Sunday, 3 December 2017

Perfect is the Enemy of Good

Sometimes I should just leave well enough alone.

A second attempt at spraying my LOTR chaps, this time with a pale grey, ended up with horrible "frosting" across much of them.  This was an attempt to "fix" the initial grey paint which I felt wouldn't stick as a primer.

So - a month of off and on paint stripping, regluing, rebasing etc. began.

However, whilst that's been going on, some packages have arrived and I have been busy prepping some new models.  A mix of Unreleased Miniatures models and Games Workshop ones now make up my army, with some bases from Dragon Forge and Micro Art Studios.  Now they are finally "ready", if unpainted, it feels good to say there is some visible progress!

I love the Kingdoms of Men generally and like the idea of allied forces from different regions. My main desire was for Fiefdoms with Minas Tirith allies. Frustratingly a lot of hero and even troop models are OOP so I've had to be patient on eBay.

I am hoping that with Games Workshop re-investing in Middle Earth as a setting in 2018 there will be opportunities for new models or re-releases of older ones as time goes on.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Autumn Beckons

Summer ended, not with a bang, but with a whimper!
I just realised that I haven't posted in a couple of months - mostly because I have ground to a halt, hobby-wise!  I got most of the way through an Empire Knight unit for Warmaster and thought it looked superb.  Here's the finished test strip with a coin for scale.

Alas, I burned myself out and felt I must do something different, having spent so long doing nothing but Warmaster.

Then an unfortunate thing happened - I got excited about another army and game system!

So I have been on eBay and on the GW webstore and have some lovely Lord of the Rings armies of Good - namely "Fiefdoms" and Gondor.  Essentially, Fiefdoms is a catch all for allies of Gondor - including all the things mentioned in the books that didn't even get a nod from Peter Jackson in the films.

I love the idea of having a pool of troops to make a small army or warband in a similar scale to a SAGA battle but with fantasy elements.  LOTR focuses less on units but rather each individual model and it's placement and luck in combat is important, with different elements able to support one another.

I splashed out on nice resin bases from Mico Art Studios and faffed about basing them and prepping them, then the first thing I did was make a huge cock up!

I went to undercoat them with this grey spray paint I got from GW.

Well, apparently, the non black and white colours that GW have are not actually primers like the ones from rival companies are.

They are still meant to be sprayed over primer.

So now I have 10 infantry and 6 cavalry which look OK to the naked eye but I'm googling and getting mixed answers from people who say it will peel and others saying it's fine.  After leaving it for a day the paint did not scrape off even when scratching my nail across it.  My current thinking is that - I can't be bothered properly stripping all these fellas, so I'll only strip the metal models as metal chips so easily.

Then I'm going to buy an Army Painter white and blast them all with that.  When I finish painting models I always paint on Vallejo Matt Varnish in a few coats, so I'm hoping that will be good enough to secure against my indiscretion.

Always read the fine print, kids!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf Witch Elves

I just realised that I'd not posted this one!

With this final Dark Elves unit, I can say that I have a finished ~2000 point Dark Elf army!

These are Witch Elves, a fragile "glass cannon" unit which will probably break themselves in combat but take at least one enemy unit out with them in a frenzy!

I should probably put all the Dark Elves out on my desk and take a photo to prove I've done it.


I've had a fallow month where I've not done much of anything wargame related but I got some energy back and have been preparing a Warmaster Empire army to paint, next.

First thing I've had a crack at is a strip of Empire Knights.

The entire Empire range is incredibly detailed - really wonderful models.  I wanted to avoid simply painting it all in gun metal so I've gone for a lot of detailed paint and alternating colours.  My general desire for the Empire force is that it will represent many orders or different regiments so will not be tied by a simple colour scheme like my previous forces.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf Command

  Finally complete!  Warmaster Dark Elf Command!

  The original GW Dark Elf Warmaster Command blister is a slightly sorry affair compared with some of the others.  It contains a single sorceress figure with guards, a mounted hero with flag bearer and a little Cold One chariot.

  I disliked the chariot; too big for a hero, too small for a General stand, I felt.  My spare one is going to a friend in the gaming club who has had trouble sourcing Dark Elf figures.

  I scrabbled a spare sorceress and guards so that I could max out my command for 2000 points - 2 heroes and 2 magic users.  Even though Dark Elves are an "elite" army with a smaller number of more expensive units compared with some other armies, they suffer from a fatal flaw.  Namely, that if you roll a "blunder" on your command rolls (two sixes on 2D6), the hero responsible is either executed immediately or the General suffers a permanent penalty for the rest of the game!  The Dark Elves are ruthlessly inefficient, it seems.

  I am extremely proud of of these little figures. The cauldrons of blood that I put on the stands are in fact plastic Warhammer 40k scale Blood Angel Sanguinary Guard grails.  One from the plastic character clampack, the other from the generic upgrade sprue.  I chopped the hand out of the plastic and glued the top to the bottom.

  If you Google Image search "warmaster cauldron of blood" you will see top of the list, a couple of excellent fan models.  This one inspired me to use the first version of the Avatar of Khaine from Space Marine / Epic. And this one made me want to put the cauldron on top of a pile of bones - a piece from the Tomb Kings command blister. 

  I attempted something a bit different with the statue, attempting to paint it like black marble.  The results weren't spectacular, but I needed to differentiate it from the other models, so that people wouldn't assume it was an animate or giant character and not a statue.

Monday, 29 May 2017

Clip Studio Doodles

  A while ago I saw that Clip Studio was having one of its periodic sales so I bought it, installed it and mostly forgot about it.  I fired it up and thought it didn't quite have the immediate ease of use of Paint Tool Sai in terms of deploying its tools.

  This year I discovered that people sell large "Brush Packs" for art programs.  I had spent some Christmas money on some for Photoshop and then on some for Clip Studio.  Photoshop is a bit of a monster that my old computer groans a bit under so I let the license expire for it.  It didn't feel like something that natural to sketch in in any case.

  For Clip Studio I bought the Frenden super set.  I have barely explored the full range but I've found it an interesting experience.  It's been so long since I've drawn but I used the soft "pencil" brushes and then used "acrylic" to layer over the top, mimicing the way that I paint my gaming models in real life.

  These were doodles from imagination, without reference, to see if I could recall some basic anatomy and posing.

  I haven't had the confidence to really draw digitally in a long time.  I think this will be the program / tools which I use to get back into it.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf General on Manticore

  I've had this one lurking in the wings for a while now!  Wasn't sure what colours to use, especially on the wings.  Bought a Vallejo "Hexed Lichen" paint as a dark purple basecoat to mix with black - then the GW paint "Genestealer Purple" to water down and layer on as a glaze on the "veins".  This didn't work quite as well as I hoped but the final result is good enough for tabletop, I feel.

   The Lion body I ended up using Vallejo Khaki on as a base.  Then I mixed in Vallejo Dark Sand to brighten it - again layering it on quite dilute to control it so that I kept the recesses dark where I had used an Agrax Earthshade wash.

  Very close to finishing the entire Dark Elf army now!  Only things left are a Witch Elves unit and four stands of command figures.  Very satisfying progress this year.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

EPIC: Grey Knights Test Stand

  After a dozen Warmaster units, my brain rankled at the thought of more.

  I tried putting Infinity and Blood Bowl on my desk but neither of them did the trick. 

  Then I dug out a bunch of EPIC models, most of which I'd bought years ago.

  Someone on the Tactical Command forum had sold me some rare Imperial Flyers for no more than they would have cost from Forge World when they were still available; on the condition that I painted them - as he had never gotten around to it!

  I washed, prepped and glued them to put alongside some Thunderhawks I've had lurking for years in a box and some Warhounds gathering dust on my bookshelf.

  The big challenge awaiting me is always painting something, especially something unfamiliar or at a different scale.  Warmaster, which I usually paint, is 10mm, whereas EPIC is a diminutive 6mm.

