2 Ton Studios Presents:
Citadel Finecasts Review

By Chris “wolfy” West

May 28th marked the next evolution in the miniature hobby world. For many years Games Workshop has been the leader in making quality miniatures for tabletop gaming whether it is metal or plastic miniatures other companies have been following in their footsteps. More recently many smaller upstart companies have started crafting resin or resin/plastic hybrid minis. Also with the cost of production on the rise and materials becoming more and more scarce, Games Workshop decided to take that step into the 21st century and stop production of the old school metal models. While I am not sure when GW started to produce the resin models so that they could try to meet the high demand of them. But with their official release on the 28th of May we as hobbyists were able to get our hands on the actual Finecast resin pieces from Games Workshop.

After two trips to the local game store and a long debate period where I was trying to decide if I wanted to get one of the pieces to replace what I have in my Space Wolf army as I am not a big fan of the metal models and never have been. Or should I get something different that I want to paint for the sake of painting. Well after that long debate I finally decided that I wanted to get something that I haven’t painted yet and wanted to paint to add to my portfolio of models that I have worked on. Now he is not painted yet because I have other obligations that I have to meet at the writing of this article, but he is put together. I decided to get the Dark Eldar Archon, I really love the way that they redesigned this line and they are just begging to be painted





So once you have your Finecast model the first thing you will probably notice is that they packaging has undergone a MASSIVE overhaul. Gone are the days of the old card backing with the flimsy plastic glued to it although usually not very well, and when it is glued down really well you cant get into it to get your model out. So the blister packs are gone. They call this new packaging “clampacks” or “clam shells”. To me that implies that you can easily open and close the package as you wish. These however are sealed shut and you either have to tear them open using the little tab on the back of the package by the barcode (if you do this please be careful to not flip the sprues or the little parts out of the package getting a sword tip to the eye would suck) or you can do what I did and just cut the package open.





The other thing you will notice is the nice color image of how the ‘Eavy Metal team painted the piece(s). I find this to be really helpful because it gives you a nice reference of how to paint the piece if you are not sure what all colors you need or if you are away from your collection of books or internet access.

After you manage to (carefully) wrestle your pieces out of their packaging inspect them to make sure that everything is there just like you normally would and to look for any major defects in the piece. As someone that casts his own bases I can tell you that resin can be a tricky material to work with at times. Especially if you don’t use a vacuum chamber and pump to help pull the air bubbles out of the resin before it cures. Now with this Archon piece I didn’t have any big air bubbles that were at the surface that needed filled with green stuff and blended in. So if the piece you have does have big air bubbles just mix up a tiny bit of green stuff and fill in the void that was left behind.







Then VERY carefully clip the piece free from the sprue(s). You will notice that there are a lot of little vents and runners that help get the resin to the mold and to help get the air out. So very carefully trim those off and then start cleaning up the mold lines and flash leaving you a very smooth model waiting for assembly.





One thing that I did notice with this was that it takes a lot less time to get the model all cleaned up and ready to assemble than the metals and even some of the plastics. Some metals I have had to spend several hours getting all the mold lines and the gates all cleaned up… then there is the drilling and pinning because it is almost a requirement to do this so the joints will be stronger. The Archon only took me about an hour (give or take a few minutes) to get everything all cleaned up so I could start on assembly.

But before I start on talking about the assembly I just want to warn you about one thing that I did notice with this piece and another piece that I got all prepped up for someone else. This resin is extremely soft and flexible. So do pay close attention when you are working with these models especially on thinner pieces because they do have some give to them. But don’t bend on them too much because they can snap at a weak point. If this does happen just clean it up and glue it back on. I didn’t have this happen to me but one of my buddies did have a piece break off while cleaning up his model. But a little glue and a few seconds to allow it to dry and it was as good as new, if not better. Also with the resin being so soft I am not sure how high heat will affect it. So I don’t recommend leaving the pieces locked up in the car on a hot day cause they may melt. I have heard of this happening with the resin that Forge World uses. I think this is a very similar formula to what they use to do be careful.

Now… lets put our new Finecast piece together. I mounted mine on one of my resin “Rocky” bases because it has a little texture and they can be painted up as rocks, gravel, dirt, small rubble, and even snow. I love the resin that the Finecast pieces are made from. It is a fairly porous material that super glue bonds to really well and really fast (unlike the metals) it bonds so quickly that I got the Archon all put together in about 10 minutes. They go together so well in fact that I didn’t even drill and pin the model at every joint like I would have had he been a metal model.






So there you go… the Dark Eldar Archon Finecast model all cleaned up and put together, and my experience along the way. When I go through and paint him up I will do another little write up on that adventure. Not real sure how I am going to paint him yet… but with all of the browns that I am painting on this Imperial Guard commission that I am almost done with… I can assure you that brown will most likely NOT be used. Thinking of going red on this one.

