Friday Quick Tip: Nebulas

With the Babad War Campaign build up that went down in 2009 from Bell of Lost Souls, I was bitten by the Battlefleet Gothic bug. It started out by just buying and painting up my Sons of Medusa Battle Barge "The Might of Heracles". As I started reading the rules for BFG, I began to feel the pull of BFG terrain, and I just couldn't help myself. After a quick trip to the local Hobby Lobby craft store, I was ready to start my table.

I knew I didn't want some boring just stars type starfield to battle over. So I broke out the spray paint and got to work!

You'll need a black cloth for this technique, so if you want a hard table for BFG, you're kind of out of luck on this technique, sorry! But I think a cloth cover for normal tables is probably best because BFG is definitely a flavor of the week game, and as such having a dedicated table seems a bit much! For my cloth I purchased an approximately 4'x6' foot section of Black Jersey Knit cloth.

You're also going to need a small selection of spray paints. I did the first trial with reds, but for this I've used a single Rustoleum blue spray.

To start out, flatten out the cloth on a flat surface, and then take up a small knot worth and curl it up like so:

As you can see, these photos are somewhat bright, it's because I opened up the garage door since I'm working with spray paint! Have good ventilation when using sprays people!

When you have something similar to this, just spray the balled up area with whatever color or colors you want the nebula to end up being!

Next just flatten it all back out!

As you can see, the knotting/balling up of the cloth has created a lot of great variation in the paint that gives the nebula a really nice random and natural look!

The final step in nebula creation is to dust the entire thing lightly with an additional spray of blue to add some more glow to the already vibrant nebula.

Flick some stars on using a toothbrush and some white paint and you're good to go!

I hope this little technique was helpful, BFG is very niche, but it's a dedicated group that love the game! This will hopefully find those of you interested in the game well, and hopefully, we see more variation on those starfields for any space based gaming!


Magnetic Predator Turret

Well, in continuing with the magnetic theme from last Friday, I thought I would share some additional thoughts on a different section of the Predator tank, the turret!

When I got the word that realgenius wanted to do a magnetic Predator quick tip last week, I was really excited, because just the week before, I had started gathering materials for just that myself! And this being my first foray into magnets in minis, I was really looking forward to his insight into the subject. I was most definitely not let down either!

I decided I would start with the turret on mine. I know that I'm really not going to use the autocannon all that often considering the foes I'll most likely face ( most of them being marines ), but just having the option open to me, makes the Predator worth just that much more.

To start off with, I installed magnets in the turret weapon mounts themselves. I did this with the turret still open, and let both sides dry completely before moving on to gluing the turret together ( with yet another layer of super glue at the top of the magnets ).

From this view you can see both the placement of my weapon mount magnets and my vertical alignment magnet. I used the magnet at the top of the turret in addition to a magnet installed into the back of the weapon.

You can see the placement of both the balancing magnet, as well as the weapon mount magnets in the sides. For the weapon mount magnets I cut clean the normal studs and drilled out a hole to embed the magnets.

In this photo you can also see the ammo box magnets, these were simply glued into the slots on the boxes. The back of the turret was drilled and magnets placed in the corresponding spots.

All said and done, it was well worth the little bit of extra assembly and will really add value to every kit I purchase from now on. Magnets save you money, plain and simple.


Friday Quick Tip: Magnetic Predator/Rhino

One of the great things about the STC is that, in hobby terms, there's not much difference between a Rhino, Predator, Razorback, Whirlwind or any of the other Rhino-based models. In fact, you should almost never buy a Rhino model because these other models all include the necessary parts to make a Rhino; plus whatever special add-ons come with the box you bought.

My box is a Predator, and as you can see it is just as easy to become a Rhino with a few well-placed magnets.

I do plan on painting the interior of the model, and the round magnet will have a painted door seam with my Chapter logo to help it blend in better.

If you are like me and use big magnets and have chunky fingers, you might have trouble getting your Rhino doors detached. Just use the sponson from that side to help pull it off. The magnet on the back of the sponsor will be closer than the magnet attached to the Rhino's interior making it an easy job.

Magnetizing the guns on the sponsons was a little more difficult. I wanted to avoid having to create any pieces and still wanted the tilt and pan of the weapon mount. So I decided to magnetize the interior of the gun halves. They go together surpisingly well, although I might need a small pair of magnets at the tip of the lascannon barrels.

What vehicles have you magnetized? And is there an easier way to change out the Predator sponson guns?


Friday Quick Tip: Storm Shield Librarian

Anyone who has read the new Warhammer 40k Space Marine Codex knows how good Storm Shields have become. Now that they grant an invulnerable save that basically lets you survive two-thirds of the time no matter what hits you, you will want one where ever you can get it. And that includes on your Terminator Librarians. But how do you get a Storm Shield when one doesn't come with the Librarian model? And how about one that looks like something a Librarian would carry?

The answer can be found in the disgustingly large Librarian back banner. By trimming the top eagle off, removing a section of the rear banner pole and adding a plastic fist, you can get a nice looking Librarian Storm Shield without having to spring for the Storm Shield bit.

As you can see, the bit in question is very close to the size of a Storm Shield from the Assault Terminators box set.

Just grab a spare fist bit, trim part of the knuckles to fit the shield at an angle and cut away part of the banner pole to fit the fist.

Voila! Instant Librarian Storm Shield.

What are some of your quick bitz conversions?


Friday Quick Tip: Foamcore Wood

This week we delve into the world of terrain! After my most recent project, I figure it's only right that I bring a few new tricks to light.

To start us off, we'll talk about the wonder that is foamcore. There are SO many uses for this wonderful terrain material! And just as many great tutorials out there for folks to find new uses for the stuff! From small shacks to huge mansions, this amazing material keeps you coming back for more. You can usually find it at your local hobby store, such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. And if you happen to have a Hobby Lobby in your area, just wait until the stuff goes on sale! It happens pretty much every other week!

While painting my Mordheim Ruins, I realized that I just was NOT happy with the floors I had installed that were made from foamcore, just as the walls had been. They didn't have a good reason to be the same texture as the walls around them, and I couldn't come up with a legitimate excuse! So I set to thinking about what I could do to fix the issue I was having. I thought that maybe I should rip out the floors and redo them in balsa wood, but that was a bit too drastic and ultimately it came down to available balsa strips, of which I had none on hand! Maybe if I just painted it a different color, sort of like a carpet, but that fell through with the lack of appropriate texturing. I could have bought some carpet from Hobby Lobby in the doll houses section, but that would be more materials bought for a piece that is pretty much finished! That's when the idea came to me, why not strip away the card, and DRAW the slats of wood in!

I set to it! Stripping away the top layer of card from the foam center, careful not to pull too fast and rip the foam. I used a hobby knife where it was being stubborn to help put the card up and away. Once both floors where cardless, I broke out a slightly dulled pencil and set to drawing in my slats. I drew lines from the front to back in lengths appropriately sized to the balsa I had used already for the framing. Once the slats were drawn in, I went back and randomly added some woodgrain as well to help texture it further. I have to say, the finished product for how quick the fix was, is well worth the little bit of effort!

Could I make this technique look better? You bet! Adding varied lengths as if boards had broken individually would only take a few cuts with a hobby knife, but I'd much rather do that BEFORE gluing the floors in! So maybe next round!

What other uses for the innards of foamcore can you think of?


Ask The Corps

After some thought and consideration, we've decided to run with an idea pitched a while back where we would take submissions from the community in the form of pictures and questions, then give our two cents on the subject matter by way of experience or more formal reading material we've found through our years on the web.

The idea is to have folks send in a photo of their mini along with questions concerning specific things they might be able to do better but aren't quite sure how to go about it.

We obviously aren't going to be able to get to EVERY question and photo we receive, but we'll try our hardest to put like photos and questions together.

This is also not going to be a weekly segment, but you could very well expect to see about 1 to 2 of these 'Ask The Corps' segments every month. This will give us time to add remarks and do appropriate referencing for more in depth reading. Some posts will have remarks from all of us here at the Corps and some will only have a few, and hopefully any missing remarks will be fleshed out in the comments section by the member of the Corps that wasn't able to get their thoughts in before the post goes up.

This endeavor is completely community driven though! So we're going to need your help! If you've got a burning question about a model you've worked on, send it in with some photos of the model in question! More specific questions are welcome, but if you just have a general 'How would I paint this better?' that's fine too, we'll focus in on a specific major area of improvement.

So where do you send all of these wonderful questions and photos? Why to ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com!


Friday Quick Tip: An Army in 30 days

Ok, so this is a "not-so-quick" tip. For those looking for the short version, skip down four paragraphs. The rest of you can read on from the beginning to learn the source of the this week's tip.

Last month one of our friendly neighborhood game store owners announced a painting challenge: complete a 2000 point, tournament legal army with three objectives and a display board in only 30 days. Since I was just about to start my Black Templars Terminator army, and I'd always wanted to do a display board, I threw my hat in the ring. I've done a lot of batch painting before (with Orks, who hasn't?), but under the the 30 day time pressure, I picked up a few new tips I wanted to share.

The most important tip when facing a big project on a short deadline is one you already know: have a plan. In this case, there was no way I would have been able to complete this army in 30 days if I didn't already have an army list, a painting and basing plan and set time goals (do a little every day) so that I could stay on track the whole 30 days.

The second tip is also a no-brainer: have everything you need before you begin. Have all of your models, all of your paints, all of your supplies, everything ready! Have it all before you start so that all you have nothing else to do but sit down and work. This also cuts down on the procrastinating ("Oh, if I only had that missing power fist to finish this model...") or those longer than necessary trips to the game store to pick up a few missing items (There is a reason those stores don't have clocks). One of the competitors in the challenge forgot to bring his brushes on his Thanksgiving vacation. But he motored through, found a local hobby store and bought more brushes; now that's dedication!

But best new tip I learned painting this army is to record my steps and carefully follow them. I normally dream up a painting scheme and it usually changes as I start painting, and I often find some of my batches have slightly different schemes and sometimes even different colors as I wandered through the process. Since time was short, I actually wrote out each of the steps for painting each model and followed each step squad-by-squad. My plan was actually twenty-one steps to take a primered model to a based and completed one. I only worked on one squad at a time, doing each step to every model in the squad before moving to the next one. I had small squads (and therefore small batches); in this case usually 5 or 6.

Carefully following the planned steps also provided a few benefits. First was creating a consistent and even look to the army. I painted all of the powered armor models first, and then the Terminators. Even the injured model in my objective was painted the same way as the normal Marine squads. And the building and other objectives were painted with the same colors and techniques. This systematic painting gave my very consistent results for the army, despite getting better at certain techniques as I went along. Even though I got better at lining sharp edges while painting the Troops, they all look very similar and the later Elite Terminators look even better with my improved skill from painting all those Marines.

Secondly, the process created built-in touch up time. This is the best speed-batch thing I learned: as I was working on one squad and noticed a missed color or spot that needed a touch-up, I would mark the base of the model (so I didn't forget!) and continue with the plan, letting the blemish go untouched. When I was working on the next squad and reached the previously botched step, I'd put the touch-up models into the current batch and do the fixes at the same time I was working on the primary painting for the next squad. This way I never had to go back "off the assembly line" and change out my paints and brush, losing working time. I normally just paint batches of troops, and this only really revealed itself when working on batches in a whole army. I am definitely going to use this touch-up technique again for batches, maybe even making a grid on a piece of paper to place models that need certain color touch-ups.

In the end everything came together and I found that I had enough time at the end to add a terrain piece to my display board. Following the plan and being consistent helped keep me on track.

The store owner explained that part of the challenge was to show that you really can get a lot painted if you set your mind to it. Thirty days wasn't a lot of time and it even fell over the Thanksgiving Holiday, with all of the normal interruptions that can bring. Over twenty people participated in the challenge and five completed the challenge sucessfully. Pictures can be found in the thread on our local forums. Below are a few pictures of my completed army. Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to Brandon at Battleforge Games for sponsoring the Challenge!

It is New Year's Resolution time! How many of you have painting resolutions for this year? And, be honest, how many broke their painting resolution from last year?