Small Project: Agincourt Archer

Hello readers.

I haven’t exactly fallen off the bandwagon, but recently I have been feeling a bit unsatisfied with my painting. When I sat down and went through what I was thinking, I realised there were two factors:

  1. I have been painting a lot in bulk, and producing models that are not as good as I know I can do
  2. I have stagnated a bit on the more technical projects. I haven’t really looked into this one as much, but I suspect my recent push to “get stuff done” has resulted in a less perfectionist outlook, and less time to dedicate to individual models.

I therefore decided to have a go at an individual model, and chose one I built using a body and head from the Perry’s Agincourt French Infantry, with the arms and accesories from their English Army box. It’s not a kitbash because the whole range is supposed to work together, even though it comes in different boxes. The English box contains medium/lightly armoured bodies, so by using the “French” body I was able to make a heavily armoured household archer.

Agincourt Archer 1

I also decided to give him a scenic base, which gives him a sense of place without dominating too much. The elements of the base are simple, but I feel contribute to the sense of movement. I’m especially happy with the axe in the stake, a small detail that I think really makes it look “real”.

The painting itself was both a chance to consolidate on techniques and colours I was very comfortable on but also to experiment without feeling under too much pressure. Essentially of the main main colours the metallic and the gambeson (I think that’s the right word) were experimental, whereas the greys, reds and flesh were very much following old recipes.

Agincourt Archer WIP 2

Grey: warcolours blue grey, designed to contrast heavily with the warm white & red

Red: I’m not especially happy with my reds at the moment, but this was again Army Painter reds layered up

Flesh: I actually really like my custom flesh wash, which I used on this fella as well as a load of other historicals. With a final highlight of Warcolours Flesh 2 it really pops and helps it look natural. I do have to try reddening it a little bit though as I suspect that would have some interesting results

Leather: Vallejo Model Air tank brown and Army Painter Leather Brown layered up.

Bow: the bow was originally layered Warcolours Brown which are very orange. By mixing in some ochre I ended up with a brown wood colour I haven’t really used before.

Agincourt Archer WIP 3

White gambeson: this was the first thing I tackled and was really the point at which I went “eh fuck it, let’s go freestyle”. The off-white is a yellow brown, starting with Model Air Sand Yellow and working up with Iraqi Sand and Off White. The highlights were applied to the upper areas of texture, which were overall very soft features. In some areas the detail fell away and I had to use the highlights to create definition, thus a very crude form of freehand. This method really helped accentuate the texture of the cloth when combined with the next step. To add definition and contrast, I worked a very thin glaze of black-purple into the vertical divisions. It’s barely noticeable but it really pushes out the otherwise bland white. Use of contrasting colours is something I will be doing more of.

Metallics: the metallics were another area of experimentation. I highlighted a base of Army Painter Gun Metal with a 50/50 mix of Plate Mail Metal, and then shaded it using black weathering powder. This approach gave the metal a realistic depth compared to simple layer highlighting, which I’ve always struggled with.

Weathering: the final model got a going over with a variety of weathering powders to really make him look muddy. The base could have done with a little bit of water effects, but unfortunately I haven’t used them before and didn’t want to risk it on such a simple piece.

Overall, this little project gave me a chance to try some new stuff out without overwhelming me. Histoicals are nice like this: there’s no need to go crazy with colours or techniques to situate it in a time and place. This fellow is now property of a good friend, as I decided to give myself the deadline of his birthday to finish it, which I did.

So in summary:

+Have fun

+Don’t be afraid to take small steps in progression

+A simple plan helps a lot

+Went in expecting nothing, and ended up pleasantly surprised.

Following up from this guy, I have prepped two more historical dioramas, both duels. I’m nearly done the first one, so expect a post soon!

Thanks for reading!



Hello reader.

Recently I’ve been messing around with washes and I thought it might be worth sharing my thoughts and findings on the topic.

From my perspective a wash is simply a paint (pigment+binder) that are drawn naturally to the recesses. How this achieved is part of the discussion below, but people can often get caught up in the semantics the precise definitions. So wash=pigment that goes into recesses with little help.

