Wargaming Tradecraft: 2016

Review - HC SVNT Dracones 3D Printed Miniatures

I've had the opportunity to review another company offering custom designed 3D printed miniatures and again, impressed at how the technology is coming along. You can either watch my full review on YouTube or keep reading for a text version.

* Full disclosure, they provided a free miniature for review purposes.

HC SVNT DRACONES is a company with both an RPG and Custom Miniatures. Their unique offering is that they're about the only company out there offering a wide range of anthropomorphic miniatures and body parts.

Distribution is through Imagine 3D Miniatures, who offer a range of custom miniature services. Printing is done through a company called Shapeways, the same company my Arc Pucks are sold through.

I'm going to do this review in 2 steps. First, the building interface. Second, the model I received in the mail.

* BONUS - They've just launched another Kickstarter if this is something that intrigues you!

Review - Hero Forge Custom Miniatures

I had a chance to review Hero Forge's new high quality Gray Plastic and was quite impressed. This is definitely the beginning of a new way to approach miniatures. You can either watch my full review on YouTube or keep reading for a text version.

* Full disclosure, they provided a free miniature for review purposes.

What is Hero Forge? It's a website with a 3D interface that allows you to build a character. Characters can be saved to a library in your account. The entire design process is free. Once you've created the Hero you want to own, you place an order and Hero Forge will have it 3D printed and shipped to you. (Unpainted)

If you want to try out their service yourself, take a look at Hero Forge and build your own character today.

Printing is done through a company called Shapeways, the same company my Arc Pucks are sold through.

Painting Glowing Eyes

 When painting my Ghoul Army, I decided to add a splash of colour to what was going to be strictly black and white. This ended up being a good decision to get a little contrast on the field.

I used this as an opportunity to write up a little tutorial on creating glows and to try out a new supply from Games Workshop, which I'll talk about too.

Count Vlagorescu's Midnight Court [High Res]


This was a project that I completed for two reasons. The first was that I've been wanting to build an Age of Sigmar army to game with the folks at our new local Warhammer store. Then came along Armies on Parade 2016. That was the push that I needed to complete it.

The following is my Flesh-Eater Courts army that I've named Count Vlagorescu's Midnight Court.

Bracing Bows (Attaching string to miniature bows)

There are plenty of fantasy miniatures that have bows and crossbows, but they never have the bow string because it would be too fine to mold. Most of the time, we leave this detail off, but there's really no reason to.

The following is a short, simple article meant to inspire with a couple tips to make it look the best.

Fun fact: The act of stringing a bow is called "bracing."

Armies on Parade - Kitchener [2016]

Yesterday was the first Armies on Parade held in the Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph region. The following is a post that shows off all the entries we had at Warhammer Fairway Road. While I highlight the top 3, the final count is posted on their page for the curious.

Close competition, great artists, great people. It was a blast of a day and we all had a lot of fun chatting, visiting, discussing and sharing our techniques and brainstorming ideas for next year. It was neat to even talk to the walk-in visitors as they asked us about how we accomplished various details.

FYI, it's pretty graphic intensive.. around 70mb, so NOT mobile friendly without WIFI. I've posted these mostly in their original size so everyone who participated can have some high quality photos.

Assembling Complicated Models

Some of the miniatures we work with aren't so miniature. These can be as simple as gluing a few large parts together or as complicated as assembling numbered pieces in a bit of a jig-saw like manor similar to building model cars.

In this article I'm going to look at a few of the "gotchas" when building these larger figures and offer some tips when you've got a project of this scale on your own desk.

Maker Expo 2016 Recap

What. A. Day.

I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks to recap after the crazy day that was Maker Expo. Last year it was more of a demonstration about the miniature hobby in general, with a small spot to paint at. This year, I put on a workshop specifically to introduce people to painting. The 16 spots filled up almost right away and the moment someone left their chair it was filled. It continued on this way during the entire 8 hour day and people were still trying to sit down as we began tear down at the end of the day. Last year we went through 70 miniatures so this year we had 456. At the end of the day, there was only about 20 left and a few of them were painted by people who didn't take them afterward.

I couldn't have done this without the help of my wife who was there every step of the way. She built 100 elves, a target she was quite proud of. (Especially with all the fiddly little parts.) As well as many more figures. We orchestrated it together, she knows the hobby inside and out and was probably talking to just as many people as I did, running her voice raw, helping people and working with the volunteers.

Midnight Court on Parade

Armies on Parade:
Count Vlagorescu's Midnight Court

A while back I picked up an Age of Sigmar army, King Vlagorescu's Ghoulish Host, mostly because of the guy who's opened our local Warhammer store. (Which goes to show you how much "community" plays a factor in which game system you choose to play.)  I've been looking for an excuse to paint them up and it finally came in the form of the region's first Armies on Parade competition. If you've been following the work in progress on Facebook, then you've already gotten a peak into what's currently unfolding on my desk.

