Thursday, 20 April 2017

Ballads of War 1x24 & 1x25

We have officially gone through half of Volume 1 now. Confetti!!



Well, OK, I'm no Bernini, sure, but the entrance to the sepulchre does its part. I have later regretted the aspect of it many times, but didn't want to redo the page. I wanted to represent a 'classic' Imperial monument from the early Emperor times, so nothing gothic or too shabby/square, but more delicate, in a Renaissance way. I don't know. Now I don't see it as such a good idea. I think it needs to be much more massive/impressive (you'll eventually know why, hehe) and in a totally different architectural concept. Anyway, this is how I drew it and so it stays!

 But the real news here is that we're gonna have some greenskins soon! This is getting entangled...

For previous pages, please be served HERE.

More doodles anytime soon!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Descent on a budget: Cardinal Koth

The Easter break has been productive family-wise talking, but not that much in painting terms, hehe. However, I have managed to add a new character to the Descent project. Today it's turn for Cardinal Koth.
Not much is said of him in the Adventurer's booklet. The heroes must aid him when the baddies assault the cathedral he's in. He bears the 'Staff of Light'... and that's pretty much all we get to know!

The mini of choice was this one:

Yesss, I'm a certified Cardinal, don't disstrust tentaclesss, ïa, ïa!
The robes and the stuff were of course critical, but he seriously needed a head swap. OK, OK, nowhere in the booklet it's written that the Cardinal has to be human, point taken. Anyway, I think it would be better. Ahem.
I used the discarded head in Sir Alric Farrow mini. Only a beard had to be added to disguise the part where the tentacles were, as well as a skullcap, to reinforce the ecclesiastic look.

Not sure if I got a Cardinal or a Rabbi
Easy paintjob, I chose white for the robes and red for the lining, nothing too complicated.

Eat this, Gandalf, this is a staff of light!
Quite simple and time-efficient, so I couldn't ask for more. He makes just a quick appearance in the game, but I pretend it to be suitably 3D, not with a card token :D

Well, little by little, this project is taking shape, we already have a few minis! Phew, now for more stuff!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Ballads of War 1x22 & 1x23

More tons of text as promised!



I had clear in my mind from the beginning that I didnt't want just a pew pew comic strip. I wanted some more depth. You noticed it last week with the Eldar myth, and you can see it again with all this Eldar lore in a nutshell. Once again it was part of the 'must know' to fully understand the whole story without the reader having to consult other sources. Now we know of the Eldar diaspora and the Harlequin's role in the big scheme. That would prove useful when different Eldar factions made their appearance in the future (spoiler alert: unfortunately that was never achieved, sigh).
You can also get a glimpse of my own interpretation of a Craftworld (we'll get more of that in the future), the Eye of Terror and even why the Slaanesh symbol looks like that. The constellation nonsense was just a dumb idea I got out from nowhere, but I found it fun, and was quite visual too, so... there it stayed :)

The second page takes us directly into action. We see our people finally descending on the surface of Itabirion and getting into the place where we wanted to go from the beginning.
Once again you can see my obsession with stupid details, such as the twins having to adapt to gravity and atmosphere (why is this subject always avoided in movies? All planets are exactly the same, with millimetric precision! No matter if it's Star Wars, Star Trek or whatever, they all can harbour life in the very same conditions. Boooring). I also planned to talk about vaccination and other stuff, but the story asked for some action.
You can also see my footnote system. Unusual for comic language, but useful for my purposes. I really wanted to implement the Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell novel footnote system (what, you haven't read it? Go now!!), with such a delightful metanarrative process. I had some ideas of inner stories within the story that would have given some strenght to the narration. I think you'll have the chance of seeing maybe one or two.

This is it for today. More adventures anytime soon. Cannot tell you what's going to happen, but I can give you a hint. If you are familiar with storytelling expressions, I'll just say that I don't have a Chekhov's gun... I've replaced it by a Harlequin's Kiss ;)

Ahhh, the mistery... :D

All the previous stuff... you know, HERE.

Monday, 10 April 2017

More Victorian Gothic (with 60% less of horror)

You may remember the Victorian Gothic Horror minis I painted for a friend as a replace for his Fury of Dracula game a few weeks ago. Well, after some productive discussion about the bases, we decided they needed some additional work, as they had too much colour. I came with the idea of some kind of Victorian-like trimming, which still allowed to see the colour but made the bases quite more discreet. So this was the result:

It takes some time and it's sanity points consuming, but catches the vibe
But what's the reason behind this colour obsession? Easy, so my pal can also use them for the A Study in Emerald game, in which the agents are colour designated. But that game has some characters of its own. Using the same West Wind Productions Empire of the Dead minis (and the same approach), this is what I can show you. First of all, elementarily, Sherlock Holmes:

In the most Basil Rathbone tradition
But what is Holmes without Watson?

Trust me, I'm a doctor
For Moriarty, my pal and I both agreed that we wanted something different, something more lighthearted among all this grimdarkness. That's because we both had this in mind:

IMDb reference, just in case (seriously?)
Well. One thing I discovered is that light lilac doesn't work for a suit, no matter what you do. So I dressed him up all in cream/white, and added some purple touches to stick to the original source:

Only the bold and the brave dare to dress like this in Victorian London
We also have another two agents. With no special idea in mind (i.e., not thinking of particular characters), I simply painted them in what I thought would look in place for the ambientation:

Best tweed vest in the market
He only needs a pocket watch to be 10 out of 10

Here you have them all:

We can also play Ludo

There's only one piece missing now in this dual-purpose project, the vampire himself for the Fury of Dracula game. I've already placed an order to Otherworld, so I'll let you know when he arrives.
Project nearly finished!

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Ballads of War 1x20 & 1x21

New pages today. Something... different.



This is both a transition scene and a walk through the Harlequin's personality (as well as a kind of look into Eldar culture). The whole myth the Harlequin tells is my invention, nothing official (don't go try to find it in any Codex!). I wanted to use a reference to the Tears of Isha and came with this story, mixing it up with the origin of the rainbow and the hopes of Eldar. I don't know, it all sounded Elvish enough in my mind, and the Harlequin needed something in this fashion so the reader didn't get the impression of him being 'generic character #4'.

It works the same for the Solitaire. He is supposed to be the quiet character, but I didn't want to make a gag of him, a Silent Bob cliche. He for sure can speak, but certainly chooses to do not so, unless he has something ugly to say. This was also the chance to make you know that being addressed by a Solitaire means bad luck (this is indeed official fluff).

About the second page, just a quick reminder that the Imperial authorities are on the chase! The touch about the navigator being inexperienced was something I specifically wanted to make into the story. I'm so sick of the good guys being just outstanding in everything they do. It happens all the time, everywhere. This group is not about that. They have limited resources and make mistakes. I of course have to stick to many narrative conventions (which aren't bad by themselves, in fact they are necessary sometimes), but I like to do different things from time to time.

Well, this is it for now. Get ready for more unconventional stuff soon ;)

As always, the story so far can be found HERE. :)

Monday, 3 April 2017

Descent on a budget: Lady Eliza Farrow

The crazy thing of being involved in several projects at a time is that you hardly see real progress on any of them. However, I still find it stimulating. I mean, that's for now. One day I'll wake up and decide to fully commit myself to a single thing until I got it finished. But until that day arrives, I'm coming back to Descent. Today, Lady Eliza Farrow.
All we get to know about her is that she's a fancy vampire lady, so the mini of choice was this one:

Yup. An almost naked lady vampire. Right from a 70's movie
As we didn't really need Vampirella to steal the show, I thought of a closer approach to the original illustration, i.e., a highborn looking lady with a taste for death. Or undeath. Whatever.

I made the dress with greenstuff and redid the cloak. I also thought that the orb in her hand could be repurposed. I cut it in two and made a goblet out of it:

There was a lot of flesh to dress!
Ony after I had finished her I realized with horror that I had painted a vampire Elsa (ouch!)

Snow! We need more snow!
Sorry, but we are sticking to what it's been made, no repainting for now. I guess she can be used for Frostgrave or something too... :D

Friday, 31 March 2017

Ballads of War 1x18 & 1x19

Here I am again, with some more 40K old doodles. I'm a little late on my regular updating schedule, but on my discharge I'll say that this time I had a lot more of text to translate!
I thought I should keep it anyway and offer you a couple of pages at a time, I think it's more rewarding to read. But let me know your thoughts, if you prefer this rate or just releasing the pages as I have them ready.

OK, let's go!


Well, now the plot is really revealed, so the reader gets a better glimpse of the full story so far and how this unlikely bunch of people got stuck together in a space blender (and what is supposed to be expected of them!)

