WIP: Prep Work

Between recent painting projects I’ve been building a lot of stuff in preparation for the “priming season”, which has now finally arrived! I’ll show some of these models in this post.

First up, a couple of Orks. Both of them are something of a bucket-list model for me. The one with the shoota has an OOP WHFB Orc head, which I’ve always loved but didn’t get to buy before it got discontinued. I finally acquired it from eBay, probably for a bit too much money… The big shoota gunner on the other hand has a custom helmet (inspired by a Meganob head). I tried out brown stuff (less sticky than the green), and practiced sculpting a bit. I sculpted the visor shape first, let it dry and then drilled the holes with a pin vise. To finish the helmet off I added some bolts from a plastic rod.

Next up, it’s on to the Indomitus box and its Space Marines. These guys will be painted as Black Templars, something like my test model. I’ve converted these character models slightly with parts (mostly) from the new BT upgrade kit. The Chaplain I left unchanged as I felt he’s an excellent model as is, and wouldn’t be improved by doing a headswap or adding more accessories.

The Bladeguard Veterans and the Lieutenant were likewise built according to instructions. Superb models, though I’m a little concerned about painting the eye lenses on a couple of the models, as the heads pretty much had to be glued on with the rest of the model. The shields however are not glued on yet, should make painting much less frustrating. As a final note, drilling the barrel on the Volkite pistol took some effort, but I think I managed it well enough.

Then it’s on to the Necron side of the box. No real conversions here either, the only thing I did was to clip the bayonet off of the Warden’s gun, as I did with all my Warriors. The models are shown mainly for their bases, especially on the Reanimator. As it’s supposed to be a repair machine of sorts, I thought I’d use the Necron corpse, originally meant for the Primaris Captain’s base, here.

Speaking of bases, above you can see some new Imperial cultists / Cawdor. The models themselves have been done for quite a while, but I finished their bases only recently. The standout features are the resin books and candles I got from Greenstuffworld.

The final group of models is a set of 10 Poxwalkers. Nothing special with these ones, they’re all stock, but they’ve been zenithally primed. I used Citadel cans this time – expensive, but they haven’t let me down so far (knock on wood), and seem to be a bit smoother than the automotive ones I’ve used. I’ll be painting the models with Contrast paints and some additional highlighting, like my previous ones, but this time I’m planning on varying the skin tones and cloth colors a bit more.

To finish up this post let’s return to the hobby bingo card. This is anachronistic as I’ve already shown a more recent version with one more square, but let’s do it anyway… The ork helmet visor scores me the “sculpt something on a model” square. Fairly unimpressive as sculptures go, but it’s something more than just gap-filling, and I’m very happy taking these baby-steps in my sculpting journey.


It has been a while! After Ghazghkull I had an urge to build something (more on that soon, I hope), but it also made me want to paint all kinds of models. Painting time being at a premium these days, I decided to work on something small so that I’d have a chance to finish before the holidays. It started to look like this would be a close one, but I got Makari finished!

I think I started working on him around a month ago, but only got to work on him during some weekends. Still, I’ve put at least five hours of work on him, which is probably more than a model of this size should take. I enjoyed every bit of the occasional hobby getaway, however, and am very happy with the end result!

As with Ghazghkull, I followed the studio scheme pretty closely, just replacing red with orange. The one notable omission are the white dags on the banner flaps. I left them out partly as it cut down the painting time (though not by much, I reckon), but mostly because I don’t like them that much. For pretty much the same reason I changed the yellow glyph a bit: I didn’t like the tiny black-and-white dags, so I used a “bad” glyph transfer instead. The rest of the glyphs are also transfers; I thought about freehanding them, but transfers were the faster option.

Makari with my old metal grot. The proportions of these guys have changed!

I used quite a bit of glazing on the model, much like with Ghaz. The big horns are based with silver and colored with Nazdreg Yellow and Guilliman Flesh. The white skull is glazed with Basilicanum Grey and the bone with Snakebite Leather. I even used some OOP Bloodletter for Makari’s nose!

I’m using Makari to claim a cheeky square on the bingo card: paint a unit with unique markings to be your general’s retinue. I suspect this isn’t quite what the original intention of the square was, but I’m saying it counts! I tried to mirror some of the color scheme elements on Ghaz to Makari, such as the orange to black gradient, orange teef and white skull, yellowish bone and the use of blue as a very tiny accent color. Of course, much of it is down to following the studio schemes, but when the end result works, it works! Honestly, painting Ghazghkull and Makari has been a superb exercise both for learning painting techniques and color composition.

I think this was good practice for the eventual Zarbag’s Gitz (or Rippa’s Snarlfangs), but as much as I’d like to start painting them they’re yet unprimed and I don’t know if I’ll be able to spray them before spring. Of course, it’s not like I’m running out of things to paint! I think I’ve got a couple dozen models in various stages of completion, so with the hobby time I manage these days, I’m probably set for next year as well ๐Ÿ˜€

Ghazghkull Thraka

WAAAAGH! I’ve finished my Ghazghkull, appropriately for Orktober! If I’m only going to finish one model this month, I can think of no better one than him. I got the model as a birthday present from my wife and started working on him in June. So yeah, it took quite a while to finish (to be fair, there were a couple of other models in between, as well as some other distractions:)), but I couldn’t be much happier with the finished model! I think it might be my best work yet!

There were quite a lot of firsts and otherwise experimenting with this model. The biggest one was the black armor with multiple edge highlights, but using glazes to alter colors for fades and weathering were pretty new to me, as were the subtle OSL effects. Not to mention that this was the first model to be completed after the birth of my son!

For the color scheme I tried to replicate the studio scheme. As Ghazghkull is a legendary Goff character I wanted him to keep the black armor, but I also wanted him to tie in with my “orange orks”. That’s why I replaced the red accent color for orange on my model. I also used the same recipes that I’d used on the boyz for the skin, cloth, leather, and of course the wasteland base.

For the black armor and the metal bits I followed the recipes from “Painting Ghazghkull” article found in White Dwarf #453. That involved some paint mixing (purple-ish highlights for the armor and a brownish basecoat for metals), which was interesting and not all that scary in the end. Just for the convenience though, I’ll probably be using paints straight from the bottle for my future black armor highlighting needs. But yeah, I’m loving the final result! While painting, I thought that the highlights on black looked a bit too much like TRON, but when the model’s all together the armor looks black as it should. The highlights are a bit too chunky in places, but I’ll improve my highlighting game with future models!

The orange presented me with a peculiar challenge that I hadn’t really noticed before: orange is a color that doesn’t have a lot of tonal range. There is no dark orange like there is dark red, for example. Dark orange is brown! In the ‘Eavy Metal version the power klaw (and the glyphs) are dark red, but I didn’t want mine to be brown. I had to leave these bits more vibrant so that they would read as orange, so in that way the studio model is stronger compositionally, but I did try to punch the highlights on the iron gob so that they would draw the eye towards the face.

Ghazghkull towering over the boyz.

Weathering was done by glazing various brown tones on the crevasses and the lower parts of the armor plates. Scratches were painted pretty much only on the freehand patterns, otherwise I ended up relying on the modelled damage. I considered doing some sponge weathering as well, but in the end I left it out. Mostly because I thought the model looked great already but I was also feeling a bit of painting fatigue.

A lone Space Wolf about to be pooped on.

There are still quite a number of things that I could improve or add to the model, but I’m calling it done. Seriously, I think the more time I spend painting a model, the more I notice places where I could do better if I spent the time! My original goal was to give this centerpiece model the paintjob it deserves, but it’s not a competition piece so I’m not sweating over every tiny detail. I’m super happy with how it came out and proud to have painted such a big, initially very intimidating model! Next up, something much smaller!

Last but not least, I’m one square closer to scoring that elusive bingo. Ghazghkull qualifies as a monster, which means that I only have to build a piece of scenery before the end of the year! I’ve been thinking about going into build mode for a bit now that I’ve finished a major painting project, so maybe I’ll have a simple piece of scenery in my hands before too long!


Alright, a quick PSA: I’m a dad now! Around a week ago my wife gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. After a few days in the hospital we came home, everyone safe and sound. It has been an interesting week full of learning new things and a little less sleep than what I’ve been used to!

I guess it goes without saying that my rate of finishing models is going to take a hit. Of course, I’ve been saying the same thing for years now, so there’s a chance you’ll not even notice! I’ll have to get used to a new daily rhytm with a lot more responsibility, and try to sneak in some hobbying whenever I can. Before the birth I was a bit worried about how I would feel about not having a lot of time for my own hobbies. But I got to say, after the baby arrived my hobbies haven’t seemed as important as they did. I’m sure this will change eventually (:D), but for now I’m getting a real kick out of taking care of my wife and my son. Of course, miniatures are still on my mind and I’m slowly trying to get that ball rolling again. Today I wrote the boy’s birthday on the bottom of his commemorative Space Wolf! Yeah, the day ended up being a day of national mourning for some, but a familial day of celebration for us!

I’ll also show a picture of my current project, Ghazghkull Thraka, and where I left him before we had to leave for the hospital. The arms are not glued on yet, I think I’ll add a couple more things before attaching them permanently.

The face and the base are already finished, actually even before the move, I just haven’t shown them here before. But here they are:

Very chuffed with both of them! Hopefully I’ll have the time to finish the model before the end of the year ๐Ÿ˜€

More Ork Boyz

What?! New finished models already? Somehow I’ve managed to paint a trio of ork boyz in under two weeks! While not exactly lightning speed, and surely not optimal for “getting boyz on the table”, I felt like I was making good progress. Here they are:

As I’ve already said some words about the building, this post is about the painting. The general process was largely the same as with the last two. I think I spent a bit more time on the weathering and especially on the freehand this time around, but hopefully the rest of it went a tad quicker than the first time around as I was more aware of what I should be doing. I was again a bit intimidated about the orange before I started painting it, but in the end it turned out nicely and pretty quickly. I did have to be careful when working on the clothes and other bits so as not to accidentally get paint on the finished orange, but happily I managed without mishaps. And then of course I proceeded to paint on some freehand and chipping! The latter especially is good to fix any mistakes that might’ve happened.

Speaking of freehand, I tried to come up with some other designs besides the classic checkers to mix things up a bit. There’s some triangles, or “dags” I believe, on one of the shoulder pads, and a sort of racing stripe design on one of the helmets. But of course I’m the most proud of the little “evil sun” on the back of one of the shoulder pads! I was actually going to use a decal first, but noticed that the decal would be too big for the pad. I thought: “what the heck, these are orks, doesn’t matter if it’s a bit wonky”, and ended up practicing some more freehanding. Again, it was a bit scary as I wouldn’t be able to get the same orange back, but I knew that I could hide any mistakes with battle damage. Turned out all right I think! And why the Evil Sunz emblem, you might ask? Well, as I’m doing my own color scheme I get to pick and choose! The evil sun might be my favorite, but possible future models might have a bad moon or any other clan logo on them as well, as the designs are pretty cool. Also, being orange, my orks obviously feel the call of speed at least a bit (as well as dakka and bling!).

And that’s it for my boyz, for now! With these lads done, I’ve finished all of the ork boyz from my teenage years. Well, actually I’ve still got one half-finished conversion with which I might do something.. However, while painting these orks I’ve started to seriously consider getting a new box of boyz, or lootas/burnas, just to paint a couple every now and then. Also, some time ago I got myself another bucket list model, the AoBR Warboss, from eBay! So he’ll eventually get painted as well. Just got to build him first, and come up with an appropriate base as well.

Finally, I’m entering these guys to Ann’s April hobby challenge, splendidly titled “Paint the Crap You Already Own”. While I still have the opportunity to go to an FLGS and buy new models (stocks might be low though..), I very much agree with the idea that we should all try to make our backlogs of unpainted models as nonexistent as possible. Keeping that in mind, I’ll try to get a couple more (old) minis finished before April’s through!

WIP: Modeling for days

All right, it’s high time for an update. For the last three weeks or so I’ve been on build mode whenever I’ve had some hobby time, and have now got a couple of models to show you. First up, a couple of Ork boyz! (click the pictures for slightly larger/complete versions)

The two unprimed boyz are built from bits fresh off their late-90s sprues, while the primed one is a rescue job (parts are still from the same box, though!) that I did ages ago. He’ll be painted along these two new ones, whenever I’ll get to them ๐Ÿ˜€ The shoota boyz are pretty stock builds, while the slugga boy has a number of minor adjustments, such as reposing the hands and the horns on his helmet.

Next we have my latest creations, two more members for the Astra Rodentia. These guys take me a plenty of time to create as I fiddle with most of the parts. Getting a chainsword on a right hand was quite an exercise, I can tell you! Another conversion/scratchbuild was the radio pack: I wasn’t happy with how thick the antennas were, and made some new ones from paperclips and thin wire. I also added a phone(?), haphazardly hanging from its cable. While building it, I noticed that the Skitarii backpacks would’ve had the same elements, but I didn’t want to wait for an order to arrive.

Finally, a bunch of Space Marines. The two tacticals above were actually built around six months ago, and have since been based and primed, and the sarge on the left has got his banner. I’m using this old image as I have a couple of subassemblies on them, here they’re reasonably assembled. Fun fact: the sarge was actually built around the right, open, hand that was found in the Devastators kit! I’ve also built two more shotgun scouts, which completes the squad I started building.. last summer? (where does the time go?)

I’m using the scouts to claim the conversion square in the hobby bingo. The slugga boy might’ve been a more ‘optimal’ choice, but fug it, I’ve made more progress than expected already!

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..

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?

Ork Boyz

Just before Orktober turns to November, I’ve managed to complete the Herculean task of.. Painting two Slugga Boyz. Well, progress is progress, and at least I get to submit a token entry for Azazel’s monthly challenge.

This month the challenge was two-fold: Orks or neglected models. These models qualify for both, as they started their lives quite a while ago. I actually built the models and started painting them around 15 years ago, but as my interest in miniatures was waning at the time they were left unfinished. This was a shame as I thought that these were some of my favorite conversions I had done (especially proud of the helmeted head with an open mouth). Well, last Orktober I set out to paint them. I stripped the old paint off, based and primed them, and started with the painting. I quickly got distracted by another project, however, and despite thinking that I’d go back and finish the Boyz pretty soon, here we are a year later ๐Ÿ˜€

I used the same main scheme that I used on the Ironskull’s Boyz. I think that greenskins look pretty good in orange, and haven’t seen too many examples by other painters. Maybe it’s because orange is a bit of a pain to paint.. If I’d ever end up building a whole army of Orks, I’d probably not go for orange, but for a couple models it’s alright. I did try to speed up my painting a bit, as if to practice painting a bigger group, but also because I was a bit strapped for time this month. All in all, these two guys didn’t take super long to complete by my standards, and were fun to paint. I still have one Boy primed, and a couple on sprue, so sooner or later I’ll return to the orange Waaagh! (working title). Probably in Orktober 2020 ๐Ÿ™‚

Oh yeah, I tried removing the background completely from the photos, to get a true white background. How do you like it?

From the Archives: Grot; A Married Man

To top off Orktober 2018, I painted an old metal Grot from my teenage years.

While I couldn’t quite get the Uruk-hai Warrior painted up in a day, this one I did! It’s the first and so far the only model that I’ve managed to paint in a day (not counting some models in my teens), which makes him quite special.

When painting the Grot, I had two main goals: to practice painting pale Ork skin, and to not use any washes on the metals. As the model is mostly naked, there was plenty of space to practice painting skin. I think I managed pretty well, and painting just one tiny model I had the patience to mix the skin tones and thin them down more than usual to get some nice layering/blending going. Not using washes on the metal was both an attempt to preserve the shine of the metallic paints and to try an old school method of painting metals: starting with a Tin Bitz equivalent and drybrushing silver colors on top. It works fine, but is a bit messy if you’re going for a more refined look.

This was a fun little project and great practice for when I eventually treat myself to Zarbag’s Gits. And I got to say that the sculpt was pretty fantastic: really crisp detail and next to no clean-up needed. I can definitely see why folks look back at metal minis with misty eyes..

But enough about the Grot, and on to the other news. I’m now a married man! I and my fiancรฉ/wife got married during this last weekend, and everything went even better than I could’ve anticipated. Didn’t forget my lines in the church, and the reception afterwards was brilliant. Delicious food and drink, our families and friends, dancing, and the photography left to a professional. A wonderful weekend, and of course the best thing is that I got a wonderful wife out of it!

As you might have noticed, my hobbying and blogging has slowed down quite a bit during September, which was of course due to the wedding planning and preparations. I hope to get back up to speed soonish, though I know that our honeymoon will eat a week of painting time this month. Not the least bit sorry about that though ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully I’ll get the Cursebreakers done this week, and an Ork or two before the month’s over.