Canoness Veridyan (Warhammer 40k – Sisters of Battle) 2017

Games Workshop may have made some mistakes in the past, but releasing this kit was not one of them. In a line of “re-masters” that I (and I’m sure many other lovers of the Oldhammer) am gobbling up to the pain of my wallet, GW has hit true form again. It’s great to see them coming out with more “painter’s pieces” than simply churning out more gaming pieces.

Canoness Veridyan is one of my favourite kits to come out of Nottingham in years. Based on a beloved John Blanche artwork, this miniature captures everything Warhammer 40k should be: gothic, over-the-top, grimdark, a bit silly.

I decided to paint my model, against my first instinct, to match the original artwork. Working from the box art also allowed me to practice Non-Metallic Metal painting for the first time (tutorial will probably come on this, but I’m still learning myself, so… we’ll see!) I enjoyed taking it super slow, painting one limb at a time and lavishing attention on the detail and precise shading. While I’m not exactly happy with some parts of the finished product, in total, I think I’m going to go out there and say it’s probably one of the best paintjobs I’ve done!

But there’s no sense resting on laurels. This miniature actually opened my eyes to the possibilities of improving. Even after all these years of painting, there’s still so much more to learn, so much more to try to master. And if I don’t, it doesn’t really matter, as long as I have fun along the way and make some sweet minis.

So without any further ramble, here’s the Canoness, complete with small display plinth featuring the original artwork.

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John Blanche’s original masterpiece
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My take on the GW miniature
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Vintage Heroes and Imperial Dragon (Misc. Miniatures) – 2016

Sit down here by the fire and let me tell you a story; a story about a time when Wizards were Wizards, not Arcane Collegiates, and Dragons were Dragons, not Stardrakes. It was a simpler time, a wilder time. Samurais fought alongside Dwarfs. Treemen basked under the sun as Goblins got drunk beneath their shade…

At least that’s what I imagine! Truth is, the models at the centre of this post were minted up to a decade or more before I was born. They came in sets sold by the blister, for maybe a couple of pence, which my dad bought as a young man in York. They were painted then stored away in mouldy boxes, until a young hobbyist stumbled upon it and let the sun back in.


So these are the first inter-generational models in my collection. They hold a special significance not just because they were painted by my mum and dad, but that I was given the opportunity to clean them up, bring them back to life in my own way. I treated them with much care as I soaked away the old dusty paint in Simple Green and restored them to bare lead. I took even more care painting them, trying not to bend their almost gooey weapons as I worked.

Now, for a bit of a before and after.

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These models are all so charming. Most of them are pre-slotta Citadel, namely the Wizard, Goblins, Dwarfs and Treeman (apparently nicknamed “Klinty”) from the mid-80s, while the Dwarf or Halfling with harp is (unless someone can tell me otherwise) a Ral Partha model from 1985 (also, the only one painted by my mum in the mists of time). Together, they make up a rag-tag warband of adventurers, seeking out treasure and power under the guidance of the Shapeshifting Druid.

They were painted, mostly, from a white undercoat, which allows for brighter, more “retro” colour schemes and thinner application. The bases (made from washers) were painted a sickening vintage green on purpose, a throwback to when all bases were all green, all the time. Shame I didn’t actually have any “Goblin Green” paint.

They were also a practice in intricacy, with the Dwarfs wearing pattern clothes and the Druid wearing a sparkling robe. Keep in mind, these minis are a lot more mini than what we are used to today. The Druid/Wizard is perhaps half the height of your average Space Marine.

The centrepiece of this project is perhaps my most precious miniature… The Ral Partha Imperial Dragon from 1982, released in a limited print. My dad left this grand beastie unpainted for decades, which I can understand. The level of detail on that base is incredible, even by today’s standards.

The Dragon is an amazing sculpt. It’s simple and almost cartoony in a way, but filled with character and depth. It must have been a pain to assemble though, as it weighs a tonne and is plastered with anciet, gap-filling Araldite. It’s also gone through two sloppy paintjobs, applied by me as a younger hobbyist. Only this time, after giving it the attention it deserves, have I come to feel happy with the finished product.

The colour scheme was a tough one to decide. I search endlessly for similar miniatures, storybook dragons, even plush toys for inspiration, but nothing ever stuck… until I went ahead and painted the red, expecting its scales to be a dark ebony or bluish obsidian. I picked up the bottle of teal and decided, on a whim, to splash it on. The contrast was sharp, but I think it worked. I guess it goes to show that, no matter how much you plan and worry while trying to make things perfect, sometimes the perfect thing just comes along and slaps you in the face.

Anyway, that’s enough of a story for tonight, adventurer. Rest up, because soon you face the Dragon.

Salamanders I (Horus Heresy – Legio Astartes) 2016

You come seeking our father, but he is not here. I searched for him on the field of battle until they struck me down with a sword of flame that scorched the very heavens, and yet I did not die. I searched for him in the endless vaults of the dead where the crushing blackness tore at my very soul, and yet I endured. I was tested once again through the crucible, and I tell you this — Vulkan does not walk among the dead!


There is no cooler character in the Horus Heresy (at least from my brief readings of the Forgeworld source books) that Cassian Dracos. The idea of an army being led by an unkillable robot warrior-monk, burning with the flames of zealoutry, is just far too cool to pass up.

The Salamanders are a very under-represented Legion in the Horus Heresy scene and I never understood why (without bringing up the “race” issue that somehow always gets brought up by some hobbyists). I mean, they’re the most “human” legion, but also the most heavy metal (perhaps second to World Eaters). PURGING FIRE AND FLAMES! BRIMSTONE! ARTISAN WEAPONS! DRAGONS!

I have a feeling my love for the green guys comes from my previous Witchhunter project and my various other green armies. I’ve also had a continuing love for “techy” armies and for zealous heroes. Most of all, I just thought the Sallies needed more love… And I’m a massive Warhammer Hipster who wants to do things that not many people have done before.

It was, as I’m sure most of you would know from experience, a really hard choice to settle on a Legion. Out of 18 iconic forces, only one could lay their colours on my expensive bare plastic and resin. I ended up making the choice, at Nottingham, to buy the coolest looking Primarch, Vulkan, and the coolest Dreadnought, Cassian Dracos. And so, my XVIII Legion force was born, following The Dragon Revenant into the fires of battle, unto the anvil of war.

My Salamanders are (perhaps) going to be part of a larger “Shattered Legion” or allied force (alongside either Space Wolves to match my old Iron Wolves or perhaps even loyalist Emperor’s Children). They are members of Xiaphus Jurr’s “Disciples of the Flame” and the crew-members of the Ebon Drake, led, of course, by Cassian Dracos himself. Though I’m still to start painting Xiaphus, before leaving for three months overseas I managed to paint up a Tactical Squad, a Support Squad and Cassian to prove the colour scheme. I was a bit hesitant at first, thinking “ooh, have I picked the right Legion?”, but after finishing this portion of the army, I’ve fallen in love.

This is an ongoing project, so look out for updates as they come! Also, keep your eyes peeled for a guide on painting this green armour, fire and Salamander skin. VULKAN LIVES!

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The Salamanders regroup after Istvaan, with fires of vengeance burning in their hearts

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