It’s been a while

Vacation, it’s a bitch. Kids being home for 2 months apparently took quite a toll on the time that I should have been spending on important things like tiny toy soldiers. My wife obviously doesn’t agree. Something about priorities and all that.

So, 2 months of radio silence, for which I offer my apologies. I’ll try not to let it happen again. And convince my wife of the importance of blogging about war dollies.

That being said. WTC starts in exactly 1 week and I have been beavering away at the highest tempo I could maintain. The fact that I only knew 2 weeks ago what I had to paint and the fact that I am painting 4 armies (2 for myself in the solo masters, 2 for a friend in the WTC) and the heap of work I have in my daytime job (you know, that thing that allows me to buy war dollies) obviously doesn’t help either.

So in the end, it’s going to be a nailbiter. I’m pretty sure at this moment that there will be no way that I can get everything painted that is on those 4 lists. I’m just hoping that I can get the things on my mate’s lists (which are fixed because of WTC rules) ready and then I can always wing it even more in the solo masters myself. I wasn’t planning on winning any games anyway :)

That being said: pictures!

First up, a unit of vanilla Iron Fang pikemen. I already had a unit of Black dragons, but I needed a second one.

To go with the pikemen, I painted the elite Iron fangs, the illustrious Great Bears. They’re not what they used to be (in fact, they didn’t even make it in any of the final lists), but they were on the table for a while, so I painted them anyway.

On to the Merc solos. Whoever said merc solos were dead in Mk3 apparently wasn’t paying attention to Khador.

First up: Eyriss 1. I had 2 painted in Mk2, but since they nerfed all the usuefulness out of her and bunmped up her first incarnation so much, I had to paint the most awkward pose in the entire range.

Next is Kell Bailoch. No words needed. He is brilliant.

And finally, Alten Ashley. Together with Kell he is the mainstay of just about any sniper gunline. Add some widowmakers and maybe even a widowmaker marksman and you can do really nasty things to those enemy warbeasts.

So, short update. I need as much time behind my painting table as possible at the moment. I will keep you posted.


Bang bang!

Time for some more miniature madness.

First off, my excuses for the irregularity of my recent blogposts. WTC is coming up and I have had the megalomaniac idea of trying to enter 2 armies in the painting competition. One for the Solo masters (where I will be playing) and one for the WTC itself (my mate Christophe will be playing that one). We both play Khador, so that also ties in nicely with me trying to get my Khador backlog painted. This means I am frantically painting, so posting neat tutorials online takes a bit of a backseat at the moment.

Mk3 apparently means more 'jacks. So I thought I’d convert me some destroyers.

The first one was done in a running pose, firing his gun while dashing for cover. The burst is greenstuffed, all the rest is just the standard Khador heavy kit.

The second one is bracing for the recoil. I have to say, I start liking the Khador heavy plastic kit more and more. Apart from the sometimes abysmal casting quality and the fact that I keep getting mispacks, it is an incredibly fun kit to play with.

In the mean time, I painted up some rifle corps. Apparently, these are quite good in Mk3, so I moved them off of the shelf and on to my painting table. Not my best work by a long shot,  but that’s what you get when you’re on a deadline.

And as a little extra, I thought I’d throw in another juggernaut. Like I said, a lot of fun to play with. And yes, of course I had to do him in the classic superhero landing pose, as an hommage to Deadpool..

So, off to more painting. See you next time.

Stiff upper lip

You have no idea how hard it was to come up with a title for this blogpost that was not at least PG13.

Today, I’m focusing on Iron Fang Pikemen. With the new edition of Warmachine and Hordes, there has been a slight change in these. In Mk2, there was 1 unit type (iron fang pikemen), with 2 different options for a UA. the first was the "vanilla" commander and standard, the second was a "black dragon" commander and standard. Which meant that it didn’t matter what shields your models were holding, the standard bearer showed you which unit you were playing.

That changed in Mk3. Now, Black Dragons and Pikemen are different troop types, so every single model should be recognizable as such. Which is all a long story to tell you that I had to get going on painting an extra unit of Vanilla pikemen.

So that brings us to the essence of this post: bendy spears. They were terrible when PP used metal, they are equally bad now that they use this plastic resin that they seem to be so fond of for some reason.

The pikes are 2 mm in diameter. Which means that people usually do one of 2 things: Either they use a 2 mm brass rod (which is pretty horrible to work with. They arre hard to cut and it’s really hard to drill a 2 mm hole into the plastic without ruining a lot of the detail) or they use a 1 or 1,5 mm brass rod, which will end up looking too thin (and being bendy as well).

So, I went back to my love of all kinds of plastic tubes and found a plastic rod that has an outer diameter of 2 mm and an inner hole of 1 mm.

I first cut up the plastic tube into pieces that matched the grey pieces of the original poles, measuring from the beginning of the head (or pommel) to the hand of the model.

Then, I cut away the grey, bendy parts of the pole, as close to the hand, the pommel and the head of the pike as possible.

Then came the drilling. I drilled a 1 mm hole into the pike’s pommel and head and through the hand. When drilling through a hand, I always advice to start from 1 side, drill half-way through and then drill from the other side until both parts meet. That will prevent the hole coming out in the wrong place.

With all the holes drilled, I cut off a piece of 1 mm brass rod. And simply made kebabs with the pieces I had, glueing every bit in place as I slid it over the brass rod.

Some models are holding their pikes in a stabbing way, which means that a part of the pike will rest against the underarm of the model. Now, if you’re handy with a blade or with files, you can easily cut these parts away, but I always found that it is almost impossible to do this without ruining at least some parts of your miniature, so I found another method.

To start, I cut the pole off at the spot where the arm meets the pole. Then, I drill a 1 mm hole through the pole, like I did with the other hand.

