New Stuff, New Job

No miniatures today, but some updates for my hobby table and a development in the real life.

The old setup

First up, I’ve updated my lighting setup. My old setup had two lamps, but they were wildly different from each other. The other was a desk lamp with really warm, comparatively dim light. The other was a floor lamp with a bright white light, but the light cone was so tight that at times it was difficult to keep the model under it. The differences meant that I often had (harsh) shadows on the figure, and that when I was taking photos I had trouble with white balance as I had two lamps with different temperature values.

The new setup

I’ve thought about the update for a while now (well, basically since I got back to the hobby a couple years back), but after I recently saw a video on the subject and noticed how affordable the update could be, I decided to pull the trigger. I got two Tertial desk lamps from Ikea and two led bulbs from the local automotive store. These bulbs are nice as they have three temperature settings: warm, white and daylight. After installing the two lamps (had to modify the clamp on the other one slightly), I’ve gotten rid of most of the shadows. This obviously makes painting, as well as photography much easier. I think the lights could be even brighter (the video recommended 13W, whereas I found 9W bulbs), but for now I can certainly get by with these. They’re a big improvement!

My photography “studio”

Secondly, I’ve made myself some new brush pots! Okay, this is probably not that interesting, but whatever.. Some time ago I found some very decent (good even?) cheap brushes from the local super market. They come in packs of five, and I’ve bought four so far. My old Coca Cola cup started to get a little small for the lot, so I decided to get a second container for them. I then realised that I could make it myself, and ended up doing a bunch! I’ve worked as an insulator (/scaffolder) since last summer, so I’ve got access to all the aluminium that I could ever need and the tools to work it. Now, these pots could be described as prototypes, and aren’t really too nice. But they work as intended and are a nice memento from the insulation work. I made some others as well, a bit neater even, but my wife took them to her work before I could take a photo of them ๐Ÿ˜€

New pots, some new brushes and a sneak peek of an upcoming model

Never one to pass an opportunity to fill a hobby bingo square, I’ll claim the “something for the hobby that’s not for battlefield” with these pots!

Finally, I’ll be starting a new job next week, and this time it’s on my own field of work! I’ll be a substitute English teacher until the end of May, which should be interesting. While this is definitely a good thing for my career, it probably means that I’ll have less time to work on hobby projects. The job is also on the other side of the country, so I’ll lose access to some equipment for some time. I’m taking some minis and paints with me, however, and we’ll see how it goes. Expect fewer updates though, especially on new finished minis.

Preacher with Eviscerator

I’ve finished another bucket list model! This time, it’s GW’s out-of-production Preacher with Eviscerator.

I actually had a hard time finding info or a picture of the studio paintjob of this lunatic (maybe someone can help me out here?). The model’s tab said it’s from 2002, but even with a couple catalogues from the era I couldn’t find an official image of him. Rules-wise, I don’t know which faction he belongs to these days, but I’m guessing Sisters of Battle. Not that it matters too much, it’s just an awesome model! I’ve wanted it in my collection for a long time, and after seeing Heretic Tom‘s awesome (and growing!) collection of Imperial Cult miniatures the temptation just grew too strong. I bought the model from eBay and it arrived around Christmas.

My goal with the model was to achieve a “blanchean” color scheme, with mostly warm palette, a lot of red and some classic motifs like the checker pattern. I also wanted to try and push my skills on certain areas, as well as try out new things. The main things were the red robes – I wanted to push the contrast by shading with purple and highlighting all the way to orange; and the face – adding a bit more color than I’ve previously done. I also tried painting marble on the base, and experimented with some new metal paints.

There’s not much to say about the red itself, but painting it was surprisingly fast and I really like the result. I got to say though, that it’s amazing how much each successive highlight, or the final details, add to models. Each little dot and hash adds so much to the final model, and as you’re always painting smaller and smaller areas, it takes almost no time at all! Looks like the law of diminishing returns does not apply to miniature painting.. Case in point, I painted the face first as I normally would (base/wash/layer/highlight), but then added some thinned down washes below his eyes (purple) and nose/cheeks (crimson), as well as a couple of lines to his lower lip to imply cracks. A lot more character with very little effort!

