Saturday, 31 December 2011

Annus Terminus

Here we are at year end.

I won’t do a personal reflection, rather a blog and hobby one, suffice to say, the got progressively harder to find time to paint, between work, Xbox games and other factors.

that said i still managed more posts this year than in the previous two. (wow, I’ve been doing this three years?) way more in fact. 93! (94 once this is up)

Whoa, if I'd managed a whole year of blogging I might have got close to 200 posts!

if, should, could. heh.

I’m happy with the number of games I’ve managed, it’s up on last year, still not as regular as I’d like, and I didn't make the second blog wars but not to worry.

I’m also happy with my painting progress, I’m getting 6/7’s on CMON when I bother to post stuff, sure it’s not the 8’s I’d like, but for one or two figs it’s been close. and I feel like I’ve learned a lot this year, especially from taking my time with the wolves.

Well we’ve broken 70,000 page views this year, which is amazing.

okay, top five posts this year for page hits…


The single most popular post this year was still the AOBR grey knight conversions, which surprises me with a new plastic kit out there.

Still, nothing to say people liked what they saw just that they got the search result and looked at the page :)


Next most popular was the Cadian snipers. another surprise for me, as they aren't a unit per se. guess a lot of other people don’t like abhumans in their IG :)


My Logan and rune Priest conversions clock in next, kitbashes really as not much bar assembly was done with them


The old Daemonhost greenstuff tutorial slides into fourth, again possibly due to the popularity of GK with the release of the new codex


And in last (for this list) place comes the quick build gaming table.

Out of the five, two of those posts are from 2009! so I guess I owe a good chunk of traffic to the GK codex. shame I can’t bring myself to play it.

Lastly a quick shout out to my traffic sources..

Considerably more than half my hits are from referring sites

Bell of lost souls

From the warp

Kirby’s blog

Back 40k

Santa Cruz Warhammer

Being the top five, but a host of others as well, so thanks for that guys.

So that’s my hobby year. I hope yours was as good, and maybe a little more sustained than mine :)

let’s hope the next one is at least as decent.

Happy new year.

Friday, 30 December 2011

Alas, Poor Yarrick

A fellow of infinite jest.. well, actually he only knows one joke, and that starts with “what’s the best type of Ork..”


I treated myself to a quiet day to do some painting, no plan, no army scheme, no batches, just one guy, start to finish, busking all the way

I’m fairly happy with him. sure there are some dodgy bits, there always are when you start up again after a break. I'm a tad rusty, my hands a bit shakier that it was six months ago, but so it goes.

the photos are a bit shoddy too, I’ve done allsorts with my camera since i last photographed a mini so I've got to find all the primo settings again. heh.

Anyway, here's a few more pics, and if anyone out there still reads this old blog, let me know what you think of him.

DSC_6834DSC_6833 DSC_6832 

I’m mid- weathering on a few Wolfie Rhinos so you should be able to see those in a day or two, then I’ll slap some primer on some recent conversion/builds.. then, I dunno, maybe paint some more wolves :)

That or get swamped with work and go quiet again, who can tell :)

I do promise to try however.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Or should that be Khanmas?


I can never decide where my geek allegiances lie at Christmas..


on the hobby front, Santa brought me a finecast Yarrick for the giant pile of unpainted goods… so I might try and get him painted quickly so as to not add further to my list of unfinished things. :)

looks like a wicked model though.

Hope Yodasanta brought you everything you wanted, and that you get to spend the time with the ones you love in fellowship and overindulgence.

Monday, 19 December 2011

I… Live.. Again…

Ancient spirits of evil, transform this Skyrim addled form into..


…well, you get the idea.


This game will EAT YOUR LIFE. it should have a health warning.

at least however I’m not the only one

Okay, granted i did say when i posted last… ohmygod.. six months ago, that I was playing Deus ex, and you shouldn't worry..

Well Deus ex turned into Skyrim, and with the usual difficulties of starting a new term, added to a whole new raft of work related pressures and difficulties, well it’s taken a while.

Not that I’ve been totally idle. I built a few space wolves, got a couple of games in, and I think I’ve cracked how I should be playing wolves. although Ive essentially got two space wolf armies now.. and then some.

I’ve a game coming up, if the snow doesn't prevent it, and I've got some paint on some Rhino’s – pics when they are finished so all in all I'm starting back into the hobby.. just in time for Christmas..

and assassin's creed… uncharted 3.. ahhh dammit.

