Monday, 8 February 2016


York Racecourse - not yesterday
I visited my first (and possibly only) wargames show of the year yesterday - Vapnartak in York. It's held in the race course main stand, a well lit modern building with glass walls (to view racing horses of course). The sun shone, it was such a pleasant change from the usual glum weather in my part of the world.

I took a few items to sell on the tabletop sale area. These were mostly leftovers from old projects and a few commission projects. I bagged them up and sold them at £3 per bag, two for £5. They don't sell on ebay because postage costs kill any bargain price. After my 45 minute slot I had about £35 to spend around the show.

I picked up a couple of bargains on the tabletop sale myself, and a few small terrain
items, again that are made relatively expensive to buy online because of postage. The barn was a particularly good buy, it was half price and there was an extra sprue of barrels in the box - something I found out back home, possibly would not have needed all the extra barrels had I known this. The multitude of barrels, crates and the barn will hopefully be useable as a light industrial area for gaming. The gravestones will be handy when I paint my Garden of Morr. 

Deducting the cost of my purchases, entrance ticket, petrol costs and refreshments, I still managed to end the day with £5 more than I started. I saw some sunshine for the first time in weeks, had a few laughs on the journey and thoroughly enjoyed the day. 

Friday, 5 February 2016

How to Paint Battle Damage......

.....using nothing but a scruffy old brush and some cheap hairspray! Well, and paints too. I thought I would post a more detailed look at the technique I used on the killa kans, as I am working on some terrain and it's the ideal vehicle (ahem) to explain the method.

Primed and base coat applied
Stage 1 : Spray prime a suitable colour. Usually I prime white, very occasionally black, but this time around I used Army Painter English Uniform to get a good start on the sand areas. Then down to the real business of the undercolour of your subject. In this case, it's a plate metal colour on the ship, though it could be anything really. I left this to dry overnight - I tend to do this with metal paint and varnish coats.

Stage 2 : Wash the base colour to give some definition. I mix black and chestnut together to give a murky brown, then add some matte medium so it flows into the crevices. You don't have to be too careful here, all this will be covered by another colour at some point, but I mopped up any pooling with a clean, damp brush, especially on the base.

Stage 3 : If you want rust, now is the time to lay the foundation. Add browns and work up to orange, or use pigments, or whatever you usually favour as rust. Again you do not have to be too precise as all this will be concealed, but I tend to work it into the panels and around rivets, plus a few random places. Once this is dry, apply varnish. I used vallejo matte varnish using a big soft brush and then left it to dry overnight.

Stage 4 : Spray hairspray all over the model. I am using the local supermarket's firm hold variety, it's the cheap and cheerful stuff. You might want to step outside to do this, otherwise you will have a sweet, sticky residue all over your work area. Let it dry naturally, until it's just beyond tacky. This will depend on the hairspray, temperature, etc.

Main colour applied
Stage 5 : Apply your main colour(s). On this piece I have decided to paint a white colour (been playing Star Wars Battlefront recently). I rarely use pure white and so I mixed a little light grey into the white paint - this also helps because white tends not to cover well. I just paint this on with a brush, trying to avoid filling in panels and crevices but not really worrying too much if this happens. Because it's white it takes two coats, but I use this to my advantage as the first coat is almost a shading undercoat while the second coat is a psuedo highlight.

Battle damaged
Stage 6 : The magic stage! Immediately after the previous stage, get an old brush and dampen it with water. Lightly rub along the raised edges. The varnish (and paint) will lift off, leaving the under colour visible. There's no right or wrong way to do this stage. I first go over the model taking off most of the squared edges and any raised rivets. Then I look for areas that would be naturally more worn - round access hatches and doors, the nose of the craft in this case, but without being too precise. A few random areas get brushed too. If any revealed patches are too large, I simply dot the over colour on again to fill in the patch.

And that's all there is to it. After the last step I might go back and fill in some of the bigger patches, it really depends on how much damage you want. There's still work to be done, shading and painting in the details, a matte varnish to remove the hairspray sheen - but the battle damage is now complete.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Some quick terrain for 40K

After last week's game of one-page-40K I was very keen to get some more terrain ready for battle. I wanted something really quick, that I could bash together in one or two sessions. Luckily, I had just the thing stashed away, in the shape of some plastic craters and a wrecked ship - the latter came from the Battle for Macragge starter set, it's been sat in a cupboard for a long time.

I was aiming for speed, so I used an Army Painter primer, English Uniform, a sandy brown. The terrain will be used on my desert "board", so this was a good base. Then I used cheap craft paint to drybrush a little texture. I washed with ochre and brown to pick out the detail, then stippled and washed with Woodland Scenics Earth Basecoat. A quick blast with the hairdryer, then more drybrushing, more shading and washing, before a final wash with burnt umbre gouache paint. After about an hour, the craters were done - a good result.

