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!