Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Here's an easy scratch built Def Rolla!

I have been following Jeff Hall's blog, the Adepts Forge, for a few weeks now. Check it out, Jeff is a really talented modeler who has had his share of fame in the Warhammer world. Very creative and very playful with his conversions, be sure to check out the Grot Tanks!
Anyway, I was reading his post about his scratch built Def Rolla (click here) and thought that it was easy enough for someone like myself. So here is my version of it.

I made it for my buddy Christian, who said he would like to play with it on his Battlewagon (which I used in these photos) This entire piece is made of stuff you can buy at the hardware store: some gears, some electrical parts, some tubing for sprinklers and a couple of specific machine parts that didn't look familiar to me at all, but I immediately saw their value on the Def Rolla.
It took me a good hour to puzzle all these things together, but the result was a clean and lean design.

I made sure that the arms extended not too far foward, so that the roller itself rests on the front of the Battle Wagon. I didn't want to glue it, in case Christian wants to play with out it. This way you can pick it up without the roller falling off or moving underneath the wagon. I also made sure the rolla had the right size proportions to the rest of the vehicle.

I did magnetize the arms for extra sturdiness.

I knew Christian AND the Orks would like the heads on there...

And I added a few ornaments to the side..

Easy enough right? The hardware store is a very inpspriring place, just like the Adept's Forge.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Check out these really cool bases!

So a few weeks ago John, our buddy Christian and I went to the GameKastle, a very cool gaming store in San Jose. They have so many different models, I can easily spend 3 or 4 hours there browsing through all their stuff, thinking up cool conversions or using models for my different armies. One of the things I bought that night were some blisters with bases. They come from Poland and are made by Micro Arts. These guys make all kinds of resin bases for different terrain. I decided on 3 different ones that I will share with you.

1. 25 mm urban rubble bases. They kind of look like eldar rubble. Here are they unpainted..

here is an example what you can achieve with them..

Here is my scout, using the rubble on the model and blending it with the resin base, using a little green stuff.

The bases are not flat and it takes a little while to position a model nicely, on this scout I had to bend down the tip of the cape to make it look realistic.

2. 40 mm temple bases. I think these are my favorite ones. Just imagine putting an Ork Warboss on this or some Terminators. Very nice sculpt indeed.

3. 60 mm industrial rubble. This one is made for a Def Dred!

The blisters were about 6.50 a piece, so not too cheap. And, yes, I know we can all make these ourselves. But it is such a joy to base a model on a nice resin base, I really enjoy working with them.

Miniature Arts has an excellent website where they have a lot of very cool sculpts, including some Orks with Gasmasks. They accept PayPal. I placed an order for some more stuff a while ago but haven't received it yet, it was about two weeks ago....I am a little disappointed about that. When it does come in I will let you all know.
NOTE, added later: I received my models a day after this post went live. Good Job shipping!

One more thing: I don't understand why GW would not create a bunch of nice bases, it seems like they would sell of lot of those...I really like their basing set. Does anyone have any ideas why GW doesn't sell those?


Later Added!
One of our readers, Dragon Forge commented this on this article. I will put it in the post, as I am not sure how many readers check out the comments:
As someone who has cast over 25,000 resin bases in the last year I can tell you why GW/Forgeworld doesn't do more resin base stuff..there no money in it compared to casting big tanks and vehicles. The profit margin is way higher for the same amount of labor.
They did the basin kits about a year ago which included small resin bits and those were made in China.

Thanks for that comment and I invite people to check out Dragon Forge's work, go to www.dragonforge.com
Maybe we can do a review of this stuff once I find it somewhere.

What I'm working on.

Some of the stuff I have been working on, I have been working on basing things, and have been having fun with static grass.

Jungle Swarm for my Lizard men.

Nurglings for my Nurgle Chaos Fantasy army.

Nurgle Champion, an awesome model.

Nurgle Sorcerer, another awesome sculpt.

An old model Minotaur I had sitting around.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Paint Maintenance = Saving $

I know paint is fairly cheap, but the more I save, the more I can spend on models, so every once in a while I go through my paint and give it a tune up.

I never buy paint, well almost never.

Most of my paint has come to me from buying old figures from Craigslist, flea markets or from others that are getting out of the hobby or kids that have "grown out" of it.

In these lots are most often some nice bits, some tools and brushes and most always some old paint.

I have so much "old paint " that I rarely need to buy any "new paint", the nice thing about these paints are that even dried up funky paint pots can be revived with a few drops of water and some mixing.

Here is what I do.

1. shake it.
If it moves around its in pretty good shape if not it needs some work.

2. add agitator.
Every paint should have something in it to help mix it up, just like in a spraypaint can, I use little bits of metal sprue.

3. add water.
if it is getting thick , add a few drops of water.

4. take inventory.
if you have three bottles of the same paint, keep one at your workstation.

5. Storage.
store extra paint in a box in the dark, and at the work station upside down, so you can see the paint color while working.

This one did not pass the shake test, a color that I don't use much that needs some water added and a good mix.

I work in the sink, with a glass with a stir stick for the really dry stuff.

I set the tap so it has a slow annoying drip, and catch a few as needed in the paint pot, less is more here, as it is much more simple to add another drop that to remove one. I guess you could use an eye dropper, but I don't have one and most everyone has a sink.

In this amazing action photo you can see the water drop falling from the faucet which is set on "annoying drip mode".

Cutters and old metal sprue bits to make drop in agitators.

Here are my workstation paints, with all the doubles in storage and the washes and metallics seperated, it is simple to find the right color with less fumbling, and upside down you can see the color through the clear bottom of the pot.

I am surprised by how even the most dried out paint is able to come back to being usable, if you can mash it around with a mixing stick just add a few drops of water and it will come back to life.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Try this method for camouflage on Imperial Guard!

I want to share this easy method of creating an interesting camo pattern on your IG models. It works really well for snipers because of their long capes.
Here is the end result:

If you like this look, keep reading.
I am slowly working on a small Imperial force, consisting of a squad of 10 spacemarines (Iron Snakes) and a modest Guard regiment, led by an Inquisitor. I have read pretty much all the Dan Abnett novels and in those stories it is really common to have all these guys work together. I have high hopes that the new IG codex will allow all this.

I love the sniper models, so those were the first to be painted. I am using a Desert Storm type color scheme with lots of browns and white stucco rubble. In painting these guys I used 5 or 6 different shades of brown, which is really fun.

Anyway, on to the the camo method:
start with a big brush with coarse bristles, put a generous amount of paint on it,

daub that in water and put your finger on it (sorry for my dirty fingers, they do get filthy from this)

and pull back to create this spray

You can do multiple sprays in different colors. It's fun because it is so random, which ironicly makes it look really well thought out.
On these guys I base coated in graveyard earth followed by a liberal wash of Devlan Mud. Then I did the spray in 3 colors: black, bleach bone and white. On one of them I also did scorched brown.

After that dried, I highlighted every line with graveyard earth again, but not more, as to not make it two distracting or obvious, in the end they are snipers and DON'T want to be seen. After the modest highlight I lined all the recesses with black ink.

Hope this inspires!

PS my next post will be about the basing of these guys.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Check out Dave Taylor's blog!

I need to do this once and then shut up about it: Dave Taylor is pretty much my hero in modeling. I know, I am a professional photographer, have two kids, a family to take care off, friends who don't even know I do this modeling because they wouldn't understand it anyway and all that stuff. BUT, despite all my 'serious things', I am still a kid at heart. The joy of doing the modeling, the converting and the painting are immense. After I put the girls to bed, do the dishes and clean up, I have about an hour to model before I am utterly exhausted and reluctantly have to put down the brush and knife to go to bed. I never want to, mind you, I'd rather keep modeling. Despite all this, I am pretty sure I will never get bored with it, having modeled since I was about 11 (almost 40 now). Dave Taylor must be like that, except that his talent allowed him to do it during the day and during the night. His catalog has always been an inspiration for me; his conversions are creative, his paint job beautiful and I love the fact he tries to add a story to his models, put them in a context. It can be general 40K lore (like the Custodian Guard) or maybe a Dan Abnett character. That to me is so nice: giving your model a story, some background, without making it too obvious.
Anyway, here is Dave Taylor's new blog:

