Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Guildball Season 3's new guys

  The new book is out and with it came only a few surprises at this point.  The Farmers, and the new Union pair.  For the most part, the other releases have been out, and tested, and opinions are already out there.  I'm a long ways from being qualified to tell you how good they are, and aren't.  I can give you some impressions if you haven't seen them, but consider this more of a news outlet than the actual no-kidding way to play the game.  There's some great podcasts out there for that.  Strictly the Worst is helmed by two highly competitive players and Pat, who's there for the human connection.  Singled Out and Double Dodged are both Australians with good, confusing hearts and are halfway decent at the game, but both really just play second and third fiddle to Trent Denison, the real skill on the continent.  Those are the guys you want to tell you how to play the game.

  There's two things I'm not going to cover here.  A) The new Farmers.  Those guys need an article of their own.  B) The new Hunters.  Also need an article of their own, but it won't be as exciting as any other article ever.

  So, Alchemists.  Alchemists got Crucible.

  She's got all the same condition damage we're used to seeing with the Alchemists, except she can do both burning and poison.  The difference is that she wants to do it in melee, and not at range, and she doesn't put down AOEs like Calculus and Mercury want to.  That makes her a questionable choice for Smoke, but the real kicker is just figuring out how to play her in melee.

Brewers got Pintpot.

  I've gotten to play Pintpot, and he's fantastic.  He fires away into any group he wants to, and he acts like has 5 INF to do it. He likes Tooled Up, he likes Commanding Aura, he likes all those things and he excels with them.  Pintpot isn't afraid of a scrum, at all, and is nice to kind of have around to fire into the enemy's group of dudes while the rest of your Brewers try to build their own proper scrum.  Pintpot's just a heat seeking missile out there somewhere.  It's great if he can get Commanding Aura, or maybe an extra TAC from Quaff.  He's good with, without it.  2'' melee on him would be broken, but it's the only thing missing.

  In comparison, we have Veteran Ox, or Ox2.  Ox2 wants to be like Pintpot, he wants to do the same things, but with the 2'' melee we all crave.  The problem is that he doesn't have a psuedo 5INF pool like Pintpot can, and in fact, he caps at 3.  This is supposed to be covered by the cheaper charge, but if he's already stuck in, it's not a lot of consolation.  He also thinks that he can fight the world simultaneously like Pintpot can, but he has to "Get Stuck In" to do it, which probably wastes one of his three precious INF to do, and if he's in the scrum he wants to be in, he's crowded out so it's a good thing "Get Stuck In" is on column 1.  He has good damage, good momentum, and great DEF for a 2'' melee guy on a 40mm base, but it's almost like the "Get Stuck In" aspect should be ignored.  Just let him kill things normally.  I have played against him, but not played him personally, and between playing against him, and the reviews I'm getting from the players that have him, they'd rather have Pintpot.  Every time.

  Locus is one of those players that's going to get played no matter what, simply because his sculpt is amazing.  Play wise, I haven't seen him yet, or played him.  DEF3/2 w/ reanimate and stoic is great, and a 4/6'' kick is always fantastic.  His playbook is solid as momentum and pushing goes, but he isn't killing anyone.  He has some interesting character plays, but overall seems like a tank that can kick a ball.  He's a tougher statline than Colossus but Colossus has more boxes.  Overall though, I'd personally rather see this guy than Hoist, but that's about all I have to say about him.

  The Hag, I have seen.  She became an auto include in several lists.  She's a 2INF farm that can change the state of the game with no INF investment whatsoever.  She usually does little more than dodge models around the board, but 2'' extra on already fast Fishermen is nuts.  She's got 2'' Melee and fear, so she takes commitment to kill, but once engaged and going, she goes down pretty easy.  However, the legendary and the talisman mean that whoever you fear the most is going places, or dodging out of melee with you.  She's hell on Brewers when she can casually Legendary and shove them all apart.  Very much a player to free up the board for her team, but a stiff wind will take her down.  A nice note, Red Fury on Rage2 ignores Fear since the enemy model isn't spending an influence to attack, but rather Rage is.  Use Red Fury to pop Fear on her and Ghast and then go to town.

   Granite is another one I haven't seen yet.  Our Mason players kind of dropped off into Season 2 when Hammer wasn't everything he was cracked up to be.  Granite reinvents them a little bit, carrying the Brick playstyle a little bit further.  Brick already gave them this ability to dare you to attack them and pay the consequences with his 2'' melee counter charge, and Granite is no different.  She's slower than most mascots but her "Between a Rock..." ability is dangerous and really makes you think twice about going in on a model.  On the same token, you can use it to lure her in, but at DEF2/2, is that what you really want? Especially if she's got Tar Pit up.  She interesting, but that's about all I have on her since I haven't faced her yet.  She's popular with Masons.

