Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Butcher of Khardov


Here is my latest commission piece. This is my first proper display mini. Everything I've ever painted before has been on a legal gaming base. It was nice to place something on a bigger, more detailed base. The one I chose to use is a resin plinth base from Voodooworx UK, a new company that is the brainchild of Wil Davies (a very good UK painter). I have a few more that I will be using, and I'm very happy with all his designs.

My brief for this job was to take the studio paint scheme, and make it better. Not an easy task!

The full 360 view of the close-ups is on Coolmini here:


Some full view shots are on this page:


Now on to a couple of pics, and the breakdown of how I painted this psychopath.

To start, since the customer wanted a version of the studio scheme, I bought the Khador army book. The painting section of the book is very well done, with very clear step-by-step pics. All I had to do was build on their work.

As usual, I started over a Black undercoat. I like to lay down a basecoat of Sanguine Base when I'm doing Reds. It covers well with two coats, and is a great color to build off of. Normally I would start mixing Khador Red Base into my SB, and slowly start building up lighter layers of color, but I changed my approach for this guy. Since I knew that I would be shading with a deep Blue tone, I just skipped straight to an overall layer of KRB. With a nice solid base of Red to work from, I started adding shadows and highlights.

I came back in with the SB to establish where the shadows would be, and then made a mix of 1-1 SB and Exile Blue. This made a nice Purple tone for shading. For the first set of highlights i went straight to Khador Red Highlight. it's a bit of a jump from the Red to the Orange, but it would all be tied together with some Red Ink glazes at the end. The final edge highlights were a 1-1 mix of KRH and Menoth White Highlight. This made a nice peach color, that would be toned down with the glazes after I painted on the battle damage.

The battle damage is hand painted, with the very tip of my brush. First I painted the chips on with Thamar Black, concentrating mainly on the edges, which would be doing the most bashing in a hand to hand fight. I made sure to get the elbow, knee, and toe armor pretty dinged up, so it looked like he would use these parts of his body when in close. The belly and groin plates where hit with spots that look like he's had a few bullets bounce off as he wades in. The middle of each black spot was given a dot of Greatcoat Grey to add a bit of dimension, and the edges where highlighted with my KRH/MWH mix to match the Red highlights.

The armor was finished off by about ten layers of Red glaze. This is a mix of water and Red Ink, diluted about 15-1. It takes about five layers before you start to see a change, and then it just gets deeper with each layer, and slowly brings all the colors together.

Next I painted his leather pants. They were based with Battlefield Brown, then shaded with pure Thamar Black. Normally I would start mixing in Gun Corps Brown for the highlights, but I wanted to do something a little different, and go for a Red tone. I mixed some Bloodstone into the BB, and just played around until I had a look that I liked. I think I used a ratio of about 1-1.

For the boots, I wanted a different tone completely, so I started with a 1-1 mix of Battlefield Brown and Thamar black. I started highlighting with pure BB, and then finished off the folds and edges with some very thin Gun Corps Brown. To match the chips on the toe armor, I scuffed the boot toes with some Hammerfall Khaki, using a crosshatch pattern.

The coat is done using the instructions in the army book. The first layer is pure Thornwood Green. This is washed with a 1-1 mix of Cryx Bane Base and Battlefield Brown. Then the darkest shadows are painted in with a mix of Umbral Umber and Gnarls Green. I don't actually have the Umber, so I just made some using a 1-1 mix of Thamar Black and BB. The first highlights are a 1-1 mix of Thornwood Green and Traitor Green. The final highlight was this mix with  1-1 mix of Cryx Bane Highlight and Thrall Flesh added in. The I came back with my Umber mix, and nicked up the edges of the coat a little.

Now it was time to tackle the metals. As usual, my steel bits were basecoated with Pig Iron. This was shaded with a mix of Armour Wash, Coal Black, and Exile Blue. I used this wash a few times throughout the different stages, so just play around with a mix until you get something you like. It should have a blue tone, which compliments the blue tone in the red armor's shadows. A layer of GW Boltgun metals is used for the first highlight, followed by a wash of Vallejo Smoke to add a bit of Age to the steel. The final highlight is Vallejo Air Aluminium, which really pops.

The heaviest use of the Vallejo Smoke is on the metal plates around his coat, which I felt would be the dritiest, and most worn metal parts.

The bronze areas are first covered with Battlefield Brown, which makes a nicer base for Golds, Coppers, and Bronzes than Black does. A mix of my vintage 90's Dwarf Bronze and BB, at about 1-1, is used for the basecoat. Pure Dwarf Bronze come next. This is shaded with PP Flesh Wash, which has a nice pruple undertone. For the heavy shading I used my Umber mix. For the highlights I mixed my DB with some VA Aluminium. This is washed with GW Ogryn Flesh Wash to keep the Red/Blue/Purple tones coherent through the whole mini. One final layer of the highlight color finishes everything of.

The blood was stippled on in a few layers. First I used Sanguine base to lay out where i wanted the blood to go. It was the stipple with some Skorne Red, foloowed by Khador Red Base, and then finally some SB mixed with a spot of Black to tone it all down a little, and make it a little more gory.

I did the simple wood grain pattern on the shotgun with a base of Battlefield Brown. Then I painted fine lines of Thamar Black, and highlighted my BB lines with pure Gun Corps Brown. Simple, but effective.

The leather holster, belt, and front straps were done with the same exact colors as the wood, just with Gun Corps Brown as the dominant color.

Next I painted the Black bits. The first highlight was pure Coal black. The next was a 1-1 mix of CB and Underbelly Blue. The final highlight was a 1-2 mix of CB and UB.

For the fur, I wanted to try something new. I didn't want to just have White fur with Grey shadows. I wanted to liven it up a bit. I started with a basecoat of Greatcoat Grey, which has a nice blue tone to it. Everything but the deep shadows were then given a coat of pure Trollblood Base. At this point, the fur was basically turquoise, and I thought I was crazy. Then I started mixing in Some Trollblood Highlight at 1-2, and had a nice color to work with. Next I picked out every tuft with pure TH. A light wash of TB later, and there was some nice contrast and interesting tones goin' on. A final overall highlight with 1-1 TH and Morrow White did the job. This was finished with some pure White to reinforce the overhead lighting.

Now I was ready to paint the head. First coat, as always is some Battlefield Brown, followed by Khardic Flesh. The first highlights of Midlund Flesh were painted, and then two seperate washes were added. The first was Thornwood Green, and the second was Skorne Red. At this point, I was following the book, but the customer wanted a Red face, that looked like he was workin' hard. I highlighted all the way up to Ryn Flesh, and then came back with some very thin glazes of Skorne Red to tint the face.

The stubble on his head is a 1-1 mix of Greatcoat Grey and Khardic Flesh. The teeth are Menoth White Highlight, the tongue is Sanguine Highlight, and the eyes are MWH with a Black dot.

The Kommander rank badge on his chest was freehanded on with Heartfire, followed by Cygnus yellow, and finished with a 1-1 mix of CY and White. Any little mistakes were cleaned up with Skorne Red, which also provided a bit of an outline. It's a tiny space though!

Finally, the customer wanted a furnace glow in his boiler. It was done with progressive layers, starting with Sanguine Base, followed by Skorne Red, Khador Red Base, Heartfire, Cygnus Yellow, 1-1 CY and White, and finished with pure White in the grill. I stopped at CY on the exhausts, so the light looked deeper down, and then hit them with mu Umber mix for a bit of soot around the pipes.

That's about it. I hope that this has answered any questions about what colors I used.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

I'm off to start the next job now, the Tyrant Xerxis!


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Heralds of Light Space Marine Captain


Today I would like to talk about painting my latest finished commission mini. Sadly, I'm not nearly as good with the camera as I would like to be, but my rubbish pics will have to do.

A lot of people seem to struggle with painting White. I am still learning a lot of lessons with each new paintjob, but I don't find White to be any more difficult than any other color. The most important thing that I have learned about painting is patience. It takes patience to apply all the smooth, thin, layers to get a nice solid color, and to make all the mixes that give the smooth transition from dark to light. It also takes patience to wait for a layer to dry fully, so you can see what the color actually looks like (since colors dry a little different from how they go on wet).

Enough rambling. On to the pics, and then the build/paint write-up.

The Heralds of Light is a Space Marine Chapter that was created by  a guy (Codex Grey) over on the Bolter and Chainsword forums. The idea is that, although there is a Chapter symbol, each Company has a unique set of Heraldry. In this case the Chapter symbol is on the right kneepad (the star), and the Company symbol  (the flaming tower) is on the shield and shoulderpad. 

When I was asked to do this job, the first thing the customer specified was that he wanted the Captain to be armed with a Power Sword and a Stormshield. He wanted to use the Warhammer Fantasy Empire shield, and he wanted the tower and flame symbol sculpted on.

After drawing up a few sketches of different tower and flame options, we settled on a design. I had originally planned on sculpting the stonework and flame, but when I got started, I realized that I can paint much finer detail than I can sculpt. I'm not much of a sculptor yet, as this is only my second attempt at anything beyond filling gaps, so I just sculpted on two flat towers, and would come in and paint the rest of the details freehand.

I chose to use the Bionic Arm that wields a Chainsword from the Captain kit. The guard on the hand seemed to make a nice base as a grip for the shield. After gluing the shield to the hand, I sculpted a few powerlines for the Stormshield on the inside, to give a bit of a Sci-Fi element, and glued a Purity Seal on, further reinforcing the 40K element.

The shoulder pad that I chose to sculpt the tower onto is from the new Blood Angels. It already had a purity seal on it, but it was designed for an arm the is hanging down. Since this guy's arm would be horizontal, instead of vertical, I had to cut the parchment off and sculpt one that is hanging more naturally. This was my first time trying to sculpt any flowing paper, and was a bit of a scary prospect. In the end, I'm happy with the result, even if it is a bit big;).

After all was said and done, here is the arm I ended up with.

The Sword was one I had left over from cutting a Sanguinary Guard arm up for a Death Company Tycho sculpt I will be working on next month. It's fuckin' huge! Nobody seems to mind that this guy is wielding a sword as big as himself with one hand, so it's all good.

Everything else is just a straight build using the Space Marine Commander kit. The entire mini is plastic, or Greenstuff, and he sits on a resin base from Dragonforge Design. He's as light as a feather!

Now that I had built him, it was time to slap some paint on. The color scheme had, for the most part, already been worked out, so I dove right in. Unless I'm working with glazes I like to start from a Black undercoat. Since this guy had a lot of metals and dark Blues, I only had to worry about how to build up a nice White over the Black. P3 paints have some wonderful coverage, I wasn't too worried.

To start, I painted all of the armour Greatcoat Grey. This is one of my favorite P3 colors, and covers Black easily. Next I painted everything Ironhull Grey, being careful to leave the Greatcoat Grey in the cracks to act as my liner. From there I started to slowly build up my White by mixing Morrow White with my IG. After each layer was complete, and dry, I would add more White to the mix, until I worked up to pure White. The ratios were 1-1 MW and IG, then 4-1 MW and IG, then 6-1 MW and IG, then 12-1 MW and IG, and finally pure White. By building up each layer slowly, and using thin paint, I achieved a smooth White with no chalkiness or half-ass coverage. Usually the first layer of each new color would have a little of the last one showing through, and look a bit patchy. Two coats of each mix did the job though.

The main thing that I learned painting this White is that the lighter each successive layer got, the darker my previous layer looked in comparison. My Greatcoat Grey now looks like Black in the cracks, and my pure Ironhull Grey shadows looked way too dark as well. I had to fiddle with things a bit, and ended up using my 4-1 mix as my main shadow color. It was still a bit stark in places, so I gave the shadows a fine glaze of 6-1 mix to help the transitions a bit. It really is amazing how light colors make your darks looks so much darker. This was a learning experience to be sure.

The Golds are my standard recipe. The first layer over Black is always Battlefield Brown. This is an easier color for the Gold to cover, and keeps me from having to lay on the Gold too thick. Next is a solid layer of Rhulic Gold. This was covered completely with a mix of Rhulic Gold and Vallejo Air Gold in a 2-1 ratio. Vallejo Air Gold is a very strong color, but I like the way the Rhulic tones it down a bit. Next came a wash, to shade, with P3 Flesh Wash, which has a nice Purpleish hue that I like my Golds to have. The first highlight is pure VAG, and the final highlight is pure Vallejo Air Aluminium.

The Blacks are all done with my standard recipe. First a layer of Coal Black to establish where I want the light to reflect. Then  a layer of Greatcoat Grey, and then a layer of GG and Trollblood Highlight mixed 1-1. Simple.

Soft armor joints are done the exact same way, but I skip the Coal Black step, as it won't  show up anyway.

For the Blues, I knew I wanted to have a few variations in tone. The leathers would be the darkest, with the tassles being the lightest, and the cloak somewhere in the middle. I started with a layer of Exile Blue on everything. Next came a layer of Cygnar Blue base, followed by a layer of Cygnar Blue Highlight. I used both of these colors only on the raised edges of the leathers so they would retain a very dark look. The cloak and tassles got broader coverage with these colors to brighten them up a bit more. Next I painted the edges of the cloak and the tassles with a 1-1 mix of the CBH and White. The tassles were then given a final highlight of White and CBH at a 2-1 ratio.

When it came time to paint the towers, I wanted to experiment with the sponge stippling technique a bit. I started with a solid coat of Greatcoat Grey, and then stippled a 1-1 mix of GG and Trollblood Highlight. This was hit again with a pure layer of TH. This gave a nice textured stonework effect. Then I painted fine lines of GG to create the stone blocks. The windows were painted in with Black, to give them more depth that the stone block lines. Finally, each block was highlighted with pure White to complete the 3-D illusion.

The glowing eyes, flames, gems, and power effects were all painted with Arcane Blue. To start I mixed a color with a 2-1 ratio of AB and Coal Black. This created a nice color for covering Black, but wasn't too harsh of a jump in tone. Next came pure AB, followed by a mix of AB and White. I don't remember the exact ratios, but it was definitely heavier on the White. I just played around until I had a look that I liked. I'm still new to any kind of OSL effects, so it was fun to experiment. I will definitely be playing around with this effect more in the future.

The freehand Chapter symbol, and the eagle design on the back of the cloak, were done with the same mixes that I used for the White armor, but I stopped at the 6-1 ratio, instead of going up to pure White.

The Purity Seals are done with my standard recipes. The seals are based with Sanguine Base. While the parchment is based with Battlefield Brown. The seals are given a coat of Sanguine Highlight, being careful to leave the SB showing in the deepest recesses. They are finished off with a highlight of SH mixed 1-1 with Menoth White Highlight. The parchments are worked up through Gun Corps Brown to MWH, and the very edges highlighted with pure White. The text is done with scribbles of thinned Black.

Finally, for the base I wanted to play with the sponge some more. I layed down a basecoat of Bloodstone, and started washing it with multiple layers of GW's Ogryn Flesh wash. Then I started mixing Jack Bone with the Bloodstone and sponged that on. I alternated between adding more JB to the mix, and washing over each layer with the OF to bring it all together. The effect was a bit subtle for the camera, but has a nice stone texture to the naked eye. Definitely a technique I will use again.

I tried a lot of new stuff on this guy, and learned a lot throughout the process. Now it's time to take the lessons learned, and apply them to my next commission.

I hope that you have found this write-up useful, and that it will push you to try new things as well.

Thanks for looking.



Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What the hell happened to June?!?

Well, everything I touched turned to shit last month.

