Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Warhammer Bestiary: Treeman

At last, the Easter holidays have arrived. Sixteen days of uninterrupted relaxation and contemplation time. Yeah, right! Two kids and a wife will make short work of that but as much of my time as possible will be spent at the painting table working through the huge pile of models I have selected for painting in the coming weeks. I have also just dropped nearly £50 on some choice pieces to add to my orc and McDeath collection.So I am looking forwards to painting them up too. 

Now, back to normal service and time to delve into another addition of my self-imposed painting challenge - A Warhammer Bestiary. The premise is simple if you are unfamiliar with it: to collect and paint a single model for every entry in the Warhammer fantasy Battle Third Edition rulebook. Last week, it was the turn of the giant. This week, as you will have already seen, its the treeman. And yes, I know I have jumped ahead a bit, missing out a minotaur and ogre. I will catch up with them shortly. 

Regular readers will know that I struggled with this model a couple of weeks ago and couldn't produce a satisfying finish. Looking back, I realised that there was nothing wrong with the painting technique itself. It was colour choice. Friends, such as Stuart Klatcheff, suggested I went for a Autumnal scheme, making use of oranges and browns for the problematic beard. But in the end I returned to my original intention of using green. 

It was colour harmony that came to my rescue. Mixing in a little of the base colour for the wood of the treeman into the green mix helped even things out to my eye, and I now have a model that looks the way I wanted it to. The tree man is, essentially, just a two colour job. This makes for a rather challanging task in my opinion, as if you get one of the colours wrong - the whole model looks wrong and you have to star again. 

What do you guys think?

Right, onwards with the project. A minotaur next...

Thursday, 26 March 2015

McDeath: Speed Painting Mogro Neckbreak

Warning, this may cause addiction. 

Yes, speed painting may become an obsession. You may start arranging your paints into 'homebrew' triads of your own (or covet Foundry's excellent range), deep searches of the lead pile will be mounted in search of that 'perfect miniature' for the job or the dreaded of dreaded... You may trade the family silver for a Citadel sheep as it requires only two real colours!

I must admit to having spent most of this week pondering over which model to tackle next in my new found love of speed painting. My self imposed rules are simple: the selected model can be based and undercoated before starting work, a hair dryer can be used for obvious reasons and the model must be finished within one hour. It seems simple, doesn't it? Well, it is - but its also great fun... And did I say it is a bit addictive too?

So addictive that I had another crack at a model - though this time I opted for a black undercoat. Looking at Mogro, you can see why - most of him is swathed in chainmail! So it was fairly simple to drybrush him up (using Foundry's triad for chainmail, strangely enough) before using a little black ink to create some more distinct shading around the equipment and folds. 

Next up I tackled the skin. This was just straightforward layering. I started with a base of Goblin and Snot green - before working up the highlights by adding larger amounts of rotting flesh. As part of this process, I blobbed on some dark purple in Mogro's mouth - using the lightest green mixed in with the base purple to highlight it up quickly. Foundry's bone triad made quick work of the teeth and axe handle. 

By this point I was about half way through my time. I decided to use a spot colour on the belt - and selected a dark red. Again, simple layering worked this up in a few minutes with Blood Red and an orange being used to highlight straight out of the pot. It did the eyes at the same time. Mogro's helmet took longer and nearly destroyed my chances of getting the model finished in time. I wasn't at all happy with the contrast after the drybrushing, so repainted it with about twenty minutes to go. I sued gold as a base. Washed over with black (dried with hairdryer) and then washed again with a verdigris colour I mixed from various blues and greens. Again, the hairdryer meant that I was ready to highlight within seconds and used gold to pick out the edges. Remembering the belt, I quickly worked up the buckle in the same colour. 

By this point I had about ten minutes left on the timer. And the shield hadn't been started and the shoes still needed work! Grabbing an old Bestial Brown, I blobbed it down on the palette on top of the still wet orange paint. It took a fair while to cover the shield in the base (leaving the black highlight for contrast) but was fairly simple to add a bone colour to help create several rounds of highlights. With seconds to spare on the clock, I grabbed a grey and smeared a quick highlight onto the shoes - covering the silvery flecks left by the drybrushing - and my time was up. 

The model was finished but I hadn't done anything with the base. So that was tidied up later. Looking back, I really enjoyed the challenge with this model and I think Mogro stands up to the other orcs I have in my collection. I am already looking around to think about what to paint at speed next!! 

