Continuing the Gretchin

Yesterday I started on three Gretchins, one with a black base coat and a traditional dark to light green skin highlighting technique, the other two with grey base coats and more experimental flesh painting. I couldn’t leave well enough alone so late last night I did another wash, this time of Gryphonne Sepia on just the two grey primered models.

Finished Green Skin
Finished Green Skin

The first color I wanted to test painting over grey, was of course white. The easiest way I know to get a good white over a black base coat is to use Astronomican Grey then paint white over that. So that is what I did to the black primered gretchin. Actually the first thing I did was fix up the base coats, the black model required a lot less touchups than the wash heavy models. The final thing I did to this model’s trousers was to paint a tiny bit of Gryphonne Sepia into the recesses and creases. I may do another quick white highlight.

White pants Yellow boot
White pants Yellow boot

The better primed grey Gretchin, the one without the squig, also got white trousers.  I just went straight Skull White over the primer.  It didn’t work too well. I pressed on and mixed up a thinned down wash made from Codex Grey, this was applied liberally to the pants.  This had to dry for a bit, so it was time to type and wait. After that I’ll definitely be painting another layer of white on the pants.

The next hardest color to paint over black is yellow. This has gotten easier due to Iyanden Dark Sun. I used that right over the black. Over the grey I opted for Golden Yellow. This is an older pot that Owen gave me. It is a good darker richer yellow, but it is best to use it over another color even orange… However it went right over the grey OK… We’ll see how it looks after a wash and some highlights.

Next for the black primered model was a coat of Golden Yellow, for the grey primered model I went with a thinned down orange wash made from Windsor & Newton Orange Ink. Next for the black primered model was Gryphonne Sepia wash on the yellow bootie. I did a highlight of Sunburst Yellow on the other bootie, this is an even older GW paint pot. Finally I got out my Badmoon Yellow paint pot and painted that on both booties. Neither is winning any prizes, I still think for painting yellow it is best to start from an orange or brown basecoat.

Painting orange and yellow
Painting orange and yellow

The next color I wanted to try was Orange it also benefits from a Foundation color, but can still be a tricky color to get right, not as tricky as yellow though… I think the wooden part of the autogun will be orange on both models. You can see how the undercoat makes a difference on how a color looks when just using a single coat.

The next color I used after taking the photo was Blood Angel Orange, that’s right Orange! Paul Taylor traded me this pot for some color I had doubles of back in the 90s. It is pretty thin and actually darker than Macharius Solar Orange so maybe it should have gone on before, but it doesn’t have near the amount of pigment or covering properties. After that was dry it was time for Fiery Orange which is a really useful color for Ork players as is Macharius Solar Orange as you can use it to make nice rust washes…

Beginning Metals
Beginning Metals

I actually bought a new bright orange, called Fire Orange from Reaper Master Series line of paints so I used that for edge highlights next. I still was feeling like it could be better so I used Golden Yellow which is a pretty dark yellow.  That’s enough sometimes I don’t like to use Yellow to highlight Orange or Red but sometimes I do… Next up are metallics which is where a black basecoat has an advantage over white but not necessarily grey.

I put Boltgun metal straight from the pot on various parts of the three Gretchin then took a photo. One of my new gritty metallic recipes is to cover boltgun metal with two new GW washes first black then mud. After they have dried I paint highlights on with Chainmail or Silver. For these models having already painted parts of the models orange, white, and yellow I have to be even more careful with the washes. I don’t come from the new school where you just slather the mini in magic wash.

I think that is about all that is going to get done this evening. I’ll try to work on them more tomorrow. Writing the tutorials and comparing the color combos makes things go slower. After a few more colors bone, brown, black, and grey plus possibly blue I’ll be mostly done and just blitzkrieg through.

Painting Green Skin

Although I seem to be known as a Nurgle guy, my first army was Orks in Warhammer 40,000 during the legendary Rogue Trader era.  Why? Because no one played orks in our group and they forced me to.  I never won a single game during the Rogue Trader era. Things didn’t get that much better in 2nd Edition due to infiltrating Assassins with virus grenades or just the virus outbreak strategy card. There was a serious lack of play testing involved back then.

My friends made me assemble more models just so they could kill more models. That’s why my fantasy army sat undone but assembled for years. Me, I generally only assemble models I plan to paint. So pretty much any assembled but un-primed models in my household were put together at the urging and with the aid of Arden or Kathy or perhaps Paul… I don’t know what the obsession with bigger games is. I’m content to play 1500 points, in fact smaller games require you to make harder decisions when choosing your army list.

