Tuesday, 24 November 2015

At first I was afraid...

If you follow my Facebook feed or G+ presence you'll know I've not been idle the last 5 weeks. Far from it in fact - though I did need to take a few days off after a misunderstanding between my painting hand and a hob plate. All is fine now, and I've been pretty busy working in several different directions at once. I'm not convinced that this is the best, or most productive way of working, but it's a method that I'm going to have to get used to if I want to ever paint any of my own toys in the near future. I currently have a "promise" list of people waiting for me to decorate their toys, which is great - it's always good to be busy - but I have got to temper and balance it with wanting to do things for me.
With increased demand for my services I also came to a pragmatic decision that most of my grey pile wasn't going to get painted any time soon, so just about everything Games Workshop related that I owned was shipped off via Ebay and private sales. That provided a bit of a distraction from productivity, but also encouraged me to rearrange the man cave and put lots of stuff away, which I always finds helps my productive brain to function.
Another factor for the clear out was the eventual arrival of the huge black monolith that is Kingdom Death: Monster. I was at first just overwhelmed by the sheer number of toys in the boxes. Panic set in. How was I ever going to even make a start on them all!? It didn't help that I had made a start on a diorama involving 3 Kingdom Death models either, so I was slightly apprehensive of the job there. So when faced with 3 models, the prospect of painting more like 70 odd just made me freeze!

Time to put thoughts and plans in order. First get properly started on the diorama. So lets get to pictures...
The diorama involves the Thief sculpt, the Fighter sculpt and the Ammo Slave sculpt. The construction brief is that they are a band of adventurers on a trail beside a bog/marsh towards some upcoming peril. I thought that the recurring themes in Kingdom Death of faces, hands and lanterns needed to be represented. Lanterns are easy enough. The faces I needed to sprinkle around the ground and stones, again not too difficult. There are several grasping hands reaching out of the ground in the Thief's sculpt, so I spread them around and added one or two to the edge of the bog. To add to the trail feel, and create a bit of interest, I decided to build a rope bridge. Never done it before, but it has actually been quite a fun challenge.
This is the base so far...

I've added some corpse and skeleton debris and there's still plenty to add, like soil texture, scrubby grass and some water effect puddles, but it's taking shape.

For the models, the Ammo Slave is almost complete. I shall add pigments when she is on the base, and probably a couple of blood effects here and there...

I have just started on the Fighter sculpt...

The hair will be a totally different colour in the end, I just blocked in some tones to work over the top of.

I haven't begun work on the Thief yet, other than assembly and priming.

The priming part brings me to what else I've got up to, and that is to make a start on the pile of minis associated with Monster and figuring out how to paint them fast and not too dirty! I emptied out the first sprue of plastic, containing the 4 starting survivors, White Lion and Butcher models.
These were assembled, cleaned, filled and primed, ready for paint...

In the priming process, I then added some atmospheric preshading (you can see some parts from the diorama here too, and the Thief with her umbrella).

After that I worked on my favourite of the survivor sculpts, Allister. I wanted to paint him fast, but get a detail in that I find important to the mythos of Kingdom Death, which is the inky eyes that the people have when they "awaken" in the world. It probably made the painting slightly easier that I didn't have to paint in tiny eyes too. Anyway this is the result of about 4 hours of painting...

He needs a base, but I've batch primed a whole load of bases for the models, so he'll likely get it when they're all done, or I'll change my mind and do a load of them just because! lol

I'll try not to take 5 weeks before my next update... Sorry! ^_^

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Trick or Treat...

This update is quite a straight forward one. I finished the Halloween Twilight Knight well in advance of the actual date. The motivation to do this is two fold. The first is that I'm still waiting for the delivery of my copy of Monster, so my distractions have been reduced somewhat. The other is that I am beginning what I hope will be a really cool storytelling piece involving 3 Kingdom Death models which I don't already own (shocking as that is! lol). I'll tell more on that when I've got things mapped out, and work is underway.

So, back to the finished article...

She's also up on my galleries - Coolminiornot Link and Putty & Paint Link

And that's about it today. Though if anyone spots my big box of toys that are stuck between Germany and my house, please be nice and send it on to me!

Cheers! ^_^

Friday, 2 October 2015

Euromilitaire, at season's end...

