Saturday, 25 February 2012

My Adorable Wolly Mammoth and Me. And the fat guy on the mammoth.

I said yesterday that I had exchanged that horrible piece of rubbish Sammael model for a Stonehorn, and was going to take photos to show just how much better the plastic model is than the wonderful finecast.

This can be assembled as a thundertusk or stonehorn. Both are awesome. 
Comes in a nice big box as all the big warhammer units do. The moment I opened the box I relaxed - you can see straight away that the quality is so much better in everyway.

The model as a whole comes in these three sprues. One thing I really like the plastic stuff for over the finecast is all the extra bits you get for changing your model about. For the price I'm paying, I would rather pick up a plastic model kit and have lots of bits the play about with even after I've assembled the main model.

I'm still pretty bad at taking photos but these are all good enough that you get the general idea.

Stonehorn Head
The Stonehorn's head is supposed to look like it is made of... Stone! The edges are all really well defined. No sponginess!

Ogre shield and Ogre Whip Chain
 This piece of sprue specially caught my eye after yesterday. Looking at the shield first you can see how nicely the detail stands out and how defined the edges to everything are. Even the small details of the chainmail are retained, no smudging together.

On the left I kept in some of the chain whip. If you look at my last post you can find on the Sammael where there are supposed to be chains over it, but they are just an ugly mess. In the plastic they look superb, even the smaller ones.

Wolly Mammoth Butt
I really like the softer details on the model too. This is the fur on the back of the woolly mammoth. Good degree of detail without becoming overwhelming.

Base bits
The box also comes with a few bits to stick on your base! The little extras really push plastic for me as opposed to the other sets.

I have saved the best for last. There is one thing on earth that I treasure above all else... Something tastier than the tastiest thing you can think of, unless you do in fact think of the thing I am thinking of and am going to post below:

YES! THE POLLO! The delicious Hundchen, the succulent presumably japanese squiggles!


Sold, games workshop. Put one of these in with a landraider and I'd buy one of those.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Adventures with...Shit, to be honest.

I have been dubious about the quality of the new finecast stuff from Games Workshop. I had heard and seen things second hand but hadn't actually had any myself. A friend had asked me to paint a Sammael model for his Dark Angels army so I was all Whooo! And bought one last weekend. Throughout the whole week the furthest I have gotten is basecoating before having to fix/resculpt something and have to reprime it. It is possibly the nastiest piece of shit I have ever come across in miniatures.

It didn't fit. There were bubbles all over it. There were bubbles underneath the surface that you could only feel when painting. Mould lines ran through finely detailed sections rather than the blank space next to them, mould lines meant bits of the model had slipped apart. Fixing some of it would have meant cutting bits of it off and realigning it by miles.

Most offensively? It was badly sculpted. All the edges were soft: sections that were supposed to be hard panels looking like pillows, none of the edges being straight - all curved in or out - rounded corners. The details had just melted into unidentifiable splodges. Even tubes on the bike weren't cylinders, they were squished sausages. Emblems and badges on the bike were well over a millimeter think, instead of being flat. There's a section at the back were the engine has regular grooves in - they are all different sizes and don't even have straight edges.

It looks like someone sculpted it with one eye closed and a toothbrush.

As you look at the photos notice the surface of the whole model. Resin can't be flattened the same way metal can - using wet grain paper and smoothing layers of thinned milliput. It would chew through the flimsy material and also this model was so rough that I couldn't make a dent in it.

This mold line had shifted the two halves apart

Same mould line, better view

This sword is over a mm thick, and the handle is a mush of detail

The other leg. This mold line actually split it in half - look at the exhausts

Split exhausts, and his lovely smooth cloak. This is after a time of filling in the horrible rough texture

His cloak with lots of large gaps in

Hard to see but this book has tiny micro bubbles and bits of the chains missing

More messy book pages. This is tiny - visible, but not really fixable

Look at the top of the pages - they aren't stylistically messy, that's just excess resin that steadily flaked off and took some page with it.
On the bottom right you can see when part of the book fell off, compare it to the left. 

