Saturday, March 26, 2011

Moving Hell Part 1?

First the good news: all the single 25mm figs I've ever done fit in these army cases from GW. I've had them a few years and they always do a good job.

To save them from the moving apes I had to put them in 2 different boxes almost perfectly designed to fit them by U-Haul. I have two different Army Transport Cases holding 15mm and other painted stuff that were packed similarly. No outside damage was apparent, so I consider these "safe". The most problematic to pack were the recently posted Dervish I had just finished:

 I keep around old, but well cleaned, britches and mismatched socks to use as both painting rags and as stuffing for boxes just like these. Here, I'm optimistically unveiling them ...
And here's what I found: 
As I said on TMP, if you didn't pack for upside down you didn't pack them.

That's a magnetic sheet on the bottom there. The big fear here is figures broken off at the ankle. That is just simply un-repairable in 15mm. Broken spears I can replace but luckily neither occurred; there were bent spears but that was about it when I untangled this mess.
Unexpectedly and almost at the last minute I learned I did get to drive a personal car during the move and was able to convey the rest of my un-packable and large 15mm collection myself which naturally arrived unharmed. Remember this before & after shot?
I found layer cake separators (sheets of thin but sturdy cardboard) at Walmart and placed them between each of the drawers finally putting them in a close fitting box. I padded the sides and they arrived in the car ok after three days on the road.

You might ask, why not put the Dervish in those too? Well, the drawers were all full of Dark Ages, ACW, and Napoleonics - there was simply no more room. Circumstances, historically with me, have not favored Arab tribesmen one bit it seems ...

I reserve the right to post again if I find more damage but the painted stuff is, of course, my main concern. Thanks for looking! Questions, comments and followers are welcome!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

25mm Copplestone Zombies

It's a fun exercise to paint the same figure in a number of different ways to add variety ...
Boxer types ...
Suited up ...
Biker types ...
And a coupla lads in their y-fronts ... That's a spare zombie head from a GW sprue with green stuffed hair.
The sets I got had quite a few malformed appendages so out came the green stuff and now they are lovely burn wounds ...

 Thanks for looking - Questions, comments and followers are welcome!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Slushy Snow Basing - Day by Day

This entire 1812 Russian retreat game will all be based on snow bases. I'll just start at the beginning: DAY ONE:  First I clean, then Zap a Gap figures to appropriately sized fender washers. These happen to be an inch across. DAY TWO: Then before I add anything other than the fig to the bases, I wash these in hot soapy water with an old toothbrush to clean off mould release powder and any grease that accumulated -washers too.

DAY THREE: I've used all these at one time or another but for this particular project I used the Liquitex at left because it's grit free and smooth.

With an old putty knife I apply to what was once a lid for Dannon Yogurt. When they are new I use them for paint palettes as the plastic repels paint nicely. But over time they get transferred to putty and glue palettes as seen here.

With a wet toothpick I apply it around the model. It's helpful to have water in a small container around to keep your present material soft and spreadable. I just use a spritzer bottle and apply it to the other end of the palette and mix it in when needed.

For these and the celebrating Cossacks I went and leveled it down but I suppose for future figs in this series I should let it pile up instead of tapering it down to the edge. Snow should be the highest spot on the base not the mud which I had to reverse later.

When all this dries I'll prime it black on DAY FOUR.

After painting the figs DAY FIVE but before sealing them I'll assemble the materials seen above.

Burnt Umber goes down as a basecoat followed by a coarse drybrush of White - any white will do. I did do a test model with a light blue gray trying to get an icy colored base to work with but I found the snow material - unless applied in many many many coats - simply does not cover it well and always looked gray rather than snow white.

I prefer the edges to be a bit cleaner to 1) match the table material and 2) show these guys are probably dancing mostly in place and will have kicked up the snow they are standing directly on. So unless there was a really deep crease I painted the outer edges a good solid white making sure to obscure entirely the Burnt Umber underneath. On DAY SIX I did my usual seal routine: one coat of Testor's gloss, two coats of Dullcote.
DAY SEVEN: Missing an image here but now that the figures have a flat dull cote on them I use that Vallejo Gloss and paint all the little pits of Burnt Umber under the white to give the illusion of wet mud underneath the snow. I left the white alone as I'm going to cover it later.

Out comes the PVA, toothpicks and old palettes again ...
I use the Woodlands Scenics stuff but mostly because I've had it for years poured out into a wider mouthed container.

DAY EIGHT: Bah, I'm missing a couple pics here but they don't ultimately look much different. Basically I apply white glue to all the white areas and dip it into the snow material. It's ok to be sloppy - just leave plenty of that glossy brown showing through between the white, DAY NINE: After that's dried I go back to that Burnt Umber color and thin it WAY down - maybe 10:1 water to paint and apply that thinned material near the biggest brown areas under the feet. Don't be startled but the surrounding snow material will quickly absorb and then stain itself everywhere - especially in places you wouldn't want. I wanted it to discolor only the snow under the feet where they were landing but it spread out to the edges in some places. Just apply it very carefully and don't have too much of that water on your brush.

DAY TEN: To fix that unwanted brown stained snow on the edges I mixed together PVA, White paint and a bit of water and applied that to all the highest piles on each base making sure to get the edges covered pretty solidly. Dip that again in the snow material. I didn't bother much with the area under the feet again as the random discolorations looked perfect to me - just the highest spots that were left untrampled.

That pretty well covers it - during the tests I had to go over the brown snow repeatedly as the the snow doesn't effectively cover it without the addition of white paint to the glue.

Hopefully this will help a bit - I looked at tons of pics of wintry, slushy and snowy roads and this came out basically how I saw it though I had to make modifications as I went along. In future, every application of snow will be held down with the white paint and white glue mix rather than the white glue on its own.

Thanks for looking - Questions, comments and followers are welcome!

25mm Old Glory Cossacks Celebrating!

These were a blast to paint even though they have no battlefield utility at all. One could make an easy case that it was a waste of time. I had considered adding a lance slung over all their backs but that would have been too time consuming and I didn't feel like sculpting all the slings that would be necessary.
Imagine them maybe kicking down doors?
Normally I would have put a wash of GW Ogryn Flesh Wash over these shirtless ones but I don't think they spend MUCH time shirtless in the winter so left it off to keep them appearing pale.

I'm sure it's wrong but I had Brave Combo's Hosa Dyna in my head while I painted these:  Russians, Ukranians and Cossacks are not the same peoples and can be territorial over their identities.

Still bits of gloss showing through here and there. It might be finger oil too as I've had to handle them to do the bases for quite a while to build up the snow bases.

I'm doing an 1812 Russian retreat game and these celebrating cossacks are wearing their finer clothes. When I get to the fighting figures I'll be doing more muted and darker tones - less reds, more browns and grays.
There's only six body sculpts in this pack and here are the three not dancing.

There are three dancing sculpts - one with out a shirt. This is the first 4 of 8 ...

... and 5-8 ...
You can see the mud spatter on the boots a bit better on these.

These had NO equipment except for these knives on one of the dancing sculpts.
This is the second dancing sculpt with the the coat relatively inanimate.

All reds were done with my new recipe: Vallejo Model Color (VMC) Cadmium Burnt Red as an undercoat base (1 simple coat does the trick) Then a VMC Red as a base color added in was Vallejo Game Color (VGC)  Bloody Red into the VMC Red for the final highlight. Wherever you see red sashes and hat bags I didn't bother to mix the colors but used VGC Bloody Red on its own.

Cossack Mandoliers - a lovely instrument.

I could have done more with the steins but got lazy towards the end here ...

One of my favorites in this pack ...

Here's all the blue coated ones ...

... the gray coated ones ....

... the red coated ones ...

... and the brown/tan coated ones.

These are the second dancing sculpt with mostly closed coats. I wanted to make sure I had no duplicate paint jobs while at the same time having a fairly limited palette. You can see identical sculpts here but they are differentiated enough through paint alone.

These are the third dancing sculpt with more open coats.

Overview of the basing; I'll have a tutorial up soon ...