Thursday, January 2, 2014

Eldar Fire Prism and Falcon WIP

Hello everybody and happy new M2.014! hope the gods of the warp have been kind and brought some nice presents for all (I mean this in a nice way!).

My self-present was the amazing Eldar Ghost Warriors box, with nothing less that 1 Wraithknight, 2 Wraithlords and 15 Wraithguard! I will paint all of them in due time with my own version of the Ulthwé Craftworld, that is essentially Black/Blue with a few bone accents.

Here are some work in progress shots of the Fire Prism and Falcon that I have been working on of lately. I need to finish the highlights, paint the gems, add a few decals and add a nice satin varnish on top. Hope you like them!

The hull was primed black, then painted with a dark Grey/blue tone from Vallejo. Afterwards I added some light grey to create a subtle highlight above the engines and the cockpit.

The blue hues are present everywhere there is a grid or exhaust of any kind, to represent the energy emanating from it.

 Some blue areas have received a dilluted black/purple filter. This is done to smooth the transitions and to give a slightly different hue to some areas.

I use 3 different highlight colors, depending on the area. The darkest is a medium grey and the lighter is Pale Witch skin (or something like that) from GW, which is a sort of marble white. For the blue areas I mostly use GW's Blue Horror, from the Edge line.

 The left hull has some highlighting work whilst the right hull has just been airbrushed. It will make a huge difference in the final look. Don't be afraid of trying very clear highlights, just make sure the paing is watered down and applied as thin as possible.

And that's all for know. I hope you liked them, feel free to post any comments or questions!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Black Library jumps the shark... again

With Macragge's Honour. A 100-page graphic novel that costs 95€ (almost 1€ per page!) and that will be shipped after 10 weeks.

There is nothing wrong with Limited or Luxury editions, as long as there is a standard edition that most customers will buy. Loyal customers like me who have printed copies of most of the Horus Heresy books.

And there is nothing wrong with claiming a high price when the value is right, but 1€ per page and 2.5 months to ship it? warp travel is faster than that!

Something that I recommend though is watchning the promo video with Dan Abnett and Neil Roberts. At least until someone posts a PDF for all to read, until and if BL eventually releases a normal, reasonal, affordable copy. Because let's get this straight, that is what most customers will do and not because they like piracy, but because that is the only option GW is leaving.

Apologies for the rant but please allow me to use this small and remote corner in the net to express my frustration at what GW is trying to pull this time.

Anyone feeling the same? I'd also like to see if anyone is actually interested in purchasing this version.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Something special in Indiegogo

If you follow the Golden Demons and the myriad of artists that participate, you might have heard the names of Allan Carrasco and Jérémie Bonamant. They have teamed up for a indiegogo campaign to produce a massive mounted globin figure, and given the impressive results of their collaborations so far, this is going to be a good one.

I'm not particularly interested in fantasy figures but I want to try out something different. I know some people only want to buy models they will use afterwards, and I can see the logic in that. I suppose in an open-minded, friendly group you can always play by the rules of something else, but obviously it will be harder to use in tournaments and the like even as a counts-as. For some others more interested in the artistic side of things this is not a problem at all. I'm torn somewhere in between, and while I like to be able to field my stuff, I could also go for something that I can't if it's good enough. And I think this will be :) In any case this is the Indiegogo campaign should you be interested:

See some of their previous work and you'll understand why I'm so excited about this:

This is friggin' badass Orc and no mistake!

This Minotaur puts Bloodthirster to shame

A pirate ogyn

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Eldar Fire Dragons Showcase

Howdy! today I bring some classic Fire Dragons for my new Eldar army. I really like these models, I think they epitomize most of what is Eldar - slender and graceful yet with a sense of power, and they look utterly alien which I like as well.

This is the Fire Dragon Exarch. I opted for the fusion gun because that's what I will be using in games, and also because the hobbyist in me didn't want the firepike to cover all the details in the body :)

The Wave Serpent in the back is their assigned transport. Same as the Dragons it is still missing the gems... so many of those! I will show it some other day, for now I will just anticipate I wanted do something different and show Eldar are the Children of the Stars so I painted a nebulae and stars all over it ^^ yes I might have jumped the shark on this one.

