Amazing work – Thousand Sons Army

I’m going to start sharing some articles from other sources on here that inspire me and the first one is this AMAZING Thousand Sons army by isotope99 on the BoLS forum.

Every single miniature is converted and looks clean and crisp in both construction and painting finish,  the whole thing is beautiful. What I love the most is that the army is so clear and visually descriptive with it’s theme of of the Thousand Sons and is designed around a playing style that actually make sense with their background making this a functional army as well as a work of art.

This is the level of production I want to achieve at some point in my painting life and this is a big inspiration for me to get on with it. It is also making me re-think aspects of my own space marine army and how I am communicating the theme I have in my head out via my models and painting.

I hope you enjoy these as much as  I have.



Space Marines – Chapter Badge and heraldry

I’ve taken a little break from the dragon commission to get some work done on my space marines.

Creating something from the ground up takes time, more time than I originally expected if I’m honest but slowly and surely my own space marine chapter is taking shape. I’ve had grand designs in my head for a long time about what I’ve wanted to do when I finally got around to it but now I’m here I find getting it together a little tougher than expected.

I’ve always loved knights, what they stand for, how they look and how they are portrayed in different genres and the creative freedom than they give when it comes to iconography and visuals. It’s this love that I am using as a base for my chapter’s theme and I will be building on that by tying in aspects of well know mythology from Arthurian legend plus other sources, and existing Games Workshop models to achieve the look.

The first thing I’ve tried to nail down is the chapter symbol. I’ve always thought that if nothing else, this would tie my army together so I had to get it right. I played with several ideas that I thought worked with my theme. I wanted something relatively simple but striking that could be painted on everything from shoulder pads to vehicles but also something that I could elaborate on for banners and other things that warrant it.

In the end I’ve come down to two variations on the same design. The one with the plume fits a more decorative styled knight, whilst the other has a slightly more Spartan feel to it. I’m leaning towards the one with the plume but a test run or two will decide what I finally go with.

The second thing that I want is every unit/character/vehicle through out the chapter displaying some form of heraldry that relates to it’s position. I plan to do a post in more detail on the chapter heraldry in the future but the plan is for each company Knight Captain will have their own heraldry which will be reflected on the shoulders of their troops and vehicles.

The things I want included in the heraldry are 

  1. The company colour (allowing the shoulder trim to be gold)
  2. Company or squad number (not decided which)
  3. The Knight captain’s heraldic Icon
  4. The squad type icon

These are a couple of rough sketches of how the heraldry could look on marine shoulder pads.

I am no digital art master but they give an idea of what I have in mind. I am working on the actual designs for all 10 companies so that I have them to go up as part of the chapter background that I am developing and I’m really looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

I’m going to be putting some more focus on my space marines from now on but I will keep doing updates n my commission as it goes along.


Dragon Commission – Claws and Wings

It’s been a little while since my last post, but here’s the next part of the dragon commission.

Completing the base was actually a key part of the process in getting this piece to fit together.

In the first post you can see that the dragon itself doesn’t have any claws or feet to speak of as they have been chopped off at some point in the past, leaving me with two choices of buy parts or build. The reason the base is key is that the main rock upright is the anchor point for the dragon itself and usually it’s where the models feet attach. I had to find a work around to be able to secure the model as well as allow me to secure the feet.

I decided to build the feet directly on to the upright and run pins right through the centre, allowing me to anchor into the base securely, work on the shaping and detail and then be able to sit the dragon in place when it’s painted.

I used the feet from the Golden Griffon of the War Altar of Sigmar as a foundation, then once I was happy with the position I used green stuff and a sculpting tool to build up the claws and the rest of the foot to the right proportions.  Once done and cured I smoothed off the sculpting with my dremmel and finished off with a thinned down coat of liquid green stuff for a clean finish.

The next part was finding a way to cover the join between the dragon and the base as seamlessly as possible. I opted for a collar on the end of each leg, shaped as closely to the style of the armour as possible, covering the join and when glued it would act as a strengthener as well. I had originally planned to use plasti-card but had trouble getting it to sit right and after some tinkering I ended up using an old brush cover cut to shape and split up the back which allowed some flexibility when seating it in.

Leg collar

Leg collar

Next, the front claws. Again the foundation was taken from the War Altar Griffon, this time it’s hand and then some further sculpting work was done to give claws and join it all in with the rest of the model.

Finally, the wings. This was the easiest part of the build as I only had to clean out their original mounts and add a couple of pins to each wing to ensure stability and strength.  did add in some green stuff to fill up the join but I have separated them from the body for now so I can get a clean paint job done on them.


Pinned wings

All in all I’m really happy with the sculpting work and the overall look of what  I’ve created. Right now I’m down to finishing touches and preparing for paint.

Hope you’ve enjoyed following this so far!

paintingchap 😀

Previous post – The base

Next Post – Last step before paint

Projects – Painting desk paint rack and lighting upgrade

A side project to my painting is my working and gaming space. I have pretty much worked out of a water colours box using any surface I’ve had to hand as a desk, which did include and antique writing station for a few month but since the move of homes I’ve had to start over.

My previous work space –

photo 1 (1)

So now I have an old computer desk which I can call a dedicated space of my own to paint at and store things and  I want to go all out  to make things better and  easier for myself.

