Friday Quick Tip: Model Builder Software

Today's tip is brought to us by LBursley and a great looking quick terrain making program. Check it out:

I think with a good eye, a sharp knife, and a bit of foamcore, you could come up with some really fantastic looking terrain piece with little effort. This would be great for building up a table with a good amount of terrain quickly.

Anyone have any experience working with 'paper' terrain? Any tips or tricks everyone should know?


Friday Quick Tip: Painted Horses I

When working on some Marauder Horsemen for my Warriors of Chaos, I decided to go with a bit more variety than I had originally planned. Using painted horses would give me the variety I wanted with a far more convincing look. I'd never painted one before, nor had I much history in painting animals at all to be honest! But I approached it in a similar manner to how many paint their camouflage.

When starting off, I would highly suggest that you get the base color, in this case, black, painted to highlights and save time by thinking ahead to where your color break ups will be. I did the two horses in both ways, the first painted to highlights and the painted look added later, and the second all colors were painted and highlighted the same time. The painting and highlighting them all at the same time really just gave me extra headaches as I tried to work around the white sections as I highlighted the black. So from here on out, I'll be finishing the black before moving on to the white.

To keep things simple, I've created a series of images to show the technique off. I'll eventually do a set of these on a model to show it in practice, hence the 'I' in the title!

To start the painted sections, I put broad strokes of dark grey on the model. When you start, you should definitely take a look at real horses in the multitude of images uploaded all around the web. This will give you a good idea on how much of this to use and where you want it. From all of my 'research' I have found that it's all up to the end result you are looking for. Horses are like people, no two are going to be the same. There is a lot of freedom to their tones colors, so go nuts!

Here is where you'll start to feel like your painting camo. I used the same dark grey as before to add some stippled markings along the perimeter of the grey. Larger and smaller blobs of color will add a nice variety and the more random, the better. Natural markings aren't really the same and perfect looking, so don't be afraid to play with the paint.

With this next step you can see one of my classic recipes. I simply went through the numbers on painting white over a black undercoat using greys. Here I've used a lighter grey tone, Fortress Grey, to lighten the painted sections.

Again, just following the same recipe, paint the sections white. Something to keep in mind when painting your sections is that you are actually highlighting the horses musculature during all of this. Painting the white only on the raised detail and keep the depths of the model in the grey tones. The deeper the section, the deeper the grey should be kept there.

With this final step, you just need to go back with the black and stipple into the white, again be random and have fun! This step really should take too long and will break up your lines some which is a good thing!

I would highly suggest you do nearly all of this work after base coating much of the other sections of the models, but before moving on to highlighting and final details of them. Since much of this involves sections of the models that will interact with the other spots of the piece, you need to plan ahead some.

Overall it's a very simple technique that you can build upon very easily. With a little practice you can get some really great effects that even equine types will admire! It's made me much more open to more natural horse types and I hope to feature even more horse types in my force in the future.

How have you painted horses in the past? Have any good tips on a specific horse type?


Friday Quick Tip: Doll House Accessories

A long while back now, I started a Cityfight mini board that I used as a test bed for a lot of different terrain building techniques and materials I had never used before. From that 2x2 mini table I still garner a lot of inspiration for different terrain projects and today, it's the source of a very simple, but very helpful details that adds a lot of character to otherwise bland terrain.

The idea came to me when I was perusing the doll house section of my local hobby shop. I found a great street sign right away that would end up being a central detail of the entire table! I had a perfect intersection on the table to use the sign on right near a huge blast crater. To make the sign fit more with the scene, I bent it back on itself some as if bent out from the bombing. I then painted it up, adding some roman numeral street names to the signs and viola!

Some additional paint lines to help denote the area as an intersection and we were golden! Note the dust and dirt up on the sign. It's weathered slightly, but not quite to my current weathering standard, so someday, I might end up going back to it with the sponge method for damage. There are some damage scrapes on the other side using the old black and metal method though.

But that wasn't the only piece I picked up while I was at the hobby shop! I also found a sheet of fantastic scaled tile! The second I saw it, I knew it would be a prominent feature in my floors for the table. The beauty of the flooring that many hobby stores offer is that there are multiple kinds of flooring. They even offer carpeting for those of you looking to REALLY add some spice to your terrain!

The Tile Flooring I picked up was nice and thin and was quite easy to cut to fit! For most of the floors I simply did a basic color with a wash or drybrush. In this example you can see I went a bit off my rocker and hand painted a bunch of Fleur De Lis! In fact you could do any tile variations you see in real life with just a bit of practice and a steady hand!

My dig through the doll house section ended after I stumbled across a set of two scale paintings. The paintings themselves were of horses, which were of no interest to me, but the frames! They were perfect! And with that I ran home and got to work. I stripped the card painting from the back and cleaned it up a bit. For my paintings I had an extra 3rd Edition 40k box laying about taking up space, so I cut out some of the old John Blanche art from the rim and trimmed them to size. Glued them in and put them into place inside my buildings! When it was time to paint the terrain, I just masked over the painting with some masking tape and once painting was complete, I removed the mask! The end result is a really great detail that makes your building feel and look like it's been occupied! Not the cold dead uninhabited mess that many terrain tables seem like.

There are so many things that can be conscripted from the world of doll house building into our more brutal vision of the future (or past!)! You just have to be willing to look for the things that will fit nicely with the scale and feel you are going for. With all of the small details I picked up from a single trip to the hobby shop, I will be digging through these sections for many many years to come as they will forever be a fantastic source for many of the things that make the battlefield feel more real, and worth fighting over.

Have you found a great alternate source of terrain features? We would love to hear about them!


Dakka Painting Challenge: Nitty Gritty Armor

The latest DPC has drawn to a close and all of the entries are up for judging! Head over to the voting thread and check out the fantastic entries, and let your voice be heard!


Friday Quick Tip: Rosemary & Co. Brushes

Today's quick tip is more of a product review. Unless you frequent the Coolminiornot Shop, live in England or are a lady named Rosemary who makes brushes, you probably have never heard of Rosemary & Co. brushes. Many people are familiar with the Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky Sable brushes, which are great. And expensive. If you are looking for a brush with similar properties and quality, but at a lower price, definitely check out the Rosemary & Co. Pure Kolinsky Sable brushes.

I recently ordered up a few of their different series in size 0 to see how they they fare and to get a handle on their variety of different shapes.

Pictured above (from left to right) are the Series 22, Series 33 and Series 44. The 22 and 33 are pretty similar in size and length, with the Series 22 have a little fuller bulb and the 33 having a sharper taper. The Series 44 is a little crazy and reminds me of those huge pin striping liners used by auto artists that are more brush than handle. I haven't found a specific use for it yet, but next time I need some pin striping on my Falcons, I know which brush to use.

The tips are excellent and have a great point and the brushes have proven to be very durable under my ham-handed painting technique. And the best part is the price: I've found they are about half the price of the Series 7. I purchased mine from the Coolminiornot Shop, who carry most of the series in sizes popular for painting miniatures.

But a size they don't offer is one that intrigues me the most is the Series 1 Mop. Now, this isn't a brush for the price conscious (size 0 goes for about £38!), but these big chunks of Kolinsky Sable are packed into big, bulby, hand made, quill-stlye ferrule with a sharp tip. I'd love to splash washes with a brush like this or try some really fine wet blending, water color-style.

Brush Poll time: What is currently gracing your painting table and how is it holding up?