Thursday, December 26, 2013

Making Christmas, making Christmas, fa-la-la...

Happy holidays, to one and all.

On the holiday end of things, my kids got me some DA Vets and a sweet Land Speeder Vengeance that I started putting together last night, accompanied by Netflix and some cheap scotch. I'm going to be magnetizing it to work as a Vengeance (because giant plasma guns) or a Darkshroud (because flying cathedral).

The real winner of Christmas was Games Workshop my wife, who was gifted around 800 points worth of Dark Eldar. She's dived into the hobby in a big way- it's really pretty cool.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Pre-Holiday Update...

I haven't got much hobbying done in the last month, what with preparing for the holidays and dealing with weird weather. I've mostly painted the other two biker dudes from the DV box, but as you can see they still need the 'hard parts'- touchup, highlighting, and bare skin.

I don't like painting faces.

At any rate, some progress is being made on the Dark Angels. I'll start working on the second tac squad and a Rhino in a few days. And my excellent wife decided that she wanted to start a Dark Eldar army, "if you don't mind me getting involved in your hobby."

Yeah, I'm pretty much the luckiest guy in the world.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First Ravenwing bike done. Well, done enough.

When I just had these guys primed, I thought that I'd hate painting them. After I got a few different colors on them, I realized that I really, really enjoy painting them.

I know the line highlighting needs work (and yeah, I know it's not the 'best' way to do the highlights) but I'm sure it'll get better with practice.

Two more biker dudes in the Dark Vengeance box, and I should have the hang of it if I go Ravenwing crazy.

Oh, yeah- the pictures are a little wonky, too. I'm still trying to get the lighting situation sorted.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Slackadaisacal Motorscooters

Well, I've been putting off these Ravenwing bikes because, frankly, they are intimidating. But I guess I can't put off assembling this test bike much longer (I figure it will be best to do most of the highlighting after assembly).

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Apocrypha Project VIII - I Ruin a Crimson Fist

This grandson of Dorn never stood a chance. A few lessons learned-
1. Testors Ultrafine Primer is great for getting glass-smooth basecoats, but it isn't grabby enough for acrylics- see especially the edge of the base. Save it for enamels.
2. Thin that last highlight color more than you think you need to, then thin it some more. The final turquoise highlight is what ruined the model, in my opinion.
3. I need more light. I work with 2 incandescent lamps in an otherwise fairly dim room. I need some sort of fluorescent fill.
Anyway. The evidence of my incompetence-

And, the obligatory family photo to date-

Sunday, November 3, 2013

It's a Dollhouse- For My Dollies.

That's what I told my kids when they asked me what the heck I was doing.

This ruined building is made from foamcore with some model railroad ballast for dirt and debris, and the tiles are made from cardstock cut into squares. Actually, the tiles are made from the cardboard separators that they use in cases of liquor to keep the bottles from banging into each other (but let's not judge, shall we?). It's all glued together with wood glue- I prefer to use wood glue for things like this over hot glue because you get a little more time to shift things around if you don't like where you've stuck them. If you use hot glue, you pretty much have to get it right the first time.

I based this off of RubbishInRubbishOut's 'Making simple City Fight terrain' videos. It's a pleasant enough way to kill a few weekend hours.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Apocrypha Project VII- Imperial Fists

Another day, another dude. Here's an Astartes of the Imperial Fists Third Company (I think), painted with mostly cheapo paints-

He was primed with Testor's Model Master white primer, then given two coats of PFA Turner's Yellow (1.5:1 water:paint). Next up was a wash of Citadel Carroburg Crimson. If you ever need anything to look like it's made out of red clay, this is where you stop. It's a perfect match.

