Ortok, finished

When Karis left the Leverantor as a small child to go into hiding, the Kroot mercenary that accompanied her was nothing out of the ordinary, as these things go.  What returned with her was another matter entirely.  Ignoring the uneasy fact that the time that Karis had been away should have put the Kroot significantly beyond the typical life expectancy of his species, the mercenary Ortok had undergone physiological changes that were shocking and disturbing.  Not everyone who witnessed the hulking xenos had an understanding of how Kroot biology functions, but those that did were too frightened to ask what he had been eating all these years.


This one has taken me a while to finish, but I’m damn happy with him.  The conversion work and painting came together big time for me, and I really couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.

This model gave me the opportunity to test a lot of things for the rest of House Lamtron, including the treatment of their black armor and the pale yellow cloth that will be part of their uniforms.  I’ll probably try to knock out a few members of House Lamtron next that are already built, and then turn my hand to converting my second version of Karis.

Hope you all like it, leave a comment to let me know what you think!

Quexhor Al’Dagoth

Man, that was a rough autumn.  I just now deleted a long rambling explanation of what has been going on but deleted it because who cares let’s get BACK TO IT!

I’ve finished my Daemonhost, Quexhor Al’Dagoth.  The original paint on him was rather monochromatic, with his skin tone being a pale green shaded with black and highlighted with bone white.  Then, I saw an amazing tutorial by the Massive Voodoo crew.  Roman’s treatment of the pale colors really made me want to re-visit my Daemonhost and push myself to learn something new.  Using lots of blue, purple and red ink washes, I added layers of color and value to the previously monochrome model.  I decided to add similar colors to the candles on the base to tie it all together.  Overall, I think it looks pretty cool.  Still have a few touches to add, namely the script on his parchment and wards.



My focus in the next month or two will be almost exclusively on House Lamtron.  My next update will feature one giant space chicken and his oversized chainsword.

Bronze is WEIRD

A little while ago, I decided on a color scheme for the terrain I would eventually be painting.  Inspired by the amazing Terrain that Spiky Rat Pack did years ago before becoming part of the Iron Sleet project, I decided I wanted my terrain to have a similar scheme.  Filthy walls that may once have been white, with old weathered bronze trim.  Keep it simple and striking, and develop a system that will enable me to paint the enormous quantity of bald terrain I have waiting around without being a full-time job.

I also took a bit of inspiration from my home town, and the Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, which follows a similar color palate.


It’s actually kind of a dump inside.

Then I got to thinking how I would paint my bronze.  Common hobby-wisdom is to simply use a bronze metallic paint, shade and highlight as normal, and use a blue-green wash at the end to represent the verdigris.  But wait, the Spiky Rat Pack bronze didn’t look that simple.  Theirs looked much darker and grim, and as I walked around town, I realized that some of the bronze statues look nothing like either method.  Then again, those statues are only a century old or so.  Surely bronze gets greener and nastier as it ages?

So, wanting to research this further, I went to the Walters Art Museum here in Baltimore and the National Gallery in DC, and spent a lot of time browsing their many bronze statues.  What I found was that bronze weathers in a way that the turquoise-wash-over-bronze method fails to accurately capture.  Exposure to acid over time is what causes it to discolor and patina, and it can weather in completely different ways.  Below are some examples of the different “types” of bronze I found.

As you can see, the colors range from green to red to brown to black and all sorts of bizarre combinations.  Mind you, this is a very small selection of the images I took, representing the most strikingly different color patterns I saw.

So now that I was in far deeper than I was when I first decided on a “simple” color palate, I decided to paint a nice big test piece to try out how I wanted my bronze to look.  I chose the Space Marine statute from the Honored Imperium terrain pack.  I felt this model was the perfect piece to try out painting bronze on a large scale, before simplifying the recipe to work on smaller details on terrain.

The pieces that struck me the most are the ones that are primarily a dark, ruddy brown, with green coloring.  The contrast there is quite lovely, and I wanted to see if I could re-create it.  The piece that struck me as having the most interesting range of color, and thus the piece I would be using as my main reference, was a Greek statue of a pugilist:


I started off by mixing a dark, red-brown color, and painted the entire statue with it:


Then came the first pass of washes to start building up texture and color variance.  I started with some different browns, mixed with varying amounts of red and very small traces of green.  I tried to keep the red subtle at first, reasoning it would be a lot easier to add in later than to cover up.

