Tag Archives: games workshop

Rescuing a botched paintjob and paint stripping…

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Just a quick post about a disaster.
I did kind of mess up the paint job on a space marine back in the days when I was painting these dudes. I tried to strip the paint using isopropyl alcohol, but it came off in flakes, leaving the surface uneven and blotchy. I was seriously thinking about just throwing the poor guy into the recycling bin- and then came the inspiration.

 

Who else has blotchy, corroded armor? That’s right… the Death Guard. Since I was planning to paint up Morty and some of his pals, I thought I’d give glazes a try on this fella before I move onto the big guys… And what do you know? It actually came out looking good. Remember people: there are no mistakes, only happy accidents!

 

Artel W Miniatures – Eisenhorn (Inquisitor)

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I always loved the dark, hopeless world of Warhammer 40K (look up Grimdark when you have some time).

This is an universe where even the good guys are worse than any actual historical monster you can think of: a collection of xenophobic, genocidal maniacs in different shapes of forms -and that’s only the Imperium of Man. Superhuman, gene crafted soldiers who think themselves as actual Ubermensch, the Imperial Guard, an armed force that throws millions into the meatgrinder without a thought, and of course the shadowy and all powerful Inquisition that oversees the civilian aspects of life in the Imperium. Add to this all the external threats: aliens, renegades and heretics, and you have an empire that is held together by tape and strings, threatened by multiple external and internal forces each of which could spell its doom it by itself, let alone together. So what’s not to love?

There’s a huge collection of books published by Black Library set in this universe; and a large portion of them are frankly no better than some badly written fan-fiction. However there are gems which are great on their own rights, and they are absolutely worth reading and re-reading. The Eisenhorn Trilogy is one of these book series which is a really, really good story regardless of its origins. (Space fantasy tends to be looked down upon by the “purists” of the SF genre, hence the second part of the sentence.)

The series detail the journey of an Imperial Inquisitor, Gregor Eisenhorn from a young idealist on the path of corruption and ruination. Due to external circumstances and small, seemingly unimportant or small actions and choices of his own he becomes something he would have recognised (and executed without a thought) as a heretic in his youth. The story is complex, and quite an interesting one; after all, the same path is trodden by many people who acquire power. Why I like the story (apart of the quality of writing, of course) is how easily it can be transposed onto our own real world: very few people start out with the intention of becoming corrupt, or do evil. Corruption comes gradually with seemingly small and insignificant steps, yet it will twist the person beyond recognition. (Not to mention Eisenhorn remains true to his mission: fighting for humanity, which adds an extra layer of complexity to the story.)

Since I love the story, I wanted to make an Eisenhorn figure, of course, which can be an issue in WH40. Not all characters have figures available, not to mention the silly poses (it seems like everyone and their mother are shouting and pointing at stuff in the grim future). It is fair enough because they WERE made for a tabletop game, but for a modeller it’s a definite problem if you want your figures in a more dignified (and realistic) pose. In case of this specific figure the pose is actually quite nice (and he has his signature sword), the proportions are good, but the problem is that the figure is out of production and hard to get. Not to mention it depicts our favourite inquisitor towards the end of the trilogy; I prefer him in his prime.

Enter the blooming resin industry. There are several companies producing alternatives, conversions for the WH40/Warhammer games; these are miniatures that are not nearly enough similar to the originals to be considered as copyright infringements, but they are close enough to be clear what they supposed to represent. A lot of these conversions and figures are produced because there are holes in the market (if there is no available set by GW; for example conversion sets for space marines for specific legions or chapters), or straight-out improvements. In case of the Chaos Rhino, Mortarion or Abaddon figure in my opinion they are definite improvements, for example. And now we review Eisenhorn, produced by a Russian company, Artel W Miniatures. (Shortly after this figure was issued, WG announced that they were coming out with a new Eisenhorn figure, so now we have three… Choice is a good thing.)

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The name of the miniature is very close to the originals, so it is abundantly clear who it refers to, even if you don’t know the iconic painting of the inquisitor (which actually inspired the books according to the author). The figure essentially copies the artwork: we have Eisenhorn strolling forward with a gun and a tube in his hand, his runestaff mounted on his back. (This setup puts the figure to the last few chapters of the second book, or the first chapters of the third.)

The figure comes in a very impressive package: a box wrapped in brown paper with a wax seal… I have to say I felt quite reluctant to open it, as it had this exclusive feel to the whole set. It’s a feel definitely something you don’t really get when you get a blister pack. (Admittedly it’s not a priority when you buy something, but still.) The paper covers a cardboard box, which contains the few pieces of the model itself, sealed in ziplock bags.

The model consists the torso with the cape, the lower part of the body, the two arms and the runestaff. His iconic power sword is not included, but to be fair it’s not on the original artwork, either. Regardless, he should have Barbarisater on his hip. (Quite possibly the tube could be replaced with a sword.) Despite of the small size of the figure the detail is very fine and impressive; the chains, the folds of his clothes, the inquisitorial rosette, the gun are all very well defined. The expression on his face (which is anatomically well proportioned) is quite grim, but this is the only appropriate expression for him, as you will learn from the books if you have not read them already, so that’s quite on the money, too.

The assembly is very quick. There’s very little cleanup required: mostly the parts where the torso meets the lower body. There is no flash on the bits. The arms fit into their slots well.

Painting was a joy- but I am not a master by all means. Only after looking at the photos do you realise how hard it is to paint a miniature on a professional level for the box art (like the above examples of GW’s minis). When you look at this figure with your eyes it actually looks pretty good. Once you bring out the macro can you see the imperfections and mistakes. Oh well. I can always claim to be an amateur.

The leather overcoat was base colored using snakebite leather, and then layered lots of different brown oil paints on top, trying to achieve the leather effect. The cloth underneath was painted regal blue, the trousers antracite, and the boots gloss black. The stash and the parchment of the purity seal was painted white, and were given a coat of brown filter. The metallic details were painted with AK Interactive’s True Metal gold and steel.

The runestaff was painted with a mixture of these metal paints; the skull in the middle was painted deep green, and some random smears of lighter green and black, covered with nuln oil. (It was supposed to be carved from a warp-infused stone. There you go: here, on this blog only, the sole accurate Eisenhorn Miniature in existence…)

Basically, that’s it. It’s a high quality miniature of an iconic character from the WH40K universe; if you missed the original “official” figure, or don’t like the newer one, now is your chance to get one for your collection. His nemesis/ally, Cherubael is coming soon.

 

Games Workshop – Lord of Contagion

 

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It’s really hard to depict what “Chaos” and “corruption” is; figures, artwork and even novels resort to the usual tentacles, horns, crab-pincers, boobs, and in case of the Death Guard, decomposition and disease. (There’s an awesome video explaining what Chaos really is.) In this latter case I actually think they were right on target; these new figures -except for the silly blob-daemons all over- are pretty cool. They truly look corrupted and frightening. After doing the Chaos Rhino I was looking for another Death Guard figure to paint.

I have to admit I do not know anything about this particular figure, its stats and how it’s supposed to be played; I bought it on Ebay because I liked the pose. (I think it’s better than the Typhus models.)

The painting went reasonably simple; I decided to try using glazes. I created the glaze using ordinary Citadel paints and lahmian medium. I primed the model with Vallejo German grey primer, and then started adding layers upon layers of green mediums (and some brown) in different hues to depict the filthy, corroded, corrupted armor. The cape got a similar treatment using mostly browns with some green; once I got a nice base color I added streaks of oil paints directly from the tube. Once I was happy with the overall effect of the armor, I added dark brown pin-washes to add depth to the model. I painted the brass parts with Citadel Tin and dark bronze; the edges got some Vallejo True metal gold, and then a very thin varnish of turquoise to depict oxidated bronze. After the turquoise varnish I highlighted some edges with gold again.

The fumes of the figure were painted with different brightness of green: starting with a very bright, very light green, and building up darker and darker colors, with the light colors showing only in the deep recesses. As the last touch I rubbed some black pigments on the most protruding parts signifying smoke.

The pipe was an addition from Grim Skull Miniature’s Mortarion model (it came with two pipes). The base will need some work, but for now I declare this figure done.

I think it turned out pretty nice for an armor modeller. Milage may vary.

Calas Typhon – Forgeworld

This is one character who started out as a gigantic tosser, and ended up being an ever bigger one. With the Heresy what is most interesting is to see what drives people to turn against the Imperium. Sometimes these choices are agonizing for the characters who make them; and you cannot really help but feel sympathy towards them, even after they become a twisted caricature of their former self. (Think about Lorgar himself; or Khran, who already was featured here.)

