Sunday, 30 April 2017

Inquisitor Greyfax - Salute Painting Competition 2017 Entry

Well, the competition ended in defeat. I'm not too upset though as I still got a really nicely painted model out of it for my collection! (and what perhaps might even be the nicest Greyfax in existence - she hasn't been out for that long...)

It was a daring piece for me - with a lot of Non-Metallic Metal technique used throughout, and in the end I was quite happy with the result that I achieved. Don't get me wrong, there's always room to improve, but I was happy with the blending and the overall look. I think I fell down on the small details though, as I just couldn't be bothered to spend as long as perhaps I should on the smaller parts (like some of the cloth and grey metallics). I guess I only have myself to blame there. It was the first time that I've done a whole model in NMM, so from that standpoint I think it was a real success.

I have to admit that I think that a lot of the time Non-Metallic Metals are a real gimmick. It's more of a painter's technique, not particularly for the battlefield, and in all honesty real metallic paints almost always look more realistic. That said, the technique makes for some awesome looking power swords, and really pushes blending to another level.

Even though I failed, I learned a lot with this piece, so who knows where I'll be at when the next year rolls round. I think the Sci-fi single mini is a hard category too; with a lot of entries compared to other categories (next year I should probably enter the squad category or something where I might have a bit more of a chance). You never know though, my techniques have come on a lot in the last year, so I might just manage it by next year if I'm lucky!

The other thing I hadn't realised were how different the judging criteria were from what I had expected. I've got a photo of them below. I was particularly surprised by the weight given to emotional impact and telling a story, as to be honest, I hadn't considered it at all when working on the piece. Definitely worth remembering for next time though, as the criteria are surprisingly esoteric. I'll add a picture of the criteria below (which I only read on the day!).

Anyway, I've never been one to stew in defeat, so I hope you enjoy the pictures. I just need to think of something to enter next year that has emotional impact now.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Salute 2017 - Blazmo's Big Day Out

One man, one model, one mission ... oh, and one now rather empty wallet. It must be Salute 2017 then. I entered the painting competition again this year too, but more on that later. I figure that the best way to start is with a big exciting shot:

I like to keep the angle low so you can see the board and not the punters, as Salute is always a major sausage fest... oh, and yes, that is a Warlord Titan.

This picture shows just one part of an amazing 30k display put together by the South London Warlords themselves. There was an awesome array of Heresy stuff on show, and I had the opportunity to get rather close to this lovely Warlord Titan. I don't envy the guy who had to paint it though as that thing was pretty big!

That right there is a Contemptor (the tiny dot on the right!)

Just for fun, I'm going to feature interesting facts under the title of "Top Secret Info" throughout this article. These are all things that I discovered on the day by chatting to people about what was going on, so hopefully even if you read other articles on Salute, you'll still learn something!

Top Secret Info: The Titan has light up LED lights on its head; fairly obvious from a lot of pictures. I got to talking so some of the guys though and apparently, it also has a working War Horn - with speakers mounted in the head. Rumour has it that it's quite loud too (although apparently not loud enough to penetrate the heaving dirge of Salute's crowds!)

There were also a lot of display games going on. I particularly enjoyed this Infinity game. that featured a very cool set-up with a huge Mag-Lev Train arrayed as the central piece for the scenario.

Top Secret Info: The train is made by TT Combat (Troll Trader) and is available from their website. Its track was actually a plastic piece of insulating conduct junk (whatever that plastic box stuff is called they put over wires in offices!)

Needless to say, I had to drop by Anvil Industry:

Interesting stuff from Anvil this year. They had a full display set up with some really well done Afterlife miniatures on show. They also had the full Regiments/Trench Fighters Range with them (my personal favourite) as well as a demo game going on; on the bonnet of a converted Land Rover! (no really a full size vehicle with a turret and everything). That one in particular seemed to be a great hit with the kids. 
Being the generous guy that I am, I took the opportunity to give them a gift; namely the 5 men that I had painted for the Trench Fighters review (see the review here). I know people will think I've gone mad, but they weren't really for an army I collect and were just going to sit in my display case gathering dust, and I figured the guys at Anvil might appreciate them. They were very well received!
If you head over to facebook, you'll see my original pictures heading up their facebook page. What a vote of confidence for the blog!
They re-join their brothers in arms. Ready to invade Anvil HQ! (sorry about the blurry shot)
Top Secret Info: According to the Anvil team, they weren't expecting to make any money from Salute as they already spent all of the profit on their shiny new stand and display! Also, the super secret part was they they're thinking of opening an actual physical store at some point in the future. Good luck guys!

I also had the pleasure of entering Eavier Metal's Speed painting event. The goal? Paint a zombie in 25 minutes. Here's a picture of two of the finest entries around...

I'll be honest, both painting and photography could be better (not to mention sculpting - where did these things come from?). The interesting part was that it gave me a chance to try out Army Painter's range paint range. It turns out that they're rather interesting - with a notably long drying time and an almost oil-based type feel. They do dry rather smooth though and the pigment is good. I might have to buy some in the future to experiment with as they are a whole different thing compared to GW and Vallejo, and really feel like paints designed to wet-blend with.

The speed painting was great fun, and was a real highlight of the day. The perfect way to rest your weary feet after a few hours of shopping, and to test your skill a bit too. Also, the running commentary was pretty funny, and certainly made it a memorable experience. Fun for all ages.

Top Secret Info: The Eavier Metal Guys host their own painting competition called "Eadbanger III". I'm assuming that means that this is their 3rd year or something...

I also got to have a go at painting one of the zombies from Mantic's new game based on The Walking Dead. These were much nicer miniatures, and with no time limit it was a great chance to relax later on in the day. I got to keep both of the miniatures that I painted for these events too, so that was a big plus-point.

Painting Competition

There was also the big painting competition going on. I took my entry down and got her in the case early on. Unfortunately the picture quality isn't that great through several inches of hardened super glass (also known as a cabinet door).

I've taken some better pictures at home which I'll feature in a separate post, as I don't want to clutter everything up here with them. I was very happy with the end result.

Unfortunately, I didn't place in the end, but I never really expected to. Interestingly, it became all the more clear why when I looked at the judging categories for the first time; with points given for emotional impact and other things that I never even considered. I normally just go for badass or "look at my shiny new bolter", so that was a bit of an eye-opener.

Next year it'll be a crying mime on a dragon then!


Not content with just good prices, some stores also gave goodie bags to the first customers (limited numbers). In addition to the bag I got on my way in, I was treated to an extra bag of goodness from Troll Trader after spending over £30 in their store on scenery (more on that later because the deals were literally jaw dropping). This list isn't exhaustive, but it gives you a taste of some of the things on offer. Don't forget about the 2 free zombies I got earlier either!

In the Salute Bag, I got a figure for Freebooter's Fate, which actually looks like a pretty well-detailed plastic piece and the Salute 2017 figure, which looks like a horrible metal mess with a flag (so about the same as every year then! It really is one of those rare models that could be improved through the use of high-yield explosives). I can't complain though as it was free and like I said, the Freebooter's Fate one does look pretty nice.

In the bonus TT bag, I got a free set of resin miniatures (one from their new game Rumble Slam - a miniature fantasy wrestling game, and some bonus promotional bits), the rulebook for Deadzone, and a pre-coloured card building, which is always nice.

Well, that about sums it up for now. I'll be back later with a post about the miniature I entered in the painting competition and some more on what I bought on the day. Until later then...

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Salute 2017 - Pre-show Preamble

Well, the fated day is upon us and I'll be well on the way to the venue by the time this post goes live.

True to form, I finished my painting competition entry with mere seconds to spare. It might not be perfect enough to win, but I'm happy with it, and I think I exceeded my original goal, which was to expand my knowledge of Non Metallic Metals and to have a go at the technique in detail. So wish me luck with that.

