Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Tau: First experiments with paint - Part 4

Still tinkering.

I know I've harped back to my mission statement a few times now, but I'm actually taking it quite seriously. Especially the bit about airbrushing on every model in the army.

I've been avoiding the airbrush for far too long before I started this project and I'm determined to address that.

I saw a cracking youtube video by Medows on how he painted a riptide - I was really struck by the work he did on the riptide's nova shield - I loved the fact that it looked like it glowed from within with fire and I totally wanted to steal his technique and apply it to my army.

I'm not ready to start on my own riptide yet, so I figured I'd start small - shoulder armour.

You've already seen in my First experiments with paint - Part 1 post that I'd used my airbrush to produce a graduated effect on the shoulder armour for my models - well I decided that I wanted the Tau Fire Warrior symbol to glow like Medows' riptide shield. It would help tie the whole army together as a force if I could repeat that detail across the whole army.

So I set to work - I started by painting the symbol red, then yellow (both from Vallejo model air primary colours paint set) and then added a (minitaire) snow white highlight.

I've done about 50 pads like this. Not all have turned out as well as the one above, but none are complete shockers either. I deliberately let the paint bleed out onto the main pad to achieve my first ever OSL effect.

These pads aren't done yet - I intend to apply an oil wash to pick out the seams in the armour panels and the "lollipop" fire caste logo a bit later on.

On the whole though, I'm well chuffed :)

Other Tau-related stuff:

Monday, 15 September 2014

Tau: First experiments with paint - Part 3

I think I've finalised my paint scheme.

I went back over the three models I painted in Part 2 and looked at details I wasn't happy with:
  • gaiters,
  • straps,
  • lenses,
  • cloth,
  • backpack

I deepened the brown on the gaiters and straps by overpainting it with a darker brown and then going back to my original brown as a highlight.

I improved the lenses - I'd originally painted them red, orange highlight to the bottom-right, white dot to the upper-left. I didn't think this looked "deep" enough either, so I took the same dark brown I'd used for the gaiters/straps and overpainted the whole lens, then applied the red/orange/white on top of it.

The backpack also picked up some dark/mid brown detail.

Lastly the cloth got a haphazard white highlight.



I think it's an improvement.

I still want to give these guys an oil wash to pick out seams in armour plates and deepen the recess on the backpack where the two red lights are. Obviously you can't see what I'm up to on the models' arms either. Sept markings need to be added too. Aside from that, I'm happy with these guys now and this is the scheme I'll be rolling out for the whole army.

I like to work with very limited palettes so I've only used a very small variety of paints so far:

  • Halfords grey "plastic" primer

Airbrushing (dark to light, all "minitaire" paints): 
  • Nautilus blue, 
  • Werewolf grey, 
  • Snow white

Brush painting (all "Anita's" brand hobby paints - excellent budget paints if you can get them):
  • Black,
  • White,
  • Red,
  • Carrot Orange,
  • Red Earth (the light brown colour),
  • Burnt Umber (the dark brown colour).

Other Tau-related stuff:

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tau: First experiments with paint - Part 2

In a real rush and following on from Part 1, I threw some more paint at my test models last night.

They are still a long way from being finished (they've still got no arms for a start!) but this is the general idea of what my army is going to look like:

Still to do:

  • Oil washes to bring out the seams in the armour,
  • Tidy up the cloth - at the moment it's black with a midnight-blue highlight which isn't coming across at all. I've also hit it in a few spots with the brown I used on the straps which will need tidying,
  • Change the brown used on the gaiters, straps and belt. Not enough "depth" of colour,
  • Improve the lenses on the helmets,
  • Improve the backpacks a little,
  • Belt buckle needs something, but I'm not sure what yet.
  • Give them some arms, of course :-)

Generally, on reflection with a bit more paint in places these guys are looking more "urban winter" than "snow" camo which is what I was originally aiming for, but I like the scheme so I'm going to stick with it.

More Tau-related stuff:

Monday, 8 September 2014

Tau: First experiments with paint - Part 1

I couldn't resist any longer. I'm nowhere near finishing building all my models, but I'd ordered some paints the other day for this project and I had to try them out. I just couldn't not do it any longer.

