Monday, October 12, 2020

I'm Painting My Damn Lead Pile: A Project Log


It's time. I'm going to paint all my miniatures. Or at least, I'm going to paint as many miniatures as I can before I get bored of it again. 

I have a group of around 140 that are more or less based. The first half of these are a mix of scifi and fantasy figs either recovered from my childhood Eldar and High Elf collections or haphazardly collected based more or less solely on the rule of cool. They include some space marines, some werewolf bikers, some of my favorite Bob Olley reaper sculpts, some classic Jes Goodwin Rogue Trader Eldar, and all kinds of other minis that struck me as both cheap and individually cool or interesting in some way.

The other half are a small Quar army from ZombieSmith minis. 

...and I have another probably 80-100 or so that are not yet assembled. 

The plan is to experiment and improvise as much as necessary to keep it interesting for as long as possible. I would like to challenge myself to experiment a bit more drastically with methods and approaches, and I don't really care whether I have a highly polished final result in the end.

The inspirations I'm following right now are: 

Here's where I'm at so far.

Lingering Projects

There were a few minis that had already been greyscale underpainted and then colored with oils last year. They just needed some finishing touches, like a few washes, a couple highlights, teeth, eyes, and a drybrush of silver ink.

This wraithguard was mostly painted by my friend as a learning figure. I just did a couple final details and the base. The guardian was done using Dana Howl's Cyberpunk Necron scheme, except using glazes mixed with metallic inks instead of color changing paints. Both of these models received a zenithal splatter of gold ink to provide a more pronounced, shimmery texture to the highlights.

First Batch, step by step

Next I selected a small group of models more or less at random to try out a spray paint gradient using Montana Gold acrylic spray paints.

I sprayed these with deep purple red from below and shrimp from above...

...followed by a zenithal drybrush of white ink.

In preparation for the oil washing stage, I give any detail areas a value sketch in greyscale. Then I establish any OSL gradients using white ink glazes, and basecoat any metallic areas in silver ink. 

At this point I mix up a few different oil washes--a dark purple-black, a magenta, a warmer brown and a cool brown--and apply them thickly all over the models.

Next, I clean away all excess wash using cotton swabs, bringing back the original value near the highlights but leaving the washes in the crevasses and blending them out. I go back with more intensely colored washes for some areas, including the OSL on the warlock's sword and eyes.

Unfortunately my oil paints are breathtakingly cheap and the pigments are not intense enough to easily provide much coverage, so I switched back to acrylics to do some touch-up on details and highlights, plus some finishing touches like a last, gentle dry-brush using some of the various lightest tones remaining on my wet palette, some silver dry-brushing, and a very light zenithal gold splatter.

Upcoming Batches

I thought this group might look good with a greener gradient--signal blue from below and malachite from above followed by a couple successive drybrushes of yellow (liquitex yellow orange azo) and white inks.

I'm finding that drybrushing with translucent inks like yellow can lead to some incredible filters on the vibrant spray paint colors. The translucency can be modulated with the white ink (liquitex titanium white). 

These quar demonstrate this really well. I went signal blue from below and shrimp from above, resulting in a somewhat jarring blue to orange gradient. However, a few quick drybrushes served to desaturate the orange and filter some of the blue shadows to a really lovely green. This results in a lot of smooth tonal variation and definition on the figure with very little effort expended. I haven't had to apply multiple coats of anything, or lay down a single basecoat and these already feel almost table ready to me--but I know if I take a few minutes with oils I'll be able to easily add spot colors and reinforce the darker values to create even more visual interest.

Finally, I have another group of Eldar that are mostly underpainted. I'm going to go back to value sketch the gems and OSL effects, then try some more variations on the Cyberpunk Necron method.

Hopefully I'll have some more for you soon. Take care out there.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Boxville Towers


Christ, I've been working on this for the better part of a year 😶😶😶 I originally started this project to use in my Adepticon 2020 game, Upheaval on Tanjarax IV, which never happened. It's finally finished.

It's kind of a 3 way mashup of Wyloch's sector mechanicus walkways, the box making techniques of Sage Reynolds, and the hand-drawn style of Warhammer Townscape.

Most of the following pictures were taken before I applied the final spot colors, and they're far from comprehensive. I can take some better ones if there's any interest at all but otherwise I couldn't be arsed.

The boxes were constructed of heavy duty chipboard—not the grafix brand that Wyloch favors (since I despise amazon and refuse to order my supplies from there) but the Blick brand which you can order by the sheet for peanuts. I went with the 30-ply, which is very heavy duty indeed, but I think you could probably get by with the 14 ply and save your utility knife arm some strain.

For the first few boxes I tried painting the background washes on paper first, then gluing them as a veneer onto the finished box and illustrating over that. This turned out to be stupid difficult, so for the rest I just primed them white, sprayed a variety of slightly diluted liquitex inks onto them using a mouth atomizer, then illustrated directly on the primed chipboard, which worked way better.

I also made some extra support pillars and stairs, but because no design is ever perfect, they don't fit in the main box. Instead, I have a painted notecard box from the thrift store that I'm going to give the same treatment. It will also serve as the maintenance bay for one of the large vehicle objectives in the Tanjarax game, someday.

Lemme know what you think by delicately nesting your comment into the box provided below.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

These Ogres...

  1. ...haven’t eaten in two weeks (due to food scarcity, pursuit of cosmic revelation, or some other reason). They are haggard, their huge joints knobbly. (They carry nothing).
  2. ...are strung out from intentionally stuffing fistfulls of ergot-tainted grain (which their bodies can handle) into their mouths. They will try stuffing fistfulls of ergot-tainted grain (which your body can’t handle) into your mouth. They are stumbling, sleep deprived, their skin mottled and striped by natural plant dyes. (One carries a rune-covered stone that a use of detect magic will reveal to be a 2nd level spell)
  3. ...were recently attacked by a band of monster hunters. One of them was killed. (One has the ensorcelled short sword used to kill their friend—a demonic face on the hilt, such that the flamberged blade looks like its tongue; +1 to hit, dmg 1d6+1, save vs poison or take 1d4 damage each round for three rounds as the wound puckers and boils.)
  4. …are taking turns hurling boulders at anything that moves, competing to be the most accurate shot. (Between them they carry 300 coins which they are using to make wagers. You can totally try and win it off of them.)
  5. …are in the middle of eating a raw horse. There is some evidence that there was perhaps once a rider as well. (They have a man-sized set of full chainmail, an arming sword, a kite shield with a large fist indentation marring the heraldry—either a sphynx or a mantichore volant, argent on a madder field—also d100 coins among a few other knightly accoutrements.)
  6. …are sleeping. Their snores shake the ground. One has a lump of mud-caked metal in the shape of a crude, slack-jawed face hanging around their neck from a leather thong. Cleaning will reveal it to be a lump of solid gold worth 500 coins, wearing it grants a +1 to Wisdom, but makes the limbs heavy, and fills the wearer with the desire to just sit and rest and watch something erode. (...One of these ogres sleeps with one eye open—1 in 3 chance every action you take that they will notice and wake up.)

