Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The BitzBox Warband

It started as a personal quest in October 2015, to be creative with my BitzBox, whilst ensuring all conversions were clearly steeped in the style of RoC. A year and a half later it is now complete and I'm very happy with how it turned out:

But it doesn't stop here. This warband will be absorbed into my growing Lost and the Damned Nurgle    Army and my love of converting and kitbashing has been re-ignited. It just so happens that I've stumbled upon a new direction; AoS28. A return to the pathetic aesthetic in a grim dark style with a focus on character and conversion - perfect for me. It all takes me back to a 10 year old (and unfinished) project of mine (Rensburg).

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

BitzBox Warband Champion on Palanquin

This BitzBox warband project had been on hold (and forever pushed further down the painting queue) largely due to this fella. It was great fun to kitbash and convert; delving into my box of bits to create a new palanquin and leader, but the thought of painting the bastard was daunting to say the least.

But I've done it and as usual it was never as bad as I had expected or built it up (a bit like public speaking). 

So here he is; Seth Spawnbloat. Level 10 Human. Champion of Nurgle. Infestation of Nurlings. Atrophied Arm, Enormously Fat. Palanquin, Shield, Warhammer

I primed the whole thing black (to make sure it was dark in-between all the nurglings) and then used a zenithal application of white from above. I much prefer using my ink washes/glazes over a white undercoat and then building up the subsequent highlights over the top of that.

With the Nurglings I used a limited palette of just yellow, green and orange inks (some mixed together) to keep all of the nurglings unified in colour. After the various washes were dry I highlighted up, which was a pretty tiresome effort.

The wooden areas were washed and glazed with a variety of greys and pale browns for the baser colour and then highlighted up with pale greys to try and create a weathered and old looking wood effect. A final addition of some subtle green glazes were applied to give a slightly mossy look to the wood. The idea being that a slightly green tinge to the wood would be complemented by the orangy/red rust colour on the metal areas.

The writhing mass of bodies on the throne (which was fun to make) created a few challenges. I wanted to make them look like they were the same colour as the wood, so that they were actually part of the throne, but this time highlighted up with a little Elf Flesh so as to give them a bit of a warmer skin tone.

You may have noticed the tattered awning surrounding the palanquin. This was an addtition that I expected to make as there was a slightly annoying gap between nurglings and palanquin that ruined the illusion of the mass of nurglings lifting the dais. To mask this I added this decoration and deliberately made it look tatty, both by ripping the paper and washing several layers of grungy sepias, browns and greens.

The images on the awning are taken directly from the page borders found in the Lost and the Damned.

Likewise the banner behind the champion. My first idea was to use a crow illustration from the Fighting Fantasy books but it looked a bit lost on amongst so much else. The black lining could not really compete with the busy-ness of the model. So I painted over it with the most iconic Nurgle image possible, Les Edward's original illustration for the Lost and the Damned itself - just on a tiny scale!

It actually wasn't as hard to do as I though it might be. Once I had added some thin layers of background colour, I went about sketching the outline of the GUO onto the background with diluted black and then added the shadows with Rhinox brown, before building up successive highlights with a range of pale greens and yellows. I then re-emphasised the shadows and added some spots of pinky/red for the sores.

The champion himself needed to stand out amongst the colours I'd already used and I'd already decided that I wanted him to look quite pale. I ended up going a bit pinker than expected, only to make him pop from all the other colours. 

Writing this all out does always make me realise just how much internal thinking occurs when painting models, an ongoing internal monologue.

The final element to complete was the shield and again I wanted to create a nice contrast with the warmer colours of the champ, so I hit the demonic shield with the baby-blue treatment and a bit of subtle purple on the tongue and yellow on the horn to mimic the warmth of the flames higher up in the composition.

So has the painted version lived up to my expectations? Those expectations were pretty damn high after being so proud of the actual build of this model and I have to say that I think the paint job does the model justice. I'm certainly happy with all the decisions I made and the composition and balance of the whole piece holds up. I know I'll never be the best painter around, but this is up there with my very best.

Hope you enjoy it too. I'll post up some photos of the finished bitzbox warband later..

Friday, 10 February 2017

A small restoration project - St. George and the Dragon

I originally painted these two when the Green Knight was first released by GW back in the early 90's (I believe). It was a diorama that I had intended to enter for Golden Demon (I never did) which used to have a plinth with a matching base (now lost), to show the story of George and the Dragon. It was largely inspired by Paolo Uccello's and Raphael's "St. George and the Dragon" the former of which resides at the National Gallery, London. I thought the Green Knight was a great Citadel miniature with a dynamic pose, crisp, detailed sculpting and characterful for a human model, I still think this today. 