I made a commitment at the beginning of this project:
  • Every Fire Warrior/Pathfinder/Battlesuit model in the army will feature a significant amount of airbrush work - Zenithal Highlighting is my intention,
and the paint I ordered was for just that reason. A set of Minitaire paints from Barwell Bodyworks. I had already primed my models using a rattlecan grey primer and set to work this morning on a few bits and pieces for testing purposes as much as anything else.

I laid out some masking tape, sticky-side-up, on a flat surface to stop bits blowing around as I painted them and painted both sides with "Nautilus Blue":
You'll note some of the pads have arms attached and others don't. I'm building a lot of this force out of ebay cast-offs and had to strip a lot of models down. Some came apart better than others.

I had some paint left in the airbrush so I shot it at a few fire warriors.

Next I went in with a highlight on the upper-edge and sides of the pads with some "Werewolf Grey" (which is clearly blue):

Less paint leftover in the airbrush this time so only three models highlighted.

And lastly I shot some "Snow White":

The photos (especially of the fire warriors) don't really do the result justice. The models have a nice "ice blue" sort of a look to them, which is exactly what I was hoping for so I'm very pleased.

I'm planning to get the rest of the arms and fire warriors to the same sort of level over the next few days and then brush-paint all the cloth bits of the armour. I'm also considering an oil wash to bring out some of the armour seams. I saw a really nice glowing-red effect on a Riptide Shield airbrushing video which I'm planning to rip off and am toying with the idea of picking out the Tau logo on the shoulder pads in the same way. 

This was my first go at doing anything other than basecoating or varnishing models with the airbrush and I'm very pleased with how it went. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Tau: Working with Skyrays - Part 1 (Quick Tip)

Whilst plodding (and I do mean plodding - progress has been way slower than I'd have liked) through building the models for my Tau army, I discovered what appears to be the most generously put-together GW model kit I've ever seen; the Skyray.

Now I've owned my Skyray for a few years now, but until now it has stayed, unbuilt, in its box. As a result, this post may be a little out-of-date as GW may have changed the contents of the kit. I don't know if they have or not - apologies if they have.

Anyway, when I unboxed it, the first thing I thought was "Oh no! They've given me a Hammerhead in a Skyray box" - top of the pile was a sprue containing Ion Cannons and Railguns.

But no! That Sprue is there because it also contains some parts which are common to both kits, namely the burst-cannon/missile-pod drones and the underslung sensor array that goes at the front of the mini.


Looking at it a little harder, more possibilities opened up.

The tank is, of course, built on the ubiquitous Devilfish chassis:
The chassis - sensor-pod and turret not installed.
The sprues that chassis come on are Devilfish sprues. As previously mentioned the Hammerhead Sprue is in the box, and of course so is the Skyray sprue. That means that you can build all of the following parts without having to modify anything:

If you stop short of glueing them into place at this point, you will find that they will all just quite nicely drop into the hole in the top of the Devilfish chassis.

So you can have:
A Devilfish
A Hammerhead with a Railgun. You can just see beyond the Railgun that the Devilfish turret drops in to the Hammerhead turret.

or even one of these:
A Hammerhead with an Ion Cannon.
or one of these (as you'd expect):
A Skyray. Naturally.

Now, if you also have a Devilfish kit or another Hammerhead or Skyray, you can probably already see possibilities opening up. You could build them all as Devilfish. You could field a Hammerhead and a Skyray by dropping the appropriate turrets into the Devilfish. The possibilities are manifold and all can be just swapped and changed without glue, from one game to the next.

But it's not all roses.

GW are not known for unstinting generosity. They stinted (is that a word?) here too.

The Devilfish normally carries gun drones. The Hammerhead and Skyray don't come with any of these so if you want to field your tank as a transport you'll need to find some from somewhere, or purchase an upgraded weapon system for your transport.

In addition, some modelling skill is going to be required. You may notice that in the above Hammerhead photos the weapons are hanging limply on the turret. They are designed to be glued in place. 

Also, the underslung turret does not lend itself to easy swapping and as the Devilfish sports a burst cannon and the Skyray and Hammerhead carry a sensor array, some work is required to make them interchangeable.

I'll cover how to overcome those problems in a later post (as soon as I've worked it out!)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Tau: Magnetising a Riptide (Quick Tip)

Unboxing and building one Tau troop-type at a time I reached a point where I could no longer hold myself back and tore into the packaging for my Riptide. What a great model!

