Usually, Monday is the build day but I found myself with some time this evening to paint some of my own miniatures. As a part of the hobby audit, I wanted to practice non metallic metals. This is a technique I have started with but by no means mastered. I have found my efforts before have been rather dark and look like antique gold, as a friend said.
So, I found the miniature who wears a lot of shining gold and decided to have a go at something a bit lighter and more polished. Dante. Who else? I don’t have any Custodes that belong to me in the house and he was there waiting.
Here are my efforts so far:
Not bad for a first go. it looks lighter at least and more polished and I am pleased so far. What I have learned is that finecast seems to have a slight texture to it, as though it is porous and that is making the blending awkward.
Still, I am learning from the task adn that is the most important thing!
As we all know, the Alpha Legion like to sneak into other legions in order to learn their secrets and steal them. It worked rather well during the Heresy and I suppose they are still up to their sneaking about in the 40K universe.
A while ago, at a Warboot, I picked up two Alpha Legion miniatures simply because they looked cool and were cheap. I want them to go in the Black Legion but decided to try a technique out to make them still look a bit Alpha Legion. I will show you the pictures and you can see what I mean:
As well as freehanding a Chaos Star over the Alpha Legion symbol – it is supposed to look a bit rubbish, I wanted to show chips of black paint. Under these I wanted the Alpha Legion sea green and I think I managed to get that to look alright. I painted on silver spots, painted the spots Aethermatic Blue and then edge highlighted them with both the dark grey and light grey to try to give that worn effect.
I have another Alpha Legion ‘specialist’ to go with this one so I will be trying the technique again and refining it as I learn.
Earlier this month, I did a hobby audit to see where I thought my skills were in relation to some techniques. It helped me highlight areas I thought I needed to practice at and how to work on boosting those numbers. One of the areas was skin tones and included in that was faces.
While on the Siege Studio course, there was a large section dedicated to this, so I dug out my notes and have prepared several heads to practice what I have written down.
To start with, I pulled out all the heads from Space Marines who do not have helmets on. I have rather a lot of these, which is great! I then glued them to cuts of used sprue and undercoated them:
The next task was using the airbrush and the notes I have taken to ceate the basic skin tone. The base is Cadian Flesh, followed by Kislev Flesh and then a light dusting of Flayed One Flesh for those interested.
I now have enough heads to do one a day for the next few weeks. I plan to post my ‘daily head’ on twitter and then do a post at the end of the tub to see whether I have improved or not. I hope so for sure. I then might start experimenting with darker skin tones and seeing how that goes. Until then, let the Daily Head commence!
A long time ago, I was once told that what makes a miniature look great is ‘bases and faces’. I always remembered this, maybe because it rhymes, so I have set aside some time to really think about how I am going to improve creating bases. For basic miniatures, I am happy to stick to using texture paints, however I want to stretch myself and try new things as well.
I have recently started collecting Ioneth Deepkin – so new that I have only assembled twelve of the miniatures, and have been thinking about a theme for them. I love water effects but wanted to look at something a bit different than just have them as a generic sea based force. I thought about different biomes within the water and settled upon a swamp theme. I shall be using greens and browns for the force themselves but more of that when I get to them.
I began by using water effects paint and seeing what it looked like over sand:
I also used plastic from the blister packs to try and create waves and splashes. They look ok, not great, and not very swampy. Alright for a first play around though.
I then thought about what a swamp looks like, and used Pinterest to do some research. I discovered that swamps have a lot of reeds and plants in them and have a green and brown look to the water as well. So I painted some bases, put different materials on for land. This is how they turned out:
I think the little plants and the reeds look good. I also really like the sand and the dark brown mud texture paint. I think the green on the bottm of the base it too green though. To me, it looks more like slime than the sludge at the bottom of a swamp. I want to try this again with a browner paint. I also want to try and see if I can add swamp weed into the water. This will take more than one layer of the texture paint however and might be reserved for the character bases.
It is a good start however, and I have a lot of ways forward to explore.
I finally finished this guy! What a fun miniature he was to work on as well. He fell into my basket at Element Games and I couldn’t be bothered to put him back on the shelf. I thought he looked pretty cool, though I had no idea who he was at the time. I wanted to try creating a lava effect on his wings and so tried a technique out that I wasn’t sure whether it would work or not:
I am not convinced this is the best I could do, but I think it looks alright for a first try. I got the idea from one of the Mephiston short stories – he creates lava wings to go fight a daemon or something like that – and want to recreate that scene in a diorama (more on that later). I did try and make some lava drops out of UHU Glue but they looked terrible so I didn’t bother with them.
For now though, I am pleased with this guy and learned a great deal while painting him too!
When I was a teacher, we used to assess our own skills using a system of rating yourself out of 10 against several key areas. It helped with self reflection and was a valuable tool when it came to setting yourself targets. I thought I would do something similar with my hobby skills and then set about improving them as the year goes on. I made a list of skills – as many as I could think of, and rated myself out of 10 for each of them:
As you can see, I have been thought through this a fair bit and rated myself as I see fit.
Areas I want to improve, or need to work on the most would be Object Source Lighting, Skin Tones and Battle Damage. I am not terrible at them, but I want to get better. These are the key weak points in my skills.
As for Non-Metallic Metals, I want to learn how to do brighter gold shades and improve my silver before branching out and attempting others, such as copper.
Freehand is perhaps my strongest skill, though I know I am not perfect at that – is anyone ever perfect at a skill? It doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue to work on it though. I am far from complaicent with it and know I can do a lot more and a lot better as well.
I have the whole year ahead to improve my painting skills and techniques and to try different things as well. I shall revisit this list in a few months time and see what I have done to improve those areas I am not so sure about.
I was lucky enough to get a new Airbrush for Christmas and today, I tried it out for the first time. I have only been using airbrushes for about six months, and find them to be a useful tool when it comes to base coating. The one I have been using, the Harder and Steenback Ultra has been brilliant when it comes to learning and is a great piece of kit, I have done a lot with it since I started as well.
When I went on the painting course in August, the model of airbrush used as the Harder and Steenbeck Evolution AL Plus. It’s made of aluminium and is less than half the weight of the other one at 56g. It might not seem like a big deal, however I use the airbrush for extended periods of time and I also have carpel tunnel syndrome in my right wrist. I don’t want to make the condition worse and although this is a small thing, it will make a big difference. This is the one I am now using!
First thing I did was take it apart, which was easy – there were instructions to follow which helped. Once it was back together again and connected up, I had a go at some scenary to check the flow of the airbrush itself and see what it could do:
The paint flowed well, and the coverage was even. It’s not perfect but then my skills are still being refined. Patchiness in the paint work is down to my lack of ability rather than the airbrush itself. I was pleased with how these sections turned out and I want to try and do some fine detail work with the airbrush another time to see exactly how small an area I can cover.
This airbrush is a quality piece of kit. It has finer control of the trigger; I need less pressure to activate it and it fits in the hand better than the Ultra does. It’s more refined and suited to someone who has had practice with an airbrush and wants to move on to something a little more sophisticated.
I also base coated a tank, which is the first commission of the year:
I am very pleased with it so far, and look forward to being able to refine my skill with the airbrush as the year progresses.