Friday Quick Tip: Basic Basing

Basing is one of the base skills that every modeler needs to learn when they start out, and while it's simple to many, there are still folks out there that really don't have a clue where to start! This one is for them!

What You Will Need
Tub of Sand, Water, Glue, Old Brush, and your Mini

Step One:
To start out you're going to dot the base with Glue. You can see that here I've done two larger dots at the front and back, I've found this normally ends up being just enough glue for the next step.

Step 2:
With this step you want to take your old brush and spread it around to cover the entire top of the base. Don't worry too much about being super careful, just spread it out and you can clean it all up later!

Step 3:
This is your clean up step, clean the rim of the base with your finger, wipe away any glue on the model with a wet brush and generally fix any trouble spots before moving on to the next step!

Step 4:
Pop open that tub of sand and plant your trooper at least knee deep in it! Give your model a minute or so to sit and remove him. Blow away any loose particles and give him a quick shake, this helps later down the road when you go to paint it all as all of the loose stuff will hopefully have been nixed early on, and keep your brush from getting clogged with sand.

Another quick wipe of your finger around the rim and maybe a little additional clean up on the model itself and you should have something similar to this:

Step 5:
This is a step that I highly suggest to everyone. I always base my models prior to spray priming. This is to help lock all of the sand in with the extra coat of paint, and has really helped a lot in the long run.

Step 6:
This step is all up to you! Whatever color you want your base to be, paint it that color! For this model I've gone with a Bestial Brown hit with a quick drybrush of Bleached Bone. For the rim, I've gone with Chaos Black, again, it's up to you to find the best color for your model!

And that's that! From here, the window is wide open for experimentation into the world of scenic basing. Be sure you check out our Snow Basing Tip for a little more advanced methods. And if you're feeling up to it, enter our 'Take Cover!' Dawn of War II painting contest!


'TAKE COVER!' A DoW2 Painting Contest

Today we are forgoing our normally scheduled Quick Tip to bring you something a bit more exciting, our very first Painting Competition, sponsored with prize support by the fine folks over at THQ!

The contest is simple, model and paint a Blood Raven Space Marine using cover in battle! You will have one month from today to turn in both a WIP photo as well as a final contest entry photo of your mini. Once the month is up, we will gather up all entries and the winners will be selected by a panel of judges. Prizes will be handed out to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.


First Place receives a T-shirt, Body Warmer, Dog Tag, Rucksack, and a Battlegear Keyring

Second Place receives a Tote Bag, T-shirt, Battlegear Pin, and a Cap

Third Place will recieve a Dog Tag and Bodywarmer

The Rules

  • Model and Paint a Blood Raven Space Marine using cover in combat.
  • Entries must be a SINGLE Games-Workshop Space Marine on a 40mm or smaller base. Models may be any type of marine but painted in the the chapter colors of the Blood Ravens Space Marine Chapter.
  • Take a photo of the model in progress to be sent along with your final entry.
  • Send all final entries to ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com with the heading 'Take Cover!', please include your name and address in the email.
  • All entries must be received by March 20th at 11:59pm Central Standard Time (GMT-6)
  • Entries will be displayed and voting by the judges will commence.
  • When all votes from the judges are in, the winners will be announced and prizes will be sent out!
So break out the bits box and start modeling those marines shooting from behind a ruins, sniping from the bushes, or leaping from a hiding spot to assault the enemy! The possibilities are only restricted by the depths of your imagination! And for some additional inspiration, check out the recently released Dawn of War 2!


Friday Quick Tip: Using gouache to line tanks

This Friday Quick Tip is an expansion on an earlier tip to help you paint nice, clean lines without any stress. After a few requests, here is a more detailed procedure.

The key to this tip is gouache. The acrylic paint I normally use is made up of three things: pigment, solvent and binder. Pigment is the color, solvent is the thing that keeps it liquid in the pot and the binder is acrylic that keeps the pigment together once dry. When the acrylic paint dries, you are left with pigment infused plastic. But gouache is different since there is no binder- just water and pigment. It dries really flat and loses a little saturation, but since there is no binder you can get it wet again and move the pigment around.

