Monday, November 17, 2014

Nagash; the road to a table top-ready model!

Hi, Pezman here!
When I saw the Nagash model was being remastered, I knew I was going to have to pick one up.  Not so much to play battles of the End Times, but just because the model looked too good to pass up.

Before I talk about the painting process, I have to address how well this model goes together.  Nagash is a prime example of what can be done with modern CAD design. I would estimate that about an hour after sitting down, I had built all of the sub assemblies and was ready to start the business of painting the model. He is honestly a joy to assemble. You almost don't need the instructions because he goes together so smoothly and intuitively.  What is more, because Nagash is such a large model, over 9 inches to the top of his head, he has very few fiddly pieces to slow down the process.

Once I had Nagash into his sub-assemblies, it settled in with the rattle cans and the airbrush in my usual way.  I divided the pieces into those that would receive black, white, or grey primer and set the airbrush to go to work on the robe and ghosts which make up the lower half of the model.  In the picture above, you can see that the cloak and ghosts were largely complete at this phase with out having done much more than some simple airbrush work and paying attention to directional spray.  As for the body, I made liberal use of a  traditional 3 step tabletop painting approach.  A base coat, a layer of highlights, and a wash to unify the base coat and highlight while adding shadows.  Another benefit of Nagash being such a large model is he takes to washes incredibly well.  The recesses in his sculpt are deep enough to really provide a lot of texture for the washes to settle in on.

Once the bulk work was done, I settled in to picking out the details like his scabbard, books, sword, and the details of his armor.  I also experimented with adding glazes of color to help bring the look of the model together in a more cohesive way.  If a painter were so inclined, I think this is the point where he or she could spend years painting Nagash.  The model is not unnecessarily crusted with intricate details like so many other GW kits, but rather thoughtfully balanced between a few key details and large open areas, but more on that later.

In the above photo you can sees some of the glazes I put in on the armor and book to help unify the colors a little by bringing some of the blues from the ghosts on the base into other areas of the model. This was my first time working with GW Lahmian Medium to create glazes.  I have to say, again, I was pretty impressed.  It does exactly what GW advertises it to do.  It allows you to "thin" your paint without losing any of the control you would typically have.  As a result it's very easy to build up gradual transitional layers of color like you can see in the blue I applied to his book, eyes, and shoulder armor.

You can see in the picture above a combination of all of the techniques I've mentioned above coming together on the books in his ghostly trails. It's at moments like this that limiting how many colors you use can really pay off.  I primarily used 2 shades of Minitaire blue (Troll Hide and Lagoon Blue) on all of the ghost areas.  Most of the books were painted in a traditional 3 step manner, but the ghost trails were painted with an airbrush.  As a result, the two components clashed when joined together.  I went back in with the airbrush and the glazes mentioned above to help make it look like the books were either part of the ghost trails or, at least, caught in them.  Because I had only used 2 shades of blue, it was easy enough to color match and keep things looking unified.  

The last major step to take on was his base.  I added a few Secret Weapon Miniature ruined pillar bitz along with some slate and various sizes of grit and sand to create a bit of visual interest on the base. Once all of the components were in place, painted, and dry; I went back in with the airbrush and added a ghostly glow on the ground and to some of the raised elements.  This was an effect I'd seen another painter online add to the model, and I think adding that glow adds a lot to the feel of power conveyed by the model.

I predict we will see a few amazing Nagash models gracing painting competitions in the next year or two.  Nagash has all the essential elements required for a painter who wants to really spend some time and effort on a show piece.  He has some beautiful iconic details in the form of his crown and back spines as well as some lavish organic shapes and open areas which master painters will take to new hights.  What might be most impressive about Nagash is what isn't there.  Through the use of negative space, he really does look like he's floating over the table on magical winds of necrotic power.  As for my paint job, I wasn't thinking show piece, I just wanted to see a nicely painted version of this iconic character in my collection as soon as possible.  After all, if  GW could take Nagash from his early days as a Liche King Clown, then the least I could do was give him a proper paint job to match his newly empowered form.


 As always, thanks for reading, and please let me know if there are any questions about techniques or approaches to painting I've mentioned above.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Teaser!

Check out Santa Cruz Warhammer tomorrow to find out more about this guy!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

40K, Bolt Action: creating great (but simple) terrain from resin scraps!

