Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Project P30 - Death Guard Chaos Space Marine Part 1


It’s time to start work on one of my ‘exciting’ new projects because I think this one is going to take me quite a bit of time! I’ve already been thinking about this for a couple of years. At first it was simply an idea knocking around in the back of my head, something suggested by my friend Lee Hebblethwaite at the Golden Demon Winner’s day in 2014. But the idea took root and more recently I’ve been mulling over the practicalities.

2020 will see the 30th anniversary of my Nurgle Predator and my first Slayer Sword. It seems fitting to mark the occasion in some way and Lee's suggestion, that I create a new and updated version of the Predator, fits the bill. I’ve more than a few reservations about attempting this project as the Predator comes with a lot of history and emotional baggage. But it feels like the time is right and I’m confident I can bring something new to an updated version. So there you have it Project P30 has begun!



In fact I’ve already featured this project here when I posted the picture above back in August. These kits will form the basis of my new Predator. I’ve decided that there will be more machine elements visible on the new Predator to better illustrate the fusion of demon and tank. This will also give me a greater range of materials and textures to paint in contrast to the all over green flesh of my original.

This means that I have to develop and expand upon the colour scheme so, in order to begin that process, I’ve started painting a Death Guard Chaos Space Marine. This will give me the opportunity to explore the colours I’ve been thinking about. It will also give me the chance to paint one of the new Death Guard miniatures, which have been tempting me with their shiny newness!

I’ve decided to paint the majority of the armour in a bone colour. My usual approach to painting bone would be to work over a Rakarth Flesh base with a series of washes in a combination of brown and sepia tones. This is very effective but I felt it was the wrong approach for my Death Guard. I wanted a colder, dirtier quality to the bone colour on the armour. To achieve this I’ve incorporated Black Leather from Scalecolour into my palette.


This is the same colour that I used as a global shade colour on Gutrot Spume. It’s one of those strange, but useful, colours that isn’t quite one thing or the other. As best as I can describe it Black Leather is a dark, desaturated, purpleish brown. It mixes well with many other colours, both warm and cool, to make a shade tone and, in this instance, I’ve used it with Rakarth Flesh. The subtle purple tint it gives the shadows is exactly what I was looking for. It gives me a cooler bone colour than normal. But it's warm enough to keep the bone from looking too grey. This cooler purple tone will contrast with my rust effects and keep them distinct from the general layer of grime.


Against the bone I’ve used a cold dark green derived from, what else, Dark Sea Blue and a lighter warm green based on Death Guard Green. I will paint the metalics in NMM and for the majority of these I'll use a copper tone.

Work on the Marine is progressing nicely, and I’ve just about resolved the colour palette, so I now have to forge ahead and apply it to the entire mini.

Next time I’ll write about my overall colour palette for the Marine in greater detail and how it relates to the new Predator.

Friday, 22 September 2017

C-Girl Akito - To the rescue!


“I can get down to some serious mini painting for myself! I’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline and I’m looking forward to getting them underway!” 
… So much for good intentions!

I’ve had an unusually busy Summer and the only problem I have with it is that I’ve been busy doing things other than mini painting. In itself that’s not a serious problem but, as Summer turns into Autumn, I find myself feeling more than a little frustrated at the lack of painting action and extremely keen to get started.

So I began working on one of my ‘exciting projects’. Without going into detail things did not go well, in fact, they went very, very badly! It’s been many years since I gave up on a project but I think I may well have to with this one. At the moment thinking about it makes me feel pretty miserable; but I’m sure a pause will help me to reflect on my problems with this project and learn some valuable lessons.

In an effort to shake off the painting blues and get my mojo working I decided to switch projects and make some progress on Akito! So far it’s proving to be a successful strategy. I’m making some progress and most importantly enjoying myself. Having previously painted Akito’s face and the majority of the flesh tones it’s high time I blocked in some base colours and began to build the overall colour contrasts.

One advantage of the hiatus this project endured is the extra time I’ve had to consider my plans. I’d decided to create a strong contrast between the pale flesh and a predominantly dark costume. Set against that would have been a highly saturated hair colour graduating from yellow at the roots, through orange into red, and finishing with purple at the tips. This would have been very striking but, on reflection, I’ve decided to paint the hair strawberry pink. There are two reasons for this. I think the more saturated colours would be too bright and draw attention away from the rest of the bust. I also feel that the saturated colours would be too aggressive for the mood I want to give the piece. The weapon and costume are already fairly edgy and aggressive, so I’ve decided to contrast that with a soft, and admittedly slightly stereotypical, girly pink colour for the hair.

