Monday, 21 March 2011

Stern Appraisal

This is the first man sized model I've painted in some time and its been longer than I can remember since painting a figure without the pressure of a tournament deadline turning it into a chore.
After a weekend of games (the first for a while) the urge to paint and add character to these models becomes the main driving force of the hobby for me.  A game may have an evocative setting or rules that create tense confrontations but without the personal investment in the models and their characters brought about through painting they would lack a lot of the excitement I find in them.  

A Sternguard Sergeant from Warhammer 40k this model may have an illustrious carrier ahead or be a thorn in my (otherwise perfect) plans as he resolutely refuses to shoot straight or pass a leadership test.  Either way though I'd have found it a lot harder to care without the hours invested in crafting the look and feel of the model myself.  The models in a war game bring the narrative of the battle to life and provide points to remember the games and the twists of fate that cost or snatched you victory.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Projects - Industry 2

Weathering is a nerve wracking part of painting.  After spending hours building up shade, painting over it means any mistakes can't be easily hidden.  Practicing the technique first to get the look your after before going straight onto the model is essential.

Rusty metal is ubiquitous with old and abandoned industry.  There are loads of different ways to achieve the effect but stippling (cutting a brush short and stabbing the paint onto the model in light short jabs, building up colour by concentrating on an area) gives a great patchy finish.

Practicing on off cuts using the same pallet of Scorched (dark) brown, Bestial (tan) brown and Tau Sept ochre (burnt yellow).  The left patch started with the lightest colour adding heavier colours more sparingly on top.  Compared to highlighting up from the heavier base on the right (essentially the same colours applied darkest first).
Choosing the areas of the model likely to have been exposed to liquid the base coat of Tau Sept ochre was stippled on fairly thickly.  Bent pipes, cracks and places water could accumulate.  A random smattering generally looks better than an attempt to coordinate and control, just plan first roughly what percentage of the model your thinking of covering otherwise its all too easy to get carried away.
Model complete but why stop there?  Terrain is most effectively employed in groups and a small number of techniques can produce a wide range of models.  The techniques give a sense of unity between the models but also a chance to practice on a large and less dynamic model than a standard miniature.  First stage of the project is complete and loads of ideas for more pieces in this vein (prompted by a trip to the guttering section of B&Q).  Until then, battlefields need battles.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Projects - Industry

The word 'project' is one that anyone who plays miniature games (Warhammer, 40k, Nescromunda, confrontation etc) will be familiar with.  Its the term used to describe any half baked dream you have to devote hundreds of man hours to the completion of some fantastical and creative work be it a new army (stunningly painted and individually modeled of course), an old army spruced up and ready for the next codex release or (in my case) terrain.

This project has been going on for some time, a bid to create as much playable but evocative terrain as possible.  If I'm going to invest hours painting and planning my force its only reasonable they have something suitably epic to fight over.

Industrial terrain is the current project.  It started with a few cans of coke and offcuts from the modular movement tray and is now attempting to become a set of industrial tanks.

The greatest challenge is planning, how do you want the finished piece to look?  My aim is a derelict and decaying industrial landscape perfect for Necromunda so imperfections and odd angles provide features to be highlighted in the painting stage.  Two coke cans form the body held up by  platform made from a modular movement base kit.  A length of 15mm pipe from B&Q with odd pits of plumbing make up the pipe work.

The base coat had sand and gravel (with a small amount of PVA) added to give a rough texture to break up the smooth surface of the cans.

Chadron Granite was applied before a 1:1 mix of Chadron granite and adeptus battlegrey was highlighting the upper surfaces.  Highlight again with Adeptus battlegrey directly to edges and exposed surfaces you think would catch the light.

Use Codex grey inside the adeptus coat to add to the original highlight.  For metals build up layers of codex grey with dry brush focusing on exposed edges and areas the light will catch, a spoon is useful for this to see how the light reflects at different angles from a curved metallic surface.  Skull White is used as an extreme highlight to add emphasis to the model on extreme edges directly catching the light.

With the project well underway I can begin planning the next stage, weathering and detailing the model.  Oh, and possibly an army to fight over it...