Weekly Updates?

Since blog article topics don’t always come easily to me, I have decided to do some shorter articles in between the lengthier hobby musings. There is always something on my hobby desk, either models in progress from parts to finished, or sitting in the actual paint queue. I am lucky enough to have a second hobby area for terrain builds. Any number of half-painted or incomplete terrain build lurk over there. Both piles of unfinished things mock me, the mountains of projects laughing at my despair.

Some weeks the progress is measured in single wash coats over a set of models. Some weeks I am a hobby machine, churning out whole units of Saga or WFB or 40K miniatures. The past two weeks have been mixed. I did punch out 18 Empire spear men for WFB. I used one of the Games Workshop Contrast paints for the first time. I’ll talk a bit about that in a second. Last week I started and mostly finished a High elf dragon and lord. I also put the contrast paint on another 6 spear men. I feel like I got less done, though the dragon was a fair amount of work.

One coat of Blood Angels Red contrast. Finished dragon.

I still need to paint the reins, shield, sword and head for the lord. The dragon needs a matte varnish, but since its been raining for two days straight here, I am going to hold off spraying the model and potentially ruining all the work so far. The dragon was painted for Monster May(hem) (there ya go Roger!) over at Dead Dick’s Tavern. When an Angry Piper asks for volunteers, well, ya just gotta get to work!

The dragon was languishing in an unbuilt state at the bottom of a pile of boxes of minis. I have had the model for at least 4 years, but the task of painting a dragon seemed beyond my abilities for so long, it sat there. last month I finally attacked a metal wood Elf dragon since metal is so much easier to strip paint from, I figured I couldn’t screw it up too bad. It turned out better than i hoped even though i rushed it a bit.


Finished Wood Elf dragon.

I apologize again for my pictures. Adding a light box was not enough. I still need more light. And an actual camera. I can’t find one with a decent macro feature for under $300 (the max price as set by the CFO and my limit for such a limited-use object).

Games Workshop came out with a line paints to speed up army painting. Since I primarily paint with Vallejo paints, I paid very little attention.  Lately though, I have seen a few YouTube videos and noticed a few bloggers using the contrast paints. I had a pile of 6th edition WFB plastic spear men for my Empire army that needed paint. I had already decided to paint them in the blue and white of Middenheim to go along with my Middenland themed army. Since white was half the paint, i decided to use a white primer (i typically prime light or dark grey) and give a contrast blue a try. Luckily my FLGS had just opened back up for curbside service and still had the blue i needed in stock. With Talassar Blue in hand, i used the one piece of advice i wish i could attribute correctly. Use the paint carefully, don’t just splash it on.  The pigment load is extremely heavy, and if you let it pool it will create very dark splotches.

One coat did not give me the color i wanted. In fact, i wasn’t sure i liked it initially. It is much brighter than many of the colors i use. Probably because of the white under coat, but also because GW changed the color tones for the Empire some time ago. The duller, darker colors of 7th edition changed for 8th and beyond, becoming much brighter and more vivid. A second coat changed the tone a bit and was more where I wanted to be. I let it sit for a day or two to see if it was something i could live with. Since this unit is to be large (48 modles) and a named unit (The Wolf Guard), i felt that a bright color might work. As an elite unit, the regiment would be mindful of their appearance and use newer cloth and uniforms, maintaining a fresh, bright appearance.  I’ve finished 18 models so far.

18 finished Wolf Guard spears. Two coats of Talassar Blue contrast over white.

I’ll be honest, the two contrast paints i used blew me away. I haven’t inked or highlighted either the blue or red, and i like how they turned out. If you wanted stronger highlights (i don’t care for extreme highlights) those would be easy to add. I will definitely be using blue and green contrast paints on my Lizardmen. I’ll be looking for places i can use other colors in the future as well. The paints are pricey, I think i paid $7.80 a bottle. Being able to one coat a model is completely worth it.

I added another tool to the modeling arsenal in the last month or so.  After wanting one for more than a year, i finally broke down and bought a Proxxon Thermocut hot wire tool.  Jeremy over at Black Magic Craft has been using one as long as i have been watching his channel.  The ability to create blocks, and consistent sizes,  from XPS foam is incredibly useful. I’ve cut blocks and built some terrain, but XPS foam is hard on blades, and a dull blade tears the foam versus cutting. A hot wire zips right through it. Its magic. I’ve sat and just cut and cut, its kinda satisfying in a weird way. I love this tool!

In about an hour and a half i went from a 24″ x 48″ piece of XPS to a box full of stones or bricks or pieces. A box full of raw material to build with. I can use these to clad foam core buildings and structures, or i can build with the foam blocks. Endless possibilities. I definitely want some of the extra tools Gerard over at Shifting Lands has created. Ripping taller pieces, creating circles and consistent angles are just some of the things the templates and tools let you create out of XPS foam.

New tools and techniques will hopefully allow me to be more productive. Sitting here typing isn’t the productive that gets models done, so off I go!

12 thoughts on “Weekly Updates?

  1. rantingsfromunder May 19, 2020 / 11:35 am

    This is a short post???? Great stuff Harry, love both of those Dragons, I always dread painting large things like that so tend to shy away from them tbh, but you have got great results .

    Never heard of “contrast paints”2 till last week when “Azazal” was talking about them over on his blog, anything that speeds up painting has got to be a good thing, might have a look at those when I can get out again.

