Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Infinity - Aleph Alternate Colour Scheme

I think it is probably no exaggeration to say that this might be the strangest colour scheme that I've ever done.

For those who don't know, Aleph is an artificial intelligence. This miniature is a proxy (basically a synthetic body that can be inhabited by a digital consciousness). With that in mind, I really wanted to get an inhuman and alien look going on.

I had the idea of taking their regular colours (beige and purple) and strengthening them. I also thought of combining them into one color, which led to the yellow blended through purple shade. After that, I still had to choose the other colours, and as I was going for a synthetic look I went for a pale white on the skin. The paints were applied with an airbrush, and it was a bit nail biting to say the least; one misaligned blast and it would've been easy to spoil the effect completely. If anyone is looking to do something similar, I'd say that the secret is to angle the model and apply the shades from below and the highlights from the top to try and protect the dual-tone effect.

After laying down a few colours, I suddenly had a moment of nostalgia. Did anyone else play Grandia 2 on the PS2? I did, and there was an android girl called Tio who actually looked quite similar to what I had. For the sake of it, as I was searching for a color for my proxy's hair, I just went
with it.


I'm still a bit unsure of the base though. For the moment, I'm sticking with it though, and was quite happy with the overall effect. I started these Aleph as a bit of a side project and for the fun of experimenting with their paint work, as I'm not planning to field them anytime soon. I'll be interested to paint up a few more though and see how they turn out.

Friday, 26 May 2017

A Satirical Look at Eighth Edition

There comes a time when every man has to throw in his two cents on a topic that is as ground-breaking in the hobby world as a new edition of 40k. Unfortunately for my poor readers, I decided to consult the dark gods directly and obtained a vision from another dimension. A dimension where the biggest Chaos Marine around struggles to come to terms with his place in the new edition...

Chapter 1 - State of Contusion


Bignimuus rapped the slide of his big gun with an even bigger hand.


"8th Edition eh?" he rumbled. His oversized lips grinding together; turning the sentence into the distant rumble of an oversized ogre. His beady eyes glared down at the new starter set in front of him.


"These supposedly extra big marines look a little small to me..." he pressed down on one Primaris marine with a gargantuan thumb; reducing the plastic plaything to a slagged heap of contorted crappola with little effort.


"Fight back you cowards!" he roared, unloading a whole magazine from his engorged bolter into the gaming table. Time seemed to go into slow motion as devastated cardboard mixed with erupting wood and dismembered miniatures.


The stricken pieces fell to the ground in a shower of tinkling remnants. Bignimuus eyed his bolter excitedly; seeming to notice on some level that it was now capable of blasting through a Dreadnought's front armour. Perhaps there was more to this edition stuff than he had given it credit for.


Before long, the grim scene was disturbed by the graunching sound of active power armour as Titanicoor loomed through the doorway. His legs were so huge and over-muscled that he could barely walk, and his thigh plates ground together in a shower of unnecessary sparks as he entered the room. He was holding one of the new Death Guard miniatures cradled in his arms.


"Mighty brothers, you have been shrunken and frozen by some foul sorcery!". Titanicoor blubbered big stinky tears; looking down lovingly at the tiny bare plastic Plague Marine.


"By the dark gods!" Boomed Bignimuus "What has happened to our once proud brother!?".


Titanicoor's only reply was to hold out a freshly printed rulebook. The glossy paperback was dwarfed by Titanicoor's mailed hand. Bignimus snatched the proffered item hungrily; eyeing it with incredulity.


"This?!" he raged; flipping thought the pages.


"We'll see about that!"


Chapter 2 - Tabletop Tantrum

Bignimuus' narrowed eyes glared coldly into his opponent's sweaty visage. His hand moved slowly to his holster; and then carried on towards the tabletop. He shunted the blight drone forwards  a few inches and then ended his turn.



His opponent threw a hand full of dice, nervously joking about the quantity of plasma he was wielding and then declared victory. He then had the audacity to reach out tentatively to remove the Blight Drone from the table.


Bignimuus didn't like this game. With a spittle flinging roar, he ground the table underfoot and punched his opponent's head clean off his shoulders with a looping lariat. The poor man's headless body swung in the breeze for an agonising moment while the massive marauder took a bite out of the rulebook like it was a club-sandwich.


Titanicoor looked on miserably from the side-lines lamenting the loss of the once proud morale phase that they had previously used to cause lesser men turn tail and run, but that now apparently beamed terrified guardsmen off of the battlefield without spilling a drop of blood. It seemed too clean somehow.


