Recently I received a gift from a friend, a box of miniatures which he’d been given by a friend of his. Apparently when my friend was helping his friend clear out his garage they’d uncovered the models, neglected and filthy, on the floor (I wasn’t there of course so I may be misrepresenting what happened – they may have been clean and on a shelf for all I know but where’s the harm in a little dramatic licence?). The owner of the garage (and the miniatures) didn’t want them (the miniatures – I think he kept the garage, I’m slightly hazy on that part) so donated them to my friend, who passed them on to me. It’s a nice little pick-and-mix of old models and you can expect to see them appearing on the blog over the coming months as I get around to painting them, but to begin with there are a few that have jumped the queue by insinuating themselves into upcoming or existing projects. First of all we have this vampire, who’ll be joining the ranks of the undead I painted last year.
I’ve been fond of this model for a very long time but never managed to pick one up so it was amazing to open the box and find him lurking inside. Painting him turned out to be a lot of fun and getting to play around with two different reds on the one model made me feel quite arty.
If you’re reading this then a big thanks to Tom’s mate (whoever you are) and my apologies if I have met you or do know your name and have just forgotten. Hopefully whatever you were doing with your garage has worked out as you intended – at least your old models have found their way to a loving home.
Meanwhile the keen eyed among you will have spotted that he’s on a round base. Could it be the start of something? At this stage, who can say?
On Friday night I finally finished off the long awaited final models for my Vampire Counts army (not the most rock and roll start to the weekend but even I stop once in a while). On Saturday I uploaded them to this blog with, I’ll admit, very little fanfare. However, all things considered, that’s rather unfair. With one notable exception these are models I bought back in 2010(-ish, my memory isn’t so good) when I harboured plans for a massive undead army of the sort that might pour forth from Sylvania, spread eternal night across the land and so on. Instead they lurked in boxes (not even crypts – the shame of it!) as the years passed. Some of them were painted, to varying standards, many suffered through in nothing but bare plastic. Then, around New Year 2016 I resolved to resurrect them. Cue maniacal laughter and the distant howls of corpse-wolves!
Fast forward a few months and here we have them, a shambling band of wights, ghasts and revenants, ready to trouble the living once more. And all without needing to move into a castle, hire an assistant named Igor or even buy a shovel. How, then, could I let the moment pass without a few glamour shots and a group shot or two?
Let’s start with the finished squad of dire wolves, a kit which is (perhaps rightly) much maligned and yet for which I have a deep affection, in spite of its flaws.
And how about some suitably creepy mood shots as my corpse army advances through the dark-magic saturated gravelands of their Sylvanian homeland.
And of course no project of this sort can come to a close without a group shot.
Of course, no army is ever finished and so it should come as no surprise that I’m already planning to return to these. Hopefully it won’t be another seven years before they’re reinforced. Hang some garlic by your window, bury me at a crossroads and watch this space!
Well, in spite of my doubts, here’s the last two dire wolves painted, which rounds out my Vampire Counts army for now. Fans of the undead fear not though, everyone knows that Vampires always come back eventually…
To my slight shame and chagrin my efforts to get my undead collection painted seems to have stalled a little, with not a single shambling corpse seeing paint in March. Still, even the great Von Carsteins went through phases of inactivity (the aftermath of Hel Fenn being a particularly bad one) and, as there’s no time like the present, I’ve picked up my brushes again and returned my attention to my pack of dire wolves. Cue dolorous howls from the gloomy forests and desolate moors…
With the addition of two new packmates the wolves rise from their loamy beds and go in search of prey once more.
Before tackling the Chapel, or any of the other forthcoming projects, there’s still the little matter of the living dead to be dealt with. After the struggle to get the skeleton’s painted tackling the ghouls was remarkably uncomplicated. Partly it’s the fact that ghouls are a lot easier to paint than skeletons, partly it’s that I really like the models (not that I have any bones with the skeletons mind you) and partly it’s that a combination of the previous factors means I did a much better job of painting them last time I tackled this project so there wasn’t nearly so much work involved this time round.
