Wargaming Tradecraft: 2014

Minor Article Updates

Traditionally, this is the time of year when people are offline and heading off to the respective events for the holidays. As such, I'm taking it easy today and just posting a brief list of some of the posts I've added minor updates to recently.

I know there are a lot of people who don't buy in to the whole "New Years Resolution" thing. But rather than going on every day, plodding along as usual, why not look forward to milestones as a time for change?

You can expect some big changes in the new year at Wargaming Tradecraft and I look forward to seeing you all then!


To those of you who are around and reading this, why not peruse some of these old, but no less relevant articles.

Resin looks like plastic, but plastic glue won't work and gums things up.
- All about Glue

Misc updates
- Dictionary

Instead of fancy arc markers, you could just buy a circular template.
Painting Base Arcs

Add some notes on my Light Box while discussing Backgrounds.
- Create a Background for Photography

Adding a few of the initial photos when beginning to build my earthy wall terrain.
- Building an Earthy Wall

I've added a photo of the tokens in my Battle Foam case to my review of Greenman Designs.
- [REVIEW] Greenman Designs

Some updates about sourcing added to my article on using a spice rack to store flock.
- Spice Rack Flock Container


And with that, Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Also, have yourselves a great New Year!


Get Yourself a Notebook

[Originally posted October 28th, 2011]

This is a very handy tool when you're painting armies... I don't know about you, but remembering how I painted something 6 months ago (sometimes even a week) can be tricky. So get a notebook and keep simple notes about how you paint something if you expect to have to paint it again at some point. (Or even if you don't)

I usually don't bother with this when I'm painting single models - BUT, armies look really nice when they're painted with a uniform colour scheme. Some variances are okay, but generally, you'll want them to be similar. Those similarities are what you should keep track of.

For example, I have notes for every version of the Eldar Alaitoc armour I've painted, and their accessories. (For reference, there've been 3 - heavy armour w/ chainmail, a newer style similar to aspect armour, and the newest sleeker style.)

New Graphics


In the interest of improving the quality of Wargaming Tradecraft, I've been spending the last little while upgrading all my Index pages to a graphical layout. In addition to the Primary Indexes linked at the top of the site, I've also upgraded the Airbrush Index and the Dictionary.

As I work to make this site more professional, I want visitors to be able to quickly and easily find the information they're after. Visuals are one way to strongly communicate what it is you're reading about and grab attention fast. I've also changed links to "Google blue" due to studies that it's just what we're expecting and they get more clicks.

Let me show you what I'm talking about:

Detailed
These expand on all the areas of miniature hobbying and contain much more detail.
Modelling Steps
  • From purchase to finish, everything you need to know to get your minis ready to field.
  • BEGINNERS SHOULD START HERE.
Terrain & Bases
  • Tutorials on how to create terrain to bring your miniatures to life.
  • Can all be applied to miniature's bases as well as battlefield objects.
Techniques
  • Methods to add more detail and creativity to your miniatures.
  • Contains links to all the special tutorials I've written using paint and/or supplies.
Hobby Tips
  • Generic tips and tricks to improve your ability to hobby.
  • Covers staying organized, cleaning tools, taking pictures, lighting, etc.
Supplies
  • An alphabetical list of all the tools and supplies you might want to buy with links to more info on each.
  • Begins with the Essentials, then continues with all the extra, helpful and cool options.
Projects
  • Links to the awesome Army and Miniature Projects I've got on the go.
  • Includes Work in Progress breakdowns showing my process.
Musings
  • Articles I've written on different aspects of our hobby.
  • Includes getting started, art theory, saving money, tactics, patience and blogging.




In addition to this, I've improved my social media covers. You'll notice I left out the site name from these and that's because when you're on the page, it already overlays that for you. I want to capture the viewers attention and convey what Wargaming Tradecraft is about, showing off reasons why you should follow the things I do.

Facebook

Twitter
Would you believe that not only is that me in the right photo, but I took it myself?
YouTube
YouTube covers are awkward and giant because it has to be sized for viewers accessing the channel from a TV.
On computers, tablets and phones, it just uses a strip along the center.


Building a Sturdy Light Box


There are a lot of terrible photographs of miniatures out there. Aside from being shaky and blurry, sooo many miniature photos are DARK. (Even when entering contests!) Today, I'm going to show you how to build a sturdy light box.

