Sunday 20 December 2015

Malifaux "Hide and Seek" Crew (Completed)

This evening I put the last brush stroke on a long overdue commission which has taken me almost eight months, including a month or two off as I moved and painted a new apartment, though it has definitely been worth the wait. I'm very happy with how these models turned out, and I look forward to seeing some higher quality pictures taken by the new owner!

The "daydreams" were the first models I painted, and actually had the most trouble with due to their small size and radically different colour schemes! I repainted the model on the right after painting the other two so the contrast matched the box art and the purple colour matched the tiny daydream with the dreamer model below. Having purchased extra fine brass wire for pinning them to the base I hope they will stand up to the rough and tumble of gaming despite their small size.

The tentacled Cthulhu-inspired "Coppelius" stood out on his own in terms of colours, though I managed to match some of his skin tone with the highlights on the other models. I wanted the bright orange of his suit to match his in game speed and provide a visual distraction compared to the duller tones on the Alps below. His handheld eyeball was particularly satisfying to work on! The skin tone on the "dreamer" was a first attempt to lighten a model from bottom to top, rather than just using the same tones on all skin. I'm very happy with how it turned out as this draws the eye to the face rather than legs which I would previously have painted just at bright.

The Alps were suprisingly fast to paint, having mostly darker cloth tones which went well with my current wash/glaze techniques. The box art lighting from the cigar made absolutely no sense with his face lit up but hand showing no 'glow' (you can find the original art here on the wyrd website) but I then struggled to paint in depth with the lighter face tones with a front on light source and no contrast! I also had a lot of "fun" pinning the running model at the correct angle after seeing how silly he looks when positioned facing the ground.

Last on the painting list was "Lord Chompy Bits" himself. After my initial airbrushed base-coat was damaged in the move I decided to repaint the model using brushes and a lot of wet blending and glazes. A lot of patience was required trying to blend on such a big model, and I wanted the model to be lighter and darker from top to bottom. This was achieved using shading washes/glazes and a couple of sessions working on the highlights bottom to top. You can see a little of the reflection from a gloss protection coat which I have dulled down with a matte medium. I was pulling my hair out at one point after a few more spots began to chip from handling. I think sorting out my preparation and painting plinths will be a big goal for the new year!

Update: I've added these models to my coolminiornot page!

Sunday 29 November 2015

Follow me on Twitter!

There's a lot going on behind the scenes that doesn't make it to the blog and I'd love to share more with my readers without sitting down for a couple of evenings writing up a blog post on a project which may not see the light of day for many months. I also like taking photographs of my games, favourite artwork and works in progress which sometimes aren't quite enough content for a full blog post.

I hope you will enjoy this new way of discovering "Heaven's Teeth" content!

Friday 13 November 2015

Malifaux "Hide and Seek" WIP

I spent the last week working on a long term commission based in the Malifaux universe. I say long term because the models were handed to me over six months ago, and I had just enough time to assemble and undercoat them before I packed them away in preparation for moving house. Spending a good month painting an apartment also dented my enthusiasm for miniature painting, so it was well into November before I felt back in the "groove" enough to return to these models. I now have a small desk set up permanently in the living room, a new pair of wireless headphones and a desire to finally put a lot of my more recently acquired painting methods to good use. 

Here you can see the wet palette used for the model above, a rather cute "daydream" model. I stuck quite closely to the colour scheme on the box art for most of the models and used a combination of two brush blending and glazing for most of the work. Thinning the GW paints with P3 medium really helped control the pigments and drying time, and I used a lot of my new Secret Weapon washes for the shading and tinting. The washes and glazes were placed on a separate dry palette as I find they dry unevenly on the model if combined with too much water. 

I had a lot of fun painting these three, and even repainted the daydream on the right to match the box art more closely. Starting with a lighter basecoat allowed greater depth through the use of multiple washes and required less blending of the highlights. I also used a combination of warm (cream) and cold (grey) highlights across different parts of the model to see what effect this would have and I'm pleased with the results so far. Mixing the base colour and two separate highlights on a wet palette really opens up a lot of options when adding depth to a flat surface. I also used my favourite GW glazes to tint some areas of the model which are between the highlight and shadow (this is most noticeable with the red glaze on the left model and the blue glaze on the right).

