Sunday, 31 July 2011

Orky WiP

I have terrible update pictures! My orkies are very nearly finished, and I'm actually quite pleased with how they are turning out.

Pictures are terrible because I took them at dusk on a camera phone; I won't have a proper camera until I return home which I can't do for a few weeks because my dad has pneumonia!

I think I need to push the highlights more and do the trousers differently next time. They looked excellent up to a point then I tried to make them dirty. Unfortunately this just resulted in looking 'badly painted' rather than 'worn'.

They should be finished tomorrow; I stopped today after applying the orange and red wash to weather and rust them, but burnt out before I could layer some metal over that. I had to stop myself from trying to perfect and redo every little thing on them again and again - accept them flaws but push through a finish them, make the next lot better. I never finish anything normally because I'm so determined to do it perfectly first time but this doesn't work for anything artistic!

Gloss medium is a must for using metallic paints; it makes a smidgen of paint go a mile, helps thinning, and gives a gorgeous finish.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll actually get more stuff for the blog sorted... I'm being so useless with everything at the moment.

In other news James won a 40k chaos army today with about 120 models and 3 tanks in. Can't wait for that the turn up for stripping and priming!

Saturday, 30 July 2011


So I've been a bit useless with my free time lately and haven't been updated the blog as fast as I should or could. To try and help spur me on a bit in the following days I have put up a set of placeholds pages for the things I do intend to be adding. Getting the ball rolling and all that.

I've given up painting my sisters for a while and been doing some orks instead. They are really fun to paint and definitely on their way to looking good. I did two test orks then pulled out a group of five to paint up altogether. All basecoated and drying from their first wash so far. I wanted to carry on painting but forced myself not to so I don't burn out again! There are no good photos from today unfortunately. Should get definitely get back on top of that and start taking good photos again.

I need to find an ink that will produce a devlan mud coloured wash so I can make my own batches up. I'm using it up in no time and don't want to keep forking out for it from games workshop when I could make it so much cheaper. Very tempted to pick up one of the packs of inks from hobbycraft, Dayler and Rowney or Winsor and Newton. It would last ages but I've spent so much money... Must hold back for now. Get a few sets of models and techniques under my belt before I start doing everything under the sun!

Will defo post a quick tutorial on how I did my orks when I've got it down pat. I really like how their skin looks, and the trousers. Just working out how to get their leather looking all snazzy now.

Goodnight, fair readers!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Guide - Filters and Washes

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Tutorial - Stripping Your Minis

Stripping Your Mini
At some point or another you’re going to want to strip the paint off of one or more miniatures that you have. There’s a number of ways to go about it. If they’re covered in enamel paints you’re stuffed – good luck getting that off!
The general method involves soaking models in something to stop the paint adhering to them and then scrubbing this off with a toothbrush.
Ugly Models
Paint stripper
Sealable container
Stiff bristle toothbrush
Water source

Step One – Find a sealable container you don’t mind filling with cleaner and paint! It needs to be tall enough for the models to lie down in and be covered by your stripper.
Step Two – Place in models! Pour/spray on your stripper. Make sure you do this in a ventilated area. Seal your container.
Step Three – Leave overnight (or however long for your particular stripper). Don’t huff the fumes will you wait.
Step Four – Test scrub! Put your gloves on before handling your soaking models at any point. Pick out a random model and give it a test brush. Most of the paint should slough right off. There will be little patches left here and there; these will have to be scrubbed at with a modicum of effort.
If it doesn’t come off just put it back in to soak. If the model doesn’t strip even after being soaked for over 36H then I’d use something else to strip or make sure that’s not enamel paint!
Step Five – Get scrubbing. This is best done outside or in a bath. Be careful not to throw thepaint you’re scrubbing off everywhere with your toothbrush. It’ll settle on what it lands on and need to be scrubbed off all over again! When I cleaned my last set of sisters I spent an hour getting them clean and then 2 hour cleaning the bath I did them in.
I find it’s easiest to hold the models like this;

Don’t squeeze the model or push down excessively hard with the brush and it’s probably the most comfortable way to scrub. I don’t catch my skin or anything when I’m doing it.
Step Six – Admire shiney new models. Give your models a swim in some hot water with something like fairy liquid in to make sure you get all the stripper off them. This ensures they will prime properly next time.
Please please wear gloves when doing this. It doesn’t matter what you’re using – it’s designed to clean not to soak into skin!  

What to use?
The main chemical in nail polish removers; you can either buy it as straight acetone or buy the nail polish remover. Just grab the cheap stuff.  Readily available anywhere you go, pretty much. Good god do not pour acetone down the sink!
Acetone is good for stripping metal models but will eat through plastic and
resin ones. Don’t leave anything in it too long or you may get softening and so on. In addition you need to use a glass container to soak your minis in – it will destroy a plastic one! You can peel paint off an acetone stripped model, rather than scrubbing it.

Castrol Super Clean

A US household cleaner you can grab anywhere (Cleaner-degreaser). Very good for stripping minis with apparently no risk of damaging plastics over time. Biodegradable as well. Inexpensive for the volumes you get.


