Tuesday, 20 November 2012

30 year plan

I think I mentioned previously that we are in the process of buying a house. It's taking up far more f my time than I anticipated with calling banks/solicitors etc, coupled with the vendor wanting to exchange contracts before new year means in also frantically packing my life into boxes.
So the upshot of all this is quiet time on the blog I'm afraid until maybe the new year. Really sorry to be so flakey, but things are getting very real here as I'm sure you can imagine :)

Thanks for stopping by. Here's to the future

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Gap of Ravyn

Another busy week I'm afraid.  It looks like it might be this way for some time as well unfortunately. We are looking into mortgages, and houses etc. which is a pretty full time thing, on top of other social commitments, and the fact that I've picked this time of year to start running, madness right?

I've manage to put some of the Destor mounts together this week, and I plan on doing a full write up of the kit at some point, but for the moment I'll just say that I don't like the kit.  The gaps on the horses are consistent and massive between the two halves.  It will take a lot of GS to fill the gap, and for someone whose manipulation of modelling putty is as poor as mine, the join will look glaringly obvious aster painting. I'm quite disappointed with the mounts for sure.

I've also got a couple of layers done on Ravyn, who is my last caster to get any paint (baring Ossyan who I don't own yet).  Mark (our illustrious PressGanger) has ordered Hyperion into our LGS for me to use my regular player discount and my raffle voucher (£20) on, so I'm really stoked about that, and once I've got a decent respirator for use with the airbrush, I'll be trying to get as much done without using a traditional brush.

Last but not leasts, Movember is upon us again, and I'm in the fledgling stages of this year's charity moustache. Please feel free to donate to prostate cancer awareness as supported by Movember on my page (or any other) here

Hopefully I'll have a better update next time, but thanks for stopping by :)

Sunday, 28 October 2012


I'm about to sit down and do my first hobbying since the blitz on my Blindwater congregation ready for the BCB and I really don't know what I want to get on with.

I've my Ret (Destors, Ravyn and Discordia away from fully done)
Skorne (a massive amount to paint)
and finishing the Blindwater (I have my alt boneswarm and snapper now too)

I'm going to be able to get one with the custom bases for the give away as well this week, so I can get them to their 'lucky recipients'

I also have a £20 voucher from the BCB raffle to spend.  What do you guys think I should pick up and get on with?


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Brawlin' - The aftermath(pt2)

As promised, here's my photodump from the BCBtourney at the weekend along with a brief write-up of the day as I remember it.

Professional badasses before the first game
I took a single turn in the first game against Tony Moore's Legion. I moved Barny quite far forward in swamp pits to protect from (what I thought would be inevitable) sprays/assaults. turns out eThagrosh's feat turn was more than enough to do me in. Short but sweet

Guess what mistake I made in the second game? Yes I am that stupid, Simon's Angelus applied liberally to Barny's face, again, I played a single turn.

Third game was versus Trollbloods, controlled by a chap called Chris.  I got a second turn assasination after a posse took down the sons of bragg, and the feat removed Rok's melee range allowing them to charge Borka for the win. Nice chap, good chat, good game.

Final Game was against a friend of mine from the club I used to frequent on Mondays.  Very enjoyable game proving how tenacious Gators can be, with Barny surviving multiple rounds against (epic I think?) Vlad.  In the end though, I couldn't hit the guy, and If Vlad hjadn't done for me, Drago would have obliged I'm sure!

On with the photos!
One of the few (only) Ret' armies in our meta



Pink Merc's!

Some Very well based &  Painted Cygnar

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Brawlin' - The aftermath(pt1)

A very brief update today just to say that the Breast Cancer Brawl event (pictures incoming I believe) run today by LeedsWarmachine was a blast. I've some pics, and a more full write up on the way, but just wanted to check-in and say that it was a really good day, and a lot of effort was put in by the organisers, so thanks for that, ans thanks as well to everyone that took part and raised so much! (I'll let LeedsWarmachine reveal donation totals).
For my own self indulgence though, I won best single pink miniature for my Thrullg which was rewarded by a Warmachine MK2 poster signed by the Privateer Press staff. I also snagged the pink Bloody Barnabus card for best in faction (I was the only minion player!) a £20 gift card for the LGS hosting the event, and a Minions coin unclaimed after the domination event which I bid for.  On top of the pink PP bandana that everyone got (and cupcakes!) and the wooden spoon from the Domination event which was a black PP bandana). What I was by far most pleased with though is that I got a lot of kind comments about my painted miniatures, which really made all that effort worthwhile!

All in all, very pleased that I went and that it was so much fun, and I'll be adding a more thorough write-up & photo dump at some point in the coming week


Friday, 19 October 2012

The calm before the brawl

As you guys know, I'm attending a Breast Cancer Brawl event run by LeedsWarmachine on Sunday. I've been busting a gut this week trying to get things finished for the day.
Of course, this being the worst time to have loads of none hobby related things to do, thats when everything happens.
All I've really managed to do this week is tidy up base rims and get a glaze down on the swamp horror to unify the layers (VMA blues are amazing for any use) and to be honest I'm excited about how it's turning out.
I've managed to clear tomorrow entirely to give me a fighting chance of getting at least Maelok and the swamp horror done, and maybe even a start on the witch doctor. Hopefully I'll manage to meet these targets. As I've said before though, all 3 models are from my secondary list so it isn't a huge loss.
The upshot of all this is that it's unlikely that I'll have any progress shots this weekend unless I do well tomorrow. I'll definitely have some pictures from the event though, and a full army shot either before or after I go :)
After the event, I'm going to take a week or so away from my miniature hobby to try and avoid burnout after the mad rush I've had on these lists.
Upcoming projects though in no real order:
- Trench templates for Griffin (forestmans.blogspot.com)
- Giveaway bases
- Destors, and last few Ret pieces to get back to fully painted
- Maybe some Vyre 'jacks?..
- Skorne
And hopefully far more gaming than I usually get (more vassal at least would be good)
Wish me luck for Sunday, it's a great cause!
Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Tentacle WIP

I finally had some time to use my airbrush this weekend (just now in fact).
I really like the way the blues have come out, though I think they're a little lighter than I would have liked.  I base coated the entire thing with VMA blues, and then began to dust lighter colours from a sharp angle from above, leaving the base coat on the underside & in the recesses.  I really like this effect, and all I think I'll need to do (in addition to detail work) is a wash of the darkest base layer to bring the tone back down a little.

