Sunday, 17 January 2016

265: Fort Vallum

This project took me almost a year. I got a wire cutter for it. It also toppled over any lingering resistance to getting an airbrush.

In a little while I will post up some rules, and ask for some advice. 


I will also do a few posts on how I made it.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

264: 2015 in recap

As the end of each year approaches, I like to look back at the year, see what I've achieved (sometimes more than I realised - last year), and to have a think about what I'd like to do in the new year which often follows as a new years resolutions post.  It helps me to keep stock of my progress, and try and know where I want to go in the coming year.

Its been quite a quiet year for me, with "life, the universe, and everything" somewhat conspiring to swallow up the majority of my spare time.  In rough order of what I achieved, I started the year painting the Treeman/Avatar after finally developing a suitable molten metal technique, and managed to bring it to near completion later in April.  I also managed to finally post a picture of the majority of my skaven army as they are painted.

In May, the blog added its first additional contributor - ColonelFazackerley, who probably produced most of the years material, posts:  245, 246, 249, 250, 251253254255, 256258259, and 261.

I eventually got back into gaming, and as the new Necrons were revealed to be a little more powerful than expected.  I also had to add Tomb Blades to my force, as they are a requisite of the new Decurion Detachment.  GWs relentless release schedule also saw the release of the new Space Marine book, and I promptly gave in and acquired StormTalons which needed a little conversion.

A big part of my year was taken up by my trip to Japan, where I discovered Gundam.  I've got a lot of potential material from that trip, but it'll take me a while to get any of that posted.

Last but not least, I managed to paint my Fire Warriors.

This year, I also set myself a relatively modest 5 goals as part of my New Year's resolutions.  All were partial successes, I posted pictures of those models I hung onto, but have gotten rid of most of the Tyranids, got rid of a lot of my old models that were hanging around but still have more to be rid of, made progress on One Force but didn't complete everything, and the same for other painting projects.
  • Post pictures of all the models I painted during 2014
    • Skaven army, the Tyranids, One Force marines (Mk II and Mk IV)
  • Continue the clear out
    • Tyranids, Space Wolves (most of them), a lot of spares and bits and pieces
  • Complete painting One Force as it stands
    • 5 Mk V marines and jump-packs, 10 Mk III veterans with combi-weapons, missile launchers for all squads, Master of the Forge
  • Complete standing painting projects
    • Skaven warp lighting cannon, Treeman Avatar, Tau Firewarriors and Riptide, and any other bits and pieces I have lying around that I've forgotten
  • Return to blogging
I'll keep on plugging away, and see where I get this year.
Happy New Year to you all.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

263: Firewarriors

(No, I'm not posting on Julafton, this just happens to be scheduled for today,
Merry Christmas, God Jul, and assorted Winter Solstice greetings to you all.)

In the time its taken me to change the paintscheme on these guys, the Tau have had 2 new codexes, its a testament (if you want) to the speed of the current GW release cycle, or more likely, how slow my painting is these days.

A simple white paintscheme with blue accents.  The guy below is meant to be a Cadre Fireblade stand in or similar, hence using a lot more blue in his scheme.

A couple of examples of the regular Firewarriors.

Unfortunately, I went a little bit overboard on the battle damage.  It hasn't totally spoiled them, but they wouldn't ever be front and centre if I lined up the army. More practice needed.
Looking at the pictures, I realise I haven't done the lighting effects I wanted on the weapons so I'll go back and do that sometime, but these guys are packed away now so it'll have to wait.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

262: Tomb Blades - the obligatory Decurion choice ;)

Not the most groundbreaking post, but here's the tomb blades I started about 6 months ago when the new Necron codex came out.  They are a pain to build, extremely intricate with lots of fiddly little bits that have to be put together in a very precise order.  They do paint up nice and quickly and easily, and I've found them to be surprisingly useful on the tabletop as well, a nuisance unit and good for grabbing objectives either late in the game, or as you pull the cards when playing Maelstrom.

Standard paintscheme as with all my Necrons, and as ever, I've magnetised the weapons so if I want to mix up the options.

