Sunday, 31 July 2011

Forgeworld Deathwing Dreadnought 99.9% Complete

I say 99.9% complete because I might tweak things on the base and the miniature yet, but otherwise I'm confident this guy is pretty much all done.

He's taken long enough to do, mostly because of the near complete repaint when I decided that I really wasn't happy with my old style of painting bone. Which as you can see was working from a base of bubonic brown and building up to a pale highlight, but the overall effect was too yellowy for my liking and didn't have the coldness I wanted of my bone colour.

Now I confess the old style attempt was largely the result of the paints I had at the time and relearning how I used to paint Deathwing as a lad, almost 20 years ago. A lot has changed since then, the main thing being that I have the cash to not have to "make do" with the paints I have. Plus the world of paints has moved on as well and I'm not limited to what Citadel has to offer me. Since my friend Wayne introduced me to Reaper Miniature Master Series, in particular the bone triad, I really have't looked back.
The last (and first) Deathwing venerable dreadnought (fy - all Dark Angels venerable dreadnoughts should be Deathwing imo)  I did using the technique of bubonic brown as a base, then blending up mixing the brown with Master Series creamy ivory. It is not a terrible bone effect, but the yellow tinged bugged me.

The painting of my first landraider using the reaper bone triad and my new Badger 500 airbrush was something of an eye opener. I loved the bone effect achieved with the triad and it needed to finish it off was the P3 Formula Menoth White from Privateer Press to edge the highlight (a superb offwhite colour for bone and also an excellent paint). Which isn't to say that the overall colour schemes are so radically different that I can't field them in the same army.
I've also made use of the Forgeworld weathering powders on the vents of the model. I'm growing increasingly fond of the weathering powders for smoke/burn effects on armour. I'm not entirely happy with Raziel's name badge (from the Forgeworld Dark Angels brass etching pack), because I got it stuck on wrong. I'll just have to live with it and blame careless Techmarines.

I might tweak the soot from the ejection port for the assault canno, to have a more intense scorch mark nearer the port, but otherwise I'm pretty happy with it.

On the red detail of the dreadnought I did the final highlight by using a technique Ron posted on FTW about painting Flesh Tearers. I used bleached bone as an edged highlight as Ron did and washed with Baal Red. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.

I slightly changed how I did green as well. I still used Dark Angels green as my base, followed by a black wash. However, Snot Green for my highlighting was too bright. To get a darker highlight, I mixed Knarloc Green with DA Green (approx 50/50) which gave me an effect I was happier with.
And so now he's pretty much done. The 0.01% of the complete still to do isn't the tweaking I mentioned earlier, but the other arms. I've got another close combat arm and two ranged weapon arms (autocannon and plasma cannon) still to finish. But, they're not far off. The arms are magnetised see, so I can mix and match them as I see fit. I also intend to build another Forgeworld Venerable Dreadnought at some point in the future as a Deathwing Mortis Dreadnought. Providing I get the technique for the bone right, the arms should be pretty much interchangeable between the two.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

New Addition & Randomness of Posting Explained

First things first. On the right hand side of the blog you'll notice a little banner has been added. Any of you who've followed me hear from LJ will know I'm a big fan of From the Warp, both as a community/hobby resource and of Ron's work as an artist (because if the models he makes and paints aren't art, I don't know what is). I never felt my LJ was suitable material for the FTW blog rolls, but I want to make every endeavour to ensure this one is. I sent Ron an e-mail asking if I could join, Ron sent me a nice reply and here I am on FTW Blog Roll three.

For anyone reading this blog who doesn't know me (perhaps you've stumbled here from the blog rolls or wandered onto this page thinking it was a repository of electic knowledge and are feeling a litte confused) I'd like to give a little bit of background about what I'm doing here.

  1. I'm a painter rather than a player of 40k and I'm not exclusive to painting 40k miniatures only. Aside from a few games of space hulk in the early 90s, I've never played a single game of 40k. I have rule books, I know points values, I can make a reasonable guess as to whats good and what isn't, but I don't know the game. Which isn't to say I'm opposed to the idea of playing the game, I'd love to give it a try in fact but finding the time do so is difficult. I even have vague pretentions of drawing up some kind of army list but this is growing organically based on what I want to paint, rather than what units I want to field.
  2. My principle passion is for the Dark Angels and this goes all the way back to looking at Rogue Trader with friends back in the early 90s and in particular the two page spread of all founding Space Marine legions. All of us decided, via some unconcious unpsoken agreement, to pick a legion that they would paint. One friend picked Space Wolves, another Blood Angels, another Ultramarines and I was left wondering what I'd pick. On gut instinct I plumped for Dark Angels because the name resonated with me. The perfect juxatposition of light and dark, of redemption and wrath. Rules may have changed, colour schemes may have changed but, I've stuck with this chapter for the last 20 years and I'm not quitting now. I admit I nearly did when the first rules revision changed the colour scheme from black to dark green in 92/93 because I had about 50 beaky marines painted at that point and didn't want to start over. Fortunately the background for the Dark Angels revision included a saviour.

  3. If you magnify how fond I am of the Dark Angels by a factor of ten, you'll be close to how attached I am to my beloved Deathwing. The novella that came with the Space Hulk: Deathwing expansion (and the miniatures citadel subsequently released) captured my imagination, as only a tale of fatalism, futility, honour and redemption could to a teenager in post-Thatcherite Britain. Painting Deathwing is something of a lifelong quest for me, because the colour scheme and background is so evocative, it's important to me to get it right. I'm not sure what "right" is, I only know I've not found it yet. Of all the paint schemes I've done, I find the Deathwing to be the most challenging as bone is not very forgiving of mistakes. At times it is damn frustrating but, I always return to them.

  4. I'm also rather fond of Grey Knights, which again stems back to those early Rogue Trader days and the release of those first Grey Knight Terminators from GW. I remember marvelling at the detail and thinking "I'll never be able to paint those." I did buy one figure in the end, thought about painting it, decided not to and eventually washed it down with black and pretended it was a tiny pewter statue. I think I'm pretty much over my "performance anxiety" with regard to painting Grey Knight's these days, I'll leave you to judge if that is justified or not. So the Grey Knight's will put in regular appearances on here, all the more so because I find them a lot easier to paint than Deathwing. I like the background to the Grey Knight's as well, I think of them as Space Marines V2.0.
  5. However, as stated at point one, I am a painter rather than a gamer and I'm drawn towards those models I find most interesting to paint. So you'll see all sorts of stuff here. Sometimes I'll paint guides on particular colour schemes just to explain a particular technique I've been asked a question about. Sometimes I might even paint things purely at the suggestion of comments made here.

  6. My macro photography is not the best. I take my hat off to anyone out there who produces decent close ups of their miniatures. If you have any advice for me on my photography (and painting and writing and anything really) please share it, because everyone benefits if I improve my photos.

  7. Finally, why is this blog titled "Paint it Black" given I'm predominantly painting anything but black? Well this is partly because, in my view, painting black is one of the hardest things to get right on a mini. There are so many ways of painting black and not one approach is suitable to every circumstance. More than anything else, painting black is something I approach as a technical exercise in its purest sense. It is also partly because I am intrigued by the Dark Angels sucessor chapter, the Consecrators, and plan to paint a few squads at some point. So at some point in the future, there will be black days ahead of us (gloomy pun intended). And it is also partly because its my favourite Rolling Stones song and it often runs through my head when I'm painting black.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Project Dreadnought - Nearing Completion

From my last update on live journal I've endeavoured to move work forward on my Deathwing dreadnought at a pace but, thanks to generous friends on my Birthday, I've been distracted by new Grey Knight's figures.

