From the Painting Desk #6 – Bolt Action T-34/85, Citadel Spirit Hosts (Ghosts)

A couple of weeks ago, I bought a bunch of Bolt Action kits from Warlord. After checking out the T-34s, I noticed that the kit wasn’t especially complex, and so perfectly suitable to start and actually finish as well, since I’ve got a habit of ..not finishing everything I start. When my DeadZone stuff arrived this week and I found that they missed the additional rulebooks and a few other things, I had a bit of a rage for a bit, and then decided to start assembling the tanks to get my mind off it. I thought I took some photos, but this is where I’m up to at this point:

A trio of Warlord Games T-34/85

Basically, all assembled excepting the final assembly of the two halves of the hull, and the turret will just pop on. I’d have magnetised it, but I didn’t think of that until after I’d assembled the two turret halves, so…

The tanks have been sprayed with PSC Russian Armour, airbrushes with a 50:50 mix of VMA Russian Green and Camo Light Green, followed by a 70:30 mix. My airbrush skills are awful still, or maybe its the cheap POS airbrush I have. Either way, the results are far from impressive. Once that was done, a 50:50 mix of VMC Russian Uniform and Army Painter Camo Green for a final-ish highlight. Next will be some sandy/buff colours for weathering. Tracks got a coat of Vallejo Panzer Aces Track Primer with a drybrush of VMA steel over the top.

I still need to hit the whole thing with PSC weathering spray and have a play with weathering powders and the like. Add some decals and then finish them. Hopefully next update!

The other thing I’ve been doing today was opened up a care package from a mate. Quite a lot of loot in there, along with something I totally was not expecting – ghosts!

Citadel Spirit Host Ghosts on Back to Base-ix bases.

The ghosts were mounted three each to several goblin green-painted 40mm square bases. I pried them off immediately, and after a bit of faffing about, decided to mount them on some Back to Base-ix resin “ruins” bases I bought years ago. I felt they raised the Marine figures up too high from the “ground” and so never used them for the original intent, but they work perfectly with these undead. The weight of the resin also stops some of the more lop-sided members of the gang from toppling over.

Ghosts – Sprayed and freshly washed

After mounting them, I took them outside the hit them with some Rustoleum Heirloom White. You can’t really see it here, but it’s a slightly off-white with a slight touch of coffee brown to it. Better for projects like this than pure white. I mixed up a suitably-ethereal coloured paint wash using a mix of Citadel’s Lahmian Medium and Gauss Blaster Green. Stupid names, yes, but the paint being fit for purpose is all I care about.

ooOOooo ooOOo O OOo

They’re outside now. I was going to start on the bases right after I did this, but decided to seal them with gloss varnish, since it was a bright warm sunny day – so wanted to take full advantage of that. That stuff dries much much faster in the sun. This way I can work on them tonight, and maybe even finish them off. It’ll just be the bases and some touch-up work – then a coat of matt. Also hoping to have those T-34s finished tomorrow, or perhaps the following day…

…then I can get back to the grind of my other half-finished projects. Gondor, ahoy!

Ach! Zombies! – WarZone 1st Edition Dark Legion Zombies, DUST Zombies (again).

Groundskeeper Willie. Zombie Hunter.

Who better to quote when beginning a zombie-themed post than that great Zombie Hunter, Groundskeeper Willie?

First up, some WarZone zombies. I haven’t played WarZone in years, and my previous forces were Cybertronic as my primary and Imperial as my secondary, but I did paint up a few models back in the day. Only one of them is on the blog, though.

WarZone Dark Legion Zombies!

WarZone Dark Legion Zombies!

These were bought back sometime in the 1990s, after 2nd Edition Warzone came out, failed, and Target Games was down. My FLGS of the day was selling off a pile of Warzone stuff on clearance, and so I picked up a whole ton of stuff using the logic that I could use it “one day”. Flash forward to 2013, and I received my Indiegogo Zombies from Studio Miniatures. I assembled about half of the shambling horde, and decided to pick out these guys from the two blisters in a box, glued them down, primed them, base coated the flesh in a few shades of yellowy-brown and green. And then got distracted and they went into a box.

More WarZone Dark Legion Zombies

After my recent speedpaint of the DUST Zombies, inspired by Sho3box’s stuff (and wanting to make space by getting rid of the pile of unopened DUST boxes) I was well chuffed, and with Grimdork starting to pump out some cool looking Zombie models from Sedition Wars, I got inspired to dig these guys out (which is surprising, after all of the shit around that game) and finish them off – so I’ve done just that. Not quite speed painting per se, since they’ve been a side project that I do a few minutes work on while working on other stuff, but with an eye to finishing them ASAP as well.

The Undead Horde – WarZone Edition.

A bit more detail on these guys than the DUST ones, and I tried out the new GW Blood for the Blood God paint, which worked well enough. Didn’t really notice much difference from Tamiya Clear Red to be honest, but I really didn’t use a whole lot on them. These guys came up pretty well, but the shots are a little dark. I really need to get myself a light box. And somewhere to set it up. That has access to several lights or power points.

Hm, yeah. These photos are way too dark. I’ll take them again at some point. These were taken in diffused natural light and looked bright enough at the time. I think the white paper behind them threw the light balance way off on the camera…

I also took a couple of shots of the DUST Zombies this morning as well. The shots from their previous post are okay, but kind of take away from how I felt the teeth and eyes came out on them. Like I said at the time, they’re speed painted and weren’t done for awesome, but I was happy with how those details came out, so I may as well show them off. 

DUST Zombies!

Naturally, the guy I kept trying to get into focus (bottom left) was the only one who wouldn’t. You can also see a representative from each of the 5 “squads” that I decided to differentiate by the use of slightly different flesh tones.

Coming to get you, they are…

So all in all – more figures for Typhus’ horde in 40k. I should probably paint Typhus up sometime, though I’ve got a couple of decent proxies should I decide to run him in the meantime.

New Year’s Hobby Resolutions 2014

So I guess it’s that time again, the year is done, the party is over  – Time to reflect on the year that was and blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda.

Pictured: Leonard doing what I *still* feel like doing.

I had a kind-of painting goal for 2013. Even when I set it, I knew it was unrealistic. It was to finish 365 “things“. So that included finishing half-painted figures, individual pieces of terrain, rebasing, renovating and touching up old models, and, oh yeah! – and painting stuff from start to finish. A modest goal, compared to the many people out there who seem to manage to paint entire armies in a couple of months, but a laudable one, nonetheless.

Pictured: Some stuff that got painted or renovated in 2013. Except for 2 of the dwarves.

Unfortunately, I came up with it in March, after more than three solid months of partying playing World of Warcraft – so I was 3 months down to begin with. By day 226 I had 124 completed, and by the end of the year I had 142 models painted. Not too bad, and my best year in many, if not ever – though it does include a lot of “updated’ models and doesn’t even touch the amount I bought this year… 

Pictured: Some of the backlog. A lot of this stuff arrived this year.

I’ve had my 2014 goal planned since I came up with the 2013 one, though – Finish painting more figures than I did in the preceding year. Which I’ll continue on with, probably till I drop dead. The “stretch goal” will once again be to try and finish 365 figures.

More specifically this coming year, I want to get a few projects done, across a few genres:

Fantasy:
Finish the 2k pts Ogre Army for KoW
Paint a 2k pts Dark Elf/Twilight Kin Army for KoW
Paint a 300?600? pt Allied Detatchment for KoW to ally with others (Giant, Trebuchet, Wolves)
Paint an Undead Army for KoW using GW, Mantic and LotR Undead (also doubles as an Army of the Dead for LotR SBG and WotR!)
Finish a ton of Men of Gondor for SBG/WotR and KoW armies of Man

Pictured: Not yet 2k points of KoW Ogres, with some older stuff and a Contemptor from Damo.

40k:

Resurrect/update my previously-finished old Dark Angels Combat Patrol into a 6th Edition 600-pt Combat Patrol
Paint 600-odd points of Deathwing as a CP
Paint 600-odd points of Ravenwing as a CP
Add some extra DA stuff back in – like the almost-finished Dreadnought, Asmodai, etc and Bingo! 2k+ point DA army!

