Monday, August 24, 2009

Fire Warriors Start to Finish Part 1

The next couple of entries at Mars Project Blog will be showing how I do my fire warriors from beginning to end. I will try to be as specific as possible with each step. I do not possess the hubris to assume that people would want to recreate my exact scheme. Instead, the reason for the specificity is simply to share the way I have done/do it so there is common ground for discussion.

I will spare everyone the assembly steps in any kind of detail. I clip the parts from the sprue, scrape mold lines with a hobby knife, and glue them together with GW's plastic cement. In my own microcosmic realm of gaming friends the plastic cement is both loved and loathed. I happen to be a lover. I like that it takes a little bit of time to set up and that it fuses the pieces together. I have never seen one of the bonds the cement forms break from a model dropping, where as I have seen it with super glue for plastic-to-plastic joins.

After assembly I glue down the basing material, which in this case, and nearly every case I do, is concrete aggregate from Home Depot. I got a 50lb sack of this for the same price as GW's sand. I like the varying texture the aggregate contains better than the similar sized grains the GW sand has. The downside I have had is that I have a bitch of a time getting the aggregate to stay on bases using anything other than super glue.

The aggregate does the trick, and it is cheap, so I am a fan. My friends have all kinds of cool mixtures that they swear by for their own basing sands. My favorite being my buddy Magnus, of Minutiae of His Craft, whose basing sand is kind of auto biographical in that it contains material from various places he has traveled.

After gluing down the aggregate with super glue these fire warriors get primed black. My primer of choice is made by Dupi-Color and can be found here, though I just get mine from the local Napa auto parts store. This gem of a primer shot to the top of my list a few years back when GW changed their primer. I didn't like the way the Chaos Black spray coated so I tried a few other brands. None of the new brands did it for me either and I was lamenting that fact one day to one of the painters at Privateer Press. He mentioned this stuff to me while we were hanging out and I picked up a can when I got back to the eastside. The primer coats extremely well, but is super stinky. Fortunately the shop in my basement has a ventilation fan built in, other wise I would really only use this stuff outside. The best part of this primer is the price tag. The most I have seen it sold for is five dollars a can, but I normally get it for around four bucks a can with coupons.

All rocked and primed, these bad boys are ready for some brush work. So I start with their bases.

Step 1
As for painting my bases the first layer of paint is VGC (Vallejo Game Color) Beasty Brown. I use a GW basecoat brush. I have just recently started using GW brushes again as a matter of gratitude and economics. Before hand I used Windsor-Newton Series 7's solely. However those brushes died off one by one and about that time a very dear friend of mine gave me the Citadel Master Set thing which included their full line of brushes (At the time.) with these swank wooden handles. Seeing no need to go buy all new brushes when I had a new set of GW brushes, as well as the whole gaming budget taking a pretty big hit in preparation for the baby, and finally, happy to express the gratitude of the gift given by using it, I gave the GW brushes another go. Since that time GW has launched their new brush line and I have been meaning to pick a few of the new types up and try them out. I do not like the GW brushes better than the Series 7's, but I am learning to make them work for me.

Back on topic, I make sure to get good coverage over the entire base.

From Stuff I Have Painted

Step 2
After the base coat has dried I wash the base with GW Devlan Mud Wash. On larger bases like flying bases or 40mm I may do a couple washes using greens or purples in addition to the Devlan Mud, providing sporadic coverage, just to make certain areas stand out or look slightly different than others.

From Stuff I Have Painted

Step 3
After the Devlan Mud wash is dry I bring up the first highlight by drybrushing VGC Desert Yellow using the GW Drybrush. The trick here is keep the brush moving in a circular motion instead of back and forth. The circular motion provides better coverage, causing you to have to dip back into the color then wipe it off again fewer times.

From Stuff I Have Painted

Step 4
For these guys, the last step is another lighter drybrushing of VGC Bone White. Again, on larger bases I will go up another shade, using VGC Off White. On these 30mm bases I feel that the model fills up enough of it that I can get away without going that high.

From Stuff I Have Painted

The reason I chose this basing color scheme is two fold. First off, my friend Bob (Who, consequently has just launched a painting service with himself and his roommate so check him out! Ebay seller name here. Both painters are extremely talented, and they can provide anything from master quality to blocking color and dipping.) has used the schema for one army and a great deal of his terrain. I have seen it done often, and liked it. The second reason is because many peoples' terrain and/or boards end up with a bone color as their highest tone, so at cursory glance the army will still look like it fits in with most playing surfaces.

Below are four models in the various states of basing for comparison. They go from left to right, with the furthest left being the first step and the furthest right being the last step.

From Stuff I Have Painted

The aforementioned Bob used to tease me about basing models before painting. I am not sure if he still does but, when I painted with him often, he would do the bases last. I can not argue my way from a logistical or economy of time and effort perspective. Instead my reasons are completely psychological and self serving. Laying down the base first helps me "get into it" with "it" being painting the model. The steps are fast and easy, requiring very little precision. The outcome looks good and with little effort. I ride that high into the next steps of painting the model, which tend to be my least favorite. But that is for another post.

Check us out here, hopefully tomorrow, or at least by Wednesday, as I tackle the next step in the fire warriors, their fatigues.

Oh yeah, and one last thing. I painted the borders of the earlier posted planetary empires tiles. As I said in the other post, I decided to go with VGC Steel Blue, and I like the outcome.

From Stuff I Have Painted
From Stuff I Have Painted

The crap thing is, that despite numerous coats of Purity Seal, the edges that join to another tile get the paint scrapped off when you separate the tiles from one another. This is due to the tiles fitting together so snugly. Apparently my Planetary Empire stuff will require some occasional maintenance.

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