Monday, 5 December 2016

More Hardware: now in CGI

I've blogged about Richard Stanley's Hardware a few times now. It turns out a rather talented 3D artist going by the handle kjell has worked up the Mark 13 robot in eye-watering detail. You can see his renders below. He's clearly examined the footage very carefully as he's captured the weird skull with it's under-slung-dragonfly-larvae-jaw perfectly.

I've been doing more 3D work myself recently, but am nowhere near the level of this guy. Great inspiration as to what can be achieved today especially with the latest generation of render engines.





Sunday, 4 December 2016

Finished Blood Angles Librarian Terminator

As well as my Heresy-era squad, I completed thid little guy in the week just gone.


I looked at a lot of the original reference material for the general scheme and chose a colourway that is hopefully faithful but also in keeping with my whole army. In this era, Librarians weren't blue and were identified by their Aegis hood, force weapons and the variant Crux Terminatus on their shoulder. I also opted for a custom decal which evokes the Chapter icon design of the time. Actually the promo minis sported hand-painted Blood Angel icons which are a little goofy to our eyes today, so I didn't feel too bad giving him this slightly more refined variant icon.

I used the same technique I've used on the rest of the rank-and-file, save for the addition of more blended highlights. I've also avoided painting any mottos onto the the scrolls as I'm just not very good at this. I feel they look better blank rather than appearing as if some demented five year old with a box of crayons has been scrawling away whilst wearing boxing gloves. The soft detailing of these older casts makes painting the details a real challenge. I'm not very pleased with the Crux Terminatus as this is a bit muddy.

I painted this guy up to give me a psychic presence in my army as I'm fed up of getting mauled by Tyranid mind attacks. However, I am lucky enough to own a complete, original Terminator boxed set of metal minis and I'm now intending to paint them all.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

WIP Heresy Blood Angels

Due to a Brazil-like administrative error, I was gifted a squad of MKIV plastic Marines which I'm adding to my growing Blood Angels collection. Here is the first combat squad, which are mid-way through their painting. I'm currently neatening up the black ready for highlighting, and adding all the other details.


Below is a close-up of two of them showing the custom decals I made for their iconography. You might be able to make out in the shot above that they also have small 'IX' Legion numeral icons here and there. These add a nice little Classical flourish which helps to ground them in the 30K universe.


In my previous Tactical squad it was all the bonkers heraldry and whatnot which took the time. I am hoping to complete these boys in a much quicker fashion as they won't have such complex detailing. I recall an excellent seminar given by Forge World's Mark Bedford during which he talked a bit about the psychology of painting armies. In a nut shell - don't tackle it all at once and try complete a five-man squad every weekend using techniques which balance maximum results with minimum time. Most importantly put each completed squad on display with your growing army as this will inspire you to paint the next lot.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Miniature odds and sods

Between slightly larger projects I often dabble with a couple of minis in order to experiment. Sometimes I have an idea for a collection and they're colourway tests, in other cases the subjects are opportunities to try painting techniques. Here are two little guys which volunteered for such a dubious honour.


Before I settled on Stormtonnians as my AoS army, I mooted a dirty Skaven brigade based on the classic Andy Chambers army from the early 90s (you can find out more about this seminal collection here). His collection reeked of mould and the rather dirty infantry were accompanied by some amazing banners. I wanted to ape this combination and endeavoured to use a lot of dry brushing on the guy above. It's really only his hood and his flesh which is layer-highlighted. I also threw on some more modern rust and blood effects. I liked this guy, but felt the colours were a little dull and couldn't really muster the enthusiasm to do a whole army.


Mr Tzaangor here was a spare from the excellent Silver Tower. I've had the feeling for some time that my minis are lacking a bit of vibrancy so he is an experiment to make things a bit brighter. I rather feel there are two extremes when it comes to miniatures painting - those who strive for accurate naturalism and scale effects and those who embrace the fiction of a miniature and paint each element the colour they imagine it to be (and there are, of course, many point along this continuum too). I'm not explaining this eloquently, but hopefully you catch my drift.  There are challenges and pitfalls with both approaches, but I think I'm shifting to the latter camp. Hence the white undercoat here and the super-vibrant base colours. Since this snap was taken I re-undercoated the grey sections black to give more contrast. I have some hopes for him and will post a shot of him when he's finished.

I've also been bulking out my Blood Angels with a Heresy-era combat squad and a terminator Librarian, but more on those soon.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Blood Angels at war

Last week I took my new Blood Angels army out on patrol. There had been some worrying reports of a Xenos incursion into Warhammer World, and the boys in red were on hand to stymie any theft of biomass. To add some complexity the wicked hand of fate determined that there was a relic that the Sons of Sanguinius should save from any invaders. Thus they arrayed themselves in a battle line as their many-limbed enemies scurried into view...


The force deployed for battle. It turns out that putting your combat squad with the heavy weapon behind a massive hill isn't such a great plan.


