Wednesday 26 October 2011

Perry ACW Confederates Dipped

I did worry that dipping one model would put me on a slippery slope....

Same recipe as the ECW fella in the previous post.
Fans of "proper" painting needn't worry, I've finshed some more Ogres and made good progress with some more Late Romans. Oh and some horses. And To-Me-Ku-Pa.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Doing the Dirty Dip

I'd always looked askance at the idea of dipping. I saw it as "not proper painting". More specifically it generally seemed to be aimed at the type of wargamer who saw having a painted army as a necessary evil, rather than a thing of joy in its own right. Promotion for dipping always seemed to emphasise that it was all about speed and getting an army on the table fast, and made reference to "tabletop standard" - all of which seemed to me to aim it squarely at people who actually don't like toy soldiers very much. An example would be the recent article about a Viking army in WI, an article which (to my eye at least) did little to show either the Army Painter products or the Gripping Beast models in a very good light. Yes it was quick, but it looked it. And I happen to know that Bo is a very talented painter and that the GB Vikings are nice models. Maybe it was the photography but I remained unconvinced.

To me it's the soldier that's the important thing, I like how they look and feel and appreciate the skill and talent that goes into making a good one. Therefore my object in painting it is to enhance that beauty and lavish such skill as I possess to make the model look as good as I possibly can.

However some other painters began to give me pause for thought. Scrivs has been churning out some lovely armies at an alarming rate, and Saxon Dog has had some great results too. However both of these guys have been doing more than simply "dipping" the model. They've gone back and added highlights and the like, all of which seems to move right back to “proper" painting and be pretty much the same as the more traditional basecoat, wash, highlight method that I already use, with the added complication of having to use a "wash" that needs 24 hours to dry. So you’re left with a method that's either quick and looks a bit nasty, or the same as traditional painting but more complicated.

Then, last week I bought some cheap grey primer (I was making a Gandalf costume for my son to wear on Book Day at school) and I began to think about my "stalled" ACW project and my "not even off the starting block" Napoleonic project. Couple that with suggestions from the Warhammer forum that cheap proprietary woodstain was the same as the Army painter stuff and I was ready to experiment. Spray Grey, a few other colours and then dip might give me something I could live with. Had to be worth a go, right?

So I grabbed one of the Warlord ECW figures I got in my grab bag at the Derby show and set to work.

Here he is sprayed with cheap Grey Primer from the £1 shop, then painted with Tallarn Flesh, Bestial, Khemri and Calthan Browns, Mechrite Red, Skull White, Boltgun Metal and Dheneb Stone.

Next Stage was to Dip. I took some Wilko's own brand Walnut Woodstain and applied liberally. Then left it to dry for 24 hours:

Uurgh shiny!

So I followed the prescribed method and sprayed with Army Painter Matt Varnish:

Much better.
And so finally I based him:

I'm actually reasonably happy with him as a test model. The face in particular has come out well. Cheap, and although the individual took as long as a regularly painted model once I start doing batches it'll be quick, and  think I can live with that as a standard for my ACW models - though I suspect characters and the like will get more attention.

Monday 17 October 2011

Ironguts WiP(3)

Pretty much finished now, bar basing.

Flesh: Highlightwith Kommando Khaki/Charadon Granite mix
Teeth/Bone: Snakebite Leather then Bleached Bone
Rock: Drybrush Fortress Grey then Skull White

I'll base them when I've got a few more finished (and I've bought some more static grass)

Friday 14 October 2011

Ironguts WiP (2)

Got some more work done on the big fellas.

Flesh: Overbrush Charadon Granite/Kommando Khaki mix
Trousers: Highlight Black/Bleached Bone mix
Stone: Drybrush Codex Grey (and a Badab Black wash on the club head)
Shoes: Highlight Scorched Brown/Bleached Bone mix
Teeth: Bestial Brown

Thursday 13 October 2011

A Berber Building

My scenery building continues apace.
This is a simple "Arab/Berber" building for use in El Cid or Crusaders games. Probably do for Darkest Africa, Back of Beyond or Nothwest Frontier, should I ever give in to my many urges in those directions. Or as a 40K Ork hut if you fancy.

Simple Foamcore construction, it was then covered with a mix of  PVA, filler and very fine sand before I added a scored balsa wood door and trapdoor.
The walls were then painted with a pot of Wilkinsons Emulsion sampler (Crushed Almond) then washed with Gryphonne Sepia, before drybrushing with the basecoat and then white.
Wood was Charadon Granite, Overbrush Graveyard Earth, Drybrush Bleached Bone.
It's quite small,which I like as it doesn't have too big a footprint. I did build one more "in scale" with my models, but it just looks "too big" to my eye.

Here are the plans if you want to make your own:

Obviously you'll need two of each side.
Cut a door and window in one and two windows in the other of the long sides. Then stick the two short walls inside the long ones and let dry before fitting the roof. You may have to trim the roof depending on the thickness of your foamcore, mine was 5mm thick, so the plan above worked fine (more or less). I glued the roof level with the dotted line on the above plan, which meant it gave a small wall for protection and cleared the top of the windows.

Friday 7 October 2011

Dark Age House Stage by Stage

Back in August a very nice little set of plans for a Dark Age dwelling was published over on The Nothelm Chronicle.
Some time later I decided to have a go at building one based on the plans.

Stage One: Marking and Cutting
Because my printer is cleverer than what I am I found myself unable to print out the original plans at the right size.
So I re-drew them on to graph paper.
I then used pins pushed through the plan at significant points to transfer the design onto some foamcore. Then it was easy to simply join the dots and cut out the pieces.

Note mistakes I made when copying the design. Doh!
Stage Two: Gluing and pinning
I took the four pieces I'd cut out and glued them together using PVA and shoved pins through to hold it all in place while it dried. I made sure it was all square by using the squares on my cutting mat.I left it to dry over night.

 Pins courtesy of the current Mrs Tom's Toy Soldiers.

Make sure the side walls are inside the end ones, otherwise your roof won't fit!

Stage Three: Wooden frame
For that authentic hovel look you need a timber frame around your building. You could use balsa, but I chose to use coffee stirrers which are free from all major coffee shops (though you may need to buy a coffee). They're about the right size and thickness and easy to use. I chopped them to size and glued them in place with PVA. I made sure they fitted by measuring against the actual model, rather than the plans.

The original plans call for a seperate lintel above the door, but because stirrers are a bit on the thick side I just used the main beam as a the door lintel.

Stage Four: Roofing
To keep out the inclement Dark Age weather conditions you need a roof. This was simple cereal packet card, glued in place with PVA and pinned. Leave a small lip overhanging all round the building.

Stage Five: Thatching
I used a flannel I bought from ASDA for the purpose of thatching. I cut it into strips and glued them down with PVA and then soaked them in PVA and brushed downwards to get the "thatch" lying in the right direction. This was a pain in the behind as it happens and I think I shall invest in some teddy bear fur for future roofing, it looks better and is I suspect easier to cut and use.

Sorry for the wonky picture lightness. The sun came out.
Stage Six: Wattle and daubing
I coated the exposed walls in a mixture of PVA, filler, very fine sand and water. Don't ask me the ratios, it was "a bit of this and a dab of that" until I got a runny but sticky consistency I could paint onto the walls.

The white on the thatching is dried PVA
I also added a door cut from balsa at this stage. I scored the balsa to give the impression of planking

Stage Seven: Base Coating
Then it was a case of splashing on some colour
Thatch: Calthan Brown
Walls: Deneb Stone
Wood: Charadon Granite

Stage Eight: Overbrushing
Both wood and thatching got a heavy overbrush:
Wood: Graveyard Earth
Thatching: Khemri Brown

Stage Nine:Drybrushing
A final drybrush to finish off.
Walls: Skull White
Wood and Thatching: Bleached Bone

 Subsidence was a common problem in the Early Medieval period

 Gripping Beast and Musketeer models for scale.

I'm very happy with the result. It looks the part and has a small enough footprint to not dominate the gaming table. Thanks to the Nothelm chaps for the plans. I think I'll make a couple more of these to complete my Saxon village .