Sunday 31 July 2011

#6 Khamul the Easterling

Another of the Nine that allows an addition of red. I think that it shows pretty well that even a slight touch of different color gives much more life to these models. Here there's also the golden armor which goes well with red too.

I initially wanted the mount to look as if it was standing on its hind legs. I thought it would give it more dynamism. It did that but it also made the model very unstable. In the end I bend it so that it looks like it's at a gallop.

OK, three more to go and all should be ready next week. I'll leave you with another "black" song that also reflects the weather here pretty well.

Thursday 28 July 2011

#5 The Dark Marshal

Definitely the most heavily armored of the nine. Lots of armor adds some nice contrast to the robes. Also, the way it's sculpted makes painting easier as the parts are very clearly defined. My favorite part is his helm as the large gap reveals only dark and empty space. Adds a lot to the character.

Following the codex painting scheme, I added a touch of blue to the armor. I didn't like the effect very much as it made him look too bright for so I toned it down to better match the dark color scheme.
I had one small problem with the model as the mount is glued to the base in only one place. There was also something that looked remotely like grass sticking from below one of the front hooves. I used it to glue the horse to the base in the second place and added some static grass over the element to hide it as it looked a bit unnatural.

Alright, five down, four more to go. I'll leave you with another nice song that features a motif of the black color. It's also one of mu favorite music videos.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

#4 The Tainted

This one has got to be my favorite Nazgul sculpt so far. It makes me think of WFB Lurgle Lords with its frame twisted in such a way. Also, the snail-like look that he has adds a lot of character to the model.

I still wanted to add something more to the model. While painting the Nazgul I generally stick to the codex color scheme. The final effect is always slightly different as I use other types of painting techniques (mainly smooth vs. extreme highlights).
This one was no exception as I tried to add the sort of lighting on the lower parts of the Nazgul. In GW's version it's done a bit too clumsily for my liking - the greenish/blueish highlights are lost among extreme highlights of the robe. I wanted to add a bit more contrast here, while still maintaining the glow effect.

I didn't do it on the mount's robe as it would make the whole model look extremely bright. I also left the parts of the robe of the foot version painted black so that it blends better with the other Nazgul. These are Dark Riders after all ;)
Now since there is some variety in the color scheme, the song should also reflect that.


Monday 25 July 2011

#3 The Undying

Here's another one from the Nine - the Undying. I really like the sculpt, especially the robes. A pretty menacing figure compared to the rest of Dark Riders.

Adding some red helps this mini a lot. It breaks the dark color scheme and makes it look a bit more interesting. I kept the rest dark so that it would match the other Nazgul well. The other thing that works pretty well in my opinion is the addition of red on the inner robes of the hood. It kind sort of gives more shape to this part.
I also like the mount on this one a lot/ In order to make it look a bit more demonic I carefully picked out every single tooth and painted the eyes red, highlighting them with orange and a very light touch of white to make them look like they're glowing.

Just like the last time, here's another song to go with the 'black' theme. Ulver's one of my favorite bands - their concerts are really amazing (I had a chance to go to one two years ago).


Sunday 24 July 2011

#2 The Knight of Umbar

Here's the second one of the Nazgul - the Knight of Umbar. As I said earlier, since these are basically GW-designed characters (they were nameless in "The Lord of The Rings", apart from the Witch King of course and I guess Khamul was also named at some point).

I basically followed codex's color scheme with some minor changes. The only elements that distinguish him from the other Black Riders are his armor (which was treated with some some green glazes to give it an even more distinct look), belt and all the leather straps.

Alright, another evil character painted up, time for an equally EVIL intermission, enjoy.

Now, onto the next one.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Pick of the Week

`Malifaux - I'm sure that some of you have heard the name. It's a character-driven, skirmish game produced by Wyrd Games. I will write more about it in the future but for now I just wanted to show you guys some of the latest releases. Thesre are already lots of great models in the range but I'm blown away by these.

And my favourite, a resculpt of Seamus and his avatar version:

Amazing stuff. As I said, I'll get to Malifaux later, probably somewhere in August ;)

Friday 22 July 2011

Work in Progress

Just some WIP pics of the minis I started working on a while ago. Three more Nazgul (including the Witch King) and Mouth of Sauron, all basecoated and ready for painting. Here's a little sneak peek:

I also started working on movement trays for these and for the dwarves that will be painted next. I used some Concrete Rubble Mix to fit nicely with the bases I will use for the little guys.

