Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dark Angels Nephilim Fighter Finished

Finished up this Nephilim Fighter for my Dark Angels army - this is a really nice little kit: enjoyable to assemble, nice looking aircraft design, relatively easy/quick to paint. I painted the black first then masked around the white designs and airbrushed those (white is much easier to paint nicely using an airbrush I find). The pilot has some very subtle green OSL from the control screens but it doesn't show up well in the photo. Also I feel like I could have done more with decals but didn't have any "generic number markings" I was totally satisfied with, so I didn't. The flyer is not glued to the stand. I have a second kit but may not use it, because I've kinda been reading that the DA flyers are underwhelming performers (so I'll replace them with other options from the new range). Next up I have 7 Ravenwing Knights primed, and assembled a unit of the DW Knights (which I also read are underwhelming a bit rules-wise, but there's no way I can skip painting them because they look so cool!). I also converted the Dark Vengeance assault cannon terminator to carry a heavy plasma from the DW kit, which was quite easy to do.

I like this version more than the one with the piece of church on top of it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ravenwing Bikers - Dark Vengeance

Updated: I just realized I missed a step on the black part below. Fixed!
Finished off a unit of 3 Ravenwing bikers from Dark Vengeance. I'm "satisfied" but they definitely could have been better. Issues:

- I screwed up drilling the barrel in the small bolt pistol (it's a bit mangled)
- should have gone for more highlights and contrast on the bare head/face
- the bare head is shiny, despite a couple of hits of matte varnish
- not sure about the dirt in the treads, but the bases are grey/ash so it seemed like the right way to do it
- the white feathers are "ok" but a bit messy. You'd think they would be straightforward but I struggled to keep them neat!

They are "ok"
 Colors used:

- whites were base of Russ Grey, then Fenrisian Grey and then Ceramite White
- cloth, reds, flesh, and chest eagles same was as the Dark Angel Tactical Squad
- blacks were primer black, highlighted with airbrushed Tamiya Nato Black, highlighted with Eshin Grey edges and then Dawnstone edges. I then glazed black areas with GW blue glaze. 
- the gold is Vallejo liquid gold Red Gold

Meanwhile I also have a Nephilim fighter in WIP. Blacks are mostly done, canopy is currently masked, and I just masked and painted the white wings, which I feel pretty good about (just needs some cleanup work). Then it's the metal areas and details, and some decals. Overall a fun kit to build and honestly pretty darn easy to paint and make look good!

Dark Angels Nephilim Fighter - Nice Kit!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Operation: Dark Angels Begins

Happy Dark Angels day! Ok, yeah....that's pretty cheesy. Sorry. But today IS the day that the new Dark Angels models and codex are released, and I have definitely partaken. So far I've got a couple of sets of Dark Vengeance models, 2 boxes of the new Ravenwing, 2 boxes of the new Deathwing, the new land speeder (big) and 2 Nephilim fighters.  Oh and the codex, on iPad.

Why doesn't GW make these awesome new covers into wallpapers?
I started reading the codex last night (it was available late evening) on my iPad. I must say I really, really like the iPad format. Granted, it's not necessarily awesome to pay that much for a digital product. But every year that goes by I get more comfortable with digital goods - all my reading for example is Kindle books now. What's really great about the iPad codex is the way you can tap pretty much any rule or weapon etc and have a little pop-up appear that gives you the relevant rules. That's very handy for an old, highly infrequent gamer like me :)

The images in the codex are really nice looking, and I am actually enjoying the back story a lot! Here's what I posted about that last night on a local facebook group:

Picked up the iPad version of the DA codex earlier this evening and have been reading the lore sections. I find it quite good actually - I can almost never read codex fluff and get through much of it. Not sure why - in this case the story of the Dark Angels is pretty interesting and I like that they actually DO tell you what their shameful secret is (I assumed they'd just keep making vague references to it forever. If it's been revealed before I was unaware of it). I think I like Dark Angels better than most other Marine armies - better than Space Wolves (their arch rivals), Blood Angels, and Ultramarines. My two favorites are, I think, Dark Angels and Imperial Fists. Anyways, enough rambling but so far I'm impressed and fired up to paint a force of new and existing models (god knows I ordered more than a few!).

As I mentioned in a recent blog post, I'm going to try to "hunker down" and stay focused on one project. Try to actually get some models painted without getting distracted by new/shiny mini releases :)  We'll see how it goes. History shows I am not very good at that, it's rare I manage to stay focused long enough to finish a full army. 