This is supposed to be a circle at the top so that it could clip onto the bottom of the bike

Mold lines running across the handle details. You can see how spongy and bendy all the lines are.
If you look at the detail in the middle of the left end of the bike - those are supposed to be engine parts. The cylinders had split and spread out. 

This doesn't look so bad, but is impossible to paint. The details are all imprecise. Look to the left of the skull wheel, none of those lines are straight or uniform. The hoses are all smeared. Many of the details are so badly presented that they can't be painted to any decent standard. 

This is the bottom of the front. You can see this on the model, it's not covered when the model is finished. f

Huge mold line running along the bottom splitting details. 

Your control panel is made of marshmellows. There is also a massive mold line running through the top of the bike.  Also look at how out of line the handles are. It was not possible to centre it anything further. 

This is what the top looks like when fully assembled. Look at how asymmetrical is and how fudged the details are. Ragged lines and unidentifiable objects. 
These are just the problems I bothered to snap before I took it back. This is also what it looked like after I worked on it every day since Sunday. I had straight it so much compared to what you see now, and fixed so many details but I burnt out. It wasn't fun and the idea of giving it to my friend actually made me feel ashamed. I had offered to paint it for free to begin with, because I do love painting, but even being paid I would never had given this model to anyone in any state. I had a few bits of the model collapse when I went to paint it because there were bubbles underneath a very fine membrane of resin that only became apparent when I shoved my £10 brush though it. I need to replace my brush now, which is going to be damn expensive!

The thing that finally threw me was the fact I had had to pull out lots of pink squidgey material from the model and fill the resulting gaps in. When I asked our local manager he pointed out that that was actually part of the mold the model was made in.

Unfortunately my friend said this was the only model he was missing so when I went to trade it in I couldn't get him something better. This does mean I am now the proud owner of an ogre stonehorn!

I opened the plastic box and the difference between the new plastic models and the finecast ones is ridiculous.  The plastics are crisp, defined, sturdy. Edges are straight and hard. There's no bubbles and for the most part mold lines go through sensible places - not fingers and faces.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Base Update

Originally I thought that painting the base up and then applying flock and bushes would be easier. The ugliness of the base was annoying me too much so I decided to apply all the covering first and then brush up the rest of it.

The plains is just a mixture of greeny and brown static grass. The bushes are lichen soaked in thinned down pva, stuck on with non thinned pva. Then a mixture of flocks was poured over.

Monday, 20 February 2012


I have finally found the a usb that I can use to get photos of off my camera. It is the tiniest usb in the world - the camera is currently pressed up against the back of my laptop. I don't know who invited it or for what purpose an inch long usb cable could ever serve.

More fun stuff:

Most of my attention this week has been focused on a showbase/diorama base that I started making on a whim. I've had some Das clay sitting round since the summer that I used a tiny bit of to make some ancient sand stone type bases ages ago. I decided to throw caution to the wind and make something. Using a butter knife I started hacking lumps off of the clay. Where its foil packaging had been opened the clay had already dried out so I threw those to the side and got back to sawing like a crazy lady. Das modelling clay is nothing like normal clay and I found it hard to use to start with. It was incredibly hard and warming it was nearly impossible. I dipped my hands in water and was just about able to start shaping it.

I tried breaking it into smaller lumps I could fit in my hands, wetting it, and rolling it between my palms and pulling and pushing it out of shape to warm it up and make it more pliable. This didn't work. What happened instead is the slippery but unyielding material took the force applied by my squidging hands and shot into my eye. I promptly gave in doing this and decided to work with it as best I could as it was.

I was envisioning one of the crests you get into a rocky, uneven landscape. I mushed the clay into a vague uphill shape and used desperate force of will and poking the pieces with the butter knife to stick some of the lumps together. At this stage I didn't have an actual plan, just a sense of what I wanted. This isn't useful - in the future I'm only going to start something when I have a picture or plan to work off. Less whimsy more graph paper.

