Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Warmaster Titan Done!

He's done!

Tabletop+ quality, and I have some banners yet unpainted, but done. I still see blacklines not blacklined, metals that spilled onto what's not supposed to be metallic, but done. I set a deadline for today to finish him and that's it, it's past midnight, and so he's done.

He looks great from afar, but man, I have mixed feelings over it. I need to do some soul searching and discover a way to be ok with leaving mistakes around and unfinished, even when realistically, only I know where they are, and those of you who spend more than a few seconds looking at closeups.

Anyway here are the pics. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Tiny Planes Done!

Hey all,

Not much to say here. I wanted to paint up a few planes as Titanicus terrain. I think that, if I were to start a SM army in the Heresy, it'd be Iron Warriors and so I decided to give that paint scheme a go.

I used the Forgeworld Iron Circle as a reference, loosly. Here's the recipe.
  1. Paint up metals overall: Scale75 Thrash Metal blended down into Citadel Black Templars Contrast and highlighted with Scale75 Heavy Metal.
  2. Paint chevrons. Paint the surface in a red-pink-white gradient (I used Citadel Mephiston Red mixed with white but it really doesn't matter), then glaze yellow over it (I used Citadel Yriel Yellow), blend and stipple in some Fuegan Orange and Gore Grunta Fur Contrast. It should look rough a bit, don't obsess over making it perfect. Then paint on some black lines, neaten it up, and then add yellow/white or yellow or orange wherever the balance seems a bit off.
  3. Paint on coppers. I used random paints here, but Scale75 Decayed Metal and Wyldwood Contrast went into the shadows and I used Moonstone Alchemy and Old Copper and others for mids and highs.
  4. Paint on blacks. I just painted the surface black and edge highlighted some of the detail in warm grey colors - Gris Pardo Brown Gray.
  5. Grime everything up in [Streaking Grime for Panzer Grey]( It's a dark red grime that creates a bit of a rusty feel. I also put in some oil paint here and there, and used the regular greenish Streaking Grime grime in places, but that just adds variety and really isn't necessary.
  6. Touch up whatever needs touching up.
  7. For the windows I blended Scale75 Abyssal Blue into Artic Blue.
Thanks for looking.


Saturday, April 16, 2022

Building Hamilcar!


I've spent the last few months working on Hamilcar, my Golden Demon entry. I didn't place, not close, but I got further than I thought I would, and am really happy with how he turned out.

This was a pretty involved conversion so I thought I'd spend some time going over the conversion.

Step 1: Idea

I read the Hamilcar novels and loved the character. I don't have a Stormcast army, but found him charming enough to consider.

So, I wanted to see if I can create a mini that feels like Hamilcar. If I pulled it off, maybe I could start an army, or not, but it'd be a really fun challenge.

I was mostly inspired by this artwork:

Step 2: That Face

I can convert armor, I've been truescaling Space Marines for years now and I felt I could chop up and fix up a mini fairly comfortably. But, I couldn't find the right head to use. The head doesn't really matter, given all the hair and the beard, but the smile needed to be there.

After a lot of looking online and not finding anything that really works, I decided to try fixing up a Space Marine head I found in my bits box. This space marine was shouting, with a frown, but I thought it's a good enough starting point: if I cut around the upper lip to turn the frown upside down, build up a lip using green stuff, and shave some of the frown away to push his eyebrows up, maybe it'd work?

It kind of works!  Not quite. The eyes are still a bit strange but I could continue cutting and smoothing and, the lower lip is too thick, but it's close. A bit later:

And a bit later the same evening, I threw paint on just to see if I could use paint to hide any remaining imperfections. These pics aren't great as I also used them to take note of which paints I used.

It worked! I was excited. Time to build the body

Step 3: The Body

Hamilcar, in the story, is a Lord-Castellant that eventually ends up losing that title and picking up a different one, but, he's still a Lord-Castellant in all the artwork. Here's the thing, I really don't like the Lord-Castellant model. It's spiky, chunky, all the detail is rough, the pose is a bit strange, it really suffers from having seams all over. It's an old model, and an easy-to-build one, and the lack of quality shows.

At the same time, I really liked how the new Thunderstrike armor improved on the proportions and general shapes of armor compared to the original models.

So, it made sense to do some sort of mashup - let me create a Thunderstrike Lord-Castellant. This can be made sense of in the story too - Hamilcar lost his title and a lot of his standing in the novels, so maybe he'd be recast into this new thing once he accomplished his quest. Or something.