And that's about it for now, as you can see I'm still busy as a bee with Lotr work. Stick around as I will post at least one more update with pictures of another painted Nazgul this week.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

#1 The Dwimmerlaik

The Nazgul are probably my favorites among Tolkien's creations. In the book they are described as wraiths who were powerful men in the past but succumbed to Sauron's power and become forever bound to his will. They were body less creatures that inspired fear in their enemies who called them "the Dark Riders" or even preferred not to mention their names. Really great fluff :)
Painting them isn't easy though. I find it challenging to find the right balance while highlighting their robes. The trick is to avoid making them grey and keeping them black, while still adding enough highlights to make them look three dimensional. Andrea Black set is great help here.

I will be painting all of the Nine in the nearest future. The first one I finished is the Dwimmerlaik. As far as I remember they were not given names in Tolkien's work (with the exception of Witch King). My guess is that GW designers gave them names that highlight their unique features as characters in the game.
I enjoyed working on the Dwimmerlaik. It's a great sculpt with the robe seeming to fly around him in all directions. I followed the codex's painting (hence the brighter highlights on the inner robe) but tried to keep the highlights smoother. I also used different shades of black for the cloth on the mount and for the rider - something that I want to stick to while working on the remaining eight.

Taking pictures of dark models is very difficult as you want to get perfect lighting first. I took the pics in pretty much the same way as usual, only I added a while sheet of paper over the model to dull down the light. Without it the light hit the model too strongly and it looked as if it was covered with gloss varnish.
Choosing music for the next blog entries will be challenging since Haldir's already used some of the great classics that have 'black' in their title but I'll try to find some more. To begin with, here's one of my favorite songs by Type O Negative.

Check for more soon, I'll post an update or two more this week ;)

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Finecast - first impressions

I got my first blister with minis produced using GW's new technique yesterday so I'm finally able to write something about Finecast.
First of all, I really like the packaging. The transparent plastic is pretty neat and it lets you see the minis. Good thing, especially for those who buy personally at a store as it allows you to see if there's anything wrong with the contents. Another good thing is the printed picture of painted versions that you get. It makes sense, in particular for those who like to stay true to codex's color scheme. For those who don't do that, well, I guess it still helps with painting.
The first thing you notice after taking the minis out of the blister pack is their weight. They're very light and they feel completely different than the metal ones in hand.
The overall quality of the cast is very good. The details on the clothes, cloaks and weapons look very nice and I was pleased to notice that these two actually have eyes (something I wasn't able to say about metal versions I've encountered so far). There are practically no mold lines and the small bits that need removing can be scrubbed off easily with fine sandpaper. So basically, preparing these for painting is easier than metal ones.
And that's it for the good things. The bad things now. Fortunately, there aren't too many of these. First of all, you might have notice in the pictures that Balin's index finger is one joint too short. Also, the blade of his axe will need some work with Green Stuff. Other than that, there are tine holes left after bubbles of air that got caught in the form during casting. They are spread randomly in several places. It's hard to say at this point whether they will cause any problems but my hope is that they are small enough to disappear after basecoating.
I was initially put off by very negative reviews of Finecast I read online but having seen one in person, I am hopeful that despite a few issues with it, GW will improve the casting process. I'm now looking forward to painting these guys but this will have to wait until August as I have a few other things to deal with first.

Monday 18 July 2011

Master of Puppets

I've been into the hobby for a while now but I've never had a chance to paint this model (calling it a "mini" somehow doesn't seem appropriate). It's one of the first from the Lotr range to be released by GW and by far one of the best, at least in my humble opinion.
At first glance it might seem like an easy model to paint, just a simple drybrush on the armor, some highlights on the cloak and it's ready. Well, it's not really that simple. Even though the way the armor is sculpted makes painting it and choosing where to place highlights much easier, there's still some more work involved.
I started by covering the whole armor surface with a layer of Scorched Metal from Reaper range. It's pretty similar to GW's Tin Bitz, only the consistency is better as it's not so think so it was my best choice for a base color. I began working up the highlights from there with silver paints. Boltgun metal was followed by Chainmail. This caused the contrast to stand pretty strong so I decided to start doing some washes. Ogryn Flesh and Boltgun metal were the first, followed by one more highlight, this time of Mithril silver but limiting it only to the most protruding elements of the armor.
After that I started with glazes. The main difference between a wash and a glaze is that the former is used to cover a larger surface and is usually applied more generously, while the latter almost always consists of very heavily watered down paint/wash. I really like using glazes as they're great for adding more definition to the metal surfaces. Glazes work best when applied in at least several layers.
I realize that the pictures don't show this well but the armor was given a few gryphonne sepia glazes, while the chainmail received some asurmen blue glazes. I also used glazes of baal red and leviathan purple on the mace.
I also tried to make the ring somehow stand out so I chose to add a touch pf red and yellow to it. Painting it silver or gold would also work but it would be next to impossible to notice that it's there. Here it's probably only visible in the last picture as the angle is right.
The cloak was painted with (surprise, surprise!) Andrea Black set which has become indispensable for me while working with Mordor miniatures.
Elendil (the dead one) and Isildur (the one with raised broken sword) were also fun to work with. I used much more varied colors here (brighter shades of silver and gold to begin with), while still keeping them toned down.
In the end I put everything into a themed cavalry movement tray.
Hope you like the final effect. Now I have six Nazgul to paint and I'm going to start with the Dark Marshal. And that about wraps up this blog entry.

