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Today on the blog I share my recently finished Stormcast warband for Warhammer Underwords. This colourful group of warriors are called The Farstriders. I love these models, I mean look at them, hand held repeating crossbows, heavy armour and a parrot. Ok it’s not a parrot it’s called an Aetherwing. After the jump I share pictures of all my warbands painted so far and give some tips on how I took these photos. 

The First warband I painted was Garrek’s Reavers. I’ve only used them once in a game and that was recently where I lost to Mollag the Troggoth. It’s a fun, challenging warband to play if you can get early Glory and get some upgrades onto your fighters.

Ironskullz Boyz are my most used warband. My tactics never change, it’s an objective based deck with three Orruks claiming objectives while da Boss Gurzag goes on a rampage. Sometimes he dies early, other times he mows through whole warbands. It’s loads of fun.

Steelheart’s Champions was the second warband I painted and the first I used in a game. I used them for a while clocking up some nice wins against Spaceshrimp who was getting to grips with her Sepulchral Guard. I’d just play them aggressively killing skeletons for easy glory. Once Spaceshrimp mastered her force the easy to kill guys were hidden at the back of the board.

If you’re looking at the Aetherwing (parrot) and thinking “was that painted with Contrast paints?” I can tell you it wasn’t. However it’s the same ideals. Heavily diluted Citadel paints with Lahmian Medium over a white undercoat but instead of one thick coat, it was several thin layers. It’s more time consuming but no unsightly ‘pooling’ where the paint runs and collects in one place. It’s the same for the shading on the blade, that’s just Abbadon Black thinned a substantial amount with Lahmian Medium and glazed on with several thin layers. It’s Contrast the Garfy way.

If you made it this far, congratulations and thank you for taking the time to read my post. As I mentioned in the introduction I was going to share some tips on the photography.

Lets start with the background. I use a cheap £18 smoke machine from eBay. Using a piece of card on the nozzle of the machine I direct the smoke low and spread out. It rises because it’s heated, more on that in a bit. 

Now onto lighting. To colour the smoke I place two camera flashes at the back of the set up pointing straight up to the ceiling. These have the reflector cards pulled out so the light is bounced off the cards (and the ceiling), bounce light is soft and nice for miniature photography. The flashes have transparent coloured plastic sheets covering the light. This soft bounced coloured light changes the colour of the background and the smoke. Because the smoke is white it really catches the colour you bounce onto it. 

To avoid the models being lit by the coloured flashes I use a third flash, this flash is a ring flash (sometimes on the lens, sometimes held to direct it). The reason I use a ring flash is the light is line with the lens, not above the camera. It’s a good fill in flash for miniatures (and any macro work).

The camera I use is a Nikon D750 and I tend to use a 50mm Prime as a do it all lens (despite owning more expensive lenses I always find myself using the cheapo 50mm). Camera is on manual settings (apart from focus which is auto, but honestly because I use a tripod this could be manual as well) WB is set to flash settings. Because I’m using three flashes the Shutter Speed is set to 1/200 and the Aperture is as closed as possible at 16 to ensure a deeper depth of field and more is in focus.

You might be thinking, if you’re using a tripod why bother with such fast shutterspeeds? You could just use constant lights and long exposures. Well, remember me saying the the smoke rises because it’s heated, well a long exposure would capture all of that movement and it’d just be a blur. So a fast shutterspeed captures the smoke in an instant giving a much nicer defined image.

Alternatively, you could just do what Stahly does and print a picture of a cloud backdrop and put that behind your models. It’s just as effective, much easier and doesn’t require a professional set up. 

Garfy's Get a Grip - now available on ebay