Friday Quick Tip: Wash Basics I

When I started my Orks oh so many months back, I knew that I would be using the new(ish) Games-Workshop Washes rather extensively, along with a few old school washing techniques I'd learned along the way. You might be new to these wonders of modern painting, and even if you're not, I'm hoping that this set of articles ( which should continue on future Fridays! ) will be helpful in guiding your use of them to new heights.

Today we'll be going over the most basic use of these great paints, adding depth. You've likely seen people all across the net telling people to wash over their entire model with Badab Black or some other dark wash color to bring out all the great detailing that's just waiting to be contrasted with some nice dark recessed areas. And to their credit, they're right! If you're not up for building your colors up from a dark color or going back in and adding it by hand, washing can really speed up the process to great effect.

To start us off, you're going to want your base colors all opaque and in place on the model. Here you can see I've used my US WW2 color set to paint a nice opaque color scheme on this Slugga Boy from the Assault on Black Reach set. I haven't built any of these colors up past their base color. Keep it neat, keep it clean, and keep the coverage even.

Now the easy, and honestly rather fun, part of the tip! Paint over all the surfaces you want to add the depth to with Badab Black. I have spared the skin on this project, as I use a set of other washes and highlighting that I will be sure to share in the future! Watering the wash down just a bit helps get a bit more even coverage. Be sure to not let a big pool of wash form in any spot and only into the recessed details. Play about with it for a little bit and you'll get the hang of leaving the wash where you want. Your colors will get darkened on the whole, so don't try and leave any spot without the wash, that's what we want!

After letting your wash dry ( Completely!! ), break out your base colors again and use them to highlight your model! No thinking, just reapply your paint to the appropriate areas leaving a bit of the darkened color showing. Use the highlights appropriately and you'll really get a nice effect with hardly any effort! It's all about picking out the higher or edged details leaving that washed down color to the lower or recessed areas of the model.

With this model, I've given him a dusting of Bleached Bone at the end of the process to give him a bit dirtier of a look without taking it too far. This also helps to bring out some of the harder edged details even more, again if you do this step, be sure to stick to the upper details and leave your shadows alone!

This model also uses my Rust recipe in a bit more of a wash fashion ( watering down the paints ), as well as a bit of Freehand for the check-marks and star detail.

I've been hard at the washes since they were released using them in all different manners and so far, I'm extremely happy with the results. Anyone have any fun tricks with washes they've stumbled across?


Eye Candy Thursday: BoLSCon Report

First of all, let me apologize for some of these pictures. They aren't quite up to our normal standard. But the hall was very, very dark. Maybe next year we'll have to bring our own lighting and setup a photo booth.

But for now: enjoy! There was a lot of eye candy on display; I was surprised at the high level of the painting contest entries because BoLS isn't exactly known for hobby and painting greatness.

The top is some of the locally produced terrain for 40k; a lot of it was buildings since there was a gigantic pile of excellent natural terrain that came from Chicago. In the middle is the twin pentagonal radio tower piece I built for the Narrative tables. It didn't get as completed as I would have liked, but expect it to be bigger and better next year. (And with a block so that no models are lost inside the ruined tower. Oops.) The last picture is one of my favorites: a Land Raider driving out of my Dark Angels ruined monastery. I've had that piece forever, and it finally got out of the primer stage for BoLSCon.

There were some great armies on my Macharian Campaign tables. And since I am all about the yellow these days, I loved these Orks. I especially love the Ratling Snipers lined up in "bowling pin" formation for the MegaNobz.

These were some pictures from the big Imperial-Chaos face-off. Great scratch-built Knight Paladins faced off against Chaos Warhounds, a fantastic Couldron of Blood and my favorite is the last, which should be a demotivator poster called "Futility". Good luck, lone Bloodletter.

One of the best lines of the weekend was in pre-game for this Imperial-Chaos battle.

"What's that Couldron of Blood count as?"

"A Couldron of Blood."


A few pictures of the great Imperial armies on my Narrative boards. Below, a few random pictures from the other Apocalypse boards.

Sadly we didn't get a lot of painting contest pictures, but we promise to fix this for next year. Below are some of Grey_Death's entries and a picture of Michael Strange's awesome mecha-Tyranid army, the 40k overall winner.


Friday Quick Tip: Pink Foam

Here's a Friday Quick Tip by request. Awesome friendly local game store BattleForge Games (plug: 20% off GW mail order) is running a Planetary Empires map campaign (which unfortunately I can't participate in). But BoLS Fly Lord BushidoRedPando has created an awesome portal gate for his Chaos army. I will promptly steal this idea for my Eldar, and in return, here's a quick tip for him on working with pink foam.

Now I don't gender sterotype with colors, so if your pink foam is blue, more power to you. I've noticed in my area that the insulation foam at Home Depot is pink and the same at Lowes is blue. The blue foam is stronger and the pink foam is more sensitive. I kid; either is fine and while I usually try to buy the thickest I can find, usually that is just 1/2" or 5/8".

There are a few key tools you'll need and most of them are pretty obvious.

Cut, shave, slice; using these depends on the size of the project. For a little piece of foam for a 40mm or 60mm base, all you are going to need is your hands to break pieces apart and a hobby knife. But when you go bigger you'll want a much bigger knife that cuts deeper. Always start with a fresh blade when working on a new foam project since a dull blade can pinch and pull the foam instead of slicing. The combo coarse-fine half round bastard file (yes, it is actually called a bastard) is great for smoothing curves or rounding pieces, especially when you have joined multiple layers of foam together.

While this foam cutter is a pain to work with because the blade sometimes slips out, I wouldn't work with any other. The closed, U-shaped cutters are only good for something small and this large, blade-style cutter really makes it easy to cut recesses and concave shapes that would be impossible with a hotwire-style cutter. (Plus, using this thing in some huge chunk of foam always reminds me of the lightsaber-into-blast-door scene from Star Wars: AotC. Geek-tastic, I am a foam Jedi.)

Oh, yeah: the scallop edged serrated bread knife. Steal this from the kitchen while no one is looking. If you are working on a large foam project and cutting through many layers, there is no better manual tool out there.

If you are working on something really big, don't be afraid to break out the jigsaw, belt sander or any of the other power tools. Foam is really easy to cut with any blade, but a finer tooth will give you a smoother edge. Sometimes you will want a rougher edge, so you really can't go wrong with just about anything you have in the workshop.

Pink foam is best used as a volume filler or texture. Here are a few small projects where I've used foam.

With the crate I've used the foam for texture, to provide a nice rocky appearance. I broke this piece off by hand and carved a channel for the crate to show it cutting through the mud, down to the hard rock as it landed. The snow drift in the bottom piece is pink foam used as a volume filler. I used a small piece of foam that was filed into a soft snow drift-like shape and then painted white, covered with glue and textured with snow flock.

Here are a few teaser pictures of a larger foam project I created for BoLSCon. For this project we wanted a piece of terrain that was tall enough so that a squad could be at the base and an unit with Infiltrate could be legally be placed in the terrain piece above it-- so all the required distance between the units would be vertical, not horizontal.

The piece is 12" x 12" x 1/2" foam layered together into one cubic foot of pink foam, bonded with Gorilla glue. Above I've just started roughing it out with the bread knife to get the basic shape.

Here I've made more rough in progress and you can see some of the horizontal foam cutter texture going onto the top portion and doorway carved out with a hobby knife. Below I printed an Imperial logo on the printer and cut it out with a hobby knife, using the big bread knife to shape the surroundings into the shape of the larger piece.

A few final tips: to seal exposed foam for spray priming or painting you have several options depending on what your final texture will be. If you are going for a rocky foam texture then I usually seal the foam with latex or hobby paint (or even good paint if the piece is for a small base). Optionally you can use watered down wood glue. This works especially well for a foam piece that you are going to texture with sand or another material. I've also use spackle for covering foam, if I'm going for an irregular rocky texture and just using the foam as a volume filler.

Joining several layers of foam together can be tricky, depending on the project. Wood glue is my normal go-to adhesive, although when dried and hard it is really tough to cut through. The good thing about wood glue is that it doesn't expand much and can create a good bond for a big stack of foam layers with minimal gap between each layer.

Gorilla glue also works well, if a little expensive, because it is easy to cut because of its foamy dried state. Just be wary of layer expansion and gaps if gluing multiple layers. Clamping or putting a big heavy weight on it will ensure that the excess goes out the sides and won't separate your foam layers.

If you are joining multiple custom shaped pieces of foam together, I recommend hot glue. It will create a quick strong bond that you can cut through with a hobby knife. Just don't use hot glue on a foam sandwitch: the stiff hot glue bead will tear up the foam when you cut it.

What's your best tip or tool for working with foam?


Eye Candy Thursday: Splnes Orks

[Ed.: I've been watching the progress of a local player's Orks and his scheme has reignited my fascination with yellow. Here are a few pics and his run down on his technique; I hope you enjoy and it ignites a flurry of yellow armies! -- RealGenius]

Just a really quick rundown of what we are working on today. RealGenius asked me to do a little tutorial on my newest army, you may have heard of a little Ork clan called Bad Moons. I chose the Bad Moon clan for their wealth; I wanted to build a heavy army full of Nobs, Mega Nobs, Looted Tanks, Battlewagons, and grot slaves.

I’m relatively new to painting Orks; I started with a single nob and worked out the flesh tones until I found an even color I liked with lots of highlights and so nice shades. He didn’t turn out exactly as planed but it gave me a good idea of the direction I was headed. The armor color was a no-brainer since I was working with Bad Moons I will be working with yellows. Now there’s no reason I have to work with those brighter yellows, my Orks like getting dirty. So first I loaded up on the colors I thought would be needed: Chaos Black, Skull White, Bleached Bone, Gore Red… you get the idea, I got paint!

Now the big colors used in this project would be the greens. I picked up Goblin Green and Snot Green for an orky feel. For my yellow I use Bubonic Brown?!?! It’s yellow to me! But let’s push ahead. Another important detail is my washing, I will use Devlin Mud and Thakka Green, maybe some others but mostly those two. Now that we’ve gathered the right colors we can jump right in and paint these bad boys up.

1) First things first, remove all the flash off your new models and glue him to a base, some people don’t glue the model to the base until their done painting but for these Orks I did for one major reason, I wanted it to look like they had been tromping though the mud. To achieve that I glue the model down then, with white glue, glue down some small rock and sand. Don’t worry about getting it on those Ork boots… we’ve been a tromping!

2) I then prime, every body knows that a good solid coat of prime is the best start to having a durable model! I use black primer since my Orks will be mostly dark colors.

3) After that primer is done drying I slop on my base colors. Now Orks are not uniform creatures, they don’t wake up in the morning a color coordinate themselves with their fellow looters! My Orks all have different clothing colors, I try to keep the pants darker and the shirts lighter but, hey, sometimes you got the mix it up. I try to stay neat but hey if you spill over a little we can fix that latter. Now to keep with the Bad Moon theme I paint any armor with my “yellow”. Also any glyphs I hit up with the yellow. I use a mixture of metallic to paint guns and bullets or earrings, go wild it adds flare!

4) Now to the flesh, I start with an even coat of Goblin Green, head to toe. I use Leather Brown and then Bleached Bone for teeth, eyes, and finger nails, also any bones they may be carrying, such as skulls or bull skulls.

5) Once I’ve painted every piece of the model I wash the entire thing in Devlin Mud. I go thick allowing the mud to flow into the deeper recesses.

6) After the Ork is dry I go back to the flesh, I use the Snot Green to go over all the muscles and raised parts of the model such as eyebrows.

7) Allow that to dry and follow up with a good dry brush of Goblin Green, I lay this one on pretty thick but not so much to completely cover the Snot. Also stay away from the valleys! You only want to highlight the raised up parts and let that nice shade hide down in the crevices.

8 ) Wash all your flesh in a light coat of Thakka Green.

9) Now I mix a 25/75 skull white and Goblin Green and lightly dry brush over only the upper most details; mainly the veins on the muscles and face.

10) Wash all your flesh in a light coat of Thakka Green.

11) I go back and hit up the armor plates with more yellow, avoid details such as bullet holes and scars. Also I like to paint on some checkers or flames since Orks are so fond of these markings. For the checkers I use mostly white and black, but I like to go back and wash over the white with Devlin mud to dirty it up a bit.

12) Now all you need to do is a bit of touch up work. Maybe a little highlighting on the weapons.

13) For the base I use a tan, this is the only paint that is not GW. But for the most part its just tan. I water it down and paint the entire base including getting on some of the orks boots or paints. Once it dries I wash it with Devlin Mud, and I’m done.

Go forth and paint yellow! Seeing a bunch of new, yellow Bad Moons out there is great compared to the old 80's red and yellow Orks I'm used to seeing.

You can follow Splnes' Bad Moon Ork project online at http://www.beltofskulls.blogspot.com.


Friday Quick Tip: Intro to Wet Blending

Here's a quick video tip from LBursley on an often requested how-to: wet blending. Check out the vid:

He makes it look so easy! This is definitely one of those techniques that it helps to see in practice over just reading directions on a page. But remember, painting is a skill; and with any skill you need to work at it and practice before you're an expert.


Friday Quick Tip: Mix Oil and Water

A little late, but here's this week's Quick Tip. I've been working on terrain for BoLSCon, so my garage and dining room is full of all sorts of 40k buildings. Since I'm producing so many, I'm doing just a basic sand texture on the 12" x 12" building bases. The sand has a decent variety of texture, but still goes on pretty uniform and I wanted a little something to break it up. But since I've got about 25 in this batch, I wanted a technique that would still be quick to do and paint.

The solution came to me by accident: using oil in the watered down glue. Here's how it starts, with a basic foot-square hardboard covered in watered down Wood Glue. Make sure you thin it with some water since that will make it easier to brush on and add to the oil effect.

Now once you've got a nice layer of glue, spray on the oil. I used WD-40, but any spray oil should do.

By varying the distance you spray and the thinness of the glue, you get different results in the final product. Now douse the board with sand.

The sand not only sticks to the glue for texture, but does not stick to the places with the oil. And since a whole bunch of sand is really absorbent and drying, it wicks away the oil as well. If you've ever use kitty litter or oil dri on a motor oil spill, you're familiar with how this works.

The top pictures was thicker glue, which gave a more cratered and pitted surface. The bottom picture was of thinner glue and you can see the oil completely displaced the glue in some places. Use this technique to create small craters (airbursting fragmentation projector anyone?) or with additional paint for small lava or disease pools.

Anyone have quick tips for working with sand? By the way, is anyone going to BoLSCon?