"Would you stop blubbering!" Bignimuus screamed unnecessarily; sending a spray of half-digested paper into the air. Titanicoor was blowing his nose into an oversized hankie that just about managed to stop the seemingly never-ending stream of snot flowing from his front-grill.


"But the dreadnought can be killed by bolter fire now..." he whined in the deepest and most manly way possible.


"I will avenge your pain" Bignimuus rumbled; soon following up his declaration by making a ship-wide announcement.


"Warrior Brothers prepare for landfall; target, GW HQ Nottingham!"


Chapter 3 - Apocalypse How?


“Commandeer that Rhino!” Boomed Bignimuus, whilst whirling his chainsword above his head like some grim helicopter with roid rage.


Despite its seemingly traitorous colouring, this “Warhammer World” place seemed to be sporting a veritable arsenal of Imperial weaponry. Bignimuus climbed on board the unmanned vehicle; before promptly falling straight through the badly-finished MDF panelling up to his waist.


“By the dark gods!” he declared frothily, “They’ve been changing the rules again. Are Rhinos truly made of such flimsy-material in Eighth Edition?”


With no way to activate the replica transport, Bignimuus was left with only one option that made sense to his swollen mind.


“Brother Enormotank! Push me closer, I want to hit them with my sword!”


“Yeauuh, Bruutha!” the reply came across the vox network as a throaty growl, and within moments the bizarre battle group were underway; gouging huge ravines into the floor with the faux tank’s un-turning tracks.


Unexpectedly, but inevitably, their path was soon blocked by a banged up Ford Cortina.


“Super-King Blokk, I have some information.” The treaty voxed straight to Bignimuus’ ear-bead. He recognised Titanicoor’s voice immediately despite the distortion and the whistling of the wind. Titanicoor continued “It seems that in this new edition, vehicles have been given a Weapons Skill Value and will be able to fight in close combat…”


“Whaaatt!” Bignimuus screeched to a halt in direct base-to-base contact with the cowering Cortina. What happened next would one day come to be a point of contention amongst historians, but most agree that the resulting explosion was what led to the destruction of the entire world.


Well, that's all folks. I bet you feel really enlightened about the new edition now! For those who stuck around to the end, I can only commend your good taste and impeccable sense of humour. Until next time.
On the off chance that anyone actually enjoyed this article, don't forget to read Bungo the Barbarian, as there are plenty of hilarious chapters available to read now!


Friday, 19 May 2017

Airbrushing and Masking Miniatures - Plus Blue Steel NMM Technique

Masking, is there anything worse? It just never seems to go quite right, and no matter what fancy product you use it can be a bit of a battleground. Most of the time, it tends to go two ways; you either mask so well that you end up peeling the paint off when you take the tape away, or you do it too tentatively and end up with overspray and a bad finish.

Despite these concerns, I've been working on a technique that gives good coverage and protection, whilst not doing any damage. I managed to try it out this weekend on my Infinity Guijia, and it worked wonders.

I started by painting the orange armour sections with the airbrush (as orange is the main colour I didn't do any masking). I completely finished these by adding in edge highlights with the standard brush, and when I was happy, I gave them a coat of Vallejo Satin Varnish. This has the same lustre as the regular paint, but helps protect it from the next steps (It is also very important for my secret overspray defence technique, but more on that later). I painted in the areas that I wanted to do in Steel NMM in black with a regular brush as I was going to add a blend with various greys to them.

At this point, I usually find that something strange will happen. I'll be sitting there at my painting table and the airbrush will start to talk. It'll eye up the masking tape and say "Hey buddy, I thought you were a real man ... you don't need to mask anything, I wouldn't overspray on you". Try not to listen though - it's a trick. Even when it brings up all the progress you've made, and how nice your last mini was...

I find that Tamiya make good masking tape. It's pretty much as simple as that. I've used a few different brands, but it's the only one I trust not to weld itself on and come off with all of my hard work stuck to it. I have the varnish too for protection and I try not to leave it on there too long (an hour or so should be enough time to get what I need done). It does take a bit of time to get the tape on there and get coverage that you're happy with, but you really can't cut any corners. If you only need to mask the model to paint one thing that sticks out, I recommend using some plastic wrap like you used to have for your sandwiches, as the coverage is good and fast and I've never had any problems with peeling it off.

Blue-Steel NMM (Non Metallic Metal)

Top tip for mixing paint for the airbrush - mix it separately, not in the airbrush's cup and the consistency is right when it runs freely.

