Monday 29 December 2014

Christmas Toys - The 3Doodler first thoughts

Christmas has been and gone. The New Year is nearly upon us, and there is little evidence that flying cars, hoverboards and self-tying laces will be the in-thing for 2015. 3D printing is doing the rounds, though, and it's getting more and more accessible to us mere mortals.

One of my Christmas gifts this year was a 3Doodler from my parents. At its simplest,  this former kickstarter is a freehand 3D printer in a pen. At its most complicated, it's a freehand 3D printer in a pen. There may some shades of grey in-between.

All you need to know, on the box

Inside, you get the pen, the power supply, instructions, cleaning tools, and 2 packs of multi-coloured ABS sticks. The 3Doodler can handle ABS plastic, and bog-standard plastic (PLA). Refills are available online for $9.99 per pack (plus shipping from the states) - I'm yet to find an affordable supplier in the UK.

In the box - no that's not Play-Doh or Fimo

It's quite simple to get started. Cleaning the nozzle looks tricky, but if you ever get it wrong there's plenty of helpful resource on YouTube so you can carry on throwing shapes.

It's a boat. Honest.

In theory, the stuff you print is pretty durable. The first mess I created was picked up, thrown around, scrunched and dropped several times before anything snapped off it.

I can see loads of hobby potential for this tool - I don't see myself making any Eiffel Tower models, cars or company logos, but I can envisage plenty of greebly details on vehicles and dioramas - maybe even something that's mould-worthy that I could cast resin copies from. Who knows? Not me, that's for sure - I have a long way to go before I master this thing!

I'll be posting pics as I create things - both here, and on Twitter. Any comments or questions? Join in the discussion below...

Thursday 11 December 2014

Prepping and working with Vinyl kits

I recently embarked on a rescue project. In the stash of Alien kits I bought a decade or so ago, was a rather special piece: a 1:60 scale vinyl Space Jockey (naturally, from the Halcyon range). The box art shows the scene from Alien when Dallas, Lambert and Kane discover the corpse of an alien being, slumped in a very phallic chair (straight out of Giger's Necronomicon), with a hole in its chest, seemingly created by something bursting out from the inside.

The kit itself is made up of few parts, but, as it's a vinyl kit, it's more detailed than injection plastic. There are, however, some consturction dangers to be aware of. Whoever had attempted to build this was clearly a vinyl newb. The prep wasn't thought through; mistakes had been made, and the paintwork was terrible.

Paint stripping was achieved with neat Dettol - and then scrubbing with about 3 old toothbrushes. Once the old paint was removed, and the model assembled, I primed the whole thing in Alclad II grey primer. It's lacquer-based, and dries properly and without residue. I've made the mistake in the (way-distant) past to use acrylic can-primer, and the vinyl stayed tacky for weeks - and then I binned the model.

I made a change to the scene suggested in the box art - instead of the 3 crewmen first finding the Jockey, I've posed the figures so that Kane looking down the hole to what will be the egg chamber, and Dallas and Lambert inspecting the chest cavity on the fossilised pilot. This is the pivotal moment in the film - the 'curiosity killed the cat' point of no return.

No photos on this one - but watch the video. It's a bit of an experiment for me - presenting to camera and live commentary while working.

Things to consider when working with vinyl - call them rules, if you want.

1. Heat up the parts before cutting or reshaping - soak in hot water or use a hairdryer.
2. Use a brand new blade to cut with - and cut away from you!
3. Cool the parts with cold water to fix your reshaped part.
4. Glue using 2-part epoxy, not superglue. Elastic bands and clamps are essential.
5. Prime with lacquer-based paint. Acrylic primer stays tacky/sticky on the vinyl, and is almost impossible to remove. As is a misspelled word in a video. Lacquer. Not Laquer. Duh.

As always, please leave comments below, or on the video - thanks for reading and watching!

Saturday 8 November 2014

How to make a scary Alien diorama. Sometimes it take 10 years.