I'm keeping the final product under wraps, but you can see it in person in the sci-fi single miniature category. I even managed to nab a plinth to put her on in the end, so I was chuffed about that. I actually hate plinths in principle - the model comes on a base already! I wanted to be taken seriously though, so for £3.99 I figured it was worth it.

A picture from where I was at a week ago.

Personally, I'm hoping to get a lot of shopping done too as there are literally hundreds of retailers at the show; meaning that it's a smorgasbord of deals. Last year I had great fun shopping, so I hope it'll be as good this year. One of the great things is the opportunity to go to some shops that normally only exist online; like Anvil or the always popular Forgeworld. There are also a lot of terrain manufacturers there with a lot of stuff that you don't see every day. Coupled with the participation games and displays, it should make for a hell of a day out.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Bugo the Barbarian - Chapter 18, Bungo and the Briney Beast

A week passed as The Excelsior was lost amongst the waves; days running together into one endless night of thunderous fury. It was a miracle the barely seaworthy hulk hadn’t capsized yet, but nobody on board dared to breathe a word of it lest their last remaining fear would come to pass. Bungo had been no help either; feverish with amnesia and unable to leave his sickbed.


Shallica was on deck; perched on the prow of the ship. For the second day in a row, she looked out into the tumultuous grey and hoped for salvation. She squinted against the unrelenting downpour; for a moment a shape seemed to loom in the distance.


“Land!” Her exultant cry as cut short by confusion. The land seemed to be moving, or at least it appeared to have disappeared into the mists, like a wishful mirage just beyond reach.


Janboe was up the rigging in an instant and staring through his sexton at the object. Shallica wondered whether he knew how to use the nautical instrument at all. Come to think of it, it might explain why they’d been stuck in the storm for so long. It didn’t help her confidence when his trousers inexplicably fell down around his ankles and he scrambled to pull them up again; fumbling with the buckle for an unnecessarily long amount of time that made her wonder if the act was intentional.


Suddenly, Janboe’s face took on a different air; he shouted something down to the deck, but the words were lost amidst the storm. Judging from the goblin’s frantic arm movements it wasn’t good news. Her suspicions were confirmed when the ship suddenly lunged to one side in response to a loud crashing noise. A spray of water lapped across the deck and for one moment Janboe’s voice cut above the storm. The only word she could make out was “Serpent”, although by this stage it was irrelevant as the colossal creature she had originally mistaken for land reared its dinosauric head above the water.


At almost 30 feet tall above the waves it was impossible to tell the actual size of the beast. Its fiery eyes stared down hungrily at the sea hands that were scrambling on deck in an attempt to regain control of the wildly listing Excelsior. It lurched forward with the speed and destructive power of a lightning strike; neatly snatching a straggling cabin-boy from the crowd and wharfing him down in a shower of meaty chunklets. The disturbing scene was made all the more obscene as the creature emitted an odd purr that reverberated through the beams of the ship; it was laughing.


Shallica took to the air; her sensuous form spiralling straight for the beast’s draconian maw. At the last minute she twisted away and blazed demonic lightning into the right side of its face. The bolts cracked through the air; seeming to take power from the storm itself. The blast discharged against its flesh in a sizzling eruption that would have flash-fried a charging Wendigo, but barely scratched the surface of its iron-hard scaled hide. It turned immediately; snapping at thin air as Shallica flew overhead.


She turned in mid-flight, cutting her levitation and plummeting like a stone past its right flank. Her perception seemed to go into slow motion as the serpentine beast turned towards her, there was an opening for a brief moment and in that instant she sent another weave of lightning scorching into its face. This time the magical fires found their mark and its right eye exploded like a rotten pomegranate with a spray of pus and viscera. It threw its head back; wracked with pain; before its serpentine form crashed bodily to the deck.


