Friday, 5 December 2014

Project Nurgle Part 3

Apologies for the hiatus in posting. You can definitely take this Nurgle thing too far! Having just recovered from a nasty cold I promptly came down with a worse one and experienced a flare up of my asthma. Suffice it to say that painting was further delayed. The post below was written just before I fell ill but I’ve only just gotten to the state where I’m thinking about painting and blogs. Hopefully I will be able to pick up my brushes and make some steady progress from here on. 

There has been a fair bit of positive chatter about the new Scalecolour paints from Scale75 so I’ve decided to give them a try. My main motivation was my increasing disappointment with the shiny finish I’ve been getting from Vallejo paints and I’d heard that Scalecolour dried to a matt finish. It’s still early days for me using these paints but my initial impression is very positive. They most definitely do dry to a matt finish – Hallelujah! 

With highly pigmented colours, a thick consistency and a matt finish, the Scalecolour paints are, to some degree, similar to GW foundation paint. The big differences are that they don’t have the same coverage, however, they dilute far better and with much less separation once diluted. They take a bit more stirring to mix with the water in the first instance, compared to other brands I’ve used, but this is a difference between brands rather than a problem. I will be experimenting with some acrylic thinner to see how this compares to water. The range of colours is excellent with some very interesting shades, and I’m looking forward to exploring their uses. Coverage is good although (not surprisingly) it varies from colour to colour. 

For the most part I’ve been using these paints as washes and glazes building up many layers of translucent colour, and they have performed very well when used this way. When it comes to laying down highlights, I’ve found them a little prone to going chalky but that may be down to the particular colours I’m using and/or the level of dilution. More experimentation and practise is needed. 

It’s taken me a while to settle down and get on with painting Gutrot Spume but, now that I have, I’m really enjoying myself. Having a new range of colours to explore has given the project an extra edge and is keeping me on my toes. The paintjob is still in it’s early stages but the colour palette is coming together with some ‘interesting’ results! 

Nothing in the picture below is finished as I’m working across several areas at the same time but the main colour contrasts I want are there. The turquoise base colour (Caribbean blue) for the armour provides a dramatic foundation that gives me a lot to work with in terms of brightness and contrast. But it needs a lot more work, some nuance and texture. I’m finding black leather to be a really useful colour in the shadows. It’s a dark, desaturated purple/brown colour that is helping to tie the contrasting areas together. 

Friday, 7 November 2014

Project Nurgle Part 2 - Blistering Barnacles

To put it simply: all my get up and go, got up and went. Just when I thought I was off to a good start, everything came to a grinding halt with the discovery that along with a Bronze Demon I also picked up a cold at Warhammer Fest! 

As it turns out the hiatus in Project Nurgle has probably worked out for the best. It’s given me some extra time to plan out my ideas and bring them into sharper focus. My recent Golden Demon experience has reaffirmed that I have a better experience (and achieve far better results) if I take the time to do a job to my own satisfaction. 

To that purpose, I’ve been doing the prep work on Gutrot Spume with some care by using a scalpel to scrape away the mould lines and then wet-sanding the scraped areas to smooth the surface. It’s fiddly and sometimes frustrating (I just want to get on with the painting); but it’s also a good way to study the mini and become familiar with it prior to painting. Like all the new plastic minis from GW the parts fit together in such a way that the joins are incorporated into the natural seams on the mini wherever possible. You could glue and then paint straight off, but a little bit of greenstuff in the joins really helps to finish off the assembly. 

As I said last time, I’m not doing a lot of conversion work on Gutrot. But a few little touches here and there will help to emphasize the nautical theme and give him a more unique feel. In addition to the scratch built trident, I’ve added a bell to his belt and a few barnacles to the armour. Bells work well as both a Nurgle and a nautical motif, and I’ll be adding them to the Blightkings along with more barnacles and the occasional tentacle. 


The biggest benefit I have gained from the delay has been developing my thoughts for the colour palette. With a Nurgle subject green will be a predominant colour; but I want to play on the nautical feel and include a lot of blue and turquoise tones within those greens. A touch of purple, here and there, will add some depth and nuance to the shading - and it’s also good for a bruised look. I want the flesh to be pale but I also thought it might be interesting to introduce some red tones. The idea for this came from looking at pictures of an octopus for tentacle reference and one of those pictures seemed to capture the feel I wanted for my colour palette. I don’t intend to copy exactly but rather use the image as an inspiration and a starting point in developing my own colour scheme. 


 I’m also experimenting with some new paints by trying out the scale colour paints from Scale 75. I’ve heard nothing but good about these paints so I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do with them. I think it will be a good exercise to move away from my familiar tried and tested colours and discover some new alternatives. Having said that Vallejo dark sea blue is probably going to be a key colour in my palette – how could it not be!

