Krüll, City of Slaanesh

The Hierophant of Krüll cocked his helmeted head, resting his steel cheek on a curled claw. The magnificent white plume on the top of his crown fluttered in the bitter breeze blowing in from the tooth-lined portal across the chamber.

Beneath his throne, a man grovelled, hardly anything left of him but skin and bone and weeping sores wrapped in a hessian sack. He cried for the broken shape in his arms, a daughter once loved dearly, but spirited away to the temples long ago.

“And I was told your family came from stronger stock, Gunther.” The Hierophant weezed. His voice was a cold wind, a metallic rasp and a sensuous whisper all at once. “We were expecting this one to last more than a few years.”

Gunther cried out, stroking back hair from a blue, dead face. He lifted his own head in the direction of the city’s ultimate Lord, suddenly filled with rage. But before he could gaze upon the Lord’s boots, a blade whipped out from the shadows and fluttered around his neck.

“You think you are worthy to look upon our Dark Prince’s chosen voice?” Some one spat out from behind Gunther. “Avert thy gaze, worm.”

Gunther did what he was told. It was all one could do in the city of Krüll.

“Now, now. Don’t be so glum. You have a new world in front of you, child,” said the Hierophant. “Now you are honoured by a truly rare sensation: utter loss. Feel it, embrace it. It’s what Slaanesh wants of you, of us. To truly feel. How many of us can claim that?

“I feel nothing anymore.” Gunther cried.

“That is a shame.”

Gunther heard the armoured giant rise from his throne, but kept his eyes firmly fixed on the marble floor. He smelt a rising musk and heard chains and bells clatter from some far off corner of the room.

“I’m sure we can teach you how to feel again, Gunther … TAKE HIM TO THE TEMPLE!”

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A Walking City

The city of Krüll is a crawling monolith. From across the murky horizon of The Realm of Shadow, it would simply appear as a hive of crenelated towers and spiked parapets. If one was to watch long enough (without going mad) they would see the mass of buildings moving slowly but surely through the land.

Krüll is, itself, a chariot. Upon wheels the size of castles and pulled by an army of 66,666 daemonic steeds, Krüll slowly cuts through the wastelands and swamps of the Realm of Shadow. Like a scythe, it topples lesser cities, crushes forests and shakes mountains. The city is an inhabited pilgrim, crossing the worlds in search of the missing Prince of Chaos, Slaanesh.

The city has moved for countless centuries, only stopping occasionally as the daemonically possessed steeds exhaust themselves and return to the Warp. In these periods of sloth, before the army of yoked beasts can be replenished, vast armies march from the city for the joy of bloodshed and to collect the slaves necessary for the working of the city. It is in these times that the influence of Chaos waxes strongest, causing daemons to rupture into reality and join the endless march of Krüll.

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Society of the Damned

Krüll, like any city, has its own layers of castes and classes. For the largest part it is, for lack of a better word, a civilised city of men. Slaves and “Freemen” (those claiming no allegiance to the so called “god-king” Sigmar) form the lower rung of this society, performing menial work and living in barbaric squalor for most of their lives. Still, inside Krüll and under the eye of its tyrants, they are safe from the Realm’s many monsters.

Above them are the Horselords, Marauders and Bandits turned from their wild ways into slave masters and property owners. Branded with the mark of Slaanesh, the Chaos god of excess, they hold dominion that would make men of Sigmar’s empire jealous. It is the Horselords who ensure the city keeps moving, by goading the horses and keeping the enormous wheels turning.

The Horselords bow in turn to the Warriors of Slaanesh who have taken Krüll as their barracks. These Champions of Chaos live for nothing but the din of battle, the warmth of fleshly-spilled blood and the cries of pained ecstasy that ring out in their wake.

The upper echelons of Krüll’s society are dominated by the wealthy, who dine nightly on banquets of human flesh and commit unspeakable acts behind velvet curtains. They strut through the city without fear, able to pick and choose their human “toys” with the backing of mercenary Warriors. Alongside these lucky few are the priests and priestesses of Slaanesh who run the dark temples scattered throughout the city. They are magic users, daemon consorts and vile monsters all.

Finally, the overall Lord of Krüll is a creature known simply as “The Hierophant”. Though he was once, most likely, a mortal man, he has long since abandoned his humanity to grow closer to his god. He is the Dark Prince’s Chosen Voice and ultimate pilot of the city’s movements. It is The Hierophant who “speaks” to Slaanesh, reading the signs in the winds of magic and following them on the decadent path towards finding the missing god.

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In the Wake of the City

Though Slaanesh can claim the city of Krüll as his domain (should he choose to reappear in the Mortal Realms), the city’s movement leaves in its wake a world belonging to Nurgle, god of sickness, fear and entropy.

