Sunday 31 December 2017

2017 Goals - End of Year Review

Well that year drifted by quickly, didn't it? The progress in the last six months from the original list written up at the beginning of 2017 hasn't been a pretty read for progress I'm afraid. But let's look at progress across the year.

The Bad

  • Infamy [3] - No progress.
  • Guild Ball Fishermen [5] - No progress.
Whoops. These just dropped down the list when new projects present themselves. I'd sorely love to wrap up the Guild Ball figures just to tick another one off the list.

The Inbetween
  • Hasslefree Miniatures [12] - Completed 4.
  • Heresy Miniatures [1] - Completed 2.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolves [28] - Completed 9.
  • Warhammer 40,000 Death Guard [16] - One test model done, but will pause this as I plan to swap to Word Bearers.
  • Shadespire [4] - Started.
  • Guild Ball Morticians [3] - Completed 1.
  • Willy Miniatures [1] - Started the vampire, but not finished.
Hit and miss here. Some forward steps made but then a few steps back. Space Wolves were complicated by buying the Dark Imperium box set and Shadespire, so they've taken precedence. I did manage to complete the Inceptors, Ancient and five Wolves from the original box.

The Good

  • Colony 87 - Completed all 9.
  • Blood Rage - Completed 1 wolf.
  • Conan - Completed 10 wolves.
  • Zombicide: Black Plague - Completed 22 wolves.
  • Terrain - 6 pieces from Crooked Dice, 3 containers from TTcombat, 3 armoured containers, 9 barrels, 12 crates from Games Workshop, and a few other odds and ends.
  • Human Interface - Completed 3 characters.
  • Arcworlde - Completed 1 Ork.
  • The Walking Dead - Completed 1 zombie.
 A few really small projects were completed at the last minute (Human Interface, Arcworlde & The Walking Dead) which was nice to clear off the backlog. Small projects hanging around start to irk after a while, so these quick wins please me.

The Summary
The total number of distinct things completed, not including tiddlers like crates and barrels, is over 100. Which is honestly about 40-50 better than I thought it would be, despite my optimistic goals at the beginning of the year.

I'll think on what I want from 2018 before posting goals. Some quick ones come to mind, but let's make it a challenging one again too.

Warploque: Bayourk Witchdokta WIP

It's New Year's Eve, so here I am painting. Here's to a 2018 filled with whatever you want it to be.

Back into the habit of posting my WIP work. For this figure, I'm trying to do Things That Are Different at the moment. You don't build muscles without stretching them. Painting is the same.

This was my first attempt at trying to create an iridescent effect on skin.

So on the right lines but not quite right. Okay, not everything can be a success first time but that's okay.

Back to the drawing board, and I've started with a lighter blue, defined everything better and started into the first highlights. Shadows will see other colours added to achieve the effect better. Same for the final highlights too.

Next up is reworking the leather. My original colour choice was far too light and adding shadow didn't help. He's old and weathered, so the coat should reflect that.

Much happier with this, and reading David Soper's article on old leather ( has helped me think about colour choices and pushing up the contrast.

Next up will be the super-definitely-positively-probably the last highlight, then adding colour interest into the shadows with glazes.

Friday 29 December 2017

Shadespire: Ironskull's Boyz WIP #1

Picked up Shadespire a month after release when the positive reviews kept coming in. It really is a lightweight game and nice to have in the collection for when you want to play something for 40 minutes without too much thinking.

Fresh from learning how to do NMM at Andy Wardle's weekend workshop (, I immediately decide I should be massively stupid and try to paint all four of the Orks with everything I've learned.

Colour palette is the same as my test piece from the workshop. Here's a shot of one basecoated and one with the mid-tone applied.

Same pairing again, but with the armour highlights starting to appear.

Getting closer to the desired effect ...

... but I realised a little more glazing was needed before coming back to undercoat the skin areas.

Skin basecoat goes on, and I was having a few wobbles about colour choices at this point - but we press on!

Here's the skin mostly completed, along with lightening the skin around the face. I started from Darren Latham's helpful tutorial ( but didn't want to push up as bright as he did. It's a good demonstration that not everything needs to start with one colour and end upwith a lighter version of the same colour. Also a reminder that Darren's a talented git.

Confidence was growing a little, so I used that mojo and came back to the other orks to get their faces and skin up to the same standard. Eyes and teeth still need work, but happy with how the big lad's milky eye in the middle of the scar is looking.

I think the confidence to post a picture of this size for something that small is, for me, a step forward in how I view my progression.

Haven't touched these in over a week now, as I've been rearranging my geek pit (more on that in another post) but with time away I can see that my shadows on the skin need to be deeper to push up the difference from the pinker tones. Green or purple will be introduced as the shade as red would bring it too close to the armour colours.

Still need to come back and add more shadow to the armour, but that's deliberate as I need the skin finished first to determine how much verdigris is appropriate. Had forgotten how useful posting up WIP work is, and gives me an opportunity to think through my progress before carrying on.

The Orks are pretty much head to toe in armour and/or weaponry so this is taking longer than I thought but happy with the progress so far.

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Workshop: NMM with Andy Wardle

December has been a manic month, personally and professionally, so it's nice to finally get a little downtime and update the blog.

At the start of December I went on a NMM course in Cheltenham, hosted at Incom Gaming ( and run by the super talented Andy Wardle (, to learn more of the tricks for painting non-metallic metals. The big difference from painting fabrics and skintones is the sudden push up in contrast from dark to light for the purpose of fooling the eye into believe you're seeing metal.

The venue was a small upstairs bar in a nightclub, repurposed for the daytime. Bar a couple of corners with strange cheese smells, it was a decent venue with loads of lighting. Funny to see how everyone basically has the same painting setup these days too.

We spent the full Saturday working on the basics of colour application, choice and understanding shapes and contrast, then applying it to gold. Genuinely surprised by what I managed to achieve.

So it won't be winning me any awards soon, but it's a significant step up in quality and speed.

Saturday night was the obligatory Nando's, a few beers, witnessing possibly the world's first fight in a family-centric Harvester, and chewing the fat with the excellent Haychdee ( about painting in general and what we learned from the day.

Sunday was more of the same, but focused on steel and copper effects - and the different thinking required to create the effect. My steel wasn't pushing the colour far enough, but that's fine - I could see the improvement as the morning went on, and will come back to finish this piece in time.

Copper was the one I was really interested in, and funnily enough was probably my poorest attempt. I didn't understand the shape and the effect isn't believable. No matter - we move on and I'll be repainting this as steel in the future anyway.

Happy with the colours, but less so the use of them. Can't win them all!

This is the first 75mm figure I've painted, not including 28mm monsters, and it's a gorgeous sculpt from Black Sun Miniatures ( Big differences between painting this scale and 28mm, but I was happy with learning the techniques on such a big area - and getting them wrong and trying to fix it. Bringing this down to a smaller scale will be a fun challenge.

Here's he is with the arms temporarily blu-tacked and a slightly steadier shot when I got home.

I won't lie. I was super nervous going in to this. Andy is a world class painter and the output from his previous workshops had set a high bar, and I don't like to fail at things. Just to give us an idea of what the techniques can achieve, we were able to see his recent award-winning pieces up close, and HOLY SHIT they're amazing. Check out his Magnus progress on Instagram for an idea of how far he can push the NMM concept.

Big thanks to everyone else who attended the workshop too. Pretty much everyone was a higher standard than me, including at least one Golden Demon winner in the group, and there was a lovely, relaxed vibe to the whole weekend. People wanting to improve their painting, and offering helpful, constructive criticism - weekends like that really reinvigorate my love for the hobby.

In summary, Andy did a great job explaining the theory, helping us to push outside our comfort zone. While there's no point trying to encapsulate all the learnings, I will say that if you get a chance to go on one of Andy's courses then you definitely should! He's a good teacher, inclusive, helpful and approachable.