Thought I was well overdue to do a catch-up post on what a crazy five months I’ve had since the last time I wrote anything. Without a doubt, this year has been one of the best hobby years I’ve had in over 25 years and I’ve achieved things that I wouldn’t have even believed possible. Sadly, one thing that has lost out is this blog, I started off really well but limited time and the despicable “real world” have kicked me in the nuts for getting anything new written. Thankfully the rest of the year does seem like it should be quieter – though time will tell!
So, let’s do a catch up on what I’ve been up to over the Crazy Five Months™
Well the past month has once again flown past in a flurry of rather dull real life interferences. It was however Games Day and Golden Demon 2013 on the 29th September and I spent the Friday evening and Saturday prior to the day rebuilding the base of the Contemptor Dreadnought I painted for last year along with pushing some highlights a bit further. Once more the poor lighting and shelf placement of my entry hampered me and I came away with no finalist badge. Although this was quite disappointing (I felt it was good enough to have at least hit the first cut), I am really happy with how the model came out and even more impressed with how quickly I turned round the base reworking, despite lots of swearing whilst gluing bits of stone to the base. I’ve come to the conclusion that the judges are looking for “fantastical” rather than “realistic” paint jobs, so my subtle realistic painting just doesn’t lend itself to the competition. Continue reading →
Across the UK, Sunday 23rd September heralded almost 8000 hobbyists across the country head to the National Exhibition Centre for before 10am. Many of them with carefully packed miniatures and amazingly painted display pieces or with hopes of gleaning some snippet of unknown information.
I was up around 6am and after doing some last minute changes (including failing to attach a display plinth) to my Golden Demon entry headed out the door at 7am to get my lift. My brother and I got to the NEC around 9.30am although stood in the cold for 25 minutes as the stewards insisted that there wasn’t an early entry queue for people with Golden Demon entries – there was and it opened at 9am…
First port of call (after having a pee and filling in our Golden Demon entry slip) was towards the Forge World stand where we were lucky enough to pick up the very last seminar ticket! We then dropped our Golden Demon entries off and decided to head to the sales area, which Games Workshop had this year (thankfully) utilised an entire hall (which in previous years hadn’t been open). On the positive, there was a queuing system. On the negative, it took us two whole hours to get round. I was lucky enough to pick up two of the limited edition t-shirts, four of the Games Day Anthologies, a copy of Lone Wolves and Horus Heresy Book One – Betrayal (which I have discovered was limited to 200 copies). I am a bit annoyed that whilst being ‘assisted’ by one of the staff when looking for a t-shirt, he handed me the wrong one which I didn’t discover until I’d got home…
The Forge World Seminar was fantastic, I’ve been in three before and Tony Cotrell is a fantastic speaker and didn’t disappoint this time. Alan Bligh was there too and both spoke about the planned projects. It never fails to amaze me how thick people are however. Warhammer Forge is currently working on “Black Fire Pass”, it was made very clear that this is the ONLY project being worked on for Warhammer – there must have been four or five questions asking if item xyz is going to be made or are they going to develop item abc for Warhammer. Which bit of “Black Fire Pass is Forge World’s only Warhammer Project” is difficult to understand. The Horus Heresy project was talked about a lot (as you can imagine) and I’ve created a post on what was spoken about. It’s really exciting and I actually think that more people are enthusiastic about this than anything else Games Workshop is working on.
Overall the day was very enjoyable, not getting a first cut sticker and queuing for 2 hours was the only two low points of the day (getting up early I’m not including).
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).
Due to a long weekend at a LARP event (Thursday to Monday), I’ve not got as much done as if I were home, however quite a bit of progress was made early last week. All of the Dreadnought (including knees, elbows and arms) have received the base colour. The red knee pad has been base coloured, highlighted and shaded and looks pretty sweet although I’m not convinced I’ve highlighted up enough.
I have begun to paint the pipe on the base and have opted for a heavily rusted creamy colour (using salt weathering). I have been having a few issues with my airbrush as I’ve completely run out of airbrush cleaner (and Hobbycraft had none in the last time someone visited) which has resulted in a couple of really annoying spiders I need to somehow rectify. The effect I’m aiming for is like the picture on the right. This will be also quite heavily weathered into the base so shouldn’t be too over powering.
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!