I have to apologize for the quality of these pictures. My iPhone isn’t all that great at Macrophotography, and my photobooth is currently down. The pictures aren’t great, but hopefully they convey how the process looks.

I needed a pair of Ogres for an upcoming D&D adventure (albeit a few months away). I decided to pick up a pair of GW Ogre Bulls. My local shop sells the sprues for these plastic models in smaller groups than the six that normally come in a given box. As such, I was able to buy just two of them. Lots of options with these guys, in terms of arms and armament. If I really wanted to up the options, a box of Ogre Ironguts, who have more armour options, more heads and two-handed weapons. However, these two guys do the job nicely.

I cropped the pictures to focus on just the skin of the Ogre. Paints needed for this are Bugmans Glow (Base); Reikland Fleshshade (Shade); Cadian Fleshtone (Layer); Kislev Flesh (Layer); and Flayed One Flesh (Edge). I wanted to go for a lighter skintone with these ogres, so I started by painting Bugman’s Glow, followed by Cadian Fleshtone. The importance is a solid smooth coat. The Base makes sure the paint covers the black primer well, while the Cadian Fleshtone provides the basic colour I’m looking for:

Bugman’s Glow:

Cadian Fleshtone:Following this base layer, I then applied Reikland Fleshshade. In this case, I used it straight from the bottle:It might seem counter-intuitive, but after the wash dries, I came back with Cadian Fleshtone, painting most of the model again, although leaving the darkest parts of the recesses alone. This includes starting to pick out some details around the face, following muscle tone, etc.The next few steps use increasingly lighter paint in smaller areas. While normally you don’t need to mix the new GW paints, in this case, because of the surface area for Ogre Skin, it is necessary. This is a mix of Cadian Fleshtone and Kislev Flesh:The next step adds straight Kislev Flesh in smaller areas, adding more definition around the muscles and face:The highest highlights I did using Flayed One Flesh, an edge paint, and really optional at this point. I’m not even sure if this crappy pic actually shows the difference:So that’s how I do skin. Notice how messy the process is. I can always go back and clean up what I slopped over using black. That will come soon enough.


2 Hour Goblins is a bit of a misnomer. It already assumes that you’ve taken the time to build and spray the models with a coat of primer.  Rather, it took me 2 hours to paint approximately 16 goblins, which was more than enough for the encounters that I would be running in my D&D campaign. I used a similar technique for the Hobgoblins, with just some differences in terms of choice of paint.

Choice of Models:

For D&D Goblins, I decided to use Moria Goblins from Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. Part of this choice was expediency: I already had them in hand, but also, if I had to buy them, a box of 12 for just under $30CDN works out to about $2.75 per model. Price wise, this is comparable to individual metal figures from Reaper, but not nearly as good as their new Bones line. The advantage of the Moria Goblins over the Bones miniatures is that there’s a larger number of poses. It makes keeping track of which model is which easier.

For the Hobgoblins, I stuck with the same line and used the Mordor Orcs as the stand-ins for similar reasons. The added bonus is that because the Mordor Orcs and Moria Goblins are from the same line, and at least some of them were sculpted by the same people, there’s a consistent look to them. There’s some minor conversions done to add shields to some of the spear-wielding Orcs, but they work.


I’m one who has always said to use the best paints for the job regardless of the company that produces them. My primary go-to paints have been from Privateer Press and Games Workshop, with some Vallejo model and game colour as backup. In the case of these miniatures, however, I ended up using new Games Workshop “Base” paints almost exclusively.

Here’s the list:

  • Skin: Ratskin Flesh (Hobgoblin); Deathworld Forest (Goblin)
  • Eyes: Averland Sunset
  • Armour/Weapons: Dryad Bark, Mournfang Brown, Jokareo Orange, Necron Compound (Dry)
  • Cloth: Mephiston Red
  • Leather Straps: Mournfang Brown
  • Wood: Dryad Bark
  • General Wash: Agrax Earthshade
  • General Utility: Abaddon Black, Ceramite White

This is a short list. 11 paint pots total. Keep in mind, this is about painting them quickly, not about winning any painting contests. Finer techniques should be reserved for one-of models, be it a larger monster or the central villain.

2 hour Techniques:

The real trick with doing 2 hour goblins/hobgoblins is managing the order.  Normally I tend to work on one colour section at a time, as I like to do one particular area of a model start to finish before moving on. I often start with the skin and work outward by clothing. However, when doing speed painting like this, by definition, that needs to go out the window.

