02 – The Sakura Glade

Since the start of September I’ve painted 32 dryads and 1 branchwych – which for me is a lot of models – to form the basis of my Sylvaneth glade. As I mentioned in my previous Sylvaneth post I wanted my glade to have a cherry blossom look to them, they had to symbolise a renewal of life and new beginnings, so the Sakura was the obvious choice.

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So how did I paint these pink bad boys and girls? Firstly, I primed everything with black and then I hit the models with a really messy layer of Scale 75 Dubai Brown. Once that was dry all the raised areas were painted with Scale 75 Graphite. I then washed the model using Scale 75 Inktensity Wood, which I’d thinned using an acrylic thinner. The wash blended the all the previous layers togeather and helped the transitions look more natural. Scale 75 Rainy Day was then used to pick of the raised areas, again, and then White was added to the raised areas.

I then began to pick out the areas I wanted to be pink. This was done by hitting these areas with Scale 75 Fuchsia followed by blending in P3 Carnal Pink. The runes were painted using Scale 75  Alquima Cullcita which has a pearl-like quality that makes the runes look a little more magical.

And that was that, I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out and I can’t wait to add some more units to the glade.

As always thoughts and feedback are welcome.

01 – a Thousand Trees

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“But it only takes one tree to make
A thousand matches
Only takes one match to burn
A thousand trees
A thousand trees”

It’s not often a modelling blog starts with the Stereophonics but I thought it was apt, it does, however, give away the easiest way to destroy a tree which probably isn’t the wisest thing to give away if you’re starting an army based on wood. Anyway, around a year ago I was browsing the armies with the wifey at the Liverpool GW store. As we looked at the Sylvaneth Treelord my wife said that it looked cool and I have to admit that it did. After that I picked up a box of dryads but they just ended up in my “to do” pile. With the release of the Sylvaneth starter set that contains a Treelord, a Branchwych and 16 dryads, I decided that it was time that I picked the starter set up and start my Sylvaneth glade.

So with a Branchwych, Treelord and 32 dryads to paint I needed to decided on a colour scheme. I wanted a colour scheme / theme that would work across several different order armies so that they’d look themeatically the same on the battlefield just in case I wanted to add some allies at a later date.

For the Sylvaneth I started looking at the different seasonal schemes other painters have used. The ones I was really drawn to were the autumnal ones that used brow, reds and yellows. There were two reasons why I decided against this, the first is that I wanted my Sylvaneth to represent a resurgence, a fresh start, a new hope, so that meant I’d have to go with a rich spring scheme. The second reason why I decided against an autumn theme was that it seemed really popular and I wanted to choose a scheme that was a little more unique, especially if I was going to base a combined order Order army on it.

After doing some searching online I came across a cherry blossom theme by Awaken Realms that this really inspired me. I just loved the way the pink popped against the white. The cherry blossom theme obviously lends itself to an oriental scheme which I thought might be cool to explore further as I build the glade and perhaps incorporate different armies.

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So now with a scheme in mind I just had to work out what colours I needed to use in order to create the look I wanted but I’ll leave that for another blog.

05 – Terminator Captain

I have to admit I approached this model with a little trepidation as the captain wasn’t wearing his helmet, which meant i’d have to paint some flesh. I’ve always shied away painting flesh as there tends to be no middle ground in that it either looks good or crap.

So with this in mind I cracked open the various flesh shades contained in the Scale 75 Scalecolour range, Pink Flesh, Basic Flesh, Golden Skin, Light Skin, Pale Skin, along with Citadel’s Lahmian Medium and Reikland Fleshshade.

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I started with a base layer covering of thinned Pink Flesh. It took a few coats to get the colour uniform.After that it was just a case of building the highlights up but instead of thinning the paint with thinner I used the Lahmian Medium as I’ve found this is great for blending. After I’d added the first highlight of Basic Flesh I used a thinned wash of Reikland Earthshade just to pull the blends together. I then highlighted further with Golden Skin, Light Skin and a final highlight on Pale Skin. In between these layers I added every increasing thinned layers of Reikland where needed.

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After the flesh was painted I thought I’d try my hand at adding some details. Firstly with a really light purple mixed with a little Pale Flesh I started to pick out the veins in the head. It took my ages to do this but sadly I couldn’t get the camera to to pick them out.

After this I started on the facial and head stubble. This was done by mixing a light grey with some pale skin and applying it to the correct areas. Applying several coats made the hair look thicker. Once the hair was dry I applied a super thin wash of pale skin mixed with Lahmian to pull the colours together.

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The only other thing of real note that I did differently on this model was to add some Emperor’s Children transfers to the cape as I wanted the cape to show the prestige of the Captain. The transfers were added using Micro Set and Micro Sol which is a must purchase if you’re adding transfers (I have a blog on Micro Sol and Micro Set in the pipeline). Once the transfer where set I added a layer of anti-shine, see here.

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I’ll add some piccies later once I’ve finished the base!

Banter

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This morning a promoted tweet appeared in my timeline from Carling. I responded to the tweet as a quote and gave two reasons as to why I wouldn’t follow them. The first was because I don’t like Carling and the second was that they used the word ‘banter’. I really don’t like the word banter, as was evident in my follow up tweet.

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The response I got to this tweet I found quite amazing with a lot of people retweeting and favouriting, evidential the vast majority of people feel the same as I do. There were also a few people who suggested that I should “lighten up” as “‘banter requires it to be a two-way ribbing” and to an extent I agree with them – well not about the lightening up part.

Bantering is a game of wits that traditionally relied on repartee, jesting and humour. However, in recent years the term ‘banter’ has been misappropriated by the “laddish culture” to get away with verbally attacking someone under the guise of humour and wit. If things go too far and someone reacts to a comment then their reaction is always deflected with “I didn’t mean anything by it, it was only banter”. Subjects that are normally inappropriate sexism, racism, sexuality, all seem to be fair game under the modern banner of banter.

Now I don’t have an issue with having fun and repartee with friends as friends know what is acceptable to say to each other. Friends would not want to purposefully cause each other hurt or distress. If you have ‘friends’ that upset you through ‘banter’ then they are not your friends, you’re unfortunately just their entertainment. It is modern use of the term ‘banter’ that really annoys me. As was pointed out to me ‘banter requires it to be a two-way ribbing” so if someone has to defend the words they use by describing it as “banter”, as offence has been caused, then it is not ‘bantering’. There is no humour in causing hurt or offence, it is just bullying. 

The Anvil of Fury

Me and the anvil

Me and the anvil

“Griswold speaks of The Anvil of Fury – a legendary artifact long searched for, but never found. Crafted from the metallic bones of the Razor Pit demons, the Anvil of Fury was smelt around the skulls of the five most powerful magi of the underworld. Carved with runes of power and chaos, any weapon or armor forged upon this Anvil will be immersed into the realm of Chaos, imbedding it with magical properties. It is said that the unpredictable nature of Chaos makes it difficult to know what the outcome of this smithing will be…”

This past weekend I spent two days learning about the magic of smithing on an Introduction to Blacksmithing course. As you can see by my portrait, at the side, I looked pretty epic as a blacksmith. So how did I end up on a Blacksmith course? Well this will come as a bit of a shock to many of you but in the dwindling months of 2013 I celebrated my 30th birthday. And yes I can hear you all calling me a “liar” and “it can’t be true” because “you look so youthful” followed by the realisation of “if you look like that then why has fate dealt me this face?!”. All I can say is my diet consists solely of Dodo eggs, beer and the nourishment I get from the air.

So back to my 30th, my parents – due to a suggestion from my wifey – decided to book me onto a two-day Introduction to Blacksmithing. Now, Blacksmithing is something I’ve always wanted to have a go at for a number of reasons. Firstly, I’m a bit of a geek and so love the romanticised view of the historical Blacksmith; creating armour, swords, tools and being an essential part of society. As the years have gone by my view on why I wanted to try my hand at Blacksmithing have matured, slightly. My job, increasingly, is very PC based, there’s a lot of thinking, planning and effort that goes into it but I get no physical end-product to show for it. There’s nothing that I can hold in my hand and say “I did that, I created this, look at me for I am man”. I’ve realised, especially over the last year, that this is something that I need to have, whether it’s writing poetry, painting miniatures or trying Blacksmithing, I need to have something physical at the end to stand testament to my effort (could is this be a realisation of my own morality and a desire to create something that will outlast me in some small way or is it a gradual rejection of our disposable society?). The final reason for wanting to try my hand at Blacksmithing is that blacksmiths are cool, they hit red-hot metal all day with a hammer, what’s not to like?!

Not The Anvil of Fury

Not The Anvil of Fury

There were seven* people, including myself, on the course so it was a very small group. After the registration and a brief classroom based lesson on mechanics of the forge we went straight to it. We were going to be making a poker as our first item, as a poker contains a lot of the basic Blacksmithing techniques, apparently. I won’t go into the details but it was a really intense two-day course both physically and mentally. Blacksmithing is physically demanding as you’re beating hot metal most of the time which is tiring. You also have to really concentrate on your work to ensure that your hammer blows are accurate as you don’t want to waste energy by having to re-do a section you’ve messed up. After a day at the forge my first poker was complete – apparently professional blacksmiths can make a poker in 20 minutes (the show offs) – I tried to keep my first piece simple and I have to say that I’m pleased with the results.

*For the first day we had 8 people – but by day two someone had fallen by the wayside….so why was this? Well, I mainly put it down to their inability to read. Most people would read a course description that used the words ‘blacksmithing’ ‘forge work’ ‘iron’ ‘safety boots’ and ‘smithing’ and think ‘this course looks like it might have something to do with blacksmithing’ you’d be wrong for thinking this. Someone believed the above words meant ‘jewellery making’. Now this wasn’t the thing that annoyed me, well it did a little, but the thing that really annoyed me was why quit? You’ve paid for the course, you’ve completed half of it, so why cry off? Anyway, I’m ranting like Steve Coogan after he heard a buzzing on his phone whilst he was chatting to Hugh Grant.

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On day two we had the choice to make a rams head poker or paper knife. The rams head would teach us two new techniques. The first technique was to split the top of the metal in half with a chisel to create the horns. I’m not going to lie about it this was hard as my hammering arm was already tired. The second technique was the very dramatic fire welding which involved heating the iron up to just below burning point and then hitting it to fuse the two sections of iron together which caused a big shower of sparks. I also went for a double twist on the second poker which is created by heating and cooling different segments of the poker.

I would have been really happy with this poker except for the fact that I made the face too long so instead of it looking like a rams head it now looks like Jar Jar Binks – which wasn’t the desired effect. My only consolidation is that if Jar Jar Binks* did ever turn up on my door I now have something handcrafted, by me, to beat him to death with. The jury might also smile when they see it as evidence in the trail. On a serious note I really enjoyed my two-day course, it was great doing something new and it’s definitely something I’d love to have a go at again.

*George Lucas

Ohhhhhh yes and here are the two finished pokers together in all their glory!

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