As with most models, though, there are a number of ways of building it depending on the weapons load-out and sensor suite that you want.

Now I've not play-tested Tau yet so I don't know what the best combination is. Besides, I do like to be able to change things around. The solution: Magnets!

So I started drilling and glueing as follows:
I added a magnet to the top of the "hand" (for sensors, etc) and inserted a small length of cut paper-clip into the slot in the middle of the circle on the back of the hand (for the "power coupling" to attach to)...

Another magnet went into the bottom of the hand for the weapon to attach to...

Magnets went into the recesses at the top of the weapons to attach them to the hands (more easily seen in the upper weapon than the lower in this photo) and a bit of bent paperclip went into one of the recesses on the side of each weapon (for the "button" to attach to)...

The "power coupling" (left) got a magnet inserted in just one end - very tricky drilling job. The other end is too small to work with so I left that be (it will just rest in place). The "button" had a magnet inserted...

Each of the smaller weapons got a magnet too...

For the sensors I just cut a small channel in the bottom and glued a bit of paperclip in place...

So now the arm goes together like this (or with the other weapon or a different sensor)...

And I can add sensors (left) and weapons (right) to the tops of the jump-engines too!
A fairly simple bit of work on the whole - drilling the power-coupling was by far the most difficult part.

It will be a while before I complete the build of this model as I'm only assembling to a stage conducive to easy airbrushing at the moment. I'm trying to do that to the whole force before I start painting anything.

Other Tau-Related stuff:

Monday, 18 August 2014

Tau: It begins - what's on the plan to build/paint

So here I am right at the top of a new project.

This Tau army is something which my son started collecting about 7 years ago when the original Codex was still the book to use. He was still purchasing models as the 2nd edition of the Codex was published, but other than building many of the models and getting me to brush-paint a devilfish for him he didn't do anything with it.

It sat in boxes for a long time. I added a few models to the boxes about 3 years ago, but it still stayed as a collection of cast-off junk.

I got inspired recently and am now in Tau-full-flow.

All my models are sorted and grouped and assembly (and in some-cases dis-assembly) is underway.

One challenge I'm facing is that most of the Battlesuit models are first-edition sculpts and therefore not very dynamically posed. I'm a miser so don't want to replace them. I'll have to see what I can do to give them a bit of "animus". I have a few parts missing too as most of this is built from ebay junk lots so I'll need to hit the bitz stores and see what I can find from the current bitz offerings that will fit these older models.

Anyway, here's a quick run-down on what's on the programme:
Battlesuits, including 2 x Broadsides and O'Shovah

Aun'Va and his entourage

20 x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles

Another 20 x Fire Warriors with Pulse Rifles

Fire Warriors with Pulse Carbines

Pathfinders (actually Fire Warriors with Pulse Carbines, but missing shoulder-pads)

Stealth Suits. I'll actually be fielding a slightly different set than shown here - I have some of the old XV15 models in metal being stripped. I think I'm going to use four XV15 and two XV22.

Pirhana sqadron - one is missing its pilots. I'll hack some spare Fire warriors to fit.

One of my three Tetras - I get to play with Resin for the first time on this project!

Tanks - three Devilfish, a Skyray and a Hammerhead. To begin with. I'm doing some cutting and chopping so that this can be flexed a bit.


And some more Resin - a Barracuda aircraft...

...and more Barracuda bits.

The alien auxiliaries might get left for another phase: I tend to build my armies after the following fashion:
  1. Obsessive collecting of way too much stuff,
  2. Get distracted by another project or two,
  3. Come back to it and build enough for a fieldable force (2000 - 2500 points),
  4. Get distracted by another project or two,
  5. Add a bit more to it for the next time I'm going to field it,
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 ad nausem.
So on the alien list is:
Vespid Stingwings.

Kroot and Krootoxes.
So there we are. Sorted, organised and ready to go.

I committed to one post per week and this will probably be the only post this week. As things currently stand I'm busily assembling models to what I consider to be a stage ready for painting; I'm going to be airbrushing these guys so I'm not planning to fully assemble anything so I can paint things partwise. Photos of partially assembled models are not too interesting so I'll try and keep that sort of thing to a minimum.

Other Tau-related stuff: