The Rook's Bailey

And So It Begins: Part II

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Ah, Larry Leadhead. I was reading you even when my flirtation with minis was over. I hope we haven't seen the end of such a great comic strip now that I am getting involved in the hobby again!

(BTW: you can still read the interview I did with LL's creators, Eric Hotz and Doug Hamm, here.)

Well, today was a great day. After being dead in the water the last week because my paint collection was largely dried up and useless, today my new batch of supplies arrived and I was off painting my set of Ogre minis!

I am really pleased with the Vallejo Game Color Intro Set I ordered from The WarStore (I love the fact that I can indulge myself while also supporting a local business!):

As you can see, it comes with 16 general purpose colors that replaced - and then some! - my old paint collection. Best of all, the paints come in those new, niffty eyedropper paint bottles that allow you to dispense the paint one drop at a time, while also preventing spills. The quality of the paint sees quite good, too.

I also ordered a can of Armory white primer:

Above, I tried it out on some disassembled Ranger heavy tanks. Seems to coat good.

I was using Testors enamel gray primer on the first set of minis I prepared, but stopped when I realized that the paint I ordered was acrylic and not enamel. I was really scared that I messed up and the acrylic paint would not adhere to the enamel primer, but it seems to have turned out okay:

The black circles are bases for infantry, while the white minis are GEVs, their fins (up top), a CP (left), and the base for a Minotaur artillery piece (flat circular piece). I have to take a closer look tomorrow, but with the exception of the CP which will need a second coat (I ran out of paint and didn't want to mix up another batch just for a few brush strokes - best to wait for tomorrow when I will need more white paint for other units), I think they came out just fine so far.

This was the first time I ever mixed my paint with water, as taught to me by the appropriately named website. The guy was right on the money! By mixing just a drop or two of water to my paint (I am still trying to get a knack for this, but 1:2 seems like a good ratio of water to paint so far), not only did my paint go much farther, but it also covered soooo much better. I think this is why my first attempt at minis years ago always turned out so horribly: I was using undiluted paint, with the result being a thick, crayola-like coating of color that just smothered any detail in the minis. So much repainting to do....

Tomorrow I think I might try to do a "wash" on the Minotaur base plate. This piece has little runnels radiating out from the center, something I think might look nice with some shadowing. I hate to ruin what appears to be a good paint job, but I might as well find out how washing works now rather than later.

The color scheme I am using for the minis are according to the official product pictures on the Warhouse 23 website. I want to see how close I can get to the pros. Not very close, I know....

So, what's next? Well, if I am still satisfied with the first coat (I was planning to do a second coat, but I truly don't think they need it with the exception of the CP), I am going to start adding some color to the GEVS. Let's see how some detailing turns out. And, like I said, I might try a wash of the base plate just to experiment.

Stay tuned for more.

PS: You can see Part I here:

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  1. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    PS: Opinions & helpful tips are welcome!
  2. SoccerDJ's Avatar
    Looks like you are off to a good start!
  3. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    Put in another hour today. Painted some detail on the GEVs, and touched-up the base coat on other units. Also primered some more minis. I really need a quiet day where I can get more than 45 minutes to an hour to do some painting! But I guess this is a common complaint.

    Still having fun! I hope to get some more photos up by this weekend. Not point today as there isn't much more to show.
  4. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    Got some time in today to do some more painting and to begin assembling some minis. Here's a few photos.

    *** These are still works in progress! As such, they need a lot of touching up, etc. However, I don't really expect them to improve much beyond this state. ***

    This is a shot of two assembled GEVs. They look kinda nice with their tail fins attached.

    Side view. As you can probably tell, those black windows gave me no shortage of headaches. I'm sorry, but I just can't control a paint brush with such precision that I can make the windows perfectly shaped! I have a plan, though. I think I need to forget a brush and start using a stencil. When I was building models, I found a toothpick dipped in paint made for a splendid stencil that gave me far greater control than a brush. I'm gonna try that tomorrow and see if I can neaten up those windows. I also need to repair the damage done to the tail fins when I removed them from their sprue.

    Command Post. Needs much more color to make it interesting. Not sure what I will do yet.

    An assembled Ranger tank. Again, needs more color. The official model has a red stripe on each side of the hull, but I am thinking about doing something else. Not sure what yet.

    Front view.

    My Minotaur arty. I think this piece came out the best. Not sure why it is blue - the official image was blue - but I think it looks nice. Might try to add some more color to it, though.

    Top view.

    Let's see what tomorrow brings.
  5. SoccerDJ's Avatar
    Good look minis. I think I missed it but are those 6mm. Also are you going to give them a light wash after the paint job?
  6. Scott Tortorice's Avatar

    I think I missed it but are those 6mm.
    I'm not sure! 6mm sounds right, but I don't think I've seen the sized mentioned on the box. All I know is that they are tiny. Perhaps they weren't best for my first project.

    Also are you going to give them a light wash after the paint job?
    I don't know. What would you recommend? I was thinking maybe a black wash?
  7. SoccerDJ's Avatar
    Yeah a black wash would bring out the details and probably look good on the white. But I would test it on part of one before doing them all.
  8. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    I'm gonna give it a try tomorrow. I didn't get a chance to work on my minis today because I was too busy watching the GOP debate.
  9. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    Today was the day of the Great Washing. That is, today was the first time I tried to "wash" one of my painted miniatures with a heavily diluted solution of water and paint. The results: 50-50.

    ***Again, these are still WiP!***

    Seeing that my minis were painted in white, I used a black wash to create the illusion of shadow. It worked pretty well on the GEVs:

    All in all, they came out good. The black wash served to bring a nice amount of detail out of them while also removing some of that unintentional "right out of the factory" cleanliness they all had from the pristine white paint.

