Sunday, 7 September 2014

I Ain't Dead

But I haven't painted for over a year!

For the first in over twelve months I sat down in front of my brushes, paints, and tiny plastic creatures and tried to paint. I figured I'd be out of practice but still remembered the theory and method of everything I wanted to do.

Turns out I was wrong. May as well have fingers made of sausage. It's like I've never picked up a brush before! I still pushed through and got some paints on stuff. Started building a piece of scenery. I'm hoping it will all come back quickly. If not - it didn't take me long to learn it in the first place and it is still enjoyable.

My current models out are a set of the tiny nurgle minions stacked up, a WWII tank and what is going to be a set of marble stairs set in elf land, long abandoned. I'm doing the nurglings up to look like different types of poisonous (therefore colourful) frogs, the tank up in grey camo as practice for a baneblade, and the stairs as practice getting pva glue everywhere. I have already glued my water cup, tissue and a paint pot to my table.

Fingers crossed I pick up speed soon. If not - there's always washes!

Friday, 8 August 2014

A New Pheonix!

Here's a Pheonix I actually painted for my mother as a birthday present last year, but have only just gotten the photos of.

I didn't get to go as far as I wanted with features and detail because I was on too short a deadline, but I'm happy with what I achieved. At the time the best advice I got from fellow goon painters was to focus more on my colour choices. I wanted to see if I could bring together the paint scheme I used previously - all blues - and my mum's favourite colour purple.

I like it! Hopefully I'll be able to paint again soon. I've just settled into a new flat and I've got some exams in a few weeks, but I'm free after that.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Building an Overgrown Ruin Base

I painted another High Elf Pheonix as a mother's day present for my... mother. I couldn't seem to get any decent pictures of that painting process but it is definitely the best thing I've painted so far by a large margin. I did get photos of how I made the snazzy base though.

I have a mold of natural, miniature rock faces and outcroppings. A few hours before making the base I mixed up some normal milliput and pressed it in. It doesn't have to be perfect or solid. It only needs to have the outside detail. I tend to just make a shell then fill it with aluminium paper to save on putty.

I use different art pastes but it's because I'm a gadget freak who does loads of art stuff outside of miniatures. You can make up an approximation of any past using different amounts of glue, water and sized sand/rocks.

I do find the artistic gels let you sculpt them a bit more and are easier to control but it's not a necessary cost to get cool bases. However you do it you do want to get some different texture and densities when making organic type scenery.

I start by slathering glue on the bottom of the milliput pieces and pushing them into the base. I had played about with them earlier seeing which ones to use and where I would put them. I wanted the base to look like rock portruding from the ground, rather than resting.

You want to put enough glue that it squelches out around the sides when squelched down to make the rocks look like they are embedded in the earth.

I have all of my different size/texture sand and rocks in one pot. I rarely dig out the original bags or separate grade materials in. If I want a specific size all I have to do is shake it side to side and either the top or bottom will have all the fine sand, the other will have the rocks etc. If something is natural, industrial, destroyed etc you still want a bit of variation to make it look more natural and the occasional different sized rock piece aids this.

For the first step I just drop the gluey base in and poke it around.

We want the glue and sand to lay over the edges of the large rocks. Once I pull it out I grab my tweezers and add larger rocks where they would fall off and collect. Don't worry about looking 'right' if you can make something look better or more balanced though.

Once that it done I move onto spreading paste everywhere. I use 'craft' sticks that look like they come out of lollies to scoop out paste and push it around.

I start with the fine sand paste. This one is super great because you can get a finer sand/dirt effect that is more in scale than using actual fine sand and glue.

To integrate the paste properly with the rocks I smoosh it up against them so the edges are completely covered. Then scrape it down with the stick. This creates the right transition without leaving obvious edges or lumps. You want to scrape the paste down towards the base, not up over the rock.

More sand follows. I want more control now so I put the base in the lid, shake the mix until I see the texture I want, then scoop it out with my fingers and sprinkle it on making sure to leave bit of the original paste showing.