Pictured: Finished 2E and 3E-style Dark Angels models with some WIP Ogres. Proper gallery to come later when the updated force starts getting put together…

Resurrect/finish/update my old 3.5-edition Iron Warriors CP force into a 2013-edition 600-pt Combat Patrol, then expand into 2k points or so.
Resurrect/update my 3rd-edition Mentor Legion Marine army into a 2013-edition army (including a Combat Patrol force)
When the IG codex comes out, resurrect/update my 2nd/3rd-edition IG army into a 2014-edition army (including several Combat Patrol forces)
When the IG codex comes out, resurrect/finish/update my 3rd-edition Deathworld/Jungle Fighters/Ogryn/Sentinel Maori-themed IG CP into a 2014-edition Combat Patrol force.
When the Tyranid codex comes out, resurrect/update my old Tyranid CP force into a 2014-edition 600-pt Combat Patrol.

Pictured: Formerly-complete Tyranid Combat Patrol (with Aliens as CC-warriors) now needing to be updated to 6E. Also some unfinished large models.

Resurrect/finish/update my old 2005-edition Ork CP force into a 2014-edition 600-pt Combat Patrol. Despite previously being close to finished, this is one of the harder ones, since in the interim they’ve changed the way Ork units buy and allocate special/heavy weapons pretty substantially, and also halved their point values – so it will need a lot of shuffling and a busload of additional Orks to bring back up to 600pts…

So as you can see, there are a couple of themes running through there… hopefully I can make some or most of it a reality, since much of it shouldn’t involve painting too many additional models… for all but the Orks, anyway.

“Stretch Goals” for the 40k-2k/600pt-Combat Patrol project are Grey Knights and Blood Angels.

Pictured: A huge pile of junk/future wargaming room.

Also – Convert the shed into a games room, and actually play a bunch of games! The major part of the clean-up and carpeting is planned hoped to happen over the next few weeks since I have annual leave. This will allow a lot of the mess being stored in the “painting studio” to be moved out.

Pictured: A bloody mess.

This will allow me to move my “long-term” painting projects onto the actual, proper painting desk that I have, while I’ll still be able to move individual models into the living room to work on when I want to paint while being less isolated. It’ll also allow indoor/late night gaming & boardgaming to take place on the table in the living room, rather than being covered by my crap.

Pictured: Where I *should* be painting. Note how covered in crap it all is.

Pictured: Folding table in the Living Room. AKA Where I *actually* paint.

A lot of this is due to finally purchasing our own place, after renting for years and having things in storage and then living in a short-term rental for 18 months with most of our stuff in boxes. In the last year, there’s been much unpacking and lots of culling, but that stuff happens sporadically since work seems to become more demanding each year. Every so often buying some more Bookshelves or Detolf cabinets (AU$150 for a Detolf compared to US$60? Talk about regional price fixing that would make GW blush!) As well as that, I appreciate a good videogame, so I like to chill out with some Battlefield4 or GTA5 or what have you as well as working on hobby and home.

One thing it was really nice to finally get finished only a week and a half ago was turning the small “second lounge” room or whatever the hell real estate agents call them into a display space for cool crap. This room had been half-filled with boxes (literally, not figuatively) for pretty much a full year, so it really brings a smile to my face whenever I walk through it now. I’m even able to stop and look at these things now! I’ll do a proper update on the stuff in here a bit later, but here’s the room, about 90% done as it is today (move the miniature cases out, put some more stuff in the cabinets, sort out under the desk a little). Here are a couple of pics.

Pictured: Display Room, Left Side.

Pictured: Display Room, Right Side.

And yes, I’m clearly a very lucky man in that Marouda shares my enjoyment of this sort of stuff on display, and is even willing to play games and do a tiny bit of painting with me. I should point out that the consoles are all her fault, since it was at her urging that we bought our first SNES and Mega Drive, all those years ago. That’s about it for this post. I haven’t done any painting since just before Christmas, but I hope to start again in the next couple of days. So last of all, I’ll just wish…

~ A Happy 2014 to you all! ~

Mantic Ogre Shooters – Blunderbuss and Crossbows – Based!

