Tuesday 29 November 2011

On the workbench

I realised on Monday that I haven't posted any finished work since Games Day. I contribute to the #miniaturemonday list on Twitter, but keep on posting WIPs. Not the most inspiring way to show off my work - "here's another almost finished model".
I'm currently on the slowest train known to man, so I can't paint right now. I can list from memory what I have to finish, though:
Space Wolves drop pod
Ragnar Blackmane
Logan Grimnar
2 squads of space wolves
Blood Ravens dreadnought
Blood Ravens dreadnought drop pod
2-3 units of tactical marines
4-5 bikes, including a chaplain and an attack bike
Blood Ravens Chapter Master
A dragon
A Balrog
A Mumak and haradrim
The fellowship (x2)
Warg riders
Saruman & Grima
Frodo, Sam and Gollum
4th edition goblins
4th edition elves
Terrain, scenery, bases

I'd better not buy any more then... Oops.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Scratch Building Terrain

I'm very proud of Mikey - he's started a Warhammer after-school club, and it's proving quite popular with with  his friends. Of course, we've already had some minor plastic casualties and even a lost template, and then he came home and said we need to donate stuff to the club!

First off: Bought some eBay dice and templates and branded them with the school name. Second off: No figures - I insisted, as they get stolen, broken and can only be used by one person at a time.
Terrain, then - making it is cheap, not too time consuming, and you can get great results really quickly.

Here goes with "scratchbuilding on a budget 101"

Ingredients so far:
Coffee can (empty and clean)
Actimel pot (also empty and clean)
6mm MDF
Pizza Box spacer
Sand etc

I had in mind an industrial tower with a drain hole and somewhere to shoot from on top. Decent cover with a good line of sight vantage point. I didn't make any paper plans, which may or may not be its undoing. "Measure twice, cut once" is not relevant here.

I made the base from a test piece of MDF I was working on to learn how to use my new scroll saw and router. It's a (very) rough kidney-bean shape with some grooves in it. The grooves aren't important - just leftovers from me not mastering the router.

I cut the Actimel pot in half and removed the label. This will be a drain spout. Next, I marked out and cut a basic circle into the side of the coffee can. This doesn't have to be neat - once I inserted the yogurt pot, I filled the edges with Squadron Green putty. This not only fills the gaps, but fixes the pot in place. I glued the coffee can lid upside-down to the base with 2-part epoxy and superglued the can to it. PVA glue covered the MDF and based it with sand/compost Also PVA'd the top (bottom actually) of the can, and then poured black railway scatter. The pizza box spacer is fixed with putty.
Mostly household rubbish and recycling
Black spray to prime
It's black primer - honest!
And the beginnings of actual paint
There will be rust
A few details I'm yet to source - wire mesh to cover the pizza spacer, something for a ladder, barbed wire  and other greebles to break up the coffee can.
Paint-wise - lots of ooze, rust, rain stains, mud and faded signage - although I don't know what this is yet. Is it Orky, Imperial or generic industrial? What's its purpose?
Ideas, please!
If this is successful, I'll build some more industrial terrain from Pringles tubes and other household recycling. Bring on the Christmas snacks!

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Belated Games Day thoughts

As I stand on this railway platform, I'm realising that I haven't posted anything for weeks (months?). Not surprising, really - my wife had our second baby in as many years, and my two stepkids are taking the other spare time I may have once had. Not that this is a bad thing, of course! It's just the basis of an excuse as to why I haven't been writing since September.

We didn't leave empty handed...

In September, my stepson, Mikey, and I went to Games Day and had a blast. We had a plan: enter our Golden Demon entries, play a game on an awesome table, and then take part in some scenery building, sketching and conversion competitions. Mikey also wanted to play some multiplayer Space Marine, and I wanted to queue for some Forgeworld bits.

Mikey is the Orkshop Kroydun banner bearer.
Shame it broke on the bus...

We entered Golden Demon. We played a massive game of blood angels vs orks on an asteroid scenario built by GW Leeds. We played for 3 hours straight before realising the time.

This drop-pod scattered directly onto the cliff face.
Marines didn't have far to climb!

Forgeworld queue was next, as the scenery and conversion tables had run out of parts - not surprising, seeing as the magpie kids had stacked multiple Balewind vortexes on top of multiple Gardens of Morr! Cheeky buggers made their ticket prices back in scenery!
We picked up the exclusive Forgeworld Space Marine boarding captain and a Tau Battlesuit- this will be Mikey's first foray into resin. And I'll supervise!

Massive Warhammer World Tau table.
Some Forgeworld bits, but a lot of scratchbuilt terrain.

After rubbernecking at the gorgeous tables from Warhammer world, we headed over to THQ for some multiplayer video gaming. Typically, they had shut it all down for the awards presentation. We collected our figures, found a seat (the worst view of the big screen in the house) and snacked out while admiring the infinitely better work on show.

The screen's behind the flag. Duh.

Slightly deflated, having not achieved everything we wanted to, we headed back to our bus - laid on by the Croydon and Sutton branches - and chatted to everyone about our collective days.

Great atmosphere, nice people and a fun hobby day out. I would even recommend Games Day to my stepdaughter (who rolls her eyes at the mere mention of toy soldiers). My wife wants to go next year, too, which, baby logistics aside, is great.

We've also bought Dreadfleet, to include everyone in the house - even those who don't care about robots with guns...

I hope one year, Games Workshop make it a weekend event. There's just too much to fit into one day...

Monday 26 September 2011

Games Day 2011

I'll be writing a full post about our Games Day experience soon. In the meantime, here are some photos of our entries for Golden Demon.

Damned Legionnaire - Youngbloods

Ulkair, Greater Demon of Nurgle - Warhammer 40,000 Monster

Neither Mikey nor I made the cut, but it was fun pushing our boundaries to enter the contest. I'm particularly happy with Mikey's use of layering and inks on the Legionnaire's leg flames. I think by the time he's 16, and entered more and more, he has a very good chance of kicking some youngblood butt!

Thursday 1 September 2011

Competition Entry

Here are the photos of my entry. I'm actually very happy with it, but there are some very nicely finished minis entered by the other guys on the BoW site, so I'm not holding my breath!

A few nicely lit photos always make a mini look even classier than on the table. They also show up your mistakes.

Feel free to point them out!



I didn't even make the cut with this one. A high standard from everyone. I wonder how my Nurgle Demon will do at Games Day...

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Painting competition on BoW

Beasts of War are running a nice painting competition, which ends tonight at midnight. It's 'Foot Soldiers' only - no special characters, machines or mounts. I thought I'd enter one of my speed-painting masterclass goblins, but spend some proper time with him. WIP photos are a must with this contest, to weed out the cheaters.

Of course I'm off to work, and writing this on the train.
I haven't taken the model with me, or any paints. Apparently, it's not the done thing to paint at your desk, unless you work at GW...

That leaves me with about 45 mins when I get home - feed and bathe the baby; get him to bed; eat something myself and then paint. Probably 1.5 hours' worth of work to do, though.

I can't imagine putting 3-4 hours of detail painting for each of these gobbos in a squad of 20 or so for a regular tabletop play, but this requires something more.

So far, it's been:

White primer.
Knarloc green skin, shaded with Orc flesh wash. Light drybrush with gretchin green.
Deneb stone tunic, shaded with Devlan brown wash
Khemri brown boots and leather, shaded with Devlan brown and Badab black washes.
Tin bitz, various silvers and golds for the metalwork, shaded with Devlan brown wash.

The base has a gravel/sand mix glued to it, washed with Devlan brown and drybrushed with Deneb stone. The sides are straight Khemri brown.

More shading and details to be done later, and the shield needs finishing, too. Maybe some grass details on the base.

Full photos when it's done.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

How to Keep the Hobby Fires Stoked when you just don't have Time to Paint or Play

I've discovered recently that time is, in fact, fleeting; family comes first; and that sleep isn't best achieved on the bus to work. End result? I haven't painted much recently.

Anyone reading this might also notice that it's been a while since my last post, and other than some Twitter presence, I've been quite quiet. Blogging, it seems, requires a similar commitment to painting.

That said, Games Day is coming up, and Mikey and I both have figures to finish for Golden Demon. He's planning on entering a damned legionnaire as a Youngblood, and I have plans that far exceed the realities of possibility and practicality.

So how have I managed to keep my hobby alive this summer, while not really achieving anything of note?

Collecting, lurking, and mindlessly assembling. That's how. Let me elaborate...