Oh and before I start getting lots of questions on the durability of the Finecast models compared to the metal versions. Well I have not handled the metals of the two Finecasts that I have worked on so far so I can talk about their durability, but knowing the normal properties of metal models and how they like to react when dropped. I decided to perform a little test that I got the idea for from our good buddy Starminer, but I gave it a little twist and stepped it up a little. As most gaming tables in the stores around here where I live are 48in high instead of the normal 30 to 36in high. So I took the Archon into the utility room here in the basement because it’s a bare concrete floor held him out at chest height (higher than needed to simulate being knocked off the gaming table) and dropped him. And I can tell you this much… it was a successful test. All he did was bounce and popped off the base I mounted him on, but other than that no physical damage to the model itself. So I am guessing that with the resin being as soft as it is, it gives the model some flex so that it won’t explode on impact like metal models are prone to do. I was really afraid that his sword or the thing on his back was going to break or that his head would pop off and I can proudly say that I was just proven wrong. I am not saying that they won’t break because they can but they are less likely to.

So that’s all for now… I hope this is a huge help to some of you that are a little leery to try the new Finecast models. I plan to try more of them as soon as the FLGS gets a restock. Don’t expect a full on write up on them… but I will talk about them briefly.

So have fun, keep rolling dice, and get them models painted!

What the Pros Use: Paint Choices

By:
Chris “Wolfy” West


As a professional painter I get asked all the time, “What paints do you use?” and “What paints do you recommend that I use?” Well that is actually a very easy question to answer cause I use a few paints from 4 or the most popular lines and have used paints from a couple others. So I am going to go over the offerings from Games Workshop, Privateer Press, Reaper, and Vallejo as those are the lines that I use the most. I have also used paints from Coat d’Arms. As you read this I want you all to keep in mind that these are just my opinions (and we all know what those are like) gained from the years I have spent painting. So I am not going to tell you which paint you should or should not use, I am just going to tell you a little about each one from my experiences in the past. Also… Primers… god only knows that we all have our own little quirks about which one is better so again I will just share my knowledge gained over the years.

Primers

I feel like this is a good place to start since we all know that you are supposed to prime your models before you start to paint on them otherwise the paint wont stick because it has nothing to bond to. So… Primers… this is a HUGE topic for one to cover so I will sum this up as quick as I can cause otherwise it can get kinda boring. Personally I only use black primer and I have recently switched over to using Armory Primer. Now I know that some people do not like this one because they have had a bad can in the past. I have been using them for almost 2 years now and not one bad can, but that means nothing. Other good primers are: Krylon if you use this one try to do a mass of priming all at once and blow through a full can at a time cause it has a bad habit of not coming out right on the subsequent uses. Duplicolor, I have heard of several painters using this with fairly good results and its super cheap. Store Brand (ACE, Walmart, Home Depot, and other generic brands that have the store you are shopping at name on the can), I strongly suggest you stay away from these. They are not very good quality and can take FOREVER to dry unless you happen to live in the middle of Arizona or Nevada. As I mentioned above Armory, I like this one the best cause it dries fairly quickly especially if it is really warm out and fairly low humidity, but unlike some of the others it will dry fairly quickly if it is humid out. Also it has awesome shelf life. Rustolium is another one of those name brand sprays that works really well but for the most part I think it is almost the exact same as Krylon. Then you have the Game company brands such at Privateer Press and Games Workshop. Privateer Press is not really all that bad but I have discovered it is fairly difficult to get ones hands on cause most places don’t carry it. Then that leaves Games Workshop or Citadel. I have one major complaint with this one. The can says Chaos Black Spray, it does not say primer in any way. It in fact is NOT primer but it is just a flat black spray paint. And flat black spray paint is not a Primer… it does not work the same way as a Primer does and does not bond all that well with the model you are trying to spray. One more option is actually an old artists paint. Black Gesso, depending on the brand it can be a little on the thick side so make sure you thin it out so you don’t lose any of your detail on your models. Also gesso is brushed on the model instead of spraying. But those of you that have an airbrush or 2… you might just be in luck as I have heard of people thinning it out a massive amount and spraying their models.

Games Workshop (Citadel)

With Games Workshop you have three different lines. You have the Citadel Colour, Citadel Foundation, and the Citadel Washes. Each has their own use and property. The colour line all your basic colors that the company makes. They are a good middle of the road paint. They have okay coverage so you may have to use a few coats, and may need to be thinned out a little more than they come. One thing I have noticed is that every time the bottles change design (this is when they change who makes the paints for them) that the colors are not all that consistent, and even more so with the recent change over… the consistency from batch to batch. Like if you buy one bottle of Kommando Khaki and then like a month later you have to buy another one… if they are not from the same lot there is no promise that the color will be the same each time.

Pros: every single one of GW’s books and magazines describes painting their models using these paints no matter which line they come from. Since Games Workshop is probably the most popular gaming company out there, you can get their paints just about anywhere. As most stores tend to stock them because they sell the GW models.

Cons: Stupid flip top lids. Over time these things can wear out and break off especially on a color that you use all the time but for just a spot here and a spot there. The price, at the writing of this segment of the article they are $3.70 US per bottle and they are only 12ml bottles.

