Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Ork Warpaint

Ok as promised here is a step by step guide to how I pain my Orks.

I use a white undercoat because it gives a brighter colour.

I used to use a black undercoat, it is handy to claim that the bits you miss are shadows, but I find that a black undercoat absorbs too much of the colour - especially after the application of ink. If I was painting a smaller scale model - 15mm or less - then the shadow effects that can be gained outweigh the negatives in my opinion.

I have also dispensed with the spray can for the undercoat. Yes, it is quicker. But I like the fact that if you apply the undercoat with a brush you get to see the detail, which often allows you to see things, or have painting ideas, that you would otherwise have missed. Applying the undercoat with a brush also means that the undercoat is less uniform which in turn offers greater shading effects on the finsihed model.

In principle I prefer to work from dark to light, so the next stage is to apply the base colour for the skin.

In the case of the Orks this is a flat green.

I apply the in a mixture of meat and watered down acorss the unit - in the picture the figure has neat paint. Again the aim is to create a shading effects, from very dark base flesh tones to lighter.

It should be pointed out that this is something that I stumbled upon.

Because Vallego paint comes in a bottle, it means you need a pallette - in my case a CD box - and I am a cheap skate, to make the paint go further I would water it down as it started to dry out. No doubt professional painters would say I should have thinned it from the off, but I rather like the subtle change of tone that my economy produces within a unit.

The camo - like most things to do with my painting - was stumbled upon by accident.

When I decided on a Blood Axe theme for the army I surfed around the internet looking for suitable camo designs.

I wanted a desert camo theme - reflecting the current wars of our age - but I have also aways been a fan of German camo patterns.

On the test model I tried a khaki base coat, but it was too dark and two green - and I didn't have a sutiable highlight colour. So I tried bubonic brown, and discovered that it didn't need a highlight colour because it matched the ink I was using - thus saving me a stage in the painting process.

This skipping of stages is in part the reason for this article.

As I mentioned before the inspiration was a comment by someone at the club that I must have great patience to paint my army. But it always strikes me that so many painting articles make things unnecessarily complicated. I am a hobbyist and a gamer. I'm not interested in winning painting prizes. And I'm not interested in overly technical painting styles which require me to explain my cleverness in order you people to admire the army - I'd rather they just admired the army, for the minimum effort on my part to get an army that looks good to me.

Next is brown for boots, belts, pouches, etc.

In some ways leather is the key to a good looking model.

Generally this will act to divide the models into sections - principally top and bottom at the waist.

But it is also handy for shoddy work.

I realise that terms like bodge and shoddy have unfortunate overtones, but in fact they are useful concepts when painting a model. On any model there will be areas that you want to hide - either because the area is too difficult to reach with a brush for fine detail, or because you have missed it earlier in the base coating. Which is why the leather coat is so useful. Brown is the perfect colour ro hide mistakes, and it offers a new shade.

Again it is a question of my economic - cheapskate - nature but the current leather I use is so watered down to be like the old broom. But with the white undercoat - and the later brown - ink it produces the effect of applying a dark brown before leather, without the need of doing so - or the required blending that the extra stage requires.

Pretty much the same thing applies to the gun metal as to leather.

Whilst I do try and stay between the lines, I am not overly careful when applying this layer.

Obviously it will look bit weird if there are blotches of silver on the end of a model's nose, but 'bright shadows' can look very effective. And it is possible to achieve some rather good results by 'spilling' gunmetal into a flat coloured area - particularly on armour.

I guess the point I am trying to make here is that this is the basecoat, and as such the aim is to use it to for blending, in order that your don't have to blend later. And that it really doesn't matter if the model has a silver trigger figure, or whatever.

The aim is - to borrow a show biz expression from the chorus line - tits and teeth: leave Hamlet to the worthy and dull.

And so to the final base colour.

Nothing says Orks like red.

And no other colour benefits so much from a white undercoat.

Back in the day when I was commision painter for 15mm models, no other colour caused more problem than red. The trick of knocking out small scales models to order is to use the simple trick of highlighting elbows, knees and clothing folds with the next tone lighter. But with red this is a problem, because red - no matter what shade it is - just goes to red.

The painters I worked with tried many different ways to get around this - using the same tone but in gloss paint, undercoating white and yellow before applying the highlight, using orange, but nothing is entirely satisfactory.

The best solution I have found is to be go for a dark tone - in this case Carmine Red - and then highlight with blood red before heavy brown inking.

It's not perfect - and does fall between two stools - but when contrasted against the green of the Ork flesh, it does the job.

