Warhammer AoS – The Penultimate Update

31 thoughts on “Warhammer AoS – The Penultimate Update”

  1. Holy shit, Jeff, he looks amazing, the cloak in particular is to me a masterclass in blending, shading and layering. The burgundy was a great idea and the way you’ve got it fading into the deep black shadows is just magnificent. The armour is wonderful, your NMM is fantastically well done. It’s a solid 10/10 from me.

    As far as your feelings on competitive painting/hobbying in general, I can see where it’s frustrating that GW expects people to keep to its painting style for Golden Demon entries, which is is just dumb to me. Painting these minis is supposed to be a creative exercise, and yet the rule seems to be “of course you can be creative, here’s a list of approved creative ideas”. It’s the complete opposite of the Golden Demon I remember from back in the day when converting and painting something using your imagination, and trying to beat the others by being different, was the way to win. Fraser Grey is a classic case.

    That winning mini is a prime example. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a superb figure and far, far above anything I could do, but honestly? It may as well be an image from Games Workshop box art. I have no doubt it took ages to paint and a ton of patience and care, but there’s no imagination, no creativity, no individualism in it. It looks like an exercise in paint-by-numbers. Apologies if I come off sounding like Grandpa Simpson, but remember the “your guys” rule? That they’re your guys, you paint them how you want until you’re happy with them? GW these days is more, “yeah, they’re your guys but you have to paint them how we tell you”.

    Look at it this way: you gave it a shot, you did an incredible job, and that’s what you should take away from the experience. It’s a hobby, and as you say, you should be maximizing your enjoyment of it and not worrying about whether your edge highlighting will make some anonymous guy on the internet happy. Every mini I’ve seen on your site looks superb to me, you obviously have tons of talent, and from the comments on your blog you have the respect of a lot of people. Give the Golden Demon another shot if you want, but in the meantime just remember that it’s supposed to be fun.

    Rant over 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you again for all the kind words, Matt! I appreciate your support 🙂

      I know where you’re coming from and GW’s stricter rules on the Golden Demon painting competition confirm some of people’s biggest complaint about them. It is their hobby or the highway in at least some situations. I think your point about them limiting creativity is true as well. I’ve heard someone express the sentiment that the Golden Demon is basically a promotional tool for the company and while I don’t completely agree, I can see where that opinion comes from and GW doesn’t do a good job of discouraging it either. When a particular style is emphasized or encouraged, it doesn’t seem like a true competition. It is more about who can fit the fairly strict standards that GW chooses.

      Granted, this is their painting competition and they can do whatever they want in it. If the GD was unfair or stifling enough, people wouldn’t enter and they do in droves so I see both sides of the debate and I don’t know where I fall on it.

      I agree that pursuing fun and what you enjoy should be your chief goal and that is why I’m not in a hurry to start a piece for next year’s competition. I’m leaning more towards staying true to what I enjoy in the hobby and seeing what happens from there 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Woah that is awesome, I love where you have got with him… regarding the lizard,to be honest, although I can see the skill level on the Skink, I really don’t like it, it looks wrong… this is coming from someone who slaps Contrast Paint on a miniature and calls it done. As Matt said, it’s a bit weird the creative side of the Golden Demon seems to have gone to pot. Makes me wonder what would happen if the ‘best painter’ turned up with a whole new paint scheme on a 40k marine. Personally I cannot be bothered to spend hours and days on a miniature and I am in awe of those who can and do.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, mate! I’m glad to hear you like the Stormcast.

      From what I understand, GW would judge a space marine in a scheme that does not fit into one of their defined chapters negatively. There are about a billion space marine chapters so I imagine you can argue just about any color scheme fits in one but there are plenty of other armies in Warhammer that you can’t paint whatever color you want and not go against the lore. So your point is well made and the Golden Demon, in particular, has a house style that you have to conform to, if you want to win which is a bit of a shame. It certainly isn’t what most people would think of as a typical painting competition where creativity is really encouraged.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Love those transitions on the cape, nicely done. I need to work some cold to warm changes in my own painting more often, it’s just so effective! It’s all really coming together now, really keen to see when it will be finished up.

