Friday 31 December 2010

Ultramarines - The Movie : Review


When I first heard the news that Games Workshop were planning on releasing a movie I was excited and sceptical in equal measures. I could still remember the promise that the Bloodquest movie held before it was ultimately and unceremoniously canned.

However, following the big announcement at GD UK '09, and the raft of details which followed after, it seemed that this time something would actually be produced.

When I saw that Dan Abnett (my favourite Black Library author) was attached to write the script and the quality and pedigree of the voice actor cast (including the likes of John Hurt, Terrence Stamp and Sean Pertwee), my excitement levels were on the rise and I was filled with hope that the incredible and rich 40k universe which GW has created over the last quarter of a century would be done justice in its official screen debut.

In the run up to the special edition DVD launch of the movie the creators, Codex Pictures, begun to release teaser trailers and screen captures from the movie. I have to admit, what I saw in these gave me some concerns - particularly the trailers. So by the time the DVD finally arrived (4 weeks late after a lot of delays which made the £8 for postage seem ludicrous), I was probably more nervous than excited.

The Review

Sadly I was right to be nervous. Pretty much from the off I was disappointed and I don't think this was entirely due to the movie not meeting my lofty expectations for a 40k movie.

I sat through the first 10 minutes hopeful that it would get better as it went on, but sadly it didn't, instead just crushing my optimism the longer I watched.

So why isn't this movie a good first foray into the glitz and glam of the movie world for 40k? Well, lets look at the basic elements of the movie...


The animation isn't terrible - but it's not exactly anything special either. The space marines just don't seem to be animated to convey any kind of size, power or weight - they skip along without any real weight shift taking place or much movement in the armour. The shoulder pads are also quite oddly shaped and curved and most scenes seem to lack any real detail. The backgrounds and environments in particular being very poor for the most part - it felt like I watched 40 minutes of marines walking in poorly animated fog, a cheap cop-out for rendering environments.

The lighting is also pretty poor on characters faces throughout, often having too strong contrasts between light and shade and ruining any sense of realism.

Yes, some of these seem like nit-picking points, but for a short movie that aims to convey the core elements of what a space marine is, it's pretty important.

There were a few decent points, such as the armour on John Hurt's character Chaplain Carnak and elements of the few fight scenes there are, but the negatives far out-weigh these few bright points.


The sounds of this movie were very noticeable throughout due to there almost complete absence. Be it speech, sound effects musical score or environmental sounds, there was very little given the movies length and the lack of any kind of noise was often quite jarring - detracting significantly from the viewing experience.

Whole scenes would go by without any speech, sound effects or accompanying background noises or music, making quite boring viewing.

Voice Acting

On paper the voice acting cast looks amazing, sadly in the movie it seems like they either don't reach their full potential, or aren't given a chance to shine. The speech often seems emotionless and stilted with the exceptions of Sean Pertwee and Steve Waddington who are the few bright points in some otherwise uninspired voice acting.


I'm not sure of the constraints which were put upon the scripting/story for this movie due to length, budgets and marketing/IP usage, but it's hard to believe this script came from Dan Abnett.

I won't spoil any of the story for those of you who may still choose to watch this movie, but suffice to say it's bland and un-engaging throughout, leaving the viewer caring little for what happens.

As I said before, much of the movie is marines walking in fog with little dialogue - no bright points here I'm afraid.


All in all a very disappointing first effort for Games Workshop on the movie front. For a universe and IP with so much promise, coupled with what is, on paper at least, a great cast and author, this movie falls so far short of expectations.

Even for a low budget, "hardcore" space marine movie, aiming to typify the character of space marines, as the makers have claimed was their aim, it's poor.

I wanted so much to love this film as I really want to see more efforts made to bring Warhammer and 40k to the screen, but it just feels like the makers have missed all of the subtleties that are essential in creating the character of space marines as they are frequently so well described in novels and army books.

Things like the weight, value and scale of power armour for example. There is one scene where the squad have to cross a rickety old wooden bridge - I actually cringed. Seriously. Mankind's superhuman elite, 7ft of power and genetically enhanced muscle, encased in what one can only imagine to be around 700 - 1,000kgs of ceramite power armour, crossing a bridge from a Scoobie-Doo cartoon.

They skip across unhindered and without so much as a creak.

And on that bombshell, good night and have a happy New Year!

Tuesday 28 December 2010

Airbrushing, Photography and Miniature Painting DVD's

Well, since I've been a bit ill since Christmas, and busy in the build up to the holidays, I never got as much done as hoped - hence the lack of updates!

That will hopefully change over the next couple of weeks as some nice presents and a bit of rest have helped my hobby motivation return. So what were these gifts? Well, firstly I decided to treat myself to a portable airbrush booth to make sure I get more use out of the airbrush I bought last year. The booth I got is an Expo Tools Airbrush Portable Spray Booth #500 - a bargain at £70!

The booth is a nice, compact piece of kit with everything folding away neatly into a roughly shoebox like size. It is also modular, in that if you buy another of the same booth, they can be linked together to create one long booth for larger projects. The extractor fan is powerful enough to remove any fumes, yet silent so as not to disturb your painting mojo. I'm looking forward to giving this a whirl while spraying some Hellion skyboards.

I was also received a nice fold out photography light box from my girlfriend as one of my presents - which hopefully means better quality pics as I get the hang of it! I did a few hurried test snaps earlier (below) of my GD UK 2010 fantasy single entry and a current WIP to test it out. The lighting setup was a little hurried though so they aren't perfect.

Finally, I also received the excellent Miniature Painting with Jeremie Bonamant Teboul DVD from Figone. I've purchased and viewed plenty of painting and sculpting books and videos in my time, and while all have proved beneficial, none have provided me with such valuable knowledge and understanding as this has already.

There is over 7 hours of theoretical and practical examples and applications over 2 discs, along with a gallery of images. While the camera work isn't quite as sharp as say the Miniature Mentor videos, you can still clearly see everything that is being done and the technical demonstrations and theory are well explained.

If your looking to improve your blending and understanding of miniature painting theory then I'd thoroughly recommend giving this a look. Also, the guys at Figone produce some incredible looking figures (Furgol and Carlos being among my favourites) and from the examples in the DVD, they look a joy to paint.

So, its back to the DVD (got another 4.5 hours still to go!) and some festive drinks and food for me before I get down to some serious hobby time and begin planning the coming year's GD entries.

Hope you all had a good Christmas and have an even better New Year! (oh and here's the quick pic of my latest WIP)

Saturday 6 November 2010

On The Workbench

Looking to get back into the swing of modelling and painting after Games Day and then a 2 week holiday to Singapore, I've been making a few hobby related purchases.

Dark Eldar

The new Dark Eldar from Games Workshop hit stores today and the postman delivered my pre-order today - Lelith Hesperax and a box of Wyches.

First up from the new arrivals, Lelith. A stunning figure and the best female GW have produced yet. A couple of annoying mould lines running through the hair make clean up a little bit of a chore but otherwise the components go together snuggly enough.

Little Princess - Runic Miniatures

I also recently received a stunning little sculpt by Jakob Rune Nielsen entitled "Little Princess" (middle of the pic). Would definitely recommend picking one up while you can, the smooth surfaces and lack of clutter make it a real painters joy and I'm looking forward to slinging some paint on it soon!

Captain Korvydae - Forgeworld

Finally, far left is the new Raven Guard character Captain Korvydae from Forgeworld which I picked up at Games Day UK. Again, a great figure with lots of movement and aggression in the pose and face.

I did think about converting him into a Blood Ravens character after playing Dawn of War 2 recently, that was however until I realised just how different the Blood Ravens chapter badge is from the Raven Guard which would have meant a lot more sculpting work than I had intended for this piece. Therefore, it looks like he will be staying a Raven Guard afterall.

Also, if anyone has a spare Forgeworld jump pack "vent pipe thing" going that they wouldn't mind parting with, let me know! Dropped mine and it snapped in a hard to pin or glue point...

Hopefully some new painting progress soon now that these projects are all reaching the painting stage!

