Wednesday 29 January 2014

Completed: Blood Angels 'Relief Sculpture'

Following on from the two or more weeks this took me to sculpt (thanks to the beauty of oven hardening clay) I undercoated and painted in less than two hours, mostly thanks to dry-brushing and glazing rather than any layering or wet blending. The results are quite pleasing, if a little rough, but again difficult to photograph!

The harsh lighting creates shadows independent of the darker painted areas, certainly a consideration with this sort of thing, but the real magic is lost in a two dimensional representation on your screen, with the effect of the closest marine leering out toward the viewer flattened entirely. An angled photo shows this feature better, and the effect is almost 'bas-relief' in nature, something I only came across when researching these terms for the blog. I guess the usual problems photographing a three-dimensional war gaming models are magnified when the depth is reduced further. 

Painting wise, a dark and sinister painting led to a rather drab paint job, with lots of darker glazes and washes, but the colour certainly draws the eyes to the key figures and away from the negative space and oddly sculptured contours in these areas! I also snapped a black and white picture to see what that would have looked like, and was pleasantly surprised at how it came out.

So all done it was a great way to dabble with sculpting, mixing products and actually following through and finishing a (small) project. This has given me a lot of confidence with Sculpey and I can't wait to start on some armatures for three-dimensional sculpts. I have no idea what I will use this particular piece for, maybe a badge on the side of my army bag or an interesting wall feature? I've already dropped it twice without harm so it's tougher than it looks!

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Blood Angels 'Relief' Sculpture (in Sculpey)

Following from some brief experiments with different modelling putty, I decided to mix two of the better versions (Sculpey and Super Sculpey) to hopefully create a putty which has more definition but less brittleness, at least that's the plan. The internet seems to think this is possible, so game on!

With the White Sculpey quite brittle when baked (but great for detail work), and the Super Sculpey slightly translucent pre-baked (making detail work difficult), the two mixed together created a pleasing pale colour which was very workable while retaining details easily. This also meant I had to be careful with fingers and tool placement to ensure no mistakes showed in previously detailed areas. For a simple experimental 'relief' sculpture I chose a basic Blood Angels motif from inside the codex.

As you can see it was quite easy to work with the combined Sculpey, sections could be removed and 'mixed' back in to other areas, and had I the patience to work the material to correct relative height rather than contouring the edges for a perceived depth, a true three-dimensional sculpt could very easily be created. As it was I stopped at roughly this point (progress was slow) and was pleased to find the Sculpey just as workable two weeks later. This may not come as a surprise to most of you, but from years of green stuff work it was a newly enjoyable experience.

All packed up ready for the next available sculpting session

I have few pictures of the final product before baking, suffice to say it was baked on aluminium foil, in the oven, being careful not to burn myself when removing the tray and carefully peeling away the baked Sculpey. I say peeling, as it needed to rest at room temperature to harden, something I hadn't really noticed before. I had given up doing some of the finer details in Sculpey, instead adding these in green stuff after the piece had cooled down. I would hate to think of the fumes given off by baked green stuff, so for future projects I will have to remember to bake all the large sections before any detail work is done. Who knows, maybe with practice comes the confidence to scuplt the whole piece in Sculpey in one go?

In the end, it was quite difficult to photograph the finished piece due to the colouring of the sculpey and basic photography equipment and skills! Hopefully a lick of paint will bring out the details and hide some of the rougher aspects. In hindsight I may sculpt a more 'complete' model as the dark areas of the painting can't be easily replicated in putty!

Wednesday 22 January 2014

'Pre' Shaded Basecoat

After all the frenetic work on my Necron army, it was easy to forget the box of new Tactical Marines I had purchased way back in October last year during a tax free splurge while down in Oregon. I had tucked them away in a cupboard for a Christmas present, and actually spent most of January 1st gluing them together, marveling at the precise details, near invisible mold lines, and multitude of useful weapon options.

Being my first ever squad of Tactical Marines, all my Blood Angels are equipped with pistols and swords, I was on the tipping point of painting them in a new chapter, but stuck with the notion of growing my collection rather than starting fresh with another new army.

You can see above my very rough work on the undercoat, which I hoped would show through once the spray can colour was applied over the top. I have had bad luck with sandy particles, possibly even dust, getting caught in the base coat and then causing a rough surface which is difficult to paint on afterwards. To this end I brushed on the bone colour, drybrushed the white and added a touch of black ink to add some depth, rather than the black spray, white spray shading I have tried in the past.

