Thursday, August 27, 2009

Laubersheimer Industries: Health Watch 2009

Sorry for the lack of updates for the last two weeks. But the only thing more fun than the flu is a summer flu. Ask for it by name.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reader Questions

I got a few questions on some of my latest posts. I'm going to take this oppurtunity to answer them. First up:

Revuk Writes:

Is there a particular manufacturer for the airbrush that folks would recommend?

I personally use a a Badger Anthem 155. I choose this one because it was rated as easy to use and easy to clean. So far I've been extremely happy with it.

My buddy Colin picked up a Paasche VL series. He just got it so he has no experience to report yet. Though he did say it had good reviews on wherever he was looking.

Now, on to some brushes some authors have used in books I've read. First up, in Imperial Armor Masterclass, the authors use a Harder and Steenbeck/Hansa airbrush. From what I've been able to tell, its of German manufacture and hard to get in the states.

On the other hand, Brett Green (an Aussie), who writes for Osprey (and is prolific), uses a Testors Aztek. Incendentally, he edits an online magazine called Hyperscale and has created a ton of youtube videos on the subject of scale models as well. All useful stuff. You really get to see the airbrush in action. The azteks are a bit pricey, but seem worth it.

I've also heard a lot of good things about Iwata Airbrushes as well.

Ultimately, I can't give you too much advice for a first purchase. I'm still pretty new at this myself. In any case, an informed consumer is a good consumer. I'd also recommend hitting the wide open internet and seeing what kind of reviews you can dig up.

Lastly, I leave you with this Brushthralls article. It helped me out a lot when I was looking at an airbrush. Heed the advice within.

next up...
Brent Writes:

Great work. I also love the servitor-skin shade. Care to share? :)

Take care - Brent

Sure thing Brent. Sharing is caring. So is swearing.

The servitor skin tone is my favorite recipe for gross zombie flesh. It's a more realistic dead flesh color (much better than green) and when pulled off well, is really gross looking.

I got the recipe from No Quarter #14. If you want picture examples, you'll have to track down your own copy, but I'll provide some text based instructions.

All colors are from the Privateer Press P3 line.
  1. base flesh color: trollblood highlight+cryx bane highlight+rynn flesh. You're aiming for a sickly gray color.
  2. Initial bruising: thin down some Sanguine highlight and blend it around wherever flesh meets metal.
  3. Shading: mix a touch of Rynn Flesh into Thornwood green. Apply this in natural shadow areas and block out the muscles.
  4. Bruise shading: mix sanguine base with exile blue. Shade the bruises
  5. Deep shading: mix Umbral Umber and Coal black (actually a blue) and apply it sparingly to the undersides of the muscles. Note: For all of the shading steps, I find it extremely useful to thin the mixes for blending and layering purposes. It helps cut down on the tendency of the shading to take over if you can apply in thin layers.
  6. Highlighting: Mix thrall flesh with trollblood highlight. then add Menoth white highlight and rynn flesh to lighten. Keep adding more of the Menoth white and rynn flesh for subsequent highlughts. Agian, thinning helps with layers and blending.
  7. Lastly, create a glaze of Skorne red and exile blue. Aplly it to the bruises until you like the way it looks.
Anyway, I use this all the time despite the fact that it's a little involved.

That's all for reader comments for today. Thanks to Revuka nd Brent for thier questions.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Inquisitor Stroheim and Retinue

I've been doing a lot of ranting, teaching and general exploring on this blog lately. There has been a distinct lack of pictures. Lets fix that.

Here is the finished Daemon Hunter Inquisitor and retinue that I've been toiling away on:

Overall, I had a pretty fun time with this little project. Not too many conversions since most of the models were exactly what I wanted. The Lord Macharius model needed a different staff head and the servitors needed some spacers, but that was it. Additionally, I took a beak from the assembly line style and worked on all of these guys individually. Since each minature is diffrent and there is this whole ad-hoc nature of the retinue in the fluff, I decided to make each guy a little special.

