Monday, November 24, 2014

Modeling: hiding seam lines on organic sculpts

Let's talk about how to quickly hide model seam lines on organic models. It's quick and easy and you'll save yourself a ton of frustration scraping plastic and kneading little strips of green stuff.

When I first saw the new Tyrannocyte model I was struck with how disgusting/cool it looked, and then by what a nightmare hiding the multiple seam lines would be. The modelers at GW do an outstanding job of hiding the seam lines, and the recent advances in CAD assisted design have placed them in a way to reduce how obvious they will be; but those of us that have put a few models together over the years know that a few (fairly) straight seam lines will detract from the organic effect of this disgusting flesh-sac, especially once you start drybrushing and washing the model.
Hiding the lines is a lot easier with tanks and power armor, I usually just scrape the surface flush with a knife, or in extreme cases use a modeling putty like Milliput or green stuff to hide seams and miscast areas. But the scraping method is difficult for a model like this due to the raised edges on either side of the seam. Not to mention a perfectly flat surface on an undulating/veiny model looks conspicuous in its own way. Modeling putty can hide seams but you're going to have to invest a lot of time and effort blending it in, and then modeling details to match the surroundings so it's not another smooth patch on your model. 

Way too much time and effort wasted when you could be building & painting instead.

So to fix our problem we'll be using water effects. Different companies make different formulations, which vary in how they behave. The most useful ones I've found are Vallejo Water Effects & Woodland scenics Water Effects. The Vallejo product comes in a few pre-mixed colors or transparent, but since we're going to be paining over it the color in this technique the color really doesn't matter. The major difference between the two products is that the Vallejo is a little softer, while the Woodland is a little more sticky lending it to more fine details. Since we're trying to mimic the surface of the Tyrannocyte the Vallejo would be the better choice this time (I'll explain more about other applications at the end of the article).

Let's get started, assemble your flying sac...

As it's coming together we can already see where the problem areas are going to be...

Target identified...

Now that it's together, we can get our Water effects out and start application...

Get a old brush you're ok with messing up, and glob enough of the water effects on to completely cover the seams. Then, go back and push the gel around to create a few ridges and valleys to mimic the veins and lumps of the model.

Leave the model alone for a night then check on it, the gel should have dried to be transparent. If it's not, let it sit until it is.

Then prime your model normally and you'll have hidden the seams and added some great detail!

Excluding drying time it only took a few seconds of work, and your model is ready for a propaint job. 

Hobby funds are a little tight over here, so I'm going to have to send it to my in-house propainter. ; ) 

The water effects have wider applications than this one, and can be used to cover seams and other irregular surfaces on your models. But experiment a bit with different brands to see how they behave before glopping them on. For example the Woodland brand is thicker and a bit more tacky, so it would work better for creating the peaked texture of fur while the softer Vallejo's peaks would become rounded and not have the same definition. 

Experiment with the water effects, and let us know if you've found any new applications on your models.

 Thanks to James Wappel for reminding me about using the water effects to hide seams (I wouldn't have remembered if it wasn't for his recent blog post), check out his blog for top-notch painting and modeling.
Also thanks to Mythic Games in Santa Cruz for lending me the model to do this tutorial.

and as always, come by Santa Cruz Warhammer for more hobby fun.

-Mike M (cornumortem)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Nagash; the road to a table top-ready model!

Hi, Pezman here!
When I saw the Nagash model was being remastered, I knew I was going to have to pick one up.  Not so much to play battles of the End Times, but just because the model looked too good to pass up.

Before I talk about the painting process, I have to address how well this model goes together.  Nagash is a prime example of what can be done with modern CAD design. I would estimate that about an hour after sitting down, I had built all of the sub assemblies and was ready to start the business of painting the model. He is honestly a joy to assemble. You almost don't need the instructions because he goes together so smoothly and intuitively.  What is more, because Nagash is such a large model, over 9 inches to the top of his head, he has very few fiddly pieces to slow down the process.

Once I had Nagash into his sub-assemblies, it settled in with the rattle cans and the airbrush in my usual way.  I divided the pieces into those that would receive black, white, or grey primer and set the airbrush to go to work on the robe and ghosts which make up the lower half of the model.  In the picture above, you can see that the cloak and ghosts were largely complete at this phase with out having done much more than some simple airbrush work and paying attention to directional spray.  As for the body, I made liberal use of a  traditional 3 step tabletop painting approach.  A base coat, a layer of highlights, and a wash to unify the base coat and highlight while adding shadows.  Another benefit of Nagash being such a large model is he takes to washes incredibly well.  The recesses in his sculpt are deep enough to really provide a lot of texture for the washes to settle in on.

