Thursday, 29 March 2012

Daler Rowney Inks - Review (Because Other Paints Do Still Exist!)

With the release of the new Citadel paint range and the general marketing push by our good friends at GW, I thought I'd take the opportunity to talk a little about the inks that I use from Daler Rowney. I've been planning on doing this for a while and it seems like a good time to let everyone know about some alternatives that they might not consider because they're not specifically sold as a miniature paints range. On their website painting guides GW are now suggesting that in order to paint blue, for example, one actually requires five or six different kinds of blue in order to achieve a desirable result. This is - quite frankly - a silly and blatant marketing ploy. Any experienced artist will tell you that you can get a very wide range of shades from a limited number of colours, and that you should restrict your palette accordingly. The FW range is very good for this. Some of them are opaque while others are transparent, and all can be watered down to achieve reasonable washes - although to give GW some credit, their washes (sorry 'shades') are still pretty unbeatable in this area. 

The FW artist ink range from Daler Rowney
Unlike the Citadel '145' range, which has been expanded (insert trumpet fanfare etc.), the FW inks are available in fewer colours, but this is a strength rather than a problem, especially if you actually enjoy mixing your paints. The dropper bottles these come in makes this incredibly easy, as there is a pipette inside each of the screw caps, making the transfer from bottle to palette painless.

A few bottles from my growing collection - Flame Red, Flesh Tint, and the extremely versatile Payne's Grey
These paints are more expensive at around £5 a bottle here in the UK. But as with brushes, you get what you pay for. Also, the ease with which different tones can be mixed means that will a little forward planning, money could be saved (one or two blues, not six...). Using inks also takes some practice because they are (rather obviously) more fluid than other types of acrylic paint. I'm finding it really worthwhile to give them a solid, central place on my painting table - highly recommended. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

FORGE WORLD - Monstrous Arcanum video

Huzzah! More information about the gorgeous looking Monstrous Arcanum... lovely shots of the pages too, and NOW ON PRE-ORDER :-)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Shapeshifting And The Changing of The Ways

I believe it's widely held among stage magicians that the most shocking magic tricks involve turning one body into another, where a person undergoes a metamorphosis, becoming somebody else in full view of the audience. I'm thinking about this a lot today for no particular reason - so I started to collect some inspirational pictures of miniatures that are shapeshifting, either temporarily or permanently, through magic, possession, or grotesque genetic modification. Who knows what projects will spawn from this? All hail the Great Conspirator and the Architect of Fate... 

Hordes Incubi
Forge World Skin Wolf
An alternative Greater Daemon (Image from here)
The future of genetic modification
I would've made the feet smaller, personally

Monday, 26 March 2012

New WFB Empire April 7th

Loads of news flying about just now (see here - no pictures yet), but for me, the two most important parts are:

In stores April 7th...


Empire Demigryph Knights 3 figures, plastic!

***UPDATE*** See HERE for pictures

New GW Citadel Paints REVIEW (Based On In-Store Trial)

Yesterday I popped into my local GW to take a look at the new paints. Here are a few thoughts based on the trial pots they had and the chat with the chaps working there.

The pots - will all have the prop-open system like the washes (no more tooth picks). New sealing system will apparently stop too much leakage and drying (we'll see...)

Base - these seem as good as the foundation range. The white in particular was quite impressive in covering a black undercoated space marine. Will be useful for quick jobs and beginners, hard to judge mid-to-higher expertise level uses at present.

Layer - seem to be ok, but only time will tell with these. Some nice looking new colours.

Shade - as good as current washes and the new colours look reasonable.

Glaze - interesting consistency on these, very thin but the pigment is tight so they could be a revelation to people not already using transparent mediums.

Dry - cottage cheese for painters.

Texture - grainy paint: nothing amazing, but there might be some interesting uses in creating rough skin on large monsters. Weathering mediums and powders might do this better though.

Technical - none of these were in the trial pots.

Supply - apparently each UK store will be getting 12 of each colour in the initial batch so pre-ordering is advised.

Hope that's useful folks!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Cockatrice - Stage One WIP

Another day, another monstrosity-in-progress. This time it's the cockatrice, which is perhaps the best WFB model in finecast so far - lovely textures, very impressive. Of course, with all this detail it's taken a while to even achieve the basic coats and this is about as far as I've got so far. Other than the blue, green and red, I'll be focusing on developing the remainder of the model as a foul leathery battered hide. I like the idea of there being some beauty in the feathers and some elegance in the dragon scales, juxtaposed with a near-living decomposition in the bulk; I want to emphasise the aberrant character of this loathsome beast, bound together by chaos sorcery.   