For those unfamiliar, this is basically a painting competition on the scale of a small army with a display board component.

Curious to know more? (Like the unique colour scheme?) Keep reading!

[Interviewed] Woot Suit Riot at Maker Expo

I was interviewed on Saturday by Woot Suit Riot while hosting a workshop at Maker Expo 2016. Take a listen!

Getting Started: Assembling Models

If you haven't been following, I'll be putting on an event called Workshop in Progress at Maker Expo 2016. In preparation, my wife, a friend and I have been assembling a lot of miniatures. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to add another useful article to my series on Getting Started.

Building Placeholder Bases (Earthy)

I got some great compliments on my placeholder base at my previous FLGS the other weekend. As said by one played, "That placeholder looks better than most of my army!" So I wanted to share with everyone how I created it. It wasn't actually that hard and well within the realm of anyone else to create.

Not sure what I'm talking about?
Want to make one?

Click on through!

Non-Traditional Primer for an Age of Sigmar Knight

 I actually painted this miniature back at the end of last year and apparently missed sharing it on my website. (Though you could have seen it on Facebook.) When Kitchener finally got a Warhammer store, we also got an awesome manager who's rekindled the region's Games Workshop presence. As a welcome, I painted a show piece from their Age of Sigmar box set with my usual style. Reallllllllly impressed with myself as to how it turned out.

Don't really have any WIPs but at the end of the article I want to touch on how to work with non-traditional primer.

Janissa Tauren [Final WIP and Photos]

This is one I've been working on for a while and you've seen the progress if you've been following on Facebook.

The hair I'm particularly fond of, but a lot of things have brought the whole model together.

As I've said before, when I went into detail on how I painted her hair, she's come to be fondly referred to as "Maybelline". Some think her hair looks like a cloak, but I tell them "Maybe it's Maybelline." Love it.

Also, curious how I sculpted her? Take a look at the beginning process and how I bulked up some of my other Tauren minis. A process I think I've gotten better at as I built the heads and then the shoulders of my Warders.

Spray Priming Miniatures

The foundation of painting any miniature successfully is a good coat of primer.

In this article I'll discuss some of the finer points of priming and demonstrate them in an easy to follow video.

My brand of choice is Krylon, available at hardware stores or hobby stores like Michaels / Hobby Lobby.

Warnings: Store paints at room temperature. It's also a bad idea to prime if it's too cold, too hot or rainy - in these cases, consider using Gesso. (A paint-on primer.)

Painting Hair with Style

 As a follow up to my previous post on the progress of my Janessa conversion, I'm going to describe how I've painted her hair.

If you missed it, I've also covered painting fur in the past.

These are both topics that can be pretty tricky so I hope I've helped to shed some light on them. Ask away in the comments if you have any questions.

Fun side-story. This model's become known as "Maybelline" because people feel the hair I've sculpted for her is too blocky. Looks like a cape they say. In response, I tell them, "Maybe it's Maybelline." This actually becomes relevant a little later as it helped inspire the technique I ended up using.

Build a Painting Station

If you want to make the job of priming a bunch of small parts easier, then I recommend you build yourself a painting station. It lets you prime a whole bunch of parts all at once and gives you a way to hold on to smaller parts while priming or painting. (Meaning you won't get your oily fingers all over them and can paint them evenly.)

Actually took these photos back when I did my articles on colour theory, since I painted an example marine for each. This is a pretty straight forward tutorial actually.

Washing, Painting Light Colours and Layering Paint

"Nobody wants to paint yellow."
"Fine, I'll paint yellow."
"OK, you get Skull Bearers and White Scars."
"Wait... white too??"
- Ryan, manager of Warhammer store #88 and I.

He and the manager of another store were competing to see who could fill the Adeptus Astartes poster full of marines first. We, Canada, won.

The question gets asked often enough that I decided to use the opportunity to write a tutorial on painting White and Yellow including the techniques involved in the process.

Bonus, is my first video tutorial. You really should keep reading...

Now FOR SALE: The Arc Puck

From the great white north, the Arc Puck is a great way to mark the center points of bases for miniature wargaming and ensure accurate game-play. In addition, proceeds from these purchases help support the artist of Wargaming Tradecraft where articles full of tips and tricks for creating beautiful miniatures are freely available.
Keep your eyes peeled for a follow up post where I detail the development process. For now, the basics are that Shapeways 3D prints, performs quality control and ships products as they're ordered. They do this for a price based on the volume the object fills plus a percentage of the markup I set. Read more about it.


Each layer is sized for 30mm, 40mm and 50mm bases.

Please be aware that manufacturers of bases are not always consistent with their diameters and some may be smaller or larger than expected. This will affect how bases fit in the Arc Puck. Exact sizing is 30.25mm, (compact) 30.5mm, (full size) 40.5mm and 50.5mm, which fit all bases tested.

