Friday Quick Tip: Motivation and Momentum

We have a lot of Friday quick tips on how to paint better. Whether a new technique or a new tool, a lot of the site is dedicated to making your painting work better, faster and easier.

This tip is not about doing better, but just doing. A friend of mine just got together a new army. He's play-tested it a few time, tweaked his list, replaced all of his proxy models and assembled most of it. I myself have gathered together what will be my Novamarines Badab army. It sits in several grey and silver piles on a shelf of my painting desk. My army list is complete and the piles of unassembled Marines are even organized into squads-piles. There's really nothing more I can do except put it together and paint it.

But that's the problem. We'd both in the same spot, and probably a spot that anyone who's played any miniature wargame is familiar with: no motivation. We are in the Land of Painting Malaise. (Hello, my name is Jim and I've got APM: army painting malaise.) The theme is good, the list is solid, we've finally got all the models and can't wait to get it all finished and on the table but...


The hardest part of fully painting an army is starting to paint an army.

Now there are dozens of good ways to get motivated and I'm sure you've heard them. Reading some source or "fluff" like a Black Library novel is a great way to get the creative juices flowing. I also love to check out what others are doing: browsing the websites of Golden Daemon painters or Bell of Lost Souls or DakkaDakka are great sources of inspiration. Some people like to set goals, work in batches; all techniques you've probably heard before.

But when you are in that place-- that place where you wonder if this is a hobby or if it is "work". That place of hardcore APM that no amount of visually inspiring fiction or incredibly detailed examples can survive. That place that some people never escape from (you know who you are, leaders of the grey and silver forces!) and the place I am in right now.

There is only one way to get out of that place and break free of APM: paint with no excuses.

No excuses! Nothing about your job or school or wife of spouse. No excuses about it not turning out right or that you still haven't decided on a color scheme. No excuses about not being a good painter (how do you think you're going to get better without painting?) No excuses about not having the right equipment or needing some more primer.

Just go paint. Don't try or plan to paint. Don't set a painting goal or make a checklist. Just do it. Listen to Yoda: there is no 'try'.

Paint 3 guys. Now. Then paint 3 tomorrow and 3 the next day and keep painting for 2 weeks, painting at least 5 of the 7 days each week. Two weeks-- just do it. Force yourself to paint. This isn't a hobby, it is a war. If you can't win the battle of motivation, how are you going to win on the battle field?

After two weeks you will have 30 (or more) models painted. And that will provide the key to getting your army completed; an 'm' word that doesn't have anything to do with motivation.


Getting the last 30 models painted is much, much easier than getting the first 30 painted. So start now. Don't even comment, just go paint! Like I'm going to do right now.

Post a picture of a model you painted this week. And make sure you paint more today!


'Take Cover!' Painting Contest Results!

The contest is over, the entries have been submitted and the scores have been handed down. While we only received three entries, each was well planned and executed! The prizes they'll receive are well deserved. Thanks to the participants and again a big thank you to THQ for a great opportunity!

So enough jibber jabber! On with the results!

First Place: Jakub Kasperczyk

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Second Place: Mike Howell

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Third Place: Peter Yaskowski

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So let's hear it for them folks! A great first showing for our first painting contest!


Friday Quick Tip: Paper Tarps

With the talk of objectives over on FTW, I've decided to feature a major part of how I go about making my own. Using paper for tarps and cloth has been around for a long time, and a lot of people use this method extensively for both tanks and terrain alike. Such an important technique cannot slip through the cracks here on The Painting Corps!

I use Tamiya's 1/35 Jerry Can Set and a 40mm base for my objectives. They are just the right size and are perfect for just about any army to fight over. And the 40mm base is the apparent standard around the web for Tournament style objectives.

Once assembled I glue them all in place in a manner that gives me a good amount of vertical variation and just a little bit of story. Here the 'story' is conveyed by the broken bucket on it's side, inferring the stockpile has been here for a while unkempt.

You'll need some watered down PVA glue, and just a bit of paper. I've taken to using a certain fast food restaurants take out bags, the texture is great and the paper is heavy enough to not just tear and rip apart when trying to press and push it into place.

When sizing your tear of paper, make sure you leave a little bit more than you think you'll need. you can always crumple it up along the base later and give it a more natural look. Too little and you'll have a towel instead of a tarp!

Dip the tear of paper into the watered down glue mix. A pair of tweezers will make things a lot easier as well. Between using them to dip the paper in the glue, hanging it to drip dry and using the slightly dulled edges to help push the paper into place later, they're an invaluable help with the entire process!

