Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Midpoint of the Game of Thrones project reached and the next noble house is unbowed, unbent and unbroken

With only eight Bretonnian Knights to work with, I have now reached the midpoint of my Game of Thrones paint-job conversion project. In keeping with my aim to continuously work with different colour schemes, the noble houses of Westeros I have completed so far all sport very different colours namely red for House Lannister, yellow for House Clegane, mid-green for House Baratheon of the Renly faction and light sky blue for House Arryn. Pleased at having achieved this mini-milestone, I felt it fitting to take a group shot of all four knights together side by side for the first time.  

Knights of House Arryn, House Baratheon, House Lannister and House Clegane

For better or worse, contrast on the knights was intentionally kept low because if the difference between the highlights and shadows was too drastic it would have resulted in a satiny look on the caparison (decorative cloth covering the horses). Instead, I wanted a more cotton-like texture for the caparisons. Although I do not know for sure what material was used to make caparisons during medieval times, I doubt that satin (likely to be expensive both historically and in an epic fantasy setting such as Game of Thrones) would have been used on a knight/warhorse set to go into battle.

Getting each house heraldry on the shields and caparisons afforded me plenty of freehand painting practice
Each knight's helmet was chose to reflect descriptions or story plots in George RR Martin's books

I have been fortunate in that the existence of appropriate and relevant parts from the Bretonnian Knights miniature sprue enabled me to customise each knight's helmet to reflect the characteristics of each individual house or at the very least portray parts of the storyline of George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books. House Lannister and House Arryn was fairly straightforward with bronzed lion (albeit a winged one) and a falcon respectively adorning the helmet; so too was House Baratheon with the antlers. Meanwhile, a bronzed boar with a knife sticking out its back was a House Clegane homage to their masters the Lannisters who had masterminded King Robert's death-by-accident.

Opposing factions face off against each other to decide the fate of Westeros

Any enthusiasm to paint a knight and warhorse from my current favourite noble house i.e. House Targaryen was quickly doused when I realised I haven't quite figured out how to do a miniature freehand version of its heraldry which is a three-headed dragon. Until I overcome that significant obstacle, I am proceeding with House Martell which has a predominantly orange colour scheme. As with the other knights, I managed to find the perfect helmet for House Martell ... one with a coiled serpent around a spear-of-sorts. The horse's pose was also perfect as it captured a dynamism of a serpent springing forward which complemented the angled lance attached to the knight's right arm.

Assembled knight and warhorse (shown sans shield) for House Martell

It's ironic that as my Game of Thrones miniature project gathers pace I find myself stuck at Book Four of the A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. For some reason I seem to have lost the urge to turn the pages. So I decided to take a short break from George RR Martin's book and get myself reacquainted with the Star Trek Universe, specifically the books that pick up the story right after Star Trek Nemesis, the final movie involving the original cast of Star Trek Next Generation.

Taking a break from 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series with some Star Trek books

Resistance, Before Dishonor and Greater Than The Sum deal with the Borg who are now unlike how they were portrayed in the movies and TV series while Q&A sees Picard saving the universe with Q's help. Sword of Damocles is a story involving Riker's new command Titan that occurs sometime around the happenings of the other novels. I have finished four and am in the midst of the fifth book, all in less than a month. That's how good a read they are. There are actually many more books after the ones you see above, around 36 in total and counting, so I have barely scratched the surface of must-read Star Trek fiction. Something to keep me occupied during any free time not dedicated to painting miniatures and until I eventually pick up where I left off in Martin's A Feast for Crows


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Ork Warboss of the Bad Moonz Clan [Completed]

After some quick work on both weapons of the Ork Warboss, the Bad Moonz clan leader is now finally finished. Rather than dwell too much on what to do for the double-barreled bolter (can't remember what it's actually called) and powerklaw, I just did a fast paint-job to show battle damage, oil stains, grime and/or rust at what I felt were the appropriate places on both weapons.  

Ork Warboss of the Bad Moonz Clan
Weapons were painted to show oil stains, grime and/or rust in the appropriate places
Side view (left) of the Ork Warboss

Rust effects were confined to the powerklaw as it made sense that the Ork Warboss would leave some rust on the powerklaw's blades to effect gangrene on his victims.  That or his grot orderly is too lazy to maintain his weapon. In contrast, I did not put any rust on the bolter (except for a metal ring at the bottom) because I am assuming regular usage of the gun would have meant rust couldn't easily form on it. Instead, heavy usage would leave the bolter with oil stains and heavy grime ... just saying.

