Saturday, December 29, 2012

Feeling the chill...

Snow Storm

Sitting here in my basement, I can feel a slight chill seeping in under the door. Although we didn't get the projected 1-3" of snow, it did snow for quite sometime. Just perfect weather for painting up these Malifaux models for my friend Thomas.

You'll have heard me mention Thomas before, whenever some laser-cutting needed to be done. He is the guy who reverse-engineered my Imperial truck design and turned it into the files you can find here. He has also helped me with loads of other stuff over the last four years. So, I finally thought I should start paying him back. To that end I'm painting up his Malifaux warband for the tourney at Adepticon. Here you can see the first nine models complete, only six more to go.

The bases are from Dragon Forge Designs, the Ice Kingdoms round-lipped bases.

Ice Gamin

Essence of Power and Wendigo

The Warband so far

I hope you like them.

I'll try to squeeze in another post before the new year, but as hectic as the last few weeks have been, I wouldn't count on it ; )  If not, I wish you all a safe celebration, and I'll see you on the other side!


Monday, December 24, 2012

A time for Tradition

I hope you'll indulge me a little, in this post with no toy soldiers.

The end of the calendar year is laden with tradition. Some folks celebrate various holidays, while others choose not to, but regardless of how you do it, you probably have a few things you always do, because you've always done them.

My family celebrates Christmas (despite not being religious at all), and one of the things my Dad has always done is cook a Christmas pudding (or six). I remember one of dad's old friends coming over each year, and the two of them would spend a bit of time in the kitchen, then head down to the garage to boil the Christmas puddings in an old "copper". That would take time, so they'd amuse themselves with a few beers and a lot a chatting about all sorts of things.

In the end, we'd have a lot of traditional Christmas puddings. One would be consumed on Christmas Eve at the aforementioned friend's place (with his family), and another one or two at Christmas lunch with my Mum's whole family (when there was only one for lunch it was a real race to get a piece as they'd disappear in a flash).

Well, I've celebrated the last 10 Christmases in the US, 12,000 miles from my old family traditions. Well, almost all of them. Mum and Dad would send me a Christmas pudding each year. Sometimes after three weeks in the care of two countries postal systems I'd need to cut a bit of mould off the pudding before we could tuck in, but they were always great. I'd take it along to the Christmas Eve dinner with my wife's family, and share it around (although there has often been a distinct lack of good custard).


This year I thought I'd save my parents $50+ in postage (those puddings can weigh a tonne), and I decided to make my first Christmas pudding. The somewhat disgusting looking stuff in the bowl above is the batter. The ancient recipe my Mum sent through called for raisins, sultanas, and currants. Here in the US, all of these things are referred to as raisins (of some description) so I had to make a few compromises. In addition to loads of dried fruit (which is soaked for 24-hours in rum, for those interested) the ingredients list is nice and simple: flour, butter, eggs, bicarb soda, and some lemon peel.

After mixing the ingredients and pouring them into the center of the pudding cloth, it was all boiled for 4 hours. This shot is of the pudding once it has been removed from the pot and left to firm up completely. It hung like this overnight. I remember some years when there would be up to eight of these hanging from the ceiling of the garage for a week or more.

When it came time to cut it open on Christmas Eve dinner (actually held a few days early this year), I found that a few of my adjustments had worked, others needed a tweak, but it was well received by my wife's family.

Sometimes traditions are not good, sometimes they do more harm. We should seek to remove them from our lives, particularly if they hold us back or prevent growth.

But those traditions that are, at their core, about love and family and growth, should be cherished and evolved and spread. One of my cousins back in Australia also decided to try her hand this year (and apparently she was a little more successful than I was) so for the first time in more than 40 years, Dad could relax a bit during December, without the worry of shipping deadlines, or working out how many orbs of delicious pudding the clan would devour on Christmas Day.

The torch has been passed... although I have a sneaking suspicion he'll make one anyway, just for those late night snacks ; )

To all I wish you a happy and healthy end of year period, with plenty of "family", either the one you were born into or the ones you've met along the way!


PS. Toy soldiers should be back in the next post ; )

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Civil War - Guns of April-style

The 2nd Wisconsin Regiment, miniatures are converted Perry plastics

I just wanted to take a few minutes to point out the project that a group of friends (The Guns of April) and I are working on for Adepticon 2013. For 2012 we built armies and a table to play out a "what if?" scenario from the Battle of Salamanca (1812) in it's 200th Anniversary year. You can see shots from that game here.

Following the fight, we stood around and pitched a couple of ideas for 2013 and we settled on a "what if?" scenario for the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg, in the year of its 150th Anniversary.

Well, each of us has been plugging away on our troops, be they Union or Confederate, and there are now quite a few posts up on the Guns of April blog. I urge you to head on over there and see what the team has been completing recently.

The 6th Wisconsin Regiment, miniatures are converted Perry plastics.

The 6th Pennsylvania Cavalry, mounted, Perry plastics

A stand of the 2nd Wisconsin. We are using five stands per infantry regiment for a total of 30 figures.
The jackets have been extended to create frock coats and the hats have been built up to create Hardee hats.

