Salute 2010

So, today was Salute 2010 down in the London Docklands. And as always, Chris and I headed down to check out what was on show...

In general, the show seemed a little less hectic than previous years; Obviously i don't know the exact figures, but there seemed to be fewer visitors and stands - possibly because of the Volcano that has been affecting UK airspace in recent weeks? However, it was still a great show, with lots on display and some excellent participation games being played! So without further ado, I'll run you through my "highlights" of the show!

First up we have Studio McVey - This was Mike and Ali's first show, and it was great to finally meet them. On display they had all of the Studio McVey range, as painted by Ali and Mike as well as couple of new models. The quality of this range of models stuns me every-time I see them, seemingly getting better with each new release. If you haven't looked at their models yet, I highly advise you to head over to their website and take a look; There are no finer models out there IMHO. (Tell them Paul sent you ;))

Next up was SmartMax. Unfortunately I only found SmartMax right before leaving the show, cunningly concealed right by the entrance - but once again I was floored by the quality of their models. I didn't spot anything new, but their models are great quality and i would recommend them to all. The had on display their model ranges (painted and unpainted) as well as some very cool 3-up versions of their range - I'd love to paint one of those!

A model range which i hadn't come across before and which was a lovely surprise to discover was Black Scorpion Miniatures. They had miniatures covering an interesting cross section of Pirates / Wild West and Fantasy Football! All the models appear beautifully sculpted in true 28mm and would be useful for both dioramas and gaming. Prices were very reasonable.

Games Workshop was out in force with 2 stands as well as a Forge World stand. Nothing much on display of note in GW's stand (Just the stuff you can get in any store), and Forge World seemed surprisingly lacklustre, having none of the big display cases with Titans that they usually have (infact, oddly i was able to walk straight up and take pictures, rather than having to fight through a scrum!). They did have one case with some Ork heads and a couple of pre-release items, but other than that it was very bare... GW did have a big Space Marine tho ;)

For the rest, a quick round up:

Heresey Miniatures seemed to have finished the Dragon that has long been discussed. Lovely model, didn't see a price anywhere tho...

Hasslefree had their usual great range on display. I highly recommend this range to anyone who like great sculpted models!

So, the rest of the show. Well the painting competition was being judged when i got a chance to see the models, so most of the cases were empty - but one model that did catch my eye as a fan of Manga was this little beauty:

What a genius use of an ork, and very well executed too!

As mentioned, there were also a lot of participation games being run - I've included a selection of photos of the games to give people an idea of the scale and effort put in by the organisers.

In summary, it was another great show, congrats to the South London Wargamers. If you haven't attended a Salute yet, I encourage you to make the effort next year, its a very enjoyable day out


Heretics Playrgound

I've just posted a new version of Heretics Playground! Included are pictures of models that I've never posted to this blog. Let me know if anything is broken...

BTW - W00T!, I made the FtW top ten!! Ryans FtW top ten!



Was sorting out the new version of the Heretics playground website and I realised that I had not put my Valkyrie up on the blog. This was my entry for the Dakka-Dakka weathering competition. I came a respectable fourth, which given the other entries I was reasonably satisfied with. In hindsight, I chose totally the wrong subject for a competition based around weathering! Anyway...

This is the stock kit, painted using acrylics, oils and some enamels for the washes. Hope you like it!


The Wolf Lord

The moment that i saw this giant lump of resin on the Forgeworld website, I new that I had to paint it! An amazing sculpt (does anyone know who the original artist was? I'd love to get more of their work...) cast as a single piece in the usual grey Forgeworld resin, the piece cleaned up well with few mould lines and then the epic paint job started. In terms of both time scales (it probably took me more than 30 hours to paint!) and difficulty this has been one of the hardest miniatures I've ever painted. At times it felt like I was being punished for some previous wrong (!) but I am very happy with the final results.

I wanted to represent a Space Wolf Lord who had been away in combat for many months, surviving in a hostile environment without access to maintenance for his Terminator armour. He should look battle scarred, weary and yet still ferocious.

The wolf lord was painted with a combinations of acrylics, applied by both airbrush and by brush, and several oil colours. This is the first non armour model that i have used oils on for anything other than weathering. Usually, i use oils for any grime streaks, oil leaks etc, but on this model I used lots of oils for the shadowing work, detailing on the face and the metals - every time I use oils, i realise how much i love to work with them, mainly due to the working time being so long. This lets you correct mistakes in a way that you just cant if you are using acrylics. Anyway, on to the pictures, as always, let me know what you think!


Paints: A review

Well, seen as how I'm once again awake with insomnia, I thought i would take the time to do a review of the different brands of paint that I use. Kind of a compare and contrast between the differing brands. Mainly this is aimed at the people who use only GW's paints, which for the most part are not bad, but lack in a few key areas!

I've first of all reviewed each paint by brand, then a bit of a "summing up" at the end, to give you my feelings on them overall. Please note, that i haven't covered every brand that I use in total - some of the more esoteric ranges (Howard Hues, TensoCrom etc.) are very specific to certain jobs and hence would not really be of interest to most modellers. The ones i have covered are the main brands that should be available in most FLGS's.

Games Workshop

Well, these are the paints that I'm sure a lot of people started with! They come in flip top bottles, with each one containing 12ml of paint. They average £2.25 a pot (they can be found cheaper in bulk packages or from your FLGS). The range has been expanded in the last couple of years to include the "Foundation" ranges, which are highly pigmented colours designed for base coats, as well as the "Washes", which are highly thinned paints that replaced the old ink ranges; these are designed for washes over the miniature giving quick shading.

Mostly the standard range of colours are bright and highly pigmented; obviously designed for fantasy subjects!

I should probably get this out of the way the beginning, I hate flip top bottles - they are far too easy to knock over, they tend to dry out and worst of all, i get sloppy when using them and dip the brush straight in to the pot! (This is my number 1 tip for painting - always put your paint on a palette before using it).

With GW's colours (and other brands that use flip top bottles) I tend to decant the paint in to an empty Vallejo style bottle that I get from Sean over at SnM-Stuff. These is some wastage during the transfer process, but i find the dropper bottles much easier to control when painting, and they tend not to dry out anywhere near as quickly as flip top bottles.

In terms of quality, the GW paints are reasonable for the price. The coverage is generally good and they thin well with water. They are obviously readily available from GW stores, although they tend to be more expensive per ml than other brands. The foundation paints are nice to work with and I really recommend the washes to everyone, they made a big difference to the way that i paint.


Vallejo make 2 ranges of paints that I tend to think of (and use) interchangeably - they are the Game Colour (VGC) and the Model Colour (VMC) ranges. They also make the Model Air range designed for airbrushing. I will not be looking at this latter range, although i do have several in the range and they are very useful for airbrushing.

The VGC range is a more brightly coloured set of paints, mainly designed for painting fantasy models. It closely matches the GW series of paints (indeed many of the names are very similar). The VMC range is generally more designed for painting of scale military models (1/35 tanks etc) and hence has more muted colours; However, both ranges are sold in identical bottle sizes and they mix together with no problems at all. The bottles themselves are dropper types meaning you can control exactly the quantities that you want.

Both ranges are sold in 17ml bottles, with an average price of around £1.75 - as you can see, you not only get more, but it is cheaper than GW (5ml more for 50p less!!). They brush paint extremely well and mostly thin very well with water; The one exception is the black which splits horribly with water. For this I tend to dilute with the Vallejo thinner.


Tamiya paints are probably one of the most ubiquitous model paints outside of the fantasy miniature realm. Go to any model tank / plane / train shop and you will see racks of Tamiya paints next to the Humbrol enamels.

The Tamiya series of paints are of a different type of acrylic to both the Vallejo and GW. Whilst the VGC / VMC and GW series of paints can be happily mixed together with no side effects (in fact, the Vallejo and GW paints are almost identical in composition) the Tamiya paints will tend to curdle GW / Vallejo paints if mixed with them - however, they can be mixed with other Tamiya paints.