Friday, 23 March 2012

Conversion Chart for New Citadel Paints

According to Tale of Painters, this is the official conversion chart for the new Citadel paint range:

Baby Poop Wash?! Basecrafts - Secret Weapon Washes Video

An interesting demo video here from the chaps at Basecrafts, taking us through the newly released washes from Secret Weapon. As washes and inks really are my thing it probably won't be too long before I give some of these a try... but I have enough Baby Poop at home already, so I'm not sure I need that one!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Get A Grip! This Hobby Is NOT Expensive And GW Are NOT Shafting You

Take a look at this picture. See the prices? That's £129.95 for the green one and £115 for the white one (both reduced from their RRP). That's a shit load of money for a toy train that pretty much just goes slowly round a little track, can't be painted or converted and isn't part of any kind of game.

If I paid this much for a train I'd expect to be able to ride it round my garden at the very least
I didn't bother reposting the '40k on the BBC website' article from a couple of weeks ago - everyone seemed to so I'm sure you've seen it - but there was something in there that really struck me. It was another example of someone complaining about how expensive the hobby is, saying something along the lines of "it costs about £200 to get a playable army together."

For a while I used to compare golf to table-top gaming in terms of price, but I suppose that's rather unrealistic as most gamers are probably not likely to be golfers too... How about scale model trains then? Or anything else you'd find in a general hobby store?

So often people complain that GW are trying to rip them off and shaft them in the wallet. They seem to conveniently forget two vital truths:

1. Other truly comparable hobbies are almost always more expensive (and far less sociable/enjoyable).

2. Other miniature manufactures are - on a model-by-model basis - more expensive (with a few exceptions where the quality isn't as good)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Hobbit Hole Playhouse, Yes Son, You *Do* Want One

Just came across these very cool Hobbit Hole style playhouses here. Now... how do I convince my wife that our kids really need one of these? (And how can I get her to believe that it will fit in the garden of our terraced house?!)

Child for scale illustration purposes only
Pipe weed, anyone? (Not for the kids though...)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fenrisian Wolf Pack - Stage One WIP

Some progress on the wolf pack today. Over the brown washes I picked out a few places with a black wash before using a tan glaze (Model Color) on the legs, underbelly and facial features. This was then mixed with white ink to achieve the basis for the highlights.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Fenrisian Wolf Pack - Out Of The Box

No, of course I don't collect Space Wolves, but what fantasy gamer could resist the new Fenrisian wolf pack as a replacement for the awful old GW wolves from the early 90s? The first thing I noticed once I'd got into this box is the lack of spares - something I'm rather used to with my sprues. I suppose this is a normal 40k approach (in which case I disapprove) or perhaps these chaps are high on the fabled 'goblin index'. I've no idea, but nonetheless the sculpts are lovely and the poses wonderfully dynamic.

Six wolves would obviously have been useful as that would've made for occasional replacements for three goblin chariots, but the five in the pack are all very good - more-or-less anatomically correct with a good dose of fantasy styling.

They all stuck together easily enough and a little liquid greenstuff covered the thin gaps between parts. As they came with round bases that are of little immediate use for me, I used some spare spider rider cavalry bases, which added a pleasingly characterful WFB touch. Primed white and with a few thinned brown washes, this pack is ready to take some close attention over the next few weeks.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Forge World Warpfire Dragon... You Shall Be Mine!

Well I've been thinking about getting a dragon for ages now and it seems as if Warhammer Forge have delivered with another fine monstrous specimen - the Warpfire Dragon. Oh. My. Goodness. There are limits to the resistance I can muster to my urges - I cannot imagine living without one of these!

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Battleforge Halflings - Folksy Sculpt Schadenfreude Moments

I suppose the thing about experiments is that you have to enter into them knowing that something might go wrong. Fans of schadenfreude, read on...

I imagine that my first error was buying some Battleforge halflings. Don't get me wrong; the figures have a very cute old school feel to them, right down to the finger prints in the casts and the lack of almost any definition in the faces... No, seriously, they're sort of ok if you really hanker after some fantasy quarter-pints. Trouble is, they just do not suit my painting style. You might think that sounds rather like a tradesman blaming his tools when actually he's one (a tool, I mean), but bear with me.

You see, I like a good clean sculpt. Pretty much I think GW are impossible to beat on anything other than a rare occasion. But I'm always cheering on the 'little guy' and buying here and there from other manufacturers. The Battleforge produce some... how can I put this... very folksy sculpts. And I have a casual, painterly approach to slapping on the acrylic that (if I'm very honest) does rely to some extend on the model doing a fair percentage of the work. This is especially the case in the early stages when I'm laying down the foundations for my more artsy flourishes.

