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Thursday, May 19, 2011

No basing, just pure win

So as it turns out, after my last fortnight’s mass-basing bonanza, I’ve pretty much run out of models that I can quickly base to gain some instant hobby progress.  As a result, this fortnight has been a little more active in the fact that I actually had to put paint to model in order to maintain some semblance of hobby progress.  For the most part I’ve been working on the final two unit fillers for my Chaos Warrior regiment which comprise of two wolves and my unit Champion.  Between the two of these bases, they account for no less than 6 bodies in that regiment, which for my choice of formation counts for an entire rank.  Understandably, this then gives completing these two models a sense of urgency when looking at the units’ progress as a whole.  As can be seen in the pictures above and below, I’ve painted the wolves to resemble Tundra Wolves, a breed whose white coat provides them with a distinct advantage when hunting in the snowy plains and mountains.  These contrast strongly with the Bronze and Flesh that features predominantly throughout the unit, hopefully drawing the eye to look closer at the army as a whole.

First Wolf Filler

WIP Champion Filler Front
WIP Champion Filler Back

Throughout the painting process (for the wolves at least), I’ve made extensive use of my GW small dry-brush that I purchased from my friendly local game store (FLGS) late last week.  It uses natural bristles to retain paint inside the brush and distribute it evenly across the raised areas of the model.  Its unparalleled success prompted me to ponder the differences between synthetic and natural brushes and what makes one better than the other.  For the most part, it could be argued that many painters are divided between two camps – those that use synthetic bristles for their brushes and those that choose to go all natural.  While for many years I have been a strong supporter for synthetic brushes, I’ve developed a healthy respect for the abilities inherent of a natural brush and how they affect the quality of my paint jobs.  For example:  I’ve enjoyed the use of synthetic bristles for their ability to apply a smooth coating with comparatively little effort.  However, I quickly discovered that they are not the best brush when it comes to dry-brushing or other texture work as the paint has difficulties remaining on the bristles while the excess is being wiped off.  As a result, dry-brushing with a synthetic brush has an unfortunate habit of either over-brushing the area or becoming a glaze, washing the model, rather than applying a light dusting of paint to raised areas of detail.  Alternatively, while the natural brushes’ ability to retain more paint is beneficial for dry-brushing, it has at times retained increased amounts of water also, making the paint much too thin, and causing it to pool rather than work as a basecoat.  As a result, I’ve come to realise that there is a middle ground between these two camps – a no-mans land inhabited by those who cannot decide on which camp to join, if any.  The fact is that both types of brushes are capable to achieving different effects and as such should be deployed accordingly.  If you’re after a smooth coating, use the synthetic, if you want to dry-brush, use the natural. 

As painters it is up to the individual to develop their own painting method that works for them, as everyone’s method is different.  It may not be anything major that makes the style of two painters unique, but the differences are there and they must be acknowledged.  To this end, I’m further exploring my own painting methods by using more natural bristled brushes. I’ve purchased additional GW brushes from my FLGS, keenly anticipating the different effects that may be achieved through using these brushes.  The only downside I find is that GW’s price tag feels somewhat heavy-handed when you look at what you’re purchasing for your $8 - $14 AUD.  But then again, you pay the price for quality don’t you?

On the Tournament front, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of the Players Pack for the Tricksters Blade event.  From what I can wheedle out of the Tournament Organiser, the points limit for the tournament will be 2400, operating on a similar scale to the Ides of March Tournament held earlier this year in Brisbane.  As a bonus though, many of the standard scenarios from the main Rulebook will be used, an improvement over the Pitched-Battle only present at Ides.  Looking over my current army progress as seen below, I can confidently say that approximately half my army is assembled and painted depending on wargear choices, while the other half is either in the process of being built or is awaiting bits to arrive from various places in the US or the UK. 

My WIP Chaos Army

WIP Chosen
With the first half of my army ready and waiting, I can focus on getting the remainder completed in good order.  Considering my current play style, the remainder will most likely include a Chaos Lord, a unit of Chosen (concept miniatures shown above), a Warshrine (Thruug the Geriatric) and possibly some Chaos Knights (further remnants of my previous Chaos army).  Hopefully that will leave me with enough points left over to buy some Slaaneshi Marauder Horseman with Flails.  That said taking more units will require more painting and thus more time that I do not have.  I have a very strong feeling that my remaining unit choices will not come from deciding what models are more competitive, but rather how much time they will take to paint.  To be honest, these articles are a significant reason why my army is seeing steady progress as it allows me to maintain focus on a single facet of my hobby for an extended period of time.  The results of this extended focus are reflected in my ever-improving stats which are as follows:

Number of Days until Trickster’s Blade: 43
Number of Units Completed: 5
Number of Points painted this fortnight: 96 (6 Warriors of Chaos)

See you all next time,


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Basing-palooza and a new game from the outfield!