Thypon (or later known as Thypus) has, however, never been a nice person. Always arrogant, always sneering, always self-righteous; it’s hard to find anything likeable about the guy. (He does sport some amazing beard, though.) Let’s face it, he is somewhat of a one-dimensional anti-hero.
Nevertheless, the Forgeworld figure is just incredibly good-looking. The heavy stride of someone in heavy a Terminator armour captured incredibly well. You can hear the footsteps, you can feel the tremor of the earth, and you can clearly see that this armour was not designed to be jogging in it. It also looks pretty realistic; my biggest issue with older iterations of Terminator armours is that they look unwieldy; just look at an old Games Workshop Abaddon figure to see what I mean. He literally is forced to keep his arms up in a threatening pose, because he cannot physically bring them lower towards his torso. (Which is good if you want to threaten someone, but bad, if you want to actually do anything else. Like moving.) The new Forgeworld Terminator figures -while it’s clear that the wearer will not do splits in them any time soon- look more realistic as power armours go.
The kit is also a good starting point for the character himself. This is the original state from which he got corrupted into a plague Marine, harbinger of disease and corruption.

This guy.

Citadel Finecast did come out with a Chaos corrupted Typhus before, and you can see the similarities between the figures.

The sculptor at Forgeworld used this figure as a basis, and he made an excellent work.
Since the Death Guard is under the influence of the Lord of Decay, Nurgle, they are quite foul creatures. I tried to depict the beginnings of receiving the favours of this Chaos god might look like: the originally granite-grey armour got a yellowish sheen, representing a thin layer of filth, quite possibly excreted by the amour itself. He has made his first step in the path of corruption. I’ve also used transparent paints I use normally to simulate fuel stains on tanks. One brilliant thing I realized was that the usual problem with washes (namely the wash dries in a way that the pigments in the wash flow towards the edges of the wet area away from the cracks, which look bad if you use the wash to accent shadows) actually look pretty on-spot with Typhon -after all, his armour does excrete some foul substances, which will dry in patches on the surface.
Scratches in white, and white highlights helped to bring out the details; I’ve also used very thin dark washes to further enhance the whole oily-filthy impression. Most of the metallic parts were painted in dark, oxidated tin color, although not yet in the greenish hues of old, oxidated bronze. The edge of the Power Scythe was highlighted with light blue/white to represent the force-field; perhaps I should redo it in green to stick to the whole corruption/disease theme. (Blue is always a color of purity; glowing green, however, is usually reserved for containers of super-diseases and biological weapons in popular lore.)

To be honest, the base caused the most problems; I just could not get the colors right. I tried different greys to depict the broken concrete, but it just did not look “real”. The breakthrough came when I realized that the “right” look can only be achieved using layers and layers of different grays and browns. I’ve kept drybrushing with different colors (metallic colors included at places), using different highlights, adding filters, washes and pigments; after about a month of working on it on and off, I decided it looked good enough to stop.

Well, here he is, striding into corruption, massacring loyalist forces with his arm-mounted flame-thrower/chemical weapon. (I think flames would be too “pure” for a Nurgle-champion; it must be some chemical contortion that melts metal as well as flesh. Whatever it is, it looks pretty cool, although I do suspect the short barrel causes some accidental drips onto his own armour now and then.)

Forgeworld: Kharn the Betrayer

Since the Horus Heresy book series started Forgeworld also started issuing miniatures of the most prominent characters. I don’t like all of them, but most are actually pretty awesome (and expensive). Like this guy: Kharn. (Who is a swell guy as we know.)

His character in itself -along his friend, Argel Tal- is one of my favourites. Kharn knowingly slides into corruption because of his loyalties. He is a noble warrior (as far as any Astrates can be noble; let’s face it, all of those guys are kind of dicks), who somehow retains fragments of his nobility even when he turns traitor. You can understand why he betrays the Imperium, and to be honest, he kind of has a point, too.
He is aware of the corruption as it happens to him, and this makes him cynical and disillusioned, as he knows he has no choice in the matter. All of his choices were taken away from him by the Emperor of Mankind (who is either incompetent or just plain stupid), and his damaged Primarch (who should have been put down as soon as he was discovered for the good of everyone, himself included).

