Sunday, 10 August 2014

Scale75 Paint Review

Scale75 Paint Review Banner - CMDante.com

As I mentioned in my last post, I've recently been trying out the Scale75 paint range and boy are they good! In fact I've been so taken with them I have purchased almost the entire range.

Since I've been asked a few times recently what it is about the range that I like so much, I figured I'd put together a bit of a quick overview of my experiences. I intend to expand this out with a proper review of the three main ranges - colour, metallics and inks - with more pics of the colours, their uses and colour swatches, but for now this post will hopefully provide a quick view on a few of the main observations I've had so far.


Colour Range

First things first, the Scale75 range is an acrylic miniature paint range developed by the Spanish company famed for large scale miniatures and their recent Frontiers of War range.

Selection of Scale75 Paint Colour Range - CMDante.com


The colour range has a good volume of colours in a nice mix of both vibrant and subtle tones. There are 63 paints in the main colour range and these can be purchased either in sets of 8 paints in groupings such as reds, blues, browns and leathers etc, or in one handy mega set. I purchased mine in the smaller sets as the mega set wasn't available at the time, but if you want the whole range at best price, I'd recommend the mega set (available in the UK from Model Display Products).

The first thing worth noting about the Scale75 range is they dry very matt - almost chalky. This might sound like a bad thing, but its really not - in fact, its one of the things I really like about the range. By drying so matt, it creates a much wider range of possible finishes, helping build depth and contrast between matt and satin. I've included a couple of examples of a WIP GW Ogryn below so you can see what I mean:

GW Ogryn Body WIP - CMDante.com

The flesh tones in particular are very nice and a perfect example of where the matt finish can work really well. Again, very WIP pictures below, at this point I've spent about 45 minutes total on the face, so plenty still to do but you can see how well they blend and how the matt finish gives quite a realistic look to the skin even at this stage for the scale.


GW Ogryn Head WIP 1 - CMDante.com

GW Ogryn Head WIP 2 - CMDante.com


One final thing I'd like to note on the colour range are the tones available. There are some amazing vibrant tones, particularly in the blue, red and green ranges, that really pop - perfect for dress uniforms, heraldry and the like. For some examples, check the blues in the picture of a selection of the colour range I included at the top of the post.


Inks

The inks from the Scale75 Inktensity range are the perfect compliment to the colour range. While the colours dry very matt, by contrast the inks dry very satin and shiny. Not quite as much as the old GW inks (the ones before the wash range), but more shiny than the more recent GW washes.


As with the colour range, the inks come in a good range of tones, from yellow to black. The only notable absence in my opinion is a true green ink - though this could be mixed using the yellow and blue tones easily enough. I'm already a big fan of the two brown tones and the violet - all very nice and extremely useful.

I mentioned before that the inks are the perfect compliment to the colour range - not only because they can help generate further vibrant tones (the yellow in particular is good for this), but because they can also help create a more satin finish without altering the tone too much.

I haven't really had a chance to use this set to its fullest yet, so expect more in a future, fuller review post.


Metallics

The real clincher for my decision to buy the Scale75 range was my experience with the metallics sets for silvers and golds. These are without doubt the best acrylic metallic paints I have used to date. My current acrylic paint collection includes GW (from early 90's onwards), P3, Coat D'Arms and Vallejo and the Scale75 metallics top all of these.

Selection of Scale75 Metallics Paints - CMDante.com

Why are they so good you ask? Well, as with the rest of the range, the pigment in the paint is super fine, meaning that the finish from these colours is super smooth and with a good coverage.

The metallics range also includes some nice, more unusual metallic tones, including blues, greens and pinks. I'm already a big fan of the black metal and bright silver colours (with some cool names such as "speed metal" and "thrash metal" - very 80's!). In particular, I really like the very bright white metal and white gold colours - great for super bright highlights where previously you would have required Vallejo Metallic Medium for a similar effect.

Abaddon Sword Blade - CMDante.com


I used the metallics on my Abaddon figure and found them absolutely brilliant - particularly for getting the nice smooth gradients on the sword (all done with brush). They mix well with the colour range too, helping achieve a more matt metallic finish where needed for TMM in an NMM style.


Value for Money

At around £19.40 per set of 8 (about £2.30 per pot) or £160 for the 63 colour mega set (about £2.50 per pot - but it also comes with the metal holder tray which retails at 25 euros on it's own), the Scale75 range is a little more pricey than Vallejo and a little cheaper than GW. But for the quality, I would definitely say they are value for money.


Where to buy? (UK)

At the moment, it's only possible (as far as I'm aware) to buy the paint sets (8 pot or 63 pot mega sets) in the UK at this time. However, Scale75 have recently started to sell individual pots on their website.

I bought my selection of sets from El Greco Miniatures as they had a sale on at the time, meaning I got them for about £18.30 per set, but they retail at £19.40 in most places in the UK (including MDP who carry the mega set).


Final Notes

A couple of final points to note about the range:


  1. As the pigment is very fine, it seems to separate from the carrying fluid if left to sit for a prolonged period without shaking (around a few days), so you need to make sure to give them a good shake to ensure they are properly mixed before using. I'd recommend getting some 2-4mm stainless steel ball bearings (eBay is your friend here) to put in the pots to help with mixing.

  2. The bottles are dropper bottles of the Vallejo style many will be familiar with. This obviously means you will need to drop them onto a palette to use. I have had no issues with them on my wet palette, with the paint still usable over a number of days later.

  3. The nozzle of the dropper on the bottles comes with a thin seal of plastic over the tip that needs pierced before use. This is handy as it allows you to give them a really good shake to mix binder and pigment before first use without any spilling out into the lid. I used a needle sculpting tool to pierce. 
So there you have my take on the range based on my early experiences. I'm really looking forward to playing about with the matt finish more for various effects and for trying out the metallics on larger surfaces. I would really recommend trying these paints out to experience for yourself. I have seen a few reviewers complain about the matt finish and can appreciate its potentially not for everyone, but I for one am sold on them due to the flexibility it offers. Hopefully this post will help cover off enough key points to allow you to decide whether these are likely to be for you.

Feel free to share your own thoughts, or ask any questions in the comments below.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Forgeworld Abaddon (Finished!) - Horus Heresy


Well, after a loooooooong time, I have finally got around to finishing the Abaddon miniature from the Forgeworld Horus Heresy diorama set that I started over a year ago!







Despite taking an absolute age to complete this (largely due to lengthy periods of hobby inactivity), I had a ton of fun painting this figure and feel that I learned a lot through the process to boot.

All in all, I'm quite pleased with the overall result. The cold blue/black of the armour came out pretty much as intended. I also tried out a new paint range (Scale75 - very nice and with great matt properties) and got a chance to play with my Day Glow pigments from Forged Monkey (also very nice) - more on both in future posts.

I'm now mulling over what to start on next, but in the meantime, I'd love to hear what you think of Abaddon in the comments below!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Forgeworld Abaddon - Horus Heresy

Horus Heresy Abaddon Banner - CMDante.com


I have had the Forgeworld Horus Heresy Abaddon vs Loken diorama kit for a few months now (think I ordered it for release, whenever that was) and have finally gotten around to working on it recently.

Both figures in this kit are very dynamically posed and loaded with fine details, as tends to be the case with Forgeworld figures. Abaddon is the best of the two sculpts however - the pose, arms spread wide in challenge, just seems to have more appealing lines, making him the better stand alone figure of the two.

For this reason he was the obvious place to start. After a couple of evenings cleaning up and filling/correcting/re-sculpting any casting flaws, I had him ready to paint. There were a couple of areas in need of work which I suspect will be the same on most versions of this cast. Namely, the topknot, the arch detail above the head recess and the inside of the rims on the shoulder pads. All had some form of casting defect, typically from mould slip. The top knot was by far the worst, with the small metal band piece holding the hair being so bad I ended up just sculpting my own to replace it.



Like most of my projects, I am painting him in sub-assemblies - the head, arms, sword, body and base. I have started on the body, making reasonable progress so far over a few hours or so of work.

Everything is still fairly rough at the moment as I am still trying to determine where I want the contrast to be, but I like how he's turning out so far.



I'm aiming for a fairly reflective looking black with a hint of turquoise (to tie in a little with the Sons of Horus green - important for when I get round to Loken), with reds in the shading to add some contrast. At the moment the left leg is the furthest along, but I do intend to go back and add more shading and an overall contrast to the whole piece once everything else is nearly done to focus the eye on key areas - mainly around the face.

I am thinking of trying some source lighting on the face similar to the classic piece of Horus Heresy artwork of Horus facing the Emperor. It's not something I have tried before though, so there will be a lot of trial and error - think this is a good plan? Let me know in the comments if you have an opinion.

