Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Soaring in the heavens, or descending into Hell: A Valkyrie story.

It's be a good long time since I've posted anything I might say it's because I've been too busy with gaming and other hobby stuff. Or I may say I was occupied with university or work, but they would be poor excuses. The truth is is mainly laziness that has prevented me form posting. But I haven't be completely inactive this whole time. I have managed to work on the flyers for my Rogue Trader themed Imperial Guard force. When I got my airbrush I started looking at different ways to paint with it.  One of the coolest tricks I found was salt chipping. So I soon got an idea to have my Valkyries display a high degree of wear and tear the reasoning being a Rogue Trader on a  lengthy voyage wouldn't be stopping off for a resupply regularly. I would spray my flyers with a bright metallic base, salt that sucker up, paint over the whole lot, and then just chip the salt away to reveal the bare metal of the fuselage.  Easy right?
First I set out for some metallic paint for the airbrush. After some research I discovered that normal metallic paint isn't suitable for airbrushing. Apparently the metallic particles in the pigment tends to
gum up the airbrush. There are products that allow metallic airbrushing like the Model Air range of paints from Vallejo.

What could go wrong?
But me being my usual impatient self just decided to use whatever was available locally in this case cheep silver spay-paint.

So first up I had to assemble the pair of Valkyries I had. I avoided using the instructions for most of the construction. But I had to check them for the location of some of the smaller parts. I stuffed up one of the wing weapon hard-points when I glued it in back to front the only thing that tipped me off was that the angle seemed wrong. Another this was I did was leave the pilots torsos out of the original construction I had to trim them a little to make them fit after they were pained. During the assembly I installed a series of 3mm circular magnets. The idea being that later down the track I could swap out the weapons or even convert them them Vendettas.

Assembly complete. 
Magnets on the hard-points.

Magnets behind the multi-laser.
Top off for future painting.

Magnets for the rear door too.
Rear door magnet works good. 

Blue painters tape to protect the primer.
The internals a light grey to reflect light. 

Internals painted.
Internals painted. 

Painted flight controls #2
Painted flight controls #1

More blue painters tape.

Blue-tac to protect the cockpit.

What have I done!

Painted pilots  

Canopy fitted over cockpit.
Canopy fitted over cockpit

Now it's time to start the salt coverage. I grabbed a small bowl of water, some paper towels, a brush, and and some salt. I laid the towel down to help with the mess then used the brush to paint on some small dabs of water I tried to keep the water to the edges of the model but often the surface tension of the droplets broke it was much easier to dab the water on the flat of a panel. Next I sprinkled salt over where I had added the water when the salt  touched the water it congealed otherwise it just fell off. I repeated this process until I thought I had  covered enough of the model. Then I grabbed my airbrush and begun layering up red paint until I couldn't see the base colors anymore. When I was done and the paint had dried I begun the very messy process of brushing all the slat off I used a small house paint brush it fairly soft bristles and the salt came off easily I ended up with a large red salty mess of dried paint. The effect of the chiping actually looked good; I guess because it was actually chipped paint. But the overall look of the miniature looked off. I think I simply used too much salt and in the wrong places.

Ready for the salt

Perhaps too much 

I like the effect but not the placement. Too much in the center of the panels, and too much overall. I think less will be more. 

See! warp is stretched
Forwarriors' fall,
Lo! weft in loom
'Tis wet with blood;
Now fight foreboding,
'Neath friends' swift fingers,
Our grey woof waxeth
With war's alarms,
Our warp bloodred,
Our weft corseblue.
"This woof is y-woven
With entrails of men,
This warp is hardweighted
With heads of the slain,
Spears blood-besprinkled
For spindles we use,
Our loom ironbound,
And arrows our reels;
With swords for our shuttles
This war-woof we work;
So weave we, weird sisters,
Our warwinning woof.

