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.

WIP, scouts all except the cloaks

I've done everything on my scout squad except their camo cloaks, I think I may be putting this off due to fear of mucking it up.....

These two are completely finished as there cloaks are rolled up in their packs.

Missile launcher scout.

Hopefully you can clearly see the freehand chapter badge on his left shoulder pad (see here for method) and the squad/company insignia on his right shoulder pad.  This squad has a vertical bisection in blue and white as their squad heraldry and obviously being scouts they are 10th company, hence the X.  Here is the post explaining my squad and company markings.

At ease sniper scout.

The two cloaked sniper scouts. (cloaks not yet done)

Finally the sergeant.

I've tried to give the army quite a uniform look, his sword matches the one on my tactical sergeant and his shield matches the squad heraldry.

Things I am pleased with; the shading and highlighting on cloth and skin (having done power armour for a while I wasn't sure how this would turn out), the stubble on the sergeant, the extreme highlighting on the black barrel sections and the sniper goggle lenses.

Things I'm not sure about; the stubble on the other scout (it seems a bit too much) and the cloaks.......

Further thoughts on camo pattern have lead me to this.

Bonus marks for anyone who knows where it comes from and why it is an inappropriate use of camouflage?

As always any comments, hints or questions are gratefully received.

WIP, scout squad

I've painted the silver armour, grey fatigues and blue gloves, boots and chest pieces.  As hopefully you can see I've tried to match the scout paint scheme to the standard marine paint scheme, aiming to tie them into the rest of the force.


I've tried to make the colours a little bit more muted so far, hoping to reflect the more covert nature of the scouts.

I have also adjusted the conversion work on the sergeant slightly, improving the scale of the arm holding the sword and the angle of the shield, I hope it is noticeable in the before and after shots below.

Just the details, faces and cloaks to do...

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