Some notes on the painting

The models were painted with airbrush, using a similar method to my Blood Angels:

  • Basecoat with Vallejo's Red Brown primer.
  • I then created some pre-lights by lightly airbrushing a soft grey from a zenital angle. This makes the next red coat to have some color modulation. It's a very simple and effective technique.
  • For the body I applied some tones of red, Italian Red from  Vallejo comes to mind, to which I added a small part of yellow to get a more orange tone.
  • The helmet was painted Yellow obviously.

Then it is a matter of adding the shadows with controlled strokes of either a very dilluted dark red paint, or a less dilluted wash. The lights were added with watered down light oranges, yellows and white. The Citadel Edge paints are great for this work (in general).

The guns were painted light grey and then washed with brown, then cleared it a little bit. The weapons link visually the Fire Dragons with the rest of Eldars (Guarians and Avengers mainly) due to the bone color of their weapons. Notice how the muzzle of the weapons has a scorched look, this can be achieved with purple and red glazes.

The bases are the awesome Urban Streets rubble from Secret Weapon Miniatures. The rest of Eldar models use a different base though. I went for this choice to fit with the Exarch model that is stepping on some tank residues.

Here's some more pictures, hope you like them! Feel free to post any comments or feedback.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shadows Of Treachery Review

Shadows of Treachery is the latest Horus Heresy short story antology that Black Library has released. Unlike Age of Darkness, Shadows of Treachery feels much more solid and consistent; this is not only to a very solid roster of authors, but especially because it mainly focuses on 2 Legions, their Primarchs and First Captains, a similar timeframe and related events. In this case, it is the Imperial Fists and the Night Lords. 

Up to now, the Imperial Fists main contribution to the story so far was picking up the survivors of the Einsenstein after their escape from the Isstvan system, bringing the news to Terra and start fortifying the defences. The Imperial Fists were also in charge of retrieving as many supplies as possible from Mars when the civil war broke out in the Red Planet. It is also known what it was Rogal Dorn who organized the disastrous counter-attack that ended up with the dropsite massacre.

As for the Night Lords, we have had brief references of their skirmishes with the Dark Angels in some remote region of space, and I believe play an important role in the recent Vulkan lives, which I haven't read yet.

So what about this compilation? I was a bit disappointed with Tales of Heresy and Age of Darkess but given the roster of authors is top notch - Abnett, McNeill and Dembski-Bowden amongst other- and that the Legacy Edition was available, I went for it. See below a short review of each story.

The Crimson Fist by John French
This is the largest story in the book, almost a mini novel on its own. The Crimson Fist explains what happened to the Imperial Fists force dispatched by Rogal Dorn to support the other loyalist Legions in the fight in Isstvan V. About 20% of the Legion, which was a huge fleet in that time, was sent to Isstvan and did not participate in the dropsite massacre; we finally get to know their fate. Not that I want to spoil anything but the cover we can already see Imperial Fists with assault gear fighting Astartes of the +++CENSORED+++ legion. It might also ring a bell if you saw this amazing diorama from Games Day ...

In the story we get to know a little bit more about the impenetrable Rogal Dorn and the Imperial Fists' First Captain Sigismund (who had previously appeared saving some bacon in Mechanicum). On the other side we find out the origin of the bodyguards of the Primarch of the +++CENSORED+++ legion and get to know more of their efficient way of fighting. All in all an enjoyable read, if yet its final is not very imaginative.

The Dark King by Graham McNeill

The Night Lords are arguably of one the Legions that have spent less time in the spotlight (pun intended) and finally get some much deserved love, although they are still to get a full novell of their own. In the meantime, The Dark King preludes the origins of their Primarch Konrad Kurze in a similar fashion as other Primarchs have had mentions of their first steps in their worlds of adoption in their novels; think of Fulgrim or Perturabo but with some more detail.

