Saturday, March 24, 2012

High Elf spearmen Update #2

Been working on this unit over the past week on and off when my kids weren't around. So far I think I have managed to keep this a secret although there have definitely been a couple of close calls!
-basecoats (shields, shields, shields and more shields.)
-washes (boots, armour, faces, shield backs)
-drybrushing (armour, boots, skin)
-eyes. (much harder than Skaven...plenty to learn there.)
-initial highlights (edge of robes)
-Basing (drybrushing, static grass)
Still more detailing and layering to be done, as well as the unit banner, but they look like a unit now. It feels pretty good to rank them up - compared to Skaven as they rank up so easily! (the downside to all those tails...)
The photos aren't good as I took them on my tablet late at night. Bad light, poor camera!
P.s. I'm using blogger mobile for the first time so it will be interesting to see how the post and photos look...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stormvermin finished! Image showcase.

My Stormvermin Champion Fangleader ("The Pastel Predator")

Phew! Finally finished off these guys today (a national holiday in Japan - 春分の日- the spring equinox) and they are ready to join my warlord clan. These are the unit that readers decided I should paint next in a poll I had up earlier in the month - they were the top choice by a mile!

Pics below, followed by some hints and tips and a High Elf update:

I will post a painting guide in a couple of weeks (work is pretty busy at the moment) but some hints and tips that come to mind to remember next time:

1. Filing and filling. 
When assembled, watch out for pieces not meeting cleanly. Difficult to see with a black undercoat, but when painted this leaves you with very obvious gaps. Due to the models, these are particularly obvious in the case of stormvermin because the joins are in really visible places. The armored shoulders and the cloth robes being two good cases in point. Liquid Greenstuff should make this much easier to solve (before painting obviously!) than in the past.

2. Make the champ special
With good reason, the Stormvermin unit champion (or "Fangleader") is one of the most popular sculpts in the whole Skaven range (I think). I am glad I decided to do something different with him to the rest if the unit. I'd recommend this to anyone, as he makes a great Warlord model. Making him different from the rank and file means he looks better if you ever do decide to use him as a warlord. (From what I read, many players don't take stormvermin units, preceding to keep the extra points for more core, so this is quite likely.)

3. "Focus on the candy"
Stormvermin models are pretty detailed, so to speed things up, consider only doing details (layering, edge highlighting etc.) on the command (champion, musician, standard bearer) and whatever other models will be at the front. Because stormvermin are highly detailed, with lots of spikes, nooks and crannies, they look absolutely fine (imho) with only basecoats and a Devlan Mud wash. Models with lots of flatter surfaces are harder to get away with for this I think, as they just tend to look too dark and there isn't enough contrast.

Let me know what you think!

In other news... 
...I spent most evenings this week working on my secret high elf project. I decided to go with white shields and green gems as they seem to work best. I might keep pure warlock purple shields for champions however as I think it looks very striking. That will match the warlock purple edging on the chainmail coat and should look pretty good.
(Models below have had washes, but no highlights or details - e.g. eyes aren't done)

 The problem with painting spear elves is the shields. Getting a decent white, even off a Skull White undercoat, takes at least 3-4 thin coats as far as I can tell so far. Doing 30 shields x4 coats each the other night nearly drove me mad!
TIP: As they are fiddly, and to maximize the speed, I started by mounting all the shields on either end of some pens using blu tack. I could then do one, rotate the pen in my left hand and do the other shield, set them down, pick up another pen and repeat.
Next up, Elven faces.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Stormvermin and High Elf Update #1

Copyright unknown. (Found on
Contact me if this is your work and you would like it removed!

I spent some evenings this week on the Stormvermin, and also getting started on some High Elf Spearmen. As the High Elves will be a birthday present for one of my kids (who, before you ask, doesn't really use the internet much so hopefully won't see this!) I am only working on them late at night.

Some update pics below.

Skaven Stormvermin.
Champion. He is the only one with "Blued" armour.
Rank and file.

