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