Sunday, October 26, 2014

Epic Squat Project Update

This was supposed to be a Paint Table Saturday post but I was called away on a search and rescue op with the fire brigade at short notice. Instead of painting I got to have a very, very long walk yesterday over some incredibly rough terrain in the heat. 8+ hours of near constant walking, climbing, navigating and searching through the bush all the while. I'm feeling it today but that's to be expected. It takes it's toll on the fittest of us, especially those pushing 45 years.

Easy enough to get lost in. Harder to get found in...

Anyway, so that means this will have to be an Epic Squat Project update post instead. Great progress this week with the mojo well and truly discovered and returned to full service...

Artillery, air support, fast attack and infantry with transports

Two sets of gyrocopters and an airship. Another two airships to go.

Warrior brotherhood and spartan transports

Hearthguard and robot cadre

I also got my first order from Warbases which helped move things along. Unfortunately I was somewhat boneheaded in the execution thereof and ordered the wrong sized bases for infantry.
A second order has been placed and despatched so no a major hold up.

This week I've also managed to win a bunch of fleaBay auctions for termites, a few infantry bits and bobs, a leviathan, a colossus plus spotter plane and another two airships which seriously fills out holes in my war engines and transport. Still looking for moles, a hellbore, a cyclops, a pair of thunderfires and another goliath. If you have some and want to sell or trade speak up!

That's just about it from me apart from taking time to welcome rct75001, Tarty, Clint, Brian English and Dannoc. Great to have you aboard!

And a final shout out to my lovely, talented wife whose wonderful painted fabric entry took out first place in the textile and craft section of this year's Blue Fringe Arts Compo yesterday.

Cheers,
Millsy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Epic Squat Project

If that headline isn't enough to to make you wonder what you're in for clicking the link then I don't know what would. Fortunately for yours truly Google is smart enough to work out what I mean when I type "Epic Squats".

Not these EPIC squats! The other ones!

OK, so anyone who hangs around me or has read the blog for a while knows I have a soft spot for the left-field and/or less popular faction from any given game system or genre. That being the case, if a collection of models was produced by Games Workshop in the late 80s to early 90s and is now loooong OOP, plus the race behind the models was subsequently (and unfairly!) killed off in their 40K fluff I'm more than likely going to be interested.

That brings us to the Squats in Epic Armageddon, GWs mass combat game that was so specialist and so popular and so *not* 40K it had to die. Squats eh? Dead race? Tick! Long OOP? Tick! Hard to find? Tickety-tick! Comparatively expensive to collect? Tickety-flipping-tick! Never actually an official list even though they made the models? Tickety-tickety-dang-tickety-boo! Heck, they've got the lot! Like a Labrador outside a pie factory on baking day there was zero chance I was going to be distracted by something else once I came across these wee chaps...

Anyway, over the last couple of weeks I've been faffing about the painting table desperately searching for my mojo and guess what? I found it painting little hairy space men and their over-compensatingly large vehicles and weapons red-white-black. Here's a sample...

That's better. Although the buns were admittedly rather nice...

So this is the beginning of yet another slightly mad project. Once I get a shipment of bases from Martin and Diane at Warbases I will really kick into it but for now I'm just enjoying myself again at last. Stay tuned!

PS. Yes that *is* Snow White painted on the nose of the airship 1940's bomber style. What else would Space Dwarves [ahem!] Squats paint on there?

Cheers,
Millsy

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Soooooo........ Reaper Bones...

If you've not heard of Reaper Miniatures' "Bones" project you may well be the last person alive who hasn't. Since it was launched it has been something of a phenomenon. Yours truly was sorely tempted by the Kickstarter but in the end resisted. I'm glad I did. Read on for why...

Last week I thought I'd give Bones a stab and duly picked up a handful on the cheap whilst at MOAB. Some where unwanted figs from someone else's Kickstarter, some where from the blister range. Having now spent a bit of time with them I've got some seriously mixed feelings and thought I'd share them to see what people think and what kind of opinion others have of the Bones range....

Price
POSITIVE. This one's a winner obviously. You can't argue with a list price around 50% (or less) or the equivalent miniature in pewter. What's not to like?

Detail Level
POSITIVE. Again, a winner. Despite the fact they are plastic the detail is right up there and I've found there is no discernible difference between the plastic and the pewter.

Sculpting
POSITIVE. As they are for the most part copies of existing Reaper Minis and therefore from the same stable of sculptors the miniatures are as a rule quite lovely sculpts. Lots of character, interesting poses and not too bad scale-wise. OK, some are gigantic but I could see that before I bought them.

Plastic Material
NEGATIVE. They're bendy. Like seriously bendy. Much bendier than I had expected. Which is fine for the majority of the miniature but I found removing mold lines a pain. Painting small or thin parts like weapons and belts was also seriously tedious as the miniature flexed away from even the gentlest brush strokes making a smooth finish very difficult to achieve.

Why Are They Standing on a Soap Box?
NEGATIVE. The bases are thick. Amongst the thickest I've seen for some time and out of step with what the majority of manufacturers are capable of. I've had to apply gloop around the base to avoid a noticeable step between the figure and the rest of the base. Something I never normally have to do and which just added more time.