There are four different types of washes that I will discuss:

  1. Branded acrylic
  2. Les Bursley’s wash recipes
  3. Floor wax wash
  4. Oil wash


From left to right: Army Painter Quickshade Ink wash, Floor Polish Black, Les Bursley’s recipe, oil

Branded Wash

This is the wash everyone should be familiar with. Vallejo, Games Workshop, The Army Painter and Secret Weapon all do wash lines that I have used in some capacity: doubtless the myriad of other paint companies have their own lines. For what they do, they’re pretty good. The Dark Tone above is 1/3rd full, after almost three and a half years painting, which includes shading close to 100 whole figures (plate armour, Dark Angels, etc). I also have Badab Black from the old Citadel range, which has held up remarkably well given the shoddy design of the bottles. I tend to reserve it for finer work as the consistency is more transparent, allowing me to use it easily as a glaze. I have thinned down the Army Painter washes on occasion with airbrush thinner, which lightens it up slightly (it leaves less pigment). I used thinned Dark Tone on my Steel Warriors, and thinned Soft Tone on the Marionettes.

+Reliable: for the most part these ranges are easy to source and there’s little chance of the mixture drastically changing

+Consistent: as said above, the colour is not likely to change and you will get the same affect time and time again

+Easy to recommend: it’s as simple as saying “pick up this colour, slather it on at this stage, your mini will look 10x better”. Games Workshop has built a whole system on layers, drybrushes and washes. If you need proof it works, you have thousands of people recommending it.

-Value: I haven’t put cost because single pots of washes are quite cheap. The Army Painter bottle cost close to £2.50, Games Workshop a little more (for less actual wash of course). Buy it in a set and the cost comes down even more. However there’s less than 30mls of liquid per pop. Compared to the other methods discussed below, buying branded washes can become expensive.

– Production changes: I know I said above that branded washes are consistent, and they are, until they disappear off the face of the earth. Case in point, the new Games Workshop paint line got rid of the old Devlan Mud that was a staple of many painting recipes. You might not like the new version, and this can cause you to hoard up your paints, fearing to open them lest they dry up.


Floor Wax


These are the ingredients you need for the Floor Wax recipe. A container helps, but is by no means essential: until last week I was mixing washes in the wells of my palette. I was only able to find the Pledge in Sainsburys’, and only then in the big one half a mile away. However it was £3.15 for 750ml, which is great value. Essentially the Pledge acts as the medium for the pigment in the ink, and thanks to its formulation its has a very low surface tension which pulls the ink pigment into the recesses. The other item is of course the ink, which gives you the pigment. Ink is good because it’s very intense but at the same time transparent, which are two properties that work excellently for washes. The ink costs £4/30ml, but it’s good value as I’ll explain below.

I have bottled up Pledge Wash: as I have only done so recently however I cannot comment longevity of a bottle. It’s lasted 3 days so far. I will explain the process below, alongside Les Bursley’s wash recipe.

+Simple: it’s two items mixed together, and then applied straight onto the miniature.

+Value: having spent £10 you can get a hell of a lot of wash. While I haven’t figured out the exact ratios, you make far more than 200ml, which is double what the same outlay would get you in branded washes (5x 20ml bottles, at £2/bottle). Still, it isn’t cheap because you can’t spend £2 and get 1/5th of the volume.

+Flexibility: if you can find the ink, you can get the tone. You can mix multiple inks together to make whatever tone you like. You can alter the ratios for ink:polish to change the depth of colour as well (for instance to lighten black you simply add less ink)

-Storage: if you want to bottle it up, you’ll have to do that yourself. The Pledge bottle is also pretty big.

-Effort: it’s not much, but mixing up a custom wash every time is more time consuming than simply pulling out a bottle. If you pre-mix and store a large quantity however, you’re golden.

+/-Gloss finish: I’ve put this as both a positive and a negative as it’s pretty much down to personal choice how one feels about this. Yes, the miniature will be extremely glossy when you’ve applied the wash. However the glossiness does two things: firstly it drives the pigment into the recesses (if you’re doubtful look at how the new-ish Citadel Gloss Washes work), and secondly it seals the miniature. If you apply a matte varnish over the top, the whole model dulls down, and in fact the lack of shine from the recesses can improve the look of the model. Still, glossy models make for some ugly photos.

Pledge Consistency.jpg

Some people online mentioned that it is milky unlike the older Pledge, but this has no visible effect on the was once the ink is mixed in, or on the final finish.

Crossbowmen Gloss Wash.jpg

On the two models above, gloss black-brown mix has been put over most of the clothing and armour. However the sleeves and blue trousers (on the left model) have been given further highlights, which almost entirely covers the gloss finish. Although I’ll still give them another matte coat, it means there’s even less chance of them being glossy on the tabletop.


Les Bursley’s Wash Recipe

Before you start, read the thread on DakkaDakka, I want to make it absolutely clear I have followed the instructions contained within and cannot claim to have invented or otherwise improved upon the recipe:

+Variety: again, like the Pledge wash, you can mix any colours you want to any consistency. In addition because the recipe involves mixing flow improver and medium, you have more control over the viscosity of the final product.