Collecting: Also the subject of a future post - showing that the mind of a modeller/gamer is perhaps not as normal as we'd like to persuade ourselves that it is. Collecting minis is something we all do. Shelves of unfinished projects will attest to this. I read an editorial in Finescale magazine a few months ago which made a similar point - even if he didn't buy any more kits, the editor reckoned it would take several lifetimes to complete what he already had (and he wasn't about to stop buying new stuff).

So I've been picking up bargains, must-haves, tools, paints and magazines, all making me feel like I'm doing something towards completing a project. I just grabbed an old edition of LOTR warg attack minis from Time & Space in Broadstairs - down from £35 to just over 20 quid. I could have bid on eBay and got it cheaper (maybe) but it's a good bargain, and it supports local stores other than GW.

I have a pile of minis on my desk (not to mention what's hiding in the garage) that are ready to paint. Some are ready to assemble. Others are ready to open...

Lurking: like you (i'm sure) I spend more time than I should reading blogs, tips and tutorials on sites like BoW, DakkaDakka and even GW itself. I don't often, if ever, post on these sites, but they're a fantastic resource, which I'll contribute to one day.

Mindlessly Assembling: while I check my email or fix my wireless network of an evening, I might grab a scrap of paper to work on, get a pair of clippers and a file, and multitask. It's amazing what you can achieve when you're not looking.

By Monday morning, I had assembled and filled the Warg set I bought on Saturday. I hadn't set any time aside for this, and I bet my wife would say I could have been doing something else instead, but basing, priming and putting them in the WIP queue is all that's next.

Friday 3 June 2011

Old Father Nurgle Assembled

Here are some WIP pics of a rather ancient figure I recently mentioned finding in the loft. He has '1996' stamped on one foot, and is cast in lead. Very heavy. Lots of pinning and Green Stuff work. As you can see, I have some more filling and blending to do with the demonic green epoxy before my Great Unclean One is truly ready for an overdue paint job.

Awesome sculpt. I imagine the inevitable Finecast model will be even more special (and easier to work with), unless GW decide to allow Forgeworld's oversized Nurgle to take over.

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Scenery as a Diversion to Real Work

GW's Battlescape is a great kit. There's plenty of detail in the moulding, and it lends itself to many different paint schemes. It goes together quickly, with some mould-line removal and sprue-join sanding in the prep stage.

I had the opportunity of a family-free evening, so I got the airbrush out and tackled loads of large-area base coating: Scratchbuilt drop pod, some Blood Ravens, Space Wolves, A Great Unlclean One, Dragons, and the Battlescape.

A quick tidy up today, and it'll be like no-one was here. I don't like using the airbrush around the kids - I can't expect them to wear respirators around the house while I'm getting my geek on.

Lots o' projects
Using a mixture of Vallejo Model Color, and GW paints, I started with a base of VMC Chocolate over the whole model. The Rhino and trees then got some Red/Chocolate mixture (I was working on Blood Ravens) and then VMC Dark Yellow.
The rocks then got a coat of GW Astronomican Grey, and the ground was followed up with more VMC Chocolate. Some VMC Reflective Green added some tonal variance (Unclean Nurgle and Dragon were getting Green'd at this point - having leftover paint in the airbrush gives other projects some new shading opportunities)
Half a pot of Badab Black Wash over the whole thing and then a couple of layers of drybrushing - Fenris Grey followed by Astronomican Grey.

Nearly there

Details are next - metal and more weathering on the rhino, lots of skulls and skeleton parts, a backpack and rifles, and there are a couple of helmets and a sign, too. I'm tempted to paint the knots in the trees as Demonic eyes, and maybe add some static grass. I could go overboard with this, and why not? For the minute, however, it's ready for Mikey to use, although I'll probably seal it first...

Sunday 29 May 2011

Finecast Chaplain Update 1

Trimmed, cleaned and ready for paint

At the risk of sounding like a GW PR, prep work on finecast resin is easy. The material is soft and cuts like cheese. Clipping parts from the sprue and scraping off mould lines and flash is a doddle, if a bit fiddly - and you have to keep your eyes peeled for thin lines of resin across certain details. It seems, sometimes, to be a decision you have to take whether to remove some flash or not. 'Is it meant to be there?', you might ask. 'Is that detail, or crap to take out?'. You don't get that often with metals.

