Paving the Silvertower 

I’ve had Silvertower and the two hero packs knocking around since Christmas so the other week I thought I’d crack on with it and start building some of the models. In order to try and keep things as simple as possible I decided to pick up the appropriate sets of the GW Shattered dominion bases.

Now when it comes to bases I’ve been known to be a bit of a fool as I’ve made them either too complicated, to the point where I lose interest, or I’ve bought resin ones that cost a fortune, these GW bases I hopped would fit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

For £20 you get alot of bases 30x32mm and 40x25mm in one box and in the other 6x65mm and 20x40mm so for £40 I have more than enough bases. The bases themselves come on a spruce so if you want to batch paint them quickly you can paint them on the spruce. My only complaint is that GW haven’t produced a 50mm shattered dominion base which means that for some of your slightly larger models you’ll be trying to make your own.

After looking at the Silvertower board for a while I decided that I’d use the box art base colours on the 25mm shattered dominon box art.  I went with this for three reasons; the first was that I liked the colours and thought it would match up with the board; the seconds was that I wouldn’t have to think of what colours to use as GW have done that for me; and thirdly I didn’t want to spend tooling painting the bases but I wanted them to look good.

Now the box art gives you the basic paint list you need but it doesn’t give you all of the paints you’ll need to try and replicate the full base look. For this you’ll need a copy of White Dwarf  #130 which came out on the 23rd July 2016. Now I had to get this off ebay as I pretty much abandoned the Dwarf down a mine shaft when it went weekly, but to save you the fuss of finding it here are the colours.  

Like all the GW guides it’s very clear and you achieve a decent looking result very quickly and with little effort. I’m happy with how it looks and I think a whole host of models based this way will look fab. 

Painting Sigmar’s Mail

When I started my Stormcast Eternals I wanted them in armour that looked as realistic to plate mail armour my painting ability would allow me to achieve. I like my miniatures to look like they are wearing armour that would be functional in an actual battle; which I admit does seem a little strange when you consider that they are a fantasy army so in theory they could wear any armour they wanted, even armour made of gold.

After looking at a lot of suits of armour, on a recent visit to Leeds Royal Armouries, I noticed that the plate mail varied dramatically in steel shades between the raised and recessed areas as the picture below highlights.

IMG_3171

The raised areas tended to be highly polished but the further into the recesses you looked the darker and duller the metal got. I wanted to duplicate this look on my miniatures.

To try and replicate this authentic plate mail look I firstly primed my models in white, as I knew I’d be dulling down the colour later so didn’t want my base layer too dark.

I then painted the armour areas with a player of Vallejo Game Air Chain Mail.

After this I made a 50/50 mix of burnt umber oil paint and black oil paint. I then coated all the metallic areas with the oil paint, left it for around five minutes and then wiped the paint off with a clean cloth. This left the recesses darker and the raised areas lighter as it was easier to remove the oil paint off the raised areas. Once I’d removed all the excess oil paint I left the model to dry.

DSC_0290 [1178263]

Once the oil paint had dried I began adding a highlight of Vallejo Game Air Silver to all the raised areas. I made sure that I had minimal paint on the brush so that I could easily blend the highlighted areas into the dark areas. I kept adding highlights to the raised areas until I was happy with the look.

DSC_0204 [1166302]

And that was that. I’m happy with the result, to me it looks authentic enough and in my eyes makes the Stormcast Eternals look a little more menacing than when they are painted in the official gold color scheme.

Genesis of a Painting Daemon

Bilbo just knocked his last  bottle of Devlan Mud over

Bilbo just knocked his last bottle of Devlan Mud over

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, painting miniatures. You buy one model, and if you don’t keep your wallet closed, there’s no knowing what you might paint.”

Bilbo’s hobby advice.

I’ve exchanged tweets with a few of my twitter followers about the pictures of my miniatures which I post under the #warmongers, #MiniatureMonday and #WIPWednesday hashtags. Most of the people I’ve spoken too are involved with the hobby but some are people who follow me on twitter for different reasons (my charm, razor sharp wit, dashing good looks, magnetic personality, beer nonsense and general moaning to name but a few). I’ve noticed over the past few months that several of my non-hobby followers have spoken to me about my miniatures and have said that they’d thought about getting some models in the past but have never taken that next step.

