Archive for tutorial

Imperial Knights: Renegade — Gilgamesh Triumphant!

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2016 by krautscientist

A short interlude today, before I return with a more sizeable new post soon: With the release of Imperial Knights: Renegade, Chaos Knights are now very much a thing, even for those who shun the rules by Forgeworld (that have already been available for some time now). Due to the strange ways of the webway, I am pretty certain that the new rules will find their way to each and every Chaos player in pretty short order, and there is much rejoicing about this turn of events.

What makes this even better though, at least for me, is that my very own Chaos Knight, Gilgamesh, has actually made it into GW’s daily blog as one of the examples for converted Renegade Knights. Yay!

Gilgamesh on GW blog 01
Now I should probably be far more nonchalant and humble about this whole thing, but I simply cannot pull it off: Gilgamesh remains my biggest and most involved hobby project to date, and one that I am incredibly proud of, so to see him being featured on the GW site like this just makes me incredibly happy! Thanks so much to all the fellow hobbyists who brought this to my attention. And to the content managers at GW, obviously 😉

But this post should have some kind of use beyond allowing me to talk about how great I think I am, right? 😉
So, to all those of you who are now looking at the option of adding a Knight or two to their Chaos armies with renewed interest, on account of the new rules, maybe my collected posts about converting and painting my own Chaos Knight may prove helpful, so feel free to check them out here:

PRELUDE

– THE BUILDING –

PART I
PART II
PART III

– THE PAINTING –

PART I
PART II
PART III
PART IV
PART V

Also make sure to take a peek at this companion post over at Dark Future Gaming, where I discuss some of the excellent conversions that have inspired my own take on the Chaos Knight, because I am really standing on the shoulders of giants here!

The only cloud on the horizon here is how the ‘Eavy Metal Team seemingly didn’t convert and paint a dedicated posterboy Renegade Knight for the new game but rsther decided to paint over the heraldry of an already completed, pretty sweet loyalist model:

ImperialKnightRenegadeSeriously, guys: You have already painted a score of these beasts. Would one more really have killed you…?

But all in all, this has been an amazing surprise, both from a general hobby perspective, but also for my personal hobby life!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! 🙂

Chaos Knight Gilgamesh, the Warrior King (12)

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More 30k World Eaters — and a recipe for bloodshed

Posted in Conversions, paintjob, WIP, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by krautscientist

Having already teased some additional painted 30k World Eaters in my last post, I think it’s only proper to take a closer look at these models today. Some of you may remember that my first 30k test model ended up quite alright, but also that I didn’t find the process of painting white armour all that enjoyable.

Well, no more. Because I have actually manage to tweak my recipe for 30k World Eaters so as to be far less time consuming and nerve-wracking. Which made my second test model far more enjoyable to paint than the first one! So without further ado, here’s the model:

2nd 30k World Eater (1)
“To the prim and proper XIIIth or the bleeding heart XVIIIth, the thought of Astartes killing Astartes is anathema.
But we have been doing this for decades, night after night, in the cages and on the hot dust.
The only difference is that there is no longer any need to hold back.”

Legionary Sarn, Eigar Veteran Tactical squad, 4th assault company, XII Legion Astartes

 

2nd 30k World Eater (2)

2nd 30k World Eater (3)

2nd 30k World Eater (4)

2nd 30k World Eater (5)

2nd 30k World Eater (7)

Regarding the parts I chose for the model, I spliced in some CSM arms and a Khorne berzerker torso. While the finished model seems like a fairly standard marine at first glance, it retains a certain sense of brutality that works well for the World Eaters, I think. Using CSM arms on the Betrayal at Calth plastics also allows for slightly more interesting poses. And the spiked and barbed CSM weapons are an excellent fit for World Eaters weaponry, without looking too chaotic — in fact, maybe this is Sarum pattern equipment, provided by the Forgeworld of the same name that the World Eaters liberated during the latter stages of the Great Crusade…?

As for painting the model, the main change to my original recipe was to use GW Corax White spraypaint for the white undercoat instead of having to paint it all on by brush. This really cut down on the time it took me to complete the model, plus it also reduced the number of somewhat iffy areas that needed further touchups. What’s more, having an easier time with the basic paintjob gave me the liberty to experiment with some additional effects.

The first of those was the blood: It was clear of course that blood would have to enter the picture at some point, so I chose this model as a test piece for that as well, trying to create an effect that would subtly enhance the model without overpowering it. I actually used a tootbrush to flick small amounts of Tamiya Clear Red at the model, in order to create realistic patterns. Then I went back and added some more blood to select areas of the model, such as the chainblade and the knee. I think it’s fun to apply the blood in a very deliberate manner, rather than just slathering it on. That way, figuring out how the blood may actually have gotten there in the first place turns into an interesting bit of meta-narrative — did this guy knee his opponent in the face, for instance? 😉

I also added another decal to the right shoulder pad: A “XII” numeral (actually a cut-down XIII from the Betrayal at Calth decal sheet):

2nd 30k World Eater (8)

And I included the pauldron of a fallen Armaturan Evocatus on the model’s base, trampled underfoot during the battle, maybe?

