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.

Monday 13 October 2014

Vlka Fenryka - works in progress, a puzzle forms.

The famous flow, intriguing state of hobby bliss where ideas turn into beginnings and you feel like hiding in a bunker for a few days to just work on the models.

Ideas can be really fragile, fickle things that need to be exposed to others in the correct order. A WIP picture of a model in a project like this is like seeing a puzzle piece half finished. You can respect the craft and build intrigue, but then what.

And I hope that is part of the charm, enjoyable and a nice tease.

Last night was spent on the holiest of hobby times, sorting out a new brilliant bits box, where a dozen models was already sketched together in their respective compartment. I flirted with the idea of sharing a picture, but then felt like posting the inside of my brain on the inter web and decided to wait. I found a great quality tool box thing, that has little, medium and large yellow compartments inside that can not only be arranged to my liking, but also picked up to work on an individual model.

Today I have pictures of Bone crafting aides for a wolf priest that will be based on the Salamander Primarch, Vulkan. A Kraken slaying warrior god specialized in the arts of healing and death. The surgeons are sinister beings, crafted fro their purpose, wearing different animal skull masks and to be heavily detailed with chapter lore. Also featured is an Iron Priest in terminator armor, with an assault cannon. First of many Mechanicus themed things in the Rout of Terror. It's a simple conversion that strikes a nice balance between recognizable silhouette and novelty. I've thrown a toy space marine in there to show the scale.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Friends, inspiration and the internet.

It's safe to say that as a miniature artist and a hobbyists the internet made me. That's how I originally got on a track of enjoyment, learning and drive with a few like minded individuals. Starting from the DakkaDakka forums in 2000. That is a LOOOONG time a go.

And the hobby has come a long way since. I've come a long way since. But today, a small group of friends, sharing stuff in the inter webs is as relevant as ever and ultimately a massively important part of enjoying the hobby, being inspired and keeping this blog.

To that effect, I got a box of goodies from the league of extraordinary hobbyists yesterday, that I need to put to great use and earlier this week JB shared his gorgeous version of Horus finished:

Needless to say, with this momentum, I cannot wait to share some WIP shots of what's cooking in the garage. Jarl Rödmoon is pretty kosher compared to things to come. I've always loved Space Wolves armies for feeling like war bands of heroes and the vision is to do the band of all bands in this subject matter.

Tuesday 7 October 2014

Vlka Fenryka - Hjarkor Rödmoon, called Lord Hjar, Jarl

The first moment of truth. Lord of the Wulfen. A hundred subtle shades of Grey. Eyes of burning black mercury prey from a sun-starved skin of scar tissue and a ten millennia of winter.

Very very hard to photograph the grey hues, and to get the wide range of gloss effect, from the sparkle of the metal, to the sheen of the frosted areas, to the matt of the wolf pelt and armor, to the glow of the runes (which fails the most, and show I need to go back, add oomph and apply a thin ink glade for satin reflectivity)

Saga of the Rödmoon

“The flutist made a beautiful sound in the depth of the Kaernas forest. It was snowing. Käelma the native Hakkae called it. Hakkae had 27 different words for particular types of snow fall. Käelma was the 26th, a steel rain of black crystals that froze on your skin and caused instant frostbite with the cold winds. After that came what translated only as death, and Sgt. Borros did not intend to find out why. 

27th Roslak Rovers, sheltered under the thick protective foliage of the massive Kaernas trees. Huddled around the flutist. The music was their shield, their comfort, their memory on this grey night before another battle. It was a song only a month old. A song of death and duty, of a hero and a daemon. The memory of it still left the men shaken, some weeping, but all of them focused. It was a story of the Emperor in the sun and his executioners in the night.

A month ago the Rovers were getting annihilated, outnumbered and out fought by the black crusade. Legions of the damned, supported by traitor Marines and daemons of the warp. The imperial lines were going to collapse and another planet would be consumed by the despoiler. The dark sorceries opened a rift between realms. Death visited Kaernas.  

Borros had prayed, prayed like the elders thought him. Prayed for Sun Emperor’s deliverance. 

A giant in grey armor, clad in pelts, and adorned with steel imagery and burning red runes of warding launched from the rift. Sprung on the traitor, daemon and damned alike. He cleaved them in half with massive sweeps of his frosted axe, flayed left and right with a massive claw dripping gore and sent explosive shells from his wrist cannon at the backs of all who tried and failed to escape the carnage. The lord of Grey flowed through the front line, propelled by a jet of blood.  Even the enemy Defiler was left in pieces, it’s daemon hart ripped from it’s carcass. 

It was over so shockingly fast. Defied comprehension. A dozen battered Rovers stood frozen like statues and stared in the black mercury eyes of the wolf.”