Monday, July 26, 2010

Blood Ravens Chapter Symbols (4th ed. style)

When I first started painting Blood Ravens I took the design of the chapter symbol from the 4th Ed. Space Marines codex. The logo there varies a bit from the the Marines in Dawn of War, but I didn't realize that until quite a bit later. I've stuck with this version, as have some other painters I've seen. Here is a quick guide to how I paint them. I am purposefully using a less-than-perfect example to show that this can be done in one pass, somewhat imprecisely and still have a good overall effect.
Start with a vertical black line approximately one third the height of the shoulder pad, centered vertically.  From a point two thirds up on the line, paint two more lines at 45 degrees upward to the same final height.
Paint a line from the tip of each outer point going 45 degrees downward.  The bottom point should be right around or slightly below where the original upward line diverged from the central line.  Paint two small feather lines parallel to the first on each side.
Broaden the body from the bottom of the vertical line to where the innermost feathers meet the wing line.  Paint a small circle for the head and extend the line for the beak.  Paint a grouping of five small lines for the tail feathers.
Use blood red to place the blood drop in the center of the symbol.  You will need to put more than one coat on to get good color, as blood red does not cover black in one coat typically.
The final version, although not perfectly symmetric, is clearly a Blood Ravens symbol, and looks pretty good contrasted against the bone field of the shoulder pad.

Blood Ravens Shrike Proxy - Skipping A Bit

I am mortified by the quality of the photos in that last post.  For what was supposed to be a step-by-step I certainly lost the ability to show the different steps.  When I did the Hormagaunt step-by-step for Hive Fleet Emervac, I had the photo set up and just placed the model in position after each step and click.  This time I just pointed the Ott light more or less at the mini and took a hand-held snapshot.  Ouch.

So here at left is hopefully a little better idea of what he looks like.  I had intended to show the varying levels of bone as I built up to what you see here, and I still have those photos, but I haven't looked at the quality yet.  Maybe I'll do a "step 3" that bridges the gap between step 2 and this.  Maybe I'll just pick another mini and do a real step-by-step with decent photos.  Even with the photo setup this guy shows very little of the red variation.  That may be partly because I applied some glass varnish to some point I wanted to protect and ended up varnishing a lot more of the model than I had originally planned.  (Don't ask why... I really don't know.)  The right thigh looks like it still has a little shine to it, even after the whole model got a spritz of Testors Dull Cote. 

So, still to go on this model.... hair, face clean-up, belt buckle clean-up, badge thingy clean-up, silver highlights, base detail, purity seals, and jump pack.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blood Ravens Shrike Proxy - Step 2 (lots of pics)

A lot more procedural steps here involving red and metallic/silver.  If you are painting tabletop quality, just follow the steps until you get to the red you like then skip to the metallic.  I really wish my cameramanship (if that's not a word, feel free to refudiate) was better.  I'd really like the differences between these steps to be more evident in the photos.

First step is to basecoat with Mechrite red. Make sure to use multiple thin coats as much as possible to minimize acrylic texture as the paint dries. Don't worry about being 100% neat at this point. Covering all the right areas is more important than going out of the lines a little.
Next, wash the entire model with Devlan Mud.  Keep the wash moving if it pools up anywhere to prevent it from drying too thick in any one place.  You will probably end up with "tide marks" somewhere, but we'll deal with those later.

The right leg (left on the picture) has some tide marks.
Paint Citadel Red Gore (I used the Vallejo Game Color equivalent) over the larger areas of power armor, focusing more on the areas that face upward.  Again, use multiple thin coats to make the smoothest transitions.  The tide mark on the right leg are gone, faded into the color of the leg using multiple coats of Red Gore.

This might be a good place to stop on the red for tabletop Blood Ravens.
Highlight with a 50/50 Red Gore / Blood Red mix.  I know I'm a broken record, but thin coats will ensure good transitions.  Controlling your brush load allows the thinned out paint goes on where you want it rather than wicking into the mini like a wash.  Use something like a coffee filter or paper tower to draw excessive paint off the brush if needed, touching the side of the bristles to the edge of the paper.  You should see the thinned paint soak into the paper.

Further highlight with straight Blood Red, being very selective about the areas painted.  Pick areas that are perpendicular to the lighting direction, or edges that would pick up the light.

Say it with me now:  multiple.  thin.  coats.
Apply medium silver (Citadel Chainmail or similar.  I used Reaper Master Series Honed Steel.) on the flex joints and other metallic areas.  Touch up and areas you accidentally get metallic paint on with Mechrite Red.

Selectively wash the metallic areas with Badab Black.  We'll be touching up the metallics later so feel free to liberally apply the wash, but keep it on the metallics and don't let it slop onto the other areas.

In the next step I'll cover the bone colored areas and small details like lenses.

I Don't Normally Gripe About Prices But....

So I'm helping my 9-year old with her Orcs and Goblins yesterday and we realize that neither of her Orc chariots have a base.  Okay, so I get on the web site to see how much the bit costs. 

$4.50 each?!  Really?