The Great Harlequin steals all the show here. I firstly thought to make him way more 'extreme', more like a histrionic ator stuck in his role. After all, Eldar follow the Path of their election (Path of the Warrior, Path of the Seer, Path of the Scout, Path of the Artist, Path of the Baker, whatever) until they become simply outstanding at it and reach perfection, so they profession is their lifestyle more than a job career.
But remember, remember, it was 2005 (maybe early 2006 by then). The character I was envisioning already existed, and was the leading role in V for Vendetta. Ouch. The comic version had settled, of course, but the movie was totally fresh at the time. I simply couldn't bring just the same character into the comic, an over the top crazy bloke wearing a mask, speaking in verses and all that. A pity, I would have loved to have such a character here.
Anyway, I made him much more sober and weary, with some occasional emotional outburst. After all, Eldar feel much, much more deeply than humans, so their emotions are way more extreme or pure, sometimes uncontrollable.
About the outfit, at the time GW had abandoned the Harlequins ranges, so the only references were from the late '80s and they weren't to succeed, I'm afraid; too extreme. I simply reimagined/updated the appearance and went for the white armour, the sash, etc. Venetian masks were of course my main reference, and I in fact had a few sketches with dozens of ideas for masks, for the moment when we were to see more of the Harelequin's troupe. Never got them to the actual thing, sadly, but I even had designed a full scene in which the troupe played a full performance of Eldar myths. I didn't want to overdo the mask, so the thin gold trimming or the shells were simple concepts to attach to, and I think they worked fine.

About the last couple of panels in the second page, I wast just delving into Warhammer 40,000 fluff. That's the thing I talked about last week; the veterans will get the references and secretly giggle at them, and the newcomer won't be bothered by them and will (hopefully) get itchy to know more of this all.

Well, this is it for today, I'll go get some more stuff as soon as I can!

You know, previous pages HERE, as usual.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Variety is the spice

I've begun a new stage in the Twilight project. Though I still have a couple of big beasts of burden to paint, I wanted to do something different for a change. That's why I chose some anthropomorphic creatures. Three quite different ones, I must add. Let's start with the Fubarnii falconer:

Epic colour-burning pic. Ouch
It was the first mini of this batch I decided to paint as it immediately caught my eye. Ain't it beauty? The mere concept of the falconer is cool by itself, but the sculpt is also full of tiny details. The way the clothes are presented, its lace, its trimming... They all speak of a delicate, high-born person with a respected profession within the Fubarnii society.

I'm afraid those aren't Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. But could be
Quite a contrast with the next one, in which I found very different lines:

A travelled fluoride green lizard
Gil Marsharl, travelling biologist, was the exclusive miniature from the first Twilight KS. A totally different mini, yet full of character and tiny details. Once again I went through the flamboyant approach...
If he gets lost in the woods it would be easier to find
 So OK, a falconer and a biologist. What next?
Some action, a Casanii leader, Telani Deyath:

With his loyal Yellowscales
The Casanii have a distinctive look within the World of Twilight ranges. They have a strong African vibe (at least for me!!) I'd love to take further and develop. Though I went Oriental with Loranti Pargal, minis like this one are asking for something in this fashion (which is great, as I hope it will let me try colourful patterns!)

Yet more to come!!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Ballads of War 1x16 & 1x17

The story keeps on moving. Two quite different pages today.

 

 Now after the chase we need the dust to settle and... what's that? New characters? A new secondary plot? Oh my! Who... who may that one be? Is he wearing... a power armour? If so, it looks like an old model... Hmmm. He's secretive, he has a deep, powerful voice (that's what the reverse coloured letters try to represent!), wears a daaaark armour... You got a clue of who he may be? ;)
He's currently getting a lot of attention in the new fluff books, but a dozen years ago he was kind of a forgotten character with a lot of potential. I'll talk more about him when we get to spot him again...

About the second page, I felt I had to explain some WH40K concepts to anyone approaching this universe for the first time. As a storyteller using someone else's stuff, I thought I couldn't give for granted that everyone had read 40K stuff before.
I gave this a deep thought. You can firstly assume that people showing interest in this comic have already for sure heard of this universe, and that I could move faster not having to explain certain things.
But on the other hand, I think it's storytelling 101, you have to produce a complete system. Anyone coming to this piece of work for the first time really deserve to understand everything without making them look for external references to get the basic stuff. You can have a look at WH40K novels, rulebooks, codexes or whatever, and you'll get a deep insight of this universe, but I shouldn't force you to do so in order to simply understand what's happening here.

So here's one (another!) of the challenges I wanted to face as a storyteller, to develop a comic that was enjoyable both for the novice and the expert. The newcomer would get a glimpse of WH40K and (if I do it right) understand everything, and the veteran would rejoice in the details and inside references. We'll have plenty of that in the following pages!
Stay tuned!

All the prevoius stuff can be found HERE. ;)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Oldnithopter!

My to do list is simply overwhelming. I hope I'm not alone and this is the story of many of you too. In fact I have come to consider the lead mountain as a must for any self respected geek like us :D
Yeah, I know, I'm still trying to convince myself of that :D

Anyway. Many moons ago, drooling over pics of the Bring Out Your Lead 2016 event I spotted a sweet piece of art. There are many places where to know about BOYL, the Oldhammer Forum being the most obvious one, but I'm giving you this link too as it's where I saw what I am going to talk about right now.

I saw what appeared to be an Ornithopter of unknown origins. What was that, was it scratch, was it manufactured? I wanted one! A few weeks later I happily discovered that mighty Curtis, the mastermind behind Ramshackle Games, was the one to produce it, though at the moment it still was a prototype. Being such a gentleman as he is, Curtis offered me the chance of getting a model, bearing in mind that it still wasn't the definite product and that I may need to do some additional work about the wings. He made it all as easy as anyone could imagine and I finally got a gorgeous Ornithopter. Thank you, Curtis!!
I've recently learnt that the master is from Scalene's talented hands! My bad, I missed that info last summer! Please check his blog!

But you know how things happen. The lead mountain, RealLifetm, lots of stuff to be done... Ahhh, it hasn't been until now that I'm ready to show what I've been able to do with the model!

Time for a pic!
Well, OK, step by step. Assembling the kit was easier than expected (when I first saw all the pieces I gasped in shock!). Pretty intuitive, trust me. I left the wings aside for the moment and, focusing on the hull, I primed it all white and begun to explore this path:

Looks like a weird insectoid space ambulance!
I wanted it to be light coloured, nothing too dark. It deserved to be eye-catching. However, white was... well, too much. After considering creams/greys/beiges, I stuck to the original white idea, but with a heavy weathering work. Making it look gritty and dirty would speak by itself about the Ornithopter's own story. It would give it its own personality and would of course say Rogue Trader like no other colour or effect could achieve.

Now we are talking
I love how it looks. I loved it even in this state, without wings. The lines, the whole concept screams Old School. I think it's pointless to add anything else. You love it or don't.

The wings proved themselves tricky indeed. They need some kind of frame, as the acetate won't stay stiff and the wings would look weirdly sad, falling at both sides :P
All my experiments using wire failed miserably. Either I didn't get the acetate glued properly to the wire or couldn't get any of the structures I built for the wings support their own weight, as the contact surface with the hull itself was way too small. Drilling the resin piece looked dangerous to me, at the risk of totally breaking it.
I then came with an unexpected solution. I had been obsessed with a minimalist approach, using wire so the eye couldn't see any frame at tabletop distance. But for once... more is more! I changed my mind and produced frames made of thin BBQ sticks. Once painted black and glued under the wings, they were hard to see (they are obviously visible, but it's enough at tabletop distance). The frames were solid, no glue issues with the acetate and they were easier to glue to the hull too, using a couple of glueing points for each wing.

A compromise solution between the desirable and my skills
I had to discard any magnet approach for storaging purposes (as I originally had in mind) but in the end I think it all works reasonably enough.

A suitable tiny vessel for the modern gentleman
She can adapt to your needings and carry whatever you have in mind
The most versatile VTOL ship in the market
Go get yours!
No much else I can say. I think it is a beautiful oldschool concept and a more than nice model. It isn't on general release yet, but when it comes available you should keep an eye on this beauty. Our boards need to populate with those dragonfly wings!!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Ballads of War 1x14 & 1x15

You wouldn't believe it, but... yet one more character joins the group!


This is but an action boost leading to the conclusion of the urban plot. So all this until now has served the purpose of introducing the main characters as well as a lot of supporting roles, which will find themselves intertwined in the pages to come.
We have learned that everyone here seems to be quite dangerous and that no one seems to be as plain as suspected at first sight. We have met the core characters (for now) so it is time to slow down a little, let them interact with each other and let the reader get used to them and the story thas is meant to be told here. Some of the supporting characters were not to be fully developed until the second or third volume of the series, but they needed at least to be introduced, so I could come back to them in due time.

Along the years I've sometimes regretted the fact of not having shown more of the hive, more urban stuff and get more 40K-ish in a Necromundan sense of the term. But hey, what's done it's done. The main story was never thought to be told in that way, so the city has served its purpose.

This is it for now. Keep in mind that now the story begins!

You can keep track of the previous pages HERE.

I hope I'm keeping you entertained!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Descent on a budget. Belthir & Sir Palamon

Two merry fellows join us today in our journey into expanding Descent with Reaper minis.

The creature known as Belthir apparently is a hybrid dragon, whatever that is. The obvious mini for that is this Gargoyle:

HeroQuest Gargoyle's cousin
I wasn't able to replicate the Pterodactyl-like jaws we can see in the official illustration, but this cow mouth is even more terrifying!

Look at me! I'm a winged Ninja Turtle!
Sculpting the armour was worse than the the face, but in the end the paintjob helped to cover it all up.

Moo moo
Well, it looks different from the starting point and I think it's a decent mock up for the original mini.

I've managed to get a second one done. Sir Palamon is not one of the evil Lieutenants. On the contrary, he's a special character the adventurers eventually meet in one scenario. The only things we get to know of him from the Quest Book is that he's an aged warrior bearing a sword. This mini suits perfectly what we were needing, as the conversion work would be minimal:

Over the top full armour, a war hammer... Sorry, GW, Reaper invented the Sigmarines before you did
 As said, the conversion was only about the arm and weapon:

I really had a stash of those curvy swords
The armour style was asking for a non-historical like paintjob, but something more in the videogame fashion, so this is what I tried:

The book is for those boring moments between battles
The progress may be slow, but trust me, it's unstoppable! We'll need to revisit Descent as soon as all the minis are finished!

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Ballads of War 1x12 & 1x13

Another couple of pages more, where we see Brent solving their way out...



This gives us a more deep insight of the character, who won't hesitate to ruthlessly kill anyone if he's in danger. It can be somehow shocking to see the 'good guy' in that position, I know. When some debate came last year about a similar event in the Rogue One movie (I bet you know what I mean) I kinda felt vindicated. "Hey, I've been there, I faced that conundrum about my character and took the same solution". Well, it can be legitimately disputed, but I guess it's pointless at this moment.

About the second page... If I ever dare to write/draw a remake of the comic (which is as much tempting as it is overwhelming), I'm sorry... the space blender is so staying! :D
It may not be as classy and iconic as the Millenium Falcon or the Serenity, I give you that, but I guarantee you it's a fine ship :P
But hmmm... there's something going on regarding the Eldar and Vix. Apparently it must wait for another better time, we're still on the run!

I'll be scanning and translating more pages soon. For now, HERE you have the previous ones.
As always, comments and suggestions are welcome (even about spaceship design! :P)

Monday, 6 March 2017

Victorian Gothic (tasteful) Horror

You wouldn't expect me to keep focused, would you? :D

After the events told in the Fury of Dracula game, I got an unexpected call. A friend got the game, but was interested in having the minis replaced by proper metal models, not the plastic ones. He's a real oldscholar, touching plastic models is like caressing snakes to him, he simply can't stand it :D

So he got some 'Empire of the Dead' by West Wind Productions minis and I was happily commissioned to paint them :). He had some pretty clear ideas, so it was really easy to get involved. We went deep into the Coppola's film and got an eye into the movie's props and costumes.


Well, you get the point. It was just a matter of finding suitable minis. We got to this conclusion:

Daring Mina Harker
Arthur Holmwoold, Lord Godalming
Quincey P. Morris to be used instead of Dr. John Seward
And of course the badass version of  Prof. Van Helsing
Hunters assembled
A couple of things need to be clarified. Count Dracula is still pending, we're aiming for the Otherworld vampire; as soon as I get my hands on the mini, he'll make into the lot. On the other hand, you may have noticed the colour on the bases. It has an explanation, my friend is also using the models for the 'A Study in Emerald' game. I haven't tried it, but looks interesting by what I've read. That will require some more minis, but they will come too... ;)
A true diversification in my production! More to come!