Saturday 22 December 2018

Sloppity Bilepiper Part 3

I’ve finally painted all of the flesh tones on the Sloppity Bilepiper and that’s enabled me to move on to painting the marotter. In doing so I’ve resolved the over all colour scheme and balance. The marotter is painted in muted tones but it features the same yellow/purple contrast with a green spot colour as the rest of the mini. In particular it’s the blue/green of the verdigris that gives a pop to the overall scheme at the moment.

I’d considered dialing down the slime effects on this mini (shocking – I know!). But the clue is in his name; so as the paint job comes together I will need to build in more slime, drips and goo. I must make sure my Bilepiper is suitably sloppity.

There are a fair few details to tweak here and there. In the most part that’s because I started this project with a fairly lose idea of the overall scheme. In spite of that the mini is suddenly looking a lot closer to being finished!

Friday 30 November 2018

Sloppity Bilepiper Part 2

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again ‘I don’t enjoy painting sub-assemblies’. The problems that can crop up, when glueing and filling already painted parts, play on my nerves. However, there are times when painting a model in sub-assemblies is the best solution. It’s something I’ll do when it’s the only way to get clear access to areas of a mini that, although partly covered or obscured by the addition of other parts, will be visible on the finished piece.

The Sloppity Bilepiper is an example of this scenario. On first inspection I thought it would be possible to assemble the entire mini before painting. However, I realised that the upper torso and the area featuring the pipes would be tricky to get at and might, as a result, look a little under painted. Although these difficult areas are often in the shadows I would rather paint them as such by choice rather than omission.

With the decision made to work in sub-assemblies, I first painted the head and the main body separately before I glued the head onto the body. The next element to deal with was the bag of the ‘gutpipes’ and the arm holding them. This was all fairly straightforward as the only visible seam was in the crease between the upper arm and shoulder.

All of the seams, visible or otherwise, on the sub-assemblies were filled with a 50/50 mix of water and PVA woodworking glue. I’ve used this mix before when dealing with a visible seam between painted elements of a mini, most notably on my Megaboss. It can take a few applications to fill even a small gap as the mix shrinks when it dries. However it’s worth the effort as it dries to a semi transparent matt finish that camouflages visible seams most effectively!

When I talk about PVA wood glue this is the stuff I'm reffering to.
It's been a stapel item in my toolbox since I was in my teens and
I've used it in one way or another on almost all of my projects!

My troubles started when I turned my attention to the pipes! I base coated the pipes and then applied a wash and highlight before glueing them in place. This meant that any really tricky areas already had a ‘basic’ paintjob. While no part of the pipes proved inaccessible they were extremely fiddly to paint.

I rapidly found this part of the mini very frustrating. A problem made worse by boredom. I’ve never been very good at painting multiples of the same things because I quickly get bored and once I’ve painted something I like to move on and paint something different. It’s an issue I have to deal with on most projects at some point. A typical example would be the soul stones found on GW’s Aelves and Aeldari minis.The pipes really shouldn’t have been that much of a problem, but they very nearly got the better of me and I very quickly began to hate them!

In truth my frustrations were more to do with the upheaval and disruption following Mark’s stay in hospital and his ongoing recovery. As we tend to take things on a day-by-day basis I’ve not been able to establish a regular and consistent routine. I’ve come to realise just how much I like to plan ahead and organise my days and weeks. It’s going to take a while to get everything back to ‘normal’ in the mean time I’ve had to work my way through a tricky patch and remember not to dwell on problems and frustrations. After all mini painting is my hobby, not my job, and I do it for pleasure!

Once the pipes were (finally) painted things took a definite turn for the better. I’ve been able to get back into the habit of painting every day. Even if it’s only for a short time it’s made a huge difference and I feel like I’m making steady progress. Better still I’m really enjoying the project again and I’m feeling pleased with what I’m achieving. The Sloppity Bilepiper is a mini with great potential and I’m beginning to think that I might now be able to do it justice!

Sunday 7 October 2018

Sloppity Bilepiper Part 1

After all the upset and upheaval that happened over the summer it feels very good to be painting minis again! I’ve not been able to establish a regular routine for my painting as yet but that’s to be expected. With Mark at home recovering (and not yet fully able to enjoy his retirement) life is still a bit topsy-turvy for us both.

Bearing this in mind I decided to start a ‘fun’ project that would not require too much concentration and time. Horticulus Slimux and Mulch most certainly will and I’ll need to be fully back up-to-speed before I return to them. As it happens I already had a Sloppity Bilepiper assembled and base coated because I’d intended to paint him before the Isharan Tidecaster grabbed my attention. The Sloppity Bilepiper is the perfect mini for my current needs.

