Monday, 26 November 2012

Basilisk Conversion WIP and resin help!

So while painting is ongoing (see 3 half painted guardsmen in background and the cap badge/backpack conveyor belt!) I thought I would show the other thing I am working on. My Forgeworld bits arrived today to convert my Basilisk. With the old boring gun shield removed I started looking at adding the new. 

I have read that warm water is good to bend the resin bits (back?!) into shape. Anyone got any tips on what temperature works best? I take it that its not boiling a kettle job? Also how long do you generally leave it in the water to become supple enough to bend into shape? Is there any danger in too hot/leaving too long?

Another question, but as my basilisk was already put together (about ten years ago!) I missed a trick with magnetising the heavy weapon. What's the thoughts on artillery wielding heavy flamers? Can it fire the heavy flamer and the main gun, I believe from what I read it can't? The heavy bolter, is it just snap shots if you remain stationary and fire main gun? the main rulebook is super ambiguous.

I was thinking the heavy flamer would be a good choice but now it can direct fire inside 36 inches that heavy bolter might be useful, but not if only snap firing. Mind you if you cant fire the main gun and heavy flamer that makes that pretty useless too.

Below is one of the crew I'm putting together for the Basilisk. He needs some green stuffing and cap badge, plus I have goggles for him and his oppo courtesy of Victoria Lamb (My green stuffing skills aren't up to that of the illustrious Col Winterborne!)

Cheers for your help in advance!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

First Men of the Regiment reporting for Duty - Finally!

Do you know I promised myself I wouldn't post any photos till I had a full squad, then it was until they were totally finished. But now I know I'm going to have to wait 24hrs between varnish coats before putting on grass/moss, I couldn't resist showing the guys I have just finished painting.

The slight delay in getting some fully done was waiting for the arrival of forge world backpacks the keen eyed among you will notice my light troops are now sporting! You know when you have one of those, I wonder if I.... thoughts, that your wallet instantly regrets when you realise, actually that looks kickass! This was my biggest one! They are also sporting brass eagle cap badges as I realised sculpting green stuff isn't really my thing, and gluing on these, while fiddly, is still a lot easier than creating them.

I know they shouldn't really have eyes but I'm using these guys to practice before I dare paint any characters! The rest of the first two squads are in various stages of either half painted, awaiting helmet badges/backpacks or just needing undercoating. So I will soldier on and hopefully have at least this squad done by the end of the month! I'm keen to get the now completed converted Praetorian Ratling Snipers (here as I think most people missed them) also painted soon, as I really like them and it breaks up painting standard troopers. Some resin forest bases also arrived the other day and those guys are gong to be the first of my army I try out on them.

So after, wow, almost a year since I first contemplated a Praetorian army it feels great to show you the first, of I hope many, of my finished troops. And I'm thinking the 13th Royal Praetorian Rifles, yep, that has a nice ring to it.

Cheers to all for continuing to stop by, comments, constructive criticism and other help always welcome!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Praetorian Pith Helmet Ratlings

This is something I was playing around with a few months ago using Empress Miniatures helmets here. Looking back at them again the helmets didn't quite work, they looked more like they were sitting on their heads rather than being worn! So I replaced them with cut down Victoria Lamb head swaps. I realised after I'd done 2 or 3 that maxi-mini resin heads would have been a lot easier! Doh!

I green stuffed the gaps and I think they will look ok, they also got some imperial eagle cap badges. They're going on some resin tree trunk bases that are on there way, so might not be complete for a while, but they were something to do in between waiting for glue to dry and priming the Praetorians I've just started painting.

To Varnish or not to Varnish? What do you guys think and do yourselves?

The one thing I have never been totally sure about is whether to varnish my finished miniatures or not. There seems to be a general consensus that varnishing models does a better job of protecting them against hazards than not doing so, which seems logical! But while a big one, this is the only real positive I can see to do it though, so is it enough? There does however from reading a lot of guides seem to be no consensus on the best products and methods. So I wondered what the other hobbyists around do? Do you even bother?

