Friday, December 31, 2010

Onorevoli v. Iron Warriors mini batrep

Happy New Year, one and all. I hope and trust that you will celebrate in a gentlemanly and salubrious manner.

Apologies for the quality of these photos. They were taken last night during the battle and leave much to be desired. Normally in these circumstances, I would use these photos as both model and guide for “historical reenactment” photos, but today is quite bleak here in Chicago, and the lighting won’t help the situation one bit. So it goes.

Perhaps the atmosphere of the photos matches the tone of the conflict more accurately than I would initially like to admit. Last night was our first proper battle of 40K in a very, very long time. We selected a simple 1500 points and just lined up for a bit of traditional smash-mouth. After having spent so much time either away from proper 40K or reimagining various aspects thereof, we were both in the mood for something simple and solid –as one does.

Pitmann tabled me in 5 turns.

The best laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley, as old Rabbie would have it, and this was certainly the story for the Onorevoli last night. Pitmann had a number of Berzerkers on foot in the company of a DP on my left, and I had hoped to work a standard redeployment to avoid them until I had succinctly sorted out the other elements of his force. I folded my army quite quickly away from the immediate danger and focused my energies on a decently prioritized list. As far as I can figure, that plan was solid.

A few things went wrong:

First, my standard gamble with a Drop Pod Dreadnought came off in a fashion that might best be described as startlingly limp. I blew that one, and was never allowed a chance to clean up the mess.

Second, the redeployment went reasonably well, excepting that I left myself a bit exposed at one point and Pitmann made me pay for it. Again, Pitmann made sure that I was not allowed to cut any corners or tidy any mistakes.

Third, Pitmann saw the redeployment and threw his Bikers into the middle of the works in what might have been a suicidal charge -straight through a gauntlet of snipers and into the waiting maws of TH/SS Terminators with a Librarian to boot. After some quite remarkable saves, the Bikers sailed through the mess and crushed the Termies over three rounds of combat, losing only five in return. That stung. I needed that engagement to come off much more quickly and much more directly in my favor. Alas. Full points for Pitmann not only for getting his boys stuck in to disrupt my plans, but also for making his Bikers hurt the Onorevoli in unexpected ways.

In conclusion, I have decided to retire the Onorevoli in their current form. I’ve been playing them straight codex marines and, to be candid, their fluff hamstrings them every time (3 squads of scouts, what?).

So. I’ll not be abandoning them entirely, perish the thought, but rather reconfiguring them in order either to make the fluff viable, or to manage what I’m able to bring to the table more potent. For example, with considerable inspiration from Roberto Vo5, I have contemplated reinventing the Onorevoli as Deathwing or worse. Well. More on that as the story develops. In the mean time, Pitmann and I have scheduled a rematch for Sunday afternoon. I expect the light to be much better.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ogryn Aldo Gruener

First. There is a massive-dan-abnett-shaped chunk of news floating about town from the good folks at AdeptiCon; if you hadn’t made plans to attend, I think you should do so now. I’ll wait.

Now. Back to your regularly scheduled program. With a handful of commissions just recently sent to their rightful owners, and with the first three books of Special Operations: Killzone safe and sorted, I’ve finally found some time to sit down properly with a paintbrush or two and attend to some overlooked, nay positively neglected, projects.

As I mentioned Monday, I have a gaggle of minis crowding the margins of my workspace, but last night I felt the need to sidestep my current vogue for assembly line painting and just sit still with a single miniature for one entire session. It’s a guilty pleasure these days, to be sure, but I’m realizing (belatedly) that this is a disappointingly infrequent occurrence.

So, Ogryn Aldo Gruener here got the nod. I have always wanted to paint one of these Ogryn fellows, and I’ve mentioned before that Killzone offers an ideal opportunity to scratch that metaphorical itch, which I have, which I did, for several hours.

He’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, nor representative of my best work, but I enjoyed tremendously the opportunity to focus completely in the work at hand, to experiment with some new techniques (washes), to mix some new colors (flesh), to calmly work and re-work ideas until they formed the shape (or nearly so) that I desired. Of course, he’s not quite complete, so there’ll be an opportunity to revisit that itch, but until then I intend to stumble forward in my usual capacity.

