Thursday, 21 May 2020


A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, well actually in this galaxy, I bought some figures. There were four of them, a set of adventurers, made by Statuesque Miniatures. And I put them to one side. And you can guess the rest. But now, several years later, I have painted one of them.

When I first saw this figure,it screamed Gandalf to me, for obvious reasons. So I started painting it with grey robes, white beard and blue hat. But then I thought it looked a bit dull, a bit cliche perhaps, so I added a purple cloak. And deeper shading round the eyes. Now he looks a bit more sinister.

Hopefully I will get to the remaining band of adventurers some time, they really are lovely figures. If you like the look of them, they are now available from Crooked Dice.

Sunday, 17 May 2020

How to Paint Nurgle

The latest video has been posted to my Youtube account (link over on the right). It's a brief overview into how I painted the Nurgle character from the previous post, mostly the flesh and the armour. I go into some detail on how to use matt medium and flow improver to get different effects with your paints. I did have problems with my microphone (again) and ended up having to use the one built into the camera, which is not ideal, there's an occasional muffle noise to contend with. But all in all, it's worth a watch. Here's a direct link to the video.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Nurgle Lord

This is a modern classic. So many awesome versions of this figure around on the web. Here's my effort, painted it in about two hours, pretty happy with the way it turned out.

I shot some footage while I was painting. Hopefully it will be good to compile into a painting video, not had a look at it yet. It actually takes longer to put together a video than to paint the figure. Perhaps by the weekend I will have got it done.

In the meantime, here's Nigel from a few more angles. Yeah, he is called Nigel.

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Empire Warrior Priests

I have just finished painting a unit of flagellants on commission (picture below), and it reminded me of these two Empire warrior priests from my collection. I did have all three at one time, but the third has gone missing (probably sold to another collector). I think I originally bought them to auction on ebay, but then liked them so much that I ended up keeping them for myself, even though I had no real ambition to collect an Empire force.

I don't really paint in this style any more, back in the day I followed the basecoat, shade, layer, layer, layer technique. The results are nice enough, but they take a long time to achieve good results and it's very easy to mess up the layers. These days I paint more like a watercolour, glazing thin washes over a thin base coat. It gives a more organic look that I like. The red tunic on the second priest is particularly smooth looking, which looks really false in my eye. I left it as the original colour, though I did repaint the very orange flesh tones to my modern preference, and changed the base edge too.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

The abandoned realm of Yvresse

Some time ago, I came back from a holiday on the coast, full of ideas about a High Elf army. It was originally to be themed around the realm of Yvresse, but then I expanded my thinking and decided on a coastal army in general. I got as far as painting one unit and assembling another, then put it to one side for a couple of months while I worked on another project. Six years later......

It's time to resurrect the project. Instead of Yvresse I have moved my thinking northward a little, to Cothique, to really hammer home the nautical theme. What to do with the remnants of the original project? One unit of metal archers, on square bases, which I have photographed again for posterity before I transport them to their new homeland. Ranked up they are a bit cramped, and the metal figures seem to clank together a little, never a good thing. In keeping with my current ethos, I will rebase them on to two pence coins, perfect for storing and playing the skirmish games I like. If they are ever needed for mass battles, it's a simple task to put them on a magnetic sheet to group them together, for relaxed gamers like myself.

When I examined them close up, I discovered I had not painted a few details. Eyes, jewels and various other bits that are not really seen on the battlefield, only in photos that magnify the figure to screen size. I will definitely add some colour to the clothing and maybe dot in these details too.  It should be a quick job to get this first unit ready for battle.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020


Cothique. Pour femme. Pour homme. Pour elfe.

It does sound like a perfume brand. But it's actually a province in the old Elf realm of Ulthuan, from the Warhammer Fantasy Battle world before it was destroyed. It's a coastal region on the north east of the continent, and it's probably one of the least known areas of the Elf kingdoms. Caledor has Dragon Princes, Tiranoc has chariots, Nagarythe has shadow warriors, while Cothique has, er, fish. It's probably most known for being next door to Chrace, home of the famed White Lions.

It is described as an unlovely place, with bleak windswept coastal landscapes. The inhabitants are more likely to travel the world than any other elf, sailing the oceans in their sleek white craft. They are famed mariners, as the seas around their homeland are filled with dangerous reefs and giant sea monsters. Elves from Cothique often wear dragon sea cloaks and their shields and heraldry bear aquatic symbols. They are the nearest the old world ever came to fish elves. Adventurers, corsairs, pirates, they have an unusual background that I want to use in my new elf force.

I bashed together this unit from two sets of elves. The legs and back/cloaks are dark elf corsairs, the front torso, arms and heads are mostly from the high elf shadow warrior box. This gives them a nice Cothique feel, if you ask me. Armed with sword and bow they could be used as shadow warriors in old games of WHFB, or rangers in newer games like Erehwon. I have enough bits for two units, though I might just forge on and paint these first.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Easter Elf

No Easter bunny or xmas elves here, it's an Easter Elf. I used my very limited watercolour skills on the recent sketch. I did manage to mess up the skin colour, but the pale gold leg and arm guards and the slightly more glittery hauberk with the dark red trim works well. It was useful to test out a potential colour scheme, I think this would suit a Chracian elf force, which I might get round to one day in the far distant future.

