Monday, March 13, 2017

Magnetizing Marine Weapons

First I want to apologize for the pics here. I took them over a month ago on the phone and didn't check the image quality. Things are a bit out of focus, but I don't have pictures any better than this.

For my first squad of Tacticals, I didn't really know what to assemble. Space Marines have way more options than Necrons. So magnetizing is an obvious way to go, however, while magnetizing Necrons I found that there's a limit to how much magnetization makes sense. Specifically, once there's a single way to grab the model, you've gone too far. If you grab the model wrong and his limbs start popping off, that's too much.

I eventually decided to give my Sergeant a combi-weapon (magnetized to all 4 options), and to magnetize one guy with all special weapons (again, all 4). I didn't include a Heavy weapon because I'm thinking I'd like my squads to move and shoot, and grav is a bit cheesy. I didn't have a grav gun anyway, and I can always one-off a Marine with a grav gun if I really want to spend some points on not being fun to play with.

So, here's how I magnetized the Sergeant's weapon:

Pretty straightforward and it works fine. I used 2mm x 1mm round magnets. The top sides of the weapon cannot slide sideways to the left hand side of the weapon, just the right; so I put the magnets at a slight offset to make the magnets pull the top edge in such a way to keep it stable.

The Special Weapons guy was a bit more work. Same magnets, but this time one pair for each arm:

Turns out that the 1mm thick magnet can fit in their palm without breaching the other side of the hand. The weapon rests very firm when put in, enough to lift the model by the weapon.

So much for now. I'm getting close to finishing the first ten, really looking forward to taking some nice pics and starting to work on a Rhino.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

Space Marine Bases!

After a lot of turmoil, I'm finally settled on a base theme:

These are Ruined Temple bases by Secret Weapon Miniatures. I also got some of their Flagstone bases to give them a shot, but the Ruined Temple ones look better in my opinion. Not as medieval, and the two color scheme is just the right amount of color. Colorful flagstone is too colorful, whereas a uniform stone color would look boring.

With that said! This color scheme took forever to develop and settle on. At one point I had all 10 bases painted but each one differently, as well as some flagstone bases too. And some of those were repaints after other failed attempts!

This is also the first time I did two brush blending. Look it up online, but it's a technique for making sure glazes blend smoothly into the surface as opposed to covering up perfectly. See the browns on some of the gray parts above? That's how I achieved that effect.

Here's the recipe I used:

  • Prime in black
  • A few coats of Eshin Grey, sides and bottom too, until the color is uniform.
  • Light drybrush in Greystone, all over.
  • Light drybrush in Fenrisian Grey, but spotty. Not uniform in intensity, and only apply it a little bit here or there.
  • Light drybrush in Ushabty Bone, also spotty. These two drybrushes are there to create "warm" and "cold" areas of the base.
  • For the parts that are going to be yellowish, wash them using Seraphim Sepia, not applying too much wash. When it dries, repeat a second time.
  • The rest, wash in Nuln Oil just once.
  • Go back and drybrush lightly using Fenrisian Grey and Ushabti Bone, applying some Ushabti bone over the yellow parts a bit stronger than before.
  • Here and there, apply blotches of Agrax Earthshade and immediately spread the wash around with a second, wet brush, until the bloch is a smooth brown gradient. Apply this as a glaze, not as a wash; you don't want it to pool anywhere. If it starts to pool, spread it around with the wet brush.
  • Do that one more time.
  • Light drybrush in Ulthuan Grey to bring out the greys, and a Ushabti Bone/White mix to highlight the yellows
  • Repaint the sides of the base in Eshin Grey to neaten it up.
I wrote this list for your benefit as much as mine, because I'm sure to forget by the time I get to painting another set.

Before I wrap this up, I'll attach some work in progress pics I was taking while experimenting. With that, thanks for looking!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Alt-Black Templar Paint Theme!

I finally settled on something! Here's what it looks like:

I've been toying with it here and there, but it's more or less settled. Here's how I came to the theme and where do I intend to try to do better.