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Peake-ian Name Generator

...for atmospheric consistency and Gormenghastian flavor among your imaginary personages
(Roll a d200 [d20, d10] twice)
  1. rattle
  2. glass
  3. bell
  4. knotley
  5. wither
  6. whist
  7. riddle
  8. blast
  9. tight
  10. blather
  11. pander
  12. grill
  13. wall
  14. clock
  15. slither
  16. free
  17. brink
  18. lathe
  19. fly
  20. belt
  21. birch
  22. malt
  23. jar
  24. knacker
  25. drain
  26. lightly
  27. spindle
  28. thread
  29. dry
  30. kilter
  31. melt
  32. wind
  33. sour
  34. gap
  35. silt
  36. whistle
  37. tine
  38. flick
  39. fritter
  40. waist
  41. dust
  42. cap
  43. dry
  44. fig
  45. mule
  46. fire
  47. dull
  48. gripe
  49. slow
  50. peel
  51. fiddle
  52. whip
  53. copper
  54. milk
  55. soup
  56. crumb
  57. frill
  58. knocker
  59. wide
  60. winter
  61. door
  62. filcher
  63. rye
  64. monkey
  65. chop
  66. feather
  67. sling
  68. dial
  69. flip
  70. fodder
  71. curdle
  72. whelp
  73. crude
  74. flaut
  75. lewd
  76. bramble
  77. manner
  78. mink
  79. wink
  80. lustre
  81. kettle
  82. crimp
  83. grout
  84. warp
  85. mild
  86. tripe
  87. dimple
  88. trout
  89. fang
  90. limply
  91. callow
  92. snipe
  93. fallow
  94. bark
  95. fling
  96. thither
  97. twig
  98. butter
  99. dust
  100. poorly
  101. saddle
  102. gas
  103. gill
  104. nightly
  105. scissor
  106. trist
  107. middle
  108. bliss
  109. bait
  110. tether
  111. slander
  112. pill
  113. stall
  114. clog
  115. slather
  116. fray
  117. trinket
  118. limp
  119. flit
  120. stilt
  121. lurch
  122. salt
  123. jeer
  124. nickel
  125. brain
  126. lately
  127. spun
  128. bread
  129. droop
  130. bacter
  131. silk
  132. mend
  133. glow
  134. trap
  135. tilt
  136. thistle
  137. brine
  138. wick
  139. flatter
  140. mice
  141. bust
  142. gnat
  143. bag
  144. pig
  145. mull
  146. tire
  147. full
  148. grape
  149. slip
  150. meal
  151. freight
  152. linger
  153. stopper
  154. talc
  155. sop
  156. thumb
  157. flint
  158. knave
  159. warts
  160. wimper
  161. dare
  162. mulch
  163. stye
  164. wrinkle
  165. chafe
  166. fumble
  167. slant
  168. dung
  169. flop
  170. cod
  171. hurtle
  172. gulp
  173. mood
  174. strut
  175. lap
  176. thimble
  177. louse
  178. tinker
  179. whelk
  180. nacre
  181. whittle
  182. cramp
  183. doubt
  184. warble
  185. mold
  186. traipse
  187. mantle
  188. fork
  189. finger
  190. lilt
  191. bald
  192. scoop
  193. bellow
  194. lank
  195. flange
  196. yonder
  197. waggle
  198. braise
  199. distal
  200. piss

Tuesday, September 10, 2019


Deep in the wild, on the border of the great fen known as THE SQUELCH, lies the TOWNSHIP OF MULL.

Mull has, or rather had, twelve daughters—or at least, twelve daughters of any political importance.
For a child was born of a certain hour of a certain moontide in a certain manner, the combination of which was deemed portentous, indicative of a god-given leader who would guide Mull township through present and future troubles and into prosperity. This child was given over to the Care of the Township—which is to say, given over to the care of PERE SPLAYWATER, then just a middle-aged, and not an agéd, man—and a piece of corundum, soft pink as dawn over The Squelch, was carved and polished into the shape of a WREN’S EGG to represent the child’s potential.

All of this would have been good fortune enough, but, by happy coincidence, the same thing occurred again, each year, for the next eleven consecutive years. The people of Mull, a sober and pragmatic folk, were content to know that they had been granted not one but twelve individual chances of a prosperous future—decent odds, by all accounts. And it was these odds upon which, as harvests grew poorer and winters meaner and fen beasts crueler, the folk of Mull grew more and more to rely.

But alas, not even the most decent odds always pay out, and the seventeen years that followed the birth of the twelfth daughter of Mull, young Knotley of the Raven Hair, were full of less than happy coincidences.