I decided to base him off an Annihilator, as it's appropriately beefy and large for Hamilcar. But, there were a few challenges:
  • Annihilators just stand in a very uninteresting way, which is not suitable for this model. I'd have to cut up and repose an Annihilator. I've done similar things before and could pull that off, although can't say I was eager to try.
  • Their armor around the head and shoulders had to go. I wanted a pelt over his shoulders, his head to be visible, and shoulder armor articulate enough that I can lift one of his arms - Annihilator armor doesn't give you much movement in the shoulders, if you notice. So I decided to shave more or less everything above the chest away, and I looked at the bit and found a nice line where I could do that.
  • I wanted to use the original Lord-Castellant halberd, lantern, armor around the groin, thighs and accents around the shoulders. To me, they are the most striking parts of the model that say "Lord-Castellant" and so I wanted them to speak through, even though the base model is Thunderstrike.
  • I wanted to use shoulderpads with the pelt above, like in the artwork. This didn't end up working out, I couldn't put a shoulderpad on his arm that's holding the halberd without covering up his face or something.
  • One arm would not have arm armor, and the other would, as Hamilcar is often portrayed.
So I just started chopping and building. I ended up cutting up some bits from all three Annihilators that come in Dominion - a thigh from this one, the lower leg for that one, etc. I had to do it this way in order to have undamaged parts to position and rebuild around. Had I just cut up one pair of legs, there'd be visible damage where the parts used to meet; by cutting up several models, I could cut e.g below the knee for the thigh, but above the knee for the shin, and then carefully sand and cut the parts until I could join them in a way that worked.

I magnetized the cloak so that it snaps back always in the same place, whenever I removed it to paint something etc. I don't think that was a great idea honestly, as taking it on and off all the time ended up rubbing paint off and requiring fixing up work all the time.

Here are some in-progress pics.

In all the artwork Hamilcar's pelt is a bear pelt, with arm fur flying sideways for some reason. I got Ragnar Blackmane to use his claws as they're the best sculpted I could find online, and I got a head from a Space Wolves Terminator to use as a bear head. This head is not a great Wolf head but it works great as a bear I think.

I built the pelt up in many stages. First I used a flat sheet of green stuff to create the shape I wanted, and then once that's cured, I built hair on top of that sheet. You'll see that there are more layers here that appear as I kept building the pelt up.

In the front, I created a little necklace of teeth. These teeth are from my Ironjawz bits box, but really, they're easy to make out of green stuff should you want to do the same. The rope is green stuff, stretched out into a thin line and cut up once dry.

Since Hamilcar's nemesis is a Skaven Warlock Engineer, and this model tells the story of what Hamilcar would be up to after killing him, I put a Warlock engineer head on the belt. I just took the normal metal model, and then cut and shaved the head bit until only the helmet was there. I didn't want there to be any blood or flesh hanging out, it'd be too gnarly and not the right mood.

And finally, let's talk about the arm.

Part 4: Oh No The Sculpted Arm

Sculpting the arm was the most difficult part of the model. I'm not a sculptor, I'm barely decent with green stuff, and I don't understand anatomy. So I built up some muscles around a bit of wire and a fist from Warcry, waited for it to cure, and stared. If I didn't like it, I'd cut up the part that's too large and build it smaller, or I'd add putty when something looked too small. It was a struggle. I also tried using Milliput for a layer, as I could sand it better than green stuff, but that didn't really work out. After a while, it was no longer possible to read the arm visually, so I had to prime the arm just to be able to see what it'd look like, then cut and sculpt over the primer, prime again...

This took several weeks of daily work. I'd pick the model up, look at it, see something that feels off, look up reference photos, try to understand what I need to do to make it better, and then I'd do it. This took ~30 minutes, and then it'd be time to put the model down, wait for it to cure, and try again the next day.

And yeah, the armstarted off terrible, and it looked better and better each day. It's still not perfect - I know exactly what I'd change it I kept working on it - but it's good enough and I was happy to see it done.

Part 5: Everything Else

I also build up a base, not much to say there. Some cork bark, texture paste, crackle paste, the usual.

I also spent hours posing the model, thinking about what the base would be like etc; I don't have a good way to communicate what that was like, but I was very intentional in where things ended up, how the lantern is parallel to the wrist, how my favorite shot of his head from the side is framed by the halberd, how the rear of the rock and those bones are almost symmetrical and part of a circle that he's the center of, how the cloak follows a very important sideways line. I think a lot about this model ended up working out well.

With that, it was ready to paint! I have a bunch of WIP photos to upload, but let's do that some other day.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Ironjawz Army Done!

The Bloodstone clan hails from the remote Blue Mountains in the realm of Chamon. Unknown to many, the mountains were formed before the Age of Myth, when a realmbeast was defeated by a spell that turned it to stone. These Ironjawz discovered that pieces of rock from one giant boulder - what used to be the realmbeast's heart - becomes saturated with blood when in battle.

They thought it was neat.

Yep, I got into AoS.

I started this army around June, after a lot of thinking over which army to start with. The Ironjawz seemed fun to play, straightforward, and they played exactly the way one'd expect them to play. I chose to get a bunch of Brutes instead of 'Ardboys as they were more or less equivalent in 2nd ed and Brutes looked so much better to me. And piggies are cool too... And then the 3rd ed book came out, and well, this is a facecrushing army now. I then bought the Weirdnob Shaman and a third Warchanter only to weaken it a bit, as honestly, I'm worried that this is too strong for friendly games. And it's so difficult to play Ironjawz wrong...

Enough about that. I'm playing AoS, it's a good game, and this is a fun army. But the best thing about it is, it's an elite army, so it should be quick to paint. Right?

But, well, I started in June and I've been working on them more or less non-stop. The technique I ended up with required a lot of stippling and glazing, and that's pretty time consuming. It took me about 2 hours to paint just the blue armor on each model, and the rest was easier, but not as easy. Add about 45 minutes for skin, a couple of hours for doodads and pants and leather, it adds up.

Anyway, here's the recipe. I painted all shadows and highlights as if the light was coming from above and behind the model.


  • A warm zenithal,
  • Thinned Gore-Grunta Fur Contrast Paint
  • Glazes of Deathclaw Brown for the midtone, Tau Light Ochre as highlight, Ungor Flesh as spot/edge highlight
  • Glaze heavily thinned Gore-Grunta to add warmth and/or heavily thinned Wyldwood to add shadow where the layers went too far.
  • Keep glazing all of the paints above until most of the roughness is gone.
  • A couple of thin layers of Scale75 Abyssal Blue as base.
  • Sharp wetblend into Scale75 Artic Blue. Keep in mind where the light is coming from when choosing how high/sharp these blends should be. If the surface is large and flat (usually weapons), I just randomly drew shapes to break up the surface and shaded them as if they were real. Don't make the blend too smooth.
  • Stipple Artic Blue highlights. Stippling is important here as it communicates a rough texture. I used a very old brush. If a shape is not facing the light, I added some Abyssal Blue to the paint to darken the highlight
  • If something still looks smooth, either in the blend or in the highlight, break it by stippling. It shouldn't be smooth, it's stone and not metal.
  • Glaze heavily thinned Wyldwood to add shadow where the surface is exactly opposite the light source, and if the concave shape you're painting on would partly be in shadow, do a part-glaze of Wyldwood.
Straps, bone, most everything beige:
  • Ushabti Bone blended into Wyldwood.
  • Bone gets a glaze of yellow, rope gets a glaze of red or grey, randomly.
  • Revisit with Ushabti Bone and Wyldwood to reestablish highlights/shadows if needed.
  • A flat layer of Mephiston Red
  • Wyldwood and Wild Rider Red to pull it into shadows and highlights
  • Blood for the Blood God
  • Mix some of the above paints with Blood for the Blood god to pull it in different directions where the shadows and highlights were lost.
  • Airbrush: Scale75 Brown Leather into Tau Light Ochre into White. White around the bone to desaturate the area, the rest is more or less just zenithal Light Ochre into Brown. The wing membranes got a lot of white.
  • Airbrush: Glaze heavily thinned (with contrast medium for no reason) Scale75 Ardennes Green, mixed with a touch of FW Indian Yellow ink where I wanted the skin to be more saturated. I didn't use this mix on the wings.
  • Airbrush: The wings got a glaze of Gore-Grunta Fur, with FW Indian Yellow where I wanted it brighter/more saturated.
  • Varnish it all.
  • Airbrush AK Interactive Streaking Grime, then remove it selectively with a Q-tip that has a trace of white spirit in it.
  • Regret airbrushing AK Interactive Streaking Grime and removing it with a Q-tip and white spirit. It had a nice effect but it wasn't dark enough for what I was going for, and a lot of variance in the deepest shadows was lost.
  • Fixed shadows with Wyldwood by brush. At least this was easy, Contrast paint both glazes well and goes into the recesses depending on how much you apply.
  • Varnish it all again. Then, follow by brush and even out things that needed to be evened out, pick out things that needed picking out, etc.

  • I wish I took notes... Ushabti Bone was used a lot, Wildwood and Gore-Grunta Fur to tint it, but also whatever grey and/or wash color I grabbed at the moment. It's a base, it should be random.
I don't know what more is there to say. What's next? I have a Warmaster Titan and a bunch of Knights ready to paint, lots of Titanicus terrain both to paint and build, some AoS Stormcast and some AoS terrain to paint up. And I still have some Space Marines and Necrons on the backlog, though honestly, I'm not very eager to go through those.