Well despite my best efforts and spending many hours and late nights, I didn’t even make first cut. Although I knew my model would never take home a demon I’m a little annoyed that I didn’t even get a green sticker. It didn’t help that the stewards were telling people there wasn’t an early entry queue (which there was) so by the time I got in and handed my mini over, it got put on the top shelf of the cabinet which meant that anyone under 6ft tall would really have only seen the underside of the base – which wasn’t at the same level as the main painting. I think what has annoyed me more though is that the couple of entries in the finalist cabinet I saw when I collected mine didn’t have any kind of narrative to them at all. In fact the entry that took the third was a standard Space Wolf Dreadnought that was painted well but not what I would have called spectacularly – the gold demon was taken by a tank that in all honesty was just very well weathered using pigments and such like. Although it’s not easy to achieve it’s also not difficult and from the big screen, I didn’t feel it warranted the top prize.
That said, I had a thoroughly enjoyable day and managed to pick up all of the things that I wanted – including the Horus Heresy Book One (which despite being £70 is a gorgeous creation). I’ve also been inspired to get back into “proper painting” once more. My two projects this year (Stormlord and Contemptor Dreadnought) I’ve really enjoyed doing, but the projects consisted of 40% modelling, 20% airbrushing, 30% weathering and 10% actual painting with a brush. I hand painted all of the bone items on the Contemptor and shocked myself with how quickly I actually managed to get them done, the same for the Genestealer head and various metal elements.
I’m still running behind my ‘schedule’ but by going to bed at 2.30am last night (technically this morning) meant that I got all of the oil washes onto the dreadnought which means by the end of tomorrow they’ll be dry enough for me to varnish. I also ‘drybrushed’ black and brown oil paint onto the gun barrel and it’s come out absolutely fantastic and toned that part of the model so that it actually matches the rest of the body. The only annoyance I had was that I’d not re-varnished the red knee pad with transfer so I almost messed that up with the white spirit in the oil wash. Thankfully despite being after midnight I did some very speedy poking with a clean brush and you’d not know that it had ever happened. The only other thing that was almost a disaster was that the head didn’t actually glue into place with the tiny drop of epoxy I used so fell off – straight into the mix of oil paint :s As the head had been varnished some deft work with kitchen towel and my blending brush cleaned most of it off.
Tonight I’m off to my Mum’s so once I get back home I’m going to do very little (one little bit of blending I forgot about whilst fiddling this morning) other than having an early night. Tomorrow’s tasks largely revolve around finishing the green stuffing on the cloak and doing the little bits on the base. Because I’ve got lots of little bits and bobs to do, this should lend itself to doing a portion on the cloak and then some on the base whilst the green stuff dries and repeating. It’s a very high task but I’d love to get the cloak finished by the time I go to bed. My concern is that I’ve barely done a third and probably spent 20 hours on it (though that’s a rough guess). I’m hoping though that having a really concerted effort might mean that I actually get considerably more done, plus I have from when I get up (likely 8.30ish) until I hit the sack which I’m happy to be midnight and gone.
Unsurprisingly my “perfect weekend of painting” ended up not so perfect. Due to numerous phone calls, chores and other interruptions I lost around 7 hours worth of painting time. I also managed to balls up the application of the larger custom decals – I should have gone with my gut instinct and gloss varnished first. I can “recover” this and the overall effect will be fine, I’m just really annoyed with myself. I think I was trying to rush as I was a bit behind. Oh well, not a lot that can be done now.
I didn’t get any work done on the base at all, but did manage to get gloss varnish on nearly all of the Dreadnought sub-assemblies. I still have the head to do, but want to do the eyes first. Sponge weathering begun this morning (before I left for work) and actually is starting to make the whole thing come together.
Well the Dreadnought has progressed quite significantly since my last post. Pretty much all of the main airbrush work has been completely (with the exception of a few touch ups) and I’m fully onto brush work now. True to form this isn’t going as quickly as I would like although some of that can be attributed to the fact that this week has been a complete nightmare on actually sitting down with free time. Despite originally planning 3 evenings work I have achieved the sum total of an hour although tomorrow I have from around 8pm and all weekend as my other half is away for the whole weekend.
As you can see from this pic, I have finally found a decent colour for the shoulder pads and knee pad. This is actually the colour I originally wanted but somehow didn’t get. What it has meant is that I’ve had to purchase a set of Logan Grimnar Company decals as the great wolf symbol I had in black was too dark for this much deeper colour and this transfer set has white versions of this symbol.
I also took the opportunity to purchase a pot of Balthasar Gold which is a coppery colour that looks great with a shade of brown and highlight of Runelord Brass (which I didn’t buy – doh!) comes out as a very convincing brass colour and most importantly is quite easy (which is good when time is pressing).
As forecast, this weekend saw a decent amount of progress on my miniature. As you may be able to see from my Flickr Pool, the base has had quite a bit of work done on it and I’ve finally pulled my finger out and got some more of the cloak done (though there is 60% left to do!).
I discovered to my horror that I’d almost run out of Chaos Black. Now this is almost a cardinal sin (I’m sure there must be some pots lurking somewhere) so when I nipped into town for a hair cut, I purchased a new pot of Abadon Black – a base paint so it’s quite thick but thins down remarkably well. I do fancy that this is more black than the old Chaos Black.
