Monday, November 11, 2013

Here comes the Cavalry!

Just a quick update! World Series is fast approaching and after spending the day battling Bali belly I'm happy to say that my first 4 Silver helms are done, with only the horses to go on the next 4! As u read last time I wasn't too happy with how they were coming together, but I have to say, true to the wisdom of the Hobby Fiend now that they are done they do look better than expected. I still think individually they aren't my best work, but combined in the unit the colours are really striking and the WL heads really add another dimension.

In other news I'm not sure I'll get the prince and BSB done by Saturday as I really don't want to rush them, but I'll definitely keep posting updates on them and they'll also be able to be seen on the tourney scene next year.

Friday, November 1, 2013

The end...or the beginning? Most probably the middle

So it's end of October and so I guess that means that I fail. As I write this I am 100% done with the Spears and the Archers (except for basing) but am only about 80% through the Silver Helms and haven't started on the characters yet. I'll be honest I'm quite happy with my achievement thus far, and personally I've always been aiming for World Series rather than October as such, and to be honest I'm confident I'll still get there. I've learnt a lot over this month and it has definitely given me some confidence on how much I can get done if I set my mind and calendar to it.

I have to admit I am disappointed with the quality of work I've done thus far. I'm really pleased with my archers and reasonably satisfied with my spears but must admit I'm pretty disappointed with my Silver Helms. They just don't seem to be coming together for me. I'm not very good about knowing where to place the highlights and have to admit the lack of clear definition between areas on the models has made it really hard for me to create a neat and clean finish on the minis. Hopefully once I finish the steeds and add the details such as rubies they will look a little better, but no matter how many layers etc I do on the metallics they just seem to come up uneven and messy. Ah well I'll keep going doing the best I can. So I've got a couple weeks to go and hopefully when you are at World Series you can all judge for yourself.

Of course I'm going to keep posting as often as I can.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm still here!

So I must admit I've been a little sloppy with my updates, that is not, however because I haven't been making progress. In fact I think I've made quite a bit. As I write this I have completely finished my Spears (apart from the basing and attaching shields) and am about 77.58% through my Silver Helms.
Although neither units look as good as I'd hoped I still think they look ok.

What I realised while painting all of these old kits is that the minis are very unforgiving when it comes to painting. Their details aren't great and there are a lot of ridges and inconsistencies in the sculpts. There is also a lot of areas that seem to blend into each other so there is actually no definition between areas like cloaks and pants. As a result I think that one needs to be an exceptional painter to make them look really good. Because the sculpts on newer kits are so good and so well defined techniques like drybrushing and washes work really well, which helps a mediocre painter like me. This is however only a theory of mine and I'm interested to hear if anyone else finds this with the older minis.

The other thing I struggled with was getting depth into the metallic armour colour I used. I've both drybrushed different layers and used the spray and wash techniques (which I've used for Duelling Paintbrushes) and in either case I've found it hard to get great depth in the metal colours.

I also have to apologise because I've gotten so caught up in my painting that I never actually took work in progress photos for the minis, I do have some finished products here (minus the shoulder pads which arrived post these photos, and I'm too tired to take more) Hopefully I can update you guys again tomorrow.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Slow and steady...

Come at me bro/Dark Elves

So FINALLY I have finished my 15 Archers!!!!! Well...99.67% of the way. I still need to do bases and put the Transfer on the banner, but I'm doing that for the whole force at once.

I have to admit they took A LOT longer than I expected. I think there were a couple of factors that contributed to this;
1. Primarily I underestimated how much work they actually needed. I made a commitment to myself before taking this challenge that I wanted these models (the whole 1000) to be the best I'd produced yet, as such I modelled a lot more details on than I normally would and decided that I would paint all of the details. This is something I often don't do to save time and also because previously I didn't have the confidence in my ability to pick out details etc without ruining other parts of the mini that I'd already completed.
2. I lost a lot of time through work, bad news, and unexpected visits. I think overall I would've lost at least a week's worth of painting hours.

Overall however I'm really happy with how they turned out, and have definitely think they are amongst the best units I've produced, and certainly are the best Archers I have.

I decided not to go the extra highlight of Red just yet as I liked the contrast at the moment. That may change as the I complete more units. So I guess the next step is to start on the Spears. As I've said before I think these guys will be a lot quicker as 87.65% of the model is covered in armour which I've sprayed and washed already, so hopefully a week from now they're done too.

