Friday, February 24, 2012


Work on the Land Raider is almost done!  I'll have a full post soon, but until then, here are some pictures to enjoy while you wait.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Progress On The Land Raider

I have made some progress on the Land Raider since my last post on it.  Lots to cover.
And this is what it looks like before I even add the weapons.

First of all, this thing is cool as hell.  The photos aren't perfect- getting a camera stand, some decent lighting and whatnot is on my to do list- but even if it doesn't look bad ass in the pictures, it is when you look at it in person.  This thing just kind of grows in aspects and areas of coolness as it is assembled and painted the way a town in the old game SimCity does.  At first, its just look little piece of this, cool little part of that, then it gets bigger, and you're like, hey, I'm cooking now.  And then you do a little more, and its three times cooler than it was before.  And you do a bit more work, and suddenly, its twelve times cooler.  And before you know it, you've spent six hours on the thing and you have an airport and a sports stadium and no crime and 100% fire coverage and the best road and mass transit system going ever and you look down on your little creation and you think, damn... I made that!

Instead of a door, there is a space marine supply
cupboard in the door frame here.  Um... Why don't
they just keep all that stuff inside the Land Raider proper?
Right now, I'm nearly done with the color blocking of the outside. I used a thick brush to get the big sections of things with two layers of ultra marine blue, and need to go in with smaller brushes to get in the nooks and gaps.  I am going to do a separate entry on some stuff I picked up assembling the thing.  I learned a lot in the process, and I'll cover that later.  But for now, here is what I have.

I have the sides built, top on, treads added, and obviously, have the interior done. I built the model so that the doors open so you can see the details I painted in the interior.  I thought I would be half done when I was complete with the interior walls section of the model- everything else looked like it was just big, wide, flat surfaces that would easily be painted.  It was the details that were going to take all the time, and those were all on the inside, right?

Yeah no.

Port side door closed!
I really discounted how much work painting the treads would be.  I'm also not using an air brush to paint the outside, which would probably save me a ton of time.  In any case, I now consider myself about halfway done.  I will need to do detail work on the exterior as well as get the weapons assembled and painted... but we'll see.  I figure I'm probably on hour ten or eleven on this project.  Will I be done at hour twenty or twenty two?  We'll see.  And if so, how cool will it be at that point?

 So what do I have going on here?  Well, first, as I said, I have it set up so the doors open and close. You can build your Land Raider so that all the doors are glued shut, but I knew I was planning on painting the inside details when I started that project, and just had to hope the doors were cool.

Port side door open!  And you can see the computer station
inside the Land Raider itself!
The doors are very, very cool.  The port side doors slide back and forth.  There are blocks to keep them from sliding too far apart and blocks in the middle of their track, both on the top and bottom, that make the doors come together in the center.  It looks cool.  The *really* cool door though, is the main hatch up front.  Again, you can glue it together.  If you don't, there is a little turning lever assembly that connects to the posts that the the front doors are attached to.  The way the assembly works is that as one door is opened, the other door will open as well.  It is *really* cool.

I put some close combat knife bits on the rack inside the
forward hatch.
The Land Raider doors are too small for any space marines to actually stand inside of. You could slide them in horizontally.  And the cool thing about the Land Raider is that it actually looks like it is tall enough for some Space Marines models to fit inside of the thing. Some one who wanted to do a *really* awesome interior could get a few of them standing inside, receiving final orders and assembling their gear.  Or someone could put a little map table inside of a Land Raider, as the cable is completely empty.  It being empty does make it possible to see the details painted on the walls through the doors, however.

You can kind of see the engine wall in the back of the
Land Raider cabin in this shot- hard to get enough
light in there AND get the camera lens in the right place
but I think you get the idea. 
I still need to finish the following steps to complete this project:

  1. Finish the exterior paint blocking.
  2. Paint the door covers
  3. Paint and assemble the weapons
    1. forward chain gun
    2. side guns (I'll be doing the hurricane bolters)- two sets of these. 
    3. top mounted multi melta
  4. Paint and assemble the other bits
    1. portal covers
    2. smoke can launchers
    3. flood light
    4. communications array
    5. etc.
  5. detailing the exterior
    1. paint all the rivets 
    2. clean up detailing
    3. etc.
I am not planning on doing weathering right now.  I want to practice on another model first, and then apply it to this one.  I could do it right, but I don't want to risk screw this up.  So the weathering step is on the to do list.  Like getting better photo resources. 

And that is where I am right now.  I'll write again when there is news to post. 

Until next time,

David D. 

Spray on Primers For Less Than 15 Bucks A Can...

Ok, so back in December I mentioned my frustration with looking for hobby grade primer. I grumbled a bit about dropped $15 for a can of Games Workshop Citadel primer when there is primer at Walmart for about $3 a can.  At the time, I was told by a game shop owner that the walmart stuff is good if you are working on your car, but you could end up melting the plastic because of the chemicals used in the cheaper stuff.

Ever since then, I have been on the lookout for less expensive but still decent quality materials.

That search has born results.

Behold!  The Army Painter line Base Primer Matte Black (can size: 400 ml, $13.00 at a local gaming shop) and... Armory Black Primer, by Alliance Games, (can size: 12.0 oz/341 g for $5.95 at my local gaming shop.)  $5.95!!!!!

Lets say that one more time.


For comparison my Citadel spray paint is 10 oz/292 grams/400ml.  The cans for all three products are themselves the same size. 

But how does Army Black do?

I used the Armory Black on my Land Raider, and I like it.  It is actually gritty, as real primer is and Games Workshop black spray paint is not.  Games Workshop black spray on paint (at $15.00 a can, mind you) isn't really primer but just another Games Workshop* licensed product that is meant to make us think it is better because it has the Games Workshop logo on it.  Armory Black isn't as black as the GW black spray on paint, and is kind of a half black/half charcoal color.  It isn't as light as I consider charcoal, but it does have some speckles of gray in it.  It also goes on thicker and gritter than the GW paint does, which again, is because Armory Black is actually primer, not paint.

The Army Painter stuff is also good.  It is very black, which is cool, and also goes on a bit thicker than the GW black paint, but it doesn't seem to be as gritty as the Armory Black.  It is nearly as expensive as the GW paint.  If you really want to buy something that is black AND a primer, and feel uncomfortable going with the less expensive Armory Black on your high cost hobby figures, I totally understand. You aren't going to get burned if you buy this.

I'm a beginner, and my view could change with more experience, but I think these are both options are absolutely viable alternatives to the GW black or white paint when used for your primer coat.

Also note- Primer can be dangerous stuff.  If you are a youngster (and with the extension of adolescence in industrialized nations, this can mean up to your late 20s now**. ;-)) know that spray paint and spray primer fumes are REALLY bad for you, that you NEED to use a paint mask when you apply spray paints/primers, and that you NEED to apply them in places with lots and lots of ventilation.  Also, the stuff is super flammable, so don't play with it and fire, because actually getting hurt or having someone close to you hurt no where near as exciting or interesting in real life as it seems like it is in the movies or on TV. I promise you.

*I actually love Games Workshop despite their high cost stuff.  I just would rather spend less money if I can on the things I can spend less money on, which will allow me to stretch my hobby budget. ;-)  Nothing but love for ya, GW!

** One of my professors mentioned this week that he read an article over the summer that had a really interesting theory on why we are seeing extended adolescence in industrialized nations.  In the article, about 50 12 year old males from industrialized cultures in the Americas, Europe and Asia were studied to see how many hours a week they spend with their fathers, as were 50 12 year old males from tribal cultures in Africa and South America.  It turned out that the average number of hours a 12 year old male spent with his father in an average week in industrialized cultures was 2, and the the average number of hours a 12 year old male spent with his father in an average week in tribal cultures was 20.  Very interesting stuff.

Anyway, more on the Land Raider soon.  Its really coming along!  It looks cool as hell.

Until next time,

David D.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Learning those paint shades!

My business cards are so useful for so many
things besides their intended purpose. 
So here is a cool little exercise that I engaged in this week.  Prior to painting the engine block, I noticed that three of my paints, Citadel's mithril silver, boltgun metal and chainmail look really, really similar.  In and out of their containers.  So what is the difference between these paints?

