Last year I went hard into miniatures; the hobby grabbed me and just would not let go. I painted a tonne of stuff! And this year I’m going to try to paint just as much, if not more. Yet, my actual goals for the year aren’t to paint X amount of minis or a list of certain things1, they’re all about gaining confidence with techniques I haven’t gotten the handle of.
My main aspiration is to get to grips with the process of painting minis by first doing a zenithal highlight, and then using glazes and washes to paint stuff fast. Vince has a good tutorial on this system:
The zenithal highlighting stage consists of painting the model black (or the shadow colour of your choice), then applying a mid-tone grey from about 45 degrees, then the lightest colour (white) from directly above. You can do this with rattlecans, or airbrush, or even by drybrushing.
See also: value sketching. I’m confident enough with my airbrush now to use it for this kind of thing. It’s glazing that I’m still figuring out.
The idea with glazing is to apply a layer of paint that is so thin as to be partially/mostly transparent2. In the video he uses an airbrush to apply the glaze, but it can be done with a normcore brush.
My next goal is to up my airbrush skills. At the moment I can just about get a miniature primed and zenithal highlighted, but I want to be able to actually get some of the base colours down on larger areas to avoid needing to do painstaking multi-coat brush application.
Other than that, I’d like to be able to wet blend, magnetize parts of miniatures for easy weapon-swapping3, and take better photos of my minis. And spread my disease around by trying to get more of my friends into the hobby.
What I’m not going to do is devote much time to learning how to make terrain, much as it fascinates me. I’ll leave that for 2020.
Oh, and, final resolution: No buying new stuff until I’ve cleared most of my backlog!
What are your hobby goals for this year?
God knows I have an enormous amount of stuff to paint, though. ↩
Things are a bit subdued in my life at the moment. I had major surgery less than 3 weeks ago and am very much just beginning my recovery. While I feel better nearly every day (in more ways than one), it’ll be a good few weeks before my life is back to something resembling normal.
In the meantime I’ve been reading plenty, watching lots of YouTube, and getting some hobby done when I’m feeling good enough to sit at a table.
I haven’t really had much of the right kind of energy for programming or writing, which seems like a shame because of all the free time, ideas and motivation I have bursting from my seams, but that’s okay. I suppose it’s best to save my thinky-energy for dealing with real problems should they arise and keeping myself comfortable.
Natalie is being a great help, getting shopping, cooking and generally providing morale support. I feel incredibly grateful to have such a good companion around. My mum has also been excellent, helping us return to Edinburgh from the hospital and doing some shopping for us when she can. I’ve also received a lot of nice messages and visits from friends and family members that have really helped to keep me happy and comfy.
If this upward trend continues my time in the recovery doldrums will pass by like nothing.
My army of Stormcast Eternals is growing. The chap above is a Lord-Relictor, a very gothic sort of priest who can heal friends or zap enemies. He’s from the original Age of Sigmar starter set which I bought pre-assembled and half-painted from a friend, so I had to struggle through painting not-in-subassemblies. Which turned out fine in the end. There’s only a few places I couldn’t really get the brush into, but they’re not visible on the final product unless you go looking for them.
I’m particularly pleased with the candles and hourglass, which are coloured purple to connect him to the Realm of Death.
It’s such a characterful model and I feel very happy to have painted it!
Where the Relictor is more of a support character, the Lord-Celestant is more of a leader. I bought him off eBay quite cheaply because I thought he’d be fun to paint and add to my Skirmish warband. (He was!) He’s got a sword, a hammer and a ridiculous hammer-cape, so he can dish out quite a lot of damage while also buffing the soldiers following him. I experimented with using a dark blue wash (Drakenhof Nightshade) to shade the sword and hammer instead of a black one (Nuln Oil) and the result is nice, I think. It’s subtle, but it makes the metal look colder and somehow more solid.
Finally, I got through all these guys from the starter set. Like the Relictor, the Liberators were already assembled and partially painted. The process was a bit of a slog in places – when you’re putting the base colours down on 10 models at the same time, it takes a long time before you start to see the models looking anything like they will in the end, so it’s easy to lost momentum. But I got them done, and now I have a solid battleline of chunky golden boys.
I now have only to paint the 3 Prosecutors, the 3 Retributors and the mounted Lord-Celestant and I will have finished the Stormcast side of the starter box. And I’ll have enough of an army to play actual non-Skirmish games of Age of Sigmar. Exciting!
Following on from the three Blood Warriors, I’ve painted up five of the Khorne Bloodbound’s speedy, scrappy horde unit. (Everything in this army is called a blood-something.) They’re a huge step up in quality from Garrek’s Reavers, the first Khorne models I painted, both in terms of quality and in terms of how happy I am with the colour scheme.
I went through them one at a time, giving myself space to practice painting skin in three different colours. Painting the muscles, scars and such on these guys was an absolute blast and I’m much more confident about painting skin now. I chose the vibrant red and bone trim scheme I debuted on the Blood Warriors and I’m mostly pleased with how it turned out, but I need to improve how I paint the bone sections, which can be quite unsatisfying. After painting the first model (second on the left) I added two new paints to my collection: Screaming Bell and Gehenna’s Gold. Together these create a beautiful, vibrant brass I decided to use for the bronze sections of the weapons and armour. My taste is very much about saturated colours and high contrast, so the Balthasar Gold/Sycorax Bronze combo I was using previously just doesn’t cut it for me. For the bases, I really wanted to put some skulls down – perhaps I should create a little box of pre-painted skulls ready to add to bases.
These are horde units, so I’m going to have to learn to paint them faster and smarter if I’m ever going to get through the big group of them that are in the main AoS starter box.
Now that I’ve finished all the models from the Storm of Sigmar starter set, it’s time to move on. I’m not sure what’s next. I’m gonna paint a quick and easy Frostgrave dog while I make up my mind.