26 February 2017

Rust Tutorial

I've had quite a few questions about how I paint my rusty metals, especially since starting the undead/skeletons. I've previously given a brief description and a pic of the paints I use. I also mentioned possibly doing a step-by-step at some point. So... here it is.

Previously, I took a pic of the paints I use. This occasionally varies a bit, but is usually similar. Pretty close to the step by step below. Sometimes I add a reddish-brown before the darkest orange. I've also started to abandon the Citadel metallic paints, as the quality seems to be in decline recently. None of this is required. I'm experimenting with homemade washes, for example. And I've also found a P3 orange that I really like and sometimes use in place of the middle orange. Whatever feels right for any given figure or project. "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." (Emerson.)

Here's the big step by step pic (click to enlarge or download.)

1. Metallic base. In this case I did a Vallejo silver, then a Citadel Nuln Oil wash, then highlights of silver, and then a second wash. Normally I would only do the two steps, but since this figure is almost nothing but armour, I wanted to spend some extra time on it.

2. First layer of rust, with the darkest orange. This is applied with the tip of a fairly large brush, in a manner not unlike stippling. I usually refer to it as "brush mashing," though it's a little more delicate than that may imply. Still rough on the brushes. (I rarely spend a lot on expensive. brushes.)

3. Second rust layer with the middle orange. This overlaps the first layer to a large degree, but not entirely. In this particular case, this color/bottle of paint is not as opaque as the others, which I really like. More brush mashing.

4. Third rust layer, with the lightest orange. Still brush mashing, but more delicately. I like smaller splotches of this light color. Again, quite a bit of overlapping with the two previous layers, but not entirely. This third level really gives some punch to the depth of the rust and color on the figure.

5. Translucent blacklining. Remember blacklining? It was one of the early painting techniques I learned, and seems to have fallen out of favor as being a bit harsh. Never throw anything away -- including techniques/skills. You never know when they might be useful. Take a look at the difference between steps 4 and 5. Tell me which one looks more like a coat of plates and which looks more like a rigid rusting statue. In this case I have replaced opaque black paint with a thin wash -- in this case using Citadel Nuln oil, but (again) a home-brewed thin ink wash would also work. Using a very fine (and possibly more expensive than the others) brush, give a quick black line under each of the armour plate joints and other spots in heavy shadow.

6. Highlights with silver. This compliments step 5 somewhat, but also gives a bit of "life" to the rusty metal, by (hopefully) giving the appearance that the metal is still in use and rust is being scraped away. So with that in mind, I use technique that's somewhere in an intersection between drybrushing, overbrushing, and feathering. I use a pretty dry brush, and I tend to hit the edges as in both drybrushing and overbrushing, but I also like to feather the silver into flat areas too. So it looks like metal plates scrape against each other, ridges rub against other objects, and blades actually cut through things -- all scraping away a bit of the rust, exposing steel (or whatever) beneath.

7. The metal is the same as the previous image, but with non-metal details painted, and the photo not a over-exposed as in step 6.

So that's it. My rust. Not rust. Just mine. Take a look at rusty objects. Take pics and start a collection. I did. Then see what you think will look good on figures. I like this version of rust because it stands out, yet is still harmonious, with the rest of the colors I've been using.

21 February 2017

Finished Unit of JTC Crossbow

I finished the converted pennon/standard bearer for the crossbow unit. I would still like to add a badge to the banner, but have not made up my mind yet. I may plan that out for various units when I get further into the project.

A group shot, including the above figure and champion, the first sample figure from Westfalia. He's painted in different colors, but I will let that slide as a matter of personal choice by the Captain of the Crossbow.

Overall... great figures. Easy to paint & look great. Very happy with how they turned out, and regret that I didn't get more. So at least one more unit this size is now on my wish list.

19 February 2017

JTC Crossbow for Now, More Undead for Later

I've painted the first group of Westfalia halfmen for the Jackrabbit Trading Company (JTC.) These are the crossbowmen. I liked the idea of crossbows because it's a different take on halflings. It seemed to make sense, for some use, to me. Greater draw, range, power than bows or slings. Both of those will still have a place with scouts, rangers, militia, etc. But for the "professional" guard of the JTC, I'm going to use some crossbow troops.

If you look carefully, there is actually one with a handgun. I picked up some miscast figures from Westfalia, with the intention of using them for casualty markers. And I will. But I needed a few more figures for this group, and one of the supposed miscasts was a handgunner that I couldn't find any flaw on. So "Boomstick Bill" the hobbit joined the ranks. Bill's always got to do his own thing.

On that topic, I still wanted one more. So I picked a halberdier from the miscasts, reconstructed his helmet and side of his head (a couple of big bubbles in the casting) and then cut off the halberd and put together a standard. So once this guy is painted, he will join the above unit plus the first sample figure I received from Westfalia, giving me a unit of 16. Or two smaller units of 8. I regret not getting more crossbow hobbits, and if they become  available for general purchase, I would like a second batch.

Yesterday I received (another) package in the mail from Shadespyre. A small batch of the later Citadel armoured skeletons, to match the few I painted up in Deadcember. I knew they were on their way, so I also got hold of a sample pack of similar looking former Harlequin skeletons from Black Tree Design to see how they scaled up. In the photo below, there are three Citadel figures on the left, and three Black Tree figures on the right. Pretty close match!

16 February 2017

Scrobbleton Jackrabbit Trading Company

Since returning to the hobby, I've had a long term goal of putting together my own take on an oldschool story driven campaign pack or packs. The plan would also include running these games both for myself (either solo or with friends) and optimistically hosting them at events as well.

The specifics have drifted back and forth quite a bit. OK, a lot. But at this point I've got a good start, and its time to start solidifying the ideas. While I plan on creating scenarios with specific forces, etc. I have also decided to re-write some army lists both for my own guidance (not that I have to stick with them,) and maybe for using with friends at some point.

The concept has wandered as my interest has, and so the thing has grown from two factions -- Marienburg vs. the Undeadish, to four and a half:

  • Marienburg
  • The King of Old (undead)
  • Fomorians (more or less, Fimir in WFB terms)
  • Zogmar (his warband is the "half")
  • The Jackrabbit Trading Company. 

The latter, as I have previously written, is the security arm of a trading company based in the Wasteland -- Marienburg's hinterland -- and is based on the unconventional concept of mercenary hobbits. I've got further back story behind all of that, I will write it down eventually.

I previously posted (I think) my re-written draft for the Fomorians in WFB 3rd. I have also come up with a Kings of War list for them. I've moved on to the Jackrabbit Trading Company, here's my initial thoughts on a WFB list:

(Dammit, blogger won't embed Google Drive PDFs. How naive of me to expect Google products to cooperate with each other. Well, I switched it to a link now.)

Some thoughts: The multiple +3 shock elites seem excessive, but they really just put some of the hobbits on nearly equal standing with other armies/races that are a bit more... capable. The major point being that it give them access to at least some "elite" troops with WS3 and S3. I figure the usual halfling profile assumes regular militia types -- and that will still be the bulk of the less experienced caravan guard. Small, sedentary, more inclined to missile fire, skirmishing, and avoiding combat in the first place. But perhaps after some experience fighting off bandits, raiders, and creepy one-eyed swamp perverts, some of the company has developed at least a slight knack for combat. The S2, in particular, is going to be a killer when facing T4 & T5 troops. I wanted to give them at least something to work with!

Related to this, I've (slowly) started painting the Westfalia halfmen miniatures. :)

14 February 2017

Con on the Cob 2017?

Further musings about gaming... I should go to Con on the Cob.

It's relatively close, sounds interesting/fun/mildly-insane. I think know I will run into some old friends. I should go. I should run miniatures games. There's enough time that I should be able to prep something fun. Several somethings fun.

13 February 2017



I've started painting up some Westfalia hobbits. 16 figures. 13 crossbow, 1 gunner, and the wizard & apprentice. I think I've hit a turning point in my painting "career": I don't think I can paint the eyes.

I mean, I *can*. And I may paint the apprentice's eyes. But for most of the rank & file they're just too damn small. That's a good thing, in terms of the sculpting proportion & scale. Beautiful figures. But I don't generally paint eyes on 15mm figures, and although these are still a bit bigger than that, I don't think I'm willing to invest the time in it. My own, actual, functioning human eyes are aging. I'm in my mid 40s and I've recently been experiencing some changes in my eyesight (and general eye health, which I won't go into) and I've been trying to just take it as part of the natural aging process and not freak out too much. I did paint the eyes on the sample figures I got from Westfalia last year. I can actually see the eyes on these hobbits just fine, and my hands are still steady enough to do it. But as my time shrinks and there is some extra focus (haha) required to do these details well, I think I'm going to pass on painting eyes on some 25/28mm figures for the first time in my life. I know a lot of people don't bother, even on the human sized figures. And I understand and appreciate the logic behind that, especially in the greater context of what we see at various sizes & perspectives, and the representation of that in any art form. But I've always prided myself on doing a decent job with eyes, and always painted them. Until now.

(The previously painted hobbits.)