Just a small update this time, but we finally had two days without rain in a row! Two! Sure, they directly followed the coldest November day in the last 25 years (it’s spring here, supposedly) but anyway – the day allowed me to finally finish the bases on these guys after finally getting a day warm enough to spray them. Paint-on Vallejo varnish kept leaving some non-matt areas. Hurrah for Testors Dullcote!

Mantic Ogre Shooters with Crossbows.

Mantic Ogre Shooters with Blunderbusses.

Here’s their previous post. With more photos, but no tufts.

Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolf Pack.

I picked up 15 of the new(ish) Space Wolves’ Fenrisian wolves off the eBay several months ago. I like the models, but I’m not fond of GW’s current pricing strategy for Australians. There are ways around it of course, and one of those I employ quite frequently these days is picking up a lot of secondhand figures from eBay. It’s also a good way to get metal models, rather than the overpriced Finecrap they’re peddling, though I’ll occasionally get those via eBay as well if the cast appears to be close enough to perfect. Not that this matters here of course, as we’re dealing with secondhand plastics. These ones were already assembled and sprayed when I got them. A little rough around the edges, so a bit of scraping got them in order, and a coat of Army Painter grey to start off my own basecoat. After some “research” time watching Nat Geo and Animal Planet docos, I’ve also seen how grey, black and white wolves seem to co-habitate the same packs, I went for grey wolves for the first batch with the following ones to be black and (probably) white. It also works to split the five unique body sculpts across 15 models, making each one slightly unique. After checking out some photos of them online I worked out how I was going to break down their colours.

Some blending for both the grey fur and the warmer brown tones on the faces. I was actually quite happy with the subtle blending on the grey fur, as well as the grey on the bodies to the browns on the paws at this point, though my WIP photo here is a bit crappy.

Coated with Pledge One Go/Future Floor Wax, for my first attempts at using ink washes, inspired by Chung/Wargamers Consortium’s video that can be found below.

**NOTE  – THIS IS NOT MY VIDEO. CHECK OUT THE WGC CHANNEL FOR GREAT TIPS AND ADVICE.**

Anyway, here they are – finished!

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

The Oil Wash was a good learning experience. I wasn’t completely happy with it, and had to do a little bit of re-blending over the top in places, but overall, the wolves came up well, especially as a quick project. I’m still a little bummed at my nice subtle fur blending being wiped out by the oils, and so it’s not a technique I’ll use for everything going forward, by any means. Still, it’s nice to have another technique that I’m comfortable enough to play with, and as I said, on cheapish eBay figures, it’s not the end of the world. I wonder how Oil Washes would behave on Bones models? Perhaps it would melt them? In the end I also opted to give them somewhat natural looking eyes, rather than (stereo) typical “evil red” eyes.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

I intend to use these wolves (and the other 10, plus all those older-school ones I still need to paint) across several systems. 40k, LotR SBG/WotR, Kings of War, even (maybe) DeadZone if I ever play it (replacing those awful Mawbeasts). I found these wolves to be pretty good, but not quite as nice as I’d hoped. The poses are great (though one did have an accident when Marouda carelessly snapped it off it’s base at the ankle requiring some pin vice surgery and more overpainting – I was well pleased with that) – so as nice and dynamic as they are, the poses are a bit fragile. The tails not being a separate piece, is a nice change from the older models, so they’re less likely to break than the previous wolves. What I’m not so keen on however is the fur on the side of their torsos and upper legs. Clearly a result of digital sculpting rather than more traditional methods, they’ve overlaid a “leaf” pattern of fur (more visible in my first and third photos) rather than sculpting the whole of the bodies in a more traditional manner, as they have for the manes.

