From the Archives: Uruk-hai Warrior

Last Orktober was an unusually productive month for me: I completed three (3!) projects! To be fair, in addition to finishing Ironskull’s Boyz, the two other projects were very small single figures.. Nonetheless, the first of them was an an ancient Uruk-hai Warrior.

The model is from the Two Towers Uruk-hai paint set, so from around Christmas 2002. The box came with 10 Uruk-hai, half armed with swords and the other with spears, and some sample paint pots. I originally painted three of the sword guys (see the end of the post), and then lost interest. The spear guys, and apparently one sword fighter were tossed in some move, but this one guy had sat unpainted in my collection for 15+ years.

As he was a type of an ork, and seemed like a quick win, I decided to get him painted up. Indeed, he took just two nights of painting, even with my slow pace. Being a single mini that I don’t have any intention of expanding into a bigger collection made it perfect for trying out new things. I wanted to achieve a dark metal armor, like in the movies, and Leadbelcher just wasn’t going to cut it. I mixed some black into it, and applied a black wash on top for good measure. Then it was just a matter of some quick highlights and I was done with the armor. The result was a dark, dull metal with worn edges, and the recipe would come in handy with an Ork Dreadnought later on.

I’m not as happy with the rest of the colors, but I guess they’re good enough. The skin could’ve been smoother and the cloth, straps and hair have more detail or contrast. But I noticed that as the LOTR/ME minis are smaller in scale, and true-scale to boot, there’s much less area to work on, and everything has to be really tiny! I do like the handprint though, it’s my favorite part of the model. The freehand was thankfully pretty easy to do as it was supposed to be rough, and I think I even got the scaling about right.

My original Uruks, for comparison.

This post was supposed to go up quite a bit earlier, but it turned out I was busier than expected during the weekend: my mates threw me a bachelor party! So rather than doing any hobby related stuff, I got to solve puzzles in an escape room, try to set highscores in old arcade cabinets, eat good food, drink a lot, sit in a sauna, play dice games, and best of all, catch up with my closest friends! And to my surprise, virtually no hangover on Sunday. What a brilliant weekend!

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From the Archives: Ironskull’s Boyz

I’ve started working on Stormsire’s Cursebreakers, but as that will take some time still, let’s take a look at my final Underworlds warband that’s yet to be showcased: Ironskull’s Boyz.

Painting these guys took a lot longer than I originally anticipated. I completed the warband for last year’s Orktober, but originally started painting them in May. During the summer I moved, and as there wasn’t any real need to get the models finished, I also got distracted with other cool models. I know, I know, some painters take years or decades to finish miniatures, but four-ish months is still quite a lot of time.

This was a somewhat special project in that it was the first UW warband that I (slightly) converted. This was a simple headswap between Ironskull (the leader, with the cape), Bonekutta (big axe) and Basha (two clubs). Hakka’s (axe and knife) head was integrated in such a way that he got to keep it.. The reason for the headswap was basically that I wondered why the leader was called Ironskull, but the only head with a plate stuck to it didn’t belong to him!

To this day I think the Boyz are some of my best paintwork. The scheme, and the recipes for orange and green skin were borrowed from TaleofPainters’ Amy, big thanks to her for sharing. I especially like the faces, but painting the boss’ cape and the fur on his shoulder was really fun. These were also the first models that I tried painting checkers on, as well as sponge weathering. I wanted to use another kind of metal in addition to iron, so I added some accents of copper. I guess this makes Ironskull more of a Copper’ead, eh?

I’ll be revisiting Ironskull’s Boyz sometime in the future, as I was gifted an extra set of the models during the summer. Don’t know yet whether I’ll leave the models stock this time, or convert them even more, or about the color scheme. But Theophony on Dakka thought of painting the cape as a tattered Empire flag, so I’m fairly sure I have to steal the idea!

One final Underworlds related note. Yesterday while I was writing this post I noticed that Games Workshop had removed all Shadespire warbands from sale. I went and checked if Wayland or Element would still have the three gangs that I was missing on stock, but it turned out I was already too late. Luckily, the local game shop still had them in the shelf, and I promptly proceeded to buy Magore’s Fiends, Farstriders and Chosen Axes to complete my Shadespire collection. Didn’t really want to buy so much at once, but what can you do.. It looks like UW warbands will be on sale for two years before being retired, which means that I’ll have a year to get all the Nightvault expansions. Probably not going to get so committed to Beastgrave, as I have plenty to play (and paint!) with Shadespire and Nightvault already.

More Imperial Skaven

Alright, so August was pretty abysmal in terms of painting, but at least I got these two ratmen finished. Still, progress is progress is progress.

I got most of the paint work done during this past weekend, when I got to spent a night on each model. In a couple of hours, I was able to get them from “basecoated & washed” to basically finished. Sometimes it’s nice to just concentrate on one (small) figure at a time: seeing the progress and getting it done quickly is so satisfying.