Saturday 16 July 2011

Taking pictures of minis

It's a pretty important aspect of this hobby. I've tried different methods, various types of lighting and backgrounds and after lots of experimenting I'm now more or less happy with how my pictures look in the end.
Since I have my work space set up in the attic, lighting is a key issue. As you can see in the picture below, the main source of light comes from a roof window.

It's really a great thing as it allows me to maximize the time I work in daylight. On the other hand, the sun rays hit it directly so during the day it gets a bit too bright for taking pictures. In broad daylight light seems to be bouncing off the models that are photographed and as a result the photos show minis very inaccurately.
Using the old fashioned trial and error method I found that pictures look much better when they're taken early in the evening/late in the afternoon during a sunny day. Still, even then I need to use a white sheet of paper so that the light doesn't hit the photographed minis too strongly. This primitive blende helps distribute the light better.
Now let's have a close look at the photo setup.

As some of you may instantly recognize, I use a photo background from Massive Voodo (here's a direct link). I also usually use a tripod as even the slightest move of hand can ruin a photo. That, combined with using self-timer means that the pics are hardly ever blurred.
I use a Sony DSC-HX1 digital camera. It has a resolution of 9.1 megapixel and a pretty decent lens. As far as options are concerned, everything's very automatized and the camera automatically switches to macro (it sometimes even switches to a face recognition mode when I do close ups ;). The only option I always keep switched off is the flash light as once it hits a mini when a photo is being taken, only the most protruding elements are clearly visible.
I also have a small light box (30cm) but after several unsuccessful attempts I basically gave up on it. Maybe if I placed it on the desk right under the source of light it would work better but I don't really feel encouraged to try, especially taking into account the fact that the backgrounds I have printed are too large and don't fit inside.
I think I get pretty good results when I take pics when the daylight is just fine. Doing it at night is something that I've tried several times but never got good results.
So there you have it, this is how I take the pictures you see in my posts on this blog. If you have any comments/suggestions, feel free to write them in the comments section.

Thursday 14 July 2011

Flight of the Nazgul

Let me start this post by a piece of 'music'. A very crude black metal song by Summoning that I still find particularly suitable for this post. In general, even though I don't listen to Summoning as much as I used to in the past (tastes in music change), I still think that music created by this band fits Tolkien's world well (especially the shadowy parts).

Now onto the model itself. First of all, a really well-sculpted and cast one. All the parts fit nicely and putting them together wasn't nearly as difficult as I had expected. There way quite a few mold lines to be removed but that's nothing new.
I tried to keep to the codex version while painting it, though my style is significantly different. As you can see here,the painted version from GW's online store is painted using extreme highlights. De gustibus non est disputandum but I still prefer smooth highlights to this style. In my opinion it makes a model look too flat as basically only 2-3 colors are visible (especially when the painting's not top notch as in this case...).
While highlighting I also like to use some washes and glazes in the final stage to make sure the highlights look extra smooth. Working on this beast and the Witch King was no different. I'm particularly pleased with the wings. I started off with several basic highlights, followed by a devlan mud wash. In the final stage, I gave them some glazes with lighter brown washes and a purple one. As a result I got a nice solid color that doesn't look too uniform. The only departures from dark color scheme were the beast's tongue (finished off with a glossy varnish) and fire of WK's sword.
I struggled with the pics as due to the size and heavy use of dark colors it wasn't easy to take decent ones. I switched back to a blue gradient as a background as I thought it might show dark colors on the model more precisely. The only problem were the close-ups as each time I tried to take some, the pics became too grainy. In the end I chose some that don't look that bad.
Hope you like this one, now I'm going to work on the Dark Lord. Check back soon to see the final effect!

Tuesday 12 July 2011


Just wondering if there's a regular plural to it or maybe it's always Nazgul? Anyway, I'm working on a bunch of them now. Since GW released all of them, I ordered the nine but from different stores (MO is a pain in the back, but that's a different story). I currently have six of them; The Dark Marshal, Dwimmerlaik, Khamul, Knight of Umbar, Tainted and Undying. All of them are very nice sculpts and it can be clearly seen that GW's sculptors put a lot of effort into customizing these guys so that there's no chance to confuse one with another.
My favourite has to be the Tainted. Hunchbacked and manacing figure with really nicely sculpted robe. Sort of reminds me of one of the renditions of Nurgle lord from WFB.