The paints shown below are my initial selection of colours and may well be changed as I start to work with them. They serve to provide a starting point for me to develop my palette.

Base Colour, Highlight & shade
Green & blue tones mostly for the armour
Flesh tones and warn shades to introduce contrast
 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Project Nurgle Part 1 - Gutrot Spume

With Golden Demon 2014 done and dusted my personal painting calendar has reached the end of another year. So a new painting year has begun with all the potential of a fresh start. Having a schedule of painting competitions spaced through the year has really helped me to focus and structure my hobby. For the most part I’ve found it a positive experience to have this ‘driving force’ to help me keep up some momentum. But recent experiences have also taught me that it’s all too easy to become a little too driven and too focused on competition results and deadlines. At the end of the day, I paint minis because I love to paint minis - and that has to remain my main motivation. So I find myself at the start of a new project with all the buzz and excitement that always brings me! 

I’ve been quietly pondering the idea of painting a Nurgle themed mini of some sort for a while now. I’ve got (very old) history with Nurgle and there have been so many developments in the hobby and in my own painting since 1990! I’m quite excited to find out what I could do now. When Games Workshop previewed Gutrot Spume, and the Putrid Blightkings, at Warhammer Fest, they had me hooked and reeled me in right there and then! 

My initial feeling is that I’d quite like to see if I could paint a unit for the first time ever. The minis are so varied that my usual reservation about painting lots of the same thing doesn’t seem valid. I may change my mind about this as the project progresses and maybe ‘Project Nurgle’ will end up as a diorama, or even just a single mini. But aiming for a unit seems to be a good place to start. I also intend to try and pace myself over the year with this one, enabling me to slip in a couple of other projects, between Nurgle minis. As I said earlier It’s a new painting year full of potential. Reality can (and will) kick in later, but this is the time to get ambitious. 

Reading the background for Gutrot Spume has provided the spark of an idea for how I’m going to approach these minis. So it’s time to get nautical! Gutrot Spume (I love that name!) is the master of the plague fleet and it’s from him that I am taking my main inspiration. I’d like to include a little conversion work in the project and I can already feel a generous distribution of tentacles coming on among the Blightkings. Tridents may also play some part in the proceedings. I’m particularly enthusiastic about getting a nautical ‘horrors from the deep’ feel to the painting and colour scheme while still remaining true to an overall Nurgle palette. There is plenty to work with here and I need to pull it altogether into a coherent and consistent whole. 

First of all I’m going to paint Gutrot Spume himself. This makes sense to me as he will be setting the tone for the entire project. I’m not doing too much conversion work on the mini, however, I have decided to swap his axe for a trident to add to the nautical feel of the mini. 

At first I considered putting something together from parts of other minis but I have now decided to build a trident from scratch. Taking a lead from the shape of the spikes on Gutrot’s shoulder. I put together a design for the trident in Adobe illustrator. I then printed this out to and glued it with PVA to a piece of plasticard. Rather than trying to cut this shape out straight away I made the job a little easier by drilling holes all around the edges before cutting along the dotted line. The resulting trident is crude to say the least but it can then be trimmed, carved, filled and sanded down to refine the shape. 

The pictures below show the main stages of the process. The final picture is an initial test fitting of Gutrot and the trident. I want to spend a little more time refining the trident but I’m happy with the progress so far. 

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Dark Eldar Haemonculus & Golden Demon 2014

Congratulations to all the winners at Golden Demon 2014. There didn't seem to be quite as many minis in the cabinets as previous years; but I thought it was a tough competition with a really high standard across all the categories. 

I'm so glad I decided to paint myself out of my post Euro blues by going into the Golden Demons. It was a lot of hard work in a short space of time. But I gained a great feeling of achievement by simply getting the mini to a state where I was happy to enter it into the competition. I didn’t think I stood much chance of a win, so I'm completely over the moon about getting a Bronze Demon for my Haemonculus. 


I'm now feeling really hyped up for next year's painting projects and I've even decided on what I'd like to paint for GD next year. There’ll be no more last minute projects from me for quite some time! It's been years since I've painted any Nurgle minis but the Putrid Blightkings and Gutrot Spume are saying 'paint me' loud and clear!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Dark Eldar Haemonculus

Sorry for the lack of updates on my self imposed two week mini painting challenge for Golden Demon - I've been very VERY busy painting!

So a painted mini in two weeks .... done!

I'm very pleased with what I've been able to achieve. There are lots of things I would have done diferently, and I hope better, if I had taken more time. But my goal was to paint a mini in two weeks that I wouldn't be ashamed to bring to Golden Demon, and I've pulled that off.

I wouldn't do this again in a rush as the pressure was a bit much at times. But as a one off challenge to myself it was an 'interesting' experience; and it's good to push yourself sometime to see just what you can acheive.


