Thursday, 17 May 2018

Stormcast Eternals - Weathered Marble Paint Scheme

So far, I'm really happy with how this scheme is coming out. I posted some pictures earlier, a week or so ago that were taken on my phone (so much lower quality). I've finished another model from the Vanguard Hunters unit as well, so hopefully, these should give a much better impression of where things are going.

I saw that a new edition of Age of Sigmar is coming out soon (they teased some info at Warhammer Fest over the weekend). I don't actually play Age of Sigmar, and I started this force just as a fun project, but I'll be interested to see where they take the game. I did play one or two games when the game was first released a few years ago, but I found the rules a bit oversimplified for my tastes. I'd really like to see it settle somewhere similar to the most recent edition of 40k; not too complex, but with a strength/toughness system added in to give it a bit more tactical depth. I'm sure it has been refined as a game since the original release, but If I had a wishlist of things to be added, that'd be number one.

The "army" so far. The new model is the Champion for the unit with the bare head. Also a Gryph Hound!
 My progress on the force has been somewhat stunted by the fact that I've been working on something for the anime figure competition again at E2046. I had planned out a series of work in progress posts to do about it, but the deadline for entry is the end of the month, and I'm doing all I can just to get her finished. Hopefully, I'll be posting the finished figure here soon!

Also stay tuned for more eternals once that's out of the way.

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Klukva Miniatures Review - Little Resin Legacy of Kain Figures!

Occasionally, when surfing the internet, I come across a miniature that I really can't live without. Recently on my travels, I happened to stumble upon Klukva Miniatures; a small Russian company that make resin figures that are mostly inspired by various fictional characters. Mostly these are video game characters.

While browsing the site, I came across their "Bloody Vampire" and "Soul Vampire". Also known as Kain and Raziel from the Legacy of Kain series. If you missed out on playing Soul Reaver back in about 2000, then you missed out on the best video game ever made. It's no exaggeration to say that it was not only ground-breaking at the time in terms of mechanics and scope, but that it actually hasn't been equalled since. Sure, graphics may have moved on, but I've never felt as absorbed in a storyline or attached to the characters as I was to that game (or the series that followed. Or even later when I played the PS1 classic Blood Omen that had come before).

Anyway, fast forward about 18 years, and I can finally live my childhood dream of having Kain and Raziel in miniature form, thanks to Klukva miniatures. I hit the "buy" button pretty quick when I saw them there!

Kain and Raziel in all their painted glory!

The Review:
As they're a fairly new company, I thought a quick review might be in order. I'm going to hit the main points, and try to answer those basic questions that we all wonder about when ordering from a new company.

Resin Quality:
I have to admit that I wasn't sure what would turn up on my doorstep, as you never really know whether the pictures you see will be representative of the actual quality of the final product. I didn't contact Klukva before ordering or anything like that, so the product I received isn't hand picked to be good for a review; this is exactly what turns up.

Anyway, the quality of the resin is really nice. The detail is good and the mould lines and flash were minimal. What I got really looks exactly like what I saw on the website, which was really nice to see. I only have a few figures for comparison from them, but there were no flaws or air bubbles on them and the whole building process and clean-up was pretty easy. Overall, I'd say I'm really impressed with the quality. They're definitely on the higher end of the scale as far as resin casting is concerned.

If you haven't had a lot of resin figures in the past, you may not know that it can be a real minefield and quality really was my biggest concern going into this.

I took one look at that resin Raziel, and for some reason all I could think was "Become my Soul Reaver ... my Angel of Death".

Ordering and Delivery:
The ordering process is pretty easy, they have their own website (available in English). Basically the same as most online stores these days where you add things to a cart and then head over to the checkout. You get email updates from the store when things are being packed and shipped too, so it's all pretty civilised.

International post costs a flat 5 euros, which is pretty reasonable.

After I placed my order, there was a bit of a delay before the miniatures were cast and posted out. I then had to wait for the Russian postal system, which seems to take up to a month to the UK. In general though, given the type of miniatures that they make, I didn't think it was bad. I knew that it would take a while, and as these were just fun purchases, I wasn't in a particular rush. It is something to consider though, especially if you have a particular time frame in mind for a project.

One thing that I was really impressed with is that the miniatures arrived in a plastic postal bag as you might expect, but inside that bag was a laser-cut MDF box that housed all the models; protecting them really well in transit. I think I'm going to have to keep it to use as scenery or something as it is way too nice to throw away!

Well, I think the prices are pretty reasonable for what they are, which is basically individual resin characters. At the time of ordering, the Bloody Vampire and Soul Vampire were 9 euros each which feels pretty thrifty for something so specialised.