Glazes and washes also allow me to tint various parts of the model quickly without mixing in a second basecoat, a great step forward with my painting speed in the last two years (I would say that I can now paint a model in nearly half the time I used to). You can see the pink and purple washes which have tinted the tentacles on the model above, as well as the addition of a brown wash in the shadows of the orange suit. This subtle (or not so subtle) colour change can really help fix mistakes in base colour or emphasise certain parts of a model. I added some yellow around the toes for a bit of fun and to break up the long green foot. Some grime around the neck and pants does the same for the suit.

The last and most important part to share with you are the brushes I am using! I now paint with comparatively large brushes for all my models, a GW "shade" brush for basecoating, and two Windsow Newton "normal" sized brushes for everything else. After attending a painting class with Meg Maples in 2014 I have stuck with the larger brush size which allows a lot more wet paint to be held in the bristles before having to return to the palette. I have been using the same WN brushes for over a year with no problems while the GW brush is already curling after a month of use. I would love to find a good middle of the road brush for basecoating but have no problems utilising my old worn out brushes for drybrushing or pigment work. I still find it odd using a brush the size of a model's leg, but with careful maintenance of the brush I can still paint eyes and freehand designs with the same large brush size after many months of use. 

I will be painting up the rest of the Malifaux models over the next few weeks and look forward to sharing some better photos with you all!

Saturday 31 October 2015

Tau Drone Diorama (Completed)

I had a lot of fun making my first "original" diorama this year, though I wish I had a little more skill with the camera! I achieved my goal of painting the whole diorama in less than three weeks, working on it a couple of nights a week and an afternoon or two on the weekend. Giving myself plenty of non-painting gaps seemed to be the key to maintaining the enthusiasm as I found myself finishing sections and finding them looking much better than I thought the morning after painting with tired eyes.

Adding some pigments to represent dust was the final touch and really helped bring the scene together. I've mixed pigments with fixers to represent rust, soot and dirt before, but never tried the "as is" dusty finish. I'm also very happy with how the new washes worked, you can see some of the reds coming though in the stonework in the photo above, and I kept the palette quite small for the grots rather than making them look too grubby and disheveled. As a "welcome back project" to painting after a few months off I can definitely say I've missed it!

If you want to check the model out in person, it is currently on display at Strategies Games Hobbies on Vancouver as an entry into their Immortal Brush painting competition, held on the 14th of November. I painted this in less than three weeks and there's still two weeks to go, so get painting!!

You can now rate this diorama over at CoolMiniOrNot.

Friday 30 October 2015

Tau Drone Diorama #2 - New Washes!

With this year's diorama I had planned to avoid any new painting techniques and concentrate on honing brush control and continuing to practice my two-brush blends. All of this went out the window with the arrival of my new washes, and I just had to use them to add some depth to the rather drab brown colour scheme I had chosen. Above you can see the impact of the brown "sewer water" wash being using on the stones to the right of the crashed drone. I balanced this with the use of some dark blues in the shadows, and a lighter ruby wash to tint parts of the scene to match some of the reds I will be using on the minitatures.

Once the two brush blended shading is added to the crashed drone I began adding some highlights and battle damage. I can really feel a sense of accomplishment at this stage, and also see how the various techniques I have been learning are coming together to make my own "style". A little glazing here, wash there, two brush blend, edge highlight... I really feel myself enjoying painting a lot more than the base/wash/highlight I was doing only a few years ago. 

As with all new technqiues the temptation to fall back into old habits is strong, and I found myself doing this once I started on the models themselves. With only two weeks remaining for the competition deadline I have deliberately rushed the Tau and Gretchin models as I hope to have another model ready in time, but it has certainly been good to paint again after a long summer break. I hope to keep the enthusiasm going for a few more "must finish" projects!

Sunday 25 October 2015

Thank You to Mengel Miniatures and Sponsors!

A long overdue thank you to Tyler over at Mengel Miniatures for the kind words and generous prize support as part of his Age of Sigmar painting competition held in August, in which my Stormcast Eternal conversion was selected as overall winner. I have received an amazing selection of washes from Secret Weapon Miniatures, along with an inspirational model designed and sculpted by Chris of Full Borer Miniatures fame. It is always nice to be recognised for your painting efforts, but to have these amazing products offered as a future painting incentive is really icing on the cake. Thank you!