Friday, 26 September 2014

From Euro Militaire 2014 to Golden Demon 2014

I’m back from Euro Militaire with a bronze for Uncle John but Squarg didn’t get anything. I can't pretend I'm not feeling gutted but I guess that's the way the cookie crumbles. What saved the day for me was getting to meet up and socialise with so many painters and all round good guys! And I've come away from Euro with a modest but exciting stash of goodies, so I've got some really interesting projects to look forward to. The best bit of all was seeing my mate Andy win gold. I swear he was so happy he was floating a few inches off the floor!

Inspired, I’m getting straight back to painting and I'm starting a single 40k figure for Golden Demon. Or I will when it comes out tomorrow! This is probably the stupidest thing I've decided to do in a long time. The time scale is mental and I have doubts about being able to do a really good piece in such a short timescale (if I can finish it at all). But as I’ve decided to go to GD I'd like to at least try to take part. 

This means I have to try and paint a quality mini in two weeks – like I said mental!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Finishing Uncle John

With the parrot painted it was time to assemble the separate elements and finish off the Uncle John bust. As often seems to be the case everything came together very quickly in the end! My biggest concern was with how well the parrot would fit but, after a couple of dodgy test fittings, it slipped into place almost perfectly. There was a very slight space under the feet but a little dilute PVA flowed into the crack and filled the gap. 

I’d prepared a couple of alternative plinths for Uncle John in advance. I thought the best option would be a rectangular plinth with a tapered top but, because the parrot’s tail comes down behind Uncle John’s shoulders, the angle of the taper just didn’t suit (or fit) the bust. In the end a simple flat topped round plinth was the best option. 


In just three hours time I'll be heading off to Folkestone for Euro Millitaire and I'm as ready as I can be. Finishing off a project is often a slightly odd experience. It's usually a matter of deciding to stop rather than actually completing every possible tweak and adjustment to the peak of perfection. It's important to know when to stop and move on to the next project. 

It’s now been a year since I won the Slayer Sword and in that time I’ve completed four projects. Chee-Chee, Jason and the Golden Fleece, Squarg and Uncle John. With Chee-Chee and Jason I consolidated the developments I’d made while working on the Dark Eldar diorama. With both the Uncle John and Squarg miniatures, I’ve expanded my range of painting techniques by working with transparency over a light background and by the application of texture. 

I’m now very much looking forward to taking what I’ve learnt and developing it further. For my next project I’m going to be painting Commodore Borgossa from LeBeN Studio. He may be a pirate but I can absolutely guarantee there will be no trace of a bloody parrot anywhere near this project! 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Painting Uncle John – Part 6


Polly is painted!


 I’ve finished the parrot with a sense of relief! Unlike the rest of the bust it felt like a struggle to resolve this part of the paint job satisfactorily, but I eventually got there. As I’ve said before I probably blundered with my choice of a lemon yellow base colour. Although now the parrot is finished, I like the vibrancy of colour that I’ve gained through having such a bright base colour - so it all turned out well in the end.

The other issue I’ve had was around painting the feathers. The sculpt is quite stylised; not least because it has been ‘blown up’ from it’s intended use as a 32mm scale miniature. That’s provided the challenge of deciding where to pitch my paint job between realistic and cartoony. It’s something I’ve continually had to play with as I’ve painted the parrot and, over all, I’m pleased with the final result. Painting this part of the parrot became a happier experience as things progressed, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

Now everything is painted I have to fix the Parrot onto Uncle John’s shoulder. Then I shall turn my attention to the long list of tweaks and adjustments I’ve been compiling as the job has progressed. This will need to be a considered process as some extra touches may well refine and improve things, but as we all know, it’s easy to go too far and over work a paint job.

When all the painting is finally done I’ll mount the bust onto a plinth. I’ve already prepared two alternatives, so I can see what works best for the bust. Then it’s a matter of making up some transportation boxes for both Uncle John and Squarg ready for Euro Militaire next Saturday. It’s going to be a busy few days! 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Painting Uncle John – Colour Palette

Now that I have the majority of the Uncle John bust painted it seems like a good time to talk about the colour palette I’ve been using. Unless otherwise stated all the colours used are from Games Workshop. (VMC has been used to show when Vallejo Model Colour has been used.)

The key colours for this particular palette are Xereus Purple and Dark Flesh (VMC). Broadly speaking the purple is used in the shadows and the Dark Flesh, in reality a shade of yellow, in the highlights. This is a high contrast colour combination and hopefully I’ve avoided the extremes and managed to achieve an energetic, but not violent, level of contrast. 

Uncle John’s costume and parrot are painted with the primary colours red, yellow and blue. This could easily result in an overly bright and cartoonish look but the colour palette I’ve used helps to provide an overall harmony. This is achieved by having common colours that are used in all the areas regardless of the apparent colour. The Dark Flesh and purple are the most obvious colours used this way but the entire bust employs a relatively limited palette. 

