Thursday, 16 January 2014

The Improveometre

So, my last post discussed attending Meg Maples' Masterclass painting clinic. Since then I have been inspired and have spent a great deal of time at my painting desk. One of my current projects is a Nippon Goblin team (by Greebo). I had, before the class, painted the skin areas of one of the Oni Trolls for this team and was a little bit disappointed with it. Over the last couple of nights I decided I would start the other one and see what could be done...

Well it is incredible. The difference is overwhelmingly obvious, which the depth of shading and smoothness of blending improving out of sight.

It's a very satisfying comparison which, IMO, completely justifies the money spent on the class and the brushes I am now using.

Let me know what you think and, if you get the chance, go and enrol in one of Meg's classes before she leaves Australia (or, if you live OS, enrol when/if she comes close).

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Meg Maples Masterclass

This weekend (11 and 12 January 2014) I was lucky enough to attend a painting masterclass with Meg Maples of Arcane Paintworks. Meg has worked for Reaper Miniatures and Privateer Press and has an impressive series of painting awards to her name (but not SSB Best Painted!).

The focus of the class was a techniques called two brush blending. It is not worlds away from my usual style, although it will revolutionise my painting. For 12 months or so I have been using the "push-pull" glazing method, using very thin layers of pigment that is "pushed" and "pulled" around using a lot of water. The two brush blending method, however, speeds this process up considerably, allowing a more opaque colour while still using a similar methodology. I feel I picked up the technique pretty quickly and it will definitely continue to define the way I paint.

I was also let in on a little secret that I wish someone had advised me on earlier - larger, better quality brushes are much much better. Now, the better quality part of this is a no brainer really, but I've always used relatively cheap brushes because, well, cash. But the larger part is a revelation! Meg uses a size 2 and a size 3 (that's 2 and 3, NOT 2 zero and 3 zero). I wouldn't have considered doing this is a million years, but it is actually much better. The brushes hold the paint better and you can effect just as fine detail while retaining a reservoir in the bristles that lasts longer.

Unfortunately the number 2 brush I ended up getting for the weekend was, in a word, crap. It was literally the only size 2 sable brush I could find in Adelaide (I visited five separate places) on short notice and I knew when I bought it that the tip wasn't really forming well. But the 3 was incredible (a Windsor & Newton Series 7). I highly recommend trying to use larger brushes if you don't already.

I picked up all sorts of other hints and tips from Meg, including a black recipe (my eternal bane), a methodology for eyes, a series of metal recipes and many other smaller, almost indefinable, ideas.

So, I guess I should post my work as well. The following photos are of the completed miniature that the class painted. It is a Guild of Harmony piece called Garolph, Blacksmith. It doesn't look like much, but the miniature itself is beautiful. The detail is crisp and the concept simple but full of character. I was able to complete painting the miniature itself during the class. The base was added this evening after I returned home (and was an opportunity for me to practice the two brush blending techniques at my own desk). I considered giving it a much more 'storied' base, but in the end I was happy enough with the cobblestones and I felt I would keep this one simple as an example from the class.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

If you are inclined to do such things, the CMON link is here (when it clears) and you can rate it out of 10:

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Le Coq return to the pitch

Hi all

Well, I painted these guys some time ago, but I have never actually posted any team shots. I have also been using the team for the CCKUP's current Streetball league (under the name Le Petit Coq), so I thought it was as good an excuse as any to put up some decent, recent photos.


What's on the bench?
After the highs and lows of Southern Shrike Bowl, I have two main ideas in my head for the future.

The first is a chaos team. Nothing particularly special about that idea, but I have got myself the amazing 3D designed Willy Miniatures team, which is just an absolute joy to behold. I have wanted to do a Khorne styled team for ages (NOT the new Khorne daemon team, just a standard chaos team) and this is definitely the set of miniatures I want to use. I'm working on a test warrior and beast man at the moment, with more details as they are completed.

I also picked up a Greebo Nippo Gobin team some time ago that I am looking at getting painted. The test goblin is almost done, although the Oni are a bit daunting, so they might not get done first. I'm thinking a red, white and black colour scheme for these little buggers, with a washed out green skin tone. I want to try my hand at some Japanese inspired material designs, will keep you updated on how they go...

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Starting again...

Ahem, is this thing on?

So, it's been a while. As it turns out being a teacher, raising a young son, running a quarterly Blood Bowl magazine and so on is just too much for one person to do. So, BL!TZ Magazine is no more and I might be able to add some more posts to this blog every now and again... hopefully.

