Yggdrasilium Pilgrimage - Part 3: Gangs.

Naturally, I drove to Nottingham in a Rhino. 

Third part of the report from Saturday: today I'll be looking at the gangs brought by Neil, Jon, Peter and myself: First up, Jon F's Redemptionist-basd gang, The Cult of the True Journey:

 A vision in blue (or green depending on who you ask!)
 Check out that hunting rifle! 

Really lovely miniatures, these - I particularly like the wraith conversion with his long eviscerator. He almost looks like he was designed to punt down the sludge river in that little boat. Also of note is the enormous hunting rifle: so long it needs it's own stick to rest on. A couple of really nice M41 touches in there, I think; there's a particularly British sense of the absurd about certain elements of GW imagery, and these two (a chain weapon oar and an impractically long rifle), really fit the bill for me. I also really liked that Jon had chosen such a vibrant scheme for the cloth on his gangers - they really stood out from the board but had a strong enough sense of aesthetic that they remained very much part of it. This was reflected by the fact that they kept arriving from the far side of the table - somewhere over the sump; an accidental touch that really gave the gang a sense of narrative purpose. 

 Another quick snap of JB's miniatures - John had chosen to use a gang of pit slaves and pit fighters. As such they were appropriately armed, some having weaponry hard-wired into their bodies, whilst others carried no more than a stick they'd found on the floor. I liked the fact that John had deliberately used a wide age range in his gangers - these guys really were fighting for survival, continuously.

A quick shot of Peter's gang before they went to bash seven shades out of Neil's. I love they way Peter paints: his style is incredibly naturalistic (similar to the style I mentioned Tammy using yesterday). There's a particular softness to his use of paint which gives the miniatures a very realistic impression without them slipping into an over-highlighted 'Eavy Metal style. In a post I made some time ago now on painting 3D objects as 3D objects (rather than 2D objects), I mentioned how certain painters paint their miniatures to be viewed from a fixed point, almost seeming to forget that they will be viewed from a variety of angles - almost flattening the miniatures in the process. Peter avoids this flattening completely by his restrained use of highlighting and shading. He's also one of the best converters I've ever seen - easily up there with Migsula and Spiky Rat Pack. Enviable skills.  

 A couple of shots of Neil's gang. Neil had painted these guys in less than a day - which is understandable given how much work he put in on the table, but also pretty amazing given the quality of them. Neil's painting is so great - messy, impressionistic, filth, absolutely matted in grime and gore. They looked superb, melting into the table-top like they'd just emerged from rabbit-holes all over it (which they were supposed to have done, really).

As well as his gang (and the table), Neil had also built this - the servo drone; part bird, part skull, part searchlight. It was lovely - straight out the corner of a 40k illustration. He said he wanted to build millions of them, roosting in cloisters and alcoves as (in my head), they do everywhere in the Imperium. I think it was almost one of my favourite things from the day. So simple, but so evocative of the setting. 

 These are a couple of super-blurry snaps of my gang: the three death-masked chaps in the tower are devolved Navigators (or at least they may be... more on which another time). It was a bit tricky to get a good shot of them in their tower as I was stood directly behind them and was holding my phone in an awkward way. I had only started building and painting them on the Wednesday evening, too, so I'm not too happy with them, although I will be returning to complete them (and add more to their merry band) in time for our game in February. I'll say more about them another time as I'll outline more about them in a separate post. The chap at the bottom I also quite like, sitting off guarding his sump spider as it roasts on his barbecue.

Tomorrow, the last report from Saturday itself, a few in-game photos in lieu of a more structured battle report (was intending to post it today but I really need to get on with some work...).


  1. Some great commentary here again, Mr Fulgrim! I really have to agree with you about painting in 3D, something I've only realised recently for whatever reason.

    In addition to your points, painting "clearly" (as I'll call it) actually complements GW's brilliant miniature design. What I don't think a lot of hobbyists realise (consciously?) is that GW is bloody good at simplifying forms, whether that be faces, hands, drapery, whatever. Obviously, the aim is to create "readable" forms at a distance in order for the miniatures to be identifiable at a distance, whilst being rather small. A clear paint job helps these forms to pop, which means that character and identity is effectively communicated. It also avoids the whole "grey lump" effect of perfectly painted minis NOT under perfect lighting.

    Anyway, PDH's works are so clear and gorgeous. I love the skin on that mutant with the Kannon. It's how it's meant to be done. Reminds me of some of the great Eavy Metal Goliath gangers from back-in-the-day. It wasn't always so high contrast.

  2. Thanks Mr.Phiq!

    Yes, I agree with you - it's easy to see why the high contrast has become so prevalent, though, if you consider that the Eavy Metal team paint to have their miniatures photographed under strong light, often from a fixed angle. I'm mindful to try not to suggest that this style is in any way 'wrong' just different, or that several styles of painting are possible. That said, I do find it odd when someone paints as if their model will only be viewed from a fixed point.

    Your point on GW's simplification of form is really interesting; I'd not thought about that.

    1. Regarding Eavy Metal styling, I would also add that they paint miniatures the way they do because every miniature must stand out at a distance among hundreds of other miniatures. Macro presentation is in mind. The high contrast, high chroma thing looks pretty impressive on an army, I must say. They make battle reports legible too.

      Also, remember GW's so-called "red period"? I was thinking... is there any correlation between that and the nothing-but-green gameboards that used to be the mainstay? With red and green being complementary...

      One other point on the simplification of forms is that clear forms are a joy to paint. Unnecessary surface complexity not only struggles for significance under layers of paint, but also hampers colour placement. The painter needs room to breath. I'm serious: I once tore apart a poor Reaper miniature with pliers out of pure frustration! Way too much going on with that one, lol.

