So, it’s been (more than) a little while since I updated my blog here. I’ve not been completely dormant during this time but the lack of updates here are mostly the result of my focus being more towards Facebook, Instagram and the last of the great forums that I still visit (Lead Adventure).
I’ve not been completely idle since I last posted here, however, and could probably be best described as a mildly-productive hobby butterfly over the last year or so. I’ve put quite a bit of effort inot levelling up my painting a bit, particularly for 28mm vehicles.
To reduce the spam and effort required I thought it might be a good idea to use this post to show some ‘selected highlights’ from the last year with a brief comment on each.
Empress Miniatures ‘Jazz Age’ Highlander suitable for WW1 Palestine to Inter-War Northwest Frontier etc. Love the period and this range is one of my favourite in the Empress portfolio. My most recent figure and already more in progress.
Tsuba Miniatures (Available from Empress) Spartacists. Lovely figures with more to come along with Freikorps
Empress Miniatures Vietnam US Marine (for Hue). Painted for an Article I’ve written for Wargames illustrated
Wargames Foundry English Civil War characters. I love this range despite it’s age and these things tend to pretty much paint themselves with very little effort. I’ve plans for a little skirmishing with these – possibly something based around the so called Battle of Burford (where I used to live once upon a time)
Rubicon Models Sdkfz 250/9 Neu. Huge fan of these kits (especially the newer ones). I’ve upgraded my airbrush setup and am really getting stuck-in to quite a few of these at the moment. Simple to build but lots of potential for upgrading if you like. Otherwise a really nice platform to focus on painting and finishing. I’ve tried to give the impression of pigments on this while only using enamels and acrylics.
A work-in-progress Rubicon Models Jagdpanther G2. I’m pretty pleased with how this is going so far. I’ve made a few modifications to convert this to a more correct G2 spec, with all of the tools repositioned, along with the jack-bock and tow-cable mounts etc. This is already a bit further progressed but still not 100% finished yet.
Empress Miniatures late war Volksgrenadier painted as a test for Sumpfmuster and Splittermuster camoflage patterns. More of an orientation exercise really but more of these to come eventually.
Great War Miniatures late war German with MP18. Always like these figures (just wish there were more) and very easy to paint. Again, a test for colours.
Bit of a change of tack now, so here’s a Genestealer Magus and friends. Part of a small force painted a while back. The aim was to do these quite quickly and getting a few games in.
More Games Workshop shenanigans! Of course over the last year Contrast Paint had it’s hot five minutes and I decided to see what all of the fuss is about. Actually quite impressed with them and these were my first test – painted (along with another 10 nearly complete) in one afternoon. A few highlights and things added for definition and ready to rock. I think these paints are particularly good if you pick a good subject and the right material. they respond well to the smoothness of plastic surfaces. I’ve also used them as filters on vehicles etc. becuase the storng pigment can be watered down so mch.
Badly photographed Citadel Dark Elf dating from 1983. I’ve had this figurer since the year I discovered D&D and fantasy in general. Still absolutely love this range and have quite a few of them. Sometimes revisting your first love isn’t so bad :-). I tried to keep a slightly old-school vibe with this including the base.
A random Frostgrave figure from Northstar. Who doesn’t need a skulking Elven thief? I like the simplicity of a lot of this range. Fantasy figures that don’t demand several weeks of painting withfar more of a ‘wargamers’ sensibility. In some ways quite old-school and all the better for it.
So, that’s quite a randm selection of ‘stuff’ I have going on currently. I’ve decided to embrace the lack of opponents here in Germany by tacking a pretty relaxed approach to what I paint and when. There are plently more things knicking around my shelves currently and I’ll try to do a better job showing some of them here.
The Lead Painters League is an annual competition run by the fine folk on the Lead Adventure Forum. I’ve long admired the dedication and quality of the entries for this (which has now been running for something like 13 years) and many of my favourite painters have been competitors in the past. It’s been a ‘bucket-list’ thing for years – I even had an abortive attempt a few years back but that was sabotaged by a house-move.
