Thursday, 10 August 2017

Summer is here!

The last few weeks have been pretty busy with one thing and another and it’s hard to believe that summer is now well underway. But, in spite of what the weather might indicate, it is; and that means it’s time for me to take stock and focus my energies on some new projects. My hobby activities for the first half of this year were dominated, in a good way, by workshops and competitions. With no new workshops planned until June next year I can get down to some serious mini painting for myself! I’ve got some exciting projects in the pipeline and I’m looking forward to getting them underway!

This could be the start of something big!

To Hull and Back! 



However for the next few weeks I have a pretty hectic schedule and my opportunities to update this blog may be limited so please bear with a brief hiatus. In the meantime here are a few pics from my ‘Monster Skin & Texture’ workshop, hosted by John Harrison’s Weekend Workshop in Hull last weekend. We were a small but dedicated group of painters and, from my perspective; I felt the weekend was a great success. I was thoroughly pleased and impressed with how everyone got to grips with both the theory and technical aspects of the course and made great progress with their Plaguebearers over the two days!


Still no pictures?

I’ve had quite a few messages about the missing pictures on this blog. Thank you for your support and concern. Unfortunately the job of replacing five years’ worth of pictures is going to take a long time, so please continue to bear with me. My primary focus will be on moving forward with this blog and keeping it regularly updated. But I will be going back through the archives and replacing the pics as and when I can. I will endeavor to get the tutorials done first.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Building a ‘better’ Splash

Back when I was making the base for Gutrot Spume I created my wave and splash effects using a foundation of clear plastic. These pieces of plastic had been partly melted and distorted over the heat of a candle. While the finished result was very effective it was also quite a bit of fuss and bother to achieve!

For my Abyssal Warlord I decided to try a slightly simpler method of creating dynamic splash effects for the base. This involved a similar technique to the one used before of building up layers of water effects but, in this instance, I would be using cotton wool as a foundation material.

I’ve used cotton wool previously to create candle flames and seaweed and while I was adding a wet weedy fringe to the Warlord’s cloak, I had the idea to use it for splashes. The technique is very straight forward but it is best done slowly, allowing each stage to dry before adding the next. I’d recommend making up a load of these splashes as a side project fitted in between other jobs.

Materials and Equipment. 

Cotton wool – I used cotton buds as only a very small quantity is needed.
Water effects - I used two types of water effects Transparent Water and Still Water, both by Vallejo. Transparent Water is thick and has some body to it, the Still Water is fluid.
Paintbrush size 1 or 2
A plastic tray/ palette – I used an old blister pack

Step 1

Pick off a tiny amount of cotton wool from a cotton bud. Give the cotton wool a coating of the Transparent Water. Take the piece of, now soggy, cotton wool and attach it to the edge of your tray/palette. Gently draw your brush along the length of the cotton wool to pull it out into a longer shape. Now leave the cotton wool alone until the water effects have dried.

Step 2

Trim off any stray or straggling ‘hairs’ with a pair of scissors. Build up the splash using Still Water applied in several successive layers. I found three to four layers gave me the look I wanted. Let each layer dry before you add the next one. As you build up the effect form rounded droplets at the ends of the splashes. The droplets may need a few extra layers of water effects.

Step 3

Once you are happy with the splashes let them dry thoroughly over night. This is an important step as the water effects will shrink somewhat and go totally clear as it dries. The next day you can assess the fully dried splashes to see if they are done, or if you wish to add a little more of the Still Water.

Step 4

When you are satisfied with the splashes and they are totally dry you can cut them from the tray/ palette using scissors. The splashes can then be fixed to your model using a small blob of the Transparent Water. When this has dried you can add further layers of both types of water effects to incorporate the splashes into your base/model.

To finish the splash effects on the Warlord’s base I added a few microbeads (of course) and some slimy seaweed, using more cotton wool, but with less layers of water effects. For a final touch I’ve used a little green pigment powder to tint the last layers of water effects.

Monday, 17 July 2017

The Abyssal Warlord - finished

I love that feeling of having just finished a project! It's high time too as, although very busy and achieving plenty, I've not actually finished very much this year! But the Abyssal Warlord is now done and I'm very happy with the result.