The passage of a gigantic fortress city, with its millions of slaves and obscenely wealthy, wasteful tyrants, leaves behind a world totally riven. Krüll deposits a trail of pollution, sickness and destruction for thousands of kilometers, from which has grown a completely different society.

Enter: The Sewer Kings, disgusting Champions of Nurgle who have gathered armies of escaped slaves, local monsters and Wildmen to their side. Though they live in constant filth, they are happy. Grandfather Nurgle has blessed them with a constant supply of fresh meat and ripe disease. They dance in the sewers of Krüll, perform in grand carnivals and raid scattered towns with rictus grins on their faces.

The Hierophant knows well about the Sewer Kings existence, but pays them little heed. He sees them simply as a band of merry madmen, deluded into worshiping a truly disgusting god. At times of war, The Hierophant and The Sewer Kings have even been known to fight alongside one another. Though they worship a filthy deity, the fly-ridden armies of Nurgle are unnaturally hardy warriors who are more than happy to bring Chaos to the Mortal Realms however they can.

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The Search Continues

The Hierophant is seemingly immortal, relentless and cruel beyond reasoning. His search for his missing god has taken him across worlds, through the Realm of Chaos and into battle with hundreds of armies. Yet still he searches, still the city moves.

Perhaps he will never find Slaanesh. Perhaps he doesn’t want to. For if the god were to reveal himself, The Hierophant would have to relinquish his tyrannical grip on the city. Perhaps the search itself is meaningless, eternal for the sake of it. Either way, for someone to challenge this mad demi-god, they would have to halt the movement of an impossible machine, climb a mile high fortress, defeating Champions of Slaanesh and hordes of drugged slaves along the way, before finally entering the marble and gold tower at the city’s peak.

And so Krüll continues onward, for ever into the darkness …

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A Gallery of Evil

I have recently resurrected my old Warriors of Chaos army, giving them a bit of a lick of paint and a whole new over-the-top, Age of Sigmar backstory. I might put together a few “Designer’s Notes” on this whole project in the near future, so keep an eye out for that. The Hierophant is watching.

Salamanders II (Horus Heresy – Legio Astartes) 2017

“Unless you are capable of enduring whatever hurt your foe can inflict, there will come a time when you will fail, and by failing you will have made useless the sacrifice of millions. We are the Salamanders and we will endure, for no sacrifice made in the name of this great empire we seek to build shall be made in vain.” – Xiaphus Jurr, Chaplain of the Salamanders

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!” – Cassian Dracos, The Dragon Revenant


I picked up the Betrayal at Calth box set while on my university exchange to Germany in 2015, and, until recently, I’ve been in a constant battle to decide what to do with them. The Horus Heresy “black books” were full of cool characters and pseudo-historical inspiration, making the choice of Legion an incredibly difficult one. At one point, I was going to paint Word Bearers, using my huge collection of Chaos bits and daemons to make a rather corrupted, evil looking army. After that, I turned to the idea of Emperor’s Children, seeking perfection in the same manner as the III Legion themselves. In the end, though, what really sold me on my eventually legion of choice was a single character from the Horus Heresy story: Cassian Dracos.

Who couldn’t love the walking-fridge-of-doom/unkillable-robotic-prophet? I’ve been a big fan of the iconic Warhammer 40k Dreadnought for a long time, so seeing the opportunity to build a playable (and deadly) army in the Age of Darkness using a whole bunch of them was just too good to pass up. So sorry, Word Bearers and Emperor’s Children. Sorry, Chaos. I’ve turned loyalist. Slaanesh forgive me.

Horus Heresy Salamanders
Cassian Dracos leads his brothers against the Traitors

Starting small

And so, I started painting. The first unit to come under the brush was my Tactical Support Squad Fuegon. I liked the tone of green right off the bat, but something didn’t sit well with the grey ash bases I originally placed them on. I ended up adding crackling lava patterns over their armour, representing the influence of Cassian Dracos and Xiaphus Jurr while they travelled through the warp upon Ebon Drake. In the end, I think I went a bit over board trying to create contrast. On future squads, I decided to steer away from this effect. Thus Support Squad Fuegon became distinguished as true “Disciples of Flame”, brothers of such zeal that they’re armour cracks and burns with mystical heat, much to the suspicion of the general rank and file of the army.

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Support Squad Fuegon from the Disciples of the Flame

It took a long time to figure out where to move next. Obviously, I had to paint old mate Cassian as soon as possible, though now I’m starting to think I rushed into it a bit. Stripping and repainting him twice, I feel he is now not as magnificent of a centrepiece as he should be, a bit murky and mucky, but he’s still magnificent in his own way. I even went and added Vallejo Fluro Orange to his flames at a later date to enhance the burning aura. There’s nothing super special to note about the final paint job, apart from, maybe, my first attempts at making a realistic “overheating engine” glow by lightly painting orange over the lit parts of his armour.

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My first, underwhelming, attempt at my Warlord
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Cassian Dracos, after a few more licks of make-up

A long time past (three months, actually, ’cause I was busy overseas with life stuff) before I got to add much more to this small army. Of course, two tactical squads were absolutely necessary. I painted Tactical Squads IV (Diago) and IX (Vorshan) in a factory-line batch style, aiming to make them look rather spartan and uniform, a massive departure from my normal style. Of course, I can’t let flat areas go without some sort of free-hand or detailing, so I ended up adding a whole lot of flames, Cult markings and squad icons, including Freehand Salamander iconography. While this leads to a pretty hodge-podge look when put all together, I am pretty proud of the details I’ve managed to pack in.

The hardest part of painting these guys, apart from forcing myself to spend HOURS edge highlighting green, was to get the Salamander icons right. While a lot of them look messy, and no two look exactly alike, I’m one to normally stay away from transfers. I just like to paint everything myself where I can, even if it doesn’t come out exactly “factory made”.

To add to the Tactical Squads, I salvaged an old Inquisitorial Rhino (Mars Pattern, obviously, but I didn’t quite feel like spending money on a 25 point metal box when I didn’t need to). It’s hardly the model I’m most proud of in the army, but she’ll serve her purpose when it comes to gaming, and that’s all I really aimed for.

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Tactical Squad IX Vorshan, members of Jurr’s rescue mission force. Turned dark and vicious aboard Ebon Drake
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Tactical Squad IV Diago, survivors of Istvaan III, battle-scarred and embittered
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The salvaged rhino, before having a Heavy Flamer attached when I discovered point values had been made cheaper in the updated Legion book, freeing up enough space for another weapon AND an Apothecary!

Joining the Tactical detachment much later (in fact, I only finished painting him a night before posting this gallery!) is Apothecary Tor’uhm, a brother of Proximal dedicated to preserving the lives and strengths of his fire-forged companions. I just love painting the Celesta Grey/White colour, but didn’t want to start a whole World Eaters/White Scar army just to paint a few batches of white power armour. So, along with the Feel No Pain rule, Tor’uhm brings some contrast to the otherwise dark army.

METAL BOXES

The current centrepiece of the army is my Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought Zandar Ignis. I painted this venerable machine for my local Games Workshop’s monthly Paint Klub. It was my first proper go at dynamic shading through glazes. Instead of simply edge highlighting as normal, I made the effort to create deep shade along the flat armour panels themselves through the application of many thin, glaze-like layers and blending. I also used a lot of Fluro Orange to create the vibrant fire effects and, of course, the glowing lava base! Zandar Ignis managed to take away the “in-store” portion of the competition, so I think he deserves to be the “pretty boy” of the army.

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Revered Brother Zandar Ignis (Ignis Aurum Probat)

Finally, the trio of “Boxnoughts” that I always envisioned being the heart of my army, got to see a bit of paint. Using the same green I’d practiced across the army, the same technique to create firey glow and similar patterns for squad markings, I went to work on my second “production line” of the army. Painting three Dreadnoughts at a time was actually quite a lot harder and more time consuming than I’d imagined. The old Dreadnought sculpt is iconic, but it’s not the most detailed thing in the Citadel Catalogue. Still, I found I had to spend quite a few nights on these guys to get them looking suitably impressive.

On these Dreadnoughts, I started using a simple chipping technique that I picked up from a fellow Instagrammer (whose name I’ve now lost…). I’ll post the recipe below for interest’s sake, but it basically boils down to using brown and light green in the right spots. I think it looks far more realistic than typical splashes of silver and black.

But anyway, here is the fiery heart of the army to finish off this showcase: Dreadnought Talon Heliosa I.

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Since taking this photo shoot, I’ve fixed up a few niggling issues, such as replacing the Venerable Dreadnought’s brass front plate with more green, removing the excessive “dust” from all of the Dreadnought’s feet, adding a cotton-ball smoke plume to hide the gross blotching on the salvaged Missile Launcher (from my very first army in fact!), adding a Heavy Flamer to the Rhino and cleaning up a bit of the mess + more! Keep an eye on my Instagram (@illuminator_hobby) for the updates as they come!


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The Dragon Lance formation takes to the front lines on Mezoa

Recipes

I thought I’d post a couple of the recipes I used to paint my Salamanders Army. Hopefully they can be helpful or inspiring to someone down the track. Always good to see more green Battle Brothers. Into the fires of battle! Unto the anvil of war!