Closeups of the Ork Warboss's weapons

While the overall colour scheme is too garish for my taste, it does however fit the subject matter perfectly. One would assume an Ork Warboss would want to dress in such a manner notwithstanding the fact that it would have made him an easy target for those 'emperah' loving wussies.

Light coating (or beginnings) of rust on the powerklaw's blades ... to rend and infect flesh with gangrene
Back view of the Bad Moonz Ork Warboss
Regular use of bolter equals less rust effects on the bolter ... I think

One key positive I can take from this miniature is that I am getting more comfortable working with metallic and 'technical' paints. That being said I still think it's messy work that I could do without.

Side view (right) of the Ork Warboss
Da boss looks good in yellow yah?

360 view of the Ork Warboss [Bad Moonz Clan]
For a 360 degree view of the Ork Warboss, please check out the YouTube video below. For videos od other selected miniatures that I have painted, please visit my YouTube channel FourEyedMonster Miniatures. Please be sure to choose the high definition (HD) option when viewing the videos.

For the time being, I am painting the whole ork army in my possession for my son. But in the event he doesn't have any interest in tabletop gaming I would be tempted to sell my whole collection. Either way, it makes sense for me to paint it as well as I can. Next up will be an Ork Painboy and his assistant although your guess is as good as mine as to when I will start painting both of them.


Saturday, 20 September 2014

House Arryn Knight & Warhorse [Completed]

For the first time in my Game of Thrones miniature paint-job conversion project, I was completely stumped by how to paint a noble house's heraldry - more specifically that of House Arryn. This had contributed to the long delay in finishing knight numero quarto which had previously seen me paint knights of House Lannister, House Clegane and Renly's House Baratheon. The main stumbling block was the fact that House Arryn's heraldry has a perfect circle encircling a falcon and crescent moon. Painting symmetrical geometric designs is a skill that I am not ashamed to admit I do not have.

House Arryn knight on a warhorse [Completed]
House Arryn heraldry was adapted slightly to fit the heroic 28-mm scale miniature

In the end, to simplify matters seeing that this miniature was at 28-mm heroic scale, I took a step back from my usual obsessive compulsive painter tendencies to faithfully recreate designs verbatim. So that meant dispensing with the perfect circle around the falcon and crescent moon; the latter two was painted in creamy white as per descriptions I read in the Game of Thrones novels. In another first of sorts, I also dispensed with the usual careful 'planning and design' step I have for freehand painting attempts and decided to just 'wing it' - pun unintended - when painting House Arryn's heraldry.

A truly majestic bird ... the falcon

To paint the life bird resting atop the knight's right arm, I used the majestic Peregrine Falcon as the main point of reference. It gave a very nice contrast to the bronze falcon sitting on top of the knight's helmet. Meanwhile, the metallic silver of the knight's armour was given a blue wash to add a bit of dynamism to it. Moreover, it tied up nicely with the overall sky blue look of the House Arryn knight.

Contrast on the sky blue bits was partly subdued by bright lamps used in the photography session
Front and back view of the House Arryn Knight and Warhorse
Knight's armour was given a blue wash to make it look livelier as well as tie in to the overall colour scheme

Overall I am rather please that I have managed to persevere up to this stage of the project which has seen four knights from different noble houses being completed. To be honest, I am surprised I have gotten this far. That it has has been fun has obviously helped. Well four down and four more to go.

Bronze metal bird on the knight's helmet contrasts with the real life falcon on his right arm
As high as honour ... the motto of House Arryn

360 view of the House Arryn Knight on a Warhorse
For a 360 degree view of the House Arryn Knight and Warhorse - essentially a Bretonnian Knight painted in the colours of a noble house in the land of Westeros as described in the Game of Thrones books - please see the YouTube video below. For other videos, please visit my YouTube channel FourEyedMonster Miniatures. Be sure to choose the high definition (HD) option for the best view.