Overall, though. I’m happy with the models and the way they turned out. I don’t think the Black Wolves will need an Oil Wash, so they’re just needing to sneak into the paint queue past the Ogres and Elves. The white ones need a bit more than that however. Once they’re all painted, I’ll do some nice shots of the entire pack. Look forward to that in 2014 sometime! Unless a KoW Ogre army has some kind of counts-as provision for packs of wild wolves… 😉

Dark Elves/Twilight Kin – Beginnings

So as mentioned, the counterpoint to this Ogre army for KoW is a Twilight Kin one. Originally the plan was to use GW High Elves in a KoW “Elf” Army, but through some discussion with JudgeDoug it slowly morphed into a Twilight Kin (Dark Elf) army list via my suggestion of using my few Dark Elves at the time and then Doug finding the most appropriate list for the figures I had at the time. In the last month, however, I found I nice bloke in the UK selling off a shitton of Warhammers, and managed to pick up a whole lot of his Dark Elves (though not as many as I’d liked to! Damn those eBay snipers!). In any case, the “Elves” have had another turn, and now the Twilight Kin going to be a “Proper” Dark Elf force, with a whole new colour scheme I’ve worked out, and the (High) Elves will remain in their previously planned colours – when I get around to painting them. Right after these two armies, hopefully! I’ll also have to ask Doug to rejig the TK army list to reflect the loss of the High and addition of many more Dark Elves.

Citadel Dark Elf Executioner Champion

This first Dark Elf is from the previous/recent metal range. I have to say that while I liked the look of the executioners in pictures, their separate greatswords just looked like an accident waiting to happen. I also didn’t think much of this guy in pictures, as the visual balance always looked right off, with his obscured face, and overly-silly-large-hairdo. Once he was in hand, already assembled and sprayed black, I was somehow compelled to paint him up. So I did. Not sure where he fits exactly into the TK army list, but he’ll go in there somewhere, for sure.

It took me awhile to figure out what colour scheme to give the Dark Elves. While Purple/Black always looks good, it’s also the standard GW go-to colour (like Blue/White for High Elves) so again I wanted to do something at least a little bit different. After close to a day of poking around on the internet and looking at different models, these two images on Google Search helped me decide to go for some deep sea-green armour, based on the look I prefer for Sons of Horus. With sea green chosen for my main armour colour, I gave a local paint store a call to see if they had any sprays in sea green, and it turns out that they can literally make spray cans (or pressure packs, as they call them) in any colour off their extensive colour charts. So I went around, was somewhat overwhelmed with the amount of choice, and chose one from the 6 or so that were in what I felt was the right range. I also decided to go for a metallic tint, since I felt it would work a bit better (and hey, otherwise I may as well just mix up some custom dropper bottles). Later, I found some more images with metallic Sons of Horus, so I may eventually do up a squad of those guys as well.

Citadel Dark Elf Executioner Champion

When I got back and gave him a spray, I then had to figure out what to do with the cloth parts. I originally wanted to avoid any reds, but saw another pic of the Sons of Horus where a very small amount of red was used effectively (sorry, can’t find the pic now) so went with it – on the lower cloak, and also using a reddish-brown for the leather on his topknot-wrap and sword handle. Using a purplish shade to his skin also warms the figure, slightly and provides a contrast to his armour. Again, taken from a good blog article – this one talking about Dark Eldar skin tones. The hair was finished, but it looks like the end of the topknot has had something splash onto it.

I knew I wanted to do some freehand on the cloak, so I was originally going to go with flames on the cloak, Legion of the Damned-style. Then green flames. Then a black cloak with “glowing green” runes – palette inspired by the Cryx boxed set. In the end I went with a faded spiral pattern on the inner cloak, and plain wet-blended turquoise for the outer. I’ll likely varnish the whole model next (after fixing the hair) and then work out what to do on the cloaks – either some freehand or just leaving them as they are. Suggestions welcome. What was particularly nice for me was getting this guy to this point in about 2 1/2 days from the original black sprayed model.

Citadel Dark Elf Assassin

Then there’s his little mate who came with him that I’ve just started – a DE Assassin. Again, not sure where exactly he’ll fit into the army, but not too worried about things like that. I’m basically happy with the cloak being a P3 Coal Base-Trollblood Base, and the metal armour in the same colour as the other model, but not entirely sure about his turquoise thigh-high go-go boots. Perhaps shade them down and see how it looks? I plan to paint his undershorts black and skip the spot of red on his clothing, unless it’s a touch of face paint. But yeah, the main delay on this one is working out what to do with his booties.

