Will o’ the Wisps

I’ve been away from the painting desk for the last few weeks but I did make some time to paint my last few remaining Malifaux models. I don’t play the game any more so it was more of an opportunity to practise with my new airbrush – I figured the rather bulbous Will o’ the Wisps figures would make excellent test models.

Part of the reason I stopped playing Malifaux is that I don’t like assembling or painting their new plastic models. They are incredibly detailed but I find the details are so fiddly that they’re no fun to paint. However the Will o’ the Wisps I actually really like! They’re so full of character, the details are big and chunky, and it’s hard to tell if they’re creepy or adorable.

For their skin, which is most of the model, I used the airbrush to undercoat dark blue and highlight up to turquoise. This left a pretty good starting point, but I can tell I’ve got a lot to learn with how to handle the airbrush. Specifically thinning my paint, it’s always either too thick and I have constant blockages, or too thin and doesn’t dry quick enough.

After airbrushing.

I used a regular bristle brush for the rest of it. I took it up from turquoise in a few layers but I wasn’t too happy with it. However I’d just been to my local Warhammer store and got a demo on Contrast paints from the guy there, and ended up picking up Leviadon Blue for some Genestealers. I figured I might as well give it a go, so I washed the Will o’ the Wisps with thinned Leviadon Blue – I ended up quite liking it! It wasn’t as magic as they claim but it did handle a lot better than regular washes. I got the best results when I pushed the paint around before it dried.


The rest of the details were pretty straight forward, and I must say a little rushed. As I’m not likely to play with these models I wasn’t as precious with them as I otherwise would have been.

Wyrd’s concept art hid the wings in shadow so I couldn’t tell what the original artist had in mind when designing them. However I the hero Will o’ the Wisp, Adze, has much more useful artwork so I based my wings off that.


Overall, fairly happy with them. It’s not often I get to paint such a wild variety of colours on a single model and have to work to get them to sit nicely together. The bases were rushed and I should have spent some time on the blue/green “hood” and feathered areas on the shoulders. They were a great test for the airbrush and I’ll definitely be deploying the airbrush + contrast wash combo in the future. Should make quick work of the Genestealers!

Putting them on my display shelf was a bittersweet moment. It’s always nice finishing minis, but these are quite likely the last Malifaux models I’ll ever paint. Felt like the final closing of that chapter.


Skin: VPA Periscopes, up to VMC Turquoise, highlight with VMC Flat Flesh and VMC Ivory. Wash/shade with ⅓ Citadel Contrast Leviadon Blue ⅔ Citadel Contrast Medium.
Wings: Base coat of 80% VMC Ivory, 10% VMC Flat Yellow, 10% VMC Yellow Green (will take multiple coats on a black undercoat). Two washes with SW Yellow Snow, one wash with Citadel Fuegan Orange, then multiple light glazes of Citadel Orc Flesh Wash to blend into the body. Also apply the green wash to the upper back.
Skull:  ⅔ VMC Ocford Blue ⅓ VGC Warlock Purple, up to VMC Ice Yellow. Small highlights with VMC Ivory. Small amounts of wash/glaze with SW Amethyst and SW Purple.
Lights: Shade the area with Citadel Leviathan Purple. Raised areas with Citadel Lothern Blue up to VMC White.

I’m back!

Well that was certainly a busy 18 months, we have got a lot to catch up on! I won’t bore you with the details, but here’s a quick skim of what I’ve done since February 2017. I’ll start with the non-hobby stuff so you can see why I’ve neglected the blog for a while:


  • Moved house! My wife and I have shifted out of our old cosy/shoebox-sized apartment into a house a little further out of town. Means much more office-space and room for hobby stuff.
  • The videogames studio that I run with my brother, Dinosaur Polo Club, has gone from three people to seven people. We’ve started work on two new titles, as well as spent time helping out two other studios.
  • I also co-direct an annual week-long videogames festival, Play by Play. We ran the second one in April 2017 and the third in April 2018, and have begun planning for 2019’s. Turns out putting on a festival takes a lot of effort!

Most of my time in 2017 and the first half of 2018 was very much focussed on the videogames side of my life, it’s only since Play by Play 2018 wound up in late April that I’ve been able to get back into miniatures.

However I’ve not neglected my toy soldiers! I’m never far from the painting desk and here’s a brief recap on what I’ve been up to:


  • Stopped playing Malifaux. I might write more about this in future, but after five years playing Malifaux and spending a lot of time trying to grow the local community, I hung up my spurs and packed my fate deck away. I was struggling to keep up with the ever-expanding catalog of miniatures, the world wasn’t drawing me in any more, and I hadn’t been very happy with the art direction and the plastic miniatures that 2nd edition brought with it. I still have all my miniatures, I doubt I’ll ever sell them, but for now they’re just sitting on my shelf looking pretty.

    So long, and thanks for all the flips.
  • Started playing X-wing. One of my core gaming group had been playing a co-operative campaign for the X-wing miniatures game with his kids and had really enjoyed it. We’d been looking around for what to get into post-Malifaux, we tried it out, and it’s been amazing! I played a few games of X-wing when it came out but didn’t really like it, but co-op against a pretty decent AI it’s a totally different beast. I ended up enjoying it so much that I bought a bulk lot of second-hand minis and have started playing it at the office.

    This ain’t even all of it! Most of the TIE fighters and Rebel snub fighters are sitting on a shelf at my office, awaiting every second Wednesday.
  • Sold my Blood Bowl teams. They’d been sitting on the shelf for years and I wanted to raise some funds for the X-wing miniatures I hoped to get. So I brushed off the Saphery Magisters and the Norsca Under-17s, spruced them up a bit, and hocked ’em off on eBay. Nearly covered the cost of 90-odd second-hand X-wing ships.
  • Finished my Macedonians! I kept plugging away at this army and got it finished in time for ValleyCon in January 2018. Played four games, won one, lost one, and drew the other two. Had a great time and ended up taking home the award for best painted. I’m currently painting up even more of the buggers so I have some options and can field 450AP.

    By far the biggest hobby project I’ve ever undertaken. Not in a rush to start another 28mm DBMM army!
  • Had to throw out most of my wild west buildings. Unfortunately the room I kept them in the new house was cold and a little damp, so the exposed MDF began to get mouldy. After a year of sitting in that environment they were positively toxic so I made the call to bin the lot. I’ve kept the one that I painted – “Florence & co. Haberdashery” – and will spend some time with bleach and a toothbrush to de-mould it.
  • Got my Space Hulk miniatures back from Awaken Realms. I’m about 70% happy with them. It’s great to get the genestealers painted, but I definitely want to go over the terminators myself and do some extra detailing.

    I opted for cheesy second edition 40K colour schemes, I feel that they need to be brighter to really pull off the look.

So right now I’m painting the last of my Macedonians (84 men and horses to go!), next up will be tidying up the Space Hulk terminators, finishing the last few unpainted Malifaux and Infinity miniatures I have, plus I’ve got a small dungeoneering party on the way just for fun. I still have to get some proper DBMM terrain and start playing that regularly, alongside my weekly co-op X-wing games.