He is working on the Blood Pact right now; which are being described in the Gaunts Ghost's novels by Dan Abnett. Great stuff.
Hopefully he will show us some of his great works, like the Grenswick 33rd (hope I spelled it right) and the Cathay Army, which was a real tour de force to create, I would imagine. But there are no images online or those 2 armies and that is a shame, since they are really great to explore options and mostly, to be inspired by...
Here are some of his models that I could find online:

This tank he is showing on his blog right now, look at all the clean work

Pre heresy...all the torsos were made

another unit, no info

That's pretty impressive..

Custodian before the paint job

and after

So go over to his site and better yet, start your own blog and inspire people with your work. We love it, we can't live without it.
By the way; this is post number 100 for Santa Cruz Warhammer. Hurray!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Great Gaming Table Deal

I decided to pick up a Ping Pong ( Table Tennis ) table to use as a gaming table and also to play ping pong.

The table size is a large 9x5 feet which would make for a nice large size battle area.

After looking on Craigslist (local internet want ads ) for a used table and not having any luck, I went out to Kmart to see how much a new one was , and was happy to find out that they were listed at $130. and this model folds up to store, and has rolling wheels which is just what I was after.

The local store had sold out but they directed me to one in the next town, and when I got to checkout to pay for it I was even more excited to find out it was marked down even less, only $52.00.

With a bit of luck and some thrifty shopping you can find a great gaming table that costs about the same as a new plastic Games Workshop model, and your wife might even let you keep it if you play a few games of table tennis, or buy it for her for Valentines day.

after simple assembly its ready to play, 5 x 9 feet, the net comes right of.

here it is folded up to store

My next step is to buy some isulation foam board and start on some scenery,
I want to make a kind of simple or generic field and then some rocky mountains, perhaps I can get Mike to come over and help out.


Friday, February 6, 2009

Boss Snikrot, the most succesful Ork Sculpt?

When I saw Snikrot, GW's new release I was instantly impressed. This model is absolutely beautiful, terrifying and grotesque, all at the same time. Snikrot lacks the usual Orkiness that radiates stupidity and clumsiness. Instead he looks focused and brutal and absolutely professional. I would not want to be in the same bar with him. Besides, his stats in the game are outrageous. The sculptor is Seb Perbet who also gave us the the ShokAttackGun. This guy is an excellent artist and Snikrot is my favorite Ork sculpt to date.
Enough praise, let's get down to business. For the first time I tried to yellow up the Ork Skin and follow the paint scheme of GW illustrator John Blanche. I tried to think of Orks as spores in a big swamp and thus wanted a more realistic, dirtier look to the model. I started out with Camo Green, followed by a wash Devlan Mud. A highlight of Camo Green over that, followed by consecutive highlights of Rotting flesh and Bleach Bone. After that two washes of Sepia to tone it all down a bit. I like this new color scheme, it's less cartoony then the usual Dark Green/Snot Green/Scorpion Green, more real but also more scary.

Interestingly, although Snikrot carries a huge backpack, Seb Perbet sculpted the back without the usual hole for attachment. I liked that, his spine, muscles and belt all look very nice and I decided against putting the pack on him. Instead I gave him a helper to handle it. View it as Snikrot just climbed down and told this grot to keep an eye on his backpack while he does his business. It took me a while to figure out the placement of it all, wanting to not have the grot take center stage but also leave enough room to see paint details on Snikrots back.

Snikrots blades have 6 layers on them, it took me a long time to get them just right, starting with Boltgun etc. Washing and using brown foundation paint, mixed with baking soda. In the end, the look old and rusty but still very deadly.

I did a minimal paint scheme on the base, using a mixture of rocks and baking soda for the texture.

All in all, a pretty somber looking model. I think it fits him to the tee.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Dark Angels Assault Marine Veteran Sergeant

I have decided to get some more work done on my Dark Angel troops.

Here is a Sergeant for one of the Assault squads; Brother Sergeant Civious of the 3rd company.

I think for a real squad I would use a power fist, but I may just use him as a trooper.