Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sealant of Choice?

It's been a long week, and I have little actual progress to show on my Boyz.  Currently in the middle of moving into a different apartment/preparing my stuff to leave for Fort Lee for the next four months, so I have been too busy running around to find the time to sit down and paint.

Anyways, the main point of this post is to see if I can get some feedback from the 40k community.  I have yet to seal any of my models after I have finished painting them, and I am looking for a good sealant to use. After perusing other blogs and various forums on the web, I have seen everything from varnish and lacquer to hairspray to more outlandish things suggested to use to protect miniatures.

My question is what have you tried, and which do you find works the best?  Thanks in advance for any help!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hobby Supporters

Given that my family is in town for the weekend and I am in the process of moving to a new apartment, there is little progress that has been made on the Boyz.  Still, I had a thought the other day that I decided was worth sharing here in lieu of a directly hobby-related post.

40k and Fantasy, whatever your poison, both require large amounts of money and time invested into the hobby.  Even if you tend to be more cautious with your purchases and go for deals on eBay, you can still spend a small fortune on miniatures.  Not to mention all of the materials that go with making a miniature, everything from paint to glue to scenery for the bases, as well as the rulebooks, codices, mission books, etc. that you need/want to play the game.  Long hours are spent assembling and painting the models, often in the garage, basement, study, or wherever you have found space to make your workstation.  Then there is the time spent at the gaming store playing games and hanging out with your buddies.

My point is that the hobby often takes us away from others.  Often you sit alone while assembling or painting, and your buddies at the gaming store, while close, are not always your best friends, to say nothing of a significant other, spouse, or kids that do not share the same hobby with you.  Yet often those individuals are those who support you, listen to you, and help you out.  They wait patiently into the car while you run into the store to get that one color you ran out of last night, or even come in with you to try to look around and understand.  They let you go on and on about how you finally mastered this painting technique, or about your latest conversion, or the coolest new release.  They let you disappear into your workshop for an hour or two, and let you have that time to yourself.  For some, they are being patient, and indulge your hobby because they know how important it is to you.  Others interact, ask questions, try to understand more about the hobby itself so that they can easily grasp the concepts when you talk about it in the future.

Say thanks.

Some of you might not think this relates to you, and maybe it honestly doesn't.  You might have all the time in the world, and therefore it is never an issue.  But if you are trying to balance work, a personal life, and a hobby, you will get busy, and every hour is valuable.  So appreciate those who let you have that time to yourself, and support you in your hobby.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

AoBR: Buy or Not?

As most of you know, Assault on Black Reach is the Warhammer 40k "starter" set, containing rulebook, dice, rulers, templates, Space Marines and Orks.  Many other players, when learning that I wanted to build an Ork army, suggested buying the set and then selling the Space Marines on Ebay.  While there is a chance to make money from this, that also takes more time for your money to come back to you.  In my opinion, the best bet is not to buy AoBR, but to buy from those people who do and are trying to unload the models.

Instead of spending 75 dollars, I spent 27 dollars on Ebay.  For that grand sum, I just received the Warboss, Boyz, Nobz, and Deffkoptas (all the Orks in the set) as well as the templates and rulebook.  While it may not have as many sprue options as buying them separately, it's a quick and cost-efficient way to fill out my Ork army.  This same concept applies for Space Marine players.  

No, I do not think that I am the first person to think of this.  Far from it.  I am just informing anyone who got the same advice I did about buying AoBR that a little time on Ebay will let you get what you want from the set at a much better price, and with less hassle.

My recently received loot:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Proper Drybrushing

In painting the Space Marines, I tried to drybrush them as indicated as well as taking input from the techniques others have posted online.  I failed rather miserably at it.  However, I'm not one to quit just because it didn't work the first few times, and so I keep trying it on every model in an attempt to get the hang of it.  I did find am informative Drybrushing Tutorial on FTW by Vaipa that tends to simplify everything quite well for beginners.

