Games Workshop and Social Media

Last December it was a landmark birthday for my wife. So in the hope of easing the pain I booked a secret family break to stay in an old hunting lodge – that looked very much like a castle from the old world – near Carlisle. On the way we decided to stop off at Kendal and have a look around and like most people who paint plastic miniatures we (myself, wifey and the tiny man) ended up in Kendal’s Games Workshop store.

I have to admit that ending up in the store didn’t happen totally by mistake as I really wanted to meet the man who was behind the stores Twitter and Instagram account. GW at the moment are in the middle of a social media awakening with the creation of Warhammer TV, the community site and the use of platforms like Instagram. Even the staff at Warhammer world have their own personal Twitter accounts and are engaging with the community. If I’m honest this level of engagement is excellent and as a member of the community the impression I get is that GW it’s filled with passionate people that love their job and their hobby.

However, there is a problem and that’s the social media engagement from the local stores which, if I’m honest, is pretty poor. It feels like the memo was only received by the staff at Warhammer World that they can use a social media platform, other than Facebook, to promote the hobby, their store and engage with the wider community.

This has led to a situation where the local stores are languishing in the chaos realms of Facebook only using Twitter to push their Facebook posts to, which isn’t engagement, it’s just annoying. Now this may be just me being over sensitive to the issue as I don’t use Facebook but as the hobby is very visual I don’t understand why Twitter and Instagram aren’t used as both platforms have a massive community that would willingly engage. I can understand the argument that a lot of GW stores struggle for time but engaging with a new generation on the platforms that they use would surely be more beneficial in the long term for both the store and the hobby as whole.

Social media certainly brought me back into the hobby, after a long hiatus I discovered the #warmongers community along with some stunning model pictures which meant I popped into a GW store and picked up a few paints and a model, several years later I’m still painting and buying! I probably never would have gotten back into the hobby without the online community and I certainly wouldn’t have improved as a painter without ther guidance. So if social media can bring back an old warhorse like me then I’m sure it can entice a new generation that are on several social media platforms into this creative and fun hobby.

In closing and getting back to my visit to GW Kendal I met Adam the store manager and I have to say he gets it. He engages directly with the community through, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, he posts pictures of the models the guys who visit his store paint, he retweets tweets from other community members – many I assume who have never been to his store – and he engages and responds to comments, in short he promotes the hobby and his store. Because of his presence and use of Twitter and Instagram I visited his store as I was passing through the town, purchased a copy of White Dwarf and we had a chat. I will never be a regular visitor to Kendal but I can guarantee that the next time I’m there I’ll pop in, say ‘hello’ and buy something.

So GW stores I don’t expect the level of engagement that is coming from Warhammer World but it would be nice if the hobby at the local store level was engaging with the online community. It can be done as Adam at GW Kendal has shown, treat him as your primarch and mould your chapters in his image.

I’d be interested to hear what the community thinks. Are there any GW Stores that use a few social media platforms to promote their store and hobby. If there is please mention them in the comments below.

Anti-Shine

During the continuing course of painting my Emperor’s Children I’ve started to use a lot more transfers. In the past I’ve had a love/hate relationship with transfers. On one hand they add a level of crisp detail that I don’t have the ability to match with a brush but on the other hand they always have a slight shine to them making them look as false as politician who is asked to carry out a normal activity in front of the press (for examples see the pictorial evidence below).


To try and remove the shine of the transfer I thought I’d try the Anti-Shine Matt Varnish by Army Painter. To apply the varnish I brushed it on like I would with paint. I applied a few layers over the transfer and the shine, at least to my eyes, was reduced. The Anti-Shine doesn’t seem to have affected the colour of the paint either which would have been a massive disappointment if it had.


In short along with the micro-set and micro-sol the Army Painter Anti-Shine will become a mainstay in my transfer arsenal. Buy some and use it for all your anti-shine needs.

04 – Forever Autumn – Building a Base

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Basing models is something I tend to rush. For me it’s normally the last step in the process and comes after I’ve completed the model which means I’m thinking about the next model and not the one I need to finish. With this in mind I decided that for my Emperor’s Children I’d make the bases in conjunction with the models.

The next decision was what type of base would match my pre-heresy Emperor’s Children, industrial, lava, snow, swamp or grass? In the end I went for a tiled derelict temple. I looked at resin bases but decided against this as I enjoy having a little money in my wallet. This led me to start trawling YouTube for do-it yourself basing videos. After watching a lot of dross I came across this video and decided that the method of creating a tiled floor looked easy, effective and a hell of a lot cheaper than resin bases.

The first step was to mark up 1cm x 1xcm squares on an old Warhammer box. After spending what seemed like an eternity cutting up a warsphinx box I eventually had enough tiles to begin gluing them to the base. For the tactical marine bases I decided to keep things simple so the tiles were glued directly to the base. For the larger terminator bases I added the hero of basing material cork. The cork added a physical depth and also distinguished the more costly models.

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I then glued the tiles to the top of the cork in a fairly even tile pattern. Once the glue was dry I used a craft knife to trim the overhanging tiles. I then removed and lifted some of the tiles to add to the sense of age, decay and abandonment to the base. Once this was done I added some grit to the base area of the cork and random piles on the tiles to further add to the abandoned feel. The base was then primed black.

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The next decision was around the colour scheme for the tiles. Originally I was thinking of making a dark green and black harlequin pattern but decided against this I thought it would probably end up being too dark. I then started to think about the overall theme of my Emperor’s Children, they’re still a loyalist legion but standing on the cusp of their fall into chaos. This led to me becoming a little poetic and thinking of my Emperor’s Children as being in the autumnal season of their service to the Emperor. To reflect this I thought I’d go with autumnal colours on the tiles so a deep red and yellow. To further reflect this I wanted to add some autumnal flocking to the base.

I then started to paint the full base using Scale 75 Walnut. The cork area was then dry brush highlighted with Scale 75 Tenere Yellow. For the tiles I went with Scale 75 Deep Red lightly mixed with the walnut and Scale 75 Tenere Yellow mixed with walnut and painted in an alternate pattern. These colours looked the most autumnal to me. After this a light drybrush of Scale 75 Rainy Grey over the tiles to pick out the tile edges.

The last element was to add some autumnal colour flocking to give the impression of fallen leaves.

I think the base complements the model nicely, what are your thoughts?

 

03 – Gold, Gold, You’re Indestructible 

Last night I decided to start work on the Cataphractii Terminator sgt. Ideally, I wanted to tackle the armour highlights and low lights, unfortunately, I’m still waiting on a few purple paints to arrive which led me start on the golds.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post I wanted the golds to be rich and deep, the warm look you get from pure gold. The one thing I didn’t want is for the gold to overpower the model as I want it to fit in with all the elements of the model, plus it’s a grimdark future so we don’t want things too shiny.

With this in mind I started basing the area I wanted with Scale 75 Viking Gold. As with all Scale 75 paint the Viking gold has great coverage and it’s colour is deeper than the more yellow hued golds.


To add more depth to the gold I thinned down Life Colour Black and applied it to the gold areas. More coats were applied to the recess and areas that would be in shadow. I could have used GW Nulin Oil for this but I’ve found that it dries with a slight shine which isn’t the look I wanted for the shadows.

Once everything was dry I picked out edges and details with GW Retributor Armour.


So that’s about that, does the gold compliments the purple? Again all thoughts and feedback are welcome.

02 – The First Foundation Paint

The first five of my Emperor’s Children have now been built, primed, undercoated and highlighted. So I have five very mean looking cataphractii terminators who are sporting a fine set of lighting claws each, the captain and the apothecary. I have to say they are all very cool models that look amazing.

I started by priming the models black and then pre-highlighting with a light grey using an airbrush.

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After this it was a matter of choosing the right purple to use as my layer and first foundation . In the end I went for Scale 75 Violet for the darker areas with Army Painters Alien Purple as the highlight but colours were applied using an airbrush. These two colours will hopefully give me a nice base to either bring lighter for the extreme highlights or darken for the shadows. Due to the details involved with this next stage I’ll abandon the airbrush and pick up the trusty brush. For the highlights I’m thinking GW Emperor’s Children Pink or P3 Carnal Pink but I’ll probably end blending the two. For the low lights I’m thinking that P3’s Beaten Purple will be a good choice.

So that’s everything I’ve done so far, what do you think?

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01 – Tickle Me Purple

I’ve always liked the pre-heresy Emperor’s Children, like the Lunar Wolves time is spent in the early Horus Hersey novels establishing the legion as flawed but deeply proud and honourable. Fulgrim finds beauty in the arts and strives for perfection, he also loves, Horus, his brother deeply and is the first to try and sway him from his path into chaos. We also see the best of the legion in the staunch Saul Tarvitz and the legendary Ancient Rylanor who both watch in despair as their legion is slowly corrupted and then there’s Lord Commander Eidolon who is pretty much a dick all the time.

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With this in mind I’ve decided that my next project will some pre-hersey Emperor’s Children, who are at the point in their history where they are proud, perfectionist, a little arrogant and they alsoappreciate a good poem so I’m thinking pre the “Murder” campaign. What I don’t want them to be is at the point in their history where they are knobbing everything that moves, incorporating musical instruments into their bodies and generally being sick puppies. In short this will mean no Kakophoni models.

To capture the feel of the Emperor’s chosen legion I want a really deep and rich purple, an imperial purple, a purple that is so deep you could sink into it. *My plan is to prime firstly in black and then from there airbrush with a thin deep purple colour – Scale 75 Violet, Army Painter Alien Purple or P3 Beaten Purple come to mind as prime purple candidates. After this I was thinking of a small highlight something along the lines of Scale 75 Sunset Purple followed by P3 Carnal Pink for the edges. Hopefully, if I can keep the black primer creating the shadows and successfully blend in the base purple the highlights will only need to be at a minimum meaning that I should retain the deep, darker purple I want.

*As an aside I really need to thank @teabreakgossip – an inspirational Ultramarine painter and all round nice guy – as a Twitter conversation with him really focused my mind on how to achieve the look I wanted for my ECs. If they end up looking sub standard then it will be down to my ability and not the advice I’ve been given.

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As most people are now doing I decided that the easiest way to get the Astarte would be from the Betrayal of Calth set which is an exceptional deal if you want a good number of models to kick start your legion. I decided to stay away from the forgeworld legion upgrades for heads, torso, shoulders (knees and toes, knees and toes) and instead opted for two sheets of transfers. I may, at a later date, pick up some heads and shoulders to intersperse them into the legion for variety but I’m not Scrooge McDuck swimming in a vault of money so I can’t afford to do it for every model.

In terms of the forgeworld transfers they are fantastic, it’s great that you get the standard iconography as well as the Warmaster eyes which links in with the Emperor’s Children lore and the shared history between them and the Lunar Wolves. In terms of the quality of the transfers the gold is really rich and vibrant and I can’t wait to get them on some painted models.

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If I’m honest there is one model in the Betrayal of Calth set that I’m not overally impressed with. Perhaps I’m being a little harsh as the rest of the plastic models are excellent but the contempator dreadnought just looks really static and lifeless from the hips down. Now I know the Astarte encased in the dreadnought no longer needs functioning hips but I’d still like to see a little motion there. It looks like he’s been turned off which takes the soul out of the model and a model like the contempator dreadnought needs soul as they are the living heart and history of a legion. I think that I’ll either try and add some life to the model myself, with some motion in the hips and legs, or failing that just flog the model and put the cash towards a forgeworld Emperor’s Children contempator dreadnought….at the moment the later option is winning and you can understand why when you look at those hips!

imageFor the white pauldrons, which some of the models will have, I wanted them to obviously looks white but not too white and with a soft shadow around the edges. To archive this I’ll probably put a base layer of Scale 75 artic blue and then find an appropriate dull white to finish it off. In terms of the gold on the Emperor’s Children I want an antique feel to the gold, that deep rich colour that you get from pure gold, so again I’m thinking something along the lines of Scale 75 Viking Gold as a base then probably GW Retributor Armour as a highlight.

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So this, at moment, is my plan for a pre-hersey Emperor’s Children force that contains dark shadows and rich, deep, purples and golds. Hopefully, I’ll be able to realise the vision laid out in this post. I plan to document the journey here from start to finish so watch out for future updates and please feel free to comment with suggestions and feedback.

Until the next time.

‘Children of the Emperor!  Death to his foes!’