Skaven Clanrats

With the new edition of Age of Sigmar coming out in the past few months, I wanted to start a new army, specifically one that was not at its core just a rebasing of one of my old Warhammer armies. So I went about GW’s catalog to look for an army that inspired me. At about the same time I started planning the follow up campaign to my recently finished Icewind Dale Dungeon and Dragons campaign which had been going on for the last year. We decided to try out the newest Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay edition, and I set about to refreshing my memory of the old world by listening to Warhammer audiobooks while painting. The Gotrek and Felix audiobooks have turned out to be excellent, with great voice acting and plenty of background colour I could use in the campaign. More relevant to this post though, is the abundance of Skaven antagonists in these novels. The descriptions of the Skaven and their machinations, mistrust of each other, and readiness to blame others for their failures makes for very fun storytelling, and of course, made me want to paint some.

I’ve actually had these models painted for a few weeks now, but was waiting on the basing materials to arrive in the post to finish them. These 20 models were my guinea pigs (lab rats?), and were used to find a scheme that would satisfy two criteria: 1) look good on the tabletop, 2) be quick! My current plans for the army involve 100 troop rats (80 Clanrats and 20 Stormvermin) and I don’t want to spend the next year painting them.

In the same vein, I wanted the basing to be quick so I decided to try out the base ready range from, specifically their Grimdark City Rubble. My aim for the bases was to represent Skaven tunnels, which I picture as dark earth and broken supports, which I made out of balsa wood, stained with brown and green inks.

As with my previous armies I made a record of the paints used so I can refer to it as I continue painting the army (a useful precaution against becoming distracted by another project and forgetting how the early models were painted!).

Overall I like the look of these and am happy with how long 20 took to paint. I have a 1000 point list in place and am playing around with how to expand it to 2000 points in the future. Painting on this army continues and I should have another post on it soon.

Star Wars Legion Desert Terrain

I played a Middle-Earth SBG tournament yesterday (more on this at the end), and was inspired by some of the tables I saw there to paint some terrain of my own. I’d done all the preparation for these buildings while recovering from my eye injury a few weeks back, but never got around to painting them as I got too excited by being able to see well enough to paint models again! My 15-month old had a three hour nap this afternoon that provided a window of opportunity to put my new found motivation to good use.

The buildings in question I 3D printed on my filament printer from models by Imperial Terrain who produce great Star Wars Legion terrain. To add to the look of them, I textured all of the walls with tile grout, which provided a great surface for drybrushing as well as hiding some of the layer lines from the printing process. I really love the look of this technique and will keep applying it to printed terrain where it makes sense.

For the walls of the structures, I started with an all over coat from a cream spray can, followed by a reddish-brown wash I made using a mixture of craft paints, water, and some window cleaner to break the surface tension. Once that was dry, I drybrushed a mix of ochre and white craft paint, followed by another drybrush of the same mixture with more white added.

The crates were painted in a variety of flat colours and hit with the wash and drybrush steps of the walls.

The rusted elements were done with a burnt sienna craft paint, followed by a mixture of burnt umber, red, and yellow inks all over. The same ink mix was used to do the rust streaks. The pipes were then hit with sponged on orange paint to add a bit more variety.

The roof of the tall building was done in a brassy-coppery look, which is something I’d seen on the painted examples on Imperial Terrain’s website and really like the look of.

I’m not sure how they did theirs, but mine was done using the airbrush, with an all over coat of Vallejo Metal Colour Copper, followed by a shading step done using Burnt Umber Ink. The verdigris was done using GW’s Nihilak Oxide through the airbrush (to avoid the wash running in the print lines), followed by some stippling of the same paint to add a bit of texture to the effect.

Overall very happy with the outcome, and the little guy woke up just as I was putting the finishing touches on the buildings so thanks a lot to him for giving me the time to get these done! I have a fair few more pieces to tackle before the table will be done, so expect some more Star Wars terrain posts in the future!

Radagast goes to war!

As I mentioned above, I played a one day tournament yesterday with the models I showcased in the last post. I ended up with two wins and two losses, finishing up somewhere in the middle of the field which I was happy with. For the tournament I put together the small display board you can see above and the effort paid off as I took home the best painted army award which I was very happy with. All in all a good fun day, and as always has motivated me to paint even more Middle-Earth armies!

Radagast’s Alliance

Radagast and his allies brave the foul weather to venture deep into Mirkwood

We have a small Middle-Earth SBG tournament coming up in a few weeks that I’ve planned on attending, and what better excuse to get more of my models painted! This tournament is limited to 400 points, which coincidentally is what Radagast on his sled and two giant eagles add up to! I’ve had these models since they were released (sometime around the release of the hobbit movies I assume), built and sitting in a case ever since. This seemed like a great opportunity to put some paint on them, and so off I went!

This is a three model army, and I have no idea how it will go in games but I hope it will be a lot of fun to play! I made the decision to experiment a bit with these models, and learned quite a bit in the process as I made quite a few mistakes that I hope not to reproduce!

For Radagast and his sled I used GW’s contrast paints primarily, the first time I’ve really experimented with these in their “intended” use, i.e. one coat that does basecoat, shading, and highlights. I’ve always found the MESBG models to take really well to washes due to their tight, small details (as opposed to other GW models that have a lot more large flattish areas), and was intrigued by how the contrast paints would work with them. The answer I think is really well. The rabbits are only painted with a single coat of 3 different contrast paints: Cygor Brown (Thinned down 50/50), Snakebite Leather, and Skeleton Horde. Radagast and the sled were also painted with contrast paints but were followed up with highlights of regular old acrylic paints. This model has a massive base, so I knew I wanted to make it a feature. I used a variety of Woodland Scenics foam flocks, and their more bushy clumping foliage. The flowers are tufts from Gamers Grass. The leaves are the usual seeds you can get for that purpose, I’ve had them for years and can’t remember where I got them. I had some issues with all this being pretty loose on the base and ran some thinned down PVA all over to glue it all down. This ended up drying all white in patches and made me very scared I’d just ruined the whole thing. No idea what happened there, but I ended up using some green contrast paint to tint the areas affected by this and they blended right back in, got very lucky there!

The rules for MESBG account for your mount being shot off under you, so it’s expected to have a dismounted version of any mounted models. Here’s my Radagast on foot, carrying his faithful hedgehog Sebastian. Painted exactly the same as the sled version.

The eagles were another experiment, I decided to try shading them with oils to cut down the amount of time I’d need to spend on highlights. This worked very well, but I made the mistake of being impatient and varnishing over the oils too soon, and ended up with a very unstable coat of varnish that came off with gentle rubbing! I left them alone for a few days, then went back over the white areas with some highlights and finally gave them another coat of varnish and that is holding much better. The lesson here: when painting with slow drying paints, don’t expect them to dry fast!

Overall I really like the look of the “army”. They were painted fast and there are definitely areas that suffered as a result, but I think they look nice and cohesive on the table.


For this round of the challenge we picked HQ choices, and I decided to paint a model that I’ve had and loved for a long time, but never go around to: an Orc shaman from the old Warhammer Fantasy Battles game, to use as a weirdboy for the orks (with a k!).

Boyz look on in awe as the weirdboy summons the power of Gork (or Mork!)

I wanted to keep the model as is even though I was planning on using him as a 40k ork, so to make sure he fit in with the rest of my force, I used the base to cement him in the universe. This also had the added benefit of making the model taller, which is appropriate since this model is tiny compared to the current Weirdboy model.

The paintjob followed the rest of the army, the main departure being the glowing green eyes of the staff, which were added after I’d painted the rest of the model by first picking out the eyes in white, then airbrushing Vallejo Model Air Escorpena Green where I wanted the glow. This was followed by picking out the eyes again using a mix of Vallejo Game Livery Green and Kimera White.

A quick one for this round, which was very practical as I’ve ended up needing to paint quite a few models this week!

The Dead of Dunharrow

This past weekend was Father’s day here in Australia, and during a fun family trip to the park a detour was organised to the hobby store for me to purchase a new airbrush. I’ve been using my Badger 105 for a little while now (maybe a year? can’t remember when I got it!) and it’s been great for a lot of things, and has seen regular use for undercoating and basecoating models. I’ve been trying to push my airbrush skills, and found that I really struggled to get smooth transitions and precise applications of highlights with the Badger. Cue a lot of research and I determined that to get smoother, more controlled results I was going to need a higher end airbrush with finer atomisation of the paint and a smaller needle. I settled on a Harder and Steenbeck Infinity, which is not cheap but a very nice piece of kit by all accounts. I was considering Iwata airbrushes as an alternative, but the tiny size of some of the pieces drove me away, I know how likely my fat fingers are to drop airbrush bits when disassembling! After a successful trip to the hobby shop I had my new airbrush, and all I needed was something to point it at.

I’ve been slowly painting the Riders of Rohan from the current Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game starter set (I’ll get them all done one day!), but haven’t yet touched the other half of the included good army: The Dead of Dunharrow. During my airbrush research I’d come across this tutorial from the Cult of Paint Youtube channel that had a great example of painting on the these dead warriors with an airbrush ( Armed with the airbrush and a couple of playthroughs of the video I set about to painting these ghostly warriors.