Saturday 16 October 2010

Golden Demon 2010 - It's Been A While...


As you may (or may not!) have noticed, I haven't been particularly active on the blogging front in the last few months - for that, I apologise.

With work, real life commitments and general hobby indecision, I haven't actually done a whole lot in modelling and painting terms in the interim either! Lots of small projects started and then shelved in quick succession for various reasons.

Games Day UK 2010

Fortunately, Games Day UK 2010 took place a couple of weeks ago and after promising myself for the last 3 years I would attend and finally enter a GD, myself and my incredibly supportive girlfriend made the trip down to Birmingham for a day of hobby filled activity (that and we were flying out to Singapore the day after from London - I suspect this was a major contributing factor in our attending!).

So with the day fast approaching and nothing new to take to it, I begun working on a Kislevite warrior on foot sculpt for the Fantasy Single Miniature category.

I spent about 3 weeks working on the sculpt (using ProCreate and a Fimo core, with a few GW parts), probably too long over too short a period in retrospect as, by the time it came to painting it, I had begun to notice a number of annoying flaws which totally destroyed my motivation, leading me to shelve the project.

Fantasy Single Entry

Fortunately I had to hand an Empire Captain figure (the direct only one with the big mace) which caught my attention. A few small conversions and a freshly sculpted hat later and it was time to paint!

A lot of thought went towards colour schemes, basing, composition of "the piece" etc and I owe a lot to the fine folks at Darkwald for their thoughts and feedback. In the end I settled for an Averland scheme as it was iconic of the Empire, a striking scheme and allowed some creativity with the opulence of his attire and equipment.

The sculpt itself is actually one of my recent favourites. I've seen it heavily criticised by a number of people on forums, but I think they fail to see it's "classic GW" charm, coupled with the fine details and character of the pose and face.

I had always intended to use a 40mm base, even when considering the Kislevite, it simply offers more room to convey a scene with. However, the extra space can also look too much for such small figures so I had also always intended to include a companion figure - with the Kislevite this was going to be the small bear I had sculpted (pictured below). It added even more iconography and character so was an obvious choice. With the new piece however, there was no obvious choice for "companion" that was feasible in size (it is "Single Figure" after all!).

In the end I stumbled across the dog from the Bretonnian Men At Arms set. I had seen this used before in one of Joe Hills gold Fantasy Single entries from a few years back, so I was comfortable it was safe to use. However, the stock part on it's own didn't really work for me. It didn't look linked to the figure in anyway due to both it's pose and the lack of physical attachment (Joe's was on a leash). Therefore I altered the head (fixing the position of the eyes in the process) so that the dog would be looking to his master, a convenient trick which also helped draw the eye of the viewer towards the desired centrepiece of the figure - the captains face (see the early stage WIP pic below).

Managing to finish just 2 days before the event (though I had also intended to add a design to the shield freehand on the leg but ran out of time) I decided to take my Cadian Guardsman and Ghorros Warhoof (pics in previous post) to enter into 40K Single and Fantasy Monster respectively.

On The Day

On the day I managed to make finalist with all three entries, even having my Fantasy Single Entry displayed on the big screens during the day for about 5-10 minutes! This made me very happy, but fortunately there was more in store!

Watching the judging for the Fantasy Single was both interesting, exciting and nerve wracking in equal measures. In the end, my entry was pushed into 4th (last one cut from top 3) by some very nice pieces. I was later told by one of the judges that it had been considered for Bronze but the fact the Gold and Silver winning pieces were both Empire figures also counted against it - somewhat disappointing, though I can understand why (people read too much into the "types" of figures which place the previous year when planning GD entries!) - in the end, I was just happy to have been in contention for a place in the busiest category (40 odd finalists compared to just 12 for 40k Single) on my first time entering! *Pics of my finished entry below care of - don't have my own yet!

My feelings were then given a massive boost when, whilst hunting for my Ghorros Warhoof to collect from the finalist cabinets, I found I had won Bronze in Fantasy Monster with him - quite unexpected as this was also a highly contested category and mine was one of few "stock" entries.