Not a bad start, but plenty of ways to go.  I went back in with some more red to push the texture.  What really struck me about the boxer statue is not just the pale green that we all are used to seeing, but the red on his right leg and left knee that are so bold, and yet don’t look out of place.  I realize I’m talking about this as if someone actually painted the damn thing and it wasn’t a natural process, but still, it’s shocking how aesthetically pleasing it is.  Also, ignore the base for now.  I’ll cover the white stone in a future article.


At this point I realized that if I kept going in this direction, and started adding random patches of orange, I would have a pretty decent recipe for rusting iron.  It was tempting, but ultimately not what I wanted to do, so I tucked that idea away for another day and pushed on.

Green had to come next.  This part was scary.  I had a very red-toned statue in front of me, and here I was about to start slathering it with a complimentary color.  Getting this to come together would be tough.  I mixed several shades of green.  Forest green, flat green, turquoise, muddy green.  I started adding the muddy green first, as it would be the least severe color change.  I put it on randomly, slapping it over large areas here and small bits there.  Then came the forest green, and the same technique was followed.  Random, random, random.  Overlapping other colors as much as possible so there would be no areas of flat color.  Then came the flat green, which turned out to be rather boring, so I kept it spare and moved on to the turquoise.  Holy shit, that turquoise was fun.  It was a challenge to keep myself from over doing it.

I apologize, because I do not have any pictures of my progress painting the green.  Once the forest green was applied, things started to go pretty quickly and I couldn’t stop.  It started to look like a Hubble photo of a nebulae, if you ran it through a filthy color filter.  However, after all that, it still didn’t read as bronze, it just read as a really really dirty statue.  So, I decided to finish it off with a very pale green, to provide some value contrast.

I immediately realized that I had hit the nail on the head.  The pale green was super effective in tying the entire thing together.  I applied it in some areas as a thin glaze, some as a light drybrush, but on most surfaces I stippled it on very lightly.  The more I did, the more I realized almost the entire piece would need at least a small touch of it to bring it all together.  And thus, the statue was finished:


I am very proud of the end result, even if the base is nowhere near finished.  There are moments here and there, like the turquoise splashes on his cape and face, that really make me smile, and yet they don’t detract from the whole.  This is clearly much more involved than I will get for the terrain pieces, but I think that something this big deserves more effort, and now that I know what works on this scale, I can start to explore how to break it down and simplify it without losing the parts of it that I love.

So, I hope you all have enjoyed this.  This is the first time I’ve done a tutorial and I hope those of you who want to take a stab at painting bronze in this method will be able to do so.  I’d love to hear any other recipes people may have for painting the material, and definttely let me know what you think about my finished product!

A Table!

Behold, I have built a table:


This thing is awesome!  I built it in my garage in a few hours a while back, and kept meaning to post about it but I have a bad habit of letting things distract me.  I primarily used this video on YouTube to guide me through the construction process:


I stuck to his basic template, changing measurements here and there, but the guide served me well.  This table is sturdy as hell, and at 4’x4′, it is the perfect size for games of Malifaux and possible future skirmish games from the GW Specialist Games division when they get cranking.

And check it out, it folds up nice and neat so I can still easily fit my car in the garage!


I just want to take this brief moment to say that a garage in Baltimore City is an almost unheard-of luxury.  A garage that doubles as a wargames den with appropriate GrimDark aesthetics and a mini-fridge for tasty beverages?  Oh man, that’s just over the top.

So anyway, after playing a few games of Malifaux on the bare table, using my unpainted scenery, I took the next step and began building a textured board to sit on top of the table.  Again, I found a nice instructional video on YouTube to guide me:


This part was pretty fun.  After about an hour of stabbing the board like a mad man while my hood-trash neighbors looked on in confusion, I had a beautifully textured surface:

After letting it dry over night, I enrolled the help of a lovely assistant to help me paint it.  I picked up a quart of suitably grimey brown paint at the local hardware shop and we got to work.

The plan was to mix up several layers of highlights and drybrush some texture onto the board, as well as using very thin acrylic washes to provide some textural variation.  But first, some friends came knocking and wanted to get some games in.  And that’s when the most horrible thing happened:


The filler I used, drywall spackle, dried so soft, that the simple wear and tear of a game quickly caused the peaks of the texture to start chipping off.  So, I did what I usually do when a problem like this presents itself, and ignored it.  However, it’s glaring at me, taunting me now every time I park my car, daring me to just try and fix it.  And that’s where you all come in!  Any recommendations on how to best fix this would be most appreciated.  One idea I have would be to find some sort of heavy-duty sealant at the hardware store, and another is to block-sand most of the filler off, and try again with a stiffer, more resilient filler.  Thoughts?  As soon as I resolve this step, I’m going to very quickly add texture to the board to finalize it, and start on my terrain itself.