2nd 30k World Eater (6)

All in all, I am really rather happy with the World Eaters recipe I have come up with! It’s fairly effective and pretty fast to pull off, especially if, like me, you don’t like having to paint multiple thin layers of a base colour but enjoy the aspects of weathering and adding “special effects” far more.

30k legion badge

In fact, allow me to share my recipe — maybe those of you thinking about a 30k World Eaters project of their own will find this helpful.
So here’s a step by step tutorial for the white armour:

What you will need:

  • GW Corax White spraypaint
  • a white of your choice (I use Vallejo Dead White, but GW Ceramite White will work just the same)
  • GW Lahmian Medium (!)
  • a black and brown wash of your choice. I use Army Painter Strong Tone and Dark Tone, respectively, but GW Agrax Earthshade and GW Nuln Oil should also do the job.
  • a suitable dark brown/dark grey/green-brown colour for the sponge weathering. I use the OOP GW Charadon Granite (which is wonderful). However, any very dark grey/black/dark brown should work similarly well.

Oh, and one more piece of advice: You’ll make your life quite a bit easier if you leave the backpack and shoulder pads off and paint them separately. In fact, I even use a different undercoat for them (Chaos Black for the pauldrons and Chaos Black followed by Leadbelcher for the backpack). You can also leave off the head in order to be able to get into all the little nooks and crannies. However, all the following steps apply to both the head and body of the model.

So here we go:

Step 1: Spraypaint the entire model using GW Corax White. You get to decide how white you want your model to be during this step. For a slightly grey-ish off white, use the spraypaint sparingly. For a cleaner white, use a thicker coat of paint (or multiple passes of spraying). Make sure not to lay the colour on too thickly, though. This is what your model will look like afterwards:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (1)
Step 2: After everything has dried, check to see whether there are any areas that remain unpainted. If so, this is the moment to use some slightly diluted white to clean them up a bit. As soon as that is finished, you should give the entire model a drybrushing with the same white, in order to build up a bit of contrast on the raised parts of the armour. It goes without saying that this will be more effective if you went for a slightly thinner undercoat beforehand.

Step 3: Now’s the time to block in all the different colours that aren’t white, i.e. the metallics, skin, trophies, pieces of cloth, pouches etc. This recipe won’t focus on my colour choices for this part, although I might do a more detailed tutorial in the future. Anyway, this is what the model will look like after this step:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (2)
If you think it looks pretty terrible, you’re absolutely right. Don’t fret, as that’ll change in a minute 😉

One important thing, though: This is also the moment where you apply all the decals you want to go onto the armour, as we’ll need to weather them along with the armour to make them look realistic. So if you want to use any of those red World Eaters decals from Forgeworld, apply them now! After they are well dry, add a coat of matt varnish on top to seal them , just for hood measure.
This is also the last opportunity to clean up the white: Any errors that you don’t correct now will have to be covered up by the weathering later, so take another look at the areas that might require a bit of cleanup now!

Step 4: Here’s where it gets interesting: Mix a glaze using Lahmian Medium and your brown and black washes on your palette. No need for an exact recipe, although the Lahmian Medium should account for about 60-70% of the mixture, with the rest made up of the black and brown. You’ll also want slightly more black than brown for a World Eater, (while mixing in a lot more brown and little to no black would give you a pretty nice glaze for a Death Guard legionnaire, incidentally). Once you have mixed the colours together, quickly and generously paint them onto the white armour, and do it in one go, so as not to produce any ugly borders. The glaze will shade the armour without drying on the even surfaces in a splotchy way (as a mere wash would), while also giving the whole armour a slightly muddy and off-white quality. Here’s what the model will look like after this step:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (3)
The picture is rather misleading in that it was taken late in the evening, in less than ideal lighting. I just wanted to keep painting instead of waiting for better light, so the photo isn’t as good as it should be. The white is just as bright as the white in the following picture, if not brighter, it just doesn’t appear that way.

Step 5: We’re almost there. Now give the model some time to dry (!) before you tackle the next step. When everything is nice and dry, you put some Charadon Granite (or your alternate dark brown/dark grey) onto your palette and use a small piece of blister sponge to dip into it. Then you should sponge off most of the colour back onto the palette or onto a piece of kitchen towel. When there’s just a bit of colour left, use the sponge to carefully add weathering to the surfaces of the armour. This is not an exact science, so you need to experiment a bit. You can also build up the effect in several layers. The sponge weathering will end up looking very organic, which is great, plus it’s really useful for covering up errors and ugly areas. Just keep in mind that you will also have to use the effect on the blue parts of the armour (i.e. the shoulder pads and backpack), so they won’t stick out later by being too clean.