I don't know much about the Night Lords lore and fluff but suffice to say, this story has a quite different flavour to those of other more normal Primarchs; Kurze arrives to Nostromo after being dispersed from Terra to find a violent hive society, and after sometime surviving by eating different types of meat (hint: there are no cows in the hives) decides to put some order on his on way, which is terror. This is where we see hints that things were not allright in the Night Lords legion many years before the Heresy, same as we saw in Fulgrim, Angel Exterminatus or A Thousand Sons, and rather than the Heresy was made possible because most of the traitor Legions were already hiding something. It is these little tidbits of information that together add a much needed sense to the overall story.

The Lightning Tower by Dan Abnett

Can the mighty, imprenetable, hard as a rock Rogal Dorn feel fear? if it's not fear, let's just call it a very deep concern. This short story is bolter porn-free and revolves around a conversation of Rogal Dorn and the Sigillite in Terra, where they discuss the origins of that fear. What can it be so grave, so daunting, so horrible that can affect Rogal Dorn? The Night Haunter is part of this conversation and we learn that Dorn and Kurze had some issues in the past, but is it Kurze the reason of the fear?

The Kaban Project by Graham McNeill
The second short story of Mr. McNeill explains the origins of that sentient machine that attacked Dalia Cyphera and her friends in the novel Mechanicum. Although this was not a part that deserved much explanation, it is very nice to have a complementary story around Mechanicum, for this is one of the finest Horus Heresy novels to date, and one that - time will tell - could be recalled in the future as the origin of a new Mechanicum army. The story itself isn't that great but again, those that enjoyed Mechanicum will be interested. Hopefully we'll get some more stories on the Knights next time?

Raven’s Flight by Gav Thorpe
In the context of the Horus Heresy storyline, one of the big questions marks so far is how could there be any survivors from Isstvan V, and especially how Corax got away. Well this short story sheds some light about it. Personnally I feel it gives a too simplistic explanation and that it could have been more developed but to be fair, it is only a short story and it's best to get a (simple) answer that no answer at all, IMO.

Death of a Silversmith by Graham McNeill
This is really a filler that adds nothing to the general storyline. A very short story on the Luna Wolves and a character we had not heard about in a long time...

Prince of Crows by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The second story of the Night Lords and one that I found very interesting; after a series of skirmishes with the Dark Angels, the Lion manages to ambush the Night Lords and in leaves Kurze badly wounded after fighting him. The remnants of the Night Lords ships flee and it is up to their First Captain Jago Sevatar to take the control. To do so will have to fight the inherent treachery of his Legion if he wants to strike back at the First Legion. 


Whilst the previous Horus Heresy compilations so far have been somewhat disappointing, this book feels much more solid and consistent. it sheds some light around details or secondary affairs far from the main action that some might find interesting, and definetely gives much more context to the Imperial Fists and Night Lords. If you are not interested in neither the details or those Legions and just want to see the story advance, I would probably recommend to skip this lecture. Otherwise it makes for a pleasant distraction (I read it one story at a time while going to work in the train) and the Legacy Edition at 10.5€ is definetely a great value. Verdict: 3/5

Have you read this book? what do you think?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Eldar Wave Serpent WIP 1

Hi there! Wave Serpents are the new rage in terms of power gaming (these things are pretty darn good!) but the reality is, it has always been one of the best vehicles in terms of hobby. Just head to CMON or google a bit and you'll find some incredible pieces of art painted over a Wave Serpent Hull. Now I'm not nowhere near the level of these artists but it was nonetheless an idea that has been in my mind for some time and when I heard the codex Eldar was due for a release, I decided I would get a small contingent for fun: a Farseer and some bikes, some Guardians / Avengers in Serpent, and of course the mighty Wraithknight!