There has been a lot of negative talk online after the event from a number of disgruntled parties over the judging, the way the event is run, what was on show etc, however I find myself disagreeing with almost all of it entirely.

Every year there are gripes that a particular painting style is "destined" to win where others are specifically singled out and prejudiced against - a quick look at the winning figures would suggest otherwise to me. This kind of hyper-competitive attitude saddens me to see, however I won't go further into it here.

All in all, I had a great day. I got to meet some great people whom I have spoken with online for some time and who's work I highly respect in person at last (Jakob Nielsen, Darren Latham, Mark Tait among others), got to see some cool studio stuff, got to see LOADS of great miniatures and best of all, achieved a childhood dream (sad I know) of claiming a Golden Demon!

More pics and posts soon I promise!

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Conflict Scotland 2010

Conflict Scotland 2010 was last Sunday and for the third straight year I was in attendance accompanied by my wonderful (and very supportive) girlfriend.

Taking place at Glasgow's Braehead arena (on a thawed out ice rink no less!), I have been to one good event (2008 - Jervis Johnson and Jez Goodwin in attendance) and one really poor one (2009 - No studio presence, terrible judging), so I wasn't sure what to expect this year.

2010 - A Good Year

Luckily, my fears for another poor year were unfounded as the organisers had taken on feedback from the previous year and greatly improved on what was on offer. This year's studio representatives were Giorgio Bassani and Graham McNeil, both of whom were surprisingly quiet for much of the day.

Seeing this was the case, I took the opportunity to pick Giorgio's brains on the art of miniature sculpting and he was kind enough to share some secrets about tools, techniques and materials for smoothing Green Stuff joins, but these will be discussed in future tutorials.

Giorgio's Sculpts

I also got to see some of Giorgio's trainee sculpts, all of which were fantastic (see the pics to truly understand what I mean!). Unfortunately he wasn't able to say whether or not any will be cast as there has been no mention of an intention to.

Golden Griffon 2010

The other main thing that I noticed that was greatly improved on last year was the Golden Griffon painting contest, my main reason for attending.

The previous year there had only been a handful of categories and a pretty low number of entries. This year however, the categories were much closer to those of Golden Demon UK (Fantasy single, Fantasy monster/regiment, 40k single, 40k regiment/monster, LOTR single, LOTR monster/regiment, Diorama, Youngbloods and Brotherhood of the Brush).

The Brotherhood of the Brush was a new one and the only category staff could enter. The unique thing was that everyone had to paint the same figure - the beastman character Ghorros Warhoof. As this was the only category staff could enter, I was expecting a big turnout and some good quality entries, therefore I spent the week running up to the event painting up my entry. I was a little disappointed though to see there were only 4 entries including my own...

My other entries were in 40k single and Fantasy single with my cadian veteran and Blood Bowl Griff Oberwald respectively.

In the end, I managed to win all three categories I entered which I was very pleased about! Below are a few (pretty poor - sorry, need to take some new ones!) pics of my entries.

Ghorros Warhoof - 1st Place Brotherhood of the Brush

Griff Oberwald - 1st Place Warhammer Fantasy Single and best Warhammer Overall

Cadian Veteran - 1st Place Warhammer 40k Single and best 40k Overall

All in all, it was an enjoyable event and I think I will definitely return next year. It was also great to get to speak with a few other painters, albeit briefly!

Sunday 14 March 2010

Review - Miniature Mentor - Todd Swanson Masterclass

Decided to pick up my first Miniature Mentor tutorial yesterday as the tutorial looks at a figure painter and figure I really admire - Todd Swanson's Plague Lord Festus, the 2008 LA Slayer Sword winner.

The promise of 5 + hours worth of high quality video tutorial and an extensive pdf. file covering the Festus figure from start to finish was too much for me to resist. £16 and 2 hours of downloading later I had five 1 hour video files, a 15-20 min interview video, 64 page Festus Walkthrough pdf. and an excel colour conversion chart - pretty good value for money!

I started by reading through the pdf. as it was quickest to download and gave me something to do while the video files downloaded.

The pdf. Walktrhough

The walkthrough gives a pretty thorough and highly insightful account of the entire process, from receipt of model (Todd created the figure as part of a GW Slayer Sword winner challenge - they only allowed the use of the 40k Chaos Terminator Lord kit parts and any scratchbuilt items), to sculpt and conversion work, creation of the base (very interesting part!) all the way through to the painting and assembly with plenty of good quality close-up photos at each stage.

The Interview Video

After reading through this, I got stuck into the videos. The interview with Todd was quite simple but had a few points of interest about Todd's equipment preferences etc. It's always interesting to me to see how other painters work, the equipment they use and why they choose to do so.

The Tutorial Videos

For the actual tutorial videos themselves Todd works on a few example pieces, not actually from the Festus figure, but showing the same techniques used. The videos cover Todd's highlighting, shading and blending technique for the base armour colour - covering a number of important technical skills, the chipping and rusting process over this base armour colour - using the sponge method similar to that which I have described previously, freehand technique, and how Todd paints and weathers exposed metal.

The quality of the video image is very good, with good lighting, focus and sharpness of image. Every stage is covered in extended detail, allowing you to really see how smooth transitions and natural weathering are built up.

The audio is also pretty good, with Todd and the Miniature Mentor presenter (I don't think he mentions his name?) giving pretty good commentary on what Todd is doing, the techniques, equipment etc.

Having watched 4 + hours now (last video still to watch), I already feel I have picked up quite a lot that I will be applying to my own painting and modelling efforts. It really has been well worth the cost and I'm already eyeing up a few more for future viewing.

If you haven't already, I recommend checking the Miniature Mentor tutorials out. Even if you consider yourself an experienced painter, I can guarantee you, you will learn a number of cool new tips and techniques from some seriously talented guys!

To check out the full range of tutorials available from Miniature Mentor you can click the image advert at the side of this page (and help earn me some affiliate income! :D ), or click here to visit their website.

Monday 8 March 2010

Squadron Putty Hobby Filler Tutorial

Recently I picked up some Squadron White modelling putty to test out a new small gap and seam line filler in place of my old method, the milliput wash.

The Squadron putty comes in both green and white form in an oil paint style tube. I opted for white as it had been given better reviews on some military modelling forums.

The putty can be used straight from the tube, though it's a little more difficult to apply and will be a bit more grainy. Instead I choose to mix it with some Acetone to create a goopy paste that can be spatulad onto the required areas. It's worth pointing out that acetone can be pretty nasty stuff, so take care when using it and work in a well ventilated area.

Also - Don't try this method on plastics - the acetone will melt them!

Resin, metal and sculpted putty surfaces should be fine though based on my own experiences.

Once the mix is applied (you don't have to be too careful), leave it to dry for a few hours until it is solid and dry right the way through.

When dry, you should be left with a rough blob on the area you want to fill (as above - I forgot to take a pic of the gap but it was basically a hollow formed by the casting vents). This can then be sanded away using some fine grit wet/dry paper until all that is left is the flush filled gap.

Simples! A nice smooth, gap free surface achieved with the minimum of effort!

Monday 22 February 2010

Lt. Kara Black - Kit Review

A nice little present arrived today!

Lt. Kara Black by Studio McVey, a wonderful 35mm figure sculpted by Kev White, with the concept art produced by Sam Wood.

Studio McVey is run by Mike and Ali McVey, husband and wife and two extremely talented painters and modellers. Any long time Games Workshop fans will recognise the name as Mike was the original Eavy Metal team, producing many classic paint jobs, including much of the renowned "red period", along with some classic dioramas such as the Dark Angels chapel, Horus versus the Emperor and the Lizardmen execution pit (all of which can be seen on the Studio McVey website). Mike's work was certainly a great inspiration for me growing up, and both Ali and Mike's recent work continues to inspire, influencing my own ever evolving style.

Bandana On!

The figure itself is cast in a nice grey resin and comes in 6 parts including the base insert, legs, torso, weapon, ammo hopper and ammo feed. The concept of female with giant weapon in hand (oh no he didnt!) reminds me of a large scale figure Mike painted long ago, a Catachan female with heavy bolter, sculpted by one of the Perry brothers (I forget which) to be precise!

What is immediately apparent is the quality of casting, there are very few imperfections, and those that do exist are minor at best. With very few mould lines, the quality of sculpting really shines through, with nice smooth lines - very much a figure painters dream!

But don't take my word for it, check out the incredible job Mike and Ali have produced on their blog!

Limited to 750 casts (each with a numbered certificate), you best get your skates on and head on over to the Studio McVey website to order yours today, before it's to late!

Having looked through the range of figures available, and having seen first hand the quality of sculpts and casts, I certainly plan to pick up some more soon!

Saturday 20 February 2010

Ariadna Zouaves Sapper - WIP Painting

Finally got started on painting this guy this week, with much of the progress coming in a couple of hours today!

The inspiration for the paint scheme comes from Call of Duty - Mordern Warfare 2's Task Force 141 and the gear they wear in the Quarry multiplayer map.

Particularly pleased with how the helmet, goggles and face have come out. The face looked like it was gonna be a pain in the ass due to being hard to get at with the brush, but was pretty easy in the end. The goggles were a bit of a play about that came off nicely and I think they look properly see-through to the helmet, while still reflective.

I'm going to give him a spray with some dullcote through the airbrush before applying the metalics to remove the sheen from some of the washes and glazes.

First time painting in about 2 months so a little rusty again, but it's been good fun.

I also recently found some daylight bulbs that fit in my Ikea painting lamps so these have helped a lot too when it comes to painting. Unfortunately they don't seem to be as helpful at the moment for photo taking! Think I'll need to adjust to them so sorry for the poor pics in the meantime.

Hopefully finish him this evening and can then finish a commission I'm working on and look at starting up these:

Can't wait! :D

Sunday 7 February 2010

The Vendetta (WIP 2)

A quick post this one, just to show that I have actually been working on some stuff lately!

I've been adding more to my Vespero figure lately and it's really beginning to take shape now. I know it looks a little scrappy in the pics but that's due to the figure having received a thin milliput wash.

Since the last pics I've been working mainly on the arms and sorting out the jerkin etc. The sleeves on the arms have been giving me some headaches determining what to do with them but it's getting there now.

More soon!

Wednesday 3 February 2010

To Infinity and Beyond! - New Figs Inbound

So with a welcome and healthy pay day last week, I decided to treat myself to a new figure (I know, I have loads of unpainted stuff already but this one will be painted, promise!). The figure in question comes from a range that I had caught glimpses of occasionally but never truly checked out...

Now I won't lie, I'm a bit of a GW loyalist. I've not painted a non-GW miniature in over 10 years, though I have bought some for bits and pieces for conversions (some Victrix Napoleonics). However, this figure was just too good a sculpt to pass up and at a cool £6, I couldn't resist!

So what is the figure? Well it's an Infinity Ariadna Zouave Sapper.

So what swayed me to broaden my figure painting horizons? Well just look at the pose and detail of the sculpt, it's perfect! It's a one figure diorama!

I particularly the base that comes with the figure too. It adds a lot to the narrative as well as creating a better silhouette for the figure.

Anyone have any experience with Infinity figures? Anything to look out for (bad flash, miscast sections, rough surfaces etc)?

Also, you may have noticed a bit of a re-design for the blog, would love to know what you all think. Does it look better and have a better, easier to navigate layout?

Friday 22 January 2010

For Elysia! - Forgeworld Elysian Tauros Venator

Many of you will probably have already seen the pics of the new Elysian vehicle from Forgeworld (FW), but here it is again incase:

Looks like a great kit, no arguments here!

The one thing I do hope though is that they create a version without the weapon mount. A small recon squad sitting on benches in the back or standing braced on the frame firing as the vehicle speeds along would look really cool!

The only real fault I have with this model is the price. While FW kits are intended to be a higher quality, more detailed product, the models produced are still intended for gamers. However, at £35 a pop for a light vehicle, they aren't exactly cheap for what you get, even as one off pieces.