I've run into a bit of a paint problem. There are a few off-the-shelf paint colors that I can't live without. I sometimes get a bit OCD about this, and go on epic quests or start hording paints in order to stay supplied One is a sort of dark burnt sienna color whose use evolved from an old Poly S color, which I then found a good equivalent in Ral Parha's (I think) Minotaur Fur Brown, briefly I may have used a Citadel color, but then switched to a Vallejo Game Color equivalent. I can't read the label of the almost empty bottle in front of me, but looking online maybe it's Pestilent Brown? Sort of frustrating, because I need more. I am literally stretching the last bits of paint & pigment as far as I can. But I don't really have any good options (that I am aware of) for buying Vallejo locally. I've been trying to find more accessible alternatives but that has not worked out. I now have an Imperial ton of brown paints of various shades and qualities. I'm on the verge of just trying to mix my own. Like I said, it's sort of like a burnt sienna... but not quite. It's darker, but still retains that subtle reddish color that gives it a great touch of warmth.


I've also been thinking about my plans for the Year of Gaming (aka my mid-life crisis, gaming style, in 2021 ;) ) and have some thoughts. Our new house isn't really a great space for gaming. But one of the trade offs we made with the small house, is a larger yard than our previous homes. And our garage is pretty clean and has, thus far, been unused (by us) for cars. So maybe I could try inviting some friends over for some Garagehammer in the summer. Long day of gaming, cook out on the grill, etc. My table tops are already stored in the garage rafters at the moment. I'm even tempted to make one or two more in order to accommodate larger games. If they're going to be out there, I may as well take advantage of the space, right? Especially if I want to try some all-day gaming. So... just something else I'm thinking about while hoping to get back to some sort of gaming ASAP.

(Previous photo from the old attic.)

Oh, the drama of a dedicated lifetime miniatures painter. ;)

12 February 2017

One More Small Update

Photo of the finished & based figures from last update.

From left to right: Two previously painted Marauder dwarfs with spear, one freshly painted White Knight dwarf with spear (now available at TAG), one freshly painted Marauder dwarf with great sword, and one freshly painted, converted Marauder dwarf (swapped spear with greatsword.)

Also, the finished hobbit from Effin Cool, along with my first use of some new tufts from Shadow's Edge Miniatures.

11 February 2017

Short on Patience, Big on Lead

I don't have the patience to wait for the bases. I've been scraping together time when I can (mostly at ridiculous hours of the night, when I should be sleeping -- like now) to finish a few of the little people. I'll post better pics once the bases are done and I look them over for final touch up's when I'm more awake...

Left to right are a White Knight speardwarf, an old Marauder dwarf, and the Effin Cool halfling I posted (unpainted) pics of a week ago. (Thanks to Blue for the dwarfs!) I cut some corners on painting these, but I think that's what things are coming down to at the moment if I want to get more than one figure done per month.

I also made another acquisition. An old Tom Meier/Ral Partha giant. Cloud Giant, according to Orclord's sodemons/solegends page. It's my favorite of the old Meier giants, and I've been hunting around for a good deal for a while. I'm going to try cleaning it up a bit more and putting it aside for my second annual giant month.

05 February 2017

Short People, Bots, Life

Not much in the way of painting lately. Most of the little time I've had has been put into some minis and a couple of toys that other people are still waiting on. I did sneak in one thing for myself, I put the final paint a dwarf who was over half painted for ages. A bit rushed looking, though, which is a shame since it's one of my converted classic models. I wanted some doppledwarfs to supplement the usual spear, handgun & artillery. Embarrassingly, I started these before the White Knight figures (which I need to get my hands on) were available -- if that's any indication of how slow the progress has been. The Marauder landsknecht dwarfs fall into an odd category of miniatures that I love, but hate to paint.

At any rate, here he is with some of the other conversions I've previously painted.

I'm still thinking about that Rogue Trader/sci-fi misanthropic pirate robot crew. I picked up a few angry/murderous looking robots from Effin Cool Miniatures today.

Speaking of Effin Cool minis, I also got a halfling for scale comparison. From left to right it's:

Citadel, Effin Cool, Westfalia, Marauder, Goblin Factory, Grenadier, a random goose. The base on the Effin Cool mini doesn't have the magnetic layer, so he will end up a little taller. A good match, in terms of size & style, for the Citadel, Goblin Factory, and Grenadier. Westfalia are a little taller with more natural proportions, and the Marauder halflings remain one of the two tiny ranges I've got (along with some of the really old Ral Partha -- which I've stripped and re-primed. So maybe I'll paint at least one of those up soon sometime in the next few years.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been busy with my new job, both in the office, and travelling to distant lands...

I was also happy that when I recently got back into town, we finally had a decent snow and I finally got to build an overdue first snowman with my daughter. We've been waiting for a decent snow for *years*. It was actually a little wet because it had warmed up a bit during the day, but we managed to get it all together. :)