Onto the dark grey for fur.

To be honest I am not sure what the scaely bits on the Gretchin and the Orks are.

So it is fur.

And so we reach my favourite colour in the Citadel range - Dwarf Bronze.

It is a perennial arguement as to who makes the best range of paints. As you can probablt see I have rather a mixture of manufacturers. But I do have to say that my favourite metallic paints are GW.

Dwarf Bronze is just such a warm and endlessly useful colour.

And OK in the 41st millenium it is pretty doubtful that bronze would be used for weaponry. It's questionable if it would be used for anything.

Yet as a contrasting colour for gunmetal it is pretty difficult to beat.

Speaking of which we come to another of my favourite colours, Glistening Green.

I'm not sure GW still make it.

They used to have a variety of coloured metallics - a blue and purple spring to mind - which wwent by the wayside when they changed suppliers.

This change of suppliers was also pretty annoying personally because they ditched Jade Green that I was using to paint a Vampire army.

As colours the metallics are of fairly limited use - there is no reason why you couldn't have a chapter of Glistening Green space marines - because on large areas they don't look right, and are pretty difficult to shade. But for detailing pipework on vehicles or jewels or whatever they are really useful.

Ok this might be the reason they were dropped from the sales orientated GW range - as you can see my pot dates back to the mid-nineties (not that it is alone in that), but all the same it is a shame.

Of course you could easily make your own from green and mithril silver.

Bone for horns.

Not much more to say on that one.

Especially as there is only one figure was a horn in the unit.


I guess I really should have put some thought into aligning these pictures. I've tried padding out the text - in case you hadn't noticed.

Ok I have thought about aligning the pictures.

And I have added another piece of padding.

Just like this superfluous sentence.

And added to the problem by including this picture.

Basically I use light blue for glasses.

I do have to say That I am not a fan of the vogue for painting glass light blue with a few white lines for the sunlight glinting. You see it a lot on FOW miniatures. Whether or not this a stylistic thing in the FOW studio that has led people to paint their models like the one's they see on the box, I don't know

In these instances I prefer black highlighted grey, with maybe some brown dusting.

Even weirder - imo - are the people who paint see through canopies. Why they don't try and pick out the frame and paint the interior is beyond me.

Anywho as you can see I have used light blue for the glasses, and the same light blue with a lemon yellow to give him a rather funky Flock of Seagulls style mullet.

Not that we are out of pagination problems yet.

Because it's back to the flat green for camo.

I should just say, that one of the most important things that you should realise - and it isn't something that you learn, because it is like fibbonacci - is that you should trust your instinct, and stick with what works for you.

I say this because as I mentioned becfore the camo pattern that I came up with is not the pattern that I wanted when I started.

It's basically green lines and black dots.

My original plan was to have grey and white in it - like the NATO forces in Afganistan. But having got the two colours - three if you include the base coat - I decided to stick with what I had, because it looked right.

Which is why I point out that you need to trust yourself.

I'm not saying here that you should chuck a bit of paint on and defy anyone to criticise you.

But it is important to realise the limits of your painting skill.

There may well be a popular perception around that anyone given enough time and practice can paint to a Golden Demon standard. But. let's face it, that isn't true in any real sense.

a) because most people have somethng better to do with their life.
b) I would argue that the pursuit of this will ultimately cramp your style - and your style is more important.

Oh and c) the point of the exercise should be about getting a painted army to the table.

Which leads to the related problem of knowing when to stop.

The easiest way to ruin a model is to take it in isolation, reach a stage in the painting when you are not sure what to do next, and start splashing on more and more layers of paint in order to 'improve' it. As opposed to considering what would happen if you stopped there, painted an entire army to match that model.

I would suggest that if you you took the latter route you will get more satisfaction and a better result.

Not forgetting that taking that route will more likely lead to a painted army.

Yeah so green lines and black dots - and I used the opportunity for a bit of shoddy bodging.

On with the mithril silver dry brushing to bring up the metal

I have never been much of a fan of subtle dry brushing - the purists would have it that you should bruch the paint off until it barely makes a mark, and then build up the layer.

My quicker method is to take a spot of paint on the brush, dab it on first to get rid of must of the paint and them brush it across the detail to bring it up. This dotting technique will give you quicker results that look just as good as the longer method. And produces a stronger highlight.

It isn't just the speed of the method that I like, as the the effect it produces.

I'm not a fan of lines of colour, and by dotting you can break up the colour more - thus cheating the eye.

I used the dotting technique again for highting the Ork flesh.