While I'm very please with the Inquisitor, he is just a bit off. After finishing the main body, my initial coat of sealant dried with a white, powdery effect. Rather than spend hours stripping him, re-assembling him (including some putty work) and repainting him, I just did my best to touch him up. It turned out well, but it just looks a bit 'off'.

the familiar was probably my favorite model to paint in the whole squad. Very simple model with a lot of flat areas to show off on. I really took the time to freehand on this one. You also see a little on the Inquisitor's cloak.

Most of the comments on the mystics are covered in the captions. The only thing I'd like to add is that the Cork Brown + white flesh recipe worked amazingly well.

The servitors were actually the least interesting to paint. The two bolter servitors are pretty boring and the melta servitor was an extremely busy model. They turned out well, but weren't all that enjoyable to paint.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Comment Showcase - Nazi's Fuck Off

I got this comment recently from this thread. The post it self is a ways back, so I thought I'd bring this forward.

Endre Enyedy Writes:

Sorry I'm late to the party, but I just wanted to put in my two cents. This topic of Nazi painting comes up a LOT in forums, as far as I can see, at least a couple of times a year. It drives me crazy, because the person talking about this is perfectly aware of previous drama on the subject, and even acknowledges it, but brings it up anyway for a mock "OK" from the community.

Even though it's obvious all they want is attention. Why else broadcast it? From plastering pictures all over the net to just talking about how they're going to do it.

What I hate the most though, is the "free speech" argument. How it's not offensive, it's an expression, it's done for the sake of art. Or they'll pile all this "fluff" to "justify" it.

If that was the case, why aren't people designing the "Baby Raping Space Marine Chapter", which uses baby raping as a terror tactic to break down their opponent's will to fight? I bet you half the dillweeds that defend Nazi space toys draw the line at something along those lines, leaving the true dickheads who still don't get it to push it forward.

What it all boils down to is people wanting to be Carlos Mencia. They want to say "outrageous" things for attention, then look at the audience and say "oooh, did I just say that?". They swear they're funny/clever/whatever/controversial, where all they're doing is recycling bullshit and calling it their own.

(PS: there are a bunch of other really good comments in that thread too. I recommend reading them since I wont be re-posting them or addressing their content individually here.)

Good Comment, Endre. Just wanted to make sure people saw it. I think the controversy angle definitely has a role to play in the random Nazi armies that keep popping up. The only thing I'd like to add is that the controversy angle isn't the only reason this shit keeps happening.

I think there's a fair amount of stupidity involved. I think that the "nerd" automatically equals "smart" idea that many nerds delude themselves with has a role to play. The thing to remember here is: nerds, by and large are just as dumb or as smart as the rest of the world.

From the same post, comes this little gem that Willydstyle found: More Nazi Fun. This linked thread is just a kind of showcase for this guys work on his own forums. Here is a more illustrative thread from 40k forums (also found by Willydstyle): LeeHarvey gets his dick sucked.

The second link is a bit... depressing to say the least. The mods have decided that NO ONE is allowed to comment on the subject matter beyond painting skill.* Reading through the thread, you see where a few brave souls spoke out and were censored. You also see an even more distressing number of people who have overwhelmingly positive things to say to LeeHarvey and who clearly had no problems with his concept. A ton of those include comments about how good the fluff is. You know what, it is a nicely painted army, but its still dripping with swastikas.

I don't need to much help 'remembering' that in the grim darkness of the far future there is only war. I imagine that most other people don't either. Its a fictional universe. It doesn't need to be pointed out that the things that happen in it are often times awful. For the exact same reasons no one needs reminding that Emperor Palpatine and the whole Galactic Empire were bad either. Its a work of fiction and a work of pulp entertainment at that. Its not a manifesto for human behavior. A bunch of 40k players aren't going to grow up to be genocidal because nobody was there to point out the horrors of a fictional universe.

On the flip side, if your the kind of person who has trouble reconciling a fictional universe containing 'bad things' with your participation in a game, then you should just quit playing it and go back to Milton Bradley. Maybe Monopoly is more your intellectual speed. Or would you feel that everyone needs a reminder about the greed represented in the game?

Not much anyone could say that would change this guys mod or anyone link him... so all I can suggest is that if you ever run across a Nazi themed army, refuse the game. Though I sincerely doubt, and perhaps naively so, that these types of armies see much in the way of tournaments or FLGS play.

*Life tip for the day: stay the fuck away from gaming forums. You have better things to do than hang around a place where honest to goodness criticism isn't allowed.

[Last Minute Edit]: I just realized that some of my post may be a bit confusing without the proper context. From the thread in questions:

LeeHarvey Writes:

Hello everybody, I'm LeeHarvey and welcome to the log for my Space Marine chapter, The Master Race. The first time I picked up a Warhammer 40k Rulebook (3rd ed.) and read the background for the Imperium, I was amazed at how blatantly and callously evil GW had written it. In nearly every way, the Imperium screamed "Facist/Racist/Totalitarian" to me and it still does. From the way it controls it's populace to the way it deals with it's percieved threats and demands uncompromisingly strict adherence of it's citizens to the Imperial cult, and the absolute ruthlesness with which it will murder it's own innocent civilians who are unfortunate enough to call the Imperium of Man their home.

In that vein this army is themed, somewhat controversially (although that was never my intention), on WWII Germany, specifically the Nazi party. I modelled and painted my army, wrote my fluff and created Special Characters in such a manner so as to draw people's attention to the parallels and uncanny similarity between what GW has published as the Imperium's backstory and the atrocities of the second world war.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Golden Daemon Bull Shit

A rare double post today...

Been a lot of buzz about the recent cheating at the Chicago Games Day Golden Daemon contest.

Info on the particulars can be found here as well as a few opinions here and here.

One of the entries in question can be found here.

Looks like GW might have pulled the coverage off their site.

While I am by no means condoning cheating, I think the nature of the cheating is a bit interesting. I just think its worth some time to note that the entries in question were actually good enough to win. I wonder how the new winners feel in this regard? Do they feel cheated because the win feels like a technicality or are the pumped because the playing filed turned out o be unfair? Like I said, interesting.

For those of you who don't know, one of the rules of the Golden Daemon contest is that all entries have to be submitted by the actual artists. In this case, the submitter and painter were not the same person. This is an important rule because it (hopefully) prevents the contest from becoming a means for shit-heads to simply buy the awards and, thusly, encourages actual artists to participate.

First off, we have the submitter, Marc Schmelze. Someone who plainly decided he wanted some trophies and a sword. What the fuck is the point? Did you really need some statues and a sword that bad? You didn't do anything to earn them, except spend money. For that matter, for the money you spent on the models, you could have bought that shit yourself and saved a lot of people a lot of grief. There wasn't too much of a reason to fuck over someone's fun just so you could get a few lumps of whatever the hell the trophies are made of and your picture on the goddamn internet. You're a cheat, a liar and a whore.

You could of at least found a painter who wouldn't go out of his way to stroke his own e-peen with 'your' win. So you're a an unlucky dumb-ass AND a colossal ass-hole.

Then we have Karol Rudyk. There seems to be some disagreement over what his role in all this was or weather or not he deserves the boot as well. This dakka thread has a number of opinions on the matter. Many of the 'pro-Karol' people are fucking idiots. I skimmed this thread so you don't have to.

Based on what I've seen, I think Rudyk is just as culpable. The whole reason the cheating was uncovered is because the guy had the balls to update his entries on CMoN with their new award winning pedigree (he's since removed mention of the Daemons). He was aware of it and was clearly using the win to build his rep as a painter.

With a little investigation, It looks like this may be a reoccurring problem with him as well. The comments in this item, indicate that this other item was entered into a Golden Daemon contest in the past under the same circumstances. Fucking lame.

You should also read the comments from him as well. He's obviously from another country (duh), so I don't know if part of his message is his difficulties with the English language or not, but he really comes off as an unapologetic and whiny dick.

"I did not agree put it on golden daemon for marc.He used your name but Without my knowledge.People who descend my rating are not fair for me.Probable a lot of these people are bad painter."


"Marc tell me about wining after GD then I put this title because I wanted that People will know that is him work .I paint for cash and renome is very important for me.He stolen my renome."

Well Fuck you too Karol. I'm sorry you're free 'renome' from cheating isn't helping you out as much as you'd like.

So, Mark and Karol, congrats on being the worst kind of people.

Painting Tanks Follow Up

Hoagy Writes:

"Nice blog entry there sir. How would this apply to something like my Immolator? It was already stuck together (as you know) and will have the colors of my order on them. Should I really be masking off all the different parts and spraying them their respective colors? I don't have an irbrush right now and there aren't any colors spray-paint wise that are close to my orders colors, so I had to go the hard, hand paint route... any pointers would be appreciated! (and any for my Exorcist too lol!) cheers old bean!"

Glad to see you over here, bud!

First off, I'd say live and learn on the assembly. I like to leave the turrets and side doors off of any Rhino based vehicle as well as the tracks (don't paint them on sprue, however). Gives you more places to grab the model with minimal risk to the paint and allows you to get at a bunch of areas much more easily. It's also super handy for you because of all the Sisters of Battle Iconography that becomes much easier to paint once you don't have to manipulate the whole tank. If you haven't assembled the Exorcist, then give these things a shot. Could be useful.

Now I know that the colors you've chosen are purple and cream, so that does kinda hurt your options on the spray.

I have three suggestions:
  • Add black as a color on the tanks - maybe use purple and cream as accent colors. Could be cool. This would give you the added bonus of getting to use some black spray paint, the citadel primer is okay, but a good Tamiya or Model Master flat black would be good too. If you go this route, I wouldn't advise drybrushing as a means of highlighting on black. Plus, the highlights on your dreadnought were pretty awesome. I'd just replicate those.

  • Try and get as close as possible with a spray paint as you can. Even if you use the exact same color on your tank as your foot-troops, there will be a color difference. It's on of the fun properties of color that the larger the area the color is on, the lighter the color will appear. This particular property of color is why military modelers worry about 'scale color' and will often add white to their colors to make them match the real thing more.

    Finding a color of spray paint that's close to your particular purple is pretty easy with this little tool: Color Martch 1.0. You can often use this to get pretty close to whatever it is that you're looking for.

  • Lastly, Colin has an airbrush. And he might be getting a double action one soon. I'm sure you could work something our with him. Be careful when masking on top of any paint that's been applied by airbrush, its really thin and prone to pealing. And remember, use multiple coats to get a solid base.
Any, I hope something in alla this is helpful.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Painting Tanks

Stelek was good enough to recommend my blog for advice on painting tanks.

Since I get exactly zero e-mails asking for advice, I thought I'd preemptively deal with a tricky subject. The basic ideas were covered in the comments from the above article, but expansion is useful here.

Tanks - What Should Know
Painting tanks can be a pain in the dick. There are a lot of flat areas on a comparatively large model. This is especially shitty if you've decided to go with any kind of mechanized list. I'm looking at 7 tanks with my Space Marine list with another 4 on deck for later expansion. IG armies can be looking at even more. Maybe this is and the general cost of the kits are why people are reluctant to mechanize.

The base coat is the largest hurdle.

You have three basic choices for this:

Get an Airbrush: This is what I consider the best option as it gives you the most flexibility and the most control. Unfortunately, is is also the most expensive option by far. A decent double action airbrush and compressor is 200 bucks. There's also a bit of a learning curve.

But you get a tool capable of turning almost any paint into a spray, you get a ton of ability to do camo patterns and you get a lot more speed & control. I've talked about this in the past so I'll stop here.

Bottom Line: don't get the airbrush unless you really, really want it. It worked out for me, but everyone is different

Use a Regular Old Paint Brush: This is the worst option in my opinion. Its time consuming and its extremely tricky to get a smooth coat of paint on something with so many flat areas.

If you are crazy enough to go this route, get a larger flat-ish brush and be prepared to do mulitple coats to get a solid base. I would also advise that you be fairly ruthless when it comes to eliminating brsh strokes. Nothing fucks up a paint job quite like it.

You also have very limited ability to do camo patterns. Feathered edges are hard unless you have some kind of spary. You can use scrumbling and stippling, but they tend to leave artifacts on you paint. Hard line patterns are also do-able but will also take a ton of time to do right.

Bottom Line: DON"T DO THIS! You will drive yourself crazy and the finished product isn't worth the time.

Get Some Spray Paint: This is one I've been giving a lot of thought to. Probably the best comprise between the expense of the airbrush and the cheapness of the regular brush in terms of speed and control. You get most of the speed of the airbrush and a good chunk of the options for camo schemes and all you really have to do is buy paint. Upfront, I have to be honest in that I don't spend a lot of time with this method since I got the airbrush.

There are a ton of military color sprays out there and as general hobby shops are fairly easy to find, you shouldn't have too much trouble getting your hands on some Tamiya or Model Master sprays.

Words of caution: just because it's a spray paint doesn't mean that you get to ignore the golden rule - use multiple thin coats instead of one thick (and potentially runny) one.

Also, don't be shy about gloss paints. You're going to seal the miniatures anyway and that dullcaot will take the sheen off quite nicely.

The only real bummer here is that this option is great, so long as you aren't married to a particular color. For the most part, military model spray paints are based on actual real-life camo colors. Not so bad when you are also using some standard military color brush paints. Not so good when you're doing space marines and you want to find an exact spray match for your Ultramarines.

Bottom Line: the best option in terms of economy with solid speed and quality. Especially good for IG players whose tanks don't need to be the same color as their soldiers.

General Tank Painting Advice
No matter what you've decided on for base coat method, the following will be useful.

Tank Treads: These can be tricky to pant once they're on the tank. They can make it hard to get to visible surfaces and weathering them is often messy. I leave them off and paint them separately and attach them later. This leads nicely into...

General Assemble Advice: Depending on your preferences, it may be a good idea to leave detial blocking parts as separate components while painting. This can make it easier to get to otherwise hard to reach areas. Leaving the turrets as separate pieces altogether can ease storage concerns. Depending on the model, it might also be a good idea to pre-paint hard to get at areas DURING assembly.

Camo Patterns: Camouflage is the primary reason I advocate some kind of spray paint (can or airbrush). Once you mark out and mask off the pattern, its a simple matter of spraying a new color on the tank.
  • A hard, jagged pattern can be achieved with simple masking tape.
  • a softer, more curvy pattern can be achieved by marking of the boarders with strips of blue-tac and then filling in the rest with masking tape.
  • an amazing feathered edge can be achieved by using tiny amounts of blue-tac to affix strips of paper on the tank leaving a slight gap between the surface of the tank and the paper.
  • A nice mottled effect can be achieved by lightly spraying another color over the tank or on various patches.
  • lastly, you can get a neat effect by using a round brush to stipple additional colors on the tank.
If you decide to go with any spray technique, make sure you mark out the pattern with the turret and any other peices at least temporarily attached. The idea is get a unified pattern by painting all of the parts at the same time.

Panel Lines and Shading: You're tank model is large enough that you don't have to worry too much about shading it. Most of the shadows you need come free courtesy of the tanks size. What you will probably want to do, however, is shade the panel lines.

If you're rocking an airbrush, you can use a technique called pre-shading. Basically, you paint the panel lines black and then paint the base coat in such a way to preserve some of the pre-shading.

Otherwise, you're best bet is to use a lining technique. After you paint the base coat, you can flood the panal lines with thinned down paint. I've had the best luck with oil paints, but they take much longer to dry. Whatever type of paint you decide to use, the most commonly used colors are black and various shades of dark brown (equivalents to raw and burnt umber).

Highlighting: This is one of the few times where I tell people to drybrush their highlights on. Tanks have a lot of hard, straight lines and are very large. This makes dry-brushing quite easy and allows for a much nicer effect overall than drybrushing a regular miniature.

I do not recommend trying to do any kind of blended highlights as doing an entire tank by hand in this way is incredibly time consuming. Agian, no reason to drive yourself crazy over the course of 7 tanks. Line highlights can be useful if done the right way - by using the side of the brush against the edges of the tank

Weathering: Adding some wear and tear to your tank can really add to the model as a whole. The techniques for this are legion, often complicate and often require special materials.

Some basics, however:
  • You can get a chipping effect by dipping the ubiquitous gray packing sponges in paint and the dabbing them along the edges of the tank and in places that would see a lot wear.
  • Watering down some rust colored paint and applying it to rivets creates a neat effect. Bonus points for using a paint brush to streak it down.
  • Tamiya Smoke can be a great way to add oil splotches to things
  • Mud around the base of the hull can be applied with basic drybrushing and stipling techniques. Just make sure to use more than one color to keep it interesting.
Most other weathering takes a bit more explanation and is outside the scope of this article. Any military modeling book worth its salt will have more and better info. You can also check out some military modeling forums. Generally speaking, these places are pretty good sources of information - as opposed to wargaming forums.

Further Reading
I've got some more nuggets of wisdom scattered around this site. Other place to look would include military modeling forums and general military model sites. The Mig Productions forum is just one solid example.

How to books are also extremely valuable sources of information. Osprey has a pretty large series of books. Most of them focus on specific vehicles, but they all cover the same basic stuff.
If you're feeling saucy, GW just released a book on painting their tanks. I haven't looked at it, but it does have a number of step by step projects. They'll probably talk your ear off about the GW spray gun though.

[EDIT:] I totally forgot to add some more sagely advice.

Handling your tank: One of the other, more insidious, problems with painting your tanks is the tendency for them to require more handling during the painting process. If you're like me and you like to hold things and change angels a lot, you'll most likely be touching the tank a lot. This puts you at higher risk for damaging the work you've done so far as friction and your hand oils start undoing your progress.

My advice is to either learn how to paint without touching the tank too much - some form of small block or pedestal can be useful to raise the tank into better positions - or, leave part of the tank disassembled in such a way that you have some natural hand holds.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Beginner Basics - Before You Start

This one is for the new painters who may or may not be reading my blog.

I fully intend to write articles on most (if not all) aspects of the painting process aimed at the beginner. But before I go onto miniature assembly, cleaning, priming and the like...

Lets talk about money.

Table top wargaming is expensive. Anyone who's made it as far as buying the first components of an army knows that. Almost 60 bux retail for some of the larger GW kits, 35 bux for a box of marines, 20 bux for a single metal character and so forth. People expect to pay 350+ dollars for an army. But the gaming and the list building is only roughly half of the hobby (as many define it - your own personal pie chart will vary).

What many people (especially those new to the hobby) don't expect is that the modeling and painting half also costs money. The general idea belies the actual cost of painting. If you wan't to paint your Land Raider blue, its a bit more involved than a single pot of blue paint and a paint brush. GW's 15 bux a can primer doesn't help with that - but that's another rage induced black out altogether.

So expect to spend some money if you're looking to get started on painting your boring plastic models. Expect to spend more if you end up getting really serious about painting.

The expense comes from two areas:
- There are a lot of specialized tools and supplies you need to get going. I use the term specialized in a general sense since most people don't have fine sable kolinsky fiber paint brushes laying around.
- Most of the stuff you use for painting is categorized under 'expendable'. You use up paints and glue, brushes get beat up over time and knife blades dull.

Luckily, once you get established, the expense rapidly drops off.

But, before you decide to pick up miniature painting, ask your self if you're prepared to drop money on the things you need to get started:

- Paintbrushes
- Paint
- Spray Primer
- a hobby mat
- hobby knives
- hobby files
- proper lighting
- spray varnish
- basing materials
- a pin vise

By no means an exhaustive list, this is a pretty good indication of all the stuff you'll need to get going. Admittedly, there are shortcuts to be taken, but I advocate doing things right and using best practice. Your own personal mileage will vary.

To sum up and restate: if you're new to the whole painting thing, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock.

[Bonus Content!] Deep Thoughts With John Laubersheimer
I personally don't have too much of a problem with people who play unpainted armies. I certainly like to see painted armies on the table, but all I really demand is complete assembly. Especially if there's no intention of painting in the first place. As much as I personally value the art in a well painted army, once you drop guys on the table, the game is the thing.

I think there are three main reasons people don't paint there armies:
  • People who have no interest in painting (people for who the hobby begins and ends at the gaming).
  • People who don't have the resources - time and money being primary.
  • People who are intimidated by painting - there's a learning curve and a potentially self esteem crushing comparison factor.

My Personal goal is to tackle the lack of confidence aspect. Skills can be learned and skin can be grown thicker. If someone doesn't have time or interest, there's no amount of information I can provide that will magically solve those issues.