So first, my inspiration for a Space Marine army was learning how to paint metallics. I don't use them often, and when I do, results tend to look worse than what I normally do with plain paint. My Necrons have no metallics on them whatsoever. I'm just not comfortable with glossy and shiny stuff, and Space Marines are great to do both with.

I chose Black Templar for quite a few reasons, but I wanted to give them a unique twist. Metallic black armor was the first idea and was there to stay.

As for the rest of the paint scheme, I was looking for different high church or orthodox motifs online and this image had a huge effect on me:

It looks old, rich. Still ancient in some way, but not crusader peasant old. It's rich, royal looking. So I decided to paint the shoulder pads white, and the red cloth would fit perfectly. The brass would look great too. So I took a model and here's what I came up with:

I was trying out different things with metallics, so pretty much every limb is painted a bit differently. I wasn't happy with how metallics turned out. But there was definitely something somewhere. The gold was too gold, but I didn't have any brassy metallics on hand at the time. The reds were intentionally faded, but it didn't look as good to my eyes. I tried a more vibrant red:

I was definitely happier with that. I also noticed that, as I was painting, the shoulder pads really popped while the paint was still wet. I decided that maybe now was the time to glossy-up a surface. I only tried that later.

Back to metallics: the model looked too plain, almost Grey Knight-ish. I don't like that look. What you see here is a more-or-less even coat of Scale75 Black Metal, their darkest metallic. I tried blending it with Vallejo's Black Metal but that wasn't working out either. I also tried glossy Nuln Oil to darken it up, but it made the model look sticky, not good.

The secret was in using a matte black paint in shadowed parts. Not only does it make it as dark as things get, but it also makes sense: there shouldn't be any reflection coming from the shadows. I first tried this on his right arm, which you can see on the pic right here:

That definitely gave me a direction to go towards. I tried a second pass on a throwaway model I had laying around. I painted the shoulder pad the same red, but glossied it up. The trim was brassy, and the chest and thigh armor are painted only where you'd expect light to fall; the rest is completely matte black, with a blend in between.

Looking good! Time to try this out on a marine.

Just around then I finally got some Black Templar etched brass to put on their shoulder pads. I don't want to paint all those crosses, are you mad? This is the same model I painted at first, but stripped and with etched brass added:

Finally, you might have noticed that my truescale conversion was not smooth at all on some models. Painting this guy metallic really helped me see that, but in truth, just priming the model exposes irregularities very easily. So I primed my 10 guys, then inspected them closely and sanded any irregularities. Then brush-primed again, and checked them out again. It took a couple of nights but the conversion looks much better now.

With that, here's my reference model as it is right now:

The reds I'm happy about, as well as the glossy coat. The metallics I'm proud of, considering my previous bodges. You can see on this one, everything in shadow is almost completely black. The inside of his legs, for example, is literally unpainted. His shins are painted in the back, blending into pure black up front. You can notice a similar gradient on his arms. The bolter is a bit brighter, but not by much.

Where do I want to take this next? Well, the brass could be more brassy, less gold. The patina could be more intense, and should probably be darker. He really needs accessories on/around his thighs, but I'll paint some and glue on last after putting him on a base. The base might change my opinion. I didn't pick out any rivets and such, but I'm worried that it's going to be too much if I do. Finally, you can't see the cloth much on this model, but it's not glossy and that makes it stand out a bit, but not by much. I'd like to have a stronger difference between red metals and red cloth. I might dim the cloth down a little bit, or maybe go for a bit of texture.

Since taking these pics I've brightened the top of his helmet a bit, painted the bullets on his weapon and shoulder pad (oops) and worked on his shoes a bit, which I somehow left out at first.

That's all I have to say for now. I'll keep experimenting but will slowly start painting the rest of the squad. And if you're still reading this, thank you so much, you have more patience than me :)

Monday, February 20, 2017

More Tomb Blades Done!