You might have noticed that some resin is really greasy and can resist paint. That wasn't the case here though and they were both really clean; with minimal work needed in that department.

I really enjoyed the painting process. Not only are they great miniatures, but I had a lot of fun working on something different. It was also interesting to try to match the colour schemes of the models to the original concept art and in-game appearance of the characters. It was a bit of a challenge, but I'm really happy with the end result. I have to admit that I'm not sure what I'll do with them, but just having them around is great fun.

"An eternity passed and my torment receded, bringing me back from the precipice of madness. The descent had destroyed me. Yet, I lived."

As far as painting is concerned, it was a real battle to get Raziel right. In the end, I ended up glazing the skin a few times to re-balance the colour. I really wanted to make sure he looked sinewy, so I did a lot of thin highlight lines on his muscles.

They really are a great company. The quality is excellent, and I'm absolutely loving being able to finally own some iconic video game characters in miniature form. I'm sure that everyone who plays games has occasionally thought that they'd like a miniature of a character from one, well Klukva might just give you the chance!

The price of both miniatures and postage are both pretty reasonable, and certainly no more expensive than their competitors. The only possible downside to Klukva is that as they're based in Russia there can be some fairly lengthy postal delays in shipping. That said, for fun purchases like these that most people are going to buy just to paint and display, I don't feel that it should put anyone off.

Personally, I'm going to be on the lookout for more characters from Klukva; especially if they make anything else from Legacy of Kain (hint, hint... Vorador, hint, hint...), although I might find it hard to resist a little resin Cloud Strife...

If you fancy picking up your own Kain and Raziel, the website address for Klukva Miniatures is:

"Kain is deified. The clans tell tales of him. Few know the truth. He was mortal once, as were we all."

P.S Kain is battling a GW Stormcast Vanguard in this picture. He makes a good stand in for a Sarafan Knight though!

Friday, 27 April 2018

Stormcast Eternals - Alternate Colour Scheme Test, Marble Armour

A bit of a random project for me, but sometimes I like to shake things up. I have to admit that I don't know a whole lot about Age of Sigmar, but there's no denying that they make some lovely models!

Sorry the photography is a bit lacking. I used my phone as I was in a rush!

This project really came about for two reasons; one was burnout. After working on my 40k Skaven, I really hit a wall where I couldn't continue anymore. It was really that I had done so much work to such a high standard in a short space of time; I needed a change of pace.

The second thing was that I entered a painting competition at my FLGS, and managed to take first prize in both categories. I won something quite interesting for one of the categories, and I'll post about that later. For the other category, I got some store credit, and I was determined to spend it on something that I could enjoy just as a painting project. While I was there, I had a look at the Start Collecting sets for Age of Sigmar and after a bit of internet fenoogling here we are (not sure that's a word, but whatever. I think it might be what you call Googling something whilst surrounded by ferns...)

Rays of heavenly light... apparently shine on my work. Or is that lens-flare? Hey, is that my pot of Ryza Rust, I've been looking for that!

Anyway, I've just finished a few test miniatures. I wanted something different and sort of mystical looking. I guess it falls into that sort of "Dark Age of Sigmar" type stuff you sometimes see. The paint scheme is based mostly on the Anime figure that I painted for last years GK Competition on E2046 (I'm also working on this year's entry at the moment, but more on that later).

For these models, I've used the airbrush to set up a natural tonal blend of white, grey and brown to be the basis of the marble. it couples well with the verdigris brass effects too. They're fairly time consuming to paint, but I think the overall look is worth the effort.

The force right after the initial airbrushing session. I'm quite looking forward to working on those Palladores!
For the Palladores (read Gryph-Horse riders for the uninformed) I've decided to go with something quite natural. I wanted the colours to look a bit like a cross between a horse and a tropical bird, so I went with green heads (partially to match the verdigris). I think the red chests will be nice when the models are done.

I'm thinking the base is like "Frozen Forest Floor" or at least that was the idea. I wanted something a bit more fantasy than usual. 

They really do look like they belong in 40k though!

Friday, 16 March 2018

Monster March - Stormfiends/Kastelan Robots Week 2

Well, I'm on target to get these guys finished. I've completed all of the teal armour, and basecoated and washed the skin down. I also added a base coat to the base, so I've made a start on most of the areas. I added a few more parts to them too and finished the gap fill since my post last week.

I'm painting them as a batch together as there are a lot of mixed colours, and I can't be bothered to do it all twice! It is starting to feel like a bit of a strain though. I think I overdid it in February, so after I finish these two, it'll be time for a break from 40k for a while. There is a local painting competition coming up soon too, so maybe that'll give me a bit of a break from it all.

Just to prove that I'm making decent progress, I've painted their backs too! I really like the little brain rats on their backs, although I'm a little confused as to how they were supposed to fit in fantasy with brain rats that seem to have some type of psychic hoods on them on the models. I know Skaven always had a lot of technology, but really?

Anyway, that rounds out this week's progress. We're about half way there, and I'm probably over the half way mark, so things are looking pretty good.

Friday, 9 March 2018

40k Skaven, Finished Transuranic Arquebus Squad

Just a quick post to show one of the units that I painted for this year's Squaduary. They were a bit of a last minute addition after I had finished the 10 man Vanguard unit, and I didn't get to post any individual pictures of them at the time.

The arquebuses are actually conversions using Jezzails from the Dragoon kit (somewhat ironic that they're called Jezzails, just like the classic Skaven models). I had to build the rests for them, and I was careful to make sure that they matched, so I used some spare rails from the Onager's Eradication Beam that I had 2 of.

It's cool having 2 finished troop choices and an HQ anyway, as it feels like the basics have been taken care of.

I'm still working on a pair of Stormfiends for the army for Monster March, so check back later to see how I get on.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

40k Skaven Sicarian Infiltrators - Gutter Runners in the 41st Millennium

To say that I'm proud of these conversions would be an understatement. They might just be my favourite thing from the army so far!

I have to admit that I really love the standard Sicarian models, so I was a bit hesitant to start carving them up to make them more Skaven-y. I ended up doing a lot of carving about to make them. I had to repurpose a lot of parts and  having 3 or four arms on each one seems to be the theme that I've gone for this time.

I've used some Storm Vermin leg plates to create the Samurai-type armour on the tops of the arms.

Probably the best picture of the squad. They don't always look quite true to life in the other shots where I've singled them out, but this one nails it. Apologies for the half painted one at the back. He was a bit of a salvage from an older project.
I managed to get them looking good by taking the Stormvermin bodies and cutting them at the waist on the front half. I then merged those parts onto the Sicarian legs and arms with some greenstuff to fill in the gaps and make the robes. They do still need a bit of work to fill in some of the areas that I haven't gotten round to. In particular some of the gaps around the eye lenses and sensors that I grafted onto the Stormvermin heads need a bit of work. Handily, the backpacks gave me a number of cool bits to add to them to tech them up suitably.

If I can keep working well, I'm hoping to batch these up for undercoats and basecoats with the airbrush at the same time as the 2 Stormfiends I've been working on for Monster March.

Threatening, or singing? You decide! I couldn't help but use the chord claws to create cool poses.

Special knife ... for stabbing. I sahved a few heads flat to get a different look from the standard Stormvermin.

You can see how the build is put together a bit more clearly by looking at the backs of the figures.
Well that about sums it all up. I think I've achieved what I set out to with these. I really liked the idea that they would be a support unit; a bit like the skirmishing Night Runners. For that reason, I wanted to go with the guns. I also really like the Taser Goads as I think they look great with the Skaven aesthetic. All in all it was an easy decision to make for the armaments.
Well that about rounds it out for now. Check back later to see how I get on with the next wave of painting!

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Showcase: Converted Onager, 40k Skaven Tank - "The Doomcrawler"

I finished painting this conversion as part of Squaduary, but I didn't get the time to take proper photos of it, other than the group shots with the army. I thought it would be cool to do a little showcase with more angles, so people could get a better look at it.

I'm really happy with how this thing came out, especially with the paint all finished up. I felt like it needed a crewman to really tie it in with the rest of the force and to make it clear what force it belongs to.

The original build was inspired by the Tachikomas from Ghost in the Shell, and the blue colour certainly brings it home. If you missed my earlier posts, this thing is basically an Onager with the cab flipper 180 degrees and joined to the back of the main leg section with a custom joint. Almost all of the pieces used are from the original Onager kit. 

I had originally thought of equipping it with the Iccarus Array, but when I sized up the parts I chose the Neutron Laser as it was the only gun big enough to fit the stretched out frame. Despite the increased length, it still balances really well on the base, and the build is as solid as a rock; although some of the is probably due to the great bond you get with plastic glue!

I'm happy with the crewman too. He has a little radio and control stick to give orders with. The radio voice piece actually connects to a little transmitter on his belt, but I forgot to take a picture of it. I painted him separately from the main tank, but he is the only part that was separated for painting. I might have broken it up more, but the extent of the conversion wouldn't allow it.

I'm still working on the army. I've got some Stormfiends that I'm working on for Monster March, and I've also been working on another unit that I'll post about tomorrow. Until next time then...