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I've always been one to enjoy documenting my personal projects as much as actually doing the project! So, it's only natural that I should want to keep a record of my progress with my first Warhammer 40k army. My intent for this thread is to document every part of the journey from the sprue, to the work table, to the final completion of the entire green skin tide, and everything inbetween. My beginnings are humble, as I've never played Warhammer 40k or painted miniatures, but through the encouragement of the LO community I intend to use this thread to help motivate me and share my experiences. On to the good stuff!
Table of Contents
Here I intend to put permalinks to various content topics within my thread as it grows
The Green Counter
The counter is intended to show an up-to-date status of my progress on the Ork hoard by giving a tally of how many Orks are in each of the major stages of completion. I'm constantly tabulating in my head how many I have yet to clip and clean:Still On Sprue
1 Big Mek
3 Killa Kanz
Cleaned and Prepared
Primed and Painted
Like a lot of new Ork players I began with purchasing The 5th edition Attack on Black Reach set and then set out soliciting advice from my fellow Orky Warbosses in the Ork Army Forums on how to complete an army of my flavor from an uninspired beginning. My goal was to design a 1000pt army and from that create a purchase order for all the miniatures I would need. I can spare the details, but for those interested in my first pass at a well rounded Ork force can find the final results here:
1000pts - Re-tooled Friendly List
Well, a few month's have passed and I now have all the required boxes and the new mega paint set! The only thing standing in my way of completion are mold lines and life's responsibilities! I don't know about anyone else, but it takes me a long time to clean the mold lines off a single miniature. I think it's because I'm so anal-retentive and having more than 60 Boyz alone requires some serioius zen to sit down and get it done.
Obviously I'll be doing everything in stages, so first things first: I intend to complete a unit of 30 Boyz since that's the foundation of any Ork force. The first miniatures to completion will most likely be the slugga boyz from the AoBR set. Below are my first two victims!
Because of the poses they are in I've decided to go ahead and glue the second arms on as I don't feel it will get in the way of painting. Consequently the heads I intend to keep separated and glue on after finishing painting them. Beyond removing the mold lines I've done a few other things to each of the Slugga Boyz I've completed preparing.
I've removed the slotted portion on the feet of each Boy and then glued them to the standard non-slotted base that comes with the regular box sets. I primarily did this because I've addiontally weighted the base using a nickel and some superglue. The nickel turned out to be the perfect size for the space under the standard bases so for convenience I didn't bother searching for anything cheaper.
Weighting the bottom gives them a really nice feel when you pick it up and set it down. It makes the models a lot more stable on inclined surfaces and they don't suffer from the clunky "top heavy" feeling that my few pewter pieces have. I really like the plastic miniatues over the pewter ones for this reason (amongst others).
Lastly, I've used a pin-vise to drill out the slugga's barrels so it has more depth instead of painting a black dot on the end. I've found this to be a bit tricky to drill the holes directly in the center of the small area, but fortunately they are Orks so any mistakes at off-setting the hole just makes it look more "orky"!
Last edited by russ_c; December 23rd, 2008 at 10:03.
That's a lot of Boys, Russ.
I've been doing a couple Armies of Boys myself. I only have the AOBR set so far, but just the 40 boyz from that thing is taking FOREVER!!
Don't get me wrong, I love painting them, but after 4 hrs or so of sitting there focusing on minute details, and realizing you still have a lot to go and more paint then you can use..it gets a little exhausting.
Btw, Do you know of any painter tips threads? I tried to find some, along with some inspirational detail painted AOBR boyz, but it seems like the only thing I can find are the older Boyz and usually just a guide telling you what colors to mix to paint the skin.
Anyways, Lastly I would like to ask a few questions.
1. How do you remove the mold lines? I took and exacto knife and gently scraped them, but that seemed to make them worse. They stood out a lot. Afterwards I tried to cut them by sliding the blade along the surface to get them off, but that usually took off TOO much plastic.
In the end I decided removing the mold lines wasn't worth it. So, I skipped ahead to painting and so far, I think it was worth it. I can barely see the mold lines now that the models are covered in a layer or two of paint. Of course, the paint might be a bit thicker than it should be.
2. What kind of paints are you using and did you purchase them individually or in a large pack? I bought a Model Kit thing from Testors. I don't know if Testors is the best paint or not, but the kit was pretty price effecient!
First things first Dark, I'm really new to the hobby so take my advice at your own risk!