I noticed quite a few issues on these guys after looking at these pics. I'll touch them up. I messed up the wash I used in the carved lines on many of these, and some lines are really bad.

They look great from afar though!

I also did not magnetize these completely. I magnetized the original three completely but they were very, very fiddly. Most things that you'd normally reach for when picking up the model were magnetized. I only magnetized the weapons this time.

Here are the pics, and thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

My Newly Pimped-out Workspace!

For the longest time I've been painting using a halogen lamp. It cast white light, it looked neutral to me. But it wasn't very strong. Also it was very hard to position; the goose neck is on the short side, and the base is very light, meaning that the lamp would tip over easily if I tried to position it better.

In addition to the terrible light source, streaming on Twitch was pretty difficult to do at times. The one webcam I have ( a Logitech C920) was terrible at focusing in such a low light. And it was really hard to position too. I have a tripod for it, but where do you put the webcam? Between my single light source needing to shine on what I'm doing, the webcam being able to capture it, and myself being able to see it too, something's got to give.

So here's my new setup!

I've been painting and streaming for the last few days and I'm really happy with this. Here's what's going on:

  • Two long, swing arm lamps. They are easy to move around and stay steady. I can position them right next to my head as I'm painting, if I want. And because there's two of them, there are no shadows to worry about.
  • Two Philips Hue White Ambient lightbulbs. I have these in the bedroom and love them, so that choice was a no-brainer. You can change their temperature (orange/yellow/white/blue and everything in between) and intensity. And because they're "smart", they can be controlled remotely. That means that I have a single switch that controls both (you can see it on the picture, just under the base of the right lamp) and I don't have to fumble to reach two light switches to turn them on and off. The same goes for setting up light intensity and temperature; the two bulbs are in perfect sync.
  • Another webcam! You can see it on the left lamp, taped to it with some black electrical tape. It's a Logitech C922. It captures great, especially in low light (although that's not a problem anymore). Since it's attached to the lamp I can move it around easily, it's never in the way. The light source is right there for it so it really makes a clearer shot compared to what I've been doing before.
  • My webcam is now to my left, not to my right. It makes sense since I'm right handed, so my hand was always in the way.
  • The old webcam is still on its tripod, but used as a face cam now.
I'm very happy with this setup. I'd like to spend some time watching my streams to optimize my camera and streaming settings. For example, I'd like to try streaming at 20 frames per second but offset that with a higher image quality. That seems like a good idea for streaming painting, but we'll see.

Hope this inspires you to reevaluate your painting environment. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Truescaling and Reposing Adventures!

This is an SM post, although I've been working on my Necrons some more since the last post. I have a unit painted and ready for a photo session, although I'm waiting for weather to clear up first.

So, Space Marines! They squat and look silly. Kinda like my Necron Warriors, their legs need to be reposed, and they need it bad.

However, as you may or may not have noticed, Space Marines also have short legs. And no waist. Their hips extrude right from their rib cage. Maybe that's why they're squatting? I don't know.

Inspired by this blogpost, I got 1mm thick plasticard to extend their legs at the shin and at the thigh. I used the same plasticard at the waist.

As you can see, I used Milliput to try to fill up the gaps and make the extension smooth. That didn't work out well for me. The plasticard was hard to file compared to the plastic. I was very hard to achieve a flat surface, and as of right now, this model is still lumpy. Back to the drawing board.

Next up, I tried to make sure that the extension is as seamless as possible, I cut the legs at flat areas for the armor (as much as possible). I also made the plasticard bit smaller than the outer diameter of the armor, so I can use Milliput or something like that to fill up the gap and sand the extra material smooth.

This time things looked much better. I could use Milliput to properly pad the legs!

I'm pretty happy with how they turned out - for now. When I start painting, it will be much easier to see if the end surface is lumpy in any way. And while I really tried to sand things as best as possible right now, I expect to be stripping primer, sanding, and repriming when the time comes to paint.