Thursday, January 31, 2013

Primer wars

After minitrol posted the great tip about plastikote plastic primer I jumped on a passing Zoat and rode into town to investigate my local Supercheap Autos spray paint range.
Though they didn't have that brand they did have a range of possible candidates.  I decided to start with the cheapest three and if they failed the test, buy the next three... and so on, so  forth.

As white enamel has proved far tougher a primer I decided to start there, and picked up three types of the cheapest paint money can buy.  Aussie Export brand; grey primer, white undercoat and matt white. 

Now this is a classy product, coming in at a whopping $3.59 each and being labelled 'not suitable for automotive use' which amused me considering where I got it from.

3.59, I hear you cry, "the thieving bastards!"  How can they sleep at night charging prices like that?  Compare this to the fair and entirely reasonable price of 26.00 for a can of GW Skull White.

Thats seven cans for the price of t'other.

Now fanboys, settle down.. I know your about to jump up and say but its better "qwalitee".  Sure, that is an excellent point.  I will take that on board with my experiments.  That said, it has got to be a significant improvement to carry the six hundred percent price difference.

So first I will test the products for useability, and the cheapest one that does the job well will then be compared the GW product over the next few weeks to see mileage.  Fortunately I have a hundred candidates to road test it on.

Now this is not a scientific test of course, there is variance between batches and weather does effect the psint-  but unless GW fancy ponying up for a full test by sending me a hundred cans from different batches, I will have to go off my experience over the last few years with cans purchased from two GW stores and four independant stockists from Sydney and Canberra. That should give me a reasonable cross section of the paint shipped to Australia.   As the worst of these did approximately 100 figures (I will count them up tomorrow)- I will set the pass bar here for my mileage test.

Tonight I just tested each of the three types on an eldar metal figure, and tomorrow I will do some plastics and resin sprues (both forgeworld and finecast).  I will also paint acrylic over the paints to see how well they adhere.  (Humbrol primer makes water based paint bead, for example, but white enamel takes paint excellently.)

So far it looks like Matt White is the best of the three tried.  All three had even, powerful streams that covered quickly.  A good foot distance is best.
The matt white gave a smooth, even coverage in just a few short controlled bursts.  You can just tell there is a fair whack of paint flying through the air.

The matt white aussie export does not have the flakey, snow like spray I got from skull white (snow white), and the finish is like brushed on enamel.
The two primers are a tad gungy and shiney.  Probably containing a filler as it instructs you to sand it back before base coat.

Let me conduct part deux of my sinister experiments tomorrow.  Looks like some space crusade marines might be having a bad day...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Where Dave talks freezes, both deep and buying, and

Its time to don my Andy Warhol wig cause its Factory time.
I went all Henry Ford on the leadpile's ass today and cleared enough room to make a conveyer belt layout (see pic).  To fix, to rebase, to prime, to texture, to magnetise, to paint, to hell and back, to infinity and beyond!

My lower freezer compartment is also full with minis.  I had to eat the icecream to make room, dammit.  Superglue is weakened greatly by freezing, and the contracting and expanding of the washers as I dunk them in boiling water pops the bases off nicely.  But that is a task for another day.  Quite clearly I have much to do here already, and seeing so much all layed out like this helped immensely with facing a long buying freeze.  Quite clearly I can paint exciting figures all year.
The problem is my collection is too big for my tiny little flat, so the vast majority of it lives in a secure lock up most of the time in plastic bags within plastic storage tubs.  Rummaging through these tubs is a total joy of mine as I forget what I have quite often.  I could sit for hours doing it.  Those that live here in my study also live in tubs, so its hard to picture.
Being able to lay out a huge chunk all at once was great.
  I can now actually see a light at the end of the lead pile tunnel... for many of these figures can be completed pretty quickly if I group like models and paint in blocks, like I was doing an army.

I can quite easily imagine doing all the chainmail in one go, all the leather... bone, flesh and so forth in blocks of five to a strip- maybe twenty on the desk at once.  Certainly all my lizardmen could be blocked in one go.