This time I prepared a little in advance and was genuinely suprised and delighted to come second against some wonderful competition. I feel like a bit of a fraud to have placed so highly in all honesty and need to work on my story-telling aspects next time.
It’s quite a tough challenge for a painter with such inconsistent focus as me. Nine teams of at least 5 figures each over nine weeks, ideally in some sort of scenic setting. In my case the final result is a pretty good summary of my current projects although I must confess I’m a little burnt-out by the end and fancy painting something very different. Perhaps some SciFi would be a nice change …
Footsore Miniatures Late Roman / Aurthurian
Copplestone Miniatures 15mm BarbariansCopplestone Miniatures ‘Back of Beyond’ Warlord Chinese with Empress Minaitures FT17
Perry Miniatures Sudan Naval Brigade heavy weapons
Copplestone ‘Dare To Die’ Warlord Chinese with HLBSC Schneider tank
I have absolutely no use for this but have wanted to make one for years. I also like to encourage manufacturers to keep producing oddities like this. Perry Miniatures SdKfz 254.
I added width indicators and replaced the aerial with something a little closer to the real thing. Crew is from the Perry DAK tank crew set which looks a little more appropriate.
(… or the importance of doing your research properly)
I’ve not posted for a while but I am doing things over the last few week. Most recently I’ve been working on more of the Perry Miniatures Vichy French for North Africa and Madagascar. For a change of pace I picked up this 75mm gun and crew which had actually been started last year.
The gun itself went together easily enough but it’s a pretty simple model and, for logical enough reasons, misses out a lot of the detail behind the gun shield. I set about adding some of the more prominent parts and in about 15 minutes the whole thing looked busier and a bit closer to the real thing. I was dead pleased with myself for doing this so quickly only to find far better reference for what should be behind there (hint – pictures of restored guns are perhaps not the best reference). So alas I couldn’t leave it that way and some of that was stripped away and more detail added. The ‘metal’ photos below show the earlier version before this was done.
The crew needed to be wrangled slightly to make them fit around the new struts and things (I actually left a strut out on the gunners side so he could fit OK). Really there’s only the basing left to do and some minor painting corrections. The satchel bag worn by one of the gunners, and by the infantry generally, should have proper satchel leather reinforcement and leather buckle straps. I assumed this was plain canvas like the earlier ones, but again better reference prevails.
I’m going for quite a heavy-lined look for these figures. The whole army is relatively quickly painted (more examples in previous post) and I want them to pop nicely on the table. I felt that for an army that I’ll be using with my kids this more ‘graphic’ look is appropriate.
So, he’s finished for now. Had a terrible time trying to get photos this evening and sort of gave up when I managed to get anything remotely useable. Sometimes these things just don’t work out.
The base is cork and grit built up in a flat-topped mound. I then used one of the excellent Greenstuff World rollers to get the stone floor pattern. This was fiddled a bit with to make the edges a little more logical and add some sharper cracks etc. Whole lot painted to match the figure, pinned and glued.
So, for now, some sketchy pictures. I’m hoping to takeadvantage of a friend to help out with some better pictures of the whoe group (henchmen a well) in future.
I love this figure and wanted it for ages. I think it’s from the old Masquerade Miniatures range and has now found a happy home at Otherword Miniatures. Looks like a Stefan Nieheus sculpt. He’s actually been a little trickier to paint than I expected – the sculpting is really energetic and exuberant, but a little loose in places (particularly the back of the cloak). This has led to there being more texture and even a bit of lumpiness here and there which needs to be minimised wherever possible. What I couldn’t clear away with knife and file I’ve obscured with paint. He’s a few hours from finished here.
