James Fitzsimons

James Fitzsimons

Hello I’m James, 17 year Wargamer, Commission Painter and member of the Leinster Brigands Warmahordes Guild. I’ve always had a thing for well painted miniatures (who hasn’t right?) the sight of two fully painted armies laid out on a table is really what our hobby is all about – the sense of satisfaction you get putting that final coat of varnish on the last model you need for your army is akin to finding a download link for Game of Thrones season 6 that wont cripple your computer with viruses. So lets dive straight into a recent piece I completed for a fellow club member on commission and I’ll do my best to explain the thought process behind it.

Check out my Paining page on Facebook: Dublin Miniature Painting Co.

Minions Sacral Vault

1: Assembly and Transport

This may seem like an unnecessary point but you would be surprised with how many conversations I’ve had with people about how they should have assembled something differently, or magnetized arms instead of pinning them, its crazy! Take an hour to really go over the component parts  of the model, look at how they all fit together and where they sit in relation to the parts around them. Once I had cleaned the component parts I gave them a scrub in warm water to remove any mold release agents left from the casting process – if you’ve ever wondered why something wont glue together or why the undercoat has dried with a rough texture then its because you skipped this step at assembly! – once the parts where dry I separated the model into the following sub-assemblies:

  • wheels
  • crew
  • sacrifice, candles & skulls
  • top section
  • main body

The parts were mounted on cork caps and pinned where applicable, everything then received an undercoat of Army Painter: White spray paint, once this was dry it was time to get stuck in.

2: Stone Work

Bear with me on this one, the model looks terribad until that wash goes on, I actually couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel halfway through this procedure but trust me it works as you can see from the final result. Alternating between Cryx Bane Base, Traitor Green & Sanguine base I covered every square centimeter of the Vault with splotches of each colour of various shapes and sizes – there’s no right way or wrong way to do this just try and have about a 40/40/20% mix of color across the whole model including the wheels and top section. Once you have complete coverage and its dry it onto drybrushing time! Grab yourself a big ole brush and hit the entire model with some Trollblood Highlight, its very important to use a soft bristled brush for this stage as you kind of want to be at the mid point between heavy and light drybrush. Give it about 30mins to completely dry and the absolutely drown the model in GW Nuln Oil wash, you cant get this stage wrong just slap the wash on all over the model and then dab it lightly with some kitchen paper to remove the absolute excess – for this stage more is definitely better than less, while the wash was still wet I splotched on some P3 Gnarls Green to give a mossy effect in certain areas, if you managed to grin and bear the Vault looking awful while blocking the colors out the wash (or liquid talent) will make it look like you spent hours blending the stonework when the real time process takes about 90 minutes including the dry time.

3: Glowing Effects

These need to be tackled next as they will give you an indicator on how light or dark the rest of the model needs to be, I wanted a green look to the glow and began by base coating all the areas with GW Ceramite White, this needs to be thinned with a medium to provide even coverage as the paint is quite thick and water will slightly change the hue from a brilliant white to an offish looking white. once the white was dry I grabbed some VMA Medium Yellow and put it onto my wet palette adding a drop of Glaze Medium to reduce the opacity a little this was then painted into all the areas of swirling skulls on the middle section of the body, the model received two coats of the yellow but before applying the second coat i spread a layer of water over the previously painted areas and then applied it – doing this creates a capillary action that ‘pulls’ the paint into the corners and cracks surrounding the souls providing you with a ghetto glow effect without going crazy with an airbrush. Once the yellow was completely dry (about 45mins) the souls received successive drybrushes of P3 Wurm Green and P3 Necrotite Green before a final spot highlight of 50/50 Necrotite Green/Ceramite White the areas then got slapped with a glaze of P3 Green Ink mixed with Glaze Medium.

4: Finishing the Body

This step  is time consuming and soul destroying but ultimately worth the heartache – put on some music, make a pot of coffee and just get stuck in!