The final flesh tone will be applied over this so it doesn't matter too much which area you highlight here.

Though I tend to stick to the highlighted areas.

This bright tone will be broken up later by the ink and final coat of Goblin Green.

Light grey is applied to highlight the drak grey fur.

The picture illustrates one of the advantages of a white undercoat.

Ok perhaps if I thinned the paint more this advantage would not occur.

But the white from the undercoat offers a free highlight.

Had I used black, it would offer a free shadow - you might argue - but shadows are fairly easily obtained compared to highlights.

True there are some that would say that this is just sloppy, and a denial of the painters skill - relying on luck - and I guess it's each to their own.

I duscussed red earlier.

And while I think about it, I should point out that you shouldn't forget to dot the gun barrels.

In fact working on this article, and taking a picture after applying each colour reminded me how often I forget to do things.

For instance I made a decision that my Orks had seen action and are bloodthirtsy. Therefore all the weapons are bloodstained.

Did I remember it?

Of course not.

And there were a few other instances - like you guessed it, dotted the gun barrels.

And so we reach the key to my method - and why I would suggest that painting a decent looking army is not as hard as people would have you believe.

Windsor and Newton ink.

I realise the GW makes a range of inks but I really don't like them, as they are more of a stain or a wash than the Windsor and Newton ink.

The great advantage is that they tend to settle in the crevices - where you ant them - without affecting the raised surfaces. They also mature, in that they continue to pool for a number of days after application, meaning that you can apply them heavily without destroying the painwork underneath.

Make sure you are using the drawing ink. Caligraphy inks do have a use, but not for shading.

Also remember to apply a layer of purity seal whenever you use ink.

This will seal in the ink, allowing you to carry on painting, without the ink affecting the pigment.

So it's basically red ink for the mouth, green for the skin, and brown for everything else.

I apply the ink liberally.

When I first started using inks I tended to under use it. The result was not bad, but the problem is that it didn't achieve the required pooling effect.

I suppose the technique is not that dissimilar to the much maligned dip.

The real difference isn't that it isn't so messy.

Oh and it is also cheaper.

Well I'm guessing it is, as the chances are you will have a tin of purity seal anyway, and a pot of ink costs about £3 or £4, and will be good for half an army at least.

Windsor and Newton does two brown inks, peat brown and nut brown.

Of the two I prefer the peat brown because it has a slight redness which brings a warmth to the colour. However I have used nut brown, and in terms of the Orks it does have the benefit of toning down the armour and uniform colours and emphasising the greenness of the Ork skin.

And for those that have made it this far... and well done for that...

The skin is given a light coating of Goblin Green, focusing on the raised area of the model.

I try and keep the coat as a thin as possible to allow the basecoat thaqt have been build underneath to affect the surface coat.

And then it's just a case of dotting the eyes and painting the teeth.

So there you have it, my painting method for the Orks.

I don't claim that it will win prizes, but it has been the subject of complimentary remarks.

And perhaps more importantly it has given me hours of pleasure painting it, and perhaps as many hours gazing lovingly at it.

Which is perhaps why I was tetchy at the suggestion that I required patience to imdulge my pleasure in painting it.

Or maybe I'm just grumpy.


Here is the painted unit....

Now for the basing.


Monday, 15 November 2010

Watch This Space

My Orks have come in for some admiring comments lately with regard to their paintwork... which is nice.

At the club the other day, one of those making admiring comments mentioned that I must have great patience. To which I gave a rather grumpy reply, as I was in the middle of a game at the time.

But it got me thinking.

Therefore I have been working on a step-by-step guide to painting Orks in my stylee.


Coming soon.....


Sunday, 14 November 2010

Hang Over Sunday

I love a bottle of Berberana Reserva - unfortunately my aging liver can't keep up.

Thus it was that I was a little under the weather going into this game.

Capture and control against the new Dark Eldar.

The game itself was pretty much a non-event that revolved around a piece of gamesmanship from my opponent.

I got a penetrating and a glancing on a raider containing a unit of warriors. He rolls two dice, one gets the saving throw, one doesn't. He then rolls two more dice - this time of a different colour to differentiate the penetrating from the glancing - and gets both saves - the unit goes on to claim the objective.


Oh and haywire grenades. Either we played the rules wrong or they are the overlooked item in the codex. Because they are absurdly good.

In truth it was only because my opponent was scrabbling for points that his witches got them - put it this way witches with haywire grenades are pretty lethal to armour.