Anyway, I added multiple layers of spomge weathering until I was happy. And here’s the mostly finished model:

Pre Heresy World Eaters white tutorial (4)
As you can see, the shoulder pad and backpack are already back in place. You can do this as soon as you no longer need access to every part of the armour. I also added a selective edge highlight to some raised parts of the armour, such as the helmet’s faceplate, the elbows, the armour plate covering the model’s stomach etc. Oh, and I brushed some Steel Legion Drab over the model’s feet and greaves, in order to create a visual connection with the base. Of course you’ll have to adjust this part, depending on the colour scheme you have chosen for your basing.

As for the blood, like I said above, I use Tamiya Clear Red (although I keep hearing good things about GW Blood for the Blood God as well, and it may be easier to source), flicking it at the armour with the help of a toothbrush and then adding some of the paint to select areas. When touching up the gore, you should mix in some brown and/or black wash, so you’ll get slightly different hues and saturations that will make the blood look more believable.

Oh, and let me speak about the blue parts as well: When I painted my first 30k World Eater, I didn’t have any suitable blue, so I just used Vallejo Magic Blue with a drop of black, mostly as a stopgap solution. However, I really like the colour that resulted from this, so I’ve decided to keep the recipe for the rest of my models.

Anyway, so much for the tutorial. Aftersome final touchups and a completed base, here’s what the model looks like now:

3rd 30k World Eater (1)

“You think we take our opponents’ skulls to mock them, Evocatus? Hah, quite the opposite!
Even in death, your eyes will be allowed to glimpse the battlefield once more — what greater honour could be bestowed upon a true warrior?”

Legionary Molax of the Triarii, XII Legion Astartes. Seconded to the 4th assault company following the Battle of Armatura.

3rd 30k World Eater (2)
3rd 30k World Eater (3)
3rd 30k World Eater (4)

Regarding the conversion itself, I wanted to experiment with a more gladiatorial look, which I believe turned out pretty convincing. I also spliced in some actual Khorne Berzerker parts to create the kind of “mongrel” plate that should have been a pretty regular occurence in the XII legion, considering its rather heads-on approach to warfare and the amount of losses taken during the outbreak of the Heresy and the subsequent Shadow War.

And here are all three test models I have painted so far:

30k World Eaters test models (3)
One thing you can see in the picture is how the ratio between the black and brown washes will slightly influence the colour of the armour: If you look closely, you’ll see that Molax is slightly more brownish than the other two. This is because I used slightly more brown wash when mixing the glaze for his armour. The other two models use less brown and more black, leading to a somewhat colder look.

Another thing that’s evident in the picture is how the models are quite a bit less uniform than the stock Betrayal of Calth tactical Marines. I really wanted my World Eaters to have a slightly more ragtag appearance, as this just seems appropriate for the legion. As I keep adding new models, I think some of them will look quite different, with the spectrum ranging from fairly standard Mk IV Marines to guys in far less standardised gear, yet I hope to include some visual touches that pull it all together, creating a feeling of visual coherency while also allowing for quite a bit of variation at the same time.

Speaking of which, here are the two 30k models I am currently working on:

Plasma Gunner and Triarius WIP (2)
Plasma Gunner and Triarius WIP (3)
The model on the right further explores the Triarii archetype, while the guy on the left is a pretty standard plasma gunner. Like I said, these may seem rather different when compared like this, but I do think they’ll work together rather nicely in the finished squad. And there’s always the option of spinning off the Triarii into their own squad somewhere along the way, of course.

In this particular case, the main challenge was to make the guy with the plasma gun look suitably massive and menacing and not like “that boring model with the gun”. I think I was fairly successful with that, though.

And there’s also another model that I am fairly excited about. This guy:

WE Praetor 30k WIP (2)
WE Praetor 30k WIP (1)
The model was originally built as an officer for my 40k World Eaters, but it seems as though he might make an even better officer for my small 30k project, even if he’s a bit more openly Khornate than the other guys so far — personally, I think that all bets were really off for the World Eaters after Armatura and Nuceria, so I imagine some Khornate elements will have begun to sneak into the legion by then — after all, they were definitely present shortly after the Heresy, according to Khârn: Eater of Worlds.

 

Anyway so much for the status of my little 30k project. Again, don’t expect this to grow into a fully-fledged Horus Heresy army any time soon! That being said, this project is a great way of exploring an earlier incarnation of my 40k World Eaters and of using ideas that I’ve always found cool but couldn’t make work on the 40k setting. So it’s definitely a win/win situation for now 😉

I would love to hear any feedback you might have! And as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Tutorial: Grimdark Glamour Shots

Posted in 40k, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , on April 15, 2015 by krautscientist

Today’s post will deal with something slightly different — but don’t fret: We will of course be talking about our favourite hobby, after all. In fact, I have prepared a small tutorial that some of you may find helpful. So what is this about?

