Sunday, 23 December 2012

Kingdom Death by candlelight

Having noted that the world of Kingdom Death is utterly dark, save for the light of fire and lantern, I thought it would be fun to experiment shooting by candlelight. I set up a couple of tea lights and a taller candle for these shots. Canon set on a tripod with manual exposure settings. I think it worked a treat, no image manipulation involved. If you play the game (when it eventually comes out), playing by the light of subdued lamps and candles has to be the way to do it.

Coming out of the darkness... Gorm!  O'O

Illumination of the lure accomplished by a Maglite from below.

I haven't varnished this yet, otherwise there would have been glossy reflections on the eyes and maw. Will retry this set up at a later date.

My apologies in advance if this gives you nightmares...



This is for Ilias, who requested a list of colours that I used on Gorm. The palette was quite small.
Liquitex Concentrated Artist Colour - Mixing Grey, Pale/Light/Deep Portrait Pinks, Burgundy, Unbleached Titanium.
Vallejo - Sky Grey, Dark Sea Grey, Red.
For the maw I used Alizarin Crimson (combined with the Light Pink) which ought to be in any good range of acrylic (mine is from a defunct range)
An old Bone colour from Citadel, but any bone will do for the teeth >> that Titanium colour was used to highlight it, but can equally be used on its own. I applied a little blue-grey around the eyes and stalk, the bulb with as bilious a green as I had and lightened with white.

Things to note: this model is BIG compared to its human KD relatives, so big it's like painting a fat hamster. Don't get caught up with tiny details. I would suggest not gluing the stalk until you are near the end of painting.

It took a good while to start painting. I stared at it. It stared back  O'O
I had to make some sort of commitment, so I started by applying Mixing Grey to the body in a wash and lightly wiping most of it off, leaving grey in the skin detail. This was more to help visualise the colour scheme, but it helped to have it as a base coat anyway. The head had to be pink - I  could see no other way of doing it, so how to phase the colour into the body? For some reason I just went for the Red and laid it on the neck and belly, thinning where appropriate. I'm very glad this Red has a 'natural' quality, distinct from something purer like a Cadmium Red.

The rest of the body is painted with the greys with added Deep or Pale Pink. The head with pinks and some red to help blend the transition.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Kingdom Death: Manhunter

This is going to be my entry for the KD painting comp at WAMP. For a $25 voucher just for entering, its got to be worth it. And I still have time to enter the Gorm I will start painting soon...  O'O

The Kickstarter has come at a bad time for me. The best I can do for now is a $10 pledge. If KD is new to you, go check it out, the figure sculpts are outstanding.

I've been paying attention to taking progress photos on this project. This will give you a solid insight into my particular painting technique. I've not used any metallics on this, so in a way this is my first try at NMM painting.

So, model has been cleaned, assembled and undercoated with Vallejo primer though an airbrush. I only started doing it this way in the last couple of months - I would always prime by brush, because I am vehemently against waste in any form, particularly if its from a spray can. Priming by hand has its merits too - I find myself examining every detail of the figure, and going through a sort of painting preview. I miss Citadel's old Smelly Primer, it dried to a good even finish even via a brush, had a great tooth to it and was durable. Vallejo does not paint as well, not particulary durable and has a plastic looking finish when dry, but looks terrific applied through an airbrush and has a decent tooth.
Onward. First application of paint is a wash of burnt umber (Daler-Rowney Cryla) on the coat and anything that was going to have a browny or muted naturalistic colour. This is how I have been painting some figures recently, an approach I think I first started on my Khymerae.
And I carry on applying burnt umber  to the coat, wash after wash, allowing the coat to self shade the paint. I would add other colours to create help generate variation, like burnt sienna and  crimson near the end. With sufficient washes, you don't end up with a wishy-washy look as in the early stages. The white primer shows through the translucent paint. Result - highlights that didn't need painting.

Flesh tones added. Sort of flesh. Inhuman flesh. Built up with thin coats of Liquitex Deep Portrait Pink, Twilight and Bergundy, later using Pale Portrait Pink for lightening the mix. I applied a basic milky wash, and before letting it dry would mix a different colour balance on my palette, typically more blue, and blend that in. Let it dry. Repeated with same colours. And again, this time adding lighter colour while wet. The gallows was painted more conventionally. I wanted a silver-grey like old oak, but it was never quite right and I went with grey-brown in the end.

And some more views of the 98.5% finished article. I wasn't sure how to approach the beads on his wrist. What are they made from? I like to use any reference material, descriptions, etc., to help shape a colour scheme. One idea was to have them bright colour, as if taken from Saviour, but the art print shows them sort of sparkling with light. Light, though, is in short supply in the darkness of Kingdom Death. Gemstones? Will be coming back to this tomorrow with a fresh eye.