For example, the Privateer Press bases I measured were small sized 30mm and the medium and large bases were nearly 40.5mm and 50.5mm. While discussing this with others it sounds like their metal bases are smaller.

Two Versions

The Arc Puck comes in two versions with multiple choices of colours. There's a compact model and a full-sized one that's tall enough for text around the side. (For larger orders, I'll discuss customizing this text.)


Thanks to the size of the Arc Puck, it stores away easily wherever you want to keep it.
Exact sizing is 63mm total diameter with a height of 4.5mm (compact) or 8mm. (full)

Save on Shipping

The cost of shipping a single puck isn't far off from shipping multiples. Make a group purchase with friends or see if your FLGS will order for you.

Hordebloods: Janissa Stonetide Tauren WIP

I've begun working on what's probably the most controversial model in my Hordebloods army. Controversial, because TheWife and friends feel strongly in their belief that her hair looks like a cape. I tell them maybe it's Maybelline.

As I start applying paint, I realize it's the mouth, if anything, that doesn't look the greatest. But I love her hair.

Warmachine and Hordes - ALL NEW WAR

Privateer Press just announced Mark 3 of their ruleset, to hit June 29th, 2016. See their release video below:

Their release website can be found here: http://www.allnewwar.com

However, it seems to keep crashing due to the load, sooooo if you'd like to see all the new Warcasters and their new Battleboxes, scroll down.

I for one, can't wait! All games eventually need systems to be touched up and MK2 has been around for a while. MK3 I think should hold lots of promise. I also think it's awesome that we'll just be able to buy a new deck of cards and WarRoom decks to update our rules. What do you think?

Two-Headed Ogre Sorcerer

It's as if the Sorceror and a Kithkar were meant to be together. Forever arguing about "This way" or "That way." Thanks to a little green suffing, that's exactly what's happened.

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo pre-priming, but for this project, I've taken the Kithkar miniature's body, glued on a Trollkin Sorceror head and arms, then green-stuffed it all to look like things mesh. And mesh they did!

Follow along to see this Ogre-Sorcerer come to life and join the ranks of the Hordebloods.

Spell Abacus for Dungeons and Dragons

Something a little off-topic today, but that I think is pretty awesome and hopefully you will too.

I present to you a Wargaming Tradecraft original idea - The Spell Abacus. This tool will allow you to easily track how many spell slots you've used while playing Dungeons and Dragons.


I've become a firm believer in gaming aids while playing copious amounts of Warmachine and decided to dream up something I could apply to the Wizard I'm playing in D&D at the moment. In D&D 5th ed, there's a set maximum number of spells that doesn't increase with your intellect. (The same applies to other spell-casting classes.)

At first I was using some of my coloured tokens to count spell slots, but recognized that as I leveled, this would become tricky to track. I then decided to build something a little grander.


It's pretty straight forward...
  • Each row represents a spell level.
    • 1st level spells are at the top with 4 beads.
    • Higher level spells are at the bottom with 1 bead.
  • Before Game
    • If you have a spell slot available, you should have a bead for it on the left side.
    • For any spell slots you don't have access to, move those beads to the right side.
  • During Game
    • As you cast spells, move beads from the left side of the abacus to the right side.
    • As you regain spells, move beads from the right side of the abacus to the left side.

Pipe Cleaner Barbed Wire

Borderlands styled minis
Today's tutorial is a simple demonstration on how to make cheap, great looking barbed wire. It's a pretty simple process and I've included a first for tutorials at Wargaming Tradecraft - video! (And fire!)


Pipe Cleaners - $1 pack from a Dollar Store.
Candle - $1 pack from a Dollar Store
Lighter - $1 from a Dollar Store

= For $3, you can make an armies worth of barbed wire.

Runeshapers and Warders after the January Errata

I'm going to talk strategy for a moment, in regards to the million voices crying out over the Trollbloods errata that Privateer Press just released. (January 2016) I don't normally talk strategy, but my little community is in turmoil and I want to say a few words to help out.

This post is mostly about a unit I'm particularly fond of: Trollkin Runeshapers. I'll talk a little about the Trollblood Warders and what they role is in an army as well. Mostly I want to stay positive about the changes we've seen and how to move forward.

While I welcome comments, please keep things positive and lets look forward to the future of our kriels!

If you're curious about the sculpts depicted here, check out my Hordebloods project for links to tutorials on all my Troll mods and paint jobs. (I've really got to get around to painting these guys and gals! Though I think I want to revisit the Warders shields and make them look extra awesome.)

Painting Metallics

There are a lot of different ways to paint metal and I'm pretty sure that you're going to be introduced to some new methods in this series. I'll also highlight methods to easily paint metals as well as explain ways to replicate realistic metallic effects. This post will act as an introduction and an index that will eventually link to each of the articles once they're written.

For further reading, Meg Maples and Massive Voodoo have some great info on metals.