Thursday, 22 January 2015

Shop Floor

In a bit of a break from my usual routine of displaying what I've painted this week, I thought I'd give you a little look at where the magic happens.

Actual magic not portrayed.

My rough and ready paint station (which gives the rough and ready results I'm known for) is some newspaper on the kitchen table, an old christmas biscuit tin full of paints and a spice jar of water whose lid is also my palette. No expense spent, I assure you.

I use newspaper because it's cheap and plentiful. Enough free metros in a stack, with a bit of card folded in the middle, also make a decent cutting surface that's easy to replace once it gets tatty. The paper is also absorbent enough to soak up spills, can be used to wipe off paint ready for a drybrush, makes for a good doodling pad if I'm trying out banner designs (see the Corsair flag on the right above) and even occasionally has interesting articles in it if basecoating endless ranks of foot soldiers gets dull.

In an ideal world, I'd have a special chair, a desk I could stand at instead of hunch over and really good adjustable lighting so I can see what I'm doing. But I'd rather paint by feel and have the posture of a cashew nut, so it's all good.

Meet the Team

I write a lot about the painting, but next to nothing about the tools I use. No longer! Not that there's going to be anything surprising here, I'm sure. But this will be a short look which brushes I use for what jobs. Try not to doze off, it's rude.

It would be weird, even as a man who collects tiny models that he can generally name, if I named all my paintbrushes.

Jane, Erica and Steve

A trio of Citadel medium brushes, these dedicated workers have been dealing with the bulk of post-undercoat base colour work for some time. Steve, the newest member of the team, is still in the full prime of his youth. But he's the first to admit that his slender tip is sometimes the wrong tool for the job. Dabbing dots of colour on to Chaos spikes is square-headed Erica's specialty these days, where skinny Jane moonlights as a fine detail brush, currently beginning to train herself up on eyes.


A real veteran, Bernard joined the team well over ten years ago. Proving that you don't need to have a Citadel training to be a great brush, Bernard's sable tips were mounted on a thick, pen-like grip, making him fantastic for dealing with complex shapes or base coats for freehand. That's where he still does most of his work, although he's getting a little thin on top these days.

Sadly, his old friend Ferny, a fine detail brush from the same stable, recently retired from the team, and Bernard still misses her.


No-nonsense Bob is the genial giant at the bench. Tirelessly handling big, bold jobs, Bob is usually the first to get to work on a new piece. He's most at home with dark colours, the deep browns and blacks that go on first, but enjoys the occasional dabble with Skull White.  Originally taken on to handle large drybrush jobs, something Bob's previous experience was ideal for, Bob moved into this new field as Team Kraken moved away from 40K Vehicles. He still keeps his hand in on buildings and scenery, of course.

"I don't like spray paints," Bob says frankly. "Expensive, messy and most of the paint ends up on your protective surfaces. Waste o' good money!"


During the bleak times of the recent Depression, Nadine was the only new blood joining the team. Coming from a background in theatre design, Nadine had actually been out of work for some years following an industrial accident that left her bristles badly curled. Far from letting this end her career, she fought through the prejudice to find a lasting acceptance of her role.

Specialising in basing shield rims, spear hafts and the tricky-to-reach interior angles of armour, Nadine has become Team Kraken's go-to solution provider when slapping on base colours, at the same time bringing welcome diversity to our employment portfolio.


Is a brush ever too old to paint? Hector will tell you no. "I've only got three bristles left," he says proudly. "But you just try painting eyebrows with any more than that!"

The Gimp

What his real name is, nobody knows now. But The Bitch Brush (or just plain Gimp) takes on the filthy jobs that others won't touch. Spotting PVA glue on a base for flock? Mixing bicarbonate into a joblot of snow? Or putting heavy drybrushing on a model too small for Bob's heavy hands? Some might call it workplace abuse, but The Bitch Brush says nothing. Probably enjoys it, the big perv.

Death's Head

Even Hector stands in awe of Death's Head's veterancy. Too old to remember when she joined the team, or at least too psychologically damaged to explain, Death's Head works with some of the older paints, using her unique metal tip to goad hardened or drying paints back to life. When not providing that vital service, she enjoys scraping the rubbery rings of paint out of old hexpot Citadel jars so that the lid can close again, or even the odd touch of working with Green Stuff in a modelling capacity.


Inspired by Nadine's success story, Chi applied to Team Kraken only last year. With a tip as fine as any Citadel Fine Detail brush, Chi comes from a mysterious past she doesn't like to speak of. Whatever her provenance, her tiny hooked tip is perfect for reaching into the recesses of helmets or eyesockets to dot on pupils. She's surprisingly agile over flat surfaces too, as her recent work on the Dark Elf army banners proves!

Jake and Jeremy

They play hard but they work hard too. Drybrush Jeremy has watched with pride as his younger brother Jake, the team's newest addition, has taken up the family's signal role as highlighter for Team Kraken. But don't let Jeremy's brutally skinheaded appearance fool you! He's actually a dab hand at fine detail, particularly for gems or spikes. Jake talks about his older sibling constantly, and is well on the way to earning the same recognition and battle scars, even after only a month of work.

Think you have what it takes to join Team Kraken's skilled and professional workforce? Why not send your CV with a covering letter to our HR department?


  1. There's a loveable children's TV show in there somewhere...

    1. The Bristle Bunch...
      The Paint Pot Pals...
      Stipple & Shade...

    2. ...Dammit, I've got nothing.

      Two days of scratching my head, and not a single 80s kids' cartoon/painting utensil based pun. I'm getting old.

    3. I was thinking:

      The Sabil Brush Show

      Ha Ha Ha! Boom Boom!

    4. Bodged-it and Badger Hair Tip?

    5. No, wait, dammit, that's shaving brushes.