Drape the paper over your model and use your tweezers to get it roughly into place. Once it's over the spot you want it to be, use a wet paint brush (larger brushes work well for this) to help adhere and form the paper to the surfaces. Use downward brush strokes to get a more natural look over the objects (gravity and all!).

Be sure you let the paper dry thoroughly before even THINKING of priming and painting! But luckily all that time you wait for it to dry will be paid back ten fold by the ease of painting it. Use drybrushing and washes to paint your tarp and the natural texture of the paper will show through nicely.

Like I've said, this technique has wide ranging possibilities, and it's a great addition to any repitiore of modeling tricks. Best of all, it's nearly free.

What kind of projects can you think to use this on or have used something similar on?


'Take Cover!' Painting Contest Reminder

We're quickly coming up on the deadline for our Dawn of War II Painting Contest 'Take Cover!'. Just a reminder that all entries are due in by March 20th at Midnight Central Standard Time (GMT -6)!

So put those finishing touches on, get your photos and send your entry in to ThePaintingCorps@gmail.com!

For more information on the contest rules and prizes, check out the original announcement.


Friday Quick Tip: Static Grass

Continuing with our running tutorials on Basing, this week we're going to give you some very basic tips on how to use Static Grass. This tutorial builds off of what we've learned from the Basic Basing tip. The addition of Static Grass to your basing really adds a lot of character to your models with minimal effort. There are a lot of different colors of static grasses out there, and it's up to you to find the static grass that best suits the look you are going for.

For this tutorial I've used GF9's Arid Static Grass to give my Sons of Medusa a dry southwestern desert look.

Step One:

To start you'll need to dab some white glue onto your base in random fashion like in the photo. The amount of coverage is up to you, but for me, a little bit goes a long way.

Step Two:

When I'm putting static grass on the base, I tend to cover the entire base to cover any and all glue. Use tweezers to pick up clumps of grass and drop it on the base. Doing this over your container is always best so you can save any excess grass for future projects!

Step Three:

After shaking off the excess into the container, flip your model upside down and blow away loose grass. This knocks out two birds with one stone by both getting rid of the loose grass and helping to stand the static grass up even more in a more natural manner.

Step Four:

Now just let it dry! You really don't want to mess with it too much at this point. You can however clean up the rim some as you will notice some stray grass hanging over the edge.

Again, this is just building upon our basing knowledge up to this point. If you haven't read our Basic Basing tip, be sure you check it out. And if you're feeling up to it, try out our more advanced Snow Basing tip. For even more variety in your basing, you could mix all three of our basing tips!

So how about it folks, what other good tips for static grasses do you have?


Friday Quick Tip: What's a Paint Shaper?

If you already know what a paint shaper is, then you'd better have one in your tool box because these are probably the best hobby tool around. If you've never heard of a shaper before, let me fill you in: a paint or color shaper (google also for "colour shaper" which is a brand name) is basically a brush handle, but instead of bristles the shaper has a flexible silicone tip.

There are a variety of sizes and shapes available and there are a million and one uses for this thing. I received a cup tip shaper for Christmas and was a little puzzled at first. But now that I've had it for a while, I always make sure that it is close at hand when I'm painting.

Here are a few things I've used it for:

Oops! Squeegee: A few times I've touched the brush to the wrong place and instead of going back later and painting a touch up, a quick swipe from a wet shaper can pick up that oops. Wedge and cup tips work best for this technique.

Paint Reveal: You might have done this as a kid; paint a design and then put another color on top and use a tool to remove the top color to reveal the design beneath. I've experimented with this a few times and it can make for some interesting effects. First put down a color and let it completely dry. Then lay down a thin coat of paint on top and while still wet, use the shaper as an "eraser" for the top color. I recommend one of the pointed tip shapers for this type of work.

Putty Smoother: This is one of the original uses for a shaper and one it excels at. Since the tip is flexible and silicone it doesn't stick to even the stickiest epoxy putty. With a little water, the shaper can really to excellent work smoothing out rough areas. Depending on the shape you're sculpting, you could use any style of tip.

Color Shaping/Blending: Another original use of the shaper is using it to smear and blend colors. I used my shaper this way for reflected light from a burning banner. I dabbled down a small line of orange and then used my cup shaper to pull the orange away from the light source. It works great over rough surfaces because the shaper will catch only the top edges were light would naturally fall.

For wargaming-sized work, I recommend the smallest (no./size 0) shapers and if you shop around you should be able to find a 5 pack of assorted tips for under $25. A real bargain for this versatile tool.

Have you used a shaper before? What good tips do you have for using paint shapers?