Anyhoo, a little over a week ago I was here:
where I've applied my penultimate tier of highlighting to the bone and started to work on the midtones of the other coloured sections. Having done that, I was in a position to glue a few more bits and pieces on before working on more highlighting. Which means I'm now here:

The green material of the tabbard and shoulders has been shaded and highlighted and I've worked up the mid tones on the reds. You'll notice the right arm is different, which should act as a reminder that the arms are magnetised and I'm actually painting four arms rather than two. In fact I've got a fifth arm unpainted as of yet which I'm saving for when I start work on the parts for a Mortis variant.
The head is finally glued in place! All earlier photos showing the head, I'd just plonked it in there to see how it looked. I was finally happy with how the head was looking and decided it was time it tooked up permanent residence in the sarcophagus. The cloak of the angel on the right hand side (your left) has been painted by using blue, black and brown washes. It's not quite finished yet, a few more washes to go. Some of the other detail is yet to be completed and there is a bit of tidying up to do.

The "light" of the searchlight is painted using sunburst yellow, with more white added to the mix the nearer the centre of the light. Just a little detail but one I felt was worth pointing out.
The rear view doesn't tell you a lot other than perhaps satisfy your curiosity as to whether I'd painted more than just the front or not.


These two photos show, hopefully, the mid tone I've applied to the red parts of the miniature

So I'm nearly, almost, there. In fact I did a few more hours work on this guy last night and he's about 95% ready. I just need to complete the other two arms, do a final highlight on the bone, finish all the small details, paint the base and I'm done.

I didn't say that the final 5% wasn't a lot of work.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Experience doesn't just improve quality.

Following on from the prepping of Castellan Crowe and Kaldor Draigo figures on Friday, I pressed ahead on Saturday with getting them undercoated, base coated and moved on to getting the main colours done.

I undercoated them black and then sprayed on a base of vajello gunmetal blue. This is a really dark but very rich blue colour and I thought it would lend a different feel to these models.

I then pressed on with my trusty airbrush, putting on a layer of boltgun metal, then some chainmail paying attention to my lightsource. Then a quick wash with asuremen blue and a careful wash of devlan mud into the recesses. Then a directional highlight of mithril before I started to get the other colours on. I also went round some of the detail quite aggressively with asurmen blue, painting on more shadow where I felt there should be.

I beavered away on saturday getting the basics done and then had a productive four hours working on both at paint club on Sunday. By Sunday evening, this was where I'd got to.

There is still a fair bit left to do and getting the swords right will take a while but overall they've come along very quickly. I thought the white on Crowe would take me ages but Wayne had a couple of off-whites from the Reaper Master series range that made it easy to bring the white together. The rest was all common sense, brown then gold, red then green wash then more red etc etc. All pretty instinctive by this stage.

Which is the point of this post really. Improving at painting miniatures isn't just about obtaining more pleasing results, you'll also find you turn out decent figures faster than you used to. Partly because your actual fine motor technique has improved but also partly because you don't need to think about which colours to use in combination with which. It all just flows naturally, which is fun.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Finecast Casting Fail....

I'd been warned by a friend and subsequent reading of various websites that an early batch of Citadel's Finecast range had been found to have "significant" casting "errors." As the finecast figures I'd purchased to date had been perfectly fine, better than Forgeworld in most cases, I thought I'd dodged that particular bullet.

Then I started prepping Castellan Crowe for paintclub this weekend.

I confess he looked fine at an initial glance, but as I started beavering away cleaning up mould lines and what not it became clear that all was not well. Now I'm not talking massive failings in casting here, as the above picture shows, the problem errors are extremely localised and not covering the entire figure.

But they are problems.
Sometimes when casting resin you get pockets of air trapped (try casting your own resin some time, it's easy enough, and you'll see what I mean) and if the bubbles are near the surface they crack and you get a little crater. In some cases you can work around this, either by filing it down or taking advantage of it and turning it into instant battle damage!