I love the blue colours here, and think they are a great contrast to the murky greens in the rest of the force :)

I also based/primed the Witchdoctor and Calaban, but unfortunately I only got round to adding sand to the Bonestorm today so it wasn't ready for priming. I did however get the base colours down on the Swamp Horror's base ready for painting in the week. This should give you a rough idea of what it will look like :)

That's about all for this week unfortunately, there's been a blight of social activity recently which is keeping me from hobbying.  I'm up against it a little now, as Maelok still needs finishing, as well as the Witchdoctor and this beasty.  Hopefully I'll make it, but if not, at least my main list is fully painted, with the exception of labelling up the Gatormen to allocate damage

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Reality Check

Managed to snap a couple of pics of finished bases after what's been a pretty busy weekend yet again.  Whilst busy, it has been a good one, and I've realised a few things after spending time with a friend or two outside my usual circle, which is always nice. anyhow, on with the show;

Just need the rims tidying and water effects adding to the Wrastler :) (who also needs some tidying up where I've added greenstuff to get a better adhesion to the base)

Sorry it's a little brief but thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Weekly WIP

No Pics this week I'm afraid.  I've had very little time to make any decent progress to be honest. After a busy weekend socially, and the fact that I've been assembling minis this week equates to very little to show.

It's going to be another busy weekend coming up as well, so I can't promise there will be a great deal done then :(

I'll hopefully have the bases that I've been working on finished by the end of the week, and miniatures pinned to them ready to go.

The only other thing I'd like to add this week is that I don't like the Witch Doctor model. There I said it. Far too many components if you ask me. I think I'm just bitter after dropping it whilst the glue was drying and having to clean up and start again to be honest.  If I decide to run a list with more than one though, I will be making my own second and/or third models :)

Sorry for the boring update, hopefully I'll be able to grab some decent painting time soon

Thanks for stopping by

Monday, 1 October 2012

A Black Tide Rises

I haven't made a great deal of progress this weekend unfortunately.  We had a visit from some university friends on Saturday, and Sunday was spent catching up/playing Vassal.
I did however mange to scrub and dry my recent purchases ready for assembly this week :)

I really enjoyed the Vassal game, the write-up of which is here so I wont expand on it much further. Suffice to say that Gators are tough :)
It was the first test I've had of the Barny list I will be running at the BCB event this month though, so it was good to see how that panned out. I should rally try and get at least one game in with Maelok before the event though I think!

I've exchanged a couple of sketches with Griffin (forestmans.blogspot.co.uk) about the trenches he wanted for eHaley's tier so I can begin assembling them soon enough I hope, Just need to pick up a few ingredients, which I can do hopefully in town this week :)

Other than that, I'll be assembling, basing and trying to get more added to Maelok this week. The recent purchases are the only models I need to get painted by the event, but once they are done, I am aiming to get the rest of my Blindwater collection painted, as all that is left is Calaban and the small based models that I own for the faction.
Hopefully it is something which is achievable by year end. After that, I'm just Destors away from fully painted again with my Ret', and a whole bunch of unpainted Skorne :P

Thanks for stopping by

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Weekly WIP

Plenty done this week. I seem to be on a good roll at the moment with getting things done which is great.

I've got both bases for my Wrastlers made and Barnabus, and I'm pleased with how they're looking.  The Green stuff will be painted to look like a snake (hopefully).

I've also made a fair bit of progress on Maelok this week, but to be honest, I'm struggling a little. I've got the bone sections pretty much done, and I've started painting the exposed muscle parts.  My original idea was to make those sections look fresh, and add a gore effect to them, but I'm not sure if this will be a little too over the top considering the amount of gore this would require.

Any ideas/suggestions?

I've made his skin purposefully darker than the posse etc, and matte to boot.  I'm going for less of a putrid/rotting flesh kind of effect than a cured hide kind of effect. Hopefully this comes across.

I received my newest beasts as well this week in the post so I'll be working on them when I get time at the weekend, and maybe have them under coated along with the bases I made this week.

I've also looked into sourcing some alternatives of the same models. As with my Wrastler, I dislike duplicated models, and my confidence for a major conversion is pretty low. Keep an eye peeled for future posts with alts of the Boneswarm, Snapper and Witch Doctor.

Possibly the biggest news this week though is that I've been asked to make some trench templates for a eHaley tier list for a friend. It'll be a long term project and I'll be blogging when I have significant updates etc. At the moment I'm in the design stage, and hope to be able to send some kind of concept out by the end of the weekend, which I'll then share with you guys :)

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Gators gonna Gate

I've put a lot of time in today and I've got both Posses to a stage that I am happy to call them finished.  After a great suggestion on my last post, I decided to give the second Posse war paint, to further distinguish them from the first group (on top of skin tone, and custom weapons).  I will be trying to add the war paint colour onto Maelok in order to try and emphasise that they are part of the same village/tribe maybe.

The only work left to do is tidy up the green stuff used to secure the arms & weapons (painted separately) with a sharp knife and a splash of paint once it's all dry.

Enough waffling, here's the pics

As you may be able to see, I have found an
awesome desk lamp. It even came with a daylight bulb, I've been trying to find
a decent lamp for a while and I stumbled across this in my local supermarket,
as strange as it sounds!

I feel really pleased with how everything has turned out, and am looking forward to getting them on the table with the rest for BCB!

Speaking of which, I ordered yesterday (payday) a Witch Doctor, Bone Swarm and a Swamp Horror, as I felt that any list I made for Maelok was just a Barny list with a different caster :(

Should be fun to get those put together, and primed next week(end), I have a few ideas of how to use my airbrush for the Horror, so stay tuned to see the results!

Only other news this week is that I finally finished cleaning up my assembled tourney tray, so I've more base size options than I will ever use, and everything fits in nicely, without any sticking anywhere, all in all a fantastic investment in my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Weekly WIP

Powering through my Gatormen Posses this week.  I've attached the original Posse I had to the first set of swamp/plank bases I made, and I think it looks really good.

