Monday, 17 November 2014

Vlka Fenryka - The Fournival

This is where it gets controversial. Where I will be publishing fragments of whole. I decided to do it anyway, because I will be painting one or two models at a time and I think people will enjoy seeing steady updates. It won't be until Christmas when I would have had the first full squad of models to share and be able to share the full vision as intended.

Finished now are Iron Priest in Terminator Armor, carrying a massive rotator cannon, and the first Wulfen, with a thunder hammer and storm shield. They are first two of in total 10 wolf guard terminator rules using models that form the bulk of the army and study and push the boundaries between a Sky Warrior and the Canis Helix gone rogue and millennia in the Eye of Terror.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Vlka Fenryka and the Las Vegas Open?

How does completely crazy turn to clinical insanity?

I just bought a ticket to the Las Vegas Open. I have always wanted to go. Now I hear subconscious  whispers about the impossible. Would it be possible to have a playable Army by February 2015? Maybe by bringing the Knight I already have? Maybe. ?

Not sure what exactly triggered this impulse, maybe the Solar Auxilia models I got in the mail yesterday. They are really really excellent. Forge World has really done an amazing job creating a fantastic Void Combat suited guard in 20 unique poses - and this is just the opening salvo. I am looking forward to building an Allied Guard continent of these guys.

Or the fact I finished the 3rd and 4th Space Wolf model. What ridiculous parody it is to feel such a sense of achievement after finishing all of four infantry models. (and a wolf)

Next step is to convince my crazy friends Spikey Rat Pack's Kari and Mikko to fly to Vegas with me.

Who else is in?

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Vlka Fenryka - Visions of War through a mist of paint, and sting of super glue.

I'm tired.

But energized.

Clearing out glass domes for new.

With every single army or squad project I've ever done, I've taken a new step - usually for the better. Some of the biggest failures have led to the biggest successes. Like the utterly plain and lifeless first take on Inquisitor Silas, and the explosion of bravery that turned him into such a visceral piece that immediately spun a retinue of grim darkness. I have purposefully tried to learn or achieve something with each project. Tried to combat mannerism, the plague of even the greatest of artists. I see an incredible amount of extremely talented painters who've completely stagnated to repeating what works for them (and at times very well I should add). I am too curious to stop experimenting and searching. With the Rout it is the same, yet different. I worked on Legion for so long, and learned so much, while staying at a fairly constant level in terms of quality that this reset has been fantastic.

Going from a water painterly work on white undercoat, to zenith oomph, understated realism, with very intense and deep metallics and plenty of flat bone and deep red in the mix. It's a fundamental new style, yet recognizably mine I think. The first 4 models I've been painting have each though me something important.

The fact that this time it's going to be a very curated collection, a very clear vision and not a collection of sub themes that span years, makes it quite interesting. I want to put the entire lot together in a year. I feel almost like a movie director might, or so I'd imagine ;). The kind who writes his own stuff and shoots it too. Different pieces are coming together. Ideas need to be evaluated on a whole new level. Not just that a good idea is great, it needs to be the RIGHT idea. Something that enhances everything else in the army. One key challenge is to do this without the backdrop. With every unit a centerpiece in its own way.

I'm guessing that a beautiful collection of calm Solar Auxilia could be the follow on to create the calm.

I'm enjoying building, painting, narrating the storyline and working out the army mechanics. All at the same time. I'm hand picking key drivers from Abnett's Prospero Burns, and each and every edition of the Space Wolves codex. There are some real gems in there. The way the current one describes the things that hunt the vast labyrinth of the Fang, or how the previous talks about the 13th.