My plastic Commander Dante Mini, that I was painting for ebay, decided to assault the vacuum cleaner, and lost. He will live to fight another day, after some minor repairs, and hopefully see the light of day by the end of the month.

Everything I tried on June's commission mini went wrong, at least twice. The heatwave we had here in Portland didn't help with trying to finish off the fine freehand detail, in white. Thanks Mr. Sun. Jerk.

I pushed on, and finally finished him. The customer is very happy, so I can't complain.

I will have a painting write-up for him in a couple days. Until then, here's a little teaser, and the voting link.



Thanks for looking.


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What's on deck for June?

Well, April and May were a disaster. Finishing one mini a month is not a very good way to make a living, even if they do go for a few hundred bucks a piece. This month I will be kickin' the tires, and lightin' the fires, and finish two minis!!! Hahahahaha...

First up I have a plastic Commander Dante model, built from the Sanguinary Guard sprue. I was sent most of the new Blood Angels stuff for free from Wayland Games in England. They were one of the sponsors for the Golden Bolter painting contest over on the Bolter and Chainsword website back in February. They liked my Salamanders Captain so much, they awarded me the random prize. With a pile of boxes and blisters sitting in front of me, I knew I had to put them to some use. The new plastics are a great opportunity to update some of the old Character models. Dante is first, and there will be a plastic version of Death Company Tycho which I have been commissioned to start on next month.

Speaking of free stuff, I'm waiting on a package of samples to come from Red Box Games. Tre Manor has been nice enough to send me some samples of his latest sculpts. This is when being known as a painter in the industry really feels good. To have artists who appreciate my hard work enough to send me free stuff is a wonderful feeling. Small garage companies struggle to get by, yet still have the generosity to hook up their boys. I'm really looking forward to seeing his Goblin Chief riding the Kodiak Grizzly in the flesh. The sculpt looked great, and the detail he fits into his tiny minis is incredible. You're the man Tre!

I am only accepting one commission a month right now, so I don't get swamped, and my customers will not have to wait more than a month to get their finished piece, once the building starts. Right now I am booked for the next three months, which means I have three minis on deck.

This month is a Space marine Captain for a DIY Chapter. Some nice sculpting and conversion work is involved with this job, so it should be a cool one-of-a-kind piece. I really enjoy the interaction between myself and customers, where I suggest the things that I think should be done with the mini, and they tell me what they like, or dislike. It makes for a better product in the end, when you take the time to bounce ideas around, and explore all the options.

Check back next week for the finished Dante, and maybe a few sneak peeks of the sculpting I'm doing on the Captain job.

Thanks for looking.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Custom Grey Knight Grandmaster

Hi. I've completed my latest commission piece. Finally! Painting this 1 guy was like painting 4 single minis. The sheer amount of detail and freehand is out of control. I had to tackle him in 7 seperate pieces before finally assembling the finished product. Here he is, a Grey Knight Grandmaster worthy of the name.

More angles can be seen in my CoolMini gallery, here:


I would appreciate your vote on this big guy.

Here's a brief rundown of what went into building this guy.

He started life as Marneus Calgar in Terminator armor. The base, the legs, and the torso are stock parts from his mini. The only parts that come from an actual Grey Knight Terminator is the Psycannon arm, and the Heraldic Shield on that left shoulder. The helmet is the Company Champion head from the Command Squad box. The cencers hanging from his back are from the Dark Angels sprue, and the big purity seals on the halberd are from the Ravenwing sprue. Finally, the Force Halberd is built from a Termie Librarian arm, with the eagle cut off his staff and replaced with a blade from a Menoth Warjack.

There was a little bit of sculpting that had to be done to make everything fit. The shoulder pad rims made for an awkward fit, so some soft armor joints had to be sculpted around the armpits. The ammo feeds at the back had to be cut down, and some sculpting done to blend the cloak up over the holes. All of the Ultra symbols had to have the grooves filled in to turn them into simple discs. The censers had some extra rope sculpted on so they wrap around the chains. Finally, where the eagle was clipped off the end of the staff, I had to sculpt a plug for the cable to meet the halberd head.

It was all very simple stuff, but good practice for me, as this was only the second time I've tried any sculpting. The little extra work goes a long way to making a unique mini.

When it came time to paint this guy, after having made sure all the parts fit, I painted him in 7 parts. The base, the legs, the torso, the helmet, and both arms were tackled seperately. I just had to keep in mind the whole time the different angles that each part was going to be glued at, so I could keep my shadows and highlights coherent.

Once I had carved off the Ultra symbol from the rock, I tackled the base first, as it was the simplest part of the paintjob. Starting from a black basecoat, I painted everything Greatcoat Grey. Next came a heavy drybrush of Trollblood Highlight, followed by the same with Menoth White Highlight. The rock was then given a few good coats of GW Washes, Leviathan Purple and Thrakka Green. When this was dry I hit everything with a light drybrush of Menoth White Highlight again to make the edges pop.

