Monday, October 30, 2017

The Green Hunt + WIP

Hexwraiths painted in December 2014 - the riders are from the original GW Black Knights set and the horses are from GW Chaos Marauders - an idea I saw on the Carpe Noctem forum. They were a good excuse to try out some inverted highlighting on all the flames and manes - and on such a big unit, it was tedious beyond my comprehension... But the effect was kinda worth it. The first set of pictures will show two 5-man-strong sub-units and the second one will show the whole Green Hunt.

The green rider is a mythical figure in the Varsavian countryside - a hunter of the dead shrouded in green flames, capturing worthy warriors for his own band, preparing for an untold danger that will befall the land. He wasn't seen for a long time, though. Communing with the ghosts, von Greifens and their necromancers were able to find and bring him back into the material world after elaborate rituals and few sacrifices. Part undead spirit, part fey of the land, he agreed to help his summoners from time to time in exchange for bringing him nine worthy hunters, for he lost his previous band. Thankfully, the search was hastened thanks to a Chaos Marauder raid by a band of Vaultring the Death Hand. While proving to be a tough opponent, he and his band soon joined the Green Hunt as shrieking wraiths. After that, people once again started to talk about ghastly green warriors galloping through the Varsavian forests.



The champion of the unit, the Green Rider, was converted to look like the Red Rider from the Russian fairytale from a picture by Ivan Bilibin.

Ghost of the Ice Witch

The current GW Cairn Wraith painted in April 2014. Wanting to give her some Slavic feel, I added the braid inside the robes. I also wanted her to be part ghostly, part real - thus the green bottom of her robes - but the effect got lost somehow in my opinion. The cold effect on her hands turned out quite well, though.

A spirit of a witch who plagued the Kislevite countryside hundreds of years ago. As a young woman she lured and killed naive village boys with her charms, later she would stalk the wheat fields during the reaping seasons to kill people with her scythe. Using ice magic empowered by blood sacrifices, she kept the superstitious peasants at bay for very long. At some point, the governor of the land got bothered enough to organize a witch hunt, captured her and killed in a public execution. The amount of hate she gathered against her along the years and her own guilty conscience made her unable to go properly into the afterlife. Thus, it was easy for Constantin to bind her to his service - even as an immaterial apparition, she retained skill with a scythe and her ice magics still work in the form of deadly cold touch.


Varsavian Wretches

A unit of 50 ghouls painted in March 2014. 30 of the bodies used are Games Workshop and 20 are from Mantic Miniatures, but almost all of them have GW heads. This makes some of them look 'partially' feral and ghoulish, a mixed bunch, which I like. Getting the shade of their skin was troublesome - I wanted to have it brown and dirty, but then the green was getting lost in it. Lots of washes and glazes later, they look like dark orcs... I would probably repaint them at some point if I had the time.

Hunched, wicked and cannibalistic creatures known as Ghouls or Wretches roam the lands of Varsavia, hiding on the marshes and in the forests, digging through graveyards, looking for dead or alive to devour. While they are not undead themselves, packs of them often accompany unliving armies in hope of an easy feast. Necromancers can’t exert their will over them like they do with the dead, but strangely enough, vampires can force them to do their bidding with enough willpower and authority. Small groups of them usually followed von Greifens when they were marching, but big hordes of them were brought only after meeting Haralamb Gudvanger. He alone is able to boss them around effortlessly, strengthening any army needing durable and vicious infantry.


Monsters from the East + WIP

GW Vargheists painted in March 2014. I bought the set mostly to get Crypt Horror bits for my upcoming Zombie Ogres conversions and these were kind of a side-effect, but in the end, the turned out quite cool and worked well on the tabletop too! I needed to do them in my typical vampiric red + blueish gray, but I didn't want them looking like thinner copies of my Varghulf, so I decided to make their skin dark instead of light. I also added some striped 'texture' to their flesh and black patterns on their wings. It was all a bit tedious, but also made them more interesting.

Giant mutated vampires created brought to Varsavia by Lucan returning from the far east. Nobody knows for sure, but they seemed to be created in a similar way to the giant Fledermaus, but the process had to be much more refined and meticulously planned. Their mind is even more degraded, but they retained much of their vampiric speed and gained the ability to fly. While Lucan and Sorin like them for their honest love for bloody violence, Constantin finds them much too hard to control after let loose. Still, they are a very useful tool for making hard-to-reach enemies disappear into a bloody mist.


And here's also the picture of the unpainted champion of the unit, the Vargoyle, as the rules were naming them. I didn't like those little wings that were supposed to mark them, so I converted one of the Vargheists to be a little more imposing than his comrades.

Group Shot 01

From time to time I was taking group shots of my collection and this was the first of those - I took it in February 2014. It was about half a year worth of work - I would really like to have such speed today...


Abelard von Greifen

GW Blood Dragon vampire converted into a Battle Standard Bearer painted in September 2016. You can see the unpainted WIP HERE. The first vampire miniature I painted that also had to have much green around him - which clashes a bit with the idea that vampires should be black/red/white and other undead green. Still, it was better than having that flag red, that would be overkill - and in the end, I'm rather happy with him.

Before being turned, Abelard was a loyal and honorable soldier from the eastern parts of the Empire. After becoming one of Constantin's gets, he kept those qualities, only now he was supporting the von Greifens’ cause. He wasn’t bright enough to be entrusted with governing or leading, but as the bearer of the House Standard, there’s no one better. The giant icon with the family’s coat of arms needs inhuman strength to carry it - and the cries screamed by the souls trapped in the cursed banner require great mental durability to withstand them. Abelard possessed both qualities and Constantin was never disappointed with him.


Abelard von Greifen - WIP

Some WIPs of the Vampire Battle Standard Bearer I have. The base for him was an old GW Blood Dragon miniature, with the sword replaced with a flagpole. The dragon skull on top is from the Terrorgheist set, the shield is plasticard and the flag is greenstuff built around a metal wire. On that numerous faces and hands were glued on to achieve the 'stream of spirits' kind of look.


The shield was missing from the miniature I bought, so I had to replace it. I used some round shield I had in my bitzbox, but then I wanted to have a bit more interesting. To get that I 'painted' a relief image of a von Greifen griffin skeleton - and it's done with many layers of Liquid Greenstuff. After that, I covered it with two layers of varnish to make a bit more durable.

Kiril the Woodsman

GW Krell, the Lord of Undeath painted in January 2014, finecast. The first wight character I painted - and his painting scheme was just a logical extension of the way I did my Grave Guard. This time the yellow freehands got a little more illustrative - and that will also prove to be the staple of my wights. His axe was also a good excuse to paint some marble.

During his life, Kiril was a sturdy lumberjack in the thick forests of Varsavia. He felled innumerable trees and many chaos marauders that wandered near his house. This lasted for many years until a big war between Varsavians and Chaos forces rumbled through his forest. When the ancient soldiers led by the summoned Avatar of the Death God found themselves being pushed back, Kiril himself was able to pulverize a big enemy camp when he finally stumbled upon it. After that, he was invited into the army and barbarians quickly learned to fear the sight of a burly man with a two-handed axe, especially after he took a liking to take the enemy armor for himself. Dressed as a chaos warrior, he became a hero, a living legend amongst the Varsavians - a Bogatyr, as they called such people. While he wasn't that much of a tactician, he made up for that with his death toll. After his death, he was laid in a ceremonial tomb along with the magic armor made from northern scraps and a special cursed axe made from green marble - a gift from the prophet. Being a revered hero, the rituals laid on his dead body were much more potent and necromancers weren't able to suppress his will - Kiril retained all of his old memories. Still, he was willing to fight alongside his wight comrades in defense of Varsavia - doing what he does best as always.


Side Project - Christmas Present

And now a little side project - minis I sculpted for my girlfriend back in December 2013. I post it here as a curiosity mainly because these were the first minis I sculpted from scratch ever - well, save for the weapons. It was also the first time I painted something more contemporary than the usual fantasy stuff. Here they are before painting:


And after painting:


Livio Heim

GW Corpse Cart painted in November 2013. It got small conversions - there's a spear for the driver to use and branches on the back, mostly to have more surfaces for OSL (object source lighting - simulating light with paint on a model) to work on. This was also my first take on OSL ever and I think it came out quite well.

More than one grisly myth in the Varsavian countryside tells about a ghastly cart being drawn by corpses - and Livio Heim is the source of most of them. Nobody really knows his story, but now he's a necromancer that roams the land in search of corpses - all to add to his collection. After all the years his grip on sanity is getting looser, but he's still eager to ensure everyone that his greatest creation will shock everyone sooner than anyone expects. It's quite easy to convince him to tag along and support the undead bands in exchange for having a full battlefield of bodies to search later.


Restless Spirits

GW Army of the Dead from the Lord of the Rings range painted in October 2013 - here I am using them as Spirit Hosts. Before they released the new ones, those were a very popular alternative to those bedsheet ghosts from earlier times. They served me well during some battles.

All around the world one can find restless spirits that were denied the pass into the afterlife for one reason or another. They roam abandoned places, just beyond the notice of average mortals. For a necromancer, it isn't difficult to call upon them and instill them with a new purpose. Von Greifens learned themselves to summon spirits of the kislevite warriors of old - nameless, forgotten beings felled during one of the countless battles here. They still brandish their old weapons and armor, believing to be fighting for their lords once again. Still, their weapons are no more dangerous than their own hands - for it's the cold promise of the grave that they carry with them that does the killing and not the steel or valor they may still believe to possess.


Sunday, October 29, 2017

Verdigris Painting Tutorial

A long time ago I was experimenting a lot with getting just the right combination for painting patina/verdigris on my models, namely Grave Guard and Black Knights - and that was before Nihilakh Oxide was a thing. Eventually, I got the thing right, wrote down the recipe and used it successfully on Krell. Then, when I was working on Nagash and the Wight King I managed to make photos and prepare a whole tutorial describing the whole thing. Since then I used it also on the converted Necrosphinx, more such projects will come up in the future.

And before I start, let's clear this thing - I use old paints so if it's unavailable - use this conversion chart

First - I mixed paints you see below, with TinBitz:Gunmetal (Warplock Bronze:Leadbelcher) ratio being about 2,5:1 or maybe 2:1 - the effect was as pictured:

I added about the same amount of water as the paint to make it thinner and easier to use. A single coat was enough to achieve a smooth finish.

Next, I made some turquoise - I don't really have turquoise paint so I mixed it. Last time I used following recipes:

Dark turquoise
  • 1 part Dark Angels Green (Caliban Green)
  • 1 part Regal Blue (Kantor Blue)
  • 12 parts water
  • 2 parts Vallejo Glaze Medium (can be replaced with water)

Light turquoise
  • 1 part Goblin Green (Warboss Green)
  • 1 part Enchanted Blue (Caledor Sky)
  • 1 part Skull White (White Scar)
  • 12 parts water
  • 2 parts Vallejo Glaze Medium (can be replaced with water)

In the end, you should get something like this - if not, adjust the amounts of green and blue to your preference:

The paint should be pretty thin, covering the metallic parts only slightly, flowing into the recesses. I am also using a bit of Vallejo Glaze Medium in the mix because it makes the whole mixture flow and dry a bit smoother, but it should work with just water too. I was putting both colors on the minis, light on larger surfaces and edges and dark in the creases - wetblending them in the process. Don't worry about precision, it should be messy at this stage. Before drying:

After drying mostly:

When this dried I painted them once again - this time with light turquoise only and putting it rather on raised surfaces and edges - and being untidy and quick with it - it doesn't need to be neat and clean. The thickness of the paint should be the same as on the earlier step, so if you have some remaining, that's perfect. Wight King and Nagash after this phase:

When this dried I tried stippling it with white paint - with this brush:

I begin by taking a bit of white paint on the brush and then wipe it on a piece of towel until it's dry - just like with drybrushing - but rather than brushing the mini, I poked it vertically. It leaves little, untidy points which makes it look quite weathered.

At this point, it looks rather acceptable, especially if you stipple the things a little tidier and dryer (I knew the next phases will cover it up and profit from messiness). Patina Overload.

Next, I took Tin Bitz (Warplock Bronze) and stippled the mini with this - only this time I didn't bother drying the brush completely, it should still have quite a bit of paint on it. Stippling it like that was leaving large, untidy spots with some rough texture to them. I left creases and dents in armor, focusing on the exposed and raised parts - covering them with the paint roughly and untidy. At this point, you can add some gold details that will make some parts pop out after the last phase. Nagash's crown after adding Tin Bitz and Vallejo Old Gold.

After this, I stippled it again - using white and really dry, the same as earlier. This left on the mini a mix of points in turquoise, tin bitz and white - with turquoise in the creases, tinbitz on raised surfaces and edges and white dots as little accents. The difference is subtle, so I didn't make a photo - but don't omit it, because those tiny dots help in the last phase.

And finally I used the light turquoise paint once again - you can use the same recipe, only this time use 16 parts water and 3 Vallejo Glaze Medium, it should be much, much flowier. Using this mix, I washed the whole armor completely. And this was the point when stippling turned out to be a great discovery! You see, all this stippling left a rough texture on the mini - and wash rather than just flowing into the creases, was also leaving its mark on the surfaces, making clots and spots - all of them quite random and very weathered. And this is how the minis on the top picture came out to be. I was surprised and very pleased with the result.

The final result on the Wight King and Nagash's crown:

Wight Knights

Black Knights from Games Workshop, painted in September 2013. I tried to paint their horses to look part-spectral - thus the green parts on their barding - all to make them fit the rules and fluff of the game. Today I dislike that look and when I'll be doing more of those, I'll strip paint at least off those horses. As described in the fluff, I intend to give them some kind of heraldic symbols on the barding. Time will tell how that will go.

In another tomb, the cavalrymen of the ancient Varsavia were found. Buried along with their horses and barding, they rode again after being raised. While warriors themselves were definitely substantial, their steeds shifted into some spectral realm, allowing them to easily traverse Varsavian forests and marshes. Each one of the warriors bore an intricate, yet dulled, symbol on their barding - these were like heraldry and signified honored soldiers in the armies of the ancients. Extremely loyal warriors, they demanded to be brought to one of their chieftains. In the absence of such, they were pressed into the vampires' armies as really effective shock troops.


Wight Infantry

Grave Guard wights from Games Workshop, painted in September 2013. When I was painting them I still didn't have a theme for the whole army - only a vague green color scheme. First I wanted to make them look a bit roman - and all that's left of that idea are the laurels painted on their robes. I also made their armor patinated teal, to make them fit the greenish scheme - it was also quite easy to paint. Those two things became the defining characteristics of my wights and other units belonging to the 'Ancient Varsavians' faction.

After returning to Varsavia, von Greifens found out that many hundreds of years ago, a peculiar death cult was strong in these lands. Interested in the old necromantic ways they may have been practicing, they finally found a tomb filled with dried skeletons of ancient warriors, still with their patinated armor and weapons. Brought into unlife with the help of Alexander Hautfell, these wights proved to be much more than mere skeletons. Their grayed bones were unnaturally tough, their grip stronger than that of a living person and most of all - they retained some of their old thoughts and memories. They were the sworn warriors of a death god which name was lost to history and fought in Varsavia when there was no Empire or Kislev and beasts thought to be mythical roamed the forests. While they posessed their old wills, necromancers were still able to at least bend them to serve them to some extent. Their cursed weapons and drilled discipline made them most useful warriors.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Spectral Swordmaster

A 'Spectral Minion' from Reaper Miniatures, metal model painted in August 2013. I bought it to serve as a Cairn Wraith in my army - they normally use giant scythes as weapons, but the rules say those are 'Great Weapons', so I thought, why not a giant sword? The painting was done very quick, some wetblending, some highlights, just blue and green. The sword itself was a bit challenging, to get that gradient on the blade. A nice little project.

This ghastly apparition was brought to unlife when several maddened spirits of swordsmen killed by Lucan melded into one furious wraith. It attacked the vampire in his own room, nearly slicing him in two with one swing. The warrior retaliated - the ensuing battle lasted for a whole night and resulted in immense damages in the castle. After some time, Lucan was able to gain the upper hand and bound the spirit using necromantic rituals. Being brought to existence by the hate it felt to him, now it was bound in servitude to him - a pitiful existence. Should anyone free the ghost of its servitude, it would be a nasty surprise to the vampire.


Varsavian Bats

Some bat swarms painted in August 2013. Models are from Mirliton SG. I bought them because I wanted to use them in the game, not necessarily because the models were especially pretty... Originally they were completely flat, so I bent them a bit to make them less flat... but they are still kinda flat. Back in the day, those were my most elaborate bases ever! Fences are made of balsa wood and gravestones are plastic.

Bats were always drawn to those blessed with the vampiric blood and they, in turn, were fond of using bat images in their visual arts. Thanks to that blood bond, even lowly vampires are able to summon some amount of them. Bats of Varsavia weren't as big as those of Sylvania, but they are still eager to do their part by creating a chittering, biting and confusing cloud of creatures around the vampires' enemies.


Friday, October 6, 2017

Ecaterina Sokolov

The Coven Throne, a rather big vampiric chariot finished in March 2017 - plastic from Games Workshop. That was a hell of a project, took quite some time. Challenge for the mini was to really push the red-black-white scheme to the max. It works for the carriage itself, but it gets lost in all those green spirits. But still, in the end, it was all kinda worth it. You can see the WIP post HERE- with the subassemblies and some techniques described.
First are the photos of the whole model.

After returning to their ancient homeland in Varsavia, von Greifens found themselves at odds with another vampire that rose to power during their long absence. A small, bloody court was held here by Lady Ecaterina Sokolov - once a wife of a Kislevite Boyar, now a vampire countess on the lands of Varsavia. Yet despite her pride, her position and forces seemed weak, which provoked brother’s attack. They came out victorious - only barely, though. She kept her own domain in which she still rules unquestionably, together with a personal army - and von Greifens were obliged to defend that land. In exchange, Brothers were free to govern and expand Varsavia as they liked. Before both parties concluded their meeting, the Countess shared a secret with the newcomers - information an ancient Varsavian death cult, which much later led to unraveling the story of wights and their Death God, changing the local balance of power forever. Ecaterina herself, when enraged by something personally, brings down her wrath from upon an exquisite throne loft upon by ancient spirits and accompanied by her two most loyal handmaidens.


And some close-ups.