 Brainpan and Memory, the really weird guys here.  I've played against these guys exactly once.  The hordes of Mortician players evaporated in the wake of the Obulus nerf but they're still out there.  Memory is odd in that Memory does not actually do anything.  No MOV, no ARM, no INF, and it doesn't generate VP when it dies.  It dies to a fart, but that accomplishes
almost nothing for you.  He's got a 2'' dodge at the beginning and that's about it.  However, he's TAC5 on a 4 long column that tops out at 4 damage and has a 3//4'' kick.  So Brainpan runs the Puppet Show (which may also bypass Fear, now that I think about it), which allows Memory to dodge around or Attack, and "Pulling the Strings" lets him kick.  This means you can't button Memory down.  He'll dodge out consistently, no problem, it's just a matter of how much trouble you can make it be.  They're an interesting pair, and it'll be INF intensive to get Memory up the field unless you just 4'' dodge him momentously the whole way.  He's a hell of a damage dealer though.  Very strange models and I'm not sure what to think of them yet.

Then there's my new favorite Captain, Brisket3.

  Brisket3, hot on the heels of the Fillet vs. Brisket vote where the Butchers fought hard to show their love for Brisket, who promptly left them for another team.  Brisket is an interesting striker, and I've played her several times now.  Making me still not an expert. But, she's fun.  The weird thing is how much interaction she has with her team.  For starters, she's Solthecian, so she gives Mist a free 2'' Shadowlike dodge, which is stupid.  If he's in cover like he should be, between that and the dodge, that's a free 4'' move that largely disengages him, and allows him to threaten 14''.  Before any boosts like Quicktime from anyone in the Union.  Brisket also likes to be near Harry so she can dodge about for free after receiving passes from any of her 3/6'' ot 3/8'' kickers using "I'm Open".  I haven't even used Route One yet.  So far, my opponents have kept the ball farther than 6'' away.  I haven't used Aplomb yet either.  I want to, but it just hasn't come up.  It's been "I'm Open" and her text on the back of the card.  Her Legendary is good for an easy turn one score, or turn two, or to disengage a dieing model or whatever you need.  It's a great tool to be abused.  She scores reliably, can easily get screamers, and is just great.  She struggles to retrieve a really bunkered ball, but as great as she turns Mist on, he can retrieve the ball a lot easier than she can, and kick it to her as well with "I'm Open".  She's also got Momentous 2 damage on Column 3 which is at least useable with access to Tooled Up, Shelling Out, Singled Out, etc.  There's plenty of things she access to in Union that can maker her do some work.  Her inherent strength isn't necessarily herself though, as much as it is that Blackheart or VetRage exist.  Brisket3 probably can't carry a team on her own as the only Captain in a 9 man lineup, but when coupled with Rage, she can play ball into killers, and Rage and kill ballers.  They cover eachothers weaknesses fairly well.

The last two players to be mentioned here are Benediction and Grace.  These two are extremely new, only coming out with the Book spoilers.  There's no models in stores yet, but we've got the rules to at least start proxying.

   Benediction is a tank.  He's DEF3 ARM2, so he's going to get hit, but the 2 ARM help.  However, his two character plays give him Sturdy to ignore the first KD, and the other gives him another 2 ARM against the next attack.  This means that against most models, they're not going to get much more than a column or two against him in an attack, even on the charge, and because he's not KD, and has 2'' melee, he can counter attack back (for free once, with poised) and get a 1'' push minimum, maybe 2'' push.  I wish the KD was a little lower, but oh well.  Where I think this guy excels is hanging on to a ball.  In almost all other regards, Harry the Hat is better.  Harry has better TAC, better plays for control (Molotov and Goad), he has better access to pushes and damage, he does more for the team with his hat aura, and he has 2'' melee as well.  Where I want to consider Benediction is just to hang onto the ball, little more.  2INF a turn maybe for his two plays, and he hangs out.  I hope he works for the Brewers.  He'll be a good option for Rage2 I think since Rage wants to kill the ball, and then kill people.  With this guy, that gets easier.  In most cases though, Harry covers more bases and is the better player.

  Then we have Grace.  I'm not sure what to do with her.  Healing Light is immediately useful since as of Season 3, 90% of healing abilities went out the door, which is why Hemlock became a bookend, and why Esters lost of a lot of her appeal.  Quickfoot is the immediate benefit, and with 2 free INF every turn while still contributing one to the pool, that's probably her best thing.  She feels like a striker, but with a 2/8'' KICK, she's just going to break your heart unless you can get within 4'' of the post and spend the extra momentum for the bonus time.  The back of her card is largely useless and cute.  It's nice that her quickfoot range is essentially 10'' because of Impart Faith, and Purity will see some use but none of it is particularly game changing.  A free Quickfoot every turn is the deal here.  Give her 2INF and she can throw it out there twice.  It's also been mentioned that she just gains INF at the beginning of her turn, so if you give her 3, she comes out with 5 INF.  5 INF would  be a lot nicer if her playbook was anything but tackles and dodges and non-momentous damage.  Under the right condition, she'll kill people, but that's 5 INF you're converting into just one momentum.  Of all the characters allowed to have 5 INF, Grace is not who I would have voted for.