Now, you can find a lot of light box builds online and they can be as simple as a cardboard box. Or, you can buy your own light boxes ranging between cheap and questionable to expensive and quality to really expensive professional setups.

All told, this PVC Light Box ran me about $50. It's really sturdy, can be disassembled if you don't glue it and can even be flipped if you want to photograph something tall.

I take all my finished photos inside my light box now, like the Hordebloods.



Why a Light Box?

As I discuss in my Photography Light Strength article, direct light creates big shiny white spots that destroys detail and washes out colour. Direct light can be anything from the lights in your room to the flash on a camera. Never use your camera's flash.

A light box creates a frame that holds white cloth which diffuses light shined through it. This means the area is bright without light shining directly on your miniature. It also provides somewhere to Place a Background.

A light box also allows you to take good quality pictures even when natural sunlight has gone away. It doesn't matter the time of day or the weather outside. You'll take consistent photos of your miniatures.

Technically, you could use coloured cloth if you wanted to create a coloured effect while taking photos.

Play like you've got a pair!


Had a little inspiration the other day, decided to create a twist on an old quote...


Warmachine & Hordes Newbie Primer



It's no secret that while I started out playing Games Workshop's line of games like Epic and Warhammer 40,000, I've become a Privateer Press fan-boy over the last few years. However, every time someone asks about Warmachine and Hordes, I (and others) end up repeating the same thing. I'm writing this guide in hopes to create a single resource people can link to when they get the question "So what's Warmachine all about, anyways?"

Thanks to TheWife and Grubnatz and Moe for assisting with editing this.

Crackle Medium and Hordebloods Troll Rune Mage


 Crackle Medium is a nifty supply because it creates some really cool textures and effects just by letting it dry. There are multiple brands and they all work a little differently, so you should definitely read the instructions and test before using it on a real project.

I've previously looked at a crackle medium that does thinner or a more subtle look.

Essentially, crackle medium is a gel or paint that dries in such a way that you're left with a "cracked" texture or pattern. This is great for creating lightning and other special effects or dry desert-like surfaces.

I used crackle medium on my Troll Rune Mage, (Just posting photos now.) as well as Gul'Doomshaper and a Warlock.

[Review] Battle Foam P.A.C.K. 1520XL Custom


TheWife and her parents bought me an early Christmas present last year - a Battle Foam carrying case for my Hordebloods army. Specifically, the P.A.C.K. 1520XL Custom. It's probably about time for me to do a review on the product. (US) Thanksgiving was a great opportunity to buy the case because they put on a 20-60% sale which you can take advantage of this year too between November 28th and December 1st. It's also worth noting they have a year round sale for army vets.

I'm going to avoid reviewing the drama that has on occasion spread across Internet in regards to their business practices. Instead, I'll be focusing on just my own experience with the company.

The following is a full look at both the final product and the ordering process. Overall, I love it. Some things weren't perfect, but when it comes to protecting your army, Battle Foam nails it. This is why:

Airbrushing Index

I wrote a series of articles on many of the things that goes into airbrushing some time ago. This page is an index of those articles and will be updated as I write more.


These guides are intended to give you a comprehensive understanding of how everything that goes into airbrushing works – from the airbrush itself to compressors and tanks, as well as various paints and thinners. I’m going to look at sourcing supplies, features to look for, setting up and maintaining your tools as well as some examples of using the airbrush and exercises to practice with it.

Airbrushing is easy to learn, hard to master. I'm hardly a master, but I've learned enough to get you on the track to adding another skill to your arsenal. The primary use for an airbrush is to apply soft layers of paint with smoothly blended edges. They're also useful for priming and varnishing. Because of the spray, they can be very difficult to use to paint detail.


Tank Battles! My LGS is generating interest in the hobby

Now, I'm not the type to just randomly plug the activities of stores, especially since I'm talking the world and this is just a local event....

BUT

This is cool...

My LGS (In Windsor, Ontario) is having a Warhammer 40,000 Tank Battle day and it's the first time I've been curious about a 40k event in years. The idea is simple - to enter, you buy a tank from the store between now and the game day, paint it up and then compete. Day of, you get points for kills and lose points for each death at which point you respawn at your start point. There will also be a painting competition and prizes. Loner tanks available if you want to bring a friend.





