Base color scheme 

I’m really digging this color scheme: I kind of want to see what it’ll look like on a mech or something.  

Maybe I’ll pick up a Merc TAG or something and try to do it up enough for Historicon/NOVA.

It’s my not-grey grey that I use on A7Vs, Averland Sunset, and Ushabti Bone.

(Also, I’m posting through the WordPress app for the second time.  Hoping that gets me posting here more.)

Weekend Workbench

Three day weekend I hadn’t been expecting, so I’m painting.  This is what I’m working on at the moment:


A bunch of Warsenal Taugak bases for my Combined Army minis, as well as some Jaguars and Intruders. 

Infinity, in other words.

Flames of War – WWII

Just a quick note because this is something I talk about occasionally, but have a hard time putting good words around.  This morning, I saw this photo from Breakthrough Assault’s post about Corrivalry:

This: this is what I’m talking about.  I really like the WWI version of Flames of War. When I flip through the FoW rulebook, the stuff I see looks cool. I like the idea of playing WWII Flames of War.

But then, at the game store, I look over at people playing it, and I see the above.  That’s a parking lot of a dozen tanks, just parked like they’re at the mall, arm-in- arm, stopped inches away from as many or more artillery pieces, just hangin’ out.  This doesn’t look like fun to me, and it doesn’t look historical.

Anyway, not trying to shit on the game; just pointing to what, exactly, sticks it for me.

Tutorial – How I Paint Faces

I’ve been pretty self-satisfied about my faces lately, so I figured I’d knock out a quick walkthrough of how I paint Caucasian faces while wrapping up my Blood & Plunder minis over the weekend.

I did have a couple of issues putting this together:

  • Like an idiot, I deleted a couple of the step photos.
  • I’m less than thrilled with the end result of the demo (but at least I have other examples of successful faces.

It’s kinda hard to tell the difference with some of these steps (which is why I accidentally deleted some of them), which is why I’ve supplemented the mini photos with a photoshopped face (source for the original image).  I’ve kept the strokes rough because I’m just paintin’ with a mouse, but also because frankly on a 28mm figure, that’s what brushstrokes are actually going to look like.

Step 0: Primed

I normally basecoat grey or, more recently, black with white zenithal highlights. This was a spur of the moment thing, so I ended up just basecoating white.  Won’t matter much.

Step 1: Basecoat

Paint everything GW Bugman’s Glow.

When dry, paint everything GW Cadian Fleshtone.

The goal is Cadian Fleshtone, but the coverage with it is poor enough that it’s just simpler to basecoat with the base paint.

Step 2: Layer

Block in shapes with GW Kislev Flesh.  Get the nose, eyebrows, cheeks, chin and jawline, lips, forehead, ears.

Step 3: Wash

Wash the whole thing with GW Reikland Fleshshade.

Step 4: Highlight

Now’s the time to be precise.  Pick out details with a fine-tipped brush and GW Kislev Flesh.  Target the nose, chin, eyebrows, lower lip, ear tops and lobes, and the tops of the cheekbones.

Step 5: Eyes

(Of course I kept all of these.)

With as fine a brush as you can manage, fill in the eyes with GW Rhinox Hide.  I’ve seen other people do this with black, but I think it’s too strong: you want to draw attention to the eyes, but you don’t want your figure wearing mascara (unless you do).

Go over the brown ovals with P3 Menoth White Highlight.  I prefer this because it’s a bright ivory… but it’s not actually white.  Leave some brown around the edges, though, to help the eye stand out.

If you screw up: just go back and touch up with more Rhinox Hide.

Take a pointed toothpick.  Sharpen the point.  Dab it into the GW Rhinox Hide you used above.  Wipe off the excess.  Pick a direction and poke it into the eyes.  I used to do straight-ahead, but it’s just easier to do the eyes looking off to the side and maybe more dynamic?  I’m using brown here because, again, I think black is too strong.

I did blue on the Frostgrave Barbarians last month, and thought it was really effective.  I might pursue this: do color, do the dot larger, and then maybe go in with a black dot as a pupile.

Step 6: Glazing

Mix about 50:50 GW Wazdaka Red : GW Emperor’s Children: looking for a nice rose color here.

Then thin that sucker out with a lot of water and a drop or two of matte medium, until it’s at about this level of transparency:

Better to be too thin and require multiple passes than not thin enough and ruin everything.  If you need to do multiple passes: just make sure it’s dry before the next one.

Carefully apply it to the cheeks and tip of the nose.  Maybe the ears if you feel like it.

Take some GW Dark Reaper, and thin it out as much as you did the rose.

Now apply it to the beard area.  In this example, I think I went too dark: you can do that, but I’m generally not trying to do stubble, just to give some color to the face.

Step 7: Wrap it Up

Finish painting the other details on the head.  Teeth, if you can see ’em.  I like to draw a little line of GW Agrax Earthshade between the lips (if the mouth is closed) or just in the mouth (if it’s open).

Other Examples

Here are a couple of practice heads I’ve been working with.

And some Frostgrave faces I think came out well and photographed OK.  This is where this approach has really clicked for me.

Summary

  • GW Bugman’s Glow basecoat
  • GW Cadian Fleshtone basecoat
  • GW Kislev Flesh layer
  • GW Reikland Fleshshade wash
  • GW Kislev Flesh highlights
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • P3 Menoth White Highlight detail
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • 50:50 GW Emperor’s Children : GW Wazdakka Red glaze
  • GW Dark Reaper glaze
  • GW Agrax Earthshade detail

Hopefully this helps someone out.

Staycation Painting

The confluence of two holidays prompted me to take the days in between off: giving me a staycation and the quiet downtime I’ve needed for months.

Of course, me staying home and barely leaving the house means that this is the real winner:

Down time meant painting time.  I’d lost my momentum after burning through getting everything ready for Black Ops.  I’ve started a bunch of Pike & Shotte minis… but took on too many at once and stalled out.

A palette cleanser was called for.

First, I finished off some half-done Mantic sci-fi zombies. These are nothing to get excited about. The models are adequate.  The paintjob no better.

The right sized project to take on when needing Something Different: a Frostgrave warband.  Over the first few days, I built my baseline set of models from the Barbarian kit, then ordered an appropriate Wizard and Apprentice from Red Box Games. I’d forgotten how charming and characterful those models are: I need to order a few more and give them some real attention.

Then, bam: just ground out a Frostgrave warband, like you do.

While I was at it, I knocked out the tokens that came with the Barbarians, as well as some rats (War Dogs) and a Raven) I’d based for my Cultists a while back.

A good use of some much needed quiet time.

2016 Year in Review

I don’t have to tell you that 2016 was, as years go, a murderous sack of crap.  I’m trying to focus on the positive, though, and fortunately: there was a fair amount of positive things I can look back on.

2016 wasn’t as stressful as 2015: but there was a moment there in the middle, when I made a major career change. A couple strands of grey in my beard became an inch-thick band of white in my beard while working through whether or not I should make it: not exaggerating at all.  I’m still settling in at the new job (ie: hanging on by my fingernails) but so far it feels like the worst is over.

Year in Review

  • January was spent grinding out the table & finishing up my Amiens TGS game.  And, of course, running it.  Room for improvement, but it was successful.

  • February saw me painting up a bunch of Partisans for a Bolt Action league at Huzzah.

  • In March, I built a light arch, which was a very smart move and has helped me a lot.

  • In April, I painted up some Stuarts.  They placed at Historicon, but let’s face it: they got third because, surely, there was one other entry. They’re notable, though, because they were a huge breakthrough for me in terms of airbrushing tanks.  I have miles to go, but I finally get it, because of these tanks.

  • May and June were for Flames of War – Great War: Chris ran a Great War tournament, and I’d picked up a bunch of stuff for it the previous year.  I painted all of it. It was hugely liberating to blow through so many minis in so little time, and set me up to jump on a bunch of USMC stuff for Flames of War: Pacific when it came out.

  • The penultimate Historicon was in July.  I ran a game that was poorly attended, played poorly in a By Fire & Sword Tournament, got to play in the League of Augsburg game, and crushed it at the painting competition.

  • August was, as is traditional, a lot of NOVA prep.
  • September began with NOVA, which was a good time despite me not having any idea what I’d be doing at it, and ended with Arnhem, which was a feat (that I got to contribute to).

  • October, November, December were radio silence as I worked on, then ran, then recovered from running 40K Black Ops.

Hobby Charts

Clearly, I peaked early (with the Flames of War bases), but kept up a solid, excellent pace, and finished 2016 having done more than any previous year.

I also managed to paint more actual models this year than any previous year.

I think I can, unquestionably, thank 15mm and 1/72 models for this.

Hobby Spending

This is also the first full year I was able track all of my model purchases against my model painting achievements (I’d tried it a few years ago, and failed within weeks). This practice was intended to help me throttle down on buying more crap than I painted by making me aware of how much was coming in vs. going out.

Basically: I’d log how much I’d spend on minis as a positive, then log the MSRP of the minis as a negative (this last part was to cover minis that have been sitting around in my closet, for which I don’t have a record of how much I paid… also to encourage me to get things at less than MSRP). Selling minis (not something I’m especially good at) would also be tracked as a negative.  The goal being to get that balance to be zero or even a little negative.

Whoops.  Selling my old NIB copy of Mordheim in October and then painting up a metric ton of Deadzone terrain blew my Δ to over a grand ahead of where I wanted to be.  That difference is so great as to be unhelpful (by the “keep that number negative” rule I could run out and buy a Forgeworld army and still be good; obviously no good), but the constant awareness of in vs. out was very helpful to me.

Now that I’ve kept it up for a year, I think I’ll be able to persist it into 2017.

Goals

2016 Goals

  • FinishComplete Success – Man, I did great. I prepped and GM’d two really good games (Amiens, Black Ops), and contributed to another (Arnhem). I painted a ton of complete forces: I finished a ton of 18mm WWI Germans, painted almost the entire gamut available of 15mm FoW WWI Germans, a whole Partisan force for Bolt Action, a platoon of 1/72 Red Devils for Arnhem, a Wrath of Kings Goritsi warband, a ton of stuff for Frostgrave, and thirty models for Black Ops. I built a WWI table and painted enough for a crowded, urban sci-fi table. I got stuff done.
  • PaintComplete Success – Unquestionably so.
  • CompetePartial Success – I played in a couple of tournaments, but would assert I was only really competitive in one of them.
  • AmiensSuccess – It happened.  I ran it again at Madicon
  • Step it up at NOVAInconclusive – I think I did well in the Captial Palette this year, but with the shifting format I think it’s tough for me to say whether or not I “stepped it up.”  I only painted one thing specifically for it, and “paint models for competition” is probably what I really meant to do.
  • Game in my basement – Complete Success – Dark Heresy continued to run in the basement.  I’ve been running a barely coherent DCC game there.  Did some wargaming: Amiens, Frostgrave, Black Ops.

2017 Goals

  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
  • Step it up for Historicon – Normally, Historicon gets my NOVA entries from the previous year. I didn’t really have those this year.  Given that 2017 will be my last Historicon (screw the move to New Jersey), I would like to go out on a high note.
  • Step it up at NOVA – Actually paint some competition entries.
  • Stay away from Kickstarter –  I think I did okay on Kickstarter this year: a little but not a lot.  Let’s keep that up.

Not really sure what else I want to do next year.  I’d like to keep up the momentum of tackling small, manageable projects and finishing them.  In the immediate term: I’d like to experiment with some other Wrath of Kings forces to see if one better fits my playstyle.  I’ve got some friends I don’t really wargame with that like Heroes of Normandie: it’d be nice to play that with them.  I’ve got Zombicide: Black Plague sitting in my closet, still unplayed. I’d like to expand my ability to run 40K Black Ops with more diverse forces.

Demogorgon

Finally got around to finishing Demogorgon.  No, no hyena heads.  This is the other one.  Nothing amazing, but I like the blunt color scheme.

I also finished a couple final Frostgrave Cultists a while back (back when I finished my first batch of cultists for Black Ops) and neglected to photograph them.  I love those grotty Cultist faces.