For the blue steel effect, I painted 4 layers over the black with the airbrush:

  1. A general highlight with a mix of black, Vallejo Dark Prussian Blue and white. This is a pretty dark mix, and the blue seems to help get some interest into it as well as aids the non metallic metal appearance.
  2. I followed up with another highlight, mixing in a greater quantity of white this time, and focusing on the upper areas and places that seemed like they should be reflective.
  3. I finished up with 2 highlight layers of pure white. The reason for the second coat was to try to intensify the "shine" that I was going for.
This was the colour that I used for the original mix (although this picture is from when I was painting it with the normal brush later)

After that, I painted his sword in blue, and then it was time for the moment of truth; peeling the tape. Luckily, thanks to all that preparation, it went rather well.

Even with all of that masking, I still had a little overspray on some of the orange parts to contend with. This was quite noticeable on the pilot's arm, where the end had got speckled with white unintentionally. Luckily though, I was prepared to deal with it, and that varnish was a real time saver.

Dealing with Overspray

Remember that varnish? If you're looking to make this work, I hope you applied it!

Like I said, this only works if you added varnish during the earlier step. This is because it protects the paint from what I'm about to do. Working quickly, I grab my airbrush cleaning fluid. This stuff is designed to break down paint in the mechanism, so it'll eat the paint right off. I take a fairly soft old brush, dip it into the fluid and then apply it directly to the overspray. I rub it for about 10 seconds, or until I see it dissolve and then wash the whole area out with a lot of clean water. I want to make sure that there won't be any cleaning solution left as I have no idea what it would do, so I recommend a lot of water (so obviously only do this once the paint you were applying is dry!).

Finishing Up

After a delicate scrubbing, the few little bits of overspray were gone and the mini was ready for the final steps. In this instance, that meant painting in some of the steel bits that I couldn't reach with the airbrush and then finishing up the steel with a final shade in the recesses and sharp highlight to get a bit more shine on it. For these steps, I used pure black and pure white respectively.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Guijia TAG and Pilot - Almost Finished!

This might be my finest work yet. Occasionally, when painting a miniature I have a jump forward in technique. This time, it came when I was painting the grey NMM steel on this Guijia (don't ask me how you pronounce that). Handily, I took a few pictures during the process, so I should be able to talk a bit more about it later. 

One of the things that I really progressed in was actually not what you'd expect. Oddly, I improved my technique when masking the model, which in turn allowed me to go further with the airbrush and push the application to 3 separate blended colors - namely, the orange armour, steel, and blue sword. I still haven't finished the base, but I was so excited that I couldn't wait to take a few pictures. 

The pilot is cool too. I'm not sure how often I'll actually get to see her in the game, but I like the mini. She reminds me of Evangellion or something. I struggled a bit with her face though. I might have to go back and make some corrections to her later. Faces can still feel a bit like a gamble; you never quite now how it'll turn out!

The orange is even more saturated this time too, thanks to an additional shade of red that I added to make it pop even more. I love the design on this thing too. It really screams Gundam, which is always a good thing in a sci-if robot.

I was particularly happy with the calf parts as the gave me a nice big space to work up the NMM. The surprising part about this thing is  that even now, I've probably only spent 5 hours on it over one weekend, which for the quality of the job is pretty damn good. Unfortunately, my speed  is also sort of a curse, as I lack the patience when it comes to actual competitions. I guess I'll live with it, as the trade-off is having a lot of really nice minis!

The other side. I didn't want to put too many layers into the airbrush for the steel looking NMM as I wasn't sure how it would turn out. I might layer the highlights more next time I use this technique to push the contrast.

Like I said earlier, I'll post more about the painting techniques later. For now, I'm just gonna take a break; painting this intensely sure is tiring!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

TT Combat Power Plant - with added bits

I painted this power plant recently for my brother. The thing is made of laser cut MDF, and produced by Troll Trader as part of the TT combat range. Never one to skimp on the extra effort, my brother has added a few accessories from one of TT Combat packs (the balcony and waste bins).

From my standpoint, I'm not ashamed to say that my goal was to blast this thing out as quickly as possible. With that in mind, I blasted it up with the airbrush at great speed. I gave it a good coat of grey primer, then shaded with a little orange before highlighting with white. That gave me a good base, and I then went in with a little dark grey for some added interest. Obviously, I also painted the bins red, which I had on hand as I was painting some miniatures on the side! All in all, it took me a total of about 90 minutes to get it looking like this.

