Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Eternal Enemy Arrives

I just got the 'Incoming: Dark Eldar' email in my inbox. I can't wait... This is just the motivation I needed to get back on a more regular painting schedule.

Isn't it funny that sometimes we need an extra-hard kick in the pants to do the things that we enjoy?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Baby Steps

I snuck in a minute, and did some final touch-up on my Dread. I can now say that finally, for the first time since my eyes rebelled, I have finished something.




Now, I feel like I need an awesome banner for the top of my page, too...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Almost Back

It's been well over a month since I've done anything useful with my 'little mans', and as long since I've blogged about it.

My eyes are better now (for sure... it's been two weeks since I've had any problems), my brushes are all clean, my paint is all organized, and the only thing holding me back is streaming Doctor Who on Netflix.

And the paralyzing fear that I have forgotten how to paint.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Songs in the Key of WAAAGH! Carnivore- World Wars III & IV

In the heady days of high school and community college my favorite band was, without question, Type O Negative. I was convinced that frontman Peter Steele was an unholy crossbreed of a vampire and a giant; however, as he aged (from time and hard living), his looks took on a more orky caste.

Here's Pete in 2006, reunited with one of his early bands, Carnivore, performing the song World Wars III & IV. Or, as I like to think of it, World WAAAGH! Tree'n'Fore.

Requiescat in pace, Peter T. Ratajczyk.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Eyes! My Eyes!

Remember in my last post, when I said that my eyes were better, and I was really looking forward to getting back to the paint table?

Man that was a laff.

Good times, good times...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Now That I've Lured You In With A Cat Picture...

I'm not above exploiting my kitten painting buddy for site traffic.

But really, this post isn't about how cute my foundling kitten is. No, I've had a horrible case of conjunctivitis for the last week (bad enough that I missed three and a half days of work that I could ill afford) that pretty well prevented me from painting; or doing much of anything requiring sight, for that matter.

Now that I'm better, I'm raring to make up for lost time. A month or so ago I ordered the Iron Hands tactical squad from GW. I'm not making Iron Hands, but I wanted to use the bionic bits as prosthetics for the Marines Cruor Dexter and I needed another tactical squad anyway. I am imagining them as having been nearly destroyed in a Dark Eldar retaliatory sneak attack, and I wanted some way to show that they were war-weary and hardened without resorting to battle damage, which I am in general not a huge fan of (although, to be fair, I have seen some excellent Imperial Fists that have nearly changed my mind).

Why Dark Eldar? Well, assuming that they actually do get a new Codex, there are sure to be plenty of DE armies sprouting up for me to get destroyed by... I mean... blow off the table. Also, it's an excuse to paint up Dark Eldar prisoners as objectives.

Ooh la la. Hopefully they cast up some new ones, too. I know there's a gag there about objectifying women, but I digress.

For those of you who haven't seen the Iron Hands tactical squad, it's a regular plastic Tactical Squad plus a blister with some metal Iron Hands pauldrons (9 for your basic troops, and onefit for a Sergeant, all useless to me), 2 torso fronts of dubious bionic-ness, 2 bionic right arms with bolters, 2 bionic left arms in generic "Here, hold this bolter!" pose, 1 bionic left arm brandishing a thunderhammer (which, after a quick glance at the Codex, I won't actually be able to use on anything but an Assault or Vanguard Sergeant), 5 funky bionic heads, and 2 sets of cybernetic legs. It's really not a bad buy, considering it was only $15 more than a regular Tactical Squad. Considering the price increase it's an even better buy now- a Tac Squad is up to $37.25 from GW DIrect, but the Iron Hands squad is still only $45.

Anyway... I needed more. Considering the pieces I could use (arms, torso fronts, heads, legs) I only had enough bits to make 13 Marines with prosthetics, and that's stretching it awful thin with only 1 bit per marine.

Frank Zappa being the mother of invention, I decided to try to split the cyber-legs in two and combine them with plastic tactical legs thereby doubling my pleasure hardship and doubling my fun heartache.

Lacking any real modelling skill, I had to position the plastic feet on chips of rock bulked up with greenstuff to keep the models from leeeeening way over.

I'm happy to say that I am not too disheartened by the results. I'm pretty sure these guys with the bionic legs will stand head and shoulders above the rest...


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Songs in the Key of WAAAGH! Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog

Never mind how hard the song rocks (like brass, that's how hard), the important thing is that they make armor out of their empty beer cans.