Not possible in this case. I found multiple bubbles in the bolter casing, the ammo clip, hands and arms of the figure. The position of the bubbles meant filing down wasn't possible and bullet holes would've looked stupid. The only solution was to get to work with my green stuff.

I'm not accomplished with greenstuff but, I am getting better the more I practice. Basically I had to use the green stuff to rebuild the parts of the armour and backpack so they didn't look like the inside of an Aero chocolate bar. Because the photos are extreme closeup the greenstuff looks a little scruffy, but once they were undercoated with chaos black spraypaint, they're barely noticeable.

The point of this post is that if you do find yourself in possession of a defective Finecast or Forgeworld miniature, you don't have to take it back to the shop unless you really want to (especially if the shop is some 25miles away as in my case). Of course if you do want to exercise your statutory rights as a consumer you should and if the staff in your local GW won't exchange your Finecast model for something at the standard you'd expect, play merry hell with them. I do accept that there will be some casting errors that need correcting when you get a miniature out of the box, we've been doing that we metal figures for years. Cleaning up mould lines and flash is part of the fun. But you shouldn't have to perform reconstructive surgery on a figure unless you want to and feel capable of doing so.

If you, it is not hard to do and good practice in using green stuff. But, if you don't want to, take it back to the shop and make sure they give you a suitable replacement.

So far with Forgeworld I've not had a figure that's needed as much doing to it as this unfortunate Finecast Castellan Crowe. Which is fortunate, because I've no idea what their returns policy is.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Early Work

I suppose early work is a bit of a misnomer, I mean I don't want to imply I did this some twenty years ago when I was 15. No, this is a piccy of a figure I did back when I was "seriously" starting out painting miniatures again back in 2009.

This guy is a Consecrator, one of the Dark Angels successor legions. I like these guys because they use the original Dark Angel colour scheme (although I confess I got the eyes a little too red on this guy). This was also my first attempt at doing a black colour scheme in, oooh, twenty years as well. The final result is quite a sharp unbelnded highlight, but it was a good enough start to motivate me to keep going. There is a bit of blending going on, but really its just a lot of finely painted lines and they've not been done with too much attention to light sourcing.

I'll be painting more Consecrators in the future and I'll be using this guy as my starting point. I find the Consecrators because they use older armour and weapons marks, so don't expect to see any Mk7 or Mk8 marines in these guys.

I have painted at least one black colour scheme miniature since this guy and I think this later attempt turned out better, even if my macro photography wasn't great. The black on this guy was done by applying layers of black, brown and blue washes over grey with a light highlight. The effect is a much more subtle highlight and a black that isn't quite as "flat" as in the figure above.

Only two downsides (for me) of this model are the fact that the base is unpainted and not spiced up in any way and also the embarassment of the undrilled gun barrel. Given the trepidation I had about painting this figure at the time (I was really worried about how such a detailed figure would turn out), I surprised myself in how quickly I completed him. This Deathwing Chaplain was completed inside of a weekend.

Blog Version 3.0

After many years on Live Journal and even longer on Xanga, this is an attempt at blogging version 3.0, which is pretty much a recognition that while I enjoyed writing my other blogs they were, a bit, random. So I'm going to set myself some objectives, some ground rules if you will, as to how I'm going to run this.

1 - The blog will have a focus. The focus will be miniatures and the building, painting and converting thereof, plus other relevant miniature commentary.
2 - I will endeavour to give the blog a polished look, which means I will customise the pages so it looks unique and content relevant.
3 - I will try to update it regularly. At least once a week.
4 - I will try to curb my use of profanity. Although I think this is part of my "angry" persona, I can still be full of bile without recourse to foul language. Basically I don't want my friends to have to tell their children "no you really can't look at this blog until you're older."
5 - I will try to link up relevant source material and blogs where I can.
6 - I reserve the right to shamelessly promote my friend's blogs when I feel so inclined.

So with a focus established, clear goals in mind, the next step is to customise this blog into an environment I feel happy in.