The choice of pink was inspired by a conversation during my workshop in Hull and a little online research has provided plenty of useful reference material. I was a little nervous when I came to paint the base layer for the hair as pink, much like red, can be a tricky colour to work with. It will be useful to have the base colour to hand when I come to shade and highlight the hair but the mix was fairly complicated, so my chances of exactly recreating it later in the project are slim. Therefore I decided to mix up a batch of paint in a dropper bottle. Thankfully I nailed the mix first time and got the exact shade (strawberry ice cream) that I wanted! My mix consists of Khorne Red, Flayed One Flesh, Karak Stone and Rakarth Flesh.


Once the base colours were blocked in I turned my attention to the bikini top. I’d decided to paint this as a synthetic neoprene type of material but a conversation during my Stockport workshop (there’s a trend developing here) helped me to refine my plans. Rather than the soft ‘rubbery’ sheen I had intended I decided to paint a high gloss, almost metallic, shine to the material. A little online research provided some good examples and suggested that I used an ultra fine stipple technique to replicate the texture of the shiny fabric. I’ve painted this in a cool blue/black that will contrast with the warm brown/black I plan to use on the jacket.

Although these are only base colours and in need of a great deal more work, this stage of the project has moved things on considerably. I now have a more highly developed vision of how I’m going to paint Akito and the bust itself looks a lot more completed. It’s been fiddly work but well worth the effort.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Summer is here!

The last few weeks have been pretty busy with one thing and another and it’s hard to believe that summer is now well underway. But, in spite of what the weather might indicate, it is; and that means it’s time for me to take stock and focus my energies on some new projects. My hobby activities for the first half of this year were dominated, in a good way, by workshops and competitions. With no new workshops planned until June next year I can get down to some serious mini painting for myself! I’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline and I’m looking forward to getting them underway!

This could be the start of something big!

To Hull and Back! 

 

video

However for the next few weeks I have a pretty hectic schedule and my opportunities to update this blog may be limited so please bear with a brief hiatus. In the meantime here are a few pics from my ‘Monster Skin & Texture’ workshop, hosted by John Harrison’s Weekend Workshop in Hull last weekend. We were a small but dedicated group of painters and, from my perspective; I felt the weekend was a great success. I was thoroughly pleased and impressed with how everyone got to grips with both the theory and technical aspects of the course and made great progress with their Plaguebearers over the two days!

 

Still no pictures?

I’ve had quite a few messages about the missing pictures on this blog. Thank you for your support and concern. Unfortunately the job of replacing five years’ worth of pictures is going to take a long time, so please continue to bear with me. My primary focus will be on moving forward with this blog and keeping it regularly updated. But I will be going back through the archives and replacing the pics as and when I can. I will endeavor to get the tutorials done first.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Building a ‘better’ Splash


Back when I was making the base for Gutrot Spume I created my wave and splash effects using a foundation of clear plastic. These pieces of plastic had been partly melted and distorted over the heat of a candle. While the finished result was very effective it was also quite a bit of fuss and bother to achieve!



For my Abyssal Warlord I decided to try a slightly simpler method of creating dynamic splash effects for the base. This involved a similar technique to the one used before of building up layers of water effects but, in this instance, I would be using cotton wool as a foundation material.

I’ve used cotton wool previously to create candle flames and seaweed and while I was adding a wet weedy fringe to the Warlord’s cloak, I had the idea to use it for splashes. The technique is very straight forward but it is best done slowly, allowing each stage to dry before adding the next. I’d recommend making up a load of these splashes as a side project fitted in between other jobs.


Materials and Equipment. 



Cotton wool – I used cotton buds as only a very small quantity is needed.
Water effects - I used two types of water effects Transparent Water and Still Water, both by Vallejo. Transparent Water is thick and has some body to it, the Still Water is fluid.
Paintbrush size 1 or 2
Scissors
A plastic tray/ palette – I used an old blister pack

Step 1






Pick off a tiny amount of cotton wool from a cotton bud. Give the cotton wool a coating of the Transparent Water. Take the piece of, now soggy, cotton wool and attach it to the edge of your tray/palette. Gently draw your brush along the length of the cotton wool to pull it out into a longer shape. Now leave the cotton wool alone until the water effects have dried.

Step 2


Trim off any stray or straggling ‘hairs’ with a pair of scissors. Build up the splash using Still Water applied in several successive layers. I found three to four layers gave me the look I wanted. Let each layer dry before you add the next one. As you build up the effect form rounded droplets at the ends of the splashes. The droplets may need a few extra layers of water effects.

Step 3



Once you are happy with the splashes let them dry thoroughly over night. This is an important step as the water effects will shrink somewhat and go totally clear as it dries. The next day you can assess the fully dried splashes to see if they are done, or if you wish to add a little more of the Still Water.