It also didn't help the Orks much that I forgot that you can't jump out of the way of a Deffrolla and escape the attack. Or that for the first few turns I overlooked that rokkits double out incubi - meaning that they lived to the end of the game.

As for the build of the army I was quite pleased with how it performed - or rather the potential of how it performed.

The trukk boyz performed well. I like the mobility. I am less than pleased with the Nobs. They are there to get the Battlewagon, but they absorb too many points for what they do.

I realise that I have said this before - and have already declared that they are a stop gap until I get Meganobz - and indeed that my feelings to towards the Nobz fluctuates from game to game - it being only a few weeks since I thought Nobz to be the top performing unit.

I suppose this is one of the joys of being an Ork player.

A unit either performs above and beyond expectations, or is an abject failure. And that the happy medium lies somewhere in the army as a whole.

I guess I need to go back and reconsider the make up of the Nobz. When they worked well they were a smaller unit size, without all the toys. And 200 and something odd points is opposed to the principle that I have set myself about unit size.

Of course the problem will be alleviated with another trukk, to have a third trukk mob. Or when I get around to painting the shoota boyz. Since I dislike the tactical inflexibilty of large mobz of slugga choppa boyz.

Which is a surely a sign that the next list I draw up will have three 30 strong mobz ;-)


Saturday, 13 November 2010

Grommel Takes The Field

I've got a game arranged against the new Dark Eldar.

'What's new?' regular readers might ask, given that all I have played lately is Dark Eldar.

Regardless of the opposition it does give me a chance to try out the full on fluff of the 17th Heavy Breakthrough Brigade. Those following this, will know that this is the designation for the Ork force I am building - and will also know that it is a concept I have been wrestling with in order to define what such a unit would be.

In my thinking I have wandered around historical precedents including Soviet style infantry units at the battle of Kursk. But in recent games I have moved away from this concept of having 30 strong tarpit mobz.

So this is the list I have come up with.

Battlewagon - deffrolla, stikkchucker, kannon
7 Nobz - H/A, C/B, painboy, 1 P/K

2 12 Boy mob - Nob P/K B/P, B/S - in Trukk
10 gretchin with runtherd

3 deffkopta

2 Killa Kan (3 strong)

Deff Dred

Looted Wagon with Boom Gun.

Which does rather fulfill the armoured recon role that was another element of the fluff that I was wrestling with.

We'll see how things go.

The infantry count is low, and offers the opportunity for a cock up due to untis getting wiped and handing out pain token, but it is should be fairly fast moving.

Re: the fluff, part of my thinking is that I don't want to go down the root of maxing out the Battlewagons.


Friday, 12 November 2010

Da Big Gunz

The finished Looted Wagon.

Eventually I will get around to painting some details on. Probably when I have got all the choices I want painted.


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Two Tone

Not been doing much.

Base coating a looted Vindicator is about the sole noteworthy occurence.


Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Monday, 8 November 2010

Something For Everyone

I've been fiddling about with a set of skirmish rules.

As I mentioned before my original plan was to make a game set in the NorthWest Frontier, but my current thinking is to set them in the Napoleonic wars.

Now I don't want to get into a whole anti-GW rant, but one of the things I am seeking to do is to make a game that has a) more interaction, and b) is not predictable - in the sense of math-hammer.

Which I guess takes me back to to my anti-Landraider rant yesterday.... don't worry I have calmed down.

Because as a someone who started playing wargames with 6th edition ancients I find it strange that the GW rules - which are based on the ruleset - should play so differently. Ok, in truth a game of 6th edition ancients very rarely reached a conclusion because of the time it took to work out morale tests. But what it had, as a strength, was that both players were involved in the game at all times.

Something else that is odd about comparing the two systems, is that 6th edition was also a game in which list building and points played a great part in the meta-game. Yet the distortions in the power levels didn't have the effect that it does in GW games.

My current thinking with regard to the rules I am formulating is to pick up on the current vogue for having cards in the game. As this mitigates the impotence of the non-active player. I also like the mechanicsm in a system like Piquet in which the turn structure is not so fixed, and that it is perfectly possible one side to steal the iniative, have three turns in a row and the other player can do nothing more than act defensively - thus forcing payers to make plans based on not being able to do what they want, whenever they want.

The other change I am thinking of is alternative ways of winning. I rather like the idea of a game in which both players can win, or indeed both lose, and that winning and losing is not dependent on killing the other side.

