I’ve just used my first can of Army Painter spray primer since they relaunched them last year, and it was so much of an improvement over my previous experiences with the brand that I might actually start buying them again! For years, AP primers have been my primer of absolute last resort – my experiences hadn’t been good at all – from cans clogging completely just a few minutes into their first priming session, to bad finishes, to the absolutely awful sickly-sweet stink that seemed to linger for days.

But I needed a can of Wolf Grey, to follow along with a Sonic Sledgehammer tutorial, so I ordered it and braced for the worst. (I also ordered a Colour Forge Wolfkin Grey as a backup, even though I believe that one is a step darker)

The experience couldn’t have been more different to before – everything was primed smoothly, with no clogging of the can or miniature detail, and – maybe best of all – little to no odour! I wouldn’t say the spraying conditions were the best, either, so the good outcome despite that is another tick in the win column. So good job, AP! I think Colour Forge will stay as my “go-to”, as it’s slightly cheaper and you get more per can, but now I wont be so reluctant to consider an AP primer… especially for some of the more unusual primer colours they have in the range.

A line chart showing my miniature painting output in 2022. The Y-axis is model count per month, and the X-axis is month of the year. The values are:
Jan	68
Feb	5
Mar	0
Apr	9
May	0
Jun	0
Jul	0
Aug	0
Sep	0
Oct	0
Nov	0
Dec	20
See if you can spot the months when I was busy/sick

So, 2022. All-in-all, it was a pretty dire year for me. It started well, with lots of promise and plans. Then I got sick, got better, got busy, then got sick again. I’m not 100% clear right now, and it will be an ongoing issue, but at least I can hold a brush for the moment.

January started with lots of odds-and-sods getting cleared out of the backlog. Little pieces that had been an idea once but were now just getting in the way. Ogres, terrain, and lots and lots of Skeletons!

February was Custodes, including a conversion I’m still quite proud of.

April was my attempt to get my Stormcast Eternals off the ground, finally, though I didn’t get very far.

Finally, in an attempt to break the 100 miniature mark, on December 31st I speed-painted 20 Dark Eldar Warriors I had bought at the start of the year, when GW re-released the miniatures from the 40K 3rd Edition boxset. Not my finest paintjob, but for ~5 hours work on 20 miniatures, they’re not bad at all. I don’t have a separate post about these, so the photos are below:

I went for a distinctly retro feel for these, but it’s 90% Contrast paints and drybrushing. I nearly went for classic green-rimmed bases, but couldn’t quite bring myself to do it: so black it was.

So what’s coming in 2023? Well, I want to try and get back into regular painting – as much as my health will let me – so I have a few projects “in flight” at the moment: Flesh-Eater Courts, Word Bearers, Imperial Guard, and a few other bits-and-pieces. I want the chart for 2023 to be less “spikey”. I’m consciously keeping most of it simple: relying on hairy brush rather than airbrush for the most part, simple and fast techniques, and basically trying not to overcomplicate what I want to do. The quicker I can go from idea to painted model, the better for keeping interest and inspiration. Time will tell if the plan works! I’ve used the New Year as a reset; if it wasn’t finished by the end of last year then it’s boxed up and put away until inspiration drives me to return to it.

Evil, or just misunderstood?

I’m starting the year with a couple of test models for one of this year’s big hobby projects: the cosmic “Bond Villains” that are the Word Bearers. I’ve kinda fallen in love with how comically over-the-top evil they are, yet also comically inept.

This was just supposed to be a quick and small project using kits I had in my backlog, but it’s since grown arms and tentacles as it turned out I had passively acquired a lot of CSM kits over the years, and Christmas added a couple more… oh well!

The paint scheme itself is relatively simple, though given how much trim there is on Chaos Marines, I hesitate to say it’s “quick”:

  1. Spray the whole model silver
  2. Wash the trim with Gryph-Charger Grey Contrast paint
  3. Drybrush everything with Necron Compound
  4. Paint the armour panels with Flesh Tearers Red Contrast paint
  5. Apply Black Templar Contrast paint to the soft materials between joints and to gun casings
  6. Paint the tabard, horns, and pistol holsters with Ivory
  7. Wash the weapons and power pack with Nuln Oil Shade
  8. Anything golden is given a coat of Nazdreg Yellow Contrast paint over the silver. Bronze is Snakebite Leather over silver
  9. Belts and other leather details like the holsters are given a coat of Garaghak’s Sewer Contrast paint
  10. Shoulders are filled in with Black
  11. Bones and horns are given a coat of Skeleton Horde Contrast Paint, with some Snakebite Leather blended into the base of the area
  12. Tabards are painted with a mix of Black Templar and Dark Angel Green Contrast paint
  13. Eyes are painted with Tesseract Glow, straight over the silver. A little bit was added around the eye, to create a glow effect
  14. Any touch ups to the trim were made with Plate Mail Air by the Army Painter

And that’s it for now… I’m hoping to avoid edge highlighting by relying on Contrast paints doing their thing, and shading down, rather than going lighter. I might add an oil pin wash for more separation between areas, once I’ve done the transfers, but I’m not 100% decided on that.

