Monday, March 17, 2014

Ka'Pow Tau: Stealth Suits and Marker Drones

The MPB was actually intended to be a Tau project blog when it was launched. I was riding high on all the great work I had seen at ATT and wanted to be part of the conversation. I have no idea how many painters and players that site has inspired, but it is one my favorites of all time. So way back, I started this blog painiting models for what I was calling my Ka'Pow Tau. See what I did there?...

Sadly, it is damn nigh impossible for me to stay focussed on any one thing, and it seems as if it is getting worse. So, after not doing anything with Tau for years, it only seems fitting that it would come back full circle to this post. Let me explain. No, let me sum up. I was having fun with Eldar, minding my own business, then I played against Tau. And suddenly I started thinking back to my Tau. Next thing I know, I am borrowing a friend's army, and then looking through my shed wondering what I even have anymore that is Tau. And from there it only gets worse. Tale as old as time.

So what I had started, at some point years ago, was a Stealthsuit team. It stood to reason, as I friggin' love these models. They had been based in a color I didn't have anymore (Knarloc Green) so I had to redo quite a lot of them. At some point during this process, I decided if I were going to realize another Tau army, I would want it to be three distinct color schemes, though they would share at least one color each. That is why the drones are a different color.

My thinking is:
Suits= Green
Infantry and Drones= Gray (Seen above in drones and Ghost Warrior post.)
Vehicles= Camo. (TBD)

As an aside, I was at a complete loss with what do with the drones, so my default is to make it glow. I like the idea, but I need to work on the execution.

In all, it was fun to revisit the color scheme and the models. Kinda of like riding a bike. I have no idea where the Ka'Pow Tau are now. But at least a little part of them is alive and well in miniatures case at home.

What do you guys think?

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ghost Warrior Test, Thanks So Much David Woods!

First and foremost, if you don't follow David Wood's blog, you need to. It is seriously my favorite Painter's Blog out there. It is just an awesome collection of beautifully executed futuristic soldiers and armor. I love that his collection is across multiple model lines and scales. It is an awesome repository of sci-fi soldier goodness, and I would love to see his collection assembled.

On top of that, he is seemingly pretty friggin' cool. I sent him an email out of the blue asking about his amazingly painted gray armor, and not only did he send me his color recipe, but his technique as well. Unfortunately for me, David paints with Vallejo Model Color, and no where close to me had it, so I had to do what I could with GW paints. It should also be noted that these guys are not an attempt to duplicate David's work because frankly, I can't, but instead my attempt to honor a painter that has been a huge inspiration to me.

I picked up the Ghost Warriors box set and data slate, as I mentioned earlier. I wanted to differentiate the models in the data slate from my Alaitoc because of the abilities of the data slate. For those who don't know, a cover save provided by the models in dataslate is 4+, and Eldar units within 6" have hatred. Because these abilities are based off models, I wanted the models in the data slate to be obvious. Especially, because I plan to run the data slate with an army of other wraiths, led by a Wraithseer (Well and spirit seer because I have too).

So that all got me here, taking a break from blue to work on some wraiths. I was very pleased with where I landed on this guy. The color is kind of washed out in the pics, because I still suck at taking them. I did deviate from usual basing scheme to something a little more common, just in case I ever wanted to run the dataslate with another army...

I am working on a Wraithlord now, because I want to see the scheme on a larger model. I will get him up as soon as he is finished. In the mean time, one down, seventeen models to go.

What do you think?

Go follow David Wood's blog!

Thanks for reading,

Friday, January 24, 2014

Refresh: Wave Serpent 2

Based off the success of the last one, and still feeling an urge to put off the stuff I should be working on, I gave this serpent a face lift as well. Not sure what happened to my before pic, but it looked almost identical to the one in the last post before its refresh.

Anyway, I have read a lot of tutorials on painting yellow. I should also say that I pretty much never paint yellow over a dark base if I can help it. In this case, it couldn't be avoided, so I will take this opportunity to give my own short painting tutorial. Before you even open a can of paint or grab a brush, you need to get to your mind right. Know you will be laying down a lot of coats, as many as it takes, because the trick to yellow is even coats with each color. If you start building on a bad base, it will be bad all the way up. Grit your teeth, thin your paint with whatever medium you like (I used a mixing medium because it kept the paint wetter, longer.) and get started.

Below is a quick pick of what I would call an even coat, vs a base coat with one pass.
In the pic above, I laid down a base of Averland Sunset. That is actually my least favorite yellow I worked with. It is too brown, and dull, and went on pretty globby. So I pretty much just used it as a base for the Yuriel Yellow to go over. In the pic above, the even side was after six coats. That is no exaggeration. Six times through, letting each coat dry totally before applying the next. No wonder pro painters invest in airbrushes.