    As to competition painting and the effort you have to put in, I tend to agree with you, it seems very hard to place in the big competitions these days without making all of your painting about preparing for it. I’m in the same boat as you and have 0 interest in doing that. I do however feel the urge to do a little bit of display painting these days and who knows may enter local competitions which are more my speed!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, mate! I’m still learning about the cold and warm shifts but I’m hoping to put it into practice a bit more in future projects and see where I can go with it.

      That is well said on competitions as well. There are so many incredibly skilled painters that it is hard to win anything at the big competitions. I heard a past winner on Youtube compare it to a painting lottery because you need a technically competent piece that happens to catch the judges’ eye that particular day which makes a lot of sense to me based on what I’ve seen.

      I’d love to see you do some display painting as I think you have a real eye for it. Of course, you’ve got several projects on the go so I will try and be patient in the meantime 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  4. You have done a magnificent job mate. Your deep thinking on this project is interesting to read. I am not as patient or meticulous as you but your work looks to have paid off to me. You have created something of beauty.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Stormcast really is a thing of beauty!

    I was hoping you’d share your impressions of the contest as it’s an area of the hobby that you know a lot more about than I do. Not following Golden Daemon too closely I wasn’t aware of the increased restrictions on what one can and cannot paint, and how far participants are able to deviate from the ‘eavy Metal models. To me that’s a great shame, as some of the stand out models from the past were heavily converted and painted in a unique style (for example David Soper’s Nurgle tank which won the Slayer Sword in 1990 and blew my mind both when I was a kid and when I got to see it in person at Warhammer World a few years ago).

    I’m not a display painter, I’ve tried and it really just sapped my enthusiasm for the hobby, but I do like to paint each model as well as I can without dedicating months to a single model. Something that struck me here was that I’ve really poured over the pictures of your Stormcast and there’s a lot there that I’ve learned from and been inspired by. Whereas the Skink on the other hand really does nothing for me, it’s a beautiful piece of work but the gap in skill between it and my own work is so vast that I struggle to take anything away from it. Technically it’s perfect but it doesn’t really speak to me (although I imagine it would have a lot more impact in person than it does on a computer screen). I don’t feel inspired to try to match it or compete against it because I know it’s out of my league.

    As for what you do yourself I very much lean towards “do what makes you happy, this is a hobby not a job”. The thing is, to compete alongside the likes of whoever painted that skink I think you have to treat it not just as a job but as an obsession. I have no doubt, that model isn’t the product of innate skill but of tens of thousands of hours of practice and trial and error. If that’s what you want to do then go for it, I think you’d do well at it, but for me painting to that kind of perfection puts me off rather than enthuses me.

    “I’m thinking that instead of chasing after awards, which might bring you acclaim or they might not, I may be just as well off painting whatever I want, as well as I can. It seems like that will maximize my enjoyment of the hobby while still pursuing my goals”. Ultimately this was my conclusion as well and if it helps at all, I was happier with my painting and saw a marked improvement in the technical quality of each model after I stopped pushing myself so hard.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Technically it’s perfect” — this is the phrase I was trying to think of when writing my post. Technically it’s perfect, yes, and I guess that’s what GW is going for these days. But it’s got no soul.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Thank you as always for your, mate! I’m glad to hear that someone actually wanted to hear my thoughts on this as I thought it might be a bit boring to some of the regular readers.

      Conversions are acceptable but only using GW parts. I reckon you could handle that! I don’t know that the staying true to the lore requirement is truly new. I imagine it has existed even if unstated for a while. I do know that the rule was in place when they were going to have GD here in Chicago two years ago as well for what that’s worth.

      I think the issue with the Skink is that the color scheme is very much the default one that GW uses for Lizardmen/Seraphon. That does a disservice to how how nicely painted it is. You’ve seen this scheme many times before just not quite as well executed. I prefer to do some kind of twist on the colors whenever I do display painting because you want to surprise your audience, not just do a slightly better version of what the Heavy Metal team has done in the past or that’s my thinking anyway 🙂

      Your description of trying to win the Golden Demon is spot-on. It needs to be more like your life’s work in many respects. While I haven’t met him in real life, I’ve talked quite a bit with John Margiotta, who did well at Golden Demon this year and he actually gave me feedback and encouragement on CMON several years ago and he is obviously immensely talented with a very unique style of painting. He basically only paints for display and competition and while I envy his awards and I think he deserves them all, I don’t see myself going down that path. Painting and playing games is part of the fun of this hobby for me anyway. I will still push myself to keep improving and will make awesome display pieces like the much hyped and never started Vampire diorama but I don’t think I’m going to do it strictly in the name of winning the highest profile painting competitions like GD or Crystal Brush or the other European ones that I can’t easily get to and can’t remember their names 🙂 I think I’m better off doing what is most fun for me likely you pointed out.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This has been a very thought provoking post. let me start by commenting on the figure. Not a lot to say here other than this is a superb piece of work that you should be very proud of. Your work is of an incedibly high standard and the effort you have put in has certainly paid off. Now let’s move on to competitions.

    There are several things you have to personally decide but here are my thoughts for what they are worth. Firstly, do you want to paint professionally or for a hobby and do you want to paint in every moment of your spare time or do you have more in your life to do? I ask this question because although people will see our hobby as nerdy those who paint for the things like the Golden Demon are more nerdy than anyone. They take the hobby to a whole new level. They are either naturally talented (don’t you hate those people?) or they work tirelessly day in and day out in their search for perfection. Typically there is only one winner so most, despite all their efforts, lose! It strikes me you have a wife and a life as well as a hobby.

    Another question to ask yourself is are you a painter, modeller, gamer or a combination? The impression I get is you are a painter and gamer for sure although I suspect you are not gaming as much as you would like. Time to address the balance perhaps? You could also be a modeller too and that would really broaden your skill base, could be a lot of fun and would open open up a whole new world.

    Finally, competitions. You are focused on the Golden Demon but there is so much more to the hobby if it interests you. Have you ever checked out IPMS? The International Plastic Model Society? I mention them because this is the competition that I enter and have done well at. They have something like 100 entry categories befitting one of the biggest competitions in the world. I’m sure they have shows in the US too but where I’m not sure. You could enter just figures or broaden your skills to include base and scenic work too. Check out there website and the images of winning entries (you’ll see some of mine on there for last year) as they might inspire you to branch out. I can assure you have the skill set to do well in this sort of competition assuming of course that it appeals.

    In the meanwhile, enjoy what you do! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks for the kind words as always, mate! I’m really glad that people found it interesting and we’re all having a conversation about this as well. I thought it might be boring to read so I’m glad to see that is not the case.

      I agree with everything you said and I think I’ve been painting too many display pieces in last year and a half and not having enough stuff to game with or just to paint at a more relaxed pace. I’m looking forward to changing that for a while before I think about taking on a display project. That will do me some good and give me an idea of where I want to spend my time going forward too.

      I will give IPMS a look! There are certainly other painting competitions available in the US and I’ve thought about trying to paint something for Games Workshop’s rivals since the interest in those competitions is way lower and I’d have a decent chance at placing. Maybe IPMS is another possibility. Thanks for suggesting looking around at other opportunities. That might give me a new direction to go in which keeps things fun which is what I want to do 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Jeff, I think you can consider that the comments left here mean that there are people who respect your achievements! 🙂 I read Matt’s comment first and agreed with that completely, but all of the other comments are equally valid for me. My view is just enjoy whatever you’re doing – there will always be people who don’t understand where you’re coming from and are always prepared to put you down or diminish your achievements.

    I looked at the Golden Demon winner and thought “very nice” but it looks like just another well-painted GW mini to me. Your excellent Stormcast mini has a lot more “going on” and (to me anyway) has a nicely balanced, sympathetic colour scheme and overall appearance, so I find it more visually appealing.

    As far as display minis versus game minis goes, I’ve never been into display models myself. I don’t paint well enough for that – I have no illusions about that, but it doesn’t bother me. As a teenager I used to paint 54mm figures with my dad that ended up becoming part of his collection of display figures, but I could never see the point of painting figures that weren’t used for anything back then! I preferred painting figures, vehicles, ships etc. for wargames since they got used for games, although these days they get painted in the hope they might get used for games! These days I appreciate display figures more but I find that I see a lot of gaming figures painted to what I would call display standards just by following the blogs I like!

