Category Archives: Painting

Two Painters

One of Ben's "Helm" paintings.

One of Ben’s “Helm” paintings.

Hey everyone, hope you had a fine festive season etc.

I just thought I’d show you all a blog that belongs to a good friend of mine.  He lives in Melbourne now, which is an eight hour train ride from my place, but he visited me for a couple of beers recently and we talked about miniature painting and books and stuff.

Anyway, his name is Ben Guy and he’s a painter.  Not a miniature painter (or indeed, a house or sign painter) but a picture painter.  Specifically, he does a lot of comics, fantasy and sci-fi based art as well as landscapes.  I happen to think he’s really good, and I’m not the only one – he was recently showcased in a French book about Geek Art.  If you’re in the market for some original art then you could do a lot worse.  Just contact him via the blog I presume.

Also, for those of you who haven’t heard, Larry Elmore’s Kickstarter ended as the second highest funded Kickstarter ever in the publishing category.  This makes me really happy, as Elmore was always my favourite D&D artist as a kid.  I’m friends with him on facebook and it’s really warmed my heart to see the total gratitude and shock he’s expressed.

It just goes to show that if you just keep on doing what you do, you’ll most likely get there in the end.  Not that Elmore hadn’t made it already.  But now, as he says, he has money to fall back on when work is slow and it’s all because of the ordinary people who love his work.

I always wanted an Elmore original but I doubt I’ll be able to afford one after this!  Well done Larry.

And even though I couldn’t afford to contribute to the Kickstarter (the postage was huge outside the US), my brother Chris (also an artist, strangely enough, and with quite a funny blog about D&D) gave me this for Christmas:

Larry Elmore's iconic "Red Box" in T-shirt form!

Larry Elmore’s iconic “Red Box” in T-shirt form!

Outstanding.


Painted Gui Jia and Japanese soldiers

Click on any of the images to enlarge

Well, as promised, here is my gui jia T.A.G. and some Japanese support troops.  This is a usable Infinity army, but I need a few more models to get to 250 points, which is the Australian standard game size.  I gave a lot of consideration to how I would paint my Infinity models before I started.  I knew I wanted to go for a cleaner style than my Blanchian Battle Sisters and ancient looking, washed-out Eldar.  Infinity is anime-inspired after all.

The four gui jia regiments are named after animals. Mine is from the Tortoise regiment

But I just couldn’t bring myself to go all-out anime style, with . . . interesting colours.  Corvus Belli’s studio models are fantastically painted, and look like they stepped out of an episode of Neon Genesis or a Mass Effect game, but I just can’t take a military vehicle painted bright orange seriously.  I’m sorry.

So I went for naturalistic colours.  I pretty much can’t help using naturalistic colours.  It’s a bit of a failing actually, as people who just give my models a cursory glance often fail to notice the hidden depth I try to get into the paint-job.  Which means it’s essentially wasted effort.  I can see their brains going “oh, soldiers in dark realistic colours, cool I – WOW LOOK OVER THERE AT THOSE BRIGHT YELLOW ELDAR TANKS!”

The characters say “tortoise.” That year of studying Mandarin finally pays off!

Ah well, I paint them in the end to look good to me, and I’m happy with them.  So I can’t complain.  But it would be nice for us naturalistic painters to get a bit of love sometimes.

You can really see the weathering powders on the feet in this shot.

I used military modelling weathering techniques for the first time on the gui jia, as opposed to simply painting mud and paint chips on like I did with my 40k tanks.  I used oil paints, weathering powders, the whole deal.  It was actually really tricky not to overdo it, but I’m very happy with how she turned out (my gui jia pilot is a girl I imagine, since she has a totally cute tortoise painted on her leg armour).

Left to right: keisotsu and kempei, ninja with sniper rifle, gui jia and domaru. I just need a couple more models to make up a 250 point force.