I mean, really. How Orky is that?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just Enough of a Good Thing

Much grass to sonsoftaurus and bi0m3trics for encouraging me to stick with my guns on this AoBR Dread. He's still not quite done (You know how I roll... slowly), but at least I have an idea where it's headed, and I like it.

When I paint a new type of model I'm always full of self-doubt and indecision. I'm glad you guys commented on the first pic of this guy and convinced me to do what I knew I should be doing.

I love the internet. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy sometimes.

What Work Hath Wrought

AAARGH! Lost my dang post. Don't you hate it when that happens?

Anyway, here's a Scout-Sniper that I painted over the Memorial Day weekend. The week that followed that was a total hobby bust, but I suppose that happens to everyone now and again.

And here's a closeup on the skull-and-wings. I went for a natural bone look, to represent a muted version of the usual gold, never mind that the whole thing got covered up by his rifle.

I can't believe I lost that whole post.

That thing was sure to win me a Pulitzer...

Monday, June 7, 2010

I Want You To-

Here's a quick post. I've been trying to force my thoughts on the recent price increase into something more like a post (and less like a fortune cookie) but every time I tried it just wound up being a rambling, incoherent stream-of-consciousness wordamajig.

Obviously, that's not the way to go about it. Bear in mind, I'm only recently returned to the hobby after a near-decade long absence so I don't see this as one price hike on top of another; to me, it's just bad timing on my part that I'm getting back into a hobby right before the supplier feels the need to raise prices. C'est la vie, no biggie. It's a hobby, I can opt to spend the money or not.

But there's one thing that does really bother me about GW raising prices, and here's a simple exercise that many (perhaps most) of you can do yourselves.

I want you to grab a Tactical Marine sprue, the one with the helmeted heads. Now look at the horrible mould misalignments and tell me that GW has any business raising prices on kits that haven't been redesigned (or even had new moulds made) in who knows how long.

You want to introduce new kits at higher prices? Fine, that's to be expected. Shoot, if you want to retool the olds stuff and raise the prices, I'm cool with that, too. I'm not upset with your prices, GW... I'm upset with your manufacturing quality.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Songs in the Key of WAAAGH! Motörhead- Iron Fist

A little Rock 'n' Roll to start your Wednesday right.

Let's face it- Lemmy is the vanguard of an Orky invasion.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day

Everybody (well, everybody in the U.S. at least) have a good long weekend. Be safe, buckle up, don't drive drunk... and perhaps most importantly, let's try to keep in mind what the holiday is all about.

No matter what you may feel about the politics of a war, it's only right to show respect to those who serve. Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Apocrypha Project III and IV: Iron Knights, Salamanders

The Iron Knight comes in at III only because I started him first, about a month ago. I rushed through everything, and then stopped when I got to his heraldic device.

I couldn't find anything to use until today, when I remembered I had an old Best Buy giftcard in my wallet. I cut it down into something resembling a shield...

...primed it with gesso and gave it a coat of PFA Pure Black (What's more black than that? The answer is none. None more black.) and very, very poorly painted a cross on it. It doesn't really bear close scrutiny, unlike his two tactical arrows which I am inordinately proud of what with them being my first freehand anything.

I really didn't do a very good job with this one. I was in a bit of a rush when I started, and it really shows.

You live and you learn.

I did take my time with the Salamander, however. And luckily for me and my hopes of continuing this project, "my time" has gotten much better. I'd guesstimate that I only spent about an hour and a half on this guy not counting waiting for washes to dry, whereas only a few months ago this would have been a tortuous, all-day affair.

He was primed with Krylon grey, then got two thin coats of PFA Kelly Green. This mistreatment was followed by a wash of GW Thrakka Green, one of Devlan Mud, follwed by another wash of Thrakka Green (all were allowed to dry on their own, no hairdryers this time). Edge highlights were done with PFA Apple Orchard.

He even got a decal (my Blood Angel finally got his, as well).

With this one I fell like I'm coming out of a bit of a slump. SInce I finished him, I've also finished my Cruor Dexter terminator squad and started a few other things (probably too many other things, but that's for another day).

I like seeing myself improve. I like it a lot.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

I'm having second thoughts about painting this dreadnought purple, it just seems a bit much now that I actually have a coat down.

See what I mean?

Quite by accident, I'm seeing the Marines Cruor Dexter as a Hawk Lords successor chapter, which means that I could easily get away with painting the dread black (since, by the rules, Dreads are vehicles)... but that doesn't sit right with me; I imagine dreadnoughts being the zombie-marine's new body, more than something the marine drives around.

I don't know. Maybe I should just reserve judgment until the whole thing is painted up. If I don't like it I can always burn it in effigy try again.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Finally, Something is Done

Like a lot of people, I struggle getting hobby-things done.

For me, even something as simple as getting 5 Terminators finished is a cause for celebration.


I know I posted them before, but now they are REALLY complete. For real.

Well... Aside from the sergeant's name. Who knows about that one.

Anyway. Huzzah!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Obvious Tip is Obvious- Magnets

I see a lot of tutorials on magnetizing Rhinos and Predators and Whirlwinds (oh my!) online, and there is one thing that they all seem to have in common- Most of them use too many magnets. I mean, plastic isn't all that heavy. Do you really need two neodymium magnets to hold up a Predator sponson? I say thee nay!

I submit the following-


Nails are cheap. Magnets are less cheap. And believe me, in most cases, you really don't need that second magnet.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How Do YOU Hobby?

That's right, I used 'hobby' as a verb.

B. Smoove of A Gentleman's Ones fame is running a neat series this week. He's keeping track of his hobby hours and accomplishments to see just how much brush time he actually gets every week.

It's an interesting experiment, and it got me thinking about the habits that we get into as hobbyists.

I know how I (for lack of a better term) work. I know what distractions I deal with and how I handle them, I know what kind of paints and brushes I use and how I use them (cheap ones, and poorly)... But what tools do other people use?

It's probably safe to assume that most hobbyists use Citadel paints; they are right there when you pick up a model, so why not get another pot of Color X while you are at it? And I'd imagine that if you shop at a FLGS (and if there's one in your area, I would encourage you to do so) you may use one of the other hobby brands if they carry it. But how many of us go out of our way to use something else?

I have fallen in love with Plaid Folk Art craft paints, and I know that a few (much) more talented guys out there use Delta craft paints. But who uses something totally different? Ever painted a miniature with oil paints? I haven't, but I'd like to try. Have you seen the smooth transitions and perfect blends you can get with oils? Sure, it takes forever and a day to dry, but wouldn't it be worth it, just once?

And what about the simple things, like glue? I use Testors non-toxic plastic cement for permanent adhesion, and whatever gel super glue happens to be on sale if it's something that I need to stick immediately, or if I'm gluing something that I think I might need to break apart later.

But what do YOU do? What sort of simple, every-day hobbyish tasks do you do without thinking that someone else may do totally differently? What sort of tools do you use that may never even occur to someone else? What work habits have you fallen into? Can you walk by a cheapo pack of paint brushes in Wal-Mart without throwing it in your cart?

I know I can't.

But what about you?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Buy Gryphonne Sepia...

I was on my way to the local GW today, to pick up some Gryphonne Sepia to try that sepia-over-silver method of painting gold.

I'm speeding down Highway 99 at about 50 or 55, when I see something fall off the bottom of this SUV about 100 feet in front of me. For the first instant I think it's a rag or something, but then just before it hits the road I realize that it has four little legs...

Holy crap! A kitten is falling off of an Expedition, on the highway!

I hit my brakes, flip on my hazard lights and pull over. Jump out of the car (after looking to make sure I wasn't going to get run over, of course), and go over to the lump on the road fully expecting to find a seriously injured, or dead, kitten. And what happens? It hisses at me and runs away!

I followed it to the side of the road and pick it up by the scruff of the neck and wrap it up in my shirt, and drive over to my girlfriend's mother's house. We wound up taking the cat to the vet (she's fine by the way, miraculously there were no injuries) where she got the name 'Suvee'.

Cute, huh?

Anyway. That's the truncated story of how I went to buy a sepia wash, and came back with a kitten.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Small Victories

No pun intended.

With my four kids, my full-time job (that comes with a 3-hour round trip commute and not enough money), my band, my messy house, and my yard that's always in need of a good mowing, I tend to take my hobby victories where I can find them.

With that in mind, I am tickled tentacle pink that I finished my AoBR terminators (aside from the sergeant, who I would like to insure gets a killer paintjob).

As always, I noticed bunches of issues once the pic was taken (like the eyes... ugh. Always the eyes), and I plan on revisiting the highlighting once I've got some more brush time. Highlights and shadows have always been a problem or me; I grew up building scale models, and you just don't do highlights on scale models.

Anyway, there's some Marines Cruor Dexter in Tactical Dreadnought armor. And, since my Battle for Macragge tac squad got stripped down for the Apocrypha Project, they are all that remains...

Ominous. I better get some more painted up.

Right after I mow the lawn.

To Name a Thing... to control it.

And boy's howdy, do I ever wish that I could rename the paint that is a perfect highlight color for the Marines Cruor Dexter.

It's a PFA color with the unfortunate moniker of (ahem)... Violet Pansy.

Violent Pansy, perhaps?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

First Freehand

I got one of those fancy, made in England, weasel hair brushes to see what all the fuss was about (the Chinese ones that I mentioned a few posts back were about as good as you'd expect; which is to say, not at all). I couldn't imagine a #1 brush being worth $16, but I happened to be in a real artist supply store that carried them so I figured I'd pick one up, be disappointed with it, and lambast it on the blog.

But I'm afraid I can't do that.

If you've read some of my other posts, you may have realised that I am pretty much a cheapskate. I use craft paint instead of the 'good stuff'. I recycle even the cheapest, lousiest miniatures. I make my own 'custom' army carriers out of used cardboard boxes. And I have used just about every brand of cheap brush imaginable.

And this thing, this $16 worth of marmot hair, has completely changed my perception of value, at least as far as paintbrushes are concerned.

I've never even attempted any sort of freehand before, but with this Excalibur of brushes in my hand, I couldn't resist. I started with something simple... I had decided to paint an Iron Night straight out of the Codex for the next Apocrypha Project marine, mainly because I felt like drybrushing something, and I thought it might be fun to make the little shield that they wear on their left shoulder.

I had planned on using transfers for the two tactical arrows (one on each pauldron), but I went ahead and painted them.

And boy's howdy, I'm glad I did. I know it doesn't look like much, but this is a HUGE accomplishment. It's so HUGE, I'm going to center it and put it in bold.


See? Huge.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This... Is... CRIBBAGE!

Actually, it's a priming jig.

I wasn't able to get any painting done this weekend, between clothes shopping on Saturday for my new job (I should have taken Thoreau's advice) and doing the brakes on my car today.

What I was able to do was grab a piece of scrap wood and drill a boatload of holes in it.

Wait a minute... Never mind. Let's simply call it a bunch of holes. A bunch of holes that are just the right size to jam in some toothpicks.

I'm able to use sticky-tack to affix whatever little bits I feel need to be primed separately.

Here's a backpack that I primed using a similar jig.

You can see that the sticky-tack leaves a nice, clean masked-off area for whatever glue you use. Pretty nifty.

The real test is going to be when I finally get around to priming those AoBR Boyz. I have 19 left, and I'd like to try priming all of their heads and arms at the same time. I've always fully assembled plastic minis before painting them but lately, as I get more concerned with quality, I'm finding that there are times that I'd like to be able to get into those nooks and crannies and get some paint on them.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Apocrypha Project II: Raven Guard

Or, as I like to call him, Battle Brother Sophomore Slump.

In retrospect I tried to do too many things at once with this figure. I tried to paint black by using multiple Badab Black washes over a pre-highlighted dark gray base (which, I think, will work beautifully with more practice). The 'unthinned paint' look comes from me doing 1 or 2 too many washes, and from areas that I tried to touch up with barely thinned Chaos Black after the fact.

My big mistake, though, was that I was also trying to work on my painting speed. From a primed figure, I painted him to completion in about an hour and half by using a hairdryer to dry the washes.

I know, I know. Don't do that. Blah blah blah. Whatever. If you use a high heat/low speed setting and hold the mini about 24 inches from the muzzle, you're golden.

No, speed was a factor in that I didn't take enough time looking at the model. Oh well. You live and you learn. I plan on at least painting one more black miniature for this project, and I won't rush it.

And more than anything, this picture convinces me that this is worthwhile project. 20 or 30 of these guys lined up should really be a sight to see.

Oh! I almost forgot. Much grass to thegrimdark for the tips about photographing black models. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roadblocks, and a Product Review

I've reached a few stumbling points with the Apocrypha Project. First off, black is even harder to photograph than it is to paint.