I enjoy painting models, it helps me unwind and relax and it seems a shame that some people think “I wouldn’t mind to trying that” but then never get any further. I believe part of the issue is that there’s a hell of lot of things to get from a specialised shop. If you’re totally new to the hobby to it all it can be very daunting.

The aim of this blog, therefore, is to provide a starting place for people who are interested in painting miniatures but have no idea where to start. I’ll cover what basic things you need to get and hopefully the cheapest way to get your hands on the godies. I’ve been painting miniatures now for just over a year so hopefully all my initial problems will be fresh in my mind.

1GD

The first stop…

The first step with painting miniatures is also the hardest and it involves going to a hobby shop. For most people this will be a Games Workshop store as they are in most major town centers. You can get almost everything here that you will need to start the hobby, models, paints brushes, tools and primer. It sounds like the most ideal place to start but it’s not the place I get the bulk of my supplies from. To get all the basics you require you to start painting you will need to invest a little cash and buying direct for Games Workshop is notoriously expensive. If you buy your equipment from an independent model shop you will be will save around 15-25% off Games Workshop price as well as having access to other manufactures models and paints.

I’m going to plug Elemental Games here, cheap, massive stock range, a quick and reliable service and you earn store credit with each purchase. They have a shop and an amazing website too. If you do buy from Elemental Games then use promo code STE978 on the payment screen and you’ll receive double store credit points and I’ll receive some too! Everyone’s a winner baby!

Also remember to read as many blogs and watch as many videos as you can on painting – not rude videos as you’ll go blind. The information in blogs and videos is free, you’ll pick up so many new techniques by just reading and watching this stuff, so make sure you do it.

I’ll list the Games Workshop price (GW) and the Elemental Games prices (EG) below.

The first step…

So you’ve now decided where you’re going to buy your gear from, the next step is which models are you going to buy. I paint Blood Angel and Orks, both from the Warhammer 40k range, but if you want to go either into fantasy or sci-fi have a look at the whole model range as one model may look fab whilst the rest are mediocre. Google the fluff and get a feeling for the whole army. Once you’ve decided what army you want to paint (and even play) then I’d recommend that you get some general infantry units as your first models. If you buy infantry units you’ll get a lot more models for your money meaning you’ll have more to practice on as you start to learn the basic painting techniques.

Space Marine Assault Squad – GW £20.50 / EG £17.42

If you have a little more money to invest, and you like the armies, then you can get one of the box sets for either the Warhammer Fantasy Island of Blood featuring High Elves and Skaven or the Warhammer 40k Dark Vengeance box featuring Chaos Space Marines and loyalist Dark Angels Space Marines. You get a hell of a lot of models in each box and a self-contained game which you can use to bully your friends into getting into the hobby with. They do provide good value for money. If you’re only interested in one of the armies then you can put the others on eBay.

Island of Blood – GW £61.50 / EG £52.28

Dark Vengeance – GW £65 / EG £55.25

Step two…

Tools! There are lots of different tools for all manner of different purposes but you can actually get away with only needing a few to start with. At this point I would highly recommend that you do not buy any of the Games Workshop tools as they are really expensive. The build quality and finish are great but this is an area you can save on.

The first essential tool you will need are clippers to remove the model from the plastic spruce.

Clippers – GW£18 / EG £6.79

Next you’ll need a semi-circle file. One side is a semi-circle the other is flat. You’ll need a small plastic file to tidy your model by removing the mould line and smoothing over the areas where the model was attached to the spruce. Sadly, you can’t seem to buy individual files as they come in sets, you could, I suppose, use the spare files as bum scratchers.

Files – GW £12 / EG £4.49

Step 3…

Next you’ll want to glue your models together. Get them striking an epic pose and then use strong plastic glue.

Glue – GW £4.10 / EG £3.48

Step 4…

You’ll also need some primer. Once you’ve built your model you’ll want to prime it. If your model is going to be painted a dark colour scheme or mainly metallic then use a black primer. If your model is going to be of an overall lighter colour scheme, mainly flesh or light coloured robes then I’d use a white or grey primer. Primer allows the paint to stick and hold to the model. Bear in mind that you will only need a light coating over your model.

