Monday, 28 January 2013

The Hounds of Ch'Ihll (shades)

These pathetic beasts, mockingly referred to as ‘the toothless wolves’, are the house retainers of the Ch'Ihll household in Naggarond. Upon entry to the service of the Ch'ihll's the enslaved elves are made into eunuchs and given a copper plate medallion, as was the tradition in the courts of old Nagarythe. The retainers duties include the upkeep of the Black estate, its fortress spires, citadels and multifarious workshops, shrines and minor holdings. However, the majority of these rangers will be used to hunt the beasts that inhabit the grounds.

Each hound will have a role to play within the hunting group. The berserker will distract the head of a beast and attack it front on. The berserker is usually drugged before battle subsequently caring nothing for their own survival. Indeed it is considered bad form if a berserker returns unharmed from a hunt, reasoning that the prey they sought was not fierce enough to warrant their attention. The leader will direct action, another armed with a shard- net and impaler will dance with the beast to ensnare it, all the while being harassed by a relentless torrent of poisoned crossbow bolts. Dogs often accompany these groups of rangers to track down prey and bring them down if they break and flee.

Barvek Varr has a stylised tattoo of a crown upon his head, a symbol of his former status as leader within the rangers. The self styled ‘king of dogs' went four seasons in the fighting pits undefeated with his dire wolf Charger. Varr earned such emmity amongst his own kin that the dire wolf was poisoned after a pit fight against his brother's pet monster. Varr has two pups in training; Flesh Tearer and Talon and hopes to breed a fiend fierce enough to rest control of the clan away from his brother once more.

Barvek Varr


Flesh Tearer and Talon

The inspiration behind these and my dark rider conversions came from the classic marauder Dark Elf scouts and artwork from the 4th edition army book. Unlike the very sleek shades, Dark Elf scouts had a much more feral look to them that I wanted to update. The Dark Eldar Hellion kit afforded me the perfect opportunity of creating feral elves earning a meagre living from the harsh, barren landscape of Naggarond. 

I painted the miniatures in dark earthy tones to contrast with the lustrous purple of my warriors. The weapons were painted with tiny chips covering their surface, a sign of misuse and ill discipline. I also managed to squeeze in a couple of the old marauder dogs into the pack to represent the smaller breed of dog used for hunting and pit fighting. These were dry brushed and washed to give a dirty and unkept look, fitting for such base born mongrels. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

With the torrential blizzards sweeping the nation, what else is there to do but stay inside...and make snow bases! I've troubled myself for years trying to come up with the perfect snow recipe, never quite achieving my desired effect. I'd gather examples from other painters, pictures and I even put my courage to the test and made a snow man. I came to the realisation that snow is just hard, fluffy water that melts as soon as it hits the ground (quite possibly the dumbest statement I have made as an adult). Snow has different textures, layers and opacity and I wished to capture some of this mutability of form with my own bases. 

The following article is a basic 'how to' of how I create my snow bases,  giving recipes for fresh, melting and light snow. 

What you will need

Bicarbonate of Soda
PVA Glue
An old paintbrush to stir and apply. 

  1. Prepare the miniatures base as normal (sand, paint, flock, static grass etc).
  2. Whether you want melted, melting or light snow fall, you will need to mix all three of the ingredients above together in a suitable container.
  3. The ratio of bicarbonate of soda, glue and water effect will determine the final outcome of the snow. For thick downfall of snow add more soda, for a melted look have more water effect and glue in the mixture. Here are my preferred recipies for snow:

Fresh Snow: Water Effect, Bicarbonate of Soda, PVA Glue: 20:70:10
Metlting Snow: Water Effect, Bicarbonate of Soda, PVA Glue: 40:55:5
Melted Snow: Water Effect, Bicarbonate of Soda, PVA Glue: 55:40:5

Once your preferred ratio has been mixed apply sparingly to the base of the miniature in places where you think snow would naturally fall. You could also dab some snow flecks onto the feet or cloaks of your miniature to add a sense of realism to the piece. 

Now apply a liberal sprinkling of bicarbonate of soda to the entirety of the base. This will dissolve into your mix and dust the base with an ad hock fall that is far more natural than can be achieved with an applicator alone. Leave for 24 hours. 

Once 24 Hours has passed, blow and tap the base of excess soda and voila! Snow bases. You can add layers of bicarbonate of soda to this where you believe snow should fall and seal with varnish. 

If you want a slightly more controlled method of applying snow to your base mix the initial solution like you would for fresh snow. Allow to dry overnight in your container. Then cut up the hardened snow with a pair of clippers or a knife and glue onto the base with PVA

Example of controlled snow technique:

I hope this helps and that you're all staying warm and having fun! 


Monday, 14 January 2013

New year, new toys - I'm still figuring out how to get the best pictures from my new camera. The above are my very frustrating results to produce a decent shot.

Dark Vengeance Ravenwing bikers painted for a commission. Models are awesome to paint and I decided to use super duper glowy effects people love to see. I painted these miniatures with mute, neutral tones to reflect their mode of ware fare and had the flashes of light for a little contrast.

All the best


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Hailing from one of the most affluent Dynasties in Naggaroth Cynath is one of the many illegitimate children sired by the Gorgon Queen and, until his disgrace, enjoyed every nightmarish depravity his name entitled him too. His father- sire remains a mystery even to the most gifted of intelligencers within the first city. Whether it be beast, mortal, or daemon, Cynath is burdened with the mantle of bastard and, according to the traditions of the Black House, may never be it's ruler. Young, capricious and vain, Cynath leads a private army of house soldiers at the head of his personal retinue of Cold One knights. 

Unable to take the mantle of Lord of the Black House, Cynath was marked for the life of an indolent Prince, taking whatever pleasures he could in what would be an inevitably short, violent life. One of the Black Prince's indiscretions earned him a temporary exile to the northern watch towers, a dead end for ambitious Druchii and quite often, a death sentence too. On one of the hunting trips that occupied his time in the northern way towers, Cynath discovered a golden mask fashioned in the rictus grin of a forgotten elven god. The mask spoke to Cynath and gave  allowed the Bastard Prince to dream the dreams of the dead god. 

Fuelled by hallucinations of a forgotten pantheon, Cynath lit the witch light of the towers and drove his host into the barren wastes. The host of the Bastard Prince now roams the Wastes, driven by mad visions of an alien deity. The penalty for this desertion is disgrace for the ruling house, but the Ch'Ihll dynasty is little affected by the actions of a bastard offspring. 


This miniature is a continual work in progress. From the moment I bought him nearly fifteen years ago Cynath has led my Dark Elf host through trial, disaster and victory! This is the latest incarnation, the fourth generation Black Prince whereas the third was one of my very first blog entries. From the miniature's original appearance I always imagined him to be somewhat of a libertine; a being of such high social standing and personal wealth that his blood runs blue. He had a strange mask and a wonderful scowl, perfect for a leader.  

The choice to re-mount Cynath and his retinue of knights came after reading the Malus Darkblade books. The I imagined the creatures described being bigger and more ferocious than horses, but the current Games Workshop miniatures are quite small in comparison. The issue came to a head when I found the Fenrisian wolves I used to mount my dark riders were bigger than my elite cavalry's mounts!

When I imagine Nauglir I see great big lumbering beasts, slow to accelerate, but incredibly quick when they hit top speed. Not to say obscenly violent once they have the taste of blood on thier tongue. I started playing the game when a Cold one knight's charge was second only to a choas knight's. The combination of fear and 2 attacks made these mounts apex predator, but have receded in light of the super heavy cavalry ogres can field, the dread of a juggernought surge and the super enchanted chaos chosen knights. Gav Thorpe wrote that Nauglir with two attacks were too good for the gaming environment of the time (the druchii nobles riding them wouldn't be too impressed being out matched in combat by their mounts). 

Although I moaned and yelled and threw my toys out of the pram I could understand his point. I hope with the changes seen in 8th we will be seeing Cold one knights as monstrous cavalry with their second attack and frenzy, returning them to the forefront of the most devastating cavalry unit in the Warhammer universe. Until that day, when I put my models on the table I want to feel the substantial weight of metal. I want to see the massive killing bulk of these cold blooded creatures as they streak forward into the heart of the enemy line. I remember being absolutely terrified of my friends chaos terminator's because they were big, bulky and darkly painted. Logically, I knew I could starcannon them to death (back in the good old days when Ulthwe seer council was king), but they were under my skin and disrupted my normal thought processes. I think there is a psychological advantage in having game zone predators for the same reason.

While envisioning what my perfect Druchii force would look like, it wasn't Jes Goodwin's tremendous sculpts that was at the spear tip of my force. The crown in the House of Ch'Ihll has always been its cold one knights, and for this I need Nauglir worthy to bear Cynath to battle.  

I know size isn't everything, but it certainly helps! For a more thorough reasoning I wrote an entry on Warseer describing my feelings.

P.S Sorry for the background of this photograph. I've lost my nice blue background and when I tried to print a new one it came out in this streaked purple. A propitious sign I thought, until I saw the lines marring the background.