Thursday, May 26, 2016

Speed Painting: Protectorate of Menoth

Ever since my son was born, I've managed very little in the way of hobby time, and even less in terms of actually playing games.  Funderhammer is the Pressganger for my FLGS, and he told me that they were starting a Journeyman league in a few weeks.  I had been feeling a bit stir crazy, and some of you might remember from this post that I already had an army, brand new in the box, waiting to be played.  I discussed it with my wife and she was willing to give me one night a week for gaming.

If you're unfamiliar with Privateer Press' Journeyman League, the basic idea is that each player starts week 1 with a faction's starter box, and the point size of the games goes up every week or two.  You earn points for playing games, but also for building & painting new units.  By the end of the league, you should be pretty close to having a fully-painted, tournament-sized army.

But wait - I need to go from not building & painting at all, to building & painting a couple of new units every week?  On top of that, my chosen faction (Protectorate of Menoth) is traditionally mostly white, a notoriously tricky color to paint?  I was gonna have to come up with some ideas, quick!

Any thoughts of "competition quality" -painted models quickly went out the window - we're aiming for quick 'n dirty "tabletop" quality here.  These models were mostly going to be painted in 30- or 45-minute chunks of time that I managed to carve out of the days I'm on babysitting duty, and are meant more to shake the rust off than push my skills.  Washes & drybrushing are the rule here, not the exception - once I have a basic 50-point force finished, maybe I'll take more time on a few "centerpiece" models, but not now.

Here's the technique I came up with:

Every model was primed with Army Painter Matt White Colour Primer.  When they were dry, they all received a heavy coat of Army Painter Soft Tone ink (but GW Seraphim Sepia works well, too):

This pretty much leaves the models khaki.  (Note: this would be a great, super-quick way to make a khaki army, Imperial Guard players!)

Next, the models receive a heavy drybrush of off-white (I used Reaper MSP Bleached Bone):

Next, the purples were done with Vallejo Model Color Magenta - this is several shades lighter than I want the end result to be:

Next, the purple is heavily washed with Army Painter Purple Tone ink:

The metallics were painted with Vallejo Model Color Brass & Vallejo Model Air Steel:

The brass was washed with Army Painter Soft Tone ink, and the steel with Army Painter Dark Tone ink:

...and that's pretty much it.  On models with a LOT of metallics I might do a quick drybrush with Vallejo Model Air Chrome, and when the whites get a little too muddy I occasionally make a glaze with Vallejo Glaze Medium + Army Painter Pure White to bump them up a bit, but usually that's more on infantry units.  Quick, easy, & "good enough"!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Quick 'N Dirty Tournament Tray one of the booths I stopped at and chatted for a while during Adepticon was Broken Egg Games.  They make various cool items, but a big focus is their very cool tournament trays.  "I should get one of these", I thought.

Oh wait.

I did get one of these.

Last year, at Adepticon 2015.

...and it promptly got a half-assed coat of primer, and has been sitting on a shelf in my garage for a year.

So anyway, I decided to remedy that - I've actually been playing every week lately, and am halfway considering a tournament in the fall, and a tournament board would come in handy.  However, I needed it to be done as quick and easy as possible, so here's what I did.

Here's what I was starting with: it's the MDF Large tournament tray from Broken Egg Games.

  I think I bought the unfinished MDF version because 1.) I'm cheap, and 2.) I originally had grand visions of doing some elaborate custom finish to match one of my armies.  As I said, I started to prime it black, but I vaguely remember the primer going on fuzzy, or I ran out, or something else frustrating, and it got tossed on a shelf.

I gave it a couple more coats of primer - I realized later that the MDF was literally soaking up spray primer as fast as I could put it on.  I'd recommend using a brush-on primer, possibly even a latex house paint -type of primer to save some grief.  I touched up the finish with some brush-on primer:

(Note the festive tablecloth, compliments of my wife).

Part of my original plan was to mask the interior of the cutouts to have a contrasting finish - but, I was not relishing the idea of that much time-consuming work with painter's tape and a hobby knife.  I played around with some ideas, like possibly stuffing the holes with poster tack or silly putty, but I'd need a lot of silly putty.  I thought of just using bases, but I didn't have that many spare bases in various sizes I'd need, and I'd still have to mask the slots in the bases.  But wait: remember those MDF blanks I mentioned  I'd bought at Adepticon in my last post?

I think I paid $10 for an entire quart-sized take-out container of these.  I stuck 'em in the cutouts that I wanted to mask:

Next, I grabbed a can of Krylon "Natural Stone" finish paint, which is a very easy way to get a stone-like finish.  (Note: they actually make this in a "coarse texture" version, which is what I wanted to use, but they were out of it when I stopped by the craft store):

Then I gave it a couple of coats:

Then I pulled out the MDF blanks:

Success!  There was virtually no bleed over into the black areas!

Next, I grabbed some black and some white paint and a small brush, and laid down some quick "cracked earth" effects in the flat areas:

Now, I needed some felt for the dice/token storage area on the side.  (The guys at Broken Egg included a piece of self-adhesive red felt when I bought the board, but it's long since gone missing).  I raided my son's arts & crafts bin and stole a piece of bluish/purple felt:

Then I cut it to size:

Next, I raided my wife's scrapbooking supplies and stole her cutter that is used to "round" the corners when cutting paper:

...then I glued the piece into place with some spray adhesive:

I also painted up some spare bases to use as blanking pieces:

(I had a spare 120mm base, since I bought a custom base for my Judicator). a final touch, I added some adhesive rubber bumpers I got at the home improvement store as "feet" to prevent sliding:

(Note my faithful assistant's hand steadying the project for dad in the above pic).

...and there you have it - one (relatively) quick 'n easy tournament board!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Adepticon 2016 Recap

Hey all, long time no post, kids work house blah blah blah.  Anyways, even though everyone else covered their Adepticon trip a a few weeks ago, I wanted to get my annual post up here.

This year I headed to Adepticon with Funderhammer & Bill - I had just formally met Bill a couple of weeks earlier despite seeing him around our FLGS, but Funderhammer assured me that he probably wouldn't axe-murder me in my sleep, so we were good to go.  (Just kidding - Bill was a great guy & about as nice a guy as you'd ever meet.  For a 9th Age player, anyway)).


We wanted to get to the hotel ASAP, since they were sending emails offering convention goers a $50 credit if you gave up your room - apparently they massively overbooked the hotel.  After a last-minute revision of babysitting/work plans, we got on the road Thursday morning and had a rather uneventful drive.  Funderhammer got us upgraded to a suite, and I have to admit I've had worse rooms:

After getting checked in & picking up our badges and swag bags, we headed over to a Chicago institution, Portillo's, for some dinner:

When we got back, Funderhammer & I headed to our first class, Army Speed Painting 101 with Aaron Lovejoy.  I've taken classes with Aaron at GenCon before, but usually they were geared towards competition painting or basing, not speed painting.  Aaron actually has a pretty interesting approach - were I'd consider working on a squad and doing stuff like "just paint the pants on each miniature, then just paing the boots, etc" as "speed painting" Aaron gets WAY more granular - like "just paint the front left toe of the boot" then move on to the next model in the squad.  Basically, if you're spending more than a few seconds on each "section", then you're not breaking it down far enough.  To demonstrate, Aaron assigned everyone in class a TINY fraction of a model, then started shoving identical minis into our "assembly line":

...the point being, while they weren't going to win any contests, they were definitely of passable "tabletop" quality. Later, due to the copious amounts of coffee I needed to consume to make it through the con, I converted my mini:


The next day, we headed to the dealer hall and the shopping began in earnest.  One of my first stops was the Secret Weapon Miniatures booth, were I chatted with Justin for a few minutes and picked up some weathering powders & a few of the new paints to try:

Next I stopped by the Ironheart Artisans booth to pick up a custom order that Alex was gracious enough to let me pick up at the con.  I also picked up a new set of brushes to try out:

I had also been thinking about painting a bust, and he had a pretty cool one on sale:

One of the coupons in our swag bags was a postcard to fill out with your email address that said "Bring this to the Privateer Press booth for a prize!" I was expecting a sticker or a cheap trinket, but they were giving out faction books!

(Granted, know we know that they were offloading old stock in preparation for Mk3, but it was still a nice surprise).

Next I stopped by the Battlefront booth and picked up a container of MDF blanks (I'll be doing a write-up using these soon):

Funderhammer was chatting with the guys at the CMON booth, and lamented while he'd like to try Wrath of Kings (VIG's got a starter box in their swag bags), he didn't have anyone to play the game with.  They passed along another starter box for me!

While trying to identify what the "new hotness" would be at Adepticon this year, it quickly became apparent that it was skirmish game Arena Rex.  We all bought a starter and will be trying it out more in depth in the not-too-distant future:

I made so, so many trips to the Reaper booth for paints this year - I don't think this is even close to all of the ones I picked up:

Found a guy tucked away in the corner of the concourse selling homemade chapter banners & purity seals - while I haven't thought about Space Marines in a loooong time, these were too cool to pass up:

That night, Funderhammer & I had a couple of classes, the first of which was Painting Smoother Blends with Rhonda Bender.  This was one of those types of classes that I take every year, swear that I'm going to incorporate it into my painting, then get home and remember that I'm lazy.  But no, it was great info and Rhonda really broke it down into easily understandable steps, and I was fairly pleased with my results.

From here, we went to our next class, Painting Realistic Faces with David Powell.  David had some amazing examples of his work on hand:

Despite being hampered by several, um, "beverages" I made before we left the room, I was pretty pleased with my progress:


The next day, my first class was Basic Technique in Finishing, Including Airbrush Technique with Caleb Wissenback.  I really haven;t kept up with my airbrushing, and have resolved to do better in the coming year.  Caleb had a lot of good advice & tips.

My next class was Airbrush 102, Airbrush Cleaning & Maintenance with Ken Schlotfeldt, the president of Badger Airbrush.  I was pleased to learn that I was doing everything (mostly) correct, and afterwards I picked up one of these cool airbrush maintenance kits from the Badger booth:

After my classes were over for the day, Funderhammer, Bill & I headed to the Privateer Press Iron Arena to get some games in:

Oooh, swanky new focus tokens!

After we were done, we realized it was our last night in town to get a "fancy" dinner, so we headed over to the Weber Grill restaurant.  When we got back to the room, Bill broke out a copy of Gloom, which was a lot of fun:


Sunday we packed up the car and made a few trips around the convention center, where we bumped into Robe Guy:

...and while waiting for the raffle drawing, we checked out the Crystal Brush entries:

After the drawing (none of us won anything), we headed out, another Adepticon in the bag!