Wednesday 31 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Bonekutta

Probably the best of the NMM steel examples, and I tried a darker armour colour here with harder contrast. Funnily enough, this was the first model finished too.

Tuesday 30 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Hakka

For a model with so little face, he's so malevolent. I enjoyed playing with the lighting on the rear of his armour with this one, and just wish I'd done better with the shoulder pads.

Sunday 28 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Basha

My placement of highlights improved but still lots that can be done better next time.

Saturday 27 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz - Gurzag Ironskull

I'm very happy with how the face and cloak turned out here, less so with the steel of the axe.

Improving My Photography (Jan-18)

I've been fiddling with my lightbox to get better photos - something closer to the colours I see when looking at the model. Below is the journey I took with my Ork to get to a good place.

The default option with lightsource above lightbox, diffused.

Changed to increase exposure.

Changed the camera's elevation to be a little higher.

Increased the exposure again, without moving the light source.

Increased f-value to f11 but felt it was leaving the background in sharp focus as well now.

Pushed the light source back to be over the camera instead of over the lightbox. Getting close now.

Realised I'd overcomplicated life a little. Moved the light back to almost overhead the miniature again, and downstepped the exposure.

There will be further adjustments over time, but for the moment this feels pretty good - and gives an accurate representation of what the model looks like in real life. Here's how the camera setup looks in reality.

Sunday 21 January 2018

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz WIP #2

First attempt at the steel axe and now we're heading in the right direction ...

With the test model coming together well, it's time to bring the other three up to the same standard.

I want to try a few different approaches with the armour, so they won't all be identical in brightness or painting style. It took a little time to reconcile this with my usual approach of having everything the same, but painting NMM is new to me and I'm keen to try things to find what works best for me.

At this point that's most of the copper armour done, all the skin and leather so it's onto the weaponry. Lots of interesting shapes to deal with here, so plenty of opportunity to try and understand where the light catches. Here we go ...

Wednesday 10 January 2018

Eat The Tomato Frog

"Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day" - Mark Twain

It's simple really, you should pick the biggest, ugliest task that needs doing and that's the first thing you do. Almost inevitably it's the task you want to avoid or forget about. You swap to other activities because they're quick wins, and give you a little dopamine hit because you did A Thing, but often you're just left treading water.

We can agree procrastination and social media are time killers, right? They destroys efficiency. It's the junk food of time. Initially satisfying, but 30 minutes later you're left back where you started.1 In a work environment I heavily encourage the frog concept for better time management and meaningful achievements.

But, the notion of eating a frog is awful ... so I have mine with tomato so it's easier to swallow.

Here's my approach.

I was supposed to be tidying a room when I stopped to read Twitter and now here we are, with me writing a blog post because of something Kouhaikou ( said to me. Brilliant. Well done me. But I can redeem this.

We're on a tangent from what I started, so the best way to get back to the original job in hand is to finish this one.2 Focus. Don't go looking at your social media, or flick over a TV channel.3 No, seriously, focus. You're probably thinking "man, I bet something amazing just happened on Twitter" and the finger starts to drift toward the app button, but it'll wait. It's fine. Stick with it! Then you've wrapped up a loose end, and can get back to the task in hand - rather than leaving half a completed blog post sat here.

The second step is that I'm giving myself 25 minutes to complete it.4,5 Why 25 minutes? Pomodoro! Treat yourself to a quick read ( rather than have me patronise you by rehashing a well written article. I work in 25 minute bursts and use a tomato timer ( to monitor that. After 25 minutes I evaluate what progress has been made, and decide if another 25 minutes is appropriate or if I'm done, or even if it'll do ( just fine. The timing also provides a great opportunity to stand up, go for a stroll, get a drink, change background music, have a pee, or any combination thereof.

Now that 25 minutes obviously doesn't always go according to plan. I had six interruptions in this one. They're annotated above.
  1. Daughter #2 let me know she'd dropped her favourite hairband in the toilet and can I help get it out.
  2. Daughter #1 asked for help straighting a dolly's hair. Because a bald man in his forties has to develop these life skills as a dad.
  3. Son came in demanding lunchtime milk.
  4. Daughter #2 had a poo-mergency assist required. When the poo calls, you answer.
  5. Wife wanted help choosing the right storage box for her sewing machine feet.
  6. Son wanted a cat and a house drawing on the blackboard. I'm awful at both, but he loves them.
You can't avoid those interruptions, but you can avoid the distractions and tangents of your own making.6

2018 will be a year of treating my free time more like I do my work time, which seems like a perverse notion until you realise this can make it more productive and satisfying.

Friday 5 January 2018

Warploque: Bayourk Witchdokta

Happy Friday!