Onward. Upward.

Ogryn Aldo will likely not wander the tabletop in Commissar C. Ludo Baracca’s Team, as pictured here, but act as the anchoring element in the second Team in Baracca's Special Operations Group –a Team in which I will shamelessly indulge yet more OOP IG goodness.

Stay tuned for more on that.

See you Friday.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Commissar C. Ludo Baracca and the Fazzoletti

Roberto Vo5 once remarked to me that time is relative when one is with one’s relatives. And that is true. I hope and trust that all spent an enjoyable weekend.

For my part, I feel like I’ve returned from a dramatic spell at sea. I picked up a paintbrush today for the first time in what feels like an eon –but, in fact, was something considerably more like a week. Still, it felt good to be back amongst the minions, making progress once again. I have so many projects on the burner right now that are three-quarters finished that I feel obligated to sift through them just to clear room on the desk… for at least two more really grand and ambitious projects that are patiently waiting in the margins (templars. cough. bretonnians. cough. cough).

Well. Nevermind all that.

In the thick of it today, I managed to finish (for now –I never really mean “finish” when I say finish. I suspect more than a few of you feel the same about your own ceaseless endeavors) Commissar C. Ludo Baracca and his merciless Fazzoletti. They’ve yet to be coated, but are otherwise restless and ready... which is well enough, as Pitmann is meant to stop round on Thursday for some much needed holiday gaming.

C. Ludo Baracca was rather unsubtly inspired by the WWI Ace of a shamelessly similar name (there's another aspect of his personal history that I find quite intriguing as well but more on that another time),  while I’ve imagined his Fazzoletti as having taken their name from the distinctive bandannas that mark them as workers from his estates back home. Though I suspect that this history is grand, terrible, and compelling, they’ve yet to actually see proper table time, so that history is largely yet unwritten. More to follow, of course.

Before adding Special Wargear and Upgrades, I’ve structured the force as such: Commissar Baracca, naturally, followed by Sergeant Squinzo and roughly nine seasoned, trusted laborers. Throw in a Special Weapon or two, as well as the rusty old Armoured Sentinal SPAD, and we’re somewhere under 200 points –which is an ideal place to find oneself before fleshing out the characters with upgrades.

I suspect that that good Commissar will want to take a Refractor Field, and a Special Weapons member will certainly either take a Targeter or the Crack Shot upgrade. Sergeant Squinzo will almost certainly pick up the Blade Master upgrade to round out the basic formation of the Team. That should get them started in proximity of 225 points. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Needless to say, I’m looking forward to getting them on the table.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Special Operations: Killzone... Glorious.

Merry Christmas (belated) and all that. Just a quick note to announce -for those of you not yet aware- that Big Jim has the updated Killzone Rules, Missions, and Errata up on his site. I've been swept out to sea by the holiday tide this week, but will be back in action tomorrow to finish those recipes I promise and with one or two more treats.

Cheers to all the fellows that have helped with this Killzone project. It's been tremendous thus far, and I know we've got plenty more in store. 
All the best,

p.s. Killzone! check it out.
p.p.s. GLORIOUS!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Recipe: Red

Once again, I haven't quite managed a step-by-step post for today and, once again, I intend to remedy that soon. In the mean time, here are a few old photos in which I experimented with the recipe detailed below. Once upon a time, red confounded me. No longer. 

This one is fun…

I start with Merchite Red mixed with either Chaos Black or Dark Angels Green (or both) to make a sufficiently muddy-brown red for the base color.

I revisit this with a more direct mixture of Merchite Red for the first highlight, smoothing toward a pure Merchite layer.