The painting guides usually call for painting metal items boltgun first, then highlight in chainmail and then just add a bit of mithril silver on the edges of the chainmail.  But why?  They look so alike.  Sometimes when I paint I can't even tell after the work is done what parts have the highlighting and what don't.  What is my eye looking for?  Is it brightness?  Finish?  Are some of those paints matte, and some more shiny?

So I decided to do a little experiment.  I took one of my small brushes and painted a bit of each paint on the back of one of my business cards.  Since the surface is a solid, uniform color, I figured I should get a good idea of what I am looking at.  And voila!  The difference became quite clear.  Boltgun is by far the darkest color, followed by chainmail, and then mithril, the lightest.  And ding!  It all makes sense.  Layering paint is often all about putting lighter colors on top of darker ones- hense, the older the guides suggest you put down the paint.  I also noticed that each color is about as shiny as the others.  They are metallic paint, so it makes sense that they would all reflect some.

The picture does not quite show this because the light was coming from the right side of the image- making the chainmail reflect more of the light, and hence, looking lighter than it i in general, but you get the idea.

I can (and will) use this technique again on other colors to see exactly what order I want to use them in when I am working on other laying projects.  There are a lot of paint shades that look close to alike both in their containers and on the work piece.  Even when I'm a doing a model more or less paint by number, which is where I was and am just starting to mess around with a little creativity, knowing the 'why????' of the logic behind the instructions I am following is useful for me to become better at my craft.  This is one of those situations where a I can read something in a book, but I don't necessarily get the concept until I play around with it a bit and make it mine.  And that's a useful skill in a lot of different situations.

Until next time,

David D.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Land Raider, cont'd...

Left side!
Work continues on the Land Raider.  I've probably put another 3 hours in on this guy, bringing my total up to 6 thus far.  I have the two interior side walls more or less complete.  My painting skill isn't going to win me a Golden Demon award anytime soon, but I'm pretty happy with how everything is looking.  Here is what I have going on. 

Here you see the left side.  You can click on the pictures to make them appear much larger, which helps to the smaller specifics.  I apologize in advance for the imperfect focus.

In any case, moving from left to right, here is what I've used for the painting.  All these paints come from the Citadel paint line (I have really sold my soul, or rather, hobby money to these people.  But this path to perdition is paved with pleasure.) I've got boltgun metal on the rack in the front with chain mail highlights, chain mail on the metal bar running top to bottom with mithril silver rivets and highlights.  The conduit and light are boltgun metal with chain mail and mithril highlights.  The red light it blood red beneath red gore.  The compartment door has a tallarn flesh foundation below bleached bone.  The edge around it was washed with badab black to make it stand out. The seats are calthan brown as a foundation with bestial brown on top.  The footlockers (and all of the rivets over the background, which is shadow grey) is spacewolves grey.  The alarm light on the top of the middle column is boring blazing orange over the black primer.  The cross speaker is shining gold washed with ogryn flesh, a brown wash.  The computer screen is black with a scorpion green freehand graphic of a guy and text around him, which is actually my favorite part of this section.  The data jack is boltgun metal with chainmail highlights.  The center of the data jack opening is blood red with red gore on top.  The second set of seats is the same as the first. 

Right side!
The right side is also pretty cool.  From right to left, I've got computer keys painted in dark flesh, (I needed a new color for computer keys and it looked good.  The left and right arrow keys are blazing yellow, and the button between them is boltgun.  The conduit data jacks below them are boltgun metal with mithril silver highlighting.  The metal bar is chainmail with mithril silver rivets and highlighting.  The conduit and metalic box is boltgun with chianmail and mithril highlights.  The compartment door is identical to the one of the other side; tallarn flesh foundation below bleached bone for the skull, and badab black wash on the edge. The seats on this side are the same as the other side.  The alarm light is also orange, and the cross speaker and skull are the mirror the other side.  In the little alter, I've got talaran flesh for a foundation, dwarf flesh and then skull white.  I also free handed some black script to look like a blessing.  On the sides I have two candles with shining gold and mithril silver highlights, and the candles are golden yellow and little flames have been plaints on top in blazing orange.  The rest of the side are identical to the other.

So that's the yield of another 3 hours of work.  And we're up to six hours total on this project.

Until next time,

David D.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Starting work on the Land Raider...

