Monday, 24 March 2014

"Show no mercy: Hell awaits!"

Yes that was a cunning use of two of the group "Slayer" 's album titles (well done me...)

Here is the Studios' latest finished piece and an example of what we can teach you to do!

I painted to the clock with this one: I allowed myself ten hours and finished him in about nine and a half. So this would make a brilliant week-end tuition / training piece!
As with all the new dwarfs it seems: the sculpt is beautifully dynamic and balanced. The only annoying thing is that GW has once again produced a kit where one foot is part of the pre-ordained piece of basing scenery. Although it is a lovely dragon head.

Keep on enjoying your hobby!

 CMON score

Friday, 21 March 2014

Level Up!

After quite a few requests I am pleased to announce that the Studio now offers a:

Tuition Service !

Whether you want to improve your painting technique, have a conversion project you can't quite see how to turn into a reality, discover new tools and tricks, or if you simply want new insights into your hobby:

then book a session with the studios' painter!*

Possible topics include but are not limited to:

- scenic basing creations
- introduction to airbrush techniques

- showcase painting tuition: take your favourite pieces to the next level!

- sculpture for conversion purposes: create those little details you feel your piece lacks!

- conversions and transformations: learn to create something unique every time!

- colour scheme creation and detailing of colour theory: the better to emphasise your most loved creations!

Whatever level you see yourself at, if you are an individual painter or a gaming / painting club, this is a great opportunity to discover new ways to approach your hobby!

This being first and foremost a hobby for all of us: everything is negotiable, from location to model(s) involved!**

For details and reservations contact the Studio:

* locations available will greatly depend upon the location of our painter/sculptor at the time of booking
** the Studio reserves th right to refuse a project if it deems the conditions necessary cannot be met either by the customer or the Studio itself.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Rorschach Painting: are you insane?

Now the name "Rorschach painting" is a bit of a misnommer I feel, although it might drive you insane after a while...

Now what is it? Basically it is a much more "organic" or spontaneous way of laying down your basecoats and preliminary shadings and highlights. It provides a wonderful feeling of freedom and speed when starting a new piece. You do have to revert to more "classical" methods afterwards to perfect and finish your model, but it will give some interesting effects.

Now I find that this method is particularly well adapted to "dirty" or messy models (such as nurgle followers, orks/orcs etc.) or models with wide flesh areas (Ogres, giants, more orks/orcs etc.) In this little article I will be using a Nurgle Herald WIP as an example.


Now you do really need a wet-palette for this. So if you don't have one then look here to make a quick and cheap one for yourself.

On your wet-palette lay out the following:
- your base colour
- your highlight colour
- your shade colour 
- a bit of white or off-white (in this example I have Rotting Flesh and White Scar)

-> you can then add preparations of any other colours you need/want on your piece, here I have VGC Necrotic Red, GW Naggaroth Night, GW Sotek Green and GW Genestealer Purple.

All your colours need to be quite watered down, I went for approximately 1 part paint to 5 parts water. You can add some fluid retardant especially if you are working on big surfaces. Be careful not to add too much retarder, a maximum of 1/5th of your total mix volume can be retardant fluid.

Also take five minutes to look at your model from all angles and note where are your shadows and highlight points are going to be. This will be of vital importance when you start slapping paint onto your piece. 

Fig.1 Ok, there are more colours than I need on this palette but this is just to give you an idea of what you need staring you in the face before you start.

Fig.2 After having undercoated the model, I take five minutes to observe it and locate the lighter and darker areas for the future paintjob.


This is a mixed technique, it is basically wet blending taken to the next level.

So grab your base colour and slap it onto the major areas of your model, BEFORE it dries use your shade by placing it next to your base colour on the model and wet blending the joining point of the two colours. Now push your shadow deep into the dark recesses of your piece.

In the same manner apply your highlight colour, wet blend it into your base colour and then pull it towards the highpoints of your piece.

Now all you need to do is repeat this process until you are satisfied with the result!

Fig.3 After one coat / passage 
In the above picture you can clearly see the wet blended lighter butt cheeks and the darker deeper crack (I could have chosen a better angle really...). This was all done using wet-blending and is why you need all your colours ready on your wet palette.

But hang on!: that's just wet blending! What is new here?

That is a fair question that I will answer now.
The "rorschach" aspect is this: as well as allowing you to quickly build up your highlights and deepen your shadows, you can add areas of colours that would not normally easily blend into your base colour. On the Nurgle Herald I added blotchy patches of reds and purples for traumatised fleshy areas (around the sprouting horns and branch like things, but also randomly over the model to break up the colour regularity on the piece).

In Fig.3 you can see how I started adding a red hue along the spine of the Herald. For two radically opposed colours the blending is quite smooth for a first coat: THAT is the miracle of what I have called Rorschach painting.

Here it is after a second passage of exactly the same technique:

Fig.4  You can see the blending becoming a bit smoother

And after a third and final passage for this piece:

Fig.5 Here you can also see that I have started adding extra shades of Sotek Green and Genestealer Purple around the various pustules

Here you can see the same effects on a different area of the piece:

Fig.6 Here all the various colours are blotched and blended into one another sufficiently to be able to return to more classical methods to continue and complete the piece.

So there you have it! I would not say this is the best technique in the book, but like all techniques it all depends how you feel about it that will make it good for you or not. I recommend you try it a least once!
It can incredibly speed up your base layer work and give you an overall visualisation of your piece much much quicker than any other method I've tried. However I do not think it is really suited to models that require a neat and crisp finish (forget using this on Space Marines for example, unless they are nurgle chaotic ones!).

I enjoyed it immensely on this piece and will definitely be using this technique again on other pieces that are suited to it, and hopefully improving my technique a bit more!

I look forward to posting pics' of this finished piece!

Keep experimenting and enjoying your hobby!

DIY: Budget wet-palette

A surprisingly large amount of people have asked me how to make a wet-palette. This simple tool seems to still be dwelling in the realms of sci-fi for many painters. This is sad because it is such an amazing piece of equipment. I was introduced to it about ten years ago and have never looked back!

Any way here is how to make your cheap and effective new best friend!

You will need:

- a tupperware with its' lid
- some baking paper (that has NOT been pre-greased/oiled)
- a few sponges

I find that GWs' basing kit boxes are perfect for little wet palettes, of course you can use a bigger tupperware if you want!

Here we go!:

1) Place your sponges in the tupperware (you may need to cut them to fit perfectly)

2) Soak until the water is level with the top of the sponges and these are fully gorged with water

3) Cut a piece of baking paper to the size of your tupperware and place on sodden sponges

4) Mix up your paints and enjoy hours of painting!


when you have finished for the day, put the lid on your tupperware and store it in the fridge -> your mixes can last for days in this fashion!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

(Un-)Usual Suspects

But who is Kaiser Sauze?
These little guys will be finished over the next few days and each will be up for grabs by the end of next week!!! 

Apart from the Nurgle Herald (right) which is already mounted on a display base, the other two can either be mounted on a display base or a gaming base as you wish and I am perfectly happy to perform either of these tasks for the customer. Obviously there is still some workto be done on each of them but by next saturday at the latest they will all be finished!

So if any of these guys already grabs your interest then e-mail me:
for any information you desire!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Up for grabs!

I'm tidying up my stock of unpainted miniatures, so if any of the following are of interest to you:

- Aenur the Sword of Twilight (white metal, unpainted)

- Games Day 2002 model (Chaos Champion WHFB, white metal, unpainted)

- Ork big Boss (previous WH40K starter box piece, unpainted)

- Goblin Shaman (WHFB, plastic, unpainted)

- Grombrindal, the White Dwarf anniversary model (white metal)

- 25th WH40k anniversary model: Crimson Fist (finecast, unpainted, in its' original packaging)

then PM me. 

Tomorrow I will be putting the unsold pieces on e-bay so make the most of this to insure you get the one you want!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The End is nigh!!

It sometimes happens: I finish a project. The latest to leave the workbench, mainly because I had decided that the time had come to stop regardless, is the Chaos Cultist!

More photos of the finished piece can be found here!

Photos of the progressing creation and paintjob can be found here!


 CMON rating

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A few thoughts on the "Airbrush"

Dear folks and gals it is time for a first: this I like to call "Personal Insights Grotto" (or PIG). Articles in this section will accumulate with the questions and answers that I have given to various people at various points in times gone by. None of these opinions have the stamp of absolute Truth; they are merely my own thoughts and experiences on the topics dealt with that I share with you gladly!

So let's kick off!

Recently I was asked for details about a specific piece of equipment that more and more painters swear by : I mean the Airbrush. (If I’m honest I have been answering questions on this subject for the best part of the last four years, however a recent conversation prompted me to write this article.)

I do, occasionally, use an airbrush but very rarely. I do enjoy the very gentle and supple effects that you can create with this tool, at least once you have understood how to control the various parameters this tool offers. As I hardly ever work on particularly big pieces, or even a series of similar pieces, the time / efficiency ratio is too weak really. I really only fire it up when I want to speedily create my light sources or lay down a perfectly unified base coat in a fraction of the time required by a paintbrush.

Of course the major issue to start with, even before considering the technical aspects of it’s’ use, is the cost of the setup. A decent airbrush will set you back about £95 (110€). To that you have to add an air compressor with a “pressure reserve tank” (this means that you will have a continual flow of air at a constant pressure). I’m not quite sure how much these cost as mine was a Christmas present but I do know that they are not cheap. This is your basic setup; and it is good for custom jobs on car/bike bodywork. For miniatures you will have to add a range of smaller nozzles, caps and needles. These things tend to wear out and are extremely fragile, it is more than likely that you will bend at least one needle as you master the basics of airbrush control. Take into account sets of new washers, cleaning and maintenance fluids and you have a pretty costly operation if you want to set up a good airbrush station in your workshop. Also it takes up space: my compressor is the size of an average toolbox to give you an idea.

Maintenance can also be a pain, especially if you use your airbrush for a low yield production. For large quantities, or chain painting, then it is fine to rinse it out at the end of the day and return to it the next day. However as soon as you are going to put it away for an indefinite period of time you have to take it apart, clean every piece and lubricate all the moving parts. My own airbrushes each have about fifteen parts and take me a good hour and a half to clean fully, and that is using an ultra-sound machine to speed up the process. This is one of the most common activities where needles get imperceptibly bent, and become therefore utterly useless. While working you must clean out the paint cup thoroughly between each colour (unless you are going for some weird effect, that’s up to you).

When it comes to actually mastering the contraption do not be fooled : it is in no way comparable to what you do with a paintbrush. All you know about the behaviour of paints, washes etc. have to be “re-learned” in effect. A good airbrush, in fact the only decent for miniature painting, is a « dual-action » airbrush. This mean that with the trigger you control two factors: the air pressure running through the instrument, and the volume of paint flowing into the chamber and being projected onto your work. And because you have that many more parameters to master there are that many more things that can go wrong while working with this tool. Single action airbrushes only control air pressure, and should be banned from miniature painting in my opinion: if you want to add an airbrush to your painting tools, then buy a dual action straight away. It might be harder and longer to master but the rewards are worth the trouble. Like all new tools, it takes time to master, but it is quite an enjoyable process if you don’t ask too much of it to start with.

Most acrylic paint ranges are adaptable for airbrush use. Some are specifically made for airbrushes, others require some preparation using specifically designed fluidifiers or other additives. This is one of those situations where you really should read the labels and the instruction manual. There is one exception that I was taught when I was looking to buy an airbrush and it is this: NEVER EVER EVER put metallic paints into an airbrush unless you want to destroy it. I do not know of this is true, but I am not willing to risk ruining one of my tools for the benefit of painting science.

The airbrush does have some serious advantages to it’s’ credit:

- vehicles can be rendered faster and more realistically, I met a player who had created some armoured battle force (so 95% tanks) of close to twenty tanks of various types and painted them to a superb standard in a day.

- light sources can be placed very quickly and quite accurately, this is as useful for Zenithal Lighting as it is for Object Source Lighting.

- when painting armies, I am reliably informed that it can halve the time necessary to get a decent table top army finished.

- it allows for a host of weird and wonderful effects, from the simplest to the most complex either for showcase pieces, armies, terrain, dioramas etc. These would be too long to list, but maybe one day I might be able to show you a few step by step examples.

But be WARNED:

I have seen painters, believing that the airbrush is like a magic wand, run out and buy one and then wail pitifully and uncomprehendingly when their beautiful project ended up coated by a single gloopy badly prepared paint mixture. It is not a magic wand, it is more like a precision rifle with the potential of a tactical air strike. It should be used as a precision rifle – where your shot has to be perfect or is totally useless – if however you fail to make it a precision rifle it will turn into an air strike and destroy everything in its path.

That is not to say that you should abandon the idea of airbrushing, far from it. However please bear in mind that in the sciences and the arts, the best progression is from the simple to the complex. Master the basics with your paintbrush, then improve on that and carry on improving and pushing yourself. Then one day maybe the airbrush will seem indispensable to you, then you’ll go and buy one – and all the extra bits you need – and you will love it even above the frustration of the beginning of a new apprenticeship. This will only happen when you have understood what makes a good paintjob, how to treat your light sources, your shadings and highlights, your colour choices and coordination etc. And all that can only be achieved with a paintbrush in your hand and a faint taste of paint on your tongue.


I hope that I have not put you off airbrushing, and that this small essay will be of some help to you in your reflexions.

 Feel free to e-mail me with questions at:
and who knows?: Maybe they will become one of these PIG articles!

(Wether or not they become an article I will do my very best to answer any queries via e-mail at least)

Always enjoy yourself! 

(Whatever your tools are in the end!)