I have come across numerous posts on many sites of spray varnish disasters. This has made spray on varnish a definite no for me. I spend way to long prepping and painting my miniatures to ruin it trying to cut corners at the last stage. So I have been testing out a brush on product and its this:

Vallejo Acrylic Matt Varnish. I had seen it recommended a few times and as I wanted a matt finish I thought I would try out a bottle. A test model (In my finished scheme, loving the way it looks btw!) got a going over with it today. I was going to take before and after photos to show what effect it had on the colours but I forgot and started covering it with varnish! oops, never mind! I can tell you now there is obviously some colour change, but its not massive and actually the very slight shine this varnish gives seems to make the guy pop to me! So its actually a bonus rather than the negative affect on the colours I thought it would be.

I wasn't easy on the guy! I slapped it on, neat and thick and left huge amounts in the recesses. I wanted to purposely see if I could ruin a model with this stuff (Although I understand the cloudy complaints can only happen from spraying?). It doesn't seem to have any adverse effects, I could see no differences in colour or discolouration where I had put it on thick and it was hard to tell how thick the varnish was in different places with the naked eye in normal light, so again all good.

One I'd prepared with varnish a couple of days ago I chucked around a bit and dropped on the desk from height. There definitely seems to be much more resistance to chipping than paint alone which with our metal guys is important. One thing I have found is that the varnish is relatively soft though and not very resistant to scratching. Certainly seems not really any better than without and you have the added problem of, with the varnish on, its now very hard to touch up a scratched model.

Some people have mentioned you need a gloss coat first then a matt coat to get maximum hardness. Can anyone confirm to me this makes a noticeable difference over matt alone?

Weathering powders seem to work ok over the varnish (although I'm a complete novice with them), while obviously you cant brush varnish over the top without ruining your effect.

So here's my big question to you if you answer no other: Am I making a real difference to the life of my miniatures if I use this varnish on them all, or am I lulling myself and actually, when I just inevitably damage them, have I made it almost impossible to repair it without looking crap?

What do others think?

Thanks in advance guys, I ask this advice while the first 5 of my platoon are almost finished on the desk and I can't add basing materials until I decide to varnish or not!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Forest Base

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted. I just haven't been or felt like hobbying recently, the hobby room has been barely used due to work and a general lack of free time. I have still been loitering on Blogger and have enjoyed seeing others new work, now I have got a second wind and have restarted a number of projects. Painting of standard Praetorians is ongoing and I'm hoping to have the first squad finished and photographed soon. Last bit of my jigsaw with them was finishing the base scheme, rather than a woodland scheme I realised it was more a pine forest I was after and the picture below shows roughly what I'm aiming at.

Painting the base is pretty easy now and I'm really happy with what the base looks like before any foliage or extras are added. The one thing I haven't got quite right on this test is the log which I should have put more grey on, I was too light with the first dry brush and too much brown is still showing through. With the resin tree stumps I have though I shouldn't see this as a problem as they have much more defined recesses to dry brush.

So I think it looks pretty good before any foliage is added or flocks. I literally have a draw full of different static grasses, flocks, leaves, moss etc. You name it, I have probably bought it in the pursuit of the perfect base scheme. With a break away from it all though, I have sat down tonight and pulled out a few bits and bobs which I think added to this base really give off the theme I'm trying to achieve, while importantly to me, allowing the base colour scheme I like so much to still be prevalent.

And here it is. Simple but I think effective at portraying a sort of pine forest base so the army has that woodland feel without the need for masses of grass. I stuck a guy on to see how the colour scheme fits and its made me pretty happy that this will look good on a large scale. 

So now back to painting, it wont be quick I'm afraid, Commissar Dave's most recent posts got me determined to get back in to hobbying and to do the conversions I had been planning. Converting is my favourite bit by far, painting I find a chore so I'm breaking up layers by finishing off my five Ratlings as well. Thanks for still following, new stuff should be much quicker coming now as I have a lot of love for hobbying again (and a weekend with the Mrs away!).