Thursday, June 26, 2014

From the Desk: Cygnar Basing Step-By-Step

So again, posting as much for my own benefit. This is my process for painting these Tau Ceti bases for my Cygnar army.

After trimming off excess moldings, washing, and then priming in black, I base coated them with Andrea Gun Metal using my airbrush. This process gives them a nice even coat and is very fast. The Andrea Gun Metal has a fairly dark color to it, and the metal look is a little different than I'm used to, but I really like it and it goes through the airbrush like butter.
Next I create a custom wash using black ink and my wash medium (matte medium, flow aid and water) at about a 1:2 ratio. Once that dries I went back with P3 Cold Steel and highlight various parts and do a little blending on specific sections. This process gives the surface a lot more depth of appearance.
Now I just base coat the places I want to glow with an even mix of P3 Frostbite and P3 Meridius Blue.
Next do I some detailed lining of the glow with just P3 Frostbite. This gives me a better sense of where the brighter parts of the glow will be.
Next I create a simple glaze using P3 Turquoise ink, at roughly a 1:2 ink:water ratio and glaze all the glowing sections. I'm not super tidy on this and let the glaze run out a bit to add to the glow effect.
Finally a second round of lining with the Frostbite/MerBlue mix and then a final lining of just Frostbite. Then just tidy up the base lip and it's done!
So again, this is not meant to be a premium paint job. It's a tabletop speed paint version. I did 8 of these all at once and it took me maybe half an hour at most. I want to be able to crank these out quickly and consistently so that basing is not my hold up. One personal note about the Tau Ceti bases and this scheme is that even though there are lots of duplicates, I can change up which parts get the glow effect and it gives enough visual variation to make them look like different bases. I'm looking forward to having a whole army with these.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Shredders (#9 and #10)

More Shredders! This officially gives me a "full squad" of 10 Shredders now. I'm sorely tempted to play a list sometime with all 10 of them assigned to a Beast Mistress just for the amusement factor.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #53

Weeks like this are remarkably productive, even if there isn't a huge amount of actual painting to show for it. Ironically there is painting to show as I've been getting Legion lesser beasts finished and posted, but there wasn't huge painting left on them. Even though I'm trying to keep my first 15pts of Cygnar a relative secret (in case my buddies are actually checking my blog), I'll drop a few hints in this post. Pictured here is sort of a censored version of what's on my painting desk currently. So here's a list of this week's accomplishments:
  • Primed 6 of the 7 models for my first Cygnar wave.
  • Primed 2 additional Cygnar models that aren't part of the first wave.
  • Airbrush base coated 3 of those Cygnar models their metallic base coats.
  • Primed and base coated 8 bases for those Cygnar models.
  • Finished up 4 lesser Legion beasts (still getting photos posted).
  • Assembled Fyanna the Lash and the Nephilim Bloodseer.
  • Cleaned my desk, brushes, and palettes.

    A note about the airbrush base coating: I used the Andrea Gun Metal paint for this and I have to say that it goes through the airbrush like butter. Really liked it. Not as great for painting on ironically, but the airbrush loves the stuff. I'll do a proper product review at some point in the future when I've had a chance to experiment with more of the line properly.

    This week will hopefully be busy as well. I'm working on a post of how I paint the Cygnar bases (as much for my own reference as for sharing), and will definitely get more stuff primed and get some proper painting time in on this first Cygnar wave.
  • Saturday, June 21, 2014

    Stinger (#5)

    And a Stinger! Not really sure when I'm going to field 5 Stingers, but who knows.

    Friday, June 20, 2014

    From the Desk: Cygnar Paint Scheme Thought Process

    Choosing a paint scheme for an entire army can be simple or sophisticated. I am by no means an expert on the topic, but I figured I would share my own thought process of how I did this for Cygnar.

    The first consideration I had was the style of the models that would be making up this army. Being Cygnar and focusing on the 3 Nemos to start with, it's going to be lots of jacks and storm things. Breaking this down more analytically as I looked at the models in my inventory, there are 4 primary features that would make up 98% of all the models being painted: armor plating, machinery, simple fabrics, and coils. Everything else past those things gets into a small representation of parts. Armed with this focus, I moved on to my next main thought...

    The tone of the army is something I wanted to set and carry through every model as much as I good. I wanted to create a sense of speed and agility and technological elegance. I want the jacks to look like they have been part of a racing circuit. I want the coils to be prominent and everything to look energetic. Finally I want everything to look field experienced. Not necessarily "damaged", but a little worn from active duty. Now it was time to start turning this into something more concrete...

    Color scheme was probably what took me the longest to decide on. I created numerous swatches of color combinations. I really liked swatches that had red and black in them, so I started doing Google image searches and punching in things like "red", "black", "racing". Eventually I found this image (source link) and everything started to come together. Red and black plating. Gleaming silver machinery. Bright blue coils and storm chambers. Armed with a color scheme, now I move on to some very tactical bits around executing on the paint scheme...

    When army painting, there's 3 big things I try to keep in mind:
    The first is what quality level I want to aim for overall. I learned from my Protectorate force that over the long term my skills will improve and the look of the army will get "better" which can cause some disparity. For this army I wanted to aim for what I would classify as tabletop quality. Similar to what I do with the bulk of my Legion force today.
    Second is how well I can reproduce the look throughout the entire army. A lesson I've learned from my Legion (for better or worse) is that I can easily go crazy with color experimentation and then forget how I did something. My Legion beasts especially have this problem, particularly for the carapace. I want to make sure my process can be reproduced fairly accurately.
    Finally is speed. I want a painting process that I can crank out fairly quickly. I want to be optimizing layers so that details are happening last, and large areas are done first. I especially want metallics done first as my wash and highlight techniques for them are pretty messy.
    So the net result is a process that starts with laying down and mostly completing all the metallic work first, then "stipple/paintsmashing" the red plating on and in such a way that it makes the paint look worn off. Then go back and do blacks (cloth and accent armor platings), and finally details like coils and skin. The very last step will always be the freehand details, but I get ahead of myself.

    With all this in mind, it's time to consider basing. I wanted to reinforce the "racing circuit" look and I wanted something fairly quick and easy. To be blunt, I'm sick of building bases like I do for Legion and wanted a bit of an easy button here. After poking around online a bit, I settled on the new line of Tau Ceti resin bases by Secret Weapon Minatures. These gave me a nice technological deck plating look that I felt would work well. They are also quick to paint and there's a good variety of styles for the 40mm and 50mm sizes, not to mention a 120mm option as well.

    Finally just some thoughts on details to pick out in the army.
    I wanted to have freehand insignias on them to reinforce a look of well maintained machines and for easily identifying models from each other. This was something I did with Legion beasts that was really handy, but the runes I used for them weren't as easy to read. I've opted to go with numbers, similar to what I did with the Madhammer battlegroup since the numbers are easier to read and identify. Anything that has multiple damage boxes will have something to uniquely identify them. This freehand is also specifically for me to practice my freehand skills more but without going completely overboard on the effort needed.
    Another detail was that I'm going to paint any flesh as a medium-dark African flesh tone. There's several reasons for this, including improving my skills and that the color of African flesh is deliciously rich, and personal reasons like my son being from Africa. Needless to say, this is something I'm going to have to work at to get it looking good and I'm looking forward to that. Putting pictures of my son under my color analysis tools has been a really educational experience.

    Ok, so that's my thought process and plan. It took me about 3 months of mulling it over while working on other projects before I finally made firm decisions on all this. So how did I celebrate? I made a playlist!

    Playlist: Nemo Rush
    C'mon - Go Betty Go
    Jesus Built My Hotrod (Redline/Whiteline Version) - Ministry
    Spybreak! - Propellerheads
    Steve McQueen - Sheryl Crow
    Real Gone - Sheryl Crow
    More Human Than Human (Meet Bami In The King's Harem Mix) - White Zombie
    Storm - Yoshida Brothers
    Tank! - Seatbelts
    Dragula (Hotrod Herman Remix) - Rob Zombie
    Headhunter (Front Line Assembly Mix) - Front 242
    Ooh La La - Goldfrapp
    Teen Titans Theme - Puffy AmiYumi
    Steampunk Revolution - Abney Park

    Thursday, June 19, 2014

    Harrier (#5)

    It's another Harrier! Nothing fancy, just getting more lessers off my desk.

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014

    Captain Maxwell Finn

    So here's the first of my finished Cygnar models as a part of this big new mad push of mine. Finn is a model I've been looking forward to painting for some time. This isn't an amazing paint job by any stretch, but it was a great prototype for what I want to do with my Cygnar army. I figured Finn would make a good test model. I'll explain more about the reasoning of how I arrived at this paint scheme in a future post, but for now I'm just going to focus on how I did this particular paint job.

    Part of my goal was a paint method that could be easily replicated and streamlined the painting process. The style of "battle damage" that I wanted to go with was more of a scraping/scratching type than from being shot/blasted. Again, I'll explain that later but the context is important for why I did this the way I did.
    I had really nice success with the battle damage model that I did for Madhammer and his jacks, so I decided to use that as a base for my technique. It's pretty straightforward actually: 1) Paint metallics, including shading, 2) "Apply" paint over the metallics with roughed edges to simulate damage, including highlights and shading, 3) Add some blackening to the metals where colors appear to be blasted away. This process is essentially what I did for Finn here for the metals and reds. I did a lot more highlight/shading on the reds though, and did metal highlights after the reds were done. Everything else (skin, leathers, etc) is handled using my normal processes of course.

    In terms of mods here, the muzzle flash and ejected casings were added afterwards obviously and were from (I believe) the Armorcast line. Otherwise this is a pretty standard situation. I did this mostly to make Finn appear more dynamic, but also to test out where I like the look of adding these types of things on to my Cygnar army as a whole. I'm honestly curious what other people think about these sorts of mods, particularly for tabletop play and appearance purposes.

    Once last note here is that I added some freehand to the shoulder pad as a part of a rank/unit designation. One of my goals in painting Cygnar is to force myself to practice more freehand, and this is a great vehicle to do that.

    So that's it. Time to start cranking on my main Cygnar force!

    Sunday, June 15, 2014

    From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #52

    So just a quick weekend roundup. I'm still working through these few lesser beasts that I had in progress from before going to Lock and Load. I'm making some quick bases as well. There's a bunch of Cygnar stuff in progress as well, but due to the 15 point reveal, I'm withholding the details now, but I'll just say that everything for my first 15pts is assembled and about half of it is primed.

    Thanks to prompting from my buddy Bryan, I'm listening to the IK novel Into the Storm on my phone using the Audible app. So far it's pretty sweet. Not necessarily the next War and Peace, but it certainly gets me jazzed to paint and play. I foresee myself listening to many more of these while painting.

    Saturday, June 14, 2014

    From the Desk: Storm Clouds Have Gathered

    For several months I have been accumulating Cygnar models. This actually started quite some time ago when my buddy Mike gave me a Nemo3 blister that he won in a raffle at a tournament. It was sort of a taunt and sort of because I'd mentioned how awesome I thought Nemo3 was both in terms of stats and sculpt. I then accumulated a couple random models, traded for second hand stuff, and then was pushed over the edge when Lance and Henry bought me a Stormwall for my birthday quite unexpectedly. At that point I was definitely at a point of no return. So now I am officially declaring my launch into Cygnar. Much like when I launched into Croxorz, my goal is to get a force on the table and just enjoy playing them. I'll post my progress as things move along, however there's some framing to the first big chunk that will limit what exactly I blog.

    My smaller play group in this area is doing a pseudo slow grow league, and we're kicking it off with a 15 point reveal somewhere around the beginning of August. To that end, I'll be working on stuff but not posting progress until we do this first reveal with each other. I'll drop some hints on this blog on what my first 15 points will be.

    Friday, June 13, 2014

    Beast Mistress

    This one is long overdue. Here's my finished Beast Mistress. This is the first one still. The second one is barely started. I really enjoyed painting this model despite a couple of annoyingly sculpted bits. I spent quite a bit of time on this model. Another competition entry that didn't receive any award at Lock and Load. As much as I enjoyed painting this model, I'm really looking forward to putting her on the table and seeing how she works out.

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    Autumn for the Night Satyr

    Here's the finished Gnarlhorn project. I'm pretty exhausted from seeing it so much for the last several weeks so pardon me if I don't do a big post about it. The Gnarlhorn itself was a pretty huge experiment in using color which I feel sort of worked out. The base on the otherhand was a huge success to me given that I'd never done such a base before. I'll just note that even though it didn't place at either the KublaCon or Lock and Load competitions, I'm very happy with it as a project since I forced myself to try things outside of my normal methodologies.

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014

    Post Lock and Load Photos

    My poor blog has been starved for the last few weeks, but now that Lock and Load is over, I intend to return to posting here. Here's a shameless photodump from my weekend at Lock and Load. Pictures have captions for those interested in more details.

    Overall I had a great time at Lock and Load. No fancy report of everything I did though. I'm super jazzed to get painting on my next big project. More on that in a couple days.