Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dwarfs Part XI: Basing

Now that the building, dipping & painting are done for the Dwarf army, its time to finish the bases.  Originally I just started painting the bases with Vomit Brown, but I soon realized that it took a ton of coats to completely cover the Gun Metal primer.  This mainly concerned me because my pot of Vomit Brown was almost empty, and it was bought before The Great Paint Reformulation of Ought-Thirteen - "Vomit Brown" is now called "Tau Light Ochre".  I had heard some forum folks complaining that some of the new colors didn't quite match, and I didn't want to run out of paint halfway through the army. I solved this by giving them a coat of Scorched Brown first, then a layer of Vomit Brown:




Next, the bases got a coat of PVA glue and were sprinkled with Woodland Scenics Medium Ballast:


...they were given a coat of Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement to "lock in" the ballast:


After that was dry, some small stones were glued to the bases as accents, and the whole thing was given a heavy coat of Devlan Mud wash:


When that had dried and the models had been clearcoated, static grass was added:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Adepticon 2014 Recap - Part II

Saturday

Saturday at Adepticon turned out to be mostly a social day - we spent most of the day wandering around, meeting people, reconnecting with friends, and generally hanging out.  One of the first things we checked out was the Warhammer Fantasy hall, which had some amazing display boards:







Out in the hallway, we met James Wappel and his amazing Imperial Guard display:





Next, we went to the display cases to check out some of the awesome Crystal Brush entries:












Next, I made another run at the vendor hall.  One of the things I was thrilled to find were these paint & brush racks from Ironheart Artisans:


I've been looking for something similar to these for a while, ever since I saw the very cool ones made by CNC Workshop, but the problem is that they're in Australia - which means the cost of shipping the items is actually more than the cost of the items themselves.  These paint racks are very similar, for a fraction of the cost.  I wanted a paintbrush rack ever since I saw the ones from Games & Gears, but those are hardwood, very expensive, and (again) ship from overseas - this is a very similar item for a much lower price!

Another cool thing that Ironheart Artisans was doing was to sell commonly needed items for a lot of the classes at Adepticon - Raphael brushes, hobby supplies, etc.  (I've needed to buy a brush at Adepticon before, and it's INCREDIBLY frustrating to be AT A MINIATURE GAMING CONVENTION and nobody is selling brushes.  One of the items they had that I've meaning to pick up forever (but always manage to forget while I'm at the art supply store) was a small color wheel:


Next, I stopped by the Cool Mini or Not booth and picked up some of the Instant Mold that I've been meaning to try:


I also swung by the merch booth and picked up the requisite t-shirt:


When I met back up with my friends, they presented me with a gift (Saturday was actually my birthday) - a Kossite Woodsman unit!


Next we went foraging for food - we happened upon a burger joint called Tom & Eddies, and it was fantastic.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel to unload our purch
ases and unwind.

Sunday


Sunday I woke up early and headed over to my last class, Airbrushing Miniatures with misterjustin from Secret Weapon Miniatures:


Although it makes for a lousy pic, this was actually a pretty good seat to have for the class - I was able to see over Justin's shoulder for a great view while he was working!

I have to say, when I first decided to try airbrushing, I think I took three different classes at conventions about the subject, and to be blunt, they all sucked to varying degrees.  In the long run I wound up puzzling through it by myself, making a lot of mistakes, and wasting a lot of money - I really wish I had taken Justin's class first, because it was excellent.  He presented pretty much everything you would want to know about airbrushes, paints, additives, safety, and some basic techniques.  (It was also more than little validating that a lot of what he taught in the class lined up really closely with the airbrushing guide I wrote a few years ago).

After the class, I went back to the hotel to eat breakfast and start packing up.  After lars4life and I loaded up the car (which was substantially more full than when we left) we made one last run through the vendor hall, but I couldn't find anything that I couldn't live without (even though the guys at the Black Library booth tried their best to relieve me of my last few dollars).  We headed home, another Adepticon in the bag!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adepticon 2014 Recap - Part I

Thursday

...so I had been working a ridiculous amount of overtime at work (at well as moving to a new shift for the first time in fifteen years) and was really ready to get away from work for a while.  I spent Wednesday night frantically packing, and Thursday morning lars4life showed up bright and (unusual for him) early, and we loaded up the car for the drive to Adepticon 2014.  Right away, we had to fend off a hitchhiker:


No Adepticon for you. Felix!

The drive was fairly uneventful, save for thunderstorms so strong we had to stop and buy new wiper blades.  The Westin had sold out of rooms at it's Adepticon rate, so we stayed at the TownPlace Suites.  (If you're familiar with the area, it's just behind the Target that's next to the Westin).  While it was slightly less convenient to not be in the same hotel as the con, the upside was that the room had two private bedrooms + a full kitchen for a cheaper rate, allowing us to grab some groceries at the Target (and save our money for new models!)

After checking in, we headed to registration to pick up our badges & swag.  The highlight of the swag bag this year was a Warmachine starter box & a novel from the Black Library:


Other highlights of the swag bag was a sample of Badger's new Stynylrez primer, a limited edition model from Victoria Miniatures, and the usual assortment of bitz, coupons, etc.  The swag also came in a cool drawsting backpack this year instead of a plastic bag, which was a nice touch.

Lars4life went off to check out the dealer room, since he bought the fancy Very Important Gamer badge that got him early access.  I was checking some stuff out when I noticed people starting to line up at the Forge World booth:


It turns out VIG's were given early access to the Forge World booth, but the staff at the con was letting us filthy casuals line up too, as long as we let the VIG's cut the line.  After about a 40 minute wait, I was able to grab my pre-order:


My main purchase was the Stompa kit with all the resin goodies, a couple pairs of Dreadnought arms, and various Dark Angel and Khorne bits.  (I don't have a Dark Angels or Khorne army, you say?  Hmmm, more on that to come...)

At this point it was pretty late in day on Thursday, and we were pretty tired from the drive, so we grabbed a bite to eat and headed back to the hotel to get some sleep.

Friday

On Friday morning, we headed to the convention to attend our first class, Two Brush Blending with Meg Maples:


Basically, Meg taught us her technique that she uses to achieve beautiful blends, as shown on these examples of her work:




It's an interesting technique - I don't think I'd call it a "shortcut" exactly, but it's definitely less labor intensive than the blending technique taught by Mathieu Fontaine, for example.  It depends a lot on having your paints thinned exactly right and working fast, which gave me a bit of trouble.


(The cloak is the only thing I attempted to blend on the above model).  

Overall it was interesting to learn, and I'll be giving it a try on my next paintjob.

After class, I made another run through the dealer hall - I picked up the Dreadball: Extra Time expansion from the Mantic booth:


(Lars4life & I bought Dreadball: Kick-Off last year without realizing that it was a "lite" version of the game - Extra Time expands it to the full game).

My next "must buy" at the con was the complete set of Badger's Minitaire paints:


I've really been looking to use my airbrush more, but a big obstacle for me was mixing & thinning paints - especially because I'm not particularly loyal to any one brand of paint, and Citadel paints need to be thinned differently for airbrush use than P3 paints, which are different than Reaper, which are different than Vallejo, etc.  I've had good luck with Vallejo's model air line, and considered buying the complete set of those, but 1.) it's crazy expensive, and 2.) I've had mixed results with Vallejo in the past regarding consistency, shelf life, etc.  The Minitaire paints are relatively new on the market and were developed with input from amazing painters who are known for their airbrush work, such as Les Bursley and Mathieu Fontaine.  On top of that, they're much cheaper than Model Air for bigger bottles, and Ken from Badger was offering a generous discount on top of that at the show.  At the end of the day, I was able to get the complete range of Minitaire paints (84 bottles) for about a third of the price of the complete Model Air line (111 bottles).

After dropping off my purchases at the hotel, I headed to my next class, Object Source Lighting (OSL) with Victoria Lamb of Victoria Miniatures:


If you're a student of painting miniatures, you've probably noticed a huge increase in the use of Object Source Lighting in the past few years - while she didn't invent the technique, Victoria's Slayer Sword-winning diorama The Rescue of Sister Joan is widely credited as starting the trend in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi mini painting world.

Victoria's class was pretty much half lecture / half hands-on - while classes with a long "lecture" session usually annoy me, lars4life & I both agreed that it worked very well in Victoria's class.  She used a slide show that gave examples of OSL using everything from miniatures, Dutch Golden Age paintings, and theater sets to demonstrate the effect.  After the slideshow, she gave us minis & paints to have a go at it ourselves:


Victoria's on the left, my (only just basecoated) model on the right

Overall, this was a great class, but the technique is really hard for me to duplicate.  I have a feeling that if I try much OSL in the future, it'll be with the airbrush.

After class, with met up with a friend of ours who luckily just happened to be sent to Chicago that weekend by his job for training.  We usually budget for one "big" dinner at Adepticon, so we headed to Claim Jumper:


After dinner, we headed back to the hotel to relax & hang out.

Next time: Part II!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Dwarfs Part X: More Gyrocopter

The next part of rebuilding the heap of a Gyrocopter I bought is fabricating a new blade assembly.  I decided to make it in one piece for strength, and to magnetize it so it could be removed for easy packing in a transport case.  I started by grabbing some scrap cardboard out of the recycling bin and sketching a blade shape that I liked:



...then I cut it out and used it to transfer the pattern to a sheet of plasticard:



The middle was a bit wobbly, so I reinforced it with a bit of plasticard, then added some Green Stuff to mount the magnet to:



Next, I grabbed some styrene tubing and build a "frame" - the plan here is to paint these with a "wood grain" effect so they look like wooden poles:






I sculpted some ropes out of Green Stuff, to look like they're tying the frame together and to hide the gaps a bit:



Next, I used some scrap plasticard and a small hole punch to make some "rivets":



Primered:


I used black paint, P3 brown ink, & Vallejo Game Ink smokey brown for the wood effect:



I picked up a pack of flight bases at my FLGS and sculpted a mounting spot for one:


Finished model:


Overall, I'm pretty pleased (especially considering what I started with!)