Look, hopefully there will be a triumphant “finished rhino’s” post in the next few days, if not, have a Merry christmas and a happy new year all, and try to get some hobby in :)

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I am indisposed

It's that time of year.

The beggining of the academic year always takes a large chunk of my time and energy away and its not untill things calm down that i get my hobby time back in any major way.

However, theres a further complication this year.

Deus ex: Human Revolution has me. I've clocked it once, on hard, but to make my life more awkward I've decided to chase the pacifist and "no alarms" acheivements.

So all my free time is being taken up by my xbox. it's a bout time, there hasnt really been a game since fallout new vegas to get me this interested.

rest assured normal service will be resumed once things quiet down. at the moment however i'm preparing to tech game design for another year, and playing the heck out of DX:HR.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

New Banner?

I’m considering changing the banner above.. it doesn't reflect my main in development armies anymore, and on what is becoming a very busy blog, I feel I need something a little more simple,

I knocked this up earlier, and wanted to garner any thoughts from you. which you prefer, pointers for development, imagery, typography colour/b&w etc etc..

newbannerBW copy newbannercolour copy

It’s a characterful leader(ish) type from each of my 40k armies… and should tone in with the BG colour of the site.

I’d like to hear your thoughts..

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Wolf Guard 3, completed paint

These are taking me a while to paint. each one is more involved than my average guard squad, and taking me about as long to paint. though I do feel now that I have the method down, if not the technique.

For your perusal then, a standard-equipped WGT.

 DSC_6745 DSC_6746 DSC_6747 DSC_6748 DSC_6749 DSC_6750 DSC_6751

Can you believe I missed a purity seal? I didn't even register it was there until I took these shots, damn. (and yes I can the the tiny mould line on the back of his hand too dammit.) I should just stop taking photos, it always shows me my mistakes!

The scheme is the same as posted elsewhere, with a little more contrast on the power weapon and a little more time spent on the face. as I “get” each part of the paint such as the NMM gold, I’m pushing myself to work more on another area.

The gunmetal NMM is still probably the most problematic thing for me now, and I think that’s largely due to the wildly differing concentration and quality of pigment across the white/black ranges I have (GW and Vallejo) (if anyone knows a UK distributor for Reaper paints I’d quite like to give them a go!)

On the topic of refining technique, I’m giving serious consideration to adding more weathering to the process.. some muzzle burn on the bolters, and some rust streaking down the armour….. possibly, let me know what you think.

Oh and I’ll leave you with a group show so far..


Any bets on when I’ll be finished? :)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Brushes.. What’s the Diff?

My recent post about brush sizes made me think and so I ordered a few brushes….

I’ve been using Windsor and Newton series 7 brushes for about ten years. sure I use cheapo synthetic brushes for suicide missions and as dry brushes and stipplers etc, but any “proper” painting has been with the W&N.

You’ll see also from an earlier post that I’ve been using size 0 as my “goto” size, with smaller for more detail. and if you read that post you'll see I went up to a size 1.

This change, and subsequent improvement in my painting, even if it’s only “feel” has led me to re-examine my other “known truths”

You see it was a “known truth” to me that size 0 was the best for basing and general use.

I decided to question my choice of manufacturer and subsequently ordered a 1 and 00 from both DaVinci and Raphael.

the first thing you’ll notice is the size diff.. now there isn't an industry standard for the brush sizing among different manufacturers. you can see this here. (scale is CM)


(top to bottom, Cheap synthetic, Da Vinci, Raphael, W&N series 7)

You can see there's not a lot in it.

The Raphael range is noticeably much larger for the “same” sizing. the davinci is the smallest of the four, and the girth as well as bristle length varies. you can see that all three sable brushes have decent tips, but the synthetic is hooking.

The 00 again show large variance, with the raphael noticably larger.


(top to bottom, Davinci, W&N, Raphael)

in fact when we put the Raphael 00 next to a da Vinci 1…


And when you start using these brushes you notice further differences.

The larger Raphael has a very soft tip, with good spring. it’s long hairs and good flexibility reward a firm controlled use of quite wet paint. my only criticism is that the tip on the 00 isn't as crisp as the others. my conclusion – excellent base and wash brushes, good for all painting if you use the juices technique and use with dilute paint for best performance.