Now, the metallics. I recently stumbled on an arts/crafts store that stocked some Vallejo Metal Color and bought myself two pots. I had heard good things about them from Vince Venturella (as in, they’re the only metallics he’s using), and I can confirm that they’re totally worthy of the praise. So thin and smooth, but the coverage is still unbelievable. I actually already used them on the Farstriders, but thought that I needed to experiment further to say anything. With the chainsaw blade I got to do some rudimentary wetblending, which works pretty well. I’m definitely getting some more Metal Color pots in the future, and changing to them instead of GW’s steel paints.

I wanted the preacher to have a thematic base, and what could be a better fit than a crumbling chapel? I cut down some thin plasticard to make the stone tiles, and glued down a few patches of sand so that the base wouldn’t look too sterile. I was a bit unsure about the skull at first, as it’s a bit bigger scale than the preacher, but in the end I really wanted it there and just called it a space marine skull! The tiles got a marble effect following an old WHTV tutorial, and I added a roman numeral on the skull for a bit of extra detail. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for ages, as a reference to some amazing old pieces of 40k art such as this one. To finish the model off and tie it to the base I drybrushed and stippled some bone color on the robes/parchment/base, which was as harrowing as ever, but seemed to work as it always has.

As has thankfully been the case with all my other models this year, I can claim a square in the hobby bingo with this one as well. I’ll take the “model from a faction that I don’t already own any painted minis for”. Although I’m not exactly sure which faction this model belongs to! ๐Ÿ˜€

The Farstriders

My Shadespire collection grows by yet another warband! This time, I’ve finished the Farstriders! That makes six finished gangs, and two more to go to complete the first season of Underworlds.

Now, to be honest these could’ve been finished a lot sooner, had I not bought myself Hades from Steam. I’ve sunk so many hours into it during the last month that had I used them all painting, I’d probably have my Shadespire collection finished right about now.. It’s a pretty good game though ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, the Farstriders. I decided to change my default SCE color scheme to something else for this group. At first I toyed with the idea of going with the box art golden boys, but then I felt that I needed to change it a bit to make it mine. I thought I’d just change the blue to red, but then I decided to change the gold as well, to a more weathered looking brass. I came across a cool Space Marine Minotaurs tutorial on FromTheWarp ages ago, and finally got to try it out. Well, loosely speaking. I used Citadel paints and their brass triad, just adding verdigris effects before all the drybrushing. I’ve used Nihilakh Oxide a couple times before, and have been a bit unhappy with the results, thinking that the paint went on too opaque, even with 1:1 thinning with medium. This time I diluted the wash even further, to 1:2, and think that it looks good to me (as long as I only go over areas once). Well, I erased most of the verdigris with the drybrushing anyway, so it didn’t really matter even if I put too much on.

My favorite part of the models to paint were the capes. As you might have noticed, I’m a bit of a sucker for differentiating my warband models in some way, and here I decided on making the capes in different colors. I used around five base colors for the initial pattern in each cape, which I then washed with different washes and drybrushed them to finish them off. While painting the initial pattern, I mixed the paints on the borders to achieve a smoother transition, either by mixing an intermediate color on the palette or by wetblending on the model.

There are a couple of things I’m not totally happy about on the models. One is that I probably should’ve pushed the highlights on the reds a bit more, as compared to the black leather bits they look a bit flat. Speaking of red, with these models I tried to make the reds on the topknot, pauldrons and the loincloth(?) a bit different, and brighter on top to draw attention there. Success, I think? I’m also not sure about the color choice on the bird: I tried to mimick a golden eagle, but brown and white doesn’t really stand out from the brass armor and white cape. But these are considerations for future models, I’m calling these ones done.

