Sunday, 30 March 2014

On the workbench: Imperial Knight

There is a reason for my absence from blogging - firstly, my day job has been busy and painting time has been at a minimum... But secondly, these pictures should say the rest...

I've started the first stage of my Imperial Knight! It's a whole lot of plastic, and a whole lot of work, but I think it's coming together nicely. The skeleton is nearing completion, and as you can see I've made a base for it as well.

I'm going with a fairly typical "box art" approach, but with my own spin so far as weathering and extras goes. This is going to be a heavily worn, very well used, Knight!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Tutorial: Painting digital camouflage on a Tau Devilfish - part 3

Stage 9:Paint fine details
I confess that I forgot to photo this stage! But it's easy to describe: apply any decals, via your chosen method. Paint small details like glass view ports etc.

Stage 10: Apply chipping
This is a fun and easy stage! I used a sponge to apply small chips across the model. Basically, take a dark(er) colour and dip a small piece of sponge into it. Using tweezers, dab this across your model.

I used Rhinox Brown, and went further by highlighting the chips. Take a lighter colour than your base coat, and a detail brush. Paint the underside of each chip to simulate depth.

This stage can be skipped if you are in a rush!

Stage 11: Apply weathering powder
With weathering powders, it's important to apply them in the appropriate order, and to build up layers. Don't use huge amounts and then be surprised when the model looks unreal. It's better to build them up with various colours, carefully, using multiple fixative coats as well.

I prefer MIG weathering powders. I applied powders to the exhaust vents and other areas that would generate heat. I sealed those areas with a dab of MIG "Pigment Fixer".

Then I went round the model again, applying more weathering powder - mainly to the underside but all areas which would attract dirt. Again, I fixed this.

Stage 12: Seal with varnish
Seal the model again with another thin coat of varnish. This will protect the wash we applied earlier, and also the weathering powders - if you game with your models, these are very prone to coming off if you don't seal them properly.

Here is the finished model...

I inverted the colours on the engines, to add some variety. Note the heavy staining on these parts.

Metallic parts were painted with a dry brush of Necron Compound, followed by a heavy wash of Nuln Oil; this creates a really dark metal.

I will be adding the drones later...

 The rear of the vehicle - both heavily chipped and weathered...

This shot shows the underside. In applying the weathering powders, I did so directionally: simulating the movement of dust and grit as the Devilfish hovers.

That's it for now - a fast and easy way to paint weathered tanks and vehicles!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Tutorial: Painting digital camouflage on a Tau Devilfish - part 2

Stage 6: Apply varnish
Do a quick pass over your model with a satin or gloss varnish - this will protect your paint job and help the wash in the next stage...

Stage 7: Apply a wash
There are lots of ways this could be done - I'm a big fan of Citadel Shades, for example, but wanted to try something darker for this project. On large tanks like this, I like to use MIG Productions "Dark Wash".

This is an enamel wash. Simply load up your brush, and set it to the grooves and recessed parts of the model. The wash flows right off of your brush, and into the detail. This can be messy, but you will be left with something like this:

Remember to wash your brushes well after using this wash - it will ruin expensive brushes, so use something cheap for this part. 

Stage 8: Clean up wash
This stage demonstrates another nice quality of the MIG enamel washes. You will need some thinner - I recommend MIG "Thinner for Washes."

Take a piece of sponge (from a blister pack is fine), and dab it into the wash. I use the inside of the thinner bottle, as the thinner evaporates really quickly. Using the sponge, wipe the exposed armour plates. This will leave the shading in the recesses, whilst removing the excess wash. A side effect is that it also stains the whole model, giving you a weathered and dirty overall look.

Next up: the finished model...

Friday, 14 March 2014

Tutorial: Painting digital camouflage on a Tau Devilfish - part 1

A while ago, I bought an interesting new product called Mask FX from Critical Mass Games - available here. Available as standard digi-camo, or now a variety of other cap types, this product is marketed as a quick and easy way to apply camo with spay cans or airbrushes. I decided to try this out, and over the next few days I'm going to be posting a tutorial on applying digi-camo.

The product really works! I'd highly recommend it! I actually wanted to do something like this on some armour portions of an Imperial Knight, but decided to try out the technique on a Devilfish before hand. My aim was to paint up a really dirty, very weathered transport; I wanted the camo to look sharp, but also hastily applied.

Using this masking product is all about planning. It's important to plot out hat colours you will use, and the order in which they will be applied. I wanted a mainly grey-blue tank, so worked that as my primary colour.

Stage 1: Undercoat
I started, unusually, with a white undercoat. Nice and solid, applied with several loose and thin coats.

Nothing to see here - move along...