Thanks for reading, thanks in advance for any tips and tricks, and apologies for the long vacancy.  I have some updates coming up that I think you’ll all enjoy!

A Tribe Called Kill

The tribesman fell onto his back, as his opponent fell onto his.  He struggled to regain his footing, but after a moment realized it was both impossible, and unnecessary.  His opponent lay in a pool of spreading blood, a crude stabbing blade buried deep in his chest.  The tribesman himself could not move his legs; his hamstrings cut.  He was bleeding out, he knew it.  Yet, the burning kill-rage kept the life in his body from flickering out.  Still, his vision swam, his hands shook, and his breath came in pathetic, bloody wheezes.

There was silence all around him.  Silence, dead bodies, and a low mist that glowed in the moonlight.  The sounds of battle were gone, and he saw no movement.  He laid there, wishing to call out for a healer, but knowing they were all dead.  The acidic drive to get up and find something to kill howled in frustration at his broken body that was unable to comply.  And so he lay there, on a gravel road, with naught but corpses for company, trying to endure the screaming rage in his skull.

Time passed.  An hour, perhaps.  It was still dark.  Something stirred the mist on the ground.  A shape emerged from the trees lining the road.  It was tall, dark, and moved with a predatory confidence.  Approaching him slowly, it stopped several yards away, a shadowy monolith back-lit by the waning moon.  The tribesman could make out what appeared to be robes and strange armor from the silhouette, but nothing else.  The figure stood and considered him for a while.  The tribesman could not speak.  The rage spoke for him.

“The others…”  The rage was too belligerent to further articulate itself.  There was no need.

The figure waited a moment before responding.  “You are the last of your tribe.”  His voice was deep, with a musical accent that the tribesman had never heard before.  There was a mocking intonation to his words.

What to do after he was the last man standing hadn’t occurred to him.  The tribe had embraced the will of the Skull-Mask, not considering the aftermath of the kill-cult ritual.  The rage still burned strong in him. 

“What now?” he ventured, unsure if he asked the question or if the rage did. 

Another pause.  The rage throbbed hot and painful in the tribesman’s head.  His vision was fading, and he felt his fingers going cold.  The figure tossed something at him, that landed neatly by his hand.  A ceremonial knife glinted in the evil moonlight. 

“Now,” said the figure simply, gesturing towards the knife, “we continue the ritual.”

The tribesman instantly understood his purpose.  Rather, the rage in him understood, and he understood by proxy.  Fear gripped him and he struggled to resist.  Dying fingers closed around the knife, and lifted it with a strength that he thought had left him.  Holding the dagger high, he looked over at the figure, who was holding something in two hands, pressing it towards him.  Through the moonlight, he could see the shape of the Skull-Mask, grinning an evil grin at him as he slashed down, opening his own throat.  In his last moment, he felt the rage siphon out of him, into the Skull-Mask.  Without its strength sustaining him, he died quickly.

The figure brought the mask up in front of him, looking at its crude surface, feeling the power held within.  In the darkness, his back to the moon, his smile would have been almost impossible to see. 

“That will have to do.”

Work on my Daemonhost continues, with a base and cleaned up details.

What a fun model this is!  Usually around the 75% mark of the build process, I become a bit disenchanted with a model.  The initial thrill is gone, and I have to push myself real hard to finish.  Not with this guy.  My head is full of stories.  Above is a snippet of his origin.  In time, perhaps more of who the figure is, and why the circumstances of his binding were engineered, will come to light.  For now, enjoy the imagery!

I added a padlock to the chain around his waist, and did some subtle green stuff sculpting here and there to make the chains flow together better.  For his base, I had an idea that he should be descending an ancient staircase, perhaps of a ruined temple.  Seeing this thing floating down a flight of stairs at you should be a suitably pants-shitting-inducing experience.  Those candles will get flames on them, and once I wrap my head around how, some wax dripping down them.  Maybe some simple PVA glue will be my best bet?

Undercoating is next, unless I get it in my head that maybe I put too much sand on the steps and have to scrape some of it off.  Painting him should be a lot of fun.  Dark robes, pale, dead skin (Krauty I need that recipe!) blue glowing candles, and an evil pentagramic ward on his torso.  Tomorrow I’m going to post something about my terrain project, with a lead-in to a future tutorial/learn-as-I-go article about painting ancient bronze that will go quite a ways further than the standard turquoise wash technique.

