Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Amera Vacuum Molded Terrain WIP - Phase 3!

Here is a small update.  Some more Amera terrain that has been more-or-less completed.

A few more pics:

Monday, November 21, 2011

A day of Miniature Gaming (40K)...

With plenty of beer, pizza and Chinese food, we embarked on a great day of miniature gaming.  In attendance were the Blood Angels, Nurgle Chaos Marines, Grey Knights, Dark Eldar, Dark Angels, Necrons, Imperial Guard, and proxy Necrons.

There were some real tough fought battles and a few clean sweeps but I think everybody had fun.  As the host that is all I was concerned with.   Here is a whole bunch of pics from the day... sadly I am not a very good photographer and an even worse one when drunk hah.

My friends from The Lazarus Effect were here with the Dark Angels, Dark Eldar and Grey Knights.

A few of these guys drove over an hour to come join the battle.  Glad they could make it!

Here are my Blood Angels turtled-up in preparation of the horrible bloodbath the Nurgle marines are about to bring.

This epic game between the Dark Angels and Necrons took most of the afternoon.  It ended in a tie.

Sure I'll name drop! ...we've got International 40K super-stud Ben Mohlie in the house (attic) with the proxy Necrons.

If you're trying to make sense of the "Salamander" army here don't.  It's a proxy Necron list and the pod/landraider is a Monolith.

Most of us had a chance to play two games and I know at least I had a great time.  Still a lot more unpainted models and pieces of scenery on the table than I would have liked, but I am making slow progress.   Next time I will iron the felt mats before gaming and have some beer in reserve but overall the day went pretty smooth, this is what "Attic Wars" is all about.   Thanks again to all that came!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Amera Vacuum Molded Terrain WIP - Phase 2!

Quick update here ...I haven't had much time for nerdy things recently.  Here is a small amount of progress.  I basically finished the base-coating on the redoubt, bunker, and the two bastions.  I'd like to go back and add washes, weathering, flock, automated guns, Aquilas etc, but that will have to wait.  Still on deck - all the rest of the Amera terrain and the GW buildings.

Here is another shot of the terrain...  I hope to have them completely finished by the end of the year hah.

It is worth noting that this terrain is incredibly cheap if you live in the UK.  Shipping to the US took a bite out of the savings but still worthwhile in my opinion.

Here is that address again if you are so inclined:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Amera Vacuum Molded Terrain WIP - Phase 1!

So I have a lot of this stuff.  I jumped in deep and got an assortment of everything.  The city buildings (not shown here) are a bit dodgy, strange to assemble, and look very generic next to a GW or Pegasus building.  The rest however, are really quite fantastic.   They are surprisingly sturdy because they are mostly all one-piece molds, and it's not difficult to add further detail with textured primer, sand, flock, bitz etc.   I have to say, I love this terrain.  I still have a ways to go before all of these pieces are completed but I believe it will be a relatively easy task.   The picture above shows my current state of progress.

I used a combination of primers, some of them textured-primers as you can see.  I am such a huge fan of Krylon primer and its "360 degree" spray tip... it sprays perfectly every time.   The Rust-oleum "textured" primer was a disaster and splattered large dots everywhere, but the Rust-oleum "stone" worked great.   Anyway these babies are ready for a quick airbrushing now (Phase 2)...

Oh and here is the link to the Amera Terrain site:

Monday, November 7, 2011

My big fat terrain database... a WIP

So I have a LOT of terrain it seems.  I've never previously had the space to see it all together on one table, and remind me that I may in fact have a problem hah.   I have enough painted pieces for a few games, enough just built for a super-mega Apocalypse game, and still plenty on sprues (most notably another entire Imperial Sector, and an Imperial Stronghold).

These 'no-frills' Gothic ruins by Pegasus are really fantastic.  They were easy to assemble and paint, and they look great, even next to the highly detailed GW buildings.

The Amera vac-mold stuff will be fairly easy to paint once I hit it all with textured primer, and I believe it will end up looking quite good.  I will add some spray-foam to the interior of a few pieces just for weight... these pieces are surprisingly sturdy already.

The GW terrain is of course in a league of its own and I find it a little intimidating to paint as it all has just so much detail to contend with.  So far this is where I am at... yes, a long way to go.

This is the full list of all the terrain that I own, in its various stages of construction.