As well as being a fun miniature it hads the advantage of providing me with some familiar Nurgley subject matter. That meant that I could just dive right in and get painting. I’ve used the same techniques on the Bilepiper’s flesh tones as I used on all my other Plaguebearers. The only real difference is in the colour palette I’ve used. Instead of featuring green as the dominant colour I’ve experimented with a yellow flesh tone. Yellow can be used as a happy cheerful colour and it somehow seemed appropriate for a creature infected with the comedic fever of the Chortling Murrain!

In practice the colours used vary little from the combination of red/pink, blue and yellow over a Rakarth Flesh base that I’ve used before for my ‘human’ flesh tones (see below). The difference is in the proportions of those colours. I’ve built up a series of glazes going from yellow (Games Workshop Iyanden Darksun) through red (Scale Colour Antares Red) to a dark brown (Scale Colour Black Leather). This gave me my global shadows and colours. I then built up the highlights over the glazes using a combination of Iyanden Darksun and Flayed One Flesh (Games Workshop). In addition to the highlights this stage is where I build up the textures.

With the bulk of the highlights and shading done I then went back to fine tune everything with further glazes and highlighting. At this point I’ve use a little of the red from the Scale Colour Inktense range to increase the saturation in some of the shadows and mid-tones.

Fingers crossed this project will help ease me back into a more regular painting routine and serve as a stepping stone to my bigger projects.

Monday 27 August 2018

The finished Isharann Tidecaster

Apologies for my absence! If you’ve been following me on Facebook you may have read that my partner Mark has been very unwell and in hospital for the past month. Obviously Mark is my top priority and I was effectively ‘offline’ for the duration.

Thankfully Mark is now much recovered and back home where he belongs. My hobby time is still limited but it’s time to start the ball rolling again. So without further ado here is my long delayed, but finally finished, Isharann Tidecaster!

Monday 16 July 2018

Isharann Tidecaster - Colour palette.

It became clear to me that I was not going to get my Tidecaster finished in time for the Golden Demon Age of Sigmar event at the end of June. To my own surprise I was OK with this because I'd rather finish her properly in my own time and to the standard I want.

I had a great time at the Open Day. I wasn't sure how I would feel, attending and not competing, but it meant I was far more relaxed than usual! I was able to enjoy meeting up with everyone and having a good old natter. It was nice not to have thoughts of 'how have I done in the comp?' running through the back of my mind all day.

The Tidecaster is now, in spite of the hot weather messing up my painting, very nearly finished. Before all is done I thought I’d share my thoughts about the colour palette I’ve used.

The colours used on my Tidecaster’s costume are primarily blue/green and gold. This could very easily look like a traditional High Elven colour scheme so the challenge is to give it a sinister twist suitable for the Idoneth Deepkin. I’ve tried to do this by keeping the colours dark and cold. That seems like an appropriate approach for a race who dwell in the cold inky depths.

Global highlight and shade

The first step in achieving the desired atmosphere is the selection of my global highlight and shade colours. I would usually feature a warm/cool contrast in these colours but in this instance both colours have a cool hue.

My global shade colour is a dark green/blue. I often pick Vallejo Dark Sea Blue for this but I wanted a matt finish so I have mixed an equivalent colour myself.

Global Shade mix: Scale Colour - Flat Black, Scale Colour – Boreal Tree Green, Scale Colour – Navy Blue and Vallejo Dark Sea Blue 
Global highlight colour: Citadel Layer - Deepkin Flesh

Sea Green

The dominant colour group on the Tidecaster is a range of blues and greens. Within this range I’ve used a variety of colours to suggest the shifting blue and green tones of an undersea environment.

Scale Colour - Boreal Tree Green  
Scale Colour - Boreal Tree Green Navy Blue  
Scale Colour – Caribbean Blue  
Citadel Base – Thousand Sons  
Citadel Edge – Baharroth Blue  
Citadel Layer – Kabalite Green

These colours have been used on the cloak, statuary, costume and the fish.

The blues and greens have been used in varying proportions over the entire model but especially on the cloak, statuary, costume and the fish. The foundation of the blue/green is a mix of Scale Colour Boreal Tree Green and Navy Blue. This creates a dark but extremely saturated hue. To lighten and brighten this mix I’ve used a combination of various blue and turquoise hues in my mid-tones.

It’s worth mentioning that many blue and green paints have very strong pigments that can easily overpower a mix. When using these colours proceed with caution until you can see how they behave.

Cold Gold

This sounds like a contradiction in terms as gold is usually thought of as a warm colour. However, the gold I am using on my Tidecaster has a comparatively cool hue. This is achieved by the combination of black and yellow and it results in an olive green mid-tone. This has a far colder hue than a gold with brown mid-tones.

Cold gold fits well with the cold blue/green cast of my overall colour palette. It also helps to create the darker, more sinister, feel I am after. In addition to a cool hue I wanted my gold to utilise an extreme range of tones going from pure black to pure white. This is by way of an experiment because I’ve never used such a strong tonal contrast in my NMM before. It also helps to create a hard and harsh feel to my gold reinforcing the overall atmosphere.

