Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Captain Victoria Haley

Finally I have a second Cygnar warcaster ready. Not my favorite model, but I wanted something fairly different to play and this helps me work through the "prime" casters. Nothing special to say on this one really. One problem I had was finding enough surface to put even just a single insignia on, and that was a pretty small space unfortunately. Also, when I pinned her, I screwed up and her back foot is actually floating just a bit (maybe 1mm) and not set all the way down. Oh well! Tabletop quality! Moving on!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Stormclad! Done! Nothing interesting to say! Love this model! Pictures!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Airbrush Class Review

Sunday I went up to the Secret Weapon Miniatures' headquarters and attended an airbrush training class with Mister Justin himself. This was a rare treat as he's become a very busy man these days. There were 14 of us in the class and it was a very hands-on class. Besides being a rather noisy situation due to all the compressors (especially 1 very loud shop-style compressor), it was a pretty nice environment to work in for the task at hand. I got a solid 4 hours worth of time directly working with my airbrush and many times got to ask Justin questions to help debug problems, get advice and generally improve my confidence in using the airbrush.

This GW Ogre Bull model pictured here is my output from the class. Not particularly amazing except for the fact that all of that work was done entirely with an airbrush. I did some masking obviously to prevent overspray on key areas, but I didn't do anything with a brush. He's clearly not going to win any awards, but I'm somewhat shocked at what I did pull off on what is a relatively small model for my skill levels. Up close (and from other angles) you can totally find several small spatters and "spider webs" where the paint got away from me, but that's all part of the learning process. I focused on just using the airbrush to re-do problem areas rather than just give up. I will admit that at one point I nearly said "screw it", but rather than surrender, I took a moment to pause and look at what my peers were doing which helped me feel like I wasn't the only one feeling frustrated. As one other classmate said aptly, "this is a great opportunity to get a month's worth of mistakes done in a single day and get help rather than getting frustrated".

So what did I learn?
  • Practice with coloring books. They are cheap and provide a great canvas to just fool around on and not stress about "ruining" it.
  • Everything you can do with an airbrush, you can do with a brush. This might seem obvious, but keeping this in mind, the airbrush should be thought of as a time-saving tool. If the work is getting too difficult to accomplish with an airbrush, switch to a traditional brush.
  • Models are just 2D surfaces mapped onto a 3D object. It's a matter of painting each of the 2D canvases on that 3D model. With that in mind though...
  • Everything is a sphere. Muscles, faces, and so on are basically constructed of lots of spheres and each one needs highlighting and shading appropriately so that they make visual sense on the model.
  • Use a sculpting tool to gently push in the edges of painters tape when masking helps improve the accuracy of the masking effort. This works particularly well on areas where the edge of that tape can be pushed into a crease.
  • There's no one answer to any airbrush problem. For example, if the paint seems too thin and is spiderwebbing, one option is to dial back the max paint on the airbrush, leave the pressure the same, and work in shorter bursts. This leads me to a very important point I learned...
  • Unlike the brush where much of the learning is by "feel" and "intuition", the airbrush requires a fair amount more disciplined practice. It is important to actually understand all of the factors in play such as viscosity, air pressure and such. This requires measured experimentation to work through as much as getting a familiar feel for it.
Some other quick notes from the class:
P3 paints and Daler Rowney Inks are both liquid pigments and thus work great in the airbrush. I'd never thought to run inks through the airbrush, but it does work great.
91% isopropyl alcohol for cleaning.
Thin with water only.
Don't use the reservoir cup. I was amused that Justin never used a reservoir cup on his airbrushes. Just dumped paint directly into the top with the cup off. Makes sense in hindsight since the cups are generally way larger than needed for small work.
0.2 needle for detail work. 0.5 for general work.
Get some airbrush lube. I desperately need to do this after (at the end of the class) doing a complete strip-down of my Infinity.
Justin has lots of hilarious stories about great painters doing amusing things. A couple times I was paralyzed with laughter.

Also got to see the SW warehouse and production areas which was a fun bonus. Ok, enough typing. It's time to get paint on a model while I'm riding a wave of motivation.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yesterday at the LGS

Yesterday I went down to my LGS to play and help out someone. On our local forum someone posted that they had gotten an Archangel but didn't know what to do about the wings. I jumped in and suggested using a couple long pins. This guy asked if someone could help and I volunteered to meet up with him at the LGS to do it. After half an hour of general chit chat and drilling and cutting and explaining and, well, just general BS'ing and modeling, it was all set. I'm happy to say the pins worked nicely and the pieces fit nice and tight. It was a great experience all around and doing it at the LGS was especially nice since other people came by asking questions. I had brought my own Archangel along which of course draws a lot of attention being such a huge model.