The ship heaved out of the water in response to the sea beast’s bulk; cresting a particularly large wave before crashing down into the tumultuous sea with a resounding explosion of salt-water. Shallica’s magical power had begun to wane after she had expended so much energy in the assault; she floated unsteadily to the main sail and held on for dear life; drained of strength.


“We’re all gonna die!” screamed Janboe; wildly firing a pair of rapid fire hand crossbows ineffectually at the Excelsior’s monstrous occupant. He threw the spent weapons down and dived under a cargo sheet. Whether he’d ever emerge again was questionable, but even amidst the chaos Shallica still couldn’t help but notice that his trousers seemed to have fallen round his ankles again.


It was in that moment of utter despair, when all hope seemed lost, that something incredible happened.


“Who dares disturb the great Donglore – Lord of the Underworld!” The voice that boomed from somewhere inside the ship was so deep and manly that Shallica immediately went weak at the knees and collapsed pantingly against the main sail.


The cabin door flew open a moment later and Bungo emerged. Clad only in his leather pants and wearing a well shined chamber pot on his head he was a sight to behold. On closer inspection it seemed that he had through some unknown means bored a pair of eye holes in the shining spittoon, and he was standing proudly with his hands placed firmly at his hips. His rippling physique seemed even more bulbous amidst the storm as a flash of lightning illuminated his steely pecs magnificently.


The entire ship went silent; even the din of the storm and the crashing of the waves seemed to quiet in dumfounded confusion as the strange scene unfolded.


Leaping into the fray, Bungo delivered an explosive kick to the monster’s ruined eye socket. The force was so great that the charging barbarian’s colossal leg was momentarily buried up to the knee in the creature’s ruined face. He pulled his sticky leg out with a grunt of exertion; following it up wilt a ludicrously big punch that drove the massive creature 10 skidding metres across the deck; its bulk snapped the mainsail like a twig.


The Sea beast mewled pathetically as the Avatar of Donglore bore down on it.

“There’s….” Bungo paused, gathering speed for a new charge “No Escape!” He roared the last words as he tackled the monster again; driving his shining bed-pan-helm hard into its jugular. A colossal wind rocked the ship as all of the air was expelled from the beast’s lungs.


“BICEPS OF JUSTICE GIVE ME STRENGTH!” Bungo’s new persona seemed to be running wild. He leapt at the creature like an enraged tiger; wrapping his steely arms around its neck in an unrelenting bear-hug. It tried to roll away and back into the sea, but the bulksome warrior coiled his legs around its snake like throat and dug in deeper.


After several agonising minutes of straining, the beast finally went limp in Bungo’s arms. Its tongue rolled out listlessly as life left its body.


Not one to leave a job half finished, Bungo delivered a final boot to the creature that sent the lifeless beast plunging into the depths below.


“That’ll be 10 silver pieces each.” Janboe’s high pitch voice sounded from his vantage point on the floor. He dusted himself off and held out his hand expectantly. The crew looked at him blankly.


“It’ll be a cold day in hell when I let anyone see a man like Bungo choke the one-eyed-snake for free.”

Monday, 17 April 2017

Salute Painting Competition Panic!

With less than a week to go till the big event, I'm determined to be finished on time; although the jury is still out on what the quality of my entry will be in the end!

For those who missed it, Salute is the biggest independent Wargaming convention in the UK. Fairly obviously, this means that the painting competition is the second biggest around (after Golden Demon). A few months back when the Triumvirate of the Imperium was released, I decided to try my hand at painting up Greyfax for the competition. If you missed it, the project was designed to push the limits of my skill by stretching my painting to the max. For some insane reason, I decided to paint her wholly in Non Metallic Metals (a technique that uses regular colours to replicate the look of metallic objects). I even did a tutorial on the technique as I understood it. My intention was always to enter the finished mini in the competition when the time came.

So, now the time has come and I'm frantically trying to finish. On the upside, I have a doable amount left. On the downside I still have a long way to go. At this point, I don't expect to place in the competition, but I'm still determined to at least finish. My goal was to try and make the cut for the finals, so fingers crossed for that!

