Thursday, 30 July 2015

Colony 87

It's not that common that a crowdfunding project ends with the delivery of the goods when they are supposed to be delivered and with the final product being what was really promised, if not even better. Well, this was the case of the Colony 87 Kickstarter campaign!

Axiom form Magpie and Old Lead (why the frak aren't you following that blog? It has some unnaturally good stuff!) is the mastermind behind this gorgeous project. The lack of sci-fi unarmed civilians was something really annoying, and many people were asking around the forums for suppliers or good ideas for conversions. Well, Axiom was the hero of the day, he just took the responsibility of actually doing something about it!

Let me show the six models from his first quite successful campaign.

First of all, Lord Manduc Greiss:

In his perfect Lobster Uniform
I really love the charm of this one. Not overdone at all and yet with all the attitude you could expect from a planetary Governor or high nobility of the Imperium. Ideas of scenarios using this mini just come to mind naturally. I bet the Arbites are gonna have some interesting times trying to protect the big fish...

His consort, Lady Greiss, was quite a challenge. My first idea was going into a dark palette, full of purple and black. But I changed my mind in the last minute, as I thought that her bodysuit was asking for a lighter palette. Then, the combination colour for that would be red, mating Lord Greiss own palette.

However, the results were disappointing. I didn't like where I was going to...

She was looking too Adepta Sororita
Sooo, back to the original idea...

Now she looks properly dark, gloomy... Imperial
She had to look distant, cold; I thought that was going to work better here. Well, she looks imposing and the perfect match for Lord Greiss...

Next one, Wandering Alexei, space pilgrim:

Raggedy pilgrim
This sculpt is sweet. Simple but charming. Though being in green, I believe the tunic kinda resembles an Adeptus Mechanicus vibe. Hmm, there may be a nice background there to be exploited...

Next one is Barcoon Krobosh, emmissary of the Amphirans:

Alien colour combination. Fashionnable among the Amphirans this season
It looks like some kind of diplomatic merchant to me, ready to trade alien goods to anyone who dares to interact with xenos. Some kind of alien Rogue Trader or its equivalent. So it had to look opulent, not just wearing some space fatigues. That drove me to paint some trimming on the cape:
Travelling cape. I believe I could have added more colour
I can perfectly imagine him with his Piscean escort (wink, wink), so maybe this is just the beginning oa warband of his own!
Ahem, but for the moment, let's go on with these. Kay Dee, the porter, is an inspired design:
No, it's not a life vest
I had never thought of a porter, and the idea is great. That's the kind of variety in characters that made me jump into this kickstarter, the stuff that really adds life to your table.

But of course he is the porter to someone, in this case Pash Grolin, wandering merchant. I personally love this model, it's pure Blanchitsu. I begun to paint the vest in blue, I thought it could work. But as soon as I applied the first brush stroke I totally regretted. What was I doing? Blue? Seriously? I couldn't use blue on a such a Blanchesque mini! :D

Red. It had to be red, of course
 Ahh, much better :P

The whole group looks this way:

What a band of such different guys. What's not to love?
 I'm really satisfied with this kickstarter. The minis are quite impressive, both in design and good casting quality, and all the campaign run really smooth. Whenever a wave 2 of Colony 87 is released, I'm falling for it again!

Monday, 27 July 2015

When wars lay asleep

Another twist in the events! :D

This is most probably the least 'old school' project ever shown here, if just for the technique :P
But being old school is not restraining oneself to techniques, being tied to procedures or getting stuck in the stone age; as much wiser people than I have philosophed, the 'oldschool' attitude is an ethos, a way of understanding things and, on that behalf, it doesn't matter I am painting old Grenadier or Citadel minis or, as today, I exercise myself on drawing using Photoshop.

Let's begin. My friend just wrote a novel. Sci-fi with some touches of classic introspection on moral issues, i.e., not just a space opera, but something more in the taste of classic sci-fi. He asked me to design the cover, as he is self-editing the book and an illustration could be provided if you wanted to avoid a generic heartless illustration from some outsider.

(Of course that outsider would be a professional illustrator who would achieve a much finer piece than I could ever dream, but woah, I was just adding a little drama to the situation!)

So, first element would be... space. Pitch black space seeded with stars. I stole a pic from the internet, as well as a pic of Earth to represent the planet in the novel. Pasted the two of them and then it came to the artistic part. The planet was to be defended with ring-shaped space stations. Drew (and copy-pasted) this:

Based on a ball bearing :D
My friend asked for four rings instead of three. I added another one then and begun to add stuff, sort of Death Star imaginery, with docks, cranes, guns and anything that would add texture.

Looks crowdy
There's no point in telling otherwise, achieving just this stuff took me weeks and endless weeks. That's the stuff with learning! But what came later was a much slower process. A space ship was to be added (to give balance to the composition).
Concept Ships is of course the place to go for inspiration. I can spend hours and hours drooling over the talent of people. And I can spend months trying to get this:

I mean it. Months. Sigh
I added some kind of drop pods being shot and then commited the challenge of the central figure. I stole a pic from the net, converted it into a silhouette and used it for human proportions reference:

Yup, I know. Real illustrators don't need this trick. Duly noted
The body armour was a mix of a shameless collage and puny attempts of drawing by myself. Weeks (and weeks) later, I came with a version that my friend considered satisfactory:

I confess, those are Robocop's legs. Guilty as charged, officer
The inspiration for the weapon was a HK G36, but I hope no one would say so when seeing this:

Admiring the vacuity of the vacuum
So that pic was what I finally delivered to my friend. I know, there are thousands of mistakes. Proportions, angles, textures, lights, shadows. And thousands more I am not even aware of! But this being my first major attempt apart from the illustrations I made during my basic photoshop course last year, I can declare myself happy with the outcome.

The guys from the editorial (though being a 'self-edition' there are a number of professionals behind all this, of course) didn't think the same, for sure (once again I'm being polite). But as this was what the author of the novel provided them, they had to take it. This is the final cover for the product:

Light and ray effects added for dramatic purposes
I'm afraid it's only in Spanish for now, but if you dare to practice the language, you can find the Ebook version at El Corte Inglés and La Casa del Libro.

Any professional illustrator (and most of the amateur ones) would be right to laugh and point all the obvious, absurd mistakes I made. But don't worry, this is just the first one. When I've done about two thousand illustrations for sure I'll be improving! So I guess I have some homework to do...

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Relic Knights (Pt.4, big mech)

The almost-final step for this project ;)

The Relic Knight who commands the cadre is in this case Princess Malya. If you remember, I used a metal version of her last week on a bike. I used the regular mini provided with the kit for this one.

Princess Malya on her Mech and with her familiar, the Bunny of Doom (whatever its name is)
Layers and layers of white, just the same I did with all the others. Fortunately, the pieces fit in perfectly, so it was quite easy to assemble. The mech itself is nice, quite anime style, very different to my usual stuff.

Autobots, roll out!
Here you have a close up of the familiar, the unsettling rabbit high on meth.

You all are gonna diiieeee
Time of having a family pic:

No place for boys here
I could discuss about the inherent sexism in wargaming in general, anime in general and this game in particular, but I guess that could take a while ;). Enough to say that I find some of these minis appealing, but some others' aesthetics don't really catch my eye.

Anyway, this is not all! I've made an exchange with mighty Keyan Sark, who also got another starter pack from a different faction. So we changed the repeated minis from our respective sets. I haven't begun them yet, but you'll see them eventually over here...

Monday, 20 July 2015

Ghost Doomrider

I was talking about bikes last week. White floating bikes. well, I'll be talking about bikes today too but... with a twist.

A friend of mine gave me away the Doomrider mini. Do you recall that one? The Slaaneshi biker:

Put that on a bike
Well, don't wanna hurt my pal's feelings, but in my opinion this happens to be one of the ugliest minis of all times. Never got the point of this one, to be honest. A kind of tribute to Ghost Rider, I guess, but in a power armour. I needed to do something about it. There are some cool conversions over the net, but what I really wanted was not to overdo the mini, but just the opposite, getting it back to the origins. If this was going to be Ghost Rider meets WH40K, well, let that happen...

Aaagh! My helmet! My maaaask!
First thing to do was removing that awful head. I didn't have a spare full-skull (only jawless skulls), but thanks to the magic of Oyumaru you can see I managed something. Of course the copy is quite rough, but I don't care, that will help when I begin to add flames.

I mean these flames
Of course the sword would have to go away too. I replaced it with an Ork chain from the bikerz set:

This guy is on fire!
So this was it! When approaching the paintjob itself, I also tried to stick to the Ghost Rider concept, i.e., using only black and metal, with a few concessions to other colours as the model required them (the brass on the bike and the glowing blue for the souls of the damned).

The casting for Mad Max is over here?
I think I should have removed more spikes and should have sculpted flames for the wheels. But for the moment it serves its purpose...

Born to be wiii-iiiiild!
Take that, Nicolas Cage!
Another standalone mini. I don't have a clue of what use I'm going to give this fellow, I guess I'll have to come up with some kind of scenario for him...

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Relic Knights (Pt. 3, girls & bikes)

A bunch of minis, today the true core of the Cerci Speed Circuit set. Some flying bikes!

But first, another unique character, called Rin Farrah:

That should be the one on the right
I experienced some trouble with this mini. First of all, you can see the problem with the sniper rifle. I tried to bend and reposition the barrel, but that is all I got :(
Besides, this girl is virtually faceless. Only the eyes were properly casted (well, its anime anyway, couldn't expect otherwise, hehehe), but the nose is barely hinted and the mouth is inexistent, I simply painted it where I supposed it would look nice. Hm.
On the other hand, the dog is really nice. In fact it's not her familiar (I believe), but another character's, the so-called Suicide Queen:

Hiya!
Once again, some problems. Don't get me wrong, the mini design is gorgeous. Both concept and design. Dynamic, challenging. I want to believe that the master sculpt is good, but the casted copy I got had several flaws. Not only the underdetailed face, but a big mess (like a huge mould line) all over the chest. Quite annoying, I must say.

Anyway, there are some more riders, Hell Belles:

Weeee
Slaanesh? Never heard of her, why? The electrowhip, you mean?
Oooonce again... The casts weren't the best, but at least decent. The issue here was that I had three bikes... but two bodies! The third one was incomplete, lacking the legs. Grrrrr....
Fortunately, the KS provided me a metal mini out of nowhere. I guess I did notice years ago, when I first got into the KS, but I currently have no memory at all. It's a metal copy of a character ('Princess Malya'), but I used it as another regular minion (sorry for the demotion!)

'Queen' sounding on the background 'I want to ride my bycicle, I want to ride my biiiike'
So well, I'm a little bit disappointed with this particular bunch. Quality is below my expectations, and I cannot but feel that I put my money for a product that had suffered delays beyond any reasonable limit... to just get this. Not cool, bro, not cool at all.

Well, I just have one kit left to finish the starter pack, Princess Malya on her big mech. But once again I'll take a break. Well, kind of it. I'm currently working on another different piece at the same time and it will be ready during the weekend, I hope. Won't spoil the surprise, but I'll say it's another different kind of bike...

Soon!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Another kind of robot

An impasse from the Relic Knights stuff, but I'm bringing another robot, only that... different. A proper OldSchool robot ;)

Ahhh, Oldskool goodies...
That's it, an old Crusader Robot. I'm afraid I didn't keep the upper weapon, so I had to improvise using some weird bits...

Oversized, you say? Naaah, this is Warhammer :D
Honestly, I still have no idea of what use I'm gonna find for this one. I currently have no plans of starting a Mechanicus Army (though I find the new minis unsettingly appealing...). Anyway, I just painted it red, it felt... natural.

Beautiful in all its uglyness
I could use it as part of a Rogue Trader detachment, I guess (I must confess I don't have a Rogue Trader nor an escort, can you believe that? Shame on me!). In any case, if I ever embark myself on an Adeptus Mechanicus adventure, I can reuse this one just as it is ;)

The red mantis
The lame intent on painting compound eyes failed miserably, but I think the idea is interesting, so I'll keep trying on future minis. A scale comparison pic:

Red Era. Red Era everywhere.
So well, just a standalone mini (for the moment), really enjoyable. Now to some more Relic Knights girls again...

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Relic Knights (Pt.2, More robots & more girls!)

More Relic Knights stuff today. Big robots! What's not to love about big robots?

Let me start with this KS exclusive couple, Betty & Lug:

Betty's the girl
I considered painting the big robot in yellow, as officially suggested, but I finally kept it into the white & orange palette and I think it works.

Kind of iRobot, one could say
Next one was a little bit tricky, the Royal Wrecker. This is what I got:

And not a single instructions sheet
I had to paint before mounting some of the stuff.

Hard time looking for shoes
After some trial & error (and about a thousand layers of white), I finally got this:

Without instructions, ha!
Looks dizzy, but the pilot is not drunk, I promise
I must say that mounting this one was a little challenge, but in the end it was easier than expected. Only minor issues with mould lines and no mess at all making pieces fit into each other.

More stuff coming soon. Though I maybe show another different piece before, I'm working on another different robot...

Stay tuned!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Relic Knights (Pt.1, robots & girls)

Long time ago (quite long!), even before I started this blog, I was feeling quite fed up of the modern Warhammer way. I had all kind of variants of Space Marines, Chaos Space Marines, overdozed grumpy Orks, oversized armies of the Imperial Guard... I was no more playing the latest versions of the game (I believe my last 'living edition' game was most probably 5th, which I played once or twice. I clearly was in need of a change. So then is more or less when I decided to turn back to the origins and how I remembered games to be fun. But most importantly, I needed to change subject, I needed just not to paint Space Marines for a while. I was looking for something totally different... and it appeared. My friend Rodrigo got me embarked into the Relic Knights kickstarter, my first KS at all.
OK, it looked nice. Manga style pin-ups and sci-fi robots and stuff. Why not? I put my money on those. After all, I'll have some different stuff to paint in just a few moths, what could possibly go wrong?

Ahem.

About more than two years later (!!!) I finally got the minis. Two. Years. We could debate now about the nature of KS projects and what can we expect from them, but I don't see the point right now. Enough to say that back in the day that was totally new to me and I thought it could be a nice change from the GW stuff I was used to.

Since then, a lot of things happened. I turned proper oldskool, I started a blog, I began to play hundreds of different wargames and specially boardgames... So the urge I felt then had totally disappeared by the time the Relic Knights minis finally arrived. They even don't look so appealing to me after all this story. Anyway, I've finally decided to get myself to work on them.

This skirmish game involves six different factions. I chose the Cerci Speed Circuit:

A change indeed from anything you've seen before on this blog
This faction is made up of people from a leisure planet full of gambling on racing tracks and any other vice you may imagine. So expect robots and hoverbikes.
First decision I made was that I was not going on the pink approach. No way. I thought of a multicoloured bunch of minis, splatting greens and yellows and blues. That could work, but then they all would look quite dissimilar. I tried a different idea, painting them all following a dominant white colour pattern, giving a sense of coherence to the cadre.

The first mini I painted was the Pacer, a minion bot:

Maybe my favourite mini from the starter pack
I have used the white and orange pattern before, maybe a couple of times, and I think it works fine. So the decision was made!

The cadre is set around a Relic Knight, with some Questing Knights, Unique units and Minions. Knights also are accompanied by a cypher, a familiar enhancing their powers. This is teh case of the next mini. Questing Knight Marie-Claude is obviously a tribute to cosplay model Marie-Claude Bourbonnais (How cool is to say that a company made your own mini?)

If you google her name you'll see the mini is not exaggerated at all
Finally, a couple of minions, pit crew, as racers need a good crew behind.

I'd like to see the size of the... The nuts they have to tighten with those wrenches. That's it.
Well, so you can see what is this all about... Manga pin-ups in a sci-fi setting. What I've shown above is among the best of the starter pack. I'm afraid that some of the minis are not top quality. There are some flat faces that make it difficult to paint any detail, for example. But anyway, there is no going back! I'll keep on updating these!


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Bullying the bull

OK. This one is going to need some extra explanation.

If you have ever visited Spain and made a road trip, you may had noticed there are some weird huge buul-shaped advertising posts. Yup, that's it.

I mean this. 14 m tall bull
Originally advertising for a brandy, nowadays they just stand with no ads. In fact, they were formally declared artistic heritage (hence the ads pulled out) and became a distinctive sign all over the country.

Then, after this weird localism, you may better understand how cool and irreverent this piece is:

Ooops. Seen better days
This piece comes from Surus Creations, a wonderful little company with a small (for now) range constantly expanding. Go pay them a visit, their originality just blew my mind! This being a friend's gift, I couldn't wait to paint it!

Moooost interesting
They are currently working on more post-apoc stuff, I believe something suitable for the Punkapocalyptic game (I backed their crowdfunding, really looking forward to see those minis, they look cool!).

Here you have a scale comparison pic:

Don't you feel a little bit... displaced, brother sergeant?
Terribly easy to paint, it's quite rewarding. So another piece of scenery! Let's see what comes next!