I'm down to the details on the Gators now, necklaces/teeth etc so hopefully I'll be able to put up some decent shots of the completed models by the weekend.

I'm pretty pleased with how the two different Posses are looking different but still unified through the colour palette  I'm not sure if this picture shows it in comparison with the above two, but it will be clearer on the finished pictures :)

I'll also be starting on give away bases soon, had one request with details back in, the documenting of which will include a write up of some of my water effects process.  I've been testing the addition of citadel washes to water effects this week, and it's looking good. All will be revealed :)

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Down by the Bayou

I've just used the magic of Excel to draw the winner for the base competition I was running before I realised I have enough spare bases for everyone who entered, so I'll be contacting people shortly to arrange type/size/style etc. for their prize :)

In other news;
- No I haven't re-tagged historic posts, I've not had time :(

- DnD went really well the other day, and I'll be trying to book the guys in for the next instalment ASAP, strike while the iron is hot, y'know?

- I have a desk full of Gators. I managed to get Posse number two up to the stage that my original posse is at, and made a start on the second set of bases too.  I'm hoping to be able to get the details and final touches done during the week, but there will be some definite progress to show in the weekly WIP next week :) there are very few models to re-base (Calaban, two Wrastlers and a Snapper) and I've added sand to the bases of all my small based models (Croak Hunter, Bog Trogs and the Bone Grinders) so they'll be ready for undercoating once the glue & sand is dry. Lots to do, for the BCB event in October, but I think I've left plenty of time to get through it all.
Now, if only I could decide on what lists to take!

That's pretty much it for now, hopefully have some WIP shots by mid-week :)

Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Last Chance Giveaway

After the less than expected response rate I had for this, I've decided to extend it until Sunday.  Please post on this comment or HERE to be in with a chance to win


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Weekly WIP

This week, I've been mostly working on bases to get at least one Gatorman Posse up and based.  Both Posse's are close to done painting wise, so I'm hoping that having the bases ready for them will be an added bit of motivation.  I've a fair amount of work to do to be ready for the Breast Cancer Brawl event in October.

 I've also Been working on the bases for my Destors, both sets are pretty much finished and awaiting models & water effects to be added.

Other than that, I'm waiting for the winner of the giveaway (the only entrant) to respond about the base they will win, then I can start on that.

I'm also in the process of re-organising the tags on the blog in order to make it more accessible, and have some kind of structure to the posts. It's turning out to be a bigger job than I had anticipated though, so I'll have to do it one weekend when I'm more free.

I didn't get chance to do any airbrushing this weekend just gone, as we were invited to a friend's daughter's baptism (I'm not religious, neither is my wife or the parents of the baptised child, so that was strange), and it's likely to be a similar story this weekend unfortunately as we have house viewings booked, as well as a lengthy D&D session. Hopefully I'll be able to keep on with the painting though and have more to show next week.

The only other thing I've got going at the moment is something that I'll be keeping secret until completion, so I won't go into any detail, but I may include some sneak peaks in coming weeks.

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 9 September 2012


I was looking through my Blindwater figures the other day in order to decide which guys need to be re-based, and I spotted the stack of skulls that Barnabus is standing on. So I think to myself  'that looks cool, would be thematic as basing for the army, and make a lot of sense in a swamp environment' (Boneswarm, I'm looking at you).

A brief search of the internet brings back these. They don't look like much in the photo, but doing a bit more research on the company yields some good feedback, so I decide to give them a try. To be honest, 14 pence per skull beats anywhere else I could find, and makes far more sense than buying from 'bits stores' on line  I'm rambling a bit, sorry.

Long story short, they arrived, and I've added a couple to the bases I'm making for Thrullg, Maelok and my Ironjaw.

I think they look pretty good. A minimum of cleaning required, very minimal flash from the mould, and a lot of variety in the pack.  there are a few larger skulls, a lot of regular skulls, and a few which are just the eye sockets and above, and a few missing the jaw.

I'm looking forward to painting these up and seeing how they look on the bases.  It's a simple addition but I think it'll add some real character to the models based on them.
If you're looking for similar to add to models, I can certainly recommend these, cheap good looking and simple to use effectively :)

Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Weekly WIP

I'd like to get into the habit of documenting my painting process a little more thoroughly. I currently tend to only document finished (or nearly finished) models photographically. As such, I'll be writing a weekly post to this effect, hopefully with pictures, if not definitely just a track of what I'm currently working on and the progress.

I did have a weekly WIP post going at one point, but for many and various reasons I almost stopped blogging entirely at the latter half of last year, so hopefully this can be maintained a bit more succesfully this time round

With that said, I made some real progress with a couple of outstanding miniatures last night.  Me being me though, I forgot to snap any pictures...

Maelok - I airbrushed the base colour for his skin at the weekend, and have since washed that with a darker colour.  I was originally planning to have his skin looking quite dead and pallid, but I like the look it has at the moment despite it being quite dark.  Will have to see how this pans out, as I'm really unsure of where to go with this at the moment.  I've painted the candles on his back to completion though however, and like how they are looking. I went from an orange brown base coat up to yellow, and I think I will add further highlights in white when I next sit down to paint.  Next step I think will be to paint the exposed bone & flesh areas.

Iron Back Spitter - This model has been half done for a silly amount of time.  I buckled down over the weekend and in last night's session and finished him off entirely, and made him a new base or at least the start of a base, it still needs cork etc. Very pleased with how he looks, so it's good to get to completion.

Next up on the docket is a base each for Thrullg and Maelok, and painting all three bases ready for the miniatures.  I'm hoping to be able to push through at least one Gatorman posse from WIP to completion by the weekend too, but I'm not convinced I can manage, with all the re-basing required.

That's it for this week, but just though I'd mention the giveaway I had planned. So far I've had only one response... I'm really not sure how to take this. I thought that people would be interested in a) free stuff, and b) saving themselves some basing work.  Is this hinting that I shouldn't try and get into comission painting? Is it apathy?  Really not sure how to take it, but one lucky reader will be "winning" a base this weekend

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Blog Week 2012 Finalé & Giveaway

That's right, it's finally over. I had a lot to say, and I've said it all. Thanks for stopping by to listen!