D&D Monster Manual 2: Iron Golem and Troll – aka 77168: Bones Battleguard Golem / 77004: Bones Cave Troll

A couple more painted Bones this time. One from the Kickstarter, the Battleguard (Iron) Golem, and another pre-KS model – the Troll.

When painting the “Iron” Golem (as he’s commonly known), I wanted to play with warm metallics (copper, bronze) and verdigris, so I happily disregarded the “Iron” portion of the model.

77168: Reaper Bones Battleguard Golem, Iron Golem

77168: Reaper Bones Battleguard Golem, Iron Golem

Much of the model was actually fun to work with. I utilised a lot of heavy drybrushing that worked well on the model to bring out all the slight imperfections of the cast, and helped to create a bit of a pitted, cast-metal look, which was perfect for my ends. The rear shot of the left forearm shows it pretty well. While I’m not especially happy with the way the sword blade turned out, being a cheap Bones model, I’m happy to call it good enough. The plastic of the blade was uneven and frankly an unpleasant pain to work with. The face was a bit of a mess. To sort of salvage it, I just painted it gold in the end, and gave it a hit of ink and a small highlight. The gems on the back of the shoulders and sword blade, and also the eyes were done using the usual GW-style gem technique and hit with gloss varnish. For what it’s worth, I think the glowing OSL effect on the Reaper website looks better, and if I’d seen it earlier I probably would have ripped it off, but c’est la vie.

77168: Reaper Bones Battleguard Golem, Iron Golem

77168: Reaper Bones Battleguard Golem, Iron Golem

The bags and chain on the back of his butt were a badly-cast mess, and so they got a very quick “good enough” job. The real highlight of the model to me was playing with some new mixes of paint washes along with the layered drybrushing to create the aged verdigris effect, which will no doubt make a reappearance later down the line on some venerable space marines of some description. I also did some dungeon furniture at the same time, which I’ll have to photograph down the line and show here as well. Base is my usual for this kind of thing – Proxie models 40mm round base with the plastic Bones base glued on top and a bit of acrylic putty to flatten it all out before sand and Army Painter tufts.

Anyway, as a low-stress learning experience and relatively fast model to paint, I consider this guy to be a success. Now he can sit on the shelf until Pathfinder calls him to duty!

77004: Bones Cave Troll

77004: Bones Cave Troll

This guy, like the Purple Worms from the last post, was a Bones figure I picked up before the Kickstarter campaign who spent most of the last year part-painted until I finally finished him properly more recently. The “learning experience” with this guy was to practice blending from unnatural skin tones (ie, the green) to more natural ones (the flesh). I saw some fine work done in this manner on Citadel Dragon Ogres many years ago, and it’s also been used to some extent on the LotR trolls – which is one of the places this guy can do duty, along with Pathfinder and wargames like Warhammer and Kings of War.

77004: Bones Cave Troll

77004: Bones Cave Troll

77004: Bones Cave Troll

The paint was originally a bit nicer, but it got severely messed up (in my opinion) when I hit the finished model with Army Painter’s spray (matt!) varnish. The model got a nasty shine, some sandy “frosting” on his limbs, and it also attracted a bunch of tiny little hairs. I’ve gone over it with paint-on Vallejo, but it’s still not quite right. The base used the same techniques as listed above for the golem, but not as successful, and being a cheap bones model I’d prefer to buy another one and do it again then spend the time to rework the whole base – ie “good enough”. His claws are badly defined, and the facial details are a bit soft and sloppy – picking out the eyes was not easy. Blending the pustulent and infected looking boils into his skin was fun as always, but despite my misgivings about the casting of the figure overall and especially some specific parts of the model (claws, face) – and even the messed up finish thanks to the Spray and my sub-par job on the base, I find it to be another successful practice model. Good enough for Roleplaying and certainly tabletop quality for wargaming.