When my recent writeup about Lord Captain Lorimar was complete and published, I went back to the photo montage I had made for the model and made a couple of tweaks, resulting in a picture that I like even better than its predecessor:

Master of the Hunt 02
Now when I posted this on my various forum threads, two things happened. One, fellow hobbyist Kythnos asked me for a similar picture for his own Iron Warriors Warsmith and two, several people inquired about my recipe for creating images like this. And I have actually been posting edited images involving my models for quite a while now, although I certainly don’t consider myself an expert when it comes to image editing — in fact, I am still very much finding my feet when it comes to various techniques.

But I did make that photo montage for Kythnos after all. Here’s what it looks like:

Warsmith

And I realised that, while I may not be an expert, I have managed to come up with a relatively reliable recipe for creating this kind of pictures — brilliantly dubbed “glamour shots” by Flint13 in a recent post.

Now I realise that those pictures may be a somewhat divisive feature: When I first posted a couple of them, some of my readers seemed concerned that these would replace “normal” photos of miniatures on this blog. But these pictures aren’t a replacement for good, honest miniature photography, and certainly shouldn’t be treated as such. This is rather about exploring your models (and the characters they represent) from a different angle, about imagining how they would actually look on the battlefields of the 41st millennium. It’s about creating the dramatic, often hilariously overwrought, scenes we all know and love from the background. And, by extension, it can also become an additional way to start thinking about your models as characters rather than mere playing pieces, and I’ve always been a huge advocate of that!

Anyway, to make a long story short, what follows is a small tutorial about creating suitably dramatic and garish “glamour shots” for your models. I’ll give you the short version (for now), although we may actually revisit parts of this in more detail at some point.

Anyway, before we start, a disclaimer of sorts:

  • This doesn’t represent THE foolproof way of creating images like this, but just one way that has worked reasonably well for me. I am 100% sure that there are far more elegant and/or accomplished ways for going about this, and people who are more knowledgeable about Photoshop will probably laugh about my fumbling efforts — fair enough, I say. I am absolutely not claiming to be a professional here, and this is therefore a very “quick and dirty” approach.
  • I am also definitely not the first person to do a tutorial on this, but have rather been very lucky to find some excellent tutorials by other people to get me started: A brief but excellent writeup by Tyler Mengel showed me the ropes, and fellow German hobbyist Talarion introduced my to Pixlr, making my life much easier in the process. So thanks must go to them as well!
  • When it comes to procuring suitable backdrops for your photos, there’s a big temptation to just steal everything you need from the internet — and to be honest, I have occasionally been guilty of the same crime. However, I try to go for pictures that are (or at least that I consider) fair game, i.e. stuff that is freely available and in the public domain. I will occasionally use material from GW or FW themselves, admittedly, but as I have no plan of using any of this commercially, I hope this constitutes fair use (bottom line, please don’t sue me, GW!). But please don’t just go stealing other people’s work left and right, alright?
  • Finally, I will be using Adobe Photoshop for the first part of this tutorial. Similar software is freely available (GIMP would be one example, and there is also the web-based version of Pixlr). Most major functions are fairly similar across various programs, and I am not going into the differences and kinks of the software here. Neither will I be focusing on the details: Using this tutorial will require some (very) basic knowledge of image editing.

With that out of the way, here goes:

 

What you will need:

  • a photo of your model(s) in suitable quality, taken against a neutral background (preferrably white, grey or beige). The photo needs to be sharp, in focus and bright enough. There are some excellent tutorials about how to take good pictures of your models here and here, for starters.
  • some kind of image editing software, i.e. Adobe Photoshop, GIMP or Pixlr or whatever else works for you.
  • I will be using the desktop version of Autodesk’s Pixlr for the second half of this tutorial, in order to add effects and certain colour hues. This isn’t a necessary step, but Pixlr will make things much easier here, especially if you have little knowledge about Photoshop, and the software is free, so I recommend you download it.

And with that, we’re off:

 

First up, I am going to use a picture of Biohazard’s Lord Malek Deimos — both because Biohazard probably won’t mind, and because I like the idea that he’ll end up with a cool picture of his Chaos Lord, because he’s my buddy 😉

So here’s the picture I chose:

model built and painted by Biohazard

model built and painted by Biohazard

 

The picture is a bit more grainy than it should be, but it’ll do. It’s against a white background, which is great, because it will make cutting out the model far easier. If you want, you can play around with brightness, contrast and the levels a bit at this stage, in order to make the photo a bit more crisp and rich in contrast.

The first thing you want to do is to duplicate the layer on which your image is, so that you have the background layer (the original image) and another layer above it (also your original image, but that will change shortly). Select this new layer.

