Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dusting off my W40K minis; Ork Warboss [WIP - Skin]; and a NIB Dark Vengenace Limited Edition set for sale

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, if that's the case then the first three photos below just about sums up the status of my Warhammer 40K miniature projects. They are either half-painted, semi-assembled or gathering dust though thankfully some are still in their packaging so the dust can be easily cleaned. But I guess now is a good time as any to dust some of them off - especially Orks which are my son's favourite - since I am trying to paint up a small Ork army to complement his rekindled interest in the Warhammer 40K Dawn of War II Retribution computer strategy game.    

Half-painted, semi-assembled and gathering dust ...
... that about sums up most if not all of my W40K miniature projects
Enthusiasm for this Ork Trukk haven't really kicked off yet hence it's sad state

I wasn't in the mood to deal with a model which required metallic paints for most of its surface area so that ruled out the Ork Trukk. Instead, I looked at the very first W40K miniatures I ever owned i.e. the Assault on Black Reach (AOBR) box-set and decided to work on the Ork Warboss. Its surface area had a nice organic-to-metal ratio as well as many small details which suited me just fine.

Assault on Black Reach Ork Warboss, work-in-progress skin tone
AOBR Ork Warboss has a nice organic-to-metal ratio on its surface area
Mixture of shadows and highlights on the mid-tone help define the arm's muscles

Citadel was the main acrylic paint line used to paint the Ork Warboss's skin. I went with various combinations of Orkhide Shade, Knarloc Green, Gretchin Green, Regal Blue, Bleached Bone plus use of Vallejo Model Color Oxford Blue to the mixture used to paint the deepest shadows.Working on the Ork Warboss gives me a cooling-off period from Le Petit Chaperon which in turn is helping me spot the mistakes I have made on her so far. One I have noticed already is highlights on her cheekbone where there should instead have been shadows. I am sure more will come to light soon.

Vallejo Model Color Oxford Blue was added to the shadows paint mix
Boss, what big teeth you have!

Meanwhile, having come to the realisation (actually it's more of a reluctant acceptance) that I may never have enough time to finish painting all the W40K miniatures I currently own, I have decided to sell the extra set of Dark Vengeance Limited Edition in my collection. Having bought it for RM371 back when it first came out, I am now willing to sell it for RM305 to generate cash to buy some badly needed acrylic paints. Initially bought for a huge diorama project that has since been shelved, the condition of the box set is 'new-in-box'. It has the limited edition Dark Angel Interrogator-Chaplain miniature but also contains the older 6th edition mini rulebook hence the lower-than-retail price. 

Dark Vengeance Limited Edition Set, new-in-box and available on the cheap

So if you are a local hobbyist in Kuala Lumpur seeking to get the old Limited Edition set on the cheap, just sent me an email at and we'll see if something can be worked out.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Le Petit Chaperon [WIP - Hair, eyes, lips and corset]

Taking it slow just about sums up my approach to painting Le Petit Chaperon. I have lost count of the actual hours put into the 80-mm Nocturna Models resin miniature but if I had to guess, I believe at least 60 hours have been spent working on Le Petit so far. Latest work done on her includes giving her blonde hair, green eyes, pinkish lips and a blue corset. At first glance she seems to be in the colours of the French flag ... she is, and there is a reason why I chose to give her a French theme.  

Nocturna Models Le Petit Chaperon, work-in-progress

In its original telling, Little Red Riding Hood is a gruesome tale where both granny and her sweet grandchild end up in the tummy of the big bad wolf. It is in France that the earliest printed version of this fairly tale is known to exist. Back in the 17th century, this tale was known as Le Petit Chaperon Rogue. So as an acknowledgement of her origins, I decided to drape her in the colours of France.

Painted in the colours of France as befitting Le Petit Chaperon's fairy tale origin

As I see it, blonde hair was the best option to go with in view of the red, white and blue clothing Le Petit Chaperon was wearing. Historically, Red Riding Hood has been portrayed in black, auburn and blonde locks so it was just a matter of choosing one I felt best suited to the colour scheme at hand. 

Le Petit Chaperon seems to be staring wistfully into the distance

For a miniature this large - Le Petit Chaperon is roughly 9 cm in height from head to toe - her eyes were large enough to work on without having to use any form of magnification. Although I am sure it would have helped me paint better eyes if I had used a magnifying lamp, I decided to do without. Moreover, her fairly large sized eyes meant I could attempt to paint eyes as how they would look in a traditional 2D painting. Normally miniatures are too small for such an attempt. 

