The Good Ship Resolute

@jraferguson is proving quite the inspiration today. As he posted his new year’s (hobby) resolutions, I thought I would follow suit. So all aboard the good ship Resolute.

1. Paint fucking anything! I am the worst at finishing hobby projects. This is mainly because I have the attention span of an 8 year old but I also have little time and too many interests. So I resolve to paint something. Anything. Not even an army just a model or two.

2. Finish Project Awesome. Project Awesome has been a game in its 14th year now and has been rewritten 7 times because I always developing my skills as a writer, my knowledge as a gamer and learning design techniques to make it shiny. The final final final version is in development and it will be finished this year. Or…I don’t know, I’ll punch myself in the face and put it on YouTube for you all to watch.

3. Complete the Super Mega Awesome Shell Case Project. Obviously still under wraps at the moment but it’s steaming towards completion which makes me very proud. All I need to do afterwards is make it a success. Piece of piss right?

4. Make the Shell Case Shorts a regular feature and put togethe an anthology for Christmas release.

5. Write more reviews. Not alot to say about this one. It’s one of my very favourite things so I’d like to do more of them.

6. Organise the first, and hopefully not the only, Shell Case Beatdown for all my #warmonger chums.

7. Forgive the Games Workshop. This sounds a little silly butI spent last year being really angry at the company for all the changes and price increases but at the end of the day all that happened was I stopped enjoying games that I’ve enjoyed for over 20 years. Which is a bit daft really. Tbat’s not to say I’m going to start collecting lots of new armies, but I am going to stop worrying about it. And if I so choose to buy something then I have to accept the price.

8. And finally play a little less xbox and a little more toy soldiers. And maybe write a few new campaign packs along the way.

Have a happy, healthy and toy filled 2012.

Res-up

I thought, following my review of Amera’s plastic island set I’d write a post about working with resin (I apologise for the poor photos, my camera died leaving me with just the wife’s iPhone (other smartphones are available)). Specifically scenery. This isn’t a how-to guide per se more just the differences in working with resin as a material over plastic.

The first thing to remember is; Resin is not your friend. It’s fragile, it’s easy to ruin, it’s often badly cast with badly fitting components, it’s shavings are toxic, it’s weight makes it tiring to work with & it doesn’t like being painted.
The second thing to remember is; some of the nicest models ever made have been cast in resin.

So what should one do when working with resin?

Rank & File
It’s important to filed down the rough edges and bits of flash. Depending on the type of resin and the complexity of the casting there can be an awful lot of cleaning up to do. Resin is funny stuff. It’s a big to file and often be very timing consuming. Not because it’s terribly tough stuff, but quite the opposite in fact. Resin will practically melt beneath the gaze of a standard needle file. But the shavings will also get stuck in the grooves to the point that after a minute or so you’re filing resin with resin.

An emery board is the perfect file for resin as it’ll do the job without gouging the resin. I, however, couldn’t find my two emery boards so instead I went against my own advice and used a needle file. The resin used for this fantasy house is not the best grade so the rough approach was exactly what it needed to get rid of all the flash and mould lines.

Keep it Clean
One of the byproducts of casting resin is the hideous residue that is left all over the pieces. It’s not something you can see or touch but it’s there and if you attempt to paint over a resin cast without washing it first, all you’ll achieve is creating some very interesting splodges sat on the resin like a spilled drink in zero gravity. Most will tell you to wash, literally wash, your resin in a sink full of hot soapy water. Although this is good advice, there’s two things wrong with it – 1. it takes ages to dry, and if one drop of water is left when you undercoat you are simply buggered. 2. any washing up liquid left to dry out will make your paint flake.

So my Shell Case top tip is use general purpose anti-bac wipes. They do the exact same job as washing up liquid, if not better, without soaking the model and it’ll dry within a few minutes. You may need a couple just to make sure you’ve been thorough but it’s quicker and a hell of a lot less faff than chucking everything in with the dishes.

Putting my Fortress Grey where my Gob is
So on to the important part – painting. Something that doing the review for Amera taught me was that when it comes to scenery; keep it simple. Some scenery, like Games Workshop’s excellent multipart plastic kits, having staggering amounts of detail on them. Which is fine, but the need to paint them isn’t the same as the want to paint them. And it’s an important distinction. Wanting to paint every single skull, pipe, vent, grate, bulk head and light to the best of my ability exists in a very real state within the vaults of my mind, however, my need to put down som scenery that looks good and enriches the gaming experience for me and my opponent/s is far greater. And I imagine that’s the case for the majority of gamers. So keep it simple.

The house I was painting had lovely texture to it. Uneven walls, wood floors, coarse log supports, wood braced doors and windows. But all of it can be painted well and quickly because the result is, for a piece of scenery like this, is the same. It took me no more than 20 minutes to paint the red on the exterior walls, start to finish. The same to do all the black wood detailing. The parts that took the longest were the ‘natural’ wood – so floor boards etc – as this had a four stage process but even then we’re not talking long. Which brings me onto another top tip – keep your colour palettes simple. Pick the colour you’d choose as a base, then go a shade darker & lighter – as in chuck in a spot of black or the next shade up for a 50/50 mix.

Basecoating everything a shade or two darker than the original colour you’ve chosen allows you to essentially lo-light for free so long as you don’t go in too heavy in your next layer. And for goodness sake, don’t be afraid to drybrush where appropriate. It’s scenery for goodness sake. This is the one time when ‘that’s good enough’ is good enough.

The end result is a piece of resin scenery that looks passable but offers an interesting and useful gaming feature for the Mordheim campaign I’m running for the Chaps. And, start to finish (including filing, gluing, breaking it, gluing it again, painting it, breaking it again, finishing it, then rebuilding it), it only took a couple of hours.

So there you go; some handy tips on how to prep & paint resin. Hopefully it’s been of help, or at the very least mildly interesting…

The Sorylians Have Landed

My Sorylians finally arrived, courtesy of Firestorm Games this week. I ordered a starter fleet and a carrier (although I’ve ordered another 400 points worth already) and I have to say I’m very pleased with them and hugely excited. The models are lovely although I have to confess being a tad disappointed with metal engines for the frigates making them horribly back heavy, but also the poorly thought out position and depth of the holes for the flying stands to sit in. Fortunately I have that ‘new army feeling’ so was quite happy to sit and painstakingly bore out the holes, whilst watching Top Gear Challenges 4, so the ships would sit safely on their stands for a couple of hours.

To be fair, part of the determination was the knowledge that I was using them Friday night so needed to have a built fleet ready to go (I won by the way) but that doesn’t account for the fact that at 11.30pm I was outside undercoating them by the light coming through the kitchen window.

This fresh enthusiasm is quite something for me and goes beyond ‘new army syndrome’. I think it’s partly because it’s properly new rather than the variation on a theme, but also because it was a decision I agonized over – as you’ve read.I’m really looking forward to painting them. My dilemma and one I’ll need helping with, is the colour scheme. Now the Sorylians are reptiloids so I was thinking, aside from the obvious bits being metal in colour, something organic – something to reflect who and what they are. Below are four ideas; feel free to cast your votes. There’s no guarantee I’ll pay any attention but hey it’ll be interesting to see what you think.

This will be the first of a few posts chronicling the development of my Sorylian fleet so stay tuned…