My problem?  I was not using a large enough brush.  There was no real center of the brush for paint to get into so that when I brushed it across the figure, nothing was actually being applied.  I am sure there is a proper way to do it with a 10/0 brush, but reverting to a 3/0 brush did wonders for me.  I think I have finally had some success with my first Ork.

Front View:

Side View:


Most of the paint on him is just the foundation paint, with no washes or other colors applied over it, but all of his green areas were given Orkhide Shade for foundation, then washed with Thraka Green, and then drybrushed with Snot Green.  The side view shows it best on his arm, as you can see the contrast.  Still not perfect I am sure, but it feels good to know that you are on the right track in doing something, so that you know you will improve further in time.

For the curious, he will not stay so overwhelmingly leathery brown, I am just using the Calthan Brown as a base.  The leather straps will actually get a reddish tinge or just go more towards red entirely, and his gloves/boots will be a bit tanner with Snakebite Leather.  He is my test ork, and his color scheme will be duplicated across the Boyz.  More to come later.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ork Boyz

My next project is to knock out this box of Boyz that I purchased.  I specifically got the small box of 4 so that I can practice how I want to paint my Orks, and then be ready to duplicate it on all of the other Orks that I have.  They are currently taking a few minutes to dry after an application of primer, so I decided to write this out.

My "workstation" as it is now:

I am currently in a small, one-bedroom apartment, and so space is limited.  Given that neither my fiancé or I really watch TV, we have a TV stand in the living room but nothing on it.  When I decided I was going to dive into 40k miniatures, I quickly converted this one piece of available flat space into a place to paint.  White foamboard was purchased for a few dollars to give me a surface I could cut, chip or paint without causing any damage, a lamp to provide direct light, and voila, I was set.  You can see my Boyz are drying at the moment, and that I already have one standing to be painted.  Patience, virtue, ha.

My next few projects after the Boyz:


Warboss on top, then Lootas/Burnas and the Battleforce.  Not sure what I will tackle next, maybe just duplicate my painting assembly line on to the Boyz in the Battleforce. We shall see how I feel.  And with that, I am off to do some foundation painting.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blog Addiction and Finished Space Marines

I definitely went from reading blogs sporadically and jumping from user to user with no real pattern to now having 62 feeds that I keep track of daily.  Why you ask?  My fiancé introduced me to Google Reader.  Beyond being addicting, it's extremely handy to keep up on all sorts of Black Library stuff that I love as well as general hobby goodness.  I try to make notes on posts that I find educational in some manner, either teaching me a new painting or assembling technique, or even tactics.  That goes for beyond even what I plan to play with (orks), as if you want to counter something, you better know how your opponent is most likely to field it.  My most recent blog addition would be Secret Weapon Miniatures, which I discovered on another blogger's site.  Great inspiration for bases, or even to purchase if you do not want to spend the time on them.

As promised earlier, a few pictures of my "finished" Space Marines.  The quotations are because, as this is my first ever attempt at painting, one of their number had his armor come out closer to purple than blue due to poor primer choice.  He will be shelved to be fixed at a later date, I am moving on to Orks.  Apologies for the somewhat strange lighting, they looked fine and then came up odd after the transfer to the computer.

Nothing fancy, painting in general, much less miniatures, is something I have no experience with at all.  So no wash for shading, no weathering, nothing beyond simple colors.  Good practice though, I am getting more adept at using a smaller brush, though the level of that adeptness is all relative.

View from the back.  I have seen more adept painters freehand squad number markers and other details on these, but my attempt was splotchy, so that will have to wait until I get a great deal more practice.  This picture reminds me I need to paint the bases brown for the two on the left.  

Anyways, I am feeling somewhat accomplished at getting this done, since it is a big step for me and I feel a bit more prepared to tackle the Orks I have piled up next to my work table.  Next up should be some Boyz.

