Wednesday 20 November 2013

Sprue Cutters #19 - The modelling gods strike


That 'Eureka' moment. That moment of genius. That time someone put a gorilla behind a drumkit.

Inspired chocolate advertising

We all want these moments - while we're building our models, while we're painting them and while we're figuring out how to display them. The first inspired moment, though, has to be when we choose what our next subject is.

When I'm building aircraft or cars, my choiceflow is simple: Coolest wins.

It's got actual metal bits

I would love to build this Tamiya kit - the write-ups were great when it launched, and it's not too expensive (compared with the GW prices I've got used to recently). It's also a multimedia kit - metal lower parts to give it weight, and plastic uppers, with etched brass details. Heaven.

I'll probably never buy it.

You see, amongst many other things, I have a few of these:

The coolest of them all

I bought one when it came out in the 90s, and had a teenage stab at it. Not a bad effort, but painting stainless steel with a size 2 brush will never look great. I then bought a whole load of them a few years ago - one from each film, and a spare, rare BTTF2 version to keep forever (and then sell to buy a house).

I have been planning for a few years to recreate the poster from the second film - I have drawings, electronics and a big block of foam somewhere to make this:

Shivers happening right now

For the minute, though, my inspiration for 'what's next?' comes from the armies I'm working on in the 40k and Lord of the Rings universe - and they're mainly special characters.

I'm on a sort of wizard binge - I finished a Gandalf figure a couple of months ago, and I then straight away started on a Saruman figure - similar robes, but a different feel. I also started working on a different Gandalf figure. Obviously, when I finish those, I'll start on one of the two Radagast figures I have in the stash. Once the wizards are done, I'll do some Hobbits.

Similarly, I'm working on some Orks for 40k (as well as Tau and Space Wolves), and once the current WIPs are done, it's more likely to be a greenskin than anything else.

I think my choice-inspiration is often governed by the most fun thing I've already bought and stashed away. Even if it's 'important' to do a particular figure, or squad, if I'm not in the mood then it won't get done.

I think Jon's analogy of a meal menu is very fitting. I concur wholeheartedly.

Currently, there's only Jon's post listed for me to link to (but there'll be more soon, no doubt)
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The Combat Workshop

Saturday 16 November 2013

Sprue Cutters #17 Go Big or Go Home

I've been thinking about this week's question for most of the week, rather than diving right in.

If I devoted the next 12 months to a single project, would I do it, and what would it be?

My first thoughts hinged on dioramas - I'm currently building a complicated 40k vignette for Golden Demon. I've been building it for a couple of years, actually - but I haven't devoted enough time to it.

Based on a mission that Mikey and I played at Games Day a couple of years ago, it's titled 'Deep Strike Mishap'

The inspiration for the scene
The whole thing must fit inside a 1-foot-cube to be eligible for entry. There's a kitbashed Drop Pod stuck on the edge of a cliff with its 10 Marine occupants getting out in various ways. Overhead, though is an Ork flyer dropping some nasty payload.

Scope for lots of great little details, but I haven't project managed it well enough to get it done. The terrain is still a glint in my eye; the Imperial Fist Marines are 95% built (conversions on each and every one), and mostly base-coated, but no detail painting yet. The Drop Pod is finished on the inside, and only about 50% done on the outside. The Ork flyer is 80% finished, although I haven't figured out how to mount it to the terrain.

There are lots of technical engineering issues to overcome - how to make the Jet look like it's flying, without using a base, and without it waggling on a wire. The same goes for the men - some are abseiling from the Drop Pod, but I don't want them swinging around when it's on display.

Transportation is another issue - how to get it to the show once it's finished without bits falling off it mid-transit. Do I build it rock solid, or make it modular and re-assemble at the venue? The ostrich in my mind is pretending these issues don't exist, and is happy to carry on with other jobs...

Then there's the Armies on Parade competition. On a 2ft Square board, I'm supposed to showcase an army - figures, vehicles, terrain. Make it eye-popping, make it memorable. It has to win the heat at my local store, and only then is it allowed to go to the show. Mikey and I started collecting Orks for this very purpose last year - before the hobby cooled off for him - and it's a good idea for an epic job. Lots of repetitive stuff, sure, but loads of variety in the minis to paint, and a bucketload of creativity for the scenery.

But can I be bothered to do it? Probably not. I've just looked at what pieces I've actually finished this year. I might make it to 5 or 6 by Christmas if I don't keep getting sidetracked with new things.

Maybe I should aim to do that, then...

Other Sprue Cutters have joined in the discussion:

Jeroen Vantroyen
Fill and Sand
The Migrant's Wanderings
The Eternal Wargamer
The Combat Workshop

Saturday 9 November 2013

Sprue Cutters Union #16 - Brushing up

This week the Sprue Cutters have been tasked with spotlighting our brush preferences - hairy or airy, brushes are the most common way to transfer paint from the pot to our models.

As always, let's start from the beginning:

When I was building Airfix kits that I'd find in my local newsagent's, I quickly discovered that I'd need a brush. Luckily, the same shop sold Humbrol enamels and every size of brush - the owner used to fly English Electric Lightnings for the RAF, and I think he had a soft spot for scale models.

If I still have any of those brushes, they're not in any good state for painting - probably in my collection of stirrers and terrain bits. As an avid hoarder, recycler and re-user, my brushes have a cycle of use. I try not to bin them if I can help it.

Fine detail work
Stirring and mixing
Scenery spares

The scraggier they get, the less I want to use them for front-end paint work! (I wrote a post a couple of years ago about brush care which might help to slow down this cycle)

These guys don't wet blend

Anyway, these Humbrol brushes were never top of the line to start with - they were a little better than starter-set quality, but not much.

I still have a couple of Citadel brushes, but these are drybrushes at the very best...

this one started life as a drybrush, too!

Last Christmas I was bought a couple of sets of Kolinsky Sable brushes from Creative Models. These, along with my Army Painter detail brushes are awesome. The sable hair pushes paint around better than synthetic, or generic hairy brushes. They're soft, easy to clean, and seem to hold their shape well, without too much work from me!

Sizes 4-10/0

Insane detail, Detail, and Masterclass

I recently bought this brush. I haven't used it yet, but it was relatively pricey, so I'm expecting it to make me a coffee while it's painting the models by itself.

Newest - can't wait to use this one...

Then there's my airbrush. A birthday present last year - a Harder & Steenbeck Infinity - at the time it was a recommendation from a Japanese acquaintance of mine, who has since been sponsored by Badger, and doesn't go by H&S at all!

Gorgeous airbrush, with 2 needles and 2 cups

The Infinity is nicely weighted, is easy to take apart and maintain, and hasn't caused me any major headaches. I used to have 2 no-name hobbyshop gravity-fed dual action airbrushes and, and a cheap single action siphon-feed from Badger. I threw them all away earlier this year in a fit of rage - too much clogging, bubbling and spitting. It was probably my fault, but I blamed my tools and they paid the ultimate price. No regrets.

I have two compressors - a small, noisy desktop compressor, which I use all the time, and big 20L thing, which I really want to use, but haven't the room. I bought the big so I could respray my old car. I haven't done that, either. It has more reliable regulators and moisture traps than the desktop compressor, and is (in theory) much quieter once the reservoir is filled.

Have a read of what the rest of the Union are saying about brushes: