Thursday 31 October 2013

What a lovely pair!

I was hoping to have some vampire counts painted up for halloween, but the end of the month has come around already and I only have these two ladies to show. They are metal figures sourced from ebay, I have painted them up to put back on auction to raise funds for more toys. They are also my entry into the warhammer forum painting competition Slaves to Darkness.

If you want to see more pictures, maybe even place a bid to help an impoverished painter, then here's my ebay link.

Sunday 27 October 2013

Khorne Marauders WIP

I have not done much with my chaos warriors for a good while. I played a couple of games last christmas and added a painted character or two since then. It was actually in July of last year that I started building this unit of Khorne marauders, then got distracted. Well, now I am picking it up again.

Most of the unit is built, I just have some weapon swaps on the metal rear rankers and two more to clean up. I originally wanted to replace all the metal heads too, the newer plastic marauder heads have so much more character. But these days I cannot be bothered spending too much time on the third rank and beyond - they are practically invisible in the mass of a regiment and anyway nine times out of ten are removed within three turns. So the old slightly goofy horned heads will remain.

Hopefully I can stick with this unit to completion. I have had a hard time generating enthusiasm for my warhammer armies in the recent past, but with the shorter daylight hours and long winter months ahead, I usually up my productivity levels. I also have a Khorne character half painted that I should be able to complete along with this unit.

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Dark Ages Buildings

Dark Ages buildings are pretty easy to build or collect. I made one from foamboard and cardboard (shown here) and you can find plans for buildings knocking about on the web. Or you can buy them from several online stores, with lots of options including printed paper downloads, mdf kits, resin kits and even pre-painted versions. There's something to suit every pocket and they can be used in a variety of games, from Saga to Warhammer and probably lots of others in between. I recently added to my collection with a couple of purchases from warbases. I picked up a timber barn and a viking longhouse for the princely sum of seven english pounds.

The barn is the most elaborate in terms of mdf laser etched timber bits. It comes in a kit form, there are no instructions included but, as you can see, it's a pretty straight forward jigsaw puzzle. I did a quick dry run and found that the building holds together with no glue! That's good solid engineering. The viking longhouse came in a similar kit but with less details etched on and did require glue to hold it together. In any event, I glued both buildings together and set them aside to dry. It took me about five minutes per building, clearly not designed by Ikea.

The next step was to add a little texture. To the viking longhouse I added some basic timber detail in the shape of wooden coffee stirrers, ideal in size and width as you can see in the picture. Both builidngs also received a texture coating to represent a rough render (as in wattle and daub). This was a mix of diluted pva glue, sand and static grass. I just smeared it on to the walls with a coffeee stirrer. While it was drying, the local building inspector came round to size it up.

All in all, I was pretty happy with my purchase. The timber barn, with pre-etched detail, was quickest to assemble . The longhouse was quick too, adding timber framework extended the build time but I thought it was worth the extra effort. My original "grub hut" turned out to be a bit on the large side, but no matter, perhaps it's owned by a particularly wealthy Saxon family.

When the thatched roofs are added and all the painting is done, the buildings work together much better. I painted the walls in an earth/yellow colour and the thatch roofs in a grey - if you google thatched cottage you will see that the colour is nearer to grey than the fresh yellow of newly cut straw. Working from brown fur was a pain, I would shop around for a grey/tan fur for future projects. It's also a little bit too shaggy in bits, but overall I am quite pleased. Looking at them here I think they would also work well in a winter setting, they have that dusting of snow appearance. Quite fitting for a viking settlement I reckon.

Saturday 12 October 2013

How to magnetise your models

Following on from the post about how to make a magnetised movement tray, here's how to magnetise your models with a quick and easy method. You need some rare earth magnets and some modelling putty, such as green stuff or (as here) grey stuff. Both of these are readily available in online stores and ebay.

Magnets are 6mm x 2mm.  Grey stuff rolled up and ready.

Make a small putty ball for each magnet.

Press putty ball on to underside of base.

Press magnet on to putty ball.

Hopefully that is all self-explanatory. The magnet is fixed to the base by the putty. To ensure the magnet is flush with the ground, place it loosely on the putty ball. Turn the figure right way up and gently press it down on to your cutting board (or any other non-magnetic flat surface). The magnet will squish up into the putty, ensuring it is a) stuck to the base and b) perfectly flat and flush with the ground. When the putty is set, the figure can be placed into the tray.

Very light figures such as these and plastics will hold pretty well with these small magnets. Cavalry figures might need two to hold. Metal figures are a little heavier and might need two or more. Bigger magnets might be needed for really heavy figures, but do bear in mind that the depth of 2mm is about right for a standard slottabase. Anything deeper than this will be deeper than the recess under the base and thus it will not be possible to stand flush with the ground. 