Stage 2: Apply mask
Next, I broke open the Mask FX and some tweezers.

The tape comes on a backing plastic, and you simply pull it off and apply to your model. Be careful not to damage the tape, although it is quite durable. Make sure that you apply it with some pressure to your model - especially if you have curved armour sections etc.

Here's the model as it should look. Note how only the taped sections will end up being white - an example of carefully applying colours. The finished model will actually have little white on it, only the taped sections.

Stage 3: Spray second colour
I simply sprayed my model again, with the next colour of choice (in this case, a flat grey).

I actually used spray cans for this project, but it would work much better with an airbrush. It's basically too cold in my area of England at the moment to use my airbrush outside, so I went with what was at hand!

Once this is dry, go back to the Mask FX and apply more tape pieces to the model. Only those parts left concealed beneath the tapes will be left grey.

Note that the underside of the tank was left white. This was deliberate: I liked the idea of weathering up the white, and leave it like the underside of an aircraft (commonly left white).

Stage 4: Last colour coat
The third and final shade is then applied - in my case, Army Painter Wolf Grey.

Stage 5: Remove the tape
Let your model dry! This is important, as otherwise the tapes might left off some of the paint. This is especially crucial if your using spray cans...

I would suggest tweezers are again the best option. The Mask FX should just peel off with little resistance!

You'll be left with something like this...

Note that you will probably have some errors after the tapes are removed. If your chosen vehicle has curved armour plates, like this Devilfish, this might be quite pronounced. This is easily fixed by going back over your camo and touching up mistakes with a brush.

Next instalment: adding shading with a wash...

Friday, 7 March 2014

Trollforged Miniatures: Imperial Greatcoat Commander

Trollforged Miniatures was undoubtedly the forerunner in casting of community-sculpted models, and continues to release a series of interesting and unique miniatures. A while ago I picked up this model, and recently finished painting him.

This is a Greatcoat Platoon Commander, released as part of Trollforged's Greatcoat range. These are bearskin-hat-wearing, rifle-toting sci-fi troopers - similar to but not the same as GW's Vostroyans. I haven't purchased any of those, but the Platoon Commander appealed to me because he has so many uses in other games. I painted him in regal, deep reds, but plan on using him as a Primaris Psyker in 40k. He'd be ideal for use as a commander in an Imperial Guard army as well - Vostroyans immediately come to mind, but would make a good Cadian general in the right colour scheme. 

The model is single piece, cast from super light resin. The sculpting is perhaps cruder than some manufacturers, but the model is very cheap and I like the character. 

The face in particular has nice detail, and the chunky sculpting takes painting and subsequent highlighting very well.

The shot below shows the detailing on the cape, providing plenty of opportunity to add highlights.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Quick Cadians: Female Troopers

Today I finished a small commission project, using a variety of bits from third party manufacturers. The models hopefully showcase how the various parts can be used.

I was asked to do a tabletop squad of these models, in the standard Cadian colour scheme. This has gone through a number of variations over the years (especially with the release of the new paints), so I went for the typical scheme used in the "How to Paint Citadel Miniatures" guide.

The most interesting aspect of this project was that my client wanted an all-female squad! Here are the finished models:

The miniatures are obviously based on the standard Cadian sprue from GW; I used the legs, arms and weapons. I combined these with the "female conversion set" from Shadowforge miniatures (the Laughing Monk range). A quick look online suggests that these might no longer be available, but I could be wrong about that.

The set originally included a variety of replacement torsos and heads, to convert a whole squad of troopers. The torsos are generally nice and useable, but the heads were less so. I picked the best ones, and combined these with a sprue of female heads from Microart Studios. Again, unfortunately, a quick search online suggests that these are now discontinued - they look to have disappeared following the MAS split last year!

This model shows a torso and head - I guess with the plastic longboat legs, these parts would make a decent female commissar as well.

This miniature demonstrates a Microart Studios head. These heads are very well sculpted - good expressions, excellent detail and fun to paint. They are much better than the Shadowforge heads, and the scale is about right.

These two troopers demonstrate the original Shadowforge heads. As can be seen, the detail is cruder and almost "elvish" (or Eldar!). The berets were the nicest of the bunch; also included were some heads in cloth caps, some in Naval caps, and some bare heads. Interestingly, the set also included some "half-heads" which could be glued in to the plastic Cadian helmet... That sounds like a good idea, but in reality the helmet looks enormous and the bits just didn't work together.

This trooper has a Shadowforge torso and a MAS head.

Same again head.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend searching out these bits if you want to build a female Guard squad. If you're a true infantry head, then any variation in your stock troops has to be a good thing. I question why GW doesn't just make a head or two for the Cadian squad...