By the way I've cracked open a couple of the boxes and the kits are of course highly detailed and gorgeous. GW charges an arm and a leg but I can't complain about the quality at all.  In particular I really like the Deathwing Knights kit. I like the mix of brooding cowled guys and terminator armor.

Anyway, if I get any of the new stuff done I will post it. I'm in the process of finishing up 3 of the Ravenwing bikes from Dark Vengeance. For the black I'm trying Nato Black (Tamiya) which is an almost greenish black and looks quite nice. Another great option would be Coal Black (P3) but I went with the Nato.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Stripping Paint: Waterpik Style

So in my ongoing quest to find the ultimate solution to stripping minis (because I have a LOT to strip it turns out), I tried a couple of new things I haven't used before:

The first was to "upgrade" to a stronger solution. I've been using regular Simple Green to soak my minis, and while it does a pretty good job, it wasn't as strong as I would like. Still seemed to be a lot of paint not coming off and multiple soaks required.

While I was browsing at Canadian Tire looking for alternatives, I saw this: Simple Green Max

Pro series!

I have no idea what makes it "MAX" but decided to give it a try. I can already tell it's doing a better job than regular simple green. More paint is coming off, and doing so more easily. I'll try using this for a while but might also give Super Clean a try.

Next step is figuring out tools to use. My old toothbrush isn't really getting the job done well enough. I've ordered an ultrasonic cleaner, and will try that. I should also look at Home Depot for a brass wire brush (looks like a toothbrush but with brass wires) which should be more effective but might be harsh on plastics.

But last night I took a 20% off coupon to Bed Bath and Beyond and bought a Waterpik. I figured it would be like a mini power washer and help remove paint from the deeper nooks and crannies and recesses.

This one.

Well. I'm not sure if I can really recommend using one. It did definitely get more of the paint off - not all of it mind you - so that's good. But holy cow, MESSY. I was using it in my laundry sink that I have installed in my painting room for purposes of quickly cleaning up my airbrushes etc. It seemed like no matter how far away I held it with my arms, what angled I used, etc....water was deflecting everywhere. I was getting soaked, my painting desk was wet...water just FLIES. It's almost awe-inspiring how far the water deflects off the models. So at first I was like "ok, that was a waste of 30 bucks", because I don't want to dress up in a rain suit to strip models. But in the car this morning I had a thought: what I might do is cut out a sort of "shield" from clear plastic packaging (like from eleectronics etc) and attach it to the spray wand. Basically like a blast shield against the back of it, so that when the water deflects, it hits that shield more and not my walls and face. We'll see, I like trying to rig up weird solutions to stuff (MacGuyver!). I'll let you know how that goes....

In the mean time, I've been working on a Rhino for the Dark Angels. I'm not super excited with how ti's turning out - it feels like one of my less impressive jobs and kinda messy. But it's a Rhino, and I'm painting this force to be really nice looking but not display perfect. One thing I really want to do is stencil on a big Dark Angels Symbol on the top hatches, but I can't seem to find any good large examples online to use. I dont think I want to try free-handing it.  If anyone has any files or suggestions, let me know!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dark Angels Tactical Squad Finished

Finished up this first Tactical Squad unit of Dark Angels, from the Dark Vengeance starter box. It won't win any awards but I'm quite satisfied with the results. In the interest of being able to remember as I paint more of these, and partially because some of you mind find it informative, below I'm listing out the colors and techniques I used...