Thursday 10 October 2013

How to make a magnetised movement tray

I used to make my own movement trays, from plasticard and spare plastic sprue. It's quite cheap, a bit time consuming with all the measuring and cutting, but easy enough. Nowadays, I have an easier method, using pre-measured and laser-cut mdf bases. These can be bought from a variety of suppliers, my preferred is The movement tray is usually bought as one piece, with the top and bottom glued together (shown left), but you can ask them to leave the pieces separate, as shown right.

In order to make the base magnetic, there's a number of things you could do. One thing that some do is apply magnetic paint to the base - of course doing this would mean you could buy the whole thing pre-assembled. I have never tried magnetic paint so cannot comment on the practicality, but it's probably the easiest method. My tried and tested course of action is to put a sheet of magnetic vinyl on the base. You can buy this on ebay. It cuts to size with standard scissors and glues on with superglue - or you can actually buy it with an adhesive backing. Whichever you do, it's easy to measure out, just draw round the mdf base itself for a pretty close fit, glue it on, then trim any overhang with a craft knife.

The final stage is to glue on the top section. Again, I use superglue to do this. Job done! Easy magnetic bases, with no measuring, just a little trimming and glueing required. The next stage is to add some scenic decoration, sand and rocks, static grass, to match your bases.

Be sure to check out the accompanying post - How to magnetise your bases.

Monday 7 October 2013

More Morannon Orcs

I have been commission painting a lot of intricate models of late - high elves, dark eldar, lots of fiddly little details that seem to take forever to get done. When it came to the weekend and time to paint my own models, I really wanted to blast through something in one or two sessions. A dozen Morannon orcs fitted the bill perfectly.

These figures were primed black, then drybrushed roughly with two different metal colours. Then I quickly picked out the non-metal areas of cloth and skin. Everything was then washed with various hues - browns, reds, blacks, etc, depending on the underlying colour. I used MIG pigments to add some rough and ready rust effects. Finally, I added a rough shield icon and based them. In all, about 4 or 5 hours work.

The morannon orc contingent now contains 26 figures and that's my supply of them exhausted. I have more Mordor orcs I could paint, or more likely I will turn to some wolf riders. The Mordor army is now about 600 - 700 points strong.

Friday 4 October 2013

How To Paint Ghouls

I had a couple of queries about a tutorial on painting ghouls. I did prepare one a few months back but for some reason I did not post it. Well, that's remedied now. Here's my quick and easy way to paint your ghouls.

Step 1: Clean and assemble figures. I put the figures into the slottabases for this stage, they are a snug fit so no glue is required. Note that I am using these as temporary bases, for traditional gaming they would be glued into square bases. They are primed white.

Step 2: I mixed up a thin glaze of dark grey paint, with a few drops of matt varnish and a few drops of matt medium added. I find this helps the coat to glaze smoothly and also stick in the recesses, without too much pooling. I don't measure exact quantities, but it's roughly equal parts of the three mediums, then enough water to make it translucent on a white plate. The usual description of skimmed milk is about right.

Step 3: Another glaze is mixed up, this time using equal amounts (roughly) of dark grey and chestnut. This is applied more densely to the mouths and the eye rims, less densely as shading on the bodies and limbs. The aim is to accentuate the facial features and also to hint at a mottled skin. On some of the models I dotted on the colour to make patterns on the head or upped body, again to add a little texture to the skin.

Step 4: Time for some standard painting now, I just apply these bits neatly as possible. The hair gets a coat of field grey, then I mix in some tan earth to paint some of the loincloths. I then mixed in some horse tone roan for the remaining loincloths. Bones are painted off-white, straps are painted horse tone roan, metals are painted chainmail.

Step 5: All the bits painted in the previous step get a glaze of a darker colour to provide some easy shading. The bones and strapping are glazed with a mid-brown, the loincloths with a light brown or green, depending on the original colour. The hair is glazed black, then chestnut added to make a rusty brown to glaze the metals. Finally, a very light grey wash over the feet gives a hint of a dirty environment. At this point, the figures could be based and used in games, but I want to add some dirt, rust, blood and the like.

Step 6: For the rust I use MIG pigments, added to an old brown wash with a few drops of matt varnish. I use dark mud and standard rust, mix a little puddle of each on my palette, then mix the two together for an intermediary shade. Then I stipple these onto the weapons, starting with the darker tone, then the mid, then the lightest, adding less of each as I progress through the stages. I then mixed some MIG russian earth with a purple ink and some matt varnish, to create a dark greyish wash to add to the arms and legs and on any areas of cloth. This gives a little more definition and shading to the figures. Finally, I add the blood, which is made from Tamiya red, some mixed in with the grey wash. It's all a bit rushed and random, I add it mostly to the hands and mouths, dot a bit here and there.

Done! There's still the bases to do, mine are on large element bases but for most it would be a simple task now to base up in the usual way with sand, grass, flock and whatever works for you.
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