Monday, 20 January 2014

Chaos Cultists and the Imperial Swordsman

If you check out the Muse page you'll get a feel for the planet/setting for this project – a half abandoned and dying Imperial world with a vast continent spanning underground monastery complex.

Chaos cults are taking over and the order of Imperial society is a crumbling into a nightmarish post apocalyptic state...

These are great plastics and I don't have much cause to make significant conversions! The first of many Cultists to come.

The Imperial Swordsman – I plan on doing a few more of these: the remnants of once flourishing and flamboyant military order, the Ecclesiastical Swordsmen are now battered and sorely diminished.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Easing into the project – Watcher in the Dark

This was a nice little stress free miniature to ease me into the scale and style – still not nailed it 100%. I'm used to sculpting a little differently and less chunky.

The miniature was made from a couple of different elements:

  • Staff was from a Warhammer Fantasy Skeleton Archer regiment (think this was the banner)
  • The staff top was from a Warhammer Fantasy Empire State Troop regiment (banner top, I think)
  • Kneadite Green Stuff and Super Sculpey Firm
(amazed that I can even remember the individual parts, the skeletal arm attached holding the banner was only a minor clue...)

So I guess you're interested in the sculpting bit?

I start with a bent up paper clip trimmed to shape and fixed into a cork. Onto the paper clip I stuck a “bloba-ture” of Green Stuff; half way between a blob and an armature bulk out. Onto that I apply my Super Sculpey Firm and start sculpting.

The green stuff on the wire acts as an adhesive and slowly cures as I sculpt in Super Sculpey, Super Sculpey is notoriously bad for being totally non adhesive to anything except itself, and perhaps super glue.

Once I'd baked the Super Sculpey I glued the staff in place and got some green stuff out for all the details.

I'm a pretty/very fast sculptor – everything all in this probably took me about 45 minutes in total. I've not used Super Sculpey much so this isn't really a super top quality sculpt, it does the job though.

Anyhow... done. Can't wait to get painting him. I realise it sort of breaks cannon with regards to appearance: you can see a little hand, albeit still covered with an under cloak. Never mind though

Now create some text to accompany the dynamic duo.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Stock Take: The calm before the storm

Believe it or not, this is my ENTIRE heroic style Games Workshop miniature collection. Bits really.

Look how nice and ordered it is... I wonder how long it will stay this way? So long as I can finish what I start (as I go along) this will simply shrink away to nothing right? I'll recreate this shot periodically to test the theory.

Within the white box are all the Dark Vengeance bits, I'm sure most are familiar with that. The interesting stuff is 'outside the box', aherm...

Some bits from Anvil Industry (I helped sculpt some of the stuff that went into production)

And in the little plastic black box: some bits and pieces I've sculpted over the last few years....

Pretty cool huh? I'm going to kit-bash my own kit-stash. This is predominantly going to be Mechanicus stuff.

Finally, the first purpose sculpt I did for this project: a Watcher in the Dark. He's going to be holding the Librarians staff. I made this before I received Dark Vengeance so I'm not 100% happy with the size of it but it fits with the back story I'm drafting up – this Watcher is a little bloated and fat. I view the Watchers as the manifestation of the suppressed anger and secrecy of the Dark Angels (transference of angst over the ancient betrayal), this guy being fat means he has been building up in the Tower of Angels for a long time and has now come forth to support the Librarian hunting one particular Fallen Angel from the time of the Heresy

(more on the “story” later, check out the MUSE page for my current thoughts)

I'll explain how I made this guy once he's finished (a showcase)

Monday, 13 January 2014


 Photographing miniatures, for some it's a bane.

A great paint job can be ruined by unskilled photography just as easily as an unskilled paint job can be made to look like a masterpiece, with the correct lighting and angle.

When it comes to photography I like to think I've got it nailed... for a pure white background that is. I use a light tent, two directional lamps and my trusty 20w daylight lamp. Once 'digital' I ramp the brightness up to 100% and that's it – perfect for a webstore to show all the details of the sculpt or the cast. This post is me trying out new techniques, some almost work and some fail.

A pure white background was not the original objective for this blog, I wanted... blackness, atmosphere and style. I'm not sure it's been achieved yet but here's an egregious photo dump showing my experimentation, and my first two Dark Vengeance miniatures almost complete: they're too clean, where's the oil and grime brother?

Light tent White

Light Tent Black

Light Tent Black (with the contrast increased 25%)

Experimental set up (only flash used for lighting)

Hybrid Experiment (Box in light tent, white and black)

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Opening Gambit


What's this all about?

In a nutshell I received Dark Vengeance as a gift and was pretty surprised by how good the miniatures where. I've been away from Games Workshop for a good 8 years or so so this marks my return in full to the 41st millennium in miniature: with this blog I'll chart my endeavours starting with Dark Vengeance and progressing onto some of my sculpts and conversions.

I have a short narrative campaign I want to document with all these miniatures too, so there will be degree of work done on the presentation of the project. Not to give too much away but I'm a sculptor more than anything else (see my other blog), so I'll be doing a lot of one off's for this project which are already under way but in the spirit of this blog will await their appointed time for revealing.

In terms of gaming whilst I'm quietly surprised and how good the current 40k core gameplay and mechanics are, mindful that I own Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader and Warhammer 3rd Edition, I have my own rule set that does me fine. Maybe I'll show it off here.

Skirmish is the order of the day, not huge battles. Even though subject matter will include Space Marines I'll be making the squad cap 3 miniatures strong. Quality over quantity: I'm aim to make the miniatures as rich and atmospheric as possible.

Probably more than anything else, I want to make these miniatures as 40k as possible: dark, gritty, weird and saturated with northern European medievalism. John Blanche has been a favourite of mine for a long time, I intend to hopefully realise the essences of his work through sculpture and colour palettes in new ways that will inspire people.


I've been into the miniature hobby for about 20 years now, starting tentatively with Heroquest then full throttle with Necromunda, followed swiftly by Warhammer 40,000 second edition and Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Roll on the years and I went through literally everything. I still have all the rulebooks, but all the miniatures found new homes on Ebay years ago.

My day job/career is in the Investment Industry where I've managed investment teams, provided consultation on everything from Risk and Compliance to Strategic Planning, and worked for 4 separate firms here in Edinburgh.

The other blog of have, Miniatures of the North, charts my foray into sculpting and production/selling. Unfortunately Investments pays significantly more than miniatures, so it's sad for me to say that miniatures will remain a hobby for the foreseeable future.

Me vs Stormtrooper


This probably tells you a lot about their person and their methods of work, so here's my work area: the spare room.
Large Ikea conference table, daylight lamp and a 40k mug I got redeeming my Skulls tokens while I was still in high school (15 years ago I think).

Like most I enjoy nothing better than losing track of time working on miniatures. Luckily if I swivel 90 degrees in the chair I get a brilliant view... through the dining room... then through the living room. When I need to stretch out and give my eyes a rest after a hobby session I'm lucky to have the entire living room open plan with a floor to ceiling window, and a view of the Firth of Forth. This coupled with my tidy and minimal working area probably tells you I prefer to have a wide open space and a blank slate to work. I hate things being messy! (if you can see on the newspaper I'm painting on, there's a paper towel in place to catch any detritus through the modelling or painting process. It's not obsessive compulsive disorder, it's order).

And that was my opening Gambit.

Right now I've painted up my Dark Angel Librarion and 1 of the 3 Ravenwing Bikers from Dark Vengeance – expect this in the next post!

[no more scenery pics unless it's miniature scenery]