  So where does she fit in?  I don't know.  The thing about both of these players is that they're both Solthecians, so they'll give Mist a 2'' shadowlike dodge.  That's worth something at least.  Grace gives Mist 4'' extra movement, plus his 2'' extra from being in cover, which he should almost always be.  Now Mist, who threats 10'' base (8'' sprint, 2'' melee) goes two 12'' with his cover bonus, and 16'' with quickfoot and shadowlike, both from Grace.  In a Brisket3 list where Mist is the primary ball recovery guy, 16'' before dodges is nuts.  However, that's really all Grace does, plus her healing which is nice, but everyone's been dealing without it for awhile.  It's useful, but in a game with such high opportunity cost, it's expensive.  Who do you take out? Gutter? Decimate?  Not Mist, not Harry.  Probably not Avarisse and Greede.  So Gutter or Decimate, but Grace can't really kill people.  She can, but it's pretty inefficiently.  Grace only makes sense in pure striker games where she makes Mist absolutely ridiculous, or games where it's imperative that whoever is going gets there.  Is your meta killing Rage2 and controlling him with AOEs and staying out of his threat range? Grace helps with that.  She gives respectable threat to any beater in the Union, and she does it for basically the 1 INF she isn't donating into the pool like your other character would be.  But then, that's all she does.  She doesn't fight, and she doesn't strike, which in a Brisket3 list who at least wants 3/6'' for "I'm Open", it's something of an issue.  She's better than Hemlock, but Hemlock doesn't play, so I don't know what that's worth.  I'll buy her eventually, but I'm not going to stand in line for it.  It's going to be one of those "I played at the game store, so I should support it with a 10$ purchase of some sort" things.  That's why I have Crucible, Venin and Spigot2.

  That's the overview.  I'm not a tournament winning player, I just like to talk a lot.  Strictly the Worst and Double Dodge both cover them if you want some tried and true experience talking.  I think everything here is playable, and I'll probably play some Benediction IF he works for the Brewers since the Fish are raking them over the coals right now.  We'll see.

  Feel free to destroy my opinions with rational thought and logic.  Hopefully it's an ok, all in one place overview.  I may look at the Farmers, probably the Hunters as well (I own Hunters, maybe will own Farmers) and if I'm not absolutely destroyed for this article, I might let my ego type up a few more.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Airbrush basics and how to get going with one

News: Before we get started, a quick announcement.  I've recently become a contributing blogger at, a group based in Iowa City.  For an international community, that's pretty local for me, being in Omaha, and I'm happy to join these guys.

 Almost all of my articles will be featured there, and in all honesty, it's quite possible that the redundancy will mean that this particular site no longer gets maintained.  I don't know, haven't decided yet.  My personal hobby stuff won't go to MWWG, but idk that my personal hobby stuff will warrant a blog of their own.  So we'll see.

  For you MWWG followers that are seeing me here for the first time, a little bit about me.  I've been wargaming for nine years, and my articles focus on hobby and painting.  Batreps are a possibility, but since I'm no longer playing Warmachine, and Guildball doesn't batrep very well, I doubt I'll do many of them.  My local Horus Heresy Meta is spinning out of control though, with a well planned Isstvan event in our future, so that will probably be an article of it's own.  We'll see.

  As I said before, I'm currently living near Omaha.  I've been married to my lovely wife for almost four years, and we introduced our first child, a son, into our home last September.  I play Guildball for my competitive game, and 30k Horus Heresy for fun.  You may see me at a couple of cons in the area (Tricon in Sioux City or Musecon in Des Moines, or the Bugeater in Omaha), but that's about it.  So, on to the article.

Airbrush basics and how to get going with one

 Eventually, someone will tell you that you need one, or they have one, or whatever.  Eventually, it will come up, and it's going to click that those models you've seen painted with these beautiful smooth blends aren't done by hand.  Usually.  They're done with an airbrush.  Jolly Roger Studios is a great example of what can be done with an airbrush.

  Then you look at getting one.  Just a quick Amazon search, maybe a google article like this one and the guy lists an easy 300$ worth of supplies.  Minimum.  That's before you buy any air paints, or cleaner, or brush holders or anything.  That's a brush, an air supply, maybe a hose and a regulator.  At this point, you shelve this idea until either A) You rob a bank successfully or B) You start a new army/game and your wrist literally cramps at the thought of hand painting them all.  The Carpal Tunnel seeps into your forearms and begs you to consider an airbrush.

  So we're googling articles again.  Let's cover the basics.

I.  Why do I need an airbrush? What can I do with it?  This is important because despite seeing what your favorite Golden Demon winner can do with an airbrush, you can't.  Not for a long time.  So realistically, what is it going to accomplish?