I've been a fan of the Alien films since I was a teen. The Beatties chain of model shops in the UK used to stock what I considered to be the best array of model kits, from standard 1:72 Airfix planes to the most exciting kits - the sci-fi tie ins. They had AMT Star Trek and Batman kits, and the amazing Halcyon Movie Classics range - these were catnip for me. I went in every Saturday just to look at them. I saved up pocket money and bought one of the Back to the Future DeLorean kits. I desperately wanted the Alien kits, but they were expensive, and at the top of the range, the vinyl Face Hugger and Chest Burster kits were ridiculously pricey (£90 in 1992/3 wasn't even Christmas-present territory). Eventually, Beatties went out of business, and so did Halcyon. Finding my favourite kits was nigh-on impossible.

Then the internet happened.

About 10 years ago, I spent some time buying up my dream models on eBay - a decent stash of Halcyon and Aoshima Deloreans, ERTL Batmobiles, and Alien-related plastic, resin and vinyl now resides in my garage. Not all are quite as I remember, and very few live up to modern standards of tooling. Thankfully with  a bit of experience under my belt, I now have the patience to overcome the challenges that these older kits often pose.

Halcyon’s “Alien Creature” kit from Alien3 is beautifully detailed, especially for an early ‘90s injection moulded kit. The fitting of parts isn’t perfect, though - the spines along the tail need a lot of filling and filing, and the ribcage/abdominal insert needs to glued in place after the base colour is applied to the main body, and doesn’t quite fit. This, of course, is where it’s important to dry-fit and plan which glues and fillers to use before permanently attaching anything.

The dome is a clear part. The intention here is to see the painted cranium detail through it, but it looked cheap and nasty. Even spraying Tamiya Smoke didn’t seem to help, which is a shame, because the moulding on the head under the dome is rather nice.

Instead, I airbrushed various blends of dark browns and blacks for the main dome colour, and then freehand-airbrushed the kidney-shaped brain bits that would show through in stages of greys and sand tones. I then sprayed a coat of gloss varnish to seal the layer. Many, many layers of repetition of thin, transparent shadows, highlights and gloss followed, until I had built up a rich glossy texture with a sense of depth. There was a lot of trial and error involved, but the result is fun.

I took a similar approach to the body. When I painted the figure my paints were mostly Vallejo Model Colour and Tamiya acrylics, and I airbrushed various mixes without keeping track of what I was using. The base colours are reddish browns, lifted by fine lines across much of the skin, giving that fiery look that makes this character stand out from its previous, darker, movie incarnations. Like the dome, these were created in layers locked by gloss varnish. The final effect gives the illusion of a more pronounced third dimension and movement in the light.

I managed to get my hands on some Future acrylic floor finish from a friend in the States, and gave the whole figure a coat to protect it. It’s amazing stuff, but difficult to remove, so don’t make mistakes with it!

The project then got put on hold for about eight years. Firstly, I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do with the base. I wanted to set a scene - not necessarily one directly from the film, but that would evoke multiple elements of it, as well as the whole franchise. Secondly, my ‘Hobby ADD’ had kicked in, and other projects had taken hold of my interest. The creature got boxed up, moved house a couple of times and was almost lost to old memories until I stumbled across its box in the garage in December 2013.

Fired with a new direction to finish old projects, I started by repairing the tail, the tip which had broken off in transit. I drew some sketches, and decided on the elements that would be illustrated on the base: pipework; gore; slime; movie signage, and some kind of biomechanical nod to the original HR Giger artwork that made the films so successful.

The provided base is tiled, but very plain. There’s a hole for the right leg at the rear of the base. I decided to use the base, rather than build something new, but to dress it up.
First, I experimented with resin ‘splats’. Any time I mixed some resin for another project, I’d use the leftovers and flick them on different surfaces to see what chaotic results I’d get. They were cool, but not what I needed for slime or gore. At the very least, they provided slightly raised areas that broke up the stock tiling.

I opted to spray the tiles white. Offwhite, really - to represent the medical bay sterility of the movie. They would be glossy, but dirty, too, with blood running through the seams. Once sprayed, I sealed the tiles with a layer of Future. To further offset the cleanliness and hygiene, I decided to add some industrial pipework. I needed two types of pipe - something large - as seen in the maintenance shafts in the film and something a bit more organic; a bit more Giger.