Last but not least, I’m claiming a square on the hobby bingo: a team painted specifically for a skirmish game. Seems like the year has started well on the bingo front, one month down and two (/three) squares completed! If I can keep this up, I’ll be finishing the whole board before the end of the year! (Yeah, fat chance..:)

From the Archives: Revelators BfM Sergeant

Time for a long overdue post, and since I haven’t quite finished my next Underworlds warband, let’s look at something old. After last post’s Lieutenant Varras, I think it’s fitting to show you the Space Marine sergeant from the same Battle for Macragge starter set.

While most of the Marine sculpts from the set are pretty mediocre mono-pose models, I think that the sergeant (and Varras) stood out favorably, and still holds up today.

I had put some paint on the model back in the day, but hadn’t finished him. I stripped the paint and cleaned the mold lines. I also rebased him to a more modern 32mm base. Finally, as I love banners on my characters, I stuck one on his back.

Painting was a pretty straightforward affair. The only challenges were due to the sculpt having less sculpted detail than more recent models, mainly on his head and the missing circle shape on his banner, which I had to freehand. Nothing too difficult, but it really made me appreciate modern models even more. As a side note, the squad name on the banner is once again a reference to a cool video game, and also a bit to the model’s origin (yeah, I know rage and Macragge are pronounced differently. Still..)

Okay, back to the Underworlds. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to show you the finished Farstriders by the end of the week!

Lieutenant Varras

Alright, let’s get the hobby year 2020 started! I wanted to pick a small project to ease myself back to painting after a bit of a hiatus, so here’s Lieutenant Varras from the Battle for Macragge box.

I didn’t get any hobbying done during Christmas / New Year, due to not being home for the majority of them. But since then I’ve slowly been building and prepping models to eventually paint, and during last weekend and Epiphany Monday managed to paint up one of them. Varras had been sitting on my table for pretty long, and of course he’s been in my possession since the release of BfM in 2004. I had actually painted the model back then, but as he wasn’t really a part of my Ultramarine army, and I was never really happy with how he looked, I decided to strip him and give him a new paintjob.

Painting was rather straightforward, I used the same palette as for my Revelators, with the difference that I painted the pouches and holsters brown instead of black to bring in some additional color. I also tried out Citadel’s new paint triad for dark skin, and am very happy with the result. Definitely using it for some other models as well!

Painting this model pretty much finished the Space Marine side of BfM, as I have already painted the objective markers and a Tactical Squad (will have to do a marine with a flamer at some point). The squad is of course not the one from the box, but that’s fine as, to be frank, the BfM marine sculpts and casts were mostly terrible. I might get to the Tyranids at some point, as I think I’ve got most of the minis still in my possession. I’ve also tried to get hold of the Aquila lander terrain pieces (I still kick myself for binning those as a teenager), but so far the prices have been a bit too much.

Finally, I’ll begin filling the hobby bingo card as well. The card is a bit different than last year, as Rob redesigned it just this month. Let’s see if I’ll do better this time! I’ll cross off the “to-do pile model”, I think Varras qualifies.

Wrapping Up 2019

All right, one final post to finish the year. Let’s look at what I managed to paint during 2019!

Above you can see the tally (apologies for the photo quality, my setup still isn’t ideal for big group shots). When they’re all brought out like this it.. Doesn’t actually look like much. But I’m very happy with each and every one of them, and with space (and wife’s tolerance) being a limited commodity I think my output has been just right!

All in all, I finished 57 models, which was about the same as last year, and more than a model per week on average, which was my target at the beginning of the year. Here’s a list of all the models and links to their corresponding showcase posts:

So yeah, not too shabby. During the past year I’ve embarked on a number of new (slow-grow) projects, such as the Astra Rodentia and Orks. I’ve also continued adding to older ones, such as my Revelators Space Marines, Underworlds warbands and working on the AoS 1st edition starter set. I’ve upped my weathering game and dabbled on more complex freehand designs than last year. I got to say that painting various projects with different color schemes and mixing things up with new techniques definitely helps to keep things fresh and motivating.

Speaking of motivation, there were/are two bloggers that deserve much credit for influencing me to pick the projects that I did and actually getting them done in a timely fashion! One is of course Azazel with his monthly hobby challenges. I did have a little time management mishap and missed one month’s deadline, but for the other 11 I got at least one miniature done.

The other blogger is Rob Hawkins, whose hobby bingo card has been a fun additional game on top of finishing models. Below you can see my finished card for the year. After finishing my last miniature of 2019 I looked at the card and noticed that I had painted some models that hadn’t been used for the card even though they could’ve been. I used the two SCE squads to cross off two additional squares, but even with that I couldn’t get a bingo. No matter though, I’ll try again next year with a little more ambition, and try to get at least that one bingo!

Of course, there’s still one more blogger that I shouldn’t forget when it comes to motivation: me! I started the blog this January, and actually have hard time believing I’ve gotten it this far. Sharing my work here and getting amazing feedback from you guys has pushed me to paint and finish stuff much more consistently than I otherwise would. So thank you, reader, for taking a look and commenting!

Going forward, I don’t think I can keep up the “almost weekly” post schedule for too much longer. This year, pretty much half of my posts have been showcasing my older work from 2017-18, and even my teens. While I still have some of those left, I won’t have many “padding” posts to put in between new finished models. Most likely my posting will just get more sporadic, but we’ll see how it goes in time..

And that’s it for 2019! Here’s hoping for an even better 2020! I already have some great models in the queue and many plans in my head, hopefully I’ll have enough time to transform many of those into finished minis!

Nurgle Lord of Plagues; PSA

Today I get to show a model which I’ve wanted in my collection for a long time: the Lord of Plagues. As he’s a bit of a bucket list model, I’m also entering him in Azazel’s Destino December challenge.

I bought the model last month after a pretty insane work week, deciding I had earned something nice ๐Ÿ™‚ The Lord was on stock in my FLGS, and as the price isn’t as extortionate as GW’s more recent character models I picked him up. I know this model is often used for all sorts of cool (INQ28) conversions, but as the basic model is so close to perfect I wanted this one to remain in stock form. I did however build him a bit more elaborate base to make him stand out a bit more.

As this model was bought purely for painting and not for an existing army, I thought it would be a good platform to try out some new things. Firstly, the model got a zenithal undercoating, which was a first for me. I can’t really tell if it has a lot of effect on the finished model, as I might have still painted with too thick paint, but it certainly helped me to position shadows and highlights more easily. It’s definitely something that I want to come back to in the future though.

Secondly, rather than trying to paint the armor smoothly, I wanted to use stippling both for easier color transitions and to give an impression of the armor being pitted and banged up, which I think work well as there is already quite a lot of sculpted damage to begin with. There’s still room for improvement in my stippling, but I’m pretty happy with the light-to-dark contrast that I achieved.

For the paint scheme I wanted to do something a bit different from the default green. I had seen Andrew King’s rather wonderful blue Nurgle army in White Dwarf, and decided to try something like that. Andrew used Thunderhawk Blue as the basecolor for his armor, but as my local shop doesn’t stock it I used Stegadon Scale Green. The color was a bit more green than I’d have liked, but glazing some Guilliman Blue on top worked out well to correct this.

To complement the colder blue tones of the armor I wanted the base to have warm red dirt on it. Happily, WHTV recently published a tutorial on the new Underworlds Goblin Riders. I used the basing recipe (with some alterations) in it and got a really nice result. Some weathering powders could probably take it to the next level, but I’ll leave experimenting with those for another time.

I’m using this model to claim a square in the hobby bingo: paint a model from an army you don’t already collect. Now, while I don’t expect him to grow into an army anytime soon, I might just get some Plague Bearers for him to broodingly watch over. Or maybe his little brother, the Lord of Blights!