But, since that's not what I wanted, I moved on with 2 coats of 1:1 PFA Medium Yellow, avoiding recessed bits. Once that was dry, I hit the more raised areas with two more coats, and once that was dry I did some highlights with some Coat d'Arms-era Citadel Sunburst Yellow. Black areas were painted with 1:1 PFA Licorice (my go-to black) and areas that would be metallic were basecoated with the same. Gunmetal bits are P3 Pig Iron, washed with Citadel Badab Black, and then highlighted again with Pig Iron. Blacks are highlighted with a mix of Citadel Hawk Turquoise and VGC Cold Grey- not the perfect mix, but I think it looks better than straight grey. Reds are VMC Carmine Red- the chest-aquila, backpack-skull, and helmet-laurel are washed with Citadel Thrakka Green. There are no red highlights.

The main reason I wanted to paint a Fist was to try out the MicroSet/MicroSol I ordered a while back. It works as well as everyone says it does, but there is so much extra transfer paper on the standard Fists decal that even MicroSol couldn't smooth it down completely. But the decal itself looks like it's hand-painted it blends in so well. I'll never use waterslides without this stuff now.

Lessons learned- Trim as much excess transfer paper off of decals as possible, even when using MicroSet and MicroSol. Also, yellow is nearly as big a pain as white. If I was going to do any more Fists, I'd try priming yellow and then glosscoating before washing (and then dullcoating again), and try to get away with a single coat of an extra-opaque hobby-grade yellow and white edge highlighting.

Here's the 7 guys for this project so far- only about a ton left to go. I think I might get one of those golf ball cabinets to display them in.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dark Vengeance Deathwing

Done... finally. For some reason the sergeant took forever to finish.

I'm still not happy with the armor. Not only is it a total pain, apparently Vallejo Model Color Ivory is not very resilient- even minor handling seems to rub, scratch, gouge, dent, ding, and otherwise mess up the finish. A glosscoat/mattecoat would probably help that, but I'll be looking for another white moving forward.

I also tried to do a blue fade on the sergeants power sword- I started with a PFA Ultramarine basecoat, and then glazed on about a gajillion layers of super-thin GW Hawk Turquise. It worked well, but it looks like I spread it out too far- I should have restricted the fade to the last 3/4 of the blade to make it a more dramatic shift to turquoise.

As far as Dark Angels go, now I've got another DV tac squad to paint, as well as the 3 Ravenwing bikes and the headquarters models from that set (a Captain and Librarian. I recently got a new/old metal Dark Angels captain off of eBay, also, so I'm trying to decide which one to use). And I can't forget the Rhino with the Forgeworld doors (that I suspect are counterfeit- but that's neither here nor there).

It's getting there. Slowly, but it's getting there.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Right White

I. Hate. White.

I really, truly hate painting things white. I tried painting my Deathwing dudes mre of a bone color (leftmost below- base color is Citadel Ushabti Bone, with a light coat of VMC Off White), but it just didn't look right. Then I tried straight Off White and Ivory (middle two- both from Vallejo) and settled on the Ivory as the 'least worst'. It's still a pain to cover up after the washes, though- so I'm thinking that after the sepia wash on the last guy dries, I'll try doing a thinned bone layer just to cover the spots where the wash was unruly, and then a couple Ivory layers.

But really- white sucks.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

White paint. Black magic.

This is, like, the 4th white figure I've painted, and after all the tutorials and tips and planning this is the best I could come up with. Gah.

At least only a fraction of my army has to be white. All you White Scars and Menoth players are masochists.

Speaking of my army- 10 Tacticool Dudes completed. I have another DV set of these guys to go-

They're not great, but they've got a little pop on the table, and considering my long hiatus (and the fact that I was painting to get them done, and not necessarily to do them well), I'm not beating myself up over them. I'm at the point that if they look a little better than good from 3 feet away, I'm thrilled.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Army Slowcase

The workbench née old dining table that I've been working at since I got back into this was getting a bit crowded (that's an understatement)... so I took the afternoon to straighten things up a little bit. While I was getting models stowed away, I decided to get pictures of everything I'm hoarding I have every intention of finishing and okaying with in the near future.

