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Category Archives: Diorama

Make The Dead Glorious Again (1)

Sleater-Kinney  ‘Start Together’

I’m a bit wary about introducing political themes into miniature-painting – partly because politics can prove deeply divisive; but also due to the question of taste.

However, I usually paint models in order to escape from the more unpleasant aspects of life – and these are in no short supply at present; but some things which are happening maybe shouldn’t be overlooked.

There have been proper artists who’ve used miniatures to explore serious themes – such as Jake and Dinos Chapman‘s various depictions of hell; Banksy’s Dismaland model of a crowded refugee boat; or street artists, creating comparatively light-hearted social commentaries.

This isn’t quite what I have in mind. I don’t really want to use Warhammer models allegorically; just to allude at a broader issue, in order to enhance a diorama. I figure that as long as the theme remains understated, then it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus, rather than model a duel where violence is the central subject, I thought I would make a representation of courage, instead.

So, one model is an undead horseman, with a distinctive head of unnatural hair; aiming to make the land of the dead glorious once more:

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The other is going to be an Arabian woman:

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Araby remains under-represented among Warhammer projects – but I prefer the ambiguous artwork depictions Games Workshop produced, to the Dogs of War/Warmaster models; which tended to be a bit Disney-esque. I don’t want the finished model to resemble the more obnoxious, long-standing stereotypes surrounding Arabs and Muslims; but equally, not to be overly romantic, either. While the motifs of femininity and Islamic culture have obvious points of resonance at present, this is still meant to be a Warhammer project.

The Golden Magus in Dreadfleet is a good example to draw upon here – as he was both on the side of the Grand Alliance; but also a character with mysterious intentions. Less esoteric, perhaps, are Kay Nielsen’s illustrations of 1001 Arabian Nights; which were fantastical and ornate:

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I haven’t quite figured-out a base for this duel yet. A desert wasteland-theme seems the most fitting; but we will see.

Redemptionists (15) – finished.

Lush ‘Deluxe’

Finally finished:

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I tend to avoid too much blood and gore as a rule; but I think it’s fair enough, once in a while:

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The Scavvies:

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The Redemptionists:

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The Bridge without any figures on it: 002

I will be starting a temporary work position next week, so the painting front may be a bit quiet for a month; but I intend to work on several small projects over Christmas, before starting something a bit more elaborate in the new year.

Redemptionists (14) – Redemptor Priest

The Three O’ Clock ‘Jet Fighter’ 

Probably the last work in progress update, as I’ve finished the models for this diorama now – but have one or two changes to make on the overall base:

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I decided not to use Latin for the book’s inscription, as it tends to be a bit overdone – I was going to paint runes, but somehow the model reminded me of the villain from Big Trouble In Little China; so I used Chinese symbols instead. They should stand for ‘redemption’ and ‘revelation’, but if I’ve got them wrong and they say something offensive then I blame the internet.

Redemptionists (13) – Karloth Valois/Painting Colour-Fades

Main Source ‘looking at the front door’

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I’ve finished the model of Karloth Valois, and thought it might be helpful to demonstrate how to apply a colour-fade technique: that is, blending one colour into another. You can create striking effects through mixing contrasting colours; but here I wanted to create an eerie scheme, of black fading into turquoise.

These were the colours used (the one without a label is khaki):

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Colour-fading relies on glazing. If you’re not sure what this is, I made a previous tutorial – it consists of applying very thin, transparent layers of paint. The aim is not so much to add a colour, but to alter an underlying one, and smooth-out different layers.

Basecoat – black:

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Layer – black + a small amount of turquoise:

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Layer – add more turquoise to the previous mix:

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Don’t worry if the layers look patchy at this stage, as glazing will smooth them out later on:

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You can see that it wasn’t quite pure turquoise at this stage – you can take it all the way up to that, of course; but I wanted to keep the overall tone quite dark:

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So, using the same black and turquoise mixture, add a small amount of khaki; and highlight edges/raised areas:

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The final highlight is pure khaki, used quite sparingly – I also painted on tears/holes:

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As you can see, at this stage, the highlights are quite stark, and look a bit incongruous:

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So, glazing will draw the various colours together, and harmonise them. As with any other painting, several thin layers are better than one heavy application. It’s important to let each layer dry before adding subsequent ones (this can be quite tedious, but it avoids one glaze washing away another).