Anyhow, since I liked the character I bought the figure. The pose is pretty dynamic (unfortunately Angron’s –another available figure from this series- pose is the mirror image of his), the quality is excellent, and you get a couple of options, too. (Helmet on/helmet off, and different weapons.) I’ve left out the second figure that came in this set. He had his helm caved in, his arm cut off, blood squirting; I felt this was an unnecessary addition. The leaping, axe-wielding Astrates would be perfectly enough to convey the berserker savagery of the World Eater; blood splatters and dead bodies flying around was not needed. (This is why I opted for the helmeted head –it’s scarier to see the contrast of an impassive mask, and the brutal, mad frenzy of Kharn.)

This is the first time I painted anything in white, which was not very easy, truth be told. The figure was first painted with grey primer, and then several light layers of white Citadel paint was added. I used very thin filters of dirt and grey colors to make the armor look used and dirty. Whenever the effects were overdone (several instances) I went back to correct them with white. This actually created a nice, layered look. I also tried to avoid “clean” colors –everything should look dirty, oily and damaged, as our friend probably does not spend as much time with patient armor maintenance as he should be. It’s probably not the “official” GW paint style, but to be honest I was quite satisfied with the results. (Except for the plasma gun. That gun will need some more work looking at the photos…)

A simple Warhammer 40K dio brought to you by Ferrero Rocher -part 2

This is my second foray into the world of Chaos Space Marines. This little diorama was created to provide a safe base for the Dark Vengeance Astrates I have got from Ebay, using a Rocher Ferrero box as a display case. I did not really have a concept in mind aside from depicting the characters as advancing on an unseen foe. (This was due to the small size of the box; had there been more space available, I could have put in a dreadnought or an Ultramarine Terminator as an enemy to advance upon. (I did buy a couple of models off Ebay over the last couple of years, but only now have I started to actually finish them properly. A lot of the models I got needed extensive surgery or their paintjob stripped, as I got them cheap and used, which hindered the work. Mostly due to my laziness, but still. Buy new if you can help it.) The other big push to actually start taking painting WH40K seriously was the fact that my landlord was giving up the hobby, and he sold me his paintset for ten quid. And we’re not talking about the starter set… we’re talking about a HUGE box of paints, washes and inks. I started to watch videos about blending, how to paint fabric, and all the other tricks of the trade – so I found these little figures a welcome variety from the dull-colored tanks (and they look awesome in general).
Anyhow, here is the second box of Chaos.

The figures themselves are brilliant: their poses are very dynamic, and the details are just amazing. The only issue I had with them was the seam lines which were sometimes on very visible- and hard to reach places. Most of them were filled in, but I’ve left one or two untouched because I was worried about the potential damage to the surrounding detail. Since then I got a bottle of no-sand putty from True Earth; this should help next time.

I tried to give these guys some justice (since they got none from the Emperor…), but this is how far I got. The Emperor’s Children warlock (I think… that third eye must be a sure sign of psychic powers) got completely dark eyes – ever since I’ve read about Daemonhosts in the Eisenhorn trilogy I liked this idea of the absolutely black eyes without the whites around the iris. I guess it’s not far-fetched to imagine a sorcerer who is possessed by a daemon, so this works out fine. The only thing I forgot to do before taking photos was to apply some matt varnish to the cape; it is too shiny to be a convincing fabric.

The most loving care was given to the Death Guard with his axe. His armor is probably not going to be shiny and clean; but I did not want to go for the full-on “puss filled boils and rust” look, either. I made him unclean looking using some oil washes, and the “fuel stain” product from AK, and used different browns, reds and organges to make his axe rusty-looking.

The Dark Angel was the less inspired of the three, as I don’t know much about these guys yet. The whole paintwork started by priming him black, and then trying my hands on the Citadel line of inks – it worked well to produce a deep dark-green color. The orange gem on this chest does need some work yet, I admit.

I used some pigments on the boots and fabric to depict dirt -after all, they are on a muddy battlefield-, and called it a day. The diorama base was prepared the same way as the previous one -using cork as pieces of rock/concrete buildings (at this stage it’s uncertain), and weapons and armor pieces from the spares box to add some variety. I ended up using actual earth mixed with white glue as a base with different shades of pigments sprinkled on top.