The holo-add is a piece by Micro Art Studio

I took the time to add a few additional details on the bins and on some of the walls. The cool part is that this thing is modular, so you can arrange it into a number of different positions (most of which were too big for my photo backing!). It should be a blast in games.

The radar dishes can be moved around too, as well as the bins to give it even more flexibility. I'd love to say that I was finished, but there is plenty more scenery where this thing came from and right now I'm just trying to paint it as he builds it; otherwise we both risk being buried under mountains of the stuff!

It looks great with some miniatures on it too. Here's hoping for many fun games to come.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Infinity - Yu Jing Showcase

I've been working towards a fully completed 200 point force for the past few weeks for a few Infinity games that I've got coming up. With this post, I'm happy to announce that the force is all painted up and ready for deployment!

I even had some extra time to paint up a spare miniature or two, so the force is a bit larger than I need for the games that I have booked. I'm still adding to it too, so there will still be more miniatures coming off of my painting desk soon. I've really enjoyed working on these miniatures, and it struck me how quickly you can become accustomed to working with metal again. I don't know about everyone else, but I don't tend to see a lot of manufacturers working with metal anymore, and it really isn't always a good thing! (Finecast... I'm looking at you...).

From a personal standpoint, I'm all about the detail, so as long as the detail is there, I'm fine with any material (although I still like the quality and malleability  of GW's plastics, and the sheer detail quality of Anvil's resin products).

The more recent additions to this force are mostly from the Yu Jing starter set from Red Veil. It really feels like Infinity has hit its stride now, and almost every model coming out is a sight to behold. The designs are top notch, and everything has a nice defined sci-fi style. These miniatures are going to be used in conjunction with some of the ones that I've already featured (the Ninja, Domaru Butai and bike). I'll add a picture of them below. Next up is the Guijia and some scenery. Luckily, I've got a start on both, so the next part of the force should be up soon!

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Infinity - Red Veil Ninja

I've been hard at work again. This time on another mini for my Infinity Yu Jing force. Don't ask me why, but there's just something about all of these 40k 8th Edition rumours that makes me really want to focus on a different game for a while; until the edition is out and we start getting really solid info and pictures that is!

Back on topic, I'm really impressed with this Ninja. She is a special edition miniature that comes in the Operation Red Veil Starter set that I purchased at Salute recently (£50 from Troll Trader!). I really like the design, and also the nice dynamic pose. She painted up really nicely too, so that was a big bonus.

As the rest of the force are orange, I wanted to do something different and interesting to differentiate the ninja (the standard scheme is black). It just to happened that I was priming a batch of Yu Jing minis grey and I liked the look of it on the Ninja, so I decided to keep it. It worked with the scheme too as white is one of the accent colours that I've been using. I added an extra shade with dark grey and then a white highlight both with the airbrush to get a nice blend going on as a base for the mini, and then I started painting from there.

What I didn't realise was that the grey colour scheme with orange accent as almost exactly like Ninja in the original Metal Gear Solid (Grey Fox). That made me like the scheme even more, as to be honest the model was obviously inspired by him (she basically look like a gender-swapped version!).
After that, I started working on some basic troops. I hope to get the force tabletop ready soon.
While working on this post, I accidentally posted it to the blog exchange, so I guess you can all enjoy it a day early! Just don't forget to check out my work on that bike that I posted earlier today!

The Orange Bike of Doom

A while ago, I started painting up this bike for use with my Yu Jing force (technically, it's an Aleph model, but I couldn't resist). Anyway, I finished her over the weekend, and I'm over the moon with how the orange bike came out. She looks great with the force too.

I based the highlights heavily on Angel Giraldez's work. One of the reasons I bought this bike was specifically because she was covered in his first masterclass book and I wanted to give it a go myself; albeit with rather different colours. Out of all of the pictures, this group shot actually displays her in a way that is very true to what the model looks like in person (for some reason, photos often tend to change colours or warp things a bit). 

If you missed it, you can read how I painted the orange here:


She is actually featured in the tutorial, so it's well worth checking out if you're interested. Speaking of the method, I've now updated it to include an extra step; pure white highlights to create a "shine" at key points. They do tend to disappear a bit in the photos, but do make a big difference in person.

True to form, I've included a dynamic shot too for your viewing pleasure. I've got a lot of Yu Jing cluttering up my painting table at the moment, so stay tuned as hopefully there'll be more of them appering on here over the next few weeks.