Next, I take a 1,5 mm drill and use it to drill into the pole, up onto the hand, using the 1 mm hole I drilled earlier as a guide.

Then I do this again with a 2 mm drill. Be very careful here. There is little to no plastic left around the drill, so it’s pretty easy to injure yourself if you’re not being careful (I do advise you not to use a power drill for this, but I was a bit lazy).

To finish it off, use a knife to cut away the last bit of plastic that is left of the pole.

When you have done that, you will be left with a nice, round bedding that your plastic tube should fit in to.

The rest of the process is the same as before.

Which leaves us with a lot of pikes.

The standard was a bit easier. The pole for the flag is only 1,5 mm, so I just used a 1,5 mm brass rod for this.

And that leaves us with a finished unit of Pikemen, ready for the painting table.

And since I don’t want to leave you guys without a few pictures of painted miniatures: I finally completed my doom reavers last week.

That’s just 1 of the units, though. I initially bought 54 of these to make a mad dogs of war theme force, but then Mk3 hit and you can’t play these anymore. So I decided to "only" finish 30 of them (which is the maximum you can play at 75 points). I have no idea if I will ever get to play them all at once, but I couldn’t get myself to leave them half-finished on my painting table.

Till next time!


Lock 'n' Load Outpost Germany 2016

After a great first year last year, me and some mates immediately decided to go back to LnL Germany this year. With almost 200 people attending, this year was proving to be even better than last year, so we happily got in the car and went on a road trip.


This year saw the official launch of the 3rd edition of Warmachine and Hordes, a much anticipated event. With a carefully orchestrated ramp-up that would peak at the keynote, streamed live on sunday morning (more of which later). At least, that was the plan. As most of you will know, the leak that landed all the cards on the internet a couple of weeks before the big event meant that most people had the new cards with them on their phone, tablet or even printed out and put into neat little sleeves.

One of the Iron arena rooms

It led to a very strange vibe on the con, where the top tournaments were only half filled (because everybody would rather play Mk3 than yet another tournament in a dead edition). You can’t put your finger on everything that was wrong in Mk2 (by explaining in great depth in insiders how you changed these things) and still expect people to be enthusiastic about playing the old edition. The Iron arena on the other hand apparently was a strange mix of old and new, but jam packed for 3 days straight.

Although I understand the whole reasoning behind the saturday night (in Seatle) launch, I still can’t understand why they decided that was the best idea. People who were interested in competitive play were going to play the masters and the Iron Gauntlet no matter what. Now they forced more casual gamers to only be able to play Mk3 games on the saturday. In some way, I think the spoiling of the cards has saved the con for a lot of folks (a friend of mine was actually contemplating going to see the town on saturday, because he wasn’t interested in Mk2 anymore and couldn’t be bothered to play with a PDF from a phone).

Painting and Modeling workshops.

The main part of the weekend for me. I got to do 4 workshops during the weekend (thanks again, Alexander and Dirk for trusting me with this). There was a separate room, close to the shop for this, with a painting table and a modeling table that was open for all players. I was very happy to see that both tables were occupied most of the time. Modeling and painting is a bit of a sore point in WMH conventions. There is an idea that people are only interested in the game at cons and I was very happy that Ulysses decided to give this aspect of the hobby its own dedicated place.

Hobby room saturday morning

The first workshop I gave was "repositioning your model". With a full table, this was a big succes. People brought their models and made them into really cool reposes or conversions. Going from a charging marauder over a leaping Nephilim swordsman to a Hellion, wrapped around a piece of terrain. It was great to see how everybody had a great time, came up with some really cool ideas (I might steal that Marauder idea one day) and, most of all, that the results were stunning.

The second workshop was "building an epic base. same overwhelming turnout as the first one, with even greater results. We went through all kinds of different basing materials, until we landed on the Hirst Arts bricks that I brought with me... Let’s just say that it more than lived up to its reputation as "gaming crack". The workshop was on saturday morning and all day long, people were coming back to build some more bases.

The third workshop was all about scratchbuilding weapons out of plasticard and cardstock. To be honest, this was the workshop for which you need the most practice. Carving a weapon out of plasticard is rather daunting, especially the first time you try it. The end results really impressed me. Cool weapons, all different, that really fitted the jacks or casters that they were meant for.

The last workshop was a bit different. We built a bunker out of styrofoam. Partly due to the fact that this workshop was planned on sunday morning (when people had just recieved their brand new books and faction decks), this was the least busy workshop I gave during the weekend. People had a lot of fun, though and you could see them discover a whole new part of the hobby.

All in all, the workshops were great. Phantasos studios also did some painting workshops, which were just as jam-packed as mine. Once again, I’m really happy about the great support for painting and modeling that the organisers gave.


What was supposed to be the pinnacle of the weekend was the keynote. Despite of the absurd timing of the keynote, There was a very big turn-up on sunday morning at 6AM, with some of the people even coming down in their bathrobes. The anticipation in the room was great. Everybody was excited about the keynote. And then it started. And ended a few minutes later...

My excuses for being blunt, but the keynote was an absolute shame. No spoilers, nothing about Mk3, nothing real about the new hordes faction (3 drawings really don’t count). Just an announcement about the fact that there will be a lot of new books we will be buying in the future.

The reasoning behind all of this apparently was that PP thought people would like to get their hands on the Mk3 stuff as fast as possible, so they made the keynote as short as possible. Seriously? You can’t let people wait for Mk3 until saturday night, because of a tournament that a majority of the people atending don’t really care about and then claim that you deliberately made the keynote extra short so people wouldn’t have to wait. It was one of the biggest fumbles and disappointments that I have seen from PP in the last years. Especially with the huge build-up towards the keynote.