I mention this because of a game I played ages ago in which I was leading some Spanish cavalry. I was told before the that my task was to deliver a letter to someone in a village on the other side of the table. In typical knightly fashion, I entered the table, saw a flock of sheep and rode straight through them. This enraged the peasant in a nearby village, which in turn led to me fighting them and then some other peasants who turned up to help them. The letter never got delivered - indeed I seem to recall that the recipient was murdered by an angry mob as a spy.

But it was a great game.

And very much in my mind as I think about what sort of game I want to develop.


Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Joy of Cheese

The Green Tigerz were back in action today.

It gave me a chance to try out the battlewagon.

The list was battlewagon with a mek. Two trukks with 12 boyz, 2 units of 20 Boyz, 7 Lootas, deffdred, 2 units of 3 Kanz, and 3 Koptaz.

The first game was a rematch against the Dark Eldar - the old Dark Eldar - as my opponent didn't have the new book. The mission was annihilation and the deployment was pitched battle.

I got the iniative, held it and went first.

The Lootas brought down a raider, the koptaz did not very much, and the rest of the shooting was equally ineffective. The Drak Eldar shooting was ineffective as well - managing to take down a Loota.

The battle was a little odd as the Orks were piling down the right flank, whilst the Dark Eldar attacked down the left, with only minimal forces facing the bulk of the Orks.

Thus the Orks wiped out the forces on the right, and the Dark Eldar took out the Lootas holding a building on the left. The Orks redeployed to face off against the witches and the Incubi. The witches took down two koptaz before being hit by the deffrolla, and incubi were wittled down to three of four figures by the shooting.

It was a victory for the Orks probably about 10-3, we didn't work out the points.

And so it was onto the second game.

Now I don't want to say that it was against 'that guy' but - for me - it was against 'that guy'.

Space Wolves, a Landraider, unpainted models, rolling dice without explanation, mumbling, telling me what I can and can't do etc etc etc.

Maybe it's just me, but the moment someone places a Landraider on the table, I just know that it isn't a game that I will enjoy, or want to play. And thankfully I was saved from the 'joys' of cheese by a phone call from the missus who had forgotten her keys.

I am reminded of a recent whinge I came across on the net by a Grey Knights player who was comped for sports in a tournament in a two Landraider list. Their lament was that it was a fluffy list and that it was unfair to penalise them for being fluffy. Which made me laugh because you have to be one hell of a nice guy not to get heavily comped for playing with a Landraider. And no ammount of patronising guff about fluff is going to get around the issue of people just not wanting to play against Landraiders.

Ok in terms of the game, it didn't help that the bloke had taken it upon himself to act as an unofficial umpire in the previous game, or quipping about the number of Kanz I was running and how it was somehow a problem.... which is why I say he was 'that guy' for me.... since it is just gamesmanship to claim Kanz are a problem for Space Wolves.

Meh, I guess it is just one of those things.

No doubt the Dark Eldar player sees me as 'that guy'.

In terms of the game, it lasted until turn 3, the Orks did not do much the Space Wolves did slightly more and would have gone on to win handsomely, what more is there to say?

Oh and just as we had packed up and I was preparing to catch the bus to save the wife and kids from the November weather, I got a call to say that the two year old had found the keys.


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Cheap Alternatives

I've been working on the Battlewagon.

For obvious reasons I want a Deffrolla.

And for obvious reasons I didn't want to pay for the GW add-on.

Enter stage left beer bottle tops.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Wargaming Moments

So what have I been up to?

I went to FIASCO at the weekend.

Anywho, I did top up on hobby supplies and bought a battlewagon.

Oh and I had a classic gaming moment.

We've all had one.

One of my aims for the show was to pick up some figures for the Indian Mutiny. I just really want to paint some stuff from the period, and I have an idea for a set of skirmish rules.

After doing some reasearch on the web, I decided to plump for the Wargames Foundry range. They are perhaps not as a varied as I would like, and there is a limited range of civilians and character figures but I thought I would give them a go. Unfortunately the only stand carrying Wargames Foundry figures didn't have the Indian Mutiny range. I was rather tempted by the figures from Mutineer Miniatures but was put off by the price - not that they are really that much more expensive than Foundry figures - well £11 for 8 figures, vs £8/£9.

So figuring that I wasn't going to get the figures I wanted, I decided to buy a battlewagon. And no sooner did I have the orky goodness in my clammy hand, than I happened to walk past the stall selling Foundry figures and notice that they had the Mutiny range on sale individually - having broken up the packs.

As for the battlewagon - yes I know what I said.... but yah know....

Anywho.... more on that later.


ps - I forgot to mention that after buying the battlewagon I was spent out.