Thursday, December 30, 2010


Sharpening Model Weapons

Most of our armies have models with blades of one type or another. Fantasy, for sure, but sci-fi as well. Sometimes blades come, not sharp, but at least they have an edge. Other times, like on the model pictured to the side, (and painted so it'll stand out better) weapons come really dull. Sometimes, dull weapons are just fine - huge great swords, power weapons, vehicle bits, etc... but we all know that sharper looks better.
I've painted the dull edge orange so it stands out. This is what we want to cut so that the blade is actually a blade instead of a Nerf bat. From a safety view, there's very little chance that this will actually create a sharp blade. Most models are lead, pewter or plastic - all soft materials. What this can do, however, is create a stronger point which could hurt if you apply a little too much pressure against your skin. (step on it, drop on foot, etc)

The following are two different methods to fake sharpen your fake weapons. Neither is the wrong method, they just end up creating a different look.

One of the methods is to cut your knife forward along each side of your fake blade.

This method will look a little more rough and therefor the blade will appear aged. Click the photo to see a larger example of this.

This appears rougher because the blade catches and skips as it cuts forward. Careful not to cut yourself as it catches and remember to cut away from yourself.
The other way is to scrape your knife backwards along the weapon a couple times.

As you can see here, it's much cleaner. There's only a few rough patches, and even then they're pretty smooth.

The difference is that this way, the knife blade doesn't catch on the model, and therefor doesn't skip and create a rough finish.
You can read some more on scraping and cutting in my article on Cleaning Mold Lines.

Movie Review: Ultramarines

[this is a no spoiler review]

Well, it wasn't terrible.

The first thing that impressed me was that the graphics appeared better than they did in the trailer - they were actually decent. I'm surprised they didn't beef the trailer up some more rather than creating the low-res critique-able render. They even blur for focus effects, which is a nice touch. While the graphics weren't up to today's standards for CG, it at least had a solid style that was watchable and enjoyable.

Sound work was excellent. High-quality, lots of effects. Even foot-steps when the camera is close. I must say I liked the sound of bolter fire, very intense. Even the score was well done and well placed. The voice actors were excellent and spot on.

Yes, there were glitches - inconsistencies in some of the camera work and lip-syncing was off here and there. These issues were mostly just at the beginning of the movie, as if they got better at it, and didn't go back to fix their earlier problems. Stairs seemed to be an issue as well, so most of the time they wouldn't show feet and stairs together. They didn't put the same amount of detail into the bad guys as they did the Ultramarines, which was disappointing because it made the lack of detail stand out. While the backgrounds are well done, fog is an easy way to avoid having to create actual backgrounds, but it worked.

Something that did bother me - and maybe it's just me - is the bickering, distrust and talk amongst the squad. It seemed more applicable to Imperial men, not highly trained Space Marine super-soldiers, even if it was their first run. (Though I haven't read much in the way of Space Marine books to know how they've established more of the fluff - maybe Dark Angels, which I have read, are just more hardcore than Ultramarines.)

I also can't help but wonder what a giant wooden bridge is doing at the entrance to a marine fortress on a desert planet with no trees. And what's up with the Chaplain's helmet changing colour from black to white later? Someone also forgot to tell them that cover saves are much more useful now. (I'm reminded of Sons of Anarchy when the big tough bikers just stand out in the open and shoot)


Overall, I wasn't wow'd, but it wasn't bad for a second (first official) Warhammer 40k movie. Voice acting and sound were solid, graphics were better than I was expecting from the trailer. Really, I think it was story and pacing that failed this movie. (which is unfortunately, since Dan Abnett is a well established author - my guess is his struggle came from fitting a story into an hour) I was reminded of the scene in Clerks 2 when Randal is complaining about Lord of the Rings being nothing but walking... except this was much less epic than LotR.

Verdict? Worth seeing - once. You probably won't watch this twice, so don't pay money for it - borrow it from / watch it with someone who is willing to part with the cash or split the cost between your gaming group.