It's different to work with than other resins I've come across. Many are hard, dense and very heavy, leaving you with difficult sanding and filing options. Finecast isn't like that. It's more like plastic.

Having finished cleaning the flash, it's time for a soapy wash, and then primer. I'm leaving him unassembled until after I've painted those details that cover each other.

Primer showing off parts to re-prep.

It's an interesting fact that spraying a model black shows you all the details you haven't looked at yet. Like the gap between the raised leg and tabard, and the stringy thing above the helmet/mine on the floor. More prep work needed...

Saturday 28 May 2011

Citadel Finecast

So I succumbed to the pressure and bought a new resin Chaplain today.

Clamshell Front

Sharpness of detail not quite captured here

To be fair, whether you agree with GW's hyperbolic PR over the past fortnight or not, the models do seem to be sharper in detail than their metal predecessors, even if they're from the same moulds. I didn't get a chance at seeing a Coteaz figure - having just painted one made of metal, a direct comparison seemed in order. Croydon's GW had sold out by this afternoon, though.

I would like to see side-by-side photos of various models - metal and resin versions - bare and primed. This would show off the differences quite nicely. The current state of the GW website doesn't help with comparisons at all. The photos of painted Finecast kits are (mostly) the same photos used for the previous metal kits.



I'm also not sure if I agree with the price hikes, though - no-one likes paying more for new stuff that isn't really new, and if you were to take the stance that resin is a cheaper material than white metal, than it looks like GW is ripping us all off in true style. If, however, you look at the costs involved in setting up a production-line almost from scratch, and the R&D costs of this particular recipe of resin (that apparently is safer to work with than traditional resins), then you could account for the increase in price. £2-3 on a single figure is a bit steep, by all accounts. I still have some 15 year-old lead blister packs with £3 on the sticker!

It remains to be seen how easy these new figures are to work with - there are new modelling techniques many hobbyists will have to get used to. I've worked with resin for many years - garage kits, commercially available kits, and casting from my own moulds. Every resin is slightly different, and   there's something to be said for experience - knowing how to fix certain things; how to shape and bend the material, and how to treat it correctly when painting. I'm going to have to get used to this resin type, too, and hopefully my experience will get me through the learning curve quickly.

Chaplain WIP coming soon, then...

Thursday 19 May 2011

Legion of the Damned Prep Work

Mikey got a squad of LOTD for Christmas this year, and is about to start them.
I'm helping prep the metals, as he hasn't worked with metal figures before.

Lots of flash to remove, pinning to set up and barrels to drill.
I used 0.7mm for the barrel sides, 0.9mm for the muzzle ends.

Barrels drilled

He'll be doing the rest - gluing and cutting pins and parts, green stuff, priming and painting.

Roll on the WIP!

Saturday 14 May 2011

There be Dragons...

A couple of new projects started this week.

Some decorative baby dragons. White metal seems nicer to work with than lead. Maybe it's the knowledge you won't get ill if you lick your fingers...

Straight out of the blister, there's plenty of flashing

As you can see here on the bottom right

Cute little buggers, and they'll make an interesting focal point for a larger diorama I'm working on.

Here's their mama.

An oldie, but a goodie.

I've taken an old lead Beastlord Rakarth Dragonrider kit and removed the rider. I've added a couple of putty spines to cover the saddle area and primed. Next up - a decent colour scheme. More details later.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Nurgletes are horrid little daemons

Next to an original 1996 lead Greater Daemon of Nurgle in the loft, I found a blister pack of 9 Nurgletes.

They're also lead, not white metal, so extra care was taken when cleaning the metal flashing from them.

I've primed them and have started drilling pin holes in their feet - for easier painting and basing.

Nasty little buggers from above

A mini army of rot from the front  
Drilling base - note the dangerous lead shards on the paper.
Each nurglete will be a different colour, with plenty of visceral detail. Yuk.

Wolf Lord Ragnar Blackmane

Here's a new 40k paintup to get stuck into - a 1997 lead Ragnar Blackmane - Space Wolves Wolf Lord

Some pics to get me started. Primer and temporary pinning next.

Must remember to wash hands more often. Lead is nasty stuff compared with modern white metal.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Jokaero Weaponsmith


Jokaero Weaponsmith, a set on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
My stepson, Mikey has just won first prize in his age group (under 16s) for this paintup of the new Jokaero Weaponsmith from the Grey Knights set. Well done kid!