Thursday, September 21, 2017

Tutorial: building a ruined bridge base

Yesterday I completed my Orruk Warboss on Wyvern that included the fancy base you can see below. It is supposed to look like a ruined bridge or highway (or something similar). As it was rather easy and fun to build I thought people might like a tutorial on this. Luckily I actually remembered to take some pictures while scratch-building.

Never mind true line of sight and hiding behind terrain: a big model needs a big base, it just looks right.
To start off I took an leftover bit of dense polystyrene and used a scalpel and a metal ruler to cut three pieces to size. As this was going to be a ruin, the process did not have to be very precise. I used my scalpel to cut edges in the sides of the long pieces to sink my road into.

Don't drink and model....or do and make silly mistakes.
For the sharper readers among you, yes I made a stupid mistake. Both side pieces have their edge on the same side. I could easily solve this by making a new piece but that would require a walk back to the shed. As I was going for quick&dirty I just cut the offending bit off and glued it back on at the right side.

Quick and dirty building technique #1: ignore mistakes, just keep on building.
Next up on this very precise project closing the rest of the rectangle.

Add more polystyrene.
With the basic shape complete I cut a few pieces of cork to size. I spotted this technique on a model in my local GW and decided to steal it.

Stacking bits of cork makes for a nice looking ruined roadway.
With this completed I used the rest of the polystyrene to cut a few loose blocks.

If only the Egyptians new about polystyrene, we would've had so many more pyramids (and found no remnants of any of them, but that is another story).
I proceeded to use a pencil to mark block shapes in my bridge. With a bit of extra carelessness this quickly turns into rough blockwork (mental note: next time I should be slightly neater).

Later on I used a q-tip to flatten out the globs of PVA.
I stacked the blocks I cut earlier around the back, hiding the ugly joins.

Rough ugly edges are no problem when making ruined stonework.
I cut 2 cm by 1 cm bits of 1mm cardboard to cover the top of my construction.

Cardboard is the best option for making tiles and shingles.
After measuring them on top I took them off again, marked out where they hung over the edge of the block and cut those bits off with a scalpel. O made sure to keep the bits I cut off handy as I needed them later.

Add damage and remember to keep the bits you cut off.
Next I covered the top in PVA and glued the tiles on it.

With the tiling in place, this thing is coming together.
After that I added sand to the bottom of the base, used a leftover bit from a Skaven kit (for no real good reason, it was sticking out of the bits box). I also added the cut off bits of tile to the front of the bridge.

Add sand to give it a sense of place in the world.
At this point I felt a bit of regret at not putting siding on the project. That's what happens if you fail to do any planning whatsoever. I picked up a few mismatched bits of polystyrene and used glue and pins to stick them to the sides.

Add sides to cover up for my lack of planning.
I finished the first part of the construction process off by covering the entire base in watered down PVA. This is always a bit tricky when you've marked out patterns in polystyrene as the PVA tends to fill up the carved space again. In the end I took a bit of extra care to remove extra glue from the stone pattern.

Cover everything in PVA to give it a bit of durability.
To finish off I added some skulls from the GW's Citadel Skulls box.

As this is Warhammer: add skulls.
After an afternoon's worth of drying time I came back in in the evening and used some liquid green stuff to hide the needles on the siding of the bridge and cover some other gaps and mistakes.

Use some liquid green stuff to cover up more mistakes.
After this I basecoated the base with the airbrush (don't base coat polystyrene with a rattlecan as it will melt (unless that is your intention).

Airbrush Vallejo Base Coat (black) on it be sure to hit all the recesses. 
With the base coat dry I painted the bridge Mechanicus Standard Grey, washed it with Agrax Earthshade and gave it a drybrush of Dawnstone. After that I added Athonian Camoshade washes to the sides and to bits of stone to add a mossy look. The sand is painted Dryad Bark and drybrushed with Tyrant Skull.

For the future: don't forgetto snap pictures of the painting in progress.
I painted the skulls Rakarth Flesh, washed with Vallejo Sepia and highlighted with Ushabti Bone.

I rather like the effect of the broken tiles on the ground.
To make the stone look more interesting I added a few strategic local washes of Nuln Oil, Reikland Fleshshade and Seraphim Sepia to different tiles. The grass and flowers are from Gamers Grass.

Gamers Grass makes flowers that serve to add some (non-skull) character to any base.
All in all (I think) it makes for a nice looking base that was quick and easy to build.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Based and ready: Orruk Warboss on Wyvern

My decision to ignore all the hobby rules I made for myself over the years (and not just the one that says 'don't buy anything new until the old is painted') is starting to pay off. Yesterday I actually completed the Orruk Warboss on Wyvern that had been abandoned after a failed attempt at painting black dragons (sorry wyverns). I even have him on a rather nice fancy base.

Waaagh, and all that! Now come over here, I want to hit you with my axe!
I found this model in a second hand 'I quit the GW hobby'-box. It had an eclectic collection of 40K and Fantasy models and this was one of the nice surprises. Even though I honestly have to say I don't really like the 'I'm about to fall off pose' of the rider. This has been a problem GW has had for years with dragon riders and for the Orruks it was only solved (in my not so very humble opinion) by the latest Azhag the Slaughterer model (now named Orruk Warboss on Wyvern) as the above model is no longer for sale. Here is the well seated Azhag I painted last year.