Regardless of whether I use a speed or more careful technique, I paint my models in an assembly line format.  Apply the paint to each model in a line, and then go back to the first model with the next step. Acrylic paints tend to dry quickly, so by the time you get back to the first model,  it will be ready for the next step. I also always try to apply paint, with the exception of the armour technique, by position the model in my hand so I am always pulling the brush across the model, never pushing it. Also, aside from the dry compound, or stippling, always water down your paints. For me, the “sweet spot” of watering paints down is when you draw the brush through the paint, and you can see the line behind it close up quickly. If you can’t see any line, it’s too thin, if the line stays, its too thick. There are techniques that use thinner paints, but I’m not using them here.

So here are the steps I used:

  1. Primer colour: Black – For this kind of technique, this is the fastest. In this case, I used GW’s primer as it is a “darker” black than either Privateer Press’ primer, or Duplicolor’s Black Sandable auto-primer. Any of the three will work just fine.
  2. Block Colours:
    1. Armour: The armour makes up the largest part of these models, and as such, most of the time can be saved here. I used a stippling technique, using dryad bark, mournfang brown, and jokaero orange in successive layers.
        • I used the GW Stippling brush in this case, but frankly any old brush with worn out bristles will work just fine. Dip the brush in the paint pot, wipe some of it off on a paper towel, and then make a stabbing/grinding action with the brush on the model. I was fairly heavy with the darker colours, and very conservative with the orange. This is to simulate crude or rusting weapons/armour. I’m always one to say less is more.
        • After doing this, I then lightly drybrushed the armour using Necron Compound. You could also use a dark metal colour as well, but the Necron Compound will be dulled down by the shade/wash towards the end.
    2. Skin: Using a smaller brush, carefully block in the colours of skin. Face, elbows, legs that isn’t covered with armour. You don’t need to get right up to the edge of the armour/clothes with this, in fact you’re better to leave a small gap, and let the primer coat suggest a shadow.
    3. Cloth: Mephiston Red – Very similar to the skin, paint around the areas of cloth using a smaller brush. You’re better to leave too much space on the cloth instead of accidentally getting paint on the armour.
    4. Leather Straps: Mournfang brown. Best to use a small brush.
    5. Eyes. The goblins have large eyes, even for 25mm models. I did small dots of averland sunset on any goblin eyes that didn’t have helmets.
    6. Teeth: Normally I like to do by teeth in a few more stages, favouring them to be a bit more yellow, however, in this case, I just used a small brush, and ceramite white, with just a little bit of paint on it, dragged across the teeth.  The wash would take care of the rest.
    7. Hair. Using Abaddon Black to clean up around the edges of the hair and cover over any of the drybrushed/stippled colours.
  3. Wash: Using Agrax Earthshade straight out of the pot and a large wash brush, I slopped lots of this stuff all over these models and set them up to dry (about 30 minutes)
  4. Touch ups:  Once this is dry, the miniatures are largely done. I wanted to do a few touch-ups/highlights by using a small brush and the paint that was originally used to colour a certain block (be it skin, cloth, leather) and apply a few (small) highlights. For skin, I’d do the middle of the forehead if visible, the ridge of the nose, cheekbones, knees and elbows.

This process can be completed in two hours, including letting the wash dry. It doesn’t account for finishing the models off, which includes basing and clear coating. It’s optional, but frankly it looks better on the tabletop.

Basing Techniques:

The fastest basing technique would be to scoop and spread GW textures onto the bases of these models. For these models I used astrogranite as the texture. Scooping it onto the model and spreading it around with an old brush. Once dry, a drybrush of Terminatus Stone Dry Compound on the base (and lightly on the hair), plus painting the rim of the base black, and the model is ready to be clear coated.

The other technique that I actually prefer over the texture paints is to apply watered down glue to the top of the base, dip the base in sand, let dry, and then paint with a grey or earth tone that has been thinned with a bit of water and rubbing alcohol. Just don’t use the rubbing alcohol with Vallejo paints… it will turn it into goo. As it happens I have a lot of the out-of-print Calthan Brown which I uses for all my brown-tone basing. Once the base paint is dry, drybrushing with a lighter tone or dry compound gives a nice look to it.

Clear Coating:

Sometimes called varnishing, this is a way to get the colours to blend together nicely. No matter how matte the washes tend to be, they will leave glossy spots on your models. I tend to use Testors Dullcote as my clearcoat, as it is a dead-flat finish where all you are looking at is the paint, and no glossy points that give a concentrated reflection of light.

I had actually taken these pictures a little while ago, the same time as the previous post. Although I realized after I had taken down my photo booth, that I had omitted one of this group that I had intended for this post. Oh well. I will follow-up with a supplement when I get the booth open again, I do have another batch of miniatures that are awaiting their day in the booth. Hopefully I will get to them in the middle of next week.