All of the metalics on the Tidecaster feature tiny blue reflection points in the shadows. These blue accents bring colour contrast to the otherwise monochromatic metals. They also unite the metalics with the colour palette suggesting the cold light of the overall environment.

I’ve used black shadows rather than my global shade colour for the gold armour in order to avoid the mid-tones becoming too saturated a green tone.

Base/Shadows: Scale Colour - Flat Black  
Mid-tones: Scale Colour - Flat Black and Scale Colour – Sahara Yellow  
Highlights: Scale Colour – Sahara Yellow and Citadel Layer – Deepkin Flesh  
Extreme Highlights: Scale Colour Fantasy and Games – Purity White.  
Colour accents: Citadel Base – Thousand Sons Blue and Scale Colour – Adriatic Blue

Flesh tones

The flesh tones are the warmest part of the colour palette but even these have been cooled down to reflect the undersea feel. I’ve used my usual ‘pale human’ flesh tone palette but I’ve left out any yellow tones. The theory being that the cool (blueish) light source will filter out the yellow tones.

Base: Citadel Base – Rackarth Flesh  
Shadow: Citadel Base – Rhinox Hide (a very small amount)  
Mid-Tones: Citadel Base – Rackarth Flesh  
Citadel Base – Bugman’s Glow  
Citadel Edge – Baharroth Blue  
Highlights: Scale Colour (Fantasy Games) – Moonray Flesh


The final colour in my Tidecaster’s palette is purple. This serves as a spot colour to bring a stronger contrast to the yellow and blues. I might have chosen red for this but purple fits better with the overall cool palette.

The purple I’ve use is Liche Purple (I found an old pot in the back of my draw) lightened with Flayed One Flesh and darkened with the global shade colour.

Friday 15 June 2018

Isharann Tidecaster Part 1

When I choose which miniatures to paint I do it by gut instinct. A miniature will grab my attention and inspire me to paint it. My best work has always come from that initial burst of enthusiasm, without which I would quickly lose momentum!

Over the years, I’ve displayed a distinct preference for certain types of models. I’m known for my Nurgle themed minis but I’ve also painted quite a few elves in their various guises. In addition I’ve been drawn to models with a nautical, or undersea, theme on several occasions.

So there are no prizes for guessing what this is leading up to because the recent release of the new Idoneth Deepkin was bound to capture my attention. After much deliberation I decided to paint the Isharann Tidecaster.

I’ve chosen this model first and foremost because I really like the ornate armour, dramatic pose and striking base. But I was specifically looking for a single character model to paint, rather than anything larger, as a comparatively quick project. Put simply it’s what I fancied doing before I return to Horticulus Slimux and Mulch!

The Deepkin are a fascinating new twist on the Aelves and their conflicted dual nature. Once there were clear choices between High, Wood or Dark Elves but now the old definitions are gone and the boundaries seem blurred!

Right from the start I wanted to go with a dark, sinister scheme for my Tidecaster something that would help to convey the idea of the cold inky depths. I also knew that my scheme would feature lots of saturated blue and green tones. This would reinforce the atmosphere while bringing some variation to a dark colour palette.

My overall colour scheme has a cool blue/green cast to it, evoking an under sea feel, but it needs some contrast. In order to give the blues and greens an extra pop, I’m using purple worked into the shadows. This gives my blues an oily/iridescent look. But the strongest colour contrast comes from the armour.

Silver would seem to be the obvious choice but I decided to go with gold! I wanted a little bling for the scheme and gold will certainly provide that. It also provides a strong colour contrast to the blue tones.

A potential problem with all this blue and gold is that it could look very ‘High Elven’ and ‘good’. That’s countered by the overall darkness and also by the gold tone I’ve decided to use. Like the Abyssal Warlord this model features a cold gold tone. I’ve also gone for a dramatic high contrast look with almost pure black shadows. This is something I’ve wanted to try for a while and the Tidecaster gives me the perfect opportunity.

The high contrast cold gold is a little tricky to get right but I like how it’s beginning to look in the context of the overall scheme. The Tidecaster is perhaps the least sinister looking of the new Idoneth Deepkin models but I think I’ve managed to catch something of their inner darkness with my scheme.

Next time I’ll look in more detail at the colours I’ve used in my palette to create my Deepkin colour scheme.

Tuesday 5 June 2018

Exploring contrast in miniature painting

I’ve just got back from a thoroughly enjoyable time teaching my second workshop at Element Games in Stockport. It was great fun but after 18 hours on the go, plus the five hour drive each way, I’m taking a couple of days to chill!

