Set in stone

December 6, 2010

Captain Stompypants, Smasher of Hunger. He was going to be a one-off until I read the rules for Cassius the Oathkeeper.

It’s been another long lapse since the last post in this space. So when I received a request on Twitter to come up with a how-to for the sandstone I’m using for my burgeoning Circle Orboros army, I really couldn’t say no.

Out of the hundreds of minis I’ve painted, this really is one of my favorite color schemes. Very few of my armies follow the studio scheme; I’ve always gotta do something different. And Circle is no exception. No green or gray for me; sandstone and orange for the constructs, autumnal browns and oranges for forest/tree walkers. It’s a different palette for me and so far, it’s challenged me as a painter and forced me to come up with new ways to do things.

Since the one model I have in progress doesn’t have any stone work on it, I chose one of my resin bases for the tutorial. Four colors, one wash and about 5 minutes gets some pretty solid results.

Resin base, black primer

Basecoat the rock with Bloodstone. If you're painting a construct, you'll want to drybrush for a rougher, non-uniform look.

Drybrush the textured surface. You'll want to let the black primer shaded the recesses for you. Don't worry about being messy!

Drybrush everything with Gun Corps Brown. This is your first layer of highlight, so don't go too heavy. On a model with well-defined edges like a Wold Guardian, you'll want to make sure the highlights are visible, but not too heavy. Two more layers to go.

Drybrush with Moldy Ochre. Try not to completely cover the highlights you just did.

Final highlight: Menoth White Base. This should be your lightest, most well-defined edge.

Wash heavily with Citadel Ogryn Flesh wash. Yes, I realize this is a product from that “other company.” But since the wash is reddish, it's going to unify all four of those colors and blend everything together. We'll talk about other washes to use in a bit.

Final step: Paint the rim of the base black. Done!

If you didn’t want your stone to have a reddish hue, Citadel’s Gryphonne Sepia wash is a nice warm sepia (duh) tone. For a dirtier, grittier look, Devlan Mud is a fantastic wash that will dirty up the most pristine looking models. It’s actually what I washed all of my Cygnar with. We’ll have to revisit washes, inks and glazes in another installment. There are a lot of tips and tricks my buddies and I have discovered and they’re too good not to share.

As for the Circle force I’m working on, it’s mostly models that are a part of Cassius’ theme. I haven’t picked up everything I need to build it, so I had to substitute some models for painting purposes. The crew back in Boise is running a slow-grow painting league and I figured I’d paint along even though I won’t be able to get any league games in. If there’s one thing the 100-point painting challenge taught me, it’s the importance of structure and VERY attainable goals when painting an army.

So here’s what I’m working on for the next month or so:

Army Name: Circle SG 15
Circle Orboros
15+6 points, 12 models
Cassius the Oathkeeper  +6 points
* Wurmwood, Tree of Fate
* Gnarlhorn Satyr  8 points
Shifting Stones  2 points
* Stone Keeper  1 point
3 Warpborn Skinwalkers  5 points
Wolf Lord Morraig  5 points

The jump to 25 points will be an easy one — Megalith. He’ll be a good candidate for a step-by-step tutorial, assuming my train hasn’t jumped the tracks by then!

Wyatt, Doc, Virgil, Morgan and Stompypants. Still debating if the Shifting Stone crew will get fancy bases or not.

Wyatt. He regulated on some dwarves not too long ago. He should've killed more of the stunty bastards.

Doc? Is that you? Are you really gonna be my Huckleberry? Or is this Morgan or Virgil? Yeah, they all look alike...


Project Shiba: Behind the scenes

October 15, 2010

Hey, it’s been awhile!

I’ve been busy with plenty of painting projects and I’m actually to a point where I can write about them. A few of you may have heard about Project Shiba, in which I painted up an Ashlynn d’Elysse battlegroup as described here. After Ep6 of Lost Hemisphere Radio, in which MenothJohn describes an Ashlynn-led Highborn force, I got it into my head to paint up a battlegroup for him to help get the army started. I had started work on a Vanguard conversion, had a Nomad conversion, a Mangler and was able to acquire a custom-built Ashlynn model. It was just a matter of getting it painted and delivered.

So, what I’ve got for this space are the work-in-progress shots that show how Shiba came together.


Testing the color scheme on the Vanguard.