I should start by saying I love Warploque Alex's approach to building a brand new world, how he runs Kickstarters, and interacts with the community in general. But I haven't backed any of the projects or bought any of the figures in the Arcworlde because it was complicated by one huge point - I don't actually like most of his sculpts.

Everything's quite craggy, not the big clean surfaces I'm used to, and prefer - they have a rustic quality that didn't appeal to me. But, when he released the Bayourk models, the Witchdokta was a mandatory purchase as it's perfect for this approach - so I picked this up at Salute 2016 and then ... completely forgot about it.

So he had a few minor major changes in the last day and while he's painted in roughly similar leather colours to how my Shadespire Orruks are coming together, there's been a lot of change to the skin.

The mushrooms were the starting point and allowed me to think on how to convey the magical properties of this witch doctor.  Then I watched a video on adding iridescence ( which pushed me to do a little more on the skin. Mine is a rougher take, but I like how it turned out - would be nice to try this on a larger, smoother surface to see what happens.

For me the sculpt lacked a focal point, as everything's craggy and runs in to the other pieces, and his left hand didn't have anything in there, so I added a bead with some OSL and swirly lines as an orb of power. Job done.

Still working on the photography, but a lot happier with this after some experimentation in the last few days.

Tuesday 2 January 2018

2018 Goals

Not big on resolutions, but setting targets for the year is just dandy.



I want to lift the standards of my individual figure painting to the next level, again. The goal is still better use of colour theory, smoother layering and glazing and even improving simple accuracy on the basics. At most I will attend two painting courses in 2018 - one's already booked with Banshee ( and we'll see what the second will be.


Still hitting the #90MMC challenge. Can I produce a full figure in 90 minutes of painting? Combined with the pursuit of quality, I want to push my tabletop standard up and up.


Starting projects and seeing them through to completion, rather than adding more to-do piles onto the workbench. I want need projects ticked off the WIP list.

Armies on Parade

I plan to build a comically complex board for AoP this year for my Space Wolves. All the major parts are already ordered and it will hopefully be a labour of love through the first nine months of this year. Maybe.


Ironskull's Boyz [4]

My Shadespire faction of choice, and they're on the workbench at the moment. These will be the first goal to complete for this year. Despite making things more complicated by painting them all in non-metallic.

Hasslefree Miniatures [8]

Paint everything I picked up at Salute in 2016, including the Red Box Games figures - Bolverk the Bold, Howling Gorvhogguth, TradKarl plus Weird West Boudi, Harby, Rogue Drax, Blanche and Mystic Warrior Jen. These need to be completed before my Hasslefree Kickstarter goodies arrive.

Heresy Miniatures [4]

Finish everything I picked up at Salute in 2016. Brother Bude and the Ghoul King are the only ones left, but then I did find a couple of older demon dogs that need painting up as well ...

Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolves [41]

Paint up the whole Ironclaw Strike Force and wrap the rest of the Dark Imperium box at the same time. What have I done?

Guild Ball Morticians [3]

Complete the Season 1 & 2 roster with Vileswarm and Veteran Graves. So close to completion, I can taste it.

Guild Ball Fishermen [5]

Complete the Season 1 & 2 roster with alternate Shark, Corsair, Sakana, Jac and Tentacles.

Willy Miniatures [1]

Sportscasters. I finished the Ogre (let's call him Bob) last year and have the Vampire (who is definitely not Jim Johnson from Blood Bowl) and then that completes my homebrew Guild Ball NPC collection.

This sets my initial goals at 66 figures. I'm going to double down and aim to get these finished in the first six months of the year. Ouch. But if we don't set goals to stretch ourselves, how will we grow?

Monday 1 January 2018

Mantic: Walking Dead

Happy New Year! Here's to a fantastic year of hobby.

Squeezing this in before the end of year. A figure completed way back in November has sat languishing on my desk, waiting to be photographed. This is the first time I've had the chance to do the honours with my new photo setup.

Picked this up as a freebie from Mantic's stand at Salute 2017. Lots of lovely detail in here, and was good fun to paint. It was one of my 90-minute challenge figures and I completed it inside of two episodes of The Punisher - so it was roughly on schedule.

Most things are pretty quick for the time limit, but I tried to add a little texture for the jeans and some writing on the cap. How people produce entire battle scenes ( is beyond my comprehension. I can barely scribble a few letters on a hat.

This is being donated to the Massive Voodoo zombie project (, as I have no need for modern-day zombies in the collection - and MV do such wonderful work for the hobby community that being able to contribute anything back seems the least I can do. He's not based for this reason, as I spotted none of their other contributions have been either.