Once the bulk work was done, I settled in to picking out the details like his scabbard, books, sword, and the details of his armor.  I also experimented with adding glazes of color to help bring the look of the model together in a more cohesive way.  If a painter were so inclined, I think this is the point where he or she could spend years painting Nagash.  The model is not unnecessarily crusted with intricate details like so many other GW kits, but rather thoughtfully balanced between a few key details and large open areas, but more on that later.

In the above photo you can sees some of the glazes I put in on the armor and book to help unify the colors a little by bringing some of the blues from the ghosts on the base into other areas of the model. This was my first time working with GW Lahmian Medium to create glazes.  I have to say, again, I was pretty impressed.  It does exactly what GW advertises it to do.  It allows you to "thin" your paint without losing any of the control you would typically have.  As a result it's very easy to build up gradual transitional layers of color like you can see in the blue I applied to his book, eyes, and shoulder armor.

You can see in the picture above a combination of all of the techniques I've mentioned above coming together on the books in his ghostly trails. It's at moments like this that limiting how many colors you use can really pay off.  I primarily used 2 shades of Minitaire blue (Troll Hide and Lagoon Blue) on all of the ghost areas.  Most of the books were painted in a traditional 3 step manner, but the ghost trails were painted with an airbrush.  As a result, the two components clashed when joined together.  I went back in with the airbrush and the glazes mentioned above to help make it look like the books were either part of the ghost trails or, at least, caught in them.  Because I had only used 2 shades of blue, it was easy enough to color match and keep things looking unified.  

The last major step to take on was his base.  I added a few Secret Weapon Miniature ruined pillar bitz along with some slate and various sizes of grit and sand to create a bit of visual interest on the base. Once all of the components were in place, painted, and dry; I went back in with the airbrush and added a ghostly glow on the ground and to some of the raised elements.  This was an effect I'd seen another painter online add to the model, and I think adding that glow adds a lot to the feel of power conveyed by the model.

I predict we will see a few amazing Nagash models gracing painting competitions in the next year or two.  Nagash has all the essential elements required for a painter who wants to really spend some time and effort on a show piece.  He has some beautiful iconic details in the form of his crown and back spines as well as some lavish organic shapes and open areas which master painters will take to new hights.  What might be most impressive about Nagash is what isn't there.  Through the use of negative space, he really does look like he's floating over the table on magical winds of necrotic power.  As for my paint job, I wasn't thinking show piece, I just wanted to see a nicely painted version of this iconic character in my collection as soon as possible.  After all, if  GW could take Nagash from his early days as a Liche King Clown, then the least I could do was give him a proper paint job to match his newly empowered form.


 As always, thanks for reading, and please let me know if there are any questions about techniques or approaches to painting I've mentioned above.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Teaser!

Check out Santa Cruz Warhammer tomorrow to find out more about this guy!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

40K, Bolt Action: creating great (but simple) terrain from resin scraps!

Allright, not all posts on this blog are life changing, mindbending, innovative. This post is a small, humble little ditty, but it's also old school Santa Cruz Warhammer: make some simple terrain, paint it up quick and dirty and use it the same day!
So you know how all the forgeworld models come with the resin feeder pieces still on the sprues. Here's an example:

I recently got some Contemptor Dreadnoughts, so I was left with a bag of those feeder pieces. They reminded me of roadblocks, tanktraps, or just little walls. So i figured to use them instead of throwing them out. I knicked the resin with knife, created some bullet holes and glued them to a base with some sand:

I gave it a quick, simple paint job and BEFORE the washes, added some decals, some from the Space Marine vehicle sheet, some from the Guard decal sheet:

Then wash, drybrush, wash, drybrush, until you get tired of it and call it a day:

The pieces that stick out look like rebar, rusting and nasty. And that's it! Use it in your 40k games:
or your Bolt Action games:

Below I used some of the pieces in a larger diorama:

In closing, this is the stuff that makes our hobby so great! Simple, cheap options to make your battlefield look a little better and having a quick, satisfying hobby project!

Hope it inspires!

SC Mike