Saturday, 2 March 2019

The Great Spined Dragon (repaired)

There was some talk online last week about how to best construct the wings for the famous Great Spined Dragon by Nicky Bibby. Some suggested PVA soaked tissues, others a paper cut out but reading through the ideas got me thinking about my model. It was broken some years previously in a game up in Mansfield and I never got around to fixing it. 

So I thought what better time to go about repairing the old model and brightening it up, especially with the increase in quality light in the evenings. The photographs you can see here are the results of my efforts. 

I have stated many times over the years that I think this is the greatest dragon ever sculpted, and my view hasn't changed one iota. My miniature was quite damaged when I finally got my hands on it and I had to puzzle out a way to construct the wings without them totally disintergrating. In the end, I cut some thin plasticard to size and attached the metal 'fingers' of the winds to it with superglue. I used then used layers of greenstuff to sculpt a textured flesh to cover the plasticard and add additional support to the model. 

As I said, one of the wings broke away during transport. But can you see my new fix?

The model had also been a real magnet for dust despite being safely stored away inside my display cabinet. But how to best clean the model without creating further damage? I used one of my wife's make up brushes (the bushy ones like an old shaving brush for men) to dust off the worst of the build up and them used babywipes to gently remove any residual grime. 

It was a thing of beauty to see the paintjob emerge from the gloom! 

Luckily, I still had the orginal Army painter green (British Battledress) kicking about so I repainted the wing once the greenstuff repair was complete. It didn't quite match the tone of my original paintjob so I re-drybrushed the entire model and added a few additional highlights here and there. 

What do you think?

I took advantage of a sunny afternoon to capture these photographs, something I neglected to do when I originally painted up the model. So at last I have some decent shots to celebrate the hours and hours of hard work that went into this classic miniature. 

And the repair?

It may look small, but this little stress fracture resulted in the entire wing dropping off. I cleaned the area up, taking the wind back to bare metal before filling the space with a little epoxy resin. 

Once dry, it was a simple task to fill the void with a little green stuff! He is now back in his rightful place in my miniature cabinet. 

Until the next time he breaks, no doubt! 


Sunday, 24 February 2019

Citadel C18 Zombie 'Kand-Meet'

Work on my second zombie by Kevin Adams is complete, and I even had a little attempt at a shield freehand design. As with the last miniature, this figure was released in June 1986 along with a large bunch of other rotters. He had a fairly long shelf life for a zombie, and was still available in the '90s as simply 'sickle'. 

I used a similar colour scheme as before, with greater use of silver metallics to paint up his rusted armour. For this I based everything in Foundry's Chainmail A, washed the lot with layers of brown and black ink before highlighting up with the remaining shades in the triad. Obviously using the lightest tone to pick out a few details on the edges of the breastplate and raised areas of the tattered chainmail. 

As you may be able to spot from this photograph, my eyes were really playing me up when I was trying to paint the teeth and this side of the model looks a bit gappy. But I am happy he is finished. Painting the shield design wasn't as hard as I was expecting. To be honest, I was a little worried about how things would turn out but if anything, I rushed through things as I enjoyed it so much. In hindsight, I should have waited for the layers of paint to dry thoroughly before moving on. 

You live and learn, I guess. 

I finished the shield up by carefully edging the rim with bright silver. 

All in all, a nice little model, if a little rank and file in style. 


Saturday, 23 February 2019

Citadel C18 Zombie 'Snagglespleen'

Sticking with the undead theme (they are fairly forgiving on slap-dash painting technique) I managed to paint up this model since my last post. He is Snagglespeen, from the 1986 zombie range, and was sculpted by Kevin Adams. 

You can see him bottom left on this old flyer advertisment. 

As before, I battled to keep my hand steady the whole time (as you can see from some of the edge highlights on the clothing) but I am pleased with the result. I have always felt the secret to a good painted figure is getting the colour scheme right, and using appropriate tones to shade up or down. As I was working on a proper rotter, I chose earthy, graveyard colours along with a dirty white for the hair. 

All the colours you can see here are mixed from two or three commercial paints to create the base colour, then washed over with a variety of products (mostly the old GW washes) and then highlighted up with Foundry Boneyard B and C. I always add these in small increments to try and avoid bleaching out the colour too much, though on a long dead zombie such bleaching can be appropriate if handled properly. 

I was pleased with the skintone. I used an old Warpaints green, mixed with a little Foundry Expert Flesh D to create my own version of the classic GW paint, Rotting Flesh. I mixed in small amounts of Expert Flesh E to highlight the raised areas and used pure Expert Flesh F to pick out the highlights. Skull white was used to pick out the teeth and complete the filthy hairdo. I washed over both with a little Badab Black to add a little grim to both areas. 

All in all, a great fun figure to paint up over a hour or two. I am sure that I Rotstagger and Skew Smee somewhere in the leadpile somewhere, so I may well add to this range in future. A second zombie, as of yet unidentified, was unearthed alongside this chap and he is also nearly finished. He requires a shield to be added on so I might have a crack a some simple freehand after all. 


Thursday, 21 February 2019

Orlygg Rises From The Grave...

A cold, clammy hand emerged from the darkness with its fingers splayed outwards. The digits quivering with an ancient ague. Dirt encrusted the nails, the skin was sallow as if a stranger to the sun. The palm brushed against a rough surface and pushed weakly against it. Above, a bell tolled. Dusty, shuffling feet lurched forwards as the doors of the threshold were thrust open. 

"Can I buy some superglue, please?" 

This blog has been very inactive since summer 2018. Why, may you ask? Because its author too has been very inactive, extremely inactive to be precise. In fact, the only thing to have achieved anything on my modelling bureau since August last year is the superglue soldifying. Hence my trip out this afternoon to purchase some more. The reason? I was busy not dying. 

Six months away is a long time in the world of blogging and I had a mass of spam to deal with. A strange mixture of Pakistani tourist advertisments, curious requests from African witchdoctors and Chinese offers to up my page views and supply me with a lifetimes supply of lead. Oddly, no Raybans were offered to me! 

Without dribbling on about my medical woes too much, it seems my eyes can barely function and my fingers can only feebly fondle my paintbrushes. It was with some trepidation I set to work on a simple figure to assess the long term damage. I chose the classic skelly biting on his shield from the pre-slotta Citadel days. I have completely forgotten the range. 

Black undercoat, with Foundry Boneyard triad to pick out the skull and limbs. Army Painter silver did for the helmet, shield and axeblade. Old school Bestial brown for the leather strap and haft. Once dry, I just washed the lot in a dribble of Devlan Mud - what a much lamented wash - and highlighted back out using the lightest Boneyard tone. 

I have lost much of my skill with fine work though I was pleased with the scratches I could pull off on the flat shield surface. There was no way I was going to stuff up my hard work attempting any freehand. The base was the usual superglue+sand+Woodland Green, with yellow and again Boneyard drybrushed over the top. 

Here is a side view as most of the model is focused on the shield. I kept the rags black and drybrushed over the material with a little grey. A black wash brought the tones down enough to look passable. I struggled to highlight the strap over the shoulder as my eyes threatened to cross and my hand started wobbling like a Slanneshi accolyte's undergoing therapy, and those smeary lines are the best I could do. I am interested to see if my technique will improve before my next hospital appointment in March. 

Long time readers may fall from their seats now... but I have been helping my nine year old son paint modern GW figures this afternoon. He as independently bought himself 'Storm Strike'- the AOS starter boxset and has begun work on the undead GlaivewraithsTM. Being the boneweary veteran of the miniature hobby I advised him to read the book first, to get some idea of what the game is all about. After about twenty minutes he brought the ghastly publication to me and stated 'this makes no sense!'

Foolishly, I thought he'd have a rule querry but no... He had noticed that the photographs of the miniatures being painted lack paint on the end of the brushes. God knows what he would have made of the whimsical nonsense of the WFB3 rulebook!

I am going to try something a little more adventurous than a skelly over the weekend. Wish me luck! 


Wednesday, 15 August 2018

More F3 Barbarians from Foundry

I have managed to finish off two more of the new ex-Citadel Foundry barbarians today. They sat on my desk for a while awaiting basing and I finally found the time to complete and photograph them this afternoon. 

As regular readers will know, I have a fairly speedy style and painted these two figures in about two and half hours. The female warrior represents my former style of painting. White undercoat, block colours followed by brown and black ink washes to create depth. Drybrushing (for metals) and layering (adding boneyard to create highlights) for each colour tone. 

The second figure was painted with the Foundry Triad system, with additional highlights created by the boneyard shade as previously. I found using paint in this way increased the 'popping' effect that so many wargames players appreciate on figures painted for table. 

Comparing the two figures, I can see that the fabrics have a richer tone (just look at that blue) and the gold a more buttery, natural look than previously. Finishing the model also took a lot less time (thanks to the paints all being ready to go, so to speak) than the female figure.

Food for thought as I tackle the first of the new (old) Fighters Foundry re-released alongside these. And before I go, here is a better shot of all my painted barbarians so far! 


Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Three Ex-Citadel F3 Barbarians re-released by Wargames Foundry

Today's post brings to you the first three re-released barbarians from Wargames Foundry fully painted up. I worked on these models on and off yesterday and got them completed this morning. Again, it seems that my camera skills are a little rusty but I managed to get a suitable shot earlier this afternoon. I am sure I will get the knack once again soon. 

I painted this trio as a group of models. As you can see they share a common theme of colours - my barbarian favourites; flesh, bronze, leather and red. I used layering a great deal to build up the skin tones and washes and highlighting for the chainmail. Everything else was achieved with a simple edge highlight. 

I plan to use the ten new models released last Friday to provide another unit for my barbarian warband/McDeath forces. I will probably dig out a couple of other figures from my collection to bring the number up to twelve (including a bannerbearer) but there is plenty of time for me to become distracted by something else.

One of the models has a shield on his back. I added the spot colour of blue to give a little variation in tone (the central figure has a blue semi-precious stone on his headband, but that is a little sun bleached) and used streaking to make the face of the shield look like painted wood. 

These were fun models to paint and being different enough to ensure that I didn't get bored. I hate to feel like I am painting an army of identical troops, you see. I plan to finish off the two other barbarians I have based up before trying my hand at some of the re-released old Citadel fighters later on in the week. I plan to use those ten figures as a unit too, most likely for McDeath if they fit in well enough - Donaldbane's troops perhaps? 

More soon.


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Oldhammer Weekend 2018: The Painting Competition and other Miniatures

Welcome back for my final post covering this year's Oldhammer Weekend - well the Saturday part of the event at least. Starting off with the now traditional group photograph, snapped as always by Maria Ansell in front of the marquee just off from the entrance to the Foundry building. The area was originally built as the stable block of Stoke Hall and resembles Hougoumont from the famous Waterloo camapign. According to Bryan Ansell, the Duke of Wellington used to be a visitor to Stoke Hall and used to stable his horses here, so the area has a sound military pedigree.

If you have never visited the venue and are curious, have a quick look at Phil Scott's video below. His original intention was to film a little more than this (and the excitable Curtis Fell) but was struck down with illness - still the video gives you a sense of the venue and shows a little of what was occuring on the Friday. 


Right, what follows is a post concentrating on the miniatures and scenery that caught my eye during the day as well as details about the informal painting competition that used to be called the Golden Gobbos. Now it doesn't really have a name beyond 'the painting competition'. As with previous years, Wargames Foundry were pleasant enough to cough up a few prizes. So big thanks yous to them - again!!

First up are these gorgeous Laserburn models. You may know about this game. It was designed by Bryan in 1980 and was originally intended to be played with 15mm scale figures and vehicles. Much of this range, with additions, are available from Alternative-Armies and it was a joy to spot these lazing around unused in the morning. Beautifully painted and based, these popped up on the Laserburn (with the plastic fish tank plants fame) table throughout the day. 

Proper old school squat bikers. I saw these last year and it was pleasing to see them again. I always enjoyed the squats and their biker background and disagree with those 'creatives' that thought they needed phasing out. That may be due to the fact that one of these petrolheads was one of my first ever models and despite never having the courage to paint it up, I still have some of the pieces lurking around in my collection somewhere. 

Snickit was proudly showing off his new dwarf units after recieving treatment for his skaven addiction. Don't these look lovely ranked up as they are? These are proper old school units in my opinion and look fantatsic on the table. The coherent colour scheme really helped bind them together as a regiment, with the spot colours found in beards and shields giving the unit a sense of variation despite of their uniforms. 

More of Mark Stevenson's Asgard project. Beautiful. Colourful. Unique. A truly insane endeavour to collect, base and paint everything that Asgard ever produced. Very worthy indeed!

Next up we wander over to the incredibly detailed Shrine of Rigg table. Now, it would have been possible to spend the entire day just taking photographs of this game and still not cover everything on offer. I took endless snaps and these are the greatest hits out of those hurried photographs. This first one looks a little like the Ziggurat of Doom, only with a Lustrian twist. Like the Laserburn game, notice how a few tastefully placed plastic fish tank plants can bring a scenery piece or gaming table alive with living detail. 

This Olmec inspired head was just one of the incredibly well made pieces on the table and just oozed jungly character. Again, the tasteful placing of those plastic plants and model railway trees brings the piece to life and proves the 'less is more' approach to detailing is a true now as it has always been. 

I am pretty sure this ship in the Revel viking longship that Amazon put on sale a few years back and sold loads of sets to eager Oldhammer fans. I have two - somewhere! What caught my eye were the wonderful rowing models gripping the oars and the masses of barbarian types milling around. 

