Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ok So its a little late...

So on the second Ron asked if we could take some snaps of our worst minis. I realise I might just make it in by posting now....but there were some things in life that have jumped upon me of late and demanded my attention elsewhere.

At any rate here is a snap of what is my second worst figure ever, only because I can't actually find my worst one (which I know I still have somewhere).

This is one of the old plastic Dark Elf Witches, and as you can see I decided to use cheap and nasty undercoat. This did horrible things to the plastic but I was, in my impetuous youth, determined to paint it anyway. It came out a bit mong but Looking at it makes me laugh so I keep it on the shelf anyway.

Remember never cheap out on undercoat, it can cost you a good mini.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

December Dude a Day Challenge!

Ok for those who know me I am somewhat of a slow painter these days, this is why I usually only take single mini commissions. Add to this several things in my life going not so great in the last month I have been really struggling to "get my hobby on."

So to aid in the situation I have decided to challenge myself to getting at least one mini a day done.

How does it work:

Put aside at least 1 hour per day, usually you can squeeze in two if you can paint and watch TV.
At the end of each day you have to have at least one mini finished.
If you are batch painting squad miniatures, four half finished minis count as one fully finished mini.
Standard sized Vehicles count as one miniature. Super Heavies and large Miniatures count as two.

Clear finishes don't count towards the sum.

at the end of the month you should thus have finished one miniature per day plus a few extras on the days you get to put more time in.

Does it help? Yeah so far I have stuck to it every day this week, and I have deliberately chosen a month where time is difficult to grab.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

You Crack Me Up!

I was surfing the FTW links and saw this post by Drathmere.
I have experienced this a few times and while I commented on it over there I thought I would throw them up here for anyone else having similar troubles. So one with the show!

Contraction cracking, another bane that must be dealt with by painters.
Traditionally there are a list of issues that paints can suffer from, some which are inter-related, and these are below:
At the top of the traditional list are; Exposure, Elasticity Loss, Elastic Failure, Paint Adhesion Loss, Paint Blooming and Paint Blistering.

Paint Blistering is an easy one. It can be caused by a couple of things, most notably dirty or no properly prepared surfaces and moisture. Most of us are familiar with the two things we need to do before painting. First wash the Mould Release agent off, and then let the mini dry. These two steps will allow you to avoid paint bubbling 95% of the time. With resins it is also important to use a good primer. Also Using painting stands rather than holding the minis yourself will stop any oils from your fingers causing finishes and layers bubbling. All familiar things so one to the next topic.

Now we are all familiar with the Dreaded "Frosties!" and according to the painting dictionary this is called Paint Blooming.
"Paint Blooming - (blushing) - this is moisture getting into varnish, shellac, lacquer. This coating failure leaves a milky opaque (usually-white) cloud on (or actually within) the coated surface. Paint bloom may not wipe off with a fingertip as does most effloresence - so paint blooming is not the same visual effect as surface effloresence, many paint failure analysts use "bloom" for both cases and the cause might be the same - moisture."
Paint Effloresence is frosting on the surface that you can simply wipe off btw.
In some cases the Paint Frosting can be caused by Chemical incompatibility with the surface, this is very rare in miniatures as the traditionally used Matt Finishes we use are formulated for the job.
This is the topic of many many discussions and we all are familiar with it so I will move right along.

Exposure and Elasticity Loss don't generally effect us in Miniatures so I can probably skip these.

Elastic Failure is the point at which paint can no longer stretch and will crack. This can be cause by alot of things including paint too thick, many layers of paint and low elasticity of the paint. This last is important as generally we will use acrylics with do not have polymerisation compounds that allow them to stretch that little bit as they dry. This can lead to cracking very easily. Adding things like Paint Extender and Drying inhibitors can also change the elasticity of a paint, sometimes for the better (I notice that adding a little Retarder Medium to Reaper paints helps prevent them cracking when used over semi-gloss/gloss undercoats). This can also be related to Adhesion Loss.

Adhesion Loss is a big one and is when the top layers of paint loss their grip on the under-laying coats. There are a few causes of this. A big one is improperly prepared surfaces, this is caused by the same factors as Paint Blistering. Another primary cause is using incompatible paints such as Oils for automotive use under or over acrylics (in which case the solvents in the Oils will do nasty things all around). Using material specific paints like the PS line from Tamiya will also cause issues as they are formulated to peel of perspex. The last and most common reason paint will crack is using acrylics over a semi-gloss/gloss spray-packed undercoat. The top layers of paint will often have difficulty sticking to the smooth gloss finish underneath and will have a definite tendency to pulling away and cracking as the Matt Finish on top contracts while drying.

So what tips can I offer on possible fixes specifically for Paint Cracking:
First and foremost use a good primer; I use a light spray of Tamiya Light Grey "Fine" Surface Primer for Metal and Plastic before undercoating. It will even work on Resin. Be absolutely certain you get the "Fine" version and be very light handed with it as it will pool in detail really easily.
Also if you use a semi-gloss or gloss undercoat spray (like Tamiya Racing White or their Blue that is the same colour as Necron Abyss) you can try using a matt sealant after undercoating to stop the thin overcoats moving and chipping.
If you are using a semi-gloss, buy a slightly lighter tone than you want and once it dries wash the whole things with a pigment based wash with a little bit of dish-washing liquid in it, it helps and will play a dual role of adding down-tones to your base coat with very little work. I am going to guess that the Dish-washing liquid breaks up any volatiles left on the surface of the spray-pack but don't quote me on this.
A neat thing I found out was that you can use the Tamiya Perspex paints (the PS range), that will normally peel off (designed for painting inside the clear racing shells for remote control Racers). All you have to do it spray it on, let it dry and then spray some purity seal over it. There are some really different colours in the range that you don't normally see but are Great for really odd colour schemes.
Use thin coats and let them dry completely for at least a full day before Matt Finishing them. If you have trouble with a specific brand of paints try switching to another brand, there are a lot of companies making good paint, so experiment.
Finally sometimes you can get around the issue by using a Gloss Clear Finish first and when it dries a Matt Finish over the top. Alot of Gloss finished don't contract as much when drying. I recommend testing it out first.

Best of luck with your painting endeavours

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just Gotta Have Some!

Ron over at FTW asked us what our must have units are in armies. For me I would have to say it would be...
Ridiculously Expensive Elite Units...
I know this isn't exactly a single must have unit but let me expand a bit.
I love the ridiculously over the top hard hitting brutality of super tooled up elite units. Be they Terminators (Imperial, Grey Knights or Chaos), Immortals, Dreadnaughts, Wulfen, Sternguard Veterans, Storm Troopers, or well...uh... Witch Elves... I have a few armies and it is kind-of difficult to choose.

However of them all There are two stand-outs; Chaos Terminators and Witch Elves (which is why they get mentioned beside the plethora of 40k units).

Chaos Terminators are what really drew me down the dark path to Chaos, before the first Chaos Terminators came out (yes the Lead ones), I was a firm Vanilla Marine Player (along with Space Hulk!). But the Chaos Terminators just screamed cool. My First set of them have long since been striped, converted and repainted to serve in my,now illegal, Thousand Sons Army from the 'Dex before last. While not as spikey as their modern counterparts these models were the classic Opposite of their goody-two-shoes brethren for me. And the conversion opportunities are endless.
I only have one Chaos Army without them, my 750pts army. I am flat out fitting in the Troops let alone Elites, but don't worry I add Abaddon and lots of Termies for Apoc!!!

Witch Elves...yeah I hear you crying... they are weak... they get pwned by arrows from afar! I just have this irrational like for Witch Elves so much so that my one and only current Fantasy army has 40 of them in it!!! The current sculpts do the concept of them justice and my only gripe is that there are not enough poses. Sociopathic Elven Women in Chainmail Bikinis anyone?
Honestly I just love the current sculpts, I can't remember who did them, but they stand up well against the current range.

So I guess that about sums it up.

Until next time.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hazzah! Email back online.

Well from my last post you all would know that my email account got hacked. Well Microsoft managed to pry it open like an Ork with a power-claw peels open a tank. So it is all fixed again, however for those who want to commission work from me be aware that I am not taking commissions until after I do three things.

1) Update Sub's Underground. It has been far too long and I have to add the links to the shop which is being built.

2) Organise the Shop. I.e. finish the first run of products and do some casting. Plus finish registering and building the secure shop.

3) Organise another secure email account For commissions. I will still take single miniature commissions when I get the shop up and running, but it will not be a constant thing.

I realise that most of those reading this will think, commissions, wtf?
Brisbane locals who I have done work for will already know the low-down.

You may wonder to yourself, "what will this store sell?" Well not resin bases. Firstly there are too many people out there who are both members of FTW and better base designers than me making resin bases. If you are looking for good bases I can recommend you check out the List of stores on FTW. My personal picks of the bunch (in no particular order), are Dragon Forge, Secret Weapon Miniatures and for Aussies who want to pay a little less shipping, Back2Bas-ix.
As to what I will have, mostly 28mm scale generic conversion stuff. Things that enable you, the
modeller, to build cooler conversions by giving you a wider range of bits.
I will also do limited runs of 28mm scale miniatures in resin, yeah I know you are thinking "how limited?"
If they sell well enough I will likely do white metal versions with slight changes to the sculpts/more options on the sprue. Some of these miniatures may come with resin bases, as needs suit, but generally they will come with generic plastic bases (if I can find a good source of plastics).

So basically that is all the news. without further ado I give you two pics of some minis I did a while ago (found these while cleaning my hard-drive to determine if it was a virus or trojan that lead to
email fail)
A Kroot/Chaos Hound Conversion (can you pick the reference?)
And the Masque of Slaanesh I painted for the Chaos Daemons Dex Launch Painting Comp
although for some reason the masque pic is resized by the blogger software sigh!


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Travails of Emails!

So my Hotmail account got hacked. sigh...

so for anyone who wants to send me email they might notice that my email in the contacts section has changed, it now directs you to an email account on my website.

If you do happen to get emails from my hotmail account (for those of you I previously contacted) do not open them or reply to them!

just to let you all know.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Supply Chain Consists of...


What's point am I getting at? (*gasp* someone making a point!)

Ok so I commented a while back on FTW that we do Group Forgeworld Orders fairly regularly. Very cool and whatnot, and we have a group of guys getting cool figures to play with locally and spread the fun around.

Anyhow Last week we did an order and we got enough to get free express shipping, I shopped on Thursday 15th around 7pm Local time (Brisbane), which means they actually got the Order at FW Thursday AM UK time. I figured the usual couple of week wait would be in order so you can imagine my surprise and joy of getting home Tuesday arvo from the Day Job and had a nice big box waiting for me. I unpacked it and checked off that each kit was there, they were except for my Weathering Powder set (which I threw in to try), which was on back order. It wasn't until the next night when one of the guys came over to pick up his stuff that we decided to go through and check each kit to see if all the parts were there.

Stonecrusher Carnifex Complete Kit - check
Stone Crusher Upgrade pack - check
DKK Leman Russ Alpha Complete Kit - check
2x MkIV Red Scorps V-Dreads, with 2x MkIV Assault Drills + Multi-meltas - check
GK Tank Commander and Redeemer Upgrade pack - check
Valkyrie Transfers - check
IA Books - check
IA masterclass - check
Khorne Daemon Prince and Herald - ch........
Wait a minute where the zog are the Herald's arms and head?

Indeed they were missing!

So I sent of a couple of emails to customer service, nicely worded and with a copy of the order attached with a clear description of what exactly was missing and a note that it could easily be added to my Powders when they shipped to save them a little bit of dosh.

What do you notice here?

1) I did not get aggravated/irate or belligerent.
2) I stated clearly and concisely what was missing and provided as much information as I could.
3) I thanked them for their time and congratulated them on their great service (which is true)

Within 24 hours I got a response from them saying that they have sorted everything out and the parts will be winging my way very soon.

What we often forget as customers is that we can determine how we are treated based on how we treat those on the other side of the increasingly virtual counter. We can wail and gnash our teeth as much as we like, but in the end if we treat people well it automatically brings the disposition of those we are dealing with onto our side of the fence.
At the end of the day we are all human beings and we can make mistakes.

However; for those staff whose shop I am in and they are too busy on the phone to their best friends' cousins' friend (or whoever) to serve customers I have a clear message. I will take my money somewhere else. For people who would rather let their childish ego's get in the way of doing their job right and cost the company time/money; Shame on You! Grow the hell up!
(both based on true events)

So hoist a glass to the lad's at Forgeworld customer service and think of "Armless" Andy the Herald of Sleepy Hollow (geddit?), who is getting shiny new body parts.

In other Miniature related news, I got a sneak peak at the QLD entries for the OZ Golden Daemons tonight. I think the lads may have a tough time tomorrow picking the top three in some of the categories to go off to the finals.

until next time

Friday, October 16, 2009

Dances with Airbrushes...

I went to GW last night to meet up with some of the lads. We talked we went and ate we talked some more, and did some hobby (did a little work on my 13th Company). I got home about 11pm local and as I walked in my converted Shadowsword caught my eye in all its half finished glory so with all the attention span of a lobotomised gadfly I decided to snap some WIP shots before going and CAD-ing up the turbine mounts for steam punk jet packs. Here they are in all their less then perfectly focussed glory (yeah note to self don't take photos late at night without tripod):
The Doors on the engine bay are hinged so you can open them and look inside. When I can track it down in my backups I will post the CAD layout I did to work out how to build the Cannon and modified hull assembly. This was one of the plastic Baneblade kits and I built this conversion before the plastic Shadowsword kits came out. Details were added using bits of Forgeworld DKK Super Heavy Tank upgrade packs, plasticard, bits of the baneblade kit, and many many rivets made from dress makers pins and little tiny ceramic 1mm diameter balls I baught from Riot Art and Craft (which they don't stock anymore because the manufacturer went belly up).

So far I have done the first stage of oil washes, gotta do some free hand stuff and then all the weathering to finish her off. The model was sprayed first with Tamiya German Grey (TS4), then taped and lightly sprayed with Tamiya Haze Grey (TS32), then the edges of the cammo strips were teased with the Airbrush with a bit of Mechrite Red (yeah not my good fine detail airbrush but the all Stainless Auto-detailing one picked up cheap at an auction). When this all dried I removed the masking and airbrushed an all over oil wash of Burnt Sienna darkened with a pinch of Humbrol Black Matt 33. Why no Burnt Umber, there was none in stock when I went to the shop so I got the more rusty coloured Burnt Sienna. Be super careful using Turps as a thinner if you try to put too much wash on at one parts of the underlying paint will start to lift away, but if you do it right it add some really neat weathering effects by making realistic patches of cracking aged paint. Acrylics will be affected most easily by this.

It is looking Ok so far but it may not see any more work for a couple of weeks, I really need to do the freehand stuff before the rest of the weathering so maybe it will be a while.

As a tip, if you do an all over oil wash and want to quickly highlight it you can wait till the next day and get a soft rag, wet it with Turps and gently rub it along the edges to remove the darker wash. Shazam! Instant single stage highlighting.

Lastly I have tacked on a screencap of the centres of my steam punk jet packs. I have not added the turbines on either end yet, I decided to call it a night and havn't got back to finish them today.



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Group Orders and You!

Ok so a little while ago there was some discussion of FTW about Forgeworld and the cost of ordering from there. I mentioned at the time that a group of us Brisbanites get together and order as a group so we get the free express shipping.

Well last night I processed our latest group order, I should have done it tuesday night local when the $Au was better vs the GBP... could have saved us around $50. I know you are thinking this doesn't sound like a lot but when our order is around 350 Pounds and you look at the conversion rate it makes a difference. Hell being realistic about it if We/I managed to save that money it is almost the price of a Space Wolf Pack Box ($55 Au).

So I wanted to leave you with a couple of things to remember when ordering from Forgeworld:
Firstly - Get a group together to make that free shipping, if you order just the right amount you can also get around the nasty import tax a lot of countries have.
Second - watch the exchange rate, do your order via credit card when the exchange rate is good and you can save even more money.

Also here is something funny to remember about security settings when setting up a new server:
Cheers all


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ahhh, Newbians...

Ok so I started a Blog to go in tandem with my website.

For the most part it will comprise of random pontifications and other stuff will end up on here.

My core website Sub's Underground will host the majority of the heavy stuff. and alot of the news on there will be mirrored here to make life easy for News Feeds etc.

For now there is little up on here, but over the next couple of weeks as I update the Core Site i will add stuff here.