Monday, January 16, 2017

Face of the Gorgon

Ever since I began my French Bolt Action army early last year, I began to think about various ways to incorporate Foreign Legion troops in some fashion.

There are some options out there, especially for North Africa theme FFL.  However, I was really intrigued when I saw the various early war armies that are available from Gorgon Studio!

I have some images of the French Foreign Legion in sheepskin coats.  As you can see, there is a nice variety of poses and gear, everything you would need to create that early war Norway force.

The army has weapon teams, command figures, as so on, and the sculpting is first rate!  Many of you will probably recognize Artizan Designs and their WW2 miniature line.  Well, the same sculptor has been hard at work creating these for Gorgon Studios.

I will include a link for you, but be sure to check out all the armies that are available.  For the German player, a host of options await, no matter what theater you desire.  There are also British, Polish and even Norwegians!

That's another army that's coming too, so stay tuned later in the week.

I'm going to have all kinds of fun painting both these armies, especially if I enjoy them as much as I did painting this guy.  There are very clean lines, and most figures are one piece casts.

These have also provided me with a chance to paint some very interesting uniforms, and work within a slightly different color range.

Hopefully you can see some of the subtle color changes in the coat itself, where I tried to incorporate some of the grayish greens on the sleeves.

Here's a link to the French Foreign Legion:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Big Pig

I'm not really sure what these guys are, but this was an interesting challenge.  Once again, a compressed color range, but very fun to try and get as much variety in that range as possible.

I tried to have a warmer flavor to anything that wasn't armor.  However, reflecting those warmer earth tones on the metal was very important.  Not just as a straight reflection either, but using those browns and blues together to create more interesting grays.

I had to keep one section of the range isolated just a bit for the base, and that was in the greenish tones.  A few of those shades did end up on the metals of the weapon and the mask, in order to continue that color all across the figure.

Color balance is always important, even on high saturation pieces with all kinds of bright colors.  I suppose that it's just more important when you are dealing with mostly mid tones and muted colors!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Tiny Skink... Big Shield

This little guy was one of a few dozen minor conversions done to create a huge 50 Skink block equipped with javelins and shields.  I am not sure which old plastic set the shield came from... possibly dwarves or even chaos.  The large shield did give me a nice surface to paint a fun icon on it!

This was also a color test that I chose to forgo, due to the scaley nature of the newer Skink sculpts.  I may just go ahead and do an entire unit comprised of only these older Skinks so that I can go ahead with some of these fun stripe patterns!!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Making a solid case

I am often asked how I transport all these armies of mine around, so here's a peek!

Long ago I tried to do the foam case thing, which was expensive, time consuming to pack and unpack, and kept everything inside completely invisible.  This would sometimes lead to me taking the wrong army, or worse yet, an empty case!

The stuff inside was not very well protected either, because the act of taking them out and packing them back in again rubbed the figures against the foam, with the result you would expect.

It also took forever to pack things up, as I had to remember where each figure went, like Satan's jigsaw puzzle.

I think it was 2009 when I began magnetizing my armies, and putting pieces of metal or something for them to grab onto in cases.  When I was introduced to these stacking cases from Sterlite, I thought that they could be pretty amazing.

These are pretty roomy (you will see when they have figures inside), and interlock very well.  They come in a set of two, just like this.

When we had our furnace replaced last winter, I took minor solace in that I was able to "requisition" a large chunk of left over sheet metal.  You can find smaller pieces at any kind of home improvement or hardware store.  There are even pieces of metal at Hobby Lobby these days.

A pair of tin snips is all that I needed to cut them.  I have a few "directional" tin snips left over from construction days many moons ago.  These bend the metal in a certain direction as the snips cut through the metal... especially away from your hand holding the snips!

Since I wanted the option of using these for other tasks, I attached the sheet metal to the case with heavy double sided tape.

Success!  Sheet metal solidly ensconced in the case, ready for magnetized miniatures.

And voila!  Army guys!  Specifically Norwegian and French Foreign Legion troops from Gorgon Studios.  There are over forty figs in here, with room for many more.

I will do a separate article on magnetizing the minis, but for now I can say that refrigerator style magnet sheets work very well.  They have a self stick backing, and they have the correct 'balance' of holding power.

That is, they stick just enough to keep the minis in place, but not so strong that you will rip the figure from the base!  Believe me, that has happened to me with other much stronger magnets.

Now for some armies.  You can easily fit 1000-1200 points of Bolt Action figures in just one case, or a few Warmachine armies, etc.  Definitely enough to hold a few Blood Bowl teams as well.

Since I can see through the boxes, I can tell from a distance which army is inside, and I can take the one that I need, instead of guessing or having to write on the case.

