Monthly Archives: August 2010

Metallic Horticulture!

Trees have been driving me crazy lately. The store-bought or Internet-order choices you have tend to follow these themes, pretty much:
  1. Arsey looking plastic trees that look like foamy green poofs impaled on brown sticks
  2. Expensive arsey looking plastic trees that look like foamy conical green poofs impaled on brown sticks
  3. Really expensive arsey looking plastic trees that look like squiggly shaped green poofs impaled on brown sticks
  4. Arsey looking DIY tree kits that are basically identical to #1-#3, except YOU put them together yourself, and the instructions give you the distinct impression that 6 hours from opening the package, you’ll end up curled under your desk in a fetal position looking like the illegitimate lovechild of Oscar the Grouch and a porcupine
  5. Oh, and all of the above are in the wrong scale
  6. Overpriced injection molded trees from Games Workshop that look like evil refugees from a Disney cartoon or the baby-eating tree in Poltergeist
  7. Really nice looking and frighteningly expensive trees that look like they will break or fall apart the second Greasy McCheetofingers looks at them funny
So, since all of the store-bought options are pretty much ruled out, that leaves doing them myself. There are several methods, but I chose the twisted-wire method because I have everything needed except the foliage. In that method, you twist soft wire (copper wire or florist’s wire) into something approximating a tree, you spackle or putty over the armature, and then you glue clumps of foliage onto it.
This is the second wire armature I’ve done:
It looks semi-reasonably tree-ish to me. It’s also fun and dirt cheap to do, so I’m going to do several more wire tree armatures for practice. Once I hit on a flow that I like, I’m gonna experiment with various non-messy methods of bulking out the armature and giving it a nice bark texture.

Flying Lead Squad Pictures, Round One!

I’m done with my 2 squads for Flying Lead. I broke out my latex Zuzzy mat for the photos, and now my office smells like an explosion in a condom factory. You’d think after a couple of years, the smell would go away. Oh, well–here are the photos.
Space Marines in Legio Martial campaign colors
The Most Unimaginatively Painted Genestealers Ever, qty 12
I used Vallejo satin varnish on all of the figures. It gives power armor a nice moderate shine, and does the same job for crunchy bug exoskeletons. Oh, and remember when I said I was out of Vallejo matt varnish? Turns out the bottle was just hiding from me, and it’s actually Vallejo glaze medium that I’m out of. At least I have the matt varnish for clothing, so I can do my Imperial Guardsmen or Scouts the next time I get the urge to paint.
The paint jobs on both are on the sucky-but-serviceable side, which bugs me, but I can console myself with the thought that badly painted still beats unpainted any day of the week. I’ll have to get more practice in and shake off the rust.

My next project: do lots of cover and LOS breaking items so the Genestealers have a fair chance against all that firepower.

Ever have one of those days?

I’ve been taking advantage of work downtime to keep up with my painting. I finished the other 3 Terminators I mentioned in a previous post, and am also 90% finished with a brood of 12 Genestealers.
The Genestealers are a source of aggravation at the moment. Nothing, and I mean nothing, seemed to go right with them. I must be even rustier than I thought. 😛
The idea I had for them was to do them in black. So, I basecoated them in Vallejo Game Color Black, drybrushed and highlighted them in a 2:1 mix of Black and Vallejo Game Color Cold Grey, painted the claws and teeth in a 4:1 mix of Vallejo Game Color Gunmetal Metal and Black, and here’s where things started to go wrong. I forgot how strong the Citadel Badab Black wash was–once it dried, I discovered to my horror that all 12 Genestealers basically looked exactly like they did after they were first basecoated.
Yes, feel free to laugh. I’ll wait.
Back already? Okay. Note to self: next time, test things out before committing to 12 figures.
You can still sort of see the highlights if you look really close, but they don’t stand out enough in tablevision. I’m not going to worry about it for now–I have some gaming time planned this weekend, so I’ll fix them sometime after that.
The next thing that went wrong was the basing. I couldn’t for the life of me keep the PVA and sand off the feet of the Genestealers, so there’s kind of this sloppy “foot sinking in mud” effect going on that’s absolutely driving me bananuts.
The last 10%: drybrush the bases with 1:1 VGC Earth and VGC Bone White, clean up base edges with VGC Charred Brown, apply protective Future hardcoat, then after that dries, glop on some satin varnish. I’m hoping to finish that in the next couple of hours.

Finally painted something again…

My Space Marine Dreadnought and Terminator captain converted from plastic bits. Unfortunately, I ran out of Vallejo Matt Varnish at some point during the last couple of years, and somehow never got around to ordering more from The Warstore. So they’re still in their protective Future glosscoat for now. 😛
Venerated Legionary Brutus, Centurion Lucius Crassus
The important thing, though, is that I actually painted something!
I wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous, so the paint jobs are simple and basic, no fancy techniques used whatsoever. I liked the idea of having a bright ceremonial dress and a subdued campaign dress, so I painted them in the subdued campaign scheme of Vallejo Game Color Yellow Olive with the bling in the delightfully redundantly named Vallejo Game Color Gunmetal Metal. Centurion Crassus’s left arm heraldry plate retains the deep red ceremonial armor color, which I used Vallejo Game Color Gory Red for. In the ceremonial scheme, the bling is gold and the cloth bits would be linen white.
If I were still playing Warhammer 40,000, I’d probably never have gotten around to painting anything because the sheer quantities of stuff you have to paint makes me want 3 aspirins and a lay-down. Guncrawl isn’t enough to motivate me either because I wrote the thing, so playing it still feels like I’m working…and when I take a day off, the last thing I want is to be anywhere near work stuff. So, my stuff just kind of sat in the closet doing nothing for a pretty long while.
I discovered Flying Lead by Ganesha Games last week, and it awakened my inner gamer big time. I really like the system–it’s the first one in a very long time that actually excites me enough to grab some figures and start playing. It’s also what drove me to start painting my figures again, because you DON’T need a lot of stuff to play, just a squad for each side. Matter of fact, you don’t even need that much, you can play with fewer figures if that’s all you have on hand. That’s a much more attainable threshold for me than having to buy and paint 40-50 figures per army, not to mention a heck of a lot more affordable. 
I’m gonna paint 3 more Terminators with storm bolters and powerfists to round out my little Flying Lead squad. After that comes the even easier stuff–mostly Tyranids of various flavors.

UPDATE: I still have nearly full bottles of Vallejo Satin Varnish and Gloss Varnish. The Satin Varnish worked great for knocking down the Future hardcoat’s gloss to a nearly matte finish, and doesn’t overly dull the metallic bits like the Flat does.