+Value: the outlay is significantly higher than the Pledge option, but it still provides good value for money. Expect to spend a little less than £20 on getting everything together. However if you already have inks, you’ll save a bit of money as the “stock” (Medium, flow aid/improver and de-ionised water mixture) will last for a long time.

+Familiarity: from mine and other peoples’ experiments this recipe seems to behave pretty well like branded washes. It dries matte as well, which can be a plus. (I had thought to swap out the matte varnish for gloss, but as I have the Pledge, what’s the point?)

-Complex: it is a bit of a chore to gather together the various materials and mix them up. For some people the effort is not worth the customisation achievable. Fair enough, but for me the tinkering is one of the best bits of the hobby.

-Needs storage: again, this comes with the effort point. These washes need to be mixed and stored in a container (preferably a dropper bottle), otherwise they’re more faff than they’re worth. But that’s a fairly minor quibble, as it saves time to premix a load of stock and wash. Again, for some people the hour of effort is not worth the money they’d save.

Basic process: 1) fill 30ml bottle with 15mls of medium. 2) I insert an agitator, a 6mm glass BB bought online. 3) fill the remainder of the bottle with 15mls of dilute flow improver. It might not look full now, but it will be once the ink is added. 4) the bottle is shaken and now contains the wash stock ready for the ink to be added. 5) ink is added according to the recipe (generally between 20 and 60 drops per 30mls)


Oil Wash

Oil washes are the king of washes. They give great depth, have working times that can stretch into hours, and there’s an endless supply of brands to work with. I believe they originate in the scale-modelling hobby, but like most good ideas it spread to other similar pursuits. Oil washes require the following:


From left to right: gloss varnish, white spirit, oil paint, plastic cup, cheap rigger brush.

This kit is very basic and a range of things could be changed, from the thinner (although it says “Artists quality” I filled the bottle with cheapo DIY store white spirit. Same effect), paint itself (most people use artists’ quality) to the brush. As long as the paint has been thinned and applied to a gloss surface, the wash will find its way into the recesses of the model.

+Control: every single part of the mix can be altered to suit the needs of the painter, from the paint consistency to the colour, to the placement on the model thanks to its long drying time. Oil also has the insane advantage of allowing you to come back a few hours later and removing the wash from where you don’t want it by using white spirit and a cloth/rag/earbud/whatever to wipe it off.

+Great blending: this is what oils are famous for. The long working time and control allows different washes to blend together easily, allowing the painter to create a lot of depth through the colour application.

+Weathering: oil washes are a staple for weathering vehicles, and can easily be applied to non-vehicle miniatures. From pin washes to filters, weathering with oils is a world unto itself. I am not especially experience, so that’s about all I can say about the topic.

+Value: again the outlay can be a bit much at first, but oil paints will last literally a lifetime. The paint is so dilute in the wash that it’s hardly likely to run out for a few decades (if the paint is only used for washes) and it will take even longer to dry in the tube.

-Time consuming: oil washes are not time friendly. From application to sealing the process can take at least 24 hours, allowing for the wash to dry well enough.

-Varnish: oil washes require two varnish layers to be fully effective. Firstly the miniature must be given a gloss coat to both protect the acrylic layers underneath and to push the oil wash into the recesses. Secondly the miniature should be matte varnished after the wash has dried, as although the oil wash dries matte, the oil wash sits in the recesses. I use an airbrush for these varnish layers, and I quite frankly cannot imagine efficiently applying varnish any other way.

-Smells funny: oil colours are not waterbased. The paints smell, the solvent smells worse (some people use odorless thinner, but I prefer to know if I’m huffing the stuff), and any wash, or paint, that spills or goes somewhere unintended will leave a mark without vigorous application of thinner to the area. Of all the options, oil washes are the least “environmentally friendly”. The smell can also piss people off.



So that’s a cursory look at the washes I use. If you’ve read through it all, hopefully you’ll be tempted to mix some custom washes of your own, or maybe you’ve been turned off the whole idea.

Thanks for reading!



Les Bursley’s Dakka thread:

Leadhead blog post that started me down the rabbit warren:

Dr Faust’s Painting Clinic tutorial:

Paepercuts Oil Wash video:

There are hundreds of other blog posts, youtube videos and forum threads discussing the various products. The above represent the four main sources for my research. Do give them a read/watch if you’re unsure about anything in this post.

Appendix 1: What to buy and where to find it

Branded washes: wargaming stores. Vallejo, Games Workshop, Army Paintet, possibly Scale75, should be stocked in your FLGS

Pledge: I’m unsure as to the US equivalent, my apologies.