This model feels like a consolidation of the techniques I've been experimenting with over the last year or so: the tentacles and weedy slime are a clear call back to Gutrot Spume and the textured NMM, like the use of the black tones, is something I’ve been working on over several projects.

I’ve felt for some time that I develop as a painter by having periods of experimentation followed by periods of consolidation. This probably means it's time to stretch myself and try something new. So it’s a good thing my next project will be finishing the Akito bust!

I’ll be posting a step-by-step guide on how to create the splash effect shortly. Although it looks similar to the effect I used on Gutrot it was not achieved in the same way, and I think it’s well worth sharing.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Painting the Abyssal Warlord - a weighty issue!

If I’m not very careful to take regular breaks during my painting sessions I’m prone to a fair degree of shoulder pain on account of an old injury. So I make a point of taking time away from my models to move about and stretch. This has proven to be an effective solution and I can happily paint away with no trouble. Until I started painting the Abyssal Warlord that is!

What I didn’t take into account was that, as a white metal kit, the Warlord weighs a lot more than a plastic or resin model. My regular stretch breaks were not adequate and as a result I’ve had to endure a month and a half of shoulder pain. The lesson I’ve learned is to treat each model individually and pace myself accordingly. I’ve been able to carry on painting but only by restricting myself too much shorter painting sessions with this model. The weight also makes the Warlord awkward to handle as he’s very top heavy and painting him became a bit of a chore!

That’s a shame because in all other respects I think he’s a great model to paint and I’ve been very happy with how my paint job is developing. So I persevered and, once the cloak was attached making him even heavier, I was finally able to work on the sword and shield. This came as a great relief because I’d decided to paint these as sub assemblies so there were no more weight/balance issues.

I chose to paint both the sword and the shield predominantly in black. I made this decision based on how the overall colour palette and contrast were shaping up. I could have gone with the gold but rejected it on the grounds of it being too glitzy! Equally I could have gone with the steel but I felt this would be too much of the same tone as the rest of the armour.

The shield was something I’d been looking forward to. As a large flat surface it provided the perfect opportunity to paint a freehand design. This is something I’ve been itching to have a go at for some time. I’d considered doing it for my Farseer but, somehow, it didn’t feel right on him. Similarly I was going to paint an elaborate freehand on the Megaboss but decided to do something more appropriately Orky instead.

My choice of design was fairly straightforward. I wanted to develop the abyssal, deep sea, theme already featured on this model. So something fishy seemed appropriate especially because of the fish head motif on his armour. For the same reason, an anglerfish seemed like the best choice and so I searched online for suitable reference. Although there were plenty of photos to choose from what I found most useful in the end were tattoo designs. These had already undergone a process of stylisation which made them more appropriate to my needs. No single design was exactly right but I was able to take inspiration from a couple and combine them into something I liked.

My final anglerfish design incorporates an ‘S’ curve in it’s body with the head at the bottom. I had initially thought to have the head at the top but I found it more pleasing to sit the head in the curve of the shield’s lower edge. To tie it in with the overall scheme, I’ve painted the fish in the same blue as the cloak and the loincloth. The eyes have been picked out with the yellow/green tone that I used for the gold.

I was surprised at how quick it was to paint the fish. Starting off with a few guidelines, pencilled in white onto the black background, I gradually built up the design from a fairly rough start. As the design developed I resolved the form and contrast until I was happy with the result. The fish design became increasingly spiky, as this felt appropriate to the feel of the model.

With the sword and shield now glued in position there are just a few finishing touches to paint and then the Warlord will be ready for basing. With that end in sight I’ve started work on a base creating a hard cracked surface by gluing very thin sheets of milliput onto cork. The cracks are created by pressing through the brittle milliput into the flexible cork with a metal tool.

I’m now in the final stages of this project and very much enjoying the process of bringing it all together. And my shoulder is feeling much better too!

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Where are the pictures?

You may well have noticed the sudden disappearance of the pictures from all postings over a year old on this blog. This is down to a change in my picture hosting arrangements and I’ll be taking steps to fix the problem. That will, however, be a very big job so please bear with me as it’s going to take a while. I will sort the pictures in my most popular postings ASAP and then work back through the archive as time allows.

On a positive note all postings from the last year and all future postings are, and will remain, unaffected.

Thank you, in advance, for your patience!