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Bolt Action Part Duex

Well, it’s been a couple of weeks, but I’ve made some headway on my little test squad of American troops:


Basecoated and test washes applied.

Here they are basecoated and washed. For the washes I tried 5 different ones to see how I liked them, but I can say that I don’t think that how I did the zenithal highlighting had a lot of impact here. I’m going to end up priming another figure straight black and see how he comes out as a control, however,  it’s not like rattle canning the additional colors took a lot of time, so I’m not really out of anything either.


For the colors on these guys, I went with Army Painter Army Green for the coats and Puttees, Vallejo Model Color (VMC) English Uniform Brown for the paints, VMC Iraqui Sand for the pack, VMC Pastel Green for the webbing and Leather Brown for the boots.

Now, a few of these colors I’ve gotten from the web, and others were kind of ‘eyeball to memory” trying to figure out colors from re-enactor’s gears and the such from Google Image results. I’m not happy with packs (too light) and the pants (just not close).

With that in mind, I decided to order some books from my local  library dealing with uniforms and see if I could come up with some more accurate colors. I’m not done yet, but one book that’s just jam packed with pictures is Windrow and Hawkins’: The World War II GI, US Army Uniforms 1941-45 ( I’ll probably do a blog post on just the uniform stuff I learn from there.

After I was done basecoating, I attacked them with a variety of washes, including some I made from Les Burley’s wash recipe ( I made his Soft and Heavy Body Black along with a Sepia Wash. I also used Vallejo Sepia Wash.  For the Burley Sepia wash, I tried a couple of different ink concentrations: 40 and 50 drops of the FW ink.


L-R: Vallejo Sepia, 40 Drops Burley Sepia, Soft Body Black, 50 Drops Burley Sepia and “Mix”


The Vallejo Sepia Wash worked, and would probably be fine for this, but I felt like playing around. The 40 Drop concentration of Burley Sepia wash was really light. A couple of applications would probably work OK as well. However, my goal is speed, so I I’ll probably skip this. I really liked how the Soft Body Black flowed and acted, but it was too harsh of a color. Next was a 50 drop concentration of Burley’s Sepia and this was pretty good. This maybe the way I go. The last one was a bit of a mix that I, uh forgot to write down like an idiot. Of course, I like this one a lot. I think this was the fifty-drop Sepia concentration, with some black ink mixed in. I *think* I figured it would be the fifty-drop sepia with 5 or 10 drops of black ink.

So, I need to find a better color for the packs, the pants and nail down my wash. And then I’ll be able to start.

But I am getting there, and learning quite a bit as I do so, which I consider a win.

Till next time!


Bolt Action and Trying New Things

I, like many wargamers, am a big history buff, and I have a deep interest in the Second World War. So, when I saw Warlord’s Bolt Action at GenCon 2011 (or maybe it was ’12) I was immediately fascinated.  While I had obviously seen Flames of War, the small scale (15mm)  didn’t really do much for me (I already do micro-armor and BattleTech in 6mm), where as the comparatively large size of BA’s 28mm pulled at me. Much like the modeling opportunities presented by Warhammer 40K (also allegedly 28mm), I felt I could really have some fun modeling these guys.

Alas, the timing wasn’t right and it wasn’t to February that I finally took the plunge and picked up some minis to play Bolt Action. Like most of my purchases, I bought a US army force used off a friend. The infantry is a mix of Warlord plastics and Black Tree Design metals backed by a collection of Warlord resin vehicles and metal support units.

While the Black Tree sculpts look nice, proportionally they just don’t jive with the Warlord plastics. I’ll probably sell those off and use to the money towards fleshing out my force.

Anyways, as I have about a million different projects going, I’ve decided that I’m going to “speed” through these guys. I’ll never be a Golden Demon painter and I think I need to accept a certain amount of compromise on these guys to get them to the table in a reasonable amount of time. And, even when I do spend a lot of time on a model, I still find myself missing something or screwing something up. So I’ll spend my time on character models and paint up the rank-and-file to (what I hope is) a good table top standard.

To achieve this, I’m going to be trying out a couple new-to-me techniques. Including using Zenithal highlighting and ‘dips’ (though I’ll brush it on).

So to begin, I picked five random GIs, cleaned them up, based them with some sand and hot glued them to a strip of cardboard.

I then rattle-canned them Colorplace flat black all over and let them dry. The next day, I hit them with grey primer, holding the can parallel  to the mini’s torso and applied thin, quick coats.


Grey mid-coat applied. You can kind of seen the black in the shadows.


I followed this up with white, holding the can directly over the mini’s head and again, spraying in quick, thin coats.

You can see the built in highlights contrasted to the black basecoat. The question is, will this show through the coats of paint to follow?

To be continued…


So one of the side projects I’ve been working on since February has been a Vindicare Assassin from Games Workshop. Basically a super sniper with a BFG.

I thought he’d be a decent addition to my Imperial Guard army, making up for the usual lackluster hitting ability the Guard is famous for (and my abysmal dice rolling skills don’t help with). He can also ally with my future Space Marine and Sisters army’s as well.

I also decided I really wanted to paint this guy my best, so I picked up the White Dwarf that had the relative “how-to-paint” article in it, and got cracking. Though I will say I substituted some colors (especially for the base) that looked close enough. On others, such as the Dark Reaper and Kabalite Green I picked up as I had nothing even close—which is saying something with an inventory of 248 paints…

While I see room for lots of improvement, I am really happy with how he turned out. The highlights are a bit too thick, and in someplace awkwardly placed, but as this is really the first time I’ve gone in for edge highlights, I think it’s pretty good.

I’m also really happy with base. I misplaced the original (only for it to pop up a week later) so I used a correctly sized MDF one. The kit itself came with the pillar and standing platform to glue the assassin too. but that didn’t cover the whole base. I decided to glue some grit on both the platform and the base to extend and tie everything together. I also added some of my bricks in to rubble the place up a bit more. Then everything was painted and dry brushed per the directions in the White Dwarf and Boom! A pretty nice looking base, if I say so myself.

Airbrushing Reaper Paints

A quick update:
A couple of weeks ago I was playing around with airbrushing Reaper Paints and came up with (in my opinion) a pretty good recipe for shooting them.

10 drops future

10 drops Airbrush Medium

1 drop retarder

1 drop hardner

30 drops paint

I sprayed at about 17psi.

Airbrushing craft paints

Craft paints (Apple Barrel, Delta Creamacoat and others)  are a bit of a red-headed step child (my apologies to any red-headed step children) of the model and miniature world. Some painters hate them, while others adore them. Personally, I simply see them as another tool in the box. Are they perfect? No. But they do have a lot going for them.

Their first advantage is cost. Usually under $2 for a couple of ounces is pretty cheap by anyone’s standards, especially when compared to Vallejo, Tamiya or Games Workshop.  They are also far more available then usual  modeling paints. While all craft stores stock at lease one brand (and usually many more), even Wal-Mart and Target stock some, meaning the vast majority of the American population can get their hands on them pretty easily.  There is also a huge color selection. Although not usually matched to any other manufacture’s colors, it’s pretty easy to eyeball a suitable match.

For me, their biggest handicap has always been airbrushing them. They’re so thick (and ‘soft’)that I could never get them to spray right.

Until I was perusing the Starshipmodeler forums and saw a post by Mr. Kenny Haverly and his mix for airbushing craft paints.  After some email correspondence, Mr. Haverly was gracious enough to share his recipe here.

Here’s my recipe for using Liquitex stuff to airbrush craft paint.  It is the best recipe and possibly most economical when you consider opacity, price of the medium and Flow Aid:

For airbrushing paint:
24 parts Liquitex airbrush medium
11 parts Liquitex flow Aid
11 parts Water
7 parts paint (bear in mind it’s thick, making the ratio so skewed in the favor of medium and solvent).  It airbrushes best at around 20 psi.  But, if your brush can shoot them, you can get fine lines at around 13-to-15 psi if you increase the medium a bit in the mixture.

I want to re-emphasize what I have said before; you must strain the paint before shooting.  That’s a lot of what you are paying for with any high-end paint – finely processed pigments.  Stockings kind of work but you will lose a lot of solvent and medium in the process.  The best are the strainer funnels available from Micro-Mark.  I use them to strain everything I shoot – Tamiya, Vallejo or Apple Barrel – with the exception being clearcoats and metallics.

For airbrushing Liquitex matte:

Same as above EXCEPT instead of 7 parts paint you have 14 parts Liquitex Matte Varnish

Some other notes:

Delta Ceramcoat matte can be airbrushed right out of the bottle and gives a dead, flat coat.  I discovered this by accident a few weeks ago.  Best of all, it is easy to clean.  I was using an Iwata HP-CH at 20-to-22 psi.

After seeing his work, I’m a believer.

This is just the ticket for larger miniatures, or you’re painting a large army; craft paint sure beats the $4+ per 1/2 oz price of those ‘name brands’.

And here is a link to Mr. Haverly’s photobucket page here, of which Mr. Haverly has this to say:

All of the models on my photobucket page, starting with 2006 are airbrushed using the things – which is every one I’ve taken a merit or bronze on at WF.  I also use Vallejo and Tamiya alongside them about as much as the cheap stuff.  Put another way, I don’t think about brand anymore, just color or sheen.

Photos aren’t the best but I point it out so people know how good they look and that they’re indistinguishable from the good stuff.

Armies, Paint Schemes and trying to remember if it was True Red or Opaque Red…

So I have a fair collection of painted and unpainted BattleTech miniatures (many more un-built) in a wide variety of schemes. Which is great for smaller games, or a wider ‘universe’ feel, but makes it harder to track exactly what you painted each scheme with. Unlike other game systems, BattleTech doesn’t have a its own line of supporting paints.  So whereas in Warmachine,  if you have a Khordor mini you know you just pick up a bottle of Khador red, and you’re set.  Instead, for BattleTech schemes,  color call outs are ‘red’ or ‘grey-blue’ which, as you can imagine, offers a wide variety of options.  Now we do have an excellent reference in Camospecs, but the artists rarely share what colors were used.

Which brings me to my dilemma. Whilst unpacking from my move, I noticed a couple of my older ‘Robinson Rangers‘ minis were damaged, and I can’t remember which red I painted them with.  Now I have a pretty good idea which one it was, but I’m going to have to do some experimenting and such to figure it out. Time which takes away from actually painting, which is not good…

So, I’m going to get a whole bunch of those big 5×8 note cards and a holder thingy, some alphabetic sorter tabs and I will be writing down how to do each units scheme, what colors were used, if they were mixed and that type of thing.

Now, hopefully, I can fix schemes or add ‘mechs to units I’ve painted a few years ago.

Rust Monster! OR Don’t Use Zinc Coated BBs in Your Acyrlic Paint…

So, about 10 months or so, I decided to pick up something to help me mix-up my Vellejo and Reaper paints.  I decided on some zinc coated BBs. Why? Well, in hindsight, I’m an idiot. BUT,  at the time I was thinking that zinc coating/paint was used in industrial applications as a rust suppressor. I was also thinking that as the BBs would be submerged in the paint most of the time, there would be relatively little oxygen to oxidize them. Look, chemistry 101 was a long time ago, and I don’t remember much of it.

Anyways, I haven’t used my paints much in the past few months and we recently moved. So, last week when I was unpacking things and setting up my bench, I was horrified to see:




So yea, that sucks…

All told I’ve got 16 bottles of Vellejo and Reaper paints thusly effected, as well as some of my Game’s Workshop paints. I experimented on a bottle of GW Fortress Grey and managed to salvage 99% of the paint into another bottle. But it was a less than efficient process using my syringes and dropper thingy and it took like 15 minutes to do.

So, I decided to buckle down and order these strainers from Micro-Mark to help speed up the process.  The strainers will also be used for prepping paint for airbrushing. I will also be picking up a whole bunch of these dropper bottles to put the paint into as well as for custom paint mixes.

I find using the dropper bottles makes my life far easier. Airbrushing? no need for pippettes or anything. Hand brushing? Just put a few drops on a wet pallete, and BAM!