The big recent news is that I won Best Painted at Southern Shrike Bowl again... and, considering that my last post was me starting the Rift Valley Lions, I should probably note that I won last year as well.

The Lions turned out really well, although they have now seen a great deal of action and are somewhat chipped and scratched. I'll try to get some pics up at some point, but they managed to win my first foray into the City of Churches Kings United Prize (CCKUP) league, weathering a very bashy field and carving through four finals games before taking the trophy against a nasty Chaos team. They also won the Adelaide Dungeon Bowl Cup (ADBC) this year, although this one was a little bit lucky.

Since then, however, I have turned my attention to one of my old favourites, the halflings. The old White Acre Weed Pullers were getting a bit ratty and, considering the MVP from last year was a minotaur, I decided I would try for a bashy halfling team at SSB2013. Now, under SSB rules only stunty teams can take 2 star players. So I went with the two halfling tree men allowed, Deeproot AND Vladimir, the MVP minotaur. This left just enough cash for 7 halflings, giving me a team of only 11. Yes, that's right, a halfling team without a bench!

Needless to say the team build was rubbish and I finished 30th of 32 coaches, but the new and improved Weedies took Le Coq Fancier's Trophy (best painted) for the fifth time in six years. My Vlad also took out "Best in Show".

I should note as well that this year's painting field was incredibly well contested. Daniel Wallace's lizardmen team, the Teepok Titans, were amazing and came very close to tipping me off my perch. There were also a number of others who had done a great job and who deserve to be proud of their efforts. I love seeing the range of well-painted teams that inhabit SSB each year, and I hope this builds again in 2014.

Anyway, here's a few pics of the Weedies for you. I hope you enjoy.

I'd love to hear what you think of them.


Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Hear the Roar

It's been a while.

This blog was always really a place to keep a track of my own stuff, so if you happen to be a follower who is hoping for many updates, many apologies. However, life is pretty busy and it just gets in the way.

However, I've recently started a new project that is fairly important to me in terms of my Blood Bowl development.

First thing's first, it is a new wood elf team.

I know, I know, you've done woodies you moron, move on! Well, I've been having issues with the Duskrunners. You see, I like to fancy that I actually have an affinity for the feminist movement. As much as what I'm doing here is playing a fairly marginal niche hobby, it is both a barrier to women entering the hobby and a poor reflection on the attitude of gamers to have such highly sexualised representations of women on a tabletop. So I've decided that the Duskrunners really should be retired. There are a whole host of pro and con arguments here, and a massive debate that could be entered into as to the importance of such stances and the way this plays in to feminisms, but suffice to say that it is a decision I've made that I intend to stick to.

The issue is that I've also made the Steelballs state team again this year and will probably be called upon to play wood elves at the AusBowl State Championships in March next year.

I love the play style of wood elves. They are my second favourite team (behind humans - and I do have a long-term human plan) and I have a relatively good record with them, but I don't think there are any good model ranges out there for them (that aren't also highly sexualised women). The lack of a good range was instrumental in my design for the Duskrunners as well, so I really needed to put my thinking cap on.

After some searching I eventually hit on a concept that also dragged in another of my favourites. For a long time I have really liked the Siringit team from Impact! Miniatures but haven't been able to find a way to build a good Blood Bowl team based on them.

And this is where the idea comes in. The Rift Valley Lions are an African-themed wood elf team. Hailing from the Great Rift Valley from beyond the blasted undead lands, the warriors of the Pridelands are not humans or elves but a strange mixture of both. In addition, they exhibit an inherited form of lycanthropy that manifests as shapechangers based on totemic tribal beasts. One such tribe has now emerged into the Blood Bowl circuit. Fast and agile, the team is built around its were-lion Roardancers, with one massive Tantor were-elephant representing a treeman.

For models I am using a bit of a mash up. The linemen are Wargames Foundry Maasai warrior miniatures with some greenstuff work to ensure they aren't just male versions of the sexualisation I was against to begin with. The catchers are similar but I am going to use GW Norse catcher bear gloves, with the thumb removed, to represent lion paw catchers' mitts. The catchers will also have a lion tail somewhere in their uniform. The thrower (I only ever have one) will be the Impact! Theja Doris miniature. The Roardancers and Tantor will be pulled directly from the Siringit range from Impact!

I've already done up a prototype miniature for one of the linemen. Let me know what you think:

I also intend on entering the Rift Valley Lions into the Adelaide-based CCKUP league. Can't wait to get some games under my belt. I'll let you know how they go.