In this first article in what will eventually become a run of staggered features in the Master Crafted series, we are incredibly excited to present the prodigious talents of Mr. Third Eye Nuke himself, Christopher Poole.
Through staying true to his trademark moody, gritty and ultra-realistic painting style, Chris’ horror-inspired miniatures are instantly recognisable, thus garnering the artist a steady following online. Until its recent demise, Chris’ models were also regularly featured on the Games Workshop blog.
John: Hi Chris. How are you today?
Chris: “I’m good, John – just had a day off after painting three new releases in a row”.
John: So, what are you working on at the moment?
Chris: “At the moment I’m working on the new GW Plasma Obliterator building and an Adeptus Mechanicus Dunecrawler”.
John: Cool. What was it that got you interested in the hobby in the first place?
Chris: “Back in the 70s my dad worked in London and one day came across a newly opened Games Workshop store in Hammersmith. He bought me a few models from the Fiend Factory range as he knew I was very much into monsters and all things sinister. Being arty, I got really into painting. In fact, I never got to play the actual game much. I even won a regional painting competition when I was 14.
“When I got older, I didn’t stick with the hobby and forgot all about it. A few years ago I came across a GW store and got interested in the miniatures again. And it kind of went from there”.
John: With the amount of new figures you’ve turned out recently, it would seem you’re firing on all cylinders. What’s your secret for staying motivated?
Chris: “Well, I am fascinated by the game, its rules and models. I do have an addiction to researching everything Warhammer. When new models come out, I am always interested to try them out and see what I can do with them. But of course I won’t lie – painting in bulk can be boring and tiring too. Imagine painting 40 dark elves for example, such detailed work, mostly by brush! I tend to watch a lot of films while I work. Nothing new, just classics that I love, like John Carpenter’s horror films”.
John: You mentioned the other day that you were trying out some new paints. Can you tell us about those and how they differ from what you were using before?
Chris: “The new paints are from Com-Art Colours. It comes in a slightly larger bottle than the Vallejo range, but unlike Vallejo it’s a bit thinner in consistency. It’s a very smooth paint, great for airbrushing, but can be used with a brush too. I found that their white and black are the best of all the brands that I use, as it doesn’t splatter or clog the airbrush. It’s good for blending colour and they have quite nice bright colours in their range. I would use those for smaller more detailed miniatures, as it sprays in fine layers. I’ll still use my other paints, such as Vallejo, P3 and Citadel, as they work great in different ways”.
John: One of the things I truly admire about your work is its uniqueness. In three words, how would you describe your own painting style?
Chris: “Realistic, dark and gory”.
John: Were these aspects of your style applied consciously or did it just happen naturally over time?
Chris: “At first I tried to stick with a more traditional style. As I grew confident with my painting technique, I started to experiment with paint combinations, trying to achieve a more realistic style. As a fan of the horror genre, I guess it makes sense why my style turned out a bit on the dark side”.
John: Out off all the figures you’ve painted, which did you enjoy working on the most?
Chris: “I really liked working on Forge World’s Greater Daemon Prince of Nurgle with wings”.
John: I’ve noticed over the past year or so that the majority of your figures feature at least one area painted black and finished with a layer of gloss. I guess it’s become a bit of a self-styled signature. How did that originally come about?
Chris: “I generally like using black. I think the first time I used glossy black on a model was on the [then] newly released Tervigon a few years back. I actually took a lot of my inspiration for the Tyranid colour scheme from the film Alien. I guess since then I just tried it out here and there and decided to stick with it”.
John: When you paint a figure, do you adhere to a specific tried-and-tested process or do you tend to just go with whatever feels right at the time?
Chris: “I do a bit of both. For some models I have a worked out recipe which I stick to. And for some, especially models I’ve never worked with, I like to experiment with my painting. I also do work on self-improvement; I always look out for new techniques, paints and methods. Sometimes I learn something new and I apply it to a well-tested colour scheme to improve it”.
John: Okay, Chris, what would be your top tips to any budding figure painters out there?
Chris: “First of all I think it’s important to enjoy painting and have fun with it. It’s good to learn from different painters out there, and there are many resources online to do that. And don’t be disappointed if the first results are not perfect. It takes time to build on your skill and knowledge, but it’s a great reward to see your work looking better and better over time”.
John: Chris, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you.
Chris: “Cheers, John”.
If you would like to see more of Chris’ handiwork, head over to his website Third Eye Nuke Studio where he offers a high-quality miniatures painting service. Chris also occasionally blogs on the popular war-games blog Tale of Painters.