One way to paint eyes on larger scale miniatures e.g. 80-mm

Having blonde hair and fair skin meant her eyes should also be of a lighter shade. Four colours came to mind namely blue, green, grey and hazel. In the end, green was chosen purely because I always had a soft spot for green eyes. It also meant I got to introduce a new colour to the existing scheme.   

Spaces between the joints should be covered up by the cloak which will be added later on
Addition of the cloak should also hide all the imperfections on her back
Vive la France!

Painting Le Petit in the colours of the French flag also put me in the mood for some French music to paint by. Admittedly (and shamefully ignorant I might add) I didn't know of any French singers until roughly 15 years ago when I heard a tune being belted out from an old gramophone in the movie Saving Private Ryan. Later on, I found out that the tune was Tu Es Partout by Edith Piaf. Being an old soul when it comes to music, I loved that tune instantly. It led me to arguably her most famous song La Vie en Rose which in my humble opinion is the most romantic song I have ever heard.

Édith Piaf, a great French singer of old

So it was under the music of old France that my latest progress on the Nocturna Models Le Petit Chaperon was made ... interspersed with some Foo Fighters and my current favourite album i.e. Guardians of Galaxy Awesome Mix Volume One ... good music is good music regardless of the time period involved. Thanks for following my updates on Red Riding Hood so far. She is close to completion now so I might need to take a step back and paint some other miniature for awhile. I find that this helps me spot mistakes I would have otherwise missed if I had continued on without a break. Speaking of breaks, the weekend is upon us yet again so have a good one doing something you love!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Le Petit Chaperon [WIP - Skin tone and sheer fabric]

Painting skin is hard but doubly so when you are going for a very light skin tone. I find creating contrast at very light shades to be hard but my task was made easier this time by the excellent Vallejo Model Color acrylic paints. On top of that, I also tried to (again) incorporate the greens and blues inherent in light skin due to the existence of veins under the skin ... the whole works if you will ... because the Nocturna Models Le Petit Chaperon 80-mm miniature is worth it, nay demands it. 

Nocturna Models Le Petit Chaperon, work-in-progress on skin tone and sheer fabric

For a long time now, I have hesitated to make much progress on Le Petit Chaperon, which is a fantastic miniature with very well sculpted details. But I finally feel confident enough as well as believe I have the correct acrylic paints needed to tackle this beautiful Nocturna Models figurine.

Le Petit Chaperon's fair skin is tempered somewhat by the sheer white fabric
With the skin tone in place, the reds of her hood and shoes look a bit darker than intended

At this point, I would peg the level of completion for Le Petit Chaperon's skin tone at around 90%. She still needs red glazes to bring her cheeks to life and perhaps some final touch ups towards the final stages of the paint job. Moreover, her lips, eyebrows and eyes have yet to be painted.

Panty and stockings were painted in beige-like colours
Le Petit seems to be suffering from cellulite on her right buttock

If you look closely, you might be able to spot some veins showing through the skin and hopefully see enough contrast in Le Petit Chaperon's really fair skin. In fact, she even suffers from cellulite on her right buttock. Cynics might say it's sloppy prep work but hey, when life give you lemons ...

Huge hole on her back is where the cloak will attach
Le Petit Chaperon's corset will likely have greyish blue hues

I also painted some sheer fabric on Le Petit Chaperon's clothing, mainly on her blouse which looks more like a nighty as well as on her panty and stockings. The former is predominantly white while the latter two are in light beige which is one of the many colours synonymous with sexy lingerie.

Sheer fabric treatment for what to me looks like a nightie

I am fairly pleased with how Le Petit Chaperon is turning out so far. Keeping in mind further touch ups will be needed as more progress is made painting her, I feel I am headed in the right direction. Being such a well sculpted figure kinda adds pressure on me to paint her well and I sincerely hope I can build on the early progress made and do justice to her. Do stay tuned for more updates later.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Knight Models Spider-Man [WIP - Basecoating Spidey]

It was supposed to be a fairly straightforward exercise. After all, how hard could it be to basecoat a miniature. But things never come easy to me and so it proved with the Knight Models Spider-Man.