For the rocks on the ground I make sure to paste around them too. I either drop them on the paste and then roll them over using a cocktail stick or use the stick to poke the paste up against them. Tiny rocks that look like they've just been dropped on the floor look very obvious and ruin the mini effect.

I use a different grain paste on the other side. Here you can see the paste over the rock before I scrape it back down.

More sprinkles of sand mix.

I lightly brush some sand paste over the crevices in the rocks to show where material would gather over time. This is a good place to drop some mini leaves and sticks as well.

The best stuff to detail your natural scenery with is the real stuff. I go to the field next door and gather up clumps of different shaped mosses and tiny leafed plants, and different size/textured stick. I lay them out on some tissue paper and leave over a radiation until it's all crinkly dry. Then I store it in tupperware until I need it.

PVA glue to stick it down. These HAVE just fallen down on the base so they don't need to be smoothed into things as much, you don't need to fill in all the gaps between the tree and the base. I do have a bit of build up against it because it's supposed to look very old and untouched when finished.

I add another one on the other side, propping it up on a rock.

I had to rush from this point because it was due to be collected the morning after. I will be making more and showing how I painted them then added the miniature flowers I collected from outside soon enough though.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Monday, 17 March 2014

Kaladrax The Finished

Oh I can't believe it's finally finished and sent! Whooohooo! Here's a collection of pictures I took before shipping off the massive mini. I will write up how I did some of the things I think are good later. For now admire my terrible photoshopping skills and images much wider than my blog.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Big Bog Roundup: Part Two

Here is the second part of my big blog roundup. A number of these are in french. France produces some of the best artwork in the world and this is true within miniature painting. Even if you need to pop things through a translator and stumble through some engrish there's some great information in all of them.

I am running out of platitudes to roll out about each painter. I'm only going to post good and useful sites and I feel shallow saying 'oh this painting is great and the tutorials are useful etc etc' every time. 

Miniature Fairy Tales

This is another blog by a small group of people. The posts are not the most frequent but there's a good backlog and a number of tutorials written up. There is sculpting WIP on display as well as painting at a variety of (high) levels of proficiency.

They post updates about what's going on in the world of miniatures; new tutorials, inspiring paint work, new resources.

The Brush Brothers

Another group of great painters with tutorials, WIPs and display photos.


These ScratchMod sites follow the strange habit of people to be great technical painters and then produce websites that look like the 90's exploded on their HTML. Work through the unintuitive site design and see some realistic/historical WIPs. The forum has lots of different sections, including one user pulling apart a Tumbler vehicle and re-rendering it more accurately to the films and addind LEDs, etc.

5th Dimension

Another collective of painters collaborating on a blog. I didn't realize this was so commonly done. Lots on it, including thoughts on miniature painting/hobbying in general which is always quite nice.

Look at this amazing base and now go read the amazing words of the people who make and paint things like this!

Mr Lee's Painting Emporium

As well as contributing to the 5th dimension Mr Lee has his own dedicated blog that has been going for a couple of years, has a couple of hundred posts and is an informative and easy read.

Tale of Painters

Collaborative blog based on Games Workshop products. It's been running for a few years and updates regularly, covering everything from tutorials to building man caves.

I've never had this problem. As the woman of the house I have just spread my modelling and painting supplies over everything and threaten to leave my housemate to cook for himself if he complains.

They have a nifty format for doing their tutorials in. The blog design isn't the most ideal but viewable non the less.

 Ok I feel like like the undead at the moment but I really want to share the great blogs I've found. I will just list the rest for now. If you are the owner of a blog below please don't think I'm making a statement by not doing a little section - I am simply too tired for writing!

This last link is highly recommended. Some of the most insane diorama scratch building I've seen. 

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Big Blog Roundup: Part One

I have sprained my shoulder doing deadlifts! I have learned my lesson: exercise is bad for you. It is my writing and painting arm so I'm out of commission for the short term at least. To fulfill my need to do something hobby based I've decided to review the hundreds of bookmarks I've accrued over the last few months and post the good ones. I will also be updating my links section accordingly.

In this part I'm linking to general blogs. I may have a couple of parts as I trundle the internet feeling sorry for my arm over the next couple of days. I am also going to have a post where I have combed through the blogs individually and point out snazzy tutorials or WIP series.

Mistral Fantasy

This is an Italian language blog. Even if you don't get on with the google translate function, this blog is full of wonderful WIP images as the blogger makes amazing pieces of scenery and buildings. Inspirational work.


This blog is a collaborative effort between five painters:

Originally a Russian blog the painters have made the effort to translate their posts into English as well. A bit rough in places but overall readable and full of stunning miniature work.

Three of them also have individual blogs where they post more about their own painting.

HopeRiver's Valley

Two words: SPACE ELDAR

Even more spacey than normal eldar.

She posts loads of different closeups of all her models, and really good walkthroughs.


Lots of WIP shots and different types of miniatures. As a warning, a lot of them are stupidly sexualised tiny women figures and a bit creepy in places. (Naked lady painted to be crying, ok...) But in amongst it are things like Ar-Fienel being bad-ass despite unnecessary cleavage:

Into the Ravenswood

Ravenswood has just produced their first commercial miniature - a really cool dwarf model.  Also on display are well painted but overly sexualised dwarves ;)

That weathered metal is so sexy it should be behind a mature content filter or something.

Moving away from the Serpentinium group:

Mirko Cavalloni Art

The painting style here reminds me of old oil paintings depicting epic moments in time. Desaturated palettes and worn, aged look. Different and good to look through.

Tom Schadle Miniatures

A lot of Infinity terrain/miniatures and Wild West Exodus pieces painted up with stunning contrast and colour depth. Interesting thoughts on each miniature and useful colour lists and painting tips with almost every post.

Chris Clayton

Mr Clayton has two blogs:

The former is based more on his experience of miniatures as a hobby, and the latter is about his work producing models and paintwork on a professional level. Both are good reads. Even if you don't know him by name, you have almost certainly seen one of his latest pieces of work, Hush;

He is responsible for both the sculpt and the paint job. There are step by step WIP's of both on the blogs.

As well as Hush he has painted and produced some mind blowing female figures that aren't creepy or purely focused on a female figurine as a representation of 'sexy'. I'm determined to get my hands on some one day. There's a couple of boob windows here and there but overall I really like Gigantic Miniatures' work.


This is a site collecting loads of great painters. The tutorials section is much better than the one on CMoN and seems to have a much higher standard across the board in content. Lots of active posters. Hosts blogs, reviews, a forum and a gallery. I've been finding lots of good new painters on there, especially ones who do scenery/dioramas that I haven't come across on CMoN et al.


A military modelling website packed full of awesome resources regardless of whether your focus is realistic, sci-fi or fantasy. The website design isn't very fluid but worth learning to navigate. I have always been more invested in doing work that is interesting even if it means sacrificing realism (not that realism is inherently less interesting) but even as someone with that perspective the information and writing on the site is accessible and interesting.

Platoon Britannica

A forum covering all details of miniatures. Excellent talent on show. There aren't hundreds of posts a day, but a steady flow of new posts over time and lots already existing to work through. Quite a few of the regular posters from CMoN are present here but there are a substantial number whose work I haven't seen posted anywhere else yet.

Spanish Team

A spanish miniatures forum! The google translate on this is quite rough. Lots of people have also posted in english alongside their native spanish. There's lots of demonstrations using images and WIP pictures anyway so anything you can't read you can see! Really some of the work being developed on this forum is pretty insane and people post on a regular basis.

I came across this forum because someone linked to my articles on putty! Puts a big grin on my face when I see people pointing to any articles I've written.

That's all I feel like writing up for now. The substantial amount of painkillers I've had pumped into me may have made this a ropier read than usual. Hopefully there is something new in here for you to read.