II.  What do I need to start? Basics.  The stuff I can convince my wife on.

III.  What do I want after that?  The stuff that I can pick up for 5-15$ at a time over the course of when that situation arises.

IV.  Basic troubleshooting because heck yes, we bought an airbrush and I can't believe I wasted my money on this heap of trash.  Day 1-4 was really bad for me.

I. Why do I need an Airbrush?

We can presume that because you're here, you've already largely decided what good it would do you, but lets set forth some realistic expectations.  The Airbrush is not the end all, be all of painting.  In fact, some armies aren't going to hardly let you break it out at all.

  Airbrushing does a few things extremely well.  At this stage, primarily, it's going to basecoat and shade large portions very quickly.  On a good day, where the temperature is right and my paints are in good shape, I can knock out 30+ models basecoated in under an hour.  Easy.  Infantry.  Tanks, you're still looking at 5-6 minutes apiece to basecoat and shade..

  It also does Object Source Lighting very well since it simulates the light with the spray of the brush.  It does OSL extremely naturally.  All those sweet searchlights on those space marine tanks? Probably an air brush.

  Where you're going to have problems are armies/models with lots of different colors.  For example, I airbrushed my Fennblades from the Trollblood faction in Warmachine.  They're shirtless, so the torso, arms and some of the legs are all the same color.  That's 60, 70% of the model.  Airbrush the skin tones.  Do an overspray and it's shaded.  Done.

  On the same token, the Highwaymen from the same faction, I did not airbrush.  I did multiple colors, nobody had the same clothes pattern or anything.  Was completely pointless to airbrush it IMO because there was no color that was greater than 10% of the range.

  Warhammer Space Marine armies love airbrushes.  I wouldn't do another space marine army without one.  They're 90% the same color with few exceptions.  Airbrush a space marine and all you've got are some metals, eyes, some edging and the gun.  A few minor details and the dude is done.

  In comparison, a Cryx army from Warmachine has blacks, greens and metals.  A lot.  Pretty evenly distributed.  You might pick one and airbrush it but it's not going to be worth the time savings like a Space Marine army would be, or Khador where literally everything is red.  This all varies obviously with your color scheme, but if you're looking at doing some fancy schemes that are going to have three and four main colors, the Airbrush isn't going to save you a lot of time.

  It's also not going to do much more than the basecoating.  It's good for the OSL later, but that's one of the few details you can do with a brush.  After the basecoat, your airbrush probably won't be out much longer.  And if you're not going to shade your army, you might as well use the GW rattlecans.

  So, don't expect to never pick up a brush again.  You'll do a lot of traditional brush work yet.  The Airbrush just sets the base layer and does most of the blending work for you.  Large, single/dual color armies are where it wants to be.

II.  What do I need to start?

  There's some varied responses on this one.  Even after you've come to terms with the up front cost of the brush itself, the real pill to get down is the compressor, which is almost always more than the brush.  Let's break this up.  We'll talk brush first, then the equipment to run it.

A. The Brush  Your first brush is a tough one.  You get what you pay for, but I also feel like you're only saving maybe 30$ if you skimp out on a solid mid-high range brush.  My first one was a Neo Iwata.  My wife bought it for me on a 40% off coupon and it worked ok for awhile.  It was really bad about clogging though, and did not clean well, whatsoever.  I got to where I didn't want to pull it out except for the largest jobs that pretty much required it.  The jobs like Warmachine Colossals that even if the brush causes problems, the time saved is still a large amount.

  Since the two brushes I've owned and used extensively cover both ends of the spectrum pretty well (without getting into the obvious failures like non-dual action, or some of the aerosol wannabes from companies like Testors that should know better), I'm going to talk about them.

  My wife bought me a Neo for my birthday, first year of marriage.  We'd looked around a little bit and we bought the Iwata because it was cheap.  That's basically it.  Dual action, gravity fed, airbrush.  Hobby Lobby had a 40% off daily coupon that knocked it down to extremely affordable so she got me one and it almost ruined airbrushing for me.  At first, I was pretty sure it was just me, but as time went on it became clearer that a lot of it was the brush too.  On sunny, perfect days with perfect airbrush paint, it would work for awhile.  But eventually, the nozzle would clog.  The passage behind the threads would build up.  Paint would work back up through the brush.  Etc.  On it's best day, I still disassembled it to clean it, front to back, every ten minutes.

  At some point, since I live in Nebraska, it was clear I needed something a little less finicky.  So I got the Badger Xtreme off of Amazon for like 80$ or 90$ bucks, only 20-30$ more than the Iwata is retail, before the 40% coupon.

  The Badger not only does all the basic things the Iwata did, but better.  Like someone actually put thought into it.  The cap on the end doesn't need to come off to remove the brush, the nut is visible to remove the also visible brush.  There is no nosecone to collect paint and build up.  There's a nice little last-minute air regulator on the chin of the brush.  The trigger sits up higher for more control.  And someone actually cleaned a brush and built this brush to be cleaned as well.  In the image below, I try to explain more.

  Do you have to buy the Xtreme? Or the newest Paasche? Not at all, but if you're able to look at a brush before you buy it, or a similar model, do so.  Find some online reviews where they take it apart.  As a new airbrusher, you're going to have to clean your brush often, no matter what.  The Iwata cannot be cleaned effectively and every three or four sessions, the brush needs a come-to-jesus conversation where you're bending wire and breaking qtips trying to clean out the brush.  The badger A) doesn't need cleaned that often and B) skips the first 3 or 4 steps with a much simpler, easier access design.

B. The Other Stuff.  Bare basics of running the brush is a hose, regulator, tank.  You should also consider a cartridge mask, and an airbrush booth because acrylic is toxic for you, the family and the dog.  Don't do this in the living room on commercials.

  The hose is 10$.  Done.  Make sure it's the right brand, but my badger came with an adapter for the Neo hose, so that's cool.

  A regulator can be a normal air regulator from your hardware store.  15$ probably.  Get one with a gauge.  You should be able to lay eyes on the pressure going through your brush.  Depending on where you live (high moisture), you'll want a moisture trap too.

 I really do recommend the cartridge mask and use mine every time.  They're about 30$ by the time you buy filters.  A dust mask is not the same.

  An airbrush booth is also nice.  They can be anywhere from 40-100$.  I built mine for like, 12$.  I took a 2x3 box, cut out the bottom and set it on edge.  I put a furnace filter in the back and a 10$ walmart boxfan behind it.  Boom.  Works great, but I still use my mask.  This just keeps the acrylic localized.

  Now the hard part.  The tank.  Or compressor.  Or both.  Right off the bat, do you already have a compressor that you would use for pneumatic guns or anything, or ready access to one?  Get 30-40$ air tank from Harbor freight and call it good.

  If you don't already have a compressor, but you can think of many situations that it would be nice to have one, then don't budget for the airbrush compressor, get the real deal.  A portable compressor is anywhere from 140-200$.  It'll run air tools (ratchets, drills, nail guns),  fill tires, just be an all around useful thing to have.  Even if it's not something you would have thought of getting seriously before, by the time you look at the price of an airbrush compressor that's made specifically for little brushes, you might as well consider the real deal.  Mine's a pancake compressor we bought to run a roofing gun back when Dad was a rental property owner. So let me just plant that bug in your ear.  Consider the real deal.

  The cheap way to all of this though is with an airtank.  Get that 30-40$ one from Harbor Freight or whatever cheap hardware store you have locally.  They're rated for about 110psi.  I airbrushed 3 tanks, two walkers and four units, all with about 4 colors each, and it dropped to around half.  That's more than enough for most airbrush sessions.  Easily.  The nice thing about most air tanks is that they have a fill port that's just like your tire's fill port, allowing you to fill the thing at a gas station.  For free, in most cases.  Before I bought my air compressor, I filled my tank at work or at the gas station.  It was the cost of the tank, a regulator and a hose.  And on mine, I installed quick-disconnect air fittings at the tank so I could disconnect it from the airbrush assembly and connect it to any air hose if I wanted to fill it that way.  My regulator and the airbrush hose are all one piece and can be removed from the air tank at any point, plugged directly onto a compressor, whatever.  Even with my own compressor, I still have this air tank because the compressor is loud, and I actually don't want it run whenever it wants.

  So for around 65$ (regulator, hose, tank), you can be good to go.  Spend an extra buck on teflon tape to seal the threads and you're golden.

  This one here is a perfect example.  Unscrew the regular airhose with a crimped tire fitting from the valve and replace with a regulator.  If you've never hooked anything up like this before, carry the whole assembly into your hardware store and they'll tell you connections you need to hook up your regulator.  In most cases, it's 1/4 connections.

  I really, and honestly, dislike airbrush specific compressors.  They only benefit is that they're tiny.  But they still make noise, still need regulated, and by the time you've spent money on them, you should have just spent the extra money on something you can use on so many other things.  Seriously, when your buddy roofs a house, and you go rent a belt-fed nail gun and show up with your compressor, he'll love you.

III.  What do I want after that?

  If you haven't already gotten the mask/airbooth, that should be the first thing.

  Next is one of those nice airbrush buckets for cleaning.  It's less about having a "cleaner" and more about having someplace that you can set an airbrush for a second without spilling your paint because it turns out, those kinds of places don't exist naturally.

  Airbrush cleaner is also nice but I tend to use water more often than not because if all I'm doing is a color change, I don't want to mix Airbrush cleaner into my paint and then spray it on a model.  Airbrush cleaner is good for the last clean at the end of the day.

  Qtips, wire cleaners.  Etc.  Depends on the brush you need.  I have a bunch of cleaning supplies I'll never use because my Badger isn't a poorly designed piece of bantha fodder.