I’ve posted this WIP partly because it marks a bit of a change in the way I’m looking at painting and particularly fantasy subjects. I’ve been following Ben Komets on Patreon (highly recommended by the way) recently, watched Painting Buddha videos etc. for quite a while, obviously read Massive Voodoo avidly for years and following the work of folk like Banshee. These guys are unfeasably good and represent a very deep level of understanding, analysis and exploration in the field of miniature painting. I would highly recommend a visit to the above painters sites, along with regular trips to Putty & Paint etc. whenever you need some inspiration (or even just to see how far most of us have to go). I’m happily aware that my painting falls into the realm of ‘wargames figure’ level and a million miles from the art that the above names achieve. However (and with some formal art training behind me) some of the ideas raised by these folk can’t help rub off. I’m not ready to commit weeks to a single figure, but am intrigued at the prospect of incorporating more considered colour theory etc. into what I do.
So, to cut a long story short, I’ve begun to consider setting, lighting and atmosphere more (or at least tried). I realise this all sounds very pretentious but it’s my blog so please indulge me …
With this wizard I’ve tried to imply depth and scene by adding some ‘infernal’ warm up-lighting and attempted to offset this with a more silvery blue ‘moonlight’. The upshot is the use of reds and browns in the blue tones, and conversely blues and purples in the reds. There’s even some green and other unlikely colours scattered in there at times. I’ve also begun to use ‘day-glo’ fluorescent paints to add strength to some of my colours which has been interesting. This is still a gaming miniature, and also early days for me, so I’ve not pushed this theme anywhere near as far as it could be – I still wanted a blue and red wizard after all, but I think this looks more interesting and has more depth compared to the Copplestone wizard further down the page which was done a few months back. This necromancer is also going to get a silly over-designed base along with two skeleton minions.
Anyway, a huge amount of text for a single picture … sorry about that. I’ll try to make it the other way around next time 🙂
The next GI is complete. As always the bases wait until a full or half-squad are complete, just to keep things looking consistent. This one carries an M16 smoke grenade which adds a nice splash of colour. I’m really enjoying painting the faces on these in particular.
If there’s any interest I can share a full list of colours and things for these.
So, I’ve been busy on several projects over the summer, some examples below.
Painting in Malta is slightly different to the UK, with temperatures and humidity so high. I’ve had a devil of a time getting my airbrush to work for more than 5 minutes at a time, and paint behaves a little differently in the heat (not to mention the exciting things that happen to varnish in this humidity).
Overall things are moving along and I’m really enjoying painting again. Really loving painting some Dark Ages figures (especially the Footsore range) and have a new 15th Century Lion Rampant project in the wings, shared with someone who I’ve met on the island.
I’ll probably write a little more about Dark Ages ranges soon. I’ve been picking up a lot of what’s available with no real plan other than that they are great to paint and the background fascinates me. Comparing the different ranges side by side has been an interesting exercise, and there are some newer ‘players’ on the market including the rather excellent Saxon Miniatures range.
Footsore Miniatures Aella sculpted by Bill Thornhill. An absolutely brilliant figure and one that I might paint again at some point!
Warlord Germanic tribe command type. Steve Saleh sculpt and very characterful.
Empress Miniatures Zulu War Naval Officer. A Paul Hicks sculpt … need I say more?
The finished Perry Miniatures SAS Jeep. The picture doesn’t really do it justice (I would say that though wouldn’t I?), but it is really quite tiny and looks nice in-hand. The original casting needed a little clean-up, but nothing too stressful.
First up are some WIP British infantry. Not too much more to do on them – a bit more definition on the weapons, some tidying up with final highlights and basing (which I’ll do by the section). This half-section is my colour test and a bit of practice for an ‘on the table’ quickish paintjob.
Secondly the first of the SAS jeeps. A few tweaks here and there on this including:
Bonnet catches and details.
Brass front axle with turn on the front wheels.
Brass Vickers K mount – more to scale and straight!
New mount and placement for the third K gun.
Head-swaps using heads from the 8th army plastic boxed set (I liked the flowing head-dress).
Umming and aahing about swapping the grab-handles but probababy can’t be bothered. It’s not a very fun job and I really want to start painting this.