A primarily UK distributed disinfectant. Strips minis well; if you leave them in it for more than a few days it doesn’t seem to damage them, but you only need them in there a day to get stripping! Will make everything in a mile radius smell like antiseptic though - use a sealable container.

 Fairy Power Spray
Another UK based product – this is awesome for stripping minis. You can just dump them in and forget about them without a worry. Scrubbing them off can be a nightmare though, especially if you don’t leave them in long enough. But it is possibly the fastest working thing out there – makes models strippable within an hour. It can get horrendously fumey though, especially while scrubbing stuff off. This WILL make metal models go soft. It won’t affect them otherwise, so just be careful not to bend them or squidge them about. I have some deformed models now with wonky swords.  

Simple Green
A household cleaner readily available in America. It can be found in some Wilkinsons in the UK. Simple green is labeled non-toxic and biodegradable, but when disposing of it make sure you pour it away in a light stream with a tap running on full. If you buy the non-concentrate version of simple green you don’t need to dilute it. If you buy the concentrate you do – just follow the instructions on the bottle.
Metal models you can just dump in simple green and leave them overnight. Left in much longer and you may end up with discolouration on the surface. Plastic models you can soak for over a year without damaging them!

Pinesol, Oven Cleaner, Gasoline, Brake Fluid
Are all unsafe! There is no reason to use these over other products. They are fumey, bad for the environment, and highly flammable! Also prone to damaging models. Then again if you’re the kindof person who’s willing to crack these out to strip some tiny models you’re also probably the kindof person who’ll drink it so you have bigger issues than whether it’ll melt things.

Reusing Stripper
Grab some coffee filter paper and pour your stripper fluid through it back into your container. It can be reused a few times – most can be reused quite a few.
Disposing of Stripper
So you need to dispose of a stripper... The first thing I'll say is don't panic - this happens to everyone at some point in their lives. Wait? Not that kindof stripper? Oh, ahem! Woops. Most of the things you’ll use to strip will say they are biodegradable or so on. Don’t just pour anything down the sink. Look up what you’re using and see how to properly dispose of it! At the very least it should be poured away a bit at a time with a tap on full.
Disassembling Models
Acetone, Castrol Super Cleaner, and a few others can dissolve/damage green stuff and break the bonds of superglue and make it all squidgy. Double check what it’ll do to them before picking up your stripper.
Sometimes you want to be able to repose a model. Or you want to be able to fix the terrible abuse of super glue someone else (you) have wrought upon the tiny angry man crowd. If it’s a plastic glue holding that plastic model together you’re out of luck: plastic glue melts the points it contacts to form a bond. You can saw it apart and file it down again though.
Superglue joins can be broken in a couple of ways.
Freeze ‘em
Pop your gluey model carefully in a freezer drawer overnight. When you take it out it should be a cinch to pop the join apart. As they cool the glue and metals contract inwardly on themselves, pulling away from each other. The glue also becomes brittle. Shouldn’t take too much effort to break it.
Heat ‘em
Run some steaming hot water into a bowl. Pop in your models. Fish them out after 10 minutes. Run them under freezing water. Same principle as freezing them.
Acetone can be used on metal models. It will dissolve the glue. Obviously don’t use on plastic models!
Don’t try and pull superglued parts – twist them.

Guide - Essentials for starting out

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Tutorial - PaintingTechniques

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Guide - Painting Techniques

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Tutorial - How to paint Tabletop Miniatures

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Guide - How to play 40k without Breaking your Wallet!

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Guide - Brushes

Unless you are very determined and in possession of tiny hairy fingers, you'll be in need of at least one decent brush. And you'll need to buy one, unless you are another type of determined and fashion one yourself from a small twig and some nostril hairs. Below is a breakdown of the scary world of brushes - types, applications, brands and prices. Brush care and maintenance will be taken on at a different point, probably in its own guide.

Anatomy of a Brush

The furry part of the brush is the bristles - unless it's still attached in which case its the 'tail'. The part you hold is the handle. These are made from everything from wood to metal to rubber. The middle part is the 'ferrule' this attaches the bristles to the handle. It's usually made of metal but sometimes of plastic or cloth.


Brush Terminology

Snap -


Bristles can be divided into two main categories; synthetic and non-synthetic (natural). Each can be divided further into more subcategories based on what they are used for, shape, and source/material. You don't need to know much if you're just doing miniature painting.


These types are generally considered inferior to natural brushes. They don't hold paint as well, they don't hold as sharp a paint and after a while the tip will 'curl' eliminating any form of point at all. Despite this synthetic brushes do have their uses. Drybrushing, metallic paint work, and basecoating large areas are all better suited to synthetic brushes. They are stiffer and cheaper than their natural counterparts.

Metallic paints are best used with inexpensive or synthetic brushes because they contain microflakes of metal. These are harsh on bristles. It's best not to ruin your more expensive brushes with them!


Made from the bristles or hairs of animals. Often the hairs/fur used are taken from slaughtered animals, although occasionally they are sourced by brushing farmed animals. It depends on which make you buy them from. However, those animals that are killed are often used for food, glues, and so on. Especially amongst the better brands tiny critters aren't just killed so you can have a fancy brush - your bristles are the by product of that animal dying and being used completely, not the cause.

