Monday, February 24, 2014

Beauty is only skin deep

I can really tell I'm getting tired of painting Ogres... I used to find airbrushing their skin kind of fun... now I just rush to get it over with... no matter.  Got some progress on the Maneaters by getting their skin done.  Its not much, but a little bit each day will end in big results at the end of the week.  

These are going to be a blast - I'm especially looking forward to the Pirate and Female - she is so gross.  

Since I am going to participate in the Imperial Knight painting challenge at the local GW store, I've been thinking all day about how I want to paint them.  My Imperial Guard are red... so that was a natural pick, but the fluff behind the Knights allows for a variety of different colors and I'd like to try something different.  Blue... Yellow... Gray... I dunno.  Might end up doing red and sticking some Mechanicus transfers on them, since my IG are supposed to be tied to Mars and the Mechanicus.  Can't wait to see those models!

Gonna brush up on some vehicle techniques before I hit the sack.  Happy Painting!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

So many projects... so little time.

I started this week with lots of motivation.  I have so many projects going on so I want to stay committed to doing something hobby related every night, if possible.  This week though, everything went wrong.  Work kept me super busy and so sleep escaped me most of the week.  Also had a good buddy go into the hospital and so I spent some time with him and his family.

Finally got around to having some time on my hands today, and as bad as I wanted to put some paint to some models, I have a lot of other hobby work to do.  This post is going to seem a bit like a study of ADD, but sometimes you just gotta get the slave-work done so you can enjoy the fun part later.  This week's gonna be another doozy, so here we go.  

Adepticon is coming up VERY fast.  My goal for Adepticon this year was to have my Ogres completed.  Well, as I've repeated several times, I have 3 more models to complete that goal.  With that, my VIG pass allows me two entries into the Crystal Brush competition.  Having caught the competition bug last year at Games Day, I really wanted to try something out.  The Crystal Brush competition was fierce last year - the models were absolutely amazing.  The really cool thing about the Crystal Brush is that I'm not limited to Games Workshop models.  I have several other collections, including some Warmachine, Zombicide, etc., but one miniature I picked up last year was Kingdom Death's Flower Knight.  It's quirky and cool and I had this idea...

This Flower Knight just looks magical.  My vision is to make a diorama where the Knight is walking down a path.  Both the path and the plantlife around it would be dead, but where the Knight is walking, things would sort of spring to life again.  I've never done a diorama before - usually I don't even do much converting, so this is new to me.  But I've been doing my homework.  How would I do the path - that was the question that most intimidated me.  Could I find some miniatures or plastic scenery that I could use?  Would that count against me?  Hmm.. I decided to try something out that I saw in a basing video recently.  

Plaster! I never really thought about using it.  I recently acquired some lightweight hydrocal and molded some woodland scenics rocks - easy right?  I also had some plaster of paris, so I took some blister packs and used them as molds, making several bricks of various sizes and thicknesses.  See below.
Varying degrees of thickness is important for my plans.

You can easily break this pieces apart!

Get your sculpting tools ready.  This next part is really cool.

 So, after letting these plaster pieces dry for a day, I pulled them out of the molds and broke some of them.  Then I took a scultping tool with a fine edge and began carving some detail into the pieces.  My thought was to use these for the path and to make them look like stones on the ground.  To give the Flower Knight a centerpiece feel, I wanted the path to step up so he would be elevated above the rest of the scene.  The plaster is very easy to work with and if you're not too careful, its also easy to dig into the material too much or even break the pieces accidentally by applying too much pressure.  Again, I wanted this scene to look dead and broken, so I weathered the stone quite a bit and broke several of the pieces (the cool thing about having square pieces of the plaster is that you can break them and keep the pieces together to make it look real, like pieces of a puzzle).  
Some of the pieces I may have weathered too much, but I learned!

They are also easily stacked. 

Very easy to make real looking stones.

I arranged the pieces the way I wanted to make a path that curved and stepped up and then I glued them to the foam board using PVA glue.  I doubt this will hold the pieces extremely well, but this is not intended to get a lot of use, so I think it is appropriate.  I've seen wood glue used for this purpose, but I don't have any at the moment - not sure if it would work any better.  