Step 4


When you are satisfied with the splashes and they are totally dry you can cut them from the tray/ palette using scissors. The splashes can then be fixed to your model using a small blob of the Transparent Water. When this has dried you can add further layers of both types of water effects to incorporate the splashes into your base/model.

To finish the splash effects on the Warlord’s base I added a few microbeads (of course) and some slimy seaweed, using more cotton wool, but with less layers of water effects. For a final touch I’ve used a little green pigment powder to tint the last layers of water effects.

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Abyssal Warlord - finished

I love that feeling of having just finished a project! It's high time too as, although very busy and achieving plenty, I've not actually finished very much this year! But the Abyssal Warlord is now done and I'm very happy with the result.


This model feels like a consolidation of the techniques I've been experimenting with over the last year or so: the tentacles and weedy slime are a clear call back to Gutrot Spume and the textured NMM, like the use of the black tones, is something I’ve been working on over several projects.

I’ve felt for some time that I develop as a painter by having periods of experimentation followed by periods of consolidation. This probably means it's time to stretch myself and try something new. So it’s a good thing my next project will be finishing the Akito bust!

I’ll be posting a step-by-step guide on how to create the splash effect shortly. Although it looks similar to the effect I used on Gutrot it was not achieved in the same way, and I think it’s well worth sharing.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Painting the Abyssal Warlord - a weighty issue!


If I’m not very careful to take regular breaks during my painting sessions I’m prone to a fair degree of shoulder pain on account of an old injury. So I make a point of taking time away from my models to move about and stretch. This has proven to be an effective solution and I can happily paint away with no trouble. Until I started painting the Abyssal Warlord that is!

What I didn’t take into account was that, as a white metal kit, the Warlord weighs a lot more than a plastic or resin model. My regular stretch breaks were not adequate and as a result I’ve had to endure a month and a half of shoulder pain. The lesson I’ve learned is to treat each model individually and pace myself accordingly. I’ve been able to carry on painting but only by restricting myself too much shorter painting sessions with this model. The weight also makes the Warlord awkward to handle as he’s very top heavy and painting him became a bit of a chore!

That’s a shame because in all other respects I think he’s a great model to paint and I’ve been very happy with how my paint job is developing. So I persevered and, once the cloak was attached making him even heavier, I was finally able to work on the sword and shield. This came as a great relief because I’d decided to paint these as sub assemblies so there were no more weight/balance issues.

I chose to paint both the sword and the shield predominantly in black. I made this decision based on how the overall colour palette and contrast were shaping up. I could have gone with the gold but rejected it on the grounds of it being too glitzy! Equally I could have gone with the steel but I felt this would be too much of the same tone as the rest of the armour.


The shield was something I’d been looking forward to. As a large flat surface it provided the perfect opportunity to paint a freehand design. This is something I’ve been itching to have a go at for some time. I’d considered doing it for my Farseer but, somehow, it didn’t feel right on him. Similarly I was going to paint an elaborate freehand on the Megaboss but decided to do something more appropriately Orky instead.

My choice of design was fairly straightforward. I wanted to develop the abyssal, deep sea, theme already featured on this model. So something fishy seemed appropriate especially because of the fish head motif on his armour. For the same reason, an anglerfish seemed like the best choice and so I searched online for suitable reference. Although there were plenty of photos to choose from what I found most useful in the end were tattoo designs. These had already undergone a process of stylisation which made them more appropriate to my needs. No single design was exactly right but I was able to take inspiration from a couple and combine them into something I liked.

My final anglerfish design incorporates an ‘S’ curve in it’s body with the head at the bottom. I had initially thought to have the head at the top but I found it more pleasing to sit the head in the curve of the shield’s lower edge. To tie it in with the overall scheme, I’ve painted the fish in the same blue as the cloak and the loincloth. The eyes have been picked out with the yellow/green tone that I used for the gold.

I was surprised at how quick it was to paint the fish. Starting off with a few guidelines, pencilled in white onto the black background, I gradually built up the design from a fairly rough start. As the design developed I resolved the form and contrast until I was happy with the result. The fish design became increasingly spiky, as this felt appropriate to the feel of the model.


With the sword and shield now glued in position there are just a few finishing touches to paint and then the Warlord will be ready for basing. With that end in sight I’ve started work on a base creating a hard cracked surface by gluing very thin sheets of milliput onto cork. The cracks are created by pressing through the brittle milliput into the flexible cork with a metal tool.


I’m now in the final stages of this project and very much enjoying the process of bringing it all together. And my shoulder is feeling much better too!