Friday 30 December 2022

2022 Round Up

 So, the year is ending, and I thought I'd attempt some kind of summary of this year's painting. It's actually been quite a good year in painting terms: I started this blog to get better at model-making, and in 2022 I attempted quite a lot of new stuff and tried things that I normally wouldn't have attempted - in particular, fine detail and colour blending. Overall, I'm pleased with the results. These are the (comparative) highlights.


I made a few Chaos marines this year, but my favourite Chaos thing has to be this converted armiger.


I made some more fantasy terrain, although I've probably got quite enough by now. Tableton got a new blacksmith's forge:

And this sinister chap holding up a banner:

A big tall house:

And a clock tower:

Durgin Paint Forge

I only made a couple of models from this manufacturer, but I'm really pleased with them. Hopefully they'll join a Napoleonic-fantasy warband (at some point).

Oldhammer Eldar

The big project this year has been to paint up a force of old-school Eldar, using a lot of 1990s Jes Goodwin models. I went in at the deep end for some reason, with a squad of harlequins:

Other squads followed, including these guys:

And some very old dreadnoughts. I'm particularly fond of these models.

I also did a pair of converted skimmers. They were originally Dark Eldar models, but they've clearly repented their evil ways and joined the good guys again.

So that's it! Who knows what the new year will yield? Actually, I've got quite a good idea as one of my ever-growing list of New Year's Resolutions is to buy less miniatures and to paint the stuff that I've got. Wish me luck with that.

Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Dreadnought in a Chris Foss style (hopefully)

 Happy Christmas everyone! I've been painting another Eldar dreadnought. 

When I was young, I used to read a lot of Isaac Asimov books. They almost all had covers drawn by the same artist: Chris Foss. He drew massive, brightly-coloured industrial spaceships, often with stripes. They were cool to look at and very distinctive.

Foss also drew some concept artwork for a 1970s film of Dune, which was never made. Here's a pirate ship:

I thought it looked very sleek and Eldarish. Because you get quite a lot of blank space on the dreadnought's head/carapace, I decided to see if I could copy this pattern on its head. The first thing was to shade the head from red to yellow. Here's a WIP.

This sort of dreadnought is the second variety, released in the late 1990s. The legs, head and body are the same as the original dreadnought, as seen in the blue Citadel catalogue. The arms are new (but also made of metal): bulkier and less sleek-looking, with more tubes. The back engine part is heftier too, and has a mounting-point for a heavy weapon. 

To be honest, I don't really like the tendency of later Eldar to get increasingly chunky: I'm not sure that the original models have ever been bested. But I do like this guy. I think his head has come out pretty well: it's very dramatic-looking! I might go on to use this colour scheme on a big vehicle at some point. 

Incidentally, I'm using a different lighting setup for these pictures, after being bought a lamp at Christmas (thanks Ruth!). Hopefully this might improve my dodgy photography...

Wednesday 21 December 2022

"Napoleonic" Warband

 In my continuing search for wild thrills, I bought a copy of The Silver Bayonet, the latest offering from Osprey and Joseph McCullough, the people behind the excellent Frostgrave and related games. It's basically a skirmish game set in a supernatural version of the Napoleonic Wars, and looks like a mash-up of Sharpe, Hammer films, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and various bits of folklore. If you ever wanted to wargame Jane Austen's lost novel Night and Nightmarish Spawn Of The Crypt, there you go.

Anyhow, I wasn't blown away with the models released for the game. They're fine, but I don't find them terribly inspiring. However, I did find some fantasy-Napoleonic miniatures made by an Italian company called Durgin Paint Forge, and they're great. They've got a slightly cartoony, caricatured quality, like the people in the old computer game Fable 3.

I ended up buying a load of them. They're very much 32mm scale, so really big and slightly spindly. I painted a standard bearer, who has a vaguely British look. His banner got a rather goofy-looking freehand lion (it dates back to the Medieval times, you see, before anyone had seen a lion). I added an "Albion" as a nod to Fable. For some reason there is a piglet on his shoulder.

I also painted a scout from the same range. According to Durgin Paint Forge's website, she's supposed to have a blue coat, but I wanted them to look coherent, so that got changed. Again, I think she's an excellent model: slightly cartoony, but full of good details.

Once again, my camera has let me down here. You're just going to have to take my word that they look good!

Sunday 18 December 2022

Carnevale Noble Lady

The Christmas holiday is approaching, and I've been thinking about a new, small project to go alongside the ongoing Eldar repaint. I dug out some of my unpainted Carnevale figures, and chose an impoverished noble lady (a barnabotti, apparently).

I got this figure free with a copy of Miniature Wargames. She was really enjoyable to paint and much easier than I'd expected: the cloth was actually quite easy to shade. Some of the casting around her gun hand was a bit "soft" but I think I figured it out eventually. I'm not sure if she's pulling her skirt up to make it easier to move, or whether she's just whipped a pistol out from under there, but the fabric is really nicely sculpted and the whole thing was a pleasure to paint. Nice one TT Combat!