It's becoming clear my Company is returning from the Eye of Terror changed. And with a direct link to the lost. The Taboo of all taboos for the Sky Warriors. Yet also what they have been searching for. The premise for the next great hunt, and a study of good and evil, of those deepest grey areas of loyalty. It's clear there is something in the subject matter that deeply attracts me. Like Alpha Legion, like the Inquisition, all so horribly grey to do good. I love the added twist of Space Wolves' hatred against the Inquisition, and even the Ministorum. The Vlka Fenryka history is ridden with bloodshed against the tyranny and dogma of said institutions... one of the very very few forces in the universe who can go unpunished.

The fact that these feral, savage beasts, are the most noble, honorable and humane defenders of the imperium of man. That the All Father's executioners are it's most keen defenders of the weak is a fantastic storyline.

Hold that thought.


PS. I have progress on the Wolf Priests bone crafters. A special order to tend the Wulfen perhaps. There is still a lot of detail to add. I have purposefully added detail that will force me to paint something I haven't tried before. Like glass orbs filled with blood and healing balms.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Vlka Fenryka - Artistic musings and commentary to your questions.

I wanted to thank you guys about the comments to the previous post. Please keep them going!

To summarize some of the great conversation, I decided to edit a post about different aspects that have come up. For the (Alpha) Legion project, at times random posts about inspiration, vision and what drives decision making seemed to be of big interest.

In the new Space Wolves codex, an applicant sees their Bio Mass grow by 80% when they receive the Canis Helix, and that on top of sturdy, tall, scandinavianesque physique of what I imagine the people of Fenris possess. Astartes are described as warriors gods in all the background. This is where I start. Legion was about doing my take on what the Plastic Space Marine kits should be. This is a celebration of Forge World's vision and taking everything up a notch as pieces of art that can stand on their own. I want my Sky Warriors to feel and look like the Warrior Gods they are. "True-scale or Art-scale" can be missing the point. It's not about numbers, it's about expressing the correct feeling.

For that end, hopefully many of you get the opportunity to see these in real life, with the right reference set of other miniatures. Until then, it's time for me to work on and finish a few human sized beings to give you that reference.

I am Finnish and grew up with Scandinavian folklore, children's books and general aesthetics, in the seasons of utter cold and darkness and endless days of the summer. So indirectly or directly that is one key inspiration. I draw from the same Northern European imagery Games Workshop and their Art Direction also drinks deeply from. I've spent three years of my life in the Uk and now three years in California. Both key influences.

The eyes on the wolf and the Sky Warriors are black metallic. This wonderful dark metallic paint that makes it as if the dark pit is staring at you what ever the angle. In the fluff the wolf eyes are described as golden, while Altansar Eldar and other good forces stuck in the Eye of Terror have black eyes. Putting the two together here.

Where Shaddes off Greye had a bunch of colors, each with grey added in, here I have a lot less, but full intense skin and reds for example. Very different aesthetic! Almost night and day, without pun intended. Legion in between was so very colorful, yet avoided red all together. Avoiding one primary color has been a great successful differentiator, and this time that might be avoiding green. And introducing some blue here and there.

I also nearly felt there are too many eye catchers on Balewolf. So much detail, bone, fur, gem, metal, skin, and if it wasn't for tying many of them together in categories of color and feel, the model would be overwhelming and lack focus/impact.

Basing has always been a very critical part of my miniatures. I feel I have consistently gone beyond what most other modelers have done with every single miniature in the army. It's about setting the world, giving a glimpse of the weather and wear and feel of the place. A place I define. I have used MIG city dirt and flat earth pigments to establish the base hue, so it is very brown grey and has a clear step change from both the Sky Warrior's and the Wolf's hue. And like everything with me that is very intentional. When the wolves go war, in art, they always bring the cold and the grey with them. That's how I feel and that's what I want to keep experimenting with. I will shy away from Snow, as that overly defines the terrain, but I want to continue to study subtle frosting effects and ice.

Thanks again for all the comments. Do keep them going and if you like the models, I would appreciate passing on the link to this blog! If we can get a little more momentum, I will be able to focus and elevate the quality and cadence of content.