I then work some Red Gore into Merchite for a more subtle highlight, followed in a similar manner by a selective highlight of just Red Gore. (note: on quite a few figures, I’ve been quite selective about this. In areas that are naturally shaded, I’ve tried to give the illusion of highlight but also to limit the range of tones in areas that shouldn’t appear bright necessarily. In earlier attempts, I always tried to paint all the highlights up to the brightest tone no matter where that might be on the model. As I've softened in later years, I've stepped away from this idea considerably. The effect is less photogenic, but more realistic -I find).

The final highlight is a mixture of Red Gore and Blood Red.

I then wash the red with Baal Red Wash, mixed with a bit of Black Wash and/or Green Wash to find the darkest shades again. I try to stick to the edges with any mixture that has green in it, as this will have a pretty dramatic “deadening” effect on the red. It’s best for the deeper shadows.

If necessary, I come back with one more highlight of the final Red Gore-Blood Red mixture –but again I should note that I try to keep the Blood Red from dominating too dramatically the mixture, as it will inevitably look more orange than red. 

And there you have all my secrets to Red, Black, Gold, and Stone and Bone. I'll see if I can pull one more color from thin air on Wednesday to round out this series. Fingers crossed. 

As ever, thank you for your support.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


I intend to post another recipe and step-by-step tomorrow and Wednesday, but I'm not sure that much will get accomplished for Friday. Something about a holiday and eggnog and whatnot. 

In the mean time, it's back to those Killzone books. In sum, we're a breath away from finishing all the revisions and re-revisions with a side of fried revision -just one deep, cleansing breath. Well. Here are the themes for the covers, all of which I've enjoyed putting together tremendously. There is (in my gentle opinion) a lovely little narrative scope here that keeps me coming back for more. I hope you like them as well. 

I've also included this one image from the Errata book in hopes of casting your interest toward gilded AP3 flashlights. 

See you tomorrow for more recipes amok.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Recipe: Gold

Unfortunately, I don't have a photographic step-by-step to accompany this post (though I intend to mend that soon enough). I'm sneaking this post in at the last minute, so instead I'll simply have to write the recipe and show a few old images for inspiration.

My approach to gold hasn't changed in years, and it's a fairly basic sequence; however, I struggled to get this color right until someone kindly showed me two simple tricks: ink with chestnut (I think sepia wash will work just as well), and highlight very gently with a mithril mix. On the odd chance that you have another approach and might find this one worthwhile, or you are otherwise struggling, I've stuffed the recipe in below. 

This figure, by the way, was created in a "create your own chapter" contest quite a few years ago. His chapter was called the Sons of Caedmon, and the celebrated a very brief but glorious moment in my own personal spotlight. The kilt thing, I must confess, never really took off. 


I start with a generous base of Shining Gold. This color gets gummy quick, so I try both to be careful, and to be certain that I get good coverage. If the mixture gets too thin, the color tends to run all over and cover poorly, so there’s a bit of a balancing act going on here.

I generously wash the gold base with Chestnut Ink (although I think a generous layer or two of Sepia would have a similar effect). If I want to muddy or darken the mixture, I can add some Brown Ink to the stew.

Once dry, I highlight this with Burnished Gold.

If I want a bit more sparkle, I will add another highlight with just the smallest drop of Mithril to the Burnished Gold. I’ve said this before, but just a drop will do the trick. Mithril will overwhelm the gold pretty quickly, and I generally don’t like to lose the rich, golden tones that the ink establishes. Too much Mithril will make the coloring look too polished in my humble opinion. So the idea is to brighten the Burnished Gold without losing its inherent golden hue. 

p.s. I just wanted to drop a quick tip for a brand new blog that's come to my attention. Wyatt is a top-notch individual that I met at AdeptiCon earlier this year. I wrote a post some time ago that focused on his tremendous Space Wolves army here, and I can already tell that he's upped the ante considerably from the project he has started. Have a peek.  Tremendous.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Recipe: Black

Once again, I must thank Warhammer 39,999 for inspiring this week of recipe posts. On Monday, I posted my Stone and Bone recipe after he asked about the combinations involved. Today, I’ll be posting the antithetical color on my palette, Black. Warhammer 39,999 gets a double nod here again because his own efforts have made me rethink my approach to the color.