After a few thin coats of Army Painter Pure Red my camera had a lot of trouble focusing on the models! It is difficult to see the light/dark shaded areas but they are there, and make it much easier for the eye to pick up the raised elements, especially on a mono-colour model. Raising the feet with some sections of sprue allowed for spraying of the lower sections much more easily without letting the model rest on its side.

On the reverse you can see the shaded areas on the backpacks and shoulder guards more clearly. These will be enhanced with some glazing, weathering and chipped paint after highlights have been started. I am hoping a lot of small applications of different colours and shades will bring more depth than just shading down and highlighting up using one colour. The bright red as it stands currently is also a crowd pleaser!

On a larger model the pre-shading shows more clearly, even if the brushed undercoat took a long time! Here the lower hull sections and areas around the exhaust were painted with very heavy glazes of black paint, and the areas which will be painted in metal were masked off. On a side note I have started to drill a lot of my barrels, and this looks great especially on a larger calibre sponson weapon.

With a can of bright red paint half finished and a Mephiston model on the painting table I have re-ignited my passion for the Blood Angels along side my current Necron project, and discovered a neat way to add depth to a model with very simple materials. I look forward to adding the details to these guys soon.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Photo Post: Necron Scarabs 1 Land Raider 0

I recently let my new Necron Scarabs stretch their legs, and boy did they enjoy their first meal! 

Monday 6 January 2014

Completed: Necron Immortals

 The paint has been flying during the evenings here at Heaven's Teeth. With the aim to paint a "tabletop standard" army during the winter months, the perfectionist eye has left the building and the experimental edge has taken over. It may not look like it, but each of these Immortals is painted slightly differently, with the aim of losing the "rigidity" of previous paint jobs, while experimenting with different glaze mixes, applications of highlights, object-source-lighting, and weathering. All in under three hours, using batch painting methods.

On a time saving note, the bases were actually made much earlier in 2013, and their darker greys work well against the lighter models, though I personally prefer the more "even" balance on my earlier Necron Scarabs where they blend in rather than stand out. Please forgive my improper use of painting terms, I'm working on expanding my vocabulary this year as well as my painted model collection!

On the reverse side we can see the different shading glazes, from near black on the outer two models, to almost dark green or grey on the central figure. The farthest right model also benefitted from application of the final highlight after all the glazing and weathering was completed, and I will be carrying this over to future units in this army. I am slowly putting together a step-by-step for this paint scheme, so stay tuned.

Saturday 4 January 2014

WIP Necron Immortals

The grey to white highlighting of the basecoat went a little lighter in these models (left), but they darken down once the glaze shading is added (centre) and some weathering using the GW technical paints is added (right). The batch painting method has helped me a lot, as now the whole unit is just a little lighter than the other models I will be painting, rather than individual models sticking out. The pastel blue GW Nihilakhe Oxide Technical Paint  actually adds a lot of depth to the white, rather than just as a weathering oxide of the rust.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Completed: Necron Scarabs

The New Year brought renewed hobby enthusiasm after reading a lot of yearly blog reviews, and to kick off my painted model count for 2014 I picked the low hanging fruit of my "Winter Painting Project" in the form of my Necron Scarabs, which were already on the work bench from last year.

Keeping things simple I used a grey spray can base coat for both the rocks and the scarabs, transitioning to browns and blacks in shading the rocks, and blue/greys and white for the scarabs. The exact colours will probably be the focus for a future post, but the addition of the GW technical paints for a little dirt, rust, and a little green object-source-lighting really brought the models to 'life'. I kept the rocks quite muted in their highlights to give the scarabs more contrast when arranged together in a unit.

For a total paint time of less than two hours for the entire unit I am very happy with the results, though I rushed the red Space Marine and he does not hold up well under close inspection so no photos of that particular base! This unit is also my first attempt at a 'table-top' or 'gaming quality' paint scheme and matches my expectations perfectly.

Gaming wise, these guys are Beasts (!) which means they ignore terrain when moving (at twice the speed of regular troops) so they should give the opponent an additional target to fret about when the really nasty stuff is in their face on turn two. They also 'chew' through armour so should be helpful for Land Raiders and the like. Even if they don't make it into contact with the armour, their position on the table will certainly affect an opponent's confidence in throwing tanks forward. The game is won in the Movement phase, as they say!