The Story of Migs – The Omnibus

“To be great, be whole; exclude 

Nothing, exaggerate nothing that is you.

Be whole in everything. Put all you are

Into the smallest thing you do.

The whole moon gleams in every pool.

It rides so high.”

– Fernando Pessoa, To be great, be whole (from Poems of Fernando Pessoa, translated and edited by Edwin Honig and Susan M. Brown)

“If the bar ain’t bending, then you’re just pretending”

– Wolverine

Hello,

To be gifted or cursed can be a matter of perspective. Growing up it was clear that I excelled in many matters I enjoyed, and absolutely tanked  things I did not like. My vivid imagination, energy, and boldness would get me rewards or troubles depending which teacher you’d ask. Thankfully it has paid off to pick something I liked and work very hard on it.

Most relevant to this story of plastic miniatures and grim darkness were these key junctures. First at five when my godfather showed me part of the first Star Wars movie. Galaxies far far away, space ships, laser and good versus bad. Wow. Nothing was the same anymore. Then at 10, when Santa brought the Space Crusade and through a series of fortunate events I stumbled on a Fantasy Games store that carried Citadel products and perhaps most importantly, the White Dwarf. This was in the metal infested magic of the second edition Warhammer 40000. Suddenly it was grim, dark, and utterly captivating, relevant bits of star wars coupled with almost Finnish feeling folklore and Northern European feeling art work. The final delivery of the addiction became a decade later with the release of the Inquisitor rule book. Finally everything was grey, and you could through the rules out of the window.

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complete boxed game lo res

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Initially White Dwarf was stuff of legends, miniatures so pretty and well painted it seemed impossible. Each new miniature release was celebration, and if I could have afforded, I could have finished all of them. As sports and pretty girls begun beating plastic men repeatedly, the fire was kindled only through still picking up the White Dwarf and then living in England with the family for a year. Things changed with the 3rd edition of Warhammer 40000 and the proper plastic kits. My capabilities slowly grew together with those of Games Workshop and Citadel miniatures and I was finding my life’s calling and profession in design.

The Artwork in the books, from the beginning was the single most impactful driver to how I approached my miniatures. To me there was always a clear distinction between artists driving completely new and illustrators beautifully and novelly rendering the established themes. But both classes of work, still somehow completely eclipsed the miniatures. John Blanche stood out as the mastermind, a power for originality. The creator of Archoflagellants. Years later it has been a privilege to get to know this humble genius who’s creativity beats stronger and stronger each year.

In 2000 I stumbled upon an ugly ass internet page called the DakkaDakka. This proved out to be a force multiplier in what I could learn and share. 15 years later, Dakka still has special significance. I could have not imagined the number of incredible people I get to meet through the hobby – a hobby supposedly for hermits.

With every new project I challenged myself to learn and try new things and to do something no-one else had hopefully really done before. I was learning from the best, a fellow Finn “Colonel Hammer” who absolutely never learnt a rule, but created armies previously at most whispered in some arcane Codex corner. Internet had changed the reach of our work, but also revolutionized how much one could learn from distant others. My abilities to produce what I could imagine and what I would be happier with slowly got closer. Very slowly. Everything I learned in Design school I also applied to my miniatures. I created quite a few armies, enjoyed and attended tournaments and made great friends. To finance some of the studies and new projects, I had to sell most of those armies, but that made me happy and killed the hunger.

Along the way a rewarding, changing relationship with Games Workshop’s people developed. Back in the days when it wasn’t run like a big corporation, and one could visit the studio and see the future, and today that it has hopefully grown into a proper, healthy, sustainable creative environment – locked from visitors. I could not be happier about trading the perks for the amazing company that it is today. 🙂

I also no longer have to sell miniatures, but also have no free time. Today the hobby is an intensely disciplined series of half an hours here and there. An immersive, mediative quest to create groups and armies that redefine their subject matter. I’m dreaming of getting back to gaming and thoroughly enjoying the entire breadth of the Games Workshop hobby.

So here we are. 2015, new blog with two incredible artists from Finland that I have admired for a long time. We share a common aesthetic undercurrent, some natural wavelength to grim and dark. And what is the mission?