Since it's all sure to take much longer than I think, here's my very first-


First up is the homebrew chapter that I was working on when I first started this blog, forever ago- the Marines Cruor Dexter. Things stalled, and for the time being I'm not going to do much with them for a while. I'd like to get some more fancy bases that I think kind of go with the original alpine theme I sort-of had in mind and I'm not convinced that I won't screw them up. Also, I'd like to get the Waaagh! Jenerrik and some Dark Angels to playable levels first.

I've got a Predator to finish up, the AoBR Terminator squad and Dreadnought ready to go, 1 of 5 Sniper Scouts done, and 2 squads of Tactical Marines barely started. I don't know if you can see there, but I was using the old Iron Hands Tactical Marines set to bionicize my guysto tie in with their fluff. Now that GW has switched the Iron Hands bits to Finecast, I'll probably go with scratchbuilt or 3rd party bits if I need any more in the future. I mean, who knows what else I'll wind up buying and never building for these guys.

I've also got some metal Dark Eldar prisoners stashed away to use as objective markers for these dudes.

This is what I've got so far for Waaagh! Jenerrik. It's mostly AoBR stuff (20 Slugga Boyz, 5 Nobz, a Warboss, and 3 Deffkoptas), but there's also 20 Shoota Boyz and a pile of junk 3 Killa Kans that I scored cheap off eBay. To paraphrase that cat reading the paper, "I should buy a Trukk." Also- needs more barcodes.

Chaos Warband "Jerkface". At least, until I can come up with a better name. You know, a name that is both grimmer and darker than Warband Jerkface. There's not much to see here- just a bunch of Dark Vengeance models still on the sprue, some Secret Weapon 'bone fields' bases, and a pile o' broken up cruddy Chaos Terminators (another eBay deal- but this one wasn't such a good deal). I think the Termies will be getting dual lightning claws. Other than that, I'm not sure where I'm going with this one. Maybe some Daemons.

Maybe lots of Daemons.

And finally, some Dark Angels.

Obviously, I was pretty impressed with the Dark Vengeance models. I decided to make a commitment to build a Dark Angels army. I like the fluff, and they are (obviously) getting a lot of support right now on the hobby side. I went ahead and got another set of Tacticool Dudes (eBay, again) and a Predator (it's actually going to be a convertible Rhino/Razorback- a Rhinoback?). I'll probably snag a DA Command Squad and some more Ravenwing goodies to flesh them out. Ooh, and a Landraider. And maybe Sammael. And the Dark Talon looks pretty pimp.

You know what? One Rhinoback probably isn't enough. Maybe another one. Or two. I'll probably need some Devastators, too, since the DA can take a ton of heavy weapons.

Screw it. I wonder how many DA Chapter Upgrade Kits I'd need to make this work...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

You all already know this, but-

Secret Weapon bases are pretty frikkin' awesome.

The Desert Wasteland bases are for Dark Angels, and the Bone Fields bases are for some Chaos baddies- I decided to go ahead and actually flesh out the Dark Vengeance armies. So, you know, I'm probably in way over my head, with four un-playable incomplete armies...

Oh well. It's keeping me out of trouble and off the streets.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Last Week in Paint

Or: Never Mind the White Scar

So... Super Dungeon Explore is the greatest board game ever. My kids and I all love it, and my wife is even willing to play occasionally. Here's a Royal Paladin- I had to fake some skintone paint and it came uot a little chunky. I'm terrified of the eyes, but I've ordered a couple of itty-bitty Army Painter brushes to give them a shot.

Also, I slapped a little PFA True Burgundy and another few layers of Citadel Liche Purple onto the Predator Cruor Dexter (it looks ashy here, but that's just because the white balance of the photo is jacked). Once I get it blinged out, it ought to look pretty sharp.

Speaking of bling- does anybody have an opinion on Vallejo's 'liquid gold' alcohol-based paint? It seems lke all of my metallics have gone rubbery and I'm thinking of upgrading.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Apocrypha Project V- Dark Angels. Because Dark Angels.

Holy wow, that's an awful-looking Dark Angel, especially considering everybody and theor dog is publishing really excellent 'How To...' posts and videos for Dark Angels right now.

