Thursday, November 24, 2016

Wraiths pt 2 Done!

Not much to say here, but I like how they turned out considering I was rushing them as much as I could. And hey, my space bugs shelf looks richer now, so that's good.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Should GW worry about 3D printing?

After my Monolith got featured on (thanks!) there was an interesting discussion about how 3D printing can, or will, change wargaming in general. This is my take on that topic.

There are several steps needed to get 3D printed bits onto the tabletop. The first step is to make or find a design. The second is to get it printed, which includes getting a fine quality capable 3D printer and the materials.

First, designing bits isn't easy when you're starting out. I was watching tutorials for days, and would more than once go to bed stressed out because I just can't get something to work. I learned how to use Blender and FreeCAD, including python scripting.

You can bet emperor's firm, toned buttocks that GW will stop us from sharing designs. I feel this is where they can, and will, stop us from making our hobby better. Oh well.

Design aside, what about printing itself? As of right now, no consumer grade printer can print bits this fine and with so much detail. Shapeways exists as a way to effectivelly rent out printers that are out of reach to most people, and I'm a very happy customer. But forget about printing this stuff in your garage, certainly for a few years.

Then there's the cost. Shapeways charged just under $100 for the Monolith bits. And yes, I made them as hollow as possible. This is steep, and I don't expect many people to be happy to pay so much for bits. Having your own printer would have made this cheaper, yes, but then there's the cost of buying a printer.

But, had I made a design error and had to reprint a new version of these bits, I might have cut my losses. And even though the dimensions weren't ideal out of the box, putty and sandpaper patched everything up just fine.

Finally, there's putting them on the model. I must have spent at least 20 hours over the course of two weeks, just sanding and applying putty. A lot of that work was due to the inherit horribleness of the Monolith itself (if you look at GW studio Necrons, you'll see clear seams where panels meet), but printed bits weren't easy to work with. That plastic is much harder than GW plastic, making sanding uneven.

In summary, no, I don't think GW should be worried. The amount of work and risk is too high for most people (I believe), and that's if it were cheap and if you had designs ready, both or which are problems on their own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Wraiths: Then and Now

Ok, this batch of Wraiths is painted and done, but I'll be taking fancy pics some other day. Today I want to compare the 3 Wraiths I painted during the last week or two to the 3 Wraiths I painted a year and a half ago.

Painting these now and while looking at the old batch, I find the difference staggering. I just want to show you how far I got in the meantime with it comes to layering paints, blending, and precision. Also, if you watched any of my recent streams on twitch, you will have observed that I don't like painting Wraiths. I was trying to get them done and off my desk, not do a careful job.

For example, here are some of the magnetized bits. I'll let you guess which ones are old and which ones are new:

The first thing I notice is - how less textured my paint is now! The old paint job makes me cringe. The orange spheres actually have an orange peel texture to them! Ew.

It doesn't end there. Here are the wraiths themselves. Again, guess which one's which:

It's... gah. Unbelievable. And I'm using the same technique as before: a lot of drybrushing and only an occasional blend. Certainly the key steps are the same.

So what's different? I am using sable brushes as opposed to synthetic. That probably helps with keeping things precise. Second, I'm using a wet palette. That probably helps apply thinner layers of paint. Other than that? I'm definitely more controlled when it comes to drybrushing and cleaning up mistakes, and I probably make fewer mistakes now than I did before.

Anyway, I'd like to repaint those knife edge weapon bits to better fit with my current army scheme. The rest I'll leave as it is, as a memento of how far I progressed.

And maybe I'll paint another batch in 2018, look back at this one and cringe? Maybe, but probably not. I hope to finish this project by then, but hey, who knows.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Painting Tutorial

In this post I want to show you how I make my color scheme happen, undercoat to finish. Many people asked for this one, and while it doesn't answer all questions, I hope it will answer some of them! I am yet to do a tutorial on my Gauss weapons but I will try to do that when I get around to painting my Destroyers. But enough yapping!

I undercoat my units black, then paint them Eshin Grey (or at least all the dark parts), drybrush Dawnstone, and was in Nuln Oil. This is a deep, dark grey that I build up from.

The first thing I do is paint all areas that will end up being blue in Dawnstone. This is a light, warm Grey that will look alien when drybrushed with an only slightly lighter but much colder blue. As for the yellow bits, I first paint them white (Ceramite White), then red (Wild Rider Red), then orange (Troll Slayer Orange). These are all thin layers but I'm going for solid coverage:

Once that is done, I start building yellows up from orange. I use Yriel Yellow. I usually also use a 50/50 mix of Yriel Yellow and Troll Slayer Orange as an intermediate step. On large surfaces where the color transition needs to look smooth I introduce more stages. If I were a better painter I'd do proper wet blending, but I'm not, so I don't. Considering that these are usually small surfaces, it works out.

Once I've finished applying yellows, I clean up the mess I made using Eshin Grey. On the picture below, the first model is plan orange, the second has all the yellow transitions done, and the third is post-cleanup. It looks much crisper.

Now I kinda screwed up here, because I usually clean up after the following step: drybrushing blues onto grays. It's hard to see on the picture below, but the left side of the model below and the left model have had their blue treatment. The right side of the middle model and the model to the right are still gray:

Once that is done (and post cleanup, as some of that blue inevitably reaches dark grey portions of the model), I drybrush Troll Slayer Orange on areas that are supposed to look hot. Depending on the model I might do proper OSL, but not on these guys. On the picture below, only the right side of the model has been drybrushed orange. You can tell by the glow that's lacking on the left side, both around the big three things on its spine and those little balls to the side.

And finally, with that all done, I draw white lines on the blue parts. You could call that edge highlighting, except I deliberately do not only highlight corners that would attract light the most. Instead, I follow the contours in a way that I find aesthetically pleasing but makes no sense otherwise. I'd like to think that this helps the material look alien, but in truth, I think it looks nice.

And finally, if I care about the model, I edge highlight dark greys with light grey, or do more OSL, but it depends on the model and my mood.

But that's it! It looks pretty good and is not too much work. There's lots of steps but most are pretty easy and don't require active thought or attention.

Thanks for looking!