“A series of artistic endeavors and musings, and a celebration of converting and painting English science-fiction miniatures. This is a space for storytelling and wild imagination in truly Gothic fashion.

Think of your favorite Dainton, Kopinski, or Boyd painting. Is your favorite art photorealistic technical exercise or a vivid statement of emotion, color, texture and artistic decision? With key focus points and detail, on a loose backdrop.

I grew up marveling John Blanche’s work and the worlds and characters he birthed. My goal is to render Games Workshop art in miniature form. Raw like weather, laden with emotion, action and sense of scale.

Games Workshop has largely gone from strength to strength the past few years, yet I feel some of the core products deserve to be critically challenged. The basic Space Marine kit for example is a badly scaled, toyish and failing to capitalize the wonderful background and imagery.

My plan is to produce alternative designs and have heaps of fun.”

And what would be the best imagery to accompany all this rambling?

My desk. Slowly, carefully and quite affordably put together in many years of tasteful choices in different antique, second hand and art stores, to create an environment that enhances my painting experience, hides the illegal amount of paints & inks, and displays my miniatures.

Welcome to Iron Sleet,

Migs

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Migs

20 thoughts on “The Story of Migs – The Omnibus

  1. It almost reads like a saga, or a tale told around the fire with the wolves howling in the distance, such is the feel. But glad to hear such an epic.

    Also, I notice you have some Vallejo Air on your desk, but no sign of an airbrush. Do you use an airbrush, or rely solely on brushes, or a mix of both?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. This is the first army I’ve used Airbrush for. I’ve got a separate setup in the corner of our garage. You can see it in the “Wyrd in Progress” post.

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    1. Thanks my friend. It stood dusted mist the “hip” midcentury modern stuff and I got a great deal. Built in the 1920s for a local bank, and in very very good condition. I’ve since seen a few sell for 4 times as much online, without all the little drawers.

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  2. Migs, your desaturated colour schemes are outstanding, how do you achieve it across all of your work so uniformly? Will you ever do a painting tutorial? That desk is fantastic, I can see how it serves your workflow well — micro-paint sessions with little clean up and deployment. Well played.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In very different ways. Legion was painted on whit without any red or red tinted paints anywhere, except then had to obviously see how to paint moon light red and added the Mechanicus group. Vlka Fenryka is painted on Black. And i use a lot of red and browns. This time I will either avoid blue or green or currently a both. But I think I will add some green hues st some point. And i should do somekind of s step by step.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d be very grateful. I flipped industries over the last 3 years (from pre-press to electronic entertainment) and haven’t painted in years. I’m on the hunt for a visual style I can work towards and iterate on … in point of fact all 3 members of IronSleet should contribute!

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  3. I find this story fascinating.

    Partly because the impact of the Artwork is what initially brought me into the Games Workshop games as well, and as in your mission statement, I too feel like there is such a greater universe within the games that is a far more interesting place to explore than what usually gets played on the table. It’s taken me many years to realize this, but I get more pleasure from the hobby when I explore those hidden depths through converting miniatures, and immersing myself in the art and fiction.

    This story is also interesting because within the blogs and people I follow and respect for their artistic and creative approach to the gaming medium, I constantly hear the same sentiments as you’ve described here as to why they do what they do. With the freedom of the Art and the creative process, it’s no wonder that so many find their niche in games like Inquisitor/Inquisimunda.

    I see more and more that the people who were drawn to the games by the art and the fiction of the universes have a tendency to eventually make the creative side of the hobby their focus, as opposed to those who were drawn to it by the actual playing of the game itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Fantastic workspace. I’ve always loved rolltop desks & I really like how yours has no concessions to modern technology. You’d be surprised how many of them on Craigslist are listed as “Antique” but have an obvious monitor niche or slots for cable management. I’m insanely jealous of all of the little drawers. Now to start trawling antique stores… I’m already on the lookout for a flat file for my posters so this should be a fun quest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Nice display. Nice Puukko too. Is that a custom made or a “industrial” one ? I can’t really see the maker’s mark. Not really the best tool for an imperial guard but pretty good at chopping plastic and sausages (or reindeer meat) .

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