Applying Paint
NEGATIVE. This one's the killer. I read plenty about prep beforehand and am generally quite careful. Unfortunately despite that my preferred enamel spray primer remained extremely tacky no matter how long I left it. This lead to a lot of bleeding and certain brands of paint, especially Citadel, to require multiple coats. In one case even a fifth coat of paint still cracked the following day. Now I've heard tell you can apply paint directly to the plastic but why would you if you really like to paint? My preferred primer gives a consistent, smooth surface which paint adheres to really well and which helps me produce a consistent standard at a great pace. Note: To be fair regards cracking and bleeding, the current Citadel paint range is also awful and I'm replacing them but still other paints like Vallejo and P3 had similar issues...

EDIT: I've just taken some photos of how easily the paint rubs off. One good swipe of my thumb and my golem is back to bare plastic.

Paint rubs off easily. Most likely a primer issue but why the issue to begin with?

Paint cracks and bleeds over time. This is just a couple of days. How about a week from now? A month? A year?

Thoughts?
Over all, NEGATIVE. I'm NOT a fan. I didn't enjoy painting them, all the extra effort extended the time required considerably and in the end the result is nothing I can't get from metal or traditional plastics. If I worked out a cost benefit then my time lost cost a lot more than I saved in the purchase price.

Who else has painted them and what do you think? I'm really curious to see if I'm the only one who is more than a little underwhelmed.

PS. A rant for a 300th post? Sure, why not :-)

Cheers,
Millsy

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

6mm Sci-Fi Terrain

I've been scratching about looking for projects or even just odd jobs to try and win back a bit of modelling mojo.

I'm slowly getting there and when I couldn't sleep this morning the following items of terrain for 6mm sci-fi / Epic Armageddon got completed at long last. They are made entirely from wombled items from my terrain bits box, including lids, tyres, gears, pipes, plastic nuts and even a toy chest.

Power generators / reactors / things that might explode

Command bunkers / ammo stores / things that might also explode



Not too shabby for something that cost next to nothing, took very little effort and which I enjoyed putting together and painting. In terms of the generators there is little to identify the scale so the can easily be used anywhere up to 28mm too.

In other news I've also been working on some fantasy miniatures I picked up last weekend at MOAB in Sydney including some Reaper Bones. I've got mixed feelings regards those but an explanation can wait til I post the finished items.

Lastly, I've just realised this is the 77th post this year which equals last year's total. It looks like we might break the 100 post mark this year for the first time and as we're currently sitting on 197 followers I'd say we'll break the 200 mark there as well. To everyone who pops by or follows a big thanks.

Cheers,
Millsy

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Old Dogs, New Tricks, So Throw Me A Frickin' (Reaper) Bone Here

I'll be honest, I'm the kind of painter who pretty much plays it safe where technique is concerned.

I tend to paint in a very straightforward style, lots of emphasis on layering rather than blending (acrylics always dry too quickly for me to get a proper handle on that particular method), and I don't tend to move outside my comfort zone.

Until now.

I've seen some of the work being done around the place by talented painters who have mastered the Non-Metallic Metal (NMM) technique, and it looks brilliant. I am filled with admiration for those individuals who, as if by some sort of alchemy, can transmute grey paint into silver. or browns and tans into gold.

For a while now, I've been telling myself that I'd never do anything as cool as that, ever. But then I thought, "well, if you never try, you'll never know one way or the other." So I grabbed a Reaper Bones Battleguard Golem at my local gaming emporium, figuring that it was

a) a figure with enough metallic surfaces to practice NMM on,

b) sufficiently detailed to make it interesting, and

c) cheap, so if I screw up, no harm done.

The figure is a nice sculpt, and puts me in mind of the old D&D Eberron setting's Warforged PC race. A bit different to working with metal, resin, or hard plastic though, as the softer plastic from which it is cast poses some challenges when trying to get rid of mould lines; it certainly doesn't lend itself to being filed. On the plus side, if any part of the figure is bent out of shape, it can easily be repositioned if you quickly dip the affected area in very hot water and then run it under the cold tap once you're happy with the new look. To give you an idea, my own figure was armed with a wickedly sharp banana until I went to work with the kettle - he's now wielding a straight sword again.

Deciding to go for a 'steel' finish, I undercoated in black, I mixed equal parts Citadel Abaddon Black with the old paint range's Shadow Grey, and applied it as the base layer. I gave it a wash of Badab Black ink and waited for it to dry completely before going on to the next stage.

Adding more Shadow Grey to the base coat mix, I worked it up through progressively lighter layers and began adding small quantities of Space Wolves Grey, which was used on its own to provide edge highlights to the individual armour plates.

Here's the result so far;

"Blue(ish) Steel!"
Of course, he IS a work in progress...

I'd like to be able to give him a few glints of light on the most salient points of his armour, but I'll need to study the fall of light more closely to determine the best course of action from here. and that there magicky-lookin' sword will need something REAL special. Ye Gods, will this figure see another first for Ev, namely Object Source Lighting...?

I'll just have to keep going and see where this takes me!.

Stay tuned...

Ev


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