Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tutorial - rusted metal

Many of you expressed interest in my technique of painting rusted metals after I published an example of it on the night goblin fanatics. Here is the step by step guide on achieving just that.

Before we begin: this is a simple technique. The effects will not win you any awards. If you want your rust really, really good, use dedicated products for weathering. However, if you are looking for a decent look done quickly and easily, here i my way of achieving just that.

What will you need?
Some paints (see below), your miniature, a piece of sponge (blister backing is ideal).

Here is how you do it:

1) Undercoat your metal area in black. Then, take your sponge and load it with Boltgun Metal. Don't dip it in the paint, use a toothpick or something similar to smear the paint onto the sponge. Then wipe the sponge until you clearly see its texture and dab it onto your metal area until you achieve a mottled look.

2) Repeat the process with orange paint. I used P3 Khador Red Highlight, but any bright orange will do. Use a smaller area of the sponge and try to focus on the 'inner' parts. I overdid it on the picture! Again, we're looking for a mottled look with both black and metal still showing.

3) Wash the entire area with brownish-reddish paint or ink. I used Vallejo Game Ink Skin Wash. This will greatly mute the colors and is exactly what we're looking for.

4)The look in the previous stage was not right - the rust had been accumulated in completely opposite places to which it should. To remedy this, take your metal again and drybrush the blade, but stick to edges, raised areas and such; look for places where rust would not accumulate. If you are painting a sword, for example, the blades are used the most and will not accumulate rust.

5) The previous step was not meant to create the look of new metal showing through, just cleaner metal. If you leave it at that, your piece will look as if someone had started to clean it. To get rid of all the shining, take Badab Black and apply it all over the area, but try to end your strokes (and therefore leave most of the wash) in recesses. This works to stimulate grime and dust. If your blade is rusted, it is also bound to be dirty.

Seal with varnish (preferably a matte one) and you are done!

Some final pointers:
  • If you are looking for a very corroded look, apply a brown basecoat before the first step.
  • Use a flat sponge and try to cover the entire work area with it, otherwise you might end up with "stamps" on your blade.
  • This is a messy technique. Make sure you won't ruin the rest of your miniature.
  • When applying paint to the sponge, you can add some drying retarder. I found it to be quite good at getting rid of raised droplets of paint on the piece.

There you have it, hope you find it helpful. See you on Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Painting with the missis

Over the weekend, my girlfriend and me sat down to the desk, grabbed our brushes, palettes and paints and got to work. Here is what we have to show for it so far:

Baerwyn, Elf Archer - Reaper
Gerin, Dwarf Warrior - Reaper
Shaedra, Female Paladin - Reaper
Marco Colombo - Games Workshop
A fun, productive weekend it was. We shall do it again for sure. In the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts on our minis.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Orc boarboyz - bases

I won't lie, I enjoy making bases. It went from a very routine task to a prominent part of any hobby project and I think it is only proper to treat base making as such.

I'm excited about actually making the miniatures, but that's a bit from now. There are other things I have to focus on at the moment, not the least of which is the color scheme for the boars. Any suggestions?

Of course, don't hesitate to comment on th bases as well. Have a great weekend and see you Tuesday!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Night goblin fanatics - metals

Ah, another week, another project. Nothing like the feeling of progress, right?

I'm very happy with how the sponging turned out. With big areas like these, a little more attention can go a long way. And it was neither hard nor time-consuming.

The fanatics kit is surprisingly nice. Those are sure going to be fun to paint.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Of shopping and quality control

Ah, the joys of  stable income. Recently I've enjoyed them in earnest, and here is the result:

Also night goblin fanatics, not pictured.
So yeah, I'm going to be a busy little Drazhar in the coming weeks. Bases for these are already done.

And here is a curiosity on just how GW assures the quality of their products:

If you think Finecast is bad...
...what do you say...
...about these?
Seriously, Games Workshop? Seriously? This went to shipping? Or is the quality control just nonexistent?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Product review - brushes by Back-to-Base-ix

Hello there. Before we start, I'd like to remind you that from February I've moved the updating schedule back to Tuesdays and Thursdays, so if anyone missed me yesterday that is the reason. The updates will of course continue, I just need more time due to working full-time again and some other major commitments. So stay tuned, another unit project for the orcs is upcoming!

Today I'd like to talk about a set of brushes recently released by an Australian company Back-to-Base-ix. I know not many of you know about them, but I sincerely recommend you look at what they offer; some of their products provide an interesting alternative to what we know. What is evident in their entire range is a well-developed thinking process behind their merchandise. They sure have some inventive minds in the land down under. I have more of their products, but today I'll talk about their newest - the Hobby Brushes.

The brush set arrives very well packaged in its own shrink-wrap. In addition, each brush is open, in its own, hard plastic tube. The brushes are made from hard, robust aluminium with a plastic handle. They have, of course, natural hair bristles. The set contains all six (more are mentioned to be upcoming), ranging from size 000 to 2 and a small drybrush. 

Now, when I say 'open', I actually mean a very distinct feature of the BtB brushes: the work part is tightly screwed into the handle and is able to unscrew and be stored inside the hollow handle, making this line a great product for all of you travelling painters out there. Also, if you have a break from painting, you can just "fold" the brushes and never fear for their safety. Definitely an interesting, original idea and one that is actually useful.

Also, the brushes are not ordered in accordance to numbered size, but rather have quite intuitive names such as "Rank and File" or "Robots and Monsters". If you prefer the numbers they are fairly easy to deduce and also provided on the BtB website. 

Putting it into use
While I'm not a showcase-level painter, I applied these brushes (and these alone) to a side project I'm preparing for the Warhammer Battle Reporters forum painting competition. Naturally, it was not a rank-and-file model, but a showcase one, demanding my best. I will of course show it to you, but as of now, on to the brushes.

First of all, these brushes are heavy, heavier than wooden ones. But this is actually a bonus: they lay excellent in the hand and are very-well balanced, making for a tool that is very hand-friendly. One problem I had, however, was a small knurl just where the "work bit" meets the handle. Holding the brush in this place quickly results in a painful knuckle.

This bit does not like your fingers and they do not like it.
Now, as far as actual painting goes, there can be no mistake - these brushes are professional-level tools. They hold their point very, very well. The bristles can handle turning, side strokes and all manner of operation in painting. Having said that, the bristles are rather soft. While this is not a problem with typical work (just load the brush with a lesser amount of paint and you shouldn't have any problems; the softness is actually a good thing as far as brush bristles go), it becomes an issue with the drybrush. These bristles show signs of bending after just four or five fairly modest drybrushings, which, bearing in mind the nature of work, is not very impressive. One solution, on the users' side, is to utilize a dedicated brush restorer. I have the Vallejo one and it seems to be working on the drybrush quite nicely, but I can also see that the brush won't serve me for much longer. In this respect, the Army Painter line of drybrushes is better.

I'll interrupt myself here to give you an example on how well these brushes are made. One of them arrived to me in no working condition: due to a shipping accident (which was truly nobody's fault), the protector of one of the bristles simply slipped off and the brush has been bumped on the bristles quite severely. I dipped it in the brush restorer and after a thorough soak (and a wash with brush soap) the brush held perfect point. As if nothing ever happened to it. It might be due to the restorer's superior abilities, but I think it's more due to the brush' superior quality. Extra kudos for that.

How much is it?
As with any upper-shelf, quality product, you have to expect to pay a premium. These brushes are no exception. The entire set (six brushes) will set you back 49 euros plus shipping from Australia. It might be pricey for a set of brushes, but these babies are definitely, definitely worth it. And of course buying them as a set is a bargain in comparison with buying individual brushes.

Here I have to take my hat off and express my greatest gratitude to the BtB team for sending me the set  for testing absolutely free.

How is it useful? Who is it for?
Well, these are really, really good brushes for a price that is affordable. Treated well, they will last you a long, long time (the drybrush aside, but drybrushes are not meant to last gods know how long to begin with). For truly casual painters these are a considerable investment which perhaps can be skipped. If, however, you are a professional painter or, like me, are serious about raising your level, these are a real benefit. I know that brushes do not make a painter, but a craftsman is only as good as his tools.

I sincerely recommend giving the Back-to-Base-ix Hobby Brushes at least a try and grade them at a well deserved five stars out of five.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Savage orcs - completed!

Here they are, finished and ready for the last bit - detailing. I'm talking about shoulder pads, pouches, maybe some stuff on the bases and so on.

They were an ambitious project and one I really thought I'd finish later rather than sooner. However, I managed to do it in much less time I'd originally envisioned.

 With this unit I've also managed to like and appreciate the strip bases, something I've not been that into until now. they are really helpful with units bigger than, say, fifteen models.

 Anyhow, here are the orcs. Next up - boar boyz!