So to the important part: The Giveaway.  I really hope this works the way I had planned it to...

Everyone who comments on this post will be entered into a random name generator machine (Excel!) and picked out at random. The winner will receive a 40mm or 50mm base made and painted to specification by me and posted at my expense.  I love making bases, and I'm happy to consider any requirements/specifications by the winner. I was at one point considering trying to setup a commission based basing site, but a friend pointed out that people quite like to base things themselves. Either way, this will be a good way to get my work to a wider audience.

The only requirement on the part of the winner is that they write a blog post or a forum entry on the PP forums showing the base and linking back here to this blog. Win, win right?

Thanks for sticking with it this week,
Comment away!

Tentacle WIP (Blog Week Post6)

Finally did some painting today, after faffing around with the airbrush, and all the new bits and bob I've bought. It feels like I've not done any brush painting at all for a while.
I was working on the miniature that my wife has chosen for the campaign I'm running at the minute, and said I would prime & base coat the mini for her to paint.  I'm still having trouble with the Vallejo primer, I think maybe I'm thinning it too much? Research required for sure. Anyhow, the colour she had chosen for the skin tone was a VGC rather than VMA colour. I dropped some thinner in first, then the colour about 1:1 and mixed in the airbrush pot (which is a bad habit, the new paints aren't half as prone to clog due to crust etc. than my old ones, so I'm taking my chances and not straining them before they get into the airbrush.). I was running a low PSI which I've found gives me a lot of control, and I tend to try and get in close to the model with the airbrush anyway so it suits that side too.  Lomng story short, yet again great covrfage and really nice tone to the colour. I'm still very impressed with Vallejo products :)

I'm going to make a seperate point here and re-iterate that you should wear some kind of dustmask/filter when airbrushing with additives like the Vallejo thinner/ airbrush clearner. In my wisdom, I elected not to bother yesterday and ended up with a splitting headache for my troubles. Take heed  :)

The other project I worked on yesterday was my token pink miniature for the upcoming Breast Cancer Brawl event.

I primed with Vallejo Grey primer, and basecoated with VGC Bloody Red, working up through Squid pink to Squid Pink & White highlight.  The spine area is Khemri Brown>Dheneb Stone.
Still a few bits to finish off, but I'm really pleased with how it looks :)

All he needs now is his base remaking!

Thanks for stopping by

Friday, 31 August 2012

Breach (Blog Week post5)

Me and my wife have both been admiring the models & aesthetic of Malifaux for quite some time, and I decided to take the plunge and buy us a 'crew' each at some point this year. The updated rulebook including fluff is winging it's way through the post to me as I type this.

Whilst not really being much of a gamer, my wife and I have played Mordheim in the past, and she is part of my current D&D group. We also play Magic The Gathering together occasionally (as well as the ubiquitous Munchkin) so it'll be good to get something new to play.

I've pretty much settled on the Lady Justice Crew as my choice. I like the models (though I think I prefer the alternate Lady justice sculpt). The judge and the marshals are amazing models, and I like what I've read about their role in the guild/Malifaux etc.
If it weren't for the gen con pre-releases I would still be happy with my choice, but some of the new plastics coming out for the game look fantastic. I'm not sure when these go on general release thouygh, so I'll stick to my guns for now :)

Rasputina stuck out for my wife, and I have to admit this is pretty cool starter set. I've had my eye on the ice golem guy for a while for use in DND.  

After checking out the fan/tactics wiki it seems that this pair make a good match up, so learning the game should be pretty straightforward.
One thing that I'm really looking forward to though is the card mechanic.  The game doesn't use a single dice, instead using a stylised version of a playing card deck (apparently normal cards can be used with ease if the suits are replaced with the ones used in game).

As I said, the rule/fluff book is in the post, and I look forward to reading up on everything and taking the plunge into the game when I get the models ordered :) 

Just a reminder that tomorrow's post is the penultimate blog week entry, with Sunday's dealing with the give-away I had planned.

Thanks for stopping by

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Airbrushing: Paint review (Blog Week post4)

I picked up the last of my orders of paint yesterday from the post office, and rushed home eager to try it all out.  I'll start off by saying that (funnily enough) for airbrushing, Vallejo Model Air paints are an absolute dream.

So amongst the new paints etc I ordered, I decided to pick up some Vallejo thinner, and grabbed some of their cleaner whilst I was at it (damn you Amazon).  I'm very glad that I did.  I mentioned in my initial airbrush post that Windowlene is a good medium to thin paints with, and to clean the brush between colours.  For a beginner though, the branded thinner is fantastic, comes in a dropper bottle so it's easy to add to the mix, doesn't need to be pre-mixed with water and is ultimately made to be used with Vallejo paints so it naturally works well with their formula.

I decided to test things out on some bases I've made recently, so I fired up the compressor and loaded by brush with the Vallejo grey primer I picked up when I first purchased my gear.  This is actually the only stage I had trouble with last night, I couldn't manage to get the primer to flow well at all, it was thick, and seemed to be coming out onto the paper very clumpy. I added thinner, and even a little of the cleaner which I had read might help.  I was ready to dissassemble the airbrush to find out what was wrong with it (in a sulk I might add) as I think I may have altered some of the needle screws which control how the needle and trigger interract before realising a i don't have a clue which way of a screw turhn adjusts what... I happened onto a YouTube video where the painter thins the primer pretty heavily (10:1) so I decided that my heavy handedness/eagerness was to blame and washed out the primer.  I decided to try out one of the VMA paints to see if I had any more luck before blaming the hardware (a poor workman, right?).  German Grey steps up to the plate, couple of drops of thinner stirred in with a wet brush (saturated with water) and knocks it out of the park.