Allright, not all posts on this blog are life changing, mindbending, innovative. This post is a small, humble little ditty, but it's also old school Santa Cruz Warhammer: make some simple terrain, paint it up quick and dirty and use it the same day!
So you know how all the forgeworld models come with the resin feeder pieces still on the sprues. Here's an example:

I recently got some Contemptor Dreadnoughts, so I was left with a bag of those feeder pieces. They reminded me of roadblocks, tanktraps, or just little walls. So i figured to use them instead of throwing them out. I knicked the resin with knife, created some bullet holes and glued them to a base with some sand:

I gave it a quick, simple paint job and BEFORE the washes, added some decals, some from the Space Marine vehicle sheet, some from the Guard decal sheet:

Then wash, drybrush, wash, drybrush, until you get tired of it and call it a day:

The pieces that stick out look like rebar, rusting and nasty. And that's it! Use it in your 40k games:
or your Bolt Action games:

Below I used some of the pieces in a larger diorama:

In closing, this is the stuff that makes our hobby so great! Simple, cheap options to make your battlefield look a little better and having a quick, satisfying hobby project!

Hope it inspires!

SC Mike

Friday, October 31, 2014

Review: Victoria Miniatures Heavy Weapons, PART THREE

Hi, SC Mike here with the third and final part of this extensive review on the new Heavy Weapons release from Victoria Miniatures. We already talked about the resin quality (Part 1), the flexibility of the designs (Part 2), so I was going to give my few cents on the cinematic look of the models and how much fun it is to work on the Heavy Mortar that Victoria released.

Here is the web image on Victoria Miniatures:
As you can see, the design of the mortar is very crisp, very robust and very old fashioned looking. Like a lot of designs from the studio, it bears a WW1 look. Check out this image, it seems clear that Jake Schneider, the sculptor of the weapons, took a liking to THIS gun, the 17 cm Mittlerer Minenwerfer, or German Medium Trench Mortar.  

Notice any resemblances? Of course! And why not? It's a beautiful design, with the curved side panels, the spoked wheels, the gear wheels and the countless rivets. It really looks like a machine invented by by Jules Verne. 
The resin model from Victoria Miniatures is beefed up a bit, with less tiny parts and enlarged big parts, like the wheels and the turning handles but it still has a really detailed feel. It looks 40K, but with a nod to the past.

The actual kit is crisp and clean, it's truly a joy to look at. There were some mold lines to clean up, but the resin is very easy to work with and the clean up went without a hitch.
The build was easy, but I did have to go online and look at the online tutorial, to make sure it all was put together correctly. Personally I think the model should come with a small paper guide on how to build it. Victoria has an image of the build on her site, so you can always print it out.

Using a 60 mm base, the motar fills up pretty much the whole surface. With no options to add crew to that same base in a diorama style way, I abandoned the idea of a gaming model and instead opted for a small diorama. I used an oval flyer base from Games Workshop and created a trench scene.
Here you can see the mold lines on the barrel of the mortar, but it was easy to clean up. There were also some moldlines on the wheel surfaces, those I sanded off. It's part of modeling and I don't consider it an error in casting.

For the cinmatic feel, I want to create a WW1 feel with 40k touches of a Traitor Guard Artillery unit. Here's the finished scene, with a Guard soldier and a slave:
You can see, the Mortar is a pretty big model. It would fill the 60mm base pretty much all the way, which doesn't leave much room for creating a small diorama on that same base. In the game the crew would be on their own bases of course.

Here's the back, with the mud in all it's glory:
Here's the slave. The body is from the Victoria Miniatures Penal squad, the head is from Maxmini.

You can see that the gun looks very realistic and has nice crisp edges.

In closing, I personally think the models that Victoria Miniatures creates, really rank at the top. There is no other independent company that is so focused on the Guard, and because there is so much commitment on one army, the quality of the sculpts gets better and better. So many different options for arms, small arms, heads, torsos, gender (yes, there are female guard models!) and now great weapons. I can't wait for VM to start getting into vehicles! In closing, the shot with all three models: you can see how versatile and visually interesting the sculpts are! Great stuff - go support her at Victoria Miniatures.

SC Mike

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Review: Victoria Miniatures Heavy Weapons, PART TWO

Welcome to Part TWO of our Victoria Miniatures heavy Weapons review!

Once again I am happy to review another fine gaming product from Victoria Miniatures. Victoria has a great way of making just the right bits to add to your armies.

My review is going to be focusing on using Victoria's gun chassis only with Games Workshop weapons for a Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard unit.

When I first saw Dave Taylors Genswick 33rd army his complex kit bashing had totally blown me away and I loved the WWI trench feel.

I am a normal guy and there was no way I was going to bits hunt all those Bretonian bits and build that army, so I decided to do something with just a few simple changes to regular Cadians, a poor mans version with simple head swaps and a few other changes to make a unique army that was still well rooted in the 40k universe, my Ardwick 23rd Imperial Guard army was born.

One of the important things for me, was to keep the Guards weapons as they are so iconic and help with the wysiwyg factor in a game, so my army uses GW weapons.

A million years ago or so, I decided that my Ardwick army needed to have wheeled heavy weapons. Please read all about it here, and then come back and read on.

So as I said in 2009, lets get some wheels on these guns, building my own chassis and sourcing wheels was a pain in the but and time consuming, luckily those days are over.

Victoria Miniatures sells this chassis and even some different wheel options and they are just the thing to finally get some wheels under your guard guns. You could even find more modern wheels with tires on them and just use the chassis, its a great deal for the price and for all the time it will save you making your own.

The chassis uses an odd mounting system for the Victoria guns, with a notch in the front and a peg in the rear, the deck of the carriage is angled, the Victoria guns sit just right but if you just glue your GW gun down, it will point up in the air.

It's very simple to fit your GW gun on it, I just heated the resin in some hot water and bent the legs down a bit to level out the deck and was ready to go. You could also just make a shim for the back or cut and reposition the legs, I will leave that all up to you.

This is a great way to get more out of your GW heavy weapon sets, you can buy a chassis for each gun type and mount your Lascanon, autogun or heavy bolter on Victoria Miniatures gun carriage. If you get really slick you could mount them with little magnets and be able to change them around as you see fit.

I knocked mine together with my GW bits and Westwind heads and painted it up like the rest of my Ardwick 23rd, I also added a touch of Secret Weapon rust pigment and this model was ready to join the ranks.

I have been waiting a long time for some bits like this and I am happy to see them at last and from a great company like Victoria Miniatures.

for Part ONE of this review series, go here


Monday, October 27, 2014

Review: Victoria Miniatures Heavy Weapons, PART ONE

Victoria Miniatures recently sent us a set of the new Heavy Artillery sets as well as a set of the Penal Legion Heavy Weapons Crew for review. Rather than just slap a few parts together and taking a few shots then calling it a review; we decided to each take a heavy weapon kit and assemble and paint it with crew in a different styles to showcase the kits. So expect THREE post, all this week, with all three of us looking at these kits in a different light.

For my part of the project I assembled the autocannon kit and took a few heads and arms from the Penal Legion sprue to blend into a less heretical gun crew.

Some of the bits from the Penal Legion Heavy Weapon Crew

Overall the resin and casting is of high quality. The above picture is out of box & even without any cleaning you can see the care that has gone into the casting. The pieces are not deformed, it's clear that there has been some thought into placing the vents so cleanup is easy once separated from the sprue. The casting has been performed by skilled hands, places with flash are tissue-thin and fall away with a light scraping revealing minimal mould lines.

Great personality on the head sculpts.

The Autocannon fits together nicely, and including not only an extra clip but two different styles is a nice touch. The crew sprue offers a generous helping of options, most of which you won't find on other companies sprues so you can really spice up the monotony of your army.

The kit isn't without some small flaws: while minimal, you will have to clean up some mould lines. There were a few tiny casting errors on the parts I used, I had a little bit of flooding on one of the lenses the googles of one of the heads I used, and there was a few miscast bolts on the guncarriage feet. However these are millimeter-sized errors, I probably wouldn't have noticed them had I not been scrutinizing the parts for the review.

Some great options for weapon arms are included in the crew set.

Before moving on from the resin and casting quality topic, the other thing that is immediately noticeable on unboxing is that the pieces are straight and not a warped mess of resin. Something that seems to be accepted among some resin junkies is that due to international shipping and temperature changes your pieces will arrive as a tangled mess. But as this little box from Australia to the US illustrates, it doesn't have to be the case. While some of the aforementioned factors can cause warping during shipping, the real culprit is the resin casters rushing the process and removing the resin from the mould prematurely to save time and maximize profit. Seeing thin long bits like the rifles arrive without the need for correction speaks volumes towards the skilled casting and good quality control of Victoria Miniatures.

For my assembly I was immediately drawn to the smoking head (complete with zippo arm) and the gruff bald head with cyber-eye. I used GW Cadian bodies and torsos, with some of the arms from the Victoria set.

 There's a ton of personality in the sculpts, and the heads alone evoked a story when I saw them. I imagined the smoker as the crew officer, with a hint of a smirk he's a great contrast to the gruff loader who's obviously had a harder time manning this gun.

Stay Tuned! On wednesday we will post Part 2 of the Victoria Mini review, this coming Friday the third and final part.

-Mike M (cornumortem)