I mean, this really isn't a case of custom tooling and making profit over time.  This is the same chariot base that comes with every chariot.  If they had been $2 a piece I would have probably just thrown a few in the cart, bought a few more things to get up to the free shipping point and never thought a thing of it.  Now I'm just going to buy some plasticard from FLHS and cut 50x100mm pieces. 

I remember when GW first started releasing the $25 boxes.  At the time we had a GW store around the corner from my house and I told the manager there that the move was brilliant.  $25 is firmly within "impulse buy" territory, while $35 is just a little too steep.  For all the time I ended up hanging out at the GW store playing and painting I made more $10-$25 purchases out of pure proximity to the merchandise than I ever have since that particular store closed.  It's just not convenient to order one little thing online. 

So, there the lesson I guess.  If you have just opened a store selling this stuff (you listening Big D?) the more time people spend in the presence of easy purchases the more likely they are to just go ahead and buy something that catches their eye.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blood Ravens Shrike Proxy - Step 1

I've had a few random emails lately about my Blood Ravens painting recipe.  As a result I'm going to do a step-by-step with a model I'm painting.

We have here the model I plan to use as a Shrike proxy.  His head and the front of his body are from the Black Reach captain, which also includes that sash in the front.  The legs and his back are standard Space Marine tactical bits.  The arms are from an assault terminator, with the tops of the arms trimmed down both to mate up better with the body and to accommodate the smaller shoulder pads.  The base is a few odd pieces of shale.

I'll cover the basecoat next time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Magnetic Putty Conversions?

I am intrigued about the "Magnetic Thinking Putty" over at  How strongly magnetic is it?  Would it mix with two part epoxy putty and create magnetic sculpting material?  Could the magnetic particles be extracted and used with epoxy putty?  It is just iron filings in silly putty?

I can't really think of a good use for magnetic putty in conversions (assuming you could get it to harden) but I'm thinking there's gotta be something.

Ideas anyone?

EDIT:  I bought some.  It's fun, but useless for conversion potential.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My One Year Goal

July 13th isn't really the traditional date for making one-year resolutions, but I am sick to death of seeing the same five minis on the left side of this blog.

My goal:  Replace as many of my CoolMiniOrNot top five as I can with new ones.  I mean, come on.... that Black Templar fig is more than four years old, and I've only managed to post four other minis that even come close to that?  Even the most recent addition is almost a year and a half old.

So, the plan:

  1. Pick up a couple new brushes that have better tips... Done!
  2. Figure out how to better photograph minis.... no idea!
  3. Slow down and concentrate on quality.
I took a couple years to do this before and managed to boost my painting skills to the point where I won my one-and-only Golden Demon.  I need to do this again so I can start hitting 8's on CMON with fairly predictable frequency.  I'm not sure I'll be able to score five >=8.3 in the next year, but I'm going to try.

I'll check back with this goal on July 12, 2011.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Is Why Brian Gave Up WHFB

A few years ago I convinced a few of my coworkers to take of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.  Of those, one gave up the game out of frustration with game mechanics that, in his words, are all about making the other army sad instead of actually killing things.  I vividly recall how irritated he would be when his Dark Elf crossbow troops would shoot a volley of bolts that would darken the sky, only to inflict exactly zero casualties against the Dwarfs he was fighting.  Then, in combat, his troops would inflict more casualties but lose combat because the other guy had ranks, a standard and outnumber.  The Elves, disheartened from their lack of having a pretty flag, would then run away crying and die.  Brian was, shall we say, unsatisfied.

With the advent of 8th Ed. Warhammer, I thought I might see if Brian wanted to give the new ruleset a try. Then I read this passage from an 8th ed. battle report on GW's web site:
Martin charged his Ironbreakers and Warriors into the Eternal Guard. The Elves went first and unleashed a total of 38 attacks, and killed not a single Dwarf. In return the Dwarfs chopped up four of the Elves and the Dwarf Lord caused enough wounds on the eternal Guard Champion to kill him four times over. The Elves promptly ran only to be cut down.
I laughed when I read it, because this is exactly the situation that Brian found so frustrating.  38 attacks and zero casualties.  I think I'll stick to playing Warmachine/Hordes with him and find an opponent for my Skaven elsewhere.

Storm Wardens: Get In While You Can!

The amazing Storm Wardens charity raffle for Doctors Without Borders is supposedly completed sometime in "mid-July."  (Does anyone have a fixed date?)  That means to have precious little time to help a good cause and possibly turn your paltry contribution into a painted army!

So do it!  Don't miss out on this one!

EDIT: July 18 is the final day to donate!!!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Master of Information

We just got an email from our Chief Information Officer that reads as follows:
On Monday, July 12, the TV show "America's Next Top Model" will hold a casting call in the Student Center Ballroom from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. They expect up to 1,000 young ladies to show up, especially with the heavy promotion planned on CW 50/WWJ for next week.
I want all of you to be aware that the Student Center (and surrounding parking lots) will be pretty chaotic that day. You may want to pick an alternate lunch location!
If you want to show up to witness the event, you know about it!  If you are concerned about how long the line will be at Wendy's that day, you know about it!  Speaking of Wendy's... they better stock up on side salads.