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Thursday, December 16th, 2010
10:39 AM
Not much to update this week (it's been a busy one between get holiday stuff finalized, my class wrapping up, and that whole Cataclysm thing...) - but I did finish this guy last weekend:




He's one of (eventually) three dreadnoughts that will provide fire support for my biker force.  Fluff-wise, I love dreadnoughts - mortally wounded marines who have been entombed in an armored (and well-armed) sarcophagus, bound to serve their chapter for centuries until they are completely destroyed.



Game-wise, they can be a effective if used properly, but often they can turn into point-sinks that don't perform as well as you want them to.



This configuration uses two twin-linked autocannons which means it's great for taking out light armor, transports, and tougher infantry units.




I'm pretty happy with how this guy came out, and I'm fairly excited to move on to the bike squads next.



Thursday, December 02nd, 2010
8:43 AM
Last week I posted a few shots of a test model I painted for an Imperial Fists biker army I've been thinking about doing recently...  Well, this week I took a scout bike (which I'd received accidentally a while ago) and used the same technique to see how it would look on a space marine bike - and this time I had the forethought to take step by step photos.

So here's my nearly-painless method for painting yellow:

1) After priming (I used grey here, white would probably work, but could be brighter?  not sure about black... it would probably just take more pink), base coat the areas to be yellow in a nice bright pink.  I used a 40/60 mix of warlock purple and skull white, but any bright pink should work.  But make sure the pink coat is smooth and solid before proceeding (about 2 or 3 layers)



2) Cover the pink with thinned layers of Golden Yellow. Again, this took me about 2 or 3 layers of very thin paint to get to.  You should notice the pink showing throw now looks a golden orange.




3) Give the whole thing a wash the yellow in gryphonne sepia.



4) Soft edge highlight with golden yellow:



5) Get the deepest recesses with ogryn flesh wash, add some thin edge/corner highlights with sunburst yellow:
 


And voila!  It's a very luminous / rich yellow and although there's many layers too it - it's not super complicated to pull off.  However there are two things to be aware of.

1) Because there's so many layers here you really need to make sure your paint is thinned.  The normal description is of skim milk, I went a little beyond this and it worked out well.

2) Since the color we're making is fairly complex, touch ups are a real pain.  Though I did the yellow first here, it would probably make things easier to do the yellow last when painting the mini.

And here's the finished product:







Hope this proves useful to someone!



Monday, November 29th, 2010
2:23 PM
When I first saw leaked photos of the new Dark Eldar models - the reaver jetbike was the one I was most excited about.

One problem I faced though, after constructing this wonderful new plastic mini, was how to paint it?  Unlike many other armies, the Dark Eldar are made up of many different cults / kabals / covens / street gangs - so to me it made sense that each unit type would come from a different group with their own colors.

As I posted before, I've picked "Obsidian Rose" for my warriors - basically a red and black scheme.  For my reavers, I selected GW's own "Corespur Elite."  This color scheme is basically a deep purple with bright blue markings and would really set them apart from everything else in the army (as reavers are basically biker gangs) - and it would give me a chance to paint with more colors you don't normally see in 40k (if you play mostly Imperial forces, anyways).

After about 3 days of painting, this was my finished result:


I don't think he wants to be your friend.

Here's a basic step-by-step break-down of how I got there:

Step 1) Base (after priming black)



Body: 50/50 Lich Purple / Chaos Black
Frame: Chaos Black
Brass: 50/50 Dwarf Bronze / Tin Bitz
Metal: Adeptus Battlegrey
Seat: 50/50 Scab Red / Chaos Black
Base: Scorched Brown

Step 2) Mid Coat / 1st Highlights



Body: Lich Purple (broadly around edges)
Frame: 50/50 Shadow Grey / Chaos Black
Brass: Dwarf Bronze
Metal: Boltgun Metal (dry brushed)
Seat: Scab Red
(broadly around edges)
Base: Graveyard Earth
Glowing Bits: Dark Angels Green

Step 3) 2nd Highlights



Body: 50/50 Lich Purple / Warlock Purple (closer to edges edges)
Frame: Shadow Grey
Brass: 50/50 Devlan Mud / Scorched Brown wash
Metal: Badab Black wash
Seat: Khador Red

Base: 50/50 Graveyard Earth / Dwarf Flesh
Glowing Bits: Sickly Green (vallejo)

Step 4) 3rd Highlights



Body: 33/33/33 Lich Purple / Warlock Purple / Skull White (just barely on edges)
Frame: 50/50 Shadow Grey / Regal Blue
Brass: 33/33/33 Dwarf Bronze / Tin Bitz / Mithril Silver
Metal: Chainmail (drybrush)

Glowing Bits: Scorpion Green (thin wash also applied to nearby edges)

Step 5) Final Highlights



Body: 25/25/50 Lich Purple / Warlock Purple / Skull White (only on corners)
Frame: 33/33/33 Shadow Grey / Regal Blue / Skull White
Brass: Mithril Silver
Metal: Mithril Silver (drybrush)

Glowing Bits: 50/50 Scorpion Green / Golden Yellow

Step 6) Finishing Up





Glowing Bits: 33/33/33 Scorpion Green / Golden Yellow / Skull White
Blue Markings were added using Hawk Turquoise -> Ice Blue -> Ice Blue / Skull White

I added the pilot (who was completed using the same color scheme) and the static grass after a coat of satin finish sealer.

Here's two more shots of the finished bike:









This really turned out to be a lot of fun - but it was rather time consuming, probably taking about 36 to 40 hours to complete.  Over all, I think it was rather worth it.





Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
9:34 AM
Whew - what a busy couple of weeks.  But fear not, I've got plenty of pretty pictures to make up for it.

First up, GW's recently re-invented and re-released the Dark Eldar.  It's an interesting army in many ways.  Game-wise, they're a glass cannon - designed to be a very potent and fast killing force, but with very low resilience.  Model-wise, they've been recognized as some of the best designed miniatures GW's put out to-date.  That said, I couldn't resist trying my hand at a few of them (who will perhaps grow into a playable force in time...)

Behold, warriors of the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose:


The A-Team, they are not.

This was the first time I've tried my hand at object source-lighting - i.e. their glowing eyes.  I'm pretty happy with it - it's a basic effect that adds to the malice of the figures. 



I like to imagine them stalking a pristine world at night on their hunt for slaves and sacrifices... oh the world of 40k is such a happy place.

Next up is the extreme polar opposite of the Dark Eldar.  The brightest Space Marines this side of neon:  The Imperial Fists.  The Imperial Fists are a chapter I've become more interested in lately after reading a short story centered on them.  In the hobby world, they're somewhat infamous, since when it comes to paint, few colors are loathed more than yellow.


The Imperial Fists believe in clarity through pain; so does yellow.

Here's the really interesting thing about painting yellow:  Every person has their own personal recipe.  Some like to start of with black, go to a mustard yellow, and build up from there.  Others start of white and tint it with many coats of yellow glaze.


I stole borrowed the idea for the partially gray backpack from a google image result I can no longer find.

I choose a somewhat less commonly used approach.  I base coated in bright pink, then went straight to bright yellow, and used only a bit of sepia wash to tone the recesses.  I had read the idea on a few obtuse forum posts - it was never the actual painter posting, but always a third person: "I've heard pink works great as a base coat..." Certainly not a tone to inspire confidence in a process.  But here I say: it works.



Though I didn't even think to capture in process shots, as I didn't really think it would work so well... but don't worry - I foresee more yellow in my future...

Ooops: Almost forgot,  credit is definitely due to Catherine who put together a wonderful light box - which I really think you can see the difference between these photos and my earlier ones.



Thursday, November 04th, 2010
10:30 AM
Now that the nerf guns pretty much done, I think it's time to take a look at what progress I've made with the body armor.

The first part of this project was research.  I had absolutely no idea where to even begin, so I turned to that all-mighty resource in the sky - the internet.  I happened across a number of helpful online guides and posts, which all turned out to be written by the same person.  Online, she goes by the username AmythestAngel and mantains a blog here among a few other websites.

Eventually I found a series of books she sells (down by the sea shore?) and decided to purchase 'Volume Two - Armormaking.'  In truth, I probably could have done without it (not to say the book isn't super useful and worth the price), but I like to support people when they take the effort to help people earnestly (non of her advice is really hidden behind a pay-wall or anything, the books just go into far more detail than her online guides).

Following her advice, I started off by enlisting the help of my wonderful girlfriend, Catherine, in making a tape dress-form.  For those who aren't tailors, a dress form is basically a body stand-in that allows you to fit a garment without doing it right on the subject (which is obviously impossible if you're making something for yourself).

Just a note before I go into WiP stuff, I'm not going to duplicate AmythestAngel's steps in detail here (if you really want to see them, I highly suggest buying her guides).

We basically started off with me in a cheap, sacrificial t-shirt.  Catherine than began wrapping me in layers of gummed paper tape.  This tape is usually used for sealing shipping packages and requires it be wet with a sponge or moist towel.


...About 2 hours later

That's me after about 4 or 5 layers of the packing tape (be sure to leave some in the roll as you'll need it to finish the form when it's removed from the body).  At this point it was still fairly wet.  We also were having trouble getting the edges of tape to stay attached and flush.  Eventually it dried to a point where Catherine could cut me out of it (cutting through the T-shirt as well as the tape).  I quickly hung it on to a simple PVC stand I had built before starting this.


The PVC stand needed a little improvising, hence the duct tape.

Unfortunately, when I first hung it on the stand, I had only used 1 pvc pipe as the shoulders.  This proved to be far too narrow and the still wet form started to flatten out.  I quickly grabbed a spare section of PVC and some batting and bulked out the shoulders and neck area.

I also cut off the sleeves of the T-shirt, sealed the back seem (where I'd been extracted) and finished the neck / bottom edges by folding tape strips over the edges.  Finally I sealed the whole thing with a nice, thick coat of clear acrylic (Future Floor polish).  The acrylic layer really helped keep the edges of the final layer of tape stuck down, and basically made the whole thing self-sealing when you pin things to it.

The next step was to start with newspaper and make a template for the chest and back plates.


All I've really done here is drape pieces of news paper over the dress form, free hand some lines onto it to get the general idea of the form on it, then cut them out.

However, I am not the greatest free hand artist in the world, so the resulting patterns were not very symmetrical.  So I made some adjustments to them, then traced one side onto another piece of newspaper, folded that one in half, and cut out the neck hole, arm holes, and bottom edge.

These (now symmetrical) newspaper patterns were then transferred to tack board and again... cut out.


I've drawn some panel lines to get a better idea of how it will look.

Here you can see the tack board prototype of the chest plate.  The arm holes have been expanded significantly, and the whole thing lengthened (perhaps a tad too much?).  The masking tape is serving in as a stand in for adjustable straps that will be on the actual completed armor.


I do the strangest things.

And here we have me trying the tack board prototype on (pre-arm hole expansion, to be specific).

This has taken me about 3 weeks, working off and on on it.  Next up is transferring the tack board patterns to art foam, then laminating that foam in plastic sheets, then detailing, then painting and finishing.  So still plenty of work to be done...

And miles to go before I sleep...

 
 
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