Fantastic coverage
Fantastic consistency
Awesome colour/tone

I can't begin to describe how impressed I was with the VMA paints to be honest, it made using the brush as easy as it appears in some of the YouTube channels I watch.  I decided to bust out a second colour to make sure the grey wasn't a fluke, and it certainly wasn't. I don't remember the name of the brown colour, but it was just as much of a joy to use.
There wasn't much time to thin down any regular paints I've purchased from the VGC range, but I did have a quick fuss with them on my trusty elf spearman-colour-test-guy, and they're great. Good coverage, good pigmentation etc

I definitely learned some valuable lessons in my short airbrush session yesterday;

- Thin paints, multiple layers. As the paint dries so quickly, it's really no hardship to add multiple layers of paint to the model, and the amount of frustration saved with thinner paints (better trigger response, less chance of clogging) is massive.

- Time. I'm beginning to think that airbrushing would be better suited to the weekends.  This isn't because it's an overly arduous set-up/pack-up process, rather because by the time I'm back from work/work&gym, helped to prepare/consume an evening meal, washed the dishes and helped with lunch for the next day it's not far from 21:00 so I would feel a lot happier taking more time at the weekend to use my airbrush, and not feel rushed/constrained with time.

- Practice. It will definitely take some practice on paper/test models (poor spearman) before I feel like I can apply something more than base coating to a model I would not want to ruin.  To be honest though, this works out great for me at the moment - base coats on a few models at the weekend combined with a few hours practice with the airbrush leaves with me a load of base coated models to 'regular paint' in my short evenings during the week.

The more I use the brush, the more pleased I am that I took the plunge and bought the set-up.  It's definitely a steep learning curve, and not without it's frustrations, but in the end I'm sure it will be worthwhile.

Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

De-baser (Blog Week post3)

When I saw that the minions book was coming out, I was very keen on picking up the Blindwater congregation, and was very inspired by the work some people had done on the forums with "hollow" bases used to create a water effect in a swamp environment.

My first attempt at creating my own version of this base went pretty well;
(water effects haven't set yet in below pic don't worry :))

But with the tools/materials I had at that time, I really couldn't foresee my self recreating this base for all the Gators I would be using in the force.

A few google/ebay searches later I found a british webstore selling hollowed out resin bases in privateer press size/style bases, happy days.

Skip forward a year or so, and I've used a fair few of these new resin bases to make my gators look rather spiffy.

(yes I know the water effects is still missing, it's on it's way I promise).

What's the point of all this you may ask? Why am I even telling you this seemingly anectodatal tale? Well dear readers, all is not as it seems. As you are aware I recently purchased myself some tourney trays, which was something I've been wanting a while after a few tournaments involving table hopping etc. As I begin to put models in the trays to test & photograph, it became glaringly apparent that the resin bases are larger (by a reasonable margin) than standard privateer bases.

Besides being pretty miffed that my Blindwater guys won't fit into the tourny trays, I was also miffed that the bases sold to me as 40mm/50mm bases were actually more like 42mm/52mm. This made me feel ridiculously guilty before realising that I'd never used the Gators in a tournament, but nonetheless, the bases are wrong.

I'm not going to name the webstore I got the bases from, but I will just leave you guys with this cautionary tale, and a piece of advice: if you are ordering resin bases as replacements for standards, it might be worth checking them 'back to back' with an official base, as they may need sending back to where you bought them :)

Finally we come to the point of this post, which is basically that I'll be re-basing a few of my minion models onto Privateer bases which I have modded to allow for depth & water effects.

It just so happens that I photographed the last two bases I made for my newly purchased Destors, so without anymore rambling, I humbly present;

Lofty's Water Base Tutorial 

There are two types of bases that I usually make, the fully sunken base, and the sunken ledge. This tutorial will cover the sunken ledge, but it is more than simple to apply this methodology to the entire base.

The tools I use are shown below, and consist of;
Hobby Knife
Circle Cutter
Green Stuff
Pin vice drill (I use a 2mm bit for this process)

Step 1:
Use the circle cutters to cut a circle of plasticard with a diameter which will allow it to fit inside the underneath of the base.  This should be as snug a fit as possible, but if it isn't exact, it wont matter as you will see in later steps

Step 2:
Begin by taking your base of choice (I've only made these bases from medium and large bases, but I'm sure it would work with a small base, albeit with more fiddling) and drill holes around the edge, keep them as close together as possible.

Step 3:
Using either clippers or a hoby knife, connect these holes together and remove the resultant area of plastic.  This will give you a rough hole in the base.  This could look good in some circumstances withj a water effect, perhaps as some kind of pothole or some such, but I prefer to have a clean edge to the base in order to pad out later with cork/gravel.
Depending on what you would prefer, you will need to run your hobby knife around the edge to remove the excess plastic, and maybe even a file to get a smooth edge.

Step 4:
For a sunken ledge base, cut the plasticard so that the curved edge is flush with the inside front of the base underneath, and the cut edge is flush with the centre tab underneath the base. For a fully sunken base, simply ensure that the circle of plasticard is flush inside the base underneath.

I don't use any glue to secure the plasticard, as I find this to be more fiddle than it is worth, and I have to use 
greenstuff to seal the join anyway, so I use greenstuff as the adhesive as well.

Roll a length of GS and push this into the areas where the base joins the plasticard, and using a sculpting tool, pad this in, and smooth it of as best as possible.

Step 4:
This stage is essentially dressing the base to look how you want it to look. I add slabs of cork on the raised part of the base, and gravel/sand in the lower part. I occasionally leave the gravel off to create the illusion of deeper water, and with the fully sunken bases, I use thinner slabs of cork, if only to give the model something to be glued/pinned onto.
Something I usually try to do though is to mask the join between raised area and the sunken area.  I do this my using small pieces of cork up against the join area to simulate the effect of a river bank or simillar instead of a just the sheer drop which would be there otherwise.

Here's an example of one base I've made towards my Destors unit using the sunken ledge method

Hopefully this has been useful, there are a number of YouTube videos covering this type of base, with a few variations on my methodology.  This has worked great for me in the past though and I'm pleased with the look it gives in the end.
I've a fair few bases ahead of me to make to replace the ones I've used on my Blindwater congregation, but once hey're all made, I can get to painting them, which is the part I'm looking forward to with all the new airbrush paints I've got coming :)
Let me know what you think, or if there are any parts which need clarification etc. I'd love to see the results of anyone trying this method for themselves

Thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Airbrushing: Setup (Blog Week post2)

A previous comment enquired about the size of the entire rig, presumably with a view as to how it would affect existing workstations.

