Some notes on painting the models #1: Spraying (A response to Tool Tips 09 – Paints)

I just read the latest post from my mate Faust over on his Double Down Dice blog – Tool Tips 09 – Paints. I saw that Lionoversuskingkong had posted something about Army Painter paints, and replied, and then was going to go on and reply in some detail to DDD and his post – and then had the thought – I’d talked about a lot of this in the past – in the comments section of Luke’s Start Your Meeples board game review blog. So then I decided to just copypasta the stuff I wrote in Luke’s blog, “Remix” my thoughts, and turn it into a “response video”-type post to DDD’s post, as an entry on my own blog.

Now everything I write here is completely 100% correct and true. I’ve been painting for a long time now, and I know what I’m doing, while still being open to learning new techniques and continuing to improve. I’m not going to win any Golden Brush or Crystal Demon awards anytime soon, because I don’t paint in the “competition” style. Maybe I could? I’m sure I could go down that path, but I’m not actually interested in competition painting. I’m interested in good quality models for my own table, use and blog. I see some amazing work from pro painters and people who strive to make each model better than their last – and that’s awesome for those who choose to go down that path, but many painters of that type often finish a dozen or fewer models per year. Which for me is not going to get me a game of The Warhams with two fully-painted sides clashing.

So like I said. Everything I state here is true. But it’s true for me, in my own experience. In one particular Tabletop Minions video, Adam asks a bunch of Pro Painters for tips on improving. Which is an interesting 10 minutes, but if you watch it, you’ll see that a lot of these Pro Painters offer contradictory advice. Some only use cheap, disposable brushes, others swear by the Pure Sable, Windsor & Newton Series 7. What they state in that video is also 100% true, and factual. For them. It’s a kind of different thing to opinions, in that they (and I in this post) aren’t talking about favourite colours, but actual, factual things and techniques that work. For each person. Watch it, or don’t!

So here we go:

WASHING

Always, always wash resin and PVC models before priming or assembly. I probably should theoretically wash metal and HIPS plastic as well. I read that some people swear by doing so, but I’ve never had a problem not doing so in 30+ years. I’d also wash Mantic’s crap “restic” and especially Trollforged’s shitty “Trollcast” (this is what Raging Heroes’ “resin” models are made from. That shit is the worst production material ever.)

PRIMING

Spray prime your models – don’t do it with a brush if you can avoid it. Black and white paints that you paint on with a brush are radically different to using a proper brush-on primer, and again different to using a spray. Just use the spray. Sprays stick to the models much more effectively than painted-on primer or undercoat.

Get three cans of primer (cheap spray paint from the hardware shop works – you don’t need GW’s expensive cans).
Black, White, Grey. Make sure they’re all matte, not gloss. I use hardware shop cans for most models, and have some Tamiya ones for “extra special” models.
Unless you’re going to pre-shade with zenithal highlighting (and you should try it sometime, anyway).

Just choose the colour most suited to the dominant base colour paint you’ll use. White for bright and light colours, black for dark colours and metals, grey for “in-betweens” and… you’ll get a feel for it. Reds and pinks get white.

It’s probably also worth having some “good” primer as well for those special models. I use either/or Tamiya or Gunze or Mr.Surfacer from “normal” model shops. At the same time, most models aren’t “special” and don’t need it.

If I’m painting a whole lot of something in particular, I’ll often follow up on a black or white initial coat with a coloured (or metallic) coat. It’s a hell of a lot faster, and gives you a pretty decent base coat that you can still touch up and continue to paint over. I’ll use another cheap can from the hardware store if they have an appropriate colour – but if they don’t, I used to buy a can of Tamiya Spray, or Citadel, or another hobby brand. Now, I go to the local paint specialist store (Paintaway is my local) and go through their book of colours, and choose the exact shade of custom colours that I want. Sure, the cans cost AU$30 each, but so do the Army Painter Sprays, or the Citadel, or the Plastic Soldier Company, or…  and the Tamiya ones are cheaper, but tiny. Also, I can always go back and get the same mix and don’t need to worry about them discontinuing the colour that I’ve been using (unlike GW/Citadel).

Great Unclean One

It seems to work pretty well.

Or to put it another way:

This is how I prime and base coat (when I spray a base coat):
Results?

but…

I personally don’t like Army Painter sprays. They sandpaper your models’ surface too easily if you spray from too far away, and I’m just not into spray can brands that need special snowflake instructions in order to function as well as the cheap stuff from the local hardware store. Other people find the Army Painter sprays to be perfectly fine, and so, you know, good for them. Genuinely. I can’t and won’t personally recommend them though – as I have better options available and feel that anything that doesn’t require special snowflake instructions is a better option.

Over many years I’ve seen a lot of people complain about GW sprays being inconsistent or sandpapering their models and such. I was always fine with them, but don’t bother anymore – because as I’ve noted, I can just get custom cans from the paint shop which is much closer than a GW or any GW stockist.

Here’s a couple of great videos from Luke of Luke’s APS on how to use Spray Cans properly. Including the cheapest brands he could find in the UK.

I use this one.

Matte is completely fine as long as you don’t go too thick. You want a bit of tooth for your brush paint to get onto. Gloss is only good if your first step is going to be to wash the models, but can have its place as a coloured undercoat that is also a basecoat. Satin is my go-to. You can also cheat with a gloss base spray by then going over it with a satin mid-coat, and then continuing to paint.

Some people live in places where spray cans don’t work very well, due to humidity or temperature which may or may not be seasonal. I often see airbrushes recommended here, and I’d probably agree, but I’m hot garbage with an airbrush and I find it a massive pain in the arse to set mine up, especially for priming a few figures, and so I just never end up doing it – so I’d suggest that they’re right, but can’t speak from personal experience. I suspect that airbrushed primer would be a bit less hardy than sprayed-on stuff, which is another reason that I just don’t bother. But then the climate that I live in means I don’t need to worry about it. In winter, it’s a pain in the arse waiting and hoping for a weekend when it’s going to be warm and dry enough to spray. The weekend because I’m usually still at work during the warmest part of the day, it gets dark early (and spraying at night time, even with a porch light isn’t the greatest), dry because I spray outside and can’t do it in the rain (obviously). Sometimes this means I build up a backlog of a couple of weeks worth of stuff to varnish and undercoat, and so on those rare days, I seem to be out there constantly, spraying this and that. And then leaving them to dry forever. Yeah, I can see the appeal of using an airbrush!

This has now gotten a bit longer than I’d anticipated, and I haven’t even gotten onto the paint that you paint on with a paint brush yet. So I’m going to call it here and do a follow-up post on that in the next couple of days. Otherwise I’ll be here all day, and I’ve got pressing stuff to do.

Meet Dave (the Evil Overlord)!

Khorne Hellbrute/Dreadnought – built by Dave, painted by Azazel.

Regular readers will remember that awhile back I painted a Khornate Dreadnought (Hellbrute) for an old friend called Dave.

Ku’gath Plaguefather by Dave

Well, I finally managed to track him down recently, and while he’s not a blogger, he is still converting, kitbashing and modelling and has a home over on Deviant Art, under the name “Davidtheeviloverlord“.

Obliterator by Dave

Nurgle Vindicator by Dave

I thought I’d throw Dave an internet shout-out and share some of his work here with a pointer to his pages. Here are a couple of his creations.

Mangler Squig by Dave

To see a lot more of Dave’s work, head over to his DeviantArt!

Monster March Painting Challenge!

Another of the community’s painting challenges out there is something called Monster March. It, rather unsurprisingly deals with the painting of Monsters during – get this – the month of March!

I asked Swordmaster, who is running the challenge if it would be okay if instead of starting from scratch I could try to finish off a pair of models I’ve already started. He kindly said that it would be fine, and so I selected two (Neglected!) models that have been sitting around here, part-painted for literally years. Quite a few in one case!

The Dracoliche comes from the Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Boardgame, though I’ve also puttied up a wargaming base for it to slot into. It’s been part-painted for quite a few years. The second model is Reaper’s Colossal Skeleton from the Bones line of models, specifically their first Kickstarter. I’m hopeful that Monster March can Motivate Me to get both of these damned things done and out of my way. I’ve also got another Monster who I started Months ago that I’d like to get completed as well, but we’ll see…

Squaduary 2018 Challenge: Part 1

A little over a week ago, Westrider commented on the simple February community painting challenge I set up, and mentioned a thing called Squaduary. This is a “Paint a squad entirely during Feb” challenge. Now usually, I’m working on stuff started long before, but as I already had plans to work on my metal Plaguebearers, I decided “why not” and to attempt to see if I could get them painted entirely during February. For good measure I also got to work on some Wolves that had been sitting around for awhile.

Now, this has been (and will be) far from the only set of models I work on this month. There’s also my models for the Fembruary challenge, not to mention a few more Neglected Models, and you know – just random stuff I want to get completed – and and I’ve got plenty of other stuff to post up, so Squaduary updates will be pretty much whenever I get to them. I’m also not good with WIP updates, as there’s usually quite a lot of time between me taking a photo and then writing a post, and then even for the post to be published (since I have other stuff to post up- and right now I have both a queue and a backlog), so the images are often out of date before they go up.

Thousandeyes also unfortunately uses Disqus for his blog comments. While it’s probably easier in some ways since there’s so many issues with WordPressers like myself posting on Blogspot’s blogs, I’m the kind of guy who usually reads up on new things before signing up, especially when the thing seems a little redundant to my needs, and there are only a few blogs I’d have commented on before that use it. What I read about it awhile ago didn’t endear me to it (and that was before the 2017 hack), so I won’t be signing up to it and therefore can’t post to the “official” squaduary stuff to “officially” sign up (and I’m not a twitterer. tweeter?)

The Squaduary month is laid out in optional stages, which can be useful for a lot of people

There will be four stages, each taking a week, to this:
1. Assembly: 1st – 7th
Taking them off the sprues or putting them on bases, what ever way you get them ready for paint. 
2. Basic painting: 8th – 14th
This is your basic coating and blocking in colours.
3. Clean up and details: 15th – 21st
Cleaning up your colours and picking out all the bits to make the mini stand out.
4. Basing: 22nd – 28th
Adding the base or just painting it out.
Stages 2 and 4 can be swapped as per your own style. Hell you could ignore the lot, I am not the Corpse God Emperor of you!

I’ve been following the final suggestion of ignoring the lot, Eric Cartman style.

Because that’s how I roll when I paint my toy soldiers. SRS BZNSS.

I’ve just gotten back from a 3-day work trip out in the sticks with patchy internet and almost no “me time” (like, midnight till I fall asleep after 2am before getting up again at 6:30am). I took a few of the Plaguebearers with me, and with luck, I’ll manage to get the “cream” batch of them completed this weekend. The trip away is also why I’m again SO far behind on other people’s blogs, and even responding to my own blog’s comments…

The total numbers are 27 Plaguebeaers and 9 wolves. The 27 Plaguebeaers will be merged with and then regrouped from the 14 I’ve already got painted, giving me 4 squads of 10 and a variety of flesh tones across the 4 squads. Or 2 squads of 20 plus a Herald, or… whatever. You get the idea. I’m just sorely disappointed that Chaos Lesser Daemons don’t come in their patron’s sacred number. (Multiples of) 7 in this case.

Once these metal plaguebearers are all done, I’ve got some resin Nurgle toys I want to get sorted out. I also need to search for those bloody metal Beasts.

I’d have liked to post this up in some form earlier, but I’ve been flat out just getting all of January’s finished models photographed and posted up, along with the Decembuary Round-up. I especially wanted to post the round-up a few days after the end of the month. I participated in Dreadtober last year, and aside from barely getting a mention on their page because WordPress and Blogspot don’t play well together, they published the round-up at the very end of the month and the “latecomers” post like three days later. I finished the models on time (note: Plural), but didn’t have time to post or photograph my models as a wrap-up for a few extra days, so I missed out on inclusion and when I sent them a link to my final completed models it was ignored.

Aside from still being a little pissed off and bitter about that on a personal level, it also motivated me to not do the same thing, and give people a chance to finish painting their models for the challenge on the last day, and not feel obliged to run outside to photograph them and post on their blogs the very next day. So to close that tangent, I wanted to finish up on all of January’s posts before even starting on February’s. Hence my “Neglected Figure Challenge” figure that I actually finished on Feb 1st got published yesterday – on Feb 8th and this post about my participation in this February challenge coming now.

Still, giving it some time allowed for some actual progress photos, and Squaduary can’t hurt my motivation to get these Plaguebearers done. Further, any PBs or Wolves I don’t manage to complete this month will dovetail nicely with Squad: March! which will be the ABB hobby challenge following Neglected February. Since March’s challenge will only be concerned with finishing squads (or units) and not care when they were started, I can almost guarantee that these will all be done by then if I fail to get them all done during Squaduary.

Painting Decemb-uary 2017-18: Part 6 – The Final Round-Up!

So here we are. Wrapping up the second time this challenge has been a thing, and the first time I’ve invited others to participate if they so wish. There was triumph, tragedy, we laughed, we cried, there were tears, and fears. And possibly someone listened to Tears for Fears at some point. I’d hoped to complete the 1996 Great Unclean One as well as one (or two) Forge World Nurgle Daemon Princes, and maybe a Herald of Nurgle, maybe the Original Great Unclean One, and possibly even finish Be’lakor and the Marauder Giant that still languish on my desk and shelf, unfinished from the previous Painting December of 2015. HA!

I did get the ’96 GUO finished, and Mamon, Daemon Prince and the Original GUO are both close enough that they will be complete very shortly. Probably later today for the original GUO, in fact – and hopefully by tomorrow night for Mamon. (I’m typing this on Saturday.)

Wudugast from Convert or Die completed his Skaven Screaming Bell.

 

The 28th Scribe completed Grymdraig from Mierce Miniatures. A nice subtle use of brass and verdigris on the torso add interest and detail to the completed model.

 

Alex from Leadbaloony converted and painted a personalised version of Arkhan the Black, using a combination of Grenadier’s old-school Death Dragon, and old Citadel Skeleton Cavalry model, and a few spectral undead models for the basing.

 

Dave Kay from Scent of a Gamer completed Goremaw, a huge model from Reaper’s Bones line. I’ve been working on getting my own Goremaw assembled after seeing his completed one!

 

Archer from Dakka completed his Necron Monolith.  He’s gone for a sandstone-and-metal look which has come up really very nicely. More photos are buried at the bottom of his gigantic post.

 

TinPot Revolutionary completed Venerable-Brother Dracorus of the Iron Eagles Space Marine Chapter.  Sharp, neat highlights combined with a muted, military colour scheme makes the extra details really pop.

 

Joshinjapan from Dakka completed what I last time called an inspirational job on Great Cthulhu from Reaper Bones. Somuch so, that I’ve been looking for the same paints that he used locally (with little luck, so far).

 

Zergsmasher, also from Dakka, smashed out a great Mortarion. All those fiddly details!

 

Last finished model to show, but very much not least is Imperial Rebel Ork’s fantastic Ogre/Ogor Mournfang Stonehorn and rider.

 

There were a few non-completions – both shared online and not, but hopefully those figures will now be well on their way to being done. And there’s no reason they can’t be used as content for any future painting challenges, either here or elsewhere if it comes to it. Anything that helps motivate us to get more stuff done is a good thing, after all.

 

Ian Sturrock is close to completion on his Bones Frost Giants. Having been interrupted by a house move, he just needs to find everything (because packing) to drive them to final completion.

 

Ann from Ann’s Imperium‘s work on Foetid Bloat-Drone “Becky the Bloater” appears to have stalled out at the end of January. I’ve heard that Becky might make a reappearance as part of Leadballoony Alex’s Fembruary Challenge.

 

Thomas of High Times on the Eastern Fringe was working on a Khorne Lord of Skulls. He appears to have been distracted by the schemes of Tzeentch, however. Hopefully one day Khorne’s big mechanical champion shall arise!

Painting Decemb-uary 2017-18: Part 4

Today we have another update to the Decembuary project for this year. The amazing work just continues to flow here!

Imperial Rebel Ork aka IRO has completed his impressive project of a converted Ogre/Ogor/Mournfang Stonehorn. Who’s a hungry boy, then?

I call the big one “Bitey”.

Alex from Leadbaloony has completed his custom Arkhan the Black. Amazing OSL on show here!

Speaking of hungry, this one looks positively famished!

Ann from Ann’s Imperium has continued to work on her (in)famous Foetid Bloat-Drone “Becky the Bloater”. I’m loving that mottled green.

uh…. disgusting.

Tinpotrevolutionary ‘s Iron Eagles Space Marine Dreadnought has started to have the details filled in. The Brass really pops against the grey.

Look at that stance!

The 28th Scribe has updated on his progress with Grymdraig from Mierce Miniatures. The armour and skin are looking great here.

Swinging that Blade…

Archer from Dakka was involved from the challenge (presumably) from the start, but I couldn’t find his pictures because post me a link if you’re joining in a challenge I’m compiling, dammit. Ahem. A Necron Monolith in it’s early stages (as of last posting, anyway)

Time for some space pyramids.

And – oh yeah – me.

I’ve put the Forge World Daemon Prince to one side for the time being in order to concentrate on the metal Great Unclean One. I’ll put up an actual update post of my own in the next day or three, but here’s a current pic snapped a few minutes ago.

 

 

Like myself for most of this challenge, a few participants haven’t posted an update since the last round-up, though I’m sure that painting continues feverishly behind the scenes. 😉

Thomas of High Times on the Eastern Fringe has been working on a Khorne Lord of Skulls.

Wudugast from Convert or Die has been working on a Skaven Screaming Bell as a worthy cap to his Year of the Rat project.

Ian Sturrock has started on a trio of Frost Giants from Bones III.

And the gallery of previously-completed work:

Davekay from Scent of a Gamer completed Reaper Miniatures’ massive Bones model, Goremaw. Just don’t put your hand too close when feeding…

Someone has a pretty horrible case of worms...

 

Over on Dakka, Joshinjapan did an inspirational job on Great Cthulhu from Reaper Bones.

 

Zergsmasher smashed out Mortarion, who looks great.

If all goes to plan, I’ll do another round-up next weekend followed by a final wrap-up late next week.

Analysis paralysis: A Mantic BattleZones Bunker

Awhile ago, last year, and inspired by some terrain that Dakka user “Nerdfest” had built, I decided to dig out a bunch of my Mantic BattleZone sprues from their various Kickstarters that had been sitting untouched in storage tubs for years at this point, and make something. So over a rather enjoyable winter afternoon, I put together this bunker-thing. Being winter, there was little point even thinking about spraying it, so I let it sit, though the bare, grey plastic version did get used for a few 40k games.

Once summer rolled around, I gave it a spray. Dark Metallic Charcoal for the outside, and a sort-of undercoat of white for the interior. Now, I’m not sure where to go next with this thing. Broadly speaking, I can see three main options:

  1. Drybrush it various shades of metallic, for a rather generic finish.
  2. Paint it in military/generic “boring” tones that fit into quite a few different games. Military greens, or the more generic Greys or Tans. With or without things like signage or stancilled numbers and letters and so on and so forth.
  3. Paint it in “industrial/hive world” tones. Like the blue-grey from much of the original Necromunda card terrain. Or shades of green, or rusty reds, or…? Kinda like the above, but with more “pop” and of course, things like heavy rust and hazard stripes.

Even within those, there’s plenty of choice, though. So again: Analysis paralysis. Whatever the final verdict, I’ll probably put together a smaller building (4 squares) to go alongside this one and paint it in much the same scheme.

Anyone have any good ideas?