[for those of you curious what I meant by "second" 40k movie and why you'll never see it (unless it's hiding in some corner of the internet)]

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Blog-Fu: A Request

I've decided to start a series containing tips on blogging.

This will cover things like your reason for writing, graphics, drawing attention, themes, musing, scheduling, writing styles, etc. Additionally, I'd like to know if there's anything you folks would like me to cover. Either leave a comment in this thread or clicky on the "Email" link to the right. I'll credit you for your questions unless you ask to remain nameless.

I'm going to make you wait for a little while as I gather my thoughts, but I first wanted to reach out to you and see what input you might have... soooo, go!


In the meantime, you can read other blogging tips I've already written under the label " blog-fu ".

Monday, December 27, 2010


Weekly Update

Not a whole lot going on this week, but it's the holidays and traffic is down. You can take a look at the current Back to Basics post on Fantasy models, looking at cloth and leather and read about a new service I tried called Blogged. Other than that, Happy Holidays, and shortly, Happy New Year!

Spending more than a week on vacation with my trusty 10 year old Sony P3 900mhz laptop, I find the layering in my blog and some of the widgets cause a little lag in the load times - I hope this isn't a problem for most of my readers, so please let me know. As a new year treat, I may have a surprise soon into 2011. Even though I'm on vacation away from the snow, there are a few things I've prepared for y'all this week, so stick around. Also, links are now underlined to stand out a little better.

The LeadHead has a good tutorial on pinning models: http://theleadheadblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/tutorial-pinning-models.html

Double 0 Sven talks about the importance of fluorescent light, which also applies to painting http://double0sven.blogspot.com/2010/12/using-light-in-you-wargame-photography.html

Issues painting black? Here's some help: http://fromthewarp.blogspot.com/2010/12/painting-black-some-help.html

He calls it problems with fluff nazis, I call it problems with WYSIWYGAAC, either way, another solid article from GMort: http://www.houseofpaincakes.com/2010/12/who-says-i-cant.html

Loq continues her look at female gamers: http://aychplace.blogspot.com/2010/12/weekly-whimsy-skin-trade.html

There's a nice looking Baneblade here from Dan http://teninchtemplate.blogspot.com/2010/12/vraksian-baneblade.html

Here's an incredible World Eaters army finished: http://www.hortwerth.com/?p=69

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Blogged dot com

A site came to my attention from Kirby over at 3++ is the new Black called Blogged.

From the looks of it, this site allows you to search through blogs indexed by category and register your own blog in the network. Once you find blogs, you can visit them and follow them within Blogger. Looks like they're trying to create an RSS fed homepage, like Google Reader, though they've incorporated users, friends, messaging and feedback into the system as well. Email notices can let you know when you receive messages, followers, reviews and such. There's a review system in place for the people running the site and users to leave a number on a scale of 1-10, though my blog was reviewed within 5 minutes of signing up so I'm not sure how extensive the review is.

The system is certainly buggy - you start signed up to a few default blogs and followed by a couple default users - which still display on your tally page even after you remove them. There are sections to view the top things going on, but they don't seem to work either. When searching, I can't seem to find my blog and you can't edit your blog's description. Pages are also rather laggy. While the site appears legit, many of the higher reviewed pages seem either well known, pop, highly ad-supported or obviously run by robots and auto-posters, some even lead to dead links. (these may be old blogs or hijacked which makes me wonder how great the search results are) I waited a day before posting this, and received a few followers in that time - at least one of which is definitely a bot trying to gather attention to it's ad site.

Verdict? Skeptical, but there's potential.

While it seems promising, and I like the idea of a blog-only search engine, I'm not sure how reliable it is if I can't even tailor results to find my own site or Kirby's, or the concerning number of fake sites. You probably won't find me logging in to Blogged, but a little free publicity can't hurt.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Back to Basics - Fantasy

Ron's Fantasy Model
We're at the half-way point in Ron's and my Back to Basics series - this week we're looking at a Fantasy model (showing off cloth and leather and such). So far we've kept things pretty simple with a few easy techniques thrown in. You'll get a couple more helpful but easy techniques thrown in this tutorial as well. Take a look at Ron's method.

As mentioned above, this is the half way point - only 2 more left after this. Because of this, I'm going to start bringing together things that I've shown you earlier, but in ways that are more natural. It could make some of the steps a little trickier to see, but that's because it'll look more natural. I'll try not to miss pointing anything out.

Here's the elf I've decided to use for this tutorial - there's a little more detail in some of his clothes, but you'll see it's not as daunting as it might appear.
For his facial details, I've decided to try a page from Ron's book by painting the eyes first. I can, and prefer to paint eyes last, but I could see this being an easier method for some.

I've painted white eyes, followed by purple pupils. You don't have to be too concerned about painting within the lines here, because you follow this up by painting the face and outlining the eyes.

Once the face is complete, I finish with his mouth by painting his teeth white and washing his tongue with Warlock Purple. (more on this type of wash lower)

His skin gets the treatment next with Elf Flesh followed by Ogryn Flesh wash. You can read more on dry-brushing, but I finish up with an Elf Flesh dry-brush.

By using a wash that compliments the colour it's going over, you can use the base colour also as a highlight. This is a simple 2 colour, 3 step method of shading and highlighting that I'll use a bunch in this tutorial.
To paint the hair, I use Space Wolves Grey washed with Leviathan Purple. The blue-grey washed with purple gives a slightly surreal look.

To highlight his hair, I want to use a colour not sold by Games Workshop. (gasp!) This is really easy - honest. I've taken the clear plastic from a model blister (smooth, glossy, disposable surfaces are great for mixing) and slapped two dots of paint on it - some white and some Liche Purple. I'm after a light purple, so I use my brush to pull some of the darker purple into the white blob - this creates a wider range of lighter purple. (dragging the white into the purple would have created a wider range of darker shades) Now just use the light purple shade you'd like to.


Before I start on the green of his cloth, I want to make a note about colour theory. The reason I painted his eyes and hair purple is because of complimentary colours. If you look at green on a colour wheel, the colour directly opposite is red. (Therefor they'll stand out / contrast strongest against eachother) I didn't want to use red, so instead I went next door to purple.


I start with Snot Green on his clothes and Catachan Green on the inside of his cloak.

The next step are the washes. For the lighter green, I use a Thraka Green wash and Badab Black wash on his cloak. I decided to darken the lighter green a little more by painting Badab Black wash into some of the recessed areas like under his arms and closer to the cloak where shadow would be darker. For the record, I first tried Thraka Green to wash his cloak too, but the wash was actually lighter than the colour of the cloak - this caused the wash to be ineffective - that's why I went with Badab Black instead.

The final step, shown on the right, is a mix of line and area highlighting. Looks a lot more subtle in this tutorial, right? That's because, just like his face, I've used the same colours to highlight as I did to base, and I used washes that are a similar shade.


For the cloak, I begin with Scorpion Green, wash with Thraka Green and dry-brush with Rotting Flesh.

I chose to dry brush for a couple reasons. The main one, is look at all those leaves! You seriously don't want to paint all of those individually like a sucker, right? (at least not until you're prepared to invest that kind of time and detail) Instead, just slap a quick dry brush on and see how nice the highlighting looks. The second reason is that dry-brushing adds a little blending to the highlight that solidly painted line/area highlights don't do. When the colour you're highlighting with is rather different from the colour(s) it's going on top of, dry brushing makes the highlight look more natural


Moving on to leather and some other cloth, here's the base coat.

His gloves and hood are Vomit Brown.

The darker leather is Snakebite Leather.

Bags and belt are Bleached Bone.

The rope is Sunburst Yellow.
For the two darker leathers, I wash with Devlan Mud.

For the bags, belt and rope, I wash with Gryphonne Sepia.
Except for the rope, as with previous steps, I'm using the same colour to highlight with as I used to base with.

Vomit Brown washed with Devlan Mud ended up much darker than the Vomit. This would have meant using Vomit to highlight would have been too bright. To keep things simple, I just dry-brush. I apply many layers to cover up a lot, bringing most of the colour back to the origonal Vomit Brown.

I line highlighted his belt, but dry-brushed his bags. This was to highlight while keeping detail in seems, folds, etc.

To finish off, I dry-brushed the rope with Bleached Bone.





I painted with washes to do his weapons which only requires a single step. The white that shows through ends up creating highlights. You may need to paint some white touch ups first.

His sword got a thick coating of Leviathan Purple. Once it dried, it created some very nice shading. Just be sure to leave the model standing up, or the shading won't look natural.

The arrow ends were coated with a thick Baal Red after being touched up with P3 White.

Here's another new trick for his bow and sword handle. Wanting to paint all his weapons with washes, but not wanting to use one of GW's washes, I create my own. I get some Scorched Brown (very dark) on my brush, then dip my brush in water and apply the mix to the items. The only complicated thing about creating your own washes is learning the proper paint to water ratio, which changes depending on how thick you want the wash.

As an optional step, but a nice touch, I took some Shining Gold and accented a number of details over the model.
To finish up, I put a glob of white glue on the base and spread it around with a toothpick. I make small circular swirls with the model as I sink the base into some green flock.

Always let the glue dry before removing excess flock, sand, etc. This ensures that all areas should end up covered, you won't shake off flock and glue won't run off the base.
And here we are with the final product!


So, just to recap regarding a few of the things I covered in this article, when using quick and/or easy techniques:
  • A quick way to paint is to base, wash, highlight.
  • You can highlight with the same colour you based with. (though it looks cleaner if
  • If the colour you're highlighting with is close to your painted model after washing then line and area highlighting will look more natural. (you can of course highlight with bolder colours if you want to)
  • If the colour you're highlighting with is not close to your painted model, then dry-brushing will help you highlight in a way that will blend the bolder colour in. (you can of course still highlight in any situation)
Also, you can always wash with any colour you like - just add water. The more water you add, the thinner the wash will be. I'm a big fan of GW's new line of washes - before them, I didn't like to use their brand of wash and would always just thin my paints. Snakebite Leather was my favorite paint to thin when doing any washing of leather, cloth and such.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Weekly Update

Well, aside from Gawker media getting hacked due to incredibly lazy security measures, this has been a pretty good week. It started off slow with a quick post on Trowels and then Google added a mobile feature to Blogger which looks pretty good. The icing on the cake, however, was Blood of Kittens awarding me with the Best Painting / Converting Blog of 2010!

Hang around for the next Back to Basics post this Wednesday.


Beyond all that, it's been a crazy busy week in the blogosphere - here's a bunch of great stuff going on:

Baron Von Orkthofen WIP.. nuff said. http://wpggamegeeks.blogspot.com/2010/12/barun-von-orkthofen.html

"wow" http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2010/12/posted-by-mandril-aka-ben-komets-hi.html (just clicky)

There's some great sculpting going on here: http://psychosispc-themadhouseworkshop.blogspot.com/2010/12/orc-unit-2playing-wack-mole.html

Great terrain tutorial over here, a nice walk through with plenty of photos: http://terrainthralls.com/Tutorials%20folder/Skorne%20Tutorial/Skorne%20Tutorial.html

Dark Future has a good looking WIP for a dreadnought: http://darkfuturegaming.blogspot.com/2010/12/ironclad-dread-conversion.html

Finally Complete! http://santacruzwarhammer.blogspot.com/search/label/Basilisk

Zanazaz from Have Dice, Will Travel suggested some good terrain sources here: http://havedicewilltravel.blogspot.com/2010/12/terrific-terrain-resources-on-tuesday.html
And I really like this place: http://www.gamedecor.com/abasworld/tips.htm

Filed under "inspirational" is this photo shoot linked by Massive Voodoo. I want to point out the liquid/fire/molten sulfur shots because it makes me think of fantasy/sci-fi imagery in our real world.
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/12/kawah_ijen_by_night.html

GDMNW has an amazing piece on dice, randomness, luck and looking on the brighter side of things: http://gdmnw.com/2010/roll-the-dice/ - a must read.

This made me laugh: http://mygirlfriendisadm.wordpress.com/2010/12/05/no-such-thing-as-too-much-dice/

MassiveVoodoo shows us how to make a label for a model stand, also a great tutorial for painting parchment: http://massivevoodoo.blogspot.com/2010/12/tutorial-how-to-make-socket-label-3_17.html

Here's a bunch of links from GDMNW on painting faces http://gdmnw.com/2010/painting-faces/

Friday, December 17, 2010


Best Painting / Converting Blog of 2010?

pics or it didn't happen, right? (That's not actually my photo)
Thank you very muchly to the guys over at the Blood of Kittens Network, who've suggested Wargaming Tradecraft is the Best Painting / Converting Blog of 2010. Hop on over there and take a look at their "Best Of" series as they continue to look back at the greatness of the past year. Also, kudos to them for going to the trouble of converting their site into a community and actually hosting space for authors... as well as to Deathtron for being one of the first, lending his ego fame.

I started Wargaming Tradecraft this past summer with the intent to create a site that was a resource for all artists of any level, covering tools and techniques alike while avoiding lists, tactics and other forms of e-drama. I'm not a pro, I have no schooling in art, but as Tasty says in the review, I've "tried, failed and succeeded". I'm just here telling you how I do things, with a smattering of what I've seen others do and will continue writing honest articles to try and help others in their own hobbying.

That, and you can always find anything I've talked about with my handy index pages at the top, rather than allow everything to disappear into the past.


Now, I don't want to steal the spotlight - because believe me, there are a whole bunch of fabulous blogs from people who've been doing this for a lot longer who have a lot more skill at what they do than I. I don't want to give you a list of a few of the people / networks I read and say "These are the best" because there's a lot of people I follow in RSS now, a few I've favorited and some I'm keeping an eye on. All of them are quality sites worth visiting. (and I know I would end up leaving somebody out)

I've had a lot of inspiration along the way and I'll continue sharing the things that grab my attention during my Weekly Update. (There's a lot of awesomeness from other sources if you clicky that link and take a browse.) If you actually break out of RSS though and go to my blog, there's a "Currently Reading" section on the right, with a "show all" at the bottom - these are all the blogs I follow daily in RSS (sorted by last post) and I recommend taking a look at each of them. (I've seen a lot of other excellent blogs but, with apologies, I don't follow ones that appear to be mostly tactics, lists and such)

I also plan on starting a series on tips to creating and maintaining your own blog, because lets face it, sharing is a part of this hobby.

Wargaming Tradecraft is Mobile Enabled

Wargaming Tradecraft is now enabled for mobile devices!

If you want to enable it for your own blog, this is a beta service under Settings - Email and Mobile. (you may have to access it from http://draft.blogger.com )

The examples on this page are from Blogger's preview, and it certainly doesn't look like this on my Blackberry. So, it may look slightly different from one device to another - if any of you have some form of mobile, like an Android, iPhone,Windows Mobile or newer Blackberries, I'd appreciate it if you could let me know how things look.

It would appear that comments aren't yet formatted, but Blogger beta stuff can always change. So, hopefully they don't break anything as they tweak.

The only problem of course is that my posts are often photo heavy. This could mean slow load times and I hope you have a good data package.



As you can see, both posts and pages are supposed to format and shrink to fit a smaller screen.


At the very bottom is the option to view the page in the normal web version.



So, verdict?

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Trowels

It's uncomplicated post while things are busy and TheWife and I wrap things up for the holidays time.
This is a trowel. This is a great tool if you have anything to spread across a large area of space. (Generally, this means terrain or vignette projects) This could mean glue, gel, putty and maybe even paint. Trowels come in a variety of shapes and sizes usually in plastic or metal and can be found at art, craft, garden or hardware stores. (Art stores will have the best options for the scale you're working with since hardware store models are probably for leveling concrete and garden models for digging) Reader Loquacious points out that cake/icing supply stores might have them too.