The short answer is that it fits in really well with my current set-up. The compressor goes to the left of my chair, in front of the left side of my desk, and near the window in our study room.

The brush rests in the cleaning pot just in front of my left desk speaker when not in use. Neither item takes up a great deal of room, or causes any great fuss to move around.

The pictures below should help to put this all into context. The lovely Ravyn appears in the photos to provide perspective to the items.

My desk is pretty chaotic at the best of times so it's great that all I need to do is shift the airbrush holder around to be accessible.

I'd like to cover the process of painting with/general use of the airbrush in future posts so I won't go into that a great deal at the moment, but I currently use an old magazine/newspaper to spray down onto, as well as a sheet of plain white paper propped in front of my monitor/over my keyboard to protect from any stray colour.

I'm off to the post office tomorrow to collect what I hope to be the rest of my paints & the thinner/airbrush cleaner that I ordered, so I can blog about the process end to end, maybe including cleaning time permitting later this week.

I hope all this is still useful

Thanks for stopping by

Monday, 27 August 2012

Tray cool (Blog Week post1)

For the longest time, I forgot about my one time obsession with "witty" post titles and word play. Back to it I guess!

In a previous entry, I mentioned that I had ordered a tourney tray from a website I had spotted on the PP Forums. The original post was closed due to commercial product links, however I think this is drastically unfair, as other manufacturers posting there can post product links with impunity.

Anyhow, I was inspired by what I saw, and emailed the company in question immediately.  This is due to the fact that the original trays were done at special request by the poster on the PP forums, and at present no plans for anything other than special request production are in place. Ten days later (after a national holiday for them, and a weekend trip to the post depot for me) I had my grubby mitts on my parcel all the way from Lithuania.

My initial reaction was to be supremely gutted, as the postal service had decided to stand on the parcel and nearly snap both boards in the process... Fear not though intrepid readers! Part of the plan is to utilise both trays as one in order to get the most out of available model slots. Confused? Allow me to illustrate more clearly.

The tray as it was unpacked (note the damage on the front near the right hand side)

This is as the tray is supplied, pick and pluck almost for model placement.  The second tray is an identical layout, and as I removed the circles from the top layer to accommodate the largest base option, in the layer below, I removed one size smaller.  By which I mean in one space, I could have a heavy(or medium) base or a medium(or small) base with the smaller base size simply sitting on the lower layer. See below for clarification. The largest circle in the top right is removable to allow a Colossal/Battle Engine to be placed as well if I ever go crazy enough to buy one :p

And here we can see a few blindwater congregates chillin' along side Molik Karn who is standing in for all my heavy beasts on resin bases (rant incoming on third party resin bases....)

And finally, a picture which puts the neat size of the entire product into perspective, chillin' on top of my KR Case

The conclusion is that I love these trays. Simple as that. Yes, it's a shame that the postal service doesn't give a flip about my parcel, but all is not lost.  The fact that I'm gluing the layers together, and then to a base of 3mm MDF will give the tray a lot of added strength, and overcome the structural weakness imposed so far.  All it takes (after asking the chap who bought them on the PP forums) is some wood glue, and I'll sand the smooth surface off the contact areas of the two layers/base to ensure a good stick.

All in all, these are budget trays. Given the choice I'd much rather order a different tray from a maker in the US, but after enquiring about shipping and being quoted 30GBP for the privilege, I'm very glad I found this alternative. With a minimum of work/fuss I've turned that shipping money into a perfectly serviceable tournament tray.

Please get in touch if you have any questions guys, as I really think this is a worthwhile investment, and I'll be recommending these trays to anyone that asks me about them when I take them along to tournaments

Blog Week 2012

There are plenty of things that I need to update the blog with at the moment, so instead of making back to back posts, and spam the IABN etc, I've decided to do a blog entry per day on various topics to get everything covered that I'd like to.

As well as this, I'm going to be spending time this week editing some tags on old posts to make the blog a bit more comprehensive and easier to navigate :)

I'd love to do some kind of give away at the end of this week, as The blog is also coming up to the 3year mark but I'm really not sure if there's enough interest/readers to make this interesting.

If it were to work, I'd have a post at the end of the week, and draw a name from comments on that post to win a base made and painted to requirements by me and sent out. I'd love to be able to do that so let's hope this works out!

I'll be making my first blog week post later on today, so until thank,
thanks for stopping by :)

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Airbrushing: Brush review

As promised, here is the next instalment on my gear write up for a basic airbrushing setup.

As I've mentioned before, I did a lot of leg work before deciding finally on what I purchased.  My brush (BD130k), I decided was the one for me for a couple of reasons.  After watching a video from a youtube channel which I'm an avid fan of - BuyPainted- I picked the basic model described in the video. Mainly as I knew I wasn't going to be outputting pro-painted miniatures straight away, and decided it was best to learn with a basic brush, and upgrade later if I decided I was going to stick with airbrushing.  The real deal closer on this brush however, is the spare parts.  It comes with three needle/nozzle combinations, which I thought for the price, and for a starter was really great to be able to have the choice/adaptability whilst learning.  It also comes with an air hose, which some brushes don't leaving unsuspecting hobbyists needing to make another order for the kit to be usable.

The only real issue I've experienced so far is minor, so I won't break down different aspects of the brush as I did with the compressor.  When disassembling the brush for a first clean, I was a little too thorough, and removed part of the trigger guide which is exceptionally tricky to get back in.  This is all shown in the hardware diagram which comes with the brush, so it was easy to find out where it when, but my big hands versus the small piece in it's small location made for a bit of a nightmare!

As I said above, I've really not had many issues at all with the brush, it's a solid piece of hardware, so instead, I'll go through some essentials associated with the brush specifically.

