Sunday, 26 May 2013

Basing with Fimo

Following on from my previous attempt at using Fimo, a relatively low cost sculpting putty which hardens in the oven, I was sent a large amount by a generous relative who thought it would be useful for a future project. After sitting on the shelf for over a year, having failed miserably to copy another person's basing technique, I thought I would bring it down this weekend for a second attempt. With the Dakkajet having a large flying base the usual rocks and sand approach wouldn't look as interesting on a large scale so I sought to use the Fimo to make flagstones which I could then weather and age using my new pigments.

Fimo comes in many different colours, but this isn't a problem as it can be painted if desired.

I used the remains of an old air filter mesh to create the desired shapes, then baked in the oven on a sheet of foil.

I used a pair of kitchen scissors to cut out the shapes once cooled, trimming excess to fit around the stand.

I then chamfered the edges using a hobby file and glued them in place using super glue.

The addition of some rocks, and an attempt at brush undercoating which was abandoned.

A couple of light coats of 'British Armour' and it was on to the details.

As with my Leman Russ I started with a drybrush highlight, followed by glazes and washes to darken.

In addition to applying pigments to shade, I also used a white to highlight and yellow to blend.

Overall I am happy with how it turned out, even with a little ghosting on the clear plastic stand.

The addition of thinned black and white paint on the cracks really makes them 'pop'.

Weathering Reference: Concrete

I thought I'd share with you all some of the photos I've snapped as inspiration for future weathering projects. They are not high quality or carefully staged photographs, most are taken with my phone in passing and have become a point of amusement for those with me at the time, but are an ever growing asset for those like me looking to replicate weathering effects. The first in the series is 'Concrete'...

Monday, 20 May 2013

Painting a chequered pattern

Recently I have been adding the details to my Dakkajet and found the process of painting a checquered/checkered pattern on the wings very frustrating and time consuming, at least the way I was attempting to do it:

Simply looking at other designs I sketched a rough pencil outline, filled in the light squares and began painting the dark ones from the corners, so that the overlap would be minimal and the edging sharp and eye catching. Unfortunately I spent more time squaring up the design than actually painting it, so instead I took my finest brush and painted in the hatch design on the other wing first, before filling in the dark areas:

From the photo above I felt there would be no way the designs would match on both wings, as the black squares where clearly going to be larger than the white and look awful once the wing was finished. Nevertheless I pushed on, and with most modelling adventures the end result was quite pleasing even if the first few minutes make you want to scrap the whole thing and start again. After a little weathering with wash and pigments only, the Dakkajet is looking great. I have decided not to try glazing on this one, as the large flat panels would be very difficult to get even colour modulation on.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

GW Specialist Games Shutdown: A Collector's Nightmare?

As I write this the Specialist Games section of the Games Workshop business is closing down. Not that you can see this from their website. The only indication things are not as they seem is the gradual 'No Longer Available' status being applied to a large number of popular models, as shown by the picture above. They may still have Inquisitor Eisenhorn on the website but you can no longer 'add him to your cart'. Other models from Battlefleet Gothic, Epic 40,000, Warmaster and so on are equally affected.

So what is a long term Games Workshop fan to do? The obvious knee-jerk reaction is to quickly buy up everything you've ever wanted before 'it all disappears', and I have come across many blog posts providing near live-stream updates of what is disappearing, along with tales of woe about models they've always wanted but will now miss out on. I myself have narrowly avoided picking up some Blood Bowl teams 'just in case' I decided to field them in the future. Where my thoughts changed was someone describing how they already had three Eisenhorns but wanted another one 'just in case'....

Aren't we forgetting something? Unless you live in an area with a large wargaming community and the rise of Internet ordering hasn't killed your local brick and mortar stores, you will probably have a great deal of trouble finding someone to play these 'Specialist Games' with. I remember dragging friends away from their football or playstation to give one a try, as the small model count and often streamlined rules are an easy way into the hobby, only to be dismayed when they seemed less than enthusiastic. It's also a big leap for most to go from Settlers of Catan to Blood Bowl, as the scope of ongoing book-keeping through months of gaming can be a daunting commitment.

