Friday, 27 July 2012

WIP Black Crusade Part 2

Hey folks, quick work in progress update for the Black Crusade project:

Stage one of painting was to paint the entire models with my Jeffrust, follow the link for the method. This gives us a nice solid rusty base to work off. The next stage was to paint all of the coloured armour panels with AK Interactive Worn Effects Fluid. This stuff takes the place of the hairspray technique showcased here. It will allow us to create a chipped and worn effect in the paint later on.

Once dry the Worn Effects is painted over with a layer of Vallejo Grey-Green, this is the perfect Death Guard in my opinion!

Once the Grey-green is dry you can gently rub at the paint with a wet, stiff brush and the tip of a cocktail stick. This reactivates the worn effects and removes the paint to give a nice worn effect.

More later! For now, head over to Black Crusade and consider donating to the project if you want your hands on these bad boys. Don't forget that the Iron Warriors are still for sale and will give you ONE HUNDRED entries in the Black Crusade draw.


Thursday, 26 July 2012

What a Difference a Base Makes...

A few days ago I showed you all a 54mm Pegaso Ninja I painted, check it out now:

When models are intended purely for display it helps to make a presentation base for them to increase the visual impact of the work. Recently I had been getting curious about the Voodooworx range of resin display bases. Decent spread of sizes and acceptable prices. I got a 40mm round and a 40mm cube to check out.

The plinths (and isn't "plinth" a word that wants to be dirty but isn't?) come in a beautifully cast grey resin. There aren't any bubbles, voids or casting blocks. You can even see where Voodooworx sand down the bases to make them ready for instant usage.

I wanted to use a plain black base with the Kanji for Ninja. I used the computer to create a perfect 40mm square and then fit the Kanji into the centre of it. Printing out the design allowed me to flip it over and block in the design in graphite (pencil). The block was primed black and then the design masking taped to the block.

A quick rub with pencil over the top transferred the design to the block in a faint graphite shadow.

Once the design was transferred, the paper was removed and the design carefully painted in with Mithril Silver. Annoyingly the camera saw more of the black through the silver than is actually there, the design is solid silver.

Before I primed the block I laid down a masking tape shape of where the base of the model touches the surface it is placed on. That made sure that the glued join between the base and the model was strongest.

Glue is only as strong as the surface it is applied to, if you try and stick parts to a painted surface then you are only getting the strength of adhesion that the paint has. Not much in other words, I superglued the Ninja to the resin base.

I had previously test-fitted the Ninja to the block to ensure the alignment would look good.

And there you have it, a display miniature rather than a wargaming mini. It just finishes off the look and creates another source of visual interest with the Kanji. I can heartily recommend the Voodooworx plinths for this kind of work. The only problem would be if you wanted a wooden effect base as these resin ones only work for solid colour. Until next time.


Thursday, 19 July 2012

A Look within the Lair...

Greetings all, a few people have been curious about the purpose built workspace I've had the opportunity to build in the new house. To answer these curiosities and to rabbit on a bit about my thoughts on a good workspace I'm letting you all into the lair of the Pirate Viking...

Now, please forgive the oblique angle of the shot. The room I have appropriated for my lair is fairly cramped, about 8'x12'. I've seen bigger gaming tables! As a result I've had to be very efficient in my use of space to create the most complete workspace.

The desk itself is deeply handy as it is a nice size with two units holding it up. The one on the right has all the stationary and filing that a business builds up, the one on the left is a false one allowing me to hide the computer away and thus save one hell of a lot of desk space. My favourite feature though is a little drawer between the two running right under my workspace that allows me to store all my tools immediately to hand.

The two bookcases on the desk are cheapy Ikea units supporting another Ikea shelf which allows me to have more storage above me (behind me are more storage units).

The units are laid out in themes, area 1 is for the daft amount of basing materials I have. Area 2 contains a neat wooden tray which holds glues, weathering pigments and the like. There is also a couple of storage boxes and a wet pallete (3) that I haven't made much use of yet. Area 4 has four 2.5L "Really Useful" boxes which I found were perfectly sized to take the new range of paints. 5 is a big ol' A2 cutting mat that I use as an assembly area to keep the paint station clear.

Speaking of the paint station, it may seem odd to use one when I have my own dedicated table but it allows me to quickly clear the painting over to area 5 and therefore have the centre clear for the keyboard and mouse that normally live over to the left. Area 6 has 3 boxes that are effetively my In/Out tray. Box 1 is for client painting, box 2 is for "industry" painting and box 3 is for my stuff. Helps to keep project in sight and in mind. Area 7 is a hanger holding my colour wheel and the laminated citadel colour paint poster I made from the promo poster White Dwarf gave away. It allows me to cross off paints I am running short of and prevents that "now what did I go shopping for?" feeling. Area 8 contains a printer and more excitingly a brand spanky new Iwata Neo airbrush. Coincidence that I am about to start on a couple of Warhounds? I think not...

Finally to the left of the desk is my photography box and lighting rig - to the right is a double bed as this is still technically the spare room!

So that is my lair, I spend a daft amount of time here so I have one hell of a good chair and a decent fan to prevent this small room becoming stifling. Hopefully this can show you that by thinking vertically you can have an enourmous amount of equipment in quite a small area. You don't have to be limited to a corner of the dining room... That's all for now.