Natural bristles have better snap, points, reservoirs and are better at not leaving brush marks through paint.

The one most appropriate to miniature painting are watercolour brushes made from the winter coat of sable or kolinsky sable hair - weasels! Red sable brushes are good for basecoating and large things like tanks. They are much cheaper than kolinsky, but don't hold a point very well at all. Kolinsky sable brushes are the be all and end all of tiny painting. They can be very expensive - luckily since we're only miniature painting you don't need to get anything above a size 1! Even an abused kolinsky sable brush can last years, one looked after properly will last tens of years.


'Standard Brush'

The standard brush is just one you use for applying colour to general areas. The tend to be about a couple of millimetres across (or size 1), and should have a point. For general use a natural bristle one is best. Having a couple can be handy, but not necessary. These should cost a few pounds at least, more if you get a proper KS one.


A brush used for the drybrush technique. Bristles should be stiff, synthetic or made from tougher bristles like ox hair or hog hair, and flat topped. Drybrushes should be suitable for harsh treatment! A couple of pounds max, and a couple of sizes can be handy but not necessary at all unless you are doing vehicles. If you only get one go for medium, a couple of pounds at most.

Wash Brush

A fluffy brush with a large resevoir for holding lots of wash. Soft to aid in application. No good for precision work - but if you only want to apply a tiny bit of wash to a small area a detail or pointed brush is fine. Wash brush can be nice to have but isn't necessary unless you are doing lots of it and don't have another brush with a larger volume. Natural bristles are much, much better for this. Should only cost a few pounds.

Stippling Brush

Much like the drybrush, except the bristles tend to be shorter so they hold firmer against the stippling motion. Stippling brushes can be flat topped or lightly domed based on what look you're going for. Another brush that is nice if you want it but a painted can live without. Stippling brushes should be made of something tough as well so that you can stipple firmly. Again, only a few pounds!

Detail Brush

Just a brush that is small enough to brush on the details of the model. How small you want it depends on how small your details are. Generally a size 0 brush is good for most detail work, with people using 00 to 000 for eyes. Any smaller isn't necessary until you get to crazy levels of painting. A good detail brush should be natural, like a standard brush. The quality of the point is even more important here - a tiny brush that splays everywhere is no good! Even if your other brushes aren't, it's worth getting a proper KS brush for detail work. Anywhere from £3-£8 depending on quality.


Citadel/Games Workshop

Adequate, overpriced. What citadel provide you can get better elsewhere at a similar price. Their new brushes are an improvement, with some actually being sable or bristle/synthetic mixes. Like a lot of things from GW though quality is unreliable, price is unreasonable.

Only buy a GW brush if you can see it has a perfect point in the tube (not applicable to drybrushes, etc obviously) and if you want a basecoating type brush. Don't bother if you're looking for a detail brush. The old drybrushes (smaller, synthetic ones) are relatively decent and can last a long time with rough usage. I'm not sure about the new one, but it is a good size for base drybrushing and scenery.

Winsor and Newton - Series 7

Pretty much the brush for anyone who... well, anyone who paints miniatures. Even if you're not aiming to be the next golden demon winner a Winsor and Newton (or equivalent) brush is a worthy investment. The price can seem steep - a size 1 brush being about £10 - but W&N series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes have outstanding snap, points and longevity. Even if you abuse them they will last longer than most other brushes you treat like royalty.

If on a budget, my suggestion is to get either a 0 or 00 sized brushes. You can find other size 1 brushes to use in the interim that aren't so expensive, but the fine point and reliability of the smaller brushes is unparalleled. No need to go any smaller - the point will be about the same size but you will loose resevoire volume.

If you're on a budget and still want to get a few Winsor and Newton now make miniature series 7 brushes. I haven't tried them myself but apparently they are exactly the same but with a different price tag (lower) and the sizes are scaled (lower, so size miniature 1 is normal size 00 or something).

Winsor and Newton - Galleria

Da Vinci

Guide - Colour Theory

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Guide - Primers

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A Guide to Knowing Your Paints

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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Lucky Ork Butts

I have decided on the name of my orky army - the lucky ork butts, named after the lucky blue thread they have fixed their trousers with!

I reprimed a number of sisters today with halfords white primer. Much nicer cover than the horrible citadel stuff. When I sat down to start actually painting them, however, I realised I felt like it was a chore. At first I thought I didn't want to paint altogether - until I eyed some primed space orks out of the corner of my eye!

Painted two of these guys for a few hours today. I'm very happy with the way they're coming along. Alot easier to paint than my inquisitor/witch hunter stuff at the moment. I picked up a couple of boxes of orks on sale in hobby craft for £10 each instead of £20, so I shall probably be painting those for the next few days!

I think I may have just had the sisters too long and done too much on them - until now they've been the only things I have ever painted apart from a box of Lothlorien elves.

I'm exhausted so I will leave the post here tonight. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to kick my butt into gear and get on with stuff to go on the blog and actually finnish a couple of models! 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

I inhaled too much and then cleaned a bath for two hours with a toothbrush.

