Gamer Paints Mind-Boggling Homage to Warhammer Fantasy

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4007 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

4007 Articles

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Russian gamer and miniature painter Ivan, known in gaming circles as Nakatan, wanted to do something to commemorate Games Workshop’s retirement of its longstanding Warhammer Fantasy Battles game, so he painted this extraordinarily detailed bust of a female Elven warrior.

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When he posted it to various painting forums, he explained his reason for going all out on this project:

As many of you know, last year Games Workshop destroyed one of the greatest fantasy settings ever created, and the wargame that took place there. With this creation of mine, I wanted to say goodbye to Warhammer Fantasy Battles and its world. So many bloody battles, so many shining victories, so many hopes unfulfilled and stories left untold. Fare thee well and rest in peace, old friend. You will forever live in the hearts of those of us who remember your glory.

Of course, that world will never actually die in the hearts and on the gaming tables of this legendary game’s hardcore fans. But it always is sad when a company basically kills off a world and retires a gaming system, especially after 30+ years of history and investment. So, this explains the intense reaction of fans like Ivan. But where some disgruntled gamers went so far as to destroy their magnificent (and extremely expensive) miniature collections in dramatic YouTube protest videos, Ivan decided to express how much the beauty and power of the game meant to him.

His Elven bust is a conversion of Origen Arts’ 1/10 scale Queen Boudicca model. This is all brush work, no airbrushing, beyond primer and some basecoating. Surprisingly, Ivan likes to use cheap synthetic brushes. He also cuts them down if he needs a finer tip. He uses Games Workshop, Rackham, Reaper, and Vallejo acrylic paints. He doesn’t like to mix a lot of his colors, preferring to paint “from the pot” as much as possible. The smooth color transitions he gets are achieved through painting countless transparent layers and using glazes. “I’m just a slow and purposeful guy, I guess,” offers Ivan.

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For the meticulous patterns found on many of his figures, and the effect of looking like colored pencil sketching, he swears by those cheap synthetic brushes. He uses reference materials for the patterns, does a rough pre-paint, and then the final layers.

He says it is also important to do the proper preparations before painting. “The Boudica bust casting was not the best out there, and so I had to do a lot of work with sculpting putty on her eyes and surrounding areas.” Ivan also created the figure’s elf ears. For sculpting, he uses Magic-Sculpt, and sometimes, Green Stuff (a type of 2-part epoxy putty common in game modeling).

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To give you an idea of the scale, here is an image of the unpainted Origen Arts Boudicca bust in someone’s hand.

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And if you were wondering what this virtuosic talent for figure painting would look like on regular 28mm gaming mini, here’s an Eldar from Warhammer 40,000 painted by Ivan. You can really see that colored pencil sketching effect very clearly here. His models can look so simultaneously two and three dimensional. Some of them you would swear are a 2D painting.

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Ivan has also done a lot of kitbashing and scratch-building of models. This is an almost entirely scratch-built model. It depicts Haviland Tuf, a spacefaring character from one of George R.R. Martin’s 70s sci-fi short stories. So, it appears that Ivan is as talented a model-maker as he is a miniature painter.

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Ivan maintains a Cool Mini or Not gallery and a Deviant Art page. I warn you that some of his figures are for adults only and Not Safe For Work.

H/t: Beasts of War