They need to be thinned with alcohol for painting and whilst they are indeed acrylics, they tend to be very poor for brush painting - they go "sticky" after only a moment or two! (As a side note, this can be used to create great blood effects; mix 1 part X-19 (Smoke) and 2 parts X-27 (Clear Red), leave for two minutes then brush paint for the best blood you will ever see!).

Tamiya paints come in 10ml screw top glass jars, for around £1.50. The jars are an absolute nightmare. Not only are they terrible to pour from due to the thick glass rim they also tend to get jammed immediately after the first use. Decanting immediately to vallejo style bottles is a must in this case!!

All the above makes it sound like i don't really like the Tamiya paints - but nothing could be further from the truth. Where they come in to their own is through an airbrush, where they become wonder paints. The finish is absolutely perfect flat finish, and the tones of the colours are very closely matched to the AFV I tend to use them for.

Privateer Press P3

Privateers P3 range is a fairly new range of paints. They are sold in packaged "faction" sets to match Privateers game ranges. Each pack contains six paints, sold in a pot very similar to the old style GW flip top paints.

The P3 range tend to have paired colours. Usually this will be a "base" colour and a "highlight" colour, so for example, you get Menoth White Base and Menoth White Highlight. In most cases the colours will tend to be very well matched together, although obviously using colour blends between the two will give you the best results. This is a very nice touch in the P3 range.

The colours are also amazingly well designed in terms of their balance. Every time i open a new bottle for the first time I tend to be surprised how well it works on the model - the pigmentation is thick but thins very well with water without separation. This is less surprising when you learn that the range was designed by Mike McVey (who is one of my painting heroes!).

Individual pots cost around £2.20 (for about 15ml) putting them up with GW in terms of cost per ml.


So, how do these paints compare to each other? Lets deal with Tamiya first - to be honest, unless you are airbrushing the only paints from Tamiya you need are the two for doing blood. In general they are not great for brush painting and they can be frustrating to work with.

With that out of the way, we are left with GW vs Vallejo vs P3 - all of whom sell a creamy workhorse acrylic paint that will mix well with any of the 3 brands.

Vallejo are my work-a-day paints. I have a near complete set and would not be without them. I find that they work out a lot cheaper than GW pot by pot and given how slowly i use most of them, doing internet ordering is not that much of a problem. The bottles are much better, being droppers from the start and the colours are rich and give reasonable coverage, even when thinned. In many ways other than the cost there is little to differentiate the GW and VGC ranges and hence GW loses out. Having said that, the GW washes are not to be missed - they are a very useful addition to any painters tool kit, and can general some very nice effects, especially Devlan Mud and the Black.

And so we come to the P3 paints. These are my current "Go-to" paints. I absolutely love them! In fact, i can see the day where i use them nearly exclusively. They feel like the gold-top of paint; the colour choices are excellent (and blend well together), the nice touch of base/highlight combos and the highly pigmented paint itself all contribute to making these (IMHO) the best miniature paints on the market today. If you haven't tried these yet, I highly recommend you grab a pack (my suggestion would be "Protectorate Colors" for the wonderful Menoth and Sanguine combos).

Hopefully this review will encourage people to step outside of the GW realm and try some other brands of paints - there are some wonderful products out there than can add a real splash of colour to your models!


Problem Child Alice

Sorry for the long time since my last blog post. Unfortunately I've been having problems with my blogging client / picasa, meaning that i couldn't upload any images (Sidenote, apparently Picasa cant handle colour profiles being embedded in PNG files, thanks to Ben for letting me know!)...Anyway, on to the mini!

Another classic Kev White sculpt. This one is from Hasslefree Miniatures, who always provide great quality and enjoyable models to paint. If you don't know their work, I highly advise that you check out their website.

Alice was painted using Vallejo acrylics plus some Tamiya colours for the blood effects. I was aiming for a saccharine sweet, almost "candy" look to her, which I think i've achieved (to a greater or lesser extent!)

On an aside, I would be interested to hear comments about the quality of the photography. I've been doing a lot of reading and learning about taking photos, and I think these are some of the best photos of my models that I've taken so far. At some point i plan to go back and reshoot all of my other models, to improve the quality, anyway I hope you enjoy the pictures...