If you are part of a gaming club or general community then chances are you or someone you know already has the models to play these games, and you are already playing them. In which case, you either bought them when the games were first released or have collected since then, knowing that great deals are always available via other sources than the Games Workshop website. Even most of the bloggers lamenting the loss of the Specialist Games range would never dream of ordering their usual models from Games Workshop directly, so why the outrage?

I guess I am becoming older, and the thought of piles of unpainted, un-assembled models sitting in the cupboard or under the stairs no longer excites me. I am more of a gamer and hobby oriented wargamer than a collector, so I don't see what the fuss is about. If I want to play Blood Bowl I will pick up a box of Warhammer fantasy and have a whole team for $30. If I want to play Inquisitor I will jump on the 28mm INQ28 bandwagon, rather than troll forums looking for the elusive Eisenhorn. If I want a game of Battlefleet Gothic? Frankly I would probably try Firestorm Armada or X-Wing as these games are currently supported and have a much larger fan base, making it easier for me to 'pew pew' in the silent depths of space. This week I will probably get my space faring kicks from the new Star Trek film and stick to 40k for my gaming fun.

Do I sound out of touch with my hobby self of 15 who bought Gorkamorka, Digganob, and three seperate warbands all without anyone to play with except a cousin who lived two hours away and gamed with twice a year? Probably, but without summer holidays to splash the paint around and still have time to play with cap guns and watch a Lord of the Rings marathon, I don't see myself painting up a Tau space fleet any time soon. Which is sad. But what isn't sad is having a disposable income so you can splash out on not one but two Ork Bombers in the space of two weeks! These guys have captured my interest more then any model I have painted in nearly two years, so I was desperate to see what one would look like with all the bells and whistles attached.
The half painted Dakkajet is joining my Ork forces, while the Blitz Bomber is a long term project using a lot of the newer techniques I have been trying out. Watch this space! And if you are a collector rather than a hobby wargamer then stop reading this and get to the Games Workshop site before it all sells out! Or you can wait six months for all of it to turn up on eBay?

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Chipped Paint II

Following on from my first attempt at re-creating chipped paint I found that not even clear coat could prevent the undercoat from being scraped off once the final spray coat had dried, resulting in plastic showing through when attempting to scrape the paint away the following evening. There was also some "bunching" of the scraped paint in some areas when it was scraped while wet, so there must be a sweet spot of drying time in the middle!

I also experimented with some contrasting colours.

Despite this I was quite happy with the results, and after a quick highlight of the paint edges and a light shading glaze, I felt the technique could be used to great effect on my next Ork model, a "Dakkajet", which has really caught my imagination and kept my enthusiasm alive for my new Ork colour scheme. So I proceeded as before with a dark undercoat, this time without any metal, and taped the areas I didn't want the final colour to cover. Then a triple coat of clear coat, following by a dark and light yellow base coat:

After pausing just long enough to admire the beautiful snow covered mountains (finally visible after a very cloudy and rainy winter/spring!) I used my modelling tool to scrape just enough of the base coat away to give the appearance of chipped paint. As mentioned, this was done when the top coat was still slightly wet, and I recommend holding on to the model by the base to avoid any unwanted fingerprints!

You can see only a couple of the scratches around the gun have been highlighted so far.

From what I have read on other weathering blogs and guides for paint chips, the critical part is to not overdo the number or size of chips. You want to chip the panels, not the whole model, and it's important to remember the size and location of any scratches. I have done quite a few on leading edges, and although not shown in the photo I concentrated some on the underside to represent small arms fire from the ground. The idea is to no affect the colour/look of the model at first glance, but to brake up the large painted areas with some battle damage. As I am painting a science fiction model I didn't have to be too careful about making it look realistic.

After the base coat had dried I began adding highlights to the edges of the chips and scrapes, which you can see above. I also started on some of the other colours and details which I will later shade and weather to match the rest of the model. I am still undecided as to shading with glazes or pigments, so it'll be back to the Killa Kanz for a little while.

Part way through, having penciled in the pattern on the wing.