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.

2017: The Year Ahead

For the last few months my hobby stuff has been and still is packed up as I’ve been moving house. If truth be told I’ve been in the process of moving for around 12 months now but the first house fell through. Anyway, we’re all in now and the vast majority of the boxes have been unpacked. In this house I should have an area that can be a dedicated hobby space, I’m really looking forward to this as I’ve never had that luxury before. 

As I haven’t had chance to crack on with some hobby for a few months I throught I’d write a to-do list of everything – hobby related – that I want to achieve in 2017.

So here we go…

1. Set up a hobby space. This will involve finding a suitable desk that will also have space for tools and paints. I also want to get some integrated lighting into the area.

2. Finish off my Carmine Dragon. It’s been knocking around for months now and it just needs the flesh and bone areas painting. I also need to find a suitable base for it.

3. Complete my Sylvaneth models. This involves painting three hunters, two tree lords and a Sylvaneth Wizard that I knocked up.

4. Build and paint up the Silvertower models along with extra hero packs.

5. Build and paint up my Emperor’s Children Tactical Marines.

6. Build and paint The Everqueen.

7. Try and not buy anymore models until I’ve painted everything. 

With the speed that I paint I think that there will be more than enough for me to do here but if I manage to get all this painted I wouldn’t mind picking up some Death Korps of Krieg and building up a little force of them. So that’s my 2017 plan, it’s a little late but a late plan is better than no plan!

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.

Slaughterpriest

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Last week like most people who have an interest in all things Games Workshop I picked up the new version other The White Dwarf – I like to imagine that White Dwarf is actually fully written, edited and pictures provided by a dwarf who is simply known as The White Dwarf – which is back to a monthly publication and as a little bonus there was a free Slaughterpriest model attached! Huzzah!

When I was home browsing the pictures with my son, who I’ve affectionately given the nickname Tiny Man or TM, he wanted to know more. So after a quick “history lesson” he was soon up to speed with the betrayal of the Emperor by Horus and the various Space Marine and Chaos legions, his favourites were the Imperial Fists but he also took a shine to the Deathwatch. We then moved onto the Age of Sigmar and he spotted the Slaughterpriest model I’d placed on the side. After seeing the completed pictures in the White Dwarf TM asked me to start work on mine. So like an loving father would – when their child shows an interest in their hobby – I put my glade of dryads on hold, ripped my shirt off, sacrificed a unicorn to Khrone and started work on the Slaughterpriest.

I started by cleaning the model up, assembling and priming it black. It’s worth noting that some elements of the model are a little fragile, particularly the ball and chain and the spike and skull attached to the back so be careful. I didn’t want to spend too long painting this model as I had no army, or intention to create one, to add him too. I wanted a paint scheme that I didn’t have to work out myself so with this in mind I simply followed the paint scheme that was in the White Dwarf with a few modifications to replace the GW colours I didn’t have.

As a slight aside, I’m normally the sort of person that just wings a paint scheme. I’ll write down what I do but I just paint from what I see, which means I’ve never actually followed a painting guide before. I have to say that by following the guide my painting speed increased dramatically and I’m very happy with the results, Khrone I’m sure is also proud.

Stage 1 – Brass Monkey
The first step advised by The White Dwarf was to cover all the area you wanted to be brass in GW Retributor Armour. Luckily, I have GW Retributor Armour so I added a little thinner to the paint and applied it to the pauldrons, the trim of the boots, the guard on the sword, the chaos belt buckle and the tips of the leather tassels.

Step two was to wash the areas i’d just painted with the Retributor Armour with Agrax Earthshade. Now obviously I own a bottle of this stuff and I have a feeling that people who aren’t even hobbyist will have a bottle of Agrax. It’s like Oasis’s “What’s the story (morning glory)” everyone has a copy even though they can’t remember buying it.

Stage three was to drybush GW Sycrorax Bronze over the areas and this is where the White Dwarf caught me out as I didn’t have Scrotum Bronze*. So instead I turned to my trusty Scale 75 paints and used Victorian Brass instead, which I think looks ace.

*warning will shine if polished.

Stage four and we have a final drybrush of GW Necron Compound. Again I already have this so I followed this step to appease the Dwarf.

Overall, I was happy with the bronze tone I achieved.

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Now next on the Slaughtpriest hit list was the Khrone red armour. A little known fact about the followers of Khrone is that they don’t actually like the sight of blood as it upsets their tummy but they do love mindless slaughter. So in order to not have a dicky tummy when they’re partaking in their favourite pastime they paint everything red so they can’t see the blood.

Stage Two – Bring your Auntie to the Dancy

Step one is to cover all the bits of armour you want red in GW Khrone Red. Now I don’t have or couldn’t find Khrone Red so I covered the helmet, ohhh matron, pauldrons and leg armour in Scale 75 Deep Red. You do need to be careful not to mess up the brass areas you’ve just nailed, so unlike a follower of Khrone you need to take your time. You also need to add a few drops of thinner to your paint. Blood and thinner to the paint God.

Step two is to apply a wash of GW Nulin Oil over all your red bits. I own Nulin Oil so I used Nulin Oil.

Step three, we’re back to the GW Khrone Red or in my case Scale 75 Deep Red. Pick out the raised areas and keep away from those recesses otherwise step two would have been for nought.

Step four, crack open your GW Evil Sunz Scarlet and start picking out major highlights. If like me you don’t have, can’t find or can’t borrow Evil Sunz then you can use a brighter red. I went for Scale 75 Antares Red.

Step five The White Dwarf says use Fire Dragon Bright for highlighting the red and as I had disobeyed his Dwarfness enough I followed his instructions on this one.

Again I’m happy with the results on the armour, I think it may need a little more Fire Dragon Bright just to add contrast.

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Stage Three – Oil me up for sun-bronzed skin

Step one – The Dwarf says colour all the fleshy bits in GW Bugman’s Glow. So that’s the chest and the hands just in case you’re struggling to know which bits are flesh. I didn’t have any Bugman’s so I went with Scale 75 Basic Skin. The paints were thinned so this took several coats to get a nice consistent layer. You need to be super careful at this point as you don’t want to get flesh tone on the areas that are now finished.

Step two – Pick out all the raised areas with GW Cadian Fleshtone, which I didn’t have but I did have Scale 75 Golden Skin. Again, I thinned this bad boy down and applied a few coats.

Step three involves reaching for the washes again and this time it’s GW Reikland Fleshshade, which I did have. The wash just pulls the two different layers of flesh tones together which is a good thing.

Step four is picking out the muscles with everybody’s favourite flesh tone…. GW Kislev Flesh. Which I didn’t have. So I went back to Scale 75 and whacked out my Pale Skin. Apply it thin and laugh.

Overall I’m happy with my flesh painting as it’s not a normally something I like doing but its turned out okay. For added detail I added a little purple to the flesh tone and picked out the veins under the skin.

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Stage Three – Balls of Steel

Step One is, according to the Dwarf, to add a coat of GW Leadbelcher to all the areas you want to be steel, so that’s the ball and chain and the sharp pointy thing in his over hand. I also wanted the spikes that are sticking out of his flesh to look metallic so that it looks like he’s added them to his body himself. I want my Slaughterpriest to look like he feels no pain so will add spikes and metal to his flesh for fun of it. You could also play it the otherway and paint the spikes to look like that they’re bones that have mutated out of his flesh. Instead of the Leadbelcher I used Vallejo Game Air Gunmetal.

Step Two apply Nulin Oil to your steel bits. I have this so I did this.

Step Three and the Dwarf has reached into his technical paints and decided that it’s time for Typhus Corrosion to shine. I don’t have this paint – the shame – so I missed this step out totally.

Step Four and it’s a drybrush of GW Ryza Rust to the steel areas. I’d advise not going crazy with this and make sure you don’t have too much on your brush as you’ll end up just turning the metallic areas orange and not the subtle rust effect you’ll want. Again I have the paint so no substitutes were needed.

Step Five and the White Dwarf tells us to highlight the steel areas using GW Runefang Steel and it’s a good call just make sure you pick of the details and don’t go crazy or you’ll destroy all the layers you’ve added which would be a shame.

Step Six and I decided to be a maverick and disobey the Dwarf and add some GW Blood for the Blood God technical paint to the blade and the ball. The White Dwarf does advise doing this but he adds it at the end of the process but I say screw you Dwarf I’ll add it when I bloody well want. In terms of using Blood for the Blood God i’d follow the maxim of less equals more. You don’t want to ruin all the details you’ve spent an age painting by going mental with BfBG.

And that’s it really for the complex stuff. The Dwarf does include some details on painting the leather, bones and tattered robe but to be honest it’s pretty standard stuff. After I’d finished the Slaughterpriest I created an ice base for him so that it looked like he was on his way down from the frozen north to pick up his Amazon order. I’ll cover the base creation in another blog as I’ve rambled on long enough.

Comments as always are welcome.

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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.

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.

Tending to your brush

Brushes are an integral part of painting models*, even if you use an airbrush there will be parts of the model you’ll want a brush for. Brushes can also be extensive with prices around £15 for GW’s artificer detail brush.

*if you use your fingers, or those of your defeated foes to paint, then you will not need a brush.

It can therefore get expensive replacing brushes when the bristles start to point in all directions. There’s nothing more frustrating than being happy with an area you’ve painted and then catching it with a stray bristle loaded with another colour. It’s a crushing feeling when this happens as you feel like your masterpiece has been damaged to the point that even your own mother couldn’t honestly say looks good. The picture below shows the dangers of stray brush strokes.

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After doing a bit of research on the problem I found a product called ‘”The Masters” Brush Cleaner and Preserver’ which promised to be the solution to all my problems. It’s basically like shaving soap that you lather up using your brush and then wash the bits of paint out with water. To maintain the shape of the bristles I’ve started leaving some soap on the bristles.

As an aside worthy of Iago,  I’ve noticed, as I’m writing this blog, that the cleaner is ‘specially prepared’ by the ‘original B&J’ and that ‘stains’ are specifically mentioned on the label. Now I’m hoping that these aren’t clues to the soaps construction but either way it cleans brushes really well even if it does taste a little salty.

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I’ve been using the brush cleaner for around five months on the Element Games Kolonsky brush and I have to say it is absolutely fantastic.

As you can see from the picture the bristles look new and not five months old. So if you want to buy some magic brush cleaner the the only place I’ve found that stocks it is the eternal flea market that is eBay. If anyone knows of another UK stockists that won’t shaft me on the p&p then please let me know.
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Love, hugs and kisses,

Jester