The Condemner Boltgun in particular mocks me with its unfinished yellowish mediocrity!

The problem is that the more I look, the more I see that I need to do! Oh well, no sense in complaining about it now... better get back to painting...

If you missed the article on painting NMM, you can find it here:

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Dynamic Miniature Photography

Some of my followers might have noticed a difference in the last few articles; I've started to add in scenery and other elements in an effort to spice things up and get a more dynamic look.

The change was inspired partially by Forgeworld books that often feature set ups designed to look like battlefield photography, but also by the narrative contained in evey game. After all, things just look so much more exciting on the battlefield than the display cabinet!

I thought I'd share the type of setup I was using to get these pictures, and also a few thoughts in general about the process. One of the fun things about these shots is that they are a bit of an excuse to throw good practice in the bin; put lights where you want and use funny angels. Even a little blur can help; especially in creating a difference between the foreground and background. I've been really happy with the results, and it can certainly make for some striking pictures, without much effort really.

Traditionally, when taking pictures, I use quite a high angle to capture the bases and other details, but for these shots, going in low at eye level or even looking almost directly upwards can give some surprisingly cool results - they also take the bases out of shot which helps add to the realism.

It can be fun to do opposing sides too; which adds a bit of drama and helps forge a little narrative. It doesn't take a lot of scenery either, and for all of the Anvil shots I used only 2 GW ruins and a small crater that I built some years ago out of a spare bit of hard-board and some polly-filler!

A little sepia tone effect can go a long way!

Ultimately, you can have a lot of fun trying to make your stuff look "real", and I'm planning to make pictures like these a regular feature; after all we all have some great collections and it's a cool way to showcase them.

I'd love to see more dynamic shots from other blogs too, so consider this a personal challenge to you and your camera!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Dark Eldar Warrior Colour Scheme Test

I still haven't given up on my latest project (despite the aforementioned painting competition I need to be working on). I painted up this warrior as a test of not only the high-gloss red armor, but also the converted masked look that I'd gone for on the Warriors. I'm really happy with how it came out, but getting it that gloss was a bit of a stretch for the secret technique that I've been using!

The Valhallan Blizzard snow effect has been well worth it too; helping to add a bit of interest any dynamism to the bases without taking too long to pull off. I've also been using that old green wash technique that I developed for adding interest to statues to add a bit of mildewed greenery to the floor that certainly gives a better impression than those plain Goblin Green bases we used to do in the 90s (don't lie, if you were hobbling back then you did it too...)

If you missed the article about real world references and adding a bit of green in, you can find it here.

The mini looks good anyway, so enjoy the pictures. As always, I love the Wracks!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Infinity Domaru Butai Painted

Well, the blog has been a bit quiet lately; must be time to break the silence with something fresh and different!

I've had these miniatures sitting about for quite a while now, and I was looking through my drawer the other day and I decided that it was high time I finished them. Those of you with good memories may remember them from my Painting Orange Tutorial from a while back.

If you don't play Infinity, they're from a faction called Yu Jing that are basically a conglomerate of futuristic Chinese and Japanese factions. These guys are specifically from the Japanese Sectorial Army. Like I mentioned, I did a tutorial on this color scheme a while back for anyone interested. Technique wise, I use the airbrush to lay down a blend and use a bit of pre-shading. The thing that I really like about this scheme is how saturated the colours look. It's basically the same as my Necron scheme, although for these miniatures I went a bit further to get a higher quality look.

Another thing that you might find interesting is that they're all metal. A rarity in this day and age, but the detail is great, and given how much of a minefield resin can be, I'm glad they went with metal for the whole Infinity range.

I figure it was a weekend well spent. I'm hoping to continue with the force soon, but with Salute breathing down my neck (well the painting competition anyway) I might have to hold off till I can finish Greyfax up, as I still have a long way to go.

Well, that about does it for now. If you like these, feel free to check out the PanOceania stuff I painted too: