Friday 29 September 2017

Armored Containers

On the back of my success with the TTCombat scenery, it was time to hit the 40k containers I picked up. Same colours, same techniques with the only difference being the position of the highlight at the top - it's now running through the middle rather than the edges. That's not how it would work in reality, but it looks better on the table.

I haven't glued the doors shut on the containers yet. Once that's done, it's quite permanent so they'll remain open a little longer. The purpose is primarily line of sight blockers but I do like the idea of having some flexibility as a passageway or hiding objectives in them. We'll see ...

Lessons learned. I'd do the highlights in tighter circles along the top, so the support struts would remain uniformly dark and been the patterning the focus - rather than just a long continuous highlight.

Sunday 24 September 2017


I was asked for tips on achieving the weathering and colours from the three shipping containers. So here's the breakdown of how they came together.

All paints used are from the Vallejo ranges, usually Game Color or Game Air ranges.

  • Prime with Black. Over the MDF you want to leave this an hour between thin coats to ensure it sinks in. This took while some time - but as there were lots of terrain pieces to prime, it wasn't a problem.
  • Basecoat with Dark Fleshtone. Full coverage apart from the very deepest recesses.
  • Basecoat with Parasite Brown. Partial coverage as the idea at this stage is to have several different shades of colour appearing.
At this point you're wondering what on earth you've done ...

... but it's okay! Stick with it. Now onto the invisible stages.

(also spoilers in the shot above, you can see there's more terrain incoming)

  • Apply matt varnish to everything. But don't make it thick and obscure detail, this is an important step to ensure you don't start pulling the paint off later. I did start with gloss varnish, but couldn't get it to run smooth in my airbrush and swapped to matt with zero problems. Personal taste, I think - the important thing is protecting the colours.
  • Apply chipping medium to everything. Sure, you could be quite precise and decide exactly where you want to chip the containers, but I'm not that good at remembering details - so a full coverage is best. After coating three surfaces, leave it overnight so it isn't sticky to the touch. Do the fourth surface the next morning then leave it all to fully dry.

This concludes the preparation work so now it's on to the painting proper with the main colours for the three crates.

  • Scarlett Red basecoat, Moon Yellow highlight.
  • Yellow Olive basecoat, Camoflage Green highlight
  • Scurf Green basecoat, Scurf Green/Dead White highlight.

Using the airbrush, I started with the darker colour and coated everything in three or four thin coats. You need to leave it a little longer between coats because the chipping medium underneath starts to activate with the water in the paint - so just take your time and get solid coverage. I then adding more of the highlight colour and started hitting the top parts and edges.

These containers had lettering pre-etched into the design so I picked them out with the final highlight colour. I wanted them to be readable but not something to focus on. There is a thin glaze of Imperial Blue toward the bottom of the Green and Blue containers just to make the contrast a little more distinct.

Now the colours have tried, it's on to the terrifying step. Ripping apart all your hard work. The chipping medium is activated with water, so take a large brush dripping in water and gently coat one surface. Let any excess water drip off onto a paper towel, then you need to take off the paint.

From experience, on smaller scale miniatures, like my Space Wolves, using a toothpick or paperclip works well - but larger pieces like this that approach would take a long time. I took a piece of pluck foam and started dragging it across the surface. After every drag I rotated the foam so a different surface was soaking up the paint. Then I just repeated it until everything was done.

It feels weird at this point - you've basically destroyed half your work! But again, it's okay. Final steps and it all comes together.

  • Edge Highlighting.  With the brightest highlight colour, you need to add a thin edge highlight. Not just the corners of the object, but also at the bottom of each chip. This enforces the three dimensional effect of the chip. You can, if time allows, go back and add a thin line of Dark Fleshtone + Black at the top of the each chip to really punch home the effect. The most time consuming stage of the process but it makes or breaks it.
  • Rust. Along the very bottom, at random intervals, I added a little of the Modelmates excellent rust effect. If you apply it a little thicker, this brings a small amount of texture onto the surface as well. You could take a reddish brown paint and add a little more orange to achieve a comparable effect.

Then that's it! We're now at the point where you have the finished container and get to bask in the sweet, sweet glow of knowing your Space Wolves can't be hit from 36" by filthy Tau artillery because there are now casual line of sight blockers on the table.

Saturday 23 September 2017

Shipping Containers

I finished something! You can tell I've had a few days off to work on projects. We needed more colour and line of sight blocking terrain on the gaming board, so I went to town on weathering up some scenery bought earlier this year.

These are from TT Combat and I really like their MDF terrain range - it's a good price, easy to throw together and turns out looking reasonable if you put the effort in.

I had forgotten how hungry for paint MDF can be, so getting them to the point of readiness took a lot longer than their GW plastic equivalents. But the results are good and I got to play with the same techniques as my Space Wolves - so black primer, dark and light brown undercoats, varnish, chipping medium then the base colour + highlighting and shading.

There's a few more pieces in the pipeline with a little more detail so they'll turn up next month at current rate of progress.

Sunday 17 September 2017

Stripping old miniatures

We should talk about cleaning old figures, and Biostrip 20. I finally bought some of this and stripped a few old units for selling on eBay. Holy heck it's good stuff.

Here are my Fiends of Slaanesh before their bathtime ...

Dipped the models individually in the tub then let the excess drip off back into the tub, left an hour and removed all the surface paint. I then repeated the process but put the coated figures in a bowl overnight.

Next morning, armed with a toothbrush and bowl of hot water, I dropped them all in the water then scrubbed the paint away and they're nearly like new. There's no terrible smell like nail polish remover, which was my previous go-to, and did a better job too.

Here's how it looks when they're dry ...

It's £10 for a tub, but I've used maybe 10% of that cleaning down the first batch of old figures. Well worth the investment. The wife hasn't complained about an evil lingering odour, which is an additional bonus. In the dip at the moment are Blue Horrors, a Cauldron of Blood and then there'll be more models going the same way then up for sale.

If you want to have a look on eBay at my OOP pieces going for sale then click the link here.

Tuesday 5 September 2017

Hobby Progress - September

The problem with painting models in a batch is that the updates don't feel especially interesting and end up less frequent than you'd like. It ends up a little worse when you're fortunate enough to be playing 40k again on a regular basis.

Two of my regular opponents were able to make it across last week, so two evenings set aside for hobby were pulled into gaming against filthy Tau and even filthier Death Guard. The first game was a resounding win for my Wolves, and the second was a crushing defeat at the hands of a Defiler. They're significantly nastier in 8th than they were in 5th!

On the painting side, all my marines are now based and have decals applied before the final weathering stage to the armour. Everything requiring a 32mm base is properly based (40mm pending) and they even have arms glued on - which wasn't the case in the action shots above.

My standard bearer looks a lot happier with an icon in the middle of the banner. Glad I opted for the gradient effect in the background behind the wolf head, as pure yellow on yellow would have looked strange. Still want to repaint the words underneath as the spacing is incorrect and annoying me.

Took the plunge and made a couple of small conversions to my Primaris marines too. So my Lieutenant and Captian now have more appropriate power swords. Clipping these off was a nerve wracking experience, as I rarely convert - and didn't want to ruin the models. Happily it worked out fine, so once painted it should be seamless. Phew.

Finished squads should start appearing in the near future. But as I rarely post WIP content this was a nice change of pace and a reminder things do happen in the background!