Friday, January 29, 2010

Privateer Press' new previews

Yes, there has been a lot going on with Privateer Press lately. The company has just launched Warmachine into Mark II, it has just finished the field test to do the same for Hordes, and it has recently started replacing many of its older warjacks with plastic kits. And faction books are on the way.

But there's something else they've started doing recently. They've started previewing many of their new minis online.

For a long time, we've received previews of upcoming Warmachine books through No Quarter magazine. These have always had mixed reviews, since they would often preview so much that when the book was released, it felt like there was hardly anything new in it.

That hasn't changed. The most recent issue of No Quarter previews two new units each for the upcomming Khador and Cygnar books.

Now, they've started previewing their new models online. Now, we don't have to wait until the next No Quarter comes out to read the rules on the minis that we'll be drooling over for a month or two before they're released.

Mind, the most recent one happens to be a mini that I already have. Yep, good old Taryn di la Rovissi has been sitting in my painting box, just waiting for me to make a steampunk gunslinger character in an RPG. Well, she need wait no more.

You can find some others if you start looking around. Tabletop Gaming News has compiled cards for the previewed Rhulic warjack and Protectorate of Menoth units.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Painting with Silver Metallic Metals

One thing that people often get distraught over is how to paint realistic looking metals. Just look around on your local game night, you'll likely see more than a few people who can get everything else in their army looking great, and run into tons of trouble with the metals.

There are even a good number of people who only paint non-metallic metals because they're intimidated by metallic ones. (Yes, there are people who refuse to paint NMM for the same reason, but that's a topic for another time).

The biggest problem with metallic metals is that we see them as being different from other colors. They have their very own special section on the paint rack, and even their very own set of inks and washes.

So, the great secret to getting great looking metals is to treat them like any other color you are layering. They can be blended with other metallic colors or layered over other metallic colors in exactly the same way as your non-shiny paints.

The treads of this tank were painted first in Citidel's Tin Bitz, and then highlighted to P3 Pig Iron. Starting with Tin Bitz is a good way to get a metal with some good depth, even before adding in any washes.

Treat your Mithril Silver is like metallic white. You can do your final highlights for anything in Mithril Silver, but you really can't highlight Mithril. You can take any metallic base color, and mix it with Mithril for highlighting.

You don't really have a metallic black, but your darkest color is probably Tin Bitz. Tin Bitz works amazingly well as a base color for both silver and gold metals. For silver metals, the different color gives you a greater sense of depth to the metals that you cannot normally get from simply starting out with a darker silver metal.

Glazing is another great method to use on metals. Its best use on metallic colors is to tie your metals to the other colors on the mini. It can help keep the metallic colors from looking separate from the rest of your mini. Also, certain glazes can be great for weathering and rusting your metals.
Darius' metals were all given a strong blue wash, giving them a slightly oxidized look. Washing your metals can tie them to the colors on the rest of the mini rather well.

One quick note- you can wash, glaze or ink your metals in any color you want. You can even base your mini in non-metallic colors and highlight him with metallics. But you cannot highlight your metallic colors with non-metallic colors. Going up to something that is less shiny than the recesses never looks right.

Also, it is best to never dry-brush a metal. The method of drybrushing tends to leave the metal flakes in the paint pointed in different directions, giving you a very spotty and unrealistic look. It may seem like a lot of work at first to layer your metals, but once you get used to it, it is very simple.
Viktor Pendrak's armor has been painted using all of the techniques below. It was based in Tin Bitz, highlighted up to mithril and washed with a thin black ink and a blue ink to tie it to the blue coat better.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Stormlord Superheavy tank

This is a Stormlord tank that I recently finished for a client. As an absolutely massive mini, this tank is set to become the centerpiece for a very large force of Imperial Guardsmen.

There are a number of interesting techniques that I've employed on it, each of which warrents its own entry and tutorial. So I'll leave the instructions for later and right now just show off the tank.

Commentary is always welcome.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Avatars of War update

Felix Paniagua has given us another excellent addition to his brilliant miniatures range Avatars of War. This time it is an orc general mounted on a war boar.

Avatars of War is an absolutely fantastic range of miniatures that fit in perfectly as generals and champions for Warhammer Fantasty Battle.

They also have their own game attached to them called Arena Deathmatch. It throws all of these fine fantasy heroes into gladiatorial matches against one another. The full rulebook is available for free download, or purchase for those who'd prefer a hard copy.

The esiest way to find these great miniatures in the US is to go through the online store.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lightning freehand effects

This is a particular technique that I have found to be very useful. Painting lightning arc freehand.

It is far more useful a technique than I had expected. It is terribly useful for painting on Space Marine power weapons or for adding some splashy effects onto Cygnaran weapons.

Also, if the same effect were painted in orange rather than blue, it would look less like spider lightning and more like cracked earth lava effects (good for Salamanders and Balrogs).

These gun mages show the details of the lightning pretty well. You start out with a completely black area (highlighting the area up isn't really necessary, and might even conflict with the freehand if you're not careful).