Green

Castellan Green base, wash with Agrax Earthshade. Highlight with Elysian Green, then Ogryn Camo

Chipped Green

Follow the recipe above, but add splotches of Rhinox Hide at intervals and along areas where the machine’s working would cause paint damage (around hinges, moving parts, etc.) Under this splotches of Rhinox Hide, add a thin line of Ogryn Camo to create the illusion of depth. See? Simples.

Fire (including crackling effect)

Outline with Khorne Red, fill in with Mephiston Red. Then go over halfway down the flame with Vallejo Fluro Orange. Thinner again, apply Yriel Yellow, then finally white at the hottest (lowest) part of the flame

Bronze Trim

Warplock Bronze then Sycorax Bronze. Wash with Agrax Earthshade GLOSS. Easy.

If you’d like any more info on how I painted these guys, feel free to comment here or on my Instagram! I’ll be happy to help out.


The List

All importantly, this is one of the few projects I’ve gone into with the hopes of making an effective and legal gaming army. As such, I’ve spent AGES pouring over the Horus Heresy army lists, tinkering with various ideas, such as flying Vulkan Deathstars, Obsidian Forged Dreadnoughts, Firedrakes in Spartans and other nasty Salamanders-only tricks. Of course, I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to tactics and list-building, so I don’t expect to go in and win many games, but I’m pretty happy with where this “starter list” has gotten to.

+ HQ +

Cassian Dracos (WARLORD)
275 Points

+ ELITE +

Legion Dreadnought Talon
1 Dreadnought with Twin Linked Lascannon and DCCW with inbuilt Graviton Gun, Extra Armour
1 Dreadnought with Twin Linked Lascannon and Twin-Linked Missile Launcher
1 Dreadnought with Flamestorm Cannon and DCCW with inbuilt Melta Gun, Extra Armour
495 Points

Legion Mortis Contemptor
Two Kheres Pattern Assault Cannons, Extra Armour
185 Points

Apothecarion Detachment
Artificer Armour
55 Points

+ TROOPS +

Salamanders Legion Tactical Squad
9 Space Marines, 1 Tactical Sergeant with MC Inferno Pistol and Melta Bombs
150 Points

Salamanders Legion Tactical Squad
9 Space Marines, 1 Tactical Sergeant with Artificer Armour, MC Plasma Pistol and Melta Bombs
160 Points

Salamanders Legion Tactical Support Squad
4 Space Marines with Flamers, 1 Tactical Sergeant with Artificer Armour, MC Inferno Pistol and Melta Bombs
135 Points

Rhino Armoured Carrier
Heavy Flamer
45 Points

+ TOTAL: 1500 +


Where to from here?

The next recruits from Nocturne are set to arrive on my doorstep soon. Joining the remaining five Betrayal at Calth marines will be another five Forgeworld marines in MKII armour (to represent Great Crusade veterans) and a Land Raider Phobos. This mighty machine will eventually carry my Cataphractii Praetor and his Command Squad, who are built to essentially be budget Firedrakes (sans their double wounds, but plus inspiring hero bubble from the Standard Bearer and Covenant of Fire Rite of War). I also plan to paint up an old metal Techmarine with Servo Harness (and Servitor buddies) to accompany Cassian Dracos and make his Vulkan-made-Obsidian-Forged-AV14 hull even more ridiculously unbreakable.

To joining Cassian in a “fluffy” way, I also have Xiaphus Jurr to paint one day. Though he doesn’t yet fit into any list I’ve written, I’d like to have the two together for simple “historic” purposes. Plus, it was easy to convert him from the BaC chaplain! Maybe I’ll add Narik Dreygur and his turn-coat beep boops some day as well.

And what Legion force would be complete without their Primarch…


Anyway, thanks for taking the time to check out my first (and probably only) Horus Heresy era army! It’s been a blast to paint them, write lists for them and order the units I need to fill out the army list (ahh, that new kit smell). If you have any questions, comments, criticisms or praises to the Emperor that you’d like to share, please do! And if you’re a Heresy player in the area, hit me up. I need to practice my dice throwing arm again.

VULKAN LIVES!

Painting Veridyan – A Walkthrough Part 2

And so we’re back, from outer space, to continue this hobby journey. Thanks to everyone who showed interest in the first post in this short series. I hope it’s inspired some of you new painters to pick up a brush and brought some comfort to struggling hobbyists like myself.

It’s been a good few months since I’ve had the opportunity to sit down and paint anything, but I’m preparing to get back to it. I have a new brush, a couple of new paints (including Vallejo’s Fluros) and a number of minis to jump right back in with. But for now, I’m returning to Veridyan.

When we left off, we’d just finished discussing black. Surprisingly, this is one of the most difficult colours to paint or, at least, get looking “right” on miniatures. Now, rising from the glossy blackness of Veridyan’s armour, we begin to paint the gold and metal.