    So, as Guru Pig would probably say, “enjoy the journey”! No reason why Justin over at The Solo Meeple should be the only one to get lengthy comments left by me!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. That is very kind of you to say and this is one space where I feel a lot of respect and appreciation which means a lot to me! I don’t now if I’ll ever get more acclaim than I have now but I wouldn’t mind a bit more if it did happen. At the same time, we’re all just painting tiny plastic or metal or resin miniatures and I try to keep that in mind!

      I haven’t done much in this hobby that I don’t find fun and I don’t intend to start now just to win awards! To me, that isn’t worth the time you have to put in because much like money, you can’t take those awards with you. In addition, people will forget that you won in a few years unless you consistently enter in the high level competitions or have a big web presence. Sobering but I think it is true anyway.

      That is cool that you painted display models! I would have never guessed. My Dad inadvertently got me into miniatures by having me help him with model cars when I was pretty young. Once I found Warhammer miniatures in high school, I was hooked! Having said that, I agree with you that if you don’t use the minis for anything, you they tend to just collect dust and unfortunately, as you get better, your older work tends to lose their shine which creates other problems like with storage.

      Haha, I figure Justin was pretty much asking for a long comment by asking an open-ended question about WWII! 😀 It is good to see that WWII isn’t a pre-requisite to get a long response as well 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You’ve done a stunning job on the Stormcast Jeff, so don’t diminish what you have achieved.
    I think you have answered your own question ” I paint for fun, and it relaxes me !” a lot of the competition painters, will do nothing else but work on one model, and some of these take years ( David Soper’s updated Nurgle tank for instance) which he still is working on now, you already paint your gaming miniatures to a very high standard, and push yourself further on with your display painting, but I notice the later tends to burn you out quickly, you need to find the balance that is right for you, and only that will make you happy in the long run.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Dave! I know a few people who only paint display pieces and they do amazing work, better than I can achieve currently but I can’t figure out how they stay motivated. For me, I think doing something with the miniatures and collecting them to a less extent are necessary to keep the fire alive. I think we both agree that you have to stick to whatever you find fun though. Otherwise, no amount of awards will keep you in the hobby forever!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I think the miniature looks fantastic so ditto all the rest.
    I agree with your assessment that painting ‘for fun’ and painting competitively are two different hobbies. A man can have more than one hobby of course but naturally you’ll only be able to go as far in a competition as talent and time/ practice will take you and there will eventually be a point where that tops out and you’ll need to put in more practice to advance. That being the rub of course as our hobby time is finite.
    So we do have to do what will give us the most fun with our finite hobby time and the challenge is that sometimes we’re not sure what that is. Because we’re human. And you’re already a strange human bc you enjoy painting (lol).

    I had a similar experience with Archery. I’m a pretty decent shot. Good enough to win some local competitions but not meaty good enough to go higher with putting in a ton more practice which I didn’t want to do. And then I had children and now I haven’t shot an arrow in 6 or more years. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well shoot. I think I just missed your comment somehow when I was replying. It isn’t terribly hard to do that on WordPress though I suppose you’ll have to take my word for it! Thank you for following up as I would never deliberately ignore anyone, especially yourself!

      Having said that, accusing me of being strange might be enough to get you ignored 😉 I think you said it well about having limited time and trying to maximize your own joy as best you can too. I wouldn’t have guessed you were into archery either. I did it in Cub Scouts a year or two ago and I thought it was a lot of fun. Perhaps one day you’ll be able to get back to it when those little rascals are a bit older!


      1. Ah all is good then. It was just strange to me that you were responding to everyone else and not me when I know it’s your habit to respond to everyone; I have the same habit. So I was concerned that the comments weren’t showing up and you would think that I was not writing any. Which is wrong Because I enjoy following your painting and gaming exploits and your comments on my blog as well. 😀😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It is totally valid to think that! I would have probably assumed the same, if I were you. We’re becoming long-time blog friends at this point. I’m not even sure how long its been but I think we might be getting close to five years. Time really flies!