Cleaning - There are two aspects to this, the first of which is cleaning the reservoir between paints.  This involves simply pouring out any excess paint into the cleaning pot, and cranking the psi to around 50 to blow through one cupful of clean water, and at least one cupful of windowlene, using an old brush to remove any dried paint as necessary.
The second aspect is a full clean.  In order to do this after a session, I run through the steps above, and unscrew the back of the brush, as well as the needle holder (sorry I'm not sure what it's called, but it controls how far the needle moves when the lever is pulled back) and pulling the needle out.
Be careful doing this, as the point of the needle is of course very fine, an d any bends/damage can render it useless.  I use methylated spirits to wipe any dried paint etc off the needle, as well as off the outside of the airbrush where I've spilled anything.  The nozzle also needs to be treated in this way in order to help prevent blockages.
After removing the nozzle, I run pipe cleaners through the front of the brush so that they appear in the reservoir area in order to remove any solid bits of paint.
That's pretty much it, it's a simple process and is relatively quick to do at the end of a session.  The lengthiest part is probably blowing water/windowlene into the cleaning pot

Blockages - These are unfortunately relatively common from what I have read as well as being unavoidable.
During my first session, I was hitting stages where I would have to pull pretty far back on the paint lever in order to get any paint flow at all.  Usually you would see a steady gradient of paint flow as you pull back on the nozzle.  If this happens like it did to me, it's likely that you have a blockage.  Whilst irritating, and time consuming, the process to fix this is simply the first stage of cleaning, combined with the pipe cleaner through the nozzle trick.  The really frustrating thing is when you have a specific mix of paint which you are using, as it has to be tipped out to clean the brush.

Thinning - I read in a few places that Windex (Windowlene in the UK) is fine for diluting paints to airbrush.  Whilst I've found this to be true, I have ordered a Vallejo thinner to do it "properly". The main reason for this is that the thinner is made to be used roughly 50:50 with the paint, where as windowlene works best 50:50 with water, and then added to paint as needed, I've had to add nearly 75:25 with paint previously so result vary wildly depending on paint quality (as I've previously mentioned).
In short, Windowlene is absolutely fine to use, and has been recommended by a few pros (on youtube) but it depends how much work you want to put into using it. It's also a good substitute to clean the brush with instead of buying airbrush cleaner.

PSI - This is a bit of a tricky one I've found, and I'm still not100% sure what I'm doing with it.  The basics however, are that the thinner the line/the closer you want to get to the miniature, the lower the psi you will need to use (around 10-15 is what I've found to be good for 'detail'). For base coating & holding the brush a fair distance away for large areas of colour, increase the psi to around 30-40.  I hate to be a cop out here, but there are some really great youtube videos which cover this kind of thing, where I wouldn't really be able to provide a great deal more information.

PTFE Tape - I had a few worries when I first started brushing as the compressor would come one very quickly when I wasn't even using the brush.  After speaking to the shop, they recommended my applying PTFE tape to the joins at either side of the air hose.  Doing so was simple, and googling simply 'PTFE' brings up a very good tutorial video on how to apply to joins.  The compressor stays on for a heck of a lot longer before kicking in now, all at the low cost of around £1.50 (inc delivery) for the tape, and ten minutes tops to fit it.

I'm very please with my choice of brush, and I think it's a fantastic choice for a beginner, or if you just want to test out if you want to continue with airbrushing.  If you get good results & want to upgrade then I'm sure you will notice the difference with a branded brush, but for someone with my level of skills & experience this one is great.

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Trays, games and paints

Managed to finally get some new paints ordered today, i've oreder VGC paints to replace my ageing citadel line, as well as some basic colours from VMA to help my airbrushing experience.  Hopefully they should arrive in time for the bank holiday (next Monday) so I can get some testing done after the weekend away we are takig for our one year anniversary.
Managed to get two games in in the past 24 hours as well which is ridiculous for me! One of which was teaching a friend from university (who i met again at the most recent tournament) how to use vassal, and the latter was a game with my best man and his Venethrax force at my gaff today.  Needless to say i lost both, but gaming is a laguh at any rate, and it's good to get games in :)
I've barely had time to get the Destors out of the box and make sure all the pieces are there unfortunately, but I did manage to mock up a base for one of them to see how the destors (plus thane) will look with eVyros.  The general idea is a river crossing with some riders on either side of the water, and some in mid-leap over it.  I'll post my prototype once it's closer to done.
I had ordered some PTFE tape for the airbrush connectors, so i'll document that this week in my airbrush write up.
Lastly, I've ordered a pair of tournament trays from this company who take orders for the bases over email only, very friendly guys though and great communications & service, so give em a try! Standard tray layout below for those who are interested :)

That's it for now, I'll hopefully have an airbrush write-up ready for mid-week including some experience on thinning/cleaning etc, as well as some WIPs/paint news early next week.

Thanks for stopping by


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Call in the Cavalry

My LGS is having a clear out of some old stock, and I managed to snag a unit of destors at half price.  Yes that's right, a full cav unit 50% off.

Expect some early WIP shots this weekend.

That's all for now :)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Airbrushing: Compressor review

After a comment on my last post, I feel like I should add some information on the compressor/tank combo I bought.

I won't lie, it's a cheap piece of hardware, and has it's issues.  It's great as an entry piece of kit, and a lot of people use this, as I found in my research asking about that model on various forums etc.
I'd say if you're looking for a cheap entry into this aspect of the hobby, then this setup is great.  If you are looking for hardware that will last you up until you are an accomplished pro, buy better airbrush and compressor than I did.

The 'issues' I've come across so far are;

Compressor run time - The compressor runs a lot.  This might just have been my naivety, expecting the tank to fill and then being able to use it for a time without the piston working, but as I was informed, the main reason of having the tank as well is to provide constant pressure.  After I learned this, I stopped panicking, but it was quite strange to have it on so often when I had mis-understood the way it works.
Something that will help here (advised to me by the shop I bought it from after raising a few queries), PTFE tape is worthwhile fitting to all joins between the airbrush, cable, and the tank.  If you're feeling a bit more savvy (and wanting to void your warranty) it's also well worth fitting it between compressor and tank.  Basically, this provides a more airtight connection point to reduce air escaping, which in turn helps the compressor to maintain pressure. I'll just be sticking to the external connections.

Heat - The compressor runs hot. Almost too hot to touch. Again, after doing some research, I found that this is normal, and it will cut off by itself if the heat gets too high.  I found that if I'm cleaning the brush after a blockage/going to make a drink between coats of paint, it cools quite quickly so this isn't something to worry a great deal about.