And that’s where the fun begins.

jb146c-sisters-of-battleStep 4: Heavy Metal

You’ll notice that, in the original John Blanche artwork (pictured), Veridyan wears black armour with gold trims. Because of the lighting of the blood red ground and flames around her this gold appears different on the various points of her body (see the shoulder trim compared to the kneepads and then the sword). This being the case, I did my best to replicate the effect.

I also ended up attempting Non-Metallic Metal (NMM), inspired by the ‘Eavy Metal box art. As said in the last post, I worked to replicate this as best as I could. Because I had this reference, I didn’t have to dive into my first NMM experience completely blind.

The trick to NMM is, as the name suggests, creating the illusion of light hitting and reflecting off of metal in a realistic way without using metallic paints. This requires a good eye, careful planning, practice with blending… or a bit of luck and washes/glazes. Whatever works for you.

2The kneepads, I think, turned out the best of all the metals. They were created by painting on a layer of ochre-ish yellow like Averland Sunset, then washing with our old friend Agrax Earthshade. This paint is referred to as Liquid Talent for a good reason. Washes pool in even the smallest of recesses rather than laying on top of details, creating great texture and shading with a quick brush over. From there, I worked back up to the yellow but, unlike usual, I left shade in very specific places.

When painting NMM, it’s important to exaggerate shadow just a bit. Light would be landing on the rim of the kneepad (all the way around, but particularly on the bottom and top), the top of the skull in the centre and also a bit on the detail within the trim. As such, I left the darker, washed areas with almost all the shade showing through (seen between the “flames” above the skull), while building up the bright areas to almost full yellow. From there, I continued to add layers to the bright areas with a bleach boned colour, then pure white. Again, don’t be afraid to use pure white on the very edges, but keep in mind where the light falls and bounces.

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Note the pure white on the gorget and the dark brow directly beneath it. This gives the impression that light is shining directly down on the piece of gold armour and the edge is casting shadow on the lower areas. A small amount of yellow is placed at the bottom of the gorget to represent light reaching there.

This idea can also been seen in the shoulder pads and fleur de lis patterns scattered around the body. The relatively dark brown of the shaded areas (that is, those places not hit directly by imaginary light) are left brown, while the very tips are highlighted white. I am a little less happy with the shoulder pads, as they ended up a bit thick and murky, almost tinged green for some strange reason. Remember, as the good Lord Duncan says: “PAINT IN MULTIPLE THIN COATS, NOT ONE THICK ONE.” Patience is key. Blend slowly. The smoother the blend the more realistic the metal will look. However, if you want a more exaggerated, cartoony look, by all means go and paint in layers.

weaponsThe same principal is applied to the areas of bare steel on Veridyan’s armour, except in greyscale. Starting from a dark grey (perhaps Eshin Grey) in the recessed parts of the armour and working up to pure white will create realistic looking metal. I particularly liked how this turned out on Veridyan’s ornate gloves (see left). For a grittier, heavier, meaner looking metal, go straight from dark grey to white/light grey (as seen on the pistol barrel). The harsher the contrast, the harsher the metal. You’ll see this effect used a lot on Ork armies or even my own Iron Wolves. This is when you can add little chips as well for a more realistic effect (simply make small, random stripes of the final highlight colour).

Step 5: The Holy Sword

Now this was the tricky part.

It was tempting to paint the sword in exactly the same way as detailed above, but that would make it blend in far too much with the gold. This is her principal weapon, after all, and a focal point for the whole model (what with it being a long, straight line in contrast to the curves and folds of her armour). Besides, in the artwork, Veridyan’s sword glows a sort of deep bronze under the hellish light. To recreate this effect, I turned to brown rather than yellow.

swordStarting from a flat base of Rhinox Hide, I gradually added Karak Stone to the mix. Keeping the principal of direct light in mind, I kept the lower half of the sword completely brown (where the light would not hit but which might reflect the ground around). Using my mix of Rhinox and Karak, I gradually blended along the length of the sword, eventually arriving at pure white on the tip. I then gave the whole thing a very light brown wash to smooth out the transitions a bit (a very helpful technique to try, especially if you’re just beginning to blend), before working a bit of white back in to keep it bright. Finally, I ran my brush at an angle over the edges of the sword (even at the bottom) to finish the effect.

To add to the piece and deviate from the artwork a bit (I hate doing what everyone else has done!) I decided to try a “power weapon” effect by painting on lightning bolts in orange (which you can still see in the photo to the right)…

I ended up hating it and having to redo most of the sword. Ah well. We learn by making mistakes, after all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

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Step 6: The Devil is in the Details

I am, as you might be able to tell, a long-suffering perfectionist. I’ve stripped and re-painted countless minis over the years just because there was one little thing that niggled me about them. I’m also rather obsessive when it comes to the small details in things. I think you have to have a combination of both of these traits if you want to be a miniature painter. It’s just using them as a force of good that is difficult.

