November 22, 2009

Getting warmer...

So after a long night of wondering about light, fire and miniatures I have managed to figure out a little more of the OSL. I put it into practise today and came up with a few interesting results. I have realised that I don't need to change the temperature of the light when it gets further from the source. I also needed to consider the role of ambient light better! Now I don't have a clue if I am using the correct terms but I am attempting to explain in an easy to follow manner. I hope I manage that!One of the things that is probably important is to only introduce the light source once it overpowers the ambient light. So essentially only paint the orange colour once it is as bright or a little brighter than the surface it is reflecting from.

PhotobucketI began with the robes. I painted GW Orkhide Shade back over the area that I intended to illuminate. I did this as the area would be much brighter than the rest of the robe which only gets ambient light. This place reflects both ambient and source light. With the basecoat down I then decided upon the colour to warm everything with. I chose Vajello Hot Orange. This I then mixed into the Orkhide shade and layed it down over the illuminated area leaving a little of the pure Orkhide around the edges. I layerd this on with progressively warmer mixes. Once this was dry I watered pure Hot Orange down to a wash and layered it over the areas closest to the flame. After a few coats this came out very bright on the highest surfaces. I then watered some Vajello Gold Yellow down and put the tiniest layer over the closest surfaces. This changes the look dramatically and it is important to be very sparing. Too much on makes the area look light it is a light source itself. Once this was all dry I looked at it and decided that it was much too bright. I had intended it to be so as I knew with a wash of orkhide shade I could turn down the intensity. I washed the entire illuminated area including the spots that I had left with the mix of Orkhide shade and Hot orange with a very thinned down Baal Red. This tied any mistakes from the washes together a little better. Once that was done on went the wash of Orkhide Shade. This worked like magic. The glow was dampened to a more realistic level.

PhotobucketThe flesh proved a little more difficult. As it is lighter it can't really be done in the exact same way. I haven't figured it out exactly yet but the results are passable. I simply put GW Tallarn Flesh over the entire are to be lightened. I then washed it as I did the robes and finally washed the entire area again with GW Tallarn Flesh. This leaves a strong contrast against the pale flesh. The tallarn wash gives a very warm rosey colour that rises to the orange of the flames. It has a little less strength in the colour than upon the robes but that is fine as it is fractionally further from the source. So what do people think? I would really value some feed back on this as I don't know if it looks that good. As I am generally always unhappy with my painting I sometimes can't judge if something actually is okay. So let me know if you like it or more importantly if you don't.

I have been experimenting a little further with the robes on the Cultists. I guess experiment is the wrong word. I thought the grey section of the robes I am painting at their backs was pretty boring. I am going to free hand some designs onto them to enliven the miniatures a little. Here is the beginning of a design on the first model.Photobucket

November 21, 2009

My arm is on fire


I am struggling with Object Source Lighting. I have started the first flagellant that will have the effect and well parts of him look good. I struggled first with painting the flames as they should be. I have managed that decently but not perfectly.

The Flame: I began with a solid white basecoat which I washed with yellow a number of times to build up the colour. I then washed orange over a smaller area and finally some red. This turned out oaky. The problem I have encountered is that the flame tongues are rather large and round and almost feed from the base of the flame right to the top. This means that when washing the watered paint will still run to the base if too much is applied. I had to thicken the paint a little more to prevent it running too much. Eventually I realised that this was not enough and went back over the entire flame with a yellow wash. This tied stuff together well but sat deeply in the long crevasse at the centre of the flame giving a solid yellow centre that didn't look right. I went along then and shaded the flames to remove some of that yellow and enliven the whole effect I darkened the tips to GW red gore with a little black at the very top. I will have to go back and ass some white to the flames I think but so far they seem to have come out alright considering that I have done them rather quickly. There is a good tutorial here.