Although I am spoilt for choice as to my next noble house of Westeros, I am still unsure which one should be my next subject matter in this Game of Thrones miniature paint-job conversion project. I have only four Bretonnian Knights left to work with and as things stand they would most likely be painted in the colours of House Targaryen, House Martell, House Tully and House Tyrell. Next up will be House Targaryen if I can figure out how to paint its heraldry which arguably is the most difficult of all the noble houses. If not, I might attempt something simpler. Till then Valar Morghulis.  

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Whole lotta prepping: superhero, heroine and anti-hero

With most of my current miniature projects nearing completion, the cycle starts again with a massive amount of prepping for a whole new set of miniatures to replace those nearing the end of the current project pipeline. Although prep work is satisfying in its own way, I can't help but wish that more miniatures would come at least 90% to 100% semi-assembled to make life easier. But I would still prefer to retain control of the priming stage (vs pre-primed minis) as I have gained enough experience to be able to lay on a nice even thin coat of primer in most times when humidity isn't a bear.  

Knight Models Hulk, Nocturna Models Enchantment and Ax Faction Zombie Hunter

It has become a norm or habit for me to concurrently work with miniatures of differing sizes so in my work table now I have the Knight Models The Hulk and Nocturna Models Enchantment which are both 1:28 (or around 70-mm) scale and the Ax Faction Zombie Hunter which is in 32-mm scale.

Knight Models The Hulk, assembled and ready for priming

Although both The Hulk (see above) and Enchantment (see below) resin miniatures are of the same scale, the former superhero is obviously larger in size next to the latter heroine so I will still be working with miniatures of differing sizes. While The Hulk is well known and needs no explanation on how I will be going about its paintjob, that really isn't the case with Enchantment. The latter figure has been tackled very well by a fellow blogger Adam and having seen his version, the official version as well as other colour schemes attempted by other painters online I have a rough idea of what I plan to do with her. More of this in future posts but my inspiration will be the lovely Daenerys Targaryen.

Nocturna Models Enchantment, semi-assembled (head straps unattached) and ready for priming

And then there is the Ax Faction Zombie Hunter which I believe is at 'true' 32-mm scale which means it's small and will be a challenge for my painting skills. Working on sizes big and small is the only way to improve on your painting in my honest opinion. Miniatures of differing scales allow you to better understand the intricacies of blending and layering acrylic paints, and practice doing them.

Ax Faction Zombie Hunter, semi-assembled, dry-fitted and yes, ready for priming

For size comparison, I also prepped and assembled two 'heroic' 28-mm scale Games Workshop resin miniatures namely the Ork Painboy and his grot orderly, both of which I also plan to work on concurrently to the three shown above. As you can see from the immediate photo below, in terms of actual size both W40K characters allow me to work with even more differently sized miniatures.  

An Ork Painboy and Grot Orderly adds to the to-do list as well as offers a size comparison

All the miniatures above have yet to be primed. Five would have been plenty seeing that I still have some projects still in early stages of painting (there is a half-painted dragon, Westeros knight and two wood elf goddesses to name a few) but noooo ... I just had to be a smart ass and add yet two more primed miniatures to the immediate to-do list in what would have induced the below reaction from Lily Aldrin (a character in the TV sitcom How I Met Your Mother) if she were a miniature painter.

So this means the Super Dungeon Explore Hexcast Sorceress and the Dark Sword Female Bard now has the dubious honour of being in my immediate (but still unpainted) to-do list. I will clarify on what I intend to do with these two as I start painting them so more on them on later blog posts.

Super Dungeon Explore Hexcast Sorceress prime with Tamiya Super Fine Light Grey
Dark Sword Female Bard that upon second viewing may need a further light coat of primer

Phew ... that's a lot of miniatures but I have even more ideas running around in my head on what to do with some Dark Angel Space Marines which I plan to paint in super duper bright colours. Why? Well I don't think I am going to ever field a Space Marine army on the wargaming table so I might as well use them as painting practice. But those ideas remain lodged firmly on the sprue because I am experiencing extreme prepping fatigue. If you ask me, someone should start "Preppers Anonymous" and all meetings must start with ... Hello I am so and so and I sniff err hate super glue. ;)


Friday, 12 September 2014

Ork Warboss [WIP - Battle worn body armour]

Perhaps not entirely in keeping with the Ork Warboss's rather clean pants and loincloth, I had painted his body armour to depict battle damage e.g. paint chips on the yellow bits, verdigris on the brass or bronze bits as well as rust and grime on the pure metal parts. But in the grand scheme of things, I do like the overall look that it gives so I might still resist the urge to eventually dirty up his clothes.  