Horus - Horus Heresy artwork by Adrian Smith


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Miniature Review - Barbarian Dude


Followers of this blog will no doubt have noticed that I haven't been particularly active over the last 6 months or so. Truth is, I haven't really done much hobby-wise over that time either, so have little to show. I have, however, still been buying the odd miniature or kit here and there - one such miniature, the limited edition "Barbarian Dude".

The Barbarian Dude is a new sculpt by the talented Emanuele Giovagnoni from Raining Frogs Garage. Cast in resin and produced in 2 runs, the figure was strictly limited to only 350 prints. Unfortunately for anyone thinking about picking up a copy, the figure is already completely sold out.

The figure cost 15 euros, plus 3 euros postage and packaging, or about £15 in UK currency.


Packaging


Ok, the boring stuff first so I will keep this fairly short. The figure arrived in a small padded envelope, inside which the figure came wrapped in a few layers of bubble wrap - enough to avoid any transit damage for such a small and lightweight figure.

Underneath all of the protective packaging the figure comes in a small resealable bag with a numbered card with an image of the assembled figure.



First Thoughts


The first thing that struck me about this figure was the similarity in style and appearance to the Vorag barbarian models sculpted by the master of musculature, Jacques-Alexandre Gillois for the now defunct Ilyad Games.



The Vorag were highly popular sculpts when they were available. Unfortunately they too can no longer be purchased and are rarer than hens teeth on eBay and the usual OOP figure buying sources.

The Vorag shaman is probably amongst my "favourite figures I've never owned" - if you have one you want rid of, let me know in the comments! :)

The Barbarian Dude clearly shares a lot of design cues with the Vorag, namely the musculature, fur boots and spiral metal work - not to mention the usual barbarian loincloth, big belt and massive axe.

Emmanuel (or Poupée Canope as he goes by online) also openly admits to being inspired by the artwork of Simon Bisley (also an inspiration for JAG's Vorag), the artist behind the Conan and Slaine comic books.

Conan the Barbarian by Simon Bisley


Contents


The model comes in 4 parts - the main body, the axe, arms and finally the top knot for the hair.

The quality of the cast is truly exceptional! Probably one of the best I have ever seen. There are hardly any mould lines on the figure, even on areas of intricate detail, such as the wrapping on the axe haft, where you would usually expect to have to do some careful clean-up work. This ticks a major box in my book - I hate cleaning up mould lines!

The figure is sculpted in "heroic" 32mm scale, but measures almost 40mm the the top of the hair due to being a big ol' barbarian. The detail on the cast is crisp and clean too, with even the recessed areas being sharp and well defined. The resin also appears to be pretty good quality - less brittle than Forgeworld's.

While I've already stated that the cast quality is amazing, there are still a couple of small areas that need some work due to a little mould slip. I don't imagine it's possible to find a commercially cast miniature that doesn't require some clean-up work though.


Mould Slip


The most notable areas of mould slip are on the under/insides of the legs (highlighted in orange below). Fortunately these areas are quite well hidden anyway and fixing them shouldn't be anything a little putty won't solve.


There is also a little mould slip and a tiny amount of graining on the left hand side of the models torso, at the belt and latissimus dorsi.


While the belt is a little annoying and trickier to fix, it's still far from the worst I have had to fix. Fortunately it's also a pretty small area of the model.

The inside of the arms also have a bit of a mould line/mould slip that will need fixed. Again though, not a very visible part of the model. Julien Casses found a similar issue with both copies of the cast he received (he was smart enough to buy two before they sold out - wish I'd thought of that as they will no doubt be worth a pretty penny!).



I did notice that there was a bit of an air bubble on the joint...socket...bit (?!) of the right arm that has meant a little bit of filling will be required to strengthen the banding on the arm at this point which has become a little thin. There is also a mould vent point on the arm just below the banding at this point that will need trimmed.


It's worth bearing in mind that while it might seem like there are a number of issues with this model, I am really nit-picking with the issues I've highlighted in this review. As I have already said, this is definitely amongst the best cast miniatures I have purchased, but no miniature comes without a little clean-up.

For £15, I would definitely say this miniature was worth the money and I am very much looking forward to painting him.