Then, I used various grits of Vallejo texture paste and covered the majority of the base around the path.  On the lowest elevation points of the path, I left the area sparse as if the ground has built up over the path over the years.  You have to see my vision, I will have lots of grass in the area, even between some of the bricks when it is done. I used sand grit and grey pumice texture pastes for this purpose.  I will continue to build up some of the layers as I go (I also plan to texture with sand/rock.  

I don't really think that the path can be the only scenery detail on the diorama - so I decided to add a tree in the background.  The idea again will be that the tree is dead, but begins to grow again as the Flower Knight passes.  I thought about using a model tree (like from a train scenic set) or even a Games Workshop tree, but it just didn't feel right.  Taking the dogs out for a walk yesterday, I explored a little bit and picked up some twigs and broken tree pieces from the ground.  I went through the look today and picked a good stump.  Then I took a thinner twig and pinned/glued it to the stump (this will be the part that is growing and will have leaves on it).  Getting the tree to stick on the ground is going to be a challenge.  I'm going to have to sculpt some roots, otherwise it just won't look natural.  In the meantime, I'm using Flex paste to try to stick the tree to the foamboard - its going to take several layers of this stuff I think.  Afterwards, painting to match is going to be a pain.  

So, needless to say, I'm excited about this project.  I have another (Lizardman themed) diorama planned for Golden Daemon, but this will give me some great practice.  The Flower Knight is gonna be fun to paint as well.  There is one floating around the internet right now that is absolutely stunning.  Let's hope I can get somewhere near that level.  

In addition to this work, I have several less-than-fun tasks to complete.  With 3 Maneaters down and 3 to go, along with 3 bulls on the block, I started some of my cork bases so that I can paint and mount them all at once.  I'm planning on putting this together as an easy cork base tutorial for beginners.  Its easy!  I also began putting together more regiment trays for the Ogres and placed a couple dozen magnets.  I'm using tin sheet over the GW trays to keep them stuck.  Boring but necessary.  

These magnets are the perfect size for the holes in these 40mm bases.

Just need to texture and paint and they'll be ready to push some Ogres across the board.
All in all, a pretty productive day.  Again, I'm expecting a busy week, but I did get the remaining 3 Maneaters primed and ready for painting.  I'm also looking forward to painting up one of those new Imperial Knights... wow.  The local shop is having a competition and I'm hoping this will motivate me to paint one up quickly.  Better brush up on my transfer skills.  

Ugh... look at this WIP shelf.  I'd have some hope for getting it cleared out, but my other shelves keep getting more full of new miniatures in the box..  Anyways... time for Walking Dead.  Happy Painting!

Monday, February 17, 2014

And sorrow fail and sadness... at the Mountain King's return!

So, I've played both iterations of Warhammer for a long time and as most players know, it's kind of like waking up on Christmas morning when your army gets that long awaited refresh.  And these days, in what can be described as a Golden Age of Warhammer, those updates are even more exciting.  I've been collecting dwarfs since the mid-late 90s.  Now, I've recycled quite a few of the armies - I remember using Walmart Silver Spray paint as a basecoat for some really old plastic dwarfs - but I have a huge dwarf army and lots of metal miniatures.  This past week, the new Dwarf Army book was released and I went ahead and opted for the Limited Edition version, which is pretty freakin' sweet.  

The book is a muted gray, reminiscent of the stonework of the revered artisans of the mountain kingdoms.  Golden runic emblems adorn the outer covers of the book.  The front cover is magnetized and folds out to reveal the magnificence within.  

And despite the lovely wrapping, that is exactly where the treasure is in this long-awaited army book.  The artwork is masterful - probably the best in any Games Workshop book to date.  This supplements the solidly-written fluff by Jeremy Vetock.  I haven't read the fluff cover to cover yet, but I'm getting there.  There is enough humor, as there usually is with the dwarfs, especially if you are a fan, but the detail given to the many battles and grudges and even to the unit entries is astounding.  

