Sunday, 23 August 2015

Swamp Thing: Experiments in Dipping (part 2)

They say never to work with animals or scheduling... At least one of those things is true, but I always seem to mess up the scheduling feature on Blogger! This post originally appeared without the pictures; they've now been added!

Thanks for joining me for the second part of the dipping experiment.

To recap, Swamp Thing came out muted, undefined and a bit dark. Not good enough for a Knight Models miniature.

So, I went back into the figure and added a couple of layers of highlights.

Here's where things got interesting.

Swamp Thing was far less work than I'd thought. He's a big model, and after the dipping there were lots of interesting and organic highlights available to me. I went in with two skin highlights, and added highlights to the raised areas with one or two additional touches.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how Swamp Thing turned out. I'm never going to be a proponent of dipping. It's a technique which isn't for me: you can't control it, and the models have that characteristic "grubbiness" (or at least mine do). But on the right figure, and with an additional highlight or so, you can achieve some interesting results with dipping.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Swamp Thing: Experiments in Dipping (part 1)

Do you remember the whole "dipping" craze that was going around a few years back? Before washes became popular (and GW produced those nice shade paints), dipping with products used for gardening (and the more expensive Army Painter rebrand) were favoured by some hobbyists for instant results.

This isn't a technique that I have used very much, but it is something that I keep returning to. It's just a method that I've never really gotten decent results from, despite picking up the Army Painter Quickshade soft and strong dips. I can never seem to get the balance right; the shade pools, or doesn't provide enough definition, or comes out too shiny even after varnishing... The list goes on. And yet I see people producing good results with this technique online, and it seems a very fast way to paint up large models or regiments of figures.

I decided to try again on a recent Swamp Thing model that I picked up. He seemed an ideal candidate for this technique...

He was painted in bright GW basecoats, and then Army Painter Strong Tone was brushed onto the model. This is a dark colour, but not too dark. I've found that it's important to use very bright, vibrant colours with the dip, as it darkens everything. Basically go a shade lighter than you usually would, and expect everything to turn out far more muted after the process...

... this is the result.

See what I mean about lack of definition? Swamp Thing, like most Knight Models figures, has a lot of muscle tone and really nice sculpted detail. This is not defined by the dip. Maybe I should've gone lighter still?

Not entirely sold on it! So, I decided to add another layer of painting to the figure, but adding some highlights and additional shading to the miniature. I'll add this: you can paint over Quickshade, but you'll need a matte varnish to seal the figure (he came out very shiny after dipping). This I need, and opened the paints again...

Check back tomorrow for part 2 of the dipping odyssey!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Anvil Industry: Finished Republic Grenadiers

Phew! Finally finished and photographed the last few Republic Grenadiers, painted as a spec ops team...

We'll start with the most recent miniatures I painted. These are, I think Spectre Operatives - and I recall that they were part of a Kickstarter from Anvil Industries. I didn't sign up for that (sadly!) but my client did, and these models are a joy to paint. Lovely level of detail and very characterful...

The camo-shielding could be painted in lots of ways, but I went with a metallic finish to complement the black armour. I added a Call of Duty: Ghosts-style marking to the facemasks... I think this worked quite nicely.

Next, some of the regular grunts. Again, great models. They have lots of different weapon options, including an officer-type with a pistol.

And now some specialists. These guys have missile launchers and railguns. Nice models as well.

I particularly liked the missile dudes for some reason. The metallics really shine in these images; I dulled everything down so that the metals look concealed.

Finally, a group shot of the models altogether.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Adeptus Mechanicus: Kastelan Robots

When this set was first released, I did the unusual thing (for me) of buying it at full retail from a Games Workshop store! They are such nice models; probably the best "robot" type figures that GW has ever released.

I started playing 40k many, many years ago, and still have (semi?) fond memories of playing Rogue Trader (with its clunky rules and wayward army lists). The Adeptus Mechanicus robots had rules back then, but they were quite difficult to interpret and had limited models. Even so, like the Imperial Beastmen I still have great memories of those army lists... When the Kastelan set was first released, I just had to get a box and paint them up.

Many months later, here are the results.

The models are easy to assemble, and stand a decent size (similar to a dreadnought). There are fewer options in a box than some similar sized 40k models, and the arms and legs are effectively menopause, but they are just great figures. I love the aesthetic of a the classic robot...

I added weathering to the back plates with MIG weathering powders. The large open armour plates also invite lots of scratches, decal work etc. I decided to keep the weathering artist - using filled-in scrapes and scratches - rather than go over the top with battle-damage. I was tempted to do bright Runefang weathering around plate edges, but decided against that in the end.

Bases were done with Martian Ironearth. This is a strange paint... On drying, it produces a nice crackling/cracked earth effect. Great, I thought, I can base an army with it. But the paint almost immediately becomes flakey. I dry brushed with Kindleflame to add some depth, but after a couple of passes large clumps had fallen off.

In the end, I decided that simple Martian earth bases were also too monotone. What with the red armour, that's an awful lot of red on the same model. So I added some grass clumps (not strictly Martian, but hey; maybe they are fighting in a terraformed sector or something) and a piece of slate to each. These elements helped break up the base colours nicely.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Work in progress: Spectre Operatives from Anvil Industry

Just a small (and early) update today... Finishing off the last few Anvil Industry figures, and enjoying painting the Spectre Operatives...

Anyone like Call of Duty: Ghosts?

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Anvil Industry: More Republic Grenadiers

Managed to spend a few more hours on the Republic Grenadier project today. 

My client specifically requested grey fatigues, and black body armour. The colour scheme makes these models very difficult to photograph, but trust me that there's a lot of highlighting going on here! I struggled for ages with decent pictures; these were actually my best attempts...

The bases were also left blank at my client's request.

The Anvil Industry miniatures are really nice models to paint. They have so much detail, and really look the "special operations" part. There are ammo clips, power cells, pouches etc all over them.

I tried to take individual shots, but these were the most difficult to take. Here's a shot of a sergeant or squad leader; armed with a rifle and a pistol. It shows how the minimal colour pops on the model (I deliberately went with a really bright visor).

So what's next? Have a few more of these dudes to paint up (some heavier rifles, some in camo gear), then some of my own Adeptus Mechanicus models.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Anvil Industry: Republic Grenadiers

Today's post is a work in progress on a small commission I've just taken on: some of the excellent Anvil Industry Republic Grenadiers. My client wanted these painted up as Spec Ops troopers, with grey fabric and black armour.