Citadel Foundation: I love this line and use it rather often. Especially on colors that tend to not want to cover all that well because the pigment level is kinda Meh. There are only a few colors in the line but they are the best “base coat” colors you can find, especially for reds, yellows, and other light colors because they will cover over black in a single coat. They have great coverage and are very versatile. They have the same Cons as the Colour and Wash lines.

Citadel Washes: Not all that long ago Games Workshop dropped the “Ink” line and brought the washes back out. Really they work on the same principle but the washes are a little thinner. This is another one of those that I use rather often because of its quality. I will go more into washes at a later time.

Privateer Press (Formula P3)

I switched over to this line of paints this past fall and have been really impressed with the quality of the paints that they put out. They make some colors the exact same as the GW colors and some are completely different. REALLY good quality reds, yellows, and even greens, the whites are also exceptional quality. The coverage is better than the GW paints, especially with the yellows.

Pros: Coverage, coverage, coverage. Need I say more? They are a slightly better value than the GW paints because you get 18ml (1/2oz.) but they are like $3.50 retail.

Cons: Same stupid flip top lids. Really hard to get your hands on them cause most places don’t really carry them.

Vallejo Game Color and Vallejo Model Colors

I started using these paints YEARS ago with the VGC line after GW dropped several colors that I still used from their line. I did this cause the VGC line kept those colors in. Vallejo came out with the Game color line in response to GW threatening to drop the IP hammer on them because they were telling people to mix X amount of color A and Y amount of color B to get a match to Z color from GW. (A and B colors being from the VMC line.) The colors (especially at first… before GW changed manufactures and formulas) were an exact match to the GW colors and they still had colors that GW had discontinued. And if you were having troubles trying to figure out what color you needed Vallejo kept the names fairly similar so you could figure it out. When GW expanded their line up of colors VGC did the same thing. GW released the Foundations Vallejo released the Extra Opaques (not a spot on color match but pretty close) GW discontinued the Inks and released the washes… Vallejo kept the inks and added a line of washes. Also when the Formula P3 paints came out Vallejo expanded the VGC again to include the colors that they did not already have in one of their already existing lines. Quality of paint is really high in my opinion. They have really nice coverage (just as good as Formula P3), and they are a fairly thin paint. So while you will have to thin them some especially if you are going for more of a subtle gradient fade, you can still use them right out of the bottle. The model color line has close to if not over 200 colors to pick and chose from. Some of them are super close in color. So much so that it can be difficult to tell one color from the next in line sometimes. And if you want more of a realistic military color scheme the colors are named so that it is easy to pick and chose which ones you want.

Pros: Better Value at only $2.99 per bottle and you get a nice 17ml bottle. The bottles are the dropper style of bottles for better measuring of colors for mixing. Large selection of colors especially if you mix the Game color and Model color lines.

Cons: They can be hard to find as most places don’t carry them in stock.

Reaper Master Series

Reaper Master Series paints… to me… are the best paints on the market. They are offered in triads so you have a shade, mid tone, and a highlight for just about every color you could think of. There are also 216 paints in the line so there is almost a guarantee that you will be able to find the perfect color for every application. Granted you might have to mix and blend a little here and there but not all that much. They come in 18ml dropper style bottles and are the same price as the Vallejo paints. They can be kind of difficult to find in some gaming stores but pretty much all LGS can order them in either directly from Reaper or through one of the distributors. Recently with all of the NMM craze that has been going around Reaper added a few new paints to the line (to bring the total number up to 216) and set them up in triads designed for painting the NMM gold and silver that several of the top painters out there like to do. As for quality of the paints… You really cant get much better. They are fairly thin so you don’t have to thin them that much ,and while they are thin paints to work with (thinner than the P3 and Vallejo lines) they have much better coverage than most all paints out there that I have tried.

Pros: Top quality paints. Best Value. You can buy them in Triad sets. Great selection of colors.

Cons: Availability… because of the saturation of the market of Games Workshops products, it makes it hard to get your hands on other paints.

Coat d’Arms

This is a brand I have only had the experience of using a couple times in my life so I don’t have the greatest of knowledge on the overall quality or anything like that. But the colors I did have the pleasure of using I did really like. They were good quality and had good coverage. I know that they are made over in England so for those of us here in the states they are a little bit harder for us to get our hands on, and I am not even sure of the prices or size of the bottle. Now I have been told that going back to some of the very first Citadel paints (think late 80’s to mid 90’s) Coat d’Arms was the company them. Not sure how true this is but I do know that if you are looking for some truly hard to find colors from that era, look to Coat d’Arms because they will have a spot on match to that color.


So that’s it… my opinions on paint choices. Sure there are a few other brands out there and I figure I will get comments or emails about them. Either I have even less experience with them than my limited experience with Coat d’Arms, or my opinion of them is so low that I can’t say one nice word about the brand. Apple Barrel Craft paint is one of them… and I know some of you that use that one. Shame on you… just because it is $2 for like a 3oz bottle does not make it a good paint for our hobby. There are several great brands to chose from if you have them available to you, and personally my favorite is Reaper Master Series.
I am not saying that you should run out and buy the same brand I use because you might not care for them as much. You might be more impressed with the GW paints than anything else. All I am trying to get at with this write up is this… there are several really good brands of paint out there to chose from. So don’t chose a paint just because its cheap or that’s what the books and magazines or some idiot like me tells you that you should. Go out there and try several different brands before settling on just one or 2 brands. Pick up 2 or 3 of the same (or similar) colors from each brand and try them out. Really that’s what I have done. And now I have 4 different paint brands that I use depending on what I am trying to achieve. So go out there and get painting… and most importantly… have FUN!

Professionals Guide to Brush Care
A Perfect example of do as I say… not as I do.

Written by:
Chris “Wolfy” West


So you read the article I wrote on bulk painting and now you have finally started painting on that massive pile of plastic and metal sitting in that closet that no one is allowed to open but you. But you have run into a problem, cause all you have sitting at your desk are a pile of really old extremely worn out bulk bin brushes that haven’t been able to make a point in about 10 years.

First things first… go out and buy some new brushes. And you go out and you are at the hobby store or the game store and you have gone all deer in the headlights at the sight of all the choices you have to pick from. Obviously you can go cheap and get the brushes that come in a set for like $5 (which I personally don’t recommend for anything more than basecoating models), or you can go all the way in the opposite direction and get the Windsor & Newton Series 4 or the Raphael 8404 watercolor brushes. Yes they are actually watercolor brushes and not acrylic brushes. Now I know that there is a reason and a theory for this… but I have no clue what it is… I just know that they are really good but really expensive brushes. Personally when it comes to most painting there is nothing wrong with going with the middle of the road brushes from Games Workshop… err… Citadel… whatever. Those fancy flat black colored brushes with the color coated ends. In all honesty I use these more than any other brush because they are readily available to most of us and they are not to terribly badly priced. Another thing I am not going to try and steer you towards what kind of bristles to go with. As each painter is different, some prefer synthetic, some are more of a fan of the blended bristle brushes, and then some of the more top tier painters will tell you that you need to go with natural hair bristles. I am not going to do any of this and I am not going to go into the pros and cons and types as this is not a brush guide… this is a care guide.

RINSE YOUR BRUSH… OFTEN
So you ready to start painting you choose your favorite paint (I will write about different paint and their pros and cons at a later date) and you paint. Now when you paint you need to rinse your brush at a regular basis as a personal rule about every 4 dips in the paint or so. Now this does a couple things, 1 it keeps the old paint from drying in the bristles of the brush and, 2 it helps keep the bristles pointed. Now one thing that I know I do and a lot of other painters out there do is lick their bristles to repoint them. As a brush gets older and doesn’t hold its point as well I will tend to do this more.

Now this is the first example of do as I say and not as I do because when I get in a groove I tend to not rinse as often as I should. Now this tends to wear out the bristles a little faster.

When you rinse your brush out just swish out around in your water cup DO NOT rub the brush on the bottom of the cup as this will cause the bristles to “fray” out and not want to hold a point at all. Also I can not stress how important it is for you to change your water pretty regularly. Now I can not say how often you should change your water other than change it when it gets dirty. “But its dirty as soon as I dip the brush in the first time” you say… well if you feel like wasting the water and change it after every time you rinse. Then you are a wasteful person and should be swatted with a rolled up newspaper. But change the water when it is really dirty. One school of thought is to change your water at a timed interval another is for you to change it after every so many colors. That is more of a personal preference thing so I am not going to tell you how often you should get fresh water other than you really need to every so often.

Rotate the Brush.
Now this does not mean switch out which brush you are using for another of the same size every so often. What I mean by this is when you paint turn the brush as you go. Have you used a brush for a while and you realize that the bristles have a little curl or a hook at the tip? This is cause by always holding the brush the exact same way every time and painting like you are pushing the paint onto the model instead of letting the paint flow off the bristles, and if you have to “push” the paint then thin your paint. Once the bristles form that hook I have not been able to get them to go back the other way. Cheap brushes are more prone to this problem than others.

Random Care Advice
If you buy brushes that have the little plastic caps for the bristles… save those. Put them back on the brushes when you are not using them cause they keep the bristles from getting damaged from being knocked off the table and other random things that can happen to a brush laying on the paint table. And when you finally retire a brush to the “bullpen” for spreading glue on bases and mixing paint or even dry brushing save the caps off of them cause the little buggers are easy to lose and its nice to have spares to replace them with.

Also this is kind of an obvious one really… but keep from getting paint up to the ferrule (the little metal cap that hold the bristles on the handle), as this can also cause the bristles to not want to come back to a point or even fall out faster than fur on a Golden Retriever in summer time.

Random bit number three, when you rinse your brush… don’t put the brush in the water and then just leave it there. This is bad for the brush cause paint brush handles are normally wooden and they will absorb some of the water causing them to swell up and can cause the ferrule to stretch and spread. Then when they dry out the shrink and the ferrule can become loose or even fall off. Now I know that the GW water pots have little cut outs that work great for holding the brushes… this is a crap design because it encourages this behavior… I think its so they can sell more brushes personally.