A crazy war turtle-thingy looms large out of some kind of ritual pool. I loved the detail on the base here and the way the autumnal colours contrast with the scheme of the model. 

Many enthusiasts I speak to are highly concerned about their painting skills and I feel this holds many people back from engaging in wargaming. Really there is no need to worry as even models such as these, rudimentarily based and painted simply can look extremely effective on the table top. In fact, they look even more old school than the more skillfully painted stuff. The card movement trays are also a nod to the old days and the old ways so I was pleased to see these. 

These rather ghostly looking shots represent the painting competition entries upon my arrival to judge the event alongside Garth James and Tony Yates. This year, someone had the great idea of using raffle tickets to identify each entry and this made identifying who painted what far easier than in the past. As has become tradition, the models were gathered into three fairly loose categories: Single Figure, Big Thing and Unit with each level of the cabinet being used to display each of them. There were some exciting and unique pieces to be enjoyed and I must say that there is sometimes little difference in quality of painting between the entries and the figures you see being used in games. 

The Single Figure shelf had these entries on display. Can you spot a painted Drewbot top left? Or Steve Casey's celebration to the old Jim Burns Space Marine artwork? The slann palanquin was a lovely piece too. Sorry about the slightly blurry photograph by the way!

I loved the orc here. Really old school and a nod to the paint jobs of yore in 1980s White Dwarf 'Eavy Metal articles. 

I was also deeply impressed by the Realm of Chaos beastmen you can see here. A row of five models beautifully painted and very much in keeping with the Slaves to Darkness era colour schemes, only with a modern twist. I also liked the nod to the Arcane Armorial shield designs that had been hand painted on their shields. The ogres behind were worthy contenders too. 

Right, on to the winners!

The winner of the Unit category was Mark Elsdon with these incredible Heroquest figures. What caught the judges' eye with these four figures was the distinctive painting style and choice of colour. The bases also went a long way to helping this entry pick up the prize as not only were they extremely well realised but they also fitted the theme of dungeon basing in Heroquest. 

Well done Mark! 

Chris Webb won the Big Thing category with this Ork Warmachine. Exquisite attention to detail and incredible freehand skills won the day for him. A gorgeously presented model painted in 'go fasta red' complete with enthusiastic driver and companion. 

Alan Harper picked up the Single Figure with this eldar model. The judges loves the purple and blue colour scheme and alien gribbly base. This figure stood out amongst the others, so well done! 

Later on, I spotted these outsatnding giants (just forget that you've seen that godawful plastic rubbish one) just lying around. These were part of a larger collection of orcs and goblins and were some of the nicest painted models I saw during the whole event, with the three 1980s C series giants out front being particular highlights. I just love these models. 

The Marauder Giant was also part of this collection. As with the other models he was very well finished and looked very impressive alongside his gigantic kin. A fantastic army indeed. 

Whilst exploring the giants I met Jemma with a J who turned out to be an aspiring sculptor. Managing to persuade her to fetch her work from the boot of the car I was amazed at what I saw, especially after Jemma confessed to only having been sculpting for three weeks. Despite her lack of experience she clearly knew far more than I ever would about the subject and reeled off a range of different putties and armature contortions. 

She emerged from the carpark with a little black box with old school style toilet roll covered models and impressed us all with her embryonic work. 

I took this snap of her stuff and thought to myself - we have some geniune raw talent here. Her skaven model was better than some of the stuff I have seen on sculpting forums and she had really captured the rat like face of the breed well. Her models are fairly brittle and need further work to ensure they would survive the casting process but were inspiring to see. 

Introducing her to the ever vested Tim Prow, he gave her some expert advice about how to improve her sculpting skills and I left them to it. This was my stand-out Oldhammer moment this year as the friendly, open nature of the event allows things like this to happen. Everyone is equal at BOYL - varied individuals brought together by their love of old school models and the vibe that went along with them. 

Right, time to wrap up for another year. And I will end with a photograph taken by Matt Adlard that I shamelessly stole from his Google+ account. Oldhammer has certainly been a long and pleasant journey for me and we have come so far from the days when we were but a handful of disperate bloggers clinging to a time long past. When I first set out writing Realm of Chaos 80s I would never have expected to comment on a photograph such as this, where I can be seen talking to my son about Citadel miniatures alongside Bryan Ansell and John Blanche.  Not to mention great guys like Drew Day Williams. 

With the near endless debate of 'is this Oldhammer?' still ongoing, boys and girls here is your answer!