Today has been interesting. Went into town centre to pop into Hobbycraft, Gamesworkshop and Modelzone. Grabbed Badad Black so now I have all of the GW washes! Much to my delight and dismay we discovered that the Modelzone sold Vallejo paints: the only time I've seen them outside of the internet! I bought salmon pink, chocolate brown and flat brown, and the large old gold, gold and white golds! Hobbycraft had Winsor and Newton series 7 brushes - left with the 000, 0 and 1.

A good, but expensive day overall!

Oooh and I bought a doughnut!

The rest of the day was spent on the titular activity; stripping a set of sisters of battle. I had left them in some fairy power spray before I went out and set about scrubbing them off with a toothbrush in the bath when I got back. I managed to flick paint absolutely everywhere over the bath! I should've taken a photo... but it was completely covered. I'd thought I would just be able to wash it away. Alas - twas not to be.

Where the fairy spray had dried of the flicks of paint it had dried on to the bath and wall tiles. I had to cover it in spray and scrub that all down to: with a toothbrush. It's not my bath either so I was determined to leave it spotless lest I suffer the grump of James' dad. Soooo many tiny spots of paint... soooo much scrubbing...

I don't know if you're ever used fairy power spray but its very fumey and you are definitely not supposed to inhale it. This didn't stop me! Oh boy did I huff and puff and scrub that bath down.

Nearly two hours, spraying, scrubbing, wheezing. Lightheaded, throat and lungs burning, wrists tired, toothbrushes mangled. I will be damned if that is not the cleanest a bath has ever flipping been though! Me too, I think. I'm surprised I didn't go blind over that stuff for two hours.

That shirt makes me look morbidly obese! I haven't brushed my teeth for bed this evening because I do not want to get into that stupid bathroom ever again >: |

Then I had the joy of filing down all the lines and crap on my newly naked models. Nearly got around to priming them - ended up deciding my last shred of will to live was more important. Going to be using the halfords primer from now on. I had to strip most of these models because of the awful coverage they got from the skull white. The couple I'd tried the halfords on, however, were smooth and fine; no missed bits, no bubbles, no loss of detail, very strong opaque colour, uniform coverage. I most definitely think the halfords primer outstrips the citadel by miles. The spray is better as well. Much less waste when I used it compared to skull white.

There will be actual reviews of the primers soon so I'll stop rambling on about them now. Still very lightheaded and spaced.

On the train to and from town today I was sat making a list of things to add to the blog;

Guides - paints, brushes, airbrushes, mediums, painting techniques, colour theory, thinning paints, an affordable approach to the hobby

Tutorials for the other various stages of painting miniatures. Making scenery. Actually getting the photos sorted out for the two that are up.

More variety in the inspiration page

Links pages

Reviews of products

A special army themed update each week showing awesome conversions and paint jobs

Overviews of armies/units/fluff once a week

Guide to the different games/miniature model brands

Weather and effects

and a few other random bits.

For now I am going to curl up in bed and watch some Deadly Premonition. If you haven't heard of it - don't look up anything about it, just start watching it here.

Trust me, do not look up anything about it and persevere with it. Especially if you liked Twin peaks this game is amazing and the mystery that unfolds is done brilliantly.

Guide - Palettes

Palettes Guide
Most people, when they first venture into miniature painting, use their paints straight from the pot. If you’re only painting your models to get them legally onto a table then this is kindof ok – but if you want anything resembling decent this is a habit you’ll need to drop.
Working straight from the paint pot stops you from being able to manipulate your paints; thinning, using mediums, mixing hues, and risks getting rubbish in them from other colours or materials you’ve used while painting. Obviously if you’re not going to be using your paints straight from the pot anymore you’ll need something else to hold it; a palette.
The basic purpose of a palette is to hold your paint and act as a reservoir for whatever you’ve mixed it up into for use in your painting. But, just as there are a number of types of paint there are a number of different palettes. This little guide is about the differences, how to make a couple of your own, and what you should be paying for what you get.
DIY Palettes
The only thing you really need to worry about with a palette is that it won’t absorb your paint – anything non-porous like plastics, ceramics, even metal/foil. You can clean out any tub or lid after finishing the butter, or a chinese takeaway,  or even some of the packaging from deliveries. (Some people use the blister packaging some of their models come in.)
Plates, plates with cling film on, and oddly enough the shiney side of CDs make very good palettes.
Of course – DIY palettes cost nothing. Use whatever spares you have in your home.
Dimple Palette
Dimple palettes have concave holes. This dip allows paint to pool and prevents it from drying so quickly by minimizing contact with the air and palette surface. You can get them in plastic and ceramic, but there’s no reason to ever spend more than a couple of pounds on one. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, with a different number of dimples and different sized dimples. Best to start out with one of the round 10 dimple palettes. I have a few and they are awesome.
Kidney Palette
Named after their shape, kidney palettes were traditionally used with acrylics and oils. Normally they are flat, as with oils you do not need to worry about them drying out; now they tend to have wells in around a large flat section. Not ideal for painting unless you are going to be standing up as you either risk your acrylics drying out on the flat palettes or have to hold the palette up if you use one with rounded dimples in. Decent ones are only a pound or two.
Disposable Palettes
Sheets of paper or parchment, sometimes with one side laminated/waxed, bound together in a pad. Rip one off to use or use a sheet then rip it out and throw it away when you’ve finished. I wouldn’t recommend them because normal plastic palettes are really easy to clean, these don’t have wells, you have to buy replacements, and so on. Not great for repetitive miniature painting. Cost about £4 for a half decent 40 leaf pad though.
Wet Palette
Wet palettes prevent your paints from drying out – some people have left their paints for days at a time and haven’t had to worry about them drying out. It’s especially useful if you are using a unique blend of paints so you don’t have to remake them each time, or if you’re only doing tiny bits of painting at a time and don’t want to have to waste paint. They are excellent and amazingly useful.
You can buy them – but you will run into a starting price tag of £15, most closer to £25. It is really easy to make one. Wet palettes work through osmosis; as water evaporates from your paints they absorb some back from a water source below a semi-permeable membrane.
All you need is a sponge or some kitchen paper, some greaseproof or baking paper (not waxed), some water, and a container. Fold your kitchen paper up and then squidge it into your container. Pour on water until it is just at the point of not absorbing anymore. Lay a sheet of your baking paper on top and voila – a wet palette! Just plop your paints on as normal.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Stripping Time