Comments and questions welcome as always…


Hey, I’ve actually been painting

https://i0.wp.com/images.wikia.com/spacemarine/images/b/b6/Reaver_titan.jpg

There are totally going to be titans in our Apocalypse game it will be awesome. Can’t wait to take some photos. Er… and play the game.

I haven’t been my usual blogging self lately. No opinionated blow-hardiness(?) around here – I’ve actually been doing proper painting. Astonishing, I know.

I’ve been preparing for our up-coming apocalypse game, and I have to say, painting GW-sized units of infantry is wearing pretty thin. I’m starting to think after all these years that hey, maybe I have enough Imperial Guardsmen and Battle Sisters for my purposes. I mean I have more than enough for even the largest casual games, and the variety available to me pretty much covers all the units I actually find interesting. With my time and money being drastically restricted now by an extra family member, a reduced income, and an increasingly demanding workload, I think it’s time to put the brakes on and stop actively collecting. I might pick up the odd vehicle, but to be honest I only want another hell-hound, maybe another russ variant.

Stop collecting 40k that is. I’m thoroughly enjoying painting my half-a-dozen Yu Jung soldiers for Infinity. It’s a real struggle to force myself to paint twelve nearly identical battle sisters to match my other nearly identical battle sisters when in front of me are sitting a ninja with a sniper rifle and four soldiers who, while admittedly all in the same uniform, vary hugely in pose, face, hairstyle and even gender.

Once they’re done and added to my domaru and keisotsu I’ll have a legal 150 point army, which is enough for small games. Contrast that with the twelve battle sisters I have to paint to get oh, about a quarter of the points value of the smallest 40k game anyone would ever agree to play, and you can see why I’m kind of over it.

Don’t get me wrong, 40k is a fun game, I’ve always said so, and it’s not like I’m getting rid of my armies or anything foolish like that. I just think enough is enough, at least in terms of infantry squads.  Multitudinous, mind-numbing infantry squads.

Stay tuned, and I’ll put up pics of my finished Sisters and Yu Jing soon.


Stupid Graffiti Paint

. . . it shot out really fast and was super thick, so now my goblins that I spent weeks slowly cleaning and basing in spare moments look like a three-year old dipped them in blue sludge.  Oh and I got it all over the cement on my new courtyard and all over the keys on my laptop.

I’m pretty annoyed, I planned this really carefully and it was supposed to be a triumphant display of ingenuity and new materials.  Oh well, back to the drawing board I suppose. The thing about deviating from the way things are normally done and taking risks is that sometimes you crash and burn.

Looking forward to the tournament on Sunday though.  We’ve managed to play a few practice games and it’s got me excited for 40k.  I’ll report back how it went in the next post.


Two Hobby Victories and a Thought

So the last month or so of my life has been a total blur.  As well as baby-wrangling I’ve been battling against house-unpacking and marking people’s assignments (which takes WAY longer than I anticipated) to try to get just a little bit of game stuff done.  Now the house is pretty much habitable and I’ve managed to steal some tiny hobby victories:

Victory One: My regular opponent Cap’n Stoogey and I are going in a 1200 point doubles 40k tourney in a couple of weeks, 600 points each.  For the first time his Ultramarines and my Guard will be fighting side by side.  600 points is not much and we aren’t aiming for the top tables so we just decided to choose a few must-have units that we really wanted to field.  I’ve mustered a rag-tag band of misfits – two squads of penal legionnaires, my ogryns, and my demolisher Anathema led by a Primaris Psyker.  In fact this little army has really captured my imagination, and got me thinking about a full-sized force of penals, abhumans and psykers, supported by assault battle tanks.  I think an army like that would be fun to play and really capture the weird undertone of the Imperial Guard fluff that lurks underneath the “normal army dudes” surface.