Les Bursley’s wash:

Matte medium, flow-aid/improver: I used both from the Windsor Newton Galleria range as it was cheaper than the Liquitex equivalent. I picked up mine at Cowling and Wilcox but this range is widely stocked in art stores, shop around for the best deal.

Liquitex inks: Most recipes recommend Daler Rowney inks, I used Liquitex because it was cheaper. A six pack of Red, Blue, Yellow, Umber, Black and White costs £20: I would advise getting that ( Otherwise, individual pots are £4. I got mine from Cowling and Wilcox, again they’re widely available.

Dropper Bottles: Can be obtained online from Amazon at the cost of £10 for 50. I bought a dozen for £7 with Prime delivery, simply because I forgot to order in advance.


Gloss & matte varnish: I use Vallejo because I know it shoots through an airbrush well. This can be sourced online, but buy in bulk (they do 500ml for £12 I believe) to save money. I have yet to try Pledge as a gloss varnish, so that might be the cheapest option.

Paint, spirit, brush: all widely available. The spirit can be cheap DIY store bought, £1/litre. I use Windsor and Newton Winton oil, but choose whatever brand you want. The brush was a cheapo ebay purchase, but if you’re planning on picking up a range of brushes, check out Rosemary and Co ( as they have an extensive range of brushes, and are actually good value.

I include below a picture of the agitator balls:

Agitator Balls.jpg

I got mine off eBay for £4.50. Works out around 2p/agitator.

New Year, Same Sloppiness


I’m back, and this time I can promise I’ll stick around…. until the end of the post.

I thought I’d update with some pictures from the workbench, to demonstrate that I’ve not been completely idle.



There are actually 8 of these Easterlings that are nearly done. I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out, but I am increasingly tempted to go back and highlight them some more. I used a floor wax wash for the first time on these guys, and as a result I was more concerned about the shades than the overall look. My photography skills are as per-usual pretty dismal, they’re a little bit brighter in real life. Nonetheless I think a highlight on the purple and leather will brighten them up.



More Wood Elves! I love these sculpts, their aesthetic is perfect for my idea of woodland elves. Again, the photo skills leave a bit to be desired, but the overall look is supposed to be dark and somewhat intimidating. The leather is the same recipe as the Easterlings, but I went a bit harder on the highlights. It’s essentially Vallejo Model Air Armour Brown highlighted with an increasing mix of Iraqi Sand. In future I will experiment with a bit more of a yellow tone to really up the contrast, as the Armour Brown is very slightly purple. Perhaps not on the Wood Elves though.  The bases were an experiment using dried tea and twigs, which gives a really good texture for a forest floor. I need to work on the colour choice however as I’m not quite satisfied with it. The skin recipe is the same as before, with a little bit of refinement by washing it using a combination of Army Painter Soft Tone and Green Tone.



These guys are for my fledgling Lizardmen force. I’m building them up in such a way that they can be used for a range of rule systems. As Dragon Rampant and Kings of War allow unit sizes in sixes, this is what I’m going for, but I’ll have to boost them up for Age of Sigmar. The bases are likewise an experiment, which I was pretty happy with. Again however the contrast on the skin is nowhere near enough, even allowing for crappy photography. I’ve already gone over them with some more highlights to pick them up, and I think they’ll get a matte varnish to dull down the shiny floor polish wash.


Temple Guard! There are nine of these guys so far, I have another 11 to build. These guys are my case in point for needing to up the contrast. I cannot see a single colour that would not benefit from at least another layer of highlighting, again leaving aside mediocre photography. These guys will be subject to another post once I sort them out properly.


Mantic Earth Elemental. I painted this big guy with oil paints, which was a fun experience. The model works really well for it, having loads of wide surfaces to blend on, with a range of angles. the crystals were particularly good fun, as I essentially only used Prussian Blue and white, blending from dark blue to lighter blue. The oils made painting the crystal particularly easy, allowing me to very quickly create a weak Object Source Light effect. On the next one I do I’ll ramp it up even more.


Perry Foot Knights. I love the Perry sculpts. They are quite simply the best, if you can deal with historicals (or of course Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings Style: both the Easterlings and Wood Elves were Perry sculpts). Fully armoured knights are damn easy: black undercoat, metallic drybrush (I use Army Painter Gun Metal), highlight with lighter metallic (Army Painter Plate Mail Metal), black floor polish wash (the gloss nature of it pushes it into the recesses really well), final highlight (Vallejo Model Air Aluminium). Leather, surcoats, weapon hafts and scabbards complete the look. The bases have seen a bit more work, but these guys are the most complete unit I have for my collection of not-quite-historical historicals.


