Sunday, 18 January 2015

238: Painting lava on the Avatar

Amazingly enough, the Avatar is one of the most popular posts on the blog, and its a model I'm really keen to get painted so its first up on my list for the new year.

I've never painted anything like lava before so I needed to test out some effects to see what would work.  What you see below is an attempt to recreate the classic lava look you'll find by simply searching on google.  One thing I've realised is that the areas that are going to be lava-like on this model are a lot larger than on the GW and Forgeworld avatar models.

To stop the whole model looking like some kind of weird bee, I'll be trying to make the molten sections darker, as if they are partially solidified on the surface.

Unlike the usual techniques of starting with a dark base, and working up to a lighter top layer simulating light shining, this starts with a light base, and works down to a darker top layer.

After blocking in the areas in white, I laid down a strong yellow base.  For the deepest recesses I then went back and added a little white to act as the hottest colour point on the models.
I meant to take photos of the next phases, but I kind of got into a zone and was mixing colours on the fly so the next shot is the "finished" result.

From the yellow, I then applied an overbrush of Fiery Orange, then a lighter overbrush of Red Gore.  From here, I started adding in increasing amounts of black to the mix and applying lighter and lighter overbrushing till it was effectively a very light drybrush.  While doing this I deliberately tried to get a little of the colours onto the surrounding black areas to represent the glow, much like for an OSL effect.

At the end, I had to go back and re-fill the yellow and then the white into the deepest recesses as those areas had been somewhat lost in the process.

I'm relatively happy with the result, but its only over a small area, so next will be to scale it up to the larger areas.  First though, if there are any comments from those of you reading this, I'd be really interested to hear what you think and if there's any tips you can give.

Thanks for looking in.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

237: 2015 New Years Resolutions

So here they are, my aims for the upcoming year.  I wonder if I'll have any better luck achieving them than I did my previous aims, which you can find here:
2014 resolutions and 2014 in review
2011 I didn't make up any resolutions but I did do a 2011 in review

  • Post pictures of all the models I painted during 2014
    • Skaven army, the Tyranids, One Force marines (Mk II and Mk IV)
  • Continue the clear out
    • Tyranids, Space Wolves (most of them), a lot of spares and bits and pieces
  • Complete painting One Force as it stands
    • 5 Mk V marines and jump-packs, 10 Mk III veterans with combi-weapons, missile launchers for all squads, Master of the Forge
  • Complete standing painting projects
    • Skaven warp lighting cannon, Treeman Avatar, Tau Firewarriors and Riptide, and any other bits and pieces I have lying around that I've forgotten
  • Return to blogging
    • I'd definitely like to tidy up the blog a bit, and perhaps improve the design and look of it.  As a more viable, achievable target I'm also setting myself 2 posts a month minimum as my aim for the year
So thats it, a relatively modest 5 aims, and as well as that, I'll most likely be beginning a Daemon army, and I'm sure that GW will be releasing plenty of new and interesting models that'll be tempting me and stealing even more of my money, but then that wouldn't be anything new.
If you've got any resolutions or aims for the new year, I'd be happy to know what you're aiming for, feel free to comment below and link to your own blogs.

Cheers - Andrew

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

236: 2014 - the year that wasn't

The year is essentially over and as far as this blog is concerned, 2014 was effectively a non-year.  Including this post, and my post setting out my 2014 new year resolutions, I've managed a mere 9 posts, and of those, only 5 actually connect to anything particularly hobby related.

Its not so much that I haven't done much hobby, I've been somewhat productive (time permitting) but have had to sacrifice time that I would normally have spent blogging so that I've had time to do the actual hobby required for blogging.

Anyway, looking back over what I've been up to this year while not blogging, it turns out I've painted up quite a bit.  
  • My Skaven how have the equivalent of 120 Clanrats (I painted up 22 rats, and converted two of the previously painted rat ogres into unit fillers), I painted up a unit of 20 Stormvermin, and I've also painted up a BSB, Grey Seer, the Games Day Warlord and a second Warlock Engineer to a basic tabletop standard.  I've also based the entire army, a not insignificant task in itself as its over 150 models strong now.  Thats a surprising 46 models built and painted from scratch.
  • I started the year with the aims of a new army, one that was colourful and different to all the marines I've painted in the past.  Well with their new Codex, and some pretty good deals on models, I went with the Tyranids.  I managed to slog my way through painting 40 Termagants and 40 Hormagaunts, as well as base coating a Carnifex, Tervigon/Tyrannofex that I magnetised, and a Hive Tyrant with wings before I just couldn't stand the army any more.  It was partly disliking the scheme I came up with, not being able to achieve the look I wanted, and just a general dislike for the structure of the new army that has put me off.  The models are brilliant and GW has done some very clever modelling with their kits, I just can't get behind it as an army.  They'll probably be going on eBay in the new year.
  • One Force, these guys were pretty neglected, I only painted 5 more marines, and did the damage and weathering on them and a further 5 that were already painted at the start of the year.
  • Other than those three forces, I also finished building my Riptide, figured out a paint scheme for my Tau on a couple of spare models, painted up a single marine in full Heresy era Emperors Children colours as a little challenge for a campaign setting, and converted the new Treeman model into an Avatar of Khaine which has surpisingly turned into my second most viewed post of all time.
All told, thats a surprising 139 models that reached completion as painting projects this year, and a further 11 models at various stages of painting, not bad for a year I considered to be a bit of a washout hobby wise.

Considering all that, I should also see how I managed with my 2014 new years resolutions.
  • [FAIL]   Complete the core of One Force:  I'm 5 marines short of completing these, but considering I was only 10 marines short of finishing them at the start of the year, that's not much of an achievement.  Hopefully finishe those last 5 marines this year and I can finally put this task to bed.
  • [SUCCESS]   Expand One Force:  As long as you consider buying to count.  I picked up the 10 Mk III marines I wanted to build up as specialists/veterans and all the extra bits I need for them.  Might even get them painted next year.
  • [SUCCESS]   Paint my Skaven:  A definite success.  150 models strong now, but I've still got a few more additions I'd like to add to the force (another 50 odd rats for one), and a few extra centrepiece models.
  • [PART]   Build a small Tau detachment:  I've built them, which sort of counts, but I'm still to paint them.  Another task to complete in the new year.
  • [PART]   Have a clear out:  I sold off over £100 worth of stuff on eBay, but all that seemed to do was uncover another layer of stuff I need to get rid of to have room for all the new projects I have in mind.
  • [FAIL]   Independent Characters Hobby Progress Challenge:  A total failure, I did start the army I intended for the challenge, but they were the Tyranids, I just couldn't get behind the army, so that went out the window before the first task came around.  I'll be starting another army again this year, but its unlikely I'll do more than post in the forums rather than be a real part of the challenge as there'll be no way I can keep up the progress needed (even with Carl's favourite 1 hour a night).
So that's it, 2014 over and done with.  I'm now very definitely looking forward to 2015 and trying to make it a more bloggy year and play a bit more of a part in the community.

See you all in 2015.

Friday, 28 November 2014

235: 6 years old - but only just

It's been 6 years since I started this blog. Its waxed and waned, definitely all of the later recently as Life (TM) has completely taken over my life, and what little time I have for hobby has been all spent actually doing hobby, sadly at the expense of blogging. I still follow plenty of blogs, and love to see what everyone else is getting up to. Perhaps in the new year, I'll be able to return to this, but that'll have to wait and see. Anyway, I couldn't let 6 years go by without marking it.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

234: Converting a Treeman Avatar of Khaine

As soon as I saw GW's new treeman kit, I just knew that it would make an absolutely fantastic alternative model for the Eldar's Avatar of Khaine.  The old Avatar model, despite being quite a good model when released, is really showing its age compared to the newer items, and for a simple painting project, the Forgeworld model is a little more money than I can afford/spare.  Conveniently, the model was released just before my birthday, so Mrs. G., being the superstar that she is, picked me up a kit.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

233: 33 today

Well today I turn 33, and it just happens to be my 233rd post on this here blog (when I do get around to blogging).  As I haven't managed to put together another post since last week, I thought I might just dump some of the randomness that floats around in my head for you all to ignore to your hearts content.

Its not quite the big date for me this year that I'm definitely looking forward to, that's the 21st September when I hit one third of a century!  In some ways I never thought I'd ever get that far, not because of some morbid expectation of death, but more because I really don't feel all that old, I still play with man-dollies and toy soldiers for pity's sake :D 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

232: A slinking return

Hello again...
It’s been too long, no excuses, life and all that.  I’m sure you’ve all experienced it at one time or another.  Anyway, I haven’t exactly been dormant on the hobby front, just not got around to blogging about any of it.

