Monday, December 26, 2011

15mm Victorian Sculpts

Over Christmas I've been playing around with sculpting. Partially inspired by the steampunk nature of Warmachine warjacks I've gone with a Victorian theme, but I'm doing my guys in 15mm. When standing next to those warjacks it turns them from 28mm robots into 15mm giant steampunk mecha. Kinda cool what forced perspective can do.

My lovely photographer trying out her new camera.

  Here is my first partially completed sculpt,  Sherlock Holmes. And the beginnings of some other guys. I'll put more up as they progress. I do have to say that I'm really enjoying myself sculpting these guys. Normally when I sculpt 28mm I get bored part of the way through or get frustrated with doing the detail. These guys are super quick and I'm not fussing with the little details just pushing the putty around. Surprisingly fun when I ignore my perfectionist tendencies with modeling and just sculpt. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Time Machine: Warmachine Duo

I've gotten onto a kick painting some warmachine stuff. I'm currently working on an older metal Cygnar Sentinel but he isn't quite finished. I'm really not painting any force just whatever I happen to have laying around unpainted.

I'm also working on putting together a lightbox so I can take some better pictures of my work. Hopefully, I'll be to show some comparison pictures once that is done.

In the meantime this is a picture of a mercenary Talon warjack and a Cygnaran warcaster from the roleplaying line. These pictures were taken in a sort of half lightbox and I've always thought they came out much better than what I could do.

RayGun Gothic Girl

Just finished painting up Dee Dee, Rocket Girl from Reaper Minis. I like the way the red stripe down the side looks. I know Reaper has some other raygun gothic style miniatures hopefully I'll get the chance to paint some more up.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ancient Ruins Tutorial: Finishing Touches

Almost done now! In fact they are ready to go on the table now but I usually like to do just a couple more things to finish my terrain off.

For old ruins like these I like to add grasses to make them look like they are partially reclaimed by nature. I generally use two types of grasses, static grass and deer hair. Static grass is easy to use and looks like shorter grass and weeds when applied. I use the deer hair for longer grasses and tufts of weeds.

While the static grass can be easy to find, Games Workshop sells a couple of varieties, deer hair can be a little trickier. I have a large supply of various colors of dyed and bleached deer hair patches from tying flies for fishing. For terrain I generally use a straw colored and a dark brown dyed piece. An easy place to find them is in the fly fishing section of a larger sporting goods shop. The same thing is available in a prepackaged format for train layouts although it is generally more expensive. A small patch will last you a long time as long as you take care cutting it.

My general method is to put a dab of glue where I want a taller patch of grass to go. Then I cut a small tuft of deer hair to the length I want. I just put the cut end into the glue and it is usually enough to keep it in place. I continue to put deer hair on until I'm satisfied.

Then while the glue holding the deer hair is still wet I mix a little watered down glue and apply that with a brush everywhere I want the static grass. This includes up against the base of the deer hair tufts. Next I sprinkle on the static grass fairly heavily and then tip it off onto some paper. A few taps on the bottom helps to dislodge any stray pieces. Put aside and let dry. The dislodged static grass can be gathered up to use next time.

Once dried I spray it with a quick coat of matte sealer and they're done!

I hope these tutorials helped with making your own projects.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ancient Ruins Tutorial: Painting

Painting. Aside from actually building the terrain it's probably the most important step. But that doesn't mean it has to be super hard, some basic techniques are all you really need for a good paint job.

First up is the primer coat. Just like painting a miniature the primer coat gives you a base to build off, but with terrain it also has some structural benefit as well. For the primer I start with latex paint. I get mine at a home improvement store. I get a gallon of matte, latex, indoor paint and have the color matched to a dark brown acrylic paint I have. GW scorched brown or charadon granite are both good colors. A gallon of paint will last you a long time as long as you keep it sealed up.

My primer coat is a mix of the latex paint and glue. This helps to stick all of the texturing material down. I mix it about 2 parts latex paint, 2 parts water, and 1 part glue. Again like the sealant coat you want it about the consistency of melted ice cream.

Two things to keep in mind when applying the primer: wait overnight for the texturing material to dry on and once you have the primer on don't go over the textured area again. Make sure it is covered thoroughly the first time and don't fuss with it. Otherwise, you'll find the water in the primer weakening the glue and the texturing material coming off. Instead just paint the primer on heavily and try to get it in all of the nooks and crannies. Let it dry and then your ready for the real painting to begin.

With the primer on the ruins are starting to take shape.
For painting terrain I use acrylic craft paints and large brushes. Using other paints tends to get expensive and brushes for working on miniatures would just take too long. They don't have to be the best quality since painting the terrain tends to beat them up. You can make do with just about anything but one brush your going to want is a stiff bristled round brush for dry brushing and stippling.
My small ruin after the primer coat has dried.
For the base coat I just painted everything a dark grey. Then I went back in and painted some blocks a darker grey and others a lighter grey. This helps to give the natural variation that you see in stonework.
Three tone base coat
Then I stippled on a dark brown on the lower courses of blocks, the flagstones, and more lightly on the top edges of the stones. To do stippling just take a stiff brush and load it with paint then wipe off most of the paint on a paper towel like you are dry brushing. But instead of dragging the brush across the edges instead stab straight at the ruins. It makes a semi random splotch. Just keep on going till your satisfied with the look. I stipple on a coat of dark mossy green as well keeping it more evenly spread across piece.

Next is a dark wash. I like to use a mix of black, grey, brown and green to give a dark brownish grey. Make sure it is thin enough that it will run into the recesses. Paint this into all of the cracks and crevices and also across all of the gravel. Now is a good time to hit all of those hard to reach spots that you happened to miss in previous steps. Also, anyplace where you might have knocked any of the texturing material off while painting. This step can get pretty messy as the wash runs through all of the cracks in the ruins and out the bottom. You don't have to hit all of the flat areas but don't worry if you do. Now wait for it to dry completely.

After the wash is dried
Now we move on to dry brushing. I worked from a dark grey up through a lighter grey mixing in browns and greens to the grey occasionally. For the darker colors I try to hit the stones from all sides, but as I get to the lighter colors I'm mostly working from the top down like sunlight hitting it. You want it to look natural and not overly highlighted.

Then I painted some dark brown into the areas where there would be dirt and stippled on some more greens. After that dried the whole thing got a light dry brushing of tan to tie everything together.

Painting complete
Next up: Finishing Touches

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ancient Ruins Tutorial: Texturing

Now we have the ruins all put together. The next step is to make it look less like chunks of foam you stacked up and more like old stonework. How do you do that? Texturing. I use several different techniques but these are the basics.

First off you want to fill any large gaps that shouldn't belong. I like using wood filler for this but spackle or any other putty will work as long as it doesn't eat away at the foam. Mostly on these pieces I filled the gaps between the flagstones and the wall blocks so that base was solid. I also filled any large gaps in the walls that I didn't like the look of. You don't have to go crazy as the next step fills a lot of the smaller gaps. I usually do this step once the glue has dried from assembly and then let the filler dry before moving onto the next step.

You can clearly see the putty work here.

If you look closely at your foam pieces you'll see that they look kinda porous especially where you've sanded them. Since its unlikely the wall was made out of lava rock or something similar we need to fill them in.  That is where the sealant coat comes in. Mix up a batch of glue, putty, and water. I used about 1 part carpenter's glue, 1 part wood putty, and 2 parts water. I also threw in some fine sand but that's optional. You want the mixture to about the consistency of melted ice cream. Runny but not watery. If you are using carpenter's glue don't mix spackle into it. I'm not sure why but the whole thing just turns into a big ball of gooey mess. Mix white glue with spackle instead.

When you have your sealant mix all set just paint it over the whole piece. You can skip the bottom if you wish but make sure you get it into all of cracks. Wash your brush out really well as once this stuff dries into it that's pretty much it for that brush. Then you just need to wait for it to dry. I generally wait overnight but if your in a rush use your best judgement.

After the sealing coat has dried.
Now that the foam is looking like stonework we can turn to making the ruins look old and lived in. The best way to do this is adding stones and dirt. I do this by adding several different grades of materials.

Texturing materials left to right: fine gravel, ballast, sand, mix.
The materials I use are fine gravel, which I just get from the road side and then sift through a couple of different size screens to grade it, ballast which can be easily bought at a hobby shop that carries model train products or you can use some really fine gravel from above, playground or beach sand, and finally a mix that has a little bit of everything in it.

The gravel is mostly in the corners.

Applying these requires a little experience to get looking natural but if you follow these guidelines it should come out alright.
  •  The larger the material the less you use. So put more sand on it than gravel.
  • Apply the materials from larger to smaller. Start with the gravel, move on to the ballast, and end with the sand.
  • Place the material where dirt and debris is most likely to collect.
Make sure to get the crevices between the flagstones but don't cover them completely.

The last one is the hardest but think about which parts of the model will trap dirt when it rains or the wind blows. So you generally want to put it into the corners and crevices but also on horizontal surfaces. Avoid putting it on vertical surfaces as it will just look unnatural.

Sand on the tops of the blocks will look like dirt once painted.

Once you've figured out where it is going thin some glue down with a little water take a brush and start putting the glue in the spots where you want it to go. Do a whole piece at a time the glue will stay wet as long as you don't dawdle. Then get your materials out and start dropping them on. Shake loose pieces off onto a piece of newspaper and keeping putting more material on till you've basically covered it with sand. Then shake everything off and put it aside and do the next piece.
Don't worry to much if you mess up as you can fix it later.

The resulting mix of everything that is on the newspaper can just be poured into your mix container for later use. I sometimes skip the sand altogether and just use the mix as the final material. Touch up anything that looks like it could use a little more then wait for everything to dry.

Next up: Painting

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ancient Ruins Tutorial: Assembly

I thought it might be fun to write up a little tutorial on my method for creating the ancient ruins terrain pieces that I showed earlier. This, with some modifications, is the technique I use for making pretty much all of my terrain. I'm going to break this up over several parts to make it easier for me.

Part I: Assembly

The first step is to cut out some blocks to build the ruins out of. These come in two types the flatter flagstones and the more brick shaped wall blocks. I start with approximately 1/2 inch thick pink insulation foam. If this has any plastic film on it I strip that off of it and then cut it into strips from 1/2 inch to just over an inch and about 2 feet long. I then cut these into the blocks. I also cut some wider strips that I cut into the larger flagstones. These I then cut in half width wise to make two flagstones. Vary the sizes as you cut them, if each block is identical they will look more like bricks then stonework. I just eyeballed it as I cut them and it worked out fine.

Progression of blocks left to right from raw material to finished.

From these blanks I then roughly cut off the corners and cut in any details like gouges, nicks, and broken corners. Finally, they get a quick sanding to round them off and they are ready for assembling. Be careful to leave the bottom surface of the flagstones untouched so they lie flat when they are glued together, but get all sides of the blocks since you won't know which way they will be glued together. The more you sand the pieces the more worn and older the stones will look but if you go overboard they will end up looking like cylinders and not stone blocks.

I made a huge batch of stones while watching TV as it really doesn't require much concentration once you get use to it. In the end I should have made some more as my pile of stones quickly disappeared as I built each section.

Specific blocks were cut to make the archways stones.

Next up is assembling each ruin. I laid down the bottom layer of blocks to form the wall first. I decided on a pattern with a single thickness wall and a large squared off column at the corners and intervals along any straight walls. After test fitting the pieces together everything was glued together with carpenter's glue. To make my life a little easier I taped some plastic wrap down onto a flat piece of cardboard and built the ruins on it. That way I could just wait till everything dried and pop it off.

Small pieces can look just as good as large ones.
Once the first layer was in place I fitted and glued flagstones around them. Then I built each successive layer just like building a real wall. At this point it is just trial and error finding pieces and putting them together to get the ruin to look like you want.

Stones were placed askew in this column to give it the look of collapsing.
I like to build several at one time so I can move each along at the same stage. This stage is definitely the most time consuming and that isn't even counting making all of the little blocks to start with.
But when your done you should have several ruins that look like they belong in some kind of pink sugary fairy world. We'll take care of that in the next stages.

I glued the flagstones on asymmetrically for a more haphazard look.

Next Step: Texturing

Friday, November 18, 2011

Time Machine: GW Inquisitor

I'm hoping to get some work in progress pictures of the ruins up soon, but in the mean time I thought I'd post some pictures of a miniature from my past. Inquisitor Covenant is from the GW Inquisitor game and I painted him up just as the game was first released 10 years ago. These were larger 54mm scale figures and were covered with detail and gear.  I'm still happy with the paint job on him and looking at him again reminds me how much fun this scale is to paint. I know I have a couple more of these guys squirrelled away somewhere. Maybe I'll try to dig them out and work on them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cygor Painted

Thanks to my lovely photographer I was able to get some pictures of my painted Cygor. I'm still debating whether he should get some blue warpaint like the rest of my Beastmen will have. I also need to put some static grass onto his base but I haven't settled on what mix of colors to use for it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ancient Ruins

 I've finished painting the Cygor last night but I'm waiting to take some good pictures of him. However, I've also been working on a test piece of terrain. I've assembled the ruin out of carved pieces of pink insulation foam. Although they have changed the color a bit so now its more of a light purple insulation foam. The finished blocks look remarkably like pieces of grape bubble gum. After cutting out the blocks and sanding the rough edges off they were glued together and the larger gaps on the bottom were filled with wood putty. I'd like to make 3 or 4 more of this sized ruin and then I'll move onto the next stage of applying texture and painting.  

One of my Beastmen is peeking over the edge for scale.

I glued the flagstones on irregularly for a more random looking base.

From the bottom you can better see the construction method.

Friday, November 4, 2011

More Cyclops and Friends

Work proceeds on my Cygor but I thought work in progress shots of him would be somewhat boring. So instead I'm going to show off some other cyclops-kin that I painted a couple of years ago. 

These are my small force of Skorne for Hordes. Once I saw that their force contained big one-eyed guys of course I had little choice but to paint them up. The two Cyclops Savages and the Warlock are from the starter box and I added the Cyclops Brute and the Basilisk. I didn't want to paint them up in the standard red and gold and the oriental style of their armor made inspired me toward a more dark jade coloring.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Beastmen Cygor

I knew I wanted a big guy for my beastmen and my love of guys with one eye who throw things, from my childhood favorite game Crossbows and Catapults, came together in this guy.

I've been slowly working on him for a few weeks now and I'm happy that he's ready to paint. He is based off the GW daemon prince kit with a lot of greenstuff on top. I wanted him to be more apelike in posture so I stayed away from the giant that is the more common model. He actually stood about the same height as the new plastic Minotaurs which just wouldn't do, so I decided to elevate his base with a piece of the same Arcane Ruins that he is also using as a projectile.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the Horizon

With the Halloween projects completed these are some of the projects that I would like to get to in the next few months. I might not hit all of them but at least its someplace to start.
  • Terrain: I really want to get a playable board done.
  • Beastmen: The models and the character of the army has always appealed to me. I have a small force and I want to expand it for a possible campaign at the start of next year.
  • Cygnar: My love of giant robots coming to the surface.
  • 40k Imperial Guard: Possibly a techno medieval force with salet helmets.
  • Raygun Gothic: Some stuff that fits with the blog title. 
And a few pictures of what I have done so far. More to come.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Terrain Part II

Pictures of my finished barrow tomb. I ended up using some light green static grass that I had hidden away and some cut deer hair for the tall grasses.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Halloween Contigent Assembled

My Undead contingent ready to march to war!


I'm going to use the new GW banshee as a vampiress with the ethereal power, the floaty guys as cairn wraiths and of course a block of 25 skeletons. In the background is my barrow tomb painted up. Just need to get some dead grass colored static grass for the bases and the barrow and make some movement trays for my guys.
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