Dark Angels Tactical Squad - Dark Vengeance Starter Set

  • Primed with Vallejo Black Primer (the kind that comes in a bottle for airbrushing - nice stuff!)
  • Green was base of Caliban Green, and a light airbrush highlight with Warpstone Glow. Then I did the edges with Moot Green.
  • Metals were boltgun metal base, highlight of chainmail, washed with Badab Black.
  • Reds are Khorne Red with a highlight of Mephiston Red
  • Plasma was base of Fenrisian Grey, Highlite of white, washed with Asureman Blue, re-highlite on the edges with white. I think I'm missing a step on this but don't recall!
  • Golds are based with Warplock Bronze, Washed with Devlan Mud, highlighted with Bright Bronze (Vallejo GC)
  • Tabard is base of Zandri Dust, shaded with some Vermin Brown, Washed with Gryphon Sepia, Highlighted with P3 Rucksack Tan, then adding some Ushabti Bone and some Screaming Skull to the tan for a couple of highlights.
  • Ribbing at the joints is P3 Cryx Bane Highlite, washed with Badab Black (I actually used Didi's Magic Wash but Badab should work too).
  • Eyes were I think Mephiston Red and then a bit of the Orange-red (Evil Suns Scarlet?). I'm not super happy with the eye lenses, I seem to have forgotten how to do them well.
  • Skin on the seargent is Bugman's Glow, wash of Reikland Flesh, then some re-layering and highlights of Bugmans mixed with Cadian flesh.
  • Bases were Adeptus Battlegrey, then Fortress Grey highlight. Grass is Army Painter Wilderness tufts.
  • White was basically just a couple of layers of Ceramite White, shaded with a bit of Fenrisian Grey between wings and swords. I'm still working on what color I want to base my whites with (for example, on Ravenwing wings where you can see blue/grey between the feathers). 
EDIT: knew I was forgetting something. Chest eagles were based with Zandri Dust, washed with Sepia, highlited with Ushabti Bone and then Screaming Skull.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Pits of Shame

Hey guys,

I thought I'd take some shots of my unpainted metal and plastic morass.  This is an accumulation that took years, but still haunts me.

That said, I'm looking at ways to start stripping and salvaging some of this stuff. For example, I have a metal Sammael I'm working on stripping now that I have Dark Angels on the brain...
This guy. 60 dollar model!
 So far what I do is use undiluted Simple Green (soak for 24-48 hours or more) and scrub with a toothbrush. The results are never very good - lots of paint just wont seem to come off, despite a lot of scrubbing, and the "nooks and crannies" drive me crazy. I know I'm scrubbing hard and fast, but it doesn't seem to matter.  Would an electric or sonic toothbrush or waterpick do better? Has anyone tried?

I've read about "Fairy Power Spray" but they don't seem to have it in Canada. So I'm contemplating my choice of stripper, tool(s) and methods. Any tips or ideas? I'm also thinking about getting an ultrasonic cleaner but again they seem like they aren't sold in stores locally.

Please comment if you have additional suggestions, as I have a LOT of models I could be salvaging!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Dark Angels WIP and Yoda

Not surprisingly I have turned my eye to Dark Angels, with the new White Dwarf and leaked images from the Codex etc piquing my interest. I already posted the Deathwing I painted, and I'm working on the Dark Vengeance tactical squad - WIP shot below. Still have eyes, bases, weapons and the (Sergeant?) to paint.  I gotta say I love painting marines from Dark Vengeance (granted they are Dark Angels and not really suitable for other chapters!) because I actually don't really enjoy the slog of assembling the multi-part basic tactical squad kits. This is much faster and for my own tastes these marine models do the job just fine for gaming.

For the leader's robes, I can picture the color I want but can't quite see my way to get there...I want more of an "orange" brown, similar to this one:

Not sure what colors to use to achieve that look, but I really like the tones. Definitely more than bright white/bone coloration which is probably where I'm going to end up with my own :)

Dark Angels Tactical Squad - work in progress

I picked up the new White Dwarf today on iPad (I think I'll stick with the iPad version from now on, I really enjoy the format). While the merits of the content can be debated, there's no shortage of sexy images of the new Dark Angel models. I'm digging the Deathwing Knights now that I see crisp, clear images of them. The only thing I'm not super jazzed about is the Dark Talon with the weird stonework/reliquary stuff on top of a flyer. I like the fighter version better (Nephilim?).

I mentioned Yoda in the title of this particular post. Why?

Such a smart little guy.
 Because today I was reminded of a quote from him when he was training Luke Skywalker:

"Control, control, you must learn control!"

That's the phrase that went through my head today as I was doing some hobby-organizing and looking through totes full of unpainted models. In this case I'm not talking about "new/clean/easy-to-sell" models. I'm talking primed, maybe broken, half-painted - a metal graveyard just lumped into a big tote or two. Just hundreds of models, literally. Thousands of dollars. I really have to find a way to clamp down on my new-shiny syndrome. My current hope is to stay focused on Dark Angels for a while and try to get an army done. My track record is abysmal of course, but I'm going to see if I can stay focused on them for a while.

Maybe I'll treat it as a New Years resolution, since I technically haven't made one yet.