The wonderful banners are available from GMB Designs.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

No, he's not dancing...

I promised you some more yellow, so here it is. While I've been messing around with other projects too, I've also been slowly building up the paint on the Furioso Dreadnought for my Lamenters. As you can see from the shots above and below, I've had some fun messing around with tonal gradations much more extreme than I would have even two years ago. Obviously there's still a lot of work to be done, but it's nice to see some progress.

And I'd also like to draw your attention to an interview I did with Tyler Mengel as part of a series of interviews he is doing with folks he admires in the hobby. I'm very honored to find myself amongst a crowd that includes guys like Chris Borer and Mathieu Fontaine. If you've ever wanted to ask me a general hobby question, you might find the answer on Tyler's site. And while you're there, please take the time to check out all the cool hobby work he has done.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Flames Of War - Late War Germans

Just recently I completed a quick(ish) commission for some Late War Germans. The client was very keen on the color scheme and we had a good chat beforehand about the approaches we wanted to take. 

The vehicles are done in a fairly straightforward German scheme, and were done like this:
• Basecoat with the War Paint (FOW) German Armour spray (which matches the Vallejo Middlestone exactly)
• Airbrush on the brown dots using Vallejo German Camo Medium Brown
• Airbrush on the green dots with Vallejo Model Air Tank Green
• Wash the tank with GW Seraphim Sepia
• Light drybrush of Vallejo Middlestone
• Very light drybrush of Middlestone mixed with Vallejo Pale Sand

The rest of the detailing was pretty straightforward, and I used Vallejo Hull Red to pick out the areas where the Panther's zimmerit had chipped off (above).

I painted the infantry in much the same way as the Early War Germans I painted last year. However, quite a few of these troopers had camouflage smocks and helmet covers on. I basecoated these in German Camo Medium Brown, the green was Reflective Green, and the bone color was German Camo Beige.

The infantry models are all still photographed on their painting sticks as the client is going to do the basing.

The heavy mortars above were easier to paint once assembled on their artillery bases. Instead of using Middlestone for these, I basecoated them with German Camo Ochre.

The 18 halftracks were painted in much the same way as the Panthers at the start of the post. The only difference amongst this group were the 6 transports in the last photo. They were painted with larger areas of camouflage, with the intention of creating a roughly equal balance between the gold, brown, and green.

I hope you like these models. Hopefully I'll be able to put together a but of a tutorial on different ways to do the camo patches on German armor.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Scratching that itch...

Sometimes you see a couple of models that just speak to you, and sometimes they beg to be converted. That was the case with the new Warriors Of Chaos Warshrine, or more specifically the two beasts that lug it around. Combine this with having just finished reading Graham McNeill's Priests of Mars and there was no stopping me. Using a variety of bits from other kits I've turned the shrine bearers into vat-grown, slab-muscled plasma cannon-toting servitors for my Adeptus Mechanicus army.

And yes, this is my final plea for your donation dollars. Please donate to my Movember team, and I'll match your donation dollar-for-dollar too!

Visit my Movember page here!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Free Mars!

There are just under 24 hours to go in the Kickstarter campaign for the space-rock-opera comic written by my friend (and occasional nemesis), Dave Pauwels.

If you like your sc-fi loaded with musical nods and homages to the great sci-fi movies of the 1980s, then you really should have been reading Free Mars for the last two years. Written by Dave and drawn by Nicolas Giacondino (perhaps better known as Anerion the Faithful for all his excellent 40K inspired pieces), Free Mars is a lot of fun. I highly recommend you visit their website here.

Once you've familiarized yourself with the gritty dystopian future of life on the Red Planet, head on over and pledge a few bucks to their already-funded Kickstarter. I recommend the $25 level if you are just interested in the comic, or the $45 level if you like your comic characters in miniature form. Myself? I pledged at the $150 level in order to score an original piece of art for the wall of my mancave.

To break up the vast amounts of yellow (Lamenters) and blue (ACW Union troops) I've been painting recently, I started on this little guy. Should be a fun deviation ; )


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lamenters Update: Death Company Tycho/Janus and other news.

Here he is, Death Company Captain Janus (my version of DC Tycho, thanks to Brien for the name). Constructed primarily from Sanguiary Guard bitz, he also sports a combi-melta that was cobbled together from other models. His paint scheme matches the other Death Company models in the army, with the addition of a little more gold. I hope you like him. you can see him pre-paint here.

And here is my first attempt at the gory basing. I wanted the blood to be a little translucent and splattered in just the right places. Let me know what you think.

Now, on to the other things...

My buddy Alex has just re-opened his Battleroad Games & Hobbies website! You can get there via this link: and he has a Black Friday deal running until the end of business tomorrow (November 25th). The discount code is BRGLaunch

And my moustache continues to grow. I decided yesterday that I would match all donations taken between Nov 23-30 dollar-for-dollar. I've had $30 kicked in since then, so I'm asking you all again to consider donating. Now is certainly the best time as I'll basically be doubling your money : )

You can get to my MoSpace here.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Lamenters Update: The basing begins!

