28 February 2014

On the Painting Table: EIR Legion Standard Bearers

I started on my EIR Legion Standard Bearers first grouping.  From left to right, a Cornicen carrying the Century's Cornu (Horn), an Aquilifer carrying the Legion's Aquila (Eagle), an Imaginifer carrying the image bust of the Emperor, a Vexillarius carrying the Cohort's Vexilla (Flag), and a Signifer carrying the Century's Signum (Standard) with Philarae (Disks) topped with a Manus (Hand) image. 
I'm using a variety of colors on the animal pelts worn over the armor of the standard bearers.  P3's Ironhull Grey, Bastion Grey and Greatcoat Grey for the wolves.  P3's Bloodstone Brown and Gun Corps Brown for the bears.  I will wash and drybrush them later, so for now I do want sort of bright and gaudy looking colors.  I'm using Liquid Leaf's Classic Gold toxic paint to paint the gold portions of the standards.  I want it really shiny now as the Army Painter Quick Shade dip varnish will dull it down a lot.
Painting Table Tips: Whenever I open a new paint pot I add a few stainless steel nuts or washer to it. This helps stir the paint when I shake it prior to use in order to get a good mix of the paint pigments and the acrylic medium.  Also, after knocking over one to many paint pots, I drilled holes the correct sizes for both wide paint pots (like Foundry and P3) and the narrower Army Painter and Vallejo style paint bottles into wooden bamboo drink coasters flipped upside down.  This way the paint pots/bottles stay safe from me bumping into them and I can move them around quickly/easily without spilling them.

27 February 2014

Completed: EIR Legionary Contubernium #1

My first EIR Legionary Contubernium (tent group) done!  A mixture of Warlord Games and Wargames Foundry figures, all with WGF shields (and LBMS decals) on 2mm MDF round bases.

24 February 2014

On the Painting Table: Movement Trays

I was working on some new movement trays.  I started with some hobby plywood at .75cm thickness and hobby wood squares. I wanted something to allow me to space and position the Legionaries in blocks of 10 with wiggle room for "odd" positions of weapons like Pila and Gladii.
Two ranks deep with a front of 5 is how I worked them out.  The wood is easily cut with a hobby knife and is very inexpensive and the neighborhood craft store. 
I glued the pieces together and then sanded it with fine grit hobby sandpaper.  Next up I will prime them black and paint them P3 Battlefield Green and then add the terrain.

20 February 2014

EIR Legionary Contubernium Underway! (Part 1)

I'm starting on my next Tent Group (or Roman Contubernium).  Here I'm comparing a new plastic mini from Warlord Games to a metal alloy figure from Wargames Foundry.  There are differences to be sure but I think overall they're okay for side-by-side placement in a battle line.  The main difference which I dislike greatly and will have to figure out how to fix is the Gladius (sword) size disparity.  On the plastic 28mm WLG figures the sword is oddly shaped and way to small -- looks more like a Pugio (dagger).  But for this Contubernium I will use the Pilum carrying plastic (until I sort this out, perhaps I will have to resin cast new swords?). 
I start with flash and mold line cleaning/removal.  The WGF metal figures require a good amount of this effort (way more than the superb Aventine 28mm metal alloy minis).  Next up will by black primer coverage.
I prep the figures for paint-handling by blue sticky-tack attaching them to extra paint pots.  Notice that once they're all primed black -- it is hard to spot the plastic mini out of the group; which is a good thing (I do like the idea of plastic minis because you can easily adjust and customize various positions and stances).
I begin with the armor color application -- this is fast and fun to do.  I tend to like to work in small batches of figures as to not get overwhelmed...so a Tent Group is perfect I think.  Also this way I can spot and remember any small oddities with each figure, making mental notes as I go along on how I will deal with them (e.g. a sword strap that is oddly molded or a scarf that will be hard to reach with care so I may need to adjust the "order" I paint the colors on, etc.).
I painted the Pilum (javelin) shaft a buff/khaki like color because I know the Army Painter Quick Shade "Dip" will darken it and I want it to stand out.  Now I work the skin colors up.  As I described in my step-by-step Primus Pilus Centurion post previously, skin is my least favorite part to paint.  I tend to mix Reaper's Caucasian Flesh with Army Painter's Tanned Flesh at differing amounts as to create different skin tones (so they all don't look exactly alike).  Sometimes during this step, I spot a mold line I missed and reach for my hobby knife to scrap it away and then go back to painting.  I tend to thin the flesh paints as I go with some of P3's Acrylic Paint Medium to improve the flow of the paint onto the mini.

To Be Continued! 

17 February 2014

My Primus Pilus Centurion! (fresh from the photo booth)

I am happy with my completed figure and I think it looks pretty good overall.  I enjoyed painting and finishing the Warlord Games' 28mm metal alloy Primus Pilus with Wargames Foundry Scutum (and LBMS shield transfer) Roman Legion figure very much.  Enjoy!

Finishing Up! (Part 2b of Painting WLG's Primus Pilus Centurion 28mm metal mini)

I'm now finishing up the Warlord Game's 28mm Centurion Primus Pilus metal alloy figure once the Army Painter Quick Shade has dried.
I use a mix of Gale Force 9 Super Fine Grit and Woodland Scenics Medium Gray RR Ballast.  I apply a thin coat of Woodland's Scenic Glue over the entire base...I like this glue because it goes on thick and thins very well with water and dries completely clear.
I shake lose any lose grit or ballast and allow the glue to set-up for about 10-15 minutes before I start to handle or start to paint.
I paint the round edge of the 2mm thick MDF base with P3's Battlefield Green.  I then drybrush a mixture of Vallejo's Yellow Ochre and Beige on the grit and ballast along with P3's Hammerfall Khaki, with an eye towards highlighting the rough and uneven terrain.
Once the highlighting is done, I apply some more non-thinned Scenic Glue to the base where I will want the grass and foliage to appear.  I apply the glue using a smallish synthetic brush and I just dab it on randomly.  Next I apply a pinch of Woodland Scenics Field Green Fine Turf and Light Green Coarse Turf to the glue in various spots mixing the two together, shaking off any excuse once the glue is semi-dry after 5 minutes or so.  After about an hour, I will gently blast the mini with a canned air computer dust cleaner to remove any ling, hair or debris that may have found its way on to the mini. Lastly I apply any paint touch-ups needed on the mini (with foreground figures I will highlight the sword with P3's Quick Silver) and then spray with Army Painter's Anti-Shine Matte Varnish Spray.

I apply 2-3 very light coats of the Anti-Shine over the entire figure and base.  I always make sure the garage temperature is not to cold and the humidity is not too high outside (which is tough during a Florida Summer).  Those two factors will ruin your work as the matte varnish will dry cloudy and spotty.  I allow the mini to dry for an hour or so before handling it and checking once again for any touch-ups that maybe needed.  Presto, the figure is done...time for a brew!

15 February 2014

The Art of the Dip (Part 2a of Painting WLG's Primus Pilus Centurion 28mm metal mini)

To prep the dipping of the mini I warm-up the Army Painter Quick Shade Dip in warm water for a little bit (you don't want it to hot or the varnish will be too thin).  This ensure the thick varnish is "fluid" enough for application and let it flow into the mini's nooks and crannies.  For tools I layout a larger in-expensive synthetic brush, white mineral spirits, paper towels, popsicle stick to stir (very important -- do not shake the can as it creates tons of bubbles in the varnish).  I use the varnish dip from the stick directly for painting onto the mini.
Starting at the top of the mini and working my way down, with extra attention to all corners and edges, I drip and paint the varnish onto the mini, letting it flow.
I go back for more dip as needed without thinning it or wiping the application brush off and apply it thicker on the sandals and legs and bottom of the tunic edges.
I check the mini and see that the dip covers the areas pretty well.  There is no need for perfection at this point in the process (you want more varnish then needed, not less).  As the view from the back of the 28mm Centurion shows, you want the dip to be most concentrated in the corners and "shadowy" parts of the mini as if the light was coming from the top of the figure.
Now I allow around 5 minutes for the varnish to "set" on the mini.  I don't do anything and as you can see for the stick being clear of dip, that is about the correct amount of varnish I like to use per mini. Once the timer expires I look at the mini and see how the varnish set-up.  I use white mineral spirits to remove the dip from the highlight points and remove any excess from the corners and edges (with special attention to the weapon).  I repeatedly wipe the brush clean on the paper towel to remove the dip from the smaller synthetic brush and add more mineral spirits to the brush.
I like this part of the process, the varnish responds very well to mineral spirits as the varnish is now tacky and really wants to stick to the figure (which is good!).  I try to allow some extra varnish to stay in some places as the mini needs to look slightly campaign worn.
Now the mini must be left alone and you have to let the varnish dry for 24 hours.  Once dry, I will wash the flesh with P3's Flesh Wash and then highlight the whites and the metals with the appropriate paints.  I only do this on the foreground figures, for the line soldiers I don't do the highlighting just the flesh wash.

Once 24 hours passes, it will be time to finish the basing and apply the final matte spray coat.

To be continued...