So I recently found these in a box back at my parents house and they were a bit battered to be honest. Chipped paint everywhere, flaking paint on the dragon's wings (where they had been bent), dust, broken sword and a missing shield to name the worst of the problems.

So I set about restoring them. Now I was so keen to get involved in this process that I forgot to take any pictures of their condition, which I'm very annoyed at myself for, however if you look closely enough at the wings on the dragon you can see the texture of the cracks/flakes still. Obviously I could have stripped the paint and started the process from scratch, but I was keen to keep my original paint job (20-something years old and two of the few models that I still own from my original teenage hobby time), consolidate the issues and make some minor improvements to the original paint work.

After the models had been carefully dusted with a soft make-up brush (the wifes!) the Knight had his sword pinned back into position and then re-painted, originally I had painted it green, I think to keep a link to the Green Knight, but it looked terrible and so instead I plumped for a kind of purple nmm style. A new (Elven?) shield was attached and painted - this is the same shield design that I originally used as I liked the dragon emblem. I have updated the painting of the armour, the original painting was quite poor (I hadn't mastered metals at this time in my development) and very dull black, so I went for a layered gold effect, starting with dark bronze and working through copper and eventually gold highlights. A bit of touching up on the horse flesh and barding was also needed.

The dragon required a bit more work. I had to initially carefully reshape the wings which had been bent, this did result in some more paint flaking away. I stabilised this by using some dilute pva which ran underneath the flakes and when dried consolidated beneath the cracks. A really thin fill of putty was added to the missing areas of paint so that there was not such a large "step" in thickness between paint/primer and bare metal. 

The lance was intentionally broken (the missing section was a part of the base) and the dragon itself needed a lot of touching up. Trying to match the colours was quite simple - I could pretty much identify the colours I'd previously used (for example it was clear that Bestial Brown was the base coat for the fleshy stomach and it had been highlighted/layered with increasing amounts of elf flesh). I still have both these paints and would probably paint it in exactly the same way if I would be starting from scratch! The blood looked quite poor, so I reworked this using some Tamiya Clear red for the glossy areas and some purple/brown/black washes for the more dried looking areas.

And here are the images that I used for my inspiration all those years ago:

Paolo Uccello's St. George and the Dragon. I'd love to add the maiden and a cave to complete the diorama.

Raphael's version. Here you can see why I originally painted the armour black and how I got the idea for the broken lance embedded in the dragon's torso.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

A mutated troll for Frostgrave

This conversion was originally made for a warband rolled up on the Realm of Chaos charts (I think for the old PapaNurgle forum competition). It's a LotR troll with a sculpted Fimir face and sculpted tentacles (using small beads as the suckers). The axe head is from a Shaggoth and I also sculpted the haft and the breastplate (loosely based upon Fimir / Celtic designs). I wish I had a wip photo to show..

So he's been re-purposed to be used as a (chaotic/mutated) troll for my games of Frostgrave and therefore another one ticked off from my bestiary challenge. 

It's quite a good feeling to go through some old, incomplete and unassigned models and find a purpose for them; he feels loved again (and after all that sculpting I couldn't just let him go to waste).

Monday, 6 February 2017

BitzBox Warband Characters

To continue the slow work of finishing my bitzbox warband, I can now introduce the two lesser characters to accompany the previously showcased minions; 

Darn the Veiled (Marauder, Mark of Nurgle, Horns, Heavy Armour and Shield)

Araf (Level 5 Beastman, Mark of Nurgle, Bestial Face (dog) limb loss (leg), Demonic Steed (Skull Face, Horn)

As you can see I've rolled up the Chaos Attributes from the great Lost and the Damned tome and gone about converting them to match the rolls. I've now finally got around to painting them too:

You may recognise a few of the multitude of bitz used here (go on play the game, you know you want to), and you may also identify with where my inspiration came from for Aruf; namely the Groot character below, which I believe was modelled and painted by Mike Mcvey.

His steed is a direct copy of this Tony Ackland illustration from the Chaos Spawn section from the LatD. Originally I was going to sculpt on the scaly skin (I forgot), then I remembered and was going to use crackle medium (I forgot again) so in the end I painted a furry kind of texture to break up the large, flat areas of horse body. I wished I had sculpted the scales on though, it would have looked better and more in keeping with the original illustration.

Darn is a simpler conversion, using a Chaos Warrior body, with a Knight of Nurgle head and some greenstuffing to the new addition of a shield.

And the two of them gallivanting through some quite familiar territory. 

The next and final piece of my Bitzbox Warband is the leader mounted onto a palanquin; I'm slightly daunted by the size and intricacy of it, so it may take some time. I plan to finish a few other quick projects alongside it to break up such a large project.