Noise - Not too bad. This was one of my main concerns with regards to getting any compressor at all.  I share a study with my wife and didn't want to be making a whole load of racket and disturbing her as well.  When the compressor is on, it's as loud as a normal conversation, and after being strategically placed, can be very easily drowned out with moderate level music.

That's pretty much it for the compressor, and I'm away this weekend, but i'll continue this with the Airbrush review next week



Monday, 6 August 2012

Airbrushing 101

As promised, I'm going to try and document my experience so far from a novice's perspective.

The items I purchased are;
Compressor & Tank - Low entry price, recommneded on a few forums which I checked
Airbrush - Low entry price, spare nozzles/needles make it a versatile brush
Windowlene (Windex) - Recommended on a few websites as a thinning agent for citadel paints
Methylated spirits - To clean the brush at the end of your session
Stockings (yes really) - to strain the paint through after mixing, before it gets to the airbrush to reduce chance of clogging from large clumps of paint etc
Airbrush cleaning pot/holder - somewhere to spray cleaning fluid without inhaling it all
Cleaning tools - to remove blockages and clean the passage between paint holder & nozzle
Dust masks - some fumes from the methylated spirits will give you a headache and then some. Be careful with airborne alcohol/chemicals

Anywhere you look, you're likely to be told that the diluted paint mixture you are about to spray should be as thin as skimmed milk.  This is pretty much the mix I go for, and it's been fine when I've used it, in my limited experience.  It's easy to go too far on the watery side which can be an issue when the paint runs away when it hits the model.  It's easy to get used to however as you get more practice with mixing & painting.  Some paints of course require more/less thinner depending on paint quality/pigmentation etc.
I use a 50:50 mix of windowlene & water which I then mix paint into as necessary, usually 50:50 thinner mix to paint. By starting with the thinner mix, I can gauge how much paint I will need in total for the job in hand.
This is all then strained through the fabric into the airbrushes holding pot.

The PSI used in the brush is a difficult one to guide.  I used a lot of the advice in the No Quarter airbrushing article (41 I think), and this worked well for my first few sessions.  It seems to me though that the psi depends on a whole heap of factors such as consistency of paint, distance from painting surface etc.
As a rough guide though, when base coating, I use a higher psi (30+) and have the brush a fair distance from the model (maybe 10+inches) ans use wide sweeping 'strokes', bearing in mind that multiple passes is better than soaking the area in paint in one pass.
For a more controlled paint application, I've had the psi as low as 8-12 and had the brush very close to the surface.  this gives a great control of how/where the paint hits the surface, as well as being very responsive when pulling the lever back for paint volume

My first use with the airbrush (apart from being pretty daunting) was relatively smooth.  I connected the air hose between brush and tank, turned it on and let it build up to pressure pressure, filled the resevoir with the Vallejo Grey primer I had bought, and away I went.
I didn't photograph this stage, as it's pretty straight forward.  I've been poring over YouTube channels (mainly this one as it's amazing)  so I had at least a vague notion of how it all works.  No Quarter magazine#41 also had a small section on airbrushing, so I had a clue about psi/distance from model for the basecoat stage.

After my first victim (the poor high-elf spearman I have as a paint experiment, who has been stripped and re-painted more times than I care to recall), I decided to take the plunge and coat Maelok, and his Gatorman Posse.  Again, this went off without a hitch, in places the paint would pool, so I quickly move on, and try to keep sweeping the brush instead of holding it in place.  The paint/air mix lever is a tricky beast, and I should have practised a little more before trying "real" models with the process, all in all though, I'm pleased with the coverage, and the process.  It gives a lot better control and paint coverage than spray primer, and the grey base colour makes colours a lot more vivid than my standard black.

Next step was to get some base colours down on the Gatormen.  This was where it got really interesting.

Basically, my paints are old.  Old, and crusty.  It seems that not even straining them through the fabric could remove all the lumps/clumps that clogged my brush.  I didn't notice this at first, it having been the first time I mixed my own paint (the primer is brush ready) but I was having to pull back pretty much all the way on the flow lever before anything would come out, this of course meant that the paint was coming out way too fast, and I was getting pooling and the air pressure was blowing it all over the place.

I was pretty disheartened by this, and packed up after  I had used all the paint in the reservoir had run dry. It was only when I was cleaning the front part of the brush after removing the needle that I saw the material which had been blocking the brush.  Of course, I was relieved that the equipment wasn't at fault and I was eager to have another go the next chance I got.

The next time I had time to use the brush, I laid down a lighter colour on the front half of the model, and a lighter model still on the stomach/throat.  I was really pleased with how this came out, as gradiating colours is something I've never managed to do well with a bristle brush.  It re-iterated the (lack of) quality and (stupendous) age of my paints though, as I had more blockages again this session.

The upshot of all this is pretty simple. New paints.  I've been toying with the idea of replacing my ageing citadel line of paints for quite a while now, but could never justify the expense, especially when the paints I have are still usable (though just not up to scratch for airbrushing).

I've decided to pick up a few Vallejo Air Colour paints to use as base coats (black, white, dark brown, dark green etc) and replace my commonly used citadel paints with Vallejo Game Colour equivalents (which I'm told are the same paints as GW chemically, just without the re-branded name).
My range of paints will of course expand over time, but the essentials will really make a difference for me at the moment.

As far as success stories go, the last time I sat down with the airbrush, I decided to give it a real test, with a large area to basecoat, and a few areas which needed a three colour gradient.  A friend of mine left a piece of scenery at my place, so I checked if I was ok to paint it, and off I went.

I'm really pleased with how it all worked out. Nice smooth base coat, good coverage, and I think the highest highlights look fantastic, and it's all blended together well.  I dropped the psi to ~10 for the lightest colour, so I could get in close and be precise.
It isn't much, but for a practice piece, and an alternative to pretty much drybrushing the whole thing I think it looks good.

Sorry for the wall of text, but hopefully it will be useful to anyone starting out, or thinking about airbrushing :)
I'll try and post some more along this theme as I get more experience & results

Thanks for Stopping by