First, paint on the lines of lightning with a slightly watered down turquoise. Make sure the lightning is branching out in the right directions. These lines can be a little thick, don't worry about it. For realistic lightning, remember that lightning usually branches out as it travels downward. It is best to start at the top and draw the lines down the mini.

The next step is to go over the center of the turquoise lines with mix of turquoise and white. This lighter mix should go over the center of each line, allowing the edges to still show your darker turquoise, making the lines look like they have a faint glow about them.

The final step is to simply put dots of pure white into every intersection of the lightning. Lightening up the intersections will make the whole design fill come more alive.

The process for the gun mages is almost exactly the same as the process as used on weapons. The only real difference is that the lightning should travel down the weapon from point of impact backwards. For example, lightning shoudl travel from the tip of the hammer back, or from the tip of a sword to the hilt.

Often on weapons, you're working with a smaller area, so you have to make sure that your lightning arcs out without overwelming the weapon. This isn't too difficult to do, since you can always simply clean up any troublesome lines by adding in more black.

That's about all there is to it. Happy painting.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Movie Space Marines- the story so far

A while ago, I decided that I wanted to collect and paint a Movie Space Marine force. For those of you saying "huh?" right now, Movie Marines were an unofficial force list that was included in White Dwarf 300.

The force list itself is full of satire and self awareness. We all know that Space Marines can't actually function in game the same way they do in the fluff and fiction, but it seems wrong that there's so much disparity between the unlucky terminator who is killed by a lasgun when he rolls a 1 on his save, and the terminators who can stand back to back and take on the entire Hive Fleet Behemoth by themselves. I mean, in Space Hulk, my terminators are panicking when they see one Broodlord showing up.

Anyway, the Movie Marines list represents Space Marines as action heroes from a film. Ten Space Marines gives you a 1500 point army.

So I decided that I'd like to spend as much time converting and painting ten marines as I would normally use on a 1500 point army. I've posted most of these up in other place before, so I'll start with the most recently finished marines.

I'm not quite done with them all just yet, but I'm getting close. I have three more converted Marines to paint, and one tank to go with them.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Old Witch and Scrapjack diorama

I recently had a chance to put together this diorama for a client. I really love the Old Witch character from Warmachine, and her mini does not disappoint.

Naturally, she and her scrap jack had to be pretty beat up and battle worn, or they wouldn't look right at all. In addition to the battle damage, I added some glazes made from a medium brown to dirty the bottom of the 'jack's legs and feet.

This diorama is mounted on a CD- they tend to be just the right size for dioramas like this.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Here's something strange that I got to paint recently. The mini in the center is from Reaper's Chronoscope range. Everything else is either kitbashed from my bitz box or sculpted from green/grey stuff.

The midget mad scientist was a lot of fun. I used the same techniques on the face that I normally use. There is actually a very subtle grey for a five o'clock shadow on him, even though he looks fairly clean shaven.

Aside from that, I think everything on him was painted using fairly normal methods.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tabletop Gaming News has just announced their 2009 Editor's choice awards.

The editors over at TGN tend to have rather good taste, so if there's something on their list that you haven't heard about, it is probably worth checking out.

My favorite category is still the miniatures, where they've picked out a good number of excellent miniatures to show up. Things like the Grunt Ape from Incursion or Eurynome, Prince of the Dead from Hell Dorado.

So head on over to and see what you missed in 2009.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Working within a limited pallet 2

A little while ago I posted up a Calandra mini that I painted using only five pots of paint:

There were a lot of things that I liked about painting this mini. Honestly, Calandra is ranking up with a lot of my favorite minis to date. I also loved working in the limited pallet- it gave my work a really interesting unified look without being monochromatic.

Also, I did not keep this Calandra for myself. So that means that my own Trollblood force was in need. So, armed with many good excuses, I set out to paint a second Calandra.

I did a lot to switch things up with her.

I used four of the same five colors (I switched out a brown for a cooler brown color) but overall, she's the same pallet. Overall, she looks like she has a much cooler pallet, and that comes down to the usage of colors entirely. There was a great deal more mixing of colors than in the first Calandra- her skin and tabard are both the same color mixes, simply with different amounts of red in them.

I also picked out some details with jewel effects- most of these were simply stone the first time around.

I've tried out some other limited pallet works that I'll be posting up soon. Overall, I think they've been a pretty enourmous sucess.

Monday, January 4, 2010

I don't really get to paint Lord of the Rings stuff very often. Locally, no one really plays Lord of the Rings (although there has been a little buzz about the War of the Ring version).

Painting the magma in the cracks of his skin was quite a bit of fun. I started out with a black undercoat, then put a thinned down wash of white over all of areas that I wanted to have magma in them.

After that, I did a some wet blending with the base of his fiery mohawk as the lightest point.

It really looked funny until I went back and reclaimed all of the black areas on his shoulders. A finishing touch was added with some red washes (it helped the black look a little red even).