Television is rather a frightening business. But I get all the relaxation I want from my collection of model soldiers.
Peter Cushing

Wednesday 26 December 2018


We've spent the last few weekends, the boys and I, watching The Lord of the Rings films on Netflix. They both loved them (and the moment I felt like I'd done a good job Dadding was when they both literally cheered when the Eagles arrived in Return of the King) but the Eldest - who has more Middle Earth miniatures than I do, probably - was particularly taken with the Balrog.

So much so, in fact, that he wanted to buy one. Bear in mind this is a significant investment for a 6yo. He had to use all the money he had saved for a significant period of time and then do a few odd jobs round the house for the rest.

In any case, he ordered one and it arrived. He then spent a happy evening putting it together.

It's quite a big thing to paint, so we cracked out the airbrush. He's been using the airbrush since he was 4 when I got him a cheap Spitfire to paint, so all I really had to do here was mix paints for him and tell him what colours to use.

Once he'd basecoated it, I painted in the black of the wing phalanges and the back plates. I also added the lighting effects on the base and tidied up the face.

It's a model with a lot of presence and he seems happy with it. I live in fear that he's going to want to play the Middle Earth SBG and field it - in the new rules, the Balrog is an unstoppable beast.

Sunday 23 December 2018

Vindice Tempesta

We were hard pressed by the enemy. Pinned down in the radioactive ashwastes, no way to advance. The Serjeant was gone, our vox operator dropped with a hole through his head. A few of us started praying to the Throne and I slapped the last powerpack into my lasgun. The we heard it. It began with a beeping, high and clear. A figure, man size, strode through the smoke and choking dust long coat snapping around mechanical legs. It stood there as slugs and lasbolts whipped past it. I remember thinking, Is this is it? Is this the help we were promised?

Then the earth shook.

Something massive stepped over me. Rusted metal screeched as a chainblade the size of a wall crashed down into the barricades before us. A toothshaking roar of some sort of cannon as the enemy were torn to a red mist. And still it strode on.

I realised I was standing like an idiot, my mouth open. The mechanical soldier looked at me, making a scraping noise I slowly realised was some form of laughter. "The Storm Of Vengeance Has Passed Over You," it rasped, "And You Have Been Saved." It nodded, and then strode on into the smoke.

This has been, as you can imagine, something of a long term project. I've been chipping (pardon the pun) away at it for the last few weeks in between marking exams and surviving until the end of the year. this was also partially as each step of the process required curing time before I could move on to the next. I am, I have to say, quite happy with the final result.

This required the use of the chipping fluid just like the Tank I did. the difficulty here was masking each different colour to allow the chipping to be carried out before every new stage.

All transfers were applied over a gloss coat and then chipped away with a scalpel to match the chipping of the paintwork underneath. In some cases they had green or beige painted in to show a lighter level of chipping. 

Finally painted, he looked pretty good. I added some rust streaks and oil but he needed some environmental effects. 

Again, I used weathering pigments on the lower half and flat surfaces; the model here was how muddy I get after a walk in the woods with the boys.

The base was constructed out of various bits of junk with bricks cut from old sprue. 

The overall colour scheme was the same as for the previous Knight Armigers I produced; I left the faceplate detachable to match these as required. 

I have one last little thing to finish up before Christmas and then I have the decks clear for new toys. Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday 30 November 2018

Where now are the horse and the rider?

"For he was a gentle heart and a great king and kept his oaths; and he rose out of the shadows to a last fair morning."

I finally finished painting my new Theoden from the new box set. What a lovely figure to paint - and of one of my favourite characters.

I took my time: inked the armour to get some depth before painting the gold trim. For the flesh, layers of highlights and then a brown filter and pin flesh wash.

For the horse I built the layers up from grey to white and then gave a final glaze of off white to smooth out the transitions. The final touch was to add the Simbelmynë flowers which grew on the graves of the Sons of Eorl - a fitting omen given what he's riding to.

I had a blast painting this and I'm hoping that Santa brings me the new Gandalf.