Monday, 14 April 2014

Work in progress: Tyranid Exocrine

I've recently been commissioned to paint some more Tyranids, in the same scheme as the larger force I painted last year. This second commission will include an Exocrine, a Crone, Zoanthropes, a Venomthrope, Genestealers, a Broodlord and some scenery pieces. 

I enjoyed doing the scheme last year, so this is a welcome opportunity to return to it!

I managed to make some progress on the Exocrine this weekend, and here he is...

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Salute 2014

So, yesterday was the annual war-games show at Excel, London - Salute 2014.

I always try to go along to the show, to check out items that I normally wouldn't pick up or be aware of. This year seemed to be really well attended, both with visitors and with sellers. There were lots of demonstration games going on, lots of really nicely painted miniatures and some good deals for buyers as well.

It's shows like this that often remind us there is more to the war-games hobby than just Games Workshop... I was surprised this year to find that GW chose not to attend the show at all, and even Forgeworld appeared to have a reduced presence (mainly selling T-shirts, mugs and posters with items available for order). However, there was a huge range of independent games being showcased, with developers like Mongoose Publishing and Mantic in attendance. I managed to pick up some more Batman models (lots of sellers for Knight Models, which was nice as I don't know anywhere local to me that sells them), some Judge Dredd figures and a couple of Blightwheel miniatures. I'm certainly looking forward to painting the latter: unclose, the detail is awesome: I particularly wanted a Squire model as an objective piece for my newly-finished Imperial Knight.

The stand-out stall for me, however, was Prodos Games - developers of the new Aliens vs Predator board game and war-game. I chatted with some of the team, and they were really open in terms of talking about the new game. There were several finished sculpts available for inspection.

I was really impressed by the Alien Crusher (from Colonial Marines) - it has a nice weight to it!

Sadly, the beautifully painted Predator shown to the left of the photo had been dropped by a visitor earlier in the day, and so the foot was broken!

Some personality figures can be seen to the right of the photo.

Further examples of Aliens and Predators... Note the awesome Queen in the background - I handled this sculpt, and was thoroughly impressed by the level of detail.

In the middle of this picture, you can see a Weyland-Yutani Commando.

Here is the Predator Berserker - Prodos showed me the model alongside one of the regular Predators, and the Berserker is suitably scaled to be even bigger than a regular warrior!

Prodos were also showcasing some updated token sets and the board tiles. They explained that these had been redone, as they were unhappy with the originals. The examples at the show were really amazing; very detailed, very colourful. It's great to see a company listening to customers, and acting on criticism or advice. Overall, I'm really looking forward to the release of this game and feel confident it is in safe hands!

After a long day of shopping at Salute, I managed to get a couple of games of 40k in. This is a rarity for me!

I played a 2000 Ravenwing list, combined with an allied Imperial Knight and a small Inquisitorial contingent.

Of two games I played against my regular opponent, I won one and lost one so not too shabby. If anyone has any tactical advice on how to play Ravenwing, and in particular on use of the Darkshroud, feel free to drop me a comment...

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Finished Imperial Knight: House Terryn

Hopefully the reason for my lack of updates in the last couple of weeks will now become clear...

I've been building and painting an Imperial Knight! This has been a whole heap of work...!

I decided to go with House Terryn - the most common GW scheme - because I haven't used the darker GW blues so far and liked the red and blue interplay. It was a choice between Terryn or a free blade in the end, but I couldn't stomach the additional cost for the transfer sheet!

I was initially going to use an airbrush on the metal skeleton and armour plates, but eventually went with standard brush work. The model is just about manageable with a brush, but keep your paints diluted and do multiple layers. I actually used Army Painter Platemail on the metallic parts, because it takes washes so nicely and highlights well with a dry brush of Necron Compound.

I added weathering all over the model. The gold was weathered with Runefang Steel, and all exposed areas were treated with MIG weathering compounds. I especially added pigment to the feet and the banner - this would be totally drenched in mud in reality...

The battle cannon was treated with black soot and other brown pigments, and has a kill-sign on the base of the barrel.