Primer – GW £9.80 / EG £8.33

Step 5…

You’ll need paints and there are lots to choose from. Paints are probably one of the cheapest things to buy but they can start getting expensive when you buy lots at once. I’d recommend searching the net for painting guides for the models you have chosen. Once you’ve read / watched a few you can buy the colours used to achieve the look you want.

Washes will soon become your best friend, they won’t let you down and they’re always there to make you look better than you actually are (which to be fair is better than what a real best friend does). Washes are a very easy way of adding shading to a model. They only contain a little pigment which allows you to see the painted area underneath but make the recesses of the model more shaded. The two washes I’d buy are Nulin Oil – a black wash that work great on metallic colours and Agrax Earthshade – a light brown shade that works well over fabrics.

GW – £2.40 a pot / EG – £1.99 a pot

Step 6…

Acrylic thinner, you need this, please purchase this. If you paint straight from the pot then your paint will be too thick and your model will look like it is melting. Paint that is too thick will destroy all the detail on the model and it’s probably the biggest pitfall for new painters. The acrylic thinner will thin your paint allowing for a thinner but smoother application of paint. It might take a little longer and a few coats to paint an area but the end results will be worth it. For each blob of paint on your pallet you’ll only need a small amount on thinner. You’ll want the paint to be the consistency of milk. The Emperor Demands thinned paint.

Paint for the Paint God!

Too Much Paint for the Paint God!

Acrylic thinner – GW Lahmian Medium £2.40 / EG £7.19

Step 7…

If you bought a paint set which included brushes then you’re set. If you didn’t then you’ll need a fine detail brush and a standard brush. To be honest you’d probably get away with just a fine detail brush (it’s the one I use 95% of the time).

Detail Brush – GW £3.75 / EG £2.98

Step 8…

All these things are free or you’ll have them in the house anyway, yippee!

  • An old mug to wash your brush in.
  • An old take-away tub lid to act as your palette.
  • Old newspaper to cover up the area where you’re painting. You will spill a paint pot and if you don’t have anything down to protect the table or carpet your significant other may hurt you as punishment and The Emperor won’t protect you.
  • Kitchen roll to dry your brush and remove excess paint.
  • Light for your painting area.
    • If you’re painting during the day then paint in front of a window. The natural light will help you see all the areas and stop you straining your eyes.
    • Painting in the evening (welcome to my world). Energy saving light bulbs are crap for painting under. Try and paint in the best lit room. You will also need to use a desk lamp to illuminate your work. If you take to the hobby then you need to invest in either daylight bulbs or a daylight lamp. It’s the kind that seamstresses use.

Things not to buy…

  • The White Dwarf monthly magazine. It’s expensive with no written content just nice pictures. Save the money and look for inspiring pictures on the internet.
  • Painting guides. Honestly, at a beginner level don’t bother. All the basic techniques and videos can be found on the net for free. There are some good guides I have bought but they have covered advanced techniques (airbrushing etc).
  • Too many models. If it’s not a limited edition then leave it in the shop. There’s nothing more disheartening than having a pile of models awaiting your attention as it puts pressure on you and then you’ll start to rush. If there’s only a limited run of the model then by all means get it and save it for the next project.

To get all the basics along with 10 tubs of paint  and a basic infantry model set you’re looking at splashing out £94.54 from Games Workshop and £70.50 from Elemental Games, a saving of £24.04.

The final and the most important thing you need for miniature painting is patience. Don’t rush the painting, take your time and enjoy the time you’re spending painting your model, you’re not thinking about work or life just the model. See your painting time as time to relax, have a beer or a glass of wine and listen to some music. It’s time wasted but in a constructive way.

If you do have a go at the hobby or you just want to ask a question then please add a comment.

The Green Knight

Over the last few months I’ve been steadily honing my painting skills by watching youtube videos, reading forums and other hobbyists tweets and of course practicing. I’ve definitely noticed a big improvement when I compare my first first Rohan Warrior – which I painted back in November – and my biggest project to date – The Green Knight. Overall, I’ve found the whole process, from assembling to painting, a lot of fun but it has been a steep learning curve and I’ve made a lot of school boy errors along the way.

So in this blog I will cover how I made the Green Knight. This blog in no way is intended to be a definitive guide on “how to paint The Green Knight” as quite frankly I’m nowhere near the standard of painter that can lecture others on how to paint. I want this post to be a “how I bumbled my way through my first project” guide.