Thursday 15 December 2022

Dire Avengers

 Back to the Eldar! Here are the first five of a ten-elf squad of Dire Avengers. Dire Avengers are the most boring of the aspect warriors: they're essentially guardians who have better armour and can shoot straight (and don't get support weapons). They've also got impressive hats, but really compared to being a teleporting spider or the Grim Reaper with a missile launcher, that doesn't count for much.

These are Jes Goodwin sculpts from the good old days. They're cool. It's usual to put black stripes on the helmet crests, but to be honest I was so pleased at having painted yellow that didn't look like mud, I decided to leave the stripes off. Remind me not to shade white into grey again.

Saturday 10 December 2022

The Clock Tower in the City

 Just a few pictures of the clock tower with my other buildings.

And an alleyway in the city.

Thursday 8 December 2022

Clock Tower Terrain

 I've been working on various projects for a while now, but it was inevitable that, sooner or later, I'd be drawn back to my fantasy town. It's like the village from The Prisoner: nobody leaves for long. 

I saw that TT Combat were selling off some old MDF buildings. One was a clock tower, which was going for the king's ransom of £4. I bought one and got to work putting it together - and making a few changes, of course. It's meant to look like this:

First of all, I added a plastic Mantic door. Then I gave the tower a roof made of cardboard tiles, instead of MDF. For texture, I cut a few brick shapes out of thin plasticard and stuck them over some of the original laser-etched bricks, so they'd stand out more. 

The rear got a plant made from a random metal part that I got in a job lot of bits a while ago. I added gargoyle-type things to the top of the lower layer, taken from two Lord of the Rings Rohan houses. They're fish-shaped, which by chance, is the symbol of Mordheim. The roof got some spikes that I found in a craft shop. I'm not sure what they're for.

I smoothed out some of the more obvious MDF elements with DAS clay. The MDF hands on the clock face were replaced with bits from some kind of plastic Empire machine - a cannon, perhaps - to make them look more gothic and detailed. Two large crosses were added to the front and back, along with a bit of chain from a Chaos vehicle sprue.

The painting emphasised dirt!

I don't think it's a masterpiece, but it's not bad for £4!

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Wraithguard Squad

 It seems like ages since I posted on here. Actually, it isn't, but there you go.

A few posts back, I put up a test model for the Eldar wraithguard. I went back to it, and decided that the brown loincloth wasn't working for me: it looked a bit grimy, and lacked the sleek, clean feel I wanted for these models. So, I repainted it blue and added a freehand symbol, the infinity rune from the Eldar book.

That seemed to work, so I painted four more. They're not the most exciting models ever made: although the concept is cool, they're extremely static, and the variety of poses is minimal. I don't see why a couple couldn't have been made with raised guns and/or turned heads, to make them look as if they were firing.

Anyhow, here's the unit.

I attempted a subtle colour fade from green to blue-green on the front of each robot's head, but it was obviously too subtle as it's almost impossible to see!

I'm pleased with how they've come out. Not the most dynamic models ever, but they do look cool.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

10mm Knights

 And now for something completely different, or at least much smaller.

A couple of friends (hi James, hi Chris) suggested playing some sort of fantasy battle with small scale armies. That way we could actually get some games in. The old Fantasy Battle took much too long to play, and was too awkward and expensive, while Age of Sigmar doesn't appeal.

(The last time I played Warhammer Fantasy Battle, I had about 12 ogres and James had about 150 skaven. On the first turn, his cannon misfired, destroying about 70 of the skaven. He conceded. The game had lasted about a fifth of the time it had taken to set up.)

So, I bought some 3D printed resin models from ebay. I went for Bretonnians, since, although they've always had awful support from GW, I like the idea of lots of knights charging about, particularly if they don't take ages to paint. Because we're not going to be using Warhammer rules - the current plan is to use Mantic's Kings of War - I can add interesting models like giants and cannons if I want; it's just that the basic look is medieval rather than Renaissance.

Anyway, here are the models. Because they're so small, I used rather harsh highlights to bring out the colours. The sculpts were by a company called Forest Dragon, and they're incredibly detailed.

The standard bearer and a wizard on a unicorn. I think the standard bearer is Repanse de Lyonesse, Warhammer's version of Joan of Arc.

A unit of men at arms:

A unit of scouts on horseback:

Some monks carrying a relic (they remind me of the chanting monks from Monty Python and the Holy Grail):

The whole mighty army so far:

They were surprisingly pleasant to paint. The hardest thing was to get the bases to look right. I stuck the models onto the resin rectangles they came with (these are Warmaster-sized bases, I gather) and used DAS clay and green stuff to blend them in. I didn't bother adding flock, as the scale might make it look a bit weird. 