Outpost Europe

And that brings us to my last nag about the weekend: the (lack of) support from PP. I can imagine that a short keynote isn’t that bad when al your fans have been able to look at the previews that the artists have shown all weekend long in Seattle, but sadly PP doesn’t want to send anybody to Europe for this. I actually found more sneak peaks on people’s facebook pages than in the keynote. The same goes for what was sold.

The store on sunday morning

Yes, there were books, battleboxes (in limited numbers and without the English rules) and faction decks this year. And yeas, this was a big step-up from last year, when there weren’t even any English books available. But very sadly, there were no pre-releases. It’s just one of the examples that give you the feeling that PP still doesn’t take Europe too seriously. And that makes me sad. It’s as if everything they do in the organisation of LnL is completely focused on the one in America. 

Don’t get me wrong. I think it was a briliant con. Great people, fantastic organisation. And I got to meet a lot of friends from all over Europe again. But PP didn’t have too much to do with it. And that’s a pity. Especially when they put the official Lock 'n' Load name on it.

Of course, these are my thoughts. I’m looking forward to hearing yours. You can find me on twitter @tmsmnns

I would also like to thank Norbert Brunhuber, Graham Howe and the people at Page5de for letting me use their pictures from the weekend.

Catching up on some ’jacks

After a couple of casters, it was time to catch up on some warjacks. Given the fact that we will apparently need more of them in Mk3, I thought having some extra choices wouldn’t be the worst idea.

The first one was the demolisher. I really like clam jacks in Khador . When in doubt, add more armor. I like the idea, I like the models, but I have been struggling for a long time to find a way to pose them. The balled-up version is nice (and I will probably do a devastator in that style somewhere down the road), but the opened version always looks a bit meh.

So, time to change things up. When assembling the Demolisher, I tried to go for a dynamic pose, where he is striking something with one of his huge slabs of armor.

Then it came to painting the thing up. Since this is a workhorse of a jack that literally uses its body as a wrecking ball, I added lots of dents and scratches to the armor. This one has seen some very bad times, obviously. I also decide to pose him slightly differently when gluing him together after painting. The left arm was raised higher in the back and the right arm was lowered a bit, to give him an even more dynamic, running pose.

Sometimes, you only realize the connections you made in your mind after you have finished a project. When this one was finished, I suddenly remembered the juggernaut of Marvel fame. It’s always funny to notice you were subconsciously inspired by something without noticing it.

Next was the Kodiak. This is one of the first conversions I did for my Khador army, some years ago. I have never gotten around to painting him, because he wasn’t the best ’jack in the old rules.

It’s still one of my favorite poses I have done for a Khador ’jack, though, so I decided to use this time of limbo to finally give him a lick of paint.

And with that, I’m out. Next up: quite a few (although luckily less than before) doom reavers.

4 Warcasters walked into a bar

One of them brought a chicken...

The big problem with painting your backlog is that it is incredibly boring to write about. Most of these are models that have been sitting on my shelf or in a box for quite some time now and that are finally getting a splash of paint because I have nothing better to do to quench my warmachine thirst at the moment.

Boring to write about, so let’s get on with the pictures.

Kommandant Irusk

The genius commander of the Khadorian army. Great background, pretty solid in game, rather underwhelming miniature. Seriously, guys. I understand that this was a model from the beginning of the game, where PP’s sculpting skills weren’t up toi par yet, but this one is REALLY simple, isn’t it?

Koldun Kommander Zerkova

The only woman who can compete with Sorscha for the title of biggest Ice Queen of Khador. Once again, I love the fluff behind this model. In game, she might not have been the best in Mk2 (here’s hoping she will get better in Mk3), but the model is rather uninspired. The resculpt is a bit better, but to be honest, I think a lot more is possible given her background.

The Old Witch of Khador

Slowly getting there. The background is brilliant and the miniature is so incredibly full of flavor. From the rag-tag smoke stacks on her back to the ghostly faces sculpted into her cloak and the pair of scissors half hidden under that cloack. Really great model. I did get the feeling that I haven’t really done her the justice that she deserved. I don’t know if it is because I was not inspired at the moment (courtesy of the backlog painting), because I never have grown to like her in-game or because it is hard to add that level of personality when painting your entire army in the same color scheme. Truth is, I think she could have been better.


Same thing here, really. It took me a while before I understood what was w=hat on this model, but what a great miniature it is. From the staggering pose to the crows finding a place on top of the thing, it breathes atmosphere. And just like the Witch, I have a feeling I could have done more with the model.

Supreme Kommandant Irusk

Talk about a transformation! This might just be my favorite infantry warcaster model in the entire game. It gives him the presence on the battlefield that the supreme kommandant of an army deserves. And when you compare him to his prime version... It’s like comparing apples and laserprinters.

Up next: continuing on the backlog. I believe some ’jacks are up next.

Questions or comments? You can always reach me on twitter at @tmsmnns

Play ball!

For months, people have been trying to get me into playing Guildball. I have always resisted, mostly because of the humongous pile of unpainted miniatures I have in my basement, hidden away from my wife. But then my birthday came. And because they like me so much, some of my friends decided to give me a serious start on an engineers team. Because that’s what friends are for, right? To show you that resistance is futile when it comes to new games. :)

So, I cracked open the box and started to think about what I wanted to do with them basing-wise. I had seen Trent Denison’s amazing Morticians online and they gave me an excuse to go wild on these bases.

At a warmachine tournament a few years ago, my opponent had given me a sample of a new product he was experimenting with. It was a sheet of mdf, with cogs and gears laser-cut out of it. He sells these nowadays, together with lots of other cool bases, models and templates at Templates and Widgets. I didn’t have any projects where I could use these for at that moment, so they ended up somewhere in my basement, next to those hidden miniatures. When thinking about bases for my engineers, these came to mind so I dug them up.

First model was Ballista. Mainly a lot of experimentation with materials and components.

Then came Salvo.

