Wrapping Up 2020

Due to my minis being in two different apartments and being away from my own computer and Photoshop  during the holidays I’m a bit late with this post. But better late than never, let’s look back at what I managed to paint in 2020. Here’s the lot:

As per last year, sorry for the image quality – my photography setup is still not ideal for big group photos…

All together they’re 32 models. Quite a bit less than than I imagined I’d paint a year ago, but I’m again very happy with each and every model. And all my painted models still fit in my display cabinet! Just barely though, I think this year I’ve got to start moving some of the older ones to storage.

Here’s a list of all the models above, and links to the showcase posts if you want to take a closer look:

As you can see, last year I painted mostly single models or very small groups of models. The only project with more than three models was the Scout Squad, and that was only five as well. 2021 might see a change here, as I intend to work on the Indomitus box during the year, but we’ll see how it goes. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed painting single minis a lot, and I’ve certainly painted my best work this year, at least technically speaking. Picking a favorite is difficult, but I guess the top three would be Mollog and the two priests. The Ork Boyz and the Cabalists are up there too, though, and the Sentinel from 2019 still gives these guys a good run for the money among my favorite models!

Speaking of the Sentinel, my one regret for last year was that I didn’t finish any new models for my Astra Rodentia. Whereas all my other armies/collections (Space Marines, Underworlds, Orks, Blades of Khorne, Stormcast Eternals) received some new models, and I started working on a few new collections as well (Imperial Cult, Nurgle, Tyranids, Warcry), the space rats didn’t get any finished models in 2020. I did build two, however, and started painting them just before the holidays, so they should be my first finished models of 2021!

So what happened with my Hobby Bingo? Unfortunaltely, as in 2019, I failed to score any bingos. It was a bit of a shame as it would’ve been rather easy to “sculpt something on a model” and “scratch-build a piece of scenery”, but alas, somehow it just didn’t come to be. Maybe this year though!  I did complete one more square than previously, so it wasn’t all bad. I’ll keep trying this year!

One final thing I’d like to address is the state of the blog. As you’ve probably noticed, my posting has been less and less frequent. This is mostly due to work, and partly due to playing video games a bit more once again.. But I’ve been doing some hobbying too every once in a while, so I should have something new to show you before too long! Realistically speaking though, I don’t see the posting speed improving anytime soon, but it is what it is.

Even so, I have to say I’m baffled, flabbergasted even to see that the blog still gets a dozen or so visitors and 20-30 views every day! I mean, it’s not like there’s fresh new content frequently, and I doubt that people would look at a post more than once or maybe twice.. Who are these people and where do they come from? I might never know, but it warms my heart even so. Thanks to everyone who has stumbled upon this blog or has stuck around for longer, and especially to those who have taken the time to leave a comment!

Revelators Bikers

This project has taken waaay longer than I would’ve thought, but the two bikers I built a month ago are now finished! There’s still one more to build and paint for a complete squad, but I think I’ll paint something else before that..

I’ve got a bit of a confession to make. I don’t find my Revelators power armored marines much fun to paint. All the main colors – gray, yellow and gold – are more or less a struggle to paint. Well, maybe “struggle” is a wrong word, tedious would be more apt. The base paints cover well, but the layer ones are terrible. I very much like the end result, but getting there is mostly dull, very time consuming work, and I feel that I could use that time better on some other model. But I’m kind of locked in with the paint recipe now, and as I’d like to see some kind of a “finished” army at some point, I’ll continue to add a unit every now and then.

And oh yeah, if you see any out of place silver spots (hopefully not) on the models, that’s because the Vallejo Metal Color bottle caps are the worst! For some reason they occasionally leak while shaking them, resulting in a spray of silver droplets all over the place! This time a couple hit my models, of course in a way that required three paints to fix each splotch. I need to remember to cover the caps with a paper towel while shaking the bottles..

It wasn’t all bad, of course! The detailing and light freehand work (check out the “navigator” screens below) were enjoyable, as was the basing and even edge highlighting the gray armor. I’m pretty happy with the chipping as well. The goal was to do a very light application to the bikes only and leave the riders clean, to echo the rest of my Revelators. All in all, again, I think the finished models look great and are a cool addition to my collection, even if there are one or two mistakes on them..

Another great thing is that these bikers also qualify for a couple of hobby challenges: firstly, they’re my submission for Azazel’s Jewel of July-August. I’ll try to paint a quick character or something before the month is over for an additional entry, but yeah, we’ll see how it goes.. Secondly, they count for the vehicle square in the hobby bingo. Heh, I’m really setting up those sweet bingo rows, aren’t I? Hopefully I can actually follow through on at least one of them!

Bloodstoker and Bloodsecrator

It has been quite a while since I last worked on my Age of Sigmar starter set, but I’ve now finished the two lesser Khorne characters – the Bloodstoker and the Bloodsecrator (don’t you just love GW’s naming conventions? :D).

To be honest, I didn’t really look forward to painting these Chaos models due to the insane amount of details. But the AoS starter set is sort of my testing ground for “tabletop standard” and “speed” painting, I set out to paint them quickly, to a decent standard and without too much pressure. As with the ‘reavers, the starting point was an article in White Dwarf Jan ’17. However, in the end I used very little of the tutorial as is, instead employing quick techniques I’ve picked out in the last couple of years and trying some new ones as well.

I think I achieved my goals with this small project pretty well. The pair has around a week of painting days on them, and hopefully they look like I’ve put some effort into them. Here are some of the techniques/steps that I used to speed up the process: the skin is just drybrushing and washes, and the basecoats for the blacks were done with Contrast black over gray basecoat (okay, this might’ve actually slowed me down a bit). The bone bits were layered by “overbrushing” rather than meticulously going over each and every detail. Highlights on the metallic parts are very rough, and on the whole I didn’t really go back to fix “mistakes” that much.

Khorgorath’s motivational buddy finally shows up

Below you can see my progress on the starter set so far. The two leaders are yet to be built, but otherwise all the models are there. It’s looking pretty good, with 36 models painted and 11 to go, but of course this has been a slow burn project. When I’ll get back to it, I think it’s the Stormcasts’ and the Lord Relictor’s turn.

I could also use these models to claim a square in the hobby bingo, this time “adding a model to army and painting it before using it in battle”. I don’t know if I’ll ever use them for a game, but by default they’ve been painted before playing, so should count.

Uriah Jacobus, Protector of the Faith

I’ve finished another model for my fledgling Inquisition collection. A model that I’ve wanted ever since I saw it as a kid, the good old Uriah Jacobus.

I got the model at the same time as the chainsaw preacher, and from eBay as well. This was right after GW had pulled Jacobus from sale, so I rushed to eBay and managed to get him at an acceptable price, albeit of course more than what I could’ve bought him for a week before. The model was properly old though, as it came in an unopened 3rd edition era blister pack, which was pretty cool.

Even if the model is positively ancient, I think it has aged really well. There are some details that are a bit clumsy, such as all the skulls, the fur, and the comically large hands, but overall ol’ Jacobus still holds up. Of course, just the pose and the concept of a “shotgun preacher” are cool enough!

Painting the model was largely similar to the last preacher. I chose to go with the studio paint scheme with this model, as I wanted to see if I could replicate the awesome skull design on the banner. While it’s not as nice as the original (big surprise, right?), the important thing is that the proportions look good to me and I’m happy with the result. Two other things I practiced while painting this model were the hot coals on the banner top and the more refined hazard stripes on the chainsword. I’m very happy with how both of these things turned out. Especially with the stripes, I feel like I’m approaching a good amount of weathering, and not over-doing the chipping.

And finally, I managed to claim another bingo square with Jacobus, this time for using a technique I haven’t mastered yet. I mean, really I could claim it with any model as even my basecoating could surely be improved, but this one is for practicing freehanding.

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!

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..:)

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.