1. Ah, mold lines. I scrape them off with a very sharp x-acto blade. More precisely (pun intended) I use this x-acto with #11 Blades: X-Acto x2000 Knife
I like the x2000 because the handle is rubber and larger for easy gripping for adult hands. You can get sets of 100 blades from the same location as the knife, but at the very least I recommend picking up the safety dispenser with 15 extra blades.
The first ingredient to success is LIGHTING! You need strong, contrasting lighting that will clearly show the raised areas and subtle details of the miniature. Day light is actually a poor choice because it's more ambient and diffuse and can actually hide the appearance of mold lines. When I work I hold the miniature about 6 to 8" under the lamp and lean in close. Don't under estimate the importance of lighting to help you carefully discern mold lines. Notice how obvious the mold lines appear in the picture below where I was about 12 inches directly under the light source.
The second ingredient to success is a sharp blade. I typically switch the blades out for a new one every 3 to 4 Boyz I get cleaned. I hold the knife with my thumb and forefinger on the blade with the hand resting gently in my palm. This only leaves about 10mm of the blade exposed from the tips of my fingers.
I hold it so close to the tip for complete control. I scrape using very gentle short strokes towards me. A thousand words won't fully explain my technique...perhaps I'll get around to making a youtube video some day.
2. I recently purchased the new Mega Paint Set from the Games Workshop. It's perhaps not the most efficient way to purchase the specific colors I'll need to paint my army but I did this for a couple of reasons. I expect to share the paints with friends who will need a lot of the other colors and because I got 25% off on the set . There are other options. A popular one is the Vallejo Game Color Paint set that attempts to mimic the same color set as the GW one at a kinder price point and the Reaper Paints. This topic is full of opinions...just use what works best for you!
Looking good and liking the detail you are going into, keep it up
Very good work so far, Russ. The detail you're going into is both interesting and helpful but I would not recommend doing so for absolute every unit or model, because in such circumstances you would be here for an age.
I wish you luck with the project and am excited to see some painted models. I am also currently in the early steps of building a Waaagh! so I hope that in turn we can share some stories and advice. I probably won't have a thread posted until a little after the holiday period, however.
Once again I wish you good fortune and hope you have a really nice Christmas.
P.S: repped & subscribed :]
Nice work here! I like the recording of what you're doing with your minis, kudos to you for that. I look forward to when you get painting. You have ideas of a scheme then?
I really appreciate all the early feedback you guys are giving me on my thread regardless of the fact it's lacking in content! As I said in my intro, I love documenting projects so it will be difficult for me to not go into a lot of detail and minutiae with pictures on all sorts of stuff! I'll make sure to keep it up as long as it's helpful and enjoyable for the community!Looking good and liking the detail you are going into, keep it upHaha, I'll do my best to not do it for every model... I don't want to drive you guys mad!The detail you're going into is both interesting and helpful but I would not recommend doing so for absolute every unit or model, because in such circumstances you would be here for an age.I really want to get painting but at the same time I've hesitated because I've managed to overwhelm myself with tutorials and advice from to many locations. On top of that I believe I've over thought everthing, which has only added to the anxious feeling!I look forward to when you get painting. You have ideas of a scheme then?
The Priming Dilemma
The weather here in California is in the low 50's (10 to 12 degrees Celsius) and damp from all the rain we get in the winter so I've been a bit afraid to try and prime my Boyz with a spray can. To be honest, I wish I knew of a highly recommended paint on primer but it seems like everyone sprays their minis anyways. The two things most appealing to me about paint on primer are total control (yeah, this will become a theme; I can't help it!) and the fact that I could do it indoors during this horrid weather.
Well, I'm almost certain I'll be painting my Ork force as the Death Skullz Clan. This is by no stretch an original scheme as exemplified by the popular Which Ork Klan Do You Play As thread in the Ork army forums. I choose the death skulls because in their fluff they consider the color blue to be lucky so they paint their faces with blue paint and adorn their armor and clothing with blue elements. Not to be a male cliche, but green and blue are probably my two favorite colors and I feel they make an excellent primary/secondary color combination.
Bad Moons were my initial favorite because I like the warmth of yellow with the cooler green colors. On top of that they have one of the coolest clan symbols (the wicked half moon face). Ultimately they lost out because I didn't like their fluff of being the richest/snobiest Orks. All the paint schemes I saw where too flashy for this reason, although I really liked the feel of the Bad Moon Deff Dread on page 205 of the 5th edition rule book! Oh and the Evil Suns, I just can't get over the Christmas color scheme...