I have a few specific posts planned, so expect to be seeing more in the near future.

Thanks for reading!



Another Dwarf!



Not a lot has happened on the blog, but a lot has happened in real life. There’s probably a correlation between the two.

I am still working away at the dozen or so projects I manage to distract myself with, but I would like to share a small piece I did over a year ago. Partly it’s to give some sort of progress indicator, but mostly it’s because I only just got around to finishing this guy.


Dwarf Sorcerer frontDwarf Sorcerer back

Here he is. The sculpt is by Icesword/Miniatures of the North, who does some brilliant sculpts: his blog is one of the more interesting ones out there as well (miniaturesofthenorth). This fellow is not a good guy: in fact he has decidedly sinister air about him, what with the heart, flame, cloak and hood going on.

With regards to the painting, this guy was a pretty quick job. I spent a lot of time on his cloak and robes, but not enough time on a lot of other bits. The skin tone is not right, his face is an absolute abomination, his beard could have been done better, the armour needs higher contrast, and I completely half-assed the whole headress ensemble. Nonetheless as a piece I feel he came together very well: the dominant colours have a nice contrast, and both the flame and the heart I feel are quite technically well done. I do remember being vexed slightly with the base as it didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted, but now looking at it I quite like it. It’s not overpowering, but still sets a small scene, and while the paintwork is a bit sloppy, it does the job satisfactorily.

This guy came with a spearman/bodyguard fellow that I still have to work on. Due to the nature of the sculpt (lots of scale armour) he will doubtless end up as a test for metallics of some description.


So in summary:

+I think this guy is worth a appreciating given the fact he was one of my early pieces: there are a lot of things I have improved upon (most noticeably consistency and patience), but he still stands up to scrutiny.

+Colour choice worked for the most part (again the hood and hat are a bit questionable)

-I didn’t really pay attention to the wider surface when painting the cloak, resulting in the weird highlight placement and sloppy blending. This is a bad habit I have been trying to force myself out of recently, with limited success. I will address this again in my next post (which will be up sooner than a month, depending on how the piece gets along)

-Contrast is too subdued. I really need to start working on this aspect as I feel it’s one of those things that takes a minor amount of work to introduce, but massively improves the whole look of the mini.


Thanks for reading



Dwarf down a Dungeon

I’m drawing to a finish with this guy. As I said before, I feel like he’s the best example of my abilities at this point. The whole project has been interesting and I’ve pushed myself a bit to achieve the look I wanted. Now he’s almost finished I can take that ~2 day period to appreciate him, before I start to see all the flaws and problem spots again.

This project has not been easy however. There was a solid two week period when I could not face working on him because my head wasn’t in the right place. I would sit down and work on a small bit, and then get overwhelmed by how many more small bits I had left to do. Eventually they all got done however, and in fact the bits I’m happiest about emerged during the final period. I would also like to point out that there were several minor and two major fuckups I made. The minors I will pick up as I go along, but the two major issues I had I should acknowledge because they’re pretty big in my book. Firstly, I varnished the model. Now that stuff was supposed to be matte, but it is not. I don’t know why but this little fella is currently shiny as hell, at least to me anyway. It’s obscured a lot of the hard work I did on specific elements, and I’m annoyed that I did something so total without thinking about it. The second issue is the base. The model was cast with a pretty large stand, which I left on when he was on the cork. Once I decided to put him on his base this became a problem. Thus I ended up clipping the integrated stand off, but only after accidentally pulling off the paint on his right boot with a dremel trying to grind it down. The varnish prevented me from chipping paint off, but I also think some of the metal chips stuck to it as some bits of the model have small flecks in the varnish. So a few lessons on technical stuff to learn.



This is the first photo I have. I picked up this model randomly at last year’s Vapnartak (the York Wargames Society annual show) and left him sitting around after trying some wet blending on him. I picked him back up for no apparent reason, and did some tinkering. At this point I thought I’d try creating a lamp glow effect as he’s holding a lantern, so I used a bit of colour theory and a colour wheel to figure out that yellow light on blue cloak = green. I was pretty crude in my highlight placement because I’m sloppy like that, but the model is very forgiving, with large cloak folds and otherwise small areas to cover. I was properly buzzed with this, so I posted it online and the response gave me encouragement to continue.



I re-used the blue from the sorceress because it’s pretty clean but not too bright.


This stage was the most fun I think. I really pushed the lighting on the model to make the front area stand out. This was also the point at which I figured out an easier way of doing the light affect. By highlighting up with a very pale colour (Vallejo Model Colour Iraqi Sand) I could then glaze the light source over it, or the base colour, to play with the brightness. I use this technique a lot in batch painting in combination with washes, but it makes sense. The green tunic is not quite right, and I never really corrected it fully, only dulled it down in brightness. Ah well.