What I really like about this is,
  • It's a great way for a store to generate sales.
  • It's a fantastic way to create interest in the game and introduce it to new players.
  • It's a way to let gamers get creative with vehicle models.
  • It's a really fun way to spend a day.
It's been a lonnnng time since I've played Warhammer instead of WarmaHordes, but I gotta say.. I'm tempted. Mainly though, I just wanted to share this idea to other stores and tournament organizers as an excellent method to put on a fun event and make some money.

Supplies - Crystals (Amethyst)


I'm a big believer in using realistic objects to create terrain and do basing. It adds this wonderful touch of realism to your projects. Almost adds a certain level of credibility to what you're painting - making them look like they "belong" in the world.

Rare stones can add a lot of flare to a project and are easily and cheaply available. You can usually find them at hippy stores in the mall and farmers markets, but also some hobby or speciality stores. Unlike hobby jewels, crystals are less "blingy" and more natural.

Quartz crystals all look roughly similar but come in different colours and/or smokey/cloudyness, while Amethyst is the purple variety. It's not considered an expensive crystal, but buying them on eBay can add up.

Crystalline Affliction


As a break from the Hordebloods, I've begun TheWife's Legion of Everblight army - the Crystalline Affliction. While a gamer, she's not a big fan of painting miniatures, so I'll be taking care of that with her guidance. She is an artist though and will be handling some of the Amethyst sculpting during the project. After she chose the colour scheme, we collaberated to determine which paints and layers worked best to achieve it. For the first few layers that are airbrushed, we picked up some actual airbrush paint - that way, there won't be any inconsistency added whenever I'm mixing up the paints.

There are couple specifics for this army, which are:

Masking when Priming and Airbrushing


Masking is the process of taping off areas so that you don't get paint on them. For example, when painting a room, you'd run tape along the trim or the ceiling so you don't get paint all over the place and get a straight line from the tape.

When painting Thagrosh, masking became very important because I had to keep paint off of all the crystals when priming and airbrushing. I could have glued the crystals in after priming, but then the green stuff has to be sculpted in a way that allows me to remove the crystals. It wouldn't look as good.

Thagrosh, Herald of the Crystalline Affliction


A bold article for an intense warcaster to begin the re-invigoration of Wargaming Tradecraft. In this article, I'll cover Epic Thagrosh from start to finish.

My wife had a couple particular requests for her army, so as a break from the Hordebloods I've completed the leader of the Crystalline Affliction. The specifics of this army are this:

First, it needs to be modified to integrate ACTUAL Amethyst Crystal into the sculpts. Primarily on the beasts as all spikes are to be removed and replaced.

Second, she fell in love with the paint job I did on the Borderlands Charity Miniatures. So, I now have an army worth of models to apply the cell-shaded style to. This style is defined by deep shadows, strong contrasts and almost messy hashing used in shadows and highlights.

Jump to the end of the article for high quality images of the finish project.
Take a look on DeviantArt for the lower quality collage.

A hobbyist takes to the field


You may have noticed that on and off I post pics of the Hordebloods on a battlefield to the Wargaming Tradecraft Facebook page. It's true, they're not just a bunch of pretty faces, they also chew up opponents fairly well. While I don't keep track, I'm proud to say my record usually puts me near the top of the local rankings.

But I'm not writing this to boast. I wanted to talk a little about gaming as a casual player and hobbyist. This is also rather topical because apparently my Hordebloods are no longer tournament legal. Ha!

State of Hordebloods



The topic came up in the Facebook Trollblood group to post pics of your finished models. So I did, which you can see above. I know, it's not a lot. Been a crazy time in the life of yours truly. But I stand firmly in the belief that if you hit a hobby road block - MARCH. Get your troops on the field and play some games. It's been a great motivator for me to keep working.

Speaking of working, Tradecraft Live is in full swing! It's been fun streaming while hobbying and getting a chance to chat with people at the same time. As you can see from past broadcasts, it's not super-exciting yet though it is a good time when there's people watching and we all end up chatting. Otherwise, I'm trying to talk to myself to increase the replay value. TheWife also points out that streaming is helping me hobby. I'm listening to music instead of watching TV/movies and I'm focusing on what I'm working on.

I'm in this real "hands on" mood with the Hordebloods at the moment. I know I'm mid-Champions on the painting front, but it feels good to revisit some units I don't think I spent enough time on. Fennblades have been give a real Forsaken undead look, I'm going to come back to the Warders too to strap on some carved wood totems, the skinner needs a nicer dagger and I'm having a bit of a time deciding exactly how I want my banshee's face and hair to look. A lot of this, you can watch live.

So yeah, just a quick update... remember to FOLLOW Tradecraft Live because then you'll get an eMail when I go live. Unfortunately, all this creativity is pulling me away from posting stuff to the website, but if you follow on Facebook you'll get more info on what I'm working on.

Due to plans last weekend and the upcoming one, I wasn't / won't be broadcasting, but don't worry, it will continue!

Hordebloods - Carving Forsaken Fennblades


The unit of Fennblades are planned to be Forsaken (undead) in my Hordeblood army. Originally, I think I hit a strain in my process and just decided that I'd paint the Fenns undead-like and that would be enough.

I'm in the process of revisiting some of my units and making sure I've done what I can to convert them. The Fennblades needed some work.


Here's the unit before I did any work on them. Just regular ol' Fenns.

Now, it's time to cut...

I streamed this work live on Twitch (Which you can watch a recording of.) and will probably stream the work this evening while green stuffing.

[UPDATED] FANTASTIC SECRET for Pinning


After a day filled with marching Hordeblooded armies, did some work pinning a Carnivean.

I tried a little something to help drill the metal models and was blown away by how well it worked.

To that end, I've updated my pinning article to talk about it.

Coming Soon: Tradecraft Live

In the near future, (See: As soon as I figure out the best way to mount the webcam  that keeps it out of the way but lets you fine folk see everything, and I have a few ideas.) I'll begin streaming my painting sessions live to the world. They'll be in HD, at least if the old computer next to my painting station can handle it :) Hoping to get things going in the next day or so to be honest. I figure as long as I'm painting, might as well stream it while chatting with anyone who wants to watch about what I'm doing and answering questions live.

You'll be able to watch here:

http://www.twitch.tv/WargamingTradecraft

If you click "Follow", you'll be emailed whenever I go live. This will also give me an idea of how many people are interested in what I'm doing and the validity of possible future plans.

I'm also hoping this will assist my own focus. If I'm broadcasting, I can't be distracted by MEDIEVAL LAND FUN-TIME WORLD now can I?

For now, I won't be posting video tutorials. It takes long enough to write tutorials here to the quality I hold myself to, I'm sure video ones would be even more time consuming.


[REVIEW] Custom Templates from Greenman Designs, Inc.



A little while ago I was contacted by Josh from Greenman Designs, Inc. wondering if he could send me some examples of his work. I'd been dealing with some crappy customer service around then, so my first reaction was "This is awesome! A company that's contacting ME to offer service!" From there, I was only impressed over and over.

source
Greenman Designs has a great selection of templates, tokens and markers for various games like Warmachine / Hordes, Warhammer and Infinity They also do custom work if you've got your own ideas you'd like to see come to life. Parents, they even sell gift certificates. I love the artistic edge that he adds. When I saw the Eldar template set, I knew I was dealing with someone who could make my ideas for the Hordebloods come to life.

You can take a look at their shop, but prices are competitive. Custom jobs cost more depending on how much work is involved.

If you want to keep up with the latest stuff he's working on, take a look at the Gdesigns Inc Facebook.

Chieftan Bearka Concepts


So, there's a new model released from Privateer Press... allegedly. I'm seeing all sorts of people posting pics of their painting of it and his rules are in War Room... but I don't recall PP releasing info about him, he's not on their website and I can't google pics of his model.

Anyways, it's a big angry troll riding a big angry bear. The model looks pretty much like the concept art I've shown here. So I've been thinking - how does this fit in to my Hordebloods? Wasn't really sure, until I came at it from another angle - Borka is the character I modded in to a Tauren. What do Tauren ride? That's right...

KOOOODOOOO!!!!

It'll take a lot of work and I'm not sure if I'll sculpt on top of the bear or build a kodo for Bearka to ride, but I'm thinking of going full 9's... Kodo, armour, war drums, etc. Nooo idea when I'll do this. Really trying to focus on painting right now. Don't even own this (alleged) model yet.

So, just throwing out a bunch of ideas and grabbing some inspirational pics.
When I do get around to him, it'll be epic.

Kickstarter: Pop-Up MIniature Terrain


I just want to bring some attention to an awesome looking Kickstarter... pop-up terrain kits. My wife LOVES this idea because of how easy to store these things look.

The pricing is also very reasonable.


  • $15 - PDF versions you can print yourself.
  • $32 - Full set printed on sheets, some assembly required.
  • $160 - Full set, assembled.
    (Which gives an indication that assembling might be a days worth of work, not too bad.)


Check out the Kickstarter



Roleplaying Tradecraft


As I'm trying to get the energy and routine to write and paint again, I've started another project. Much more free-form and not guaranteed the PG rating I aim for here. I won't promise to any kind of schedule, but I'll say that I'm currently working on a roleplaying campaign and it's stirring up all sorts of thoughts I'd like to write about.

You may even get a guest post or two to add in some other perspectives.

Filling Gaps in Bases



One of the steps to assembling your miniatures is to fill the gap usually left in bases after gluing the mini to it. We do this so that you're not trying to awkwardly glue stuff across a hole in your base and provide a surface to glue things like flock to.

There's a few ways to do this.

I've talked about using modelling putty to fill gaps before and this tends to be my preferred method, even for larger base gaps. Aside from Testors putty, I've even used autobody (car) filler. Fumes are stronger though, so I'd suggest sticking with hobby level stuff.

First off, I want to make sure I've completely filled that hole, so I run the putty along the hole, filling it to excess. (You can see all the extra putty sticking out of the hole.

Then you wait. Don't try to scrape or level the putty while it's drying.

Once the putty is hard, cut or scrape with a knife or file the excess putty. Make sure the bottom is smoothed, so the base sits on the table without wobbling. For the top, your first thought might be to leave it rough, because, y'know - terrain is rough. You're half right; What you don't want is a rough line down the middle of your base.


Another option for filling the holes in bases is to smear a bunch of green stuff over them. If you're working with a lot of it, this can be just the extra stuff that would otherwise dry out.

This CAN be done roughly and gives a nice rough terrain sort of feel to the base.


[UPDATE] Getting some great suggestions in the comments, so scroll down and take a look...


Super Glue Remover


I recently looked at using Super Glue Accelerator to speed up the drying time of super glue. But what if you want to reverse the process? There are nasty chemicals you can soak models in to dissolve super glue... there are also nasty chemicals you can buy specifically designed for the job.

That is the thing to be aware of with this kind of stuff - super glue is really strong, so anything designed to remove it is also going to be a strong chemical. Even something like the "UN-CURE" pictured is a harmful chemical. FYI, manufacturers have to provide what's called an MSDS document which details how dangerous their chemicals are and how to clean them. I always recommend keeping a strong cleaner available for just this reason.

Win a Custom Painted Miniature from Wargaming Tradecraft


Yup, that's right - I'm going to do something I don't do and pony up my painting services to the lucky winner of one of the many auctions during the Headshots from the Heart 24 hour charity marathon for Childs Play this weekend.

Have a special character model you’d like to stand out from the rest? Maybe a leader or great warrior for an army? Perhaps your epic hero for Dungeons and Dragons? I’ll paint a small or medium sized miniature (that you provide) and will even discuss doing some minor modification like custom green stuff sculpting.



Details such as colour and composition, painting style, basing, effects, weathering and modifications will be worked out with the winner after the auction. Quality will be of a professional level, such as models from my current Hordebloods project.

The auction starts at 8:30 PM EST on May 3rd, so tune in as we stream everything on TwitchTV. (In HD this year!)

Be sure to visit the Auction Schedule and see what else is up for grabs this weekend!

And if you're in Ontario, consider coming out to see the Gaming Expo, join the Gaming Extravaganza (LAN, board gaming, etc) and other events we'll have going on. Not only will it be a bunch of fun, but there's more great stuff up for grabs to participants!

Also check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

Super Glue Accelerator


I've written previously about glues, including super glue. What I'm going to cover here is a handy supply for people who have trouble waiting for super glue to dry.

Accelerator helps super glue bond almost instantly. The trade off is a joint isn't quite as strong as if you had let the connection dry normally. (Not to say it's brittle - just not as strong.) If you're concerned about the strength of the joint, you can use a little accelerated super glue to hold two pieces together, then super glue around it.

[UPDATE] Guitar Strings and Reconditioning Paints


Just a quick update on my post about Guitar Strings regarding the safety of how sharp they are.



I've also done a little update to my post on Reconditioning Paints to talk about using thinner instead of water.

Helping Gamers be Better Cheaters

[APRIL FOOLS - Learn about Helping cheaters be better players]

I've been playing more Hordes lately, tournaments too and if there's one thing we all hate, it's losing and having to pack up your army while everyone's congratulating whoever won.

Weep no more! Today I'm going to teach you the tricks that all the best players use to play their way to the top of all the professional tournaments. Many of these tricks will work in any system. Need to cheat at Warmachine and Hordes? No problem. Planning to cheat at Warhammer without buying terrain? I got your back. Want to win at Warhammer 40k without buying Space Marines? Read on!

Tinting, Layering and Thinning while Painting and Blending


I started painting the rest of my Champions, the core of my army, and as I was taking photos realized this the perfect opportunity to talk about one of the key techniques of how I paint my miniatures.

Basically, I nearly always dilute my paint so that it won't completely cover what's below. Think of it like painting with washes, except the paint is still too thick to be considered a wash.

Because painting with diluted paints is like using a wash, it also means you get the side effect of blending with the colours below.

Worth noting, this doesn't replace other techniques like blending. It's just another technique to add to your arsonal. Mixing paints on a pallette or using fluid-retarders so you can mix on the surface of a mini are still important.

That strange thing, Social Media


Man, social media. Never fails to amaze me. This weekend TheWife and I visited friends and family in support of a buddy of ours who had his final year of art school art opening / birthday.

When we visit, we stay in my parents spare room and I still have some stuff stored there. Decided to go through some of it and either bring home or junk what was there. One of the things I found was an old Go-Bots magazine. (Go-Bots, for the younger crowd, were like the Diet-Transformers.) I quickly flipped through it and found a page where they asked celebrities what they'd do if they had a robot and one of the people they asked was Sean Astin. Since my wife's a big fan, I snapped a pic before tossing the mag in the discard pile. For fun, I tweeted it @SeanAstin from my Twitter account. We met him at a con once, he talked about how he once mentioned he likes gum and now tons of people bring him gum at cons. (We didn't.)

While I didn't hear back from the actor himself, it turns out there are a bunch of people and fan clubs who have lists created just waiting for someone on Twitter to mention him. (k.) So the next thing I know, my tweet is being retweeted and it / the Re-Tweets are being favourited like crazy all day Saturday and into Sunday.

crazy times...

[CHARITY] Headshots from the Heart 2014


It's that time of year again.

For those new to this site, two years ago some friends and I began a charity marathon called Headshots from the Heart. We played Borderlands for 24 hours straight to raise money for Childs Play, a charity that brings joy to the lives of sick children, and streamed the whole thing online. Last year we repeated the event and have raised a total of $7,616. Yeah, that's kind of a big deal.

We're doing it again. Starting at 12:30 pm EST on May 3rd a team of players will marathon for 24 hours taking donations and pledges. You can sponsor the, wait for it, number of headshot / critical kills they make during that period.

Website: http://HeadshotsMarathon.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Headshotsmarathon
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeadshotsHeart
E-Mail: admin@headshotsmarathon.org

Want to help? Here's how:


  • DONATE
    • Don't want to worry about all the little details? Just donate your money.
      Money is sent directly to Childs Play
  • PLEDGE
    • Pledge your support. Offer pennies per critical kill and we'll email you when the event is over to let you know what you owe. (You can cap your offer.)
  • SPREAD THE WORD
    • Got a website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc? Tell everyone about this event.
  • SPONSOR US
  • GIVE US STUFF
  • PARTICIPATE
    • The event takes place at KwartzLab in Kitchener, Ontario. Come on out during the event and join in the games, LAN and other activities that will be going on.
    • Stay tuned at the Headshots website for details on all the events, costs, etc.
  • CONTACT US
    • Want to volunteer or have another idea on how you can help? Send us an email!