WIP: Biker bases and Witch Hunter.

First up a photo of the bases for the Biker Marines, I've kept them similar to the rest of the force but I tried to give the impression of the bikes leaving tracks in the dirt. 

WIP: Astral Knights bikers built.

Here are the pictures of the first three Astral Knights Bikers.  Loads more pictures after the break....


Whilst researching painted witch hunter models to give me some ideas for the next round of my local painting competition I came across the game of Mordheim.  It's a skirmish game based in the WFB world much like necromunder is to W40k.  You make a warband and fight skirmishes in the ruined city of Mordheim, find shards of warpstone and sell them to progress your warband.  Now the really interesting bit, the rules are completely free to download from the GW specialist games section.  Who would have thought it, free stuff from GW....  Loads more stuff after the break.

1st mock up of an Astral Knights Biker.

This is the first mock up of an astral knight biker that I have done.  Currently it is held together with blue tac...  I thought I would post it up to get feedback or any ideas before I finalise the set up and start the squad.  Lots more images and details after the break.

Bitz arrived and painting competition result...

As you can see from the photo above some more bits for my Astral Knights have arrived.  My camera phone seems to be playing up so you can't see everything but feel free to have fun guessing how the bits will be used.  I used two bits sites this time, 'bitz box' and 'let the dice decide', both provided an excellent service and I continue to be impressed by the companies in the miniature business.

Showcase: Chaos space marine aspiring champion

After all that effort here is the entry for the painting competition at my local GW store.  Loads more pictures after the break....

WIP: Chaos aspiring champion scenic base.

 As I've kept the model very standard I thought I would go all out on the base for my competition entry.  I've kept it quite dark and monochrome so as not to distract from the model.  Read on for more pictures and details of how I painted it...

WIP: Chaos aspiring champion part 3

I think I have finished the figure for my entry to my local GW stores painting competition.  Just the scenic base to go...

I thought people might like to see the finished miniature on it's own so here you go, lots of pictures.

Tutorial: How I painted the red on my chaos aspiring champion.

When I posted the WIP pictures for my Chaos aspiring champion I was asked how I did the red on the model. So here is a tutorial for how I did it.

WIP: Chaos aspiring champion part 2

I am in awe of anybody who has painted an entire chaos space marine army.  If this model is anything to go by they are so detailed and filled with bits that you just have to do justice to that it would take forever.

That's my way of excusing my really slow progress with this guy. 

New stuff has arrived

A lovely package deposited itself on my doorstep the other morning which means it will soon be full steam ahead with two projects.

Firstly this arrived which will be used to make the scenic base for my Chaos aspiring champion which is for my local GW store's painting competition.

Secondly the package contained this box which will form the basis of the next stage of my Astral Knights.  I just have to get all the bits to convert them from Ravenwing to Astral Knights.  (For my ideas on this check out my post here).

Look out next time for an update on my painting competition entry.....

WIP: Chaos aspiring champion

My local GW store has started a monthly painting competition.  The rules are very simple, it must be a particular single minature.  They have chosen the first months minature and from then on the winner will choose the next months with a maximum budget of £15.  It can be from any range, converted or standard, on any form of base, so it should be interesting.

For the first minature they have chosen the Chaos Space Marine Aspiring Champion. A nod to last months release I assume.  I'm going to throw my hat into the ring, so I have picked the model up and started to have a go at painting it.

Review: 'Eavy Metal Masterclass

Whilst looking for advice on NMM for my recent Wood Elf model one of the guys at my local GW store recommended this book.  They didn't have a copy in store but they managed to get some in stock very quickly.   I thought I would give you a quick look at what it includes in case you fancy picking up a copy.

Photography:Using Photo Software

In the last post I asked if anybody knew of cheap image manipulation software.  You can imagine that I felt a bit of a wally when I realised that the basic windows photo viewer had all the functionality that I required to smarten up my photos.  Here are a couple of comparisons to show the difference ten seconds work can make.

Astral Knights on public display

When I took my models into my local GW store they asked if they could put them in their window display.  These photos show my two Astral Knights squads and my Wood Elf in the window. I apologise for the quality of the images but I was trying to take the picture on my mobile, through two panes of glass.

Photography: Comparison of mobile phone to camera and lightbox

I just wanted to see what the difference is between using my mobile phone and natural light, and using a proper camera and my home made lightbox.

So here the comparison shots:  I've used my scout Sergeant.

Showcase: Wood Elf Hero with Great Weapon

I know I said that my next post would be a comparison of the before and after photographs using my new light box and long suffering other half's camera but something much better has been finished for their first outing.

Tutorial: Making a lightbox

Since starting my blog I have been using my mobile phone camera and natural light to take images of my miniatures.  Initially I was surprised at how reasonable they turned out but recently I have begun to notice the limitations.  When I uploaded some photos to CMON I could really see the iffy quality so I looked up ideas for how to improve them.

Firstly I need to use a better camera, preferably a proper camera with macro mode, self timer etc.  Luckily, upon investigation, my long suffering fiance's had all the necessary features so I'm going to be borrowing it from time to time.

Secondly I need better lighting and backgrounds.  The solution apparently is a light box.  This diffuses the light from sources such as lamps to remove unwanted shadows etc. I didn't want to spend much (read any) money on this so here is my tutorial on how I made a virtually free lightbox

Ideas for Astral Knights Bikers

As I've said before I want to give the Astral Knights the look of 41st millennium knights riding into battle with lances, shields and fluttering banners.  Here are some of the ideas I've been mulling over to try and achieve this look.

Firstly the armour of the marines.  There aren't many options for the basic biker marine legs so I'm going to try and get as many Ravenwing cloaked legs in as possible.  Hopefully these will give the look of the robes that knights used to wear.

Heroquest: The Gargoyle

Here's the pictures of the final model from my Heroquest set, the Gargoyle.  I think I can clearly see the improvement in my painting from the first models to this.  I'm particularly pleased with the shading on the back of the wings.

Here's the whole set.

I hope you've enjoyed this little diversion and I'll be back to the Astral Knights ASAP.

Please feel free to leave any comments.

Heroquest: Chaos and the Undead.

These are the chaos and undead minatures from my Heroquest board game.




Chaos Sorcerer and Warriors

Next time the Gargoyle.....

Please feel free to leave any comments below.

Heroquest: The Orcs

As promised last time these are the 'Orcs' from my Heroquest set.  You will notice that the orcs and goblins have the same colour scheme, this is to deliberately tie them together as the same element of the game.  The Fimirs are slightly different as they are dressed/armed completely differently. As I only had one green colour at the time I highlighted the orcs/goblins in a similar fashion using yellow, although the orcs are darker, and the fimirs up using white. This gave them a very different skin tone despite them all starting with goblin green.

The Goblins

The Orcs

The Fimirs

Bonus marks for spot the sculpts that were reused in later GW box sets....

Next time the undead and chaos.

Feel free to leave any comments.

Heroquest: The Heros

A while ago Ron at 'From The Warp' did a post that suggested that the best way to improve your painting was to to do something different.  I thoroughly agreed with him and wanted to share the 'something different' that I tried. 

If you want variety and small enough numbers not to get bored whilst still achieving something then you can't beat a board game.  I chose the classic dungeon crawler 'Heroquest'.  This, if I remember correctly, was a late eighties/early nineties tie up between MB games and Games Workshop. I bought a complete but unpainted copy off ebay for a very reasonable sum and went to it.

I used a very limited palate of colours as that was all I had around at the time but I think this kind of suits a board game set. All the different shades are done by highlighting up with either yellow/white or bleached bone to provide rich/pastel or faded effects.

Any way here are the Heros...

The Barbarian

The Elf

The Dwarf

The Wizard

As you can see the sculpts aren't great (they were produced 20 years ago after all) and my painting is a bit basic in places but I learnt to improve from these guys so I'm proud of them none the less.

Next up the Orcs.....

Do you have any tips for improving your painting or a guilty retro gaming pleasure.  If so please feel free to leave comments below.

Tutorial: How to paint camouflage cloaks

This tutorial is designed to show how I painted my camouflage cloaks on my sniper scout squad.  Although the colours are designed for my chapter scheme I'm confident that the technique could be adapted to fit most other chapters.

The first task is to find a camo pattern that you think fits with your colour scheme.  After trawling google images I found this.

I chose a digital camo pattern for a slightly futuristic look compared to some of the more 'curvy' ones.  Obviously the blue/grey colours of this perfectly match the Astral Knights colour scheme. Having chosen your camo pattern you have to decide on the background colour, in this case the deep blue is more prevelant than anything else and I'll use this as my base colour.  If in doubt as to which colour to use as the base, choose the colour you want to have as the overall tone of the cloak (usually your chapter colour).

Now paint the cloak in the base colour and then highlight it using a shade brighter of the same colour  (I used Kantor Blue and Aldorf Guard Blue).  You don't have to be too careful here, just line highlight the sharp edges and block highlight the upper surfaces.  It should look a little bit like this.

Notice that I haven't tried to blend the highlights in as the edges will disappear in the camo pattern.

Next pick the second most common colour, in my case the light grey (Administratum Grey) and start applying it over the top.  Make sure you thin your paint so that you don't get raised surface texture that will ruin the illusion of a smooth fabric surface.  When painting on the pattern you need to be counterintuitive to make the effect work.  I only painted in straight lines, and only parallel and perpendicular to the flow of the cloak. 
This seems to break the whole idea of camouflage but on a model we are dealing with two conflicting pressures.  Trying to make it obvious at distance what it is, so the cloak needs to look like a cloak with the flow of fabric. This directly opposed to the point of camo which is to disguise what something is.
Painting only in straight lines, along and across the flow of the cloak maintains the illusion of a complicated camo pattern whilst alllowing the eye to follow the shape underneath.  Hopefully you should end up with this.

You can see that the bits on the left follow the diagonal but the sections on the right go vertical and horizontal.  I've also painted into the folds as this will be made to look better later.

Repeat this step with the next colour, on my pattern the dark grey (Mechanicus Standard Grey). Again straight lines only, along and across teh flow of the cloak.  Don't just put it in the gaps left by the first colour but you go up to it and sometimes over it.

Continue doing this until you have done all the colours, although I think that many more than two main colours would be too time consuming and too messy looking.  I finished off the pattern with the dots of black.  At this stage you should have the whole pattern done but it will look very flat and in my case a bit too bright for my liking.

Now to reinforce the shape and flow of the cloak.  Take a wash/shade that matches the base coat of your cloak (In my case Drakenhof Nightshade) and apply it as if you were painting into the folds, not washing the whole cloak. Repeat this process when the first one is dry and put more layers into the deeper folds.  The wash allows you to build up the dark colour in the folds without completely covering the camo pattern

Hopefully this will help anybody trying to paint camouflage cloaks.  I have to say that it was much easier and quicker than I thought it would be.  Here are some examples of finished cloaks.

Please feel free to leave any comments, tips or questions.

Finished Sniper Scout Squad

Here are the pictures of my finished scout squad.

Kneeling cloaked sniper.


Standing cloaked sniper.


'At ease' scout and missile launcher scout. For more pictures of these two see here.

I'm really pleased with how they have come out so I hope you like them.

Please feel free to leave any comments, hints or questions.