Sprightly Warble drowned in a well.
Timid Twigslip was savaged by a wild dog.
Scissor, she who Was Bony, succumbed to the pox.
Sallow Yonder choked on her porridge.
Bramble, she who Laughed so Freely, fell from climbing upon a scarp and was dashed.
Errant Tiresling was brained by a rock during an illicit children’s game of ‘Let’s throw rocks!’
Poor Frail Gill was badly frighted by a fen beast at night, which fright caused her heart to give out.
Sweet Dimple simply passed in her sleep, perhaps taken by a fey dream.
Moony Silt was gored by one of young Dulltinker’s goats. He was driven from town and his goat was drowned in the fen. She perished anyway.
Crimp, she who Was Direct in All Things, wasted away from grief over Silt, for they were very close.
Dryspindle, she of the Somber Expression, went for a walk in The Squelch one day, and never returned.

All of which leaves Belle Knotly, she of the Raven Hair and Stern Will, passing fair and of marriageable age—or at least close enough for the sober and pragmatic folk of Mull—as the last remaining hope.

Which is why it is so distressing that she too has gone missing, as had Pere Splaywater (now quite agéd), and that dashing young suitor with the blue velvet doublet, the day before.

All of this OLD GAMMY FLINGTHITHER of Mull knows, and will tell you at length.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Three Liegemen of Woe

It is known that in the ashen highlands of the 'Wold there are many folk of ill intent. What nobody knows is why.

The most common explanation is that the 'Wold is a land of exile. Where knaves are sent, knavery will follow.

But many believe that something darker is at work, for the ones who are shepherded out the great gate of the interior are the cutpurses, the unruly, and the disgraced; but the ones who come from out of the mist that sweeps down from the bases of the inverted mountains in the North, those are the damned and the murderous.

The priests of the great Magnifitrix preach that wickedness proliferates in the darkness at the edges of the world. When folk are cut off from the holy light, they become more and more cruel and corrupted, say the sermons.

However no one believes this who have seen the dark deeds done -- even in the heart of the Fulgent Desmesnes -- in the name of her holiness.

So from where come these villains? Where do they learn their strange tongues and their unearthly dirges? What inspires their fearful icons: the Argent hoof, the Spiral Wand, Our Lady Monocular?

Not even the Horse-thegns, who treat with the villains sometimes for aid in their bloody struggles of succession, can say for sure, though it is their belief that a toad-o'-the pit named Comes-For-More has coerced their allegiance, and therefore their souls, in a bid for apotheosis.

There is a tanner in Skeldkryk who claims to have come among a gathering of them in the woods one night, where they had slain a black swine and collected it's blood, and were forcing a captive fair-haired youth to drink of it.

The tanner swears that when the dregs of the fourth chalice had been forced through the youth's lips, her hair was made raven and her eyes changed to those of a beast, black-red with blood, and that she took up a blade and drew it across her bosom to the delight of the gathered fiends.

The people of Skeldkryk whisper that the tanner is at best a liar and a drunk, but also that he has been getting odder with each passing year.

One of the warrior monks of the fortress monastery of Ceolmaran claims to have crossed the inverted mountains and come even to the bitterbreach itself. From the other side (in the direction, they say, of Helmrood that was), he says he witnessed a foulness insinuating through the air. He says it was as a murk that seemed to slither along the ground and to collect in the swales and hollows of the land. He says when he breathed it his head filled with visions of the pit, and strange signs, and a hideous cacophony. It was only the holy thought of the purity of the great Magnifitrix, he says, that saved him from running mad...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Bloat

It is of course canonical to paint certain demons in certain ways. Nothing wrong with that.

Green and brown to represent bile and decay--the corrupted flesh. Occasionally a startling, bowel-y purple, as a reminder that what's inside is a mystery, and mysteries can be rubbery.

 But there are other possible associations. This sculpt in particular, with its nicks and gouges, makes me think of a cut finger that has been under a bandage for a long time. The flesh is soft and overly pale. The wound is a bloodless red with an alien topography to the under-surface that is normally hidden beneath the skin.

This association makes me reflect that beneath the surface of things, death is a powerful and pervasive motivating force. It's inside everything, even if we don't recognize it. 

That is one of the metaphorical faces of Chaos--the animating force of death is portrayed literally, incorporated in the body of the demon and alluded to in the gong of skulls on which the march is beaten. 

I have painted this guy to reflect this idea. I call him The Bloat.