Mmm mars bars with twigs in

On campus I had been running round my department picking up bits of bark, twigs and mosses. Next time I'm going to do it around a different department: I can only imagine my lecturers walking past me while I muttered too myself scrambling through the undergrown near the building and whooping while I shoved damp moss into a doggy poo bag has not endeared my to any of them. I feel I may be attended very closely next time I have to use anything expensive in the lab.

I wiggled a couple of bits of bark a tiny twig and a nobly twig into the base to give it more texture and visual interest. I wasn't concerned about the texture of the rest of the base because it was all going to be covered by the time it is finished. By this stage the whole thing looked like a half melted ice cream monstrosity.

The moss I played on paper towels over a radiator. Drying it out means you can handle it easier, paint it, and any mud stuff attached comes off super easy. It did confuse my house mates when they came in and saw the kitchen radiator had grown moldy at the speed of light.

I spread thinned PVA glue over most of the visible modelling clay and then poured some very fine flock over it. It doesn't matter what colour it is, just the texture does. I'm using it to create an earthy texture underneath the foliage that's going to go on top. Once the glue was dry I just brushed the excess off gently and then covered everything with a liberal spread of dark brown pigment in alcohol.

While that was drying I painted the pieces of bark shadow grey. I'm going to drybrush them in normal grey colours to look like rock, but the shadow grey underneath gives it a nice undertone so it's not just boring monochrome. When both the pigment and paint had dried the whole thing was covered in thinned down sepia ink.

I added a few more details when it had dried: the stone parts have all been dry brushed up to skull white, stains have been added to the rocks. I applied a basecoat of scorched brown to the tree branch and fallen trunk. Using thinned badab black I brought back some of the contrast on the rocks that had been lost to over zealous drybrushing. 

Now I just have to wait for it to dry overnight. Once I've painted the trees up I will be able to start adding grasses and mosses. 

I don't like the rocks you can see clustered here, but I'm not going to do anything about them until more of the base has been done in case they end up fitting it. When I have the greens on it I'm going to pick out some of the plantlife strewn on the floor in some autumny colours to add more life to the piece. 

Adventures in oil and clay

Today I have delved into two new areas for me: the use of oil paints in miniature painting, and trying to make my own terrain. That's a lie actually there's far more than two new things but I think I can group huffing turpentine, getting oil paint in my eye, getting oil paint out of my eye, trying to use a camera with slippy clay hands, squidging the lump of clay too hard and shooting it into my other eye, and accidentally drinking my clay water into the above two activities.

Because it was the first time I was doing it, and they both turned out to be a bit messy I didn't manage to get any proper WIP pictures. It was a good first excursion though and I'll definitely be doing them again in the future so I will get a proper post up about them in the future! For now here's what I got;

 Here's the little splodges of oil paint I used. If you check my previous post I list the paint set I actually bought. I didn't use many colours to try and keep it simple. I really wasn't feeling confident about doing this for the first time! This is a technique used by more traditional military modellers to heavily weather vehicles or add more subtle layers to the colour of a vehicle. Get it right and with the oil paints you do something in half an hour that would take hours to do with acrylics. I don't get it quite right, but I didn't set anything on fire either. 

I used a stiff synthetic brush to dot different colours onto the base of my Bling Tank, now my official test model for crazy new things. I think I used alittle too much paint per dot / on the area. 

Looks like a clown tank.Grit your teeth and carry on. 

Then I dipped my flat wide brush into my sansador (odorless turpentine) and removed the excess on a papertowel. Using long strokes going in the same direction I smeared the paint everywhere.

I just kept brushing and occasionally cleaning my brush off to take away some of the excess paint. After a while I would clean my brush, take a swipe, wipe it off, repeat. I really put too many splodges on! The wonderful thing about oils is that they have very long working times. I have some oil on my palette that has been there for over a day and it's still usable. Much nicer than acrylics that dry the moment they leave the bottle!

Add caption
Here's the tank when I had finished my first adventure in oils. I need to take a decent picture during the day because it's made a nice textured, coloured difference. This photo just shows that the tank is still mostly blue!

I have decided to roll my clay-update into my next post because I've done alot more work on it.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Guess who's back....

Dun dun dun!

Back by unpopular demand - yes, I have returned. I spent ages not painting and therefore having no reason to blog. Now I've started again and actually have stuff to post!

Today we had an excellent trip to Hobbycraft to pick up some new supplies. I've been investigating weathering methods with oil paints. I managed to pick up a good bundle of stuff and when I have the camera working I'll get some good pics up.

Some of you with better memories than others may remember I bought all the miniature mentor videos a while back. I'd seen a few people use them in picture tutorials, or heard people talk about using them on a miniature they were presenting, but it wasn't until I actually watched the process on a tutorial as this guy weathered his dreadnought did I think 'Yeah, I want to do that'. Until then it had seemed like a pretty big deal to start: you'd need brushes, thinners, cleaners, paints etc. Really all I needed was the paints and some form of turpentine.

Because I'm not doing any actual oil painting, rather I'm smearing it all over some models rather indiscriminately, I don't need fancy new brushes or canvases or anything like that. I have some nice synthetic brushes - flats and filiberts - that I can do the work with. I picked up the Winton Oil Colour set by Winsor and Newton. It's described as their 'Moderately priced oil colours for beginners and amateur artists' and has 10 21ml tubes in. I didn't pick up any of the top range, superexpensive oil paints because I'm really not doing anything where it would show and I'm not good enough that it would make a visible difference. This particular set also had a nicer spread of colours than compared to the others; all the primaries, greens, browns, black and white. Most other sets all seemed to be '15 paints; 6 shades of yellow, 7 shades of brown, black and white - for all your ....' No, I can't think of a joke. I cannot think of anything that starting paint set would be geared towards.

Say it with a Spanish Accent. Sansador
So that I can get my oil paints around on my models, out of my brush and probably out of my eye at some point I also grabbed some special turpentine. Oil paints aren't water soluble - water is polar, oils aren't polar. If they aren't the same they can't mix. Hydrocarbons - long chains of carbon with hydrogen sticking off them - aren't polar, and oil can mix in with them. Turpentine is just a certain length of hydrocarbon. It is very smelly though: this is due to hydrocarbons in the liquid that are shorter and so evaporate easily. I bought a special type referred to by Winsor and Newton as 'Sansador' that has had the shorter chains removed so it smells alot less. It's only a small bottle but it should last a long time. I will only be using tiny amounts at a time.

Smells like burning nostrils!
There was something else I had been trying to find online but no physical store listed it as something they sold. I was so pleased when I saw it in Hobbycraft despite them claiming to not sell it. It is of course... humbrol maskol! It's a fluid you can apply to a model that dries to a tacky cover that you can paint over, and then peel off to reveal a patch of untouched original paint job. It's used in weathering or protecting small finished parts of a model. Also picked up some liquid poly by humbrol to use with my new....

Mmm entrails
Squadron White Putty! Most of you would know the model already - this is Todd Swanson's 'Festus' model that won a Golden Demon and then the Slayer Sword the year it was entered. I watched his miniature mentor video on how he achieved the affect: diluting some putty to a semi-malleable consistency and then applying it to the edges of the miniature and roughly sculpting it with a scalpel. It creates a really nice...well, not nice. It creates a really good rusted or decaying effect depending on how you sculpt it. And if you dilute putty really far you can gently brush it over a model with a cotton bud or something to create a super smooth filled model.

Popping into Modelzone for putty was a mistake. One of the guys who works there mentioned there had been a huge miniatures thing here last weekend that we'd missed, and loads of random hard-to-get-in-england stuff had been there. There had even been a Mr Hobby section! On the plus side they had humbrol polycement with the funny long spout. I picked one up so I look like a proper modeler rather than one who swears and sprays gamesworkshop superglue everywhere.

Here's a generic tip: branded super glue is just marked up cyanoacrylate. Look for any generic thing called that and you have the same glue - for much less! 

Here's a pro tip: Don't sniff humbrol maskol. Big old whiff of ammonia there, I actually need to go sit down. 

Next post should be up on monday when I'm in front of my painting stuff at uni!