Friday, 15 July 2011


Over the past few months I've picked up a lot of new tools and tricks for painting.  The only thing I'm really missing at the moment is a relativistic paint room so that I can squeeze more time into the day.  So I thought for this quick post I'd go over a few things I've bought that have helped me improve.

Privateer Press' "Core Techniques" DVD
Now, this DVD isn't going to teach you established painters anything, but for me it was a really good purchase.  I knew most of the techniques covered, or at least I knew of them, but being able to watch the techniques put into practise on models I own was really useful.  It turned out more like a corrective DVD than a teaching one for me, confirming where I thought I was going wrong and demonstrating better ways to achieve the same effects.

If they get around to making a second DVD, I'll be one of the first in line.

Link to the DVD on Maelstrom here.

Ott-Lite's Portable LED Lamp
Purchased this off eBay for £20 when my previous lamp died.  Oh how I hated that old halogen lamp - it was hot, horrifically coloured and a complete pain to paint under.  My new Ott-Lite, however, is portable (it runs on 3xAAA batteries), omits a naturally-coloured light and produces almost no heat at all.  The Emperor be praised!

I know it might seem strange to celebrate a lamp in such a manner, but when you can't start painting until 8pm you soon learn to value a good light source.

Link to the eBay seller's page here.

Airbrush and Compressor Kit
I love this thing.  It is easily the most expensive item on this list, but even in a few uses I've fallen in love with it.  The kit comes with two dual-action airbrushes (one gravity-fed / syphon feed, the other syphon feed), a quieter-than-I-was-expecting air compressor with 3 litre tank, and the hose/regulator to put it all together.  It makes base-coating  a breeze and destroys the time needed to paint large models such as tanks.  Even on Space Marines it can strip an hour out of the job of painting each marine (big batches of base-coating are the way forward with the airbrush).

I'm really looking forward to trying out using the airbrush to blend the talons of my Trygon, but I must finish those 'gaunts first.  Really, really must before the Necrons arrive.

Link to the eBay seller's page here. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Full of Air

On your trip to the local GW, have you seen their Spray Gun?  Looks like a plastic hand-flamer and needs a can of propellant.  Don't buy it.  It's crap.  Seriously, you can have mine if you want it.

It eats propellant, has a hard time picking up the paint and when it does pick up the paint it throws it literally everywhere.  I managed to chew through about 2/3rds of a can of propellant and half a pot of Mordian Blue on one Rhino.  One!

It did, however, convince me that some form of airbrush / spray gun would be perfect for basecoating models.  So, I bought the bullet and eBay'd an airbrush kit complete with tank.  This didn't come cheap (just under £100), but considering the price of the GW propellant it'll quickly make itself back.  Tonight I gave it my first attempt.

Please note, the recommended method is not to hold the model in your fingertips while spraying, or at least to wear gloves.  That said, with the dual-action airbrush I was surprised how close you can get to the model while keeping the coat thin.

I managed to basecoat seven models in less than forty minutes, which is pretty damn fast for me, and the overall effect I'm very happy with.  This will make painting tanks and my new game board a lot easier, and will save me a lot of time painting my armies.

Oh, and it used less than 1/8th of a pot of paint on those seven models, and that's with a fair bit of test spraying into cardboard to get the hang of the dual-action trigger.

The results are below.

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Monday, 11 July 2011

The Obligatory Finecast Post

 Let's get this out of the way:  There's nothing wrong with it.  It's better than metal, but not as good as pure plastic.  Some detail is crisper, but as we're still using the old moulds it's hard to tell for sure.  It's more resilient and so lightweight that it's almost not there.

So, what's the advantage?  Assembly!  I've put together two Hive Tyrants in my time, one metal and one finecast.  The metal one took me two days of drilling, cleaning, pinning, gluing and praying.  In contrast I had the finecast one together in less than an hour, and it doesn't need pinning at all.  The arms on the photo are blu-tac'd onto the model.  Blu-tac!  I will happily pay a five percent premium to not have to use that blasted metal again.

In contrast, it's not as good as the material Privateer Press use for their "plastics".  It's much more bendy, which can be an advantage in some cases but on a supposedly straight sword it's a right pain.  That said it seems as durable as the PP stuff, which is good as I've bounced those 'Jacks all over the living room with no ill effects (so far).

I still handle the material with kid gloves, as a bad scrape or cut can go straight through the model, but I'll get used to it soon enough.  I'd much rather be cautious but not have to carry super-glue everywhere.
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Monday, 4 July 2011

"The Trygon" or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Game"

My local club has been host to an evangelist for wargaming produced by a company other than Games Workshop, and he ran across a strange situation.  Otherwise rational people were paying money, spending hours painting and modelling miniatures and then showing up at a club week in, week out, to play a game.  A game they didn't like.  A game they weren't enjoying.  

A game they hated.

I'm going to let that sink in while I find an appropriate image.

Ah, there we go.  Now I can understand to some degree that these players didn't realise that there were wargames out there not made by Games Workshop, but why would you invest so much money and energy into something you don't enjoy?  (Tongue-in-cheek explanation here).

So that got me thinking, do I enjoy 40k?  I mean, do I really enjoy it, or am I just playing it because it's what I've played for so long?  This line of thinking revealed two things to me.  One, that yes, while I complain far too much about the game (and will really have to stamp on that), I really do enjoy it.  From the modelling, to the painting, to the actual game itself, I find it fun.  Two, that a lot of players suffer from groupthink.  Massive groupthink.

Let me give you an example:  I've said "Oh, I don't play Fantasy, I'm not fond of it and it has huge issues with over-powered magic in 8th Edition".  Let's break that one down, shall we?  "I don't play Fantasy".  Ok, fine, then why are you expressing an opinion on it's flaws?  Do you know that, or are you just repeating what some grizzled Fantasy self-hater told you?  Turns out I wasn't immune to this groupthink.  It doesn't even have to be a traditional group, you can suffer from Warseerthink, 3++think, anything that involves mass opinion being the overwhelming hammer of reality rather than your own experience.

What does all this have to do with the Trygon?  Well, that's my other revelation.  I've been complaining that while I've got a Trygon in my Tyranid army, I'd much rather have a Carnifex.  I had said that this was a reaction to the "flavour of the month" nature of the Trygon.  It wasn't.  It was a reaction to me wanting to play 4th Edition Tyranids.  Once I got past that block, I actually quite like my "SpikeyWormThing", and am very much looking forward to painting it (it's my reward for my next batch of Hormagaunts).  Play the game for what it is, not what you want it to be, and it's much more fun for all involved.

At the end of the day I love my hobby.  I should be evangelising that the way the "Other ways than Games Workshop" visitor was.  I have no real problems with 5th Edition of 40k and actually I think most problems with balance can be overcome through clever thinking and list building.  I should stop muttering and get on with the whole point: to enjoy myself and facilitate the enjoyment of other players.

You don't help anyone enjoy their hobby by complaining about it.
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