Well, I'll get to painting my first miniature when I start testing out everything and I'll post my results no matter how bad! But until then I'll keep posting about what I'm up to.
When I left my workbench before the holiday the big question on my mind was what technique I'll be using to prime my miniatures. Nearly certain I'd prefer brushing-on primer over spraying I set on a conquest to find a brush-on primer that would suite my needs. I'm always keen on the advise of my fellow LO members so I posted a thread about brush-on primer.
The thread lead me to two methods that I've ultimately put to the test...well, at least the beginnings of one: The ubiquitous LO "Slorak Method" and an acrylic gesso method. Both methods are probably more cost effective then spraying. I paid about $8 (~5.5 pounds) for all the supplies and I'm willing to bet either medium will cover all 60 of my Boyz. Of course this is not about money, it's about control! Both methods give you a greater opportunity to have a direct impact on the priming results when compared to spraying. Of course, this "priming god complex" comes with the price of time, but good planning, plenty of miniatures and some patients for good things should help me deal with that!
The Slorak Method
The process of this method is documented in a recent tutorial, Tutorial: Clear Priming with Glass and Tile Medium, so I'll refrain from going into detail. Also there is a number of before and after pictures floating around the forum, but for comparison purposes in my thread I've posted pictures below of the ingredients and results:
To achieve the results above I actually put twice as many drops as suggested by the tutorial so I could achieve a darker prime. Touching the surface you can really feel the "tooth" of the medium and I can already tell it will provide a great surface to paint on. The detail retention is pretty much 100% since the medium goes on more like a wash, but ultimately I fear this might be it's greatest drawback. The wash leaves an unevenly tinted surface most notable by the flat area of the sword. If I use the foundation paints to cover the entire model this problem becomes negligible, but maybe coverage won't be an issue. I guess it's a wait and see situation.
Here is a detail picture of the medium and ink I used for others to reference:
Overall I was very pleased with the results the medium and ink gave me. Although the surface feels porous it appears very smooth. If the uneven tint is really an issue one can choose to not add ink and go for a clear coat, but it could be difficult to insure full coverage.
The contender and new kid on the block is acrylic gesso, which was originally intended for basing a canvas before painting. The method was first brought to my attention by another LOer, r_h_knight, and is documented at this website: Priming with Acrylic Gesso. First off, I used a black gesso instead of mixing my own:
I choose not to water down the gesso and was a little liberal with painting it onto the surface. Being a bit paranoid I didn't glop it on as much as the tutorial shows in the final test, but I feel my results are pretty much the same:
The gesso is pretty "auto-magical". It's amazing at detail retention and even coverage while maximizing paintbrush laziness! It really took next to no time to paint it on since it was going on in such large swathes of the brush and it shrinks down to the surface in about an hour. The only problem for some people is that it's suggested you wait 72 hours for it to fully dry, but good project planning takes care of this issue. In reality I don't see why you couldn't prime in the morning and be painting in the late afternoon. It's worth noting too that the gesso can be bought in white or gray and all colors can be freely mixed to get a custom base value.
Like the Slorak concoction, once the gesso dries the surface feels very toothy, but it has more of a rubbery feel than the tile medium. I'm very pleased with the results, but there are a couple of things I'm going to continue to watch out for. Since the gesso shrinks it can actually create holes in the surface coverage that didn't exist at application. Some can be very small and probably aren't a problem. The picture below shows two such areas on the axe surface:
I really don't think this is going to be an issue, because I could just touch the areas up...and wait longer. Also, when my friend was inspecting the miniature he commented on seeing the brush strokes of the primer on the surface. I think he was talking about the area on the axe that is magnified in the picture above. I'm not actually sure this is the brush strokes and not just the tooling marks on the plastic. All the other broad areas don't exhibit this so I'm chalking it up to "really good detail retention".
The last thing worth noting is that although the gesso shrinks and I wasn't as liberal as the tutorial suggests, the top of the axe handle appears to have to much gesso on it. There are some subtle lines that suggest sagging of to much paint. I'm a little surprised considering the rest of the miniature and a bit disappointed, but I think a control test will prove this won't be persistent or is easily controlled.
The Final Analysis
In short I think I'm going to use the gesso method, but I believe both methods are excellent brush-on primer options. I've chosen the gesso because it has great even coverage that gives me a consistent surface to begin painting on with a lot of tooth. Of course, once the paint starts going on I might change my mind!