As I said, each of them is different. Let's have a look at Khamul the Easterling. Much more dynamic pose with its mount leaping forward. I glued the beast to the base in this way as I thought it makes the model look more dynamic. The mount's position is not the same in the catalogue. I liked it too but I thought I'd do it in a different way.

The Dwimmerlaik is a different story. Probably the heaviest of them all (especially the mounted version) as there's so much metal on this model. I needed to use quite a lot of green stuff to fill in all the gaps left after putting it together. The sculpt is really nice too with the way its clothes seem to reflect movement.

I also put together Sauron (forgot to put the base with Elendil and Isildur next to it for the pic). Very nice model too. I had one problem with it though. It arrived with one small element missing. One of the blades of the mace to be specific. I solved the problem by making one from GS. It took some work by the final effect is almost identical and I'm pretty sure the difference won't be noticeable after painting. Even now it doesn't look much different.

Last but not least, I also put together the Witch King on an armored fellbeast. Took me a while to get it all right as there are quite a few elements. The good thing is that they're really well cast and fit nicely, which makes working with them much easier. I magnetized the tail as otherwise it would be extremely hard to fit it in a carton box for shipping. I put some GS where the tail joins the body to make the gap as small as possible. I guess it will work out well in the end as the whole thing will be very dark. I'm going to start with painting this one.

So as you can see, there are quite a few nice models that I'm currently working on. All of them are now basecoated with Chaos Black. Painting them will take a while as building nice and smooth highlights of black takes some time. I should be ready with the Witch King by the end of the week so check back soon.

Alright, to finish off this entry, here's a song from a Polish gothic metal band "Artrosis". Not bad but not my cup of tea too. Still, the title and content are perfectly suitable. There's also an English version if anyone cares to check.

Monday 11 July 2011


It felt nice to paint something non-Lotr after a longer time. I decided to paint at least one model for my Cryx army since I was waiting for the black primer I ordere to arrive anyway.
Skarlock is a mini that originally got me interested in WARMACHINE. I absolutely love the sculpt, it seems to be completely out of control. Putting it together wasn't so easy though, especially fixing the gaps on the soul token left after gluing it.
It was a fairly quick paintjob as it took me one evening and one morning to complete it. I kept the colors dark with the addition of very light green on the soul token. I used similar technique to the one I employed while working on Tartarus, only with smaller amount of blue and much more green. I also used some purple as a base color for the skin, working it up with white.
And that's pretty much it. I have only one more model in my WM backlog but I'll get to it a bit later. I have a few (nine to be precise) Nazgul to deal with. I'm still waiting for the remaining three but the rest is now ready for priming after being filled with quite a lot of GS but I'll write more about it tomorrow.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Back in Mordor (XIII)

Lucky 13... or so it would seem. My painting journey back to Mordor is nearing its end as I've completed the last unit, only solos (using WM terminology ;) remain now. As I've written earlier, I'm not a big fan of these minis.
They had great potential that was'n used fully by the designers. Their helms and chainmail look really too simplistic and much potential was wasted there. The wicked-looking swords, nice cloaks, and large shields are better but still the overall impression isn't very good. Anyway, I'm glad that's behind me and from now on I can focus on more interesting miniatures.
I will be painting Lotr minis mainly but I also want to finally paint some of my own miniatures. After painting models from one range only I feel I need to paint something in a different scale for a change so stay tuned for more :)


Monday 4 July 2011

Just... music

During days like these music can either cheer you up or go along with nature. I chose the latter

I'm not complaining though as the rain keeps me inside and helps me focus on painting. As a result, progress is faster. I'll probably post an update with pics of finished minis tomorrow. Until then, enjoy the music.

Saturday 2 July 2011

White City (IV)

Back to lotr stuff. After finishing commanders set I moved on to another member of HQ sensu largo. Rather quick and painless mini with very well casted rider. Yes, yes , it's Minas Tirith banner bearer, mounted version to be exact. I always liked Knights of Minas Tirith (the old metal ones) , those minis vere extremely well sculpted and casted that working on them was (and still is) a pleasure. I'm not saying that new plastic ones are bad, because when it comes to plastic minis the new ones like KoMT or KoDA are on completely new level compared to old ones. Still I have warmer feelings when it comes to old-school metals . Who knows, maybe it's just some sort of sentiment reminding the beginning of hobby. Anyway standard is yet another codes scheme mini in MT army.

Regarding music piec. There's one that comes to my mid when we talk about banners. Maybe it's because I watched Pirates of the Caribbean last week :D

Friday 1 July 2011

Bikes and Banners

To jump away from Lotr minis I took up delayed project from 40k universum. Last 3 Attack Bikes and Segrant of Ultramarines. It has been long journey with this part of army (vide Land Raiders and Rhinos). Now it's finally over with satysfing effect :)

And Since it's July there's only one piece of music that is suitable ;)

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