See what I mean? Awful. That poor, poor Raven Guard. I was really looking forward to getting clearer shots in the hopes of soliciting some advice with the armor, especially highlighting. But, with pictures like these (this one is pretty heavily processed, even) it's not really worth it. I'm going to get the lighting situation sorted before I do too much more with this project. I've mostly finished 2 out of 20 to date, aside from decals. So far so good, considering all the other things I've got going on.

Speaking of decals... THE PRODUCT REVIEW!


Don't buy it. How's that for a review?

Seriously. For ten bucks you get some worthless software (whose only notable feature is an 'Order more paper!' button), ONE sheet of 8"x6" clear transfer paper, and a 3 ounce can of decal sealer. And the decal sealer sells for about $4 a can.

It made me so angry, I had to paint an ork.

Actually he kind of painted himself. Most fun I've had painting a model since I built that Revell '65 Impala.

...Jeez. I really need some better lighting.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Apocrypha Project I: Blood Angels

Well, after not much ado, here t is- the first part of the Apocrypha Project. I opted to start with a Blood Angel due to the overwhelming number of fantastic 'How to Paint Blood Angels' tutorials available now. Also, having an example of the flavor of the month such an astounding Chapter couldn't possibly hurt my traffic any.

I am nothing if not mercenary.

I paint at a snails pace. Ruining this Marine took about 3 hours spread out over a week. I just started a new job; and between that and my kids (all 4 of them) I was a bit busy, so painting was constantly interrupted (as usual). It can take me months to paint a single combat squad.

For what I hope are fairly obvious reasons, I chose to use a brown spray primer. In this case, Krylon Ruddy Brown Indoor/Outdoor Primer. And yeah, I always have sand on my bases before I prime. The few times I've saved basing for last like you reasonable people do, it... wasn't pretty.

Here he s after the 2 coats of very thin Plaid Folk Art (PFA) Cardinal Red. At this point I started thinking that I could have just given the primer a red wash and called it a day, but I soldiered on.

I continued with an almost-wash of PFA True Burgundy (roughly 1:8 paint to water). If I use a similar technique in the future, I'll be sure to add some flow improver and possibly a little red ink to the mix to make t behave more like the GW washes. The burgundy was followed with an all-over dousing of GW Devlan Mud and another coat of the watered down True Burgundy. I wish I had a picture of that stage; it was a gorgeous, rich red. Really made me feel like I knew what I was doing.

I was wrong.

Next the non-red bits were covered.. The blacks, the metallics, the eyes, all that good stuff. I was especially happy with his grenade, which I painted with a GW Chaos Black/Mithril Silver mix that I keep around (about 3:2), and the gave it 5 or 6 Thraka Green washes. It gave me an awesome look that would be great on larger areas, but kind of gets lost on such a small detail.

Then I highlighted the black areas with PFA Steel Gray. I got a little overzealous, and tired to correct it by dabbing on some Badab Black... and I got a little overzealous with that, and decided to quit while I was ahead.

I was, at this point, still ahead. That was all about to change.

I decided to very carefully apply Badab Black in the deepest recesses of the armor. I started low and worked my way up, being oh-so-careful, and using barely-most paper towel to dab up any excess wash.

It looked great. I was really proud of myself. Right up until the point that I set the Marine down, and realised that all the moving and twisting and flipping and gripping I had to do to get the wash into all the little nooks and crannies that GW has so thoughtfully detailed their miniatures with had caused the Badab Black to run and smear all over the figure.

I was beside myself. I really didn't know what to do. I panicked, and decided to try to 'fix' it by starting the highlights and pulling the up much further than I had intended.

I used a mix of GW Blazing Orange, water, and Liquitex retarder (to give me time to pull the highlights up) and went a little nuts. You can't really see it in the pictures, but the orange goes way too far from the edges, and really makes the miniature look kind of dusty. I suppose that this is one of the rare occasions where the pictures actually look better than the real thing.

I'm griping, but overall, I'm pretty happy with the results. You can tell it's a Blood Angel, and I stretched my skills and tried some new things to get there.

Oh... and if you're wondering about the lack of a blood drop, it's coming. I'm gong to be using Sol/Set and decals on this project, and I don't have any BA decals at the moment.

If you made it this far, thanks. Below are the notes I kept while I was panting. If you feel like offering any C&C, that's what to base it on. The 'recipe' is more complete than what I've written above.