Sunday 14 April 2013

Works in Progress and Some Early Paintjobs

Since I haven't posted much in awhile, I thought it was time to post up some quick pics of some models I'm currently working on, and also a special treat: pics of some models I painted as far back as the late '80s and early '90s.

First of all, the WIPs:

I know I've renounced painting for hire some time ago.  However, as I've been pondering the purchase of a new airbrush (the Badger Renegade Krome looks nice) and a few upgrades for my paintball markers (the paintball community adopted the term, "marker" years and years ago as an alternative to calling them, "guns"... I think it sounded a bit too PC back then, but with the current gun debate going on, perhaps it was fortuitous), I decided a small contract for a personal friend of mine wouldn't hurt.  After all, at least it was going to stay in town, so there was a chance I might catch a glimpse of it on a gaming table once in awhile.

Anyway, these are just three of six Privateer Press Warmachine Cygnar Stormblades.  They were made of a resin-like plastic that I've never worked with before... it seems very different than the Forgeworld and Finecast resins, and not quite like the plastics used in GW, Revell, or Tamiya plastic kits.  I can't say that I liked it as much, as there were copious mould lines running through the detailed areas, and the parts didn't come on a sprue... it looked like some monkey tore them from the sprue with their bare fingers.  Come on PP... couldn't you at least supply your packing minions with some flush-cut plastic clippers?  I don't doubt that PP's quality control and mastery of plastics will improve greatly over time, but these were fairly painful to prep and assemble.  Sigh.  At least I didn't have to fill in any bubbles with liquid greenstuff...

These were given a black primer coat, with a light dusting of white primer from above.  This helps highlight and define the details, making it easier to tell what parts are what.  With models that are comparatively "busy" with detail, this helps aid your eye, thus speeding up the painting.  It also helps you make decisions on where to apply highlights and shadows, as the black / white contrasts turn out much like a black and white photograph.

Instead of painting the quilted under armour a yellow colour, like the PP studio paintjob, I went with black.  It would give the bright blues, golds, and metals something to contrast against.  PP Coal Black was the basecoat, followed by PP Armour Ink (essentially black) that was cut with a bit of matt medium.  I find that inks (as opposed to GW's washes) benefit greatly from mixing in a tiny bit of matt medium... it helps it flow into the recesses much better, and leads to fewer tide marks and staining of the base coat.  The newest GW washes seem to already have the medium mixed in, which saves a ton of time.  However, I had a bottle of PP armour ink kicking around, and I believe in using what you've got before buying anything new.

Cygnar blue was used as the basecoat.  I've never used it before, and I was suprised that it turned out to be a shade darker than GW's Ultramarine blue.  It was then given a wash of GW blue wash (previous generation), which helped define the details and shadows even more.  The model on the right was left at that stage.

The left two models have had highlights and some shading added.  GW Ultramarine blue (actually the Vallejo Game Colour copy, which I purchased some time ago to compare against the GW brand... I find it needs more shaking before use because it's more prone to separation, and is much thinner than GW's paint, which means it's fine for layering, glazing, and blending, but stinks for basecoat opacity) was the first highlight, then some PP Frostbite was slowly blended in for various stages of highlights.  For that, I experimented with various mediums to see which one I liked.  As far as blending progressive glazes, I think the PP paints prefer Vallejo Matt Medium, followed by Vallejo Glaze Medium, and lastly Vallejo Slow-Dri (which made the PP paints too gummy in consistency, a trait which they suffer from a little bit to begin with).

The steel areas were the GW Leadbelcher (I think that's what it was called... it was the closest to the old Boltgun Metal that I could find).  This was given a wash of the PP Armour Ink / matt medium mix.  I still need to come back and clean this up with more Leadbelcher, then blended up to silver, possibly Vallejo Metallic Medium for the spot highlights (which is even brighter than GW's Mithril Silver... it has some white tones in it).

I still need to do the golds, which I plan on shading with some nice rich browns, and highlight up to silver to simulate shine.  The electric coils in the weapons will be given a tiny amount of OSL treatment (object source lighting... where it appears that the object is emitting it's own light).  At that stage, I'll see if these models will need some slight weathering... although some chipping and rust may make an already busy looking model look a bit cluttered, perhaps.

Three of five Nurgle Chaos warriors I'm working on.  These were mainly just experiments... they're looking a bit too clean and bright at the moment, but I want to see what I can do to them afterwards to get them looking a bit more weathered and realistic.  All five are at various stages of painting, although the same colours have been applied so far.  At the weathering stage, each will be subjected to different weathering techniques, and I will see which ones I like the best.

I got this Vindicare Assasin in a trade years and years ago.  It was already painted (poorly), but since the paint wasn't too thick, I decided to paint over it, seeing if I could clean this up and make it presentable.  In the end, it'll be tabletop gaming quality standard.  That being said, I've always been a fan of this sculpt.  It's a beautiful example of how nice a single piece model can be.  So far, all I've done is repaint the black skin suit.  Everything else is the previous painter's work.

You've seen this Rhino before.  I've added a few more layers of glazed shadows and highlights, and started on the metal areas.  Layering on progressive glazes, and feather blending each on in to achieve the smoothest possible colour transitions achievable without the use of an airbrush or oil paints is incredibly time consuming work, and frustrating as well.  However, this is a learning process, and something I just needed to do.  So far, estimated completion date for this model is sometime after I've been placed in a seniours care home...

And for the real treat, the following pics are some models I found in a musty box in the back of my parent's garage.  I can't be sure of the exact date of each model... I only have vague recollections of painting them, and what I was doing at the time.  If you think YOUR early stuff looks bad, check these out:

This is a metal Space Marine dreadnought blended with an Epic 40,000 Warlord Titan.  I was going for something a bit taller and more agile looking than the old dread.  This was before the Tau were ever released, and way before the Forgeworld Contemptor dreadnought.  It started off in Imperial Fist colours, and was painted over in grey later (I think I was planning on doing it up as Space Wolf 13th company).  Right now, I'm thinking I'll strip the paint off, and do some more conversions in order to make it fit into my upcoming Spirit Dragons Samurai Space Marine army.  It'll take some work though.

I believe this is a Ral Partha Lizardman from the mid-eighties.  This was probably the first paintjob I was proud of... enamel blue metallic paint, followed by a drybrush of some dark steel.  The skin was done in much the same way, but I think I finished the model off with a wash of black paint thinned with water.  Can't be totally sure... I just remember going back to the game store I bought it at, and showing it off to the staff member at the time.  It didn't get much of a reaction, but that experience served me well when I later became a GW salesperson later.  I could remind myself that I was once an excited 12 year old who barely knew what a paintbrush was.

Oh man... I don't remember much about this model at all, except I used in in many a pen-and-paper role-playing game.  This was when I thought highlights were supposed to be white, shades were done in pure black, and drybrushing was the greatest technique ever applied to a miniature.  Looking back on this model now, I think the most impressive thing about this model was the fact that I actually managed to freehand paint the word "Demon" with a crappy synthetic hair Testors brush.

More of the same.  

Some really early GW models.  Enamel paints, with those really bad synthetic hobby brushes (the ones where the "hairs" look like rejects from a toothbrush factory).  An interesting note about the blood effects... I think I actually used real blood on the skaven sword.  I had accidentally cut my finger while getting some models off the sprue, and decided I shouldn't waste an opportunity like that.  I smeared that bloody finger on the weapons of every model I had within reach.  I don't recommend this technique at all, especially since all the metal models back then were made of lead.  Luckily, I only had plastic models within reach.  Interestingly, the skaven came from one of the very first plastic regiment kits that GW ever produced, back in the 3rd edition of Warhammer Fantasy.

An Inquisitor scale (54mm) that I converted and painted when the game was released.  Not much to say... it was a quickie paintjob, as I was rushing to finish it before a painting deadline.  Freehand was done with a Pigma Micron artist pen.  I think I'll strip this model one day and repaint it... I loved those 54mm models, although they stunk for gaming purposes.

Anyway, that's it for now.  Let me know if there's anything else you guys want to see, or see discussed on this blog.  Comments are always welcome.


  1. It's always great to look at your own progress, I have painted over so many of my models I have very little to reference when stuck with painters block.
    I agree about Warmachine plastics, so difficult to work with!

  2. Heh...I did the same thing a couple years ago. Dug up some shoeboxes of my old stuff from when I was about 12 or 13 and went "Oh god! These are awful!" I'm totally gonna strip and repaint my old skaven, though. You can never have enough clanrats!

  3. If you've got the storage space, and plenty of other unpainted models kicking around needing paint, I recommend that painters keep their old finished models. I get a kick out of seeing mine, and there are plenty of models I painted and sold during my mercenary painting years that I wish I had been able to keep. Nezt best thing is to take pics, but nothing beats being able to view them in the hand. You can also give them to close friends, as you may see them again, but there have been times where I later found that the recipient didn't appreciate the work as much as I did.