Friday, 4 December 2015

261: Recovering from varnish frosting

I found a way to fix frosted models!
  1. put the pieces in an electric fan oven at set to 50 degrees C (120F) to pre-warm them. 
  2. oven started cold, and I only left them in for 10 minutes throughout the process I am describing. I would not do this with resin or thin plastic bits (swords etc).
  3. I took each piece out, sprayed it, and put it back in again.
(Gas oven would be a bad idea: water is a combustion product, so they are intrinsically more humid)

The longer version.

 I had sprayed the guns for my Crimson Death (which are magnetised) with dullcote a while back. It was cold and humid, and I got the dreaded frosting. This was a bit of a downer, and it has taken a while for me to get the drive back to tackle the job.

The guns are mostly black with green gems. I repainted over the black, as it was quick (I had just painted black and edge highlighted), and the frosting stood out over the black worse than the green. My gems have a 5 step highlighting process that I could not be bothered to do again. The black came out looking shiny in places and matte in others, so really needed matte varnish again.

Warming and spraying again worked well. It made the black matte, and on the gems that I had not repainted, it actually removed the frosting. I can only assume the solvent in the dullcote re-dissolved the frosted layer and this time dried properly because is was warm and the humidity was low. I imagine that if the original frosted layer had been too thick, this would have been less successful. These gems were frosted, and this is them after the fix.  

The formation.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

260: Mobile Suit Gundam - Assemble

A ways back in July, while in Japan, I bought a model of a Gundam, and finally I can show you the build.  Kind of apt with the current re-launch of the Tau and all.

Firstly, despite everyone touting GW as the best model builders in the world etc. etc., they've definitely got a thing or two to learn from BanDai, the kit is staggering in its design and complexity.
Take a look at the sprue below.  You may notice that the plastic has two tones of grey, that's because they are able to cast the sprue in at least two stages to produce pieces that are already articulated, with extremely complex joints and sliding parts, some actually cast within other parts to move like pistons.

The whole kit is press-fit, I didn't need a drop of glue, and the only time I used any tools was to remove the parts from the sprue, clean the odd mould line (far, far neater casting that GW), and to cut a few pieces of piping to length that were inserted into joints to represent hydraulics.

The kit was essentially two kits in one.  The first was the fully articulated skeleton of the model that you can see below.  Every joint was articulated with a very wide range of motion.  In fact, as I continued to build the model I discovered more and more points of flexure and the number of poses that you could build is mind-blowing.

Once the skeleton is built, you add the armour panels to make up the final model.  The different parts are cast in their appropriate colours so you don't even need to paint, and as before, every single piece is press-fit, highly secure, and there are individual pieces for every sub-part of the skeleton so none of the articulation is lost with the build.

The final result is absolutely brilliant, with multiple hands that can be swapped to allow different weapons to be gripped, all sorts of moving parts, and so much possibility.

Best of all, since returning, I've discovered that you can buy them on Amazon and other online retailers, so this guy might just be getting a friend sometime in the future.


Sunday, 20 September 2015

259: Individual minis: a zombie for the horde

Particularly for 40k, it makes sense to paint a batch at once. Probably a squad, squadron or formation.

It can start to feel like a drag, and standards may slip. Modelling and painting an individual mini is a way to experiment with new time-consuming techniques without it turning into a hassle.

Here's a one. After a particularly brutal defeat (using my Iron Knights against my friend's Death Guard), I rewarded my opponent with an Iron Knight zombie for his horde. I did not have any spare legs, but then zombies don't need legs.

There's greenstuff guts and mushrooms, UHU mixed with paint to give glue-string gore, and some weathering experiments. Kudos to the first person to identify the source of the head.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

258: Photos of minis with an Android phone: Open Camera

Open camera is an Android app that is way better than the stock google camera app, when it comes to photographing minis.

One problem with the google app is that it will not focus. The auto focus keeps changing, so you just think it's sharp, then as you take the picture it blurs again. Open camera has a focus lock.
Under the dot menu, there is a padlock. Tap that to lock the focus. The camera will focus where you tap on the screen. Apart from that, it will not change. You can make fine adjustments to the focus by moving the camera closer or further from the subject.