While painting the robes I learned that you can actually over-thin your paint when doing the toothbrush flicking technique. Because of that, there’s less spattering than on the previous Skaven models, but I think they should fit in quite nicely anyway. I also tried painting the cloth on the rat with the autogun slightly darker than on the sniper, but the effect ended up being too subtle after the washes and the drybrushing. Will have to try other colors next time.

I wanted to try and paint some sort of camo cloth on to the sniper, and as I have gone for industrial basing, urban camo seemed appropriate. I think it came out pretty nicely for a first try, though the wash and the highlights might have blended the colors together a bit too much. What do you think? I also tried to do some intricate freehand work on top of some decals, and have hopefully pulled it off without making a huge mess.

These two models are my submission for Azazel’s Awesome August. I hope that I’m within the challenge parameters – they are a bit on the small and puny side, but are definitely converted models, and a lot of effort went into the painting. Plus they’re sci-fi Skaven, that’s awesome in my book. And hey, with this submission I’ve participated in Azazel’s monthly challenges for 12 months straight! My first, pre-blog entry was for Neglected Model September ’18. A big thank you to Azazel for all the hobby motivation!

From the Archives: Blood Reavers

I’ve made good progress on the pair of Skaven during the weekend, but as I couldn’t quite get them finished, it’s time for another post about old models. Here are my Blood Reavers from the AoS 1.0 starter set.

These guys were a bit of a departure from my normal painting. I didn’t want to spend half a year painting them, so I decided to try a “speed painting” technique. More of a “leaving models half-painted” technique, but nonetheless. I took an article in WD Jan 2017 as a starting point and made a couple of alterations to the palette. Basically the models are painted with just basecoats and washes, with the flesh additionally drybrushed after washing. I wanted a bit of variation on my horde though, so I chose a couple of different colors for the flesh, cloth, straps and furs, applying different combinations to each warrior.

As I kind of touched on, in a way I consider these to be WIP models. I think they look good, especially as a group, but they have been painted in a way that allows me to easily continue the painting with highlighting and other refinements. The ability to continue working on these models, however unlikely, is the reason that I haven’t put on any blood effects or tufts. I have however painted the base rims, which more than anything helps to give the impression of finished figures.

The rest of the Chaos models from the box will be getting a bit more involved paint job, as there are less models. I’ve already painted the Khorgorath (to be featured), so there’s “only” the Blood Warriors and the characters left to paint. Shouldn’t be more than a month or two’s worth of painting, but as you know there’s always some other, more enticing project to steal your attention 😀

WIP: Skaven and Scouts

Okay, definitely too long since last update, and not much to show for it.. But here goes anyway – I’ve built a couple more 40k Skaven, and also begun working on a SM Scout Squad.

First the Skaven. I’ve built a sneaky sniper and another riflerat, though with a small conversion this time. To reflect the idea that these guys are using any old hardware that can be mustered, I wanted some autoguns in their hands. I converted one from a Cadian lasgun by changing the magazine to one from a bolter, and took a barrel from an old Catachan lasgun.

The sniper was a bit more involved conversion. I wanted to use a Skitarii rifle, and with it would come the hands and arms as well. I did want to retain the Cadian shoulder pads though, so I needed to do some cutting. It didn’t go quite as nicely as I’d envisioned, and before greenstuffing I was a bit unsure if I had botched the arms. After the sculpting I reckon he looks good, no need for a redo. Which is good as all the Skitarii rifles are unique, so I couldn’t get the same pose again.

I originally thought that the sniper wouldn’t be carrying a lot of equipment on him, “traveling light” instead. But he seemed to need something on his back to balance the rifle on the front. Happily I recently received my small order from Kromlech (more on this later), and they had put in two freebie backpacks as well. I felt the other one was perfect for the sniper, and it even fit without any cutting.

Then on to the Scouts. I’ve actually had the Scout kit and the Scion heads to go with it for a long time, but before I got to building them, I saw West_minis’ brilliant Crimson Fists Scouts, that used Scion backpacks as well as the heads. Naturally I had to put the project on hold until I could get my hands on the rest of the Scions kit. This happened last week, and I set to work. The shotgunners were pretty straightforward, requiring only cutting down their back humps and a bit of greenstuff on their necks. Though I got to say that the arms were a right pain to get aligned. Still not sure if they’re how they’re supposed to.. I’m pretty sure I won’t be building another Scout squad after this (other than the Sniper squad I’ve got in my pile of shame..).

The sergeant on the other hand required more cutting and fixing, as I once again wanted to retain the original shoulderpads. With a bit of creative cutting and some putty, the Scion bolt pistol and power fist arms fit the Scout model pretty great! He’s also got a regular Space Marine head from the mkIV kit. It took some effort to attach, as I didn’t have a correct drill bit, but I got there in the end. I also cut off the service stud from his forehead.

