Thursday, March 20, 2014

Resin Bases....

Lets talk about basing for a bit. I used to do all my own basing from scratch with all the paraphernalia that we all have sitting around our desks. You know the stuff, look around and I am sure you will see cork board, sand, Elmer's Glue (PVA for you folks across the pond), big rocks, little rocks etc.

After I had done custom cork bases for way too many models when I played the game that had a ton of models, more dice then one should legally own and if you still need another hint it takes place really far into the future and its really grim and dark. I decided to buy my first set of resin bases. Let me tell you it really was love at first site. I got the urban ruble bases from Secret Weapons Miniatures for my very first unit in Warmachine (Khador Winterguard). I was taken aback at just how much detail went into the bases. I was able to prime and paint them to a higher standard then I could ever have achieved making something on my own. That and I was able to get them done in 1/3rd of the time. Best of all, no more sand/pva glue glop pulling away from the plastic base. No more tiny little pieces of sand sticking to the feet or legs of my models in annoying ways. So no I will never go back to making my own.

So I tell you all of that to show you what I was working on tonight. I am working on Alexia and her Risen (but that is for the next blog update). I ordered the Bone Yard bases from Secret Weapons Miniatures for the unit. Why Bone Yard you ask? Well Alexia raises them from the dead so what better to have on their bases.

There are a few things to know about working on resin bases (well any resin really). The first step is to wash them in warm water with some dish soap. This step is critical and gets any left over mold release off the resin. If the mold release is still there then the primer and paint will not stick and that is just no bueno.
Step two is pretty obvious in that you let them dry and then prime. Depending on the look I am going for I use black or grey. For these I went black as I am going to use a water effect with red ink to simulate blood on the bones so I want it dark and brooding. Next will be painting up the skulls which leads to these pictures.

The light washed out how tan/Khacki these look. I used P3 Jack Bone as the base color for the skulls. They will get a dry brush of a Vallejo Model Color dark flesh to give them a dirtier feel later.

You will notice that I wasn't to careful when I applied the first coat, and that is because it really doesn't matter at this point.

Next up will be to add the darker tan, then I will add a few weathering powders, most likely a green and some orange to mix in with the red ink later.

Till next time....

Monday, March 17, 2014

Airbrushing Lessons Learned (the hard way).

I've had this blog up for a few months now. I think it’s a good time to review a good few things that I have learned about airbrushing along the way.

1.      PSI matters. I first started out shooting at 35psi. As long as I was spraying from about 6 inches away it was fine for things like priming or coating with a varnish. I was pretty frustrated that I was unable to get any detail work done though. I was given some friendly advice and dropped my PSI down to between 15- 20psi and my airbrush kept clogging up…. Which leads to number 2

2.      Thin your paints! Seriously even Vallejo Model Air needs a bit of thinning out. I use Vallejo airbrush thinner. I am sure that others work just fine and I know some people use Windex. Personally I don’t want to use a respirator when I airbrush so I will stick to thinners that don’t contain ammonia.

3.      Equipment really does matter. I started out with a Masters G22 airbrush. This is an inexpensive airbrush made by TCP Global that costs $29.99 and is basically an Iwata clone. At first I thought it was the bee’s knees. I thought I had cracked the code to not paying over $100 for a “real” airbrush. Let me tell you how wrong I was. I was lucky enough to have a friend pay for his finished models with a Badger Patriot 105. It’s honestly like night and day. The trigger pull is smooth and responsive. There is no play in the trigger on the Badger (which is extremely important for control). The Badger has a wide cup opening making cleaning much easier as well.

As for compressors I still have a relatively inexpensive Harbor Freight model and it works. I have had 4 hour painting sessions and it has held up just fine. For $89 I think this was a good buy. My only complaint is that the compressor sometimes jumps up in PSI for no reason. I’ll be painting along at 20psi and BLAM out of the blue I’m up at 30psi. It’s gotten to the point where I can hear the difference and adjust the regulator but still a weird quirk.

4.      Clean your airbrush regularly. No joke even when you think you are done you’re not. Don’t be lazy and just wipe out the cup and run some cleaner through it when you’re done for the day. Spend the extra 10 minutes and break it down and clean it. There is nothing quite like getting all set in the right mind frame, mixing your paint. Finding the right music to keep you in the groove. Turning on the compressor and pulling down the trigger only to have a clog because you just didn't get that one little dab of paint off the needle…..

5.      Primer matters. I started off using a cheap primer and thinned it some. Not a good idea. It ran and flaked off the models. I now use Vallejo primer in grey. It works well and covers fantastically. I will caution that a little goes a long way and I have had to strip a good few models where I thought I was good to go and sprayed way too much primer on them obscuring detail. Cure times are very important here too. Do not be tempted to keep painting just because it looks and feels dry. Primer needs a few hours to cure. Trust me on this one the results are immensely different.

6.      Head phones! Get a good pair. Between the noise of the compressor and the noise of a spray booth fan you will either be cranking your music load enough to piss off your wife and neighbors,  or make yourself go deaf in the process. I have a pair of noise canceling headphones and everyone is happy. My wife because she doesn't have to listen to music over the TV, and me because I can’t hear her yelling from upstairs that it’s time to call it a night…

I hope this has been helpful to people. Please let me know if you have anything to add or something that is just flat out wrong in your experience.