I managed to get some basic work on the bases done, and also a couple of basecoats. My main Skaven army colour is Ice Blue, so I have used a slighly darker Ice Blue/ Mordian Blue blend to start off with, and will then layer-on from there after some washes. 
Being Stormvermin, there is lots of armour (at least by Skaven standards) so plenty of Boltgun Metal!
I followed through on my idea of only having the unit champion with coloured armour. I figure only he would have enough warptokens to do that (or perhaps the armour is taken from the previous user upon death). The others have some of their cloth done in the army colour.
Next up: Basecoat detailing, washes and highlights.

High Elf Spearmen.

Both of these models have received base-colours but no washes or highlights/ drybrushing.

These guys are taking much, much, longer than I thought they would (which makes me worry slightly about how long cavalry might take!) Apparently High Elves wear white when going into battle, so I worked-up the sleeves from Codex Grey and Fortress Grey through to Skull White - and that takes quite some time.

As purple is my kid's favorite colour, I am experimenting with Liche Purple and Warlock Purple. I hope that some Warlock Purple highlights will lighten the Liche Purple nicely.

My big question is the shields. I like the green gem (came out nicely) but haven't mastered purple yet. The burning question - which shield style is better, Purple or White?  I think white would be more common, and I quite like the purple one, but would it be too Druchii?
How about white for cannon-fodder, and purple for Champions?

All thoughts appreciated.


Friday, March 16, 2012

I've joined the Dark Side...

...or should that be "the Light Side"???

So, I started work on my High Elf army today. 

Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, but it is a present for my kid, who seems to be interested in the pointy-eared ones. I've only got a couple of months of working time, made harder by the fact that I can only paint in secret, so it is a bit of a challenge.

Here is what I now own (all from ebay, so a relative bargain)

  • X1 Tyrion
  • X1 Teclis
  • X1 Alrith Anir.
  • x1 Mage on Dragon. 
  • X1 Mage
  • X1 BSB
  • X2 Bolt Throwers.
  • X5 Dragon Princes.
  • X16 Silver Helms.
  • X32 Archers.
  • x40 Spearmen.
  • x20 Seaguard.
  • x3 Great Eagles.
  • x30 Swordmasters.
  • x10 Ellyrian Reavers.
  • x17 White Lions.
  • x1 Lion Chariot.

I'm going to continue with my Skaven (of course!) and I am also working on the Stormvermin unit (when my kids are up and about) and I hope to finish them in a week or two.

My question to you though, is what should I paint up in such a short time to make a playable (fun) 1000-1500 point force that my kids and I can use against my Skaven?

I'm guessing (I really have NO idea how many points this would be):

  • 1 Mage
  • 1 BSB
  • 20 or so Spearmen
  • 10-20 Archers.
  • 20 Swordmasters
  • 5 Ellyrian Reavers or 10 Silver Helms.
  • 1 Bolt Thrower
  • 2 Great Eagles.

Looking at what I own and time I have (literally a couple of months, mainly working a couple of hours a night 2-3 nights a week) what would you guys and gals recommend?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

p.s. I am debating whether or not to put painting guides etc for the Elves here within this blog, or setup a companion site cross-linked from this one....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Best Skaven figure...


OK, you might have been thinking that it might be the Stormvermin unit champion, the Plague Priest, Queek Headtaker or one of the other bigger models. True, those models are really nicely done and full of character, so they might have been in the running...

...but not for me, because nothing compares to this little guy:

OK, I guess why this is the "Best" Skaven model needs a bit of explanation.

A while back I was rummaging through my bits bag to see how I could "Skaven-up" my most recent batch of Plague Monks. In the end, I decided to take a few giant rats that I had painted months ago and add them to the movement tray. (That actually worked pretty well and I recommend it as a quick method of adding some atmosphere to your movement trays or unit.)
In along with the Giant Rats was this guy. I must have painted him and added him in, planning to use him at a later date.
I can't remember what sprue he comes from (anyone?).

So why is he the "best"?

1.) Was a memorable part of the learning process
- One of the earliest times I ever felt that I had got drybrushing right

2.) Challenging
- At 12mm short he is half the size of my other minis - additional challenge!

3.) A reminder to try harder
- Dammit, I can still see those lines of flash that I missed on him...