Thanks for looking, let me know what you think!

The Daemonhost

Right!  I’ve added some much-needed details to my Daemonhost.  BEHOLD!

The prospect of getting all the clutter together was, at first, intimidating.  I knew I wanted a LOT of stuff hanging from his waist to clearly show he is a slave, but trying to get it all to fit together in my head was tough.  So, I started with just two relics, then added a purity seal or two, then a chain here and there.  I added a bit or two at a time, letting the glue dry completely, before coming back to it and test-fitting the next bit.  I’m extremely happy with how it all came out.  I originally was toying with the idea of adding a heraldry shield from the Grey Knights Terminators below his stomach, but my good friend and moral compass KrautScientist talked me out of it, reasoning that it would create a focal point where none was needed.  He was right, of course.  So instead, the last details I will add to him are going to be a length of chain going across the front and back of his waist, so that all the crap hanging from him looks like it’s actually attached to something sturdy, and a small lock on his hip.  His master will have the key to said lock hanging from his own belt.  Who is his master?  All in good time.

My next post with this guy will have him on a base, ready for paint.  Some fluff will be included as well.  I’ve got some great storytelling ideas for our friend here, and am excited to get them written down.  I will be visiting family out of state from Saturday-Monday, so I may be able to squeeze in a post about my table and terrain before then.  If not, expect to hear from me early next week.

As always, let me know what you think, and thanks for reading.

Half-and-Half, and Musings on Expanding my Blog

I know, it’s been a while.  I’ll get to that.  Content first!

The theme for this months’ Ready Your Retinue contest is half-and-half.  Which is convenient, because it was a topic I could interpret so that it applies to a daemonhost.  Part human, part daemon, naturally of the Warp but trapped in the material universe, allied to the Chaos Gods but forced to serve a mortal (sometimes Imperial) master.  Yup, that’ll do.


So far, I love him!  He’s turning out as good as I the images I had for him in my head, which is super-rare.  I’m almost always forced to make concessions as I realize my talent isn’t on pace with my imagination, however in this case I was fortunate enough to find the perfect blend of bits to make it happen.  Minimal sculpting was needed to re-shape the muscles in his shoulders and back so they would be appropriate for his altered pose.  And with that, the main mass of this model is finished.  Details are next.  I need to fill in that air bubble on his mask that looks obnoxiously like Cindy Crawford’s mole, clean up the gap where his neck meets his chest, and add lots and lots of Inquisitorial doodads hanging from his robe.  Purity seals, scrolls, holy icons, silver chains, locks, scrimshawed bones, wards and charms.  Possibly a heraldic shield?

Next order of business, is I probably haven’t posted for a month or so.  The foremost reason for this is a new job that, while it took plenty of initial extra time to acclimate to, will have me working a solid 40 hours a week rather than my previous 60+, and will pay me better, giving me the means to hobby that much more.  I haven’t been completely idle, and I’ll be posting in the next few days showing some of the projects I’ve been working on in the mean time.

That brings me to my next point.  I would like to expand the scope of my blog.  Part of the reason my posts here have been so slow and sporadic is that 40k isn’t the only outlet for my nerdy creativity, and in the last year that sphere has expanded rapidly.  As I’ve shown in other posts here, I have taken to playing Malifaux, which is something I’d like to document here.  Not only are the models beautiful, possessing an aesthetic quality that is nearly on par with Games Workshop while having their own signature look, the game is super fun.  I am going to start posting my painting progress on my Malifaux models, especially the bigger guys, and trying to post battle reports as well.  I also will be posting my progress on my terrain, which I have an enormous pile of waiting to be primed.

And finally, I am considering posting some of my Fallout 4 builds here as well.  I am about to start a new character in the game, and for me, the most fun is building settlements.  Naturally, my skill building settlements increased the more I played the game, so my early settlements are hodgepodge mixes of half-baked ideas, neat little tricks I figured out, and utter failures that I abandoned rather than breaking down to try again.  I think having a fresh start, with what I know now, will allow me to build really great settlements with lots of character.  I’m not too interested in a “character journal” or the like, just using this blog as a way of recording the cool stuff I build in the game.

If I’m any good at sticking to my guns, before next weekend another post will be up centering on my gaming table and accompanying terrain.  Also, this daemonhost is really in my head, so there will be posts with more work on him coming soon.  Thanks for reading and give me all the feedback you’ve got!