I used Tamiya masking tape to achieve the stripes of the shoulder - it was easy to do, and I added chipping with a sponge. Worked well!

Here's the upper carapace. I added lots of weathering here, but in a different style to the lower portion. Here, the paint is chipped and fluid has dripped from pipework. The ladder rungs are chipped and rusted in places.

The huge chain blade - note the weathered arm sections. I used the new Tyhus Corrosion in places - this is a nice semi-wash paint, which looks good against silvery metals.

The back of the model highlights the weathered metallics. Note the extra resin pieces of the base - taken from the old Planetfall resin objectives set.

A close-up of the legs - some metalwork was picked out with Runefang where it would naturally be exposed.

Another view of the battelcannon. The kit comes with a very nice A3 transfer set - these era high quality, easy to use and have lots of variety. The main Knight Houses are covered. I found it easy to apply even the larger decals on the legs and shoulder pads, then used Vallejo Decal Finish to seal them (a great product). Chipping was done with a sponge.

The metalwork of the battle cannon arm.

Another view of the banner, listing the Knight's many battle honours.

Another view of the head - the eyes are just visible under the mask.

The shoulders - note the very weathered striping and battered gold effect. I used Vallejo Liquid Gold (Old Gold) on all gold portions, but on very large areas it can look a little unnatural with just a wash, so I added silver chipping.

Finally, here's a view alongside the Riptide and Nemesis Dreadknight - highlighting the enormous bulk of the model. This kit was a lot of work, but I really enjoyed it. The process was a bit of an endurance test at times, but a logical work attitude yields good results.

Is it worth £85 from a GW retail store? Probably not. The Riptide is £45, and just check out the difference in size. I wouldn't pay retail for one, but there are plenty of online stores with deals on these models. Check out Darksphere for a decent price and reliable service.

What's next? I'm going to do a piece on my Imperial Guard, aka Astra Militarum, army soon. Looking forward to the new codex, even if it will have some changes. Also have a large Tyranid commission from a loyal client of mine - expect some posts on that very soon as well...

Sunday, 30 March 2014

On the workbench: Imperial Knight

There is a reason for my absence from blogging - firstly, my day job has been busy and painting time has been at a minimum... But secondly, these pictures should say the rest...

I've started the first stage of my Imperial Knight! It's a whole lot of plastic, and a whole lot of work, but I think it's coming together nicely. The skeleton is nearing completion, and as you can see I've made a base for it as well.

I'm going with a fairly typical "box art" approach, but with my own spin so far as weathering and extras goes. This is going to be a heavily worn, very well used, Knight!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Tutorial: Painting digital camouflage on a Tau Devilfish - part 3

Stage 9:Paint fine details
I confess that I forgot to photo this stage! But it's easy to describe: apply any decals, via your chosen method. Paint small details like glass view ports etc.

Stage 10: Apply chipping
This is a fun and easy stage! I used a sponge to apply small chips across the model. Basically, take a dark(er) colour and dip a small piece of sponge into it. Using tweezers, dab this across your model.

I used Rhinox Brown, and went further by highlighting the chips. Take a lighter colour than your base coat, and a detail brush. Paint the underside of each chip to simulate depth.

This stage can be skipped if you are in a rush!

Stage 11: Apply weathering powder
With weathering powders, it's important to apply them in the appropriate order, and to build up layers. Don't use huge amounts and then be surprised when the model looks unreal. It's better to build them up with various colours, carefully, using multiple fixative coats as well.

I prefer MIG weathering powders. I applied powders to the exhaust vents and other areas that would generate heat. I sealed those areas with a dab of MIG "Pigment Fixer".

Then I went round the model again, applying more weathering powder - mainly to the underside but all areas which would attract dirt. Again, I fixed this.

Stage 12: Seal with varnish
Seal the model again with another thin coat of varnish. This will protect the wash we applied earlier, and also the weathering powders - if you game with your models, these are very prone to coming off if you don't seal them properly.

Here is the finished model...

I inverted the colours on the engines, to add some variety. Note the heavy staining on these parts.

Metallic parts were painted with a dry brush of Necron Compound, followed by a heavy wash of Nuln Oil; this creates a really dark metal.