Once I had my good base, I did about 4 or 5 more coats of the Yuriel Yellow, which is the color I actually wanted:

At some point in the process I had to say "good enough". There is always going to be some patch that is too dark. I liken it to raking grass. You are never gonna get it all. For the final highlights I used Flash Gitz and whatever the Edge color is, I forget, but I really like it. I ended up with the final product seen above. And here is a side shot:
The contrast on this one is quite a bit more drastic than my first refresh. I am happy with this one, and think it is a nice compliment to the more subtle one I posted prior. What do you all think? This one working for ya?

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Refresh: Wave Serpent

I was supposed to be working on these:

But, and brace yourself because I am sure I am gonna shock the world, my wave serpents have been pretty clutch the last few games I have used them in. That being said, the paint job on the model was good, but I had a few ideas about how I might like them to be. I was explaining to my wife how I was going to paint the next one I got (I only have 2, which is normally plenty.) and she was humoring me by listening. But when I got up this morning, I really wanted to see my idea realized. So I grabbed one of the wave serpents I had and started touching it up. I didn't think to snap a pic until I was almost done with the first black part, but it started out looking like this:

And ended up looking like this:

In all, I think it turned out pretty well. I will likely touch up my other one sometime when I feel like painting, but not painting the thing I should be painting.

What do you think? Better, worse?

Thanks for reading,

Friday, January 10, 2014

More Test Models: Storm Guardian and Dire Avenger

I have mentioned in earlier posts that I really need to just paint one miniature in a squad to completion before I feel good doing all the models. A lot of this is because I am constantly jumping around with ideas, and if I try to realize it over a number of models, I will change mid stream, and end up with three that are suddenly the "wrong" color. Other times, like I will talk about below, what I am doing is close, but will take a little tweaking. So that even though there is a slight difference on one guy, amidst his squad, you can't really tell. This happened with both of these test miniatures.

Storm Guardian
I make pretty judicious use of Guardians in my army. I like Warlock/Spiritseer powers, and with just a little mojo a cheap unit can become kind of a pain to deal with. I plan to run a full squad of twenty, ten of which are all ready posted on this blog, so I wanted to add some diversity to the unit. In addition...I pretty much friggin' love Eldar corsairs. So with a little mix-and-match from the Wych kit, I have a piratical feeling guardian in a dynamic pose. What I do not have is an Alaitoc camo scheme I like with the new GW paints. This guy came out far too gray for my liking. I am grateful he was a test, as I can alter the highlights a little, and among his nineteen companions, his grayness will get lost unless viewing him up close. Also I did my bone build from a Zandari Dust base, and I am not wild about it either. There is a more yellow quality to this wraithbone vs. my other wraithbone, though in general I need to punch up the whole bone color a lot more.

Dire Avenger
The verdict isn't in for this guy with me yet. On his own, he isn't really setting anything off. That being said, I think as a squad, with the dark armor, and the heavily contrasting bright colors, they will be quite striking. Yet again, the rest of the squad will get a few tweaks, and this guy will be a bit of the odd man out. First off, I am going to tone the gems down a little. I want them to be bright orange, but I need to transition into the color instead of jump. I think I will try a reddish brown as a base and go from there. Second, his armor is really dark. That Drakenhoff Nightshade dries darker then Nuln Oil. I need to just shade with the wash, not bathe the model, or thin it down a little. This guy has a Macragge Blue base, but it is lost in how dark that wash ended up drying.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reinforcements Arrive: Warp Spiders

Well, as you can guess if you follow my blog, I fell short of finishing these guys by the end of 2013. My sauce is weak and my shame is vast. Even still, I did finally get this unit completed with the addition of the last two, one trooper and and the exarch.
I spent a little extra time on the exarch. I wanted something in his coloring to mark him as different. I liked the way the studio often glazed or washed the eldar power weapons with purple, so I kind of ran with it. I did a little purple build on the blades, as well as tried to put a subtle glow effect into his eyes. Kind of like the same power that powers his blades radiates from his helmet as well. Lastly, I used some of the purple on his Warppack. I wanted to keep the markings the squad had, as they represent the shrine, but still make it look more intricate. After reading the Gav Thorpe books I liked the idea of the armor being ancient, and calling to the wearer, so I used more gold to make it seem more elaborate.

In all I am happy with how the squad turned out, although not wild about the time it took. The latter is on me. I need to be a little more diligent and disciplined. I paint slowly, and don't have the means for an airbrush to speed up base coating at the moment, so the only real fix is going to be more time spent with brush in hand.

As to what is next, I am really eager to take on some of my new wraith acquisitions, but I need to finish up a few more aspect warriors, including five Dark Reapers that were given to me last weekend, thanks Brian Haler!.

What do you think of the squad? Is the exarch up to snuff? Does the color scheme communicate what I was going for?

Thanks for reading,