Knight Models Spider-Man, work-in-progress (basecoat, lower mid-tones)

Firstly, I wanted to recreate a particular look or comic book version of Spider-Man which caught my fancy. This meant I needed to find the exact shade of reds and blues that would allow me to recreate the version in question. After experimenting a fair bit with (almost) all the reds and blues in my collection, I finally settled on Citadel Mechrite Red and Vallejo Model Dark Prussian Blue as the starting point, both of which forms a sort of lower mid-tone (close to the final shadows) basecoat. 

Looking for the right shades of blue and red for Spider-Man
One of the many comic book versions of Spider-Man which I particularly like

Secondly, I haven't got the vaguest idea of how to firmly (but temporarily) anchor Spidey so that I can paint him without having to touch the miniature with my bare hands. So for now, I am painting as fast as I can to minimise the transfer of any oil in my hand on to the miniature itself. Only time will tell whether this is will be a problem as I start painting additional layers e.g. shadows and highlights. 

Old school spider symbol on Peter Parker's back
The more I work with the Knight Models Spider-Man the more I appreciate how dynamic the sculpting is
White Spidey eyes are screaming out for some shading
Still trying to figure out how to paint the web linings on Spidey's costume

Staying on the subject of superheroes, I managed to catch the latest Marvel movie recently and really loved it. [Minor spoiler alerts ahead] For me, Guardians of the Galaxy easily ranks as one of the best if not the best Marvel movie ever made. Chris Pratt was excellent as Peter Quill aka Star Lord. He reminds me of Han Solo for some reason. The rest of the cast were also great as there was a real chemistry between them. But the movie's appeal is also due in large part to the superb song selection that was incorporated into the movie so much so that the songs became part of the plot/story itself.

Guardians of Galaxy's Awesome Mix Volume One is a compilation of great music

Comprising songs from the 1970s and late 1960s, the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 had many of the songs that I listened to and enjoyed when I was very young. But after the movie, I can never look at some of them in the same way again, especially the song O-o-h Child by Five Stairsteps which gives a whole feel to the final boss fight ... err dance off. Another song, among the many others that I now see in a new light is the one that plays in first scene i.e. Come and Get Your Love by Redbone, brilliantly acted out by Chris Pratt. A lot of the songs were guitar driven which suited me just fine. Now if you will excuse me, I need to put my headphones on and listen to the awesome mix yet again. Cheers!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

A blast from the past: Warhammer Online

In the midst of spring cleaning my work room, which on any given day looks like a tornado has just flown through it, I came across a pleasant surprise in the form of the Warhammer Online Age of Reckoning Collectors Edition box set. I had completely forgotten about this brilliant massively online multiplayer online role-playing game and the many goodies that came along with the box set.   

Grumlock (Ork Warboss) and Gazbag (Gretchin Shaman) metal miniature

Released in 2008, this game is an old favourite of mine that provided hours of fun. Back then, I hadn't yet started on my journey of miniature painting so I didn't truly grasp how cool the goodies that came with the Collectors Edition set was, especially the highly detailed Grumlok (ork warboss) and Gazbag (grethcin shaman) metal miniature. Six years ago, I didn't know what to do with the miniature. But now, looking at all those details waiting to be painted only has me rubbing my hands in glee.

Warhammer Online 60-day game card
There were a lot of goodies in the Collectors Edition
A second unboxing after nearly six years on my shelf untouched

Besides the miniature, there were two hardcover books namely The Art of Warhammer Online and Prelude to War, the former is an art book while the latter is a graphic novel, both with great drawings. Shown below are some photos I took of selected pages from both books.

Art book: A dwarf and his weapons
Art book: Grumlok and Gazbag
Art book: Uppity high elves
Graphic novel: Dark elves or Druchii
Graphic novel: Sworn enemies of the Druchii ... High elves
Graphic novel: A Greater Daemon of Nurgle and all things Chaos
Graphic Novel: A fire mage of the Empire
Graphic Novel: An ork warboss doing what it does best ... kill

This short walk down memory lane certainly has me reminiscing about all the good times I enjoyed playing the Warhammer Online game. As nice as this little diversion was, I guess it's just another way for me to put off cleaning my work room. Time for me to stop procrastinating and face the mess.
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