Barbarian Dude Reviewed by CMDante on
Overall Rating: 5/ 5
CMDante Miniature Review 5 Stars

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Nurgle Lord Conversion - Golden Demon UK 2012 Entry

Nurgle


Well, my best laid plans at the beginning of the year to bring a number of entries to GDUK in 2012 went out of the window by the time September rolled around and I was left with only one model to take - one that wasn't created with the intention of entering to boot!

The figure I ended up taking was a converted plastic Nurgle Lord. If I had known when I started just how saturated the fantasy single category of Golden Demons around the world have become with entries based on this figure I would probably have picked another!

Still, the base figure is an instant classic sculpt and the conversion and paint job were both enjoyable and came very naturally.

You can see the figure in its unpainted state in a previous blog post here.

Nurgle Lord Conversion Painted
Nurgle Lord Conversion Painted 2

Nurgle Lord Conversion Painted 3

Nurgle Lord Belly Painted


I took a lot of inspiration from the brilliant job Darren Latham (of GW Eavy Metal team fame) did on his Nurgle Lord for the paint job.

The style is a bit brighter and more sharply highlighted than my previous work - a bit of a change in painting direction to try and work more contrast in to my highlighting. While the paint job is far from perfect, I am happy enough with how it has come out.

The base was also enjoyable to make - I tried to make it blend with the plinth, overlapping the round bevelled edge of the 40mm GW base in areas to try and draw the eye into the scene a bit more. I'm in two minds as to whether the base is too big for the figure and whether he would have been more successful on a smaller base.

In the end I managed to come away with a finalist pin from what I felt was an incredibly strongly contested category. While I'm a little bummed it is my first time entering GD and not coming away with a trophy, I am still pleased enough with his performance given he hadn't been painted with the intention of entering him into the Golden Demon contest.

For those who would like to vote on CMON, he can be found here - all votes and comments are much appreciated! :)

Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below. Do you like the new style? Is it something I should continue with? Thoughts welcome.

Monday, 27 August 2012

The Gift of Inspiration


While looking through the galleries on coolminiornot.com today I came across a rather pleasant, if unexpected surprise.



Upon seeing the piece "Imperial Guard Ace" by artist MoMinis, entered at this year's Golden Demon Germany (and a worthy finalist), I was instantly reminded of a converted Imperial Guardsman I had made back in 2009:

imperial guard conversion CMDante

My model was also a finalist at Golden Demon UK in 2010, so I guess these two models have even more in common!

Looking at my miniature now, I would have taken longer over the paintjob and base if I could start again. Both were quite rushed from a desire to finish the miniature before I moved to my current home and from simply having worked on the conversion for too long. A problem I find frustratingly common!

Warhammer 40,000 Dark Vengence Boxed Set
Warhammer 40,000 Dark Vengence - 6th edition (2012)


So what have I been up to lately? Well, aside from trying to finish up a few entries for this year's Golden Demon, I have been eyeing up the new Dark Vengence 40k boxed set (which you can get for a pretty nifty 10% discount at Wayland Games).

The new models look great and it is hard to believe they are "snap fit" models. The hobby has come a long way from the old starter sets I can remember receiving for christmas in my youth.

Warhammer 40,000 2nd Edition Boxed Set (1993)
Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition boxed set (1993)

It's funny, because I have seen people complaining about the presence of a few duplicates in the new set. It just shows how high the expectation level is these days thanks to the improved quality of all boxed sets GW produce.

The old sets used to include only around 5-8 versions of a model, no characters, no vehicles. Now we get spoiled with properly structured forces, including characters, dreadnoughts, bikes and multiple unit types per force.

Changed days indeed!

I'm already planning some minor conversions for the Chaos chosen and Hellbrute so can't wait for the new boxed set to arrive.

Got anything special planned for your own set? How do you plan to paint up the chaos models (still torn on a legion to choose myself, so ideas are welcome)?

Friday, 1 June 2012

Miniature Review - Forgeworld Event Only Enforcer

CMDante Miniature Review


As anyone who is a regular at Games Workshop events and is a fan of Forgeworld miniatures will know, GW's resin specialists have, for the past few years now, released special "event only" miniatures on an annual basis.

Last year saw the event only Warhammer Forge Chaos Dwarf hero an Warhammer 40k Boarding Space Marine, while 2012 sees the Warhammer Forge Skin Wolf (Chaos) and Warhammer 40k Imperial Enforcer. It is the later of this years models which will be the focus of this review.