Showing the full development of all those washes on the coat. The sword is something needing adjustment though...

Sometime this week I'll take photos with my main camera and with as good a lighting setup as I can manage. I still need to tweak minor details as well, like the sword.


Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Quest for Chaos (Oldhammer)

Another glimpse into the nascent Realm of Chaos. Filling in the last of the first edition scenario sheets - there would have been another, but it disappeared into the warp.

Full scan -

For reference, the sheet came with the second version of this box set:

Now for a nice Sunday of painting...


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Lair of the Lizard King (more Oldhammer)

Following up on the Great Arena of Tuth box set fluff, this is the sheet that came with Tom Meier's Lizard Warriors. This was already scanned, so not much effort required to post this.

full size scan >>

I think I spotted Dorian in someones blog... 

I'm sure this is him here:

I put out a request on the CCM Yahoo group, requesting info for fills on similar sheets. Absolutely no response. Deeply disappointing that.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Skaven Heroes & Chaos Champion

Two more recently completed PJ's. Thanquol gets a second airing as it was lurking in the early history of my blog, largely unseen, and I wanted to see how it looked alongside Deathmaster Snikch.

Thanquol is destined for a diorama, facing off with Boneripper against Felix and Gotrek. Boneripper is fairly advanced in its painting. White Dwarf readers with long memories might remember a story (by William King I think) about F & G and their venture into a sewer, wherein Boneripper's career as a living monster came to an end.

Chaos Champion, 'Bartok'... umm, had been mostly but not quite unfinished since 1994 (how badly I lapsed) Seen here with a stand-in, slightly overlarge Marauder shield.


Monday, 19 November 2012


A Halloween follow-up. Another Night Horror! Make that two - I'm on a roll...

Ghost (I love the fact that the tag reads 'Booo'...)

 Pleased with how this turned out, although it took a different direction than I intended. It has a strong old school feel I think. Painted just this weekend, so an uncommonly quick PJ. In the process of doing deep shading I experienced for myself something Mr Blanche describes about the way he uses inks (lets them thicken first). I have a very very old bottle of W&N burnt sienna, it had mostly set hard but I put some water in to see if I could rehydrate it. Sort of worked, The ink was very thick and very intense.


Had to wrestle with this one towards the end. An oversight meant I had to trim some metal from the fingertips and repaint them, and I'm not satisfied with the hands even after that. Also caught between two stools as I wanted a much more graphic look (i.e. comic style), but ended up with an a slightly uneasy compromise. Still, he looks good from a foot away, and its also kinda weird as I have only ever seen it in white undercoat (and bare metal in catalog) before this month. And now there he is, all painted and slightly shiny with (Vallejo Satin) varnish.

And here's a group shot.

Bases can wait  ;p


Something very mysterious happened to my blog after I posted 'Unintentional Halloween'. This small corner has a modest (but very appreciated and slowly growing) following. The most views up to now were for my Chaos Marauders entry at 250+ (the one with all the Blanche art, so unsurprising). Yet, the Halloween post has now gone through 300 views in a fraction of the time, and I have to wonder why that is.

Was glad to see the Great Arena getting a lot of views. Must be doing some things right.

Another 2 paint-jobs to show off soon.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Great Arena of Tuth - an Oldhammer post

I've recently been looking at some Oldhammer blogs, and I found myself thinking about this Warhammer 1st edition scenario that came with Tom Meier's Trogolodyte box set (a gorgeous set of figures).

I'd thought to present this scenario sheet as a bit of Very Oldhammer that is seldom seen. The Arena is one of several included with some of Citadels pre-slotta box sets. There was a two-parter scenario for Knights of Law and Chaos, another for Tom's Lizardmen, and others I'm sure. They were nice little extras and I bet not many have survived the years. I had always assumed this was written by Rick Priestley, but the credit shows it was done by Bryan Ansell himself. Devotees of Realm of Chaos should find this of great interest, as it contains quite a bit of exposition and portrays Chaos in a nascent form.

Click this for high res image>>

Way, waaay back I started making an arena from cardboard. Never got finished, not even in a plain form. The idea has stuck though. I'd still like to see a whole set, or adaptation thereof, suitable for events like Salute. Wouldn't mind making it myself. Small teams of gladiators fighting rooftop death-matches ought to appeal to traditional wargamers, analogous to a 20:20 cricket match. Are there such things going on already? Bloodbowl, Inquisitor, Necromunda... similar, but not quite like this.

Back to painting... 


Thursday, 8 November 2012

'twas brillig...

I spotted this Jabberwock in a GW store in Brighton, must have been during the late 80's. I had never seen it in flyers or advertised in White Dwarf. I knew immediately I had to buy it. There is only one problem (I have) with it - the silly little wings it was given, originally made for the range of Young Dragons. The rest of it, though, is superb stuff by Bob Olley.

A couple of years ago, when I had spare cash and going through a spate of classic Citadel collecting, I took another good look at it and decided it needed a decent pair of wings. Most wings of that time were sculpted by Nick Bibby, but the difference in the style of fine detail made them aesthetically unsuitable. Then during an eBay search I spotted these...

Perfect, and only a couple of quid. The scale is just right, the fine detailing has the right 'feel', even the tattiness works as well. Great big dark leathery wings...


I keep a half an eye on eBay to see what models are fetching price-wise. A mint boxed Jabberwock went for over £120 recently. Gobsmacking.

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Shelf, aka The Lead Pile

Picture post today. A pan and scan view of the shelf next to my desk, recently laden with as many undercoated figures as I can muster, and a couple of trays for good measure.

Here I had a resin model assembly blitz. Its not just classic citadel I like...

Looks familiar...

More on the Jabberwock later...

No shortage of things to paint! As I said in the last, the more I have ready to paint, the more likely I am to pick up a brush... 


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Unintentional Halloween Post

This pair of Night Horrors just happened to get painted this month - no other reason. But, at least the theme is apposite. First, a Jes Goodwin Wight. Only took three days from first application of paint to varnish :-/

I confess to be very pleased at how well and how easily the Wight came out. I think my style is well suited to undead subjects. I would happily paint a whole army. Am annoyed that I sold nearly all the skellies I had.

Next, an Elizabethan Ghost from the Perry's. I was going to use an airbrush on the base. I cut out a rough mask to spray through for the glow area. Came unstuck when the white ink I had suitable for airbrushing turned out to be very thick and gloopy, even after some thinning with distilled water. Had to make do with dry brushing.

The painting was simples. It already had a 20 year old base coat of Citadel Electric Blue. I went over that with Horizon Blue to bring down the intensity (and garishness), followed by washes of blue with increasing amounts of white. This created a shading inversion to promote an ethereal effect. White shading, in other words. Slightly concerned that the head doesn't draw any focus, but that would do more to detract than add.

My basic lighting set up doesn't do anything to help bring the paintwork to life - they look so much better with the unaided eye. The Ghost needs a proper lighting tent to eliminate all that self-shadowing.

And. Earlier in the month I chalked up my 16th finished and varnished mini - a classic Nick Bibby Minotaur.

When budget allows I'll get some of those nice resin bases rather than muck about with milliput, though I have used some of that putty on my renovation of Nurgle's Palanquin. Hate using it.

There was a time I would paint like a demon. I would go three months straight doing nothing but paint and would do a hundred figures. Then something or other would come along and break the rhythm, and it would take weeks to get back into it. Weeks turning into months and then years.

The fact I had suddenly got three figs done, the Wight done over a couple of nights, is a good sign that my recent 'more is more' rationale is working. I've dug out every miniature that already has a coat of primer, primed a whole bunch more, assembled and primed even more, on the basis that the more things lying around begging to be painted, the more likely I am to get a sudden bout of inspiration and start chucking the paint on. The Wight was done like that.

To future productivity.

(and a happy All Hallows Eve)


Sunday, 21 October 2012

An Audience with the Patriarch, Part One

Quick post to keep this blog ticking over. I have actually completed three paint jobs this month, but more on those another time, when I've finished the bases.

I think with a diorama like this, some story telling needs to be done. Who is having an audience, and why? Where is the Cult located? Setting will inform how the chamber is constructed, and decorated. Is it an industrial hiveworld or desert backwater? This is a the kind of research I ask of myself. The Patriarch throne is wood. Why anything else? Even in the far future, humans and aliens would use whatever is available. Wood with animal horns. A simple colour scheme will also let Bob Olley's detailed sculpting show itself beautifully. Chamber decorated with wood carving? Already decided on a stone floor, with steps at the front, a pair of thick columns at the back, behind which skulk purestrain genestealers. I would like to find a couple more hybrids. But, who is having an audience?

Going to have a good go at some scratch building and bespoke sculpting and casting. It's going to be an interesting challenge creating a claustrophobic and threatening atmosphere within an area only 5 inches square.

Next time - Night Horrors!


Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Hordes of Khorne...

 ...sort of. A very small horde (of six models). Or it was small until I dug out my painted foot-soldiers of chaos and added another Bloodthirster. Now I have quite a nice little warband I guess. I had never thought of them in that way.

So, some lovely, classic, true Realm of Chaos miniatures. These old Bloodletters still hold their own. Spindly but utterly lethal. I was seriously considering putting them up for sale, along with the two Juggers and the 'thirster on the left. But now I have changed my mind. And I can treble the numbers by including this little lot - dug out for the hell of it - and making a real army:

I stopped buying rulebooks decades ago, but I would always look at White Dwarf whenever possible. I kind of kept track at how Chaos has been developed and I dislike what has been done with the chaos powers. The original rulebooks were a great vision, backed up with unsettling art (Ian Miller in particular) and story (haunting bleak fatalism). It made - still makes - sense for each god to have antipathies and allies. Khorne versus Slaanesh, Nurgle versus Tzeentch. Now anything goes in a chaos army these days.


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Some John Blanche worshipfulness... Chaos Marauders!

Back in the 80's I bought loads of stuff from Games Workshop. Warhammer 1st edition to start with, followed by 2nd, then 3rd, several supplement box sets, Siege, Armies, etc etc etc. Even had things like Block Mania and Chainsaw Warrior upon a time.

Now, all I have left is McDeath and for a little while longer Orc's Drift, which is right now up for sale on evilbay. And Chaos Marauders. I am leaving aside the fact I am still clinging on to the two volumes of Realm of Chaos.

Some while ago I checked out the set, thinking to sell it. Looked at the cards, could see they had gotten in a muddle (I'd sorted them years before), then figured it was well worth scanning them to keep a handy record of JB's superb artwork. And this lot is well worth sharing. If you are an orc player/painter/collector/other, then you'll maybe find these somewhat, something or other... bugger I can't think of an appropriate adjective. Add your own.

Anyways, on to the lovely artwork...

Its worth pointing out that the art on each card is unique - there are no duplications whatsoever. JB has to be applauded for putting in individuality where others would cop out.

Ah - inspirational, thats the adjective I was looking for. Just imagine an army of miniatures using this art as its basis. Mmmmm...


Friday, 6 July 2012

Couldn't Resist...

Kickstarter: Sedition Wars from Studio McVey (forgot to mention that...)

Yes, I went in for a Biohazard set (plus a few extras). I regularly checked on the campaign all through June, and the escalation in pledges and cool extras was something to behold. Was a bit worried I couldn't fulfill my pledge promise, but managed today and just in time. Will have to break out Kara Black from my storage box...


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Web Design

Yes, this post is completely unrelated to painting lead, but it was either this or starting a whole new blog, which for a one-off purpose is a waste of time. Apologies to my fellow lead fiends who follow this blog of mine. Normal service will be resumed, since I have a pile of half, almost finished and refurbished miniatures to post here (some classic Realm of Chaos stuff soon-ish). On the other hand, if you have need for a web designer...

So what is this about, if you have decided to look further? A long time ago - the late 90's - I got into digital art as a result of acquiring my first computer in '97, and hence onto web design. I took a strong liking to certain new art being produced for the British comic 2000AD. This art was, I think, the first time traditional comic art had been combined with CGI in this title. It was distinctive, original and I loved it. I was already a fan of Durham Red as portrayed by Mark Harrison, in stories traditionally illustrated by paint, but the new look was something else entirely.

The Bloodshrine of Saint Scarlet
Early days... the very earliest version (not the one shown below) was amazingly clumsy in execution. And this published version hasn't aged at all well. At the time though, it didn't have much to compete against. All progress advances by degrees anyway: you have to set down markers in order to advance. And learn along the way. The whole exercise was a steep learning curve in learning Photoshop (also some HTML3) and how to design effectively. I remember absolutely hating the lowest common denominator approach that said you MUST design to a screen size of 800x600 pixels. This is the site, condensed into a thumbnail sheet. I'm too ashamed to show them full size - they really really really haven't aged well:
I divided the content into two sections: Art (Illuminatus) & Writing (The Shrine). The Shrine was where I put things like original scripts, references and other writing, Illuminatus for all the art. I had a lot of fun designing all the little sub-sections, each with themed content. About half the pages never got any content, just a backdrop. Of those that did, there was a costume gallery, appearances in 2000AD and covers, unedited scripts from the Scarlet Cantos, a monograph by Mark about Durham Red, and clickable layouts of production art reference. In hindsight, this project would have benefited hugely from some content collaboration. It never occurred to ask anyone else if they wanted to join in, such as the folk behind the Strontium Dog fanzine Dogbreath.

Since I was referencing and using a lot of Mark Harrison artwork, I worked on a website in parallel that featured some of his other work. The design went through a quite a series of iterations (learning curve again), the final version was live for a while (circa 2001). This is an example page:
The whole thing was coded very simply, essentially just a set of clickable image maps. Design wise this is too busy.

Before my computer got badly hit by a virus (circa 2003), I got as far as designing a new main page for a 'revamped' Bloodshrine, and also a new site for Markus. After the virus, life and stuff went all awry, so they never got fully realised.

Aiming for slicker, sparer design with these, to let Mark's art really stand out. None too sure about my 'branding' though.

Here endeth the shameless, self-promotional pimpage and trip down memory lane.