Saturday, February 15, 2014

Quick and Easy Basing

Let's talk basing methods for a bit. A very mundane topic, I know. Lots of people swear by the trusty old pva glue and sand combo, and I used to use a variation involving watered-down wood glue and sawdust, but I've always found it to be a bit messy. My workspace is dirty enough without loose specks of sand or sawdust getting everywhere. Keeping stray glue (and therefore sawdust) off my minis was a pain (I used worn out brushes for glue application, so it was never as precise as I hoped). Basing had really become a chore. However, I eventually stumbled onto a solution, pumice gel medium.

Where have you been all my life?

This stuff is sold at art supply stores and is used to create textures or grounds for pastels. It comes in several different grades: fine, coarse, and extra coarse. I decided on coarse as a happy medium (no pun intended). It's basically gritty goop that comes in a plastic tub. Fun stuff.  You can just put a dab of the stuff on a base and use a small flat tool to smooth it out. I used a sculpting tool to spread it around. It's surprisingly controllable, but if any gets on your mini or over the edge of the base, it's easy to wipe off with just your finger (or your tool if it gets in a narrow space). It also has a fairly long drying time, so you can manipulate it or clean off any excess well before it sets.

When you first apply it, it looks fairly thick. In fact, I had anticipated it creating the effect of my minis wading through some muck. After a day of drying, it flattens out pretty well. You can also squish it down before it completely sets.

Immediately after application.
Shorty looks like he's playing in the snow.
After being left to dry for a day, it just looks like a sandy base.
Any excess wet pumice gel can just be scraped back into the tub to be used later, so you don't have to worry about it going to waste. It cleans up easily, you can just wipe your tool down with a wet paper towel (oh dear). It's fairly cheap, too. I think I paid like $8 for an 8-ounce tub, which should last me for several hundred miniatures from the looks of it. Hopefully this comes in handy for anyone who's tired of slopping glue onto their bases and dunking them in a tub of sand.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lost in the Warp

As is so often the case for those of us invested in fantasy gaming, reality has pulled my attention away from hobby activity. I can't muster much enthusiasm for painting after 11 hours at the office. Thankfully, the worst is over now (all those 11-hour days ensured that my work was completed well ahead of the scheduled deadline) and I can get back to painting minis and blogging.

The Rogue Trader project has been coming along well, I currently have painted 9 orks and the great worm, and have started the pointy-hatted squad leader from the "Space Ork Raiders" boxed set. After that, I'm thinking of working on some human mercs or a giant deathworld spider. I'd like to get a bit more practice in before tackling my RT adventurers.

I've also been playing D&D 4E (totally not Oldhammer!) with some friends lately. It's my first time playing D&D since the late 90s, and while the current incarnation lacks the old school "pathetic aesthetic" that so many of us love, it's still pretty fun to roll dice and bullshit with friends on a Sunday afternoon (my character is a blustering first level fighter named Friedrich Mercurius, who, due to my terrible die rolling, struggles in combat against mere kobolds). Since 4E emphasizes combat being played out on a grid with counters or minis, the group has decided to purchase minis for their characters, and I've purchased some packs of monsters from Reaper's Bones line to provide us with adversaries. The Bones minis are obviously very economical, and I really like the larger monsters (like the great worm), but the smaller minis are a bit soft on detail (the giant rats) and thin weapons like spears invariably need to be straightened. My skeletons are leaning in various directions with floppy weapons, but at least they paint up quickly.

Painting my first fantasy models since 1998 has given me a bit of an urge to branch out from the 41st millennium. Some of my old 40k buddies have talked about organizing a Mordheim campaign and I've been rather taken by Whiskey Priest's "How Do You Start Oldhammer?" post at the Leadpile (and it's related topic on the Oldhammer Forum) as an exercise in building a small force on the cheap. I can definitely see a box of Perry Brothers plastics working well for both of these possibilities. Still, I'd like to focus on my Rogue Trader project and get a couple of small opposing forces (plus alien creatures) and some scenery finished before jumping too deeply into anything else.