Saturday, July 30, 2011

build: paint stands, now for dropper-bottles!

Had a request for a blueprint for Vallejo/dropper-bottle sized paints. I tried to use as little wood as possible while remaining sturdy enough to hold paints. I've managed to use just three pieces of wood to make a five-tiered shelf holding 40 paints for just $7. I've built in 1/8" wiggle room per level for decoration/facades. If you want to go simple-and-easy, you can just grab some 1/8" square plastic or wooden rod, cut it to size, and glue it to the front edge of each level and call it a day.

Paint Stands, Mk.Ib: multi-colored "blue"print
( click to download PDF )

Mk.Ib: front (with Mk.II for scale comparison)

Mk.Ib: back

Not entirely sure how I'm gonna decorate this one yet. Might go steampunk with it...

Sunday, July 24, 2011

build: work-in-progress: paint stands, step-by-step

So it turns out that the two paint stands I built were about 13 spaces shy of holding all the Citadel and P3 paint pots I currently own, much less the colors I'll be adding as needed. With that in mind, I started work on a couple new stands using the same blueprint. I changed the assembly steps a bit to make the process faster/easier and, this time, tried to document the process in a meaningful way.

Step 1: Cut and assemble your pieces

Step 2: Glue the 1/2" bars to the underside of each platform

Step 3: Pair the platforms, glue them together

Step 4: Glue the paired platforms together

Step 5: Glue your horizontal and vertical braces in place

Step 6: Decorate to taste

I've tried to get creative gussying up each base, partially to see what I can do, partially to show that there's as many options as are there are thoughts in your head. Experiment, play, and have fun. I'll end with some completed shots of the first two paint stands. I hope to have the next two (stonework and grandstand) finished by this time next week.


Tom Sawyer

In Situ

I'd forgotten I had some of the old, hexagonal Citadel paint pots. They don't fit quite as well and overlap about 1/16" on both sides of the stand. If you've got a ton of those old pots, you may want to add 1/4" or so to the width of your stands.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

build: paint stands, complete with blueprints

Finished decorating my Citadel/P3-sized paint stands yesterday while the kids napped. I went for two different looks, partially to show off what can be done cheaply/easily to make 'em look unique, and partially because I got tired of fitting and weathering plasticard. The armor plates and fencing, besides being decorative, work to keep the paints in position those days I need to move the stands from my shelf to the painting desk.

Paint Stands, Mk II: front

Paint Stands, Mk II: back

If anyone wants to have a go themselves, the blueprint PDF was finished this morning. Should print nicely on one 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, and I've color coded the pieces to be as self-explanatory as possible on that single sheet.

(right-click to download)

Not that I didn't take a few "in-progress" photos. Unfortunately, they're less of a how-to assemble and more of a treatise on using what you have available to hold your project together as the glue dries...

The blueprint has a built-in allowance for decoration the width of your standard popsicle stick - about 1/16 of an inch. You could just as easily forego the decoration and stick some 1/16 wooden or plastic rod on the front edge of each level to hold your paint in place. That's what did along the back edge of the top level.

The armour plated stand is primed black and the plan is to slap some paint on it while the kids nap today. I'll take some pics of the paint-in-progress as I plan to use my standard method for painting run-down Ork vehicles. As for the smaller "fence" rack, I'm gonna have a look 'round to see if I have any wood stain lying about. If not, I wonder if I can Tom Sawyer the twins into whitewashing it for me...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

build: work-in-progress: paint stands

As I prepare the remaining aspects of my "Summer of Spartan" - finish the sea table, make more islands, paint my remaining FSA - I find myself running out of space in my hobby room. I've rearranged things to create more room, but still find myself sitting on the floor instead of at my desk. As part of the reorganization process, I've come to the realization that I need more paint stands. The ones I made years ago when I used Vallejo exclusively are no longer cutting it for my growing collection of Citadel and P3 paints.

Paint Stands, Mk I: fit Vallejo paints like a glove

As you can see, they work great for dropper-bottle paints. However, the bigger form factor of the Citadel and P3 ranges gets problematic with my initial design. I'll do a how-to with "blueprints" later this week as time permits, but here's a glimpse at the current state of the project.

Paint Stands, Mk II: built for burlier paints

When all is said and done, they'll hold 36 paints and be a screaming ode to my inner MekBoy. (Despite the flood of Dystopian Wars material since this blogs inception, my first love of wargaming is, and likely always will be, the Orks of Warhammer 40K.) Not bad for about $10 worth of wood and some scrap plasticard.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

paint: work-in-progress: lush islands

With my rock islands completed, save some wave-work, I turned my sights to what I've been calling the "lush islands". The group of four islands whose concept was inspired by this photo:

The islands themselves were shaped a couple weeks ago, after seeing the inspiration photo, but not after studying it. I realized too late that the contours in my head didn't match the photo, but still think the "lush island" concept can shine through, despite the island shapes barely resembling the islands in the photo.

"The Floating Forests" & Candiru Island: foamy

All islands in the chain were completed using the following steps. As with the last set of islands, I'm using crappy, years-old acrylic paint for most of the colors, as they're already on-hand and they're far less per-ounce than any game-branded paints. I picked Candiru to photograph because I needed "how-to" photos of my beach work, and it's the only island in the chain with some. Without further ado, here's Step 1...