Well I tried painting again today. The result was a horrible set of models that frustrate me to even look at. I'm trying to work out atm what the best order for me is to paint the elements of my sisters models. I'm going to strip them off, neaten them up a bit and then respray them with my halfords primer. I might retry the citadel skull white at some point, but to be honest its so unreliable compared to any other that it will probably be relegated to scenery priming duty.

I've got some new paint schemes to try out; dark angels sisters of battle, light blues and whites snow camo sisters, dark blue and black. I need to work out how to thin my metallics better as well. I was trying to paint the raised details of a sister earlier with tin bitz before I went over it with gold and more of it ended up on her spaceboobs than the actual detailing. But unthinned metallics are chunky as hell!

Painting may have to take a break for a couple of days as I'm finding it more frustrating than relaxing. There's an image in my head of how I want things to look and then a blank space between how I paint now and how I paint to get them to look how I want. Need to just casually look up how other people have done there's and chill out about my models currently looking like Salvador Dali did them.

He did the melty clocks, right? I'm sure he's the guy who did the melty clocks.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Paint Block

I have my first paint block. I finished the cloaks on my sisters and now I can't paint anything else without thinking its utter rubbish. I'll probably paint some of the sisters I primed white the other day as a nice break - someone posted a really nice green and cream / dark angelsy colour scheme on a sisters model and I want to try it. Unfortunately I sprayed them with citadel skull white so they look like garbage. Halfords white went on so much nicer!

Doing a write up on paint palettes too because I'm sad. Should be getting that and the photos to the first two tutorials up soon.

Resource - Colour Sheet Citadel Skull White

Citadel Skull White Spray Primer on 160gsm sketch paper
1:5:1 Paint:Water:Retarder

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Neck Ache

I spent hours cranning my neck over some sisters of battle today. I'm painting them in bluey greys on black primer. They are coming along really nicely - as is my blending and layering! I've had to pack them away before I thought to take photos because I'm going to stay at my friends for a couple of weeks tomorrow morning.

When I stopped painting I actually couldn't use my hand properly it was all cramped and stiff, and my neck was killing me! But it was worth it - cloaks look awesome.

Primed some more sisters in white today. Looks like the halfords primer is outclassing the citadel one in everyway; cheaper, easier to spray, and a better, smoother result. I'm going to have to strip the sisters I sprayed with citadel skull white today because they just look awful. Patchy coverage and grainy where it has hit.

I still need to see if I can strip the halfords primer before I spray it on too many of them though.

Gonna do some more work on the blog tomorrow, and get some more pictures up.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Colour Swatches

So I've got the colour swatches of all the non-metallic colours I have with me done. Now I just have to put it all into a nice format and just... ZZzz....

Too tired to type. Have a days work instead...

Colour Sheets!

So what I'm working on at the moment is a set of hand made resources to help people choose colour schemes, primers, and basecoats. Yesterday was my trial run for layering.

The basic ideas are this;

Sheets of paper sprayed with a fine but complete layer of primer, fully dried
Working from left to right progressive layers of colour are added. The paint starts off at typical milky consistency. The first swatch of a colour has one layer, the second has two, and so on.

I'll be doing this over various primers. This set of colour sheets is designed to help people choose what primer to use, or what colours will look like over their primer. Lots of people don't always realise how much that first spray is going to affect their final work - hopefully this will help everyone, and myself, predict better what our final colours are going to look like. I've been surprised by how much better some colours stand out on black than grey or white, for example.

Also it is going to show how many layers it takes paints to become opaque or whether they are opaque to begin with. When painting over darker basecoats knowing just how translucent your paint is can make a huge difference to how you shade and highlight.

So the first set of colour sheets I did had 8 strips, starting off at just below 50:50 paint thinner. Next time I'll probably do about 6 strips with 25:75 paint or 20:80 so the progression is better. While I was painting the layers the differences were much more visible but now it's dried they all look the same from the third or fourth swipe. I'll redo those colours against last though because gooood it got boring after a while.