I am please to report that two other Oldhammer veterans have had a go at a similar challenge. There may be more of you out there? And if there are, I would love to see what you achieved in an hour. The first contender was Jon Boyce, over at Magpie and Old Lead, who produced this rather noble looking Rogue Trader tech-priest/medic bloke. Have read of the link above for further details on how he achieved this in an hour. 

Then came Welshman extraordinaire and wearer of yellow fleeces, Steve Casey, who had a crack at one of the most bizarre Citadel sculpts ever to grace the pages of White Dwarf. The infamous 'Slugman'... Take a look.

Anyone else up for it?

Monday, 23 March 2015

A Chaos Sorcerer Repair Job

I have been stuck at home today with my son. He was sick during the morning and was unable to go to school. With the wife already at miles away, it was me that had to phone up work and give them the good news. Jack was quite shaken by actually vomiting, and wanted cuddles and conversation for most of the morning. We had a great chat, and I was telling him all about the old toys I used to play with in the 1980s: He-Man, Action Force, M.U.S.C.L.E.S, and Star Wars. Going over all those memories again let me see just how enriched we were all with sci-fi and fantasy back in the 1980s. Perhaps that explains my (our) obsession with these little lead men, eh?

After a while he fell asleep, and with the housework done and the daughter at Nursery, I snatched some time to finish off this miniature and take a few photographs before Daddy-Daycare was required once more. 

I bought this mini for £1 the other week. It was broken, with the strange staff snapped off. I had previously set about carefully drilling out a hole in each part and pining the model together once more. This particular sorcerer has always been a favourite of mine and I was pleased to finally get hold of him. He appears, if you look carefully, in several of the colour photographs in Warhammer Third Edition. Considering I have spent nearly thirty years gazing at all those figures, its no surprise that I love tracking them down after all this time. 

The paint job was a simple one and I don't think I spent longer than a couple of hours on him in total. I started with the bone armour (or face and body if you swing that way) painting it all Boneyard 9A from Foundry. I washed over with a black -wanting something a little darker than normal to bring out the detail. I used the rest of the triad to work up the armour in a simple, but delicate, bout of painting. The fluffy shoulder pads were again worked up with the Boneyard colour, only they were washed with watered down chestnut ink and highlighted up to white in places. 

Then it was a simple case of using the Boneyard colour for a third time to work up the cloak. I added a green 'thingy' to the end of the staff as a spot colour, though I used Boneyard 9C to highlight up to ensure the colour harmony remained. Orange was used to add further variation with the pouches, bag and scroll.

A brilliant sculpt from Jes Goodwin. They paint themselves don't they? 

Night Horrors! Devil: The Speed Painting Challenge

Whatever happened to speed painting? I remember it well as a fascinating (and entertaining) experience that slightly older players then me partook in the late 1980s. The premise was simple. You had one hour to paint a model as well as you could in order to grasp a chance to win a prize, usually a couple of blisters or a box set from the stock wall. 

Of course, I never got involved back then. I knew my painting was crap at the best of times (and when I had put in a couple of hours as a minimum to boot!) and I really did wonder why I couldn't achieve a finish like Mike McVey or Tim Prow. The answer was of course a simple one - my method of painting was to undercoat in white, paint in the block colours and wash over with a black wash. Then paint the base green. 

It wasn't until much later (after I returned to the hobby in 2004) that I was able to master the techniques I had found so fascinating and produce work that I was pleased with. But speed painting was never far from my thoughts and is one of the major influences on my painting style for Oldhammer. I have a lot of miniatures. I mean A LOT. And call it naive of me, but one far off day I would like to have painted most of them. And actually play games with them. I am no hoarding collector whose McDeath miniatures reside inside a cupboard - only to see the light of the silvery moon once a year, during secret nocturnal visits to 'storage.'

So speed is the key in my technique and I am pleased to say that once I get going I can finish two or three 28mm size miniatures a day or one big thing. Sure, there are exceptions, but it generally takes me a couple of hours to get a mini finished to my satisfaction. 

But I have always wondered what I could achieve if I set myself a time limit.

So I did - and the Night Horror Devil you can see above is the result of that challenge. I selected this particular figure because I really enjoy the range, though I am no determined collector. I have a number of models from the series, and from time to time I like painting one up. They are too useful in scenario based games to pass up. They also look great on the painted miniature shelf. 

So I scrabbled around for that old chess timer we found in the garage when we first moved in. And gave up after about ten minutes. Remembering that we live in the internet age, I Googled a website that had a timer (which displayed how long you had left brightly on the computer screen as well as the total time that had passed) and set it to one hour.

And I was off...

The Red Devil you can see above was the result of that challenge. Is there some trick to photographing red? As I struggled to capture the finish on the model with the simple set up I use. Namely, set up my models while wife,kids and lack of light threaten to disrupt it all - and snap away frantically. My orange highlights were better defined than the camera suggests - but what the hell, eh?

He was painted very simply. Over the undercoat of white (which can be preapplied in my speed painting rules) I based the whole model with a dark red. Using a far brighter red, I highlighted the limbs in stages (adding orange and finally yellow) to the mix. These layers were accompanied with drybrushing over the furry places on the model's surface. My final highlight was pure orange, watered down considerably. Glancing up at the timer, I noticed that a fair chunk of the time had gone by at 32:12. 

Next, I painted the base green and whipped out the black paint, using it to tidy up the hooves, mouth claws and skull. By the time I had finished this, the clock read 37:40. Using the Foundry triad system really helps speed things up, so I reached from my 'bones' triad and painted the teeth, claws and skull quick quickly. The skull took longer, obviously, and I help differentiate it from the white of the claws with a little watered down orange. Once complete, I had just under ten minutes left, and so I mixed in the black with the still wet bone shade and used the grey to highlight the black. Then the base was drybrushed and inked. 

Finished! Total time? 56:49

All in all, I am happy with the result. Having just the red to paint helped enromously, and I will be intrigued to see how much the 'look' of the final model will different when there is more to achieve. But it was, as I am sure you will agree, a great starting point for pushing my painting envelope with time trials. 

Any one else in the Oldhammer Community fancy having a go? I'd love to see your attempts at finishing a model in under one hour. My top tip? Choose your miniature wisely!! Oh, and use a hair dryer to speed up drying!


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Acceptable in the '80s: Marauder Undead

Right then, back on track with the ACTUAL chronology of Warhammer Third Edition releases after our little foray into the world of Wayne England's classic old school dwarf miniatures. Now, wasn't that a sentence? Actually, while we are on the subject of Wayne's dwarfs, I can share with you this - Wayne has told me that he is working on a new dwarf army even as we speak and hopes to have something to show soon. 

So look out for that if you are a fan of his work. 

Onwards then... Today we discuss the Marauder Undead Contingent released in WD 136 in 1991. Looking at them now, its hard to see through the rather basic paintjob isn't it? But then again, the old addage goes - 'don't judge a book by its cover' and I suppose its relevant to model soliders too! Sure, the paint job presented in the photograph leaves quite a bit to be desired, based on past Citadel glories, and whiffs faintly of the yet to come 'Red Period', but its not that bad! I mean, the banners are quite good and there was even a photocopy version of each on the associated WD article (see below). 

Personally, I don't like the monopose regiments of archers and Grim Reapers, though I know a number of well known wargamers (the famous Harry from Warseer for example) who really enjoy building and fielding units in this way. I remember enjoying one of his games from the sidelines once, and he took me over to a unit and was very passionate about the way the same model created the 'look' he was after. I expect that there will be a fairly equal number of gamers out there from both camps.

The skeletons are much more up my street here and I wish there was a closer shot of them. I like the way the banner and shields tie the unit together in such a cohesive way. 

White Dwarf also carried a little painting article alongside the models. Look at that! Words! There are probably more words on that single page than in entire modern White Dwarfs. 

Now if you were a follower of Marauder releases, you would have no doubt recognised most of the figures in the contingent. Look closer and you can see that the leader of the force, a Necromancer, is a new sculpt. The page below shows you in glorious monochrome what the rest of the options for leader were - a liche and a vampire respectively. Oh, and a couple of wights. 

I doubt that I'd ever consider collecting this range. I just have too many old school Citadel skeletons to ever need any more, apart from a few more archers perhaps. But I am sure these unique models have their fans. 

Are you one of them?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

A Warhammer Bestiary: Giant

A Warhammer Bestiary is my attempt at painting a model for every race described in the Third Edition rulebook. So, with the return of natural light and some progression towards actually having a 'weekend' I have decided to carry on with my challenge. If you haven't already done so, you may well want to click the link further up this paragraph to have a look at what I have covered so far. If you cannot be bothered to do so, then let me give you the short story.