Now, having been a dwarf player for such a long time, I've always loved the appearance and background of the line, but the playability of the army has been somewhat lacking.  This is probably the reason I never played as much Fantasy as 40k (until 6th edition 40k forced me to).  Maybe back when Warmachines were so much fun to use, but over the last several years, the dwarfs just lacked flavor on the tabletop.  This book changes all of that.  

Dwarf players will find it difficult to build a list - not because there isn't effective units - in fact they are plentiful.  So much so that the hardest part about building your list will be including everything you want and figuring out what to leave out - no matter your choice, you will be sad.  This is a growing trend in Warhammer Fantasy, as most books released in the last year have the same problem.  Every unit is good.  There is no looking at the book and saying "this is broken" or "this is awful."  Every unit is good without being broken.  At first glance, the Dwarfs are going to be a top tier book on the tournament circuit, but this is more likely to be because they will change the meta.  The book is FULL of options to give your Dwarfs that cause multiple wounds.  Warriors of Chaos beware.  

Lords and Heroes are very much the same.  The big changes here lie in the alterations to runic items, which have become much more combo-based.  There are tons of additions and many obsolete runes from the previous book have been retired or re-worked.  The most notable changes to the characters are to the Runelords/Runesmiths.  Dwarfs, although very magic resistant, will no longer auto-shutdown the magic phase upon taking a Runelord.  Additionally, the Anvil of Doom will actually kind of give the Dwarfs a magic phase of their own without being so frustrating - many of the abilities improved and the risk for using them has been eliminated.  Both of the Runic characters grant their units armor piercing - sweet for Longbeards or Ironbreakers with HW/Shield.  

Core also remains largely unchanged.  Longbeards no longer require a minimum inclusion of Warrior Units and now units close to them can reroll their panic checks.  Not sure if I'll go all Longbeards yet - they are more expensive than warriors and there are a lot of other goodies in the Special/Rare sections.  

Hammerers, to me, are still the best unit in the book.  They got a 2 point increase in their base cost, but their attacks went from 1 to 2.  All models in the unit can now accept challenges.  

Gyrocopters/bombers are awesome.  I bought 3 so far, but you can take 6 copters and 2 bombers in a standard force.  The models are hilariously small in person - the pictures make them look huge.  

Irondrakes are also a possibility for best unit in the book.  Strength 5 flaming armor piercing guns are an insane thought in WFB.  Add the fact that you can give the champion a STR 8 Multiple wounds gun and we're starting to look like a 40k shooting phase.  

These are just a few of the high points I've noticed.  Someone asked me when I'd be jumping ship from Ogres to Dwarfs - likely as soon as my Ogres get tabled by another Dwarf player.  I can't wait to get some paint on the models - they are gorgeous.  

So, I also have some painting progress.  Essentially finished the 3 Maneaters I have been working on.  Just need to be based but I'm going to do that once I finished painting the rest of the unit (going to prime them once the weather is dry).  Here are the finished models set on their corkstands.  

And - next up on the chopping block.  

These will be fun!  Thanks for reading.  Happy painting!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I got a chance to work on the maneaters a little more on Monday evening.  Since then, I haven't had much time nor will I have an opportunity to work on them tonight because of my weekly evening class.  Regardless, I wanted to post a progress shot because I'm very happy with their progress and I'm itching to get more paint on them. 

I don't paint a lot of blacks/grays, so I wasn't really looking forward to painting the Ninja.  I love the model, but it's really easy to lose the detail in the black colors (I thought about going Stormshadow and painting him white with red accents...) and so I wanted to make a color that allowed him to retain the shadow-y persona of the ninja, but allowing some of the animated theme of the ogres to persist.  I'm happy with the result so far and plan to go back and lighten up the skin on the parts of his face that are visible.  I'm going back and forth on how I want to paint his sword.  The entire army is covered in rust, but this is a ninja.  Albeit, he's an Ogre Ninja, but surely he takes pride in his blade. 