  If you haven't invested in Airbrush Paints yet (The Vallejo line is really good), you should try it.  I tried to just water down my paints for a long time and that was one reason I didn't know that a lot of it was my brush and not me, because I really couldn't get the consistency right.  Now that I've had some experience, I'd probably be ok, but buying airbrush paint is so much easier.

IV.  Basic Troubleshooting

  The brush is going to hurt your feelings at some point.  The Xtreme has only bugged me once, but it wasn't a problem with the brush, but rather the paint.  The simple operating procedure is to pour your paint in the pot, then pull the trigger back to control your air and push it down to control how much paint you feed.  The air passing siphons the paint through the tip and into the airstream (you're not actually blowing the paint, but sucking it).  Should be pretty simple.  Spend some time playing with the brush, closer and farther to figure out your ideal working distance, and controlling the trigger to manipulate it to what you need.  Eventually though, it'll hurt your feelings and you have to fix it.

So let's look.

  Lots of spatter.  Small spatter.  Your airbrush pressure is too high and is feeling dragging the paint out with it.  Take it down a notch.  Lower pressure is generally better.  23-26 psi.

  Lots of spatter.  Large spatter.  Larger drops than you would think possible.  Somewhere, paint is collecting on the outside of your brush.  If you scroll back up to that picture, you can see on the left side that the Badger does not have a nose cone while the Iwata does.  My Badger doesn't really do this, but the Iwata will build up paint on the inside of that cone and then start blowing the drops off, creating a large spatter.  This buildup is caused by your paint being too wet.  Also, that nose cone is pretty useless.  It's not there to direct your paint, so take it off.  The paint being too wet is a problem, so fix that, but that nose cone has zero forgiveness whatsoever.

  Brush is spitting.  Or doing nothing.  Ram the trigger all the way to the back repeatedly.  See if you can get any sudden bursts.  Sometimes, you can force through whatever the problem is and continue airbrushing (definitely worth trying if your pot is loaded, otherwise you're wasting that paint to clean the brush).  If you can get sudden spurts, keep trying.  Look at the end of the chassis, and pull the trigger back to pull the brush out.  Clean off that exit where the brush and paint come out.  Sometimes paint dries on that exit port, but make sure your brush is pulled back or you'll bend the tip.  The Iwata was really bad about this too.

  If you can't get the brush to work it through, dump your paint, clean it out and try again.  If you get into the nozzle and find a lot of dried paint up in there, either you let it sit and dry, or it's probably too cold for the brush.  Trying to run an airbrush in an area that's less than 50-55F is pretty hopeless.  Not only is the metal brush cold to the touch, but that much air flowing past it turns it into a heatsink that cools and dries paint extremely quick.  There's a margin of error that can be accounted for if you can keep your paints warm.  I surrounded a coffee mug (with coffee in it, obviously) with paints, nestled up against the exterior and that worked ok.  You can also thin them above normal and that will help, but usually, you'll still dump pots and clean several times and it's just not worth doing.  If you're going to try it, pour small amounts so the loss is minimal when you clean, thin your paints, and keep them warm.

  If it's just spitting and the temperature is fine, then your paint is probably at fault.  Either it's too thick (even the airbrush paints need help sometimes), or it's actually got stuff in it.  One of my greys got a bunch of dried pigment in it so it had these chunks of paint that constantly got wedged in the brush.  It was fine for brush painting with, but for airbrushing, it was really ruining the process.  If your paint is good to go, then really look at how clean that brush actually is.  Try and see every surface.  This is where the Iwata really frustrated me because that area I marked in red would build up, and at this point, it would start clogging my brush.  I spent an hour picking at that chunk, trying to get it out.  Literally no angle for it.  That was my last day using that brush.  The nozzle/tip, the threaded or pressed piece that is the final stage for the brush, it likes to get dried paint and sometimes it sneaks past you.  I have found the the brush itself is the best at cleaning this thing.  Circular and stabbing motions, pushing dried paint out the exit.

  Last but not least, check your tank.  You might be empty.

  Airbrushing is a massive timesaver, most of the time.  The upfront cost is the biggest downside, and if your army can't make the most of it, then don't worry about it.  But those armies that occupy one or two large colors, the airbrush really makes it work.  I wouldn't do another 40k, 30k or Warmachine army without one.

  Hopefully this helps with some initial ideas airbrushing and the cost involved.  Any questions or comments are appreciated and I'm more than happy to help with advising setups and parts.  I just recently helped a good friend of mine build his, and he churned out some pink horrors on his first solo run.

  Took him just a few minutes.  The airbrush is awesome for this kind of thing.  Again, hope this article helps somewhat, and feel free to throw things in my general direction.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Painting fine raised details and edges without drybrushing

  This is a by request tutorial from members of my own meta and in response to me running my mouth online and saying something about it's as easy as brush angle and the amount of paint on the brush.