I love this Azhag model, it is one of the few dragon/wyvern riders whose saddle and pose actually make him look like he won't fall off any minute (the other being the current Maw-Krusha (that is very high on my 'wanted' list)).

This is a rather ancient Orc Shaman on Wyvern I painted in 2014 (its rear leg snapped later on, and that's how I found out some older models do not have the best thought out design in regards to long term posing).

Bad old photo of an ancient model I painted somewhere in 2014.
And here is the side view of my new Warboss.

Please don't fall off again boss, it'll make the grots giggle.
I do rather like the Orruk perched on top of the dragon, and attempts to change him for a different character all turned out not to work so I deceded to stick with the standard.

I had a lot of fun building the fancy base for this model.
As for the Wyvern I cowed out of painting it black. My attempts at bright red dragons so far have ended up with very ugly orange dragons, so I decided to go for green. I had some fun making a few of the scales different versions of green using washes, glazes and even a few patches of the GW gemstone paints.

Alternating colors on scales seems to be a viable tactic to make a scaly creature more interesting, I'm going to do that more often from now on.
As for the base itself, I felt like building something that looked a bit fancy and would raise the model to make it look a bit more impressive. So I decided to make the ruins of a raised highway or bridge with household materials. For those of you following along/looking for inspiration I'll post a separate post later on detailing the process.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Restoring Orc Boar Chariots, Pink Spiderfang Grots and more Orruks and Grots

Two weeks ago I decided to paint myself out of my painting slump by assembling, fancy basing and painting Skarbrand. With my painting mojo renewed, I went on to open my Orcs&Goblins...I mean Orruks and Grots project box to make a dent in that back-log. Having successfully taken over the dining room table with hobby I've been able to get quite a nice few painting and modeling hours in. To spice the hobby up a bit further I've also lifted my personal (semi-)ban on going for multiple units at the same time. Basically I'm chaos incarnate, doing whatever fancy dictates and having a blast while at it. First off I finished painting the ten remaining Spiderfang Grots that where languishing half-painted in the project box.

Spiders! Attack!!!
'Why pink,' you may ask. Well for starters they match the other ten, also pink is awesome and it negates my wife's fear of spiders. Although she claims it won't help with the Arachnarok. So I still can't get away with painting one of those (yet).

With these ten finished I'm finally out of Spiders to paint.
Admittedly the Spiderfang Grots have been a bit rushed (tabletop standard is the euphemism I believe). But for a large unit they will serve and they can be cleared off the to-do-list. Another group on that list is formed by two Spear Chukka's and their Grot crew, also on that list are the crew for two of my Doom Diver Catapults. I've been working on these while waiting for layers of wash to dry on other models. Here is an in progress shot straight from one of my to-do box lids (almost there with these guys).

A shot of my to-do tray. 
In the background is a unit of Orruk Boyz with two hand weapons. I will get started on those guys as soon as I've decided what alternating colors I will use for their shirts and pants. Never mind the Skaven on the side, those sneaky gitz always appear in unexpected places.

I sneakily re-used this image of my broken chariots (I shot it for the last update).
Another project is the restoration of five broken chariots as pictured above. This week I've (re-)assembled two of them.

Two chariots ready for a paint job.
The one on the left was missing the entire yoke. I fixed this by getting creative with some bits from an old Bretonnian sprue. The missing scythes on the same chariot where replaced by tips from Orruk Pig Stikka's (spears). And finally the boar on the left was stripped of the thickest layer of paint.

Two simple bases ready to receive a chariot.

I also prepared two bases for the chariots (before running out of large bases) and put the other crews and boars in bio-strip 20. Over the course of the week I've actually painted up the first chariot, it only needs its crew now to be completed.

One chariot covered in paint, Looking at it, I think the base might need a bit of extra work.
Next up (maybe in a separate post) some blabbing about another fancy base for my War Wyvern, a bit of talk on rebasing a Snotling pump wagon (maybe getting the rest of the snotlings ready for paint) and painting a few trolls. Let's just tease a bit with a picture of my workspace right now....

Top secret shot of my workspace filling up with a chaotic plethora of projects.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Painting myself out of my painting slump

As you may have seen by the lack of updates, I've hit a painting slump. Well, real life got a bit busy as well with a possible move in the near future and work, work, work (use Warcraft Peon voice here). I did finish the Genestealer part of my cult, but that was about it.

Sometimes you just lose the joy of working on a project. The best remedy (IMHO) is temporarily storing the models and moving on.
Around the time I finished these guys the dreaded painting slump hit me. I suspect every painter reaches this point once in a while although causes may vary. For me it is usually the sense that my painting is getting worse instead of better. This in turn makes the project I'm working on lose its appeal and before I know it the pots of paint are standing around idle, while the miniatures to be painted start staring. Seemingly asking: 'why haven't we been painted yet?' At this point painting feels like a chore. I used to force myself to finish a project by sheer grit, but this invariably ended with badly painted (rushed) miniatures and the strange sense I should've been payed by the hour for my work. Not a good investment of precious hobby hours. A few years ago I tried a different solution. I switched over to 'project boxes'. Basically a big plastic box to stuff an unfinished project in. It takes the accusing stares out of sight and I can get back to it at a later date.

Getting the annoying models out of sight is part one of fighting hobby fatigue. Part two is finishing a new interesting project (or picking up an old project box). I had the chance to change tack thanks to the arrival of Skarbrand.

Skarbrand basically is a huge blob of anger (carrying axes).
I managed to get my hands on a second hand unpainted version of this Greater Daemon of Khorne. Some people seem to solve their painting slump by selling their models. That deserves a big thanks from me as it saves hobby money. As the model arrived I decided to give myself a couple of days off to build and paint it. I stuffed my Genestealer Cult in a project box and got started with a fancy base.

The amount of hobby-zen you get from building a nice looking base should not be underestimated.
The basic building blocks of this base are bits from the Shattered Dominion Large Base Detail kit and a few leftovers from a converted Realmgate. While building it, I used up the last two skulls from the old GW Pack of Skulls. As I had to get the General's Handbook 2017 anyway I popped over to the local GW and picked up the new Citadel Skulls pack. Best investment in a while. I think I have enough skulls for the next couple of years. After adding skulls I painted the base first. Mostly because painting a base takes less skill then painting a miniature allowing me to get back into the whole holding a brush thing again.

Just add color...
Next came good old Skarbrand himself. After building, drying and some gap filling I airbrushed the big guy Khorne Red (what else ;). I left most armor plates off to make my life easier and painted these in a copperish color.

Skardbrand in progress. In the background an attempt at defeating hobby fatigue by building a (shitty) model airplane.
After this came a lot of detailing (and running out of Rakarth Flesh (I should remember to buy a new pot soon)). Finally I finished the model, and I'm quite happy with him. Unfortunately it has been raining here so I have to make do with rushed pictures without even an attempt at scenic background. Sorry for that.

Skarbrand is raging in the rain.

Detail of Skarbrand on his base. The Realmgate pedestals add a nice bit of height to make the model more intimidating.

I spent some time debating whether to add blood to the axes or not...I'm still not quite done debating that.
Skarbrand is a nice model, with an amazing bad-ass background. I can't wait to stick him on a gaming table sometime soon. Meanwhile, with this first aid treatment to my painting slump, I picked up someone's second hand Ironjaw Brutes and Megaboss.

Purchasing second hand models is a hobby onto itself. Actually it's almost an addiction. Here is me adding some Ironjawz to my Greenskinz army.
Seeing these bits inspired me to take out the old project box filled with Orruks and Moonclan Grots (Orcs&Goblins). At the close of my long weekend off I started detailing numbers 11-20 of my pink spiders.

I really want to finish these pink spiders this time around.
Opening up a project box always carries a bit of extra added risk of instant hobby fatigue with it. Especially my Greenskinz box as this one is exclusively filled with second hand models and sprues. It is one of those collections that has gotten completely out of hand. But right now I'm just psyched to paint more of my Greenskinz collection. Aside from the Spiderfang Grots and a bit of work on two Spear Chukka's I've finally assembled a group of Boyz that had been waiting on their old sprues.

Assembling Orruk Boyz makes you want to assemble even more Orruk Boyz. Should more....must finish these first....
My Boss on Wyvern should get a real paint job sometime, but I still can't figure if I'm going to try and safe this black skin paint job, go for green or maybe for an orange-red on the Wyvern.

I recall using an old Mike McVey 'Eavy Metal article to start on the black of this Wyvern, only to discover that its easier to read how McVey paint then it is to replicate his skill.
There is a box of Old school black-orcs to finish and a (temporarily) abandoned mass painting session of Moonclan Grots.

This is a very naughty way to store miniatures. I should not post this online....
For one of the other out of hand projects I've just ordered in some fresh bases This is my Boar Chariot fleet (needs a lot of repair work). The chariots have been picked out of a variety of different lots I bought over the years.

So many chariots, so few bases...
In the foreground of the picture above is my second ancient Snotling Pump Wagon. I should really finish that. But then I would need to figure out a speed-painting method for my rather over the top Snotling horde.

I admit have a Snotling has gotten to the point where I daren't pull them out of their plastic bags.
And then there is another old metal giant, two stone trolls, a couple of characters and so on, and so forth. With this much to paint I'm mostly wondering why I don't have any Boarboyz yet, and if I should pick up a couple of boxes :) This hobby, it makes madmen out of all of us. I'll part this long winded post with a shot of the bottom of the project box. There is an old (ancient) Azagh the Slaughterer I probably won't paint and haven't been able to sell (yet). A lot of spiders, ancient fanatics, squig herders and some wolf riders. Also in the shed, covered in Biostrip are a couple more trolls and some new fangled fanatics. Let's see how far I get before the next splat of hobby fatigue hits me and this box closes up again. Maybe if the weather gets a bit better I can do a quick group shot of my army so far.....we'll see.
Oh Azagh...will it be a sale or a painting session somewhere in the future?