Using Instant Mold, a reusable plastic press-moulding material, I took impressions of the flexible bits of drinking straws and made copies using Green Stuff. This took several days, as I only made two or three shapes to work with, but needed a dozen or more elements.

In the meantime, I bought some copper pipe ends from the local DIY shop for a few pounds. The larger pipe was just about the right height for the creature to touch, like it was using it as a support while travelling through the prison colony tunnels.

The ends of both types slot together, so I didn’t need to create any joining sections. I glued them, primed black and then sprayed various shades, starting with a mixed-down concoction of oranges and light browns. I wanted these to end up rusty and gritty. When dry, I fixed them to the tiles. In hindsight, I should have extended the pipes downwards and cut holes in the plastic base. As it is, they’re held tight on the surface with both Green Stuff and JB Weld epoxy fillers. Of course, the adhesives spread onto the tiles from under the pipes, but I turned the unsightly join to my advantage.

Quick dry-fit to check positioning of parts

It turns out that if you add a few drops of CA glue to PVA, the resulting coagulation looks like brain splatter. It also sets rock-hard (although the fumes are quite nasty, so wear a mask). There are many methods to style this goop while it’s setting, but I settled for a simple porridge-stirring. I created this around the base of the pipes to cover the epoxy over-spread. I also put a big dollop in the middle of the tiles, and added the flexi-straw copies to create the biomechanical splatter detail I’d been looking for.

It was at this time that Games Workshop released some new ‘technical paints’. Some of these were very handy. Blood for the Blood God is a thick, glossy, deep red that always look like fresh gore. This was used copiously over the PVA splatter areas, and shaded with black and brown washes to add depth.

I used Games Workshop’s Typhus Corrosion paint to dirty-up the pipes. More than just a wash, Typhus Corrosion has tiny specs of grit mixed in with the pigment. It dries matte, leaving a fantastic rough texture. Used in conjunction with Ryza Rust, an orange tone developed for drybrushing, you can achieve a very realistic scale rust effect.

One of the running themes of the Alien films is the greed and power of the ‘The Company’. The Weyland-Yutani Corporation, only hinted at in the original movie, gets revised signage in James Cameron’s sequel, Aliens. The W-Y logo is then seen throughout the franchise, including the current crop of prequels and video games. It’s only fitting, then, that ‘The Company’ gets a mention somewhere in this piece.

I created a logo in Photoshop from web references, and printed a page of differently sized rectangles. Cutting the best sized logo from the page, I glued it to a piece of thick stamped foil - cut from a coffee can freshness lid (very handy to keep these). I then made a mistake, spraying the paper with satin varnish to seal the ink. Instead of protecting the printout, the spray melted the ink and left it with a grey film. I waited until it was completely dry and then repainted the black and yellow areas. This cleaned up the damage created by the spray, but left the sign looking too crisp and new. Out came the Typhus Corrosion, Ryza Rust and some straight silver to weather the sign - grime, rust and scratches put the sign in context with the rest of the scene. The metal backing made it easy to glue the sign in place and bend it into shape, giving it the look of many years of service.

The Alien3 title logo on the base suffered from the spray at the same time as the W-Y sign. Of course, I had already glued the paper to the plastic base, so freehanding the black and blended greens was a nervous job!

Once the top base was finished, I covered the underside of the base with plasticard, and then black felt. I like to have a soft under-surface so not to scratch any furniture it’s left on.

I then glued the creature in place. A hot-glue gun was my weapon of choice this time. It was a decision based on convenience more than anything, because the last job of all was the slime - the creatures in the films drool everywhere! Hot glue was the perfect finishing touch for the mouth, and I left some drips on the pipes, too.

This project has been overlong, but really enjoyable. The techniques I’ve learned while creating this diorama have pushed my abilities, and forced me to think more creatively to solve certain problems. I’m happy to have finally completed a model I hankered after for so long!

Friday 31 October 2014

Quick, middle of the night update about paints and Space Hulk

It's nearly 1am, and I've just finished dying repeatedly in Alien: Isolation.  Mikey's taken over the Playstation for some Battlefied, and as I'm typing I can feel my old RSI flaring up. Quickly then.