I picked up the one pictured above for the following reasons:
  • Metal is higher quality than plastic. (though in theory, you could cut a plastic one into other shapes)
  • Long, flexible working area to spread goop across a larger areas quicker and allow more natural smoothing.
  • Thin working area, that comes to a nice rounded point. This allows for getting in smaller areas and for finer control of the spread.
  • The handle tilts up away from the working area, keeping your hand / knuckles away from whatever goop you're spreading around.
  • Comfortable and smooth handle.

These are just a few things to look for.


You can use the trowel to scoop whatever you're working with, a little at a time, and spread it on the surface.



As you can see, the tip of the trowel is great for working into smaller areas or working your goop with a little more control.

In the lower photo, you can see how the gel was spread out smoothly with the longer edge of the trowel and thinned until it blends into the surrounding terrain. The long edge is pretty key in smoothing everything out. You want to make long, smooth motions with it - any pauses or stuttering will leave noticeable lines. (Sometimes these lines may be intended, such as a wind-swept beach)




You won't need to apply too much pressure. Most goop you'll be working with will probably spread easily. Too much pressure will thin the goop quite a bit and possibly bend your trowel. It'll take some practice using the long edge to create smooth blending of your goop, but you can pretty much go to town with it until the surface is how you like it.


Not much else to say, as they're not really something you'll use all that often since most terrain work is limited to the base of your miniatures. This is the first time I've needed one in my many years. They're not expensive though and definitely handy if you want terrain ground to be a little more than just flat surfaces covered in flock.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Gawker Media Hacked

Do you comment at: Lifehacker, Gizmodo, Gawker, Jezebel, io9, Jalopnik, Kotaku, Deadspin, and/or Fleshbot?


If you do, your email and password are now in the cloud and compromised. Gawker Media was hacked and the group that did it has placed the list online. The passwords were encrypted (good) with a 10 year old, already beaten encryption. (bad)


Check here if you were compromised: http://www.slate.com/id/2277768/

Forbes has a good summary here: http://blogs.forbes.com/firewall/2010/12/13/the-lessons-of-gawkers-security-mess/
Looks like Gawker really dropped the ball and had a bunch of notices ahead of time they were compromised, and ignored it.


So far I've been lucky since I use a lot of different passwords. A lot. And remember them all. "Yo, my head hurts." (quote bonus points) However, I am now getting emails from various companies for password reset attempts, etc. Thanks Gawker, way to fail. It teaches us to always use different passwords at different websites though.


Ontop of that, Gawker Media won't delete your account from them. It's apparently in their terms of service. If you want to be done with them, you can, however, sign in and change your email WITHOUT them requiring the new/old email to be verified. If they add email verification, sign up for: http://10minutemail.com and point the address there.




So, if you commented on any of those sites, and don't use lots of different passwords, you need to make a list of every website you use anywhere on the internet and go change every single password out there. I'm debating doing this anyways... ugh. Talk about things I didn't want to deal while getting ready for vacation.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Weekly Update

This week brings another installment of Back to Basics with sci-fi creations from Ron and Myself. I follow this up with a dry-brushing tutorial just a few days later.


Here's some nice looking Imperials from Fawcett Avenue Conscripts: http://wpggamegeeks.blogspot.com/2010/12/few-more-elysians.html

Ron's got a nice build going on a cathedral: http://fromthewarp.blogspot.com/2010/12/cities-of-death-cathedral-part-2-of-3.html

Here's a great Parasite of Mortex: http://blacksheep9292.deviantart.com/art/Parasite-of-Mortex-188842111

There's some great musings going on this week, so go and read and if you have some thoughts, join in:
Also some great Orkology going on over here: http://beanofdoom42.deviantart.com/gallery/

Friday, December 10, 2010


Dry Brushing

As promised, the following is a tutorial on dry-brushing. Through this, you're able to apply colour to raised areas like symbols, runes, designs and patterns or to edges and such. By using this method, it basically ensures that you won't get any paint on the lower areas. Typically this is to add highlighting of one form or another, but can also be used to do some rough blending.

This is a technique for both beginners and experts alike. For the new artist, you can apply highlights to a large area relatively quickly - no matter how fine or detailed that area is. Of all the techniques a new artist can learn, this is one of the best. For the advanced artist, dry brushing allows controlled and/or subtle highlighting in smaller areas.

So you have your selection of junk brushes that you've ruined over time and haven't thrown out, because you should never throw stuff out. (Read more on brushes) These have just become your high quality dry-brushes. So we're perfectly clear, the following techniques will wreck your brushes and make them look like the pic on the side - use cheap or already ruined ones.

The first thing to learn about dry brushing is the correct amount of paint to use.

It's actually impossible to dip your brush into your paint and come back with the right amount of paint. When you dry brush, you don't actually want any paint on your brush. (as far as you can tell)
The photo on the left is a brush stroke from the paint brush pictured just above it. See the far right area of the stroke, where you can barely tell where the paint ends and the white paper background begins? That's how much paint you want. You don't even want to be able to see paint coming off your brush.

You probably already have a cloth that you use to wipe your brush on when you clean it. Get some paint on your brush and wipe it all off on the cloth. All of it.
Something you have to watch is that your brush isn't damp at all. If you have water on your brush when you try to dry brush, it'll thin and run into the cracks you're trying to avoid. The picture to the left shows what it might look like if your brush is wet when you wipe the paint off.

This is why it's handy to have a bunch of spare brushes. Otherwise, you'll have to let your brush dry in between colours.

Side note: Give you some ideas on how to blend?


I'm going to work on these two elves. Hereby known as Victim 1 and 2. So far, I've just based a little granite on them. In the photo to the right, you can see a white/grey light reflecting off the paint. That's the effect we're trying to create.

So, I'm going to use a little grey paint, wiping off as much as I can, then I'm going to recreate the light you can already see reflecting off the paint.

You don't always use white or grey to highlight, but a whiter version of your colours is better than a brighter colour. (For example, highlight blue with a blue/white mix instead of a bright ice/lightning blue)

Once you've wiped most of the paint off of your brush, you need to apply it to the model.

Flick the brush back and forth rapidly across the area you want to dry brush. Think of a super fast metronome. Only the tips of the bristles should come into contact with the object. It's going to take a whole bunch of passes before you get the colour as intense as you want it. Just keep flicking the bristles over the area you're highlighting until things look how you want them. Depending on the size of the area, you may have to refresh the paint on your brush a few times.

This is similar to the technique I demonstrate in my tutorial on creating blood splatters.

Victim 1 was dry brushed when there was too much paint left on the brush. You can tell, because of how thick the paint is and how the cracks between his strands of hair have filled with paint.

Victim 2's the lucky one, just the edges of his hair has been highlighted.
I mentioned above what happens when your brush is watery and you try to dry brush. In the photo to the side, you can see what happens if you apply a watery dry brush. Not only does it streak and cover up way too much, but all the areas fill in very quickly.

Again, to avoid this, either allow your brush time to dry between uses or keep a bunch of extra brushes on hand.
If you apply a dry brush to a larger open area, things can look rather streaky.


Instead, work up the area, starting with a thicker area and use a dry brush to blend to the rest of the area.
In the center photo, things look a little "chalky" and there's some streaking in the solid paint areas.

The streaking is from using a thick foundation paint to dry brush - thinner colours spread easier. (But I wanted a paint that would stand out better for this tutorial)

The chalkyness is something you get sometimes from dry brushing, usually also if the paint is a little heavy.

Sometimes, especially if dry brushing a large area, applying a thin wash over top will blend the dry brush layer into the previous one. It also removes any chalkyness you might have. (3rd pic)


Something to be aware of when dry brushing, is that it's also messy. Unless you're being very controlling and careful, there'll be a lot of "overbrush". This means you won't be painting "in the lines". You can touch up the areas you get the extra paint on, but you're better off just painting the areas you need to dry brush first, then the areas around them after. Take a look at the photo below for an example:

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Back to Basics - Sci Fi

Ultramarine from Ron of From the Warp
Here's the next phase of the Back to Basics series from Ron and Myself. Take a look at Ron's excellent Terminator that he's painted up for this week's Back to Basics. We've both added a few semi-fancy but still pretty simple techniques this week - Ron's done some creative basing and nice freehand work on his model.

