment I really don't know how to proceed. I was thinking of a really dark brown.

December 4, 2009

A weekend, I won't know what to do with the time

As predicted work has swallowed a lot of my time. I finally have two days off together so I intend getting some painting done! I managed to win the Northern Wasters painting competition this month so I have decided that the next months theme will be "the best of the best". It is intended to have the elite members of the amry represented so I will be doing some painting on my unconverted Forsaken. I have used Daemonette models for them in games. I have to say they were pretty useless and tended to be free victory points for my opponents. I would like to use them more so I want to get them painted up. I will be doing them in a white scheme but hopefully with the burning armour you have seen on the Chaos Warriors!

My tournament didn't go so well last weekend sadly. One of the games ranks as the possible worst ever both from my point of view and possibly my opponents. More of that later! The tournament itself was great. Organised well and run well, the only complaint was it running a little late meaning I didn't get home until midnight. Wwell it wasn't home but to a friends house that night. The first game was against a decent Dwarf gunline with an anvil. It lead to a very tense game that was decided by some very lucky rolls on my behalf. I managed to hold a decisive charge on a double one! That saved the game for me. It ended up a draw. I was happy with the result to be honest. If it had gone on longer I think I had the edge but a fair result by the end of turn six was a draw.

Game two was a different story altogether! I played another Wwarriors of Chaos army. These civil wars are often very bloody and this game was no exception. My opponent had no magic defense instead trusting to the most elite troops! I got first turn and advanced with everything. He did the same and suddenly I was pinned behind a wall of chaff with knights pointing straght at me! There was little I could do to stop the worst but I managed to hold off the worst charges and get in some of my own. The trouble, in my opinion thats of course biased, is that the guy I played against had never been in a tournament before. He played and acted a little too agressive and wasn't following what would be considered standard tournament etiquette. He would vaguely measure things and then move them while I was telling him that wasn't possible. Things like spawns moving through friendly troops became the point I lost my cool. I admit I eventually couldn't stay calm. We more or less had to keep the ref beside our table to explain everything. I just sat down and didn't care what happened. By turn four I was prepared to concede. I had had enough. Once the turn five was finished we had been told that there was five minutes left. Aat this point the opponents general and main regiment of knights was fleeing. I stood up, said sorry, and went to the toilet. While I needed the break to stay calm I knew that in taking it the game would be a draw. Bad tactics I know but I really couldn't do anything else. When I came back there was a minute or two left so I started my turn six (I went first). The judge decided that as there was no chance to finish the turnj we shouldn't start. The game ended up a very minor win for me, 12-8 in ETC terms. So I pulled a bad tactic. I felt shit about it but in the moment it seemed appropriate due to my opponents behaviour. No excuse though....

Game three was what the doctor ordered! A great friendly opponent playing a fun army, Savage Orcs! The game went well until shagga's sword got close to my character bunker and tore my Chaos Warriors to shreds. I lost badly 6-14 I believe but it was a fun game. I have to thank my opponent, if he ever reads this. That game was really what I needed.

So in the end without painting points due to my hastily assembled Forsaken I came 26th of 32. A bad result, possibly my worst ever, maybe a good sign that Karma exists!

November 22, 2009

Getting warmer...

So after a long night of wondering about light, fire and miniatures I have managed to figure out a little more of the OSL. I put it into practise today and came up with a few interesting results. I have realised that I don't need to change the temperature of the light when it gets further from the source. I also needed to consider the role of ambient light better! Now I don't have a clue if I am using the correct terms but I am attempting to explain in an easy to follow manner. I hope I manage that!One of the things that is probably important is to only introduce the light source once it overpowers the ambient light. So essentially only paint the orange colour once it is as bright or a little brighter than the surface it is reflecting from.

PhotobucketI began with the robes. I painted GW Orkhide Shade back over the area that I intended to illuminate. I did this as the area would be much brighter than the rest of the robe which only gets ambient light. This place reflects both ambient and source light. With the basecoat down I then decided upon the colour to warm everything with. I chose Vajello Hot Orange. This I then mixed into the Orkhide shade and layed it down over the illuminated area leaving a little of the pure Orkhide around the edges. I layerd this on with progressively warmer mixes. Once this was dry I watered pure Hot Orange down to a wash and layered it over the areas closest to the flame. After a few coats this came out very bright on the highest surfaces. I then watered some Vajello Gold Yellow down and put the tiniest layer over the closest surfaces. This changes the look dramatically and it is important to be very sparing. Too much on makes the area look light it is a light source itself. Once this was all dry I looked at it and decided that it was much too bright. I had intended it to be so as I knew with a wash of orkhide shade I could turn down the intensity. I washed the entire illuminated area including the spots that I had left with the mix of Orkhide shade and Hot orange with a very thinned down Baal Red. This tied any mistakes from the washes together a little better. Once that was done on went the wash of Orkhide Shade. This worked like magic. The glow was dampened to a more realistic level.

PhotobucketThe flesh proved a little more difficult. As it is lighter it can't really be done in the exact same way. I haven't figured it out exactly yet but the results are passable. I simply put GW Tallarn Flesh over the entire are to be lightened. I then washed it as I did the robes and finally washed the entire area again with GW Tallarn Flesh. This leaves a strong contrast against the pale flesh. The tallarn wash gives a very warm rosey colour that rises to the orange of the flames. It has a little less strength in the colour than upon the robes but that is fine as it is fractionally further from the source. So what do people think? I would really value some feed back on this as I don't know if it looks that good. As I am generally always unhappy with my painting I sometimes can't judge if something actually is okay. So let me know if you like it or more importantly if you don't.

I have been experimenting a little further with the robes on the Cultists. I guess experiment is the wrong word. I thought the grey section of the robes I am painting at their backs was pretty boring. I am going to free hand some designs onto them to enliven the miniatures a little. Here is the beginning of a design on the first model.Photobucket

November 21, 2009

My arm is on fire

I am struggling with Object Source Lighting. I have started the first flagellant that will have the effect and well parts of him look good. I struggled first with painting the flames as they should be. I have managed that decently but not perfectly.

The Flame: I began with a solid white basecoat which I washed with yellow a number of times to build up the colour. I then washed orange over a smaller area and finally some red. This turned out oaky. The problem I have encountered is that the flame tongues are rather large and round and almost feed from the base of the flame right to the top. This means that when washing the watered paint will still run to the base if too much is applied. I had to thicken the paint a little more to prevent it running too much. Eventually I realised that this was not enough and went back over the entire flame with a yellow wash. This tied stuff together well but sat deeply in the long crevasse at the centre of the flame giving a solid yellow centre that didn't look right. I went along then and shaded the flames to remove some of that yellow and enliven the whole effect I darkened the tips to GW red gore with a little black at the very top. I will have to go back and ass some white to the flames I think but so far they seem to have come out alright considering that I have done them rather quickly. There is a good tutorial here.

The Light: This is tough. A lot tougher than I imagined and I didn't help myself much with the colours chosen. The problem I am having is with the change in the spectrum of the light due to its proximity to the source. I was using Vajello Hot Orange for my light base colour which I intended to highlight with a little yellow. Firstly the model I was working on had blonde hair. Straight away I didn't really know how to proceed. Eventually I felt brave and just applied some orange 'highlights' to the hair. I remember Old Fogey on the Warhammer forum remarking that OSL was just highlighting with different/funny colours. With that in mind I applied some yellow over the orange around the hair and face. This is the area closest to the flame. I then washed this with Baal Red to see what happened. Once dry it looked great! So I am pretty happy with the face. The light skin and hair took the paint and OSL well.

Now everything else I wanted to put the light on was further away and as such the light would have grown less intense. I felt that the orange was still fine and that a slight yellow highlight would be best. I went straight to the dark green robes and put on the Orange. Immediately this was looking wrong. The orange gave a strange effect. I continued onto the arm holding the brand and applied the orange. Again it looked wrong. I continued as sometimes only once the model or technique gets close to being done does it start to look correct. Alas this still ended up a failure. I washed it with red to darken the colours but no that didn't help. Simply put it was terrible.

I still don't have it figured out but I went back and in putting the base coat over everything again I realised that maybe I was forgetting to generally highlight the robe around the light source and that leaving it dark just wouldnt work. The daylight faded here now so tomorrow I will continue. What I am guessing I need to do is give the robe in this area a much lighter tone highlighting it up well beyond what I have done in the other areas. Once this is complete I can then apply some of the light from the source. I really don't have a clue what colour I should use. Stick with an orange or change to red? Hopefully this will be the solution I need. A good look at some different light sourced models can be seen here.

The flesh is a different story as it is the exact opposite of the robe and is already very light. When reappling the GW Tallarn Flesh basecoat it looked horrible. I will have to redo the arm completely. I experimented with some red gore as a wash along the skin but it looks a little like blood. Possibly some vajello Hot Orange would be best? As this part is of the same intensity/distance as the adjacent robe I am assuming that they would both need the same colour. However as one comes from such a dark base and the other such a light one I can't seem to get it to work. I remember that Curse of Beers on the Warhammer Forum mentioned that the object recieving the light needs to be dark enough to show it. Maybe that is where I am going wrong with this? I need to have dark skin.