I’ll have to get on painting these models as soon as possible, as I’ve got to get something done for Azazel’s August challenge. I’ve got three weeks though, minus the weekends, so I should be okay. Even if I don’t get all of them painted, I should be able to do at least a couple.

Thorns of the Briar Queen

Alright, my Nightvault collection is now officially started, as I’ve finished the first warband, Thorns of the Briar Queen!

As I was building these models I couldn’t help but admire the quality of GW’s new kits. Virtually no mold lines to speak of, and the dynamic poses of the models with only 1-3 pieces is astounding. Like all Nighthaunt, they are intricate, and sadly the ghost with the plank strapped to his arm lost a finger at some point. Well, he’s a tortured soul, so what’s one digit..

Painting the gang was mostly enjoyable, though more time consuming than anticipated. Painting the robes, the rusty metal and the black ghost bits was actually really fast, but the rest of the details (granted, there wasn’t an impossible amount of them) bogged me down a bit.

As per usual, I used schemes and recipes borrowed from hobbyists much more talented than me. The Nighthaunt scheme is from Jeff Vader, as already tried out on my Imperial Skaven. The rusty metal is from RobPaintsModels, which I also used for my Sepulchral Guard, with the crucial difference that I didn’t ruin it with an all-over wash of Agrax this time. While I love the dirty robes, I think my favorite part of these models are the roses, the red spot color brings some much needed contrast to the otherwise quite drab scheme. There’s a couple of details that I’m not too chuffed about: the white could’ve been smoother at places, and I didn’t quite know what to do with the diamonds on the Queen. They’re quite small details though, so I guess it’s OK..

I’ll also enter the Briar Queen and Varclav the Cruel (below) to Azazel’s monthly challenge, Jewel of July. They’re not big heroes, but as minor ones are eligible too, they’ll be my submission. I would’ve wanted to include Stormsire Cursebreaker as well, but that was a bit too ambitious. Well, I’ll just have to see if he’ll fit August’s challenge 🙂

I think I’ll take a short break from painting now, and get back to building a couple of models. I recently got my ebay bits package, which allows me to start working on some new conversions that I’ve been looking forward to. Building might also be a little more tolerable than painting, as we’re feeling the heat wave in Finland as well..

From the Archives: Shadowpike Ruins

I’m hard at work painting the Thorns of the Briar Queen, but as they’re not done yet, I’ll have to showcase something else. Delving in the Underworlds, I feel Shadespire terrain is most appropriate!

If you’re familiar with Shadespire, you might know that official terrain, or “3D blocked hexes”, was never released. Many people seemed to scratchbuild them, however, and I’ve also found a couple of 3rd party terrain sets. The terrain pieces in this post are “Shadowpike Ruins Terrain Set” from Bitspudlo, and they can be used to fill every blocked hex in the two original Shadespire boards.

These were actually my first resin models. I had heard the horror stories about Forge World / Citadel Finecast and was a bit wary of buying them, but as the models looked great in the pictures and the price was right, I decided to take the plunge. I’m happy that I did, as the quality pretty much perfect! I shaved the base edges a bit, but that was it. I’m definitely more open to getting more resin models in the future. Probably not from Forge World though..

I painted the ruins with my goto sandstone recipe, the same I’ve used for basing pretty much all my models. In addition to the stone, there were plenty of details scattered about: chests, pots, lanterns, candles and of course some bones. Painting all of them took a bit of time, but it was fun to try out copper paints and verdigris.

When photographing the finished set I couldn’t resist taking some “cinematic” shots. Perhaps not the nicest of executions, technically speaking, but I liked the ideas. Can’t remember why I didn’t take photos with the Sepulchral Guard, as I had definitely finished them at the time.

So yeah, I’m very happy with these pieces, and they’ve been great on the game boards as well. I’ll probably end up getting the official terrain set for Nightvault at some point, even though I’m not crazy about all of the models, and the quality certainly isn’t as high as with these.

Imperial Skaven

Okay, back to miniatures! I’ve finished the Imperial Skaven that I built back in March. As I’ve discussed the modelling in the previous post, this one is dedicated to the painting and my thoughts on how these vermin fit the 40k universe.

Painting the Skaven was a lot of fun, and I tried to keep it “fast and loose” (with varying success..). I decided to go with the vanilla Cadian scheme, but make the clothes really dirty and the equipment scratched and worn. I started with the beige cloth, borrowing the idea from Jeff Vader’s brilliant Nighthaunt. The dirt was spattered on with a toothbrush, and afterwards the cloth was drybrushed and washed to give highlights/shadows, and also to further the weathered look.

As I’m doing this project as a sort of a Kill Team, I wanted to further differentiate the models, so identifying them would be easier. I decided to do this by painting the hoods in different colors. I reckoned yellow would suit the leader, and red would fit the flamer. As the plain colors looked a bit boring, I thought I’d do some simple freehand designs on them. Worked nicely enough, even if they’re a bit Orkish.. Good practice for the eventual Underworlds Gobbos!

I used a number of decals on these models, and it was great to see that they worked as they should, considering they were something like 10-20 years old (the “31” on one of the bases comes from a Dark Angels sheet in the Warriors of the Imperium box!). As you might have noticed, there are a couple of different designs on the shoulder pads. I’m not too familiar with the Imperial Guard identification conventions, and went mostly with what looks good to me. I also scribbled some “graffiti” on the models, to hint that the equipment might not be meant exactly new, or suitable for combat..

So what about the “lore”? These days, as far as I know, the Imperium considers nearly all abhumans as abomination to be shot on sight. Nothing wrong with that (narratively speaking), but this was too good a modelling opportunity to pass up. Back in the third edition days, there were mentions about various abhumans serving in the Guard, and I thought that even with the contemporary Imperial policies, there would be some backwater planets out there that would find it necessary to recruit outside the “pure” human genepool. Not many men would willingly fight with the filthy vermin, but they could be given any old equipment that happened to be in the storage and made surprisingly effective fighters, especially in confined spaces.

I enjoyed this little project very much, and have plans for many more figures. I’ve already ordered a couple of bits for the next models, but we’ll see when I get my hands on those. Anyway, my next task will be to delve back into the Underworlds, and to finally start the Nighvault models that have been sitting on my desk for almost a month!

Intermission: Road Racing Photos

What? It’s been more than two weeks since my last post?! Where does all that time go..? Anyways, since I still haven’t finished anything new, I thought I’d present something different. I and my better half visited Imatra a couple of weeks back, to see an IRRC (International Road Racing Championship) event. Here’s a couple of my better photos from that day.

Now, I’m not a professional photographer (not me in the pic above!), and wouldn’t even really classify myself as a hobbyist, but I dabble in photography from time to time. And what better subject to practice on than really loud and really fast motorbikes? Armed with an old entry-level DSLR and a brand new super-zoom lense that I got for a graduation present, I took around 400 photos in the 4 hours that we were there. Around half of them were more or less blurry messes, but I did manage to get a couple of nice and sharp shots with motion blurred background. More luck than anything, but I’m happy!

The first race we witnessed when we got to the site was sidecars. I got to say that the passengers, apparently known as ‘monkeys’ in English or ‘purkkiorja’ in Finnish (translates roughly as ‘can slave’), are positively mad! It’s their job to help balance the bike in corners, and they do this by leaning over the edges, with bodyparts (face, mainly) almost scraping the tarmac. From photography point of view, the slightly slower speed of the bikes made them easier to shoot and track, so funnily enough there’s more motion blur on these than the following superbikes.

Due to their speed the superbikes were tough to get sharp photos of. I had to increase the shutter speed, which results in less motion blur, but I guess it’s still enough to separate the bike from the background.

The second-to-last race of the day, and the weekend, was with vintage bikes (from the 80s, I believe). Beatiful machines with cool liveries, and as with the sidecars, were a bit slower and thus easier for me to photograph. I should try to edit one of these photos with some retro effects, I reckon..

From the Archives: Garrek’s Reavers

I’ve started working on the 40k Skaven, but as they’re not ready yet, it’s time to once again present some older models from my collection. This time, it’s Garrek and his merry men.

Even though Garrek’s Reavers were the other half of the Shadespire core set, they were only the third warband to get painted. I was so excited about the Sepulchral Guard, that I just had to get them out of the way first. But these guys got painted eventually, and I reckon I did a pretty good job with them. Being some of the earlier models that I painted after getting back to the hobby, they were good practice for some techniques that I hadn’t done before. Firstly, I wanted to try different skin tones for all of them. I think this was a success, even though the two lightest tones came out a bit chalky. And I even managed to color code the models without realizing, so that the darker the skin is, the tougher the guy is.

Secondly, I got plenty of practice painting faces, as there were four bare heads amongst the group. Again, I’m happy how they came out, as none of them got the dreaded “derp face”, and I got all the irises to the right spot on the first try, believe it or not. I also got some individual teeth done, though only on upper or lower jaw, not both.. Finally, I got to try out Blood for the Blood God, which was fun. Haven’t really used it since though, except for an Ork Dreadnought.

The paint scheme for these Bloodreavers is a bit unusual for me, as it’s the studio version! I tried to find something else that I liked better, but at the time couldn’t. I have some ideas brewing for further Shadespire Khorne warbands though, whenever I get to them..

*Excuse the photos, which are a bit tiny. They’re from a time when I was still figuring out how to compose and take good(ish) shots. At least you can see some detail on the picture above. I should do another photoshoot for these guys, but you know how it is…