Here we go with all ten Tactical Marines painted and standing on their new bases. I just need to add their blood and gore splatters on the base, their greaves, and on the occasional combat weapon.

Here are the last two Marines to get the treatment. The guy on the right was, of course, the model  used for the yellow tutorial from a couple of posts back.

And finally, some of the feet kind of hung over the edges of the bases. As I wanted the models to be standing in the blood and gore, I needed them to be standing lower inside the Secret Weapon Miniatures Bone Fields bases. To achieve this it was a fairly simple matter to slice out small slivers of the sides of the bases, as you can see in the photo above.

Next step, adding gallons of gore!


Friday, November 16, 2012

Movember: The halfway mark!

So, here we are just over halfway through Movember. My 'stache is coming along nicely, filling in everyday and becoming more luxurious. It has earned hundreds of amusing (and smart-ass) comments from friends and family, but not enough donations yet. I'm more than happy to take grief from those that have donated ; )

Please visit the Movember & Sons website here to learn more about the cause.

Then visit my MoSpace and donate away!

: )


PS. More yellow models very soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lamenters Update: Painting Yellow

I've had a lot of folks asking questions about the way I've done the yellow armor on my Lamenters. Well, here's my rough run-down. Unfortunately the transitions aren't incredibly obvious the photos below (or perhaps that's a good thing) but I hope it helps.

Note: My thanks to Brice Cocanour, Damon Drescher, and Caleb Wisseuback, who have all done some lovely yellows before and let me in on a few of their secrets.

1. After priming the model in white, I basecoat it with GW's Averland Sunset. I like this color, but sometimes it'll go on a little unevenly, take your time with it. For my Assault Marines, Dreadnought, and Storm Raven I'm planning on putting this layer down with an airbrush.

2. To ensure an even, solid coverage, I highlight the model with a mix of GW Averland Sunset and VGC Sun Yellow.

3. The next highlighting stage is with VGC Sun Yellow.

4. The final highlighting stage is a mix of VGC Sun Yellow and VMC Pale Sand (I love Pale Sand, a fantastic color that gets used all the time).

After all the highlighting is complete, it's on to the shading. This is where I was in unfamiliar territory as the vast bulk of my painting has always been working up from the shade to the highlight, but it was certainly fun learning how to work this way.

5. I began shading with a mix of GW Averland Sunset and GW Skrag Brown, adding more Skrag Brown as I went along. This stage is actually about three or four passes, adding more depth each time.

6. This stage is for adding the final depth shade, a thinned wash or two of VGC Charred Brown. I paid particular attention to the corners of the shoulder pad and the rear of the greaves.

7. And the next step is to tidy up everything with some VGC Black.

Well, I hope that sheds a bit of light on how I've been painting these guys. I'm pretty happy so far with the progress I've made. The real test will be the Storm Raven with its large, flat panels.

Wish me luck.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lamenters Update, and getting Lost

Sorry for the significant delays in getting posts up in recent weeks, but things have been pretty hectic. A two-week visit from my mother, Superstorm Sandy, and my coverage of Fall In have all conspired to impact my hobby and blogging time. I've still been plugging away at a few things, so here's an update on the boys in yellow - my Lamenters.

Here are a couple of finished models, including the plasma-cannon toting Marine.

And then the next two I finished up this evening.

Here are the final two models for the Tactical squad, still lots to do on them, but I'm feeling very close to reaching the final squad, the Assault Marines.

In my next Lamenters post I'll try to give everyone a detailed look at how I've been painting these bright yellow grimdark Marines.

And now for some thing completely different...

My friend James Craig from the Lost In The Warp blog has recently kicked off a multi-blog series of collaborative posts with mutual friends of ours, Mike Butcher and Shawn Welte. These posts are based around Mike and Shawn's converting skills and James painting ability (and James' very cool Beastman army).

You can check out James' first post on the series here.
And Mike's blog here.
And Shawn's blog here.

Enjoy : )


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween, Bone Bases, and Movember!

Happy Halloween, to those who celebrate it, Happy Wednesday to those that don't! My girls had a great time giving out treats and then collecting some from the great folks in our neighborhood. My wife and I will be good for chocolate for while now.

Amongst the wide variety of things I've been dabbling with over the last few weeks, I decided to start in on the cool Secret Weapon Miniatures bases I'll be using for my Lamenters. Here are a few I've finished (well, almost finished, just the gore and blood to add once the models are in place).

This one is the base for my Furioso Dreadnought. I'm pretty happy with how the dead Carcharadon turned out. I hope my nemesis Dave likes it too.

And here's the start of the base for my Storm Raven.

Finally, I just wanted to remind you all about our Guns Of April team for the great charity effort that is Movember! By supporting me growing a mustache, you are supporting both awareness about and research into a number of men's health issues, including testicular and prostate cancer.

Click HERE to get your donation on!