Wargaming Tradecraft: July 2011

Creating an Artistic Army - The Creative Process

via, artist unknown
This series began with an introduction and important questions.

Once you have these questions figured out, you can begin the actual creativity. As I said, these steps can occur in any order, as inspiration hits us all at different moments. The important thing is that you're thinking about these things, and recognizing how one affects the other.

Creating and Artistic Army - Intro and Important Questions

"What do you mean?" you may ask, "My army is already artistic. I spend hours painting my squads." Yes, well, many of us do spend quite a bit of time painting our armies. What I'm going to look at over the next while is taking army building to a new level. I'm not just talking about Object Oriented Hobbying, but the whole creative process of figuring out what you'd like to create.

The twist is I'm not just going to talk about all this, I'm going to be building a new army and break my thought process down as I go, similar to my Postapocalyptibuggy WIP series.

There are multiple things I hope people will take away from this series...

Blogger rescheduling posts

Just a note, incase nobody else has noticed...

I've found that Blogger has been rescheduling my posts and causing me to miss things. That's rather irritating as someone who schedules ALL my posts. Usually they've been pushed 4 or 5 days ahead. Bah I say!

Weekly Update

Last Week at Wargaming Tradecraft

To just about wrap up airbrushing, I discussed Types of Thinners and Masking / Stencilling.

Last Week in the Community

Masking and Stenciling

a stencil, via
These are two different techniques that fall under the same category...

"Masking" means you’re covering areas to make sure overspray doesn’t accidently paint over parts of your surface.

"Stencilling" means you have a pattern or design cut into something. When you spray paint through this hole, the pattern is transferred to the surface.

[UPDATED] Displaying Your eMail Safely

This is just a followup to a previous blog-fu article.

In the past, I talked about Displaying Your eMail Safely using Java Script in an HTML widget to defeat spambots. Well, I wanted to let you know that in the months since, I haven't gotten spam - so it seems to work.

Those that are interested in adopting this for their own site can visit the above link.

Types of Thinners

When making your acrylics (normal water based GW, P3, etc paints) thin enough to airbrush, you'll have to add something to the paint. By default, most of us will just add water until it's thin enough to spray without clogging and thick enough to not be a wash and to still have some colour. Instead of water, there are other mediums you can use - each has benefits and downsides.

Any of these thinners work well, some better than others depending on the situation. It’s also helpful to mix different mediums and aids together. What’s the perfect mix? People spend a lot of time concocting potions of paint thinners - not just for airbrushing but even to mix with all their paints.

I also have an overview of using thinners with airbrushes.

A bunch of these supplies are available in my Wargaming Approved supplies list.

[UPDATED] Overview of Airbrush Paints and Thinners

FYI, I've added the following section to Overview of Airbrush Paints and Thinners

  • Surface Tension
Anything that aids flow reduces the surface tension. This means instead of a drop of liquid creating a "bead", it will be more likely to just flow. When it flows more naturally, everything gets an even coat of paint, unlike a wash where the crevices fill up more.

What do I mean by "surface tension"? When you fill a glass all the way to the top with water, the water kind of curves out a bit instead of spilling immediately - that means it has a high surface tension.

Off-topic example: Vinegar in a small bowel will attract fruit flies, which land on the liquid and drink - surface tension prevents the flies from sinking. A little dish soap mixed in with the vinegar will lower the surface tension and when the fruit fly lands, it can no longer walk on top of the liquid, sinking to the bottom of a bowel, drowning.

Weekly Update

Last Week at Wargaming Tradecraft

Airbrushing continues, with an overview of thinners, then practicing tips.

Then another blog-fu post on why not to monetize your blog.

Last Week in the Community

Practicing with Airbrushes

It's useful to get a feel for your airbrush before you dive in and start painting your good minis. There are a few things to look for and some helpful tips to consider when you're trying to get used to how your airbrush works. The following post is going to talk about the best way to practice with your airbrush without using models, and provide you with some templates for practicing on.

Should You Monetize Your Blog?

I approached this topic with an open mind. I've never been keen about seeing ads on blogs, but sometimes you see some where they blend in nicely. I figured if the ads don't annoy anyone and can be blended into the background, then what's the harm, right? I entered into this experiment not expecting to make a bundle of money - I was more curious whether ad revenue could offset the cost of supplies like paints and brushes from time to time.

The following article is going to talk about the conclusions my testing came to and some outlines / tips in case some of you do decide to add monetizing features to your blog. I'll talk about Google AdSense first, which seems more for large scale operations, followed up by Amazon Associates which actually impressed me.

I was going to give a detailed walk through like I created for my domain tutorial, but after discovering the fruitlessness of this endeavor, decided against it. Neither of the following options was difficult to set up, but I came to the conclusion that to make any useful profits would require either an insane number of readers or giant obtrusive ads that will foul up your blog.

Overview of Airbrush Paints and Thinners

The paint that you use in an airbrush needs to be thin for a few reasons. It needs to be able to mix with the air and turn into a fine mist, you don’t want it clogging, you want the paint to flow nicely, etc.

Splitting your Compressor's Line

In yesterday's post, I talked about a number of devices that you can put in line with an air compressor. Today, I'm going to look at some practical examples.

The scenario is this: Say that to avoid noise, you've setup the compressor in your garage and run an air line to your hobby room. In some cases someone will want to use air tools in the garage at the same time someone else is airbrushing. In other cases, maybe two people want to be able to airbrush at the same time.

The only drawback to these scenarios is that hobby compressors won't be able to output enough pressure in most cases. In order to do these things, you'll probably need a larger professional compressor that can handle at least 100 psi out, preferably more like 150 psi.

In-Line Compressor and Tank Devices

These are extra things you can buy to put put in-line with the tubing of your tank and expand it's functions. Some of them protect it, like a water / dust trap, others make your life easier such as a quick release valve and finally there are a whole bunch of splitters, regulators and valves to expand on how much control you have and how many people can use it.

Using Compressors


The way compressors and tanks work is they’ll have a minimum and a maximum pressure. (sometimes this can be adjusted on compressors)

A tank’s minimum pressure will be the same as the air around you – that’s 0 psi. (so, technically, “0 psi” is actually a different pressure depending on where in the world you live – but that doesn’t affect how your airbrush/compressor works, just a random bit of info) The maximum pressure for a tank is the point where it’ll start to bulge, crack and worst case – blow. (Though odds are that your meters and valves will leak out first) For safety reasons, compressors will usually stop filling a tank before it gets to that point.

Weekly Update

Last Week at Wargaming Tradecraft

1 year old! Awesome!

Airbrushing continues, last week, what to look for in a compressor and assembling them. This week, stick around for information on using compressors.

Last Week in the Community


Making custom plants http://bestienmeister.blogspot.com/2011/06/tutorial-creating-unique-plants-and.html

A look at working with plasticard http://darkfuturegaming.blogspot.com/2011/06/ive-recently-under-took-plasticard.html

I didn't ignore him, I'm just a little behind - more on building a game table on a budget:


Some diorama shots, with a brief lava tutorial http://fischers-design-shop.blogspot.com/2011/06/hercules-8.html

Some cool modding / greenstuffing http://psychosispc-themadhouseworkshop.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-spawninfluenced-by-disc.html


Dave Taylor shows off some great lookin empire http://davetaylorminiatures.blogspot.com/2011/06/artillery-train-of-nuln-part-9.html

Ron shows off the banner for Heroes http://fromthewarp.blogspot.com/2011/06/heroes-of-armageddon-chapter-banner.html

holy shiny dreadknight batman! http://strictlyaverage.blogspot.com/2011/06/dread-knight-nuff-said.html

Happy Birthday Wargaming Tradecraft - A Year in Retrospective

One whole year, wow! A lot has happened in these last 12 months and it's been a really positive experience. For those of you who don't know the story, I began posting a few tutorials with my pics at Deviant Art and it gave me the bug to create something more. I've gotten a lot of work done, met lots of new awesome people and learned a whole bunch. There's been some great collaborative project like Back to Basics and creative ones like Punk Art. With these things came recognition in the form of plenty of positive comments and even a "Best of" award. I even made it to Games Day last year with both my entries making it into the First Cut.

The blog's gone through some layout changes and I'm happy with how I've streamlined things and cleaned it up from what it started like. Social media is one area I'm still experimenting with and seeing what the possibilities are - take a look at my Facebook and Twitter pages.

As I look back, I find periods where life takes over and things get put to the wayside. (This is a hobby after all) Other times I get distracted from the reason I set out to blog. Sometimes talking too much, other times just getting off-topic in general. I'm going to work on that over the next year - I made a list in each of my blog sections of what goes into the hobby, and I want to get back to filling in the things I haven't talked about yet.

These sections, Techniques, Supplies and Musings in addition to my other ones, are one of the ways I try to keep my blog a constantly relevant site. Meaning, I hope that people return here for the tutorials if they're trying to figure something out, or send their friends here who are just starting to learn.

Also in the future, I'll continue updating my Resources page (which has a large list of alternate miniature designers) and growing the Network list of blogs full of all sorts of excellent content. I also have plans to practice what I preach and explore new styles more, I'm just waiting for life to calm down right now.