I also managed to figure out my additional colours. The inner cloak I’m particularly happy with, as it started as a very dark turquoise mix which when highlighted provides a slight change to the overall palette without clashing. The waterskin maybe could have been a different colour, as my mum mistook it for a bottle of wine. Ah well.


I think this was the point my patience started to go. I attached the lantern only to knock it off four times, each time requiring a repaint of scratches. Most of the highlighting was done at this point.




Again, I was flagging at this point. All the elements were in place but they weren’t quite right. As stated above though I did sort out the minor elements on the model, especially the backpack. That means of course I have no photos of it at this stage. Cracking.



This is how he stands today. On a base, freshly varnished and looking for treasure. The base I feel ties the whole thing together. I basically went a bit nuts with some sculpey, trying out a few more intricate designs. I went with the staircase however because it gives the piece a bit of interest. He’s clearly somewhere he’s unsure about, and he has to make a decision. I guess. I fixed up the lantern a bit by making it brighter using a very pale yellow mix. The skin got a few more glazes to add contrast, which I’m not too sure about. Oh yeah, the eyes. I’m damn happy about them. Worked an absolute treat. Main tip for them is PRACTICE. Literally right before you apply the white, put a few white dots on your hand. Test the consistency and use it on the model when you’re happy. For the pupils get the black and try to put pupils on the little 2d eyes you’ve got in your hand. This allows you check the consistency of the paint and develops some muscle memory which gives the confidence for the actual model. In this case the eyes really help to create some drama.


The backpack bits and pieces I’m really happy about. I tried a little stitching pattern on the backpack itself, which is subtle but creates some interest. The bedroll is the same turquoise mix as the inner cloak, but because it’s in the shadow of the model the colour is different. The saucepan I’m really happy with. I used some pigment powder and black glazes to make it look like one of the ones I have here in my house: completely battered and scratched up. I even managed to get the buckles on the leather straps.


The base still needs work. I need to establish the actually colour of it first before trying to do the lighting. That however is a post for another day, as I am officially declaring this model finished. So in summary:

+I shouldn’t be afraid to push myself and have a bit of fun

+Thin glazes are pretty nifty. Who’d of thought?

+Small details such as eyes and posing on bases can be very good at conveying specific environments. I imagine it would work even better if the base was painted…….

+A good sculpt can be a joy to experiment on

+I’d say the colour choice was pretty spot-on

-I need to work on patience. There were many bits of the model that I sacked off before I was 100% happy with it, and I never got around to correcting them.

-Plan ahead. I should have either removed the base to begin with or integrated it. Instead I ended up nearly ruining one of the bits of the mini I had worked hardest on.

-Test on a spare piece before committing on the model I’ve spent tens of hours on. Varnish being case in point.

-Sort out the sloppy brushwork (this is half a joke, but yeah there were a couple of points at which I got lazy)


Thanks for reading!


More WIP, hopefully more updates

Hello all

Been a while. Life is hectic, and although I haven’t been posting I’ve been painting frequently. The following is an array of minis I’ve been working on.



First up, these guys are my Space Dwarfs, aka Forge Fathers, affectionately known as not-Squats. I got these guys as part of the Warpath Kickstarter which I signed up for a long time ago. I had a bit of a hassle getting the package (switching addresses annually is always complicated), and had a large amount of buyers remorse, as I forked out quite a bit of money for 3 battelgroups. However upon opening and starting to assemble these guys, I became pretty happy with them. Sure the moulding isn’t quite GW standard: however I got them much cheaper, and they are distinctive enough to stand by themselves stylistically, while being fairly generic. Which I do not view as a bad thing.

All my Warpath models are going to be “quick and dirty”. The models themselves have some minor flaws (undercuts, loss of detail) which do not encourage close inspection: I used the guys in the top image (Steel Warriors) as my testpieces, and I think the 5 of them took ~2 evenings to finish. I’ve already built and basecoated the other 15 guys, so finishing them should be pretty rapido. The mini-termiantors in the second image are my elite guys, hence the black. They were good fun to do, and due to the switch up of colours stand out enough to me. I’m tempted to try some Horus Heresy gaming with these guys playing Squats Imperial Cults and Militias, but we’ll see.


These guys are Asterian Marionettes, essentially robotic drones. Once again I went with “quick and dirty”, hence the limited colours (White, dark blue and metallic) giving them a distinctive look. I wanted to make them look like they were made of ceramic, hence the yellow-cream-white (acheived through airbrushing zenithal highlights), but the problem is they can look good, or absolute dog crap depending on the light. I’m not going to change things however because these guys are literally cannon fodder. I had an issue with the second batch (pictured second) as I screwed up my highlighting: I’m going to give them another blast with the airbrish and then reapply the wash for shading.



This brute is the Enforcer Interceptor. Once again, I was a bit apprehensive, but it is actually a really good kit to put together. I tried some preshading on it (the top two images) but unfortunately I haven’t really noticed any significant effect. I’m not too worried anyway, as I was able to try out panel highlighting for the first time, which I think went decently. I’m going to weather it quite a bit using chipping and oil washing which should make it more interesting. It’s been quite a lot of fun to try out.



Space Marines are still being worked on, but I’ve lost a bit of enthusiasm for them. I’m also missing decal sheets (of any kind) so until Forge World release the Dark Angles sheets or I find my stash in the cupboard somewhere, they’re on hold. I also lost their holstered chaniswords somewhere in my desk, which is frustrating to say the least as I can’t even work on the minor bits. Ho hum.



I also went and treated myself to some Ursarax. I like robots that jump around with massive fuck-off murder mitts. That’s the only reason I’m painting them.



I finally called the Sorceress quits. She could always do with more work, but I just don’t have the motivation to finish her off. As it stands, I’m happy with the NMM, the cloak and the dress: the skin is a little weird and her accents (gloves, leather straps, boots) are a bit sloppy (wahey!) but I frankly lack the energy to continue this project. It’s a cracking model that I will revisit, but afresh. I will base her up and she’ll take pride of place in my generic fantasy collection.



This guy comes from an impulse purchase I made at Vapnartak in February. He’s a Perry miniatures Japanese warrior monk (Sohei), and I’ve got big plans for him. He’s going to be in a duel diorama with a samurai, inspired by the intro cinematic of Total War: Shogun 2. The three major parts of him are pretty much done: his skin, robes and shawl. I just need to sort out some of his accent colours on his ribbon things and trousers: I’ll probably decide those once I can put the two opponents side-by-side to ensure some sort of coherency. After my current project, these guys will be my main focus.



Finally there’s this guy. A generic dwarf adventurer I picked up a few years ago. I won’t post any more as I’ll put up a whole start to finish process when I’m done in my next post, but he’s been quite the adventure. He’s holding a lantern, so I wanted to try some “Object Source Lighting”. Except I didn’t think that, I just thought “wouldn’t it be cool if I tried this….” and he’s developed from there. As he stands he’s probably the best figure I’ve ever painted in every aspect: technique, composition, all that. I’m very happy so far, and I’m hoping to finish him up over the next week.


Thanks for reading!



Tau Fire Warriors complete


I managed to finish off my fire warrior squad today. It was simply a matter of a little weathering and glossing the lenses. I’m very happy with these guys, they’ve been a very useful learning experience. Thanks to them I am now far more confident in using my airbrush to build up subtle layers, and the oil wash to really bring out the depth. I’m also very happy with their bases, which were a fun exercise in storytelling/scene setting. In particular by using the bright orange metal I was able to create contrast on an otherwise monochromatic set of models.


I now have to do the drones: I’m not going to lie, I find them quite boring as models. I also forgot to add the antenna before laying down the base colours, so I will have to contrive a way to airbrush a very fiddly bit.

So in summary:

+Airbrushing & oil washes are good for batch painting

+Basing is an important element: colours must be chosen to compliment the models

-I have to be disciplined in ensuring every model in the batch is at the same stage

-Varnishing must be done carefully: I put it on too thick on a few models

-When batch painting I can’t subject myself to the same standards as on an individual model: I need to crack out a whole army of these guys

Next up will be my next tactical squad, which are drawing into the final stages of painting. I still need to make the bases though, which I might demonstrate on here.

Thanks for reading!

Back to posting: Tau and Dark Angels

Hello readers

It’s been a while. Sorry about that. Life took over as it seems to do, and I couldn’t find the time to upload stuff. I managed to find the time today somewhere between my illness and dissertation draft, so I’m officially back in it.

While I wasn’t posting, I was still painting. Mostly models, but also some traditional stuff (watercolour and ink mostly). I thought I’d share the two project occupying my desk as I write.


Firstly, a Tau Fire Warrior strike team. I got these cheap on the old eBay, so I decided to try some new stuff on them. I first airbrushed them Vallejo German camoflage Extra dark green and normal dark green, then gave them a small edge highlight (warcolours olive 4). The cloth is warcolours cool grey 5, highlighted with blue grey 5, washed with black and then rehighlighted with the blue grey. Metal parts were Vallejo metallic air black highlighted once with Army Painter plate mail metal. The skin was warcolours blue grey 4, washed with purple and highlighted with blue grey 3. Finally the models received a gloss coat and an oil wash of black: it’s the first time I’ve ever tried oil washes and they’re fantastic. The bases were made to be urban ruins sort of: I used a cooler grey with copper to provide contrast to the models. I still have the finish up 4 more guys and the drones, but that won’t take long: I have encountered a slight hitch that will delay it however.


This is my Horus Heresy pile. 15 marines plus 1 vigilator, with another 20 to come. I’m waiting on some parts to arrive before I can crack on with these guys. The most important part I need isn’t actually a model, it’s the nozzle for my airbrush. I broke it before Christmas it seems, so I had to fork out £15 for the smallest thing imaginable as a welcome home present. Very frustrating.

I guess these guys are the opposite of what I normally put up here: it’s a mass of soldiers, designed to be painted efficiently, hence the airbrush and oil washes. Hopefully I should be able to do a step by step for the marines, as they’re going to be he main thrust of my efforts over the next term.

Thanks for reading!




Murin and Drar WIP

Hello again

These two fellows are again some of my favourite sculpts done by GW. There are many things I like, but I think Murin is by far the most dynamic and impressive of the two. img_0292

Very WIP: I have barely blocked in all the colours


Murin’s robe is however almost done. I need to shade the yellow a lot more as it’s a bit bold right now, and the red needs to be given final highlights.


Awful photography, but I think it shows the red well enough.


I’m quite happy with the shield as it stands. The green is done, and the shield rim is nearly there (I just want to give it a wash, as I want it to be quite grimy). The bird I am going to give a couple more glazes of ink to give the impression of feathers. I’ll have to experiment a bit.


Again, awful photography. However you can just about get the impression of the lines I did on the forehead. Also the eyes are pretty decent by my standards: Drar’s right eye looks like it’s squiting a little bit as he takes aim.


Anyway, I just wanted to share these two. I’m picking up some Dwarf rangers to go with them, but in the meantime I have started another Dark Angels tactical squad, a Frostgrave warband and I also bought some Tau off ebay: with University term starting soon, I’m not sure how I’m going to be able to work on everything. I’ll have to see.

Until next time


Wood Elves Part 1

Hello again.

I recently decided that the old Wood Elf sculpts the Perry twins did for the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game were some of the best generic fantasy models around. Therefore I hopped on Ebay and spent £35 on 46 models, which is a lot for me, but less than I could have gotten elsewhere.

The models arrived, and I was slightly less enthused. Mostly because of their age and materiel, there were a few issues which I found frustrating, but nonetheless they are good models, and so I set to work. The first batch is almost finished, and consists of 2 spear-elves and 4 sword-elves.


Once again, my photography skills leave much to be desired. These fine gentlemen were painted in a batch, with the aim of making some sort of speed painting plan. As such, to me they look awful, and many of the highlights leave a lot to be desired. However I have a cunning plan for basing them which will hopefully alleviate some of their worse qualities.


This fellow is my test-bed as it were. I wanted these Elves to have a little bit of a different twist to previous ones. I approached my Gil-Galad as if he were a human, whereas here I thought “how could I make them different?”. Essentially I wanted these Elves to have an alien look to them, because why the hell would an Elf look like a human? I drew a bit of inspiration from the Elder Scrolls Wood Elves (the name escapes me, but it does end in –Mer). To this end, I made up a skin recipe using a little amount of pale green (Warpaints Necrotic flesh) with normal fleshtones (Warcolours skintone 2 & 3). Their hair was painted light sand (Vallejo Model Air) and the eyes a very light ochre (Warcolours Ochre 1). The eyes I then ruined by trying to give pupils, which turned out fine on this guy, but as I went on fatigue made the work impossible. I haven’t revisited the eyes because I might just leave them ochre: I like the idea of pupiless eyes because it definitely isn’t human.


It appears I had a minor case of sloppy brushwork. This came about from repainting the eye several times. Also, you can see on the cloak how basic the highlighting is. I don’t really mind in this case though.


I realise now I worked on these guys after I had taken the photos. Thus the hair is still unpainted in the picture, as well as the throwing knife handle. I’m a bit dumb sometimes.


The pose of this guy reminds me a little bit of Geralt, the Witcher. I think the pale skintone helps a fair bit, but given I have four copies of this pose, I might try something interesting………

Next time will probably be the Frostgrave warband I have randomly started, using Perry plastics for a Witcher themed force (probably led by the Sorceress as she appeared in the last post). I will probably update soon with some test models.

Thanks for reading