  Painting raised filigree is a daunting task in many cases.  It happens as a last step on a mostly painted model and has every potential of ruining your paintjob.  It's very fine detail and unless you know what you're doing, it can make or break the model.  Hvarl's red axe was nervewracking for me to put the final white touches on the cracks, but it made that blade.

   So lets begin.  I have a mostly painted Custodes dude from the Burning of Prospero box that has lots of really pretty raised filigree that I'm going to tackle for this walkthrough.

 I'm using a medium sized brush.  Less than a #2, but larger than the tiny detail brush from GW.  I can paint this with a #2 though because this technique is Not about fine control with the tip.  This technique focuses on the belly of the brush, the area between the tip and the base.  This particular brand, Master's Touch from Hobby Lobby, like the curl within a few paintjobs, and have a slight curl at the tip.  That actually works better for me in this case because it keeps the ends of the bristles up out of the rest of my model while I paint these raised edges, but it's not required.  

  Here's the paints I'm using.  I actually won't end up painting with the P3.  The thing about your paint consistency is A) How much is on the brush and B) How dry it is.  Regular model color isn't bad.  P3 is a little too wet for this detail work in my opinion, and the Game Air is here for really bad examples.

  This is way too much paint.  The motion used to do the painting is to lightly drag the belly of the brush across the model at a very shallow angle that keeps the tip up off the model.  If the brush is overloaded in paint, it will slough off too much and pool and build up badly.  Wipe some of this off on a paper towel.  Not drybrush levels, but just to get the large glob off.

  My bristles split on me in this picture. I had to wet it down and reshape the brush, but that's the amount of paint that should be on the brush for this.  Note, that if you have to wet your brush to clean it, dry it thoroughly, or the water added to the paint will lower the surface tension of the paint and allow it to run down the edge of the filigree easy, causing problems I will demonstrate here shortly.

  Alright, so look at this picture.  Nevermind the white mark on the left of the pad lol.  When doing this filigree, these raised edges, you're using the brush exactly like this.  A very very shallow angle in relation to the model that keeps the tip up off the rest of the model.  The direction of motion is extremely important as well.  If, in this picture below, I move the brush up and down on the filigree, perpendicular to it's edges, I will scrape paint off the brush and build up paint on the filigree, losing the detail.  What I want to do is move the brush along the filigree, with my tip at and angle that can't reach the model.  If the paint is too dry, it isn't going to come off of the brush.  If it's too wet, it'll puddle.  If there's too much paint, it will glob onto the model, and if there's too little, it won't do anything at all.

  So pretty.

  Same technique, on an even smaller scale, hitting these little claw feet on the top.  Keep the angle of the brush so that it does not encounter what ever is behind your detail.  Why are we using the belly of the brush, you say?  Because 99% of us do not have the fine control over the brush to use the tip.  On top of that, as you work, the bristles can split or paint levels change and now you're all over the place.  This is the safest, most efficient way to do this.

  Here is where I put too much paint on my brush and tried to run it against the filigree on the bottom of the pad, under the bird.  You can see where it filled in that area in the middle because I had too much paint and it scraped off, filling that area.  Too much paint.

  This is too wet of paint.  I switched to the Game Air for this demonstration, and you can see that it just began running off the filigree and all over the upper edge of the shoulder pad.  The surface tension became too low with the moisture and just ran off.

  Here, I'm doing a large flat raised area, not just a fine filigree line.  This is where brush direction has has to be very careful because you can slough off the edges and fill them with paint.  Take this in layers.  There's more area, so you don't need as much paint. Hit it a couple of times to build it up.  Use the belly of the brush and try to run with the edges as much as possible, exactly the opposite of drybrushing.

  Because this is what Drybrushing looks like on the right knee here.  Inconsistent, just scratches, and there's paint in the recesses in the middle that got scraped off too.  You can't see it as well but there's paint around the logo that the drybrush left as well.  For new painters, dry brushing probably works ok, but if you want a cleanly finished looking model, drybrushing largely goes away.

  Just painting more detail here.

  Here, my paint is a little too wet.  Not bad, but it's not covering super well so I let it dry and hit it with another layer.  You can see though, that about the middle in that detail, some of the detail is lost because I let the paint get too wet and it basically became a wash and filled in some of those gaps in the wings logo.

  This technique works excellent for edging, as well.  

  Tada.  One great looking set of filigree and edges, done.  This is not actually how I'm going to paint this model, I'll use silver, but for this tutorial, I wanted something that would stand out a bit more.  That's really cleaned up those edges, popped everything, and was not drybrushed.  So none of the scraping patterns across the side anything.  All clean egdes and filigree.  You can use this same technique to highlight these areas, and/or shade them.  

