7th Cavalry Officer


I painted this chap as part of a paint challenge on the Steve Dean Forum. I’m pretty pleased with how he turned out.

The figure is by Artizan Designs and sculpted by Mike Owen. It is a nice figure and was fairly easy to paint.

The method for the coat and trousers was to paint them in their base colour (Foundry French Blue Base for the coat and GW Electric Blue for the jeans) and drybrush them with the base colour with progressively more white added, up to pure white. I then covered them in a wash of dark blue ink mixed with gloss varnish… it seems to have worked out alright. In particular I am pleased with the face and eyes on this figure!

Mercenary (Rogue Trader Space Marine Scout with shuriken catapult)

Space Marine Scout with Shuirken Catapult 2

I recently painted this Rogue Trader era space marine scout model. I painted him initially as a bodyguard for a noble civilian for a Necromunda setting (that model is almost finished…) or perhaps a mercenary. I imagine he is a rejected Space Marine recruit who decided he would rather have his freedom than have his brain wiped to become a servitor… and somewhere along the line acquired a rather exotic xenos weapon.

I love the old scout models, but whilst a shuriken catapult might fit in with Rogue Trader, by 2nd edition the fluff is becoming more rigid and xenos weaponry is out – so it doesn’t really fit with my loyal Space Marine forces. For my money, this is the greatest era of the fluff (so I’m not complaining); where things are becoming set, but the background is still fluid (the Horus Heresy largely remains a mystery at this point of the fluff, for example) – whereas Rogue Trader is almost completely foreign to today’s 40K background.

Painting on this was fairly simple and really requires no explanation, but please do let me know if you have any specific queries.

Any colours used were the same as my Estalians, and the grey is just Codex Grey highlighted with Fortress Grey.

The fur is bestial brown with white added to drybrush on the highlights.

The catapult is white washed with Ogryn Flesh Wash then highlighted back up, and the gems on it are as follows: base GW Scab Red, highlights with GW Blood Red, GW Blazing Orange, GW Dwarf Flesh, and a spot of white for the light reflection.

Space Marine Scout with Shuirken Catapult 1

Rogue Trader Assassin

Assassin 1

I recently painted this Rogue Trader assassin model. I tried to paint him fairly closely in line with the classic Mike McVey paint scheme:

Assassin  - WH40K Painting Guide p 79
‘Eavy Metal Warhammer 40,000 Painting Guide, Mike McVey, Games Workshop Ltd, 1994, page 79 (ISBN: 1 872372 70 8) 

Whilst my blends aren’t quite up to Mike McVey’s standards, overall I’m fairly pleased with how he came out.

Assassin 2 close

The method used was basically just from a zenithal white over grey undercoat, paint the synth-skin with black ink mixed with GW Chaos Black. Then the whole model was dry-brushed with grey then white, very lightly.

Thereafter the details were picked out and then the synth-skin was covered in Black Ink mixed with Lahmian Medium and water.

After varnishing the synth-skin was covered in gloss varnish which, though it makes it damned hard to photograph him, looks pretty good in real life.


This is a great model, and the current assassin models all draw from it in some way. I think I did it justice, though when viewing these very large photographs there are, as always, many points for improvement noted for the future.

Assassin 5 jungle


Mike McVey’s Lizardmen vs. Estalians diorama

Mike McVey Lizardmen diorama 1 (Lizardmen Book)
Inside front cover of Warhammer Armies: Lizardmen by Nigel Stillman, Games Workshop, 1997 (ISBN: 1 872372 56 2)
Mike McVey Lizardmen diorama 2 (WD207(Oz))
White Dwarf Issue 207 (Australia) p. 74 (ISSN 0265-8712)

Mike McVey Lizardmen diorama 3 (WD207(Oz))

Mike McVey Lizardmen diorama 6 and 7 stitched (WD207(Oz))
Unfortunately a card insert has made the middle of the 2 pages impossible to scan without pulling the magazine apart.



Mike McVey Lizardmen diorama 4 (WD207(Oz))


Mike McVey Lizardmen diorama 5 (WD207(Oz))

More Blood Bowl Humans: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Gloss Varnish


2 blitzers, a thrower, and 2 nothings (sorry… linemen)

(…with apologies to Stanley Kubrick.)


These were painted some time back, but due to every toy soldier painter’s worst nightmare (Matt Varnish) their debut into the wider world has been severely delayed.

In toy soldiers there are 2 vigorously pursued topics. What counts as “power-gaming” and what doesn’t. And, how to avoid disasters with matt varnish.


Up until recently I had been relatively lucky. As a youngster I only really had plastic miniatures, and they were poorly painted, at best. They needed no varnish. As my painting developed I discovered a method (which has now been commercialised through Army Painter strong tone, and Devlan Mud before that) of base-coating the model then covering it with Chesnut Ink (oh how I wish GW still made the old Inks!! Nothing they have made since has been anywhere near as good and anyone who thinks it is better is just plain wrong!) and gloss varnish. Models were glossy, but they looked great.


Then matt varnish sprays came along. The GW version was rubbish. I think I still have a can, which was used once and never again. The same went for Army Painter when they released an aerosol version. They both left a slight frosty finish and have just been used for terrain until they ran out.

My problems were all solved, or so I thought, when I discovered Testors Dullcote, though its cancer causing properties have seemed to make it only sporadically available ever since. And the last time I used it, the dreaded frosty finish resulted.

I have experimented with artists matt varnishes to mixed effect. The brush-on varnish of choice in the UK seems to be Daler Rowney (which is not easily available in the Antipodes) however the need to decant it seems to be too much faffing about to me.


Eventually, I tried Vallejo brush on Matte Varnish and on an experimental figure I slathered it on as thick as I could, and it came up a treat. I did the same for these chaps, however, and disaster struck; after the varnish dried, they were all covered in a thick white film!

Number 10 linesman was subjected to all sorts of debased humiliations as I bathed him in various different solvents to try to remove the outer layer of varnish whilst leaving the paint underneath unaffected; all to no avail!


Eventually, I discovered that if the model was re-coated in gloss varnish the white stuff would be dissolved and the model, albeit now high-gloss, totally fine! Huzzah! These figures seemed cursed as 2 other methods of matt varnishing also failed. In all, these figures have about 15 coats of varnish on them! The colours have been slightly affected by the many layers of varnish the light must reflect through.

The white stuff, I gather, is matting agent. Basically talcum powder or something similar dissolved in the carrier. It works by making the surface of the model (imperceptibly) rough, so light is absorbed instead of being reflected. Gloss varnish creates a perfectly smooth surface hence light bounces off. I guess this is why people decant their matt varnish, to get the ratio of matting agent perfect.

Instead, I discovered Tamiya Flat Clear in aerosol cans, and if they ever stop making this stuff  I will just live with super-shiny models. I have used Tamiya Flat Clear in all sorts of inappropriate conditions with no ill effect. It is the most flat varnish I have ever used. In all, it is perfect. That being said, I have noticed it seems to be taking more and more coats to cover up the gloss effect and sometimes the models still have a slight sheen (see my Estalians for example)….. damn! Does this torture never end?

The whole team so far


Anyway, my current method is as follows: coat the figure in 3 coats of Feast & Watson high gloss polyurethane varnish leaving at least 24 hours between each coat. Always buy the smallest tin possible because it seems to go yellow if left in the tin unused for a long time. After that, spray with one or two coats of Tamiya Flat Clear.

I have tried Feast & Watson matt polyurethane as a brush on matt varnish and it was fine except that it seemed to be somehow even more glossy than the gloss varnish. The same phenomenon was observed with Wattyl Matt Estapol which was recommended on WargamerAU. Hmmm.



Some Estalian arquebusiers painted recently. Painted in the style of the soldiers from the famous Mike McVey diorama made for the release of the Lizardmen. I will post some scans of that shortly.

The back row


Colours used:

The model was base coated, then the whole model apart from the ruffs, sleeves, and any other bits that would be pure white, was washed with a mix of GW Flesh Ink thinned out with GW Lahmian Medium, water, dishwashing liquid, and GW ‘Ardcoat (gloss varnish).

Skin: Dwarf flesh washed   as above, then highlights with Dwarf Flesh, Elf Flesh, then Elf Flesh with white added, up to a final highlight of pure white.

Red: GW Scab Red highlighted with GW Evil Sunz Scarlet, then Evil Sunz Scarlet mixed with GW Blazing Orange up to pure Blazing Orange

Yellow: GW Sunburst Yellow mixed with GW Lamenters’ Yellow (Ink/Wash/?) and GW Skull White then more and more white added to highlight after the wash.

Buff sleeves and hose: Foundry Buff Leather triad, with white added for the final highlights.

White Hose: Foundry Canvas triad.

White: White zenithal undercoat. GW Asumen Blue Ink painted into folds and recesses, the GW Skull White to highlight.

Leather pouches &c.: Coat d’Arms Barbarian Leather with white added to highlight. GW Bestial Brown with white added to highlight used for variation if needed.

Gold: GW Brazen Brass then GW Shining Gold.

Metal: GW Boltgun Metal then GW Mithril Silver

Firearm stocks: Bestial Brown or Barbarian Leather then fine lines of Foundry Canvas, GW Bleached Bone, Foundry Buff Leather added.

Black lacquered armour: GW Chaos Black, highlighted GW Fortress Grey. After varnishing, GW ‘Ardcoat applied to re-gloss.

Pinstripes(hose): fine lines of GW Asurmen Blue.


Infuriatingly, I only realised when varnishing them that I had forgotten to paint the pinstripes on their hose. The only one who got pinstripes was the test figure. Oh well, c’est la vie; I have 20 more, plus command figures, to paint so when they are all done these ones without the pinstripes will just add to the variety….