Tuesday 20 January 2015

Windmills on my Mind Part 2 - Painting and Glee

Hi folks, remember this: Windmills... Part 1? Don't blame you, it was back in October, granted, the very last day of October but still, that was a long time back. To be honest, it's been a dry spell for hobby for me. It's actually been two full months since a painted model rocked up on this blog. Just one of those things. But now, I have a biggie to start 2015 with:

Bring on Quixote! The windmill is complete. I waxed rhapsodic about this last time so I'll try to keep my hyperbole to a safe minimum but whoa. The quality of the work Tabletop World put into their sculpting just leaps out when you spend hours painting the thing. Best of all, like all the best models, it started to tell me a story through the little details. It's starting to look tatty, the shingles are starting to break (bad when you want nice dry flour). It clearly isn't being well maintained. The story that rolls in my mind is that the miller is currently in military service (there's a war on after all) and his wife and - what the heck, lets add a child - daughter are keeping the mill working in his absence. The ladies are going to have to get brave and fix that roof and sails soon or there won't be much of a mill left.

I tried to take some step by step shots of the stonework as I went but ohdeargod did the camera hate me. It just looked grey in every step. So I'll just talk you through it. Skavenblight Dinge covers the entire thing in a nice stoney basecoat. Technically you could just start highlighting there and then but to make it look better we need to force some tonal variation into the grey. Tonal variation is totally going to be the words of the day for this post, if it was a video I'd keep a little counter on screen with a "ping" every time I said it. So anyway, tonal variation (ping): I got out of my paint boxes every single vaguely grey, beige, grey-brown, greyish green, greyish blue, all of them. Each got mixed with Skavenblight Dinge and then painted over a stone. I'd wager each colour only appears on about a dozen stones on the whole windmill. Tiny variations but enough to give that natural variety. Then a pair of highlights, first with Administratum Grey then Longbeard Grey put a common theme all the way through the stonework while defining the texture. Stonework is fairly easy but time consuming.

Woodwork went a slightly different path. I then sloshed Badab Black over the German Camo Black-Brown basecoat to define the shadows. Three highlights followed, all drybrushed, first German Camo Black-Brown again, then two highlights of German Camo Black-Brown mixed with Administratum Grey (2:1 then 1:2). Old wood isn't very brown, it's more grey-ish. Tonal variation (ping) was added by using thin glazes of other browns to make the planks individual. Into the recesses of the shingles (deliberately left the planks underneath the shingles free of green) I added several layers of green enamel weathering paints in order to make a mossy vibe to the recesses. Unfortunately as they are beautifully translucent the camera ignores them. Grrr. The metalwork is just AP Gunmetal mixed with black, washed black and a thin glaze of Ammo Rust Streaks.

The windows are Val Dark Sea Blue, washed with black and gloss varnished. The window leads are then painted the same dark metal as the roof but without the rust streaks as lead doesn't rust like that. A nice by product of washing the leading was matt areas around the leading looking like muck building up.

Around the base of the tower I needed to get some muck and dirt that the wind, rain, passing cows etc have stained the stonework with. For this, I again turned to enamel weathering paints. Streaking Grime, Winter Streaking Grime and Dark Streaking for Green Vehicles (essentially, muddy brown, muddy green and a stronger slime green) were variously heavily stippled around the base of the tower. Odourless thinner was used to soften the intensity and fade out the colours before a second round of green was applied to the lowest stones. It looks good in the photos but so much better in person. Superb stuff. Technically the colours I was using were AK Interactive bought a while ago, these days I prefer to buy from Ammo of Mig Jimenez because reasons. Now I've rabbited on about these paints a lot over the last few years. They've completely replaced pigments in my work because they don't rub off, can be removed if you make a mistake and do almost everything pigments can do. Heck, if you add some plaster of paris they can do everything pigments can do. Pigments are great for dioramas and display models. They can't be beaten for conveying the physical presence of dust and rust etc. But dioramas are not touched. Wargaming models are, a lot. So for that reason, enamels is now my go-to weathering product. For as long as I've rabbited on about these things I've said "I must get a tutorial or something worked out". Well here it is, sorta:

Left to right: Dots and streaks applied, first "stumping", second "stumping" see below

The sails are another of those jaw-dropping Tabletop World creations, it would have been easier and more cost efficient to produce one sail and cast four for each windmill. Tabletop World instead made each one unique. It really helps the overall look of the mill and I applaud craftsmen taking decisions to make a quality product rather than just to increase the profitability of a product. After doing the woodwork and attendant metal banding (so, so many bands, twitch), it was time to look at the sails. A mixture of Val Stone Grey and Deck Tan makes a lovely canvas tone but isn't terribly good at coverage so three thin basecoats later I had the main colour. Highlighting simply careful drybrushing of a lighter (more Deck Tan) version of the same mix and then pure deck tan focussing on where the gorgeously thin sails tent over the wooden frame. The ropes were picked out in a more yellowish tone (sorry, didn't write down which) and then shaded with enamel Streaking Grime. I used the enamels as I knew what was coming next.

Lining up nigh on all the enamel weathering paints I had (except for rust and slimy green) I started putting dots and streaks along the length of the sail (leftmost picture above). This will look awful but trust the pirate viking. Give it a few minutes or so to dry off a little (enamel paints can take anything up to a day to cure, it's one of many reasons why they're useless for painting the main body of the model) and then we start "stumping". Stumping is when we take a clean brush, damped down with odourless turpentine or the more aggressive white spirit, and smear and fade the marks we made in stage one. Think about the direction the rain and other factors will move the muck in. The result was the middle photo, more subtle, but still a bit too "painted" for my tastes. A second stumping resulted in beautiful, subtle, washed-out, difficult to photograph muck. Brilliant. Mig has a bunch of tutorials on his site that explain it much, much, much better but there you have it!

After fitting the sails (made much, much easier by the prep work done in part one) I couldn't resist throwing a realm of battle tile and some trees down and seeing how it looks. Pretty damn good I think! One day I might make a base for it to give a bit more story (sacks of grain, worn path leading to the door etc) but that does limit where I can place the mill during terrain deployment. We shall see. Tabletop world assure me that they are making more cottagey type buildings to go with the grand urban structures so the village will grow. Speaking of story, in game I was thinking of some rules to reflect the mill's more unique features. Usual rules for occupying buildings but the building gains flammable despite being stone as flour dust? That stuff is explosive:

Doesn't seem like there'd be enough dry dust to take out the building but having flaming weapons deal double wounds... that seems enough. All in all, a really fun project and I can't wait to get my hands on another building so the village can grow. Tabletop World, I applaud you.

Feel free to throw questions and comments at me below, until next time folks.



  1. Nice paint job on what is a great model.

    Thank you for sharing this and the earlier post.


    1. No problem, sharing cool things and ideas is what this great blogging thing is all about :) and thank you for your kind words. Nice to know people like your work.

  2. That is a brilliant model, & your paint work is stunning, the level of detail is ultra-real!

    1. Thanks :) I see so much "studio" (i.e. high contrast so easy to photograph) stuff out there that it's easy to forget that there are lots of people out there - like me - who really appreciate realism in painting. It'll never make as good a photo. You won't see sellers painting this way, it just doesn't do the job in a catalogue. But I love it :)