I'm really pleased with these guys so far: they combine speed of painting with the feel of a great big army. I've ordered some more. This could be a fun project!

Sunday 20 November 2022

Dis Iz Da Way - My Mandalorkian (and Grottu)

For a while, I've thought that it would be fun to make an ork version of the Mandalorian. There's a fine tradition (well, a tradition) of making pun models out of space orks (although I have yet to see Ork And Mindy). I saw this post at Dr Mathias' Miniature Gaming Extravaganza and thought it was time to have a go myself:

I started with the legs and arms of an old ork boy, with the body of a metal stormboy and a metal head from a burna boy. The visor reminds me of the Mandalorian's helmet, and his ears stick out the sides in a comical fashion. Oddly, posing him with one boot up on a rock makes him look much more upright and less like an ape.

The pistol is a chopped down slugga with a random bit stuck to it to make it zappy. The spear came from a plastic skeleton. I sculpted him a ragged cape out of green stuff. The shoulder pads were from space marines. One actually has a sculpted bull's head, rather like the mythosaur crest that the Mandalorian wears.

The Mandalorkian's little friend was made from the body of a skaven plague monk, minus the feet. His head came from a Blood Bowl gnoblar, and his arms were sculpted from green stuff. I reckon the sleeves would be long enough to hide his hands, which is fortunate for me. 

When it came to painting, I remembered the Mandalorian having blue clothing, but actually his under-suit is dirty brown, so I went with that. I gave my version blue eyes to stop him looking too drab, and a wash of blue on the metal bits. 

So here are the Mandalorkian and Grottu! Grottu looks worried - perhaps he's freaked out by the white spider on his friend's base. Bad memories.

"Bounty huntin' iz a complicated biziness, they say, which is why it needs an ork to do it. I never takes me helmet off, which is an ancient custom or sumfink and not cos I welded it to me head by mistake. Dis 'ere's me little mate Grottu, who is magic. He makes a racket but he's got his uses, so hands off me grot. Dis is da way, yeah?"

Monday 14 November 2022

A Few More Lowlifes For Mordheim

 Here are a few more citizens of Mordheim. First up, here are two skaven, going about their short and scummy lives. They've got plague monk bodies and heads and arms from the gutter runner set, because that's what I had left over. The extra metal balls were rolled out of green stuff.

And here is a minion for the undead. The undead of Mordheim can take "dregs", wretched living humans who help them by digging (up) graves, trading with citizens and nailing the zombies back together. The chap's body came from an old metal ork doctor model, which I think was from Gorkamorka. His arms are from the Frostgrave soldiers box, and his head is a very old GW plastic zombie head, with green stuff hair.

All the stuff on his front was sculpted into the model: there's a lot of detail here. I added a rucksack, scroll, coil of rope and a knife, to emphasise his worn-down look. I really like the face: I've actually painted over his droopy eyelids, but his worn out and staring expression works nicely. I expect he's had a hard life.

"Brains, master! I bring you fresh brains!"

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Wraithguard Test Model

 This is a test model for a squad of Eldar wraithguard, small dreadnought-type things with big guns. The models I've got are metal, because I owned a couple anyhow, and they were going cheap. I remember buying one of these chaps in a blister pack sometime in the late 1990s. It cost £8, which was then an outrageous amount of cash (probably about £12 now, which still seems pretty darn steep). 

I went with the standard army colours of blue with red detailing. I think there might be a bit too much red. I'm also not that keen on the beige loincloth, which feels a bit grimy and was quite hard to shade. I do like the head, though: the particular green and blue I've got seem quite easy to blend together.

Not my most exciting post!

Thursday 3 November 2022

Dark Reapers

 Once again, I'm back on the space elves. This week, it's another unit of aspect warriors, the dark reapers. The reapers reflect the subtle ways of the Eldar by, er, dressing up as the Grim Reaper and shooting things with rockets. 

The "basic" warriors in the unit are classic Jes Goodwin sculpts. One thing I really like about the old models is the lack of superfluous junk and detail: they're sleek and deadly. I did have a Goodwin exarch, but unfortunately I hacked him into many pieces years ago. And besides, I wanted someone with a missile launcher, which unfortunately the Goodwin exarch lacks.

Honestly, these are four models.

I promise.

Luckily, a later incarnation of the reapers has just that. I found the body of a more recent reaper going on ebay, and I added a gun from the box of Eldar bits that I'm rapidly accumulating. I think it comes off a Dark Eldar vehicle. Anyhow, it took a bit of trimming, but it fits now. I added a hand from a spare guardian.

Let's rock!

I don't actually like the exarch as much as the normal guys: he's got too much junk on him, and he looks too "bitty" and complex. I quite like his pose, though, as it looks as if he's about to strike a massive power chord on his gun. One of the most recent iterations allows you to take a double rocket launcher, like one of those double-headed guitars that prog rock musicians like. Anyhow, here they are.