Stephen gives us step by step guide to painting a Sci Fi villain.
For an upcoming game of Stargrave I wanted a baddie. The Big Boss. I looked at the models I had and none of them were really suitable.
So I decided I would buy something. I knew how I wanted the model to be armed, and knew my chances of finding something exactly like that was virtually zero, so it had to be something that could be modified.
Since I intended to order some bits from Ral Partha I thought I’d have a look there.
And lo and behold, I found just the thing – a Neo Soviet Handler from their Vor range (specifically, code 40-412):
I trimmed off the knuckle-duster thing in his left hand and in its place went a blaster pistol from the spares bag. His main armament was going to be a void blade. And when I saw this model, and what he had in his right hand, I couldn’t believe my luck. This would make the perfect handle for a lightsaber (sorry, void blade). I trimmed it down a bit, but I liked the flared ending so kept that. A hole was drilled and a piece of 1.5mm styrene rod was glued in. The model was then stuck to a 25mm plastic base and the base built up with filler. And then it was given a brown undercoat:
Now, in this write-up I am just going to give generic colours rather than specific names and codes for a brand. I use from more than one range of paints and I am sure everyone else does as well.
I decided his robes, gloves, and gimp mask were going to be black. So I slapped it on, letting it get into any awkward gaps in case I couldn’t get a brush in there later so it would act as a deep shade.
Right, this is just my own personal philosophy on black. But I never highlight black with just grey. No. Black is seldom that helpful. Look at any black clothes you may have. I bet they’re all slightly different shades – it depends on age, what the material is, what dye was used. Lots of variables. So try to keep that in mind when highlighting your blacks. The black for the robes had a bit of blue added, then white added to that for successive highlights. The gloves and mask had a blob of red added, then white added to that for successive highlights. You can see the slight difference in ‘black’ here:
Next up, I decided to do the bits that would get a dark brown (OK, OK, GW’s Agrax Earthshade) wash – the boots, pouches, bracers, and metallic bits. These received the same base brown colour. The metals had a steel base colour. Once dried, on goes the wash.
And when that’s dried the pieces are painted up. Like black (and most colours, to be honest) it helps if you vary what you use to highlight your base colours. It’s tempting to add white to lighten it. But maybe yellow might give a different shade to the base colour, or a pale grey. This is a good thing to keep in mind, especially if you have two uses of the same colour next to each other. That said, I did use white to highlight the brown. The metal bits were touched up with the base steel colour, and then highlighted with silver. I ummed and ahhed about what colour to do the lenses on the eyepieces. Blue or green were the first choices that came to mind. But then I thought, orange. So orange it was, highlighted with a dot of yellow.
Next up I decided to do his weapons. There’s a good reason for this – I just couldn’t make up my mind what colour to do his armour. Normally I would have left the weapons to last because they stick out and there’s every chance they could get knocked or rubbed as I did other bits. But I just couldn’t make up my mind. I had thought about green, but I had also decided that his blade was going to be green, and if there was too much green then I may have to re-paint the armour. With that, I decided to do the weapons first, and once that was done maybe the armour colour would be obvious. The handgun had a base colour that was a mix of steel and black to make a gun metal colour, then highlighted with the steel. A red laser sight was also dotted in. I knew from the outset I was going to do a green blade. I have a nice rich green colour, so I went with that. It’s hard to paint a 3D object like it is lit from inside, so I chose to just highlight the base and tip of the blade. I used white to highlight this time.
I looked at it. You know what, I thought, I reckon green would look OK. So I went with green for the armour, but a different shade of green. I gave all the armour panels a thin coating (not really a wash, but not really thick paint either) of the base green mixed with a blob of dark brown (again, you don’t have to darken colours with just black). Once dry I then painted in the panels with the base colour, which was highlighted by adding yellow to the green to create a more vibrant green, but also so it didn’t have the same tonal value as the green on the blade. The edges of the armour were based in dark yellow, and then picked out with a flat yellow.
And that’s the end of the painting for Doctor Moreau. Once finished, I thought the 25mm base looked a little small on what was a chunky model. So I pried the model off the base (and, inevitably, had to touch up a few knocks and chips) and glued him to a 30mm wooden base. Flocking was my standard recipe – a mix of railway ballasts first, and then some spots of static grass:
And that’s Doctor Moreau done, ready to be pestered and set upon by a group of ne’er do wells and freeloaders.
Here we are with another selection of pictures from the club showing what we’ve up to. With the return of club meetings, projects are turning to the various games we have managed to start playing again.
First up Tony has been painting up some 15mm Brigadier characters, strangely enough from Brigade Models. He has also managed to complete another dwarf for his LOTR’s collection.
Next up I’ve been painting up some crates from the Mantic Dreadball range for use in various sci-fi games.
John has been painting up some 10mm Chilean and Peruvian Cavalry.
Lastly for this week Stephen has used up some old EM4 Colonial Marines miniatures and a bit of kit bashing to create some additional crew/gang members for use in games like Stargrave.
Jeremey takes us through the various times club members have used actual toys for games.
Recently Tony posted pictures of a toy Millennium Falcon he bought for his current 15mm Star Wars project. This was a Hasbro Millennium Falcon toy measuring 9.5 inches x 7 inches.
All Tony did to this toy was to give it a wash of black acrylic paint thinned with Johnson’s floor polish followed by a heavy light grey drybrush.
As you can see the end results were quite impressive for such a simple technique.
When the Stargate rules came out Stephen decided to paint up a spaceship to act as scenery. Again going for a toy Stephen bought a strange looking spaceship from something called the Starlink range.
From what I can tell you can connect this toy up to a games console for added features. Stephen converted a few bits of the original toy to turn it into a craft for his bounty hunter.
I also got in on the toy action a number of years ago for my Fenris Descending game. I dug out one of my old Star Wars toys, namely this PDT-8 transport toy.
For this I did need to cover over the compartments you put the action figures in and went for a complete paint job, but that was still just a simple primer of grey, dry brushed silver and a black ink wash applied.
Again the level of detail on the original toy made it a good choice to use for wargaming. You can often pick up such toys for a bargain price on Ebay or in the toy store clearance bin. A purpose built wargaming spaceship of the same size (although likely better detailed) would be quite expensive.
I can see my self doing this again if I spot the right toy.
Sometimes you have to admit your hobby space needs a good tidy. Jeremey takes us through his latest tidy attempt and subsequent creation.
If I spent as much time actually painting as I did tidying up my hobby desk I would have defeated the lead pile by now.
My current hobby desk is a 1940’s bureau I got from the local charity shop. It has a number of spaces for putting your letter writing paraphernalia, but plenty of potential for hobby related equipment.
I originally bought a couple of desk tidy/pen holders for my paint brushes, files and sculpting tools. They worked but as you can see there was a lot of wasted space in the desk.
During the latest desk tidy session I suddenly hit on the idea of getting something that made better use of the desk spaces. I tried finding other pen style holders that would fit better but couldn’t find anything suitable.
It was at that point I decided to make my own. I decided to make some boxes out of foam floor mats since the contents would not be that heavy and the desk tidy pieces themselves didn’t need to be too robust, just survive being pulled out like draws.
I started by making simple boxes and stuck them together using the hot glue gun. I measured the space available to ensure the boxes used up all the space available. Once that was done I got out all of the items I wanted to store and cut internal foam pieces (again stuck on with the hot glue gun) to create the various spaces for my equipment. The last thing was to add a handle so I could pull out the boxes.
The first one worked so well I made a second (slightly better than the first, shown on the left), which meant I could have on the desk even more equipment I’d previously put away in other draws. I’m now wondering if I can build myself a rack for my paint pots out of the foam!
A tad late today, apologies all. This week the vast majority of work was done by Eric, with one small addition from Tony. Where’s everyone else gone?
Eric says his painting mojo has really sunk it’s teeth into him at the moment, and he’s been prolific in his output. First up is Inquisitor Greyfax from Warhammer 40k, Eric says she’s a work in progress, and will make a great “psyker” captain for Stargrave in addition to appearing in his 40K army.
Next, an old piece of scenery he finally got round to paying attention to.
Some random robot that was found in the desert just before the locals decided to handball him on to their transport. Will likely serve as a data loot cache marker for Stargrave.
And for a complete change of direction, some Roman Legionaries.
Back to the Sci Fi theme, a small Adeptus Astartes Reiver squad for either 40k or Kill Team (maybe Stargrave, who knows?)
And 3 x runners/recruits for Stargrave and a robot. The runners were kitbashed from 40k spares, the robot is based on Claptrap from Borderlands. Model by Crooked Dice Games.
And, finally from Eric, some Stargrave Loot markers.
It’s not quite an Eric monopoly this week, Tony has finished a few figures. He’s decided to start on Thorin’s Company, so here are Thorin, James Nesbitt Bofur and Gandalf.
That’s it for this week, hopefully we’ll be back on schedule next Wednesday.
Inspired by the imminent arrival of Osprey’s new Stargrave rulebook, Marcus suggested that we have a shuttle scratchbuilding contest (this was several months ago, the book is of course out now). Although the rules are aimed at 28mm figures, this very loose ‘contest’ was for 15mm models.
A while ago I saw a 15mm scale spaceship made from a Nerf rifle on Facebook – it was probably the size of a corvette or small frigate. While I had no desire to make anything that big, the idea still seemed sound for a much smaller vessel made from a pistol or similar. So I picked up an X-Shot branded gun from a supermarket for a fiver … which then sat untouched in its box for over a year. The shuttle building competition seemed like the ideal time to dig it out and make something of it.
I started by dismantling it (it was held together by screws) and removing the trigger, grip and the spring mechanism that propelled the rubber projectiles. This left me with just three pieces – the triple barrel and the two body halves, which I superglued back together. The screw holes were filled with green stuff which I tried to hide as best I could by sculpting in detail to match the surrounding area. The plan was to turn the pistol round so that the gun barrels became the engines and the cockpit would somehow be grafted onto the trigger end. This was all a very vague concept, since I had no idea of the details and what I was going to use to make it all (this make-it-up-as-I-went-along theme ran through the whole build…).
I had to tidy up a couple of bits – I took a razor saw to what would be the nose and removed a protruding bit of plastic, which I covered with a hatch from a Games Workshop vehicle. The hole where the grip came out was boxed in with plasticard with a view to becoming a well for the nose landing gear.
After hunting through my spares box for a suitable aircraft cockpit I came up blank, so in the end I built a simple frame around a curved protrusion which should look like a cockpit when painted up.
Engines were my next issue. Try as I might, in my extensive pile of half-built kits I could not find three identical engines to cover the three muzzles of the original gun. I did find two Mirage-III engines which I used for the lower two. For the upper, central engine I found a rather odd finned one which came from a Japanese spaceship kit. I rationalised the different designs by designating the lower two as the sublight drives, while the upper one is the ship’s FTL or Jump drive.
The final major subassembly that I had to work out was the landing gear – it would have to be robust enough to hold the weight of the ship and stand up to the rigours of gameplay. I’d originally planned to scratchbuild something with skids or feet along the lines of the Millennium Falcon, but during my various delves through my kit pile I came across the landing gear of a 1/48th Rafale which looked like it would work. Having wheels rather than skids also made sense as it would make the shuttle easier to manoeuvre in the tight confines of a carrier bay or hangar. The nose wheel fitted perfectly into the well I’d made earlier – I just superglued it solidly to the back of the well. I drilled holes in the fuselage sides to secure the two larger rear wheel struts and added some extra supports to make them even more secure.
The forward hull had a circular recess on each side – on the left I put the main hatch, originally from a GW Rhino. I gave it some hinges and a grab rail from various kits, and an entry keypad which is the only 3D printed piece on the ship. On the right is the ship’s main armament – when the shuttle was originally built this would have been a second hatch, but now it’s in private service the captain has added a twin heavy cannon mounting, which came from a GW dreadnought. I’ve never played Warhammer 40k, but once upon a time I worked on a video game project for Games Workshop and ended up with number of WH40K sprues in my bits box, which have finally proved to be very handy.
Then I was into full-scale greeblie mode, covering much of the surface of the vessel with all manner of bits and pieces – there are aircraft weapon pylons, bits of superstructure from 1/1200th battleships, a metal radome, some windows and shutters from model railway buildings, helicopter rocket pods and many other unidentifiable bits. There’s also a small defensive gun turret under the main hatch. The engine body got lots of pipes and valves made from plastic rod and strip, and a couple of lengths of old bass guitar strings.
Eventually I called a halt and declared the build finished, and moved onto painting. The overall colour scheme reversed the original colours of the plastic gun, with the main body in white and the nose in orange, and the engines bare metal. I sprayed it overall with Halfords’ white car primer and then washed it with light grey acrylic paint thinned with Johnson’s floor polish (I had planned to use Citadel Apothecary White contrast paint but I’d run out and had to improvise…). This was then heavily drybrushed with pure white with some edge highlights thrown in. The nose was painted with Gryph Hound Orange (another contrast paint) and drybrushed up, and then the engines painted with Citadel Leadbelcher before washing black and drybrushing silver. Contrast paints can be a bit patchy on large flat areas, which just what I was after – this is meant to be an well used, battered vessel that has seen plenty of use.
I painted the gun housing in dark blue-grey, along with the numbers etched into the sides of the fuselage, the cockpit glass in a variety of blues to give a graduated shade and the undercarriage in silver. I then picked out lots of details in different spot colours – a red and white striped probe, yellow emergency gas tanks, grey sensors, a green radome and orange and blue dorsal fins. I even had a go at a rainbow-like heat distortion effect on the engine using washes.
Finally I raided my collection of decals to finish things off – a mixed selection of aircraft markings and GW Tau symbols.
So that’s it – the Empyrean Drifter takes to the spacelanes. Of course it needs a crew, which I’m currently pulling together from various sources. And I’ve now started to think that they need a base to operate the Drifter from, which is a whole new rabbit hole…
While Jeremey is away he handed the reins over to Andy for this week’s post.
Only four items to show this week, not sure if that is the effect of the weather, or that we have now resumed meetings.
First up, Tony continues his 15mm Sci Fi Des Res, made from an electrical pattress box, accessories from the Brigade range, and spares from the bits box. He has added a few more greeblies including a radar dish, then started painting – undercoat, dark wash then some drybrushing. Front view above, rear aspect below.
John has added a fourth base to his Chilean battalions for the War of the Pacific.
Meanwhile Mark has done some more work on his Judge Dread figures and his 6mm Pontic army.
And his son, Felix, has been trying out GW Contrast Paints on his Mega City Block Gang.
(Ed: In an earlier edition of this post I credited the Judge Dredd and Pontic work to Eric and his son in error. It should have been credited to Mark and his son. Apologies to all concerned.)
Finally, not so much WIP as just finished. The last of my Dark Ages foot, ready for a game last night at Milton Hundred.
Well, that’s it for this week. Back into Jeremey’s safe hands next week.
Club member Jeremey takes us through construction of his new measure for the game Saga.
I’ve been playing Saga for a number of years now. My original cardboard measuring rulers are long since gone being old and tatty; so needed to either buy new ones or make my own. I had some 5mm thick foam card that seemed ideal for the job.
I created a simple set of measuring sticks in a similar way to the official ones. A 12″ ruler with Long and Medium distances and a second showing Short and Very Short measurements, these served me well for quite a while; but during a moment of boredom I felt I could come up with something more visually pleasing.
I still had some of the 5mm foam card so dug out a piece and cut it to the standard 12″ length. I had already decided to create a spear as a measuring stick and cut a piece wide enough for the spear blade.
I then cut out the spear shape after measuring the foam so that the blade was the same length as the normal ‘Short’ measure. I didn’t try doing any fancy curved lines for the blade spear, I kept it simple.
Next to provide a way of measuring the ‘Very Short’ length I decided to use a thin EVA foam sheet cut into strips. I superglued the end to the spear piece and stretched the foam round the shaft.
I now had a way of measuring all of the distances required. The strapping for ‘Very Short’, the blade for ‘Short’, the remaining shaft for ‘Medium’ and the entire spear length for ‘Long’.
Next up I turned to painting the spear, the blade was painted with a standard Silver colour with a splash of black ink to give some contrast to the flat silver blade.
For the shaft I painted it dark brown and then with increasing lighter brown shades drew lines down it like wood grain. Finally I decided to paint the strapping as well, I used the darker brown paint watered down to add some shade.
Here we have the finished spear next to the old rulers. As this would be handled during games I also covered the whole spear with a brush on Matt Varnish.
With luck the spear went into action sooner than I expected with the re-opening of the club. It also worked as a good omen with me winning both games of Saga played on the day.