  These fellows are the result of me grabbing the nettle and concentrating on just one stand of troops as a test before doing any others.  As a guide I used the lovely Tale of Painters how-to for Grey Knights although, not painting them to that level of detail!

  The base is a fan-made resin cast that I thought would look more dynamic than the old plastic strip bases.  It looks good but it's easy to miss a bit on the undercoating or basecoating steps .

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Warmaster: Dark Riders

Forgot to upload these!

With these three Dark Rider units complete I have almost finished my entire Dark Elf army for Warmaster.  All that remains are command stands and a unit of Witch Elves to get to 2000 points.

I need to get a proper neutral background for taking photos as my Dad advised.  Even adjusting values here in GIMP makes things seem washed out or very grey.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf Cavalry

I have something to show off, hurrah!

I'm up to 9 painted units so far this year, now!  All three of my Cold One Cavalry units and the first Dark Rider unit for my Dark Elves!

I have a new camera that I am getting used to - the colours seem a bit washed out.  I tried fixing it in GIMP but I might need to play with the settings next time around.
 Next up I have my remaining three Dark Rider units which I am batch painting after I think the test unit went so well.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf Crossbowmen

Some more Dark Elves!

^ I tried to base my Dark Elves on something a bit different - super pale, unearthly skin - like vampires, and weird gold.  For the armour I used the new Retributor Gold from GW, washed it with the new Coelia Greenshade - then highlighted with Chainmail.  For the flesh it's Rakarth Flesh then after the wash Vallejo Heavy Warmgrey.

I wanted them to look - Lovecraftian, nasty, like they marched out of the sea to attack their warmer cousins.

Anyhow - polished off these two crossbowmen units.  I have some Corsair models that I might paint up in future to proxy crossbows but right now I'm just trying to scrape 2000 points and say that I've finished another army.

Friday, 3 February 2017

Warmaster: Dark Elf Spearmen Brigade

Not one, not two, but three Dark Elf Spearmen units!

It can be disheartening attempting a "block painting" of several units at once, but the pay off is worth it!

 My mobile phone camera didn't want to co operate today so the photos aren't of a great quality, but these aren't high detail units so that's not a big problem.

These fellows are painted the same way as my first unit, using a lot of the new GW colours that didn't have analogues before.  Snow is some Woodland Scenics a friend from the game forums kindly sent me.

These fellows are painted the same way as my first unit, using a lot of the new GW colours that didn't have analogues before.  Freehand symbols were found by simply using internet image search to find "Dark Elf Banners".  A while ago, GW released a couple of "uniforms and heraldry" books for Empire, High Elves and Skaven.  The High Elf one had 3 pages filled with nothing but runes to use.  Dark Elves apparently never had anything like that so most of their jagged symbols seem to be improvised rather than "canon".

Friday, 20 January 2017

Warhammer Art: A Dark Congregation

  One thing I have been striving for is the dark, crowded style of traditional Warhammer art.

  I don't just mean that exemplified by John Blanche, but also artists who came later to GW like the late Wayne England or David Gallagher. 

  Codices and rulebooks were filled with lavish illustrations which veered from ink splattered, frenetic visions to meticulous illuminations.  I attempted to do something approaching that with this picture.  I put the pencil on the paper and told myself to fill the page, even if it was just very roughly or without precision.

  I am very happy with the result, a dark congregation praising some blasphemous, forgotten God. Drawn for Khordal's topic on the Ammo Bunker forum.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Warmaster Game Day: Dark Elves vs. High Elves

  On Sunday 8th January, 2017, our local gaming club ran a little "Games Day" for Warmaster!

  The plan this year is to have about half a dozen such days - where we can run the games which interest us and we feel others might be willing to have a go at with a loaner army even if they don't have the models / rules themselves.

  My fellow club-member Denis wrote up the first match of the day from his perspective as I taught the rules to his son using a spare army I had brought along.

  Denis took some photos of the 2nd game of the day for us; his Dark Elves vs my High Elves.

  Denis's army is a work in progress as the models for DE are hard to get hold of, nowadays.  As a result, he plumped out his list with magic items, which don't normally give a very good return on investment in Warmaster.  Operative word there being "normally".  With a bit of luck and cunning they can be a decisive factor if you get the right unit in the right place!  The downside of this for Denis is that his break point is lower, meaning it should be easier to destroy enough units to defeat him...

Dark Elf Army, 1500 points
 230 -  3 Spearmen
     -  1 Battle Banner (50)
 125 -  1 Crossbowmen
     -  1 Banner of Shielding (50)
 345 -  3 Dark Riders
     -  1 Banner of Fortitude (50)
     -  1 Sword of Cleaving (10)
 290 -  2 Cold One Knights
     -  1 Banner of Steadfastness (30)
  55 -  1 Bolt Thrower
 255 -  1 General
     -  1 Crown of Command (100)
  90 -  1 Hero
     -  1 Sword of Destruction (10)
 110 -  1 Sorceress
     -  1 Ring of Magic (30)
1500 - 10/5
Denis deployed in the corner, concentrating his forces and forcing me to come to him.

High Elf Army, 1500 points
 180 -  3 Spearmen
 225 -  3 Archers
 220 -  2 Silver Helms
 200 -  2 Reavers
 190 -  2 Chariots
  70 -  1 Giant Eagles
  65 -  1 Elven Bolt Thrower
 180 -  1 General
  80 -  1 Hero
  90 -  1 Wizard
1500 - 14/7


For myself, I deployed in a typical pattern - all infantry in the centre with cavalry on each far flank.


High Elf Turn 1

My first game against Denis's turn was characterised by my battle line barely even moving.  However, I was off to a strong enough start I thought, here.  The main block of infantry stubbornly refused to move, however, and more importantly, my elite Silver Helms cavalry dug their heels in too.

Dark Elf Turn 1

Denis's Dark Elves steered out to meet me.  I felt that I had a chance to bring things to a speedy conclusion...

High Elf Turn 2

Best laid plans of mice and uh... elves!  My chariot line shuffled forward into charging range... Then failed their command, even with the General's beedy eye on them!  All infantry failed to move and my elites shuffled forward towards enemy crossbows and spears but no furth.

Dark Elf Turn 2

Denis wasted no time in mashing his elite Cold One cavalry into my Chariots and Reavers, breaking the back of one of my flanks.  Shooting and magic confused some of my Silver Helms, putting paid to my hopes of a decisive blow with them.  Bolt Throwers wheeled closer to my infantry...

High Elf Turn 3

An attempt to claw back some kills ended very badly for my surviving cavalry on the left flank.  The Silver Helms that were still in order finally were unleashed, smashing into the DE infantry - as I planted my Giant Eagles behind as a threat to support them.  My infantry shuffled forward but there were no great marches, there.

Dark Elf Turn 3

The Dark Elves mopped up the last of the light cavalry - and made an attempt to rout the Giant Eagles and Silver Helms threatening them. 

High Elf Turn 4

Another appalling round of non-commands, nothing moving except on initiative as the Giant Eagles sacrifice themselves to shield the Silver Helms from an imminent hail of crossbow bolts.

Dark Elf Turn 4

Dark Elves reposition to mop up the Great Eagles but fail to maneouvre to crush the surviving cavalry...

High Elf Turn 5

 Finally!  Some forced marches seem to be happening!  Reserves of the previously confused/lazy Silver Helms move in for the kill and the infantry surge forward and spread out, splitting off to tidy up the loose ends of some surviving Cold Ones.  At this point, though it had been getting close - the successful commands pretty much guaranteed that the low Dark Elf breakpoint was going to be reached so we called it at that.

Something I thought was going to be a relatively easy, quick game with the High Elves having the advantage of numbers became something much more interesting - and a lesson for me on the strengths of the Cold Ones and of magic items...