I've had a few similar issues working with Foundry miniatures too, which makes me wonder if metal is not really the best material for me - there's no doubt that I'm far happier working with plastic and resin (even with GW minis). I'd be happy never to buy metal again actually. Anyway... the pictures show my attempt at beginning a speed sketch approach. It didn't work. I quit early.

So what have we learned today?

1. Buy plastic and resin
2. Buy GW 99% of the time, otherwise accept unhappiness is likely*
3. My experiments tend to fail
4. Don't bother listening to self criticism about taking ages to paint anything - slow and distracted is my modus operandi

*I mean for my Marienbugers really, it's humans, dwarfs, halflings and the like GW are unbeatable on for price and consistency (there's the odd good single figure out there by others, obviously). Plenty of tempting monsters out there from other manufacturers... So actually I'll add...

5. Remember, monsters make Davey a happy boy. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Love, Sex, Friendship, Blog

Something a little lighthearted to start the week. I do love a comedy Venn diagram...

dating fails - Dating Fails: Forever a Blogger
see more epicfails

Friday, 9 March 2012

Ghorgon - Stage One WIP

Of all the Warhammer monster kits I've worked with, the Ghorgon is my favourite. When I put the model together I was pleased to find that the Cygor parts are all interchangeable, so I was able to make mine look even more dynamic and powerful with the upper left arm pointing upwards, and the lower right arm grasping a ripped apart statue as a weapon. I held off attaching much of the 'skull-bling' (TM GW) as, well, there is such a thing as too many skulls, even on a raging psychopathic beast such as this.

I decided to get started on the paint job yesterday as I was pretty exhausted and didn't feel up to the close attention my giant requires in the final stages - more on that next week I think. Once again I employed the white primer, bone undercoat spray method, followed by sepia shading to bring out the detail. I've started to work on the foundation tones of the skin with Flesh Tint ink from Daler Rowney - once again (yes, again again) I've found it to be perfect for me. Overall, I think I'll keep the palette very limited on this one, with the possibility of some very fine detail picked out in contrast colours. Should be fun!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Warhammer Giant - Stage Four WIP

I made some progress on the giant last night, but there's still plenty to do. Mostly I worked on experimenting with highlights and adding further details and tones to the skin.

The skin is coming together really well - exactly what I was hoping for - 'arty organic grime' I think it could be called.

Working with the Marienburg colours has presented the challenge of an expanded palette. Add to this the fact that I included green and purple in the mix and I've got more colours to experiment with then is really helpful in a project like this. The yellow and red are progressing satisfactorily, but I'm not so sure about the blue at the moment... might have to do some additional thinking and research about this.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

High Adventure in a World of Magic... Well, Most of it...

I've been given an old and incomplete HeroQuest. The game isn't playable but there are a few of the models in there that haven't been given the slop-in-on paint job favoured by the previous owner (when he was 12). I'm not entirely sure what to do with them. Here are a few of the better ones: a couple of zombies, a chaos warrior, an evil wizard/necromancer type chap, and a couple of fimir. The fimir I suppose could be painted up and based for Storm of Magic games (I'd have to convert them though, that axe is awful), but on the whole I'm inclined to hang on to them all for my son to learn to paint with in a couple of years - he can play with them as they are in the meantime. Unless anyone has any better ideas...?

Monday, 5 March 2012

Warhammer Giant - Stage Three WIP (Plus March Pipe Dream)

With March already upon us it's time for some progress and some wishful planning. In that vein, here are some new WIP shots of my giant. This chap is likely (although by no means certainly) to be the first model I complete in my 'canvas' style of painting (i.e. the slow approach - yes, yes, I know everything I paint is done slowly, but like my marriage, I have to fit my hobby into about 45 minutes most evenings...). So the March Pipe Dream is - to finish the giant and crack on with the Jabberslythe.

So far I'm really happy with how this paint job is developing. This evening I picked up some more of the Daler Rowney inks - a white, a cyan, and a scarlet (all lighter colours for highlights and/or some blending) - I've only had time to dabble with them so far, but as with the other DR inks they are superb. I hope you'll be able to see the influence of the artists I looked at in my short 'artistic inspirations' series coming through in my work here.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Artistic Inspiration #5 - John Blanche Miniatures

So this is where it all comes together: 'Art in miniature' (or perhaps miniatures as art) thanks to the masterful John Blanche. The pictures speak for themselves... 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Michelangelo, Imperial Style

On a trawl for interesting pictures of miniatures I came across this very cool Imperial transport here. I'm re-posting because I really like it and this amount of effort deserves as much exposure as possible.

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