Today was interesting - I pulled the compressor and airbrush out of the garage to give my new Vallejo Game Air set a whiz. It was my birthday last week, and apart from being given the scary Alien game, I received a complete set of VGA paints and a copy of Space Hulk.

It's taken me most of the week's evenings to clip, file, sand and glue the plastic game pieces together - 12 Terminators, a dead Termie on a throne, 23 Genestealers, a robot drone (C.A.T.) and a chalice of some kind. I haven't read the rules yet.

A couple of things:

1. Space Hulk is a very heavy boxed game. It's almost a 2-man lift.
2. The plastics in Space Hulk feel more 'consumer' than 40k - a bit 'Christmas Cracker Quality'
3. The 'complete' set of Vallejo Game Air is from Element Games - a good price, but they don't offer these in the bundle: White Primer, Black Primer, Grey Primer, Airbrush thinner. What you do get is all the new VGA paints, a chipping medium, gloss, satin and matte varnishes, and 5 coloured primers: red, blue, silver, brown & bone.
4. I recently dropped my H&S airbrush, bending the 0.4mm needle, so I'm spraying using the 0.15mm, which isn't really designed for base-coating.

I started with the Genestealers. Approximately 3:1 ratio paint to thinner, mixed in the cup, and compressor set to 1 bar (c.15psi). A few thin layers - perhaps the blue primer was too thin, but as long as it's going through the tip without drying, and it's not running when it hits the mini, I'm okay with multiple layers. I think I'd get away with a 2:1 through the 0.4 needle, but I'll find out when I order a replacement.

Next, the Terminators - 11 red, and a librarian - so, blue again - but first to try the brown primer for preshading, and to get a different colour contrast on the minis before finishing with red primer. Same ratio, ish, as the blue, and it went on fine.

Lastly, the floor tiles, cup-thing and CAT robot. Priming in silver, no less. This is a new thing for me - metallic primer. Usually, I'd prime grey to get a good footing, then a layer of gloss black and then the silver. I mixed the primer at a more 4:1 ratio - truthfully, I was a bit squirt-happy with the thinner, but the pigment held together fine in the cup, and, although it went on a bit wet and thin, it dried fast enough and gave decent coverage after about 4 coats.

I let them cure in the air for a couple of hours before packing away and getting on with Hallowe'en with the kids. So far, so good. I'll see how they take washes and other layers soon.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Warhammer Fest 2014: impressions before overthinking

2014: the year that Games Day died. Actually, that's not strictly true - it died last year, but this year Games Workshop's annual hobby mega-meet was officially buried; given a new name, and so permanently changing the direction the company wants to point our pasttime.

Warhammer Fest 2014 was everything last year's event wanted to be, but in a more accommodating venue and with a more relaxed atmosphere, and over two days. There wasn't the expectation of a classic Games Day - there were no gaming tables organised (there were a few self-run ad-hoc sessions played by punters), and there was (sadly) no Scrap-Demon contest.

There were, however, free seminars - much like last year, and new drop-in pods where GW and FW staff gave step-by-step tutorials on various hobby techniques.

I only attended the second day, and after turning up late (long story), sat in on demo pods for Zenithal Highlighting, and Painting Faces - and came away with a couple of useful pointers. I also attended a Black Library seminar, which, for me, was hit and miss.

The three authors on the panel had interesting insights into their own writing processes, preferences and practises, but then each read from their own stories, which was offputting. None are trained orators, and only one managed to convey any expression through his speech. All agreed that they loved writing audio books, and that hearing the voice actor during the recording brought their words to a completely new level. Should leave it to the pros, no?

Golden Demon was there - the only one being held in the world this year - and the entries were amazing. Even the worst model was of a high standard. Needless to say, my 3 entries lacked that certain something to get through to the final.

Disappointed, sure, but I used my dejected energy to seek advice from the painting experts in the White Dwarf lounge, and came away with some good advice. I'll share this advice now, because I'm nice, but to be honest, it's so obvious, I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it in the first place.

Here's my main entry. A duel between a flying Tau Battlesuit and Commissar Yarick. I'll update or add a better photo when I've taken one.

My inspirations were from a couple of sources - there's a Tau suit going around the net at the minute with a cool carbon-fibre paint job, and cool expanded shields. The second inspiration was a category winner from GD s few years ago - a Bretonnian shooting the head off a skeleton assailant.

There's nothing that says 'dynamic' like a Tau suit in flight, but you don't want to see the wires. Also, the weaponry can be used for some cool OSL effects.

The Yarrick figure was chosen late on in the project. It was a tossup between him and a dead Ork boy.

Look at the picture again. The line of sight is off. Neither figure is engaging with be other. While I was getting some painting advice today, another staff piped up and said 'look at the figures'. I replied, "they're not looking at each other", and he said 'yep!'

Fair enough. Don't blag at the last minute. Plan ahead, dry-pin figures for composition and then paint them. Glue and tweak paint and you're done. Simple, right?

Here's the advice from the first chap - paraphrased:

1. Golden Demon is a painting contest, judged by painters. Fancy conversions don't necessarily get points, and cotton-wool fire and clear-plastic shields may go against you. Paint the minis well. Don't hide behind effects.

2. Make highlights brighter. Get a better dynamic range for the colours. Whatever you think is too bright isn't bright enough, perhaps. The model needs to stand out in a sea of similar projects.

3. Save fancy effects for the open contest and/or diorama. They may be appreciated there.

And that's it. Less is more. More is less. The über-cool stuff on CMON may be fashionable, but it's not GW. It's not 'Eavy Metal, and this is a competitor judged to house standards.

If you do decide to do effects, make sure the paint job is up to the task by itself first. FX are the gravy, and you can't have gravy on its own.

The other main thing I learned today is that a glaze medium, such as Lahmian Medium will always make you paint better faces. Smoother paint; less chalky finish; more control.

So to sum up:

Choose good models
Compose a good pose/shot
Paint well
Use lahmian medium.

Thursday 11 September 2014

A 'quick' guide to painting ghostly and ethereal figures pt1

The latest releases from Games a Workshop are here - and they've taken the form Nagash and his minions.

Kidding. That's the old 28mm figure.

Each of these epic kits shows the main character 'riding' upon a sea of malevolent spirits. These spirits have a faded green glow about them - very effective, especially if the character is painted in contrast to the spirits.

While catching up on GW's current
batch of painting videos, I saw a nice technique for painting this type of elemental being. I'm going to reproduce that technique here, but with some slight differences.

Instead of Nagash, I'll be using a Finecast Galadriel, Protectress of Lothlorien figure. This would work well with any of the Army of the Dead figures from Return of the King, too.

If you remember the scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Frodo offers the lady Galadriel the One Ring to keep. She freaks out, turning green and warlike - "All shall love me, and despair!" she bellows, and then controls herself, becoming the peaceful queen of the forest we know and understand.

It's this scary Galadriel we'll be working on. See how she glows...

First things first: clean up the figure - removing all flash and mould lines. A dunk and light scrub in soapy water preps the surface for priming. An old toothbrush is best for this. And soapy water.

Brush on Citadel Imperial Primer. This stuff goes on nicely, but takes two coats or so to cover properly.

When dry, a foundation of Astronomicon Grey will bring the overall shade where we want it.

So here's the magic ingredient: Nihilakh Oxide. A bit thicker than a wash, and a tad chalky, but exactly the right feel for this ghostly effect.

With a number 2 sable brush, apply the Nihilakh oxide to the whole figure. It goes on easily, and the only retouching you're likely to need to do is in the recesses, with a smaller brush.

Next, shade the pleats and other sunken areas with Thraka Green.

Let her dry.

And that's it for part 1.

In part 2, we'll highlight using a varying mix of Nihilakh Oxide and Ceramite White - we want her to glow as well as be deep in shadow, and we'll work on the armour, too.

And we'll try to avoid drybrushing anything at all.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Zen, and the art of Time Management

Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Don't spread yourself too thin.

Are these phrases familiar? Stuff your parents told you when you were a kid?

I recently had a situation where all this happened. My wife had a weekend away with the kids - 3 whole days to myself! Apart from the obvious house chores, I had a plan: to crack on with my Golden Demon diorama, and also catch up with a bunch of movies on NowTV and Netflix.

Next step on the diorama is terrain work - lots of airbrushing - and that means working under the extractor in the kitchen. No movies, then. "I'll do that later," I decided.

So I grabbed my classic lead Space Marines box - I'm clearing the house of unwanted playing pieces, by painting them and selling them on as complete sets. Good idea, but doesn't help the GD entry.

Movie, snacks, Blood Raven minis. A Great Time was had.

I then set up the camera and shot some more unboxings, and project progression for the Delorean kit.


2 more movies and Blood Ravens - practising blending on the squad, to make them tabletop+ quality.

Dinner. more movies on TV. 2am.

Pass out on sofa.

That was Friday. Saturday was similar, and then Sunday I realised I had to sort the house out for the family's return!

I also grabbed the diorama to put in the kitchen, set up the airbrush station, and realised I didn't have the quantity of paint needed to spray the terrain, so put it all away again.

3 days. No progress with Golden Demon. Nothing. Nada. Not a sausage.

Achievements: I damaged the Delorean, grinding out plastic parts for lights. I ruined the Space Marine sergeant - the matt varnish altered the paint colours underneath. Touchups will fix, but the blending's not right anymore. Didn't finish the rest of the squad, either.

All in all, I saw a pile of movies I hadn't seen before, and learned some big hobby lessons:

Don't bite off more than you can chew.

Don't spread yourself too thin.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Krom Dragongaze - an unboxing video

After a short absence over the summer, I'm back for more painting, converting and unboxing.
(and I'll try and be more consistent from now on)

I'll start with the unboxing bit:

The Sanctus Reach: Stormclaw boxset isn't the new 7th edition starter set - GW have reissued Dark Vengeance to fill this gap, with new box artwork and the latest rules. Stormclaw is, rather, an expansion or campaign set. You do get the mini 7th edition rulebook, and a lot of minis (lots and lots), but no dice, rulers or templates, so you can't just unpack and go.

What you do get, however, is a lovely limited edition plastic Space Wolves Wolf Lord - Krom Dragongaze. He's not available anywhere else - and I'm guessing when they eventually release a Krom standalone, it'll be a different pose. This, then, is the main prize from this £75 set.

Have a watch of the unboxing video, and you'll see the good (and bad) bits of this limited release.

Stormclaw, is now out of print. No longer available. Except on eBay - stripped into constituent parts, and sold at a profit. Krom tends to go for about £20, so if you can get him for less, you have yourself a bona fide bargain!

Join in with the discussion: Do you have the whole set? Was it worth shelling out for? Didn't you already have all those Space Wolves and Orks? I know. More is better. Leave any comments below!

Until next time...

Friday 13 June 2014

Reference photos from a weekend away (photo heavy)

I thought I'd make myself a bit more useful than usual, and while I was away last weekend with my lovely wife in Cornwall, I took some photos to use as weathering reference. They're all taken on an iPhone 5, and mostly in HDR mode.

Dingles Vintage Fairground

This was a hoot - old slot machines, ancient rides, and loads of models and dioramas of transport equipment. Here's a selection. My favourites are the zoetrope weathering and the seat detail...

Diorama behind glass

Simple scene with mechanic at work

The simplicity of the b/g guides you to the model

Time for a nap? the weathering was nice on this one

Very '80s

For the film makers: a Zoetrope. Note the verdigris patina

A very old 'V12' dodgem car

Detail of worn leather seat on a waltzer

Definitely worth a trip to Dingles if you're in Cornwall/Devon. Friendly atmosphere, great old stuff that still works, and a good café, too! Link to their site is here.


Naturally, we spent a fair bit of time on the beach and looking at sunsets etc. I'd forgotten just how nasty the city can be. Here's a reminder:

Why is the beach wet? Because the sea weed!

Is this a capstan? either way, it's cool.
Detail of sea-faring junk. Nice rust.
HDR sunset with grizzled tree
That's for the this post. Few words, no WIPs, and none of my models. Feel free to share- but please credit me for the pics if you use them anywhere. Thanks!

Photos ©2014 Peter Brown

Tuesday 22 April 2014

A Kickstarter project that's right up my street

The current ‘hobby favourite’ brush range is the Winsor & Newton series 7 - an expensive, but revered set of sable brushes. It’s natural that any new brush set would be compared with the series 7.

I was asked the other day by a Twitter pal to promote a Kickstarter project he’ll be running from Friday April 25th. That pal is Hugo Matte from Ichiban Studios - winner of several Golden Demon awards and the 2013 Games Day Japan Slayer Sword - so when he told me he had a set of brushes coming out, my answer was simple.

“Yep. No problem.”

Hugo has been painting excellent miniatures for years, runs a commission painting business, and in his spare time wins lots of awards. He knows a thing or two about what makes a good brush. I trust his instincts outright in this field. It would be a silly thing not to.

These brushes are manufactured by Games n Gears, who have had some recent success with crowdfunding projects - their Battleboard more than tripled expectations, and even more impressively, their original set of Pro Line brushes were backed over 40 times the estimated target.

This time around, Games n Gears have paired up with Hugo and his Ichiban Studio, and created a set of 4 new Pro Line brushes - sizes 00, 0, 1 & 2 - but with a few twists:

The brush cap clips to the back of the brush to extend the length, providing the balance needed for extended painting sessions. It’s a travel brush, but without being a travel brush.

The handle thickness looks like it can only help alleviate common RSI complaints, too - I was always told to write with a fat pen to stop my arm from aching, so I’m looking forward to using these. I’m told they’ve been designed with the perfect weight and size, that ‘doesn’t fatigue your hand’.

The sable hair is also slightly longer than the W&N series 7 brushes, and has an increased paint reservoir for longer painting between dips.

There are also plans to produce the same 4 brushes with synthetic bristles, for oil, enamel, washes etc. If the project is funded, and the stretch goals are met, these will be produced, and made available for purchase.

I want to try these out - really, I do - and I’m more than tempted to back this Kickstarter myself. At 2pm (UK time) on Friday April 25th, and for only 20 days, the project goes live, and with it come some perks - some freebies, and some extra products for sale.

Have a look at the targets that will be launched this week:

1 set Early Bird
Pledge £28 or more
Limited to 250 sets
Sizes 00,0,1 & 2. So 4 Games & Gears Ichiban Brushes.
High Quality Sable Hair, with innovative high end handle and cap design.
Everywhere else please add: 9.00GBP.
Estimated delivery: Jun 2014

1 set Standard delivery
Pledge £30 or more
Sizes 00,0,1 & 2. So 4 Games & Gears Ichiban Brushes.
High Quality Sable Hair, with innovative high end handle and cap design.
Everywhere else please add: 9.00GBP.
Estimated delivery: Sep 2014

2 sets Early Bird
Pledge £48 or more
Limited 250
2 sets of Sizes 00,0,1 & 2. So 8 Games & Gears Ichiban Brushes.
High Quality Sable Hair, with innovative high end handle and cap design.
Everywhere else please add: 10.00GBP.
Estimated delivery: Jun 2014

2 sets normal delivery
Pledge £50 or more
2 sets of Sizes 00,0,1 & 2. So 8 Games & Gears Ichiban Brushes.
High Quality Sable Hair, with innovative high end handle and cap design.
Everywhere else please add: 10.00GBP.
Estimated delivery: Sep 2014

There will be 7 stretch goals for this KS

Stretch goals

No 1 - 10,000 pounds Leather Brush Case (free if unlocked)
No 2 - 12,000 pounds Synthetic brush no1 KS (unlockable add-on)
No 3 - 14,000 pounds Basic brush technique Video (free if unlocked)
No 4 - 16,000 pounds Synthetic brush no2 KS add-on (unlockable add-on)
No 5 - 18,000 pounds Glazing technique Video (free if unlocked)
No 6 - 20,000 pounds Synthetic brush no3 KS add-on (unlockable add-on)
No 7 - 22,000 pounds Weathering techniques Video (free if unlocked)

the videos will be downloadable videos of about 20 min