I love small details and tiny models (hence Goblins and Squigs) simply because it gives me the opportunity to practice laser-like focus. Painting a little chain dangling from Veridyan’s belt or dotting out small patterns on her robe, man, that’s the good stuff. I’m always trying to step up my game, getting finer and finer as I go along. I’ve ended up with Army Painter’s “Extreme Detail” brush in my collection just for this reason. Next step is, of course, “The Psycho“. (Great brushes, by the way).

When painting extreme detail, I find having a magnifying lamp or even cheap 2x reading glasses incredibly handy. I can’t stress the importance of good, natural light in this process as well. You need to be able to see where your brush is going.

Unfortunately, I can’t give many tips on developing a “steady hand”, as it all comes through practice and repetition. I’m still trying to master the art myself. I can, however, give you a couple of good recipes, which I applied when painting on Veridyan’s smaller details. They are quick, easy and without-frills.

Red (for example, cloth and wax):

Mephiston Red > Wash with Xereus Purple > Mephiston Red > Evil Suns Scarlet > Highlight the very edges with Jokaero Orange.

Purity Seal Paper:

Karak Stone > Wash with Agrax Earthshade > Karak Stone > White > Dot on/scribble some thin lines of watered-down Rhinox Hide to represent text.

Bone:

Start with Rakarth Flesh > Wash with Agrax. Essentially the same as the purity seals, but leaving more contrast between the washed Rakarth and final white highlight (you can also use Ushabti Bone, a slightly yellower bone colour, to further differentiate the two).

White:

DO NOT start with white. Instead, start with the foundation paint Celestra Grey (seriously, a life saver). To give the impression of a white with depth instead of pure white, only highlight the edges of the armour/hair/whatever with pure white. Use a mix of white and Celestra to create a mid-tone where appropriate. Shade with watered down Nuln Oil (very carefully) if you need extra depth.

Pale Caucasian Flesh:

Kislev Flesh > Shade with Agrax or Reikland Fleshshade > Kislev flesh > Kislev Flesh/White > White on very edges (noses, etc.). Mix in a tiny amount of red to paint the lips (only paint the bottom lip of any scale mini, this gives an impression of make-up or flush without going too far).

And really, that’s all there is to it! To finish off Veridyan, I used these simple, basic tricks over the finer details, making them pop while not taking too long. Of course, there’s room for experimentation even here, like producing more realistic flesh with blue tones and deeper red with greens. For now, though, I think we’ll leave it at that.

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Always watching

Ahh, one last thing on details though: Eyes!

Everyone learning to paint miniatures comes across this problem sooner or later, discovering that even with the thinnest brush in the world it seems impossible to paint realistic eyes. But there are some easy tips.

The biggest mistake to avoid is creating a “startled” look by placing the iris/pupil in the very centre of the eye, detached from the border. In reality, the iris is obscured, top and bottom, by eyelids. In miniature form, all you’ll likely see of the whites of the eye are the very corners. As such, it’s best to paint most of the eye black.

Eyes:

Paint the whole eye black, or very dark brown > Very carefully, paint on a strip of white in the eye socket, leaving a ring of black (suggesting eyelashes) > Over this, paint a black dot, big enough to reach the black edge of the eye, but small enough to leave some white visible on both sides (depending on where the model is looking).

It’s tricky, sure, but eyes are a focal point that deserves the attention. If you do not have the space to paint eyes, however, don’t be tempted to just splash paint over the eyelid. Instead, paint a thin line of wash to give the impression of dark eyes between the eyelids. This looks a whole lot better than bulging, cartoon eyes. Trust me. I have far too many of this sort in my collection from the early days.

Step 7: Watching it all Come Together

img_20161229_152814235And so, apart from a few extra things here and there, Veridyan is complete.

There are, naturally, a number of things I’d go back and change if I had the time and energy. Firstly, I’d take more time on blending the metals smoothly in thin coats. I’d pay closer attention to the proportions and shading of the face and also avoid the gloss wash that turned her black armour all shiny in the wrong places.

Never-the-less, Veridyan was a massive learning curve for me, someone looking to take the next big steps in the mini painting field. I got the opportunity to try out a number of advanced techniques, including NMM and blending, in the safe shadow of a number of reference pieces. Even writing this walkthrough has been an educational experience in itself!

I truly hope you’ve gotten something useful from it, even if it was just a bit of a laugh. You can find the completed model in the gallery section of this site, or by clicking here!

To wrap everything up, in this series we’ve covered or touched up:

Thanks again to everyone who’s supported me in my painting over the years, especially in recent times! Please continue to enjoy my site and check me out on Instagram if you haven’t already. I’m rolling out a number of past projects there at the moment, but expect to see a lot more works in progress and new models next month.