In the past, I often just left black as black. Almost all my efforts to highlight black tended to work against my goal and left the color looking either gray or worse; however, I noticed with some considerable interest that WH 39.9K tends to use a generous amount of blue-gray in his highlights, and that got me thinking. Here’s what I came up with.

Chaos Black starts the process, naturally. 

I then highlight pretty widely with Midnight Blue. I’m always amazed at how much like black this hue of blue looks, particularly once it has dried. On more than one occasion, I’ve had to really look closely at a model that I’d set aside to remember if I’d already gone past it with Midnight.

I follow that coat quite quickly with another more selective and delicate highlight of Midnight and Regal Blue blend. 

Although this next step tends to make the desired area look alarmingly blue, or at least demonstrably not-black, I follow along with a more selective layer of just Regal Blue, or a Regal Blue and Codex Grey mixture (and sometimes both).

Two notes:

-one) in days of yore, I either left black alone entirely or highlighted it with pure variations of gray. I will never do so again. Now, I much prefer either brown hues or blue tones –as noted here.

-two) the trick here –in my humble opinion- is not to get carried away with highlighting. I’ve exaggerated more than I normally do for the photos here, and the effect looks a bit clumsy if not garish at this point. A little color will do a lot to make the black look rich, deep, and complex. Too much highlighting will invariably just make the black look either gray or blue, which is the exact opposite of my goal.

Often, the following is my final step –in which case I finish by washing a mixture of aggressively thinned Blue and Black Wash over the whole surface that I want black. This step is the key because it invariably blends the dramatic highlighting from the previous step, brings the range away from blue, and emphasizes the black once more. I should mention that I tend toward much more Black than Blue in the washes again to be sure that the final result looks sufficiently black and doesn’t drift from that purpose.

If I’m inclined to make the piece a bit more dramatic, or if it’s just plain necessary, I can always make room for one more extreme-edge highlight of the final Regal-Codex highlight from before the wash –sparingly, sparingly, sparingly.

And so there he is. My WWI Flying Ace of a Commissar now has a name, Commissar Conte F. Barraca. More on him in a week or so. 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Recipe: Stone and Bone

This entire week was inspired by the very patient and very kind disposition of Warhammer 39,999. About a million years ago, he asked me to expand a bit on my bone recipe. Naturally, I said “sure.” Then, both my attention and my freetime were summarily swindled by life and whatnot. Belatedly, we are here and we have bone.

But first a quick note or two.

1. Killzone at AdeptiCon has exactly one spot left on Sunday. And that is it. Tremendous news. I’m stunned that with four months to go, we have very nearly packed up 72 possible space.

2. Matt from AdeptiCon was very, very kind to mention Killzone, as well as A Gentleman’s Ones, on the 11th company podcast. Cheers mate. You are too kind. 

3. On that note, I have my first ever “guest post” over at the AdeptiCon Development blog on the subject (of all things) doors, and which you can find here. By all means, please check it out and comment if you are both willing and able.

4. And finally a second shout out to Warhammer 39,999 for his very thorough and very kind response to my question about blog space. Thanks for sorting all that for me -extremely helpful.

OK. This “Bone” recipe is the one that I’ve been using not only for skulls and bones and the like, but also for stone –which might seem odd, but I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of the same basic steps with only the most minor change in emphasis and no change in recipe. When considering stone, as with today’s example, I simply move the spectrum over slightly from the bone recipe so that less of the whites show and more of the browns and yellow peek through. Apart from that, it’s the same monster.

Also, I should mention that this recipe is largely a foundation affair.

This whole mess begins with Calthan Brown.

Then a mix of Calthan and Tausept Ocre or straight Tausept, depending on how subtle I feel the particular stone (or bone) needs to be blended.

I follow this is Iyanden Darksun. I should mention that these steps tend to be reasonably subtle in the final bone palette, but much more notable in stone.

I then work some Bleached Bone into Iyanden Darksun over the course of a two or three layers with a bit more Bleached in each mix; however, I never reach a layer pure Bleached Bone, as this will contrast too dramatically with the rich tan colors that precede it (again, my humble opinion).

Once I’m satisfied with the way this looks, I generously wash the whole area with a mixture of Gryphonne Sepia and Ogre Flesh (with more Sepia than Ogre –also, note: for bone I avoid Devlan in this stage as it will brown out the yellows; however, for stone I sometimes hit the extreme shaded edges and/or cracks –but only those selected areas- with Devlan in this mix to make sure they are sufficiently dark –although, in today’s example, this extra step was not necessary nor desired).

I then pop back a thinned layer of the last highlight once again, which meant only to break up a space or two from where the wash has pooled, etc.

Finally, for me, is the trickiest last step of the bunch. I take that final highlight and mix in just a drop of Skull White –just a drop. This isn’t so much a highlight as a spot check. I’m not sure what else to call it. I don’t so much paint strokes of this highlight as dot a little bit along an edge, over an eyebrow or cheekbone, just the most extreme of extreme highlights. The blue undertones in the Skull White should make the color really pop out and visually pull what might otherwise be a pretty tan-yellow-brown color directly into the dirty white zone.

And there you have it. 

Thank you, one and all, for the kind support. See you Wednesday for... Black. It's like space, only darker.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


As you will have seen this week, the Killzone project continues with furious momentum. Seriously. It cannot be stopped. Currently, I’m assembling the Errata into its final form, and then I believe we will be prepared to unleash this monster once more into the blogosphere. Best be prepared.

On other news, I’ve just finished another major bit of commission work that’s cornered every minute not directly related to Killzone …which means you can expect to see more Killzone here on A Gentleman's Ones. Ha. That's mostly accurate.

In truth, this means that I’ll have a better chance to put the finishing touches on several of those half-conceived, half-painted Special Operations Groups that you’ve had a peek at already. I haven’t, if you were wondering, forgotten about good ole Gutgrope and hope you haven’t either –and the OOP Marines, and the Catachans with their Ace Commissar, and the Dark Eldar, and so on. It’s all there waiting for me, and for you.

Indeed. With the perhaps vain hope of rounding out my final Team (cough. Warband) in the Ork SOG, I’ve started assembling this bad boy.  I absolutely love the humor and shambolic grumpiness of it all. Tremendous. I can already tell that this guy is going to be an absolute pleasure to paint, and I'm already finding it difficult not to assemble his compatriots who are still waiting patiently on the spru... Really. Killzone will make an Orky believer of me yet.

But never mind all that. I’ve been asked to share a recipe or two, and so that will be the theme for this week –recipe, recipe, recipe. See you tomorrow for the first installment: stone and bone.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Killzone Covers

Slowly but slowly the Killzone overhaul is coming along. Today, I figured out how to save the whole mess in a form that would then allow me to upload the images to blogger. 

Karitas and Menzies deserve tremendous credit for conceiving the visual end of this project; however in recent weeks, much of the formatting and imaging has landed on my lap (to be candid, I found myself in the middle of the opportunity when "real life" knee-capped the others). In his indomitable yet humble way, Karitas put a really professional edge on the Beta ruleset, and both he and Menzies have incredible skill with image manipulation and graphics. Alas, I lack that latent skill, but try to compensate in other bloody-minded ways. So. I've tried to match the professional and slick look established at the precedent, while pitching an unmistakable, perhaps gentlemanly, tone to the whole affair. Here's a peek at a cover or two and a small glimpse inside.

But it's time for a quick confession. Two weeks ago I didn't have the foggiest notion of how to accomplish any of this. Thank god for intuitive programming. 

Well. That's neither here nor there. The goods are nearly finished. We need only sort and format the Errata, and then this monster will be back in your hands... glorious.

One more note -I saw Brent recently post that he had reached his allotted space for images on blogger. After the tremendous response for the question I asked in the last post, I thought I might try my hand again. Surely, I'm crowding the personal space of whatever limit blogger has allowed for one quiet, blushing blog like this one. What can one do about that without losing content?