So far, I have painted a model to represent everything in the 'Intelligent Races' section of the Bestiary. The model I am sharing today, a classic 1987 Citadel giant, is the first model in the 'Giant Races' section of the rulebook.

And what a model it is. 

Firstly, I need to thank The Citadel Collector, Steve Casey, for this model, as he was kind enough to pass him over to me for this project. So thanks again, Steve - my you find your Nuln Spearman one day!

Secondly, I hated this miniature. Utterly. I can remember reviewing the range some time back for my Acceptable in the '80s series. Let's see if we can find a link to that... 

Here's what I said about this model at the time:

"I just cannot stand the model of Bottle Snottle! Its the really, really crap hand, massively out of proportion to the rest of his body, that puts me right off. He looks like he has spent a long, long time in prison with a giant stack of 'magazines of gentleman's interest' and little else to pass his time. The fact that his weapon, a rather fetching stone headed club,  seems rather incongruous to the rest of the model cements the fact that this model is always going to be passed over in my collection."

I can honestly say that my opinion has changed of the sculpt. Though only after some extensive bending and shifting on my part (the model, not me) and some careful placing of his gigantic bone (careful, Chico). The hand that troubled me so much for being a little 'hello sailor' looks much better in its new position and the tilted weapon helps create a sense that this model is self contained upon the base. The example painted up on the original ad (follow the link above if you want to have a look at it) has the weapon dangling down onto the table surface itself. It looks awful like that.

Since writing about the release of these lanky lads, I have heard a tale or two from several ex-Citadel lunatics. Apparently, and this is a BIG apparently, the head of my model was based on Bob Naismith (he of plastic Space Marine fame) and the body, beer gut and all - was inspired by the Goblinmaster, Kev Adams. Now the sculptor of this giant is Nick Bibby, an artist with a reputation of capturing the unwary (often company directors!) in miniature form. 

So who knows - it could be true! The story goes on to recount that neither of the respected sculptors previously mentioned were particularly thrilled with their immortalisation in lead. Perhaps it was 'that hand'?

But this scruffy chap just goes to show that opinions can most certainly change - even about the models you think you totally loathe. Just wait and see... You might see Nagash pop up painted on this blog one day!

Or maybe not. 

So how did I paint him? Well, with paints actually. Though I used quite a range of manufacturers, utilitising modern Citadel Colour, Old Citadel Colour, Coat d'Arms, Army Painter, Windsor and Newton Inks, Citadel Inks and Foundry paints too. The model has stood at the half way stage since last year and only really took of after I had painted up loads of little models. I wanted something different to do.

I started with the flesh like I always do and just continued with the technique I have developed to handle skin. Start with a white undercoat, base with a flesh colour/brown mix and highlight up from there. I used very dark W&S ink to create the shadows in the joins around clothes and equipment. I was particularly pleased with the ginger hair. I used brown and orange mixed together to create the base and highlighted up with orange and yellow straight out of the pot - which is something I don't usually do. But the result was suitably eyepopping and helped me move away from the rather washed out gingers I have recently painted as the highlighters were created by adding Bleached Bone to the mix each time. 

The bone club weapon thing was very straight forwards. I used Foundry's Bone Triad over a Bleached Bone/Brown ink wash base. Quick, simple and effective. Try out some Foundry paint as soon as you get the chance if you haven't yet. The underarm barrel was also fairly simple - with a brown basecoat, brown ink wash and a Bleached Bone drybrush over the top. I painted the metallic rims, washed them in black and then highlighted them back up again. 

The trousers were more adventurous as I tried to develop my tartan painting in light of my McDeath style models. I think the finished result - though difficult to see in the photographs above - is much better than the approach I took with my recent clansmen. The rest of the giant's equipment was very straight forwards, and I used the classic formula of base, wash and highlight for each. I opted to go for quite bright pouches dangling from the belt as a nod to the E Number-like colour schemes of yesteryear. 

So to conclude, I am very pleased with the result. And working on a model of this size after so long was a real challenge. Next, Treemen...

Friday, 20 March 2015

Tim Prow's Mek: Then and Now

Who remembers this? It originally appeared in White Dwarf 132 and we have discussed it before in the linked article. Well, the model's creator, the infamous Tim Prow, has long threatened us on the Oldhammer Facebook Community page to take some more modern snaps of the piece.

And after much nagging, he has finally relented.