I will be adding the drones later...

 The rear of the vehicle - both heavily chipped and weathered...

This shot shows the underside. In applying the weathering powders, I did so directionally: simulating the movement of dust and grit as the Devilfish hovers.

That's it for now - a fast and easy way to paint weathered tanks and vehicles!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Tutorial: Painting digital camouflage on a Tau Devilfish - part 2

Stage 6: Apply varnish
Do a quick pass over your model with a satin or gloss varnish - this will protect your paint job and help the wash in the next stage...

Stage 7: Apply a wash
There are lots of ways this could be done - I'm a big fan of Citadel Shades, for example, but wanted to try something darker for this project. On large tanks like this, I like to use MIG Productions "Dark Wash".

This is an enamel wash. Simply load up your brush, and set it to the grooves and recessed parts of the model. The wash flows right off of your brush, and into the detail. This can be messy, but you will be left with something like this:

Remember to wash your brushes well after using this wash - it will ruin expensive brushes, so use something cheap for this part. 

Stage 8: Clean up wash
This stage demonstrates another nice quality of the MIG enamel washes. You will need some thinner - I recommend MIG "Thinner for Washes."

Take a piece of sponge (from a blister pack is fine), and dab it into the wash. I use the inside of the thinner bottle, as the thinner evaporates really quickly. Using the sponge, wipe the exposed armour plates. This will leave the shading in the recesses, whilst removing the excess wash. A side effect is that it also stains the whole model, giving you a weathered and dirty overall look.

Next up: the finished model...

Friday, 14 March 2014

Tutorial: Painting digital camouflage on a Tau Devilfish - part 1

A while ago, I bought an interesting new product called Mask FX from Critical Mass Games - available here. Available as standard digi-camo, or now a variety of other cap types, this product is marketed as a quick and easy way to apply camo with spay cans or airbrushes. I decided to try this out, and over the next few days I'm going to be posting a tutorial on applying digi-camo.

The product really works! I'd highly recommend it! I actually wanted to do something like this on some armour portions of an Imperial Knight, but decided to try out the technique on a Devilfish before hand. My aim was to paint up a really dirty, very weathered transport; I wanted the camo to look sharp, but also hastily applied.

Using this masking product is all about planning. It's important to plot out hat colours you will use, and the order in which they will be applied. I wanted a mainly grey-blue tank, so worked that as my primary colour.

Stage 1: Undercoat
I started, unusually, with a white undercoat. Nice and solid, applied with several loose and thin coats.

Nothing to see here - move along...

Stage 2: Apply mask
Next, I broke open the Mask FX and some tweezers.

The tape comes on a backing plastic, and you simply pull it off and apply to your model. Be careful not to damage the tape, although it is quite durable. Make sure that you apply it with some pressure to your model - especially if you have curved armour sections etc.

Here's the model as it should look. Note how only the taped sections will end up being white - an example of carefully applying colours. The finished model will actually have little white on it, only the taped sections.

Stage 3: Spray second colour
I simply sprayed my model again, with the next colour of choice (in this case, a flat grey).

I actually used spray cans for this project, but it would work much better with an airbrush. It's basically too cold in my area of England at the moment to use my airbrush outside, so I went with what was at hand!

Once this is dry, go back to the Mask FX and apply more tape pieces to the model. Only those parts left concealed beneath the tapes will be left grey.

Note that the underside of the tank was left white. This was deliberate: I liked the idea of weathering up the white, and leave it like the underside of an aircraft (commonly left white).

Stage 4: Last colour coat
The third and final shade is then applied - in my case, Army Painter Wolf Grey.

Stage 5: Remove the tape
Let your model dry! This is important, as otherwise the tapes might left off some of the paint. This is especially crucial if your using spray cans...

I would suggest tweezers are again the best option. The Mask FX should just peel off with little resistance!

You'll be left with something like this...

Note that you will probably have some errors after the tapes are removed. If your chosen vehicle has curved armour plates, like this Devilfish, this might be quite pronounced. This is easily fixed by going back over your camo and touching up mistakes with a brush.

Next instalment: adding shading with a wash...