For the same price you could probably pick up 2 AFV models of a similar style.

At the end of the day though, it does look super cool! I can feel my wallet burning in my pocket already!

What are your own thoughts?

Cool kit or missing the mark? A nice new option or pointless addition to the Elysian range?

Saturday 16 January 2010

Something In The Air - Airbush Inbound!

With a desire to expand my modelling and painting skill set, and also add a fun new tool to my collection, I recently purchased an airbrush and compressor with air tank (well, I say recently, but actually I bought it before New Year and it still hasn't arrived yet!).

Having seen the works of hobbyists such as Julien Casses and Mathieu Fontaine and the wonderful effects and finished they achieve using an airbrush, I want to have a go at producing similarly smooth finishes and flawless blends!

As I've never even held an airbrush before though, I felt it was necessary to do a bit of research on them in order to find out about basic things such as maintenance, set-up, paint thickness etc, as well as learning more about some of the effects that can be achieved. With this in mind I picked up the books "Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models (Modelling Masterclass)" by Brett Green and "Air Brush Painting Techniques: 6 (Compendium Modelling Manuals)" from Osprey.

Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models (Modelling Masterclass)

Both were good value for money, with "Airbrushing and Finishing Scale Models" probably the better of the two due to the more comprehensive look at the tool and its applications, however the Osprey book includes some good examples of using templates etc making it worth a look for the price too (about £7 from Amazon).

Air Brush Painting Techniques: 6 (Compendium Modelling Manuals)

I'll be sure to keep you all posted with my experimentation with my airbrush when it arrives. I've got a nice new Valkyrie kit (courtesy of my amazing girlfriend!) that is just dying to get some airbrush treatment!

In the meantime, back to learning how to take care of it to make sure it lasts!

Saturday 9 January 2010

New Year, New Project! - Vespero's Vendetta Part 1

First of all, let me wish you all a Happy New Year!

2010 looks set to be another great year for our hobby, with many manufacturers lining up some great new kits. I got a look at some of the new Beastmen sprues today, as ever the quality of the casting from GW is excellent and the number of arm and head options is truly vast.

The one thing I was a little surprised and let down by though was the lack of "extra bits" on the frames. These seem to be frames aimed more at producing massed regiments as opposed to kits full of conversion possibilities.

Sadly (depending on your view-point) this seems to be a bit of an emerging trend for GW based on the recent Skaven, and the soon to be released Beastmen. Perhaps its simply due to the horde type armies that both play as?

Anyway, with the new year comes some new ideas for projects, the current one being a remake and modernisation of the legendary Dogs of War - Vespero's Vendetta.

The Vendetta

The inspiration for this project began with the recently released Assassins Creed 2 computer game. A fantastic game, the latest installment is set in Renaissance Italy, meaning plenty of feathers, puff and slash, knee high boots etc, all the same sort of stuff we see in the styles and imagery of both the Empire and Tilea in the Warhammer Fantasy world.

Suitably inspired, I began by putting together an inspiration sheet including a collection of images of Renaissance re-enactors in duelist get-ups, some Carnivale masks and duelist weapons etc. The result was this, which is currently up on my magnetic noticeboard in my modelling room:

The next step was to begin cutting up parts and creating a mock up for the pose of the figure. Starting with some Catachan walking legs and Mordheim/Empire militia legs, I began creating a pose similar to the confident stride of Ezio on the cover of Assassins Creed 2:

Not exactly identical, but you can see where the inspiration is coming from.

Since then, I have begun to fill things out and apply some detail to the trousers. I have also opted for a more appropriate torso that can be detailed into something more in keeping with the Renaissance duelist look.

The head in the image above, from the Empire mage kit, works quite well for what I am after, however I want to keep my options open for the final design so I have also sculpted a head which I will be having cast so that I can sculpt a variety of mask designs.

Obviously this is all very early days yet and the WIP nature means that things will no doubt change in the coming weeks, but hopefully it is clear so far where I'm going. The plan is to produce a small unit of 5, all characters in their own right, but tied together by a common direction and posing.

More soon!