Tuesday, 11 December 2018

My New Book - out on 18th December!

So, this is just a heads-up that I'll be publishing a new book on Kindle in a week's time. That's right - it'll be live on 18/12/18, and hopefully available for pre-order before then.

What is it?

It's a dark fantasy novel set in a magically-enhanced Renaissance. Vendetta and intrigue guaranteed, along with flying machines, assassinations, weird undead monsters, magical stone people and a drunken knight.

Where can I get it?

Amazon Kindle!

Why should I read it?

It's fantasy, but dark and complex - if you like Scott Lynch's books, Mordheim, the Witcher novels or the Dishonored games, it's your kind of thing.

And there will be sequels.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Dragons, then and now

Recently, at the Warfare event in Reading, I was challenged to assemble a model out of the box and not convert it. I thought I'd have a go at an old metal dragon. Even though it hasn't come from a box, I've not changed anything.

The model is old - mid-90s, I'd have thought - and the design is rather strange: if stretched out, the dragon would be extremely long and thin, more like a snake with limbs that the usual flying dinosaur. For a while, GW used this odd concept as the basis for almost all its dragons: the others had different details, but the same weird S-shaped bodies.

Anyway, what this means is that I can compare the dragon I've just done with another version of the same model I made at least 20 years ago. Let's see if I've got any better.

Here's the dragon from 1998:

And here's the equivalent from 2018:

And from another angle:


Well, I'm not sure what to make of that! The red one is more jolly and exciting, although I don't think the blending is quite as good and the base is terrible (and way too small). I seem to have been better at colouring in back then, though, as I didn't leave any black bits showing. Clearly my eyes are failing me in my old age.

The blue one seems more downbeat and moody to me, which obvious reflects my developments as a painter and my adoption of a more sombre palette (or just that I'd run out of red at the time). To be honest, I like them both!

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Ghouls Gone Wild

Once again, it's been a bit of a quiet week. I spent quite a lot of it being ill, propped in front of the TV. After two days of strong medication, Father Ted and the Godfather, you start to have a rather skewed view of the world. However, I was able to finish off another ghoul and the last dwarf explorer.

The ghoul is another Rackham model and a very strange one too. His pose looks less as if he's just leaped out of a tomb than he's just taken to the stage with a feather boa, and is about to belt out some musical numbers. On the other hand, the sculpting and detail are excellent. He came without a head, so I added a shrivelled trophy I found on a chaos warrior shield. The banner/warning sign behind him was added to give him a bit more stability.

I'm pleased with the shading on his robe. Here is the whole ghastly chorus line of them, doing whatever sordid things ghouls do, in a row.

And now for the last dwarf. This guy is basically a really stumpy knight. I thought he looked ace and painted him to match the others. The teams are nearly finished!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018


Bit of a small update here. Owing to my very exciting life getting in the way (which, frankly, makes a change) I was only able to do a couple more models this week. They're both "Ghouls of Acheron" by Rackham, so they'll fit in well with the undead soldiers that I've already done. They have a suitably shriveled and nasty look, and are far better miniatures than GW has ever produced for its ghouls.

Unfortunately, they're also very spindly. The standing ghoul broke just above the ankles, so I used a pillar and a metal spike as bits that he could lean against and which would hold him up. I then used green stuff to rebuild his lower legs to connect them to the feet. I think it's turned out alright.`

The painting was just bleached bone washed with strong tone (where would I be without strong tone? Well, here, to be honest, but less well equipped) and highlighted back up with white. The faces are so small, and so lined, that it made sense just to emphasise the lines and creases.

What's next? Well, I've been challenged to make a model out of the box, without converting it at all. My robot rickshaw has become something of a legend, and this is at the opposite end of the scale. So, I've got an ancient GW dragon that I'm going to put together without any conversions. Will I fight the urge to make "improvements"? Wish me luck!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Necromancer and Dwarf Wizard

Time for another couple of characters, as work on the dwarf and undead warbands draws to a close.

First up is a necromancer for the undead. I found the body of a chaos sorcerer, missing arms and a head. He was wearing an interesting stitched-together robe, presumably fashioned from rival necromancers or really large hankies. I gave him some arms from an Empire wizard (the big book) and a soldier (the rod), and put a skull with slightly ridiculous horns on top of the stick to make a wand.

The head also came from the Empire wizard set: it seemed to be a hand holding up a flaming skull. I just used some green stuff to cover the fingers and it made a decent head.

Strangely, when I put the bits together, it all looked a bit wonky and awkward. However, the paint worked well and once he was finished I was really pleased with the (slightly silly) result. I see his robe has a hood. I wonder how that works?

Our second guy is a dwarf, who will be the wizard for the group. He was originally a rune-priest who rode around on a massive metal anvil back in the old days. His staff needed a new top, and his hammer had gone missing, but otherwise he was fine. He's from a period of dwarf sculpting that I don't really like, but his beard and cloak hide the worst of the stumpyness. Clearly overuse of magic turns your beard blue.

So, how about some group shots? Here is the undead crew, about to click their fingers to the theme music.

 And here are the dwarves!

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Frostgrave Undead

Deep in their lair at the rotten heart of the city, soulless revenants drop the trappings of humanity and yearn to bleed the common folk. As a few brave souls stand against the tide of evil, a legion of ghouls dreams of conquering the world...

But enough about the midterms. A few posts back, I painted a vampire lady, who would be either a wandering monster or the leader of a rival warband. I dug out two Rackham undead chaps - I'm not sure if they're skeletons or zombies - to act as her minions and gave them some paint.

I love these models: the clumsy poses, the way the armour is hanging off their bodies, the sheer level of detail. Rackham made some strange and variable stuff, but with these, I think they got it just right.

The taller of these guys is from the same set of Rackham models. I also like the way that they've not gone for the crude gross-out option: these things might be skeletons or zombies, but whatever they are, they're withered rather than bloated. It's a really good take on the undead.

The shorter guy is a Mantic model. He's a zombie dwarf, from (I think) their game Dungeon Saga. He came free with a Kickstarter. I've probably mentioned that I think that Mantic have made some great models in the past, and some very ropey ones, as well as some excellent scenery. I like this little dwarf guy. The proportions are better than a lot of Warhammer dwarves, and it's an interesting concept.

Sunday, 4 November 2018


A while ago, I bought a starter set for Age of Sigmar - and then regretted it, as I don't play Age of Sigmar and I'm not sold on Sigmarines. On the other hand, it had a very nice dog with the head of an eagle and some ghosts.

The ghosts, which have another name I can't be arsed to look up, are really good models. The concept - hunched ghosts with polearms and horses' skulls for heads - is impressively odd, but the design is exceptional. The models fit together in a really clever way that simply wouldn't be possible with lead or weaker plastics.

Anyhow, what with new Sisters of Battle rules on the way, I needed to make some arco-flagellants. The existing models are pretty weak: they come from a slightly ropey period, they're not fantastic sculpts and the concept (maniac executioner/slave types with crude bionics and hidden faces) isn't terribly exciting.

So, I chopped up the ghosts. I gave them spare heads from Skitarri soldiers and some blades left over from some Necron models (thanks James). I've said before that I prefer the armour-and-stonework aspects of the Sisters to the half-naked fanatic types. I could imagine the various relics kept in the vaults of the Sisters' citadel spontaneously generating these things.

A couple of washes and some highlighting later. Apart from the spectral green, the colours match with the Sisters army. Although the Sisters are less rusty.

Obviously, these pictures were blank until I developed them...