So why did I chose The Green Knight as my first project? I suppose the biggest reason is that I love knights, medieval knights, fantasy novels, RPGs, magic wizards and swords. I also really love the Arthurian tale of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”. So when I first saw the Green Knight miniature I knew it was the miniature for me, In short he looked epic.

There was however, three things that niggled my about the miniature which I knew I had to change. The first was that he was carrying a sword. The Green Knight does not carry a sword he carries “the mother of all axes“. This meant that I would have to carry out my first conversion if I wanted the Green Knight to look as I wanted him to. The second issue was the standard that attaches itself to the Green Knights back. I hated it, it just seemed a little too oriental for how I envisaged my knight, it had to go. Finally, the third issue was the armour and horse colour, everything had to be green as that’s how the Green Knight is described in the tale and not how Games Workshop had painted him in their promotional material.

“No soul had ever seen

a knight of such a kind –

entirely emerald green.

[…]

and in the other hand held the

mother of all axes,

a cruel piece of kit I kid you not:

the head was an ell in length at least

and forged in green steel with a glint finish”.

The construction of the model was fairly simple. I constructed the horse and knight but didn’t glue them together as I was going to paint them separately. After the construction I decided to tackle the conversion of the sword into an axe. I started by cutting the top off the sword I then thinned the sword blade down so that it looked like an axe shaft. After creating the shaft with a craft knife I smoothed off the sharp corners with a file. After this I attached an axe head to the shaft with a combination of “green stuff” and glue.

As I’m new to the hobby this was my first experience of using “green stuff”. I found it a difficult medium to work with. It was either too tacky or too sloppy, when I used it with gel to stop it sticking. It was akin to using chewing gum to sculpt with. I’m sure I’ll get more confident in it’s use the more I use it but if anyone has any tips then please share!

Once the glue and “green stuff” mixture had dried I then primed the model by using chaos black spray paint followed by a touch up with Imperial Primer where needed.

Primed knight

I started off by undercoating all the cloth sections with Privateer Press’ Menoth White. I diluted the paint with a small amount of paint thinner, I applied three coats of Menoth White to the cloth sections.

Like most people knew to the hobby I still struggle with getting the thickness of my paints right. It’s either too thick or too runny, like a toddlers nose, all of which are nightmares when painting faces. I have found that paint thinner seems easier to use than water as the consistency is easier to judge and the paint stays wetter for longer.

I then moved on to painting the base of the horse flesh. I wanted the colour to look as natural as possible, which is difficult with green horse flesh. The horse flesh mixture was made from 2 parts Straken Green, 1 part Warpstone Glow, and one part paint thinner. The flesh received two base coats.The kight

I then went back to the cloth parts of the horse and the knight. I wanted the cloth to be a fresh radiant green to contrast the dark green of the horse flesh. I mixed a 50/50 mixture of Averland Sunset and Straken Green with a small amount of paint thinner. The cloth areas received three coats of paint. Once the paint was dry I applied two thin layers of Coelia Greenshade to the cloth.

With the left over cloth paint mixture I added a small amount of Cadian Fleshtone and painted the horse flesh highlights. I painted the shaded areas with a small amount Coelia Greenshade.Horse

For the knights armour and shield I wanted an olive green colour that also looked metallic. To achieve this I mixed two parts Coelia Greenshade to 1 part Leadbelcher with a small amount of paint thinner. The armour received two coats followed by a coat of Coelia Greenshade when it was dry.Shield

I then went on to paint the the golden areas of the knight. I wanted a warm gold colour so I started by first applying a coat of Screaming Bell to areas the areas I eventually wanted to paint gold. Once the screaming bell had dried I mixed 1 part Averland Sunset to 2 parts Gehenna’s Gold and painted over the golden areas. Once dried I coated the gold areas with a coat of Agrax Earthshade and then a dry brush of Golden Griffon. I then dry brushed the raised detail on the knights shield with Averland Sunset followed by a dry brush of Golden Griffon. After that is was just a matter of painting a few details, the saddle, axe shaft etc and the painting of the knight was done. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the end result. If you have any hints and tips please feel free to leave a comment.The Green Knight