The enemy, with all their limbs on show. One of the Termagants was named 'Toto'. He took out a Taurox with a Fleshborer in a previous engagement. Smug little git.


The Death Company sweep in the retrieve to catch the pigeon relic. If only there was an option to equip then with jump packs! Oh, wait... Dready Mc Dreadface supplies covering fire but it transpires that a Multi Melta only has a range of 24". Onwards he toddles.


A 'dynamic' shot of the denouement. The Death Company keep shouting "Feel no pain!" like drunks on a stag do and win the day. My Captain, cunningly disguised by his giant, flashing banner, takes out two Tyranid Warriors by punching them with his foam Chainfist. Yay! Take that. And that.

I won the battle, more through luck then anything else. Alas it turned out that the 'relic' was a space hopper covered in KitKat wrappers. The Blood Angels are understandably miffed (and they can't even play with the hopper as bouncing makes them feel queasy). Next time they plan to bring a Librarian so I don't just get mauled in the psychic phase, and maybe later a Predator or Razorback as 'move or fire' does not make for a dynamic game.

For the Emperor!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Stormtonnians

Age of Sigmar is what all the cool kids are playing these days and I decided I want to join in. I mooted several factions but was ultimately inspired to do some Stormcast with a twist. You can see the first results below.


I figured that as Sigmar draws his Stormcast from various populations of surviving humans, some may retain a little of their former culture which permeates their Stormhost. Hence we have a Stormhost formed from some rather feudal, gallant, Grail-worshipping survivors from the World That Was. I'm not naming names.

I have been reading a bit about heraldry and have become quite fascinated by the systems and language which has grown up around it. I also love the way that heraldry functions really well on miniatures, serving to inject colour, pattern and individuality into troops. A friend had also introduced me to the work of artist Kekai Kotaki who has done some really dynamic portraits of knights who have stepped out of a bonkers JRPG.


The Stormcast were perfect donors as they have a lot of the movement and refined bulk that so key to these images. Their shields would also provide great surfaces to apply the heraldry. I managed to file them down with varying degrees of success, which is why I chose to add a bit of weathering to disguise any imperfections. The weathering also helps to fool the eye into thinking the overall paint job is rather more detailed than it really is. The armour is just zenith silver spray washed with GW's amazing Gloss Nuln Oil and nothing more. The new sculpted AoS bases look great and are an amazing time-saver. Some awesome hobby friends recommended the colourway. Clearly these chaps are knocking about in the Realm of Fire, and the warm, dark base offsets the cooler, lighter miniature. The lava in the deepest recesses adds a tiny bit of interest.

I can't take too much credit for the conversions, as there are some great examples of Stormcast-Bretonnian (damn - I said the word) hybrids on the interwebs. Suffice it to say I'm stealing from the best and hopefully incrementally improving on the work of others.

I've got a load of ideas in my head for both future units and more background. I'll blog these as they come to fruition. I'm really keen to incorporate ideas that, while this Stormhost might superficially appear chivalric and Gallic, they have a deeper core of weird Cymric mythology. Fisher Princes, Poor Knights, Kelpies, Questing Beasts and Sigmar as the Mab Darogan.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Creative used of Altoids tins

Large objects scare me. I don't know what it is about them, but my mistrust of anything big probably goes a long way to explaining why I love miniatures. Consequently I also adore the many and varied solutions for compactness and Altoids tins spawn.

These diminutive tins are somewhat of a cultural icon, and I am sure we've all used them (or something similar) to store things like hooks, pins and buttons. But there are creative folk out there who are putting them to really interesting uses.



For quite a while I've seen DIY watercolour travel kits made from Altoids tins. Now, with 3D printing becoming more readily available you can order watercolour holders designed to fit inside the tins. This kind of add-on industry is a really interesting direction for 3D prints and I'm sure excited to see how it develops.



While storage is a common use, aids for spiritual life are also possible. Some crafty witches have suggested that you build a travelling alter into your Altoids tin for those wicca emergencies when you're on the go.



On a similar note, if you find the need for contemplation you could always crack open your Zen Altoids tin. It contains a miniature garden which will no doubt be in need of a manicure if it's been bouncing around in your pocket since your last harrying day.



A solution which, refreshingly, makes no attempt to take itself seriously is the Minty Spinner. Again this is a 3D print solution. Reach for this during the coming evenings in the pub with your friends. Genius in a sweet tin.*

There are quite a few tech solutions out there too. Flashlights, amplifiers, speakers etc. have all been fitted into Altoids tins. A quick google will throw up a load. While these are cool, current advances in miniaturisation render them more novel retro items rather than groundbreaking solutions.

*Incidentally, I am pretty sure the spinner on the left points to the word "sing". However, to the native British it may, also, be a four letter word with a less salubrious meaning. Clue: Austen Powers.