Space Marine Progress

No list for the orks yet. The past few days have been busy getting more stuff ready for the wedding this summer. I leave for training in a little over a week, and so we are trying to cram in as much of it as we can now to get it done, as I do not want to dump everything on her.

Beyond that, I have almost completed my squad of Space Marines, so I will post up some pictures of them shortly when I am back home. I have been reading so many blogs lately, particularly on painting techniques, and something tells me I will be coming back to them. And buying yet more paint...

One thing I learned today from reading Eldar Jetbikes: Step-by-Step by Master Darksol is the importance of using more foundation paints in my work. I have been stymied recently on how to make my bright colors brighter, and in addition to switching to white primer, his walkthrough offers some great tips on building up to the color you want. If you are like me, and prefer even the brighter colors on the model a bit muted, he suggest go a color beyond what you want and wash it back down. This is something I am going to try on my next painting project after the SM.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Assembling An Army

My first step in learning how to play 40k was, naturally, finding someone who would teach me. I posted on the forum for the nearby game store, and a couple of guys volunteered to run a small game with me in order to teach me the ropes. I went down there yesterday afternoon for that, and got to play Orks (the army I am looking to build) against Space Marines, roughly 300 points. We only did infantry, no vehicles, so that I could get the basic rules down. My opponent, the guy working, and another guy there just to play anyone else who came in were nice enough to patiently explain the rules to me and walk me through each of my turns while explaining what my opponent was doing during his turns. All in all, a great learning experience.

So the army I am looking to build is Orks. I have always loved their ramshackle equipment and their simple, brute approach to warfare. Given that I know better than to buy direct from Games Workshop, I spent time searching through Ebay and Amazon, and now have amassed an Ork Battleforce, a box of 4 Boyz, a box of Loota/Burnas (which I will probably turn into Lootas), and a metal warboss. I am still waiting for 5 Nobz, 20 Boyz and their warboss, and 3 Deffkoptas. As well as templates and a rulebook. All purchased for a fraction of what I would have paid through Games Workshop, saving myself more than $200.

The one local purchase I did make was for a AoBR Paint Set, in order to get paints I would need anyways, and some Space Marines to practice on. Below is the first result of clipping, priming, and painting. I have never done this before, but I was satisfied with the result.

I have yet to actually come up with a list for my Ork army, though I am purchasing units based on what I think I will do with my army, so that should give some indication. Hopefully the list will be the next thing I post up on here.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Where It All Began

First, a bit of perspective, so bear with me if it goes a bit long. My initial exposure to Games Workshop was to Warhammer Fantasy in 8th grade. One of my good friends, James, was brought into the hobby and wanted me to play with him. He went on about the different armies to pick from and leading them into combat on a field of battle, as an omnipotent general. Needless to say, I was hooked. At that age, I had already spent years reading science fiction and fantasy books, and so it seemed to be a dream come true.

Sadly, my monetary income did not match my ardor for participating in the game. At 12-years-old, I learned just how expensive a hobby miniature gaming can be. If that was not a deterrent enough, I opened my box of orcs only to discover they were unassembled and unpainted, and not at all like the ones on the box. That was about it for me. Into the closet they went, and Warhammer was forgotten.

Fast forward 7 years, and I am just into my sophomore year at college. When browsing through the Barnes & Noble, I came across a fantasy book entitled Gotrek & Felix. The Warhammer caught my interest, and I discovered the whole Black Library section. That moment led to a few purchased books that would eventually lead to having a collection of all of their novels, art books, background books, etc. If it was fluff, I had it.

I never ventured into miniatures over the past few years, as I did not think I would be able to paint well, or assemble well, or a number of other excuses. Now, thanks to am understanding fiancé, I am giving it a go. She has not only listened to me go on about the books, but always asks questions and has sincerely expressed an interest in the material. It made me realize that if you love something this much, why not submerse yourself in all of it? So this blog will be about my miniatures mostly, as well as other related material as it occurs to me.