Well that’s got your attention 😉 And this post is about is airbrushes rather than ink…
Gravity fed-airbrushes are lovely pieces of kit, very efficient on paint and able to spray at very low pressures. Now one thing that you must always do is to thin your paint down to the consistency of semi-skimmed milk. This ensures that it flows through the brush smoothly. One of the problems with this is that you generally can’t mix up your paint in a regular palette as you’ll make an awful mess when pouring it in. I have heard of people actually mixing it in the main cup of the airbrush but that sounds like a recipe for disaster as whatever you put into the cup first will just run into the internal mixing chamber.
Some time ago I did a bit of research on the internet and managed to locate a supplier for small 3.5ml flip-top paint pots as I commented in a previous post, which worked out to be about 8p each. I’ve been using this type of pot for about 3 years now and very quickly realised that although the flip top allows you to seal the paint you’ve mixed, it still does dry out (there is only a little paint in there) and if you’re using a foundation paint the paint actually separates. The end result is that a pot is generally only used once or twice before being thrown away.
Well I’d recently got to the point where I have a dozen or so pots left so decided to see if there was anything more suitable for mixing my paints up in. I brought to mind having a tattoo last year, the tattooist used a small plastic ‘top’ to put her ink in, which got thrown at the end of the session. A bit of research on the internet revealed that you can actually purchase these for about 2p each – and that’s at the most expensive (buying more than 100 brings the price down). They come in 4 sizes – small, medium, large and extra-large. I picked up 100 small and 100 large for a fiver, including P&P. I will be honest and say that the small ones are pretty small – probably only 1ml in total, however the large are a decent size and comparable to the 3.5ml pots I’ve got. In future I’ll likely only buy medium and large but this means a cheap and economic way of mixing paint for the airbrush – just make sure that you blue tac or double tape them to a surface as they’re really easy to knock over!
During the past week I’ve managed to make some substantial progress on my entry, though not as much as I’d hoped I would as I got less done during the weekend than I’d planned (but more during last week). The base and body have now both been finished from a modelling perspective and both have received a coat of grey primer. The base received it’s airbrushed base colours yesterday but I took a bit of a side step when I tried to wash the lower half and all I managed to do was basically darken it when I airbrushed the wash on (and make it satin shiny). Before I hit the sack yesterday I applied the wash again to some parts of it with a brush, which did shade it a little, but didn’t give it as much depth as I wanted.
Although I’ve a couple of jobs to do when I get in, I do have time this evening to spend on it. My first step is to selectively apply some wash into the deepest recesses (by hand and using other colours). Once that’s dry (a good point to do some chores ; ) I’ll re-apply the base colours with my airbrush, shade and then apply gentle highlights. I will then drybrush the various elements and if necessary blend in using the base colour from the airbrush. I might even treat myself to one or two of the new GW drybrush paints.
Where has the last month gone 🙁 In fairness I can actually answer that for a change – insulating and stud walling the garage (and slicing my finger open with a stanley knife), tidying the house for visitors (and them visiting for a weekend) and going away this past weekend to a LARP event. Although I am much further behind with my Dreadnought than I wanted to be, unlike my normal “oh god the past month has vanished”, I have actually got some elements constructed and done and more importantly I have free time approaching.
The arms have been glued into sub-assemblies and pins inserted in place, this includes the genestealer head. The base has had all of the resin/plastic details glued on and received a covering of crushed quartz. The fur cloak has had a little bit more work done. I’ve a couple of small bits left to do and then I can actually get some primer & undercoat on it. The list of modelling bits is as follows:
- Base – Glue some guitar wire on and some mandatory skulls and then coat with watered down glue
- Dreadnought – Sculpt on some wolf teeth and rune trinkets and then add a couple of wolf pelts
- Cloak – Sculpt the remaining 2/3rds of the fur
- Claw arm – Use some green stuff to make it look like the skull is being pinched rather than gingerly held
When it’s put down in a list like that, you can see that I’m not far off being able to put paint on. One thing I do need to do this week is to rig up a light and photograph the whole piece so that I can ensure I get the shading and highlighting correct when I airbrush.
I’ve done a little bit of research in preparation for painting the Dreadnought as I like to spend a good chunk of time working out what I’m painting and how. The first decision to make is what colours to paint the dreadnought. In principal he’ll be the stereotypical blue grey colour that is universally recognised as being a Space Wolf although unlike the Games Workshop Space Wolves it will be more grey than blue as a nod towards the grey pre-heresy colour scheme. If only the other decisions were as simple as that!
I need to somehow inject a bright colour or two onto the whole piece else it’s going to be a largely bland, grey blob from a distance. My initial thought is that I should paint the shoulder and knee pads in the same way that a regular Space Wolf would be painted. There are a couple of problems with doing this. Firstly, Space Wolf dreads don’t wear pack markings (all the studio painted ones are the same colour all over) and secondly they would technically wear the “The Wolf That Stalks Between Stars” logo – which has a black background and a large expanse of black really isn’t going to look very good.
My 100th blog entry! *queue a fanfair and confetti*
Well as expected the new arms for my Contemptor arrived last week. For reference, the Contemptor Claw arm actually comes with a normal set of “fingers”, but a different ranged weapon – a Graviton Gun and Plasma Blaster (which the rules are only in Imperial Armour 2 and not the PDF on the Forgeworld Website). Because I had already cleaned the bits for the normal power fist, I was able to get away with just substituting the weapon and fingers. The Kheres Assault Cannon however was a little more troublesome…