After metallics, basecoats were Gun Corps Brown and Exile Blue.



Hammerfall Khaki and Beaten Purple.



A "character" Vanguard needs character... in the form of a flag.



Merywyn the Vanguard, at the ready.



Mangler gets the same treatment with Gun Corps Brown and Exile Blue.



Bringing the colors up.



Highlights... Sanguine Base over the Beaten Purple.



The 'jacks all get Llaelese freehand.



Ashlynn conversion: Ashlynn torso and arms; Daughter of the Flame legs; Gravus cape. Thanks Adam!






And a gun in this hand...



The cape was very fun to paint. Oh, and I didn't paint her as a blond. 😉



By some miracle, Ashlynn's actually looking down the blade.



This was the "player to be named later" — a surprise addition to the battlegroup.



Ironclad boiler added to the Nomad.



The Nomad just might be my favorite paint job in the bunch.



Project Shiba takes the battlefield!



Kaelyssa meets the Nomad. Their first date did not go so well.


So there ya have it, a fairly incomplete look at Project Shiba behind the scenes. If you’re interested in hearing about Shiba’s first battle, check out Lost Hemisphere Radio’s Ep13.

Assuming I have my stuff together, I’ll get pics of my Angry Elves in this space too. 🙂

Painting T-head

March 15, 2010

I love the Thunderhead.

I have loved that warjack since the first time I saw the artwork and I have loved it every time I put it on the board. (Well, except that one time T-head got pinned for 3 rounds by the (s)Crapjack, but we don’t talk about that.)

This is the second T-head I’ve painted up. The first one was right after it came out in Apotheosis, which was shortly after I started playing Warmachine back in 2005. I slaved over that model, spent countless hours on it, and at the time, it was the best ‘jack I had ever painted.

Then my painting skills improved and I hated the paint job. But it was one of those painting milestones and there was no way he was heading for the dip. Thus, Thunderhead Mk II was born — long before I knew Privateer Press was going to make Warmachine Mk II. This was the “improved” version of the ‘jack I imagined Nemo building after its fight at the Orgoth temple. He’d be bigger and better.

T-head Mk II had been assembled for maybe two years until I decided it was time to paint him. The opportunity arose thanks to Gdaybloke’s Go Big series over at Lost Hemisphere. Coincidentally, the article I wrote for over there went up today.

Enough talk. Here’s what I did.


Thunderhead with metallics inked and base colors blocked in.

I put the T-head on a metal base for added stability. As I’ve done with all of my Cygnar, I used black primer. Metals were dry brushed first — Cold Steel for the silvery bits and Vallejo Model Color Bronze for the non-silvery bits. Metals were wash with Citadel Gryphonne Sepia and Badab Black.

Non-metallics were blocked in with Citadel Foundation paints — Mordian Blue, Iyanden Darksun and Astronimicon Grey. The biggest thing with the foundations is they are *very* thick and can leave brush lines if you’re not careful. A smooth primer coat is important if you’re putting down foundations. Applying the foundations in thin layers seems to work the best for me. Then again, I tend to lay down several thin layers rather than a single thick coat. It’s a tough lesson to learn.

Punchy fist! Note the extra coils on the shoulder.

Part of what makes him “Mk II” are the extra coils I added to each shoulder. Looks cool, but man, what a pain in the ass to paint.

Baby got back! Lots of bronze on those coils.

I wish I could remember what I used to block in the coils — it might have been a foundation like Fenris Grey, or it might be Arcane Blue with a wash. That’s what I get for not taking notes.

I mention “blocking in” — for me, this is mapping out the model so I have a sense of direction and I’m not sitting and staring at it when I should be layering highlights or some such. I know of other painters who start from the inside and work out, or others who paint their favorite parts first. I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t work for me. I like a little bit more order to my chaos. Once I have a model blocked out, I can start thinking a few steps ahead about which parts get inked/washed, shading, highlighting and final detailing. For a character or large model, this is a big deal.

The other reason I do it this way is if I make a mistake, I don’t have to back track as far, at least in theory. If I’ve highlighted the coils and got them where I want them and I’m inking metals and it bleeds over my highlights, chances are that model is going to be airborne because I was an idiot. Thus, a game plan so models and painters don’t get harmed. 😉

thunderhead mod

Pistons? We don't need no steenkin' pistons!

One of the other things that makes my T-head Mk II is the addition of hydraulics instead of pistons. The real reason? I effed up converting the pistons since I have ‘jack turned farther than the studio sculpt. Nothing like some old bass guitar strings cut to fix my modeling miscue.

thunderhead mod

Punchy fist — with paint!

I call my Cygnar the Electric Blues because they’re brighter than the studio scheme. I use Vallejo Game Color Magic Blue as my main color. Biggest difference from when I started is that this was my first real attempt with shading. Normally, it’s a wash, highlight with the basecoat color and another highlight — if that. Since the Magic Blue is a shade or two brighter than Cygnar Blue Highlight, I used Cygnar Blue Base to shade in the recesses, rivets and any place there might be a line. Then I layered Magic Blue over it and did a final highlight with a mix of Magic Blue and VMC Deep Blue.

Whites were done in Menoth White Base, Gryphonne Sepia wash and highlighted back out with MWB. Final highlight was with Menoth White Highlight. Yellow started with Hearfire and thin layers of Cygnus Yellow to give it the gradient effect.

thunderhead mod

Measuring for that punch in the facehole.

Coils were done mostly to the studio scheme, though my Turquoise ink is diluted with Future Floor Wax and not water. I got really impatient highlighting these — it was near the end — but I know I can go back and clean up at a later date. Arcane Blue, turquoise ink, Arcane Blue, AB mixed with MWH and final highlight with MWH. Tedious and I lost patience. 😛

nemo enemo thunderhead

My favorite Cygnar casters with my favorite 'jack.

Overall, I’m happy with how the ‘jack turned out. There are some very annoying mold lines on the tops of the coils on T-head’s wrists that I didn’t file off before the primer coat. So it’s not as perfect as I’d like it to be. Still, it’ll go into the foam and be ready to go whenever I field my Cygnar, whenever that is. 😛

Quick photo update

September 30, 2009

I have been slacking, but not *that* much.

In the past 2 weeks, I’ve completed the Death Jack and solidified my Retribution color scheme. Here’s the proof:

Chauncey the Death Jack

Chauncey the Death Jack. Commission, September 2009.

I posed him looking down since he's supposed to be huge.

I posed him looking down since he's supposed to be huge. And he's on a metal base.

I'm fairly happy with the way the blending turned out.

I'm fairly happy with the way the blending turned out. I'm amazed that I can wet blend — and explain how to do it. Still have a lot of room for improvement.

He's got such narrow hips.

He's got such narrow hips.

Angry Elves... now with pink!

Yeah, guess who’s making a mad dash to finish Angry Elves tomorrow? I’ve got 4 demos with them set for Thursday and I need to email a pic of them all painted up to the Quartermaster so I can get more Retribution goodies. I’ll make sure to post pics of the demos, since that’s something I have yet to do. Such a slacker, like I said.

Oh, in other news, here’s my logo for BCB:

Simple but effective.

I am debating previewing the T-shirt designs prior to the event. On the one hand, I know they’ll be awesome and I want folks to get the shirts. On the other hand, I know they’ll be awesome and I want to save it. 😉 Maybe after I’ve submitted the design to the shirt place…

Then again, I’m not above bribery. I’ll donate the proceeds to charity. 🙂

Another brother scott posting-

August 16, 2009

OK, it may have been too long already, but I am seemingly busy (mostly playing games and holding on to the top spot on the Call to Arms Tour ladder). I have been painting and making terrain as well. I even have some commission work done, and managed to finish the Trencher unit in June. I haven’t (obviously) been keeping up in the blogosphere, though I have been taking pictures and getting a few articles ready for publication here.
I admit that I have been pretty lazy about actually getting any writing done, but in the next few days I will be posting updates and goings on for last month or so.
We will start with an easy one today:

A few folks have mentioned their Sili-coil tanks get pretty dirty and they aren’t able to get the coil out to properly clean the tank and the coil. Clean water and a clean tank are very important for keeping brushes clean and making sure our paints stick to the models without any extra, well, stuff.
I let my tank get this dirty on purpose. I painted a few things and let it sit for about a day or so.
Dirty Coil Tank

OK, it isn’t filthy. Just has some floaters and not any real color. It bothered me to let this sit.
First thing is to rinse the tank out. I use the hottest water my hands can stand.
The trick is to flip the coil upside down. I manage this by pressing on one side of the coil. I have rather large hands, so getting a finger on the other side and flipping the coil can be tricky (it is also trickier trying this with one hand and using a camera in the other. Two hands do work best).
Warmachine, terrain, how tos 058Warmachine, terrain, how tos 059
Since the coil is a corkscrew of sorts, spin the coil out of the tank, you will need to use a little pressure to get the main part out of the tank. Don’t worry too much about bending the coil up, it goes back into shape pretty easy. Also, do watch out for the ends as they are sharp and can poke you.
Warmachine, terrain, how tos 064
I take a regular nylon brush and scrub the coil, and using hot water and dish soap, scrub out the tank. Rinse the tank and coil thoroughly, and if you are not going to use it right away, let it air dry.
Warmachine, terrain, how tos 065
Putting a coil tank back together is the reverse of taking one apart. It might be tricky at first, but after a few times it will become part of the routine. I have two tanks at my desk, one for metallic paints and one for regular acrylics. I take them apart and clean them about once a week as a precaution (and if I got lazy or tired and didn’t rinse them out after a session).

Warmachine, terrain, how tos 068
To keep the tanks from getting truly nasty, change out your water often and rinse them after each painting session. I have even started using a clean water container to double rinse my brushes between paints. It does seem to make a difference.

On a side note, I wasn’t able to hold onto the top spot in the Call to Arms league, and my Khador playing 15 year old son took top honors and played really well. I did manage to take second and win a medal, but at the moment I do not remember what it was. So much for the hard work.

Cryxy goodness!

July 14, 2009

Hey, it’s been almost a month since I’ve posted anything in this space.

For starters, things in the personal life  have taken a strange turn in that my stepdad has been missing since June 20. His single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza never arrived at its destination and the search was called off July 10. Needless to say, blogging and painting have taken a backseat.

But I’ve actually worked up something I thought was worth sharing, so here we go.

I got tired of this thing mocking me from the painting desk.

I got tired of this thing mocking me from the painting desk.

She's really tiny, especially for Warmachine scale

She's really tiny, especially for Warmachine scale

"If I hold really still, maybe it won't see me..."

"If I hold really still, maybe it won't see me..."

The obligatory shot from the GF9 Cryx table at the LGS.

The obligatory shot from the GF9 Cryx table at the LGS.

"RAWR" in Helljack means "nom nom nom" — unlike Dinosaur, which means "I love you."

"RAWR" in Helljack means "nom nom nom" — unlike Dinosaur, where "RAWR" means "I love you." Gotta watch out for those subtle language variances.

And I painted these Bile Thralls about two months ago but don’t think I ever posted pics. Well, I just did in the forums, but that doesn’t count. 😛

*urp* Hi, my name is Vicki and I'll be your *BLART*

*urp* Hi, my name is Vicki and I'll be your *BLART*

Gotta love those skinny little legs and those fat bellies...

Gotta love those skinny little legs and those fat bellies...

Mmmm... back fat and pus. Yum. o_O

Mmmm... back fat and pus. Yum. o_O

In painting these guys, I discovered some interesting things about the P3 paint line:

  • Trollblood base is VERY good for painting things other than Trolls
  • Turquoise ink isn’t just for Cygnar any more
  • Morrow White + water + Future Floor Wax = great way to get “ghostly” effect (use a brush with a very good tip, paint in very, very thin layers)
  • I need to use more Radiant Platinum
  • Meridius Blue is another very under-used color
  • Necrotite Green can be very distracting

Anyway, I have more Cryx to build in the morning, so I need to hit the rack.

I’ll try to be more regular about posting stuff. 😛 (Famous last words, I know…)

What color is your Myrmidon?

June 5, 2009

A lot has been made of the studio color scheme for the Retribution. I don’t mind it, but I understand that the palette is a large sticking point for some people. At the request of some of my Press Gang brethern, I came up with a few things in Photoshop.

First, we take a Hydra:

I like this model the more I look at it.

Hydra, studio paint scheme

Next, we futz around in Photoshop with various layer masks. Which gives us:

This is by no means an exhaustive study in Myrmidon color; just a glimpse of what’s possible. 🙂

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