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.