Up your game

There have been a few conversations with friends recently about how much I've improved over the last couple of years and what I've learnt and changed to improve and up my game. Of course being me, I figured this would make a great blog post!

Sooo... what have I done that's helped me get better? Well there have been a whole bunch of things frankly - many of which I am still working on. For this post, I am going to cover the things that I've done, roughly in the order I'd recommend. Having said that - many of these will have a parallel component to them.

Steady Hand Ok so this one is not entirely in an individual's control... and also probably not so relevant to a lot of the readers of this blog but it was my first real step up in quality and so I've chosen to include it. I started painting minis when I was very young (about 8/9 years old). Back then my ability to get a brush to do what I wanted it to was really not very good. I have painted off and on ever …

It's all about the base

It's always a good weekend when I spend it in a class learning new painting techniques. A couple of months ago it was CK Studios and stepping up my airbrushing game. This weekend just gone, it was basing with Oliver Sp├Ąth of HonorGuard Painting. This is one of a series of UK classes being organized by Journeyman Miniatures. It's great that Journeyman have stepped up here; I feel like the UK has sat in the shadow of Europe and the US in terms of classes (and talent to be honest).

Each of us got a plinth and a model for us to build our base around. This is the first time I've ever really incorporated a plinth into a model in this manner (stupid last minute decision for my last contest entry aside). I've mentioned on this blog in the past that I really prefer to have models that can be used on the gaming table at the end of the day so this class was really outside of my comfort zone.
The Plinth came from Crazy Wenky and is excellent quality (and really affordable compare…

A model a day...

Almost half way into the year now and I wanted to talk about my personal project for this year. Namely averaging one fully painted miniature/day over the year. That's 365 painted pieces in 2018. I am adding a few further restrictions for myself:
It must go from primed to varnished in 2018 (finishing models from before or unfinished models don't count).The model must be the size of a 25mm human or bigger to count (ie no smaller than a Mansions of Madness investigator)Bigger models still only count as 1!
So... how am I doing? Well...

Carry over: (16 + 11 small)Space Hulk: 6 TerminatorsMansions of Madness: 2xShoggoths, 2xCthonians, 1xDark Young, 1xDunwich HorrorBlood Bowl: Wood Elf & Chaos Apothecaries, Ball markerGeneric: 10 BarrelsLady MorriganWander: Tank Despite the focus on getting new figures completely painted, I have not neglected the figures I had already started last year.
Completed: (146 + 34 small)Space Hulk: 20xSpace Hulk door stands, Chalice, C.A.T., 23 Genesteale…

You know when you've been Tangoed

A recent post on a Facebook Group I follow called Paint All the Minis challenged painters to attempt a colour they've struggled with in the past. This was really perfect timing for me as one of the figures that had been sat in my lead mountain was Warrior Monk Masahiro from this Test of Honour box. I wanted to go with the traditional orange robes but this has always been a tricky colour for me.

At the same time, I have a full set of the Scale Color Inktensity line... soooo when you've got a hammer, everything becomes a nail to be glazed.

Starting point is a nice zenithal prime (using Stynylrez Black and White) before building an orange glaze:

I used a 4:1 mix of Yellow to Red inktensity for a nice vibrant orange:

It's important to remember that glazes like this filter light. When applied over other colors there can be some unexpected results - in this case there is a lot of green in the Stynylrez Black and this came through strongly. The result is kinda green in the shado…

Shadespire Farstriders

For a while now, I have considered taking on commissions and doing paid painting jobs. I often find myself wanting to paint models that I have no desire to own or figures for games that I know I will never play (such as hundreds of Wargames Factory Samurai).

Of course commission painting is the end goal of many serious painters. The idea of being able to make a living off of painting toy soldiers is a dream for many. I am not sure I have ever looked to it as an end goal in that way but rather something to try out and maybe do on the side. Maybe that should have been a clue that this really wasn't something for me, but I forged ahead and gave it a go anyway.

The idea I had was to batch paint a few boxes of The Farstriders warband for Underworlds:Shadespire. These models look great, each warband is only 3 figures so painting up 4 boxes in a go is still only 12 figures to paint. They are also mostly one colour and can be airbrushed very quickly. I also wanted to film the process to …

The Painting Brick wall

Well folks... it's happened. After well over a year of being pretty pumped and motivated - feeling like I'm getting a ton of painting done and really stepping up my talent. After all that, I feel like I've hit a wall.

I know why, a few things combined that really shouldn't have so much influence on me: Real life issues, doing badly in a contest I'd previously done well in, leaving an online community that had felt like a place to share my progress with others that shared my passion.

Whining about this sad state of being is not really the point of this post however. I want to explore things to get you re-invested in the hobby. As with pretty much everything else I talk about, Uncle Atom has gotten there first (and done it better). You can see a couple of the more relevant videos here and here.

So what can you do to fend off the brick wall?

Paint with others - if you are lucky enough to have other hobbyists nearby, meet up regularly! Get together, chat, paint an…

Airbrushing 102 - CK Studios (picture heavy)

A little over a year ago, I painted up a Contemptor Dreadnought under the instruction of Kat Jackson and Caleb Wissenback of CK Studios. Prior to this, I had only done very basic things with an airbrush... which generally resulted in damaging the airbrush. That weekend my painting game stepped up more than any other single change. I have primed and basecoated virtually every miniature I have touched since then and there have been a lot of them. From Space Hulk Terminators to Discworld minis, I've been able to churn through a huge number of figures in a record time.
Well that was the 101 class and Kat and Caleb have since developed a 102 class that takes painting to the next level and I've just been able to attend the class as they did a tour of the UK.
I'm not going to go into a huge amount of detail on the stages of the class. If you want that - I heartily recommend taking the class yourself. Hopefully there is still enough here to give you a good sense of what the class…