    2. It's funny that you mention this as usually I quite like a lot detail on a miniature - things like Sisters of Battle and Vostroyans are a joy for me, but I'm very short-sighted, and paint under a magnifying glass. The levels of detail allow me to break the miniature down section by section, if you like - sometimes vast areas like marine power armour or cloth are too much (the heat from my integrated lamp also starts drying the paint out too quickly for me unless I use a retarder, too). I tend to paint things in too much detail, which is usually lost when the miniature's viewed on a table top. I imagine, though, that if if I were normal-sighted painted without a magnifier, these details would become pretty frustrating quite quickly.

    3. Hmm, I know what you mean, but I don't think I've explained my position clearly enough (no really, it is my fault). I will write a post on this sometime soon. I've been wanting to for a while too...

  3. Yep good points , I would like to blog about this stuff at some point, my own minis are often painted to be viewed in natural daylight and strong shadow, creating strong silhouettes that compliment the games workshop miniature forms .. nearly always within an existing environment.. so not all the attention falls on the mini but is spread through out the whole image. siplified forms and good painting surfaces are a signature of games workshop minis, i often find the forgeworld stuff, suits my tastes more , as teh forms are slightly more realistic , something i prefer when photographing the minis. It was great to see so many diffrent paint styles and interpretations of 40k come out in this event..

    I loved each gang equally for different reasons.. Johns are miniatures works of art .. so much story and character is written into each one.. and they visually jumped off the board and demanded to picked up and examined on close inspection. which would reveal more layers to their story

    Petes are like you say Perfectly painted and so easy on the eye.. his forms are sublime and cannot be matched as a converter imo so much character and personality on each individual.. just wonderful

    Jon's gang looked amazing on the board , his steersman is I think an instant classic miniature .. as were his three blind deaf and mute followers.. classic stuff... the long rifle as you say was just bonkers

    I know you had very little time on your own figurines , but even with that i could see the realistic grimy approach you were taking.. very dark and perfectly suited to their back story.

    as for me , even though they were painted rather fast. they captured how i originally imagined them..as a group more than individuals , the only thing i sdisliked about them was the shine from the inks , i would like to redo their skin colour and make it look more realistic maybe paler ..

    1. Completely agree with all of that, Neil!

  4. You need to give yerself more credit mate. Your mini's fit in nicely in both quality and design with all these other examples. Death Mask troupe needs more pics so we can see them better I think.

    1. Oh yes, don't get me wrong, they were passable, and quite nicely converted (if I do say so myself) given how quickly they were completed. They can just be better, and arrived half finished.

      A lot more on those to come.

  5. Thank you Fulgrim for sharing your thoughts with the rest of us unable to take part in such a great events like this!

    It feels like demigod is walking amongst us when I see John's minis on a gaming table. So unreal!

    Jon's turquoise gang popped out nicely from otherwise grimmy backdrop, yet fitting perfectly in there.

    Neil's gang stands out with its rough design and fast paintjob, in a good way! They are united with the background, and show that Neil does pretty awesome job, wether it is scenery or minis.

    The concept of Peter's gang simply rocks! He's an superb converter and his painting style suitably restrained.

    And your gang, Fulgrim, won't stay in the shade of the ones mentioned before. You have clear theme in your group, like the rest of the gangs, and that is very important factor in my opinion. The moon headed fellow is my fav, like the concept a lot.

  6. Great to see more of the gangs. Looking forward to Rise talking more about his and hopefully their construction.

    BTW Tim, you do know who I am. After all I flambed your Inquisitor last time we met :)

  7. Thanks for the comments about my gang and painting guys. Very kind words.

    The good thing about having such cool gangs knocking about was that I got to paw them. So I am going share my highlight from each.

    Tim's floaty Navigator. Tim I was gutted when you decided to carry on with him because I was going to steal the fantastic idea. Really looking forward to seeing him finished....hmmmmm am I repeating myself?

    Neil's was a toss up between his Leader and the Illium Captain. I am going with the Captain for the audacity of combining an Uruk-hai , Elysian and the head of a DE wrack. The silhouette was simply perfect.

    With Jon's chaps I could easily have gone with the Steersman but my favourite is the chappy with a the head of a DV cultist on the body of the Orc Great Shaman armed with an old Ork chainsaw. Just a brilliant use of parts.

    The pitslave with drill arm and flaggelant grill face mask. I got to see it a few weeks ago with Migs and it still stands out for me....one of those models that makes you think "Why didn't I think of that?" Also rather fond of his pot belly.

  8. Cheers, Peter. I bought a new Rakarth yesterday to start him afresh. Will tackle him properly this time with a more thorough job. I may beg you for some help in greenstuffing him, though (you did say you wanted to see him finished ;))

  9. Tim - Is the phrase "practice makes perfect" unhelpful at this stage.

    What do you find difficult with GSing?

    Guess I could give you a hand :-o

  10. Interesting discussion on painting styles. I love high contrast and extreme highlighting because it helps define the shapes and details on small models. But I'm not sure NMM works for me because of the fixed point effect.
    For me, muted highlighting often makes things look rounded and soft, when I want hard sharp details.
    that said, what I like about the =][= painters is the willingness to develop new styles.
    Great work. And great blog too.

    1. Thanks very much.

      I wrote some more about the fixed point effect some time ago here - http://isstvan.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/thoughts-on-painting-2d-vs-3d.html - and agree on the use of NMM (I don't like it, myself). I understand what you mean about desiring a hard detail, though, quite often, away from light and magnification, my miniatures lose much of their subtlety. I don't mind that so much, though as I feel it works for me.