I have seen a great article here that deals with a blue light source. I really think that I could manage that fairly easily. It seems that the more fickle spectrum of fire light is causing me a lot of problems. Anyway it seems I will have to start bugging some better painters than I for some answers!

November 19, 2009

The Sons are ready

The Marauders are now finished. I wanted to get them done for the Northern Wasters monthly painting challenge. While the deadline for that is next week I know I won’t have much time to get them done with work coming up! I am happy with how they came out. The cloaks could have been better. My sculpting skills are not really that good yet and while the painting made up for it a little I still think I could have done better. I do want to add some ivy to the bases here and there, but that can wait until after this tournament. As the ivy is expensive I will have to reserve it for the front ranks and sides as there is little point in having it buried deep in a regiment where nobody can see it. I might look for some ferns too as they would really add a good undergrowth feel to the bases.

The army has garnered a lot more attention on the Warhammer Forum than my stuff usually does, so that’s nice. I intend only putting up finished work there rather than the work in progress shots. I will use this blog for that. I also intend having all the photographs up here first so blog followers get a preview!

Now that the Sons of the Bear are finished I have started on the Keepers of Truth. These represent a southern cult that now accompanies the army. I have wanted to paint these models since they were released. I really think that they are quite characterful. I am keeping the robes as dark as possible while maintaining the pale skin. The reason for the dark robes will be the regiment wide object source lighting effects. As four of the models carry fire brands, well one guy has his head on fire, I want to do some OSL. My first attempts with the hounds were poor so this is still going to be a steep learning curve. I hope that by making the robes dark I can more easily make them appear to brighten due to the glow of the fire.

At the moment I am attempting to figure out a nice way to paint the fire. I thought it would be easier than it has proved. Looking at a lot of guides on the internet has just proven that everybody does it a little differently! I am having a major problem in getting the fire to look dark as otherwise the entire regiment will need to be lighted. The achievement of the darkness of the fire is hampered by the fact that the flames are massive. I have left my test to dry overnight so hopefully when I check tomorrow it will have begun to look nice.

I will be beginning work in my new position on Monday. I am pretty excited and a little overwhelmed. Hopefully all goes well. I got the grand tour of the office yesterday. It was nice to see how these games get developed. My hours will be quite flexible so if it suits I might still catch some daylight for painting. I will know after a few weeks. I had better stay searching for those lamps I think. My tournament preparation continues. Resurgence 09 is only a week away. I have the entire army based but not painted. Hopefully I will still qualify for some of the painting points that way. It is far from ideal but all I can manage at the moment. The lists have been submitted and it seems every Elf army has a dragon. I haven’t really played against large flying beasts much so hopefully I can avoid draws against these players. At least there are no Daemons or Lizardmen armies present so I am a little happier. They are two armies I don’t want to face. We are just awaiting a ‘hardness’ rating for each of the armies and then they will be drawn against each other based upon that rating. An interesting system that will hopefully have the true nastiness facing each other as much as possible!

Here is a nice shot of the sunset behind my house just as I am typing this!

November 16, 2009

Working like a dog

My hounds seem to have a starting role in this blog! They have by far the most pictures. Sorry for the poor quality of these ones. I can't seem to manage to edit them in any form before putting them up. I shall have to experiment a little more I think! Here you can see what I am going for on the bases. While they are not completely finished they are close. Only one or two more additions of materials and that will be that. The forest theme hopefully comes out well enough? The grass is a little too pale. There are actually three variations in the colours put here as I was experimenting a little. I doubt if anyone will notice. The first colour used is GW dead grass (Totes Gras when I asked for it!). It is really uniform and looks like a Teddy Bear's shavings. I wasn't convinced with it so when I was home last I picked up what I normally use. This consists of years of mixing various grass products and when applied here came out too green! I finally arrived at a mix I liked when I combined the dead grass with Noch Conquest Grass. I applied this around the other pieces on the bases to make a subtle shift from the completely dry to a more living green colour. With that done I just needed to add some small green clumps for undergrowth, some moss to the logs and then some leaves to give a more forest feel. That is basically how the armies bases will look. Once I get the final pieces on the base I will go back and add more leaves to get better coverage.

The marauders have continued despite the gloom. I managed a really early start on them today and got a lot done. I have only a little to do with them now which is nice. I guess by tomorrow they will be completely finished apart from the bases. I suppose I should go and order what I need to finish the bases. I guess it won't just arrive by itself! Anyway the marauders have taken me a little longer than expected. Thats due to my own laziness. Expect an update soon, maybe wednesday, on these guys.

Suprisingly I have found a job! A real one at that too. I am pretty suprised as I have only been in Germany for two months now and my language skills are still rather poor. The best thing about the job is that it is for a games company! Thats a huge departure from the previous career but a welcome one. So this means I will have a lot less time for painting and that I will have a far different schedule for when I can paint. At the moment I am only painting during the day when I can get some good sunlight. As I will be working during the day now I will only have the evenings to paint. I went out and got myself some daylight bulbs. This is the second time I have bought some. The last time I never even managed to use them once! I have been looking around for some lamps I can put on the desk but haven't found anything useable. All the lamps I find are for 60W bulbs while the ones I have are 100W. I will have to cast my net further afield and see what I can come up with. I really don't want to have to invest a lot of money into two lamps for the desk.

Another things I am going to be constructing is a wet palette. I always wondered exactly what they were and when I saw Noeste's wet palette guide I finally realised I can make one! I thought they were some really specialised and hence expensive piece of equipment. Thankfully they are not. As I will soon be painting the larger Marauder regiment of eighteen this will be useful. I have been painting the smaller regiment in groups of three and this can lead to variations in the colours achieved. The skin on some of them has come out lighter or paler than others While this is actually not such a bad thing especially as the colours are only subtly different I would still like to keep a uniform appearance as much as possible.
Hopefully this experiment works well...

November 13, 2009

A little box in a big box

My Battlefoam case finally arrived. Well in truth I had to go to customs to collect it. I of course misunderstood what I would need to bring as the forms were completely in German. I eventually convinced one of the guys there to search behind for the box. It took them a while but they got it for me. That was great because I don't leave near the customs office at all! I really didn't want to have to return home for a tiny slip of paper, especially with the chill winds around today.

Looking at what arrived I was quite impressed that it need such a big box. The foam was not inside the case but packed all around it making for a massive box. I got five trays all custom cut. One is purely for storage of cavalry models rather than transport. Anyway when I looked at the trays first I thought "damn, my army wont fit in these". I was wrong and not for the first time today as you will see. Anyway I grabbed out all my models and started fitting them in. I was most concerned about the hounds as there appeared to be no correct spaces for them at all. Funnily when I started packing things in I noticed that the spaces I assumed were for Chaos Warriors were actually for the hounds. It is a snug fit especially for some that I have lifted from their hunched pose. Its great though all twenty of them will fit in. I wonder will I ever use that many though. The marauders fit in fine too. The cavalry fit but its not great. The tray for them is four inches deep while the models (mine at least) are much lower. In some cases they are over an inch short leaving a lot of 'wiggle' room in the case. I am not sure if this would lead to any damage especially as they are plastic. Mine are so short because I have cut all the horns off and don't use the lances or standards. It would have been nice to have made that tray a little less thick. I still have to check how my characters fit in though. I am assuming that they will be taller. Some of the holes on the tray I have no clue what fits into them yet!

My second wrong assumption came up at this point. I have seven inches of foam but the case only fits six. When I went to put the trays in I couldn't fit one of them. At this point I got really annoyed, especially when considering the extra height on the cavalry tray thats not really being used! I tried a few things but they just wouldn't go it. So to the phone and one embarassing phone call later I managed to get all the trays in! Firstly I had to remove the top protective sheets and then I just followed the guy on the phones instructions to push and in went all seven inches of tray! I really felt stupid but to be honest it wasn't that apparent when I was just looking at them. The trays do take a little bit of force to get in and it really is a snug fit. What would concern me is that some models don't fit 100% within the trays and things like weapons and shields hang out. This is partly my own fault as I have not always glued the models in the standard poses. Shoving them into the case would result in breakage I am sure especially as the protective lids of the trays don't fit. I can pack the larger cavalry tray on top as none of the models look out of that so it saves scraping against the interior on the way in and out. I am not totally convinced but hopefully all will go well.

As for the tray and the pack they are well produced. I had some text put on them and it looks good. On the infantry trays it is a little crooked but it would seem that there was not much space to work with really and having any text there at all is pretty impressive! They are well constructed and glued together. The pack has good pockets for extras such as movement trays dice and books. With the pockets filled I hope it still fits in the overhead luggage compartment. Looking at it now I am thinking it probably has some room to spare! Ryanair seem to have generous volume for hand luggage. I will be testing it in about two weeks I think.

November 11, 2009

Slowly slowly

I might get these Marauders done within the week yet. I have three finished of twelve at least. I had to experiment with the colours a little as I wasn't sure how they would all go together. I can really see how rusty (and possibly lazy) I have become in regards to painting. My transitions in the blends are poor and I really need to work out how I used to do them. It probably just means a bit more time and effort invested per model. While these are gaming models I still want them to come out as best as possible. Most of the problems emerged on the trousers. The stark transitions I managed were not what I wanted. A glaze brought them back into realms of normality at least. Then the highlight over the scorched brown for the belts and straps are far to subtle. A problem I also have to keep in mind is the beards. The colurs on them can easily look similar to the other browns I am using. At least with these three guys I can keep the beards quite red and not worry. On the others they may start to blend in too much.

The cloaks came out quite well despite the sculpting! I can really tell the difference between the professional sculpts and my attempts. I think the transitions from a darker centre to the much lighter sides need a better method. These are okay but the way I did the fur makes it difficult. Thankfully I know I have sculpted the fur for the other regiments much better so hopefully it is easier and nicer to paint. I still have to sculpt the cloaks for the knights and characters. I have been avoiding that as it can get fairly monotonous!

Progress on Crom has begun. I don't really know why I have begun to paint him at all. I don't intend really using him. Any of the lists I have made never includes a hero on foot. Maybe I can use him as a champion in a warriors regiment? The idea for a Battle Standard is gone, well at least with using this model. I don't like the angles on the joints of the arms as it means he is holding the standard at a strange almost unnatural angle. I think I will keep on the lookout for a suitable mounted version, as not only is it better in games terms but gives a chance for a more dynamic model.

November 8, 2009

Fleshy experiments

I have finally managed to get some painting done. The constant gloom here makes any form of highlighting difficult! I am experimenting with the Children of the Bear hoping to find the correct skin tone. I wante something a little pink, hinting towards Slaanesh. I think I have achieved that. The colour starts very pink and then mellows into a nice light flesh colour. It is easy enough to mix too and as I have most of the flesh covered for these guys quick to apply. Thankfully today seems to be good too so I hope I can get some more painting done. I hope to have these guys finshed this week. That would see me with three core regiments finished with two weeks to go to the next tournament. I will be able to get a little more done by then so the army will be in some form of decent shape!

The cloaks will follow the brown I used for the fur on the Chaos Warriors collars. I am going to 'stripe' the fur.By that I mean it will start very dark in the centre of the cloak and then lighten out towards the edges. It gives it a more natural look and makes it less boring. Seeing a sea of the same coloured cloaks is not very inspiring! The rest of the colours will be neutral too. A mix of warm browns and greys like the Nurgle Sorcerer. There are a few pieces on the models that need something more in colour terms. Many of them have loin cloths. I was thinking of doing these in a dark red. I have no clue as to what colour to go for. Green is out as I don't intend to use any green if I can. Any ideas?

This is the slight conversion I made for Crom. I hated the sunken or maybe shrunken head he and Archaon share. I used one of the knights helms and made a gorget for it to sit inside raising his head up. The model looks a lot better this way I think. I kept with the original sword for the left arm. I had been thinking about making him a Battle Standard Bearer. His arm is extended out a little too far though and I don't think it would have looked nice. For his right arm I am satying with the original style but using pieces from the knights set. I wanted him to have a larger more dramatic shield. By using the plastics I could also alter the angle that he is holding the shield at and keep it away from his body. That means that the delicate painting won't be hidden by the shield!

November 5, 2009

At least I am reading!

My hobby has been suffering of late! I am very busy at the moment between going back to Ireland for a weekend and looking for work. At least with all the travels I am getting a lot of reading done. My flight on Friday was delayed by two hours so I really got caught up in the book while waiting. Currently I am reading Toll the Hounds part of the wonderful Malazan series by Stephen Erikkson. I am almost at the end and I have enjoyed the book a lot. The authors style has changed a bit from his earlier books with a lot more narrative introspection but the action still delivers. I read the first five books in the series one after another while long distance commuting a number of years ago. Then I had to wait for the rest of the series to come out. In the meantime I was busy travelling the world! Once I got back a lot of time had passed and it was difficult to get back into the series. I had forgotten a lot of the characters and events. I could even be wrong about the evolution of style but my memory tells me that the writing was more concise and focused (but not better) in the earlier books. Dust of Dreams is already out. It claims to be the penultimate book in the series. I hope so as I do like my storeis to eventually finish!

I picked up Drood today. It is what I will read while waiting for Dust of Dreams to come out in a better format. I really like Dan Simmons and have read all his Sci-Fi books so far. I found this in the Crime section of Thalia books in Hamburg. I am not quite sure if it is in the right place but I bought it anyway. I hope he follows his usual wonderful style that have made Hyperion and Olympos some of my favorite books. I recommend them highly especially if you have any interest in either the poetry of John Keats or in Homer's ancient writings. On another note the latest in the Wheel of Time series has been released. Seemingly it has gone from a single tome to three books. I hope they will be good and that the series does end eventually! I will await the publishing of all three before I restart that series. The initial reviews from friends have said that it is at least promising and that the styles of the authors compliment each other well.