  So, in Summary:

1.  Brush size matters less than you think.  Small brush does not equal better control.
2.  Do not use the tip.  The control is much less out there and every vibration in your hand is felt there.  Use the belly of the brush, where a tip error won't ruin everything around it.
3.  Pay attention to the motion direction of the brush.  Do the opposite direction you would of Drybrushing.  Drybrushing WANTS to scrape paint off of the brush, this technique does not.  Move with the edges, not against them.

4. Paint consistency.  Thicker paint drybrushes well, but may need slightly watered down here.  Be careful with that though because again, if your surface tension gets too low the paint will spill around like a wash.  
5.  Paint amount.  Dip lightly, rub the large globs off on a paper towel.  The paint you're using will come from inside the brush.  
6.  Pay attention to your paint consistency throughout the session.  This varies for every brand, paint age, and paint color.  White gets very dry quicker, and chalkier than some of the darker pigments.  If it's in a pot, this is less of a concern, but pay attention.  Sometimes, I want it dryer, so I'll let it set for a few minutes before painting.

  Hopefully this has helped and pointed you in the right direction.  Feel free to leave any comments or questions or insults.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hvarl Red-Blade, the Space Wolf HQ without a model.

  Let's lead off with at least one image of the final product.

  So, in the new Inferno book, under the Space Wolves character HQ, there's the Fell Hand, Red Blade and Russ, and two of the three have models.  Russ, who can't be taken below 2.5k points and Geigor, who comes in the Prospero Box.

  Of the three, Hvarl is by far the most desirable due to accessibility (<2,5k pt games) and the abilities he brings to the table for his army over Geigor's just really decent melee prowess.  So of course, Hvarl doesn't have a model.

  To further complicate things, Hvarl is slated to wear Tartaros armor which is a relatively new sculpt in the Horus Heresy line, most Tartaros armor suits coming from the Prospero box.  The only really cool Tartaros sculpt out there is the exlusive HQ dude that's holding a two handed spear thing.  Really pretty model, and probably what I would have chosen if I had ready access to it, which I did not.  So I began browsing models looking for options.

  I decided that most Indomitus pattern Terminator suits would actually convert into Tartaros pretty decently.  The chest just needs an edge sculpted onto the front, and the legs need their recesses filled in and the round kneepad needs sharpened into a point.  All of this can be done with the addition of greenstuff, rather than the removal of material. Pack some Tartaros shoulderpads on and we're basically there.  Hide the problems under the fur and we're golden.  The arms didn't bother me too much since there's a lot more freedom given to HQ models, and a lot of it was going to be largely unseen anyways.  I also decided not to cut off the heraldry on the legs since I liked what it added, and could simple add a greenstuff edge to the knee.  So, let's begin.

  Logan Grimnar's Stormrider kit.

  Grimnar has all the fur cape that is awesome, has an axe already, and a lot of detail that doesn't interfere with a Tartaros conversion.  The only thing he really needs is a Heavy Bolter, and not the wrist mounted Storm Bolter which made me a little sad but ok.  I don't know what I'll do with the Stormrider.  Probably make terrain out it.  Really the only part of the model I won't use for awhile.  The wolves, however, I really like, and in the previous article, sculpted fur onto them to create Leman Russ's personal entourage instead of using the two roided-out rats that Forge World has instead.


  Most of the leg work was filling in the leg recesses.  I left the joint material.  I didn't add the hip plates because he comes with some already that are more decorative and again, indicative of an HQ.


  Here you can see I added the ridges specific to the Tartaros lines.  I also cast a Tartaros pad and Geigor's shoulder pad together to create these shoulder pads.  My other Tartaros termies are wearing the same thing, though lower quality.


   The leg on the left is more easily seen here and you can see the kneecap angle I added.  I also bulked out the chest and brought it to a fine point/line across the torso just like the Tartaros.  I added some decor to it but you can't tell at all under all the stuff Logan has going on.  Some easy fur sculpting to cover gaps and make everything meet.  The cape has one shoulder pad sculpted in that I had to cut out, thus some more fur liberally sculpted in.  

  So, here, my newness to the game shows through because I thought the wrist mounted gun was a heavy Bolter and was luckily corrected before I basecoated the model.  So I took an MK3 heavy bolter (I think) and shaved down the hand embedded in the sculpt and glued it right into the spot left by the storm bolter.  It actually works pretty well.

  The base is sculpted out of Super Sculptey III and baked.  It keeps with the same Prospero theme I've been using in my bases.


  Here, I've got the base painted, him mounted and basecoated.

  And final pictures.

  I'm extremely happy with how the axe turned out, and I think it holds his name very well.  I didn't plan on painting this model until March, but I just couldn't hold out that long and so I broke down and started playing with the axe and when I was done, the model was finished.  6 hours of painting.  Really enjoyed this model and holy cow have I missed this kind of modding and hobbying.

  Hope you can learn a few things here, or perhaps steal the idea for your own Hvarl since it's likely going to be awhile before FW releases one, if ever.  Any comments or questions, feel free to leave.  Enjoy your weekend!