So it was a bit of a frustrating day, today. Late yesterday I was struggling with differentiating between the bone armour and the unpainted areas of the model, so I had the “bright idea” To apply an oil wash to the armour, to give it a bit more definition.

Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out very well. It shifted the colour of the armour closer to a dark vomit brown, with no way of fixing it without a lot of layering – which is far more work than I was prepared to do on this project, at this stage. Do some sort of repaint was on the cards.

You might notice that many of the models in the photo above are now a very dark colour – for simplicity, I’ve painted over the armour in a dark metallic colour – Burnt Iron from the Vallejo Metal Color line. I went with this as it is effectively one coat coverage and flows incredibly well from the brush, making it fairly easy to cover up the old armour colour.

I’ve still got the Knights and second unit of Warriors to redo, but I’m hopeful I can blast through them too tomorrow… although the Knights are incredibly detailed and fiddly. Avoiding the non-armour sections on them is a pain, as I found when I did one as a test

So … yeah. The project has already taken an unexpected turn. Let’s hope it’s the last time , as I know if I encounter too many issues I’m liable to get disheartened and abandon it 😕

I’m a day late posting Day 10, as I spent so long painting miniatures yesterday! It was by far the longer time I have managed to devote to hobby time in several months.

The whole day was basically spent batch painting different details across the whole Slaves to Darkness army – cloaks, furs, cloth, and boots have been based with an appropriate Contrast paint, as has the Chaos Lord’s Karkadrak.

Hopefully Day 11 will be metallics and some other details that will bring things close to “tabletop ready”.

After a bit of a marathon – but last minute – airbrushing session, I managed to get the basic zenithal highlight applied to my Slaves to Darkness army. Nothing too fancy, but enough to establish the main armour colour, and set it up for washes and weathering. It also gives me a nice base for using Contrast paints on unimportant details like belts and boots.

Today I had several jobs I needed to do, so I didn’t get a massive amount of hobby done, but I did manage the most important step for my Slaves to Darkness – I got the first layer down on their armour. (The colour is Trench Brown by Colour Forge, which is a match to Steel Legion Drab by Citadel).

Hopefully, tomorrow, I’ll manage to get all the airbrushed highlighting stages done, which should just leave filling in the other details with simple base costs and/or Contrast..

Not the most exciting update today, but an important step forward: todays hobby tine was spent priming all of the Slaves to Darkness that I’d been building all week. They’ll be getting another spray tomorrow, of the shadow colour of the scheme I’m planning to do, then I’ll need to break out the airbrush to finish off the armour.

Today I built the contents of the current Start Collecting! Slaves to Darkness box set. This was a quick turnaround for me, as I only received the box this morning!

The Chaos Warriors and Chaos Lord were a joy to build, going together quickly and easily, with most joins andthe like hidden in clever ways – which is to be expected, as the models in this set are modern “Easy to Build” push-fit miniatures.

The Chaos Knights were slightly more frustrating to build, especially the unit champion, who just didn’t seem to want to go together without either popping apart again, or with some massive gaps. By clipping of some pegs, and applying some extra plastic glue though, I managed to get it assembled with only a small amount of cursing. The rest of the unit were slightly better, with the most frustrating issue being the distribution of the parts across all 3 sprues, instead of being grouped together logically like most other kits.

With a core set of units assembled now, hopefully the weather will hold and I’ll be able to start getting some paint on them this weekend!

The other night I found the rest of the Chaos Warriors I’d bought 11 years ago, so todays hobby was spent clipping them off the sprues, cleaning them up a little, and assembling them.

The keen eyed among you will notice they’re partially painted – apparently I had decided to paint this batch while they were still on the sprue. I won’t be sticking with this paint job: they’ll get a painted over at the sand time as the rest of the army. The previous layers were airbrushed on, so they’re thin enough I shouldn’t need to strip paint off the models.