I am hoping to get right back on track with the painting soon. Tomorrow may be a relaxing day and if so I will be breaking out the brushes and attempting to finish some test marauders I have been doing. I noticed in the almost local Games Store that a Crom the Conqueror model was still on sale. I believe that he is now out of production? I bought him anyway as I wanted to get a nice collection of characters for the army. I am already trying to dream up how I will convert him. Oh and the weather in Hamburg is terrible at the moment!

October 27, 2009

The cusp of completion

It seems the weather has put an end to my gardening career! It has been really grim and gloomy here for the last few days, the rain has never been far away. The view from my room is amazing however, I am surrounded by wonderful golden trees with a few scattered pines for contrast. With the weather being so bad I managed to get a lot of painting done over the weekend. A few hours of brightness on Saturday enabled me to tackle some of the highlighting on the cloaks of the six that were remaning to be done. When I mixed a brown glaze for them that evening I got a strange purple tone in it. From where it came I don't have a clue. It was a clean palette I used so it was a little weird. In an experimental mood I applied it as it was only a slight purple tone. It worked suprisingly well. However it had some drawbacks! While at the bottom of the cloaks it was fantastic it made the transitions very stark at the top of the cloak. It seemed to change the mid-tone. It is okay but I will have to experiment a little more. Thankfully these cloaks were for the guys in the front ranks so it won't be too noticable.

The warriors are almost there, the cusp of completion. I have the skulls at the back of the cloaks to do and then the weathering and bases. I have undoubtedly missed some pieces somewhere so I will go back over them tomorrow with a fresh glance to see what needs some more attention. I have a tournament in Ulster in four weeks. The army will not be ready at all. It will be January I think before I can field a fully painted army. I tried to get to a tournament here over the weekend. I contacted the organisers but it was full. That was a pity. My Battlefoam case is supposed to be here sometime towards the end of the week so can get the army around now. I called their office to see what the progress was. According to them it will be dispatched today! That means I can start looking for opponents.

October 21, 2009

Will they ever be finished?

I am still not finished. These Chaos Warriors are taking ages to do! At least the first rank (not the front rank) is getting there. The skulls and plumes are the last things to do. I might need to tidy the mettalics on the swords a little more but I have to wait for them to dry fully and see what they look like then. I have realised that the large shields really cover about 50% of the model. That will be good to remember as I can skip painting one of the legs. Well I can skip the armour plates at least. The shield covers them completely. These guys are turning out nice and I am getting a little more enthusiastic about the painting. It really is nice to see something completed for a change (well almost completed!).

I am going to continue and get the final six members of this regiment done as soon as possible. I would have liked to have taken a break and get a second regiment of hounds done. It is probably best to keep going with these and just get them completed. I am currently sculpting some detail for the standard bearer. I am giving these guys the standard from the deamonette box that has the Slaanesh symbol. Sadly it doesn't fit straight onto the warrior model. A slight adjustment of the arm and some armour plates should work fine. Painting that standard will be great. I don't have a clue how I should go about that! For those that asked the heads come from the mounted Slaanesh Champion. I mail ordered them years ago when I was then thinking about a Slaanesh army. I never used them and found them just before I moved to Germany. That was a welcome suprise. It is a pity I didn't also order a few of the shields that models come with.

I am not looking forward to repeating this scheme on the Chaos Knights. That is really going to take me a long time. I hope that it will be worth it in the end. I don't know how far to go with the scheme across the army especially when it comes to the marauders. I would like to tie them in somehow but having them painted this way goes against the theme of just using them as standard norsemen.

October 19, 2009

The ambush

I have noticed what may be a national characteristic here in Germany, the lyrical ambush. This has happened to me a few times already and I am waiting prepared for the next occurence! The best example I can think of is this: I was asked what the word 'Levy' meant. I explained that it is special type of tax and recieved a look of incomprehension. Then I was asked again as there must be another meaning. I thought for a second and then explained that a levee was an obstruction both naturally and artifically created to prevent rivers from flooding. Once again a look of incomprehension but at least the guy left. Eventually the guy returned and said what does "I drove my chevy to the levy, but the levy was dry" mean? Hmmm this time the incomprehension was mine!

I was in Hannover at the weekend. I attempted to attend a tournament and party there. Sadly I missed the tournament due to the party! I was going just to spectate and see what the armies were like. It would be nice to know what exactly is acceptable in terms of nastiness for armies. I don't want to turn up at the first tournament with what I thought was fine but nobody else does. Maybe it will be the one time I would get away with it? There has been a huge amount of disscussion online about army compositions within the Irish Warhammer Community. It is great to see everyone chatting about it and hopefully some reasonable concensus will be reached! With the vastly improved tournament scene there now I think these types of issues really need to be discussed.