I have stumbled across both the Secret Weapon washes and Chris Borer's models from many different sources, most notably James Wappel's painting articles and exposure at Dave Taylor Miniatures, so I feel I have a little piece of the blogosphere right on my desk at the moment. I have already had great success with the new washes on my latest diorama, and I look forward to using the Full Borer model in a future INQ28 adventure. I recommend you also head over to Tyler's forum and share some of your own work with the growing painting community.

Sunday 18 October 2015

Crashed Tau Recon Drone Diorama #1

It's that time of the year where I paint feverishly for the Strategies Games Hobbies "Immortal Brush" painting competition here in Vancouver, having entered complex converted dioramas for the last few years. I usually start most of my preparation at least three months in advance to give me adequate time to convert or scratch-build all or part of the model I will be entering. Two years ago it was a "true scale" version of Roboute Guilliman, and last year a wrecked heresy era Rhino battle tank. With less than six weeks until the (fortunately extended) deadline of mid-November I had nothing started or even planned thanks to a summer of apartment painting and everything hobby related packed away in boxes. In a moment of weakness I pulled a set of Tau Pathfinders off the store shelf and began planning a very rough diorama using my favourite book on the subject as a guide.

Critical to a speedy diorama creation is simplification. The fewer models, the less painting, and reduced number of hours required to paint things "well" for a competition. I learned the hard way with my Know No Fear diorama that full scenery backdrops are tedious to paint, especially with a deadline looming, thus a partially demolished backdrop was chosen. I also figure the smaller the model the quicker it could be painted, and so a scene depicting smaller and less amoured Tau and Gretchin models was born, utilising the varied and characterful grots from the Mek Gunz box set which were still kicking around in my bits box. The last piece of the puzzle was telling a story and keeping it simple for the casual viewer. I initally planned many grots swarming over the wreckage as the focal point, but reduced this number and instead made each one a critical part of the scene.

I hope to convey the scene of a crashed drone discovered by its Pathfinder team while in mid salvage by a small number of grots, but still functioning enough for the weapons system to provide a nasty suprise for the unlucky grot in the foreground. With all models looking at this grot it will hopefully draw the viewer's eye forward, with the bright contrasting colours of the Tau and grots then rewarding a second glance at each of the models in turn. My favourite part is the grot being grabbed from behind as he looks on as his friend falls victim to the very machine he was smugly dis-assembling. A little bit dark, but as my first "original" diorama without reference art I hope it tells a story well rather than a usual mid-battle or parade ground type piece. With less than a month remaining here's hoping the quick paint scheme matches the scope of the diorama!

Monday 12 October 2015

"Retro" Blood Bowl Dark Elves

I've finally got myself a dedicated painting "area" at the new apartment, screwed together from an old IKEA storage unit and pieces of a desk recovered from the rubbish bin at work after extensive renovations, and I love it. After a couple of afternoons painting I have actually completed my first models since finishing my Blood Angels for Gottacon in February! With a busy summer behind me, I am finally ready to start on some of my pieces for the upcoming "Immortal Brush" painting competition at Strategies Games Hobbies in Vancouver this November.

I was given a set of Blood Bowl Dark Elves after a friend cleaned out his shed, and they had been waiting for the right moment to grace the pitch. With an introductory league now running at my local GW I thought it was the right time to paint them up to a tabletop standard and try a faster team than my usual Orc team I played in Australia. They have been horribly under-performing so hopefully they will do better with a coat of paint!

The slot-a-base tabs had the year 1989 stamped on them, so I can only assume they are the first series of models for the team. A great photo set of original paint jobs can be found here! The latest rules do not include throwers for the Dark Elf team, so I use them as linemen and have painted their helmet features to match the linemen in the photo above. I also don't have access to runners, so I have painted the two catchers/kickers as the new "runners". My only touch down in two games was thanks to their new "Dump Off" ability which allows a Quick Pass if they are the target of a Block. Very situation dependent, but lots of fun!

The "Blitzers" are a little bland due the amount of gold armour (their purple pants are covered by extra armour at the front), though I wanted the feathered caps to match the bandage of the injured model to make in game identification easier. Oddly enough I already have a Blitzer with a "fractued skull" injury so the fourth Blitzer model is quite appropriate for my current team. I will be looking to add the second runner once I win a few more matches using the painted models. Here's hoping!

