24 April 2011

Dipping and Bitching


I've made my next experiment with dipping. I've headed back to my Paint Machine Project blog for this, as I tracked my time and it seemed appropriate to post there, as that was the whole point of starting that project. My comments are there, in my latest entry. I won't elaborate here, other than to say that I think a bit more experimentation will be done.

Well, that and I'm not sure why I am still referring to it as "dipping" as there is no dipping going on, other than a brush dipping into the wash medium.


This is just a bit of an overflow of my bitching elsewhere. But I think my interest in WFB is hitting an all time low. I think I've even got over the 8th edition blues. Well, I still think 6th/7th were better, but I just accepted that 8th edition was the reality of the current game and I came to a state of acceptance.

I think that the current focus on tournaments and competitive play is just pushing my interest further down. I play wargames for the mental challenge (I view the games like a kinetic puzzle, evolving on the tabletop between two or more players,) but also for fun and relaxation. Right now there seems to be too much of a focus on the "meta game" and list building, too little on pushing figures around and rolling dice. Tournaments that were previously relaxing social events are becoming a source of arguments and bitching about determining a "winner" and/or bitching about whoever was decided as the "winner." This is all spilling over into local "friendly" games which, it seems, are now being dictated by this competitive environment.

That's fine for the people who are really into that. I guess it's just not my thing. So I think I've decided I'm done with tournaments, and I'm bordering being done with WFB entirely.

20 April 2011

Painting On Deck

Just a few quick photos to show what's "on deck" in terms of my own figures on my painting table.

First, I'm excited to finally be starting work on my Macedonians/Successors/Diadochi. No, they're not "Silver Shields," but I've just cleaned them up and have them ready to prime. The first group of 24 phalanx. These are Crusader figures. Two more groups of 24 are the same. Then there are two groups of 24+/- Foundry figures.

I've also dug up 16 Greek archers from BTD. I think I picked these up from a rare bargain on eBay. Nice figures, though I'd like more variety. These are going to be my next experiment in "dipping" before moving on to the phalanx above. These should see use as Greeks, Cretans and maybe some other regional skirmishy archer types.

Rounding out the previous unit of Carthaginians and elephant (and all their already painted allies & mercenaries) I've partially painted a couple of command figures. Again, Crusader figures. These are from the cavalry command pack, but I'm going to use them as a general and army standard.

And lastly, some more landsknecht pikemen. These are mostly Foundry, along with a few assorted painted figures in the back. I've also got 20 Artizan figures (though some are command) to clean, prime & base to add to this group. I should end up with somewhere near 36 figures in all. I'm not sure these will be a priority, as I'm anxious to try putting together a Hellenistic campaign at some point.

12 April 2011

GW Triple Whammy

A few of pieces of GW news this week have me wondering what is going on with them...

First is Forge World's release of Kampfgruppe Normandy, a WWII game. I don't play WWII games, so it's roughly $86.00 price tag (at today's exchange rate, including postage, not not service fees for currency conversion) for US customers won't hurt my bank account.

What also surprises me is that they not only continue to spiral off in other directions, but then have the balls to charge prices like that when they have a reputation for not supporting the other games they've left incomplete. I'm still bitter about buying WAB2 and buying into their promises of army lists that were supposedly soon to follow.

Second is GW's Storm of Magic expansion for WFB. Two of my complaints about 8th edition are the game winning spells they introduced, as well as the increased focus on huge critters (and the associated downplaying of troops, maneuver, tactics, etc.) Any thoughts I may have had that this was an unintentional fluke in the game has been washed away by the description of Storm of Magic, which promises to increase both of those.

Third are the rumors of the discontinuation of metal figures from GW. According to many sources, retailers have been told there will be no more metal, and further rumors indicate that they may be switching to resin. I've bought very few of the metal figures in the past few years, as I can't stomach paying $12-$18 for a single infantry figure. Since every other time GW has announced an "improvement" and "cost savings" it has been immediately followed by increased prices, I expect the resin figures to be of lower quality (unless they've really got something new up their sleeves) and at a higher price.

Every bit of GW related news the past couple years seems to be driving me further away from their games. I'm seeking ancients rules elsewhere. I sold of all the figures I had collected for a WFB wood elf army, and just sold off most of my unpainted Skaven and I am thinking of putting the painted stuff up for sale next. While I hear some people rabidly supporting the company, I just don't see much appeal any more, and have seen a fair number of other long time veterans departing as well.

08 April 2011

Dipping Experiment - Continued

I'm pretty happy with the results of my Minwax dipping experiment, and my subsequent home-brewed dip experiment (see below.)

So here are the Carthaginians, post-dip. After the dip, I painted the shields using a quick three layer technique (hard to see the shading, the photo washed out the white.) And finally I added a layer of matte varnish. I just used Krylon UV Protection Matte. I thought I might have to pull out the "big guns" of matte varnish (Testors) but it doesn't seem necessary. These are simple figures with a lot of mail, but overall I'm happy with the results. The only minor change I should have made was using a different color for the spears.

As a result of discussion of my attempts at replicating GW's Delvan Mud wash in the replies to my last entry, I took some anonymous advice and sought out a bottle of Ceramcoat Dark Burnt Umber. I found it at the local craft store for a whopping $0.79 and it is perfect. Far darker than any of the other browns I currently have, but a bit warmer than black.

I mixed up a batch of Future, water, DBU (dark burnt umber) and a bit of anti-shine additive and applied it to the figure below. It was a little two thin, so I added more DBU the the mix and gave it another coat before the first had fully dried. I probably should have used another figure, but I was impatient. So the results look good. I think I need to fine tune the mix a bit (maybe less/no water?) and apply it to a fresh figure. But I'm optimistic.

I have labeled the bottle with this mix, "Substance D" -- as in "D"evan Mud replacement (and "D"ark Burnt Umber.) But also because I am a Philip K. Dick fan, ans Scanner Darkly is one of my favorite books.

So here's my plan, then.... I'm going to try some more figures using both my Substance D and the Minwax. Then I hope to make use of "dipping" one some of the piles of rank and file troops that have backed up in my collection and get them on the battlefield.

06 April 2011

Taking the Plunge -- With Dipping

I'm finally making my first experimental foray into using the "Dip."

After much reading on the internets, I actually purchased these supplies almost a year ago. But I've just now got around to trying them.

Here are my shiney shiney Carthaginians spearmen, basecoated.

And here is a somewhat poorly lit shot after the "dip." I didn't actually dip the figures, but used the "apply heavy wash with brush" method. But that's a bit much to say or type quickly.

So far the results look OK. Hard to say until they dry completely and I can hit them with a matte clearcoat. But so far I'm not sure the results are quite as good as I could get with a similar wash method using GW's Delvan Mud. The trade off, of course, is that the large tin of Minwax costs less than two tiny bottles of Delvan Mud. And for what it's worth, I can skip the gloss coat and go straight to the matte.

After considering the Devan vs. Minwax, I tried mixing up a new homebrew wash of Future, Reaper anti-shine addative, a bit of water, a bit of matte medium, and some dark brown paint. I used Vallejo "Leather Brown" which paints very dark straight out of the bottle, but as a wash it turned out far too light. I may dump it and try using some dark artists acrylic in a new batch. I think I have something pretty dark, but don't remember what (Umber? Van Dyke?)

Not that I'm ready to give up on the Minwax yet. I've got a lot of the stuff and a bunch of figures that need painting. I will continue to experiment, and will post further photos as I finish these guys.

This last photo shows why the above photo was poorly lit. I've got my "dipping station" set up on a separate table, so I can let it sit & dry overnight while not getting in the way of my regular painting spaces.

eBay stuff

I've put some of my unsold stuff on eBay. I will be adding a few more items later in the week.


Right now there's some 40k, WFB and Warmachine.

I will be adding more WFB, 40k, those WWI French I previously posted here in the next couple days.

Bid early, bid often. (And help me pay my bills!)

04 April 2011

Landsknecht Pikemen

I finally finished the Old Glory landsknecht pikemen I've had. Again, I sort of "speed painted" them. While they're not as crisp as Artizan or Foundry, they are very nice figures. In fact, I'd say some of the best Old Glory figures I've painted. The castings were very clean as well, and required minimal cleanup.

My photography, sadly, is not as clean or nice. But here are a pair of photos of the group.

I still need to add a banner (or two) and find a suitable leader and musician. Foundry and Artizan look too bulky to mix in to the unit, and the few TAG figures I've got are too small & lean. Anyone have a spare Old Glory leader (or halberdier) and musician?

These figures will also be seeing use in WFB, as I will be starting to use the fan written Dogs of War book. They'll possibly see battle in the my Empire army, as spearmen, too. Both Empire and DoW are going to be "Marienburg" armies, just with different rules.

I've also broken my own stoodio rule (lasted all of a month and a half at the new place) and allowed my latest art critic / assistant in. Milo likes to sit on my lap and point at where I should paint while I'm working figures. When I'm at the easel he just headbutts and paws at my shins while trying to engaging me in conversation.