A Moment of Reflection

I'd like to wish everyone a festive Yule, a merry Christmas, a happy Hanukkah, a nice time with family, friends, warm food and cold drink, or even just a pleasant time at the end of a long, busy year (whatever your inclination might be).

For my own part, I'd like to thank those of you who have been following along with my ramblings and leaving comments on my updates! I hope this site has been helpful (ideally even informative, if I can swing that now and again) and I'm looking forwards here to a less eventful new year here and the opportunity to keep up with a hobby I love/loathe with ideally the opportunity to share more in the way of painting, modeling, sculpting and, time permitting, possibly even a tutorial or three.

I know I'd asked before what sorts of things people would like to see on here (sculpting/Green Stuff conversion, blending, and more to do with painting duly noted and not forgotten), but I figger I'll ask again: if there's anything at all related to working with fine scale miniatures or models that anyone would like to see posted in whatever amount of detail, by all means let me know! I'm keeping up with this because I enjoy sharing my work and in the hope that other folks are getting something out of it, too.

Bryan "Tinweasel" Wride

Forge World Renegade Psyker [Update 12/24/2009]

 I've been looking through some recent White Dwarf issues for inspiration to find a blue-grey color scheme that would complement the orange-yellow undertones of this guy's skin and bone, and lo and behold, I even found a recipe of sorts to sort of base things off of that I can tweak to match my Rogue Psyker's coloration more precisely.

 My current progress (I'm trying to balance the image colors and brightness with this guy, 'cause he's all over the map, but I think this is fairly representative):

 The colors on his front side in the "head view" pic are in semi-shadow in my light box when taking the close up picture, so bear that in mind. I also took a back view pic, since it shows off the color of the fatigues a bit better (he's leaning forwards, so I've got a lot of exaggerated shading on his legs and belt area from the front. I also was playing around with color on his backpack - if I could get feedback on how it looks so far (still unfinished, of course.)

 So what do you guys think? I'd appreciate as much critique as anyone can dish out, since I think I'm a little rusty in the painting department and even more importantly, I'm using this as sort of a test figure for the planned color scheme of the rest of my Renegades and Heretics force - the main colors for my take on The Shriven will be the olive-brown drab fatigues and the "surgical green" that their CBRNe protective gear will be colored. (I already know he's a little glossy - that's on purpose, but it will be sorted out in the end.)


Hobby Tip - Shaking Violently Being the Next Best Thing to Strangling

 Anyone who's ever painted (miniatures or otherwise) has probably experienced the frustration of trying to mix a color that has separated. Certain paints are especially famous for this (yes, GW Foundation paints and P3 metallics, I'm looking squarely at you), but every color has a tendency to settle over time.

 Without boring anyone to tears, hopefully, I'm going to explain a bit about why it happens and then offer a few suggestions on how to, if not prevent paint separation outright, then at least make mixing a little bit easier. Paint, for simplification's sake, is generally made up of three different elements: binder, carrier and pigment. The carrier is the primary liquid in most acrylic paints, and is responsible for the overall "flow" of your paint when wet - with most acrylics, the carrier is deionized water, whereas with solvent-based acrylics (such as Tamiya Acrylics) it's a general-purpose thinner (a variation of rubbing alcohol, perhaps) that serves essentially the same purpose. The remaining elements are the "solids" of the paint that are in suspension in the carrier; pigment being the coloration, and the binder being what "fixes" the pigment in place once dry and after the carrier and whatever other liquid elements in the paint have evaporated away. As you might guess, the pigment and binders are usually heavier than the carrier medium and over time tend to separate out, if only due to gravity and particle size. Another partial reason for "settling" might be due to evaporation of the carrier in paint pots that don't seal appropriately - that is, without enough carrier liquid to keep the other ingredients "afloat" in suspension, all the more solid elements of the paint will start to clump together and sink as separated-out "sediment."

 With all that out of the way, here's a few ideas as to how to limit the amount of settling in your paints:
  •  Keep your pots stored upside down. Not only does this make the colors themselves more visible in the rack with just about every bottle design I've seen so far, but it causes the paint itself inside the jar to act as a "barrier" of sorts to limit the amount of air able to pass into the paint pot. Less air equals less evaporation of the carrier liquid inside the pot, and thus "thinner" (and easier to mix) paint. Any separation of paint elements will have the pigments and binders settling towards the lid of the pot, as well, which generally makes for easier re-mixing if you shake all your paints periodically to maintain "freshness."
  •  After every use (or thereabouts) add a little bit of liquid back into your paint pot - in most acrylic paints, this would be deionized water. For the sake of limiting impurities in your paints, you want to use water as physically pure as possible, especially if you live/paint in an area where there is hard water. Deionized would have the fewest impurities but be the most expensive, then on to distilled water, then purified water, and finally to tap water. The reason for adding in liquid? To replace whatever amount of carrier has evaporated or been otherwise lost, which, while not technically remixing your paint for you, essentially allows it to maintain a closer-to-new proportion of carrier (or a close enough substitute) in relation to the other paint elements and thereby making the paint less thick overall and easier to reconstitute.
  •  Last and maybe best, use an agitator of some sort inside your paint pot. Ideally you want something evenly shaped and small enough to move around freely inside the pot when shaken, made of an inert material so as to not chemically interact with the paint in any way, but still heavy enough to actually shift settled contents and stir things together again without having to break a wrist with the effort. I've seen mention on several forums of folks using various things as in-pot agitators, primarily leftover trimmed-down sprue but also items such as white metal clippings, BB's, or even stainless steel ball bearings. Personally, I've tried most of these and found them less than satisfying: the sprue wasn't heavy enough, the white metal awkwardly shaped and reacting (slightly) with the contents of the pot, BB's outright rusting from the core once their inert nickel plating wore down enough, and ball bearings being expensive unless bought in bulk - also a little hard to find. My solution? A trip to the local arts and crafts chain store (Michael's, in my case) to buy glass beads - I've found 6mm to be a good and fairly inexpensive size. If you go this route, I'd suggest that instead of buying loose glass beads from the beading/jewelery-making section where they are a little pricey for the amount you get, I simply bought a few on-sale faux pearl glass bead necklaces - twice the amount for about half the cost. (Thus far I've had the luck on several trips to pick up mine on sale - 65-count necklaces of 6mm round and durable glass beads for $1.50 US!) They're even reusable once you use up all the paint in a pot, responding just as well to paint stripping as your average white metal figure. I use glass beads as agitators for paints from Games Workshop (both the newer short style pot as well as the old canister-type), Vallejo, P3, and Tamiya, and also to keep my several baby food jars of different self-mixed thinners from thickening up.


Nothing Lost, Nothing Gained

By Sethero:
All finished entries must be submitted via PM to Sethero by Sunday, December 20th at 1900hrs GMT.
 Competition deadline come and gone, and all of us in the house not feeling well this weekend. Mostly my son, who seems to have a stomach ache today or something going on that was prompting him to cry non-stop most of the morning. He's only had an hour and a half nap today, was crying went he finally fell asleep and is crying again now that he's woke up.

 I made a little progress early this morning before everyone else woke up, but looks like life wasn't on my side for this one. Only about half done, assuming we're talking straight painting without anything fancy like pigment powders or a first stab at oils - I'd contemplated trying them with this guy, but I think he's looking weathered enough already.

 Ah well, my first miniature in progress without having painted anything in about a year and I think he's coming along nicely... he's grossed out my wife, the nurse, who used to work in the Orthopedic Surgery unit at the hospital. (I must be doing something right, I think!)

Forge World Renegade Psyker WIP [Update 12/19/2009]

I was able to put in a decent amount of time today painting while my wife and daughter were out with her parents and my son was taking a good, solid nap due to not feeling well (of course, getting him to sleep took a while in itself.) Following this, it was off to a holiday get-together with my wife's parents and that side of the family. I had thought I'd not be able to paint any more and finish it before the closing deadline of the competition, but I suddenly realized a few hours ago that it was the 19th and not the 20th as I had thought. Maybe there's still hope...

Someone had asked elsewhere for a closeup of his face. Well, here it is - warts and all - now that everything's filled in and the details are actually visible. I'm somewhat stuck as to what color to paint his outer vest/jacket, and the eye lenses didn't turn out quite as vibrant as I had hoped. All the same, though, it's nice to be making progress on an excellent sculpt - been a pleasure to paint so far.


Forge World Renegade Psyker WIP [Update 12/13/2009]

 I've had a few hours here and there over the past few days to work a bit more on the Renegade Psyker - I have a somewhat "firm" deadline of sorts, since it's a figure that I'd like to enter into an informal painting competition (we're up to Mk. VII already!) currently running over at the Relicnews Painting & Modeling Forum and the final deadline for finished submissions is on the 20th.

Forge World Renegade Psyker WIP #18

 I'm feeling like I'm more or less done with the skin tones, barring maybe a highlight touch-up here or there - definitely open to suggestion, though, as it's been a while since I last painted any flesh tones. I basically sat down and played with a bunch of different colors worked in, trying to accentuate things towards the face and arms with warmer colors and have details "recede" somewhat further down the chest and stomach with cooler colors worked in. All the little details inset into his flesh still need to be painted, as does his exposed skull - the "exploding concrete and dust" figure base is simply a basecoat and a wash or two of color at this point and needs some highlighting, if nothing else.

 It all seems halfways decent to me, but then again, I was just happy to be painting. I'd definitely appreciate any comments or suggestions from other painters, since I don't really have anyone (other than a few people at the GW shop) who are physically available to "honestly and critically" review my work - it's always been that way, though. (My wife's not a big fan of the hobby, especially any figures that are inclined towards the "Nurgle" end of the scale...)


Forge World Renegade Psyker WIP [Update 12/6/2009]

 Well, this would mark the first time I've painted in just about a year - I kinda packed it in in December of '08 to get things ready for the birth of our son, who was due (and born) in February of '09. I suppose this next pic is rather a significant event, from that standpoint:
Forge World Renegade Psyker WIP #17

 The base's basecoat was actually the other night, but everything else was painted in a few hours this morning, including tidying up my work space in the basement. I guess right now could be considered by most to match what essentially amounts to a base color, no highlighting, with the skin tones and exposed bone going to be shaded in from here. (That's not actually how I painted him thus far, but that's neither here nor there... unless anyone really wants details.)

 I wouldn't mind any feedback since, again, it's been a little while since I've picked up a brush. (I've done quite a lot of assembly and conversion over the past year, and even was working on a conversion 'n' painting commission piece before the customer disappeared - nothing's ever quite made it to the painting stage, though. This guy is for an informal painting competition, and I think I'll maybe be able to finish by the deadline, barring anything cropping up.


Blood Flows Red on the Highway

 Well, this marks a momentous occasion: my first-ever Warhammer 40K vehicle is starting to resemble something vaguely like a Rhino after being broken down, mixed in with some other parts, and cobbled back together. (In truth, this is also the first "plastic vehicle model" I've ever built where I had a clue as to what I was doing - the first was a shoddily-assembled and even worse-painted model of the large ship from Disney's "The Black Hole" when I was maybe 8 years old). This Rhino is to be the transport for my Undivided Chaos Lord and his crazed Berzerker retinue as they race across the battlefield to close with the enemy - I'm wanting it decorated up a bit, but not so much that it screams "Something important in here, please shoot me!" especially given that there should be at least one other vehicle on the field, if not more:

 The final product is going to (ideally) look like a Mk.I that has over time "evolved" and/or "converted" into somewhat of a quasi Mk. II Rhino with some general stuff missing, out of place, or mutated. I got the Chaos Space Marine Battleforce Box when the latest Chaos Codex came out and the parts for this were in it - now, several years later, I'm having fun "kit-bashing."

 I have somewhat of a dilemma, though: other than Mk. I-reminiscent panels on the sides and open spaces on the top, I'd like to put some sort of decorative pattern or something. I had considered two bands of multiple inset skulls, one each running up the front angle over the tracks, past the exhaust pipes, and then down the back angle - there's several problems with this, one being that the pintle-mount cupola occupies half that top space; another is what to do at, say, the halfway mark, where in order for the skulls not to look awkward on the trip back down the rear angle over the tracks, I'd have to do a 180° rotation. Next up would be some sort of hammered metal banding pattern - same thing in that half of one would need to be thinned on the top, or not include one of the bands entirely; last but not least, I could forgo all that, do all the paneling similar to a Mk. I, and have a replica of sorts of my Warband's insignia patterned around the three circular shapes and then creatively in the vaguely open area - something like this:

(except smaller)

 So far as the overall look - the new Vindicator revisions had just came out around the time of the latest Chaos Space Marines Codex (or thereabouts) when I got my Rhino w/ the CSM Battleforce and I liked the chunky-style busy-looking top of the Vindi much better than the plain ol' Rhino top. So here it is quite a few years later and I decided to make my own chunky, Vindicator-esque Rhino like I had decided on way back then - after quite a lot of cutting, gluing, and trimming, things are starting to come together but I'm expecting to put a lot more detail on it.

 Some extra spiky detailing is going to be added in when I sculpt some growths/horns around the exhaust pipes/engine columns to protect them, and some, um, mutated texture/spines here and there around the body of the thing. Don't know what color I'll paint the more organic areas, but from an experiment with the Games Day figure of two years ago in starting an Ultramarine scheme, I know an excellent way of having the paint flake away from the "different" spots. I was also thinking barbed wire strung around the perimeter of the roof to prevent people from climbing up on top - a la the tanker truck from The Road Warrior. Dunno, though.

 I don't necessarily want to peg this Rhino as my Chaos Lord and Berserker retinue's transport so it turns into an automatic fire magnet, so I don't want to make it too ostentatious. The filigree would be a good idea if I had a lot of time, but since this is theoretically my "Snow theme" competition entry, I'd like to finish the modeling and get on to the color "soonish." For filigree, ([I]maybe[/I]) painted on effects would be doable time-wise, but even using fine powder and thinned glue to make raised pattern lines, that'd take forever to apply.

 I have to take another look at the skull panels from one of the newer Imperial Administratum building sets I bought - a lot of good stuff for ruins there, outside of things to add to this Rhino. I don't even know if I'd be able to saw it evenly into straight sections unless by pyrogravure and marked everything out ahead, and then undercut any overhanging bone outlines over the borders to have it look proper.

 I'm probably leaning towards a hammered metal look (ball peen hammer divots, say), but it depends how things come together. Right now I have the ammo cans cut for the forward default twin bolter so it will sit lower but need to figure out how to merge them into the guns so as to not look forced. I'm having the default twin bolter listed as standard to a Chaos Rhino mounted to the cupola next to the driver's port w/ a 360° traverse, and the pintle-mounted one separate on the roof at the back.

 I've decided that my vehicles are going to be crewed by The Shriven, so I can get some practice in modeling and painting them as magnetized add-ons prior to going whole hog with the full army list some time in the future.


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