This week’s work has been a bit of a mixed bag thus far.  With my Easter break being dominated by a camping trip that spanned the entire 5 days off, there hasn’t been a lot of time available for painting or hobby work of any kind really.  However, like many hobbyists, I’ve adapted to this change and focussed on getting a number of smaller units out of the way while chipping away at the larger projects. 

My little Nibblers
Lilyth - Herald of Everblight

The first of the smaller projects off the rank is my new army for a game created by a company called Privateer Press found here. which goes by the name of Hordes.  ‘Hordes’ is the fantasy element that accompanies the steam-punk game of Warmachine, both of which are a table-top skirmish game.  With 8th Edition of Warhammer Fantasy becoming more suited to garage gaming, many players have turned their attentions to Privateer Press’s creation to fulfill their need for Tournament Play.  While I’m yet to play a game, I’m very impressed with the miniatures, although I’m finding that many of their bigger beasties are a bitch to assemble which is a bit of a downer.  Thus far, I’ve been assembling the contents of one of their starter boxes for a faction called ‘Legion of Everblight’.  In a nutshell, the Legion are a group of Dragon-worshipping Elves whose army not only sports units of pointy-eared emo elves, but also but also includes numerous blind draconic beasties designed to maim, rip and pretty much incinerate anything they come across.  Thus far I’ve assembled the Warlock called Lyllith and the four small beasts called ‘Shredders’ which are basically mouths with legs.  All of these can be seen in the picture above.  Also included in the box is one of their larger beasts called a Carnivean who I've just finished assembling. 

Carnivean side
Carnivean rear

My second smaller project is my unit of Chaos Ogres which I’m currently completing.  While they were painted for my previous army, I’ve never gotten around to finishing the units bases, which is where this week’s progress comes in.  I’ve included a small tutorial below for painting mountain bases and using snow flock.  I hope it will prove useful for some of you.  While they have not been very effecive in some of my games, I have a particular love for these models and enjoy having them in my army.  If nothing else, they provide a welcome distraction for enemy warmachines who seem to be devastatingly effective at blowing apart my units of infantry.   I've included here a bit of a tutorial for painting your bases to have the 'snowy mountain' look to them.  Keep in mind that I use 'Back-to-Base-ix' resin bases.  They are an Australian Company and one that I go to to base both my Fantasy and 40K armies and can be found here.

Step 1: Base coat the rocks using a 3:1 mix
of Codex Gray and  Chaos Black.  While you're
at it, over-brush the non-rock surfaces Skull White

Step 2: Dry-brush the rocks with a layer of Codex Gray

Step 3: Dry-brush the rocks again, this time using
Fortress Gray

Step 4:  Paint all the white areas with PVA glue and dunk it into
your snow flock.  Once you've gotten a good coating, paint all
the flocked areas with watered-down PVA glue to seal it in place.
Once that's dry, give the snow a second coat of Skull White.

Step 5:  Once the paint has dried, apply more glue to the 'snow'
and dip again for a second coat, making sure to seal it again with
watered-down PVA glue.
Finally, I've continued painting my slave unit fillers, getting the second pair completed and beginning work on the third.  While relatively easy models to paint, it does require a great deal of base coating, which is a part of the process that I find immensely tedious at the best of times.  I'm finding that if I’m able to break it up with either some assembly (some Hordes miniatures at the moment), some basing (like the Chaos Ogres), or even a bit of terrain work, the task becomes more bearable.  The other thing that helps is continuously painting small amounts on a regular basis.  For example, if I have a spare couple of minutes before work or before an engagement, I'll use that time to put a layer of paint on something, be it a base coat, a wash or a bit of a dry-brush, it doesn’t matter how much gets done, so long as there’s progress being made.

As time continues its exonerable march forward, I’ve begun pondering what units will march under Romulus Wolfkin’s Banner on the quest for the Tricksters Blade.  Taking into account units that have been completed, my Chaos Hounds, Ogres and my unit of Warriors are almost automatic choices.  In addition to that, I’ll be adding another 10 or so men to my Marauder unit with Shields, making them a solid grinding unit once given the Mark of Tzeentch – a perfect anvil unit to be flanked by a couple of small units of Khorne Warriors.  The biggest challenge will be in choosing the Heroes to lead the army – maximising their effectiveness while minimising their cost to the army.  

With that, I shall draw this entry to a close.  This fortnight has been quite lucrative for me in regards to number of points painted and will no doubt come in handy over the next few months.  So without further ado, here are my stats:

Number of Days remaining: 65
Number of Units completed: 4
Number of points painted this fortnight: 232 (Ogres with Great Weapon and Standard + 2 Chaos Warriors)

See you all next time