What have I been doing?  Well I’ve been getting involved in a fantasy campaign with some of the guys over at the Beard Bunker which has been a lot of fun, and I’m getting well and truly into the more narrative side of the game.  To whit…

He’s just one of the models that I’ve been converting to fill out my force.  I built him to be an assassin what with the “cloak and dagger” and all, and the skull helm I had the idea of being a kind of death mask that he wore.  He is of course pointing to his next victim.  Problem is, now he’s built I have to admit he’s looking a lot more like a Grey Seer to me than an assassin.  I’ll just have to see where things take me.  Nothing to say he couldn’t be an assassin who gets a little too enamoured of his warpstone and ends up heading off down the path to becoming a Grey Seer.

Anyway, I hope to be a little more regular, and have some ideas for a few special articles for the Hochland Gazette, namely from the letters section, making wild claims about the infestation of the Darkwald forrest by what appear to be giant bi-pedal rat men.  There may even be references to Albrecht of Nuln and his heretical proclamations.

Toodles, Andrew

Thursday, 23 January 2014

231: A 40K Imperial Date Blogger Widget

  • Have you ever wondered what todays date was in the Imperial Calendar?
  • Are you ever writing a battle report or bit of fluff and want to include some Imperial Dates but don't know how it works?
  • Are you bored right now and interested in seeing a little bit of javascript?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above, read on, if not, well this isn't the post for you - sorry.

So the other day I got curious as to whether it would be possible to produce a little widget on my blog that would display the current date, but in the Imperial Calendar.  I've done some light web design and programming before, so I thought it should be within my ability, and if not, then I could always stitch together other bits of code to do what I wanted (which by the way, is pretty much how all code is produced :D ).  In case you hadn't noticed, if you look at the top of my blog on the right, I met with some success and was able to produce just such a widget.

As an offering to the community, in the same way that Dezartfox from The-Vanus-Temple did with his rotating image tutorial, I thought I'd share the code with you all in case you would like to add a similar widget to your blogs.  To add this, all you need to do is insert a new html/javascript widget into your blog, and copy and past the code below into the box, simple as that.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

230: Tau paint scheme

I've managed to snatch the odd half-hour here and there recently, and as well as finishing building my Riptide, I also sat down last night and painted up two Tau Firewarriors to test out my colour scheme.  I'll go through it step by step here so that its always there as a reference should I need it in the future.

Base coat is Fortress Grey, applied in two thin coats to get a good smooth coverage.

Next I block in colours.  Codex Grey for the cloth of their fatigues, Boltgun Metal for parts that I think should be metallic, and Ultramarines blue for armour plates that I want to be blue to give some colour to the scheme.

Next up is an all over wash with my own recipe "Soft Body Black" wash.  It consists of equal parts Badab Black wash and Water (distilled if you have it (I don't), or tap water that has sat for a day or two), and the 1/10th of that volume of washing-up liquid.  The washing-up liquid helps to reduce the surface tension of the water so that the wash flows more easily, its a poor mans version of Flow-Aid or Lahmian Medium.  Be careful not to shake it too much, or be too vigorous applying it as otherwise it'll froth up ruining the finish.

Cover most of the armour plates with a 50:50 mix of Fortress Grey and Skull White, this is just below white to allow for a final level highlight.

Final highlights, Skull White and Enchanted Blue edge highlighting of all the armour plates.  Not pictured here is also an edge highlight of the metallic areas with Mithril Silver.

I used a sponge technique to apply some battle damage with Boltgun Metal

I used the same Calthan Brown and Yellow as my Marines to paint the bases.  At the same time as painting the bases, I use a very watered down Calthan Brown to apply a little weathering to the lower parts of the models, and then when drybrushing the Yellow, I deliberately get it on their lower legs to make it seem as if they are muddy and dusty (oops, took the photo before that stage, but I'm sure you can imagine it).

That's my first painting points of 2014, and its only 2 weeks old!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

229: Riptide under Construction

I really should have posted about this guy earlier as I've been working on him for a while now, but for whatever reason I've always forgotten to take a picture, so here he is, almost finished and ready for painting.  It's not entirely evident from the picture, but he's pinned and magnetised to his base, which uses spare parts from my Storm Raven.  The toothpicks are there to build up tracks either side of the main vent part to make it look like its crashed and skidded along the ground.  Once its covered in basing material and built up, I'm hoping it'll give a nice effect.

You may also be able to see the disc of a magnet on the underside of one of the arms, I've placed them in the same place on the other arm, as well as in a place so that the shield/sword thing can be magnetised between the two arms depending on how I feel he should be armed.  The arms will be glued to the body though in a fixed pose.

You can just about make out the squad of Firewarriors behind him that'll form the minimum Troops and HQ component for this allied detachment.  Looking forward to getting these guys painted up with a quick and lightly coloured scheme so I can test them out on the board.

More updates on this one should be coming soon.
 - Andrew
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