The third model was Velocity. I actually managed to take some pictures during the build for this one.

I started off with a single pilar on 2 sheets of cork. This will be the pillar that the model will be put on. There’s a brass rod in there to provide some structural strength. The pillar is a piece of balsa wood, that was scored with the tip of a sculpting tool.

I wanted to put a big cog on that pillar, so I sliced off 3 rings from a plastic tube. You can find these tubes in all kinds of diameters in dedicated hobby shops. Over time, I have collected a pretty big collection of these, all with different diameters, so I could just choose one that fitted snugly around the balsa pillar/axel.

The first ring was put in the bottom (this would be the bearing in which the axel can turn). The smaller ones went on either end of the cog. As you can see, I cheated a bit and put the cog in between 2 parts of balsa, rather than trying to drill such a big hole into the cog.

Next up were 2 extra cogs, to drive the main axel. I used a flat piece of balsa to attach these to, but the rest of the process was much the same. I used a bit of brass rod to align all the pieces and to provide some strength to the whole thing.

Then everything was put on the base, with the gears nicely touching.

I used the same process to build up a kind of gear box. All I used at this moment was balsa wood, plastic tubes and some wooden things (I really have no idea how these things are called) I found in my local hobby store. They are usually meant for the rigging of model ships. 

Then I took out the cardboard. I really like working with cardboard because it is easy to cut, glue and fold. It also has the right thickness to look like metal sheets once painted. I first cut a strip from a normal A4 sheet and then cut that strip to size, so I cut glue it to the side of the balsa.

The white band at the top is a piece of plastic rod that was bent and glued in shape, with the ends nicely touching each other.

This is where it gets a bit crazy (if I can believe my wife). The best way to get a realistic, detailed look to something like this is rivets. Plain and simple. The cheapest way I have found to make rivets is by cutting them from the smallest plastic rod that I could find. Every single rivet is cut from this rod with an X-acto blade. It is important to try and get them all the same widt at this moment, because it will look better. Not so easy, because we are talking a width of about 0,25 mm.

Obviously, you can’t hold these with your hands, so I usually pick them up with the tip of my knife. A tiny drop of superglue and you can glue it in place.

And then it gets even more insane. I discovered a sheet of nuts and bolts in my hobby store, which I couldn’t resist. You cut off a bolt form the sheet and then you stick it to your model. Yes, it is a bit freaky, but I love the result.

I don’t really like painting cork. It is hard to get an even coat on it and it is even harder to make the cork look good. So I took some Grey pumice from Vallejo to put on the cork. Basically, it’s a mixture of tiny bits of pumice, liquid resin and glue (I think). You put it on lightly with a sulpting tool. When it dries, it leaves a great sandy texture that is pretty easy to paint.

And that’s the base done. There is still an open rod protruding form the base at the top. That’s where I’m going to put a ball, but I’m waiting for my next order for these.

I did think a bit ahead while building these. I know how difficult bases like these can be to paint afterwards, so I made sure the bases could still be taken apart in some pieces, to allow easy access to all parts.

I hope you all like the end result. If you have questions, you can always reach me on twitter on @tmsmnns

Old to new

This is a tale of mixed feelings and uncertainty.

Painting takes a lot of time. Especially if you want to uphold a certain standard. Given the fact that I like to play with painted miniatures and that Warmachine armies usually involve a lot of models, this means planning is key.

One way to keep me motivated is the promise of a painted army. I build a list (or 2 lists) that I'm playing at the moment and I start painting until it's finished. I usually build these lists with an eye on the WTC. So I was extremely happy when I was about to finish the last model on my current army: the marvel that is Beast 09. 

This project took a lot longer than expected. For some reason, it became quite a chore. Maybe it was the fact that it was the last model I needed, maybe it was because I hadn't expected the griffon to take so long, I don't know. Fact is that I was really looking forward to finally finishing him last week.

WTC means that I was planning on diving straight in my next list after this bad boy. That list would involve painting the 54 doom reavers that I have been postponing for quite some time now. It's a bit like going to the dentist. It isn't fun, but you you'll feel better afterwards.

And then the news ok MkIII hit. 

Now, I am super stoked over the new editions of Warmachine and Hordes. I think there were a lot of rules that were dragging the game down and from what I'm seeing from it, they have managed to tackle them all (my final hope is tough. I really, really dislike that rule). More so, list design and play style had become pretty stale. Everybody seems to be playing the same way (grinding the opponent down), usually with the same lists/casters. And that is never good for a game.

The only problem with all of this is that all of a sudden, I don't know what to paint anymore. I should be super happy because I finally finished my list, only to discover that I will probably have to change my list. It's like running a 15K run and seeing the guys pack up the finish line when you're almost there. And having to wait 2 months before you know where the new finish line is.

Which leaves the question: what to paint next? There's no way of knowing what I'll need in my new lists  until June. Although I'm petty sure from what I'm hearing that 54 doom reavers probably won't be a viable list anymore So the only thing to do is to start on my back log (which I see a lot of other gamers do). Get a few models done before June and then realize that I really should have painted... Well, we'll see, right.

Let's face it. The worst that can happen is that I finally get to paint some of those beautiful miniatures that I kept putting off because they weren't in any of my lists.


Trouble at the Pumpkin Farm

Hey everybody,

Got you guys another update on Cloudtop City.

I have been working on the first playable tile. Trouble at the Pumpkin Farm!

We don't intend to play full games of Super Dungeon Explore on these tiles, but the idea is to have a couple small adventures you can play quickly at a convention. So the playable area isn't very large. 

I decided to go for 3 islands for this one. A small one with a small docking bay where the heroes start, a larger one with a field of pumpkins where the monsters will spawn and where most of the playing will be done and a last one with a kind of farm house on it which will be mostly for display and for showing of my cool building stuff. 

At this moment in time i have finished building the farm and most of the farm house. I still need some work on the small island. I found some nice high elves sky cutters really cheap, which I'll use as an airship at the docking point. I'm going to try and magnetize these so you can add them when you start playing and have a nice starting point for your heroes.  

You might wonder why I chose for a pumpkin farm. Well, first of all because pumpkins aren't hard to make your self. I also like how they can be used on the playing area as movement and line of sight blockers. And lastly, Super Dungeon Explore has some great pumpkin models which will be great to use when playing. 

For the farm house I wanted something more than your typical farm but still recognizable as a farm. I started with a basic barn look and added some smaller expansions and a mill.  Now I know that a mill at a pumpkin farm doesn't make much sense, but it looked pretty  cool. 

As you can see on the pictures i still have some work to do. mostly on the small island. But since I felt like painting, I first painted the main island and the farm house. 

Hope you guys like it. 

Comeback of a forgotten 'jack

The Juggernaut. One of the iconic jacks that started the faction but that, in time, sadly got more and more pushed to the background by other, sexier jacks. It didn’t help that Khador usually plays best with single jacks on your caster, which left very little space in most lists for this cool dude.

The juggernaut is seeing a bit of a resurgence, though. Mainly due to the fact that he is ridiculously cheap (7pts) for a heavy. Combined with ARM 20, 34 hitboxes and a P+S 18 attack, this makes for a whole lot of armor that is packing a serious punch and so can’t be ignored. And with a caster like Butcher 3, you can actually run multiple jacks efficiently, leaving room for a 7 pts decoy.

But enough about the rules. I know you’re all here for the pictures.

The juggernaut started with a base. I always use plaster bricks for my Khador bases. They are cast in the excellent Hirst Arts molds. I use a combination of the fantasy brick molds. Mostly #201 for the floors and #250 for the walls, because these are smaller bricks and are thus better suited for basing. I add bits from other moulds I have lying around, though.

Next came the drilling and pinning. I always try to drill through the plaster buildings, but also into the base. This way, the integrity of your model doesn’t depend on the PVA glue holding the building to the plastic base. As you can see, I made a small mistake when I drilled. This left the final model sit too much to the front of the base, so I decided to drill a second hole right next to it and plug the first hole with greenstuff later.

Then came the legs, which were repositioned in a lot of small ways.

The right leg was cut into 4 different pieces, which were then put together with 2 1,5 mm pins.

The left leg was cut into 3 pieces and connected with a single 1,5 mm pin.

The legs were attached to the pelvis with a single pin, running through the pelvis. As you can see, the big advantage of brass rod is that you can bend it to get a better pose in the model.

Then came the torso.

The right arm was assembled with 3 pins. These were all separate pieces to begin with, so that was fairly easy.

The left arm was something else altogether. The same four basic pieces as the other arm were used, but I had to reposition the fingers, which meant cutting them loose and pinning them all separately. You can also see the brass rod going through the arm, all the way up into the shoulder.

When I put all of this together and added the necessary greenstuff and putty to the base, this was the result:

Which only left me with the task of painting him up.

An extra remark goes to the Ice axe. I really struggled coming up with a way to paint the ice axe blade. It had to be magical, but not too technicolor. In the end, I decided to paint some icy veins on it and make a bit of a stippled frost pattern on the part holding the actual blade. I might have overdone it a bit, but I think it really brings home the idea that it is a rather cold axe.

As usual, if you have any questions, you can find me on twitter (@tmsmnns), on facebook or on the PP forums (menace).

All over the place

As the title suggests, this blog post will be a mix of a lot of models. We’re having a big Team tournament this weekend, so I had to get my models ready. Sadly, I’ll be 2 models short of a fully painted force. Time just was against me these last weeks and I didn’t want to rush my painting.

First up, the Ogrun Bokur.

This is one of those models that has been lying around in my basement for quite some time, but never managed to get any paint. Somehow, I never played a caster that needed him. Until I started playing Butcher 3, that is. I did some minor conversions on him. That is, I stole the excellent idea that the brilliant Rob Hawkins posted on his Blog some years ago. I originally wanted to do a greenstuffed cloack to tie him in with the rest of my army, but in the end chose not to. Like I said, time was a bit against me and I would rather focus my time on other models.

Once painted up, he does feel like he is a bit out of place. He is missing some white, I think. Or maybe it’s the red trimming of his cloak bothering me. All in all, I’m ok with how the model turned out, though. I might go back to him sometime, but keeping in mind how little table time he has seen the last couple of years, I probably won’t.

Up next was a unit of Greylord Ternion. I have a feeling they are seeing a bit of a resurgence these days. Stock models, but they were very fun to paint. Despite the somewhat wonky faces, I love painting the billowing cloaks.

Last but not least was the Ragman. A handy solo that I always have a hard time getting the most out of. But he fits my list, So I will see what I can get out of him. I have to admit that the painting is a bit sloppy, but in my defense, I was half asleep while I was painting him.

As always, if you have any questions, let me know. You can reach me on twittter @tmsmnns

Opening a can of whoopass

This will be a short one. I have some more things lying around to show you all, but I thought the biggest homicidal maniac in the Warmachine universe deserved an update of his own. So I give you Orsus Zoktavir, The Butcher unleashed.

I have always loved the Butcher. He has such an awesomely deep background for a character that is at first glance so one-sided. With a special, humongous thanks to Dan Wells for writing this Novella on him. Really, if you haven’t read it yet, go and do it now. It is the best piece of fiction I have ever read about the Warmachine world.

I have long wanted an A tier caster in Khador. Someone to rival casters as eHaley, eLylyth and Harbinger. When they actually chose my favorite Khador caster for this (well, he is tied with Vlad), I was over the moon.

I am a bit disappointed though that he has become somewhat of an auto-include because of it. Which is why I have long resisted playing him. As you might know, I always want to be a special snowflake, playing with the casters nobody else is playing.

In the end, I caved. I mean, here’s one of my favorite characters, with a pretty versatile playstyle (I like running him jack-heavy) who has gotten one of the most awesome sculpts ever. I mean, lok at that cloak blowing in the wind. The combination of rage and an eerie calm in his face (ok , this might be just me, pretending this). I just love the model.

As for the painting, I kept him relatively simple, I think. I mean, he follows the usual painting scheme of my Khador army. I don’t  particularly like to paint characters completely different from the rest of the army. I did try a freehand pattern on his cloak, though. I like doing patterns on cloaks to break up the gigantic empty areas and to make the casters stand out a bit more, while staying in the overall theme. A swirly pattern (like I did with Vlad for example) didn’t really feel right for Butcher, so I chose a typical russian motiv that I found online.

So thanks, PP, for making me a very happy Khador player by releasing this model.

Release the Beast!

The same problem always hits me after completing a cool project: What do you do next?

After Ruin, I needed something else to focus on. Though my friend has been pestering me endlessly to finally start work on those 56 doom reavers that he wants me to paint, I wanted something a bit less mind-numbing. So my eye turned to Beast 09.

I had already done an alternate pose for Beast a couple of years ago, but I had never found the time to paint him. And even though he didn’t look too bad, he was missing something for me. And not at all on the same level as Ruin. So, back to the chopping block.

I decided to keep the general pose of the model, but try and do something a bit more inspired with the axe. In digging up the model, though, I found out that there were other things that needed adjusting. As I said, the model was made a couple of years ago and apparently, I wasn’t as focused on pinning as I am now. The pins used in the model were just too thin for my current taste. It’s not that it won’t hold, but I don’t think it will be sturdy enough to stand the rigor of lots of transportation and lots of games being played with the model.

The problem with pins is that you can’t simply remove them. They have been glued for a long time now and the glue is rock solid by now. When you try to remove the pins, they will just break off (believe me, I tried). You can’t drill through the pins, because they are too hard. So the only option left was to drill an extra hole next to the existing pin.

Now, this is some pretty expert pinning. I do not advice it if you don’t have the necessary experience. There is very little material in the legs to begin with and it’s even less with 2 pins running through there parallel to each other. The end result is better than I expected, though. Apart from the foot not aligning perfectly to the shin, I think it looks pretty convincing.

Next came the arm. I didn’t really like the raised axe in the first pose, so I decided to put it more into a side sweep. I thought it would fit the pose if he was jumping up, trying to hit some kind of flying monster that thought it was high enough to be safe. So, more cutting and re-pinning. A lot of pinning. With the old pins in place, I needed to add a few extra ones on odd places, to make the arm sturdy enough to support whatever monster I wanted Beast to be hitting. As I have said before: never rely on superglue to give strength to a model.

The axe had to be repositioned in the hand as well. This took 2 pins. The first to provide the strength to hold up the victim. The second one (which was thinner) to keep the big pin from rotating in the drilled hole.

And then I needed a poor monster to be hit with an axe. There really isn’t that much choice in flying models in the warmachine/hordes range. I didn’t want a legion beast because they are too skinny. The Archidon was too bulky for my purpose. The Griffons fit perfectly. I chose a Rotterhorn, because of it’s facial expression.

To give the model the impression of being hit by an axe, I cut it up into tiny bits. The main body was severed at the waist. Both arms were cut at the elbows and all the toes had to be cut and pinned separately (yeah, I know. Sometimes I wonder how crazy pinning can get).

Everything was put together and then came the posing. The pins really help here. They allow you to do gentle nips and tucks until the pose is exactly right. I do like the final pose of the Rotterhorn being hit flat in the chest. It really shows of the impact. The facial expression adds to this

Final step was some greenstuff sculpting to fill the gaps left by the reposing and all the drilling.

Ready for the painting table (after I have finished painting Butcher)

Brace for impact!

This might be a big one.

So. First things first. Ruin is finished! Here’s a quick picture for those who are not interested in all the details about painting techniques anyway. And who just want to see the toy soldiers.

Now, with that out of the way, where were we? Oh yeah,. Blood and gore

Last time I left you, I was about to embark on painting blood spatter. I do have to warn you, the pictures aren’t all that clear. I usually paint in very little light. It is fine to paint, but it’s pretty bad to take pictures in it. My excuses.

 First, I painted the blood spatter with Game Color Gory Red (yeah, I know).

I highlighted it slightly with Bloody red

And painted a glaze of Charred brown into the recesses.

To finish it all off, I highlighted every drop with Dead white, to really make it pop. I know you can use technical paints for the blood that will really shine like real blood, but I didn’t want that. I don’t hink it suits the painting style that I use.

For the souls, I started with my airbrush. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the right color in Airbrush paint, so I had to mix it myself. I used some Game Color Foul green and mixed it with the Airbrush Thinner, in a 50/50 ratio.

I sprayed it on the souls, making sure that there was some overspray on the model itself. This is one of the most scary steps of painting a model like this, because you can’t correct it of you’re doing anything wrong. So patience is key.

Next up was a coat of Model Air Hellblau RLM65, which was painted with a bit less overspray.

To finish the souls, I used a Foul Green glaze to put some more shadows back into the souls and finished it off with Dead White Highlights.

Next up: the armour. Now, I won’t show you step by step details of all of this (because that might get very boring). I’ll use the canopy as an example.

First step is tracing all the panels with black and painting all the metal bits black. This helps to define the airbrushed armor plates.

Next step, I put some edge highlights on the armor plates with Game Color Bonewhite, to make them pop even more.

The metal bits then. As some of you might know, I’m a big fan of Non metallic metal. Mainly because I like the overall look of it. I tend to paint in a slightly cartoonish style and I don’t think true metal paints fit that style.

So first, Black basecoat.

Next, I paint everything except the deepest shadows with a 50/50 mix of Black and Game Color Cold Grey.

Then, I put some pure Cold Grey where I want my highlights and wet-blend it into the darker color.

I repeat this step, but with Game Color Stonewall Grey

And finally, the brightest highlights are touched up with dead white.

I will stop you the boring details of how I painted things like the wolf’s pelt and the likes. I think I have tested your patience long enough.

So, picture time! Behold, Ruin.

Now let’s see what I will do next.


The problem with putting a troll on your base is that at some point, you will have to paint said troll. An dof course, you can’t rush this, because he has to look as good as the actual model that is smashing his face.

So, first up, I started with masking the parts that had already been painted. The base was still neatly sealed behind a layer of liquid latex, but the 'jack arm that is attached to the base needed some masking tape to cover it completely. It would be a shame getting overspray on the nicely painted sunbursts.

Basecoat was once again charred brown. Even though I wanted the troll to be painted blue. I really like a dark brown base coat for cold colors, because it will stop the models from looking too cartoony. I know I’m a fan of cartoony paint jobs, but there is a difference between a larger-than-life color scheme and painting a giant Smurf. Somehow, the brown base coat makes the troll look more... real? My excuses, I apparently don’t have a picture of this, but I’m quite sure you will be able to imagine what an undercoated model would look like.

The first coat over that was Model Air French blue, to get the basic tone down. I deliberately left the brown showing in the shadows, to give the model a lot more depth. It is a little known fact that you get richer shadows if you use the opposite color instead of plain old black.

Next came a coat of Model Air UK azure. It is a blueish grey, that tones down the technicolor blue smurf look. Apart from making the troll look more gritty, it also helps to visually push the troll to the background. Giving him a color that is in line with the base, people tend to start seeing him as part of the base. It would be sad if people looked at the finished model and all the attention would be drawn to the bright blue thing on the base, in stead of the monster smashing his face in.

Then it was back to the brushes. But first, it was time to take off the latex. Because I put it on rather thickly, it comes off really easily.

With that out of the way, I first painted a glaze of black to fortify the shadows.

Next , I pumped up the highlights with Game Color Wolf Grey. This makes the model pop.

The rocks on the troll’s skin were first painted with Game Color Steel grey, then highlighted with Game Color Wolf grey and finished off with a tiny bit of Game Color Dead White.

The loincloth was first painted white and then I glazed it with Game Color Bone White and Game Color Khaki, to get a nice white cloth look.

For the tartan, I looked up a tartan with mostly blue and white colors and found the Lewis Navy tartan to suit my needs.

Now, painting a tartan is not that hard actually, provided you can draw straight lines with your brush. First, I you paint the lines in 1 direction I used a mixture of 50% Game Color Ultramarine Blue and 50% Game Color Dead White.

Then, you paint the lines in the other direction with the same color.

To finish it off, I took pure Game Color Ultramarines blue and painted the parts where the stripes overlap.

This is about the part where I stopped taking pictures of the other things. It was mainly painting the leather and painting the chains and other metal parts on the troll. We’ll get back to that part later, when I am painting Ruin.

With that done, here is the finished troll (sorry for the pun).

Next up: blood and souls.

Painting a sunburst

I have to admit: I really like sunburst patterns. I use them when I’m making posters too often, I have found out. So when it came to deciding a cool color scheme for my Khador, I couldn’t resist trying out a sunburst.

The basis for the sunburst was laid down in my previous blog,painting the ochre/yellow. Now it’s time to add the red. But first: masking.

When you’re working with an airbrush, you need to do some masking form time to time. Partly to protect the painted parts form the inevitable overspray, partly to create straight edges to your painting. Let’s start with the former.

The base had already been nicely painted, so it needed some protection. I used Humbrol Maskol for this. It’s basically a liquid latex that you put on the parts that you want to protect. I like to put it on pretty thickly, because it makes removing the latex a lot easier afterwards. I usually apply it with an old, bad brush. Don’t use a good brush for this, because they will usually only last for 2 or 3 applications. This is what it looks like wet:

And this is what it looks like once the latex has dried up. Be careful not to touch it too much, because it does stick to your fingers.

Next up: masking straight edges. I use standard masking tape for this. Tamiya makes some nice tape that is pretty flexible and that is available in smaller widths. For the sunbursts, I put a strip on a cutting mat and cut them in patterns That way, I have enough to last me a while and they are all the same shape.

With the preparation done, it is time to start masking the armor plates.

With all the masking done, I reapply a coat of my basic dark brown (charred brown), to have a nice basis to work from. Then, I put on a coat of Model Air Fire Red, once again putting a gradient in it.

Next color is Model Air Ferrari Red. This is a tricky color, because the paint is rather thin. You have to spray very lightly with colors like these, because they tend to crawl under the masking tape when applied too wet (which you will see later on).

Then, I take away the tape marking the sunburst pattern (but not the tape marking the solid yellow parts). As you can see, there is some red paint that bled onto the yellow.

As a final color, I use Model Air Light Brown. You might remember that this is the same color I used as the final step for my Ochre yellow. Using the same paint really ties the 2 colors of the sunburst together. This way, it looks more like 1 armor plate and the sunburst gets pushed to the background a bit. Basically, it helps to define the shapes of the jack better. It also helps to cover up the parts where the red paint bled onto the yellow.

And then the masking tape comes off.

So there you have it. That’s how I do my sunburst patterns.

Next up: painting a troll.

Painting the town blue

Hello everybody,

I have been very busy the last couple of weeks. I managed to get most of the city painted and I'm very excited to share my progress with you guys. 

As the board will be for Super Dungeon Explore, I wanted some of the fun and cuteness to be represented in the city, I chose bright and light colors, the blue roof tiles contract very nicely with the grey stone and the green grass and add a lot to the light atmosphere of the city. The grey stones go from dark to light towards the top to give the hole thing more depth. I also spent ages highlighting each stone to help add to the more cartoony look I am aiming for. For the windows I went for a warmer color to help liven op the city. The orange also contrasts very nicely with the blue roofs. 

A very important part of any city is its market. I wanted to have a small market place with a potion shop and a nice statue. I also added a banner to the little tower. This helps to add a little color in an otherwise big grey area. I had a long thought about what I wanted to put on the banner and in the end chose to just put a heart onto it (because it's easy to paint) 

Between 2 buildings I built an assembly line that supplies the potion store with fresh potion from the enchanter.

Every town needs an inn.

An antiques store. the little doll is named Vinnie. He is the mascotte of my gaming club.

A little black smith, I'm looking forward to putting the new kickstarter npc's in the city.

Next to the black smith there is a small weapons shop.

A little off the main island you find this little shack, for all your private needs.

And everybody knows that you can't adventure on an empty stomach. 

That's it for today. Next up: trouble at the pumpkin farm.

Slow Grow

The big problem with having a real life and job is that it tends to eat into your hobby time. My wife keeps telling me it is a matter of sacrificing the less important bits in favor of the important things. I do agree, but we apparently have different opinions on which bits are the important ones.

So, slow progress on Ruin.

Airbrushing started. As usual, I first lay down a light grey primer (I used Vallejo model air primer) to seal the model and to make sure the paint will stick to it. I use a grey primer because white is too bright for most colors and black will always show through. With a grey primer, the colors will look more vibrant, without becoming too shiny.

Next, A layer of Game Air Charred Brown. I know, it’s basically 2 basecoats. I would rather have the charred brown in a primer, but they don’t sell anything close to it. I very often use a dark brown basecoat, even for grey colors, because it will give a more realistic, dirty shading to the model.

Let’s focus on the base.

First, I spray a layer of ModelAir Dark Sea Grey. I make sure to leave some of the brown shining through this layer.

Next, a layer of ModelAir Pale Blue Grey. This one is done more focused. On the one hand, I use it to define edges, on the other hand, I use it to create different tones in different bricks. If you spray it at a narrow angle to the wall, it creates a natural shading in the wall section.

Then, the brushes come out.

First, I drybrush the wall with GameColor Stonewall grey, focusing on the upper edges of the stonework. Then I pick out the lines between the stones and the sandy parts with charred brown again.

To finish the base off, I drybrush the sand parts. First with GameColor Earth, next with Gamecolor Khaki. When doing this, I also make sure to color a bit outside of the lines, to represent a bit of the sand and dirt caked to the brickwork.

Now, for the jack himself. Back to the airbrush.

The armor plating is done in 2 steps: yellow and red. First, a layer of ModelAir Dark Earth. I cover almost all of the armor plates with this color, only leaving tiny bits of the original Charred Brown.

Then comes the second coat, with ModelAir Wood. This is where it gets tricky. First, I want to use the lighter colors to create a bit of zenithal highlight on the model. On the other hand, the lighter colors are also tied into the whole starburst pattern, so it’s a bit of a trade off here, seeing what looks best.

The third coat for the yellow is ModelAir Yellow Ochre. I sometimes skip this step on smaller models, because it doesn’t really attribute to the whole gradient. It does however add some yellow to the mix, which makes it pop a bit more.

To top it all off, I put on a coat of ModelAir Light Brown. This is only applied to the lightest 10% of the panel (with a bit of overspray of course).

So far for the yellow next up: masking it all off, to paint the red parts on the model (and the troll).

In the mean time, I did manage to get another model ready. Because of the way I paint, I often have time to do some brushwork by hand, but not to take out the airbrush. Which is why I found time to finish eEyriss this week:

See you next time!

Blood, Brains and Soul

It feels strange to write a disclaimer for a blogpost about a miniature you’re converting, but here it goes: If you’re easily offended by graphical representation of extreme violence, please stop reading now. This one might be too brutal for you.

With that out of the way, Let’s get on with the show!

I have always been a huge fan of the French comic book series of Lanfeust de Troy and one of its main spinoffs Trolls de Troy. They are high-fantasy like only the French could write them: baudy, tongue-in-cheeck and with extreme graphical violence. I have no idea if they were ever translated in whatever is your native language (I started reading them in Dutch), but do read them if you find one in a language you understand. You won’t regret it. When I originally started on the overall pose and idea for my ruin, I knew that inspiration for the big smash wasn’t far away.

But how do you translate all of this blood spray onto a miniature? First, as always, I started with a bit of brass rod. Well, make that a LOT of brass rod. The greenstuff needs something to cling to, so I went to town with my trusted drill. The end result of which looked more like some sort of porcupine.

Next came the greenstuff. I covered the pins with it, making sure to cover them as thinly as possible. Like most organic shapes in greenstuff, this is mainly a matter of trial and error. Try some things out and see what sticks. The main thing to keep in mind is that the overall view is more important than the individual bits.

With the blood and gore out of the way, the soul was next.

I always intended to have some sort of soul escaping from the troll, flowing up one of Ruin’s arms. It is in character with the soul collecting he has and if done right, it should help to conceal the ugly pin holding the top model in place.

Once again, I started with a framework of brass rod. All of this was done with 1 mm brass rod, the thinest I had lying around. Then came the souls, sculpted on the frame. This was also the moment I realised it might have been wiser to wait before attaching the troll’s arms. Some extra room to fit a sculpting tool in there would have been nice.

And with that done, I could put it all together. Finally, time for some finished build pictures! Behold the abomination that is called Ruin: