Thursday, 21 April 2016

Salute 2016 - Painting Competition Entry

So last weekend I went to Salute in London. For those who don't know its the UK's biggest independent wargames convention.

A few determined blog readers might remember that I was preparing something for the painting competition, but with a huge bust and not much time it was looking like a tall order. The good news is that I finished in time for the completion, the bad news is that I didn't really have enough time to get everything as clean or perfect as I would've liked. I had even less time to paint as the conversion took so long. My plan was to basically bamboozle the judges with a variety of techniques; airbrush tomfoolery, dodgy OSL, and an unintentionally leaking puddle of resin water. Unfortunately it didn't work and I didn't manage to bag a win, although looking at the hundreds of hours put into some of the other entries I wasn't surprised. Next year I'm going back to 28mm!

I was in good company as a loser though as my favourite entry across all the categories was a White Scars Heresy Jetbike. I thought it was the best thing there, but the judges didn't seem to agree. So a big shout out to whoever painted that thing.

On the upside there were a lot of cool retailers around. I bagged some Vallejo paints that I wanted for a good price. Retailer wise I have to say that Troll Trader was a real highlight for me. I have bought from them quite a few times on eBay, but seeing the jumble-sale like stall covered in great deals was a sight to behold (well it would've been if it wasn't for the perma-scrum around the place as excited hobbyists jostled for position). I picked up some Slaanesh daemons at a great discount - a brand new in box Seeker Chariot for £12 (retail £16) and a box of Seekers for £12 (retail £17.50 - I didn't realise it was such a good deal till I looked it up to write this!). They even had an entire Storm Wing box for £70, that I almost bought just on principle alone.

I was also impressed with the quality of Prodos Games' miniatures, although only having one till was a bit of a bummer, but I'm glad I braved the 20 minute queue to buy some cool stuff . I'll be looking for them in the future to add more to my new Slaanesh based project. I might do a post about them in the near future, so keep your eyes peeled for that one.

There was a lot to see at Salute and as I didn't bring a camera I won't bother listing everything in a never ending stream of bullet points. Suffice to say I recommend the trip into London to really immerse yourself in the Nerdtopia for a day.

The official shot of my entry. How dare the judges side with actual painting skill over boobies!

The work in progress picture, Space marine for scale purposes - no wonder I struggled to finish!
PS. She also likes the Visual Kei band "D" from Japan, as shown by her well guarded autographed photo.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

FoxHunter KMS Airbrush Review - A Complete Airbrush kit for £60 ($90)!

I've been interested in airbrushing miniatures for quite a long time, but what was holding me back was the start-up cost. Airbrushes can be expensive and I really didn't want to drop a lot of money on something that I might not like or use without being able to have a bit of a go and test the waters.

After buying a copy of Angel Giraldez's "How to Paint Miniatures from A-Z" I was inspired by the quality of his work - before that book I thought the only thing that could be airbrushed with good results was Eldar vehicles and power weapons! I was determined to have a go myself, but I didn't want to go into it and drop a ton of money on kit right off the bat.

I had a look on a few retailers and saw that Amazon were doing a full kit; compressor, airbrushes and hose for £60 ($90). At first I was sceptical, but the reviews were quite positive, so I thought "why not" and took a chance by ordering one.

The complete FoxHunter KMS kit.

The next day the whole thing arrived and I began to experiment. The first thing I did was set it up and then I began by spraying water just to get a feel for it. The pressure can be adjusted on the compressor - I've found that 1.8-2 bar is about right for miniatures as it gives a gentle spray that won't blast out too much paint in one go. The only thing is that as you spray the pressure will go down as the compressor is a bit budget. The way to get around this is to set it higher than you need and then spray air till the pressure stabilises to a steady flow at the pressure you want - then you can paint away! 

In the box you get 2 airbrushes - one bottle fed and one gravity fed. The gravity fed one is the one you want for miniatures. The needle size is 0.3mm which is about right for larger models (Say Daemon Prince Size) and vehicles of all sizes. You can basecoat miniatures of any size with it, but it won't have the precision for highlighting etc at a small scale. 

The other absolute essentials are Airbrush thinner and Airbrush cleaner. You're going to need these as much as you need paint. Vallejo make big bottles of them that aren't that expensive and I recommend using those products.

With the 0.3 needle, thinning to about 50/50 paint to thinner seems to work quite well. sometimes 2/3 paint to 1/3 thinner is right, depending on the paint consistency. With this airbrush you can mix straight in the bowl as it isn't too sensitive. I've since bought a finer 0.15 needle brush and it won't take that kind of punishment (it clogs easily as it is much finer). The basic KMS airbrush is a lot more forgiving!

The one thing I would recommend is using Vallejo paints with an airbrush. You don't need the pre-mixed airbrush paint specifically, but they flow a lot better than Citadel paints and seem to be a lot better engineered for airbrush use.

I also recommend starting the airflow when the airbrush is pointed away from the model as sometimes flecks of paint can clog in the nozzle and then you get a scatter-gun blast of flecks when you restart the flow. It is a small thing, but it can ruin the finish of your model, so it's worth remembering, especially if you were coming back for that last highlight!

The compressor does get hot and can vibrate across the floor - luckily at the low pressure you'll be using these problems are mitigated quite a lot and it won't really move. It also comes with an inbuilt moisture trap which seems to work reasonably well. The moisture trap basically removes any water that gets into the line, which in theory stops excess water getting into your paint or spraying out of the end unexpectedly. Unfortunately this can still happen and I plan to invest in a better one at some point.

I did a few test pieces of scenery before I took to painting any actual models. I'd recommend it while you get used to using your airbrush as the trigger mechanism is a bit sensitive and you don't want to blow a massive load of sticky paint all over your model!

After reading Angel's book I wanted to try my hand at painting a TAG from Infinity (big robot about the size of a Daemon Prince). I followed the guidance in the book about adding layers of highlight using the airbrush and it came out really well. It was a steep learning curve though, so be prepared if you're getting into airbrushing!

The progress after my first night of airbrushing. I've outlined these panels in black and white to create a metallic look with an ordinary brush after the airbrushing was complete. 

All of the blue armour and the sword was airbrushed with the FoxHunter KMS

The one thing I would say is don't expect to get great results if you can't get them with a brush. The real advantage of the airbrush is speed and the ability to get smooth blends without tears. After that though you're still going to have to finish the model off yourself, so you can't throw away your fine detail brushes yet!

That said this is a fantastic kit for the money - whether you want something to basecoat with, or to paint your tanks and larger models it really is very good. The best part is that it all comes in one box, so there is no need to shop around or wonder what type of air hose you need as it comes with one!


09/10 - Perfection on a budget. You're going to need something better with time, but as a starting kit you can't go wrong.

To say I'm happy with the results is an understatement.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Converted Salamanders Librarian on Bike

My fast attack army needed a suitable leader - one who could roar across the battlefield waving his mighty axe high. The only hitch is that GW don't actually make a cool character on a bike; nobody has a cool custom steed that would stand out in an army that is mostly on bikes. I also wanted a Librarian as I honestly think they're a really good choice for the points value you pay (although I painted him in green rather than the standard blue for the Librarius as it just looked a lot better).

The bike itself is made from a large variety of bits - chunky Gorkamorka wheels, combined with the bottom of a forgefiend's head and an old Ork bike chassis!

I made the rider out of a Sons of Horus Reaver body with a Chaos Chosen's power axe (that I removed the Chaos symbols from). The Corvus helm really helps give him an old school Rogue Trader type of look. The choice of parts mean that I could probably use him in Heresy, although he is for my 40k army.

The salamander scale pelt is greenstuff. I created it the same way I did on all of my Salamanders; which is to say that I cheated. I took a piece of instant mold and cast the side of an old Lizard Man Cold One. I then cast sections of scaly flesh and just sculpted the edges and adjusted the details as I went.

As far as paint is concerned I painted him the same as the rest of my Salamanders, but I opted for some freehand on the top of the bike.

For those who missed my last Salamanders post, some pictures of the rest of his squad are available here: Salamanders Bike Squad.

The obligatory work in progress shot.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Converted Mega Armoured Nobz - Budget Wargaming

I wanted some Mega-Nobz for my all grot army, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money. Luckily at the time it wasn't long since the release of the Sanctus Reach box set, so I had a lot of Ork sprues lying around the place. I suppose Mega-Grots would be the correct term for these guys.

It turns out with a bit of elbow grease and some spare parts it is easy to make some fairly convincing Mega-Nobz using the regular Nobz box. The best part is that you get so many of them - I built a unit of 4 to accompany Makari into battle (see earlier post - Waaagh Makari if you're unsure what that means). I still need to up armour the legs to make them look a bit more mechanical and fill a few gaps, but I'm happy with the way they look so far. One day I'll have to paint them too .... and don't even get me started on the Battlewagon they ride around in!

The trick to building these guys was to glue the body and legs together and then add a thick piece of Plastic/card across the top of their shoulders (those big white blocks you can see in the pictures. I then added the arms and put on double-layered shoulder pads to make the torsos really big. After that it's really just armouring the rest of them up with spare parts and getting some power generator type things on their backs. Scale wise they're actually quite a bit bigger than Space Marine Terminators, so everything worked out well.

I'd honestly recommend building Mega-Nobz like this to any Ork player with decent conversion skills as the GW ones are a bit of a rip-off! It does help if you've built some Killa Kanz recently too as the spares from them came in very handy on these guys - plenty of armour plates and glyphs. The only real difference would be how you put the arms together as mine are basically Power Klaw parts mashed into spare gun bits for a mechanical look, but I'm sure you'd figure something out.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

2000 Views - Code Name "Nice Bust"

So I started this blog about a month ago, and 2000 views later things seem to be going ok. I even started to get hits from google searches, but what I didn't realise was what kind of searches I was getting them from. It seems nobody was interested in miniatures, painting or anything hobby related - just this:

"Nice Bust" .... my only search term

No, I'm really not kidding. Welcome to Tabletop Apocalypse .... the home of "Nice Bust" apparently. So tune in next time for some raunchy 40k boobies, or filthy Age of Spankmar.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Emperor's Children Terminator Captain

This one was a serious bit of conversion work. The body is Inquisitor Hector Rex, combined with Cataphractii Terminator Lightning Claws. I also did some greenstuff work to change around the symbols on his armour and replaced his entire left leg with a Forgeworld Phoenix Guard's leg. As always, other than the main body that I got directly from Forgeworld I bought all of the additional parts individually from e-bay bitz merchants.

I also used him as a bit of a test piece for my Emperor's Children colour scheme, which led to a big overhaul on the way I was painting them. I actually built this guy before Fulgrim was released, and to be honest I don't like the Fulgrim model much (It's the expression on his face - so not Fulgrimmy). Maybe it's just bravado, but I think this model is a lot nicer!