The Araby Maneater has some personality to him that is different than all of the other maneaters.  If you've read my Ogre Skin tutorial, you would remember that I don't really use a wash on the Ogres.  I figured the Araby Ogre would have a darker complexion than the others, so I lightly brushed Agrax Earthshade over his skin and wow, the result was nice.  I'm going to experiment on some ogres going forward to see if I can add some of that to my technique.  I've traditionally been afraid to do so because of how dark their skin turns out, but glazes and washes are SO effective at tying the colors together.   For his turban, I wanted to closely match the GW version of the miniature but they don't really make a color that is close, so I improvised.  I started with a base of Auburn Shadow (it's part of the Reaper red hair triad).  Then I washed the turban with Drucchii Violet wash (I find that purple works really well with red colors).  Now the next steps are to highlight.  I'm going to try a couple of things - going back to the red hair triad is an option.  I may also try the Privateer Press skorne paint (can't remember the name and I'm not at home - its a purplish red).  We'll see how that turns out.

The Empire Maneater was really my least favorite of all of the maneater models, but I'm enjoying painting him.  I'm happy with his skin tone, especially above his gut plate.  In the image below the model looks very drab outside of the skin, but I still have a lot of highlighting to do with the red/brown parts.  His face is pretty funny - looks like he swallowed a bug or something.  Going back to my above comments about the ninja, I've really wanted to work on painting stone so I tried some thorough blending on the hammer and I'm very happy with the result.  Check it in the pic - there is a nice contrast and even though it is stone, I tried some NMM concepts in regards to the lighting.  Now I'm trying to decide if I want to risk messing it up and put some blood effects - surely he doesn't walk around with the big stone hammer and not bash some heads.

I touched on this in a recent post, but I'm close to being finished with the main part of the Ogre Kingdoms project and I'm SOOOO looking forward to painting something else!  I will continue to add Ogres to the army and try new things - they are really fun to paint.  I'm also going to put up a Rusted Metal Tutorial soon (I have 3 Ogre Bulls preppred for this purpose).  After the 6 maneaters, my attention will turn to my tablewar case and display board.  Still brainstorming ideas for a display board but I bought some supplies to try out in my mission to convert the case to a fantasy case.  I'll finish up their regiment trays at the same time.

Other than that I've been gathering supplies for a project I'm wanting to work on for the Crystal Brush at Adepticon.  Hoping I can really get some time to spend on that.  It seems like the event is very quickly creeping up on us. 

Thanks for reading.  I'm going to try to finish these up by the end of the week, but it might be tough with my current work and school schedule.  That and I plan on taking their fully painted fellows to play on Saturday.  Ciao!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Grudge Re-match coming soon...

Mondays suck.  But this Monday I'm excited to think a bit ahead past some of my current projects and go back to my Dwarf army.  I called it stupid, but the new GW White Dwarf/Release schedule is sparking my interest - I've been waiting a long time for some really nice Dwarf miniatures and they have (and will continue through this month) delivered a nice array of high quality models for this aging range.  

I have a huge Dwarf collection and immediately added the new releases to my army this weekend.  Brushing aside the clutter on my painting table, I made a space to assemble the new characters and a unit of Longbeards and (ho ho!) are they pretty!

 It will likely be a few weeks before I get to throw some color down on them, but I love them.  I bought two boxes of the Hammerers/Longbeards and plan to go ahead and assemble the remaining box as Hammerers to see what they are about.  The investment won't be so bad - I had converted about 30 regular Dwarf Warriors to be Hammerers back in the day - so now I have a bunch of extra warriors with great weapons.  Good thing I never got around to painting them.  

I've been wanting to paint Slayers for quite some time, so I might have to break out the old metal ones that I have and practice (really disappointed that there are no plastics coming soon).  Either way - its always fun when your army gets the makeover treatment!

Earlier in the week I put most of the basecoats down on the Maneaters.  Oh how I loathe the poor quality of finecast.  But I think I can salvage them - with basecoats down, I did start some work on the Ninja! 
Hoping to get some more paint down tonight on the Maneaters... I really need to finish them.  I started making my army list for Adepticon (playing in the Big Brawl).  Once these Maneaters are finished, I will have successfully painted 3000 points of Ogres for this tournament.  Pretty flippin sweet!  I look forward to working on some new projects.  Thanks for reading.  I'll post an update this week on the Maneaters!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ok... so its been a while...