Thursday 10 September 2015

New Apartment, New Gaming Table

It's been over a month since I moved into a new apartment and the interior painting is drawing to a close (just a couple of doors left to do). I have finally had a chance to unpack my models and hobby tools, hang a newly mounted Horus Heresy poster I won last year as part of a painting competition over at "The First Expedition" forums, and start on a project I have been looking forward to for a long time. As a reward to myself for painting the new apartment I lashed out on a set of three birch wooden art boards to make a 6'x4' home gaming table. Not the most economic nor even the fanciest option, but one which I hope will last a long time. I have a small dining table which would not have adequately held 2'x2' plastic sections or a roll out gaming mat, and now I have a storage locker I don't mind the extra size of three thick board sections. I quickly set about painting them using some of the left over undercoat and a fresh coat of "surface" paint which is designed for kitchen and bathroom counters. It gives a nice tough finish, and a colour which I hope will match a few future projects.

Speaking of future projects, I have been following Iron Sleet's "Punk Moth" closely as inspiration for an INQ28 adventure with a few of the local painters here in Vancouver. We have met up at many conventions and competitions and hope to expand the painting friendship and have a game or two together. One of the best parts of INQ28 is developing a rich background story and play with beautifully prepared models and scenery. The next items out of storage will be boxes and boxes of unbuilt citadel buildings, which I hope to assemble a few pieces at a time to flesh out the story. I am relieved to hear the guys over at Iron Sleet took nearly two years to get their ideas, terrain, and models to tabletop as what they have produced is certainly worth the wait. A long warm summer has not been conducive to modelling! I have spent my first few 'free' evenings making a small map to guide us in our adventures. The painted map will soon fill the gap on the "hobby wall" in the first photo.

Wednesday 5 August 2015

INQ28 Rogue Trader Conversion

I'm moving house this month, so all the hobby supplies are in storage while I prep and paint walls instead of models. The last figure I had the pleasure of working on was the leader of my new INQ28 warband which will hopefully see paint before the end of the month. I'm looking forward to our first game with the 54mm rules in all their detailed glory!

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Completed: Stormcast Eternal Conversion

A painting fever gripped me last night as I wanted to get this guy done quickly in-between other projects currently on the go. A friend posed the question in a local painting facebook group "how do I mix airbrush and normal brush techniques?" and I decided to try my own version of this on my previously converted Age of Sigmar model from the latest White Dwarf. With three colours airbrushed over a black undercoat (brown all over, then red for the base and yellow for the armour), I am very happy with how he turned out after around two hours of brushwork.

The base turned out much better than I had hoped, with the red earthy colours inspired by a lot of the new Age of Sigmar artwork complimenting the warm yellows of the armour and framing the colder blue of the shield very well. I used a combination of quick "two brush blending" for the highlights, followed by darker glazes of reds, browns and black for the shadows. It was great to try a "once off" model and not worry about the usual note taking and ease of repetition worries that usually cause painter's block on most of my army and unit painting. Around the back you can see some of the quicker brush strokes but overall the model looks great in the display cabinet, towering over some of his cousins from the 41st millenium!

Saturday 4 July 2015

Age of Sigmar: Stormcast Eternal Conversion

I had the fortune of picking up the very last copy of this weeks' White Dwarf which included a free model for Games Workshop's latest game Age of Sigmar. Essentially a complete reboot of their fantasy game "Warhammer", it has divided the gaming community and generated a lot of discussion in the last few months. I made myself swear of any rumour or leak websites for the past month as I wanted the models and game to speak for themselves, as I've had too many good models ruined by grainy or blurry photos, and played too many games where someone has used a "rumoured" rule rather than actually referencing the printed material.

(I have never played Warhammer "Fantasy" so most of the issues regarding a current collection or knowledge of existing rules do not apply to my perception of the new game and models.)

So why the conversion? I had the opportunity of seeing the full starter set of miniatures in person, before seeing any of the printed photos or even the White Dwarf. I really like the models, and I encourage anyone who doesn't to see them in person. Pick them up and turn them over in your hand, arrange them individually and in groups for a game, and you will start noticing all the details the photos miss and the less than flattering paint jobs butcher. I am still on the fence as to whether to jump on the Age of Sigmar gaming system, and my one pet hate is the "crouched" pose of the Sigmarites. So why not convert the free model and see how it looks painted? I took the opportunity to have the model hold his helmet, similar to my Blood Angels Captain conversion. If this is meant to be a hero of the Old World, why shouldn't he show his face? I'm in the middle of a commission at the moment but haven't actively painted since February (just a few base colours on some Orks), so this guy will be a great way to loosen up in preparation.