Now Photoshop (or any software functioning roughly like Photoshop) has a selection tool usually called the “magic wand”. What this does is to select a particular colour present in the image — which is why you want the background to be in a neutral colour. So select the magic wand tool and click on a part of the white background. It’ll create a selection. If you press Shift while selecting additional white areas, they will be added to your selection. The selection will be marked by a blinking border:

Deimos_Tutorial02

Don’t forget any white areas! There is also a way of having Photoshop auto-select every bit of white on the canvas, but that would mean all the white that’s part of the actual model as well, and we don’t want that. So make sure to select all the bits of white background, until it looks like the picture above. Then invert your selection (this function can normally has its own tab, or it can be found under “Edit”. Once you have done this, the border will be running around your model rather than around the entire canvas.

[I do realise of course that other kinds of selection tools exist, and if you’re familiar with them — great! However, for the sake of brevity, we’ll be sticking to the magic wand here 😉 ]

If you want the photo montage to look convincing, we’ll have to get rid of the last remnants of white background, reflections etc. So reduce your selection by one or two pixels. If you want to make it look even more believable, you can also add a slightly blurry edge to the selection (so the model won’t look quite as much like a cutout). Once you’re happy, copy the selection and add it into a new layer. At this point, you should have the original image in the background, the layer above (with the original photo’s background, but minus the actual model) and a third layer with the model as a cutout on top. Delete the middle layer, as we won’t be needing it any longer. And you should set the bottom (background) layer to invisible, so the canvas looks like this:

Deimos_Tutorial03
The little checkerboard pattern in the background shows that this area is transparent. To make things easier for you, you can fill the background layer with a solid colour (or create a new layer for that), because it will make the model’s edges easier to see. Like so:

Deimos_Tutorial04

Not bad, eh? But some remnants of the orignal background and some reflections remain. In the above picture, it’s very obvious on the arm holding the sword.

Now if you’re just in for the quick and dirty version, you can simply ignore this, but your model will probably end up looking like it has a halo in the finished picture. So in order to get rid of this, you select the eraser tool and choose a paintbrush with slightly blurry edges…

Deimos_Tutorial05

…then set it to a size you are comfortable with and carefully work away at those edges that look like they are glowing. Be careful not to take away too much and rather work in multiple increments! If you make a mistake, you can always undo your last couple of steps!

In the end, you will have a cleaned up version of your model:

Deimos_Tutorial06

It’s a subtle difference, to be fair, but it’ll be worth it in the end — trust me 😉

Next step: the background. Find a suitable background image you would like to use (I chose a promo image for the Armageddon PC game, showing a hive that seems to have been mashed together using Google Images results for “gothic architecture” 😉 Copy it into your picture so it will end up in a separate layer:

Deimos_Tutorial07
You will probably have to move the model around a bit at this stage, in order to make it fit the background. I also added in an extra step here and blended in some additional ground texture (I used a suitable photo I had taken, copied it into my canvas and just erased all the areas I didn’t need). Here’s the finished composite:

Deimos_Tutorial08

I also cleaned away the parts of the base that didn’t work — especially the black rim.

Okay, time for some colour correction: You can now bring up a menu to control the pictures colour hue and saturation with CTRL-U (for Photoshop at least). Try to make the model’s hue and saturation roughly fit the background (this is especially important if you have a very brightly lit model against a very drab background image):

Deimos_Tutorial09
In this case, I wanted the model to look a bit more desaturated. Just play around with this — if you don’t like the outcome, you can always undo your actions.

The next thing that’s important is to use blur: In the above picture, the hive in the back is very sharp and crisp, while the model seems a bit fuzzy. So we need to blur the background. Select your background layer and select the “Blur” function (under “Filter”, normally). There’s a very handy tool called the “Gaussian Blur” that will let you select how strong you want the blurring to be:

Deimos_Tutorial10

Once you’re happy with the background, give the layer with the model the same treatment — although with much less blur applied. This should only make the entire picture seem a bit more realistic. Make sure not to obscure any important detail on the model during this step!

Once this is done, all that remains is to make some final adjustments to the picture’s contrast and levels:

Deimos_Tutorial11
As an optional step, I wanted Deimos to have a glowing daemonsword in the finished picture. I won’t go into too much detail about the effect for now. Suffice it to say that I basically duplicated the model’s sword, copied it into a new layer and changed the colour. Like this:

Deimos_Tutorial12

And since I wanted the glow to be pretty noticeable, the colour needed to be even louder:

Deimos_Tutorial13
Since the blade existed on its own layer, I could safely play around with it without it affecting the rest of the image. When I was happy with the colour, I once again added the Gaussian Blur effect, and…

Deimos_Tutorial14
It ended up looking pretty cool. Now I duplicated this layer several times, changed the transpareny around and blended the various layers into each other until it looked like this:

Deimos_Tutorial15
Like I said, I might detail those steps further in the future. But since it’s an entirely nonessential step, let’s move on for now: One last adjustment of contrast and levels, and we are basically done with Photoshop. Here’s the end result:

Deimos_Tutorial16

Not bad, not bad at all! We could even call it finished at this point!

In any case, whatever you do, you should definitely save a copy of this picture, once you like the result. And you should always keep a separate copy of this version for future use:

Deimos

Now while it would be possible to do everything else in Photoshop as well, you can make your life a bit easier by switching to Pixlr for the next steps. Pixlr is a bit of a one-trick pony in that it has been designed to add various effects and colour hues to photos — and precious little else. While this would also be possible in Photoshop, Pixlr makes it really easy for you because it does most of the thinking for you.

So let’s open up our picture in Pixlr.

And from here on out, the world’s your oyster, really: You can add any combination of pre-set colour effects. Like this:

Deimos_Tutorial17
As you can see, I’ve gone for a fiery, reddish hue in this case. But most of the colour effects look awesome in their own way, so just play around with them until you’re happy. This is what my picture looked like after this step:

Deimos_Tutorial18
What’s really great, though, is that Pixlr also lets you add some effects, filters and borders. Some of them are downright horrible, some are pretty situational, but some – especially the various grungy borders – will make some of your earlier errors and inaccuracies in the picture disappear:

Deimos_Tutorial19

So layer some of these on top, and your picture will instantly look grittier and more realistic. Of course this is cheating: We are covering up our mistakes here. But as long as it looks cool… 😉

So here’s the finished picture, with one of my favourite borders added to top things off:

Deimos01
What’s really cool is that the picture could have looked completely different with a couple of different effect employed. Here I created a much more somber atmoshphere by using a different colour effect and a rain filter:

Deimos02

It goes without saying that you don’t even have to photoshop in a suitable background in the first place! If you have some 40k/tabletop terrain at home, you can just take photos of your models in front of it and work from there — if anything, this should make your life easier!

By the same token, making a photo montage of a single model against a background is really just the beginning. There’s nothing stopping you from trying something a little more involved, such as, say, making a composite image of your army ravaging a planet:

Here’s a Photoshop composite I made depicting a part of my World Eaters army in action:

we_montage02
Here I duplicated various layers of the image, making the same ten Khorne berzerkers look like an entire army. As you can see, I also added in a Helbrute and my Wargrinder. Oh, and I used the same background images that appear in Tyler Mengel’s post linked above (This picture was simply my attempt at reproducing his recipe for my own models). Even so, the image is hardly convincing, right? Not enough gritty realism and too many gooey areas of sub-par photoshopping…

Well, here’s what the whole picture looked like with a bit of Pixlr magic sprinkled on top:

The Red Tide
Once again, the various filters and effects are doing a great job of camouflaging the many rough spots present in the earlier image. Like I said, it’s cheating — but we can use it in our favour here 😉

On the other hand, you don’t even need to create elaborate montages like that, either: Just use some of your existing photos and go play around with them a bit for starters! Some of my first experiments in this vein can be found here.

Whatever you do, remember that you are not trying to pass of your models as something they are not — you are just exploring another facet of the hobby. So give it your all and don’t forget to have fun along the way!

Thanks to Biohazard for – unwittingly – providing the material for this: Cheers, buddy! 😉 And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Making bigger things out of foamcore, pt. 2

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by krautscientist

So what about that monument temple made from foamcore I talked about last week? Let’s find out!

Here’s where we left off last time: The basic assembly is complete and the building has been undercoated in black:

Monument Temple (19)
While everything was drying, I decided to work a bit on the actual monument that was to go inside the temple. For ease of assembly and added flexibility, I wanted the monument to be removable. Here’s the early construction I did for the monument:

Monument Temple (3)
As you can see, it consists of a column that sits in a small basin (later to be filled with water). The basic construction was, once again, done using foamcore. A cardboard loo roll would have worked as well to make up a column, but I wanted a different look this time, so I went for a rectangular faomcore construction instead. Two square WFB base was used for the abacus atop the column. That way, I could be sure it would be easy enough to attach the actual statue to the column later.

The statue itself consists of bitz from the Cadian Command Squad. I decided that I wanted the monument to have been erected in honour of the brave Imperial Guard, so I built a guard standard bearer in parade uniform for the monument — a very straigthforward affair. The model was kept separate from the rest of the monument for now.

Afterwards, the column and basin were undercoated, using the same texture paint I had used for the rest of the building. Here’s the monument after undercoating:

Monument Temple (13)
I then used cheap grey spraypaint (picked up at the DIY superstore) to make the monument look like it was actually made of stone. Take care not to apply too much colour during this step, because some of the darker undercoat showing through in places will actually make the piece look more believable.

Then I thought about how to best represent muddy water in the shallow basin at the bottom of the column. Since this was only a one-off project, I didn’t want to spend money on a huge bottle of water effect, so I had to develop a plan B. In the end, feeling slightly adventurous, I mixed PVA glue with a bit of water that I had in turn couloured using a mix of brown and green hues (mainly GW Gretchin Green, GW Scorched Brown, and some GW Rakarth Flesh). The resulting mix was then poured into the basin — if you’re trying something similar, make sure the basin’s actually waterproof and the stuff doesn’t come out at the seams! The mix also has to be thick enough, so use quite a lot of glue! The water’s mainly there to add the colour and to make everything slightly more fluid.

Here’s the monument after that step: As you can see, the water ended up suitably brackish and dirty — just as planned. I also added some plastic plants that I spraypainted brown to make them look dried and withered.

Guard Monument (1)
The monument was then set aside to allow for the “water” to dry. This took about 24 hours for this relatively shallow basin, so resist poking it to see whether is has managed to set yet! I actually couldn’t wait and made a (very small) indetation into the surface that way. Trust me: You need to be patient for this!

In the end, the “water” ended up looking nicely brackish and with a glossy surface, making it look reasonably realistic. I would have loved the mix to retain some of the glue’s usual transparence, but alas, it was not to be. Still, definitely better than getting some expensive water effect for a simple one shot!

I then painted the actual statue, which was really very easy: The model was undercoated with GW Chaos Black spray, then basecoated with a 60/40 mix of GW Chaos Black and Vallejo Halcon Turquoise. Then I drybrushed the model with a 50/50 mix of GW Skull White and Halcon Turquoise. The raised detail on the regimental flag lent itself especially well to this technique.

Here’s the result:

Guard Monument (7)
Guard Monument (6)
Monument Temple (40)
As you can see, the statue’s surface looks like heavily oxidised metal, just like you might see on a real-life statues you might see in your vincinity. All in all, I was very pleased with the effect. The statue was glued to the column using superglue. And with that, the monument was finished.

Here it is, placed in its eventual spot in the yet unfinished building:

Monument Temple (21)
While I had worked on the statue, the rest of the building had had ample time to dry. So the next step was to add slightly thinned down PVA glue to the nooks and crannies of the building. Then a mix of sand and smaller stones was added on top to represent rubble:

Monument Temple (22)
You can really add lots and lots of the stuff for added realism, plus segments of fallen walls and ceilings. Personally, I tend to go for a less realistic result simply because it’s pretty hard to add multiple layers of rubble and make sure they stay in place. And too much rubble and uneven surface texture can also mean it will be hard to actually place your models in the building during games.

Anyway, a second coat of thinned-down glue was added on top to seal the rubble. Then the rubble areas were sprayed once again with black.

After everything was dry, the building was sprayed with the same grey paint I had used on the monument. Again, go for a slightly uneven approach to create plausible shades and a more realistic looking surface.

Almost done now:

Monument Temple (23)
I also painted the inscription, using one of my regular GW brushes. The letters were undercoated in chaos black, then painted with Vallejo Tinny Tin, then washed with GW Agrax Earthshade. Then I added some light accents, using GW Dwarf Bronze.  And finally, I added a thinned-down mix of Vallejo Halcon Turquoise and GW Skull White on top to represent verdigris:

Monument Temple (28)
And with that, the building was basically finished. Here’s a view from the side:

Monument Temple (30)
I used the grey spraypaint to add some additional accents where necessary. This only took a couple of minutes, though. Here’s the finished monument temple:

Monument Temple (33)
Monument Temple (34)
Monument Temple (35)
Monument Temple (36)
And some additional detail shots of the statue:

Monument Temple (32)
Monument Temple (31)
Looking back now, there’s quite a bit that could still be added: It might look cool to drybrush the tiled floor with white to pick out the contours. Posters and propaganda proclamations could be added to the building, as well as blood splatters, additional damage etc. I am still free to do all of this, however, as the finished build should be easy enough to modify.

Anyway, as you can see, building and painting this monument temple was almost as easy as constructing one of the easier ruined buildings. The scope of the project may be different, sure, but in the end, the techniques are the same. If anything, a larger buildings will give you far more options for adding details and little setpieces- Just make sure you don’t add so much stuff that the terrain piece no longer works during games 😉

To wind up this post, here are some impressions of Inquisitor Antrecht’s warband moving through the ruin, to give you an idea of the scale:

Monument Temple (38)
Monument Temple (39)
In any case, I hope I was succesful in showing you how easy it can be to come up with a centre piece for your gaming table. All C&C are welcome, of course: Just let me know what you think in the comments section!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Monument Temple (41)

Making bigger things out of foamcore, pt. 1

Posted in 40k, DIY, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by krautscientist

It’s been quite a while since I last posted about building terrain, but since the weather has picked up considerably in the meantime, it is now time once more to go outside, hit the tool shed or garage and build some wargaming terrain!

The funny thing is that I am pretty spoiled when it comes to terrain nowadays: There’s some exquisite terrain over at the FLGS, and stuff like Neil101’s stellar Arrke board, most of the stuff used during this years Inqvitational or Chelnov’s unbelievable Sisyphus Complex have taught me that my own meagre efforts at building terrain are already outdated by a pretty huge margin. I am also pretty convinced that I could do better nowadays, but some of my early recipes should still have some merit, especially to those of you who have been putting off building their own terrain for one reason or another.

I already discussed quite a while ago how easy it is to make some reasonably convincing ruined buildings out of foamcore. Buildings like those will also allow you to fill up quite a huge gaming table. But you probably don’t want your entire terrain collection to consist of simple, bombed out hab blocks, do you? Well, here’s the good news: Building bigger and more sophisticated structures can be almost as easy. This two-part post will take a closer look at that!

Everything started with my desire to build a larger building that was to serve as some kind of centrepiece on the table: I wanted something decidedly bigger than one of my ruined hab blocks, but maybe not quite as gigantic as a cathedral. So I decided to try my hand at a temple-like building housing a monument to some glorious achievement or other of the Imperium of Man.

The great thing about this project was that the building’s basic construction was still very much a rectangular box with four walls meeting at a 90 degrees angle. Still, the building ended up looking pretty imposing nonetheless. Take a look:

Monument Temple (2)
The most impressive part of the building is its façade, but this part was actually pretty easy to get right: I just drew a suitably impressive design on a piece of 3mm strong foamcore, then cut out all the arches and recesses with an exacto knife. Pieces of the same thin foamcore were then used to add projections to the wall and give it some depth. And I also added an inscription using alphabet noodles.

Here’s a view that shows the rest of the building:

Monument Temple (1)
The side walls are a very easy construction, with just a number of archways cut out of the foamcore I used. And a thicker kind of foamcore was used as a base for the whole building. The whole construction was very easy to put together, using PVA glue.

The dome you can see on the roof of the building was a readymade styrofoam shape I bought for a song at the DIY superstore. I placed it to be exactly above the monument inside the temple, a mockup of which you can see here:

Monument Temple (3)
In order to make the building look suitably damaged from artillery fire and the ravages of war, I cut sections out of the side walls and dome. Pieces of the dome were then glued onto the floor of the building, to make it look like they had fallen when the dome was partly destroyed.

The most fiddly part of the basic construction was the floor: I cut a lot of identical square shapes from the cardboard of a cereal box and used them as stone tiles to make up the temple’s floor. Glueing them down took a while:

Monument Temple (5)
As you can see, I drew some lines around the damaged wall sections to mark the areas where the floor had been damaged as well. On these areas, I didn’t use any of the floor tiles or at least made sure they looked damaged enough.

Monument Temple (4)
I also made sure the roof would be removable, in order to facilitate access to the building’s interior. This was achieved by adding a very simple foamcore construction underneath the roof that was stable enough to carry the roof when it was placed on top.

Here’s the interior with the floor tiles in place. The empty area in the middle marks the spot where the removable monument is supposed to go:

Monument Temple (6)

You can also see a part of the construction holding the roof in place at the bottom of the picture.

And here’s the same space with the monument’s basic construction in place:

Monument Temple (7)
So the next step was to get the whole building undercoated — definitely the hardest part of the whole exercise! I prepared a suitable undercoat by mixing black and white acrylic paint, some PVA glue and some fine bird sand (to add some texture to the paint and make the building look less like it’s made of foamcore). This kind of paint is really easy to mix and very cheap too. It also works as a sealant, making sure the foamcore’s foam interior doesn’t melt away, once you start using spray paint at a later point.

I won’t lie to you: Getting a building this size undercoated takes some doing (and a pretty large brush). And, please, don’t go using your expensive Citadel brushes for this, you hear!

Here’s the building, partly undercoated:

Monument Temple (8)

Monument Temple (9)
Oh, and another important thing: Make sure to mix enough paint, because there’s nothing worse than having to make some more just for the last corner of the model — I am speaking from experience here… 😉

Anyway, this is what the building looked like after undercoating:

Monument Temple (15)
Monument Temple (14)
Monument Temple (16)
Monument Temple (17)
As you can see, I didn’t paint the areas with the inscription or the empty spot for the monument. This was due to a number of reasons, actually:
I was afraid to damage the inscription with the brush, for one, plus you don’t want any grains of bird sand on those letters: They will have to look like metal later on, so any residue from the texture paint would destroy the illusion. The empty space was left unpainted because the monument should be easy to place, and that wouldn’t work with the floor all roughened up and uneven from the texture paint.

So the final step was to use black spray paint to touch up the unpainted areas as well as any places where the white foamcore was still showing through. This only took a couple of minutes. Afterwards, the whole building was nice and black:

Monument Temple (18)
Monument Temple (19)
And with that, the basic construction was completed. In the next installment, we’ll look at the additional details, the construction of the monument itself and the rest of the paintjob.

Until then, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!