The best part is that gouache comes in a variety of colors, is available at most art stores and is pretty cheap. I got a big set from the sale table at Michael's for less than $10.

The basic overview for this technique is that you will lazily paint the gouache into the lines of the tank, and then pick up the excess with a damp Q-tip to make the lines neat and tidy.

It comes out of the tube almost like a paste, so I squeeze out a little bit and add some water. Gouache is kinda gritty and chunky, so mix it well with the toothpick (NOT the brush!) until you get a nice, even consistency.

I recommend a liner for this. You can use a small detail round brush, but it isn't going to hold a lot of paint and it is going to make painting in the lines harder. Make sure you don't overload the brush so there's a drop at the end-- that will make your lines blobby and just create more work for you later. Be sure to make sure you also don't pick up a chunk of pigment. If you don't mix it well you can get clumps.

Then just throw it on, being as neat as you can, but don't worry if you make a mistake.

Once you have the paint in all of the armor plate lines, you'll want to remove the spots you missed and clean things up a bit. Get a whole bunch of Q-tips and a big glass of water. For a Falcon-sized tank, and if you've been pretty neat with your lining, you'll need about 35 Q-tips.

I've found that dipping the Q-tip in water makes it much too wet, as you only want a damp Q-tip to pick up the excess gouache. If you use too much water, it will reactivate the gouache and a big mess will start to run down your model. I just moisten the Q-tip in my mouth and apply it to the model, turning it as I move along a line. You always want to use a clean part of the Q-tip and NEVER lick a Q-tip that has touched gouache. DO NOT EAT THE ART SUPPLIES. If you use a dirty Q-tip, you'll make a big smear, so be careful to rotate it as you remove the excess and don't do too much at a time.

This Q-tip is dirty, so get a new one. Make sure you have a place to put the dirty, wet Q-tips like a plastic trashbag. Also, a tall glass of water will keep you from getting dry after sticking a lot of dry cotton Q-tips in your mouth. Once you get the excess gouache wiped away, you are left with some nice, clean lines.



Any tips or techniques you'd like to see in more detail or done as a step-by-step tutorial?


Ask the Corps: Large Flat Surfaces

A Man and His Warjack

Simon writes: I think I'm a pretty solid painter for infantry sized models, but when I started painting my Khador 'jacks I realized that I was pretty clueless about how to highlight huge, open surfaces. So far nothing that I've done looks very good or convincing.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Simon, I've had the exact same experience working on my Protectorate of Menoth warjacks. They have such large armor plates and shoulders, they just scream out for... something.

I like the look of your warjack and he's very neatly painted as is, although he could probably use a little more edge highlight for my taste. But since you are looking for something extra, here are a few suggestions for those huge, open surfaces.

1. Detail

Once you have a nice edge highlight of one or two shades, you really can add a lot to the appearance of large flat areas by adding some army specific details. Either free-handing a logo, squadron marking or name in those large areas really adds a lot of character to larger models.

If free-hand details make you uncomfortable you can easily make your own decals. My printing your own decals you can easily add script or logos to just about any model. For a free-hand "look" just use the decal as a guide and paint right over it.

2. Damage

Grey_Death recently posted a tutorial on battle damage that would be perfect for those armored plates of a Khador warjack. Just a little paint "damage will add a lot of depth to the huge, open surfaces. If you want to break out the modeling tools and damage that nice paint job you have already, you can go for a more exagerated battle damage.

3. Advance your skill

My guess is that you've come to this same place on a few different models; you've painted it, it looks good, but it needs something more. Now is a perfect time to start working on your wet blending skills and try and create a nice gradient effect across the large open spaces. Of course it is never going to work out the first time (or first few times) you try it, but you have to start somewhere. Check coolminiornot.com for a good wet blending article and give it a try on the green shoulders of your warjack.

You can see in the photo you sent where the light falls across the rounded part and that's right where I'd start the lighter color of the blend. Blend to a darker color on the front and back of the shoulder pad so that you can practice two blends in one area. Space Marine dreadnoughts also suffer from large, flat areas and you can see below what a nice effect the subtle color gradient can have on the overall look of the model.

It will take time and practice, but once you master the technique and paint consistency required for wet blending, everything else you add on (additional details or battle damage) will look that much better.

Good luck and don't forget to send us a picture of the final product of your work!
-Jim (realgenius)


Simon, I think Jim has hit a LOT of the high points when it comes to painting large flat spaces. Which makes my job much much easier!

A lot of folks come to large areas of armor plating and really draw a blank. Many just hit the edge highlighting and call it a day. But some see opportunities abound. And much of the opportunity I see in models like the Warjack are directly related to my love for weathering. I've posted about armor weathering on a few occassions in the past, and I think there is STILL much to be gleaned from those posts for many many people around the net.

Jim did hit one of my favorite new techniques by linking my Sponge Battle Damage tutorial above. I think this could work out VERY nicely for a model like this, and using some additional weathering, maybe something as simple as a grime and dirt drybrushing (Seen later in this tutorial), the model will boast that much more character. The great thing about many of these weathering ideas, is that you can easily add them to models you've had finished for some time now!

-Aaron (grey_death)

For those of you seeking answers to your modeling and painting questions, send them in to ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com and you might see your email featured here!


Friday Quick Tip: Priming with Gesso

I love Tamiya Fine Surface Primer. Not only does it prime well, but it has a great grey color that I love to paint over. I've found the grey helps me see the model details and shadows better than black or white. The one thing I don't love about it is the price. That, and the rest of the hassle of spray priming.

So when I read about priming with gesso I figured it was time to give it a try. My local art store even had a nice shade of grey that was just a hair browner than the neutral Tamiya grey I love. Plus it was cold and rainy outside, so it was a perfect time to try out a spray primer alternative.

Yup, under $4. And that's probably enough gesso to prime a dozen Space Marine Chapters or Eldar Craftworlds and maybe even enough for an Ork army.

Here's our favorite Librarian, ready for a prime:

After reading WeeToySoldiers, I was careful not to glob it on too thick. Even as "miraculous" as gesso is supposed to be, I didn't want to have to strip it all off if it obscured some details. Here is the first coat when wet:

And when dried:

You can see it is a little splotchy with bad coverage in some areas (bottom of the robe, toes and wrist). Reading the comments on the gesso posts I've found that there is a big difference between the white and black gesso. It seems that you get much better coverage with the black. Not surprisingly the grey is probably in-between. To get good coverage you need two thin coats. With the black, one coat is enough. With the white liquid gesso, you might need multiple coats.

I also did a quick prime of one thicker coat on some plastic Scouts. The thicker coat covers better, but obscured a little of the fine detail. If you are doing a big horde of Orks, one thicker coat will be fine.

And not all gesso is created equal. The stuff I got was fairly liquid, about the consistency of syrup. The gesso in this tutorial looks to be quite thick, almost like paste. I am sure that any type will work well, but you'll need to get it to the right consistency first.

So the bottom line on gesso: it is a good alternative for black primer for single or small batches of models. But like anything else regarding painting, it takes some practice to get used to. Believe it or not, priming is a painting skill just like any other: the more you do it the better you get at it. So get out there and get priming! (That's one step closer to being fully painted.)

Have you tried gesso? What color did you use and what were your results?


Lava Rock Asteroids

Working with some of the inspiration from last week and my Nebula tip, I went to work on creating some additional space terrain for my Battlefleet Gothic battles. And what better place to start than Asteroids!

I thought a few times about trying to use regular foam, and even did a few quick tests with some pink foam and bead foam. Neither worked out for the speed I was looking for. And then working from the idea of using real rocks, I came up with the perfect starting point, Lava Rocks!

The transformation was as simple as a few coats of spray paint. Starting with black spray paint as a basecoat.

After the black spray was completely dried, I found some dark grey spray and heavily dusted them on all sides.

Again, letting the last coat completely dry, I broke out my white spray paint to finish off the job with a very light dusting. This last step was done by spraying from about twice the distance away from the rocks.

Don't mind the blueish hue from the rocks in the last photo, it's simply the reflected light from the natural light from the open garage door. Which brings up another point, always spray paint with good ventilation!

That's it! They're ready to play! I'm definitely planning to do a good chunk more of these, as well as a variety of other terrain to include planets. Now I just need a full fleet to use!