Its a good idea to have an uncluttered background. A white sheet of paper curved up the wall is popular. The auto-exposure will then give you a dark image. The model can be almost silhouetted at worst, a little muddy looking at best. The exposure needs compensating for the bright background. In Open Camera the brightness setting is right on the main screen. It will then use it's standard algorithm for guessing the exposure, and brighten it up from that baseline. Then you can see tonal variation on the model, not the tonal variation on the paper.
If adjusting the exposure seems like too much hassle, then use a mid-grey background.

Here's a work-in-progress shot using Open Camera.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

257: A Storm Talon that doesn't look too bad

A ways back in the dim and distant past I showed you all how I'd converted up the Storm Raven to make it look a little less goofy (in my opinion of course).  I've even stuck to the same naming convention for this post!  Well with the release of the new Space Marines codex and all the formation-y goodness in it, who could resist the lure of a Storm Wing.  All I needed was the little addition of a pair of Storm Talons.

Of course, what had been stopping me buying Storm Talons before was an equal dislike of the stock model as sold by GW.  Just like the Storm Raven, I found it a little too blocky, too deep for its profile, and with a few design choices that I just couldn't make myself like no matter how hard I tried.

Thank you Internet (I'm pretty sure I'm not the first to utter those words ;), there seem to be plenty of others out there that feel the same way and have made some amazing conversions of the Storm Talon.

  • Excommunicate Traitoris has made a fantastic and subtle conversion, and one that I ultimately took the most inspiration from.
  • This and this conversion really went to town, and retained the rotation of the under-slung assault cannon.
  • This more realistic plane variant is really nice too.
There are a couple of conversions that really stand out though for their inventiveness:
  • This A-10 Warthog conversion is inspired and if it didn't require the purchase of Storm Raven wings and a Punisher Autocannon from somewhere I would have been copying this heavily.
  • Whoever came up with this ED-209 style assault walker conversion was truly inspired.

Anyway, I'm obviously getting lazy in my old age as I wanted to fix up the Talon with as little work as possible.  Its not a perfect conversion, if I had the money and time for lots of extra parts then I'd be doing more, but this is a pretty quick and easy fix (as long as you don't mind that the Assault Cannons no longer rotate.

All the images should be nice and big if you need when you click on them.

 First step is to make the Assault Cannons, add the skid plate from the very bottom of the standard setup, and remove the square tab from the underside of the body.  It's right in the centre of the circular mount for the underslung turret, you should be able to make out where it was in the image.
 Join the Assault Cannons together, add the skid plate, then glue directly onto the circular section of the underside of the body (where the little tab used to be).
I've also constructed the rest of the body so you can see the new silhouette, much more streamlined compared to the image below it of the standard build.
 Engine pods.  I like to mount the wings so they are tapered from the front, I think they just look a bit better that way.
I also mounted the rocket-pods under the wings, to the lower parts of the engine pods.  This required a very small amount of trimming to get them to fit nicely, but it was just a little bit, and just to make the join that little bit nicer.

That's it, all the work I had to do.  Below are a few shots of the completed model so you can see its final silhouette.  I'm pretty pleased.  It still has that compact, punchy feel of the original model that goes so well with its rules, but has removed the worst offenders for silly modelling choices.



So, what do you think?

Thursday, 27 August 2015

256: Dropper bottles (or not) for airbrush paint

The new Forgeworld and GW airbrush paint comes in normal pots. They use the same pots as for their standard bristle stick range.
 Many commented that they prefer dropper bottles, like Vallejo.
Plenty of others are fine with pots, and use pipettes to get small amounts of paint out. Indeed, they like the pots because they can get the paint back in easily. Though it is also possible to get the dropper top off the Vallejo bottle to get the paint back in, it is a little messy. (I heard they have different bottle designs, and with some it may not be possible).

As usual, I do it differently. I got a bunch of empty dropper bottles (where the dropper end is a little easier to remove than the Vallejo bottles). I mix my own, starting mostly from Vallejo Model Air.
Using a milligram balance and making up at least 5ml of paint at a time is more precise than using a dropper. I converted one of the lids to a funnel. I add the extra water last to rinse the spare paint from the funnel.


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