Above you can see the finished result. 21 warriors, one mounted warrior (that’s been gathering dust for years), and the King of the Dead (also in the gathering dust for years category). I equipped this bunch so that adding Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli gets me to exactly 800 points using the “Return of the King” legendary legion (I don’t own the correct models for these yet, so the three of them will have to wait!). I picture this army as representing Aragorn and his army of the dead arriving at the Pelennor fields. To that end, I decided to base these models on cobblestones to represent abandoned Gondorian ruins. The bases were done using a textured roller I printed on my 3D printer.

The painting went smoothly and the new airbrush was a joy to use. The steps were relatively straightforward:

  1. The models were primed black (with the badger!)
  2. A mostly zenithal highlight was applied with white ink using the new airbrush (I say mostly as I did emphasize the head and shoulders of the models more than would normally occur in a straightforward zenithal highlight)
  3. An all over drybrush of pure white, kept very light and really just there to pick out edges to finish the underpainting
  4. Airbrushed an all over coat of Vallejo Game Air Escorpena Green to set the tone
  5. From below, airbrushed GW Terradon Tuquoise to set the shadows
  6. Applied a wash of Prussian Blue oil paint to the recesses of the model. This really helped define the deepest folds and detailing on the models that may have been washed out by the airbrushing.

Here are some close up photos of a few of the models:

Overall I’m very happy with the results, the mostly airbrushed look works well for ghostly models and they were a great crash course in the new airbrush. This was all a very quick turnaround too, I built the models Saturday night, painted them Sunday, and finished the bases a couple of hours ago!

Beast Snagga Boyz

Back with more orks, this time with a distinct lack of yellow! Indeed these are not Bad Moons, but Goffs, the meanest and most serious of all Orks. I do enjoy that the 40k game system lets you include detachments from varying clans, this lets you mash together different parts of ork society into a single army. In the background ork clans often join up when there’s a big enough fight to get them all interested (presumably that’s a really easy condition to satisfy!).

The best snagga boyz are big brutes that love getting stuck in to the enemy at close range and for that reason they make a lot of sense as Goffs to me. These are brand new models to the range, and they’re quite a bit more detailed than the old plastics as tends to be the case. This has a double edged effect: on the one hand there are a lot of fun details to paint, on the other they took a bit longer than regular boyz to paint which is somewhat a negative when trying to get an army done!

I painted these much like the rest of the army, the exception being that there are no yellow metal plates, instead goffs adorn themselves with black painted armour, with patterns painted in white (checkered for the most part) and red.

The checkers were a little bit tedious to get clean, but a couple of passes seemed to do the trick. The other feature these models have that regular boyz do not is the animal pelts that cover their backs. I kept to the goff palette here and painted them red for the most part, with a reddish brown instead for the furs (I decided I didn’t want red fur).

Overall very fun to paint, it’s been nice to branch out into painting other clans!

From the Frozen Wastes of Icewind Dale

I’ve been running the Rime of the Frostmaiden Dungeons and Dragons campaign for my regular RPG group for quite a while now, and they’ve made a lot of progress, being somewhere close to resolving the main plot points. As I started seeing the campaign draw to a close, I had the compulsion to remember the player’s characters in the best way I know: build and paint miniatures for them!

Caught in a blizzard, the party is attacked by unseen foes…

The campaign being set in the far north during a magically enforced winter (2 years long already and still going!), I wanted to use appropriate miniatures (i.e. no loincloth only barbarians!). I wanted them to be wearing heavy winter coats, which I struggled to find in many miniatures ranges. In the end I remembered the Bretonnian men at arms kit from the old Warhammer Fantasy range which featured padded full length coats. I figured with a bit of fur sculpted on they would look great as fantasy cold weather gear.

I scrounged through my bitz box to find suitable weapons and heads for each of the party members, and after some chopping of pieces and my first real attempt at sculpting fur ended up with models I was very happy with.

For the painting, I really wanted to continue the cold theme, so I mixed Vallejo Dark Sea blue in the shadows of every paint I used on the models. I did the same for highlights using Vallejo Ghost Grey. This was a bit of an experiment but I’m really happy with the outcome, to me the models look really unified, and more importantly, cold!

In no particular order we have:

This was a nice quick project (built the models yesterday, painted them today!), which provided a nice break from painting orks!

Boyz are back!

Good news on the injury front, I can see properly again! Over the last week my vision got much better to the point where I could paint miniatures again. I was so excited that I left my second terrain project half done and dived right back into the squad of Ork Boyz I was painting before my injury.

Not too much to talk about on the painting front, these were painted much as my original boyz squad was done. I have my recipe down for these Bad Moons and am sticking to it!

I’ve been able to see well enough to get back to work for a few weeks now, but mini painting still eluded me. Something about the close vision was hard for me, but that’s been slowly improving over time. With my return to the painting table my ork army challenge resumes, at the pace of one unit every two weeks.

I’ve written up some lists for a 2000 point army and there are a lot more models to paint before I reach that size. Slowly but surely I’ll get there!

Troops has been chosen again for the challenge’s next round and for me that means more boyz, but with a couple of twists this time. Happy to be painting miniatures again, and hope not to have to go through that ever again!

A 40k Table’s Worth of Terrain

I’ve had a bit of a setback with my painting: a week ago I tripped and fell face first onto a wooden barrel and fractured my eye socket which has had quite the impact on my ability to see properly as you might imagine. Time will tell if I need surgery to fix any lingering issues, but in the meantime precision painting is right out, which means the army challenge I’ve been doing is on pause until I can regain the ability to see properly. I’ve found myself with a week off work so I thought I’d focus on a less demanding painting project: terrain!

Bad Moon orks survey the battlefield atop imperial ruins

I had a fair amount of the previous generation of warhammer 40,000 terrain sets, the ruined imperial buildings that came out in the Cities of Death era, in my pile of long-neglected kits and this seemed to be a good time to put them together. No precision building required! I had in mind the following requirements: 1) the terrain needs to be playable (i.e. no crazy complex buildings with overhangs that make it hard to reach for models), 2) should support competitive play (most of my 40k playing friends are very into competitive play), 3) should be nice to look at!

Requirement 2 is the most demanding, but thankfully the current body behind the World Team Championships has a very clear document on how their tables are to be set up (check if you’re interested), and that seems to be the standard followed by events (locally anyway). I’m not a fan of the cardboard cutout-type terrain they use for these events, but I felt that the older 40k terrain kits would lend themselves pretty well to creating nice looking alternatives with close enough gameplay.

I picked one of the tables in the WTC PDF and went about recreating the pieces I would need:

  • 2 Large Buildings
  • 4 Smaller Buildings
  • 12 Containers
  • 2 Craters

For the large buildings I used the Shrine of the Aquila kit, and for the smaller buildings I used the old Imperial Sector kits. For the containers I used the containers I’d painted for This is Not a Test ( For the craters, I used the old GW craters.

Example Layout

I wanted to be able to use the terrain for less codified play too so I made sure to build and paint the 6 building sections in pairs so they could be combined into a bigger single building.

Large Building
Smaller Building 1
Smaller Building 2

The buildings were painted very simply in three steps:

  1. Undercoat with coloured spray can (I chose three light colours at the hardware store, each building got a different colour inside and out)
  2. Sponge some rusted chips (I used some acrylic burnt umber and old case foam)
  3. Rust wash (I diluted some acrylic raw umber with water and dish soap, then covered all the buildings in it)

I’m very happy with how that rust wash settled and dried, that was a bit of an experiment but came out very good I think.

I want to go back over these at some stage in the future and paint in some of the more detailed areas (a lot of skulls for example!) but this will have to wait for the old eyesight to come back. For now they have a nice industrial or ship-like look to them that I don’t mind


The craters were simply done with a series of successively lighter drybrushes using Raw and Burnt Umber, Yellow Ocher, and White.

Overall a nice project to keep me busy this week, I think my eyesight is getting better (I’ve been able to type this post with not too much difficulty!) but it’s slow going so I may not be painting regular miniatures for a little bit. On the plus side I have a lot of terrain in dire need of paint, so that may just be my focus over the coming weeks.

2nd ed. Grots!

Here’s a blast from the past! For this round of the challenge we went back to troops, and I had the perfect unit lined up for the occasion: 20 gretchin from the second edition of Warhammer 40,000. These have been lying around boxes of ork bits as bare plastic for a very long time indeed!

How many times can you paint the same face without going mad?!

Painting 20 of the exact same model is a bit mind numbing but I do find it easier than painting 20 models that are all similar but not quite the same. At least in the same model case you can just get in a rhythm and you’ll find the same bits in the same place each time. Pick a colour and get through it!

These are really characterful models and were also fun to paint because of that. I tried to simplify the paintjob on some of the areas of the model to speed up the process, but I found I was having enough fun that I did quite a few stages on some areas. The skin is the same four green stages I do on the orks, only lacking the red wash I give the orks on their lips and around the eyes. For some reason these models felt they should stay all green!

From the back you can see the one real shortcut I took: their tunics. These were done with a single coat of GW’s Snakebite Leather over the Vallejo Dunkelgelb undercoat. I think that worked out ok. Juxtaposed with the more worked-on areas it looks less lazy than it might otherwise.

Overall a very fun round of the challenge, and I still have just under a week till the next round to fill with some other project. I have some more Riders of Rohan on the go, so they might get finished in that time, we’ll see!