Monday, July 28, 2014

Generators and Console

Finished these up late last night. These are the Secret Weapon Miniatures terrain pieces Imperial Generators. The generators stand about as tall as a normal 30mm model. I painted them in my Cygnar theme colors to match the army and even magnetized them. I've had them for quite some time and it was nice to knock these out real quick.

The pieces themselves are resin and pretty easy to work with. I will say that they have a bit of texture to them that ideally would get sanded down, but I didn't want to mess around with that since it's just terrain. The console was an amusing little piece to add on. Something I like about these pieces is that they offer a lot of flexibility in how they are positioned, and they make for a very clear delineation of what space they take up in terms of being hard cover.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #56

So most of this week was taken up by a cruise to Catalina, but I still got some significant progress in. Here's a quick summary.

I primed and base coated the Storm Strider, Junior, Arcanist Core, 2 Hunters, 2 Fireflies, a bunch of bases, and the terrain pieces I've been meaning to paint for a long time. I also got some start on the Storm Strider and the terrain pieces are well along the way to completion. I'm hoping to have them done tomorrow.

As a part of base coating, I realized I was nearly out of pre-mixed metal, so I mixed up an additional batch of 1:1 Andrea Gun Metal and water. It's really handy to already have pre-mixed paint for my Cygnar army painting. This particular mix is in droppers and used for the airbrush base coating. I also want to mix up more of my base armor wash, but I ran into a snafu.

Turns out my pre-mixed wash medium was going bad, so I had to wash out the dropper and make a new batch. In the process of doing that, I discovered that most of my matte medium had started to congeal. I got enough out of it to mix up a new batch was wash medium, but I did need to order a more matte medium. I took the opportunity to also order more gloss/dull coat.

Not pictured here is progress on assembling the Thunderhead. It's about one third assembled, with mostly the hard stuff done.

At this point my painting desk is pretty focused on the Storm Strider and Junior. My goal is to finish up both this week if possible.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Stormsmiths

These Stormsmiths helped round out my first 15pt Cygnar list. I enjoyed painting these, but I did find that many of the details on these models are not as finely sculpted as they were in the Nemo1 model. Still though, these guys are amusing characters and I liked working on them.

I will say that I struggled a lot more on the freehand with this. I opted to go with letters instead of numbers, and by the time I was cleaning up the B for the third time, I'd started to think I'd made a mistake and should have done numbers. No doubt I will get a second set of these for the Nemo2 tier list and probably end up doing a D, E and F, which should be easier to freehand.

One thing I was really happy about on these models was the coats. For the most part I felt like doing 5 layers of highlighting was smoother and more effective than doing washes. Probably just cause I had more patience on these for some reason. I may try that again on the next models that have long coats.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Commander Adept Nemo

My first Cygnar warcaster! This model was very enjoyable to paint. Again I tried to focus on a racing-worn look, with utility insignias added in multiple places, especially electricity symbols and the favorite warning sign (exclamation point in a triangle). I feel like the skin and hair on this model worked out pretty well. His hairy eyebrows and mustache made for a nice framing of his face overall.

There was a bit of a problem when I finally went to mount him to the base. Specifically his staff was extended down just a bit too much. I tried to use the texture of the base to create a bit more space for it but in the end I had to have just a bit of a bend to it. Not really going to sweat that though. Details like that are good learning opportunities, but with the goal of getting a playable army on the table, I tend to focus on moving forward rather than fixing things that need non-trivial work.

I have to admit that I haven't given much thought to which caster I'll paint next. Probably Nemo2, but given that I've only played this Nemo a single time, I'm not super anxious to get more options on the table just yet. I'd love to build out his whole tier list before moving on to a second caster.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Stormwall

Picture heavy post. Can't help myself. This project was a real delight.

So this marks my first Cygnar warjack, and what a way to fully commit to the faction it was. There's a load of posts out there about how people assembled and painted their Stormwalls, and the whole process therein. So I'm going to skip all that here and focus more on what I particularly enjoyed. Sort of getting back to my roots on a proper project review.

First, yes, the whole kit is amazing. Great articulation ability in the joints so that it can be positioned in many different ways. And on the whole, it was pretty clean. A few mold lines that were a bit ugly, but most of it was fine. Parts that should be metal were metal, and parts that should be resin were resin. Anything that had fiddly join points tended to be hidden away from normal touching. And the joins between parts went together quite well. In short, probably my favorite huge-based kit to put together.

Now there are plenty of places where I didn't gap fill at all. Close inspection will find several of these without too much of a problem, but I opted to skip gap filling in most cases because I felt the gaps didn't particularly detract from the look. They tended to be at places where different elements were coming together and a little gap actually accentuated the flexing of the joints, so I left them.

I did this project in essentially 5 parts: base, legs and hips, torso, and each arm. I worked my way upwards and as I finished parts, I put them together. I found this to make the entire process both relatively easy to manage and motivating which kept me moving forward on the project pretty quickly. The airbush made short work of all the base coating steps. From there it was just a matter of building up on top of the metal layers, finding the right balance of black and red, and then doing all the details.

So when it came down to details and freehand, I wanted to put several insignias on different red plates to really drive home the look of a machine that's maintained more for performance than appearances. It was also a great way to start practicing freehand but on a larger scale model to get more into it and try out some ideas. I feel like most of them worked out pretty well for my first solid attempt. Some of the insignias are not as sharp, but the provided good learning experiences. I actually did a lot of research online for military insignias but didn't find much inspiration. I found that warning signs and reference photos of planes was more valuable. Google image searching continues to be one of my most valuable tools on the internet when it comes to planning projects.

This particular insignia on the one side (SH1-0151) is a reference quote. I haven't been telling people what it is to see if they know, but a resourceful search online will quickly find it. It's just fun to me to see if people recognize it offhandly when I'm at the LGS. Painting this one was actually a good challenge. I needed to space out all the letters properly, keep the height relatively consistent, and work around the already mounted cannon. Despite the challenges, this one worked out well. I did learn a trick here too...

When it comes to freehand, I read a tip long ago (source long forgotten) that basically outlined this process:
  • Use well thinned paint.
  • Put dots of paint to create a "constellation" of the design.
  • Start filling in the details of the design.
  • Use the base color to go back and "erase" overpainting parts or even to create the design itself.
  • This process definitely helped me a lot here.

    Oh yeah, and then there were Stormpods as well. These were quick. I painted simple numbering insignias on them. Nothing particularly fancy. I do however like that I can leave these parked on the Stormwall's base when awaiting launching. With these I had to trim off all of the "broken ground" that is sculpted around their points. They do look a little odd on these bases, but I'm not going to sweat the small stuff here.

    So what could have been better? Well, lots of stuff. Gap filling, better deep shading, more and better insignias, and lots of little blending smoothings. But this was a tabletop quality project. And honestly, i think I cranked this whole thing out in probably a week and a half of evenings, so I'm pretty proud. I would totally consider doing a second one of these, and that's really saying something.

    Aaaannnd... More pictures!

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014

    Battle Report: Nemo1 vs Syntherion

    This is not so much a battle report as just a quick picture to show I played yesterday. Sorry for the false advertising.

    Last night at my LGS, I rolled out my new Cygnar stuff, with a bunch of mercs in tow. I played against my good buddy Lance and his Syntherion army and we had a blast. I have to say that Nemo1's feat is pretty crushing against Convergence. Rather than a battle report, I'm just going to share my first impressions and excitements of playing Cygnar:
  • The Stormwall is awesome, and especially so when loaded with 5 focus.
  • Nemo1 has severe "old man" stats, but he's still a blast to play.
  • Stormsmiths are super fun. Especially with Stormpods out there. And especially when I pull off all 3 types of Storm Calls in a single game.
  • There are a LOT of mercs that work for Cygnar. I had no problem filling out a 50pt list with my existing merc collection.
  • Finn is unfortunately not super effective, but it was a blast to run him right up the field with impunity.

  • One of the best things about painting for me is getting to play the stuff that I've recently finished painting.
    And one of the best things about playing is that I get more motivation to paint.

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014

    Squire

    My Cygnar Dragon Horde has finally started rolling off the assembly line, and I'm going be rolling out pictures of completed stuff during the next several days. I'm starting with this humble beginning: the Squire. This was sort of a test model to make sure my color scheme for Cygnar would translate well to jacks. It was also a good exercise in how quickly I could crank something out to what I consider tabletop quality. I think this guy took me about 3 hours or less of painting time. It's a pretty simple model but with a lot of metal details. I didn't try to go through and highlight all the metal individually, but rather used simple drybrushing techniques to get it done fast. I find that using "directional drybrushing" does a good job of creating a highlighted brushed metal look with minimal effort.

    Now that my first 15 points of Cygnar is done (with a little extra to spare), I'm going to take it to my LGS for a test drive tonight. More to come!