The Light: This is tough. A lot tougher than I imagined and I didn't help myself much with the colours chosen. The problem I am having is with the change in the spectrum of the light due to its proximity to the source. I was using Vajello Hot Orange for my light base colour which I intended to highlight with a little yellow. Firstly the model I was working on had blonde hair. Straight away I didn't really know how to proceed. Eventually I felt brave and just applied some orange 'highlights' to the hair. I remember Old Fogey on the Warhammer forum remarking that OSL was just highlighting with different/funny colours. With that in mind I applied some yellow over the orange around the hair and face. This is the area closest to the flame. I then washed this with Baal Red to see what happened. Once dry it looked great! So I am pretty happy with the face. The light skin and hair took the paint and OSL well.

Now everything else I wanted to put the light on was further away and as such the light would have grown less intense. I felt that the orange was still fine and that a slight yellow highlight would be best. I went straight to the dark green robes and put on the Orange. Immediately this was looking wrong. The orange gave a strange effect. I continued onto the arm holding the brand and applied the orange. Again it looked wrong. I continued as sometimes only once the model or technique gets close to being done does it start to look correct. Alas this still ended up a failure. I washed it with red to darken the colours but no that didn't help. Simply put it was terrible.

I still don't have it figured out but I went back and in putting the base coat over everything again I realised that maybe I was forgetting to generally highlight the robe around the light source and that leaving it dark just wouldnt work. The daylight faded here now so tomorrow I will continue. What I am guessing I need to do is give the robe in this area a much lighter tone highlighting it up well beyond what I have done in the other areas. Once this is complete I can then apply some of the light from the source. I really don't have a clue what colour I should use. Stick with an orange or change to red? Hopefully this will be the solution I need. A good look at some different light sourced models can be seen here.

The flesh is a different story as it is the exact opposite of the robe and is already very light. When reappling the GW Tallarn Flesh basecoat it looked horrible. I will have to redo the arm completely. I experimented with some red gore as a wash along the skin but it looks a little like blood. Possibly some vajello Hot Orange would be best? As this part is of the same intensity/distance as the adjacent robe I am assuming that they would both need the same colour. However as one comes from such a dark base and the other such a light one I can't seem to get it to work. I remember that Curse of Beers on the Warhammer Forum mentioned that the object recieving the light needs to be dark enough to show it. Maybe that is where I am going wrong with this? I need to have dark skin.

I have seen a great article here that deals with a blue light source. I really think that I could manage that fairly easily. It seems that the more fickle spectrum of fire light is causing me a lot of problems. Anyway it seems I will have to start bugging some better painters than I for some answers!

November 19, 2009

The Sons are ready

The Marauders are now finished. I wanted to get them done for the Northern Wasters monthly painting challenge. While the deadline for that is next week I know I won’t have much time to get them done with work coming up! I am happy with how they came out. The cloaks could have been better. My sculpting skills are not really that good yet and while the painting made up for it a little I still think I could have done better. I do want to add some ivy to the bases here and there, but that can wait until after this tournament. As the ivy is expensive I will have to reserve it for the front ranks and sides as there is little point in having it buried deep in a regiment where nobody can see it. I might look for some ferns too as they would really add a good undergrowth feel to the bases.

The army has garnered a lot more attention on the Warhammer Forum than my stuff usually does, so that’s nice. I intend only putting up finished work there rather than the work in progress shots. I will use this blog for that. I also intend having all the photographs up here first so blog followers get a preview!

Now that the Sons of the Bear are finished I have started on the Keepers of Truth. These represent a southern cult that now accompanies the army. I have wanted to paint these models since they were released. I really think that they are quite characterful. I am keeping the robes as dark as possible while maintaining the pale skin. The reason for the dark robes will be the regiment wide object source lighting effects. As four of the models carry fire brands, well one guy has his head on fire, I want to do some OSL. My first attempts with the hounds were poor so this is still going to be a steep learning curve. I hope that by making the robes dark I can more easily make them appear to brighten due to the glow of the fire.

At the moment I am attempting to figure out a nice way to paint the fire. I thought it would be easier than it has proved. Looking at a lot of guides on the internet has just proven that everybody does it a little differently! I am having a major problem in getting the fire to look dark as otherwise the entire regiment will need to be lighted. The achievement of the darkness of the fire is hampered by the fact that the flames are massive. I have left my test to dry overnight so hopefully when I check tomorrow it will have begun to look nice.

I will be beginning work in my new position on Monday. I am pretty excited and a little overwhelmed. Hopefully all goes well. I got the grand tour of the office yesterday. It was nice to see how these games get developed. My hours will be quite flexible so if it suits I might still catch some daylight for painting. I will know after a few weeks. I had better stay searching for those lamps I think. My tournament preparation continues. Resurgence 09 is only a week away. I have the entire army based but not painted. Hopefully I will still qualify for some of the painting points that way. It is far from ideal but all I can manage at the moment. The lists have been submitted and it seems every Elf army has a dragon. I haven’t really played against large flying beasts much so hopefully I can avoid draws against these players. At least there are no Daemons or Lizardmen armies present so I am a little happier. They are two armies I don’t want to face. We are just awaiting a ‘hardness’ rating for each of the armies and then they will be drawn against each other based upon that rating. An interesting system that will hopefully have the true nastiness facing each other as much as possible!

Here is a nice shot of the sunset behind my house just as I am typing this!

November 16, 2009

Working like a dog

My hounds seem to have a starting role in this blog! They have by far the most pictures. Sorry for the poor quality of these ones. I can't seem to manage to edit them in any form before putting them up. I shall have to experiment a little more I think! Here you can see what I am going for on the bases. While they are not completely finished they are close. Only one or two more additions of materials and that will be that. The forest theme hopefully comes out well enough? The grass is a little too pale. There are actually three variations in the colours put here as I was experimenting a little. I doubt if anyone will notice. The first colour used is GW dead grass (Totes Gras when I asked for it!). It is really uniform and looks like a Teddy Bear's shavings. I wasn't convinced with it so when I was home last I picked up what I normally use. This consists of years of mixing various grass products and when applied here came out too green! I finally arrived at a mix I liked when I combined the dead grass with Noch Conquest Grass. I applied this around the other pieces on the bases to make a subtle shift from the completely dry to a more living green colour. With that done I just needed to add some small green clumps for undergrowth, some moss to the logs and then some leaves to give a more forest feel. That is basically how the armies bases will look. Once I get the final pieces on the base I will go back and add more leaves to get better coverage.

The marauders have continued despite the gloom. I managed a really early start on them today and got a lot done. I have only a little to do with them now which is nice. I guess by tomorrow they will be completely finished apart from the bases. I suppose I should go and order what I need to finish the bases. I guess it won't just arrive by itself! Anyway the marauders have taken me a little longer than expected. Thats due to my own laziness. Expect an update soon, maybe wednesday, on these guys.

Suprisingly I have found a job! A real one at that too. I am pretty suprised as I have only been in Germany for two months now and my language skills are still rather poor. The best thing about the job is that it is for a games company! Thats a huge departure from the previous career but a welcome one. So this means I will have a lot less time for painting and that I will have a far different schedule for when I can paint. At the moment I am only painting during the day when I can get some good sunlight. As I will be working during the day now I will only have the evenings to paint. I went out and got myself some daylight bulbs. This is the second time I have bought some. The last time I never even managed to use them once! I have been looking around for some lamps I can put on the desk but haven't found anything useable. All the lamps I find are for 60W bulbs while the ones I have are 100W. I will have to cast my net further afield and see what I can come up with. I really don't want to have to invest a lot of money into two lamps for the desk.

Another things I am going to be constructing is a wet palette. I always wondered exactly what they were and when I saw Noeste's wet palette guide I finally realised I can make one! I thought they were some really specialised and hence expensive piece of equipment. Thankfully they are not. As I will soon be painting the larger Marauder regiment of eighteen this will be useful. I have been painting the smaller regiment in groups of three and this can lead to variations in the colours achieved. The skin on some of them has come out lighter or paler than others While this is actually not such a bad thing especially as the colours are only subtly different I would still like to keep a uniform appearance as much as possible.
Hopefully this experiment works well...

November 13, 2009

A little box in a big box

My Battlefoam case finally arrived. Well in truth I had to go to customs to collect it. I of course misunderstood what I would need to bring as the forms were completely in German. I eventually convinced one of the guys there to search behind for the box. It took them a while but they got it for me. That was great because I don't leave near the customs office at all! I really didn't want to have to return home for a tiny slip of paper, especially with the chill winds around today.

Looking at what arrived I was quite impressed that it need such a big box. The foam was not inside the case but packed all around it making for a massive box. I got five trays all custom cut. One is purely for storage of cavalry models rather than transport. Anyway when I looked at the trays first I thought "damn, my army wont fit in these". I was wrong and not for the first time today as you will see. Anyway I grabbed out all my models and started fitting them in. I was most concerned about the hounds as there appeared to be no correct spaces for them at all. Funnily when I started packing things in I noticed that the spaces I assumed were for Chaos Warriors were actually for the hounds. It is a snug fit especially for some that I have lifted from their hunched pose. Its great though all twenty of them will fit in. I wonder will I ever use that many though. The marauders fit in fine too. The cavalry fit but its not great. The tray for them is four inches deep while the models (mine at least) are much lower. In some cases they are over an inch short leaving a lot of 'wiggle' room in the case. I am not sure if this would lead to any damage especially as they are plastic. Mine are so short because I have cut all the horns off and don't use the lances or standards. It would have been nice to have made that tray a little less thick. I still have to check how my characters fit in though. I am assuming that they will be taller. Some of the holes on the tray I have no clue what fits into them yet!

My second wrong assumption came up at this point. I have seven inches of foam but the case only fits six. When I went to put the trays in I couldn't fit one of them. At this point I got really annoyed, especially when considering the extra height on the cavalry tray thats not really being used! I tried a few things but they just wouldn't go it. So to the phone and one embarassing phone call later I managed to get all the trays in! Firstly I had to remove the top protective sheets and then I just followed the guy on the phones instructions to push and in went all seven inches of tray! I really felt stupid but to be honest it wasn't that apparent when I was just looking at them. The trays do take a little bit of force to get in and it really is a snug fit. What would concern me is that some models don't fit 100% within the trays and things like weapons and shields hang out. This is partly my own fault as I have not always glued the models in the standard poses. Shoving them into the case would result in breakage I am sure especially as the protective lids of the trays don't fit. I can pack the larger cavalry tray on top as none of the models look out of that so it saves scraping against the interior on the way in and out. I am not totally convinced but hopefully all will go well.

As for the tray and the pack they are well produced. I had some text put on them and it looks good. On the infantry trays it is a little crooked but it would seem that there was not much space to work with really and having any text there at all is pretty impressive! They are well constructed and glued together. The pack has good pockets for extras such as movement trays dice and books. With the pockets filled I hope it still fits in the overhead luggage compartment. Looking at it now I am thinking it probably has some room to spare! Ryanair seem to have generous volume for hand luggage. I will be testing it in about two weeks I think.

November 11, 2009

Slowly slowly


I might get these Marauders done within the week yet. I have three finished of twelve at least. I had to experiment with the colours a little as I wasn't sure how they would all go together. I can really see how rusty (and possibly lazy) I have become in regards to painting. My transitions in the blends are poor and I really need to work out how I used to do them. It probably just means a bit more time and effort invested per model. While these are gaming models I still want them to come out as best as possible. Most of the problems emerged on the trousers. The stark transitions I managed were not what I wanted. A glaze brought them back into realms of normality at least. Then the highlight over the scorched brown for the belts and straps are far to subtle. A problem I also have to keep in mind is the beards. The colurs on them can easily look similar to the other browns I am using. At least with these three guys I can keep the beards quite red and not worry. On the others they may start to blend in too much.

The cloaks came out quite well despite the sculpting! I can really tell the difference between the professional sculpts and my attempts. I think the transitions from a darker centre to the much lighter sides need a better method. These are okay but the way I did the fur makes it difficult. Thankfully I know I have sculpted the fur for the other regiments much better so hopefully it is easier and nicer to paint. I still have to sculpt the cloaks for the knights and characters. I have been avoiding that as it can get fairly monotonous!

Progress on Crom has begun. I don't really know why I have begun to paint him at all. I don't intend really using him. Any of the lists I have made never includes a hero on foot. Maybe I can use him as a champion in a warriors regiment? The idea for a Battle Standard is gone, well at least with using this model. I don't like the angles on the joints of the arms as it means he is holding the standard at a strange almost unnatural angle. I think I will keep on the lookout for a suitable mounted version, as not only is it better in games terms but gives a chance for a more dynamic model.

November 8, 2009

Fleshy experiments

I have finally managed to get some painting done. The constant gloom here makes any form of highlighting difficult! I am experimenting with the Children of the Bear hoping to find the correct skin tone. I wante something a little pink, hinting towards Slaanesh. I think I have achieved that. The colour starts very pink and then mellows into a nice light flesh colour. It is easy enough to mix too and as I have most of the flesh covered for these guys quick to apply. Thankfully today seems to be good too so I hope I can get some more painting done. I hope to have these guys finshed this week. That would see me with three core regiments finished with two weeks to go to the next tournament. I will be able to get a little more done by then so the army will be in some form of decent shape!

The cloaks will follow the brown I used for the fur on the Chaos Warriors collars. I am going to 'stripe' the fur.By that I mean it will start very dark in the centre of the cloak and then lighten out towards the edges. It gives it a more natural look and makes it less boring. Seeing a sea of the same coloured cloaks is not very inspiring! The rest of the colours will be neutral too. A mix of warm browns and greys like the Nurgle Sorcerer. There are a few pieces on the models that need something more in colour terms. Many of them have loin cloths. I was thinking of doing these in a dark red. I have no clue as to what colour to go for. Green is out as I don't intend to use any green if I can. Any ideas?

This is the slight conversion I made for Crom. I hated the sunken or maybe shrunken head he and Archaon share. I used one of the knights helms and made a gorget for it to sit inside raising his head up. The model looks a lot better this way I think. I kept with the original sword for the left arm. I had been thinking about making him a Battle Standard Bearer. His arm is extended out a little too far though and I don't think it would have looked nice. For his right arm I am satying with the original style but using pieces from the knights set. I wanted him to have a larger more dramatic shield. By using the plastics I could also alter the angle that he is holding the shield at and keep it away from his body. That means that the delicate painting won't be hidden by the shield!

November 5, 2009

At least I am reading!

My hobby has been suffering of late! I am very busy at the moment between going back to Ireland for a weekend and looking for work. At least with all the travels I am getting a lot of reading done. My flight on Friday was delayed by two hours so I really got caught up in the book while waiting. Currently I am reading Toll the Hounds part of the wonderful Malazan series by Stephen Erikkson. I am almost at the end and I have enjoyed the book a lot. The authors style has changed a bit from his earlier books with a lot more narrative introspection but the action still delivers. I read the first five books in the series one after another while long distance commuting a number of years ago. Then I had to wait for the rest of the series to come out. In the meantime I was busy travelling the world! Once I got back a lot of time had passed and it was difficult to get back into the series. I had forgotten a lot of the characters and events. I could even be wrong about the evolution of style but my memory tells me that the writing was more concise and focused (but not better) in the earlier books. Dust of Dreams is already out. It claims to be the penultimate book in the series. I hope so as I do like my storeis to eventually finish!

I picked up Drood today. It is what I will read while waiting for Dust of Dreams to come out in a better format. I really like Dan Simmons and have read all his Sci-Fi books so far. I found this in the Crime section of Thalia books in Hamburg. I am not quite sure if it is in the right place but I bought it anyway. I hope he follows his usual wonderful style that have made Hyperion and Olympos some of my favorite books. I recommend them highly especially if you have any interest in either the poetry of John Keats or in Homer's ancient writings. On another note the latest in the Wheel of Time series has been released. Seemingly it has gone from a single tome to three books. I hope they will be good and that the series does end eventually! I will await the publishing of all three before I restart that series. The initial reviews from friends have said that it is at least promising and that the styles of the authors compliment each other well.

I am hoping to get right back on track with the painting soon. Tomorrow may be a relaxing day and if so I will be breaking out the brushes and attempting to finish some test marauders I have been doing. I noticed in the almost local Games Store that a Crom the Conqueror model was still on sale. I believe that he is now out of production? I bought him anyway as I wanted to get a nice collection of characters for the army. I am already trying to dream up how I will convert him. Oh and the weather in Hamburg is terrible at the moment!
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