W&N I've used for a long time, and can be considered my baseline. it’s hard to fault these brushes. if you overload them of course they will splay at the tip, and they need to be looked after, but they have good firm spring and hold fluid very well.  the substantial feel of the heavily lacquered handle is something the other brushes don't match as well, and as a result it feels the best constructed of the three.

da vinci brushes seem very comparable to the W&N in both size and feel. as above they feel a little lighter and less substantial through the handle but the bristles are good quality, hold paint well and hold their tips well.

baseline cheap synthetic. utterly horrid. hooking at the tip after 1 use, splaying with minimal water on the bristles. ugh.

Basically, any of the three ranges will reward you, they are all good quality brushes with noticeable differences in size, and between the W&N/Davinci little difference in feel, whereas the Raphael does give you something different. which you choose, would I think be down to personal preference.

I think I’ll be using the Raphael's when I work wet more often, and the more solid brushes for thicker pigments and smaller details.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Video - How to paint Space Wolf Armour with Rust Chipping

As promised, a vid on how I go about this.

It’s a bit long, but that’s Youtube’s fault for lifting the restriction on time :) ordinarily this would have been a part 1 and 2 affair.

I’d give props to the people whose recipes I read through and experimented with before arriving as this way, but they are too numerous to mention, so I’ll stick to the most influential, two painters I admire greatly both contributed either recipe or technique Ideas to this method, the Brush Bros and iguazzu art studio, two truly astonishing artists, who I cant even hold a candle to.

Anyway, here’s the vid.

I’d really appreciate any feedback both on what’s in the vid and on the vid itself, I’ve not made too many of these, and I do worry about quality, clarity, length etc, and even if these have the same value as the still pic tutorials I do.

(for some reason YouTube has altered the aspect ratio, I’ll have to look into that, but it seems to be still watchable..)

Anyway thanks for reading, and watching (even if you only scan through)

Friday, 5 August 2011

Is yours too small?

Brushes of course.

This is my current set of “go-to” brushes. now for the last couple of years I’ve used a 0 for almost everything, reaching for the smaller sizes when I needed to dot an eye or paint a pattern etc.


Then I bought the 1. (or rather it was bought for me) I find the quantity of paint it holds and (as its new) the sharpness of the tip combine to make be better able to get smoother blends.

I can paint detail as well as ever as the brush and tip quality are still very good, but I can keep that “sweet spot” of brush loading going for longer, and get less “dry out” and less “flooding”.

It’s a revelation to me, thinking that a larger brush (just a bit mind) can give you more paint control, and that detail isn't entirely reliant on tip size. The recent wolves and tiny cyber spiders were painted almost exclusively with this brush.

So I ask you..

Is yours too small?

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Malifaux – Post first game musings

Okay, So I played a game.

It’s very interesting.

I love the mechanic, the small stage, the various game objectives. I love that even though I don't know what everything does when it’s that models turn i can grab a card and see my options.

I’m not playing Ramos right, as the game progressed I could see so many things I can do, and synergies between models, but by then it was too late. Nicodem beat my ass.

As a pair of summoning casters I found the styles required very different. we both approached this first game keeping our masters to the rear, and while this works quite well for nicodem it’s too far for Ramos. he needs to be closer to the action. but he’s slow.

So I think I’ll be need a brass arachnid and stoke, just so Ramos can keep up with his crew.

The crew is also seriously lacking some ranged goodness, So I’ll be looking into that.

I’m eager to get another go in and see if I can put into practice some of what I learned.

Oh and Nicodem is a summoning monster!

(pics next time, I promise)

Monday, 1 August 2011

First Finecast Experience – Najal Stormcaller

Or Nigel as I like to think of him.

Either the Quality control has improved, or I got lucky, as I didn't really see any major flaws with Nigel.

He was purchased by a friend as a gift (I got older recently) online and so was “selected” by GW staff, not someone in a store.


at first glance the sprue seems a bit flashy, but most of this is structural, or paper thin, and it cuts very easily


Once separated from the sprue you can see the “real” flash mostly from vents, as we used to have with pewter but with the added bonus that they stick out, so you can see them, rather than those old sneaky spidery threads folded in under a hand or whatever.


The material itself is very flexible, and the one downside I can foresee is that it’s very elastic.


Springing back and holding its form very well. That means you will most likely need heat to deform the material. so no more quick bendy limb pose adjustments as with pewter.



I assembled him without any pins, so we’ll see how he holds up. the material takes superglue very well though, so I am hopeful.

I don't miss the heft as much as I thought I would, but maybe that’s because I went for a very heavy base for these wolves.

Anyway he’s an awesome sculpt, with good detail on the new material, I didn't have any issues with the resin or flaws, so I find I have to say, thumbs up.