Here we go!
 Ok, I've done a total of 27 space marine infantry figures thus far.  That is sanding down mold lines, priming, assembling, gluing, holding while the glue sets, painting, second coat-ing, washing, detailing, and second coat detailing, over two dozen little guys.  And I still have more to do.  But I needed to do something else because I have gotten really, really, REALLY bored worked on little people.  Good thing I had a land raider crusader/redeemer sitting on the shelf waiting to be worked on, because it is exactly the kind of thing I was up for working on.  So I am.  I figure this is going to take me about 20 hours to do, which means it could take me two or three weeks to finish, depending on how busy I am.  I would love to see my complete kick ass looking land raider right now, but its a labor of love, and the more time I spend on it during painting and construction, the more I'm going to get out of it when its finished.  And here on the blog I'll document the progress of the project.

Ok.  The Land Raider Crusader/Redeemer is one of the biggest models there is in Warhammer 40K, and possibly the biggest model for the entire space marines army.  It clocks in at 124 parts- the Storm Raven Gunship for the Blood Angle Space Marine faction, which is probably the vehicle closest in size to the land raider, has 116 pieces.  In game play, the Land Raider Crusader gives me 12 Strength 4, armor penetration 5, twin linked (meaning you get to roll twice to hit) shots from the side mounted storm bolters that shoot 24 inches.  The top mounted assault cannon gives me a 4 strength 6, armor penetration 4, twin linked shots.  It can carry 16 infantry figures who can assault on the same turn the disembark.  It has armor of 14 all the way around.  Right out of the box, before you add any additional weapons such a multimelta to kill other vehicles, this thing is fast moving, enemy infantry shredding, moving fortress bar none.  I plan on throwing my terminators inside and just demolishing the armies of my foes.  Hordes of cheap orks or necrons?  Bring 'em on.  But first I need to build the thing.

Its gonna take me a while to get this all put together.
As I said, this thing has a *ton* of pieces.  Here are the sprues untouched, just out of the box.

Yeah.  That's almost as many items as were in the entire Assault on Black Reach Warhammer 40K starter kit.  I love seeing all these pieces though.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and got the Lego Blacktron Message Intercept Base for my 9th birthday.  There were sooooo many little bags of lego pieces to put together.  That thing was HUGE.  I remember that it took me 5 hours to put it together.  I *loved* that toy.

Well, as my mother always said, "the bigger the boy, the bigger the toy."

This thing isn't going to be done in 5 hours.

First step, wash off the sprues.  Its a pretty standard step.   I want to get all of the oils and whatnot off of the plastic before I start going to work on it.  I want the primer and paint and glue to go on without any problems, and I don't want any little bumps or ridges screwing up the pieces or the fittings between them. Little soap, little water, little kitchen sponge action, little drying off, we done.  There were a few parts with little crevices where water had beaded up and I couldn't reach it with a towel, so I let the sprues air dry for about an hour before I applied the spray on primer.

I've done enough blogging about my priming and I think you all get the picture.  It took me a while to prime everything, flip it over, and prime it again, and let it all dry.  There are six separate sprues in the package, and my spray paint box was only big enough to spray two at a time, so I would spay them out, wait ten minutes, flip the two I was working on over, do them again, wait ten minutes, take the finished ones off and put the new ones on, and repeat.

A detailed section of the inside of the Land Raider.
Based on my work on my rhino space marine transport, I have decided to work on several pieces of this project while they are still on the sprue instead of cutting everything out and working on them seperately.  I decided to do this for a few reasons.  First of all, it makes it much harder to misplace any of the pieces.  With 124 parts, and some of them very small, its easy for something, such as the instructions, a painting book, the paper towel I use to clean of my brushes, etc, to cover up a piece, which results in my wasting time looking for something, and its kind of a buzz kill.  Second of all, keeping the pieces on the sprue makes it very easy for me to paint the pieces and move the 'em around to get the bast light and painting angle without ever having to touch the piece itself.  Less smudging is better.  Third, it cuts down on items getting knocked around, scratched or otherwise banged up.  So hey- I'll see how it goes. I know it'll mean that I need to repaint the places where the pieces connect to the sprue after I sand down the connection spots after I clip the pieces out.  I'll have to see if it is worth the hassle.

One last pic before I end this entry.  This picture shows a computer counsel that will also be on the inside of the land raider.  The instructions call for constructing the land raider from the inside out; its pretty much impossible to paint the interior once the the model has been constructed, so I need to work on detailed parts like this now.  The rest of the model, while big, isn't especially detailed, at least not in comparison to the interior of the raider.  I bet at this point I have put in about 3 hours of out and out work, not waiting for something to dry work, on this thing.  And I keep working on it.  I'll have more photos soon.

Until next time,

David D.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Customizing 40k Space Marine Terminators

Claws?  Coool!!  Sword? Not so cool!  Lets fix it. 
So!  I'm new to Warhammer 40k, and I'm also new to customizing stuff.  But I found a great project that hit on both.

In the box set that Games Workshop makes to act as a starter set for Warhammer 40k, Assault On Black Reach, 5 Space Marine Terminators models are included.  The models are armed not with hammers or claws, their awesome melee weapons, but with a big pistol and a big gauntlet which are ok, or basic sword that looks cool, but in game terms, is actually a pretty basic and unimpressive weapon.  I don't want to spend points on Terminators if they aren't going to be tearing stuff up.  Seriously, they are called Terminators.  They SHOULD be tearing stuff up.

On the other hand, if you buy the Terminators Close Combat Squad box set, you get pieces to make 5 terminator models but enough weapons to arm 10.  You get 5 of their hammers and 5 sets of claws.  I grabbed a box, and thought, hmm...  I wonder if I could get these claws to work on my Assault On Black Reach terminators?  The trick is, the Close Combat Terminators weapons do not come on fully built arms- you need to either use Green Stuff or some other sculpting medium to build shoulders on those arms, or cut the claws off of the half made arms to go on the arms of the AoBR Terminators.  And you'll need to cut the the gauntlet/pistol/sword hands off of the AoBR Terminators to create a space to place the gloves.

Time to get that aggression out!
So How Did It Go?

Not badly, as a matter of fact.  Even with my lack of experience, I didn't screw it up.  I used the Games Workshop hobby saw (I nicknamed it "Sharp Tooth") to chop up the Close Combat Terminator claw arms right where the claw gauntlet connects to the arm.  There is a little  hose that also connects to the gauntlet, and I cut that where the hose connects to the back of the arm.  The lines are pretty straight, so it wasn't too difficult to cut anything with the Sharp Tooth, which was nice, since the thing is not a scalpel.  Fine incisions is not what this thing does.

I repeated the process with the AoBR arm pieces.  I cut just where the arm fit into the gauntlets, but this time, I tossed the gauntlets (tossed them into my scrap pieces bucket, not the trash.  They could still come in handy) and kept the shoulders and arm.  For about half of the pieces, I ended up doing a little sanding with a hobby file to make sure the angle of the arm connected with the angle of the clawed gauntlet, but the good news is, a little hobby glue and the two pieces stuck together like they had been built that way.  Check it out!

Worked out just fine!  Only 18 arms left to go. 
It took abut a minute or two of careful sawing per arm.  I was glad to have Sharp Tooth- my xacto knife would not have done very well at this task.  Before going to the store to buy the saw, I tried with the xacto just to see if it would work, and yeah no.  The plastic used by Games Workshop would take forever and a day for an xacto knife to saw through. Maybe with a smaller, finer, blade the line would have looked nicer, but it looked plenty nice with Sharp Tooth.

I had some Green Stuff on hand and did use it in three cases.  In the first case I used it to connect an arm to a claw glove where the angles just did not work and I needed to fill in a gap.  In the other two cases, the hose from the glove did not connect with the shoulder of the new arm, so I created little green stuff hose extensions that did connect from the end of the hose to the top of the arm.  I haven't painted it yet, so I don't know how it'll look when its done.

Yeah.... we look a lot meaner with these claws
than we did with pistols.  ::snicker::  Pistols...
All in all, this project turned out pretty well.  Everything looks great at this point and is structurally  sound.  My biggest question now is how the painting is going to look, since I primed the terminator models in black before I started this project and primed the arms from the Close Combat Terminator kit white.  I'm not sure if it'll make too much of a difference since its going to be ultramarine blue in general, and UMB is pretty opaque, especially after a few coats, but I'll have to see.  I'll tell you how tings turned out in a later post.

Until next time,

David D.