The crashed ship will take a little more effort. The earth bits will get a cut down version of the above methodology, while the ship will be painted silver and then given the hairspray treatment, so that will be done over a number of days to allow the coats to dry properly in between. When completed, these bits of terrain will almost triple my collection, so hopefully the next battle will be far more interesting and tactical. These will count as low hills, difficult terrain, helping to fill the gaps on the battle field. If I can make or source half a dozen rocky outcrops, I think I will be all set for a decent board.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

One Page 40K

Having painted up the killa kans I was keen to put them into action. I have played a few games of 40K over the past decade, but I never got to grips with the system, always found it a bit cumbersome. I looked at alternatives but they all seemed just as complex. I wanted a Lasers Rampant kind of game - simple rules, easy to play without spending too much time nose in rulebook. I remembered a cut down version called "40K in 40 minutes" but when I googled I came up with one-page-rules. This is a stripped down version of the original game, the rules really are summarised on one page - though with a very small font! Still, it was worth a shot, so I gathered together all my painted troops and my meagre terrain collection and pitched them against a mate's Chaos Marines.

The game was pretty good. It was 40K-esque but much streamlined. Play proceeds by alternate units, so the orks activated one unit, then Chaos, then back to the orks, etc. An activation is either hold, walk, run, or assault. Each troop type has a quality, roll this or higher to hit in shooting or combat, to save a hit, to pass a morale test. It sounds bland, but there were quite a few different weapons types, walkers, vehicles, monsters and the like. Just enough flavour to make the orcs expendable and the Daemon Prince unstoppable! Our first game lasted about 90 minutes, I think after a couple more games this could easily be trimmed to an hour. As you can see in the photo, it was doable on my dining table, though more terrain is needed. The orks took a real beating from Chaos, though both kans survived the whole game so a minor victory there. It also gave me a couple of ideas what to paint next. Well worth downloading and taking a look.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Killa Kans

These kans were really easy to paint. I started with black primer, then painted them a chainmail/boltgun colour. I let this dry overnight. The models were then washed with a combination of black and chestnut for a murky brown, with matte medium added to help it settle into the crevices. When that was dry I added some more browns in a fairly random fashion, though aiming for the bits that would be most rusty. Finally I added some MIG rust pigments for extra rusty bits. Then I drybrushed with the base metal colour, to bring the metal back a little. When all that was dry I applied a coat of matte varnish and left them to dry overnight.

The next stage I sprayed the models with some cheap hairspray. As soon as it was tacky dry I painted the panels and armour casings in yellow and black, a few white bits too. Then I used a scruffy old brush dipped in water to scrub and pick at the paint. The water lifts off some of the hairspray, leaving a chipped paint effect behind. Some very worn bits I might touch up again - it depends on how the scratches turn out, it is quite a random technique. I then used a diluted army painter strong tone to give some contrast and depth, a sort of blacklining for cheats. Finally for this step I glued them on the bases then gave them a coat of matte varnish to remove the shine from the hairspray.

The final stage involves painting any extra details, mostly pipes, plus more shading and lining where needed. I also added black brown on the exhaust pipes, gun muzzles and thinned it to make an oily wash to apply around rivets, leaking from random points. Finally I painted up the simple bases, the usual drybrushing on the rocks and a bit of washing with paints and pigments on the sand. Job done, ready for gaming, let's hope they don't get blown up in turn one.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

You Kan Not Be Serious!

It's been a good long while since I did anything orky. Eighteen months ago I touched up some tankbustas, prior to that it was six years since I painted a warboss. Six years! Blimey, keeping a blog can sure make you feel old.

I lost interest in the game a long time ago, it was always a background project and I just could not be bothered to keep up with the constant rules and codex revisions. Shifting the game focus from squad-based to anything goes killed it for me too, so I stashed away the orks in a case. A couple of times I even thought about selling them. But now I am breaking them out again to have a go at a rule set called one-page 40k. Simplified, streamlined, easy rules are essential when you swap from one game system to another every couple of weeks.

While totting up points for a trial game, I realised that there's not much fun in my ork army. It's all infantry. Probably at the time my intention was to get through the core stuff before moving on to the more diverse and wacky selections. So partly to fill this gap, but mostly because I like the models, I have built these kans. Just two to start with, there are some restrictions in the rules (which we could easily ignore I suppose), but I am happy to start small and add more if we get on with the game. I seem to have acquired an extra flamer arm, probably from a commission leftover, which suits me fine as I am hoping to get these into combat and roasting marines as quick as their stompy little legs can carry them.
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