I used three glazes: i) black ii) Thraka green iii) smoke brown:

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Although the colours haven’t come out quite right in the photograph, you should be able to see the difference that glazing makes:

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Done.

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Redemptionists (12) – Plague Zombie

Mighty Lemon Drops ‘Happy Head’


This is the final rank and file model for the diorama – I couldn’t resist making another plague zombie. It balances the numbers out, with five Scavvies and Redemptionists apiece; but also, I just like zombies. And slime.

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Maybe went a bit over the top with the buboes, but nevermind:

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I’m going to paint the Karloth Valois figure next; and will hopefully make a tutorial on colour-fading.

Redemptionists (10) – painting redemptionists

Afghan Whigs ‘Rebirth of the cool’ 

It seems a bit belated, ten posts in; but how to paint Redemptionists.

The original Redemptionists painted by the ‘Eavy Metal team were released during the notorious ‘red period’ – and so were an ultra-vivid, red and yellow. I decided to mute the colours slightly – to make them look a bit more grimy, as is only fitting for denizens of the Underhive.

It’s not quite step by step, as I ended up changing the overall paint-scheme – but these were the paints used for the red:

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I also used black, but forgot to include it here.

For the yellow flame effect:

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The yellow was straightforward – basecoat: Earth. Wash with Smoke. Highlight with Earth + Zamesi Desert; then pure Zamesi Desert; and finally edge-highlight with Zamesi Desert + Khaki. I painted some torn patches, as can be seen in the later photos, using black/brown. It was glazed with a very thin layer of Smoke to finish.

Red is a slightly more tricky colour to paint.

Basecoat – Tank Brown + Red (1:1):

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Wash all over with smoke; and shade the recesses with black + smoke:

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Layer – Red + Tank Brown (2:1)

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Layer – Red:

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Edge highlight: Red + Troll Slayer Orange (1:1):

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Final edge highlight – Troll Slayer Orange + Khaki:

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Using orange + khaki this way stops it turning pink.

To finish, I painted rips and tears with black + brown; then gave the red area two separate glazes: first, with thinned Baal Red; second, with a thin layer of Smoke. The first glaze unifies the colours; while the second makes it look a bit less vivid, and more drab.

You can see I changed the hood at this stage – but it was painted using the same colours as the flame effect:

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Once the entire model was finished, I gave it a very thin glaze of Thraka Green + Smoke (1:1). I’ll make a tutorial on painting skin with the next Redemptionist, as it was a bit experimental on  this model, and I lost track of the colours used.

As with the Scavvies, I made a base to resemble debris:

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Done.

I also changed the bridge slightly – normally, I tend to avoid too much blood and gore; but I think it’s fair enough for a diorama which is supposed to be a bit of over the top, high-camp in its own right:

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I think it needs something on the slab at the bottom-right of the picture; but I’m not sure what, yet. Maybe a rat.

Also, on the theme of revisions, I decided to modify the Space Hulk diorama I made, slightly – detaching the Librarian, so that it can stand alone:

 

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Redemptionists (9) – Scavvies.

Soundgarden ‘Outshined’ 

 

Only a cursory post, unfortunately, due to illness; but I’ve finished the Scavvies now, as well as the Scaly. I forgot to upload a picture of the final mock-up, but the actual battle-scene of the diorama will eventually look something like this:

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– I think the blood patches need a bit of work, and maybe need to reconsider the yellow/black banding; but this isn’t a problem.

There wasn’t much point making a step-by-step guide to painting the two Scavvy figures, as it’s basically the same method used to paint the plague zombies, only without drybrushing the layers.

I’ve decided to put the models on bases, rather than attach them directly to the bridge, though. I wanted these to look like debris, as part of the overall scene:

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There wasn’t space to paint the Scavvy un-smiley face on the shoulder pad; so I painted it on the back instead:

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I’m going to begin painting the Redemptionists next; and will make a tutorial, as red is a colour that people often find a bit tricky, so hopefully it will prove helpful.