Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Human Interface: Black Stone Commando

Third and last of the Nakamura Tower figures - and probably the one that grew on me the most while painting. I picked it because it was a big unsubtle chunk of robot, but when I started painting, a lot of unexpected detail jumped out.

I love all the cables, so tried to offer a little variety in colour to show power flowing through them. Nice way to finish up the mini-project and glad I had the chance to paint them.

For size comparison, here's the three painted up compared to a regular Space Marine.

And the three just on their own.

So that's it! Another small mini-project concluded, so on to the next figure sat on the painting desk - a Mantic Zombie picked up free at Salute earlier this year. It's a bit of a sprint now trying to meet a few of my 2017 goals, with just over four weeks left in the painting year.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Human Interface: Markus Hoffman (Nakamura)

This is, apparently, Markus Hoffman. I couldn't tell you much more about him other than that - as I don't know the backstory to the game.

The boxart for this has the arms painted as sleeves, but I opted for making it look like arms with wiring and little spots of metal peeking out - as though he's become one with the machine.

I played around with striping on clothing again, and it wasn't a disaster. Still forcing myself to thin paints beyond what feels comfortable and I'm seeing the benefit of that and patience.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Human Interface: Cyborg Hunter (Mercenary)

This week I was working through a few models from a lovely looking Kickstarter from 2015 (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1803723298/human-interface-nakamura-tower) and while I failed to back it, a friend of mine did.

The figures are quite detailed and put me in mind of the Infinity range. This was reinforced when seeing the second Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1803723298/human-interface-be-a-better-human/description) with models painted by Angel Giraldez - whose work on the Infinity range is formidable.

When it arrived he was kind enough to let me paint up a couple of figures for him. I picked a couple at random that looked interesting and it appears they're from different factions - or at least different enough to be painted as such.

I realised on Wednesday that I was seeing him this weekend and really needed them finished and off the workbench. So a very quick paintjob across the three was required to get things moving!

This is probably my least favourite from the three, but still a nice model.

Fun to paint, but glad I didn't back the project - the thought of painting a whole box of figures at this detail level would terrify me.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolves Primaris Inceptor Group & Detail

With the three figures finished, here's the group shot of them in action.

Very pleased with the final result. Each one feels dynamic, unique and definitely a Space Wolf. The sergeant in the group has a helmet, as I wanted him to feel like the Primaris still maintaining some of the "traditional" standards of the marines, whereas the others have fully embraced their inner Fenrisian.

One detail that's almost invisible from the shots is the jump pack. I've attempted some OSL in here to give the feeling of hot jets ...

... then attempted to reflect that back on the surface below it.

It's got an audience of only me when it's on the table, but I'm pleased with the result.

Onto the next models. Just another 18 and then that's a boxset I started in July finished. How's that for speed! Right? Right?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolves Primaris Inceptor 3

Here we are with the last Inceptor! This is probably my favourite due to the pose.

I didn't like the plastic rods that came with the figures. While they're a definitely upgrade on the old ones with air bubbles, they felt a bit amateur theatre wire work pose-wise. This has been glued very, very carefully onto the front of a crate - and balanced so it doesn't fall over.

The blue you can see on the crate is the reflection from the jet pack engine. I'll sort out a close-up shot later this week which may be more flattering.

Hopefully this has captured a feeling of jumping over obstacles and landing on the charge.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolves Primaris Inceptor 2

Edging ever closer to a full unit, here's the second fellow. This one's positioned to be dropping onto an ammo crate. I'd forgotten how tricky it is painting faces with this much detail on this scale. It held up progress quite a bit.

Took a little longer on the photos this time, and feel they've come out better. Always room to improve, but the colours are spot on.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolves Primaris Inceptor

I misplaced October. How careless of me.

A couple of weeks away and an unexpected bout of conjunctivitis ruled out most of my October painting. Turns out if you can't focus on the figure in front of you, painting is basically impossible. Happily that's in the past and we can move back to a focus on painting.

Let's start November correctly instead, shall we? Here's my completed Primaris Inceptor Sergeant to get things moving.

Fun things on this model include the OSL effect on the jump engines and weathering. So much weathering. Not-so-fun things are the massive guns, I really struggled with these and couldn't quite make sense of them and remain unsatisfied with what I achieved. My base red isn't right for trying to highlight into yellows, then I did a poor job executing it, so it will be reviewed for the next one.

I realised after finishing it up that this isn't meant to be the Sergeant model, as those have a slightly different armour shape in front of the face - but there you have it. This shall be different, because it can.

The rest of the squad are on the table and getting close to completion. That should keep me busy over the next week.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Armored Containers

On the back of my success with the TTCombat scenery, it was time to hit the 40k containers I picked up. Same colours, same techniques with the only difference being the position of the highlight at the top - it's now running through the middle rather than the edges. That's not how it would work in reality, but it looks better on the table.

I haven't glued the doors shut on the containers yet. Once that's done, it's quite permanent so they'll remain open a little longer. The purpose is primarily line of sight blockers but I do like the idea of having some flexibility as a passageway or hiding objectives in them. We'll see ...

Lessons learned. I'd do the highlights in tighter circles along the top, so the support struts would remain uniformly dark and been the patterning the focus - rather than just a long continuous highlight.

Sunday, 24 September 2017


I was asked for tips on achieving the weathering and colours from the three shipping containers. So here's the breakdown of how they came together.

All paints used are from the Vallejo ranges, usually Game Color or Game Air ranges.

  • Prime with Black. Over the MDF you want to leave this an hour between thin coats to ensure it sinks in. This took while some time - but as there were lots of terrain pieces to prime, it wasn't a problem.
  • Basecoat with Dark Fleshtone. Full coverage apart from the very deepest recesses.
  • Basecoat with Parasite Brown. Partial coverage as the idea at this stage is to have several different shades of colour appearing.
At this point you're wondering what on earth you've done ...

... but it's okay! Stick with it. Now onto the invisible stages.

(also spoilers in the shot above, you can see there's more terrain incoming)

  • Apply matt varnish to everything. But don't make it thick and obscure detail, this is an important step to ensure you don't start pulling the paint off later. I did start with gloss varnish, but couldn't get it to run smooth in my airbrush and swapped to matt with zero problems. Personal taste, I think - the important thing is protecting the colours.
  • Apply chipping medium to everything. Sure, you could be quite precise and decide exactly where you want to chip the containers, but I'm not that good at remembering details - so a full coverage is best. After coating three surfaces, leave it overnight so it isn't sticky to the touch. Do the fourth surface the next morning then leave it all to fully dry.

This concludes the preparation work so now it's on to the painting proper with the main colours for the three crates.

  • Scarlett Red basecoat, Moon Yellow highlight.
  • Yellow Olive basecoat, Camoflage Green highlight
  • Scurf Green basecoat, Scurf Green/Dead White highlight.

Using the airbrush, I started with the darker colour and coated everything in three or four thin coats. You need to leave it a little longer between coats because the chipping medium underneath starts to activate with the water in the paint - so just take your time and get solid coverage. I then adding more of the highlight colour and started hitting the top parts and edges.

These containers had lettering pre-etched into the design so I picked them out with the final highlight colour. I wanted them to be readable but not something to focus on. There is a thin glaze of Imperial Blue toward the bottom of the Green and Blue containers just to make the contrast a little more distinct.

Now the colours have tried, it's on to the terrifying step. Ripping apart all your hard work. The chipping medium is activated with water, so take a large brush dripping in water and gently coat one surface. Let any excess water drip off onto a paper towel, then you need to take off the paint.

From experience, on smaller scale miniatures, like my Space Wolves, using a toothpick or paperclip works well - but larger pieces like this that approach would take a long time. I took a piece of pluck foam and started dragging it across the surface. After every drag I rotated the foam so a different surface was soaking up the paint. Then I just repeated it until everything was done.

It feels weird at this point - you've basically destroyed half your work! But again, it's okay. Final steps and it all comes together.

