I’ve got the bluuuuuuuuues.
When I first brought up the idea of the 10 day box sets to the guys, I didn’t really expect it to take this long in getting around to finishing it, and now that I’ve got another 10 day set on my lap I think I’m feeling what a lot of painters must feel when faced with raw metal. That feeling is dread. The “here we go again” hum drum feeling that sometimes accompanies painting. I’ve got so many other fun distractions. I’ve got all my GenCon plans in the works, conversions in the mid stages, terrain I’m working on for Kublacon, the last 200 points of my personal Cygnar and Dozens of BT fans waiting me to shut the hell up and get cracking on a 10 day article that I’ve promised them months ago. Quite frankly I have been slacking. Something I’m sure painters never do.
It’s a tough spot to be in. You know the satisfaction of completed models is waiting for you on the other side of a bit of effort, but taking those first few steps towards a project you’re not 100% jazzed for, are always the hardest. There are a few tricks for getting excited though. So consider this article part painting technique, part painting psychology.
I’ve painted a lot of Cygnar. I mean a lot, both my own (where I’m just about to polish off over 2200 points) and for the Privateer Press studio. Repetition can easily lead to boredom. So you have to rethink what a raw model is. When I can stop to think about it long enough a raw model is a blank canvas, a new opportunity to unleash some killer paint. Sure I’ve done two ironclads already, but I’ve never done an Ironclad in Cygnar blue. I’ve never done a metallic gold Cygnus of that size, and the highlighting will be a challenge. Stryker’s cloak in the bone color is also a new test. So there are some new challenges waiting for me, and it’s finding those challenges that we begin to uncover inspiration. When you finally get the ball rolling, it’s really not that bad.
- Vallejo Game Color Line
- VGC-058: Brassy Brass
- VGC-043: Beasty Brown
- VGC-036: Bronze Fleshtone
- VGC-012: Scar Red
- Vallejo Model Color Line
- VMC-929: Light Brown
- VMC-929: Flat flesh
- VMC-819: Iraqi Sand
- VMC-837: Pale Sand
- VMC-939: Smoke
- VMC-822: German Black Brown
- Citadel Line
- Brown Ink
- Blue Ink
- Enchanted Blue
- Regal Blue
- Lightning Blue
- Skull White
- Shining Gold
- Boltgun Metal
- Hawk Turquoise
Yeah yeah yeah. Enough whining, get painting brush boy
So where do we start. My gut says Ironclad. It’s the biggest. When the larger pieces are done first everything else seems to go so much faster. I’m probably kidding myself, but big deal. These are the sort of tricks you need to turn a large project into a more manageable one. So the Ironclad is first up. The nice thing about the older jacks is they are simple. Fewer parts mean less drilling, so assembly is a breeze. The Ironclad consists of six lovely parts; 2 arms, a head, some legs, a torso, and a boiler.
They weigh a bit and I want this jack to last, so I’m going to pin it with 1/32″ brass rod. You don’t need a super thick pin, just one that will connect the two pieces solidly. I like a deep pin, so I’m using a carbide drill bit here in a 12 volt drill. These bits are awesome they cut through pewter like it was balsa wood, but they break very easily. And when they do break you can be seriously screwed if the bit breaks deep. There’s little that can break the stuck in bit. They usually break when breaking through from metal to open space. So if you feel like you are getting close, back off and use the pin vise. If you aren’t comfortable using power tools, stick with a pin vise for the whole gig.
I make 4 holes in the body, one for each arm, one for the head, one for the steam pack.
A quick look at the head shows me I’m not going to have a flush surface for gluing. After some fancy file work, I see there’s actually a dent, which points out the perfect spot for drilling.
Now we’re on to the stack. I drill a hole in the center then I insert the rod into the hole and cut to length. When cutting the pins note below how I hold the angle cutters. When turned upside down, they create a pointed end that you can use to mark where your other pin hole needs to be. I’ve laid it step by step on the boiler/smoke stack. Once you’ve lined up and drilled your holes you can set them for glue.
Note that when doing the boiler it’s really easy to go all the way through the back. This is ok, but when setting the pin depth, set the legs in the torso hole. This lets you set the depth without blocking yourself in the future.
OK the torso is built. Head, arms and boiler are attached. That basically means I’m down to 2 pieces. Let’s hit the lower half now. I clip the tabs on the bottom of the Ironclad’s feet and file them flat. I drill a 5/32 inch hole in the base. And glue down the feet. I’ve decided to doll the bases up a little bit. I make a bigger rock out of green stuff and rummage through my junk for some plastic gears, which I superglue to the base.
Once this dries put a few spots of standard white glue on the base and spread it around with an old cheap brush. I like to use these old plastic ones, because the glue will wash out of them even weeks later, so they are great for the absent minded.
Now that the glue is spread out, I dunk it in my special basing brew. In this case Woodland Scenics coarse and fine ballast. There’s probably a few other random rock sizes in there. I like to use a mix for variation. It’s rare that you’ll have an even casting of rock anywhere in nature. You can see there’s a little slop, and before it dries I’ll wipe off the excess with either a finger or a hobby knife in those harder to reach places. It’s easiest to do it now while it’s wet.
Black as night, black as coal
Priming time. The nice thing about the Woodland Scenics ballast is that it’s thirsty. It sucks up the glue like a sponge and it dries in a very short time. So in a matter of 15 minutes I’m ready to coat this beastie in some loveable black primer. I’m a nook and cranny primer. So once it’s all coated it’s time to really get to work.