Happy painting!

Part 1

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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

The Nova’s Heart (Warhammer 40,000 – Harlequins) 2015

Much like my small Tau warband, my Harlequins are orphans of a larger planned army that never got far off the ground. I still have a Starweaver and a number of other Space-Clowns sitting, primed and ready, to be painted in my WIP box… Ah, some day, my pretties… some day.

But either way, I’m pretty proud of these colourful characters. I painted the Shadowseer and Death Jester for the monthly painting challenge at my local Games Workshop and added the Troupe Master after. The lone Harlequin trouper was the test model for the scheme, even though I found myself drifting towards more reddy-pinks in the later models.

These guys were a practice in painting bright and loud, painting convincing galaxy patterns (a tutorial for which I’ll upload soon) and some checks. They were also my first Eldar of any sort, as I’m not normally one for “knife-ears” in any setting.

Let the grand carnival begin!

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Harlequins from the Troupe of the Nova’s Heart. Their pyrotechnics challenge even the stars from which they emerge.

The Apostles of the Abyss (Warhammer 40,000 – Chaos Space Marines) 2012

The Apostles of the Abyss were born from the Dark Vengeance starter set for Warhammer 40,000. As a dedicated cultist of Chaos, I couldn’t spend all that precious time painting Dark Angels, so I decided to turn most of the box over to the dark side.

The Apostles of the Abyss were an experiment in using dark, midnight colours, contrasted against bright orange. While the orange did turn out a bit muddier than I would have liked, I do really think the colour scheme worked. One day, I may go back and add to this small warband, perhaps using Vallejo fluro orange or something similar. The alien purple bases are definitely something I want to do again… but I’m struggling to find colour schemes to match.

The Apostles of the Abyss emerge from the darkness between stars, bearing the icon of the flame-eater, intent on snuffing out the light. Wherever they arrive, shadows follow, but blood does not always flow. They are ghosts in the night, treacherous tongues, vile disciples of darkness… yet great heroes all the same.

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Personalities (2014 – 2016)

In the realms of fantasy, there are heroes untold. Thousands of charismatic characters and perilous personalities. There are also plenty of villains and monsters for them to fight.

In this post, you’ll find a whole host of these heroes and villains that I’ve painted over the years. For the most part, these individual models were either painted as practice, for a bit of fun, diversion from larger projects or for painting competitions (like the monthly Paint Club at my local hobby store).

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Heroes and Villains

 

X-Wing Fleets (X-Wing – Rebels and Empire) 2014

I’ve never been a huge Star Wars fan and can’t claim to have much knowledge of the expanded, but the release of the space-craft skirmish game X-Wing got me super excited for fighters and lasers.

The game itself is super fun, perhaps getting me to roll dice more than anything else. The fact that the rules could be picked up and understood in an hour or so made it perfect for bringing along to parties. Who doesn’t love Star Wars?

Of course, me being me, I couldn’t pick up these miniature kits without applying my own paintjobs, making them “my dudes”. This project was a nice break from 28mm, and allowed me to work on vehicles, which is something I almost never had in any depth before. I’ll probably still have to practice a bit before applying the same techniques to 28mm vehicles, though.

My Rebels were actually painted up as “Kessel Runners”, a band of pirates that race the Kessel Run, delivering spice and other narcotics. I honestly have no idea if any of this would make sense in the universe, so I apologize for offending, Star Wars fans. I also painted my Empire fleet in a Sith-y scheme, imagining that this is a fleet that flies around with Darth Sidious himself… or perhaps, some other Sith Lord.

I painted up both sides of the original game, along with a few expansions and “large ships”. Most of these guys are now in boxes, waiting for their next flight.

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The Kessel Runners
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Imperial Grand Authority

 

 

Da Nuka Trooperz (Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team – Orks) 2014

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I’m a die hard Fallout fan. There’s something about the ridiculous retro-futuristic vibe, coupled with the barely-contained anarchy of the post-post-apocalypse, that really gets the gears in my spider-web encrusted brain turning. At some point, I really had to add some of these elements to a miniature project… Enter, Da Nuka Trooperz.

When Kill Team, that is: small games of Warhammer 40,000 played with only a squad or two of individual models, started to grow in popularity around 2014, I had to jump on the bandwagon… and what better army to do so with than the Orks! They’ll loot the bandwagon, paint it red and blast out across the universe in a wave of green fury. Love it.

I had a rather big collection of Boys and Nobz from my early days of Warhammering (for anyone not familiar with the 40k universe, Boyz are the lower class of Ork, while Nobz, or Nobles, are bigger, meaner, greener, and rule over the others). My first Orks were painted, rather thickly, in a bizarre mix of Snakebite and Goff colours (imagine hardline military creatures with black and white checks, combined with furs and tribal totems). I’ve still got a good number of them in boxes somewhere but, like my ill-fated Dwarfs and very first Ultramarines, they will never see the light of day if I can help it.

But anyway, I had a few bodies to work with, so to speak. I bought a box of Nobz, stripped my Warboss and reconverted a couple of Boyz and so Da Nuka Trooperz were born!

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Waaagh! Da Nuka Trooperz

As I’m sure you’ll know by now, if you’ve been following my uploads, I like to work in small scale armies, block by block rather than army by army. Kill Team provides the perfect platform for that. My Orks were rather successful in their first few games, and I became super fond of them because of their pluck.

Their style is, of course, based on the Fallout universe, mostly from the third game which (to the pain of a lot of hardcore gamers) is actually one of my favourite games of all time. I have a little picture of Vault Boy on the Deffkopta, Galaxy News Radio themed banners and even “Amurikkun” flags and cola signs everywhere. I absolutely adore this theme, and will definitely continue and expand it when I get round to painting more Orks… I’ll probably move away from now-overused yellow, though.

After a while, I bought a few more boxes (namely the then new Flash Gitz and MegaNobz) but have yet to get around to painting them. Some day though, I’m sure, Da Nuka Trooperz will get suitable reinforcements.


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Kurnull Hazmat Ardgutz is the leader of my small warband. Though I can’t use him in any official Kill Team games because of his HQ role, I painted Hazmat up before anything else, for fun, and to test out the colour scheme. Now, Hazmat sits pride and place as one of my favourite miniatures in my whole collection.

Boss of Da Pit’s brutal “Uppa Klass”. Hazmat loves nothin’ more than lordin’ it over all his slaves and machinery, laughin’ as gretchin and boy alike get stuck in gigantic gears, open furnaces or mining equipment. Of course, like any Warboss, Da Kolonel also loves gettin’ stuck in, especially when leading raiding parties outside Da Burg, the Space Hulk home of the clan.

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When da bosses need someone to smack heads and restore the chaotic order of Da Pit, they call Da Bullies. Being strong enough to avoid being effected by the intense radiation of the Hulk they live on means they will continue to rule unchallenged until their violent deaths.

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Painted as part of a 2015 Paint Club session at Games Workshop: Adelaide, Kutta is the latest addition to the army. His different skin tone marks him out as the next generation of my Orks.

Despite the huge slave population of Da Pit there is still a degree of maintenance needed to keep things running smoothly and tech coming up to the surface… on both the machines and the workers. Painboyz are highly valued in such a dangerous environment as Da Burg, and none is more valued than Kutta, most trusted Painboy of Kolonel Hazmat Ardgutz.

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Examples of the brutal machinery employed by Da Nuka Trooperz to both raid and subjugate the slaves of Da Pit. None can escape the eye of The Hurty Burdz, none can escape the flames (or dangerously loud radio broadcasts) of Da Boomboxes.

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The main fighting force of Da Nuka Trooperz is a collection of seasoned boyz, ex-slaves, gladiators and looterz from clans all over the galaxy. The majority of Da Nuka Trooperz are taken from The Bad Moons and Blood Axe clans, likely explaining the odd behavior and lifestyle of Da Trooperz. Of course, a constant supply of new recruits is needed to work Da Pit and attack any planet stupid enough to orbit close to the Hulk, but there is no shortage of them to be found wherever Da Burg drifts.

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Inquisitorial Domination Detachment (Warhammer 40,000 – Inquisition/Space Marines/Imperial Knights) 2013 – 2016

Upon the currents of the Empyrean, foul winds sweep through the Imperium. While most cow and grovel, some heroes stand up and take the fight to the seemingly god-like. They are Inquisitors and the human galaxy bends to their will, malefic or heroic.

The Inq28/John Blanche style came into hobby fashion a few years ago, renewed by the appearance of regular “Blanchitsu” articles in White Dwarf. Of course, this gritty, gothic-punk style resonated with me on a deep level. I love a bit of cybergoth horrror.

Creating unique characters and small warbands are my favourite ways to tackle the Warhammer 40,000 universe. It feels a whole lot more personal and creative than building armies of hundreds of faceless goons. And so I decided to hop on the horse of Inq28, creating an Inquisitorial army, along with a few powerful allies.

I ended up going a tad overboard, I admit. I bit of a lot more than I could chew at the time, and so ended up blasting through this army with a very messy style that has aged pretty badly, in my humble opinion. However, there are still a few diamonds among the rough. I hope the conversions posted below spark some new ideas in the minds of fellow Inquisitors.


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Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Haxa Soothtell and Retinue
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Ordo Malleus Inquisitor Heironymus and Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Gogh and Retinue

A squad of veteran Star Phantoms, painted in late 2015