  • Edge Highlighting.  With the brightest highlight colour, you need to add a thin edge highlight. Not just the corners of the object, but also at the bottom of each chip. This enforces the three dimensional effect of the chip. You can, if time allows, go back and add a thin line of Dark Fleshtone + Black at the top of the each chip to really punch home the effect. The most time consuming stage of the process but it makes or breaks it.
  • Rust. Along the very bottom, at random intervals, I added a little of the Modelmates excellent rust effect. If you apply it a little thicker, this brings a small amount of texture onto the surface as well. You could take a reddish brown paint and add a little more orange to achieve a comparable effect.

Then that's it! We're now at the point where you have the finished container and get to bask in the sweet, sweet glow of knowing your Space Wolves can't be hit from 36" by filthy Tau artillery because there are now casual line of sight blockers on the table.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

TTCombat: Shipping Containers

I finished something! You can tell I've had a few days off to work on projects. We needed more colour and line of sight blocking terrain on the gaming board, so I went to town on weathering up some scenery bought earlier this year.

These are from TT Combat and I really like their MDF terrain range - it's a good price, easy to throw together and turns out looking reasonable if you put the effort in.

I had forgotten how hungry for paint MDF can be, so getting them to the point of readiness took a lot longer than their GW plastic equivalents. But the results are good and I got to play with the same techniques as my Space Wolves - so black primer, dark and light brown undercoats, varnish, chipping medium then the base colour + highlighting and shading.

There's a few more pieces in the pipeline with a little more detail so they'll turn up next month at current rate of progress.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Stripping old miniatures

We should talk about cleaning old figures, and Biostrip 20. I finally bought some of this and stripped a few old units for selling on eBay. Holy heck it's good stuff.

Here are my Fiends of Slaanesh before their bathtime ...

Dipped the models individually in the tub then let the excess drip off back into the tub, left an hour and removed all the surface paint. I then repeated the process but put the coated figures in a bowl overnight.

Next morning, armed with a toothbrush and bowl of hot water, I dropped them all in the water then scrubbed the paint away and they're nearly like new. There's no terrible smell like nail polish remover, which was my previous go-to, and did a better job too.

Here's how it looks when they're dry ...

It's £10 for a tub, but I've used maybe 10% of that cleaning down the first batch of old figures. Well worth the investment. The wife hasn't complained about an evil lingering odour, which is an additional bonus. In the dip at the moment are Blue Horrors, a Cauldron of Blood and then there'll be more models going the same way then up for sale.

If you want to have a look on eBay at my OOP pieces going for sale then click the link here.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Hobby Progress - September

The problem with painting models in a batch is that the updates don't feel especially interesting and end up less frequent than you'd like. It ends up a little worse when you're fortunate enough to be playing 40k again on a regular basis.

Two of my regular opponents were able to make it across last week, so two evenings set aside for hobby were pulled into gaming against filthy Tau and even filthier Death Guard. The first game was a resounding win for my Wolves, and the second was a crushing defeat at the hands of a Defiler. They're significantly nastier in 8th than they were in 5th!

On the painting side, all my marines are now based and have decals applied before the final weathering stage to the armour. Everything requiring a 32mm base is properly based (40mm pending) and they even have arms glued on - which wasn't the case in the action shots above.

My standard bearer looks a lot happier with an icon in the middle of the banner. Glad I opted for the gradient effect in the background behind the wolf head, as pure yellow on yellow would have looked strange. Still want to repaint the words underneath as the spacing is incorrect and annoying me.

Took the plunge and made a couple of small conversions to my Primaris marines too. So my Lieutenant and Captian now have more appropriate power swords. Clipping these off was a nerve wracking experience, as I rarely convert - and didn't want to ruin the models. Happily it worked out fine, so once painted it should be seamless. Phew.

Finished squads should start appearing in the near future. But as I rarely post WIP content this was a nice change of pace and a reminder things do happen in the background!

Saturday, 19 August 2017


To borrow from the wonderful Granny Weatherwax, I ain't dead - but where on earth did the past few weeks ago?

Things have been happening, I promise. But time has not been kind - with family and work taking priority and the hobby time falling by the wayside. All positive, after I passed probation at my new work and took on more responsibility to keep me out of mischief.

Some painting has happened and my Primaris Inceptors have started to come together slowly.

They've performed reasonably well on the field of battle too. Their ranged fire has been wiping out Death Guard and Tau alike, but then they've failed miserably in close combat.

Alongside this, a friend who doubles as a very good photographer came to visit and gave me some quick pointers on getting all of a figure in focus - so here's my Ancient standard bearer again with a little more clarity.

I'm going to redo the "FENRIS" wording on the banner, finally add a wolf head decal to it as well, add more depth on the beard and add something to the right shoulder as it feels quite flat - but this feels like a more accurate representation of the miniature I see in front of me, than the one in previous pictures.

Couple of months ago I backed the beautiful looking Astropolis II Kickstarter to feed my sci-fi civilian habit, and all the models arrive this week. It's an overwhelming quantity and they're all glorious. I haven't a clue where to start and don't care.

54 miniatures and 4 crates if you're counting. It's projects like this which excite me and terrify me in equal measure!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolves Primaris Ancient

My first finished Primaris Marine for the Space Wolves, and it's the Ancient standard bearer.

I've tried to give the banner a feel of embroidery on the raised surfaces and hopefully that comes across in the photos. It's probably the single most complex thing I've painted this year, due to all the fine detail and how it interacts with the other pieces.

Details to note. This is one of three figures where I'm working out the colour scheme and what to paint, and how. Senior figures, from squad sergeants and up, will have yellow kneepads to distinguish them from normal squad members, which should make removing the correct figures from the board a little easier.

This took a lot longer than expected, but it feels right. Happy that the basing scheme looks good (phew) and while there are obviously some parts that I can go back and improve on for the next Marine, this is a good starting point.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Warhammer 40: Space Wolves Primaris progress #2

My Space Wolves are advancing, slowly. I hit a low point last weekend when after spending so much time painting grey, when I realised they were pretty much back to sprue grey - which feels like you haven't achieved anything despite the time spent.

However! After edge highlighting, chipping and shading I'm at this stage with a couple of the test troops.

Pardon the wobbly photo, but hopefully it gives an idea of how much weathering I'm attempting to apply. This also helped to give me afirmation that this is the effect and style I want in these troops - they've reached the battlefield and thrown themselves in at the deep end.

Adding the redish brown as the shade helps to lift the greys, as it was quite desaturated with the cool greys, and this gives some much needed definition. Next up is adding highlights under a few of the larger and medium sized chips, then painting the shoulderpads and knees with chapter colours.

Picking out suitable heads to bring that Space Wolf feel to the figures is key, and rummaging through my bits box has yielded a lot more heads than I thought ...

27 heads there and there were another ~10 heads available, but they didn't sit correctly inside the armour and I've discarded those for this project. The next challenge is working out which head fits best with each figure to give the right feel. Hooded models like the Captain and Inceptors need shorter hair, whereas the Intercessors can afford the crazier Viking/anime haircuts.

There's a painting competition at my local GW next weekend, and one of these figures needs to be finished. Upside: it's next weekend. Downside: I only have until Wednesday night as I'm away next weekend. This will be entertaining for a serial procrastinator like myself.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Terrain, and weathering with chipping medium

Well this was a more productive weekend than expected ... here's all the scenery finished up!

A reminder that this is all from the wonderful Crooked Dice, just to give them the recognition they deserve for such excellent pieces. If it has an orange earth then it's from their Junk Piles range, and if it doesn't then it's from the Drum & Crate Barricades selection.

Initial attempts at using the chipping medium didn't yield the results I wanted. My first attempts were only successful in spreading paint around instead of removing it. Bit of (metaphorical) hair pulling and reading, and this excellent tutorial by Tibbs, which covers it succinctly. In short, I was doing it wrong. Not just dabbing the area with water but soaking it then taking away the excess. After that, it's sharper objects like toothpicks that yield the best results and taking away

Here's a few close-up shots to see detail a little better - but I'm happy with the final result of pieces and the natural weathering effect the chipping method provided.

Terrain everywhere. So much of it.