Brush soap… this is one of those things that you can do to clean up some of the dried bits of paint off of the bristles and then you can even get some brush conditioner to help the bristles hold their points and it will help your brushes last a little longer. Now this is one of those little things that are optional but I really recommend if you are going to be storing your brushes for a while like when you have finished up your bulk painting and you want to spend some time playing before you paint another model.

Now I am not saying that this is the ultimate guide to keeping your brushes in great shape or anything like that… but it is a guide that will help keep them in decent shape and hopefully help you keep them in good shape longer than most people. Granted if you paint as much as I do as quickly as I do you will still go through brushes fairly quickly but the more you use them the faster you will wear them out. So, keep painting and have fun.

Bulk Painting from a Painters Perspective
By Chris “wolfy” West

So you just bought the latest Codex or Army book and you just happened to have the money to dump on building an army from the ground up. Now you have to get that mass of plastic, metal, and maybe even some resin all painted up. Don’t let this thought scare you too badly its actually not that big of a deal and just about every person out there that enjoys our hobby has been a situation like this. Whether it’s a small army like the new Grey Knights or it’s a massive Goblin Horde, bulk painting is actually easy to do. So shall we get started going through my tips and suggestions to keep from going completely insane or bored out of your dome… or maybe even both at the same time (seen that once… it was kinda scary really).

First things first… if you happened to do what I just did recently and ordered a whole Imperial Guard army (2500pts of all foot sloggers and lascannons) all at once, don’t let get to you. GO THROUGH EVERY THING!!! Open every single box and blister to make sure that everything is there and you are not missing a single thing. If you are just contact the powers that be and yell at them... they will get you all straightened out. When I got home with all that Guard (5 battleforces and 11 heavy weapons squads… don’t ask), I went through every single box and I am thankful that I did as I was missing 3 heavy weapon sprues. So a few phone calls later that was all fixed and I was back on my way. Now one of the things that I do when I am bulk painting whether it be for myself or a client of mine I pretty much always take the same approach to prep work. If I am using some of my resin bases I will go through and get them all cast for the entire army all at once (if I have enough resin for it) that way I don’t have to wait on the resin to set later when I am in the painting groove. If I am not using the resin bases just go straight into cleaning and assembling the figures ONE SQUAD AT A TIME this will help with making you feel overwhelmed. As I find it scarier if you have an entire army all assembled and standing on their bases looking at you with that “well when are you going to get me painted” look that unpainted miniatures seem to have. Creepy really. And don’t sit there and think that just because you have 200 figures to paint that you can cut corners here and there on the prep work and no one will notice. Cause trust me… you leave those 2 or 3 guys with mold lines they will stand out more than a whore in church. So always make sure you prep your stuff the right way… you all know the steps… wash, clip, trim, file, glue… blah blah blah. Also know exactly how you want your army to look. What level of quality, what colors you want to use and where to use them. Even if it means take a test model to play with a few color schemes and blending and highlighting and shading. This test model is also a great practice model so you can develop your plan of attack.

So sticking with the one squad at a time theme (you will thank me later for this trust me) prime just what you need figure wise for that one unit and start painting. Now this is where you can take a couple of different paths. The old fashioned way of painting one fig at a time, assembly line style (this is my favorite), and then the dreadful spray and dip method. Which path you chose to take is all up to you and what you want for a finished look. I will not tell you which one you should do nor will I judge you for the path you choose… that is unless you happen to be playing in a tournament where I am a paint judge… then its kinda my job.


PATH 1… One Figure At A Time

If this is more your pace and you have plenty of time (like several months if not longer) then this is the path for you. I will always take this path when it comes to characters and other HQ choices as I think that they need to stand out more than your regular line units. This path is also the common path for the painters out there that like to have their entire army look like it could be seen in a White Dwarf. Let me let you in on a secret about that… those guys know all the little tricks that have been passed around for years among the painting elite and will most likely not take this path to bulk painting. Also I have been told that there are times when those guys will show up to work at 9 am and will have an army all piled up on their desk with a note attached to it saying that this army has a photo shoot the next morning.

Now don’t take this the wrong way I am not saying that you cant achieve that level of paint in a timely manner but I know that when I paint an army 1 figure at a time I have been known to spend upwards of 12 to 15 hours on that one figure. But when I take more of our next path I can still achieve a rather striking looking army but I can paint a whole squad in that same amount of time. Will they win a Golden Demon or a Crystal Brush… no… but they might take a best painted or 2.

Also I have found that with one figure at a time you tend to burn out REALLY fast. Its almost like burning the candle at both ends.

PATH 2… The Assembly Line

As I said above this is my preferred method to bulk painting because its quick and you can have a really good looking army when you are done. And you don’t burn out as bad. This is a super simple way to paint, just plan have a plan of attack so you don’t get lost half way through the squad. So base coat the whole unit and then switch to the next color and go back through the whole unit with that one and then switch again. Just keep repeating this process until you are done with the squad. You might just find this to really make the time go by really fast.

Now speaking of fast that brings us to the third path…

PATH 3… Spray & Dip

I normally think of this as the lazy gamers way of painting, or as cheating to get a painted army. To this day I have not taken this path and I truly hope that I am never asked to take this path as I don’t like the final results. Plus I just don’t find it satisfying.