The Flesh Tones 


Unsurprisingly the flesh tones are the most complex areas with regard to the colours used. The flesh areas were painted first and have heavily influenced the overall colour palette. All of the colours in the flesh have been used elsewhere on the bust. 

I’ve broken the colours down into shadows, mid tones and highlights but the process was far more intuitive than step-by-step. The shadows were blocked in over the base colour to provide a bold foundation for the more subtle mid tones and highlights. The colours were then applied in many thin glazes and built-up using transparency. The colours were mixed together in many different combinations and used across all areas of the face. For example a Ratskin Flesh and Rakarth Flesh mix served as a shadow on the light side of the face but also features in the highlights on the dark side of the face. For the most part Rakarth Flesh is the lightest colour used on the highlights with only a very little ivory here and there. The Rakarth Flesh is a key colour in the flesh tones as it has a cool almost grey quality and helps to calm down and unify the brighter colours. 

Base Colour:
 Rakarth Flesh
Shadows:
Bugman’s Glow + Xereus Purple mix
 Mid-tones: 
Ratskin Flesh
Bugman’s Glow
Rakarth Flesh
Xereus Purple
Mournfang Brown
Evil Sunz Scarlet
Dark Flesh (VMC)


Highlights: 
Rakarth Flesh
Ivory (VMC)

Dark Flesh (VMC)

Shirt 


The shirt provides an area of neutral colour to contrast the brighter shades around it. Of particular note is the combination of Baneblade Brown and Xereus Purple in the shadows. These colours were mixed to create an interesting range of greyish/purple tones that I’m sure I’ll be putting to good use in the future.
 

Base Colour & Mid-tones: 
Rakarth Flesh

Shadows: 
Baneblade Brown
Xereus Purple

Highlights: 
Rakarth Flesh
Ivory (VMC)

Silk Tie 

  
The use of pure Enchanted Blue in the mid-tones gave the tie the intense bright blue I wanted. Adding purple and a few touches of Dark Flesh to the shadows helped to link the blue into the rest of the palette.

Base Colour: 
Enchanted Blue

 Shadows: 
Enchanted Blue
Xereus Purple
Dark Flesh (VMC)

Mid-tones: 
Enchanted Blue

Highlights: 
Enchanted Blue
Ice Blue
Ivory (VMC)

Waistcoat and Gold Trim

  
Yellow can be a challenging colour to paint but the addition of other colours from the palette has added interest and variety. The purple was difficult to incorporate into the shadows without creating a psychedelic effect but I overcame this with the addition of Bugman’s Glow and Dark Flesh in the mix and as separate glaze layers.

Base Colour:
Mournfang Brown & Iyaden Darksun mix

Shadows:
Mournfang Brown
Xereus Purple
Bugman’s Glow
Mid-tones: 
Iyaden Darksun
Bugman’s Glow
Dark Flesh (VMC)
 
Highlights:
Dark Flesh (VMC)
Ivory (VMC)

Ringmasters Coat.

  
I expected the coat to be tricky! Red can be a notoriously difficult colour to highlight but things went surprisingly well. This was partly the result of making sure that the highlights stayed in the orange part of the spectrum and avoided pink tones. But for the most part the red went well because I started off with a base colour in the lighter mid-tone range and most of the painting involved adding in the deeper tones and shadows. Working from light to dark really helped me to get the sort of red I wanted, and avoided any problems with chalky highlights.

Base Colour:
Merchrite Red + Xereus Purple + Evil Sunz Scarlet mix

Shadows:
Base colour
Xereus Purple
Rhinox Hide

Mid-tones:
Base colour
Evil Sunz Scarlet

Highlights: 
Wildrider Red
Dark Flesh (VMC)

Hat 


The hat has been painted using a combination of stippling and glazes. It was painted, for the most part, from light to dark.  

Base Colour: 
Rakarth Flesh

Shadows: 
Xereus Purple
Mournfang Brown
Dark Sea Blue (VMC)

Mid-tones: 
Mournfang Brown
Baneblade Brown
Seraphim Sepia

Highlights: 
Seraphim Sepia
Ivory (VMC)

The hat band was painted with Sotek Green. It was shaded with Xereus Purple and Dark Sea Blue (VMC) and highlighted with a Sotek Green and Ice Blue mix. Ivory (VMC) was added for the final highlights. 


Sotek Green
Xereus Purple
Dark Sea Blue (VMC)
Ice Blue
Ivory (VMC)

Deep Shadows

In a few areas I needed a very deep shadow colour. This was achieved by using a combination of Dark Sea Blue (VMC) and Rhinox Hide. These were used on their own and in combination with each other and the area’s predominant colour. 

Rhinox Hide
Dark Sea Blue (VMC)