Next I tackled the legs. I had never painted a Grey Knight with metals. The GW scheme uses a wash of Regal Blue to tint the metal. I felt like doing something a little more unique, so I went with a Turquoise tint. I basecoated the metal with Pig Iron, which covers so easily, and is a nice dark tone. Then I used a mix of Armor Wash, Mixing Medium, and water to define all the seperate armor plates. This is pretty sloppy, but the next layer, GW Boltgun Metal, cleaned everything up and defined the shadows. At this stage the armor was bright enough that I was ready to tint it. I mixed some P3 Turquoise Ink with some Mixing Medium and water, and slathered it on. After 2 or 3 layers, I was happy with the result. I came back with the Boltgun Metal again to start defining the highlights. The highlights were finished with the top edges being given a coat of Vallejo Air Aluminium.

I pretty much got my Golds figured on the Blood Angels Sternguard mini I painted last month. Basecoat Battlefield Brown, a layer of Rhulic Gold, a mix of Rhulic and Vallejo Air Gold, a layer of pure VA Gold, a wash of P3 Flesh Wash, and a highlight of VA Aluminium. Simple, and it works great.

The black leather was done with my stock Black technique. A quick coat of Coal Black with the pure Black left in the shadows. First highlight is Greatcoat Grey, followed by a layer of Trollblood Highlight. Good to go.

I think I've got my scroll and purity seal recipe down. I start with a basecoat of Battlefield Brown. Next is a layer of Gun Corps Brown, just leaving the BB in the deepest parts. This was covered with a layer of Menoth White Base, leaving a bit of GCB for light shadows. The Highlight is done with Menoth White Highlight, and the text is done with some watered down Thamar Black.

The wax seals are done with a basecoat of Sanguine Base, followed by a layer of Sanguine Highlight, and finished with SH mixed with Menoth White Highlight.

The shield, or giant beltbuckle as I have come to think of it, was given a basecoat of Sanguine Base on one side and Greatcoat Grey on the other. Some Khador Red Base was mixed in with the SB, and some Trollblood Highlight for the GG. I did a few mixes like this, getting lighter each time, until i was ready for pure KRB and TH. The Red was then given a fine line of Khador Red Highlight.

The Gems were painted with Beaten Purple. BP mixed with a bit of White for the reflection along the underside of the gems, a spot of Black on top, and then an even finer spot of pure White.

The hip pads were basecoated with Sanguine Base, and then mixed with Khador Red Base. Unlike the shield, I wanted these to be a little darker and more maroon, so I didn't mix as much KRB in. I use pure KRB for the edge highlight. I then painted an Inquisitorial "I" in Gold, and did a little filagree around it.

The helmet is basically more of the same. The metal is done just like the legs. I painted the eyes with my reds, but using the gem technique. The earpieces on the helmet are done just like the hip pads, with the "I" freehanded on but no filagree. The golds are the same as above.

Next I tackled the Psycannon arm. Not much worth mentioning here, except for the cables. All other colors are the same as above. The yellow and black cables may look complicated to someone who hasn't tried it yet, or hasn't discovered the easy way to do it. Trying to get a Yellow color over Black would be a nightmare, and trying to paint each yellow stripe would drive you crazy. The simple way is to paint the whole cable Brown first. Once you have a nice solid coat of Gun Corps Brown, it is easy to cover with a Yellow like Heartfire. After I have a nice solid layer of Heartfire I come back in with the black and paint all the stripes. A fineline highlight of Trollblood Highlight, and you're done. Much easier, and very quick.

The shield was done freehand, without a sketch. I just winged it, and prayed for the best. I layed out the shape of the Cherub's body with Khardic Flesh, the wings with Greatcoat Grey, and the Snake with Gnarles Green. Then I cleaned everything up with Black. Everything was brightened up with Midlund Flesh, Trollblood Highlight, and Iosan Green, respectively. The highlights were done with Ryn Flesh, Morrow White, and Necrotite Green, and the hair painted with Cygnus Yellow. The black edges were highlighted as normal.

The Force Halberd was up next. The only thing I did different here was on the blade. A guy had painted a very similar conversion for the Golden Bolter contest, and I liked the fiery sword he painted. Since I usually paint Power Weapons with a Blue glow, I thought I'd try something different here. I started with a basecoat of  Sanguine Base, and then played with Khador Red Base, Heartfire, and Cygnus Yellow. I just did a bunch of different layers of squiggles with these colors until I had an effect I liked, and then highlighted the edges with Cygnus Yellow.

Now it was time to paint the torso and cloak. I had put this off  'til the end because I wasn't sure of the freehand designs I wanted to use. Once I had it all worked out in my head, I dove right in. I wanted a few different looks than normal here on things like the Black side of the cloak and the tassles.

I started the tassles with Sanguine Base as usual, and the layered on Skorne Red for my basic color. I highlighted with Khador Red Base, and then used Khardic Flesh for my fine highlight. I did the same on the tassles across the chest, and on the Force Halberd.

For the Black on the cloak, I used Coal Black for my highlight, and used a fine line of Greatcoat Grey as my fine highlight. I like the darker finish that it has over taking it all the way up to Trollblood Highlight.

The freehand on the back was sketched out with Battlefield Brown, and then given a solid coat of Gun Corps Brown. this was finished off with Cygnus Yellow.

The Red on the front was taken through my normal Red progression, but highlighted with the Khardic Flesh, instead of Khador Red Highlight or Heartfire, to give a softer feel.

The freehand design was worked out on paper first, and then sketched on with Greatcoat Grey. I started from the bottom corners and worked my way up and across so my design would look even all the way around. Once I had it worked out I brightened the lines with 50/50 Greatcoat Grey and Trollblood Highlight. I finished the design with a layer of pure TH.