In the previous two articles, I talked about the differences between using white or black primer. Now we're going to look at various styles of miniatures. This way, between Ron and I, you'll see multiple methods of painting similar models. Keep in mind, the purpose of this series isn't to paint incredible models, it's to help people paint table top quality figures - all the steps you'll see here will be easy to follow, obvious and slightly exaggerated.

This week, I'm painting a Grey Knight Terminator. (I believe there was some interest near the beginning of this project to see one painted)

I decided to paint things in a slightly different order this week. Part by part, rather than layer by layer. You'll see things are still relatively straight forward, though I've mixed things up slightly by adding a small dry-brushing step.

Non-Metallic-Metal: Gold

In the following gold steps, I use a technique called "dry brushing." I'm not going to go into a ton of detail on the "how" but stick around because in a day or two, you'll get a full article dedicated to it. Essentially, you want to use an old brush, wipe as much paint off it until you'd almost think there's none left, then you rapidly flick your brush over the area to be painted to slowly add a highlight.

Once you learn the right amount of paint to remove from your brush, this technique can be a great way to add easy highlights to any project.


Oh yeah, and I'm going NMM. (Non-Metallic-Metal)

I've started with the golden parts of the knight's armour. To do so, I've based these areas with Snakebite Leather.

Next, I follow with a wash of Devlan Mud to add some shadow. I'll get back to it later, but I also wash books, banners, tags, etc.


This is where I begin the dry-brushing with Vomit Brown, and here's a few things I'll point out:

First off, the reason I've used dry-brushing here is that it easily highlights all sorts of raised areas and runes that would be very difficult to paint individually.

Second, lookit how messy it is. Because of all the flicking of paint, dry brushing usually gets all over the place. For this reason, it's best to dry-brush before painting the areas around.

As a final step to the gold, I've used some P3 Cygnus Yellow to dry-brush highlight the edges of all the golden areas. I've used P3 because their paint tends to cover darker colours well.
Area Highlighting

The next section I've painted is the bulk of his armour. Here, I've started with a light Fortress Grey.

As I mentioned above, by dry-brushing first, I get the chance to cover up all the areas where I colour outside of the lines.
Badab Black is what I follow up with.

In the following steps I go really light. If I painted him again, I might try a darker grey. In this tutorial, I'm avoiding mixing paints.
In previous tutorials I used painting lines on edges to perform highlighting.

In this tutorial I go bolder, using large area highlights. In some areas, I nearly paint the whole thing. Here I've used Astronomicon Grey.

Take notice though, that I'm not blending. All I'm doing is choosing colours/shades that are close(ish) together and painting large areas.
As a final step to his armour, I use Skull White. In some areas, I've line highlighted, but mostly still used area highlighting.

Again, no blending. You can distinctly see where one colour/shade ends and another begins. For someone who wants to get a little fancy, you can blend the transitions with less paint or thinning the paint with water.

In the later photos, you can see how this contrast makes the entire model much more bold.
Even a knight has more metal than just that which he wears. These areas, I paint Space Wovles grey...
...which I follow up with Asurmen Blue to add a different metallic look.
Fortress Grey is used to add a final highlight on the knight's metallic areas.
After the Devlan Mud on white primer in an earlier step gave the books and such a little shadow, I round that our using Kommando Khaki to edge highlight.
Just to do a little final cleanup, his eyes and seals are treated to a dark Red Gore and highlighted with P3 Khador Red. (again, because P3 stands out over dark coloured layers.

Then, the tube behind his left arm is painted Camo Green and washed with Thraka Green.
And here we are! Another table-top quality miniature completed.

So this week we've looked at a few new techniques. Dry-brushing is the more complicated, (though not hard to learn and super helpful) but a larger article will follow in a few days. Then, instead of line highlights, I paint larger areas.


Up close, the obvious transitions can sometimes be a little ugly, but from further away this actually creates nice strong contrasts which help the model stand out on the battlefield. A little washing and dry-brushing does go a long way and these are two things I highly recommend that everyone learns.

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