After the pinning exercise, we played a 25pt game as well. Mark (the guy I helped) is relatively new to Warmachine/Hordes, so we had a nice casual game. I had given him the option of picking stuff for the list I was going to play and he requested pThag and a Raek, which I happily obliged. I ended up rolling a tier 2 pThag list that included Ogryn and an Angelius. The picture shows near the end where pKaya was in a lot of trouble, pinned behind a bunch of nasty. There was a moment where I thought the Warpwolf Stalker was going to slip loose and have a run on Thagrosh, but my hardy Warmongers held their ranks and the game went my direction. Still though, we both had a great time and I was able to give him a bunch of tips about scenarios and just little things around tighter game play.

Having a vibrant Warmachine night at a great LGS is definitely a fortunate thing to have, and getting to contribute in a small way to help it stay vibrant was a nice way to break up my work week last night.

Monday, October 20, 2014

From the Desk: The Bag O Crap!

Last week I ordered the "Bag O Crap" from Secret Weapon Miniatures. For those of you not familiar with this, Secret Weapon throws all their miscast stuff into a bin and every so often they make up bags of those bits which they then sell. At first glance this might sound like buying garbage. To some degree it is a gamble. Some of the things are legitimate miscasts, and lots of it is just random with no clear knowledge of what will be in the bag. The Secret Weapon line includes terrain pieces and a variety of bits as well which makes the potential ingredients even more varied. Still though, I was already ordering a set of the Alien Temple bases anyway, so I figured why not throw in one of these bags for kicks. So what did I get?

Pictured here is all the stuff I decided to keep. A little over half the bag was bevel-edged bases which I mostly had no use for. I kept everything from the Alien Temple line for experimentation purposes and I kept all of the terrain bits and round-lipped bases. Out of all the stuff pictured here, only a couple were what I consider "badly miscast", and even then they are recoverable. Many of the bases are perfectly fine, including a really sweet 120mm base. One of the bad miscasts was a 50mm Alien Temple base so I'm using it as an experiment base right now.

All things considered, I'm pretty happy with this bag o crap and I'm looking forward to getting another one next time they do this.

And no, I am not being compensated in any way for this review. I bought the Bag O Crap at normal price and at my own risk. I just happen to have really enjoyed getting it and wanted to share my excitement.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #64

No pictures this week. Just lazy...

Busy week, and I'm exhausted, so I'm making this a quick list of accomplishments and then going to bed.

Wrapped up Stormblades (except Captains). I'm super happy to have finished them.

My desk got remarkably clean. I prepped the next batch of models (all individual models), and now my desk feels like it's back to a somewhat normal state of things. Now that I've pressed through that big double unit, I'm having a little trouble deciding what model to focus on first. Probably some Cygnar jacks.

My Secret Weapon Bag O Crap arrived! I'll post a quick review tomorrow on that.

I'm experimenting with Alien Temple bases for mercs. I'd like to have a different but consistent basing theme for my mercs that I plan on routinely playing with Cygnar and these bases are pretty sweet looking. My theory is an obsidian-style stone with orange glowing cracks. I'm going to prototype one this week to see how it looks.

Lastly, my display case is getting full (again). Legion beasts in particular are big and pokey. It also doesn't help that Cygnar has gone from 14 to 50+ models in the last few months, including 2 huge based models. It looks like I'm going to have to demote some models out of the case entirely pretty soon.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Stormblade Infantry Storm Gunners

Done! So glad to wrap up all these Stormblades. These 6 Storm Gunners round out the entire set of 22 models. Nothing much to say on these really. I was clearly trying to get them done fast and cut a few extra corners, but nothing major that will make them obvious eyesores compared to the rest of the squads.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beast Mistress (take 2)

Just a quick post that I finished the Beast Mistress that's been sitting on my desk for the last 5 months. This picture is atrocious, and it doesn't actually look that bad in person, but it's also nowhere near as good as the first one I did. This is just a quick tabletop paint job so I can be done.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stormblade Officer and Standard

Not going to belabor this post. The only thing I'm not super happy with about the UAs is that I probably should have done more with the banners than I did. However I must admit that painting freehand on such an irregular surface proved very challenging to my skills. At least in doing this I got some practice at shading the freehand pattern. These banners though are sculpted in an odd fashion: they wave but are still very rectangular from the front. Something about their shape just feels wrong to me, especially given the amount of waves they have. Anyway, what's done is done. Time to move on.

Monday, October 13, 2014

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #63

Finally started putting paint on my second Beast Mistress. I was updating my list of unpainted models and found that I have 5 unpainted Legion models, not counting the swarm of Shredders/Harriers/Stingers that are sitting around in various states of progress. Despite all my focus on Cygnar, Legion is still my favorite faction to both paint and play. This hiatus from them has actually given me a renewed vigor to get them on the table, especially now that I have epic Absylonia and a Neraph.

My Stormblades are coming along. The UAs are all done and just need pictures. The WAs are still in progress and need reds and insignias. My goal is to have them done this week which should be a piece of cake. That will wrap up that monster project and I can get back to painting single models for a while.

In a rather naughty move, I bought a second Stormwall. One of the guys at my LGS had a second one and wasn't going to be using it. The only downside was that it was already assembled and primed, but to some degree that saves me some trouble. He used a lot of glue so getting it off of the base was a bit of a pain, and there were some parts assembled slightly incorrectly, but otherwise it's pretty well put together. I'll probably take a much more rapid approach on this one to get it done quicker. Needless to say, this isn't at the top of my paint queue, but it is something that I had been thinking of getting anyway. The Stormwall is one of my favorite PP models to paint to date so doing a second should be really fun. Pictured here are the legs and a few pistons being stripped of primer so that I can clean up some issues, as well as trying to dissolve the glue a bit from the bottom of the feet.

Yesterday I also solved a minor mystery. I had assembled, primed and base coated a Defender jack, and it had been sitting on the side shelf for some time. Then one day it was just missing. Yesterday I happened to notice that it had taken a header from the shelf and fallen nearly 5 feet to the floor. Amazingly the paint was barely chipped, however the arms had come loose. Easily repaired though, and now I'm keen to get him painted sooner rather than later.

Friday, October 10, 2014


So here's the 2 Stormblade units finished up. The UA's and WA's are still in progress. It feels great to get these done though. I'm looking forward to fielding them, especially without any attachments just to try them out in their basic form first. In the end I decided to label them "A" and "Z" squads. Not really much else to say here though.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #62

Getting this week's update done a bit early.

My Stormblades effort is really coming along. 6 of them are completely done (except for sealing), and another 7 are very close, just needing insignias and bases. The rest need all the red plating done and some other misc work. I'm fortunately at the point where I can easily see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm near the point of being able to actually play some of these models as well. My goal for the next week is at least wrap up the 2 basic units and the 2 unit attachments. The weapon attachments may take me a bit longer though, especially given this is a hectic week for me. I'm traveling for work for a couple days, Exigence drops on Wednesday, and I'm hoping to get another game in.

On the assembly front I got 3 warcasters, a Stormclad, and a second Stormblade Captain assembled. As much fun as pNemo is, I'm looking forward to playing a new caster.

I also got a game in this last week with Lance. 50pts Incursion, with me playing pNemo (without a Stormwall for once) and Lance playing a tier 4 Syntherion list. Lance crushed me pretty bad, with the end of the game resulting in me taking a wildly unlikely assassination run near the end in a last ditch effort to pull out a win. There were only a couple places where my luck was against me. The first was that the flag that disappeared was on the side I was weaker on. The second was a failed strength check for Thunderhead to 2-handed throw a Cipher. This match up sort of reinforced my sense that having a Stormwall is always a good idea. I just didn't have enough firepower to take out the Axiom, nor enough options to get a proper amount of damage on Syntherion since he was camping 4 focus most of the game. At arm 22, it was pretty rough for me to get enough attacks on him. I will note that Lance proxied the CoC battle engine and it was quite amusing to play against. Despite a pretty rough beating, I still really enjoy the Convergence-Cygnar match ups.

And finally a very different modeling project that my son and I did together getting ready for Halloween. It's very early but I didn't want to squash his enthusiasm for one of my favorite holidays of the year.