  10. My goodness, he looks amazing. You should be very proud indeed.

    I don’t know if there really is a way of getting recognition for skills in miniature painting other than self-promotion via various forms of social media. But do you really need the recognition of others? Hopefully it’s evident to you how skilled you are at painting. Would it make a difference to be somehow famed for it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, mate! I appreciate your kind words as always 🙂

      I think self-promotion will either help or backfire depending on how you go about it. Your question is a good one as well. I don’t need it any more than you need to win a tournament I guess you could say but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to (or at least part of you anyway!). I think the validation of knowing you have people’s respect can mean a lot. Of course, seeing other people who are more skilled at self-promotion and maybe not quite as good at something like painting can also drive you mad so there is good and bad in it I think its fair to say. What I will say is having the respect of the people I get to interact in this community means a lot and is a nice counter balance to other places where it feels like my work barely makes any kind of impact and I always try to keep that in mind!


  11. Hey, are you receiving my comments? I worry that you’re not and I don’t want you thinking I was ignoring you. 😃


  12. Late again, but had a nice limited internet vacation so I hope you forgive me.

    I’ve never really liked the Golden Demon competitions, it seemed while the painting was fantastic, as mentioned above they always seemed cold. The only “creativity” seemed in the bases which should be a separate competition in my mind.

    That said, I really liked what you have done on your figure, it has soul. Now I’m really curious how you are going to base it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A comment is never late and always appreciated. I hope you enjoyed your vacation, most of all!

      I’ve noticed with MESBG in GD, basing seems to be extremely important and you often see pretty elaborate bases made for the competition too. The quality of the MESBG winners was high even if I didn’t necessarily love the pieces I saw, if that makes sense.

      One advantage of commenting late is that you won’t have to wait long to see it 🙂


  13. There’s a lot to talk about there Jeff… Where to start… I know, excellent painting mate, and that cloak is just the right colour to compliment the rest of the figure, lovely.
    It’s hard to say what my favourite part is. My eye is drawn to the lightening bolts and how nicely they are blended, and the facemask is magnificent, but I think it has to go to the cloak, especially the underside. I love the colour and how it works as a background for the rest of him.

    Interesting what you say about the GD winner, and what the judges value and look for. To me, innovation, doing something different should be high up on their agenda. It shouldn’t be about conformity, but about the application and vision of the painter. I agree with what Matt says above, that the GD winner has no soul. It’s extremely well painted, but personally, I don’t feel any connection to it, it doesn’t excite or grab my attention other than for its technicality. But that’s what the GD tends to be all about and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone when something like that wins.
    I don’t know. Entering competitions has never appealed to me and I may look on things differently if I was to go that way. I do, however, want to start painting some display figures, as I think it will improve my skills, which I can then feed back into painting my gaming minis.

    Keep painting fun in my books, never let it become a chore. Paint what you want, keep doing what you’re doing. For what it’s worth, I think you’re up there, and I for one appreciate all the feedback you’ve given me in the past and I get a kick from seeing your work… Now, lets see what you’ve got up your sleeve for the base😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, mate! I was glad to get the color combination right on this mini and I owe a painting friend for a couple of the suggestions as I was stumped myself a couple of times.

      GD is not the competition to enter for pure creativity and innovation, that’s for sure. GW is open to a certain level of creativity but not as much as other competitions and I think it is fair to criticize them for that as well. I’ve had a casual interest in entering in a painting competition but I have varied interests like yourself so we’ll see if I can actually do it or not. I do think trying display painting is a good idea for you. I would recommend trying to push your skills on NMM or TMM and OSL. If you can get motivated, painting a high quality sculpt like something from GW would be the best way to do it but you have a lot of projects going and working on a display piece will take a good chunk of time so you’ll have to decide if you can squeeze that in or not!

      Agreed on painting in whatever way you enjoy. That is the most important thing for everyone in our hobby. The good news for you is that you don’t have to wait long to see how it turned out. You just have to catch up on your “feed” in WordPress Reader 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It isn’t motivation I struggle with, it’s having the time to fit everything in – too many hobbies not enough hours; I’m sure you know how it is🙂

        I’ve got so far behind on things but I’ll catch up eventually and I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labour!

        Liked by 1 person

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