This has to be my favourite side of 6th Ed, the pace of codex releases is so fast that it is difficult to keep track! but it is encouraging to find every 2 months or 3 some amazing new kits. And here we are, painting my very first xeno outside of Orks, and that was well 15 years ago. Ah those 2nd edition Gretchins painted in goblin green and blood red :)

Back to Eldar. It is a difficult decision to decide how to paint an Eldar army, since you can pretty much use any color. Then there also fluff or game considerations of course, like I would go Saim Hann if I wanted to go biker/skimmer heavy. Given Eldar are meant to be the Children of the Stars and their long decadence, I decided to go with a dark black/blue scheme and add some touches of "space" (more on this later). It will be a Craftwork Ulthwe contingent with some creative licenses.

The first Wave Serpent has a black base with blue hues around it, to give it a sense of energy. The challenge is I went all in and inspired by this wonderful army by Hortwerth, I will try to paint a nebulae on top of the serpent. The easy part is that an airbrush can blend the colors nicely, but the tricky part is painting light colors like yellow on top of black (it looks very dull) or blue (becomes green). With some patience and a few thin layers this is where I am now:
The inside is being painted with an eery blue

I wanted the bottom to show some "energy". Still undecided about going bone with the guns

This baby still needs a lot of work: finalizing the highlights, add stars to the nebula, paint the guns, and the dauting task of painting some 20 jewels. Doh!

At the same time I am also painting the Vyper that comes with the army force; I'm not really sure about the nebula on the small rear wings so I might just go black / blue on this one. What do you guys think?

Let me know if you have any feedback or questions! cheers

Monday, August 19, 2013

Musings about finding your own painting style

It is interesting that many renowned painters area able to define their style in the interviews or posts; some say it is reallistic and gory (Third Eye Nuke), grey/blue (Arsies), based in washes (James Wappel) and so on... and it got me thinking about my own style - after 20 years in the hobby I still don't have  defined paint style! or should I say, my paint style is not established yet and I keep looking for it. If I was to look at the armies I've painted over the last few years, there is a big difference between my light Space Wolves, painted a la GW, the dark, dirty and realistic Blood Angels I painted when I got onto airbrushing, and the latest Dark Angels which are still dark but clean and with high contrast. All of this in a time frame of 3 years!

I think the reason behind is because I keep looking for ways to improve my painting, even when I have win several best painted at large tournaments. I just keep looking around and finding wonderful, inspiring paint jobs that make me want to up my level. I guess it's just like players that want to become better at it and play better players; we often see this desire of improvement from a gamer point of view but not as much as a hobbyists. I'll do a brief recap of my last armies to show my evolution.

The Space Wolves were an army I had always liked. Back in the day in the late 90s I painted some Blood Claws, Scouts, Long Fangs and Land Raider in dark grey, just with a drybrush. It gives me the creeps to look at them now :) but hey, I was so proud back then! by the way those Long Fangs with mixed plastic/metal components has to be the most difficult model ever to put together!

So about 3 years ago I decided to expand the army and went with the same aesthetic as those painted by GW - a light grey blue with simple edge highlighting and shadows in the recesses. The armour plates have no color graduation at all, unlike today where is the part I probably care the most about. But with all the wolf pelts, fangs, runes, beards, axes, knives and other viking stuff, who cares about the armour? I based them with a high contrast snowed rocky setting and it's an army that looks nice in the tabletop.
Light, almost cartoonish. But still able to scare the s*** out of many opponents :)

Then I got an airbrush and was very tired of all those edge highlighting, so I set about painting an army that was very different to the Wolves - it is dark and realistic, full of battle damage and dirt, and it has very little contrast.

Dirty and realistic, little contrast

Nowadays I keep painting in a dark style but I strive to get very light highlights, increase the contrast and add OSLs in the weapons. I put a lot of effort onto creating color transitions in the armour with the airbrush, and have started to consider things like warm/cold colors. These are all things I have seen in our great community and luckily there are a lot of talented painters out there who are willing to share their work.
Ditto dark with clear highlights and OSL

Dark yet clear and with more contrast

Yet I know that this is not yet my final take and that my paintjobs in 12 months time will look different to those I do now. What will change? well I would dearly like to do good NMM, and I want to keep increasing the contrast.

What has been your evolution? have you settled on one style or are still finding your own?
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