Although I first created this chap back in (roughly) 2010 he always makes me think of IRO, fellow blogger and fan of ghoulish jesters.
I’m sure you know the drill by now but any feedback or suggestions you have are more than welcome in the comments box.
Rising from the ground to haunt the living, it’s one of my favourite of GW’s plastic character models – the Cairn Wraith. I debated for quite a while over what colour to paint him, considering both a ghostly off-white and a bloody red to match his vampire master. In the end I decided to go for a haunting green, tying him in to the bases of the army and hopefully creating the impression that he’s rising spookily from the cursed soil.
And with a final effort my shambling minions rise from their tombs.
The ghouls are next (and hopefully won’t be such hard work) although I might treat myself to finishing off another undead character first.
So it turns out that painting skeletons is a lot more labour intensive than I’d been led to believe. Surely it’s just a case of drybrush them with Ushabti Bone and go home?! Instead it turns out to be quite a lot of effort. No wonder I only got half-way through painting this squad the last time!
What’s more I’ve discovered the little devils are an absolute nightmare to photograph – all those shields and swords held over their faces (are they shy or something*?) casting shadows everywhere.
*I mean, I’m aware that they are notorious bashful about attending social functions, on account of having no-body to go with, but surely this is a bit much?
Anyway, enough of my griping, here’s the first half of the squad done at last.
Long before GW provided us with a (rather fancy looking) plastic necromancer the only options, if one wanted one’s collection to include a mad reanimator of the dead, were the (prehistoric and duff looking) metal models, or making one yourself. As every good necromancer enjoys cobbling things together from bits of other people I naturally went for the latter option.
Like the Vampire Count himself, a model of a very similar vintage, there’s a lot of elements to this model I wanted to keep in recognition of their significance to my development as a hobbyist. As with most of the other models in my Vampire Counts collection this necromancer is at least six or seven years old now, and in that time it’s fair to say I’ve come on a great deal both as a painter and a convertor. Nonetheless I wasn’t keen to make many changes to him in recognition of his impact on my development as a hobbyist. Much like the vampire this was a model which, in spite of fairly radical conversion work, ended up looking rather impressive. Time has shown me a lot of his flaws, of course, but when I first finished him I was inordinately pleased with myself – here was proof that I could actually convert models to be proud of. Thus, after considerable humming and hawing I’ve decided to leave him alone (bar a slight tweak to the colour of the base to bring him into line with the rest of the collection). Thus he looks now pretty much exactly as he did when he was first finished.
This face stitched into his cape (never miss out a good cliché!) may not be the finest example of greenstuffing I’ve produced but at the time it was a revelation.
Now I’ve secured the services of this necromancer I’m hoping to raise a shambling mass of skeletons in short order = perhaps even by the end of the week.
I first started work on my Vampire Counts army way back in 2010. Back then Warhammer was going strong, Age of Sigmar probably hadn’t even been thought of, the zombie miniatures were already ancient (although everyone reckoned they’d be replaced “soon”) and the cover of the Vampire’s army book looked like this:
It was this piece of artwork that proved to be the central inspiration behind my collection. To me it perfectly captured what I was looking for in my army – a vast shambling host of the living dead, anchored together by the terrible will of the Vampire that has raised them. There can be no doubt that this is the Army Book for the Vampire Counts, placed front and centre, without whom the army would simply crumble and cease to exist. It was this effect that I wanted to illustrate with my models, that gloriously red vampire lording it over the dull coloured ranks of his corpse-slaves.
For me this Vampire Count remains one of the most important, if not the most important, models I’ve ever made. We’ve all put together conversions in our early days that turn out to be a bit of a bitz jumble (whadayamean I still do!?) but this was the first one where I really thought I’d nailed it; the components, the pose, the painting, everything came together to capture the character exactly as I’d envisioned it. Coming back to him almost seven years later was a real pleasure and, even though my painting overall has come on a great deal, he didn’t need much to pull him up to my modern standard. It goes to prove once again that, no matter one’s level of skill or experience, being passionate about a model will bring a great deal to the quality of the finished piece.