I made sure I was painting with the same brushes and strokes; red sable, two even strokes next to each other. Each layer was perfectly dry before I applied the next one.

Nowdog is staring at me for a walk so I will have to end here and trot round the fields with el capitan labrador!

Resource - Colour Sheets

Colour sheet test post.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Monday, 18 July 2011

Tutorial - Step Two - Priming

Always prime your models in a well ventilated area. Wearing a little face mask is a good idea as well, especially if you're going to do a lot of priming and painting!

Acrylic paints don't 'stick' to bare metal or plastic models very well. You will end up with a patchy, blotchy paint job and it will be difficult to apply and control the paint on the model in the first place. Primers have slightly different formulas to their paint equivalents. They are better designed to adhere to the model (or surface) they are sprayed on, and form a better bind with paints applied to them. Additionally primers can help smooth the surface further.

There are a number of different primers you can use, not just ones labelled for models. The most popular ones I've seen have been;

Games Workshop
Army Painter
Duplicolour Sandable Primer
Krylon Primer

There are lots of primers out there so don't feel limited to just using something from Games Workshop or the like, because they can be unecessarily expensive. But if you don't end up branching out, do a quick google to see if other people have tried it and how they got on with it so you don't end up wasting money unecessarily.

Primer needs to be matt - this is the main thing to look for when trying random sprays!

The easiest colour to start with is black for most people, but you can get primers in any colour and finish. One of the great selling points about Army Painted primers, besides being half the price of Games Workshop's, is that they are available in a huge range of colours. As are auto-primers, like dupli-colour and halfords own brand.

No matter how you end up spraying your models the first few steps are going to be the same; make sure the weather and humidity is suitable, shake the hell out of your can, put your minis on something you don't mind getting covered in paint, and do the spraying somewhere well ventilated that you can also cover in paint.

Primers are labeled with conditions they work best in - outside of these you're likely to end up with patchy or chalky lumpy spray. At the very least never spray in the rain, the extreme heat, or much colder than room temperature. You should shake your can for at least a minute, more if it's new or hasn't been used in a while. This mixes up all the substance that has settled in the bottom of the can. Cardboard and newspaper are good for spraying on.

Now for the actual spraying!

The Ideal Way!

Keep your can of primer upright and spray parallel to your models. This means having your models upright too, or spraying paint straight up their butts.

Either spray them in there based, or stuck to masking tape. Double sided masking tape is the easiest for that, or you can use single sided tape stuck sticky side up by more sticky tape!


This is a neat trick to use sometimes regardlss of how you're spraying because some model parts can be so fine and light that they get blown away by the power of the spray.

Prop this against something and spray away!

The Less Ideal Way!

Spray them however the hell you want. Keeping the can parallel to your models will help keep the spray even across them. It's easier to spray with the can away from vertical the more full it is, as you don't have to worry about where the straw is in the paint.


Even if you're spraying your models whilst hung upside by your ankles like a bat make sure you always keep these in mind;

PHOTO of upside bat spraying

Don't spray to close - 6 to 12 inches to start and change as gives you the best results.

Don't spray in one huge, continuous splurge of paint. Use of quick sprays instead. Helps you save paint as well as not drench everything.

Kept the mist fine - don't spray a model so much it starts pooling on it. Unless you're going to have a little nameplate on your Dreadnought saying 'Mr Lumpy'. Do a couple of fine passes over the model - instead of that huge splurge!


The sound the can makes when you spray should be uniform as well - any popping or spluttering means either you're not holding it at the right angle for how full it is or its not mixed properly and your not getting the right ratio or paint and propellant out.

Try shaking it or changing position. If one doesn't work try the other.

Try and keep your primer layer fine. The thicker it is the less detail on your final model.

Leave the models until they are completely dry, then turn them over. If you've sprayed them in their based you can just spray the whole model in one go.

Sometime you'll only notice mold lines and flash once the models have been primed. Don't worry about this - just remove them as usual and if possible give them a very fine spray to cover up the clear spot. Or go over with a couple of layers of thinned paint.


And don't worry! If you mess up your priming job it is removable from both plastic and metal models. Try, and if it goes wrong you can try again :)

Tutorial - Step One - Preparing Your Miniatures from Packaging

Models - both those out of boxes and out of blister packs - often come with flash, mold lines, and attached to a sprue. The first thing you need to do with your model is remove all the excess material and make it look as though it was never there to begin with.

You will need;
Clippers (Sharp pliers)
Files (Fairly fine ones)
Sandpaper (Optional)
Sharp Knife/Scalpel (Optional)


Remove the pieces of your kit from the sprue using the pliers or small sharp scissors. It's possible to twist and pull the pieces off but you risk damaging or warping the pieces. Use something snippy rather than a knife - much safer.

Flash is easy to remove from metal models. It is the little strands of metal attached randomly around a miniature as a leftover from where the metal was inject into its mold and effectively leaked outside the wanted shape. Just snip these off and if necessary use the file/sandpaper to smooth the area down.


Mold lines can be slightly more complicated as they can run all the way across the model and through fine details. These denote the line where the two halves of the model's mold met but weren't perfectly fit. Larger pieces can be snipped off like flash, but most likely you be filing small but prominent mold lines down.


When you start filing or sanding beging very gently. Until you get a good idea of how much you can take off and how big your file is you want to be careful. If you don't file enough you can go back and carefully give it another go, but if you gouge out a hole you need to get creative with filler or your paint job!

If you use a knife or scalpel, make sure its very sharp. Hold it against the model with the top ridge facing towards the direction you're pulling. Strip off the lines with smooth strokes. Don't apply too much pressure or you'll gouge the model and probably your thumbs as well.


The final step is to give models a quick rinse with soapy water and leaving them to dry. This removes any of the agent used to make the model easier to remove from its mold, and any oils transferred to it as it has been handled by people. These can affect how well your model primes. If its a step too far and you aren't trying to do a decent paint job you don't necessarily have to worry about this step.

At the end of this process your model should end up looking like it was never attached to anything in the first place!


Boredom and sleepiness breeds... tutorials?

I've been completely exhausted and falling asleep today so in no fit state the paint anything. Instead I've started putting together tutorials for the site :)

They'll be going up as unfinished posts. I just wanna put up what I've got at the moment so that I can see what everything looks like and watch it come together on the blog. Also I'm impatient. All the posts will be linked to in the tutorial section when I redo that properly and neaten everything up.

I'm still trying to work out how everything should actually be organised and formatted. I'm going to build a litte white box tomorrow to take crisper photos in. Photos that you can actually identify the object in...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Blending! (In grey!)

I spent a few hours sat down today filing my metal sisters and removing various flash from their models, and painting a few of the finished and based ones. I started with five, working on their cloth.

I really like bleached bone for cloth at the moment but I've decided to try outside some cooler grey shades on these for now. I started with some shadow grey for the basecoat.

Basecoat: 1:3:1 Paint: 10% flow: matte medium

Two layers

By the time I'd finished painting the last one, the first had dried so I got onto the first layer of shading.

I used shadow grey and space wolf grey as my two extremes, and for the first layer just used a 50:50 blend of them wedged between my palette.

I did my blending by lining the deepest part with the shadow grey, and the remaining 2/3 with the medium coloured. I blend the line together using very very tiny circles through the two colours. If one colour goes too far over I just get the tiniest bit possible on the brush and push it back abit.

I do this with two paint brushes; one for the light colour one for the dark. The paints are about the consistently of milk, and I have very little in my brush. If I can see the paint in the brush, there's too much and I dab it off on my palette.

As I blend on the model I regularly wipe of the excess paint so I don't just end up with a huge patch of intermediate colour.

I think it went quite well. I'm finding painting very relaxing and engaging at the moment. I'll try and get some better photos up soon, I've started using a proper camera so that's something new to learn as well!

Saturday, 16 July 2011


I've actually spent a good few hours painting the past couple of days, but I haven't done anything I feel is photo worthy other than stripping my sisters. I need to finish scrubbing those guys off :(

At some point I will have enough blending failures to post a photo update on the past week. Thus far about blending I have learnt;

Incredibly thin paint. Thinner than you've used for anything else. Makes a very big difference, but does feel like a waste of time at first.

Not so much medium ratio to everything else - makes it a bit gunky for blending. More liquidy the solution the better.

Let stuff dry before I start doing the next layer. This links into the medium I was using to thin my paints, as well though. I'd get impatient doing one model and start trying to do the next layer blending onto a half dry under layer. Queue lots of gunky-funkyness.

I know wet-blending is slightly beyond me since I only just got back into painting, but I'm still having a lot of fun doing it even when I'm doing it horribly wrong. At some point I'm going to base some sisters in black, some in white and sit and force myself to paint at least their base colours from head to toe. At the moment my models are a victim of 'first colour placed perfectly second colour spilled all over it' syndrome. I'm too impatient!

I grabbed a new sketch book and set of sketching pencils today to sit and practice some drawing.

I've been exhausted for about a week now, and not having the happiest few days. More will be added to the blog when my head is screwed on a bit more methinks. At least I'm updating everyday!

Friday, 15 July 2011


Hello! So, I spent today running round a shopping village buying awesome things. Yesterday, however, I stripped off most of my old badly painted Sisters of Battle Models.

Here's what I did;

Step one - Procure terribly painted models!

Step two - Place into container. I prefer ones taller than wider, because you can cover the models using less solution. But, if you want to be very careful about not scratching and bumping models use a wideone and set them out seperately.

Step three - Cover liberally with Fairy Power Spray. There are alternatives, but this is one of the most reliable if you can get it because it won't damage or warp models even if you leave them in for a couple of days. I'm not sure how it treats plastics yet.

Step four - Cover with lid and leave for at least half an hour. I left mine overnight because I was knackered.

Step five - Dump into sink and start to wash and brush off the paint.

Step six - Admire shiney new Sisters.

Bonus zombie sister!

Still feeling exhausted so unlikely to get anything else today. I'm going to have to see a Dr soon if I don't stop feeling so tired!