I’ve started off still working out of the water colours box and keeping my tool and other things close at hand so I can see what it is I want or need for the space rather than just throwing things at it to see what sticks.

The first thing I’ve done is get some light in. I’ve actually got two lamps that I use when painting but the one I’m really happy about is my magnifying lamp. You can buy a new version from stores for about £50/500kr but this one was bought from a second hand store for a grand total of £7/70kr !! an absolute bargain 🙂 it does have a normal bulb rather than a daylight bulb but that’s an easy enough fix but it’s doing a cracking job so far.

The next thing I wanted to add was a paint rack. There are loads of suggestions on line, like minigirls  idea of a nail varnish rack, or some home made options using piping and frame work but I’ve not really had the time or money to invest into something like that. So a further trip to a second hand store gave me my answer- a spice rack. simple solution and effective.

Here’s how I put in the upgrade

  1. Cut the spice rack down to 3 shelves to fit the size of space I have available
  2. Centred the 3 shelve on the backing board and lined everything up using a spirit level
  3. Drilled through at 4 key points and screwed the rack into the back board (bottles on to show sizing)
  4. Fixing the rack and back board in place – This was done at a slight angle so the pots and bottles would rest on the shelves with out falling off
  5. Testing out with a number of paints

And finally I have my paint rack!

It took me a little over 45 minutes to complete and I had some special help form my 8 month old son during construction as well.

All in all i am very happy with it. Its a small and simple upgrade but it has made a big difference to my painting as doesn’t hold all of my paints but it has made me think about what colours I need for what I am painting so I will take that as an added bonus instead of a design flaw.


All up and running


Dragon Commission – The base

So I have taken a step away from the dragon to work on the base.

First off the base is actually longer than the standard base for the model so it’s actually made from 2 parts. These two parts are not so well held together, so after a quick clean up I mounted both parts on some plasti-card for some strength and stability.I also wanted to make a feature out of the extra length overall so I played around with a few ideas, finally settling on a wounded empire solider which you can see below.


As I said in my post on converting models, I start out with a plan on how I want things to look and stick to it unless something special happens. In this case I planned for the wounded solider to be trying to crawl away from the monster above him whilst slowly bleeding out from the claw wounds he’s suffered.


So far so simple and safe being easily done with some flock and maybe a few stones.

Honestly I was happy with that until I worked on the seat for the rider. Seeing the flow of the back pieces and knowing that my client has a sea based theme for his army over all I decide that I needed to be more original on the base and bring in water some how. I went back and forth with a few ideas but finally settled on having the wounded solider laying in flow of water after being dumped on the rocks by the monstrous creature.

I decided to make the majority of the base rock so I used some broken up cork board glued down with PVA to form the large areas. Once dry I went at them with a pair of pliers, tearing down the edges and making them fit into the smaller rocks around the plastic formation.

The next part was adding in smaller rocks to fill in the gaps and build up the edge of the river bank

The last part of the base itself was adding in some green stuff. I put this on what will be the river bed to remove the rather uniform texture from the Games Workshop base and to help set in a couple of stones, one of which will be the final resting place of our empire solider. The other place that I added green stuff was on the stone upright. It ended up going on a bit roughly and I managed to do some tidy work but that will disappear when painted.

As for the empire solider, I decided early on that he was to have had a rough time at the claws of the dragon so I added some deep gouges to his back with my plastic clippers and after some thought I added some pinning wire to the stump of the right arm and in his back to show broken and exposed bone. I plan to paint him up separately from the base in a yet to be decided state colour, going for a washed out look on the man himself to show the blood loss.

I’ve yet to look into water effects but there are loads out there so I will get on that when the time comes around.

paintingchap 🙂

Previous post – Controlling the beast

Next post – Claws and wings

Dragon Commission – Controlling the beast

Moving on from Part 1 its time to add in some details. I have decided to work from the head backwards on this build in an attempt to get size and scale balanced and allow me room to work.

The first thing I did was added on some armour to the dragons neck which you can see here Link at a rough stage. this took a couple of passes with a dremmel and smoothing out with liquid green stuff to fix.

The next stages involved adding in the lower jaw horns and some way for the rider to control his mount.

I looked for something suitable to use as the horns and found a spare set of horns from the mount in a chaos knights kit. A pin, a little glue and some green stuff later and I had the lower jaw set. Next up was something to hold on too.

So for a while now I’ve had in my bits box a gold chain that had been bought for a conversion that never happened, and after drilling a couple of holes along with some tweaking with a pair of pliers I was able to fix the chains in place.

I liked the look of the chains but wanted something more elven looking. Rummaging through my bits box again I found the reigns from the Demigryph knights* and after some careful gluing I had the look I wanted. I also added a small green stuff pommel to cover up the slight hack job I had to do to keep them in place whilst gluing.  *I have a lot of empire spare parts



The Seat.

In the picture above you can also see the profile of the seat addition. This was put together using a plain empire shield cut to fit for the back of the seat and two tales from the War Alter Griffon** forming a support going down the back. Some green stuff was used to tie them together and I’m really happy with the results.  **I really have a lot of empire spare parts

Here are some better pictures of the seat

So this was a pretty busy session for me and I’m happy with the progress I’ve made.

Next post – The base

Previous post – Beginning