Meanwhile, in the present day, elves are taking over. I am working on my own elves and some on commission too, and playing the elf factions in Total War: Warhammer. I'm not sure what has happened to my inner dwarf, it's gone underground for the time being. It must be all this greenery and spring foliage sprouting. 

Friday, 10 April 2020

How to paint a Tomb Banshee

I have completed and uploaded a third video tutorial to my YouTube channel, this time on how to paint a tomb banshee, though the palette would be equally useful for Slaanesh daemons, maybe chaos and dark elf troops. I hope you find it useful.

If you want to support me in this time consuming endeavour, the easiest way is to click the thumbs up, subscribe to my channel and share with fellow hobbyists. The more support I get, the more time I can spend on producing tutorials like this.

Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Elf project airborne once more

I have been thinking about elves recently, for a number of reasons. I have worked on a few items on a commission project. I got some good responses when I posted a few elf pictures from my archive on instagram. And I even sketched an elf I came across while flicking through a White Dwarf. I tried to push them out of my mind, because they are not one of my "current" projects - for the record I think of myself as currently working on dwarfs, goblins, undead and vikings. Adding elves to this list would be completely absurd. So obviously that's what I am doing.

High elves were one of the first armies I ever collected (I posted about this quite recently). Down the years they have remained a favourite of mine, and I did actually make a false start on a new elf army, incredibly that's almost six years ago. They are challenging to paint, I would probably rank them as the most difficult of all armies to paint well, but also immensely rewarding when they are ranked up on the tabletop.

I usually start a project by working on some basic troops, to get a feel for the colours and any techniques. But in this case, I have been working on commission elves for a couple of years, so don't really feel the need to do that. I already have one regiment complete as a reference point. So I am going to just jump straight in with a model I have wanted to paint for such a long time. This beauty, probably one of my all time top favourites. It's the elf prince on griffon model from the now out of print Island of Blood boxset - for me this was the pinnacle of plastic sets produced for Warhammer Fantasy Battle, maybe for any game. So the elf project is airborne once more. Or should that be seaborne? . . . more on that next time.

Sunday, 5 April 2020

Remote Wargaming

Now you really can become an armchair general. If you are confined to barracks but would love to wargame, try this. You need two (or more) gamers. The main player sets up a battlefield in their location, with a camera/phone/ipad to view the action. They use the zoom app to create a conference call, inviting other gamer(s). The main player takes all the moves, rolls dice for themselves, removes casualties, etc. The secondary player(s) talk to them, directing them - move the second unit forward eight inches, shoot at those cavalry, etc. The secondary players can roll their own dice if they choose.

I tried it last night with gaming buddy Matt. He set up the battlefield in his gaming dungeon. I simply had to get some dice, I had them on a tray in my chair. I also had the rulebook to hand, and an ipad to view the game. We stuck to the simple to play Dragon Rampant, about half a dozen units each on a 4x4 tabletop. It worked well, after I learned how to hold the ipad without covering the microphone - I blame the wine.

Here's my view in game. After some input from a technical expert, I propped the ipad up on a cushion, leaving me hands free to expertly shout out my orders, point at the screen (not that Matt could see where I was pointing), and roll some dice, usually badly. A good way to spend an evening if you crave a wargame. Not as good as the real thing obviously, but it works, it's free (if there's just two of you), and it's easy if you are the secondary player.

I won't attempt to describe the ingame action, I'm sure Matt will produce a battle report at some stage (edit - he sure did). Suffice to say that the uruk hai are well fed now, Samwise will be taking part in the trilogy no more, and we'll get you next time Frodo, you slippery little hobbit.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

White Lion of Chrace

There's a pile of old White Dwarf magazines sitting in my house. I am supposed to be downsizing. They have been earmarked for recycling for months. I cannot quite let go.

Last night I grabbed one at random. It was the artwork on the front cover, a Mark Gibbons classic, that caught my attention, just as it did all those years ago. And it was a long time ago - July 1997!

Flicking through I came across a section on High Elves. It was round about the time of Warhammer Fantasy fifth edition and I guess the elves had just been updated with a new book, or were just about to be. Lots of rules and background on the White Lions of Chrace. I can just about remember these special rules.

Again, it was the artwork that leapt out. And again it was a Mark Gibbons piece, this time a mono pencil sketch, but no less arresting for that. I had not practised my sketching for a while so I set to with pencil and eraser.

And finally I had my finished piece. I am trying to simplify my drawings, getting the main lines and shapes rather than lots of shading. There's a couple of things that are not quite right, but I am calling this a good effort. Now, should I ink it and add some shading, or should I watercolour it? Or both?

Thursday, 26 March 2020

My YouTube channel

After many trials and tribulations, my first YouTube video is ready. Click here to see the tutorial.

I had so many obstacles to overcome to get this far. Getting the photography right, learning how to use a video editor (well, trying four before I found the right one), problems with my laptop, trying to get a new microphone working (top tip - check a battery is included). It feels so good to have finally launched.

Please go and have a look and leave me feedback. If you want to support my efforts, please give it a thumbs up, and spread the word, share it with as many hobbyists as you can. Thanks guys. More to come.....

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Painting tutorial video coming soon

Like many hobbyists, I grabbed a copy of the first issue of Mortal Realms to get my hands on some cheap minis. These are the nighthaunt chainrasp from that magazine, speed painted in the last couple of days. I have been taking video of the process as I go along and will be uploading a tutorial to Youtube, though I am still waiting for a microphone arrive in the post. Keep an eye on the blog (or my facebook or instgram) for further announcements.

It's quite amazing how these figures are engineered, they are two parts that simply slot together. And yet they are probably the best animated spirits you can get. They are quick and easy to paint too, as you will soon discover......

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Goblin sketch

For the past couple of months I have been practising sketching, not quite every day, but fairly frequently. I have tried a number of mediums, but I am gravitating to simple pencil work, inked, or maybe using markers. At the moment I am simply copying/simplifying other artists' work, it's the easiest way to learn technique.

This is a sketch of a goblin I am pretty pleased with. It's a goblin to me at any rate, when I found out the source it may be that it's some other creature. The original was an illustration by Alan Langford from Ian Livingstone's Island of the Lizard King, a fighting fantasy book published in 1984 (thanks to Joe Kelly on the Middlehammer facebook page for this info). I have included the original below for reference, hopefully this does not breach any copyright. My version is simpler and not as polished, but I like it and wanted to show it off! I find sketching is a nice way to wind down in the evening, and results come much quicker than painting miniatures.

More goblins (of the more traditional sculpted and painted variety) to come soon, I seem to be a little bit obsessed with the creatures at the moment. Here's the original sketch I mentioned.

Sunday, 8 March 2020

More goblin archers

Two more goblin archers added to the warband. Easing myself back into the painting habit, I found that taking a month off I had lost that familiarity with painting that regular practise brings. So I was a little tentative adding colours to these figures. Still, in the end, they turned out fine and it's good to get off the mark.

These are plastic night goblins by GW, from the now defunct night goblin boxset. They can be assembled in a number of ways and I chose to take advantage of the less common loading poses. I gave them red hoods to fit in with the theme of my warband, then added some checks for a little extra practise.

There's eight archers now, which is a decent size for a unit in most skirmish games. Looking at them in this group photo, I am not sure they fit well, even though I am a fan of diversity in my collection. I will add more eventually, probably at least another four of the plastic night goblins to make two units of six shooters which covers all the games I play. For the time being, they can be used in games of Erewhon, taking potshots at dwarfs no doubt.

Saturday, 29 February 2020


"Well, I'm back", he said.

And to celebrate, here's a picture of my back. I am back from a long holiday in the Phillipines, visiting family and new friends. We spent pretty much the whole of February doing very little, beach life, taking things slowly to cope with the heat, with a little snorkelling and adventuring thrown in. Batteries well and truly recharged.

I am also back to the hobby, after a three month hiatus. During that time I have painted commission work of course, but I have also been dabbling with new mediums - pencils, watercolours, inks - mostly I have been simply copying sketches from various books or online sources, just to practise holding a pencil, laying on paint. There are a few samples at the bottom of the post for those interested.

The main purpose of this post is to check in again. I am eager to get some of my own miniatures painted, the first time I have felt that way for a while. There are plenty of candidates, plenty of figures prepped, primed or even half painted. I think I might warm up by completing a few that are almost ready, then move on to a fresh unit. In the meantime, here's a few sketches to pad out this brief post.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Nord's Painting Videos

Just another day in the studio. Actually, it's just another hour painting elves, compressed into a 30 second clip. It would be nice if I could blast through the painting like that.

I am thinking of launching a painting channel. I am at the early planning and testing stage, seeing what is possible with a phone, an ipad and very little processing power. It will be a while before I have anything of substance to show, hence the timelapse taster. If things pan out, I will be making a start in spring. Exciting times.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

New Year, New Stuff

Another Yule season gone by, another new year started. I deliberately tried to resist hobby items this year - I have far too many already and tend to buy things as and when I see them available on ebay or kickstarter projects. One minor concession was these replica viking bone dice, for which my wife made a lovely little draw string leather pouch.

And that was it, which suits me at the moment as I seem to have entered a hobby hibernation. My motivation to paint little plastic (or metal) figures has left me, for the time being at least. I am enjoying painting elves for a commission, and dabbling with a watercolour set I received as a Xmas present three years ago.

So the blog will be starting the new year/ new decade with a whimper rather than a bang. It is just a hobby after all, there are no targets or deadlines to meet. When the passion dies, it's best to leave it be for a while, let the flames smoulder for a while, they will re-ignite again when the time is right. In the meantime, here's a little sketch entitled "Tower of Amon Sul".

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