Anyway, on to Shadowfell Part 2. The Keep on the Shadowfell’s plot is fairly basic, and involves all kinds of beasties, but what D&D dungeon crawl would not be complete without hordes of shambling undead horrors, and their master(s)? In this sense, I needed to make sure that I had plenty of undead minions 0n hand. In this regard, I would say that Games Workshop’s miniature line provides the best looking hordes, while at the same time each figure can have an individual look. The advantage of multi-part plastics.

 20 Zombies:

The zombie figures from GW’s Vampire Count line are venerable, with these designs being over 10 years old. Still, they do stand up reasonably well, and I had acquired these before I learned of the newer (and arguably nicer) Mantic Games’ Zombies from their Kings of War line. Still these venerable old rotters did make a decent statement on the tabletop, plus zombies are a staple for many an adventure, so painting 20 zombies once is definitely worth the investment.


Like Zombies, animated Skeletons are a common foe in D&D. They also have the advantage that they paint up very quickly. A few washes and appropriate drybrushing, and one can get an excellent group painted up in a very short period of time.


Armoured Skeletons (for Sir Keegan and the Shallowgrave Wight)

ARGH!! This picture is MISSING!!

There were also instances in the dungeon where Wights and more advanced Skeletons would be part of the mix, so I decided to use GW’s “Grave Guard,” also from the Vampire Counts line. My local games store sells a number of the GW plastic miniatures in smaller quantities outside the box. In this case, I only needed 1-2, but they came in groups of 5, so I painted what I picked up.

***Short Note: I had taken a picture of the Armoured Skeletons, but looks like I had not uploaded them. Right now my 7 year old daughter is watching Pokemon videos on the desktop that has them, and great would her wrath be if I tried to get them off there right now… I’ll add them later***

The Cultists

In the second-to-last encounter, the adventurers encounter a number of Kalarel’s direct lackies, including a couple of fearsome fighters with battle-axes, a Dark Creeper (no, not minecraft), and an “Underpriest”. The two fighers are conversions of basic GW Chaos Warriors, the Underpriest is a plastic GW Necromancer, and the Dark Creeper is a Dark Creeper miniature from Reaper. Apparently the latter seriously creeped out one of my players… so it did its job.


The Big Bad Evil Guy (BBEG) for the Keep on the Shadowfell, plus his clay scout. This picture isn’t the best, but the miniature is “Rax Darkcutter” from Reaper Miniatures, and the clay scout comes out of a package of familars from the same line.

What’s missing from this group are the miniatures I used for both Sir Keegan and the Shallowgrave Wight (GW Grave Guard), as well as the miniatures I used as both Ghouls and Vampire Spawn (GW Ghouls). Look for those in an appendix post soon.

I’ve not done anything in the way of techniques in these posts, but some of them are fairly straightforward. I may do a detailed step-by-step for some of them in future posts.

Coming up next: miniatures from Reavers of Harkenwold.

As I had mentioned in my last post all the way back in March, I’ve been busy, but I’ve not actually had my photo booth up. As such, I’ve not been able to post any pictures of anything that I’ve painted in the past year. Well, today that changed… and now I have some pictures to share!

In this post and this post, I wrote about how our old D&D group from high school got back together last year after more than two decades. Our first gathering was so much fun, that we continued meeting, and have continued to do so on a monthly basis ever since. Shortly after finishing the miniatures for the party, I was looking for other projects, and I realized that I could start using some of my own miniatures that I had on hand for the various monsters and creatures in the adventure we were doing. The Keep on the Shadowfell was the first adventure published for 4th Edition D&D, and it involved all kinds of critters and creatures familiar to people who played classic D&D. While I didn’t paint miniatures for every type of creature in the adventure, I did my best, working with what I had, and then seeking out different types. Having the miniatures on the table greatly enhanced the experience, so whenever possible, I will use a miniature rather than a counter.

First up: Goblins:

 photo Goblins1.jpg

These are basic plastic “Moria Goblins” from various Lord of the Rings miniatures sets. In truth, I painted these miniatures from start-to-finish, including drying time but excluding bases in just 2 hours. Admittedly, that was a record, but I wanted to see if I could get a decent looking horde worked up quickly, as I didn’t have a lot of lead time to get these done. The advantage is now I won’t have to do any more Goblin miniatures, as the variety present can easily stand in for almost any combination of goblins that one might find in the game.