Anyway. The major reason it's rotten is that it's an old Battle for Macragge tac marine that's been stripped and repainted at least once before (this is it's second, or possibly third paintjob). Also, I purposefully rushed through him to get an idea of how long it might take me to paint up a DA army to a 'three foot' standard (not long, as it turns out). Enough excuses- here's the steps I used so you can avoid them.

1. Basecoat/prime the model using dark green Krylon Fusion spray. Let this stuff dry overnight. 2. Green highlights using Plaid Folk Art Kelly Green (407), thinned with water. 3. Wash greens in Citadel Thrakka Green. 4. Reds painted with PFA True Burgundy (456). 5. Metallics in P3 Pig Iron. 6. Reds, metallics, and deep recesses in green areas washed in Citadel Badab Black. 7. Reds highlighted in Citadel Scab Red. 8. Metallics highlighted (poorly!) with P3 Pig Iron. 9. Whites (chest Aquila and backpack skull) in PFA Linen (420) and then washed before totally dry with Citadel Devlin Mud. I find that washing these colors before they are totally dry gives the washes a little more 'bite', making the end result look a little more like old bone- or gnarly teeth, in the case of Orks. 10. Not-quite-dry-brush the base in whatever burnt sienna and yellow ocher you have at hand. Full strength here, no need to thin. Then I painted the edge of the base burnt umber.

So there you have it- ten or so quick, easy steps to a not-quite-ruined Dark Angel tactical marine. I didn't include the eyes (because I balled them up) or the transfers (because they tore...) but whatevs. You get the picture. The chapter markings are moulded in on the DV box set, anyway.

Here they are, all together- the 5 completed(ish) models for this project so far-

Friday, September 6, 2013

Waaagh! Jenerrik

Well. At a rate of approximately .3 poorly-painted boyz per month, I reckon I'll have a fieldable force of Orks sometime around the 34th of Nevuary.

As you can no doubt see, these are some of the AoBR Orks from a few years back. I've also got some bids in on a bunch of used Orks on eBay- so we'll see what happens there. I'll either finish up the rest of this group and stick them in a box, or I'll wind up drowning under the Green Tide.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Gesso You Know

-there is a cheap and easy way to keep model railroad ballast stuck to your bases, above and beyond what PVA glue alone is capable of.
Like a lot of guys, I don't have the inclination or the talent to model superfine custom bases (especially for basic troops), but the barebones GW bases are, well, bare. I use the time-honored tradition of painting the base with white glue and dipping it in a medium model railroad ballast, but any amount of painting or handling at all is bound to knock off a considerable amount of your 'dirt'.

Gesso is a priming medium that has been used on rough or uneven surfaces since sometime in the Middle Ages. It has some unique properties that make it ideal for 'our thing'- it's tough, flexible, cheap, and perhaps most interestingly if you glop it on thick it will shrink as it dries, meaning that you can be a little heavy-handed and you won't lose too many surface details.
And when I say heavy-handed, I mean heavy-handed:

Give your glopped on, err... generously applied gesso a couple hours to dry, and you wind up with a surface like this:

Gesso, being a mixture of glue and pigment and some other things, creates a tough coating over your ballast and will hold it in place for painting and help to keep it in place for a long time. Just spray prime the model and paint as normal- or, conversely, you can use a light brushing of gesso over the entire model for your primer coat. I do this sometimes on metal models, or if I can't spray outside due to the weather and I absolutley have to paint right now.

Short of laboriously applying superglue to each individual grain of ballast, I can't think of any better way to get ballast to stay in place. Just be sure to use a brush you aren't too concerned about. I generally use the same brush for gesso that I use for PVA glue.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oh. Goodness.

I had all-but forgotten that this blog existed. Since the last time I posted, I've- Got another cat. Got divorced. Bought a car. Bought a house. Got married. Got a dog. Painted 0 miniatures. ...but I bought the Dark Vengeance box set, so maybe that'll change once I get my workbench set up. Right? Right?!?