Once all this was done, I assembled him and was happy to find I didn't really have to do any touch-ups due to the glue. Usually you get a little foggy line where two parts are glued together, but everything was hidden here.

A round of photos later, and this guy was ready for a few coats of Matte Varnish. I use the Vallejo brush-on Matte, as Portland is way too humid to trust a spray.

Now he is off to his happy new owner. Ready to kick ass and take names as the Emperor's strong right hand.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Epic Fail in April

Well, we are over a week into May, and I only finished one of the minis I had hoped to get through last month. I got a lot of painting done, but nothing resulted in a finished product except for the Blood Angels Sternguard Sergeant.

I had planned on entering the Under the Couch website painting contest with one of the Helldorado Immortals. He was coming along quite nicely, until I got to the NMM Gold parts. I've never tried NMM before, so there was no way in Hell I was going to rush it. I hope to bring the whole Helldorado Immortals range to GenCon 2011 for the painting contest anyway, so no hurry.

I didn't start on The Sanguinor yet. I'm itching to give Darren Latham's WD painting article a try though. He will have to wait until I turn out a few of the other BA Characters. I need to make some sales, so I will paint the guys like Astorath, Lemartes, and Seth first, since I know what i'm doing with real metals.

The Grey Knight Grandmaster Commission is almost done. I'm really looking forward to showing this guy off next week. He is a very cool conversion (even though it's been done by a few different painters before). The painting has been good practice with tinted metal and freehand.

We'll see if I can get more than one mini off the workbench this month.

Check back next week for pics of the Grey Knight.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blood Angels Sternguard Sergeant

The first mini in April's queue is done.

He's off to EBAY now, looking for a good home. You can vote on him at CoolMini, and find the EBAY link here:


I tried a few new things on this mini. Battle damage on the red, and the worn holster were new for me. This was my first go at a marble effect on stone, but the biggest experiment was using the Vallejo Air Gold for the first time.

Here's a brief breakdown of what I did and why.

First of all, I'm a huge fan of the 'Eavy Metal painting style. Unfortunately, I'm not such a fan of GW paints. I painted with them for 20 years, and still have a large collection of vintage paints from the early 90's that are still in perfect working order after all these years. Yet, it's the wonderful coverage, and unusual tones, of the Privateer Press line of P3 paints that I reach for almost everytime.

Given that the good money is in painting GW minis, in GW schemes, the challenge is to recreate these schemes with an entirely different range of paints. With this mini that challenge was made more difficult by the fact that everyone likes a different style of the Blood Angels' red armor. Some people like the look of the red highlighted with a bit of white (just on the verge of pink). Others like the highlights to be taken up to orange or even yellow.  While some prefer a darker tone, highlighted up to a cherry red.

Personally, I like the armor itself to have a strong Blood Red tone, while the brightest highlights are pure yellow. Since I painted this guy with buyers' tastes in mind, I went for a happy medium. I also wanted to play a bit more with light and shadow than you would see on a normal GW Studio Marine, while still keeping in the 'Eavy Metal style. I'm calling this 'Eavy Metal Plus.

For the armor, I started with my normal Black Basecoat, as I find it gives the colors a stronger, more comicbook, appearance. Two coats of Sanguine Base cover the Black well. I started to build up the Red by adding Khador Red Base to the Sanguine. I think I went through two progressions of this before I got up to pure KRB, say a 1 to 1 mix, and then a 2 to 1 mix. These were layed down to build up the light source, and define the shadows.

Once I knew where I was going with this, which took a few tries as Marine armour is a bunch of flat, yet round, surfaces, I started to highlight. The first few layers of highlights are quite broad, to show the direction of the light. I added Hearfire ( an slightly orange yellow) to my Khador Red Base, using the same ratios as above. Finally, I did my edge highlighting with, appropriately enough, Khador Red Highlight. At this point he was WAY too orange, but that problem would be solved after I painted the battle damage.

I painted the battle damage with a brush, as I have not yet perfected the sponging technique on small models. I want most of my chips to be quite small, and the sponge is way too sloppy for me. Keep in mind that the pics show the marine a few times bigger than he is in hand, so some of the chips look HUGE. All the chips were layed down with Black. They were highlighted with Khador Red Base, and then cleaned up with the Black again. The bigger chips were given a spot of Greatcoat Grey in the middle to tone down the black a bit. At this point the black was a bit strong, but that would be toned down when the armor is given a wash to tie it all together at the end.

Speaking of Black, I have a pretty standardized approach to my Black. Once I have a nice solid basecoat, I add some volume to the surface with Coal Black. This has a nice blue tone in it, and is one of my favorite paints in the P3 range. The next layer is Greatcoat Grey, which also has a nice blue tone. The fineline highlight is Trollblood Highlight. If I need a smoother transition, I will do a layer of Greatcoat Grey and Trollblood Highlight at a 1 to 1 ratio.

A few lessons in trial-and-error have shown me that when you want to paint battle damage on black, you need a lighter surface color around the chips. I make sure that there is some Greatcoat Grey where I plan to put the Black chips. The chips are highlighted with Trollblood Highlight.

At this point, I gave the armour a couple of glazes of P3 Red Ink. This was diluted with some P3 Mixing Medium and Water, until I had a puddle I could see through. Being careful to not overload the brush, and not work over the same brushstrokes much, I covered the armour a few times. Each layer was allowed to dry a bit before the next glaze went on. This brought all the different Red/Orange layers together nicely, and toned down the black chips.

The squad and chapter markings are done freehand. Since I knew I wanted to chip up the skull symbols, I didn't want them to go up to pure White (so the White Highlight on the chips would show up). A lot of people are intimidated by freehand, but it just takes patience, thin paint, some good reference material, and the right steps. The most important thing is to "sketch" the design on with the subtlest color possible, with nice thin paint.

For both the skulls, and the winged blood drop, I started with Greatcoat Grey. Once I had a design I was happy with, I blocked in the skulls with Trollblood Highlight and the winged blood drop with Black. Since I knew I didn't want to go all the way up to White on the skulls, they were finished off with a 1 to 1 mix of  Trollblood Highlight and White. The winged blood drop was given a layer of Greatcoat Grey so the the chips would show up. The skulls were chipped in the same way as the rest of the armor, and highlighted with White.

For my purity seal, I started with Battlefield Brown. This was given a layer of Gun Corps Brown, and then a layer of Menoth White Base. This is then washed with GW Devlan Mud. I clean up the wash with the MWB again, and then highlight with Menoth White Highlight. The wax seal is based with Sanguine Base, and highlighted with Sanguine Highlight. Funny how that works;). The fine lines are painted with a 1 to 1 mix of Sanguine Highlight and Menoth White Highlight. The scribbles of text, and winged blood drop were done with thin Black paint.

This was my first try at a more worn look to the leather. I didn't go as far as I could have on the strap, but went to town on the holster. They were basecoated with Battlefield Brown, and then Bootstrap Leather. The shadows were defined with a mix of BB and Black. A little Menoth White Highlight was added to the Bootstrap Leather, and layed down with a bit of stippling and streaking so everything doesn't look so perfect and even. I then came back in with the Battlefield Brown to create some extra texture. The final highlights are a 1 to 1 mix of Bootstrap Leather and Menoth White Highlight.

For the gem and lenses I started with Gnarls Green. The bottom 2/3 of the surface is the painted with Iosan Green. A fine swoop along the bottom is painted in with Necrotite Green, and then again even finer with Cygnus Yellow. A spot of Black is dotted along the top, from the direction of the light source, and then an even smaller dot of White finishes it off.

There are an aweful lot of studs on this guy, but they are very simple to paint. Once the studs had been cleaned up with Black, they were given a basecoat of Pig Iron (another of my favorite P3 paints). A simple highlight of Vallejo Air Aluminium, and you're good to go. The gun was painted the same way, with a Boltgun Metal layer done between the basecoat and highlight stages. A little P3 Armor Wash is used before the final highlight as well, to really define the shadows.

Now the part that everyone has been asking for, the Gold. There have been a lot of issues with P3's metals, and some of them are really hard to find. A good pot of Rhulic Gold is almost as rare as real Gold these days. I've had my pot for 4 years now, and it is starting to show it's age. This spurred my to try a paint that I had always heard rave reviews about, Vallejo Air Gold. My basecoat of this paint can be seen below, in the WIP pics for this guy in my last post. All i can say after my first impression of this paint is that I FUCKING hate it!!! Yes, all caps on that one. That's how strong my first reaction was. It's way too bright for my painting style. After I restrained myself from hurling the mini against the wall, and re-thought my initial desire to chuck the paint pot in the bin, I figured out how to use it.

All my Golds are basecoated with Battlefield Brown, to give a nice surface for the Gold to cover. This makes life easier than trying to cover Black with Gold. The basecoat is Rhulic Gold. This is washed with P3 Flesh Wash. This may sound strange, but the Burgandy tone in the Flesh Wash is actually a perfect shade for Gold. The mid-tone is a 2 to 1 mix of Rhulic and Vallejo Air Golds. I tried a 1 to 1 mix first, but the VAG is just too strong, and totally dominated the Rhulic. This was followed by a wash of GW Leviathan Purple. The main highlights were done with pure Vallejo Air Gold. the studs were defined with P3 Armor Wash. The final highlights on the edges and studs were done with Vallejo Air Aluminium.

The stone eagle was basecoated with Battlefield Brown, followed by a layer of Gun Corps Brown. Next came a layer of Menoth White Base, being careful to leave the GCB in the shadows. A layer of Menoth White Highlight finished things off. Since this was an attempt at marble, I needed to paint veins. For a bit of variety, I went with two different colors, Gun Corps Brown and Greatcoat Grey. These were painted in fine lines with thinned paint, and then washed with a very thin layer of MWH to blend them into the stone. The chipping was painted in with Battlefield Brown, and the everything was given a fine highlight of pure White.

The base wash drybrushed with Battlefield Brown, then Gun Corps Brown, then Menoth White Highlight. The shell casings were painted with the old GW Dwarf Bronze, and then the whole base was washed with GW Devlan Mud. A fine highlight of Vallejo Air Aluminium on the bronze, and a light drybrush of MWH to finish the dirt, and this badboy is done.

Hopefully, this has been an interesting, helpful, read. I hope I haven't missed anything.

All in all, I'm happy with how this guy turned out. I think I have my 'Eavy Metal Plus style of Space Marine figured out.

Thanks for looking.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

What's on deck for April?

Hey all.

Each month I will be giving a sneak peak of what i have on the workbench. For those who like to buy my minis on EBAY, this will give you a chance to start saving up;). It will also give people a chance to reserve a mini if you want it, before it goes off to EBAY.

For those who don't buy painted minis, but still like to know what I'm up to, this will give you a glimpse into the month's projects.

I don't usually put out WIP shots of my work, as I think that the stages look horrible, and my paintjobs don't really come together until the last few brushstrokes. It's always interesting to see the different ways people approach mini painting. For example, I usually don't assemble my minis until the paintwork is almost complete, so i can get to all the hard to reach spots.

This month I have 4 minis in the works. The first is a Grey Knight Grandmaster Commission. I apologise for the horrible collage, but I'm in a bit of a hurry. So much to paint!!!

This guy is a conversion of Marneus Calgar in his Termie Armor. He gets a Psycannon from a normal GK Termie, a new helmet (Black Templars sprue, I believe), the Force Weapon arm from the Termie Librarian (though I'm not sure where the Halberd bit comes from), and a cute little Cherub strangling a Serpent on his heraldic shield.

There is not as much conversion work on this guy as there was on Mephiston, but some things did have to be changed. All of the Ultra symbols have been filled with Greenstuff, the ammo boxes on the back of the torso have been cut off, and a bit of cloak sculpted over the holes. The arms don't quite fit flush, so some soft armor was sculpted onto the torso to fill the gaps.

The armor has been painted in the traditional metlals, with a wash of P3 Turquoise Ink for a funky sheen. All the bits that are brown will be gold, and the rest will be Red, Black and White. I will be doing a lot of freehand on this guy. The Cherub is just a teaser. He will have some cool trim on the front of his cloak, and a Inquisitorial I on the back. I still haven't decided if the Halberd will be a glowing Orange, or Blue.

I'm trying out the Vallejo Air Metals for the first time. I'm so used to working with P3 Rhulic Gold, which has a dark, rich, base tone. My new Gold from Vallejo is a much lighter tone. I don't like it yet, but with a few washes I should be able to get a base tone I can work with.

This is the mini I'm using for the experiment.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm a fanatic for Limited Edition minis. Since I don't play any games, this is my crack. I don't need the newest army, I need that LE I'm missing. I finally got my hands on this guy for a reasonable price, the Web Exclusive Space Marine Veteran Sergeant. Woo Hoo!

Since this is the month of the Blood Angels, I thought it was appropriate to paint him Red. I'm trying to expand some skillset on each new mini, and this guy is no different. Not only am I trying out a new Gold, but I'm also doing a marble effect for the first time on the ruined eagle statue.

This guy will have a bit of battle damage as well, since it's still a new technique for me. I've not tried it on Red yet, so it should be interesting to find the right highlight color for the chipping. When he's done he will be off to EBAY.

Also on deck for EBAY this month is The Sanguinor. A lovely new mini, and a beast of a Special Character for the Blood Angels. I will be using the Masterclass article from this month's White Dwarf, US issue 363. I have admired Darren Lathem's Non-Metallic Metals for quite a while, especially his Golds.

I've never painted NMM before, so it should be an interesting experiment. It will also be interesting to see how well I can match the colors using P3 paints instead of Citadel.

Last but not least I have a mystery mini to paint for an online contest. It is a competition for a pair of mini themed the "Dynamic Duo". I have a cool Helldorado mini in mind that needs Red and NMM Gold, so the two Blood Angels minis will be a good warm up.

Well, the month is already speeding by, and I'm only about 1/4 of the way through what needs to be done. I'm off to chain myself to the painting table again.

Thanks for looking.


Thursday, April 1, 2010

I have decided to jump on the Blogwagon. There is just too many cool blogs around these days. Seriously, you all make the mini community grow more global everyday. I salute you.

For my first post, I would like to share my latest Commission project. With the new Blood Angels Codex and Minis just about to hit the shelves, it seems fitting that my newest piece is a Redux of the classic Mephiston mini.

Full views of the Green can be seen here: http://coolminiornot.com/244106

If you would like to vote on the finished mini: http://coolminiornot.com/246697

I was asked to take the original mini, chop him up, and combine him with the more modern plastics. I had never done anything more with Greenstuff than some gap filling, so I had a lot to learn. The majority of the Greenstuff work was done with Pressmoulds. The chestplate, and both shoulderpad icons are Pressmoulded. The spiked gauntlets, sword handle, cloak, cables, blood vials, and hair are sculpted.

For painting inspiration, I was sent a cool illustration of Mephiston with long white hair. The rest of the scheme was just about trying to get a few different shades of red in there for a bit of variety.

I wasn't able to Pressmould the skull trim on his cloak, or save the original bits to glue on, as they were just too tiny. I ended up having to Freehand the design on instead.

The glowing eyes, Powersword, and Plasma Coils were my first attempt at this effect. I still have a bit more to learn about this technique, but that's part of the fun of trying to expand my painting skills.

I am trying to experiment with something new on each mini I paint. Having painted professionally for the last 6 years, I was always constrained by timelines and budgets. I was usually told to make it look "good enough", which doesn't help to push the envelope, or expand the skills.

Thanks for looking.