Saturday, 4 April 2015


Airbrushing the night away

So I recently got hold of an air brush. It was something I've been wanting to get for while. Learning all the ins and outs has been fun. Using it is definitely a skill I want to improve on if not master. A few of the things I have learned so far are.
  • Keep it clean
  • Flush with water after every use
  • Clean the needle and nozzle regularly
  • thin the paint. nope still too thick thin it more
  • Clean and flush it again  
  • Use thin paint, very thin paint
  • If you're going to have a problem its probably a dirty nossle or needle  
Beast of war have an excellent selection of introductory air-brushing videos for their backstages
Since I got this shiny new toy I figured I better use it. My first attempts were just on paper but I soon tried it out on some minis. I was a little over painting my imperial guard so I practily jumped a friends offer to help him with some Shadow of Brimstone miniatures. He backed the kickstarter and now had too many miniatures than he knew what to do with. Further more he isn't a wargamer so he wasn't used to the heaps of multipart plastic miniatures in sprue form, and wasn't relishing the prospect assembling them. I however enjoy all three sides to the hobby triangle. (assembly, painting, and playing) the miniatures were of acceptable quality, but lacking the multitude of fine detail found on GW miniatures that I have become accustomed to. The vent lines in the sprue were a little thick for my liking and made it a little difficuled when removing them from the sprue. Upon assembly I noticed another minor fault with the minis. Although they fitted together well the smother sculpts made for easily identifiably joins. Other companies have learned to hide joins like these under the edge of some detail like armour or cloth. Perhaps the visible joins were a symptom of an emerging company just starting out, poor quality control of a mass manufactured product that was rushed out to fulfil a kickstarter promise, or perhaps a sign of an uncompromising design direction; to create smother organic looking miniatures on a budget.  You'd think Liquid GreenStuff from GW would be the perfect thing to fix this problem, but you'd be wrong.

Harbinger I filled the gaps with liquid green stuff twice.
Yep looks good. Smoothed out those join lines

Goliath I filled the joins four times. The gaps were much more pronounced.

I think they still need work, but I just got sick of green stuffing and waiting for it to dry. 

First time air brushing. First I coated the mini in red then I browned the bony structure of the wings. The blue tack is to protect from over spray.

Next step is a flesh tone on the wings. The air brush laid down a very smooth layer of paint.

Green and flesh base colours.
Highlights, glaze, and gloss varnish to make it look wet and slimy  

I think it worked

Air brush and dry brushing. I used blue tack to protect the different shades of green from over spray.


For the longest time I've wanted a Gaming table. But I've also wanted the opportunity to play on a variety of terrain, and I don't have the space to store a 4' by 6' table. The solution I figured was a modular table with modular terrain. Several companies have offered different types of tile. Even GW but I was never happy with tether the cost or the size, So begun a slow burning idea for 1' by 1' custom terrain tiles. I figured  I could create a variety of tiles all the same thickness and size. And as my collection grew I could mix the different stiles together. I could have battle scared cityscape slowly transfer into a cratered muddy no-mans land then finally into a trench network; then change it up the next time I played.  The best bit would be that the tiles would be thick enough so that the craters and trenches were actually in the ground rather than the typical wargaming terrain sitting on top.  I started out drawing the designs on top of 5mm tick foam-core then I would stick that on top of insulation foam sheets. For years I've been looking for a local supplier of insulation foam. This wonders material than every hobby blog said to use and would be available in any hardware store. Perhaps North Australia isn't in need of as much insulation as North America or Europe because I could never find the stuff. Then one day when I was looking to order some from the cooler states down south I found a stock listing for a local hardware store "pink foam; perfect for insulation and hobby needs" so I decided to make up some test pieces to see if my idea was sound. I decided on a urban road theme for my test.          

I sandwiched two layers of foam core together drew on the design and scored the lines for the concrete joins.  Then painted the scores black to hide the white foam core and provide shading.

I used textured paint for the concrete
I had to make up some textured paint for the asphalt

Sand box sand and black craft paint. Yum.
A stepped creator or collapsed road

Each step is wide enough for a mini
Each sheet is 30mm perfect for a GW mini

Air brush to stencil on the white lines
I think my concept is sound

    The next step is to see if my local hobby club is interested in using this system for their tables. If so then I can utilized their expertise to create better tiles before producing a full set for myself.


Monday, 16 March 2015

The Bespin Affair

Tay tried to push the medical droid's hands away. He was sure his head was just fine but M3 insisted that Kodo undergo a battery of test something about deficient mental functioning. Tay had more calls to make he had already contacted Genko he was surprised that the major domo had been so accommodating when confronted with the truth. Darqa was right honesty was the best policy in this case, but Tay remained sceptical about relying on it too heavily. He had also put calls out to Goova. The Oonta matriarch wasn't surprised in the least to receive the call. She had playfully inquired if Kodo had been to Bespin recently. She had said that the museums were quite exciting. Tay had no idea how Goova had already heard about the cloud city indecent let alone linked it to the Raging Dewback's crew. The Oonta clan was certainly in safe hands now that Goova was out of retirement. She still appeared to be fond of Kodo and had happily did him a favour, it only took her minuets to supply Tay with the contact details of Enu one of the few Info brokers Tay trusted to supply him a false identification and keep it secret. M3 was coming at him again with some kind of probe. Tay protested.

Please Dr 4T, I assure you I am fine! If there was anything wrong with my head I wouldn't have been able to pilot that stolen cloud guard speeder upside down, along the main avenue of could city against the flow of morning rush-hour traffic. Would I?

M3-4T paused as he calculated the odds of a mentally comprised individual executing the manoeuvres that Kodo had preformed. The odds were ridiculously high. But so was a chance of a completely healthy pilot performing the same actions. M3 then analysed the manoeuvres Kodo had preformed during the high speed escape. And compared them to the manoeuvres he had used to win the cloud city grand prix the day before. M3 calculated that Kodo's reaction times were comparable with no desirable degeneration of performance.

Hmm… Perhaps you are correct Kodo. But how do you explain Darqa's description of your symptoms?

The droid’s voice somehow conveyed a mixture of concern and interest despite its synthetic quality.
Tay waved his hand in a dismissive gesture.
Look. Doctor its simple; that witch Eliza cast some kind of spell on me.  Why don't you take Thal down to the cargo hold and check on your owners new freeze unit? That's why we came to Bespin after all.
Tay was sure that M3 wanted badly to check on his owners but the Medical Droid had hardly left the crews side, tending to wounds that Tay and Darqa had hastily patched during the flight from the museum. Tay had never seen such dedication in a droid before. 
M3-4T pondered what Kodo had said. He badly wanted to examine the vitality data of the carbon freeze units to check for any ill effects the malfunction may have had on his patients. But he was genuinely concerned about his crew. Darqa’s description of events seemed to indicate that Kodo was somehow influenced by the elder woman. M3 discounted Kodo's magical superstitions. Perhaps it was some kind of manipulation of intelligent microscopic bacterial by morphic fields? No that was more ridiculous than Kodo's witchcraft. He glanced at Darqa sleeping under heavy sedative on the lounge. The wounds the Gotatl?? had received would have killed several lesser beings.   

Ok Kodo you do seem fully functional. I will be close by, please call if you feel any dizziness. Or if Darqa begins to stir.

Kodo was relived to be spared M3's probe.

Thail you should go with Dr 4T he may need your technical know how.

Alone, Tay had time to think about the heist. That gem was bigger than any he had seen before.  And  there was something special about it more than the legend around it . He was sure about it. Something had felt odd when he held it, a scratching sensation between his antennae. He had to hand it to Arend Shen. Steeling the gem and hacking the cloud city banking system to redirect the auction funds was a great idea. As usual the high and mighty needed someone to carry out their dirty deeds. Kodo was familiar with the power plays of wealthy families from his time on Coruscant . Tay was sure Mr Shen would be quite busy dealing with the fallout between Marus Greyson, Kaltho The Hut, and Vorse Tabarith and not to mention the Wing guard investigation. Yes much too busy to bother about a simple criminal who betrayed him. His daughter Aris however was a different matter. That blue skinned beauty was very determined to succeed. Tay was sure she would be able to avoid any unpleasantness her father and husband got themselves into, and Tay suspected that she was the true brains behind her fathers gem plot. Tay leaned back and thought about each encounter they had together.

The secrete meeting in the market as she slipped away from her husbands minders.
The playful negotiations at the safe house apartment with those bribed wing guard outside. Kodo had played hard ball and she had called his bluff. She was a cool customer and yet Tay was sure he caught her steeling glances at him during the meeting.
Tay's suspicions were confirmed when he danced with Aris at the museum during the silent auction. The way her touch had lingered on his neck and how she had hung on his every word. Tay could tell she was intoxicated by his talent displayed during the Cloud City Grand Prix, winning the race while avoiding both cloud born life forms, and blaster fire from the elite pro racing teams. Holo-vids of Tay in disguise standing up out of the open canopy of the sky car, arms raised catching flowers and streamers as he crossed the finish line, flames still fanning out of the overstressed engines were all over the Holo-net.          
The desperation in her voice as She had commed for them after the heist had turned sower. Tay remember how he had felt a stab of shame as her calls of concern had changed into rage at the realisation that the funds transfer hadn't gone into the prearranged Shen account. But Tay new her feelings were still conflicted. As Tay had stood in the open of the Holo-park guiding Thal into land, he had been caught dead in Aris's sights, but the blaster bolt had gone clear over Tay's head. Aris had wavered at the last moment. And Tay had seen her pouting in rage as he had said his Farewells sprinting up the landing ramp of the Dewback. Tay had never met her type before but was sure he would get the chance to again, and despite the danger or perhaps because of it he relished the idea.

But first their was the matter of a fist sized gem and another mysterious lady Elaiza was equally as fascinating as Aris Shen but for completely different reasons. Aris was a foil to Tay's personality someone like himself, a kindred sprit of sorts. Elaiza was a mystery or a riddle to be solved. Tay had always been good at reading people for as long as he could remember he could read them and then tell them exactly what they anted to hear. Its was Tay's trade M3-4T under stood the working of life and how to heal the sickly. Thal was a brilliant engineer and mathematician who was privy to inner workings of a star. Darqa was a precision machine his body and reflexes were tuned to the identification of danger and elimination of threats. Tay understood how peoples minders worked he could read the face of a mark and exploit the weakness he found the boredom of a guard, or the desire of a bank clerk. Tay was a master of lies, but he couldn't impose his thinking onto another. He could only subtlety manipulate. But Elaiza had done the impossible she had simply told Tay that she needed the gem, just out right said it "I need the gem to save the Galaxy." what a terrible lie, there was no way anyone would believe it. But Tay had. One Second Tay had was thinking what an amateur. You may be a master Cat-Burglar to have climbed up the waste-shoot, but you don't know anything about manipulation. Then the next thing she slowly waved her hand and said those eight words and Tay had believed. Believed it with every fibre of his being, then a few minuets later he had realised how stupid that sounded. Save the Galaxy, how daft was that!  As much as Tay wanted to go after the gem he wanted Elaiza, well he wanted that old witch's powers. Tay remembered the same scratching sensation between his antennae when he was speaking to Elaiza as when he held the gem. He could still feel it now if he concentrated hard enough. A scratching, itching, feeling between, inside? No was it beyond his antennae?!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Damurus Highland Levy

My painting progress on the forces militant of Rogue Trader Atticus Havlock is continuing slowly.
I decided that synced that Damurus is a cold world the PDF would have white or light blue uniform with green sections synced is also an agri world. I painted up two miniatures with opposite colours on the cloth and armour to see what the finished product would look like.

I didn't like the plain white.
A blue wash improved it a lot.

I decided to go with green armour and blue cloth. I just hope the finished product doesn't look too much like Cadians. After selecting my scheme; I started my paint line when batch painting I like to paint each model the same to the same stage. I base each one I turn before changing colours or moving to highlighting.

So far the I am enjoying the results I still need to paint the flesh and pick out the details and finish the highlighting but I think they look good.

Base colours done. Still a lot more to do.

Unfortunately my shiny new toy didn't arrive in time to save me from base coating. I finally took the plunge and got an airbrush. I took the advise of my FLGS when purchasing the brush, having no experience with airbrushing I had no idea on what to buy. Apparently what I have is a good beginners brush that wont break the bank and will handle some more advanced techniques when my ability improves. It sounded exactly like what I wanted. And so far I am extremely happy with it.
I was also offered caned air or a miniature air compressor to purchase. I simply decided to use my existing air compressor, I figured if it can handle driving nails form a nailgun then it could probably blow paint.
I needed to grab some fitting to connect the small airbrush hose to the standard airline couplings, but other than that there were no problems.

Star  SAP-BR  .2 nozzle
Custom air hose. yep I be pimping.

The large tank allows for prolonged use.
Once set up I proceeded to start using the brush. My first attempts were on a sheet of paper with just water in the paint cup, just to get the hang of the trigger. Next I tried some black paint. I quickly learnt just how tricky is was using an airbrush. I needed something more than blank paper to practise on so I grabbed one of my sons partly completed colouring in books an attempted to colour between the lines; I suddenly felt like I child again. My first attempts were pitiful, but I quickly realised what was the cause of my difficulties. My paint was too thick, way too thick. I liberally added some flow medium and some 50/50 water Windex mix. (about one equal part of each) and was soon on my way to air brush competence if not mastery.
It took me a while to figure out the paint.
First attempt with paint. 

once I thinned out the paint things were much easier.
Straight after I worked out how thin the paint needed to be I started on painting my first miniature with the airbrush. I will post about it soon, I've already built a wall of text in my previous short story blog.
The paint must flow.