Ork Warboss [Assault on Black Reach], work-in-progress with its body armour completed

I suppose you could say this particular Ork Warboss has an obsessive compulsive disorder when it comes to keeping his clothes clean. Let's just say many a gretchin has died to keep them spotless. That being said, the muted and drab colours of his clothes do make its cleanliness less obvious.

Purplish eye lens adds some variety to the overall colour scheme
Power Klaw will likely be painted in similar fashion to the Ork Warboss's body armour

Although I have come to loath working with metallic paints, I must say I quite enjoyed giving them a battle worn look especially the light rust and/or grimed look prevalent on the exposed metal. It was a bit more of a hassle to paint battle damage in the form of paint chips on armour parts that are coated in yellow paint. That's one painting technique I need to work on to make the damage look realistic.

Oops, I seem to have left a spot unpainted ... on the left gun's muzzle

With the exception of the weapons on each hand and the base, the Ork Warboss is close to being finished. Both weapons will be painted in a similar fashion to the body armour i.e. a combination of brass/bronze/exposed metal/yellow coated metal with grime, rust and verdigris effects.

Gun will be painted more with grime and not so much rust effects
Having a bright yellow 'masthead' is tantamount to inviting yourself to get shot at

Thanks for checking out my latest progress on the Ork Warboss. Both he and two other main projects namely Knight Models Spider-Man and Nocturna Models Le Petit Chaperon are near completion so I had better get started on getting some new miniatures prepped for priming and painting. Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment on my blog, and I hope you have a great weekend too.


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Knight Models Spider-Man [WIP - Webbing and red bits]

Spider-Man has been illustrated by many talented artists in the comic book industry, all of which have brought their own interpretations and unique style to the beloved 'webslinger'. Two of my favourite Spider-Man artists are John Romita, Jr. and J. Scott Campbell whose depictions of Spidey convey an agility and dynamism that I like. Most of the colours that accompany both artists' drawings have become synonymous with what I feel are the rightful hues of a Spider-Man costume i.e. bright reds that hit orangey highlights as well as highly contrasting blues. With that in mind, I made further progress on the red bits of the Knight Models Spider-Man's costume inclusive of the webbing design. 

Knight Models Spider-Man, work-in-progress - webbing and red bits of the costume

For the red bits of Spidey's costume, I tool the highlights all the way up to a reddish orange hue courtesy of the Vallejo Model Color Orange Red while the darkest reds were the Vallejo Model Colour Red No.33. In between were the Citadel reds of Mechrite Red, Red Gore and Blood Red.

Putting the finishing touches to Spidey's iconic spider symbol

Meanwhile, for the webbing on Spider-Man's costume I had a choice of going with either dark blue lines which could in theory overwhelm the reds of the costume OR with dark brown lines which would allow the reds of the costume to take centre stage. In the end, I went with the former as I wanted the lines to be more prominent. But instead of black lines which would have made the overall scheme very dull, I used a Reaper Master Series Blue Liner to 'replace or simulate' black.

Reds on the right side of Spider-Man were darker and had less highlights

Tweaks to the red bits of Spider-Man's costume will be made once both the blue bits have been painted on and when he has been glued to the taxi's rooftop. Only then will I be able to tell whether enough highlights have been painted and if they are any spots that need brightening up.

Blues of Spidey's costume remain at the basecoat stage

So up next for Spidey is the blue bits of his costume and some shading on his eyes. That and some additional tweaking should finally push this project over the finishing line in what would be my third Marvel character after Iron Man and Logan, one of the perennial favourites among X-Men fans.

Painting the webbing on Spidey's costume was a test in patience

Other than the Knight Models Spider-Man, I noticed that most of my major projects are either in their final stages (e.g. Nocturna Models Le Petit Chaperon) or have been completed (Ax Faction Victorian Darling) so that means a ton of prep work lies ahead of me. But that's a story for another day. 

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