Understanding the importance of contrast in miniature painting and taking control of it is vital. Over the course of the weekend we examined different types of contrast, degrees of contrast and comparative contrast with regards to painting miniatures. Contrast is the foundation of every paintjob and it helps to create a focal point, impact, visibility, character and atmosphere.

While my workshop contained plenty of theory and demonstrations, I like to get everyone painting their own miniature as soon as possible! The aim was not to be going home with a finished miniature but to gain some useful theory, techniques and, most importantly in my view, experience. Painters can then build upon this experience and apply it to their own projects.

The focus for Saturday was on the use of tone and colour to create contrast.

We looked at:

• ways of establishing global lighting/contrast on a painted miniature

• colour theory and different types of colour contrast

• how tone and colour can be used to create an effective colour scheme.

On the Saturday evening I delivered a seminar titled ’10 top tips, tricks and techniques’. This was an illustrated presentation where I discussed some of my favorite ‘tricks of the trade’ and demonstrated how I had applied them to my own projects. In a new development from last year, Element Games live streamed the seminar via their Facebook page.

During Sunday we continued to develop the colour schemes we had created and explored other types of contrast using various techniques and materials. This included:

• painting texture and detail

• True metallic versus Non metallic metals

• Surface finishes - matt/gloss/satin

• a highly worked versus loosely worked finish and using this contrast to create a focal point

• adding textures and special effects to a painted miniature.

We rounded the weekend off by looking at ways of bringing together the different types of contrast on the same model to achieve a balanced effect and create overall impact.

I was impressed to see how thoroughly everyone committed to the weekend and applied themselves to the exercises I set. One of the most rewarding aspects for me was to see the total variety of colour schemes and types of contrast that the painters had created! No two Poxwalkers were alike but all of them utilized the aspects of contrast we’d discussed.

Monday 14 May 2018

Warhammer Fest and Golden Demon Classic 2018

I had a brilliant day on Sunday! In fact I can safely say this has been my favorite Warhammer Fest to date. As usual the day sped by in no time at all. But I managed to catch up with, and chat to a whole ton of great folk, and see some fantastic painted minis! I spent so much time talking I had a sore throat by the end of the day and had to partake of a little gin purely for medicinal, and celebratory, purposes.

Chatting to Slayer Sword Winner Angelo Di Chello about, among other things, Horticulus Slimux.

Of course the main focus of my day was the Golden Demon Classic but I very nearly didn’t enter it this year! I like to have a bit of structure to my painting year. I can, and very often do, change my plans; but, overall, I’ve a good idea of the projects I’ll be undertaking. However, my painting schedule got away from me last summer and I never really got back on top of it. Put simply I took on too many projects that I hadn’t planned for.

I did harbour the notion of painting a single mini for Golden Demon once Salute was done. But when that time came I realized that I needed to focus my energies elsewhere. Instead of painting another competition entry I turned my attention to my, rapidly approaching, contrast workshop at Element Games. I wanted to familiarize myself with the Poxwalker miniatures as this will be the first time that I use them in one of my workshops.

As I said back in early March ‘I’m going with the flow and enjoying my painting for it's own sake!’ and the Poxwalker proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable little project. I was turning him around in a short time but without deadline pressures or competition expectations. I was able to explore a colour combination/contrast that I’ve been thinking about for the best part of a year and the yellow/purple scheme took me out of my Nurgle colour comfort zone to good effect!

My poxwalker in gloriously grusome closeup!

As Warhammer Fest drew closer I began to regret that I didn’t have an entry for the painting comp. I was looking forward to the day but I also felt like I’d be missing out on the experience by not taking part. The soloution may seem very obvious but I couldn’t realy see it myself! I’ve a habit of being very focused in my thinking and I saw the Poxwalker as a demo model for my workshop. Even though he was finished, and I was extremely pleased with how he had turned out, I didn’t think he was a suitable mini for Golden Demon!

It took my mate Lee to point out the folly in my thinking so on the Thursday before Warhammer Fest I decided to enter my Poxwalker into 40K single mini. I instantly felt better about going but within ten minutes the pre show nerves kicked in, so then it really felt like Golden Demon!

I was hopeful rather than confident that my Poxwalker might do well, but I felt I was pushing my luck with such a ‘simple’ model. The temptation with Golden Demon is to go all out with the fancy basing, conversions and paint effects. I didn’t think that was wise, or appropriate, with this model and I was relying on the quality of my painting to get me through. But when all is said and done that’s really what it’s all supposed to be about.

Posing with my trophy for GW's photographer (it's a glamorous life) while Judge Max Faleij looks on.

My hopes were not to be dashed because the Poxwalker won Silver in a tough category, and I’m more than happy about it! Though physically tired I’m feeling inspired, refreshed and re-enthused for the painting year ahead! All in all the day has served me a valuable reminder that ‘success’ in my chosen hobby isn’t only about golden trophies and Slayer Swords.

There is a lot to be said for just doing your best and taking part!