1 set of WH40k Jungle trees – completely unbuilt.
1 Imperial Sector - completely unbuilt.
1 Imperial Strongpoint – completely unbuilt.
1 Skyshield Landing Pad – built unpainted.
1 Warhammer Fantasy Fortress – built, partially converted for Planet Strike.
1 Imperial Sector – (1 Manufactorum – primed, 1 Sanctum Imperialis - primed, 1 Basilica Administratum – primed).
1 Shrine of Aquila – primed.
1 Honoured Imperium – primed.
1 Battlescape – primed.
1 Temple of Skulls – primed.
1 set crashed Imperial Aquila Shuttle terrain pieces from BfM – painted.
1 set of 2 small ruins from 3rd edition Box – painted.
3rd Party:
Package of Woodland Scenic trees – unassembled.
Package of Woodland Scenic tree (clump foliage) leaves – unassembled.
Various Amera vac-mold buildings – completely unbuilt.
Amera small hill & large hill – unpainted.
Amera ruined walls set of 2 – unpainted.
Amera amphitheatre – unpainted.
Amera craters set of 8 – unpainted.
Amera crashed helicopter gunship – unpainted.
Amera redoubt – unpainted.
Amera fortified barricades set of 3 – unpainted.
Amera observation bunker – unpainted.
Amera bastion strongholds set of 2 – unpainted.
Amera scenery set – unpainted.
Amera castle ruins – unpainted.
Gothic City Ruins Set 1 Terrain (Pegasus Hobbies) – painted.
“Dugg” from Dakka vehicle crater set – painted.

2 hot-wire / razorwire placements – unpainted.
2 foam armory-type structures – unpainted.
2 mossy ruined wall placements – painted.
Old plastic tank (dark angels) – painted.
1 hot-wire / razorwire placement – painted.
2 tiki heads – painted.
6 tree bases varius sizes – painted.
28 jungle trees – painted.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The guy with a Ton of Paints...

Yeah so I've got pretty much all of the major miniature paint brands represented in my collection, even the less popular Tamiya, Andrea, Foundry and Coat D'Arms brands.   Does this make me abnormal? -- wait till you see my 'reserves' in storage.   Anyway, my intent here is to show off my new painting space and also talk a little about the more popular brands of mini paint and give my own spin.

Let me start with my favorite, P3 (Privateer Press) paints.  Only in the last few years have I begun using these paints but I cannot live without them now.  Sanguine Base, Umbral Umber and Menoth White Highlight are used on nearly every model I paint.   All of their paints thin incredibly well, better than any other paint in my collection, and their color selection has some fantastic and rich colors.  The one exception to my heavily favored line would be the metallics, in which I think P3 is very lacking.

On the subject of metallics, I'll jump right into Vallejo.   If you've seen my article on GOLD, you know that I can't say enough good about Vallejo Model Color metallics, particularly the golds.   The Andrea Golds were equally as smooth, but I just love the metallic (gold) color choices from VMC.  In general the non-metallic line of VMC paints are also quite good.   The Vallejo Game Color paints are very nice as well, and they match closely the GW line of paints.   Finally there is the Vallejo AIR paints that have become quite popular as folks are doing more airbrushing in our hobby.   I like these paints, but I do feel they are somewhat over-rated.   The naming conventions for one are really obnoxious, and they do still require some thinning, but my major beef is with the golds.  I now have 4 of each gold-ish color AIR paint and they are all total crap ...each has separated to the point where no amount of shaking can recover.  I was fool enough to keep buying them thinking I had a bad batch.   That said, the Vallejo AIR silvers are actually very nice and easy to use.   The best thing about any of the Vallejo paints is of course the dropper bottle.

So yes the Reaper Masters Series paints also use dropper bottles.   For some reason though these get clogged up incredibly easy.   I don't know if its the agitator or the way these paints dry or what but I am consistently having to unclog the dropper with a needle.   The paints themselves are not bad, and I have a large collection of them, but I will no longer keep buying them as I find they often dry 'chalky' as compared to my other paints.  They do have a great selection of colors and the Triads make shading and highlighting very convenient.   I would say if you are just starting out with shadows and highlights these triads might be a very nice option.

Lastly I will cover GW / Citadel paints.  I do love this brand of paint, though I am increasingly more frustrated with every change to the paint-pot container.    GW makes very nice paints with very nice colors.   I know I am clearly obsessed with gold, but regarding this color GW paints are a real let down.   Some of their other paints are also somewhat lacking in pigment like Blood Red and the yellows etc.   I believe the GW Mithryl Silver is hands-down the best silver available in the miniature paint brands however.   I still have many of the old original Citadel paints that are good as new.  These old paints spent a decade in my parents' uninsulated attic with extreme temps and came out just fine.   With my Blood Angels I still use mostly GW paints because I like to keep things consistent, but when I begin new and different armies I will likely use P3 and Vallejo exclusively.  The paint-pots are just too obnoxious and the prices too high to keep using GW.