    Unfortunately, the result wasn't as good for the Ranger tanks:

    On the right is an unwashed tank - sort of looks like it is made out of Styrofoam, right? On the left is a washed tank - looks kinda dingy, no? The wash did bring out a nice amount of detail on the left tank, but it also left it looking like it was a miniature that had seen lots of handling over the years. I'm not happy with either.

    The Ranger was actually part of my second batch of wash, one that was more heavily diluted than the first batch I whipped up. Unfortunately, that first batch was still so potent with black paint that it wound up giving one of my missile launcher tanks an unintentional gray paint job. I have to admit, it made for a nice shade of gray, so I have to remember that technique. But not the effect I wanted, so I wound of repainting it with another coat of white:

    The missile tank on the left is the one painted with the second batch of wash, while the one of the right is the repainted tank.What I find so interesting about the one on the right is that it strikes a good balance between the black wash and the white recoating! You can still see the extra detail, but it doesn't have that grimy look. Could this be a solution? Perhaps. Tomorrow I am going to repaint the Ranger tank and see if it strikes a similar balance. If not....

    ...Change of color? I'm thinking that a black wash on a white mini is just too much to ask. So perhaps...a blue wash? That should serve to bring out the detail while avoiding the grimy, newspaper print look.

    In addition to my GEVs, I think my CP took well to the black wash:

    Sort of looks like a suitably griming building. Think I might keep this one.

    The arty piece took well to it, too.

    Last order of business today was to take a crack at the teeny-tiny infantry. I've been dreading this because they are so impossibly small - heck, even the official shots made it clear that the pro who painted them had a heck of a job making them look good. Still, I think I'm off to a good start by giving them red backpacks and knee guards:

    Not bad, especially considering I wasn't wearing my glasses (I scratched one of my lens recently ). These minis reinforced the notion that less is a lot more when it comes to painting. I was using so little paint on my brush that I really was almost dry brushing their backpacks and knee guards. I have to remember that.

    The black wash even took well here, too. If I can just get their weaponry black (gunmetal?), I'll be happy and call it a day with them.

    So, some wash worked, some I need to head back to the drawing board. Overall, though, I figure another few days (three-six hours?), and the Combine forces will be done and I can move on to the Ogre!

  10. SoccerDJ's Avatar
    Looks like for the most part the wash came out great. Now Im not sure if this would work but on the ones that look grimey or gray you could try a light white dry brush on the surfaces so it leaves the darker color in the recesses and details instead of repainting the whole thing white. Either way I think your figures are coming along nicely. I look forward to the finished product!
  11. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    Now Im not sure if this would work but on the ones that look grimey or gray you could try a light white dry brush on the surfaces so it leaves the darker color in the recesses and details instead of repainting the whole thing white.
    That's a good idea! Think I'll try that!

    Either way I think your figures are coming along nicely. I look forward to the finished product!
    Thanks so much! And so am I.

    And thanks for all the assistance! This newb really appreciates it.
  12. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    I pronounce the Combine Forces 95% done!

    I think I am satisfied with their appearance, too. There is still a bit of work to be done - I need to mount all the infantry in their bases; the rocket launchers need to be glued to their tanks; and your general touching up here and there - but I am about ready to move on to the Pan-European Ogre.

    SoccerDJ: your idea to dry brush the gray models with some white worked! It struck a good balance between the black wash and the white base coat. I was tempted to try a blue wash but discarded the idea when I realized that if it worked, I would have had to repaint a lot of models and start again. Not worth the trouble.

    I was pleasantly surprised that by painting two yellow radar dishes on my CP the mini looked substantially more interesting. So instead of getting carried away with lots of color, I am leaving it as is.

    The infantry went a lot easier than I expected, too. The models are so tiny that it is nearly impossible to make out much detail on them, so this made it much easier for me to paint their "weapons" (could be their forearms for all I could tell ) and a black eye slit on their helmet. If you don't look too closely they look fine now. And if you do look won't make a difference because the detail is lost on such small soldiers.

    I'm eager to move onto the Ogre because I can get past this simplistic white and red paint scheme. Don't know what base color I'm going to go with - I've seen some interesting yellow Ogres - but it definitely is not going to be white!

    Stay tuned for more.
  13. SoccerDJ's Avatar
    Those came out great Scott. Im glad the dry brushing worked. And you are right about the yellow little bits of color sometimes add alot, especially when seen as a whole from distance.
  14. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    Thanks! Grade-wise, I would give myself a "C". Better than my previous efforts ("D" at best), but still a lot to learn. Techniques, much.

    Thanks for all the help, Dan! I might need you yet again ("might" - who am I kidding. I will need your advice again! ).
  15. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    Exciting times! I started work on the last piece of my Ogre Deluxe collection: the Ogre!

    I was originally going to follow the yellow scheme seen in one of the official photos, but decided to do something different. For some reason, I've had this vision of a Combine infantryman shouting: "Here comes the Redcoat!" and having a big, red Ogre coming over the horizon. Seems to fit in with the whole Pan-European concept.

    So, I gave the Ogre a red base coat. Looks nice, if a bit too bright. But I suspect once I apply a black wash, the red will tone down a bit.

    Pictures soon.
  16. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    Only managed to squeeze in an hour or so the last few days, so I haven't gotten much done. This is annoying - I am so close to finishing my first complete set of minis. But I must persist.

    I did get the base coat on the Ogre with highlights. I did a reverse scheme from that official picture, a red base coat with yellow highlights. Before I started, I was worried it might look too garish, but it actually looks pretty darn good. Glad I went in that direction.

    I hope to get some time in today. Maybe I'll take a pic or two.
  17. Scott Tortorice's Avatar
    I finally finished the set! I'll post pictures ASAP!