I know many peoples finecast experience has been significantly sour, so take care before you plunge in, but this is one model I look forward to painting.

Friday, 29 July 2011


Yep, that’s right. I’ve decided to make earnest attempts to find a local gaming club where I can get more games in than my usual handful a year.


I don;t expect to be a regular, but maybe during the summer at least I can give a club or two a test and see where I go from there once work starts back up.

So I’m looking for a good club, with active 40k and/or Malifaux in the UK, near Cannock to be precise.

I’m mobile and willing to drive a wee while, so Tamworth, Sutton Coldfield Walsall Birmingham, etc are all within reach.

So if anyone knows, or is a member of a club i can reach in a reasonable timeframe, drop a comment or an email and I’ll get in touch with you.

Cheers everyone!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Aux Dear…

Those of you already bitten by this bug (puns intended) Will recognise the Steampunk Arachnid Sward from Malifaux.


This game system is what’s got my attention this summer, not at the expense of my wolves, but alongside.

The low model count skirmish game has a “buy-in” less than most 40k units, an intriguing card-based play system and some amazingly sculpted models. if you like figs, it’s worth a look even if you’ve no intention of playing. I was considering painting a few of these guys as display pieces a couple of years ago when they came out, but now they have a successful and interesting game system, I couldn't hold out any longer.

DSC_6717 DSC_6718 DSC_6719

I intend to paint these guys fairly well, as they have a low count for a crew, I want to do my best with them, the models are very well detailed but some small parts and tiny features makes them hard to assemble and I wouldn't recommend it for the very young, or if you’re a bit shy of putting in a pin here and there.

This piece represents a Steampunk arachnid swarm, which in play can be split into individual spiders, and re-formed, so these guys are all magnetised.

 DSC_6720 DSC_6721 DSC_6722

I’m fairly happy with the paint, my base sculpting could be better, but these are without static grass and weathering until they are dullcoted.

I’ve 1 more set of these guys, a master and a huge arachnid thingy to get through (The Ramos box if that means anything to you all), oh and a board underway, though that needs a lot more work yet.


So there you have it, that’s the summer distraction, a game system with awesome minis, an interesting skirmish card based mechanic, and adding a new “unit” will cost 5-6 quid after a twenty quid buy in for figs. Rulebook a tenner. That’s it. you can buy a special deck of cards or play with a normal deck. the deck is four quid.


GW need to shake up their specialist games if they want to compete with this.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Amazing Gravestones!

So as part of my summer project I needed some gravestones, and was happily chipping away at some plaster when the internet turned up a marvel!.


This company makes a number of plastic kits for fences, buildings etc, but the one that caught my eye, and to my mind no undead player, mordhiem modeller etc etc should be without is the gravestone set.

It’s very reasonably priced and comes with two sprues, the ravens alone made it worth it for me (choosers of the slain anyone?) but the 20+ headstones on each sprue make it a total must buy in my mind. the size is perfect for 28-32mm gaming models and tables.


Detail is good, and there are even assembly options. for fillers in ranks of undead you can’t beat this.

Okay so, I need to explain, I’m not being sponsored, bribed or paid off,  this is just such a good product, and a good level of customer service that you guys need to know about them imo.

Grab some, you won’t regret it.

I cant speak for their other kits yet, but I intend to find out.

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Summer Project

Being and educator gives me good long summer holidays. I personally feel usually that I really need it, teaching is a challenging, performic profession and i enjoy and need my annual leave.

I’m also acutely aware that were I to just crack on with my usual hobby focus, I’d burn out. because I rarely go away I invest time in the house, garden and hobby, and were I to keep going with, say the space wolves, full pelt (pun intended) I'd be sick of them in a week.

So what I try to do is keep that investment of time the same, and work up a summer project. regular readers will remember various things, new armies started, Mordhiem re-positioned at the fore, etc.

Well this year is no different, but I don't want to post about it yet. I’d like to get a few things finished, get a game in then do a “reveal” if you like.

So rest assured, I’m chiselling away behind the scenes on something. it’s something that’s seen me use a few new suppliers and I’m mightily impressed, so the next few posts might be a shout out to a few suppliers you might not be aware of who are making some interesting products.

These aren't “adverts” and I'm not being paid, bribed or otherwise coerced, I just wish I’d known about a couple of these guys earlier :)

NB: a quick search for a relevant image gave me another blogger and educator making the same point! -

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

NMM Gold – Wot I Do

It’s come up a couple of times since I started the wolves; how I go about the gold, and it’s not really that difficult at all if you've a basic grasp of layering and of thinning your paint, so I thought I’d run though the recipe and technique here.