Friday, 13 July 2012

Agents of the Inquisition

Greetings all, today we have another in the range of Imperial Agents that I am painting for a client. They are designed for no particular army and are essentially a narrative gaming unit:

The unit consists of four crusader-style henchmen, 3 bases of servo-skulls and cherubim and an antique suit of Terminator armour belonging to the Inquisitor's warband:

The client wanted the armour to be battered and chipped as though it had really been through the wars. In order to do this I used Vallejo German Camo Black-Brown and a sponge to apply random dings and chips to the leading edges of the armour. After that I painted Boltgun Metal in the centre of the largest chips to indicate where the paint had been rubbed off right down to the bare metal. The colour scheme of black, white and red is the traditional heraldry of the various branches of Imperial organisations.

I used blue as a spot colour throughout the unit. Both to provide a contasting saturated colour to the red and to pay homage to the original Ordo Hereticus warband of the client which was painted in a pale blue. This, interestingly, is an example of a Tetrad colour scheme using two pairs of contrasting colours (black & white; red & blue), see colour theory, it works! The wreath and ribbons were also an opportunity to try out the new glazes and they are great. I've been able to pick up the new paint range thanks to a large commission so I'll be able to give you my thoughts on the range in the near future as I practice with them.

The Empire elements on 40k Imperial miniatures work brilliantly and I will definately be remembering this in the future. The sword's final effect was something I was fairly proud of, a graduated fade of Regal Blue adding black and white and applied in a counter shade pattern I saw online. Little flecks of white make it look sharp and a glaze of Asurman Blue and a couple of layers of gloss varnish finished it off nicely. The mix of metals in the hilt also turned out quite pleasingly.

The banner is about 15mm long so plenty of space for applying an Inquisitorial Mandate to it, this is essentially an Inquisitors warrant card that empowers him to act.

The storm shields applied to each model gave a nice roundel that worked well with the colour scheme. It's also remeniscent of the "grunt's" heraldry from the previous Imperial Agent's warband.

The servo skulls were a mix of plastic and forgeworld resin. I used the trailing cables of the plastic skull to support one and made a set of support cables out of twisted thin wire to support the others. Using blue for the lenses also helped to tie them to the unit by replicating the spot colour.

This little cherub is - weirdly - the one I wound up happiest with. I attached the chain of a spare plague censor to the back of the cherub and used it to support another servo skull. This little fella works so, so much better in 40k than on the Empire model it is intended for. The scrollwork is pidgeon latin for the Light of the Emperor is Truth Eternal. I was a biologist so a fair amount of latin sunk in. I think I'll do a short tutorial at some point on achieving these effects.

Well, that's all for now, see you next time.


Monday, 9 July 2012

Battle Report: The real story of Nerd Thunder III

Everyone needs to head over to the Beard Bunker and check out Charlie's excellent narrative of our apocalypse battle of awesomeness. Go, now! Nothing more to see here!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Black Crusade 2012: Work in Progress

Hello to all you lovely people, thought I'd share with you my progress on the Black Crusade charity event. My contribution is some Death Guard Terminators, I've just finished the kitbashing so here they are:

All the models are based on Secret Weapon Miniature's Bone Fields bases which they kindly supplied to the entire project team. I don't post much about this phase of painting and modelling so I thought I'd write up my thinking as to how these were posed and why.

When posing a large, heavy weapon trooper you either want the model in a strong braced pose or manoevering a weapon. Firing on the move poses don't really work for weapons of this size. To add a little more visual interest and to mark the models out as Nurgle I added one of the severed arms from the zombie kit and a Puppetwars plague warrior head. Decided to use the one with half his head missing as the damage is on the left. In order to bind the pose together the eyeline of the head would have to follow the line of the gun barrels. With the head turned to the right to achieve this you will be able to clearly see the damage.

As an alternative to following the line of the gun, you can have the model posed as if scanning for targets. Or spotting a new close target and starting winding up for a strike with the axe.

If you are left with a fairly static pose and there isn't much you can do about it, resist the temptation to do something like having a weapon randomly waving in the air. Often looks more Saturday Night Fever than Last Samurai... Instead, have the warrior posed passively and use kitbashed (mixing parts from different kits) elements to add visual detail. In this case a Terminator Lord's chainfist and a shaved down Nurgle champion head should do the job.

When you do get a chance for some dynamism though, grab it with both hands! One of the advantages of the moulded bases is that you can put the model a few degrees off centre. Combining that with the walking legs adds a sense of motion. Having the storm bolter levelled and in firing pose with the head in the right position makes it look like laying down covering fire as it advances. Imagine the head glued straight forward on the torso, instead of firing it would just look like it was waving the gun around instead.

Another kitbash, the Terminator Lord lightning claws are massive and thus present their own posing problems. Instead of allowing the claw to swing all the way back I kept them in front of the hipline. This gives a look of a large model "hustling" rather than running. As this was to be the Aspiring Champion I needed a way to mark him out of the unit. A personal icon pole and the Terminator Lord helmet helped this.

My general rule with posing miniatures is that the position of the heads and waist joins determine much of the realism of the pose. Care must be taken with this to bind the position of the weapon arms with the rest of the body. Too often you see stiffly standing models waving weapons around like flags or not looking the way the guns are aimed. Daft, in other words. To help this, the head is ALWAYS the very last thing I glue on to finish the model.

So, posing over, painting next I guess! Until next time...