While I have yet to attend a GW event this year, I did manage to pick up one of the many event only models available on eBay. While you may find that you have to over-pay to pick one up, I got mine for £18 including postage - not too bad when you consider the model costs £12 new at an event (which would also have associated costs in attending).

First Thoughts


The first thing of note about this years event only models are that they come in a new packaging format for Forgeworld. It seems that the new Finecast style plastic blisters are also being used to package these figures. I'm not sure if this is something that is being rolled out across the Forgeworld range, but it is a bit of a welcome change.

Forgeworld Event Only Imperial Enforcer Blister

Previously Forgeworld models came packaged in small jiffy bags - great for seeing the parts through because you could carefully manipulate the parts to see them from all sides, but they didn't offer any protection from breakages while transporting/storing. Not great for the often fragile, brittle parts typical of resin kits.

I knew the minute I saw the first pictures released of the Imperial Enforcer model that I would wind up purchasing one and on doing so, I was not disappointed. I have always had a preference for Imperial figures and a great fondness for anything related to Necromunda/Inquisitor - models that have a strong character in their own right without a supporting army. This guy definitely ticks that box.

Contents


So what do you get for your £12 (or £18 in my case)?

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer Kit contents

The model consists of 3 pieces. The enforcers body, head and a cyber mastiff.

Quality of Sculpts / Detail

As with most of Forgeworld's products, the sculpting quality on both miniatures in this set is top notch, full of crisp, intricate details. The enforcer's body has a number of small imperial icons and some finely detailed chain elements, including a pair of handcuffs.

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer Body

I can't say I'm a big fan of the way the boots have been designed. The soles/heels look too tacked on to the rest of the boot, almost like an after-thought modification to "space" them up to look more 40k. A minor criticism though.

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer Head
 
The head has a sullen eyed veteran appearance - a somewhat common trait of Forgeworld bare human heads. It actually reminds me a lot of Inquisitor Eisenhorn too and would be an ideal choice of head for such a conversion.

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer Cyber Mastiff

Finally, the cyber mastiff is a large, but exquisitely sculpted beast. The anatomy is very realistic looking, even for a cybernetically modified, gene-enhanced dog! The face is a pleasant change from the usual aggressive snarling that is common for most wargames miniature beasts and hounds. There is also some really nice detail for the cybernetic enhancements.

Pose

The posing of the model is more relaxed than the typical 40k miniature posing offered in GW's main ranges, yet still interesting and characterful. He has a sort of "investigative stride" look, with shock maul held low in his right hand and some sort of auspex/communicator device in his right.

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer back

The cyber mastiff's pose has a similar feel, as though master and beast are investigating some sort of incident. He also has a nice loping, single minded stride going on.

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer Cyber Mastiff back

Casting Quality

This kit instantly ranks amongst the best quality of casting I have seen from Forgeworld. A few small mold lines, bits of flash and sprue vents, but nothing you wouldn't expect on any miniature. The details have all been cast fully and crisply, with no softening of detail that can sometimes be present in resin kits and which used to be a common issue with some Forgeworld kits in the past.

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer body right


The worst area for mold lines appears to be the tops of the boots on the enforcer's body. This seems to be quite a common location for deep inset mold lines (as opposed to raised mold lines common on plastic kits), but nothing a little putty and sanding can't sort.

Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer Cyber Mastiff top


One thing I would say is that the miniatures feel very greasy all over, clearly having a goo coating of mold lubrication, meaning they will need a good wash and light scrub in some warm soapy water - something worth doing to all miniatures before applying paint, but particularly important on resin models.

Summary


Overall, this is a great kit. The models are nicely posed, work well together and are finely detailed and cast. As a personal opinion, there aren't enough of these "non-battlefield" miniatures that flesh out the background of the game and are a common focus of Black Library novels, making this a welcome addition to the GW range.

The only real criticism I have is the previously mentioned styling of the boots. A small criticism though of an otherwise brilliant kit.

If you plan on attending a GW event this year and you are a fan of both 40k and Imperial miniatures, then I strongly recommend taking the time to pick this kit up. If you don't intend to visit an event, then you could always do what I did and pick one up on eBay as there appears to always be plenty going.



Forgeworld Event Only Imperial Enforcer Reviewed by CMDante on
Overall Rating: 4.5/ 5

CMDante Miniature Review 4.5 Stars