A wet palette is very useful, it allows you to set out your colours and then work through the stages without fear of drying. a simple one like this, made in an old plastic box with some greaseproof paper as top layer and two folded sheets of bounty beneath (soaked through) will keep paint liquid for days, even a week, and a few drops of water brings it right back for another week.

The NMM Gold Recipe I’m using at the moment uses six paints, but can be accomplished with less, (Scortched brown, Parasite brown and White), with more manual mixing of steps would work fine.

DSC_6682 copy copy

On the pallete we have from left back to right front:

1) VMC German Camo Black Brown (Scorched brown i think is the GW) / GW Bestial Brown in 1/1

2) VMC German Camo Black Brown (Scorched brown i think is the GW) / GW Bestial Brown in 1/2

3) GW Bestial Brown

4) GW Bestial Brown / VGC Scrofulous brown (GW parasite brown i think) 1/1

5) VGC Scrofulous brown

6) VGC Scrofulous brown / GW Iyanden darksun 1/1

7) GW Iyanden darksun

8) GW Iyanden darksun / VMC Ice Yellow (no idea :) ) 1/1

9) VMC Ice Yellow

10) VMC Ice Yellow  / VGC Dead White (it’s just white) 1/1

11) VGC Dead White

I work over a base of pure VMC German camo black brown and paint each layer several times, with thinned paint to achieve a blend over the previous colour.

The thinness of the paint is crucial here, and its something that cant really be told as a hard and fast rule, the reason being that different paints have different properties, especially when it comes to yellows. Anything from 1:1 to 1:4 or higher to achieve the watery (but not too watery) consistency we are aiming for.

I remember starting this type of painting and seeing “Skimmed Milk” all over the internet, it really didn't help me understand, as I’m sure it doesn't many of you, but it’s probably the best descriptor. Runny without being watery, still holding some surface tension and viscosity, leaving fluid colour in it’s brush stroke but without flooding.. there's so many ways to try and describe it, the only true way it to experiment, you’ll know it when you've got it.

Then it’s just a case of taking each, separate surface within the gold material and highlighting it from the darkest to lightest colour.

DSC_6695 copy

Something with sculpted contours is probably the easiest to start with, large flat expanses of material will be the most difficult.

Just keep applying the paint, from dark to light in several thing coats per colour, decreasing the area as you go, towards the raised surfaces.

When you hit the last colour, the pure white go back through and pick out some edges, even in the darker reaches and that’s when you'll get the pop. the last highlight, the specular highlight is the one that really brings it all together, and there will be stages in between when it looks like garbage and you want to totally give up, don't, push through, be methodical.

And most importantly, enjoy the process.

I hope this post was useful somehow, thanks for reading :)

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Bolter Colour Heresy


I didn't expect that.

Seems lots of people while they like my wolf guard definitely think that the storm bolter should be a different colour.

So many in fact that it gets it’s own post.


Now, I did make the decision for a reason, and I’m going to try to explain, not to convince you all that I’m right, but so that we can have reasoned debate on the subject and so that you all have the information that I’m working from.

In my mind there are three possible colours that a Wolf Guard bolter could be, Yellow, Red or Black.



I decided against using yellow because I was worried that with me using nmm gold it might be “read” as more gold, but badly done.. also the colour doesn't appear anywhere else on the model. now I could remedy that as wolf guard pack markings are yellow and black, so I could get some in, but that NMM/Yellow clash fear is still there



This colour really isn't anywhere on the model, and it would be adding another, model that doesn't really “fit” in the scheme, you see gold and blue are complimentary, they work well together, red really doesn't fit in that picture in my mind.



And black. which would make sense, he has a black shoulder pad, it wouldn't clash colour wise.. but.

I’m using NMM for the metals, including the silver. so I’d have to not highlight or blend the black at all, or run the risk again that it would look like more metal.. so its have to just have an edge highlight, and I was worried that basic pant might throw off what I was trying to achieve with the model.

I tried it on my grey hunters, and I'm not sure how successful it is..


On this guy it works because of the gold border, not sure how well it works without it..

So there are some mock ups and a catalogue of my worries about the different possibilities.

In the face of them I went with armour-colour, as a last question on top of those other points..

Do you think it needs to be another colour because you think it would look better, or simply because they usually are?

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