Victory Two: After unsuccessfully scouring every art, hardware and car store in town (and the internet) for matt finish spray paint for my Night Goblins I noticed a street art and graffiti shop hiding up some pokey little stairs in the city centre.  They had 200 colours imported from Germany for ten bucks each, and the guy even threw in a smaller nozzle for free for detail work.  It was just an amazing lucky break.  Anyone who’s been to Canberra knows that shops like that don’t exactly grow on trees here so I hope they stay open.  The owners were super-cool and there was all this loud hip-hop and mad pieces on the walls yo, and I felt like a total dork buying graffiti paint for my Night Goblins.  I just kind of pretended I was an aerosol artist (despite having no real idea how an aerosol artist looks or acts).  It was awesome.

Oh yeah, I was listening to the D6 Generation’s 100th episode the other day and all three of the hosts (who are crazy hard-core gamers compared with me) were saying that they were past the point where they could ever see themselves buying an army for an army scale miniatures system ever again.  Not just GW, but any army sized system (I think they specifically mentioned PP, Battlefront and something else as well as GW).

I know how they feel (uh… despite what I just wrote above!)  It made me think about this post where I suggested that all these miniature games companies have really jumped the shark if you’re an adult gamer with grown-up responsibilities.  And by responsibilities I’m not just talking kids either, I’m talking real jobs and other games to play.  All of these things make the demands of games like 40k and HoMachine seem ri-godamn-diculous.

I’m genuinely curious about how the demographic will change in the future.  Are we stepping boldly into a world where Little Lord Fauntleroys with weatlhy absent parents play vast games of Warhammer against each other, while the rest of us whip out our phones or throw down a quick skirmish game?  Who knows?

Till next time.  Hopefully I’ll have pictures from the tournament 😀


Night Goblins!

I found this nice Night Goblins picture on Deviant Art, click for original link.

I’ve been thinking more and more about what I wrote in this article, about finding imaginative ways to quickly paint the large armies that the current editions of 40k and Warhammer demand.  I’m getting excited about the project, so I’ve decided to give it a go and start an army for a system I don’t currently play or have any models for – Warhammer Fantasy Battle.

I was going to go with Skaven.  The new models just look fantastic.  But I’ve discovered that a potential future opponent has already claimed them.  I’m glad really because it made me think about something different, and brought me back to an army I’ve always wanted to try: Night Goblins.  Ever since the 90s when they first appeared I just really liked the hooded creepy-cute look, and the background about them being madcap mushroom-eating freaks with units like fanatics and squig hoppers was just the icing on the cake.  They’re evil little goblins, they’re cute, they’re crazy and they’re fun.  Heh.  Night Goblins rule.

So, since I don’t do things by halves I’m now set on coming up with a super-efficient but great-looking way to paint an army, and I’ve gone with a horde.  Good plan right?

My basic plan is this:

  1. Base them with gravel
  2. Spray them all midnight blue
  3. Blast them from above with a lighter blue for a bold zenith highlight
  4. Wash them with black and brown and other dirty colours
  5. Give the impression of glinting weapons and shield rims with some quick strokes of metallic
  6. Pick out the eyes in bright yellow

If this works I’m thinking it’ll give them a sort of two-tone anime style light-and-shadow effect and make them look like they are scuttling in the dark with glowing eyes.  Something like this:

Drawing by me.

For consistency I need to do everything the same way, but I know it’ll be hard not to put extra touches on the characters, so I’ll try to give them reeeally subtle highlights at the highest points that blend into the lighter blue.  Oh and I’m doing the army on the cheap too because I don’t hate myself that much. I’m really looking forward to making some awesome unit fillers for extra cheapiness.

So I grabbed twenty gobbos from eBay and they’re waiting.  The first hitch has been sourcing midnight blue matte finish spray paint.  It’s harder than you think.  Even artist quality spray paint seems to be made in gloss only.  Buying gloss and then spraying them all with a matte sealer seems a bit wasteful, but I might have to.


Painting Creep – hey, it’s a thing!

Three companies of Ultramarines? Plus support staff!?