4.) Captures the essence of the army. 
- This mini somehow captures the humour in the Skaven. He doesn't have any weird warpstone inventions, but there is something amusing about a large, robe-wearing rat, pointing the way for his larger brethren (especially when he can't see as his hood covers his eyes) Maybe you need a "warped" sense of humour to see it? (Sorry, couldn't resist.) 
- Oh, and let's not forget the well-sculpted skull.

5.) Just a fantastic sculpt.
-Detailed, without being overwhelming.
-Natural, flowing lines on the robes etc.

OK, "Best" in this case is a very personal thing. 

In summary, I think he captures the essence of the Skaven really well, and the essence of the Children of the Horned God is one reason they are so fun to paint and play. Although I haven't owned other WFB armies, the only one that comes close to the ratmen for me in terms of humor (or exceeds them) has to be Orcs and Goblins. (If only for the random death and madness, constant infighting, and amusing language.)

Believe it or not, this little guy is my absolute favorite Skaven model, and so he occupies the space under my computer monitor 24/7. It is models like this, and the experience of modelling and painting that goes along with them, that make this a great hobby.

What is your "Best" model in terms of a model that has personal meaning to you? 



Sunday, March 4, 2012

And the winner is...


...The Stormvermin!  (tada~bugles etc.)

Let's take a look at the results shall we?

  1. Stormvermin: 67% (29 votes)
  2. Tie: Doomflayer, Clanrats, Plague Censer Bearers: 9% each (4 votes each)
  3. Plague Wind Globadiers: 4% (2 votes)
  4. Warpgrinder: 0% (absolutely no votes whatsoever.)
Well, that is a whole load o' love for the Stormvermin, and a disappointing kick in the crotch for the Warpgrinder. I guess not only do current Skaven players not field this thing too much, they also aren't too keen on seeing them painted... least when one of the other options is the Stormvermin!

Copyright Games Workshop

So, I guess that pretty much decides what I will paint and post a "Step-by-step guide" to next. It may have to wait a little bit though due to a pretty busy week, but I am looking forward to it.

A quick look around seems to show two distinct ways of painting these guys.
  1. Use your main army colour on the cloth, and keep the armour in traditional metal (Boltgun Metal etc.) with lots of Devlan Mud (or black) as in the GW unit pictured above (an informal Google search shows this to be the most common approach.)
  2. Use the main army colour on the actual armour itself, and do the cloth in a complimentary colour. (Kind of like Queek Headtaker's armour in the image below.)
Copyright Games Workshop

Certainly, when GW does the latter it looks very striking (especially in red.) I think though that a good compromise between the time it would take to do approach "2" on all the models and a good effect would be to do only the Unit Champion with coloured armour, and the others with regular armour.

This could work because it would show that the Champion is not just special by being harder and meaner, but perhaps he also inherits the best armour with the colour. This would be a mark of leadership or favour AND a good way for him to be known when on the battlefield. I'd have to be careful to show that he isn't as important as Queek though - a good excuse to learn how to weather armour with scratches and chips?

I only have 20 Stormvermin at the moment, but who knows, once I get them painted up, perhaps that will spur me to buy more?

Thanks to everyone who voted and thanks in advance for your patience until I get this underway!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Too much of a good thing?


I thought that I would do a review of some Warhammer scenery...and you know what? I started to put together some thoughts, but the more I thought about it, the more those same thoughts came to be dominated by one thing only...

From really big, carved skulls on Temples...
Temple of Skulls
Copyright Games Workshop
 To lots and lots of small skulls (to keep out a draught?)...
Witchfate Tor. Tower of Sorcery
Copyright Games Workshop
 To structural supports for "My First Megalomaniac's Evil Throne of Domination (TM)"..
Magewrath Throne and Balewind Vortex
Copyright Games Workshop
 To 360 degree ornaments for your observatory...
Skullvane Manse
Copyright Games Workshop
Deathknell Watch.
Copyright Games Workshop
...well, you get the idea.

Now, I know that this is entirely a question of personal taste, and actually, I love GW's wargame terrain pieces for the most part, but I guess I have to say:


You have an incredibly talented group of designers at GW. Surely you can find some suitable alternative visual flourishes or design elements that still communicate the gritty reality of a fantasy world torn apart by war and conflict?

With respect,


p.s. Having said that, I love the jacket.
p.p.s ...and no, I don't know who designed it.
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