It's October, and for me that means that I retreat to the man cave and wait out the winter, ready for Salute next year. In fairness there are absolutely loads of shows that I could attend, like Scale Model Challenge, Monte San Savino & Hussar, but finances, day job and family time just don't allow for me to disappear for 3 or 4 days right now.
I keep saying to myself that I'll go to some of these shows next year, but "next" always seems to stay one away from the actual next one! :)

So, my last show of the year was Euromilitaire, and it was a great weekend for me. My wife and I headed down to Folkestone at a leisurely pace on the Saturday morning, and I popped my entries in to the competition. The Fantasy category this year was absolutely HUGE! So much so that I had to re-organise the shelves to get my entries on and create enough space for others to do so too. Fortunately I am lucky enough to be a judge at the show, so I was allowed to do this (very carefully), as the adjoining shelves for the next category at the show (there are over 30 categories, by the way) were swamped with pieces.
The judges of the Fantasy category really had their work cut out for them, to the point that they were still deliberating over final placings a good hour AFTER the best of show had been decided!
The Euromilitaire website - LINK - gives a quick insight to the weekend, but I (as always) didn't get virtually any photos, I'll here's a link to a good gallery from Kyle Kruickshank aka Mr Lee - HERE -
there's a few of my own minis in there, but there's also plenty of rather lovely minis in there that had me gasping at times.

I decided after a little cajoling to enter 8 pieces this year, far more than I have ever done before, but I feel that I've been relatively prolific this past 12 months or so, so it was worth a punt. The result? 8 entries, 8 medals!! 2 silvers (M'Dusa and Kassandra), 2 bronzes (Steampunk Boudi and Virago), 3 Highly Commended (Clio & Erato, Dragon Huntress and Gandalf) and a Commended (Shido'ni). I'm still hunting that Gold medal, but I'm getting closer, and to get my overall standard up to a level where every piece is considered prize worthy... Wow! Happy days! :)
I drove home having competed, judged 2 categories, shopped just a little, caught up with some friends old and new, ate well, drank well, slept well and at the end felt pretty encouraged by it all.
Overall, the show seemed to be a much happier place this year. The attendance was up, the competition entries were well up, there didn't appear to be much controversy over winners and losers, and the sun shone for the whole show too! I'm already booked to be back next year...

So. Euro in the bag, like I said at the beginning, I shall now retreat to the cave and tinker away until the days start getting longer again.
I've been pretty motivated since the show to get some pieces finished off, first was the Poppy's Angels piece, "Of Saints & Angels" which I've been showing here. I have already posted her up on Putty & Paint - LINK - and she was "Editor's Choice" on the front page for a few days, which was great, mostly for the positive input for the charity involved, but also on a personal level. The raffle draw is being held today (October 2nd), so good luck to those who have entered, and thanks for donating too, as you've contributed to a great cause. On an extra positive note, Poppy herself has very recently completed all of her cancer treatments and been declared "free of cancer". Such good news, and hopefully she and her family can look forward to putting the awful past 12 months behind them. The Poppy's Angels group will continue though, with the intention to keep supporting families with child cancer. Good effort! :)

I also have been working slowly through the second collection of Kingdom Death Pinups over the past year, with the Phoenix Dancer and Lioness done and in my galleries (click on the names for links), more recently I completed the Sunstalker Dancer, but haven't shown her. This week I also completed the Leather Queen. I've followed the Lokman Lam concept art again with them and these two are in the new plastic which the Kickstarter backers have been receiving since the beginning of September. The Leather Queen is a really unusual sculpt, and definitely not the easiest to make work, as the hair and leather are all intertwined. I kind of struggled with her, but I wanted to do her so that I could do another collective shot of the pinups when they were all complete. I'm very much looking forward to the next lot, though it will be a little while before I finish the gang due to commissions and other minis that are higher up my list. I've also not yet based these latest models, as I'm contemplating doing them all on a timber plinth or similar...
The Sunstalker Dancer was a little more straightforward, though the half green hair took a little bit of thinking so as to not make it look a part of the cloak - I seem to have done a lot of green hair recently!

I've had a commission come up just lately that I'm excited about getting my teeth into, and will show soon. But, while I wait for the models to arrive, I have decided that this year I would get some seasonal models done. I have more than one Xmas model, but I also have one specific Halloween sculpt that I picked up last year and felt obliged to get done this year, and that is (unsurprisingly) the Kingdom Death Halloween Twilight Knight. I am intending to do this as quickly as I can, not through lack of interest/motivation/similar, but because I want to get straight on with the commission when it hits. I also wanted to try out the Scale paints in the airbrush for the first time, and use the PK Pro masking putty that I've had, barely used, on the desk for ages now. This is the result of about an hour of airbrushing. The black is kind of complete, barring a bit of edge highlighting and picking out a couple of folds. The photos don't really pick that out too well, but I'm not worried right now as these are not "studio" shots, as such. The orange though is much nicer and very nearly complete. This will just leave the skin, hair, sword and detailing to do, which really shouldn't take me too long to complete. While I don't like to rely on the airbrush, this does take so much donkey work out of the painting, and gives fast and effective results, so I'm happy.