I am still slowly getting the army prepared. Sadly real life things like a job are getting in my way. I suppose I should be happy about that but still today I would have prefered to paint. The Chaos Warriors are what I am working on at the moment. As I can't glue the shields and weapons on to these guys yet but I still want to use them. I felt they needed some attention. At least that way my opponents can see exactly what they are armed with. I have half of them started. It takes a long time to do one!

I incorporated a few Slaanesh symbols onto these guys. The helmets come with a tiny symbol in the centre. GW really hot the ball with this one. The mould line runs right down through the centre of the delicate sigil. I removed it fairly well but on one or two of the models so far I have also managed to remove part of the symbol. Annoying but a steady hand fixs them up pretty well. The heads look really great on the warriors. I don't have a clue what colour to do the crest in. I was thinking a dark grey blended up to white, keeping the colour cold. It should offer some contrast to the warmer palette but not distract from the details. It will be the last thing I paint on them anyway.

I still haven't finished with the Hounds. They are almost done, I think the claws are the last bit to do. To tie them in with the army I put some lava on these guys too. I wasn't sure what colour to do the scales so I experimented with the same pattern as the armour. Its not bad!

October 18, 2009


I am just writing to say I have a nasty virus on my computer that is preventing me from using google and therefore this site. I hope to have it removed soon so normal business can be resumed! I hope you don't mind the wait!

LATEST NEWS: I just managed to find what was blocking Google. Hopefully the fix is a permanent one. I don't think this machine is virus free but at least all the internet is working now! Some new pics coming soon! I would like to draw peoples attention to the following website. It seems like an invaluable resource when dealing with a troubled computer: Geeks to go!

October 11, 2009

From burning to glowing

I have always wanted to try Object Source Lighting. I never tried it before as I didn't have any models that I felt were suitable for the technique. I have to paint fire with the Cultists I have prepared for the army so I assume I will have to give them some form of OSL to look right. Therefore I have decided to practise now! I was looking at my dark warhounds wondering what would brighten them a little. I decided to experiment with glowing eyes! Following two guides the first from the Brush Thralls and the second fromCool Mini. I managed to get the dogs to look fairly decent. I am not 100% happy with the effect but it is a start and I can't possibly get it 100% correct the first time that I do it! By the way the dogs are nowhere near finished. I am trying out a few different things with them so see what I can manage.

The fur was the first thing I did with them. I never managed to get my hand on the guide I previously mentioned even though I remembered where I saw it. The guide to painting varied tone fur is in the Hordes Evolution rulebook. I left it in Ireland thinking that I wouldn't need it. Anyway I figured out approximately what I needed to do. Again I am not totally happy but it came out alright. I went with a not too light mixed colour faded down to GW Charadon Granite. The highlights and a glaze tied the tones together well except for the very lighest colour. It still contrasts a little too much. Across the battlefield it isn't noticable.

I haven't started the 'skin' areas at all. I was considering a flesh colour for them but I don't really like the naked look. I have done that before on my Dire Wolves and while it worked okay for them I don't think it would be that nice for these guys. I just need to figure out what colour I can use to enrich and lighten the darkness of their skin now. Once I have that figured out another days work will see the first regiment finished!

The next tournament is six weeks away in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. I won't have my army painted by then. I think if I just sat and painted constantly between now and then I still wouldn't get finished. I will have the army fully based at least. I always texture and paint the bases of the models first. It saves getting paint on the finished model while trying to reach an awkward spot on the base somewhere! So while I won't get the fully painting marks I will get some at least. I might manage a base coat on everything, fingers crossed! At least Battlefoam have gotten back to me now so I might have an army case to carry my stuff in finally. Much better than the metal toolbox I have used for the last fifteen years!

I also have a short break from my german courses now so I can dedicate a little more time to painting. Hopefully this will result in some more progress!

October 8, 2009

Burning heat

I have begun testing the painting schemes for the army. While the Chaos Sorcerer was just to test the neutral colour choices, this Warrior is to test an exact technique I intend using! I painted him in a really dark bronze colour. I didn't want to go for black due to the fact I don't like black on a model. It is too negative and draws the eye away from details. I built up the flames with Vajello paints as I find them easier to use for this than the GW ones. A hot orange base it built up around where the final lines will be placed. A wash of black tones this down and helps the blends. It also brings the armour to an even darker bronze colour. Once this has dried I can then build up the colours through hot orange to white. This gives the fantastic lava look. The large flat plates on the warriors are really suited to this. This guy is a real WIP. I am testing the colour combinations and blends so please forgive all the other areas! I will eventually figure them out and apply to the warriors. To contrast the armour strongly I will hopefully be doing the cloak quite light. The fur around the collars will be a very light brown, something I intend for the whole fur component of the army. The cloak itself will then be also a light brown but blended up from GW snakebite leather towards GW bleached bone.

As I intend using the bronze as a base for most of the metal in the army I have premixed it! As GW brazen brass is sadly no longer available I had to improvise a little. I had a tiny amount in the bottom of a pot left. Into this I added the Vajello brassy brass. I added black ink to darken and thin the paint a little. Finally a little glaze medium was added to thin the paint further. I will have to leave this overnight to mix a bit more and settle. While I stirred it quite well I find it needs to sit a little longer to mix better. I can check tomorrow and hopefully it will have mixed well. It might not be dark enough so I might have to add some futher ink. I am not sure if I will start straight away on the Warriors then. I would prefer to do something simple like the hounds and get them out of the way so I can do some more interesting stuff. I have been looking online for a tutorial about painting fur. I believe it was on the Brush Thralls site but I can't find it. It was, I believe, a walkthrough of how the Privateer Press studio painted the fur on their Buffalo mounted Trollkin! Anyway it is bound to turn up somewhere. This is the technique I wanted to go for on the hounds as it gave a very natural colour to the furs that I liked a lot. Failing finding that I will look up some reference pictures of wolf fur to give me an idea of what I am going for.

I am continually making it difficult to have a Slaanesh themed army! While I want one still I will really have to work out how I can get all my imagery together! Maybe some burning runes of Slaanesh on the armour? I at least have the symbol on the helmets for the regiment so maybe I can have it painted black emerging from the hot surroundings. I will have to see exactly where it is located in relation to the eye slit to see if that would work. I have come up with the idea of Ash'senal, the Mother Bear and patron godess of the tribe. As an aspect of Slaanesh she protects and suckles her children. In battle her fiery rage is unleased upon their foes.

October 6, 2009

Small and hairy...the cloaks are almost done!

Nearly there... thirteen cloaks left to do! I have been trying to get the army fully constructed over the last few days. That means basing everything and sculpting the details I have left to do. The worst part is the cloaks simply because they are the most invloved sculpting task. The marauders are now fully done. I have even managed to finish the champion. I was really stuck for inspiration for this guy. I just couldn't get a decent picture of what I wanted in my head! Eventually I just started positioning pieces and seeing what came out. I quickly decided that I liked the idea that he would hold his shield over his head. That left me confused though as to what he could do with his weapon. I considered having him point it forward. However that would make the piece hard to carry, a big concern for this army as I intend travelling a lot with it.

The weapon naturally fit across the body and had the effect of spreading the shoulders and making this model fit his body better. I find with the marauders that they don't fit their bodies. The huge chest muscles just don't look right. By increasing the volume of the shoulders and making them a little taller they suddendly seem to be scaled correctly. The shoulders are easy to do. The cloaks cover them almost completely and increasing the volume of greenstuff covering them makes them look bigger. Making them taller is also easy enough. The position of the legs allows for one of the feet to be raised on a stone or log. I didn't do this for all the models. I did make sure to do it for the Champions though.

The standard needed some sculpting too! I wanted to have a bear skin hanging as a standard. However I didn't want to sculpt the whole thing. I found a great compromise in using the existing standard as a base and simply sculpting the fur unto it. I left the details on it but sank them into the fur to give an impression of depth. I removed the strange hooks from the ends of the standard as they look bizarre. I wanted to add a bear claw or even a bear head to the standard but at the moment that might be beyond my abilities. I will consider it for a future regiment. I might add a few runic talismans or bones to the standard. All in all I am happy with it. I hope it will paint up well!

The full regiment of eighteen is done. I have all the ones with cured cloaks based. I just need to select the shields now. I won't glue them on until the models are painted. I wanted the regiment to look like they were rushing forward in a shieldwall like formation. I turned all the bodies so that it gave the impression of forward movement. The shields should all face directly forward then. I didn't want theem all to be to the side as they usually are. I also need to start thinking about how to make these guys Slaanesh. Most of their skin is covered so tatoos might not be noticable enough. The shields would probably be the best place though I haven't decided yet. I don't want them to be overly corrupted or marked. Hopefully a good skin tone with some interesting shading will give a suggestion of Slaanesh and a few select tatoos and markings will seal the deal!

In the last tournament they didn't see any combat. I don't believe they even suffered a casualty. Not a single spell or cannon shot was directed their way. They serve well as a home for my two sorcerers at least. I am not sure how these guys will preform if ever called upon to charge in. Their insignificance seems to make them ignored while people deal with the more obvious threat of Chaos Knights and flanking Marauder Horsemen!

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