I hope someone found this little summary useful.  You might want to also check out the Paint Range Compatibility Chart on Dakka Dakka.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My newly acquired Table Top!

Thanks Bob! ...this beauty was donated to the hobby space for free by a fan of my blog (really? - yes!).   I just hit it with some textured spray paint (pictured) and I may do a small amount of airbrush work on it later but it's pretty much ready to go.  I will have to get some legs but this will bring the total now to Five 4'x6' tables in this Attic.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Great Gold Rush! ...a Quest for the best Gold

My experiments with Gold for all to see...

I had originally posted an early draft of this on another blogger site but this version is far more updated and complete.  I am leaving out Vallejo Liquid Gold at this point however, which has become my new favorite, and I will cover it entirely at a later date.

So here we go, and please note that each of these minis were 'speed' painted just for the sake of this experiment and could certainly be done much better and more patiently.

I'll start with some general impressions.  Tips and techniques used for small areas of your models may not apply to larger surfaces when using metallic paints. Metallic paints can, and should be thinned just like other paints but they won't behave exactly the same as a non-metallic paint.  First you will certainly need several coats; I've consistently used 3 coats of my thinned metallic paint to get an even coverage throughout this exercise.  Secondly, be mindful not to touch areas (with the brush) that are not newly wet (10 seconds or less) or completely dry (5 mins or more) because once it becomes almost/semi-dry the metallic will clump and push/pull into lumpy balls of paint on your mini and generally look like arse.  Metallic paints dry slower than other paints for reasons unknown to me.

My test bed of miniatures were all primed with Vallejo primer using my airbrush.
The Guinea Pigs...

GW method 1:  base coat GW-shining Gold, Devlan Mud wash, glaze thinned GW-Leviathan Purple into recesses, first highlight GW-Shining Gold, 2nd highlight thinned GW-Burndished Gold and matte medium, spot/extreme highlight (sparesly) GW-Mithril Silver.
GW Method 1

GW method 2 (AoBR): base coat 50:50 GW-Scorched Brown : GW-Shining Gold, base highlight with GW-Shining Gold, 2nd highlight with 50:50 GW-Shining Gold : GW-Mithril Siver, wash Gryphon Sepia, extreme highlight 30:70 GW-Shining Gold : GW-Mithril Silver.
GW method 3 (Sanguinary Guard): base coat GW-Shining Gold, wash 1:1 GW-Scorched Brown : black into recesses, glaze recesses with GW-Leviathan Purple wash, highlight with 1:1 GW-Shining Gold : GW-Mithril Silver, extreme highlight with GW-Mithril Silver.  Note: this method is NOT how they painted those minis, their base coat was sprayed on with an airbrush or aerosol.
I've found that these techniques actually look quite good on smaller areas but in my opinion, look terrible on larger areas and/or complete miniatures.
GW method 2 & 3 and a GW-Shining Gold based model

Generally speaking, I feel like the GW methods are lies! ...their recipes create an 'interesting' looking color but it's not gold.  If you look at the Sanguinary Guard tutorial on the GW site you can see (by the base) that those models were 'sprayed' gold, and the gold looks lighter and brighter than GW Shining Gold.  Regardless both method 2 and 3 had near identical results, and pictured are my second attempts for each method.  I went a little too far with the shadows and covered up the base color a little too much, but in either case the highlight color (shining gold + mithril silver) doesn't do it for me, it's too bronze-ish on larger areas.

Vallejo Game Colour method: base coat VGC Glorious Gold.  wash with 4:1 Vallejo Umber Shade Wash : Blue Shade Wash, highlight with thinned VGC Polished Gold and matte medium, extreme highlight with 2:1 VGC Polished Gold : VGC Silver, add 4-5 reflective spots with VGC Silver.
VGC method

The Vallejo Game (VGC) metallics actually went on smoother than the GW and they blended (when thinned) much easier.  The Vallejo washes were much less impressive here however.  The Vallejo washes are not nearly as smart as the GW washes in terms of knowing where to sit.  Also applied over the metallics the washes knocked the shine down quite a bit, which was nice for shadows, but they still pooled in unwanted areas.  The photo doesn't do it justice but this gold looks pretty good.

Vallejo Model Colour method 1: (good!) base coat with thin coats of VMC Brass, wash with 4:1 Vallejo Sepia Shade : Vallejo Blue Shade, go back over model (avoid recesses) with thinned base to bring back up the shine, highlight thinned VMC Gold, extreme highlight with thinned 1:1 VMC Gold : VMC Silver.
VMC method 1

The Vallejo Model (VMC) metallics were the easiest to use yet but have a more flat and colder tone.   I liked these... they blended so easily when thinned.
VMC method 1 expanded with HL and shadow

The VMC method 1 being a winner, I couldn't help taking it a little further with the highlights (VMC Silver) and then shadow over-tones by adding Umbral Umber and then glazing between highlight and shadow with the Sanguine Base... still all done for speed but you get the picture!  You can see that the colors added a lot of warmth were as the photo above it (pre- colored shadows) was a lot colder.

Reaper Mastes Series method: base RMS Ancient Bronze, GW-Devlan Mud wash, 1st highlight RMS Antique Gold, RMS Ruddy Leather to pull colors together, final highlight with RMS New Gold. All part of RMS Gold Triad, terrible blending.

Repear Masters Series Gold Triad

Andrea Color - Gold Paint Set method: base Base Gold, super smooth! But lighter than most other golds. Shadow with Shadow Dark Gold, interesting to shadow with a metallic color but it worked well. I also gave thinned GW Devlan Mud wash. Highlight with Base Gold again, then Light White Gold, which didn’t cover very well. The inks were not really usable here, by me anyway… they are so potent and intense that even with uber thinning they overpowered the gold. They would be nice to mix up with some medium and water to make intense washes though. The Chestnut ink is slightly darker than the old GW version.
Andrea via Airbrush
Andrea via standard brush

Tamiya Airbrushed method: Ok pain in the arse and a horrible mess to clean up... however the base coat is smooth as ice.  I'm not crazy about the color just yet. There are just too many ways to vary this, I could spend a lot of time experimenting with this but having to use a lacquer thinner and deal with a real messy cleanup puts this near the bottom of my list for now.
Tamiya paints sprayed through an Airbrush

GW paints "Mathieu Fontaine" method: base coat 3:1 GW-Shining gold : GW-mithril silver.  Shadow wash with thinned GW-Scorched Brown (or P3 Umbral Umber); 2nd shadow (deeper in recesses) with thinned black, highlight with base-coat, spot/extreme highlight with GW-mithril silver.  Please note - Mathieu Fontaine can make this method work because, he is Mathieu Fontaine and one of the best mini painters anywhere; and while I did like the results it wasn't my favorite for larger areas and/or complete miniatures.
The "Mathieu Fontaine" method (the master painter's method applied by a novice and in haste)

Vallejo Model Colour method 2:  (very good) base coat 4:1 VMC Brass : VGC Scrofulous Brown (or GW snakebite leather), wash with thinned P3 Umbral Umber, HL with VMC Gold, 2nd HL with 1:1 VMC Gold : VMC Silver, P3 Sanguine Base wash in shadows, extreme spotting with VMC Silver.

VMC method 2

Vallejo Model Colour method 3: (best!) base coat 4:1 VMC Brass : VGC Scrofulous Brown using Airbrush, wash with thinned P3-Umbral Umber, highlight with 4:1 VMC Gold : VGC Scrofulous Brown, glaze glaze glaze with very thinned 1:1 P3-SanguineBase : GW-DA Green to pull highlight into the shadow, re-touch highlight color, sparsely highlight with 3:1 VMC Gold : GW-Mithril Silver, add 4-5 reflective 'spots' with GW-Mithril silver near top/front of model.  Obviously I didn't take the shadows or highlights as far on this mini, but the gold was 'just right' so I knew I had my winner.
VMC method 3

In my opinion these are the best, or easiest to work with, gold paints for miniatures.  The Andrea was very smooth, but the VMC was exactly what I was looking for.
My favorite (winning) choices!

In case you were wondering why I did all this? was almost exclusively for this unit; the Sanguinary Guard and of course Dante, and eventually some Honour Guards.  I used the VMC Method 3 and I will stick with that formula throughout this army.   Here is my Sanguinary Guard Banner Bearer; I am pleased with the gold but the rest of the mini fell short of my expectations.
The reason for all this experimenting - my Sanguinary Guard (VMC method 3)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Crashed Aquila Lander...

This bit of terrain was such a great addition to the BfM box set.  These are nice sturdy pieces that were fun to paint and have a lot of nice detail.  These are now the second block of terrain I've only just completed for the new hobby space.  Check them out: