Thursday, 10 October 2019

Rockgut Troggoth – Part 4. Not just any old rag & bone!

The Nurgle Tank remains my main project and that’s likely to be so for the best part of 2020. However, I’ve decided to stick with painting my Troggoth for a while in order to get him finished. That way I’ll have at least one finished mini to enter into some of next year’s competitions.

The Troggoth is gradually coming together and painting is well past the halfway point. I’m happy with the flesh tones so most of the remaining work involves finishing up the limbs and attaching (seamlessly!) the rock and hands.

But one area remained unresolved and it’s been bugging me! That’s the loincloth and it proved to be quite important to the overall scheme. My initial thoughts were to paint it as some sort of animal skin, possibly patterned with stripes. To that effect I blocked in some brown tones, but I instantly regretted it!

The brown was far too close to the overall tone of the skin. Some contrast of colour and tone was very much needed here! After further consideration I decided to use a cooler and darker colour for the loincloth. My choice was a dark cool grey with a subtle green hue.

Although it contrasts with the warm flesh tones the green hue will tie in with the rocks and boulders working as a part of the overall scheme. My base colour is a mix of Vallejo Dark Sea Blue and Scale Colour Black Leather. This is a very useful mix that I discovered when I was painting my Tomb King. By varying the proportions of the mix it’s possible to get either a cool or warm dark neutral tone.

To highlight the loincloth I added Scale Colour Field Grey to the mix and worked up to pure Field Grey. I finished off with a little Rakarth Flesh and Field Grey for the highlights. Field Grey is an interesting shade as it was a subtle green hue that adds some low-key colour contrast to my overall scheme.

I was instantly more comfortable with the result so I pushed on and worked a little texture into my painting. I didn’t want to overdo this but rather create a subtle look of worn and battered leather. To further the idea of hard use I added some orange/brown to the bottom edge of the loincloth. After all I don’t imagine a Troggoth’s loincloth would stay fresh and dainty for very long!

The palette of colours I used to paint the loincloth and bones.

The final touch was to paint the bones that are tied to the loincloth and here again contrast was key. Obviously the lighter bone colour would stand out against the loincloth but there were other factors to consider too. The highlights on the bones, and teeth, are warmer than the highlights on the rest of the model as I used Flayed One Flesh rather than a Rakarth Flesh and white mix. Once again I had to keep the contrast subtle but it helps to make these details pop out.

The loincloth may be a relatively small detail but it gave me the opportunity to introduce some colour and texture contrasts to the model, I think it successfully contributes to the Troggoth’s overall impact.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Sproket did Troggoths in Nottingham.

I can’t believe it’s been almost a week since my Troggoth workshop in Nottingham, how time flies! The run up to the weekend was busy as I checked through my workshop notes making sure that everything was still up to date and relevant. Even a tried and tested workshop needs to be kept current and this was only the second time I’d done Troggoths. Having said that it’s become my favourite workshop to run because the Troggoth models are perfectly suited to the topics I like to teach.

On the Friday before the workshop I was able to indulge in a long held wish. I finally got to see the Slayer Sword Winners board at Warhammer World with my name immortalised in glorious wood! It was something I’d never got round to seeing for all the years it was on display with my 1990 win fourth on the list. When I won my second Sword in 2013 I thought my chance had come and, even better, I’d have my name at either end of the list. But before I could manage to get to Warhammer World the boards were removed as part of a refurbishment. It’s an unimportant thing really but I felt gutted! So I was delighted to hear that the boards were back and updated so that all five of my Swords were there. I know that gloating is not an admirable quality but I did allow myself a few moments, after all it’s been a long wait.

Saturday and Sunday were the workshop days and I had a full programme of teaching to get through. It was a busy two days for all and the time flew by incredibly quickly. That was helped in no small way by the venue. Lead Belt Studios is a fairly new venture but the venue and set up were ideal and facilitated a friendly and informal atmosphere that added a lot to the experience. On Sunday, in particular, with everyone relaxed and in full swing, there was a lot of (mostly) hobby related chat.
I’m not going to go into great detail about the workshop myself because Ross over at the has written down his own impressions of the weekend. He has said some very nice things about me but my main reason for sharing (honest) is that I think it’s more useful and interesting to get the views of a workshop attendee rather than my own.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Project P30 - Part 6. When inspiration strikes!

I’m a great believer in using real-world references for my mini painting. Most often these images will serve as a starting point rather than being a direct reference. But either way, the use of reference material can help to ground a fantastical paint scheme in reality giving it an extra edge.

Although I’m currently working on Troggoths my Nurgle Tank is also very much on my mind. The time when I will start painting it is coming closer and I need to get my ideas in place. I’m going to have to try and pull out all the stops, and the simple green colour scheme of my old Tank will not suffice.

I’ve decided to try a bolder scheme on my new Tank and make use of the, much increased, surface area by introducing lots of texture and patterning. I’ve already been collecting reference material that includes a range of reptiles and amphibians. So far so good but nothing had really inspired me, until this morning!

Taking advantage of the lovely weather I visited nearby Mottisfont Abbey. While walking around the newly restored walled kitchen garden inspiration struck! The gardeners at Mottisfont are growing a huge selection of gourds in preparation for an autumn festival. With their sometimes gnarled and knobbly surfaces and a range of bold stripes, splotches and speckles the gourds instantly grabbed my attention.

These, more than anything I’ve looked at previously, have something of the look and feel I want to create for my Tank. This is not to say that I want my Nurgle Tank to look like a giant pumpkin, although there’s a thought for Halloween! But the patterns and textures on the gourds give me a great starting point to develop my ideas from.

It just goes to prove that it’s important to keep your eyes and mind open for inspiration because you never know when it will strike!

Monday, 16 September 2019

Rockgut Troggoth – Part 3

Getting back into the swing of things can be difficult after taking a break from painting. Although I’ve been busy sculpting that hasn’t actually helped because the mindset is very different. As a result I’ve had a frustrating few days trying to warm up my technique and get back into a regular painting routine. At first things did not go well! My brush control did not come straight back and I had to re-familiarise myself with the colour palette I‘m using on my Troggoth. Thankfully I’m experienced enough to have expected such troubles and knew that the cure lay in perseverance. By sticking to a steady routine of two to three hours painting every day I’ve managed to work through the difficulties and get my painting mojo back!

I chose to hold off from finishing my Troggoth back in June so that I could use him in my forthcoming Nottingham workshop. He will help in demonstrating the later stages of the painting process, but that meant I would need a new model to demo the early stages. So, as well a getting back to painting, I’ve been making up another Troggoth. I’d forgotten just how versatile the kit is and all options can be a bit overwhelming. But this time I’ve decided to keep it simple and build a ‘basic’ weapon-free Troggoth.

I did this so I would have an uncomplicated demo model but I’m actually very taken with the result. As always preparing a model for painting is my least favourite part of the process and the Troggoths require quite a bit of work. Thankfully there is nothing too fiddly and all of the filling could be done with liquid filler, which made life a lot easier! Once the seams were sanded I gave the model a coat of grey primer and checked it over for any gap or flaws in my filling. This is a bit of fuss and bother but well worth the effort because any gaps, mould lines or seams that you miss at this stage will cause you no end of trouble later on!

Monday, 2 September 2019

Project P30 - Part 5

Every project has it’s steps and stages. Sometimes these are very obvious but at other times they may exist only in the mind of the artist. Either way they give a project structure and the feeling of progress. I’ve always worked this way myself because the habit of breaking a project down is, in my view, essential! In particular it helps when working on a large project, like my Tank, the scale of which could easily become off putting. Those thoughts of ‘this is getting nowhere’ can all too easily destroy momentum and enthusiasm, bringing everything to a grinding halt.

I thought it was time to show my Tank next to a roughly human sized
mini to give an idea of it's size. I hadn't realised what a beast it is!

I’m happy to say that such has not been the case with my Tank. I’ve set myself achievable goals by regarding this project as a series of distinct steps. That has given me a sense of progress and accomplishment, even though there is still very much more to do. That’s been invaluable because the most recent stage of development has been long and involved. I’ve had to keep on sculpting away in order to resolve the body and pose. It’s one thing to have an idea brewing away in your head but quite another to see it realised.

Although this part of the project could be divided into smaller steps, like the belly maw, I’ve had to stick at it to make sure all the parts work together. But, with the completion of the right arm, this overall stage is done! It now feels as if the bulk of the sculpting is accomplished and my initial concept is well on it’s way to being realised.

I recently discovered that, if I convert my pictures to black and white, the colour difference between the grey plastic and Greenstuff disappears. Tonally they are identical and it’s a great way to view my conversion and sculpting. With the distracting colour difference removed I can better judge my progress. 

I’m well aware that the last stage of the sculpting is likely to involve a lot of hard work. I need to resolve the back of the model and the union of the chimney/spine with the rest of the model. This is a key part of the concept as it’s an area that will feature a merger of biological and machine elements. But I’m very much looking forward to getting to grips with it as I have some ‘interesting’ ideas.

However I think it’s time to take a break from the Tank for just a few weeks. The project has reached a natural breaking point and I think It’s important to sit back, and take stock, before I move on to the next stage. That will also give me some time to get back to my Rockgut Troggoth in preparation for my upcoming Workshop in Nottingham. To tell the truth I’m looking forward to doing some painting after all that sculpting!