Next, appropriately enough Hobgoblins:

 photo Hobgoblins1.jpg

Again, these are Mordor Orcs from Games Workshop’s Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game. I used similar speed techniques to the goblins, but this time using a skin-tone more appropriate for D&D Hobgoblins. These guys work very well, and I’ve used them in both Keep on the Shadowfell, as well as some customized encounters for Reavers of Harkenwold. I like these minatures for Hobgoblins, and I eventually plan on using the larger Uruk-hai miniatures from GW for actual D&D Orcs, simply adjusting skin tones appropriately. You may see some of thoese later.

For those that might have played this adventure before, you might be wondering where the Kobolds have gotten off to, or the various rabble, or the gnome spy. Well… we ended up playing through those encounters before I decided to try throwing bad-guy miniatures at the group. When the feedback was so positive, out came the brushes.

Secondly, I’m a firm believer in using the best miniature available for the task. In this case, I had lots of surplus Moria Goblins on hand that I hadn’t painted yet. The Mordor Orcs were a logical foll0w-through as hobgoblins, and they had a good resin miniature that would make for a good Warcaster. You’ll see from my next few posts that I don’t limit my miniature selection to a single company.

A Gap, but not a break

Posted: March 27, 2013 in Painting

My last post was eight months ago! Yipe! Not because I’ve abandoned painting, but because I thought is hold off until I managed to set up my photo booth again.

It still hasn’t happened… Largely because where I had the booth set up is now Megan’s art table. To clear it off risks Megan’s wrath. Perhaps I should get a collapsible table or something like that.

So what have I done lately? In short, miniatures for my old high school D&D group’s reunion. They’ve been a mix of GW, Privateer Press, Reaper, and even one Hell Dorado piece. I’m certainly not lacking for choice. I’ve also been a bit concerned about spilling the beans before my group encounters said creature(s). Oh well…

This past week I decided to acquire the new GW “Edge” paints. These are essentially Layer formulations in very light tones for the highest of the highlights. A welcome addition to the line, and what little I’ve done so far using them makes details pop nicely.

Of course, I could have just lightened the paints with white or another lighter colour. Truthfully though, the existence of the edge paints helps reduce the guesswork, and they work very nicely with the year-old new line. Hopefully I can have some pictures up soon. 🙂


I’ve done an awful lot on the plane since I posted last, but I wanted to show my current progress rather than a step-by-step of how I got here. Largely it’s because my photo booth has been down, and so the quality of these pictures isn’t the greatest. However, at least I have something to work with.

Here’s two shots of the upper side of the plane. Since my last picture, I’ve done red dag markings, sponge chipping, and oil-based pin-washes. It gives the model a much more heavily used look, and an illusion of realism that continues to build. Okay, so it’s flown by big green apes, but there’s also the “suspension of disbelief” that comes with this kind of thing.

Up next is trying something called “Salt Weathering” which I have never done before. Hopefully I won’t wreck things 🙂

I’ve made a fair bit of progress on the markings, as well as the overall colour to the piece. After spraying the model down with gloss cote, I decided to use a bit of oil paint to provide a bit more variation in the tone of the model. Unfortunately, the pictures I took didn’t really do it justice… but here’s a shot to show what I did.

Using a mix of blue and white oil paints, I traced the leading edges of the panels. It didn’t need to be neat, it just needed to be done:

It looks horrible, right? Well… oils are very forgiving in this regard, but this is what I wanted. Using a brush dampened with white spirit/odourless turpentine, I drew some of the paint back across the panel, and then using a dry flat brush I then “tamped” or softened the paint out across the length of the panel. The end result is hardly perceivable even when holding the model, but there is a subtle lighter to darker transition on the model… which is what I wanted. I don’t have a “results” shot of that because of camera gum-up issues. I also did an oil “pin-wash” in the cockpit and gunnery chair… I’ll explain that later when I do oil pin washes on the main body of the model itself.

Once this was done, I then sprayed the model down with dullcote, let it cure for a day or two, and then using automotive masking tape and light-tack blue painter’s tape, I then masked off the areas I wanted to spray white on the model:

After this picture was taken I put masking tape over the ends of the gun barrels, and then sprayed it with Ceramite White cut with about 10% Celestra Grey. After that dried a bit, I lightly sponged Kantor Blue over the white markings for some light chipping effects. I had planned on using masking fluid, but I couldn’t seem to find it. Sigh.

Once it dried, I removed the masking tape, and this is where things are now:



All told, I am reasonably happy with this. I’m going to let things dry a bit more and when I get a chance this weekend, I’m going to mask off and paint a “red dags” pattern on the leading edge of the wings. I did notice a small mold line peeking through on the front of the fuel tank on the right wing. Sigh. Maybe chipping will cover it up?