Last Sunday Frontline Gamer wrote one of his excellent Sunday Sermons on the topic of taking a break.  He was specifically talking about blogging, but he told a few personal stories of painting burn-out.  I’m sure most of us have been there, especially if we play either of Games Workshop’s big systems. The stories he told really struck a chord with me.  The whole thing did actually.  It was one of those rare times as a blogger where you read something that makes you write something.

It’s no secret that I pride myself on being a casual gamer.  I think that all too often we take our games too seriously, treating them as obligations, personal disciplines or even *gasp* work.  I think in my first ever post I wrote what has become for me a sort of personal gaming slogan: games are important, but not serious.

So there’s no shame in taking a break.  I’ve gone for years without playing 40k in the past.  I haven’t played a pen and paper RPG for about four years now.  It doesn’t make me any less of a gamer that I can pick it up and put it down on a whim.  I think that’s the way it should be.

Painting burn-out is a different beast though, and I place the blame for it squarely on two factors:  games companies continually increasing the scale of their games (which I’ve talked about before), and the obsessive culture of achievement and perfection amongst us modern gamers.

As I commented on the above-mentioned sermon:

Your horror stories are just an accident of our hobby. The joy of painting really comes from the creativity and craft, not from the mechanical act of painting. Of course painting a bazillion grots and ultras is a grind. Who would actually WANT to do that? It’s torture!

I stand by this.  Think about it for a second.  Why would anyone want to paint a model?  Obviously, to gain satisfaction from creating something artistic.  Painting is meant to be a pleasant aspect of wargaming, something that people can do to add a bit of spark to their armies of otherwise tin (or plastic or resin) soldiers.  It’s not meant to be something you have to do to play the game.  I’ve had my fair share of painting entire infantry platoons and mobs of Ork boyz the night before a tournament.  Only a masochist could call it fun.  If a game of 40k only needed a dozen models, I’m sure we’d all love painting again.

I used to think that if someone hated painting models they should get a new hobby.  Now I realize that attitide is part of the problem.  If someone hates painting models, fair enough! They probably hate the grind.  I honestly enjoy painting the most out of any part of the hobby, but I also hate painting hundreds of near-identical dudes to a standard artificially raised by the internet and Golden Demon to be beyond most gamer’s time and energy.  There’s always a lot of talk about power creep, but no-one seems to notice painting creep.

This is the sort of paint job often described as "table top standard" these days. Back in 1995 this could have been called an excellent paint job, perhaps featured in a White Dwarf. I think painting an entire army to this standard is too much to ask of most of us, and shouldn't be considered average.

Right, so that’s why we get painting burn-out I think.  What we have is a perfect storm of peer-driven painting creep and industry-driven game up-sizing.  This has the potential to crush the spirit of nearly any painter. But GW, PP and the rest are not going to stop increasing the number of models needed to play now, are they?  This means we have to change the other cause of painting creep: the obsessive, perfectionist gamer culture.  We have to change what we expect from one another.

Maybe we need to stop buying into what the companies want from us, and be a bit more savvy.  We should stop expecting everyone to have a fully painted army to “table-top standard” – which by the way is much higher now than when I was a kid, and higher than it is for historical games.

We need to be smart about this, and we need to accept it when people say they don’t want to paint their models.  That’s their prerogative.  It’s a perfectly reasonable stance to take in these strange times of obsessive gamer culture and companies who are, quite frankly, expecting a lot of us. But an even better approach is to get creative.  Think outside the box.  Paint them all without really painting them.

For a while now I’ve been toying with the idea of a 40k army of, say, Orks, painted to look as though they are shadowy shapes with yellow eyes and glinting weapons.  If GW (and my fellow gamers) are going to expect me to field more than fifty models in a game there’s no way I’m sucker enough to paint them all to a modern table top standard.  Not again.  There has to be other ways to get a good-looking army without sinking an hour or more into each trooper.  We just have to use our heads.

Now I have to get over my modeling burn-out.  Painting might be optional, but models sort of aren’t.  Any suggestions on that one?


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