I shall get some new images in the galleries soon, as I have a couple of finished models to put up. But that's me for now. It's time to prepare for hibernation! ^_^

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Last Dash

Euro Militaire is imminent, so it's time to finish off/tidy up pieces for the competition and for the judges' display case - a rare privilege that I always find a little intimidating when my little ladies get to rub shoulders with extravagant dioramas and large scale pieces done through the years by some of the other judging Illuminati! ^_^

For me this means getting the Dragon Huntress finished and have a check on the condition of a couple of other pieces done since last September that I intend on entering - likely M'Dusa and Virago, maybe one or two others.

The Dragon Huntress just needs a tidy here and there having completed the painting as such last night and fully assembled everything. She's been an unexpected project piece that I've thoroughly enjoyed having effectively had her on the desk for a whole year before deciding to finally get on with it! The last piece that went like this was the Agora "Cassandra" piece from a year or so ago. These are pieces that start out as an "I'll just have a laugh and paint this the way I feel like it" and end up being a proper display piece that I've ended up trying new techniques and pushed myself on with.
I know that I say that you ought to challenge yourself with every piece, but this is one of those surprises that rewards you with the (almost) final result.

Pics thus far...

There's a couple of fixes that I can see from the photos, and some matt varnishing here and there, plus I want to do some kind of plaque or name on the plinth, but she's mostly done.

The other piece that I'm trying to get over the line, though not for competition, and that is the Poppy's Angels piece which is similarly mostly painted now, but needs some fixes and the IV drip needs to be painted and attached...

Again this has been a project that I've challenged myself with some new stuff, and in a size comparison she is easily twice the size of the Dragon Huntress - I really ought to put a ruler or coin next to the dragon huntress to show how teeny she is!

I need to have her done very soon because the raffle draw is coming up at the beginning of October. You can still donate and get your tickets, so if you are interested, go to my previous post and click on the link there - HERE IS THE PLACE TO CLICK - thanks!

The next post should have a round up from Euro plus some news of what's next. Until then have fun, and if you're coming to Euro, say hi and mine's a bitter, ta ^_^

Friday, 4 September 2015

Tidying and Preparing...

The dust is settling on a manic August personally, but September has been even more of a challenge, so far. However, when things are this crazy, I tend to find that I am drawn more and more to the calm of the painting table.
Add to this a new momentum brought about by last weekend's Wamp Workshop, where I met a great bunch of painty types, shared some knowledge, thoughts and stories, and drank copious quantities of rum - and beer with slices of orange in! Don't ask... - I have got it very much in mind to have a little clear through of part painted models from the desk, and to get on with my winter projects.
Mix in the fact that my first Kingdom Death shipment is en route, with the big box to follow in around 6 weeks, and I think that I ought to get on with it!!

The Workshop will get its own post in the very near future because there's a fairly large amount of photos to put up, but big thanks go out to Brett of WAMP for setting up the Kickstarter that provided the weekender as a pledge, and to Andy of 4TK gaming store for providing a comfortable, well set out place for our event. It really is ideal for painting and gaming gatherings - at the same time too, if needs be!

So, once I rebuilt my man cave, having dismantled much of it for the event, I sat down last night with some new brushes and some new paints and got busy tidying and progressing two models. It was one of those sessions where for the first half and hour I was wondering what the hell was going on, and by the end of it was wondering where the hell these new toys had been all of my life!

The paints were the Scalecolour flesh and Steampunk sets (both available via the Wampstore in the link above), and the one particular brush which may have changed the way I paint forever was the No2 Blender from the Wamp Select Series. This brush is a kind of "Filbert" shaped Kolinsky brush - basically a small flat brush which comes around into a tapered point. It allows fine detail work with the tip, wet on wet blending, glazing, and goodness only knows what else. So far it also seems equally at home on a 54mm model as it does on a 28mm one. It is just magic!
Now, I have a very particular style, so it may just be me that this brush suits, but the combination of this brush and the very particular properties of the Scalecolour paints made for some rather satisfying results, even over existing paint works. Base colouring using the Scale paints takes some getting used to, as they seem to move around a lot more than paints that I am used to, but the blended finish is really nice. With some more practice I am looking forward to seeing what I can come up with. I am also itching to try them out through the airbrush. :)

So, pics of what I've been on...

The JoeK minis Dragon Huntress herself is mostly painted, barring a few details, the hair and some tidying up. Then I will work on her shield and the actual dead dragon in the base.

The Poppy's Angels piece is mostly finished in terms of skin, stockings and gloves. Need to do the scarf like the one on the chair, then add a little texture; then the final push will be the lantern/drip and books...

I'm thinking that I should actually use some metallic paint for the glasses and the details on her leg and gloves.
The shoes will be done in patent black finish, no tricks, just glossy black, which will be done when the whole piece has been matt varnished.

I'm keen to get these through now. There are a lot of toys on the way which will distract me, so I need to clear the decks and get myself set for the "end of term" after Euro, where I retreat to the cave and see out the winter! ^_^

Until next time :)