And with that, my 2019 hobby year is pretty much over. I might try to sneak in a bit of building before the new year, but definitely wont be finishing anything. I still want to do a wrap-up post for the year, but in case I don’t get it up before Christmas Eve, happy holidays to everyone!

Lastly, a small service announcement. A couple of days ago Krautscientist pointed out to me that commenting had been switched off for a couple of my latest posts. This was not intentional, and I have no idea why it happened. It’s been fixed now, so if you want(ed) to comment on those recent projects please do!

From the Archives: Ork Dreadnought

So this is a bit of a special one: the last model that I got before dropping the hobby in my teens. And it was a Christmas present too, so it always bothered me a bit that I didn’t finish it. But here it is, in its finished glory, an Ork Dreadnought (yes, from time before Deff Dreads)!

The Dread was completed a year ago for Azazel’s mechanically themed November challenge. It was basically a full build too, as I had hardly started working on it all those years ago. The first thing to do was to make a base as the box didn’t come with one. As you might be able to tell, I used cork and tied to replicate the old Space Marine Dreadnought base design. I did add a couple of details like the tank trap bit and the Ork helmet to add some flair of my own.

After the base was done it was on to the Dreadnought itself. I could instantly remember why I didn’t finish this model: this is a metal model and basically none of the parts fit each other without a lot of filing. I think I spent 2-3 days just fitting and pinning the model together. While I was at it, I magnetized the big shoota so that I could swap it for a rokkit launcha in the future. The burna is glued on as usual due to it’s more difficult position.

Then I had to decide on a paint scheme. I kind of wanted an orange scheme, but painting the whole thing orange would’ve been too much, and I couldn’t come up with anything else that I would’ve been happy with. In the end I decided to try and replicate the box art scheme, which is a kind of first since my teens, and I’m happy that I did since the scheme is awesome, and was very fun to paint! There is absolutely no “standard” edge highlighting on this model, all the edges are defined by sponging or drybrushing. Freehanding the skull design on the front was a great exercise, and I found a pretty good way of painting dark (coated?) metal that’s common in real world guns.

So yeah, this project was a fun one! I think the design of this Dreadnought has held up really well, maybe I’ll get some plastic Killa Kans to accompany it. Some day..

Astra Rodentia Sentinel

Alright, I finished the Sentinel that I showed at the beginning of the month, and just in time to enter Azazel’s Mechanovember, too! As I’ve already spoken about building the model, this post is dedicated to the painting.

But first things first! If you read the title of the post, and have seen my previous posts, you noticed that I’ve got a new name for my Imperial Skaven: the Astra Rodentia. This was suggested by amazingturtles over on DakkaDakka, thanks to her! At first I thought it was a bit too noble sounding for this abhuman rabble, but the more I’ve been thinking about it the more sense it makes. Propaganda and all that..

And on to the painting! I’m super pleased with how this one came out! The first thing I needed to do was to decide on a paint scheme. As my rats are supposed to be a ragtag group of fighters using kit from various sources, I could basically choose anything I wanted. I didn’t want to go with the default Cadian scheme, but due to most of my models so far have green flak armor, the scheme could have some green in it. The rats are also fighting in an industrial setting, so some sort of urban camo would be appropriate. With this in mind, the classic Steel Legion vehicle scheme seemed like a perfect fit, and I’ve always liked the scheme too!

It took a bit of research to figure out what colors to use for the gray and the green. Some sources said that the gray was Fortress or Codex Grey, and the green was Rotting Green. While the latter seems accurate, the gray was surely something darker, or something’s up with the old photos of Steel Legion vehicles. But anyway, I used Dawnstone and Nurgling Green for my model, and I think it works pretty well. The camo was painted by first painting the basic shapes on the model, after which the two colors were mixed together and painted on the borders of the two colors to blend them in. The old sources suggested drybrushing for this blending, but the shape of the Sentinel didn’t really work for that so I just painted it in the normal way instead.

In addition to painting a camo scheme on a vehicle, this project was also a great opportunity to practice some new(/ish) techniques. I’m very happy with how all the lights and lenses came out, and had lots of fun doing all the freehand scribblings and weathering. Speaking of weathering, I finally got myself Typhus Corrosion and Ryza Rust (largely inspired by davekay and Azazel), and used them for the exhaust pipes and various other bits. Fun stuff! Painting the base was a bit of a challenge as I wanted to have a bit of color in there so that it’s not just all solid gray, but at the same time I didn’t want the base to steal the show (which a bright red barrel could easily do). Some yellow warning stripes, the red barrel and the wonderful little rat took care of the color, while drybrushing the whole thing with light gray for highlights / dust effects pulled the base together nicely. I also used some other white-ish colors afterwards to introduce a bit of variation, which worked wonders. Now, traditionally speaking, there’s probably not quite enough contrast between the base and the model, but we’re not letting that bother us!

Finally, I’m using this model to claim a square in the hobby bingo: paint a unit and add scenic bases. I’m perhaps cheating a bit, but a single Sentinel can be a unit so I’m counting it. It’s pretty clear now that I wont be getting a single bingo this year. Looking at the grid now, I think I could’ve claimed at least a couple more squares with the models I’ve done so far, but even with those, no bingo. That’s okay though, the card has been a fun additional motivator and I’m sure to try again next year!

Where It All Started: Deathskulls

This post would’ve been more appropriate last month, but with all the other stuff going on, and me actually having newly finished models to show off, it got pushed back. But no matter, it’s always a good time for da Orks!

After I’d amassed quite a lot of Space Marines, I wanted to start collecting another WH40k army (oh the days of very little pocket money.. No hobby butterflying or hoarding plastic back then!). I decided to go for the Orks, as they seemed like a good opportunity for both conversion work and painting. There was also 16 Boyz to a box back then, a lot more than Marines, so more bang for the buck!

As for the paint scheme, after perusing the Ork Codex (3rd ed.) I settled on Deathskulls, as I liked the idea of looters, and I already had blue paint from painting the Ultramarines ๐Ÿ™‚ Originally I decided to go for a really simple scheme – just green skin, metal and all black clothes, plus a couple of details like teeth, eyes and pearcings. However, after I’d painted some models, The all black clothing started to look too much like it was unfinished, or even unpainted, and I started to sneak in some brown straps or camo pants/vests. These models instantly looked better, but as I didn’t really want to go back and change finished models, I didn’t go full Blood Axes on the wardrobe.

As you might have noticed, the big thing in painting these was drybrushing. I can’t remember from where I learned about it, but as is evident, it was the best thing ever and I used it for everything. Still no washes or highlights, or proper bases (though look at that modern, not Goblin Green color!), but looking at them now, I think they’re not half-bad.

Like my Ultramarines, this army is mostly a collection of models that I could get my hands on, rather than a though out competitive (or thematic) list. That being said, if you don’t count the horrible Gorkamorka vehicles, all the models look cohesive, and pretty much what you could buy today.

Speaking of vehicles, Orks used to have all sorts of upgrades (I don’t know the situation today) which I tried to model on my Trukk and Trakk. The Trakk’s “extra armor” was made from bits taken from a scale model helicopter. The Trukk has a custom built big shoota in the back, which could be used if there was any Boyz on board. They both got some red paint slapped on them, as a “red paint job” gave you an extra inch of movement. Hopefully the rules are a bit more hobby-friendly nowadays, as the red paint didn’t really go well with my overall blue scheme.

Up and below are close-ups of some of my favorite models from the army. All except one have some sort of conversion work done on them. I liked converting models with looted gear, even if they didn’t have any in-game effect. Case in point, a SM power fist withoug power works fine as a choppa for an Ork.

I still love Orks, both the models and from the lore POV. I don’t have any plans to start collecting a big army of them again, but every now and then I’ve been thinking about a Gorkamorka inspired biker gang with a support Trukk. Maybe I already have the first models done?