Step 1: Autumn Brown: applied over all of the island, save the beach

Step 2: Trail Tan: applied in a thick drybrush

Step 3: Neutral Grey: stippled to predominately vertical edges

Step 4: Ivory: light drybrush to the non-beaches

Step 5: Raw Umber & Lamp Black: mixed 1:1, thinned heavily, washed over the rock

Step 6: Ivory: thinned, cover the whole beach

Step 7: Morrow White: drybrushed over the beach to taste

And that's it. The island is painted. But so is the acrylic, where overzealous painting slopped paint onto the base around the island's edges. The best way I've found to clean up the messy edges is to take a q-tip wetted with water and moisten the paint on the acrylic, then scrape the paint off with a fingernail. This step isn't that difficult, but would've been made unnecessary with better planning. Future sets of islands will have their styrofoam sections painted before gluing them to their bases.

After cleaning up the edges, it's time to make the "lush islands" look, well, lush. For that, we need vegetation.

Pre-Vegetation: a variety of foliage in different sizes and colors

The colors and amounts of each depend entirely on the look you're going for. I didn't take measurements when blending the foliage, instead going by how the blend looked after mixing. The last batch I made was mixed approximately 2:2:1, from left to right.

I'll also add that the "Bushes" size was a tad larger than I liked, so the majority of those pieces were hand-torn into more manageable chunks prior to mixing. I probably couldn't gotten away with buying the same color in the "Underbrush" size.

Vegetation: blended to taste

The next step is all about getting the foliage to stick to the island. PVA or Elmer's glues work well for this as most of them are cheap and will dry clear, two very useful properties. I first tried sticking the foliage to watered down Elmer's, as you would when flocking a table, but the foliage wouldn't stick. I ended up applying the glue straight from the bottle...

Step 8: Apply Glue: PVA/Elmer's glue, applied directly to the island

Step 9: Spread Glue: using a cheap/rubbish brush, spread the glue to where you want vegetation

Step 10: Forestation: smother the glue in foliage

You may find that chunks of foliage like to sit on top of other foliage instead of settling all the way to the island. The easy way to test this is to flip the model over and give it a light shake and checking for barren patches. I find that gently, but firmly, pressing the foliage into the glue worked a treat for getting most of the veg, or any gap filling veg, to stay. If you're missing spots, most likely at the edges, you can always apply more glue and strategically place what colors and sizes of foliage you need to fill the gaps with variety.

"The Floating Forests" & Candiru Island: lush!

And that's it! Deeply forested islands that might hide lost tribes of head-shrinking cannibals. They're not "finished", as I still need to add painted waves and shallow waters, but they're playable...

Saturday, July 9, 2011

paint: work in progress: rock islands, part 2

At the end of my last post about my rock islands I was less than thrilled with how light my "volcanic" rock had turned out. A couple washes of extremely watered down Lamp Black did a nice job of toning them down without losing the highlights.

Step 7: Lamp Black: thinned down to lightly tinted water, washed over the whole model

"The Barren Mountains" and Sleeping Turtle Island: looking more volcanic

The Lamp Black wash pretty much killed the brown stippling I put on the island. If I had it to do over, I'd either skip that step, or use a lighter brown with more strategic placement. I think that would more closely mimic the variation seen in the inspiration...

Inspiration: rock islands

I still need to clean up the edges of the islands where paint got on the acrylic. Then I'll try adding the impression of waves and shallow water around the islands. Not sure if that'll be topside or underneath the acrylic at this point, I'll have to test it out. So far, I don't think they look too bad in situ, so to speak.

Unfortunately, I didn't take pics of the beach or forestation steps while finishing up Sleeping Turtle Island. I was too busy winging it. I'll be sure to record the process this week/weekend as I work on the next island chain...

"The Floating Forests" and Candiru Island

Monday, July 4, 2011

paint: work-in-progress: rock islands

Put some basic color down on the "The Barren Mountains" and Sleeping Turtle Island. Where I can get away with it, the terrain will try to deplete my stock of old, cheap Latex paint I got 5-6 years ago from Hobby Lobby for a poorly executed Flames of War terrain project. I also refuse to spend as much time on painting the terrain as I did the models, as I like what little grasp on sanity I have left...

Step 1: Graphite: even covering over the entire island

Step 2: Raw Umber: liberally stippled across the island

Step 3: Lamp Black: stippled less liberally over the raw umber

Step 4: Graphite: drybrushed to hit the ridges

Step 5: Neutral Grey: drybrushed over the graphite

Not entirely happy with how they turned out. Seeing the pics, I probably should've stopped after the Graphite dry brush or had a much lighter hand with the Neutral Grey. I'm going to experiment with some severely watered down Lamp Black as a wash to see if I can bring it closer to the dark, volcanic rock I was going for.

Also not happy about the visible seam where I glued the foam boards together. It's too late for these guys, but I'll try to find a way to fix that in future pieces. I'm guessing a fine-grit and/or wet sanding might do the trick.

"The Barren Mountains" and Sleeping Turtle Island: painted, but poorly