The vines were painted with P3 Rucksack Tan, Shaded with Agrax Earthshade and then highlighted again with the base color. The stone idols set into the floor of the altar where next to be done, base coated with P3 Thamar Black, they were then edge highlighted using VMA Steel Blue and then progressively highlighted adding more and more white at a time to the blue base color – there’s no right or wrong way to do this its just important that the faces stand out from the stonework surrounding it. Once satisfied with the coloration I glazed the faces with a 20/80 mix of VMA Steel Blue/Glaze Medium and left it to dry. I used VMA Steel to base coat the metallic decorations on the faces and then washed them with Nuln Oil followed by Agrax Earthshade, returning to steel to pick out the sharpest points dulled down by the wash, its extremely important to be neat while applying this wash as straying onto the black makes it look pants thanks to our blue highlighting method described above. With these bad boys done the body is basically finished minus a few textural effects at the end to really make it pop but that’s right at the end! Now once more into the breach! The trenches on the altar are base coated with P3 Sanguine Base for now.

5: Sacrifice, Candles & Skulls (Oh My!)

At this point your eyes are probably sore and your back is aching but persevere you’re nearly there! The Skulls are base coated with GW Screaming Skull – I love this paint, great coverage and its the mid tone you want for all bone painting – the candles and Sacrificial Victims skin is P3 Ironhull Grey, all the above then received a wash of Agrax Eartshade (please not the wash for the skin is more of a glaze consistency with plenty of water added, the skulls and candles are painted with the wash straight from the pot) followed by a highlight of the original base tone with some GW Ceramite White added. the flames on the candles are paited P3 Necrotite Green followed by a wash of Green Ink and the the tips are highlighted with Necrotite Green/Ceramite White mix – about 50/50. The victims pants are painted GW Liche Purple then given a wash of GW Drakenhoff Nightshade before a highlight of the base tone is applied. the skulls and all bone segments of the model were painted at the same time and received an additional glaze of GW Seraphim Sepia to bring some warmth back into the color as the original color was too stark against the stonework we already did.

6: Hood Ornament

This needed its own section due to the amount of detail – the skulls had already been covered about so onto the rest of the detail -the snake was base coated with P3 Sanguine Base, while the underbelly was done with P3 Rucksack Tan, the top was then highlighted with a mix of Sanguine Base and Rucksack Tan, the circles on its upper body was mapped out with Rucksack Tan and then Highlighted with VMA Medium Yellow and the rings then carefully painted on using P3 Exile Blue. The wax on the front which everything is set into was painted following the exact same procedure as the idol faces on the Altar with the final wash being diluted with some extra water. The straps holding everything together are painted the same as the pants on the Sacrifice and the Gatormen Heads are painted the same as the Crew – see below

7: The Crew

These were actually really quick to paint, thin down some P3 Traitor Green with water and slap it onto everywhere except the back scales and chest/belly, these areas are basecoated with GW Screaming Skull. once the area is dry the Green gets a wash of Secret Weapon Sewer Wash – buy this paint its fantastic, kind of a green/grey/brown/orange color that gives great depth to a lot of colors – the bone got some Agrax Earthshade. Once the washed where completely dry the crew received a very selective drybrush of Screaming Skull on the sharpest points of the Green and on the bone sections like a normal highlight. The ropes dotted over the figures are base coated wit Rucksack Tan and Washed with Agrax Earthshade, finally highlighted with the base tone. The Metallic Sections on the Crew are painted in exactly the same method as the detailing on the Idols set into the Altar, teeth and claws where picked out with Ironhull Grey and Highlighted with Ceramite White toad some variation in the bone elements located on the model

8: Finishing Touches

The blood effects are done using a base of P3 Sanguine Base followed by a layer of GW Blood for the Blood God the ‘spatter’ is created by ripping up some packing foam and dabbing the paint onto the desired area, this effect was added to the Shamans knife and the neck of the severed head in his hand as well as the top of the altar in a natural pattern – using the two tone method to achieve the blood means you get variation in the color simulating dried and fresh blood creating some textural difference keeping the areas interesting to the eye. All that’s left is the final assembly which I suggest you do before assembling the final piece

Thanks for reading!