It is very easy to deploy an army directly from these cases, and also put them back in.  Since there is minimal handling, you probably give years of additional life to your hard earned paint jobs!

Did I mention stacking?  Yes you can, and in any order.  The tops will fit on any other Sterlite set.  I have gotten these at Target, but also on Amazon.  

One piece of advice I will offer is to be aware of weight.  Stacking 5 cases filled with metal minis will be very heavy, and put a lot of strain on the handle.  If I have a bunch of cases with me, I use a very small folding luggage trolley that holds them all together, and means that I don't have to carry them around by the handle.

Another advantage of that stacking ability is space savings.  I have made a stack of containers 12 cases high, which takes up almost no room... but holds hundreds of minis, vehicles, paint, brushes, tools, rulebooks and much more.

Better yet, these cases usually cost around $10 per pair!!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Foot Sloggers

An army needs more than just vehicles... it needs boots on the ground!

In this case, another early war Heer infantryman for the France '40 campaign. 

I used the Mig AMMO mud products on both the uniform and the base, a process which you saw in a step by step post a few weeks ago.

Here's a peek at the base, with some Hangar 18 foliage added.

More of these lads will be showing up in Google painting Hangouts, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Saurus Fury

Here's another Saurus warrior, mounted on a base made with the Green Stuff World Mayan ruins texture roller.

The green/tan scale color was one of the very first adopted for the old Lizardman army.  Back then, each Saurus unit could be given a 'mark', which would change their combat stats.  

For instance, I wanted to give one unit a mark that would have made them frenzied in close combat.  That unit was going to be painted in a blueish black with glowing orange weapons.

This unit was going to have a mark which would make them aquatic or move through forest more easily, hence the green coloration.  These views give you a better look at the base.

Once more, here's a look at the original Shaded Basecoat technique!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Oil and Steam

Well, I don't have all the images from the oil glazing stage, but that's because I had no idea this would turn into a step by step when I was painting it!  

This is more about another concept, and that is painting with 'regular' acrylic paint over oil washes.  Some people were very quizzical when I told them that I was using oil and acrylic at the same time on figures.  I thought this might clear things up a little.

In a sense, oil and water can indeed mix...

When I did the oil glazes, I had the usual Shaded Basecoat setup, with the lights and darks already laid out on the figure.  All I was doing with the oil washes was shading and tinting.  This was done with a mixture of filters, panel line washes, and darker washes.

These glazes were done exactly the same way as I normally execute my acrylic glazes, but with a key advantage.  With oils, the drying time is quite extended, and this allows me to remove any amount of that wash that I please, thus revealing the lighter Shaded Basecoat beneath.

Now for the nifty part... when I began using the standard acrylic colors over these oil washes, those washes were still quite fresh, and definitely not dry!

You can see that it is possible to paint right over those washes.  I discovered that I gained a major advantage in the ability to push around the acrylic paints once they had been applied, because they were "sliding around" on a film of oil. :-)

Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it was something I had discovered by accident when I was working on the Bolt Action vehicles.

I was able to keep right on adding layers of the acrylic paint, and I was also able to maintain the darker, more worn feel.

As I started adding more lights to the metal surfaces, I had my oil washes still wet on the palette, which meant that I could always go back in an glaze over the top of the subsequent acrylic layers.

I did that in this image, using that splotch of greenish brown wash that is to the right of the figure.

As more lights are added, things begin to take shape.  I only used 4 acrylic colors to paint the rest of the figure, as the previously applied oil washes had provided most of the tinting!

In areas where I wanted a more distinct color flavor, I introduced some very opaque acrylics.

I continued to take the still wet oil washes and use those to continuously tint my lighter acrylic applications.  This is very evident in the greens of the cloth.  The oil glaze was a great shade of warm, dark green (normally meant for tanks) which really worked well.

Here he is, nearly complete!  I continued to add more spectral highlights, along with a few darker shades in the deepest shadows.

Purples and pinks were introduced around the face and certain parts of the musculature to provide a little extra interest, and act as a compliment to all those greens.  By the way, purple and green mixed together is my favorite way to create interesting grays!

By combining those two prevalent colors to make a gray, more color harmony was gained, as opposed to simple grabbing a jar of gray paint.  A major advantage in mixing your own colors!

I used a few tall grass tufts from Green Stuff Word for a little texture, and add some warmer, lighter colors to the rocky base.

I hope you enjoyed this very unusual article.  You can see the very simple means used to create what seems like very complex effects.  Some craft brushes, a makeup applicator to remove the oil washes, and so on.

Stay tuned for much more mixing of oil and water!!