    What a fantastic machine that is I’d love one of those , but I’m not sure i would have the space for it myself,. being restricted to the one hobby room 😪 , that I have to share with the cats. “Oh I do hope my wicked stepmother will allow my to attend the ball Buttons” 😁

    It seems Keith has now seen sense and changed the name of this challenge officially now!

    Cheers Roger.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. borderguy190 May 19, 2020 / 11:43 am

    Its official! Roger wins!

    It was going to be short with 3 or 4 pictures. I get carried away.

    The Proxxon doeant have a large footprint, but once the arm is on I don’t think you want to disassemble it all the time. Storing it is an issue. Mine is currently living under a table. I use it outside to save my brain cells from melted foam fumes.

    Thanks for the kind words!


  3. Carrion Crow May 19, 2020 / 1:45 pm

    Interesting post, Harry. Love the dragons – I used to dread painting large models, until I discovered the joys of spray undercoat and intial base colour. I think I was concerned that I’d muck up the models, which is why it took me so long to bit the bullet.

    I can see the advantage of the hot wire cutter, but as I haven’t used a lot of XPS foam for any hobby-builds, I can’t really see a need for one. I too have watched some of the Black Magic Craft videos and it was only on the last one I discovered he was a Jeremy. I think it was the ‘Hall Crawler’ build, which is worth a watch.


  4. borderguy190 May 19, 2020 / 1:57 pm

    For sure, Jez, if you don’t use XPS, its not a tool you need. Biw that I have it, I can start in the epic Lizardmen temple city ive always wanted. Huge block by huge block! Its a luxury, and I only got it because I got a small bonus at work.

    I feel the same about dragons. The WE dragon was primed with AP Angels Green then washed with AP strong tone before highlighting. The HE dragon was primed white and the red is a single coat od Blood Angels Red contrast. I only highlighted tge spines. I’m ready to tackle the two stegasaurs and the carnasaur now!


  5. Mut May 19, 2020 / 11:54 pm

    Those contrast paints look excellent. I’m a huge fan of Vallejo and only have a few pots of Citadel paints — I know they’re good but Vallejo gives you more paint for your money and come in dropper bottles. But I might pick up a couple of contrast paints to give them a go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • borderguy190 May 19, 2020 / 11:59 pm

      Right with you. Vallejo is a much better value. I’m still using some Vallejos from 18 years ago. Only had one dry out in all that time. I’ve had to toss too many GW paints and washes. . the contradt paints are worth it, for certain applications.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mut May 21, 2020 / 12:39 pm

        One of the complaints I’ve read/heard about the new Citadel paints is that it’s gone from being a kind of “here’s your colours, work out what you want to do and how you’re going to do it” to basically paint-by-numbers: “here’s your primer, base, drybrush, layer, highlight, edge highlight, follow these instructions and keep buying our stuff.”

        I realise this can give excellent results but it does take some of the fun (and frustration) out of the hobby. I can remember sitting at my desk many years ago trying to work out how to make a pastel orange colour for my traitor Slaanesh warhound titan, and how I was going to shade it. Nowadays I’d just buy the three exact colours I needed in one go.

        End of old man rant 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • borderguy190 May 21, 2020 / 6:26 pm

        I’m in no way a GW fanboy, but I have two reasons for their “method”. 1. They are the gateway drug. Since many people enter “the hobby” through them, paint by numbers is a viable way to help new players. It takes the fear of starting away. With orbs laid out, a new hobbyist can figure out how to paint decently and get stuck in. 2. Its time. With so many distractions many new hobbyists, oh the horror!, don’t want to figure out colors. Itss sad, but I believe many want their hand held. And many just want their models to look like the pretty pictures.

        Just my dos pesos, so what do you think about the why this is?

        Thanks for your response, I appreciate it!


      • Mut May 31, 2020 / 4:01 pm

        I can understand both your points. I guess I had a bit of a “bloody kids these days don’t know they’re born” moment 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. angrypiper May 21, 2020 / 12:28 pm

    Two dragons in two months, Harry? Way to make us all look like slackers. Great job on both. I haven’t tried any contrast paints yet. Like many, I dread painting big models as it’s tougher to hide the mistakes. Probably why I’m putting off painting the one model I REALLY want to get done this month…
    I considered a Proxxon myself. I figured if I bought one, I would make more terrain. Then I remembered I lie to myself a lot. Although I have the room and hate using a hand-held Hot Wire cutter, my basement isn’t well-ventilated enough to protect me from the fumes. If I’m going to poison myself, I’ll just drink more scotch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • borderguy190 May 21, 2020 / 6:46 pm

      Without good ventilation the Proxxon is a bad idea. Not just for your health, but the Missus may decide all the hobbies need to goif she gets a whiff.

      Not my intention, ive just gathered enough confidence to finally try. The HE dragon has been in the stash for years. The WE dragon I just got last December, already painted, but it didn’t survive the trip across the pond. Rebuilding it was again and invoolved pinning and greenstuff. Once it was built I just hit with green AP spray and started painting. I surprise myself at times. Not often, but once in a Morrslieb.

      I too lie to myself. TONS. I said once I had the Proxxon id churn out terrain. So far all I have is a large box full of styrofoam bricks!


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