Now for my closeups!

I became a little attached to this guy, ended up being my favourite

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


So what an experience it has been so far in DPIII! At the end of the day, regardless of whether I'm successful or not I have definitely had some fun so far! I promised earlier on that I would share my list for World Series once Hobby Fiend and I had had a chance to balance them. This hasn't occurred yet, but I thought I'd share the primary list, and also what I'm hoping to expand it too.

So here's the 1,500 as it stands;

Prince: Ogre Blade; Dragonhelm; Dawnstone; Potion of Foolhardiness; Elven Steed (Ithilmar barding); heavy armour; shield. 256
Noble: Sword of Might; Enchanted Shield; Golden Crown of Atrazar; heavy armour; Battle Standard. 134

Mage: Dispel Scroll; Level 2 Wizard, High Magic. 145

20 Spearmen: Sentinel; musician; standard bearer. 210

15 Archers: musician; standard bearer. 170

8 Silver Helms: High Helm; musician; standard bearer; shields. 214

15 White Lions of Chrace: Guardian; musician; standard bearer. 225
Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower 70
Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower 70

1,494 points

And here is where I want to get it to;
Prince: Giant Blade; Dragonhelm; Dawnstone; Elven Steed (Ithilmar barding); heavy armour; shield. 271
Archmage: Book of Hoeth; Talisman of Endurance; Ironcurse Icon; Level 4 Wizard. 310

Noble: Star Lance; Enchanted Shield; The Other Trickster's Shard; Elven Steed (Ithilmar barding); Dragon armour; Battle Standard. 170
Mage: Khaine's Ring of Fury; Level 2 Wizard. 145

8 Silver Helms: High Helm; musician; standard bearer; shields. 214
30 Spearmen: musician; standard bearer. 290
5 Ellyrian Reavers: musician. 90

20 White Lions of Chrace: Guardian; musician; standard bearer (Banner of the World Dragon). 340
Frostheart Phoenix 240
Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower 70
Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower 70
Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower 70
Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower 70
1 Great Eagle 50

2,400 points

Of course I have a lot of this stuff ready to go, but if I continue to enjoy the new colour scheme and consistent painting this much then I'll probably end up fill out the whole list.

So anyway the last week or so I've been working almost exclusively on Archers. It's been a difficult week, as due to circumstances out of my control I've lost at least half my planned painting time. My original plan was to have them finished last weekend, which didn't happen, however I'm confident that by the end of Sunday this week I'll have finished the Archers and made a good start on the Spears. I'm not too concerned given that I think that the Archers will definitely be the most time consuming of the units due to big areas of colour and in particular white.

My plan for the Archers was to do the red completely, as this was the biggest part of the model. Hobby Fiend gave me a really good 3 stage technique for the Red, which was Memphiston Red Base, Devlan Mud Wash, Mephiston Red or Evil Suns Scarlet Highlight. I changed it just a little as I thought it was a big jump from one to the other, so my 2nd paint layer I went with a 50/50 Mephiston Evil Suns mix. I'm not sure that this has ended up a little dull, but there is scope for more highlighting, I'd love to hear thoughts.

Mephiston with a wash

Washed and Layered with the mix
plus some other base coats

After I did the red I went about complete all the other basecoats on the model. I'm not sure if it's the right way to go about things, but I find it useful because it gives me the chance to clean up any mistakes I make along the way. It's served me pretty well so far. I've also finished the White on one mini as a test, I normally do a base, wash and then 2 layers, but I tired to just go white over the base here (I think the base is Ulthuan Grey, not sure though) and I'm quite pleased with the result. Again I would like thoughts. I like bold colours like that, as long as the contrast isn't too great, as I think a cartoon type colour style can really pop on the table top.

You can see in these pictures a little clearer that I've also completed the hair. I'm planning to do the white on all the rest of the unit last, as I think a neat and bold white is really striking and also because it's really hard to patch white if your brush slips while doing other colours!

Finally I've made some progress on the Spears as well. I've managed to spray them with chainmail and wash them with Badab. These guys I anticipate being much quicker to complete as most of them is already done from the spray.

Guess it's time to get back to painting now. Hopefully now that this crazy work week is nearly done I'll be able to keep you all up to date a little better.

As always feedback is appreciated.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Gentlemen, start your engines!

So here we are October 1! I'm sure we were all waiting up at 11:59 last night just so we could get the most out of our painting time this month. I for one spent the weekend putting together my Chrace 1000 points, and to be honest, I'm pretty happy with the results. 

I'll start by taking you through the Archers. I went for the 3 ranks firing approach. Something I learn't when assembling by big Archer horde was that if you want them all facing the same direction in 3 ranks you need to model them on the extreme edges of their bases. As you can see this allows them to slot together nicely having the back ranks bows fit over the space left where the bodies would have been.
Lion feathers?
I only came across a few issues with these guys, namely being able to add details to appropriately theme them as a Chrace unit. Of course I will be using the colours and the White Lion iconography, however I couldn't really fit any White Lion parts on them that seemed to fit. I settled for using the feathers on their head gear, not to specifically to fit the Chrace theme, but more so to add to the look of the unit on the whole. None the other archers I have painted have any extra details, so considering I want this army to sit on display I went all out with quivers, feathers and all.
One of the other things I had to think about was the look of the unit, considering I never run a Hawkeye in them. I always like the look of full command, even if I don't take the choices in the list. The problem with Archers is the only thing that makes the Hawkeye model different apart from the massive headdress is the fact that his bow goes the other way. This was a no-no considering I wanted the unit to fit together nicely. What I did however was combine some of the details on the Hawkeye with the Standard Bearer, which thematically I justify by assuming he fulfils both roles. I thought I'd taken a pic of this guy, however you can see him at the front of the unit. He in turn created another problem, given the banner made it impossible to fit a shooting archer behind him. My solution was to use some of the left over Hawkeye and Spearman bits to make a lazy elf in the centre. He's refusing to shoot while the rest do the work, he must be some kind of Dark Elf sympathiser!

There's one in every unit!
On the whole I'm pretty happy with how they turned out.
Next I did the Spears. These guys were much more straight forward than the Archers, as it's fairly hard to assemble these guys in a way that they won't rank up. As I've said before, one of my major concerns is my lack of speed when painting so I've tried to take a few short cuts model wise where I can. I figured, given that I plan to expand my unit to 30+ and the fact that I was running low of spearmen parts, I've gone with a unit filler for these guys. I've always loved unit fillers, I think they can add quite a bit of character to units and think they can really change the landscape of units. 
Time saver or amazing mini diorama? 
This guy I think adds some character to the unit. The way I've tried to theme the unit is by using White Lion heads on the command groups. I've also used a spear from the Noble kit on the Sentinel. Again I've gone for the Archer banner because I want to use the Chrace Transfers I got on the banner and this is far more suited for that. I'm going to hold off painting these guys for another few days, as I've ordered WL shoulder pads to go on them which haven't arrived yet, failing that they'll just need to have the Lion heads on their shields.

So this leaves me with the Silver Helms. I was really happy with how these guys turned out. What I did was take all of my spare WL heads and used them instead of the generic Silver Helm heads. The result I think is amazing. It takes the boring old miniatures and really adds an extra dimension.  
I've also bought some of the Chrace Failcast shields, but give I broke 4 just cutting them out of the sprue I didn't want to risk blue tacking them on just for the pics, you'll just have to wait and see! I also managed to sure the WL banner and musician arms for the command, and added to the rest of the unit it really changes the whole look of the Silver Helms and to me really makes them seem like they are from Chrace. I'm sure some of you may be wondering why I haven't put Lion Cloaks on everything (as was a wonderful suggestion given to me by Ben.) I've decided against it because Lion Cloaks are a trial which they go through to join the White Lion units and therefore fluff wise it didn't seem appropriate. The effect I was hoping with the way I've modelled the unit and (spoiler alert) the characters was that this unit was actually setting up before battle, rather than charging forward. I think the Silver Helm minis really lend themselves to this, given the angle of the lance arms and the position of the horses in the kit.

Finally, the guys that I had the most fun on were the characters. According to the primary lists that Greg (henceforth to be referred to as "The Hobby Fiend") and I wrote up we've both gone with cavalry characters. I really enjoyed planning and putting these guys together. A decision I made early on was to not put them on the noble kit horses. There were a couple of reasons for this; mainly because there is a lot of Dragon Iconography on the armour of the Horses (very un Chrace like!), secondly both horses would have been identical, and thirdly the horses are rearing. Ordinarily I think the horses are amazing, but they didn't quite fit with the look I was going for, so I settled on some spare Silver Helm horses, which I think do the job really nicely.

I was really pleased with the BSB, in particular because I managed to successfully magnetise the banner, which is the first time I've managed to magnetise a part of a mini! I've had trouble in the past with both transport and breakage of banners so I figured I'd sort it out early. Here's the result;

Compensating for something?
Finally I've done the Prince. I was super happy with how he turned out. I ended up using a Guardian head from the White Lion kit, plus the pointing arm. I've also used a disproportionately large axe, as I think it adds to the character of the whole army. I really think this guy looks like he is lining up his troops and roaring instructions. 

That's the one the took my lunch money!
I guess you could say he has a point to prove

So overall I'd be Lion if I said I wasn't really pleased with how these guys turned out. I've just found out that my mornings are out next week, so I've got to make up some hours somewhere. Roughly my plan is to start with the archers, as they need the most work, then move on the spears (hopefully after the shoulder pads have arrived) and then the Helms. I'd like to leave a whole week to just the characters, however I'm more concerned with them just looking good, so I'm happy for them to run into November if that means I do a better job. So I guess this has been a long one post, shouldn't you all be getting back to work?!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What have I done?!

So I finally succumbed to the Internet Sensation. No, not Peter Spiller, but blogging.

I've signed up for the 3rd Annual "Duelling Paintbrushes" which is a competition that is run at my own (not so local) Hampton Games Club. The purpose of the competition is to paint a full 1000 point army of any force of your choosing. We have moved the competition, which last year ran in November, to October so that we can use the armies we put together for the upcoming Warhammer World Series, which is happening mid November.

Duelling Paintbrushes really seemed like a good idea at the time, given since the new High Elf book came out, I've been really keen to paint up a Chrace themed army in their national colours. What I didn't really think on, was the fact that I'm a really slow painter. Oh well, the good news is, that if I fail to get everything done in time I already have most of the minis painted for the list that I have put together for the event, they just aren't in the appropriate colours.

The overall plan for this new endeavour of High Elves is to eventually paint up a tournament sized force and beyond that could hopefully be good enough to sit on display. Although I have quite a big collection of painted High Elves already most of those are either not painted by me, are Archers or White Lions, or are very ugly given they are the first models I painted when I first got back into the hobby a few years ago. I've set myself this task as a long term goal to build a collection that is both great to look at and is painted in the colours set out by the Heraldry and Uniform High Elf book. My previous army has been painted in a Blue and White colour scheme, but I think a more eclectic scheme where each unit is painted in their national/unit colours could work really well. So what that means is I plan to paint the Core (apart from Reavers and any Seaguard) and WLs in Chrace colours, and then each other unit according to their place of origin.

I've got my work cut out for me because Hobby Fiend Greg Johnson of Hoodling's Hole fame ( is painting up the Dark Elf force which is going to be opposed to mine. I've always been astounded by both the volume of minis that he gets painted and also the quality that he produces so quickly. I guess part of my motivation for signing up for DP is that I can set some really good habits to get painting to both be more consistent and also better overall.

So my plan for the month of October goes a little something like this;
Due to my work schedule I'm able to start painting at 6am Mondays and Wednesdays and can essentially paint undisturbed until 9:30ish. This gives me 7 hours in addition to weekends to get some work done. I also have rather long lunch breaks on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so at a pinch I may be able to get another couple of hours in there, although I don't know how practical it is.

I'm going to start with the core and the Prince and BSB, as I already have (not painted by me) Bolt Throwers, WLs and a Mage in Chrace colours. So any of these that I can get done are a bonus. I would of course post the list for you, but that will have to wait until the new Dark Elf book comes out, because of the nature of Warhammer World Series, we need to ensure the lists balance out.

At this stage I've been assembling whatever I have on hand for the force, which at this stage is my Chrace Cav Prince and some Silver Helms, which I'm using WL heads for. I've been really happy with how they're turned out so far. Hopefully once I work out how to upload photos I can put some up for your perusal. Feedback is always welcome.