To facilitate fast block painting I went with a white base coat (killing a skull white can in one day).  I found with my orc warband that contrary to the foundry army school of thought, shading downwards from highlight tone is quicker than building up from darkest, as often a couple well aimed thin washes over white can get you game ready.  Plus it gives a brighter finish, which will help the mini work on the tabletop.
I have been getting great black lining using ink, alchohol and flowaid water (1:1:10).  Doing this after basecoat works well.

Anyone had any success airbrushing white enamel?  I am loathe to buy another skull white can considering how long this one lasted.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mega minis metal magic magnificence

My birthday treat arrived today- a fantastic 24 peice Dwarf set from mega miniatures.  These originally came from Metal Magic, and where sculpted by Bob Olley.
I am a late comer to appreciating Bobs style I must be honest.  I violently disliked the look of iron claw minis- and still - even in my mellowing tastes- cannot quite appreciate his flower pot headed goblins and rather squishy looking black orcs.  Maybe they too will grow on me eventually.  I always liked open smooth surfaces with smooth shading (Fraser Gray was my god) and dynamic poses (Jes Goodwin checked all my boxes).  Bobs stuff was...  wibbly and covered in wrinkles and details, his poses constrained and lacking that excelsior kapow.
I gather his style polarises people- your either a fan or just dont get it.  Me, I am transitioning.  I think sculpting The Bederken Dwerg allowed me to understand a bit about the temptation to sculpt detail on everything.  Its like stealing the painters choices away though... takes away options to blend and freehand.
I adore modern day Bobs work thoroughly.  His brass bull for Reaper is breathtaking and whats not to like about his malevolent retro scifi blended mutant scrunts.  Plus I now adore Iron Claw scifi pirates, and have gathered quite a posse of them lately.
Bob's inventiveness with dwarfs is a shining example of why the man is a real artist.  His gothic dwarf head dresses, iconography, weapons and shields stand apart from everyone who ever put putty to stunty.  Check out the scans from the metal magic catalogue below.
Sadly some minis in the pictures are not in the set- sold off to other companies.  I may have to find the rest later this year.  I hear impact minis has the standard bearer.
I could not resist basing up the lot and will be ramming them up my painting queue so I can play Skulldred with them!  Hopefully tomorrow will be dry for a spray session.
The casts are great- really good value minis- Its tempting to get a second set to make a hott army too- those warmachines look great!
Its looking like I may not make it down for Cancon this year.  Though if luck is with me I may squeeze in a day- I certainly wont be doing everthing I planned this year.  :(
Hopr to see some of you there!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nurgle Lord/lady progress and aproxie

A little more work on my fat nurgleblaster lady.  She was my spare putty project today- you know, each time a sculpt goes in my mini oven to bake I dick around with the leftover putty on something so its not wasted. 

So today I made a pleasant discovery in the form of a fifty-fifty mix of Aves putty and Procreate.  The general vibe I got off the hinterwebby is that Aves is too coarse for fine detail work on minis, but it's cheap and great for terrain.
I found that to be true, and set my big tubs aside for that purpose.
Yet I decided to mix it with procreate today for an armature and see what happened.

The resulting apoxie/procreate (propoxie? Aproxie?  Apecreate?) is really firm, feathers in well, is sticky to begin with so adheres well to previous layered and sets pleasingly rigid- has a few hours working time and is neutral grey.
Once set, it scrapes well and can be smoothed with sandpaper.
This means fingerprints are of no concern and I found I could work quickly and more roughly massing in forms with little concern for surface memory and less understructure.  The coarseness of the apoxie was cancelled out.
It was really surprisingly good to use, far superior than other mixes I have used.  Give it a go sometime.
The second picture shows a couple of sculpts using the mix.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New year, new phone, new app test

Happy new year Leadsbians.
Yeah... thats not going to catch on...

Testing this new blogspot app... and the camera on my phone.

Here is a picture of some work in progress.  Splintered light 15mm undead.