Thursday, 14 July 2011


Too tired to post now...Will do double post tomorrow. Stripped modelsand sketched today. In too much pain to do anything that wasn't lying in bed sniffling. Stupid joints.

Oh well, doggy cheered me up

Wednesday, 13 July 2011


I am so fricking exhausted today. I went to paint around 4 o clock and I was so tired by that point that I couldn't get my eyes to focus on the tiny elf mans backside. I managed to do about and hour or two of painting and then gave up because I was falling asleep. Practiced some wet blending - went really well. I'll get some pictures into this post tomorrow, I forgot to take them and I'm too comfy in bed to go do it now!

I took the dog for a massive hour and a half walk with her doggie friend, a labrador poodle cross. Then after that I decided to do a 16 mile cycle to hobby craft to buy some more stuff. Picked up a really nice brush holder - holds like 40 brushes upright and only cost £4. I also got the Winsor and Newton matte and gloss mediums. I used them today and they make a wonderful difference to the textures and feel of the paint! I shall post comparison pictures of how the paints look using different mediums and consistencies soon.

There are a couple of new pages added to the site - one a tutorial resource and one a guide to equipment to get started. They are both very rough and not very well organised, and not finished, but I work better by building things up and correcting them as I go.

Have another dog photo to make up for any relevant ones.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011


Just thought I'd post a few shots of my work space(s) before I take doggy for a walk. Spent the whole morning scribbling down ideas for diaramas and duels. Ideas I'll be good enough to use in about 5 years - woot!

Now to walk the beast.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Squeezy Bottles!

I went back to the hobby craft store and spent 20 minutes scouting out all the isles until I FINALLY found some stupid tiny squeezy bottles. Also ordered some off ebay but hey, having more of this stuff isn't a bad thing!

I mixed together my flow and retarder solutions and added sexy labels to my squidgy bottles using paint. I was far more excited about using this stuff than I think a normal person should be, but oh well.

I started on some elves - painting their cloaks bleach white. Basecoat colour went on amazingly with the flow added. About 3/4 coats in total, over black primer.

I love how creamy and smooth the colour looks. The paint was 50:50 flow solution and bleached bone paint.

When it was dry I threw on some layers of Grypphone Sepia wash;

But being impatient I proceeded to cock it up from there and not let things dry properly before I tried to highlight and blend. I think I tried to do too much in one evening and now my elves are sat on my desk looking embarassed about the state of their cloaks.

Tomorrow I'll try again, properly this time, and increase the concentration of the retarder as the paints still dried before I could get to blend them. Didn't stop me trying! And now they are lumpy lumpy models...

Let's get started!

I recently dug out all of my warhammer stuff after a couple of years creative haitus. With the summer off (3 month uni break - whoo!) I've decided I want to get back into everything. I've got quite a substantial army - Witch Hunters - with alot of it completely untouched. Thus far I've found;

Throne of Judgement
Penitent Engine
About 20 base coated sisters
About 30 Painted Sisters
2 St Celestine
2 Inquisitor Retinues
Various HQ models I can't remember the names of
C'tan the Deceiver
10 Seraphim
Box of Skeletons
Vampire's Carriage
Couple of Eldar Avatars
And some High Elf stuff I can't remember because I don't have it with me.
Random Lord of the Rings elves
Box of Galahad elves

In addition to that I discovered that even after 2 years of neglect in a box, my 100+ GW paints are all still usable. I have about 30 brushes, file sets, clippers, basing materials, glues, you name it.

My best mate went out the other day and bought himself the Space Marine and Orks big box set as well, so I've got some lovely ork stuff to paint up.

I started about a week ago by digging up some of the old elves I'd painted terribly and just spraying them over again. They are plastic so I couldn't be bothered to faff about stripping them. I just used them to get back into the swing of things a bit, and as can be expected from someone who hasn't painted for years they look awful!

Not bad for the first thing I've painted in ages I guess. I didn't go the whole hog because a) repainted managed to make lots of the details useless and b) my hands have the artistic control of a buffolo at the moment.

But it was great fun to get back into it. So much fun, in fact, that I went on a buying rampage at my local hobby craft store! I spent way too much money...

I picked up some flow improver and some fluid retarder (favourite name of the day) and some plastic glue;

Also grabbed some washed and paints I was missing (don't know why I forgot to bring black and white home with me)

And I got two Winsor and Newton brush sets. I have only just noticed that the mahogany set is polyester and not sable... urgh... I'll use them anyway - can never have enough brushes!

And I got myself a giant rainbow-gay chest of drawers to store all my nerdy secrets in;

There was also a sale in JJB next door but until I cover my clothes in paint I'll refrain from posting them here.

Annoyingly I couldnt find any dropper bottles to mix up my retarders/flows in. I'm withholding on painting until I can get those and properly thin my paints. I'm very neurotic about doing everything properly at the moment - I don't want to ruin anything expensive.

So yeah - from now on this blog is going to be my progress as I go from wtf end of this paintbrush do I hold to SUPER PAINTED GOLDEN DEMON extraordinare. With the occasional dog photo thrown in.