Update: Here is a the painted model after sculpting the missing bits!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Blood Angels Upgrade Pack: Corbulo Conversion

I've spent the past couple of months gaming rather than painting, and I have really been enjoying the Shield of Baal summer campaign at my local store. The Blood Angels I painted for Gottacon at the start of the year have been dusted off (just as I finished building my new Ork army...) so I have felt quite torn for inspiration as I wasn't expecting to be painting red armour again so soon. Kudos to GW for releasing an upgrade kit just as I was raiding my bits box for marine bodies and wondering how I was going to match them against the newer Blood Angel Tacticals.

A lot of folks seem to find the upgrade kits redundant, but I love that you don't have to buy a whole new box of models just to pimp out a character. Speaking of, above you can see the start of my Corbulo model for the campaign. I don't know how to proceed with the backpack or where to integrate his famous chainsword, but the model reminds me a lot of a piece of art from the codex which I have included below. It's been nice to have a painted army to game with, and to take my time with the next few conversions. The arm alone has been pinned in three places to have the chalice in the best position, and I'm in no hurry to get him painted up so I may lower it again. I hope all of your own projects are just as fulfilling, thanks for stopping by!

Friday 5 June 2015

Fury Road

I want to share with you my love for the new Mad Max film, Fury Road. I saw it last night in plain old "2D" and was glued to the screen from start to finish. It truly has to been seen to be appreciated and I feel the high budget action scenes mask a deeper almost art house film which will reward many a re-watch. I have limited tolerance for endless Marvel/DC related movies (having never picked up a comic book my whole life other than those borrowed and gathering dust on the shelf) so I can understand this film isn't for everyone, but as an artist and long time fan of any non-zombie portrayel of a dystopian future (Zombies are soo 2010...) the classic "there and back again" adventure tale has been given a real kick in the pants by director George Miller (of Babe and Happy Feet fame). If you need any encouragement to work on a hobby project (Ork Speed Freak related or otherwise) then I would definitely see Road Fury. They were scouting locations for this film in 1999!

Sunday 3 May 2015

Ork Vengeance Weapon Battery Conversion

(Stock Image courtesy of Games Workshop)

Kicking off my "Less is More" blogging philosophy is a conversion I have been working on since the start of March. I had originally planned to add some much needed anti-air firepower to my badly mauled Blood Angels in the form of a Quad Icarus Lascannon "Vengeance Weapon Battery". Alas the hobby fire died when my original Lascannon conversion looked quite terrible, so I picked up the pieces (literally) and sought to use the same model for my third repaint of my Ork army. Who doesn't love converting/looting things to be more Orky?

My imagination was initially captured by a leftover part from my Big Mek Gunz sprue, and I added some leftover battlewagon parts from the bits box. Looking good already! I saved all the extra add on details for future projects and played a few games as 'counts as' Qaud Icarus Lascannon. Unfortunately all but my usual opponent had trouble deciphering the exact rules, given it was a relatively new fortification with non standard looking weapons, manned by gretchin. After BS2 failed to hit most things, I switched to a Battle Cannon and began to add extra plates and rivets with brass pins. Cue the second stalling of the project, where I developed an allergy to both superglue and the time it was going to take to finish.

Thankfully I purchased a respirator with an organic filter, pulled apart some more previously painted Ork vehicles for their bits, and got to work filling all the gaps with some liquid green stuff. The flip side of my new "Less is More" Hobby Zen is the goal to use all my bits on projects right now, instead of waiting for the "perfect" project to use that particular saved part or model. I have a cupboard full of parts like this battle-cannon above (earmarked for a Looted Wagon in the future) that I am now excited to finally use, on a model which has already seen four games!

After a quick undercoat using the airbrush I love the way it looks and matches the Big Mek/Looting Deathskulls I am going for with the rest of the army. Add in the new 32mm bases for all of my Orks, and my "new" army is pretty mean when deployed at once, unlike the metal boxes of my Blood Angels. With three out of four games won (and three out of four of them involving my Shock Attack Gun Mek hilariously teleporting into combat across the board) I'm enjoying my modelling and gaming a lot more. Here's to keeping it Orky!