Of all the paths this is obviously the fastest and could also be viewed as a short path to a quick and dirty paint job that some will still find pretty decent. For those of you that have no idea what I am talking about its time to come out from under your rock and go over to Army Painters website and check it out. From what I have been told, shown, and read up on it really seems like a good product and its super easy to use. Just for the love of god follow their directions and don’t over do it… you don’t want your daemonettes looking like they should go see Jenny Craig.

Just spray the models using one of their “primers” as a basecoat for the model. Like if you are painting Blood Angels start with Dragon Red spray and then paint all your details like eyes and the flexi parts of the armor and the guns and so on. Then you grab the models base with a pair of vise grips and dip the model in one of their “shades”, pull the model back out and sling the excess of the model. I have been told a more effective way for doing this than a pair of vise grips and its even faster and you don’t risk throwing your shoulder out of socket. This is also how I would recommend “the dip” if you have the model on a resin base. Just mount model on a pin, paper clip, piece of rod… whatever… and then mount that in the chuck of a drill or Dremel tool. Dip as normal and then hold the model in a box and turn the drill on for a couple of seconds. This will sling the excess off really fast, and its kinda cool to watch.

But enough on the details of how the dip method is done… it is a fast and fairly easy way to get an army painted real fast. And if you play Necrons… since it is already the easiest army in the world to paint… you should be able to get the whole thing painted in like 2 hours. The Dip method is the only time I would suggest breaking away from the one unit at a time as you will have the whole army done in no time and the stopping between each unit to prep the next one in line gets old real fast.

Breaking Up The Monotony

So you got that one unit all painted and they have been based and varnished and put away, and you are about to start on the next one but you find that your motivation is starting to let up a little and you start thinking that you really don’t want to do this or that you will never get the whole thing finished. I find it best to take a breather from painting that one style of figure. God only knows that it gets really old and you really start to dread painting skeletons after you have already painted 150 of the little buggers. So to break things up and act as a “pallet cleanser” of sorts what I have been known to do is go hit the game store and pick up a random figure that you think looks really cool and would like to paint. BUT… it must not be from the army you are painting one at that time. So if you are ass deep in painting Skaven don’t go out and get Ikit Klaw just cause you think he would make a good pallet cleanser. Pick something from a different army or even a different range. Like go paint a Space Marine or a Hobbit. If funds are a little on the tight side and your store carries the Reaper range of figures go pick one of them up cause you like the way it looks. Most of them can be picked up for less than $8 and they are really well sculpted figs. They look nice sitting on the shelf and may also give you a chance to practice a new technique like NMM… you never know. If I am not working on one of my commissions that I might have sitting on the shelf and the only thing I am working on is one of my own armies I will grab one of the many Reaper figs I have sitting on the table. Yes I have several of them just laying around completely at random because I will go into the game shop and buy one or 2 just for that reason. That and I really hate going to the game shop and leaving without buying something.

Break Time

This is especially important because sitting at the paint table for long hours is really bad for you. Yes, even if you have one of those super comfy ergo chairs and the table is set to just the right height so you don’t get sore or fatigued. Every couple hours get up stretch the legs walk around the room… do a couple jumping jacks… something to get the blood flowing properly to your feet again. Also this is the perfect time to grab a snack, a fresh drink, and change out the dirty water from all the painting you have been doing you painting maniac. This is great way to rest the eyes too… as focusing on something that small and that close to the face is hard on them. And something tells me that you want to be able to still see when you get old.

In my paint studio you will find several distractions and ways to take a break. From the TV with the mountain of DVDs piled up around it (the $5 movie bin at Walmart is my friend for this) sits on the other side of the room from my desk and the desk faces the TV. So I like to pop in a DVD (tv show seasons are great for this cause they are long and have several episodes on one disc so you don’t have to change all that often), hit play and let it go while I am painting. I have found that we as humans are attracted to movement and bright colors so this will almost always force you to look up every so often and focus on something at a distance of more than a few feet away. It gives the eyes a rest and it keeps you from getting bored. If I don’t have a DVD in I will flip it over to like discovery or the history channel as they usually have pretty good shows on and then just must the TV. Since I always have my laptop open when I am painting I will open up Pandora and pick one of my many stations (depending on my mood) and let it play for hours and hours.

One more thing about taking breaks. Take days off from painting or assembling or what ever step you happen to be on at that point in time and get out of the house for a little bit. Read a book. Go to the game store and play a game or 2, cause after all… this is a very social hobby. If your eyes start to ache, or you cant focus, or you are getting angry or frustrated cause something is just not going the way that you wanted it to… just get up and walk away from the paint table for a bit and take a breather.

Even if you are a commission painter like myself and you are getting paid to give someone a well painted army, painting should be fun and rewarding. For me it is how I like to unwind cause I find it to be really relaxing. Its like it slows everything in my head down and kicks out all the unnecessary crap that gets going on up there.

So lets review why bulk painting isn’t as bad as some people like to think it is. And a few easy ways to keep it from becoming more of a chore.

Once you have everything all gathered up and in one place go through all of it to make sure its all there. Proper planning will keep you from getting lost half way through. One unit at a time… cause when you get them all assembled and cleaned up waiting for paint they look like they are staring at you and it seems like you will never be able to get through them all. Also… don’t keep the pile of plastic in line of sight of where you paint cause then you will just start to stress about having all that stuff ahead of you. Pick a path and stick to it until the end, and make sure it’s the right path for you and for how you want the end result you want for your army. Break things up with random figures if you find yourself getting bored because once you do and you stop painting all together on the army… you will find it REALLY difficult to go back to working on it several months down the road. And take breaks often to get the blood flowing and to rest your eyes.

Follow these little helpful tips and you too will have a fully painted army in no time at all. And they will look awesome and fight better because of it. And you will be more proud of a fully painted army than one that is just a blob of grey plastic on the table.

So until next time… keep painting… and have fun.

So the blog posts have been kind of slow to get put up here for a couple weeks... I know its all my fault to be perfectly honest. BUT in my own defense, I have been super busy. I broke one of my normal bulk painting rules and decided to assemble and paint 2nd and 3rd platoon all at once. But that is partially because I decided to airbrush the base coat on to speed up the process... and now I only have one more platoon to paint. Pictures will be coming along in the next few days... and might not make it up until the first few days of June as May is drawing to a close. So not going to be a record number of posts from me this month either.

BUT... big news...

I have placed the Forge World order back on like the 17th or so... and now that should be on its way here very soon so I will have a resin baby to paint and post up pictures very very soon.

Next bit of news... I was asked a couple weeks back to write up an article on bulk painting and such for a webzine called Doom Seeker and I will also post up a copy here too in a little while. It really turned out well and has had lots of good response. I also have a couple other articles that I have written up and posted on a couple of forums that I am part of. I will also post them up here after a while as well. Kinda cant link those as they are private forums... but hey... I will share the knowledge just be patient with me.

Also in the news for me... I managed to get asked to do an interview as a bit of bonus content for the podcast called Deep Strike Radio Chase and Chris were really cool to sit down and talk to. We talk about the history of the studio and my choice on paints and brushes... and we even go so far to talk about people wanting to get into commission painting. It was a really fun little bit and I had a blast.


Also... non studio news... I know everyone has already heard or read about this somewhere out there on your favorite website or forum or at you FLGS or even in the latest copy of White Dwarf. Games Workshop announced Citadel Finecasts this past week and along with that a price hike yet again. Also a trade embargo for retailers selling outside of their country. I am not going to rant about the last bit there because it really does not effect me that much... and because that it would be like beating the proverbial dead horse. Because it has been discussed at great lengths EVERYWHERE else. Yes it bugs me but I am not going to rant about that. So... for those of you living under a rock... Games Workshop is switching to Resin models instead of metals. When you might ask? Well on the 28th... since GW is obsessed with doing things on Saturdays. I have seen this coming for a while now because of the way they have been phasing out the metals... no complaints from me on this one because a little mouse has told me that this will be leading to several new sculpts of REALLY old models... YAY!!! And because I really hate working with metals. Now... the price hike... all I have to say to that is "I told you so". No it did not surprise me one bit... BUT don't let sites like BoLS and MWG fool you into thinking that it is some astronomical amount because they tell you that it is like a 30% hike or what ever number they are throwing around this time... its like $0.25 to like $4.00. Is it really all that bad... no... SO QUIT CRYING ABOUT IT. And for those of you out there that make it sound like you have to chose between eating or buying that new GW kit... if you are having to make that choice... then you need to get the hell out of the hobby or get a better job... because hobbies are optional... food is mandatory. And its not like that $4 is that much money anyway... so you might have to get 4 less things off the value menu... BIG DEAL.

So I am going to end that rant there... cause I can already see the emails coming in now... So stay tuned for the articles to be posted after some much needed rest.

I know its a little early for the mid-month update, but hey... who's counting anyway.

So I just wanted to throw this up before I get super involved in a huge project. As the 16th approaches we are getting closer and closer to "T" day... yes T not D. When "T" gets here I will be submitting an order to Forge World for one of the largest models they have ever produced. Well it will be that big monster as well as the Forge World version of the Bloodthirster. I can tell you now... that model has me scared. It is 9.5 inches tall and 10.5 inches tall at its widest point on its wings. It was going to be one of the largest models I had ever painted. But there was a rather HUGE model added to the order. Ahh to hell with it... I was going to leave it a surprise but I think I will just let it out. I am going to be ordering and painting a Reaver titan. We have already named the god engine Sanctus Ira (latin for St. Anger). That is the main reason I am trying to fly through this IG part of the commission as quickly as possible while not sacrificing quality. Cause I dont want any distractions once he gets here so I can focus 100% on him.

Also... at this very moment I am proud to announce that I have been asked to write an article for a popular webzine based out of the UK. Its more fantasy based than what this blog has been... but hey... painting is painting. And this article is going to be about bulk painting. So keep your eyes open for that one. When they publish it I will copy the link over to here so you can go and read it.

The Resin base casting part of the studio is getting kicked into high gear now. Production can resume now that I have a good supply of resin waiting to poured. So I can take care of my obligations to this IG commission and another Client. I can start pouring bases for sale. When I get some done up I will get some pictures of them and post them up so everyone can see what they are ordering. I am hoping that I can get a seperate page set up for that so that the post does not just get shuffled off in to old post oblivion.

Thats all for now... I need to get back to work... so stay tuned.

I know I promised the pictures of the whole 1st Platoon all laid out last week when I finished them up. But it has been a hectic weekend. I am proud to say that I am back on track... and other good news for the week. A new shipment of resin has arrived and I managed to pick up a couple small tubs of silicone this last weekend so I have started making molds for bases and sandbags again so they will be up for sale hopefully by this weekend. Prices to be posted soon.



2nd in command

Posted by Chris West at 6:35 AM 0 Comments

This is the 2nd Command Squad for D Company they get the other Master of the Ordinance that was made from bits.


This is the Company Commander (a captain) and his Cmd Squad. in his squad are the Officer of the Fleet and the Master of Ordinance that has the really long aerial on his vox pack... I did that so he would look like he needed to be in better communication with the big guns to help direct their fire.



Plastic Advisers

Posted by Chris West at 6:28 AM 0 Comments

Up first are the Regimental Advisers that I made up for D Company. Instead of using the metal guys I made the 2 Masters of Ordinance and the Officer of the Fleet from parts from the Cadian Command sprue, the cadian infantry squad sprue, and the IG vehicle accessory sprue. I figured since I had some extra parts in the bits box I might as well use them... especially since I did not want to use the metal models for this project if I didnt have to.






So I did manage to finish the last 2 heavy weapons teams for 1st platoon. So 1st platoon is finished. I am going to be shooting pictures of the whole platoon here in a little while.






Bring on the heavy flashlights...

I managed to squeeze out 2 heavy weapon squads today. So not to bad of a day if you ask me... Now I just hope I can have a repeat performance after I get some sleep. I am really getting the hang of painting these guys up. And I dont think I did to bad of a job on the rusty razorwire for a first attempt.








So I know that people have been talking about doing this for a while... but one thing I had never really done is look at the dreadnought entry in any of the books. Well when the Grey Knights came out I was reading over the book and I just happened to read that entry in the book and low and behold... they can have dual twin linked autocannons. At first I thought "surely this is a GK only thing... no other marine army can do this". So I grabbed the Space Marine book and flipped to that section and saw it there too. and I was like sweet... I will build one of those for the Salamanders that I am still planning on building later. Then I wondered if the Space Wolves could have it too... I figured that they couldn't because they don't even have the Ironclad... and guess what... it was in there too. So once I had a little extra change to spend I went to the FLGS and bought a Furioso dreadnought for the Blood Angels cause I had an idea I just had to get a hold of the rest of the bits. Well when this wonderful commission came along for Imperial guard I got excited cause that would give me some autocannons to play with, but I wasn't sure how many at first. Well when you get a commission that happens to have 47 Lascannons... that gives you plenty of extra parts to play with. So I set to work this afternoon piecing him together to see how it would look. And I love it.

I chose the Furioso as the platform I would start with because I was sitting here at the paint table trying to get ideas for how I could make it work without buying the FW model. And as some of you know... last winter I was given (in trade mind you) a set of the FW Tau Broadsides and I love how their guns are mounted on the underside of the arms. So I decided thats the route I would take. And the only dreadnought that had the close combat arms on both left and right was the Furioso. Anyway I cleaned all the Blood Angels markings off of the thing and decided to use the death company sarcophagus cause I thought it looked better and it was the easiest one to clean up so I could modify it for Space Wolves. Then I just stuck some SW icons on it.

I will do up a tutorial on how I modified the guns a little later on because I have already had a couple people ask me. I promise... its super simple. Until then... lust over the pictures.




2nd squad fire

Posted by Chris West at 7:00 AM 0 Comments

2nd squad of 1st platoon. This is the last of the infantry squads for this platoon. From here its nothing but Lascannons. Sadly enough there will be more infantry squads to come as this is only ONE platoon of the THREE that I have on this commission.

And is it just me or are these guys starting to look the same?





1st squad Fire

Posted by Chris West at 6:56 AM 0 Comments

So 1st squad of 1st platoon is done and back in to box. Here you can see the whole squad all formed up including the company standard and the platoon commissar.






MAY-DAY!!!

Posted by Chris West at 6:45 AM 0 Comments

Well its time for yet another monthly update. On the paint table for this month... you guessed it... more Imperial Guard. This a rather large commission that I have been working on for a little over a week now and I am a good way into it or at least it feels that way. Though when I look at the table in the other room with models that are waiting for assembly I shudder at the thought that I am not even done with the first troop choice. IF I get this part of the commission done ahead of schedule... in other words I get this part done before I receive the order from England that include a REALLY BIG surprise then I might work more on the Space Wolves or maybe pull out some Warmachine for a change of pace. So many projects on the shelf... so little time...