Ok ok... since I started this blog I had committed not to be one of those guys... you know - the type of guy that never adds new content... whoops.  I've actually gotten a lot done since the last post, but work has been busy, I started school once again, and I'm kind of lazy :)  Either way, apologies for the delays... To make up for it, I'm going to share a lot of pictures, some updates about my hobby direction, and make some (late) New Year's Resolutions... for painting... I've already failed my get in shape one.  

So, in the last update (way back on Black Friday) I discussed starting a new 40k army project and showed you all the master sculpts I was preparing to paint for Wreck Age.  I'll start with the Wreck Age models.  It took me a few weeks to finish those as the holidays kept me busy.  Unfortunately, I was so bent on getting those done, I didn't take a lot of high quality pictures.  But, I'll share what I have.  Sorry for the poor quality (pictures :P). 


And the final result, on the box.  Thanks to the Matt and Anton at Hyacinth games - I enjoyed the opportunity to do something I've never done.  Its a really cool feeling to paint something that people will see when they buy the miniature, that they will try to emulate on their own models.  I'm not a commission painter but this project was very enjoyable and I hope to do something similar in the future.  Again, if you haven't done so already - check out Wreck Age.  Its a great game (pick up the newly released rulebook and of course - the reclaimers!) and I can't wait to have the time to play some games - looking forward to at least spectating their demos and tournament at Adepticon.

As far as the 40k army.  I actually did decide on Tyranids until that Codex dropped.  Maybe some of the future books and flow of the game will make them enjoyable but I just don't see it.  I'm still going to paint some models, including the Trygon I bought, but I'm going to wait on expanding my 40k forces and work on some other projects.  I already have a sizable Dwarf army and the new miniatures are beautiful.  Additionally, I have a huge Imperial Guard army and they are slated for next month.

SO... I have continued to work on the Ogres.  I'm noticing that in addition to my delay in posting, I really haven't done any Ogre updates in quite a while.  I completed my BSB, my Hunter/Beast Wizard, my Thundertusk, 4 Leadbelchers, and a Firebelly (still need to go back on the Firebelly and enhance some of the detail, but I'm trying to figure out the best way to do that).  Here are a couple pictures of the Leadbelchers and Firebelly, along with a progress shot of the whole army - you can see the Beast Wizard and the BSB in the pic, but I haven't taken a decent picture of any of these miniatures yet (don't fret - I recently joined in on a sweet lightbox kickstarter called Foldio - so I hope to soon start taking some nice pics).  

Phew... that Ogre collection is getting quite large.  I have made some time to play recently - which is great because I had been waiting and waiting until I had the army finished.  Its now fully playable with over 2400 points and really is officially my first completely painted army (in 20 years of gaming).  

So, I told you this was going be a long post :).  In other news, I took a drive down to Spruehammer Games this past weekend, played some 40k and did a small airbrushing demo for some friends.  After I came back, I reorganized my hobby storage closet so my nerd OCD wouldn't impede my hobby progress.  I set up the Ogres above and also my IG.  Plus I dedicated an entire shelf to my WIPs - see the picture below and you'll get some hints on some things I'm hoping to work on soon - Crystal Brush and Golden Demon will be here before you know it!

Back to the Ogres for a second before I wrap this up - I started one half of my Maneaters unit tonight.  I figured doing all 6 of the unique sculpts would burn me out with all of the variation, so I'll paint these up and then get to work on the last three.  The Maneaters are the last unit in my army that I will need to paint up before the Big Brawl tournament at Adepticon.  Then I'll have to start working on a display board and my Tablewar case (which is going to be a bear).  Got the airbrushing done on the skin tonight:


I think I said something about New Year's resolutions.  So the first I'll commit to is updating this blog on at least a weekly basis.  I'd also like to add some more tutorials - I don't think I'm ready for video yet (I'm superbad with a camera).  I made a commitment last year to improve my painting skills and I did - but if I'm going to seriously consider painting to win some competitions, I'm going to need to continue to add to my skills.  I hope to do this with the community and get feedback - I have quite a few really cool projects planned for this year, so lets hope I get the time and motivation to finish them.  Thanks for reading!