Friday, 24 October 2014

Vlka Fenryka - the Snowball effect.

I'm having such a blast the project has fast spiraled into a focused, grand vision. Where Legion ebb and flow took years and years of work, creating the Rout may be a thunderclap of a year to get to a full warrior band at 2000 pts. My rout will be a band of ridiculously diverse beings that still share a common, strictly focused, raw and austere aesthetic.

There are major advances to report. And possibly pictures Monday to stay on the weekly cadence.

I have done all the airbrush base color work, and then hand painted the skin for three new models. Balewolf, the first Wulfen and the Assault Cannon Iron Priest terminator. Airbrushing still feels like cheating. It is such a fantastic tool to apply zenith highlight and incredibly smooth depth. I think it combines quite well with my weatherly and gritty brush work to create something that really doesn't look tool driven, has enough technical definition but also emotion. I will now switch gears to finishing Jarl Balewolf, as him and the wolf are fast becoming the core of this whole exercise. The visual heart of what imagery I am after. Finishing them may take a week of long evenings. But should be worth your wait.

I really enjoy painting these. I get the same meditative kick out of it as I always do, but it doesn't feel representative or so utterly unforgiving as the water colourly flowing shading of say Alpharius and Alpharius. It's also very clear that I am doing something very new to myself. Black primer, airbrush, oils, Legion learnings, plus all the vehicle painting learnings... Very heavy use of pigments.

After a week of Army builder gymnastics, I've put together a 2000pt group that can do the Sky Warriors proud on the battle field and be fun to build. One take away during Legion was that it is actually a really fun game and I want to play more. But it's annoying to build so much random stuff that doesn't really work so well as an army. - and this happens by default if you take years to build as the game changes so much. 7th Edition Space wolves still have all the hall marks of what have always been my favorite playing force. Speed, very active in all the different game phases and best suited for ripping enemies apart in close combat. I have on purpose stayed away from Psykers though. They don't work so well with my vision for the 13th, and being able to re-learn the game and 7th edition without magic will be helpful step.

The Company of the Great Wolf supplement has proven the perfect platform to build my heroes, and again, I will use Sentinels of Mars (Terra) allied department to build some of my loved Mechanicus things. I will later ad a small guard component using the solar auxilia.

In the Wolf Codex, there is a great little passage that describes the tunnels, halls, ducts and caves of Fang being full of heavily armed thralls, servitors, wolves and the combinations of the three. Building these will be a ton of fun. And my bit box is filling up with concepts that make the Surgical Thralls look like Neighbors.

What has made me most excited though, is the idea to outsource the Drop pod and vehicle pool manual labor. I have hired the great folks of Frontline Gaming to purchase, clean, assemble and prime black 3 Drop Pods and 2 Storm Wolves, that I will then painstakingly paint to look like massive things of steel and adamantium. This is the stuff that has always been pure pain for me, and realizing I can concentrate on creating amazing models and adding value only where there is value to add on the vehicles is a real epiphany for somebody working 60 hour weeks.

As ever, excited to hear your thoughts.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Vlka Fenryka - Rhuncir Gorevlkae, called Lord Balewolf, Jarl. WIP

It's getting pretty intense in California. There is so much insane stuff in the works now that I had to stop and share this before diving into painting and finishing some models. There will be a myriad of really strange seneschals and thralls, but I am also really pushing the Marines themselves to be VERY gothic.

In my excitement to returning to my first love army, I have decided to aim for a full 2000pt army within next year. Made of heroes and other expensive beings, it is not entirely unrealistic. Not with the momentum.

I love the game effect of Thunder Wolves, and the new plastic models are really brilliant, but the idea of Marines riding wolves is just silly (vs. plain stupid for Logan's sled?). So my cavalry will be made with just the wolves and their respective bionics to rep equipment, but the Wulfen Lord will just run and hunt with his wolves!

Would very much appreciate hearing your comments on Lord Balewolf.