But that is not what this post is about. I’ve slowly been working through my massive collection of single pose plastic goblins, well massive for me. However I have almost as many single pose Goffs and Gretchin. In fact it is these models and a lot of losses to Eldar and Space Marines that moved me towards Nurgle. Now my Nurgle miniature collection is almost painted out and I’m doing other Chaos Powers, Orks and Goblins are still on my long term “ta do list”. I regularly stop in at the Waaagh forums. I’ve also starting doing test figures and what better models to test paints on then, 2nd Edition Gretchin. Servant of Decay from behind

The black basecoated one was done up for some contest on the Waaagh that I didn’t have time for. The first grey one, was a test of Krylon Primer that went badly marring the face and the entire paint job. The third Gretchin and the 2nd grey one, the one without the squig on the base, was also primed with Krylon Grey primer. I discovered that Krylon Grey primer is the exact same shade of grey as Adeptus Battle Grey, or at least so close as to not matter. This may be useful information to Imperial Guard players and will prompt me to paint another test Servant of Decay.

My original test figure for my Servants of Decay army was painted over a black base coat and used Foundry English Uniform Brown triad for the main uniform color. Brown is a good army color and a good Nurgle color.  However the Nefarious Fire are black with purple flames so purple and flames was always going to fit into my Servants of Decay scheme too, but I didn’t want black uniforms. I was thinking grey uniforms… Now I think a plastic Goliath ganger will be painted up from a Krylon grey base coat and it will have grey clothing rather than brown…

Paints used in highlighting Gretchin
Paints used in highlighting Gretchin

However the point of this post is to show off the three gretchin I’ve been chipping away at, each with it’s own skin color. The black gretchin got the traditional Ork Flesh up to Bilious Green layer technique that has been used on greenskins since the Rogue Trader era. I only used a single wash on this model and it was the new Thrakka Green.

The poorly primed gretchin got a Gretchin Green basecoat, a color I never use in painting ork flesh, followed by a Camo Green highlight. Then the model was given two washes of Thrakka Green. Next it received another Camo Green highlight as the bad priming job obscures a lot of detail so it is better to paint highlights than rely on gravity to add lowlights for this model. Finally this model got Rotting Flesh and Vallejo Model Color Green Grey highlights.

Gretchin after 2 or 3 coats of paint
Gretchin after 2 or 3 coats of paint

The third Gretchin is an experiment into the wash your way to victory or at least wash your way to a nice fleshtone. John Blanche used brown paint and green wash to do some orks and that look has caught on some. TastyTaste seems to think using Devlan Mud is evil, but have you ever seen a model painted by TastyTaste? I haven’t. I’m pretty sure he’s not overly burdened by Golden Demons if you know what I mean.

Letting washes dry
Letting washes dry

People on the Waaagh forums have gotten good results using the new GW washes and various colors you wouldn’t associate with painting green skin. I took a stab at it and started with Dheneb Stone for my basecoat over the grey. This didn’t cover so well or look quite right so I immediately followed that with a quick highlight of Vallejo Model Color Beige. Then I got more on script and did a fairly heavy wash of Devlan Mud and after drying time, two fairly heavy washes of Thrakka Green.

I’m not sure how much time this really saves when you factor in drying time, but if you’re painting 40 Gretchin it probably does save some time. It is also a bit messy so doing the skin first then fixing the areas that are just primer is easier than doing the skin later and fixing more painted portions of the model.

It looked OK after three washes and just a single highlight, but I was highlighting the other models so I gave it a Green Grey highlight which fixed things some. Maybe the highlights are less realistic, but they look better especially at arms length. One thing about this Dheneb Stone and Beige technique is it leaves the eyeballs and teeth looking decent, where as the dark green traditional method you definitely have to work on the teeth and eyes more to get them to look right. I’m still not sold on painting over grey, tomorrow I will try out red, metallic, and some other common colors.

Almost finished green skin
Almost finished green skin

Glowing Green Paint Effect

So I’d always planned on doing the Bloodletter’s sword green and the armour of the sorcerer green, so I once again cooked up a one of kind or in this case a two of a kind colour that looks like it glows. The key to the glowing effect is to go very bright/light with the highlights and start very dark with the lowlights. Washes and glazes are also essential to my technique. I’m not sure I can make it work with any colour but it works with green and blue, I generally use it on power weapons or magic weapons. Purple can work too, but you have to highlight up to pink and that scares some people.

Bloodletter with Green Hellblade
Bloodletter with Green Hellblade

To get the effect seen here I had a black base coat. I then painted Orkhide Shade over it, the new GW Foundation darkest green. Then I really needed an inbetween shade, but I didn’t have one so I mixed Orkhide Shade and Vallejo Game Colour Sick Green. Then I think I did a pure Sick Green highlight, I can’t remember exactly it was yesterday. To keep the colour dark and scary I mixed up a wash of about 5 parts water, 2 parts old GW Green Wash, and 1 part Black Ink. Basically a much darker green wash, but still thinned so it would flow into the recesses.

After that dried I got out Sick Green again and starting working up the highlights. I didn’t really have a good inbetween shade, so I mixed in an old GW Jade Green. With the mixed colour and then pure Jade Green painted on as a highlight I then did a second wash. This time a thinned down Waaagh Green Ink which is an extremely old GW/Citadel product. When that was dry I started highlighting Jade Green again, but I also wanted to darken a few spots so I used the new GW Green Wash just in a few spots.

Sorcerer with green armour
Sorcerer with green armour

Then more Jade Green and the first green glaze. GW used to make them, they were under appreciated by their clientele I wish I had them all, but I only have a few, they have red lids. Vallejo makes some glazes, I saw them at Imperial Hobbies today.  After some Jade Green and green glaze I wanted to go more extreme so I got out this bottle of Green Grey Vallejo Model Colour #971. I mixed this with the Jade Green on my P3 Wet Palette. I then painted this pale highlight on. Then another green glaze then an even paler extreme highlight was done and it was off to my bedroom to take the photos.

As I mentioned I went to Imperial Hobbies today and bought some more paint and a couple of brushes. The brushes were disappointing but they were cheap. Tomorrow I will go and buy some Deserres brushes that I’ve gotten used to, they hold their point pretty good and come in all sorts of sizes. I also bought some very bright or light colours which I’ll use on the Tzeentch and Slaneesh models I seem to be doing up, but mainly they are for the future. The Mr. Color Steel and the Flat Green will get used sooner, as might the Sky Grey.

The Gale Force 9 flock I bought the day before to use on the Goblins and other bases going forward. I’m trying to use a variety of material, instead of just sand all the time.

More Hobby Supplies
More Hobby Supplies

Five Freshly Painted Night Goblins

Cloth after the black wash
Cloth after the black wash

While making the magnetic movement tray for a unit of old Night Goblin archers that I thought was 55 strong, 5 rows of 11. I discovered that it was only 50 strong, well 49 including the hero. It was late at night and I had been cutting 20mm squares of magnetic material into the wee hours, so I decided rather than just borrow one goblin from another unit for the game I was planning to play on Sunday, I’d dig out some new plastic Night Goblin archers I got off eBay and paint them up.

I’m a slow painter, so painting five models, even rank and file Night Goblins in basically one day, which was the task ahead of me, was going to take effort. I would not be able to go at a leisurely pace, nor would I have lots of time for layered washes or trying out new stuff. I began cleaning the models and though I learned later I didn’t do a perfect job, I had them cleaned and on magnetic bases by 1:38 AM.

Liche Purple Basecoat
Liche Purple Basecoat

Despite staying up late the night before I couldn’t sleep and got out of bed at quarter to six. No I didn’t start painting then, but I did update this blog and probably give them there first coat of Chaos Black Spray primer. I had to take care of my daily job search as well as buy groceries, so about 10 AM I had to get serious about painting these models.

I did two blasts of GW Black spray paint, which unlike all my recent Plaguebearers covered pretty well. I did need to put on some more black here and there. After I had a good black it was time to highlight it. I used my top secret black highlighting recipe of Foundry Black Triad number 34. After quickly putting on B & C from the triad I did a wash of Badab Black. Then I did a slight re-highlight of 34C.

Applying purple flames
Applying purple flames

That’s it. Bam! On to the purple.

For the purple I used my new dark purple recipe which consists of Liche Purple highlighted with the entire Foundry Royal Purple Triad, number 19 for the numerically superior. That was it, even the flames were free-handed in one go. No washes in this purple recipe. I did take my second break during this phase.

The next phase was the most stressful, painting a face inside the hoods which I’d already highlighted. This was a bit unnerving, but I never had to redo any purple or black highlights. The only time I touched up one dot of purple, was doing one eyeball later on.

Close up of purple flames
Close up of purple flames

I didn’t use the exact green recipe I used on the others. I probably went further than I needed to, but Goblins have characterful faces and getting the green to pop is the key to painting them. I used Vallejo Sick Green, Game Colour 29 as my base. Then I used a less than great pot of GW Goblin Green. Things were looking OK, but I decided to paint GW Thraka Green wash into the darker recesses of the face and pretty much all over the hands and forearms.

I then had to build back up my highlights so I used Vallejo Game Colour Goblin Green. This is only slightly lighter than GW’s Goblin Green if any different at all. Although this was sound blending and colour progression, it wasn’t a big difference maker and was probably a poor choice given my goal of speed. Then I got serious about highlighting the skin, I used a medium aged octagon pot of GW’s Striking Scorpion Green. Finally highlights were with a round pot, that is starting to really show it’s age of, Bilious Green. That pot was one of the first ten or if not ten, twenty I ever bought. It came in I think the Monster Paint Set.

2 coats of green paint and a wash
2 coats of green paint and a wash

I think I took a break during the greens, I know I took a WIP photo. The model was basically done, the big three of tunic, trim, and flesh were finished. So I decided to ‘stick it to the man’ and not highlight the brown. I quickly put brown over the leather straps, quiver, and arrows and practically ran down the hall to photograph them thinking I was done and it was time for dinner.

I think it was about 5pm. As I was uploading the photos to my computer from my iPhone I remember, “Oi I didn’t paint the eyes!”. Turns out I didn’t paint the mouths either. These are important elements especially for Night Goblins.

This can be a tricky phase as you can ruin or at least damage careful highlights. I dotted the eyes white, then Sunburst Yellow, another epically old pot, but not as old as the one beside it which will remain nameless (Badmoon Yellow from the Ork VS Eldar paint set). That was it for the eyes.

Greenskin is good to go
Greenskin is good to go

The mouths I did a bit differently than usual. I got out the paint colour I’m making famous, Reaper Master Series Clotted Red and painted the entire interior of the mouth with it. I then got out Vallejo Beige and made sure it was subtle and painted the teeth. The teeth on these models are like a carved pumpkin they go back as little triangles way into the back of the mouth. This is not the norm for GW teeth and I wonder why it was done this way, probably something to do with lasers.

Anyway I think I took a WIP photo and despite being tired and hungry I did one more trick on the mouths. I took a drop of water and some plasma red ink, mixed up a thin wash and filled the mouths with it. I then leaned the models on their backs so it could colour the teeth and dry. You have to wash that your wash doesn’t overflow. If it does, quickly soak it up with a brush.

The false finish
The false finish

After laying on the couch listening to some blues, it was time to re-highlight the teeth. It was necessary to touch up a lip here and there during the whole mouth painting process. Highlights were done with Vallejo Beige and boring old Skull White.

Then I took a nap. That’s right no dinner for me I was beat.

Much later I dragged my ass out of bed, photographed the models as best I could, typed up this here blog entry/tutorial and then gave the models a coal of Purity Seal.

Finally Finished Night Goblin
Finally Finished Night Goblin

Tomorrow I will base 54 Night Goblins and their magnetic movement tray, or die in the attempt. Well maybe things aren’t that dire, it is just a game. Damn mandatory mercenaries week in the Mighty Empires Campaign.

Five Franticly Painted Night Goblin Archers

Night Goblin Pose 1

Night Goblin Pose 2

Night Goblin Pose 3

Building a Magnetized Movement Tray

The unit in their magnetized movement tray
The unit in their magnetized movement tray

Good morning sports fans. I was up until quite late last night cutting little squares of magnetized material so that I could show off a completely built but not completely painted magnetized movement tray for a Horde of 54 Night Goblin Archers. One of my discoveries late last night was I only had 50 Night Goblins in the unit, well 49 and a hero so I cleaned and prepared five more archers which I’ll paint this afternoon.

I’m up obscenely early bringing you the freshest miniature painting news from my painting table.

Making a magnetized movement tray isn’t any harder than making a non-magnetized one, but it does take time. The most time consuming part especially for a Horde of 54 Night Goblins is cutting the small squares of magnetized material and affixing it to the bottom of each miniatures base. You could use regimental bases to speed up the process, but I did 55 individual bases. The hero was of course magnetized too.

Piece of balsa wood is too narrow
Piece of balsa wood is too narrow

The first thing you need to do is determine how large of a movement tray you need to make. In GW land the most common base sizes are 20mm square and 25mm square, so the interior size is likely some multiple of those two numbers. I’ve found they are sometimes a bit bigger when they have a miniature on them so it is good to leave a few millimetres wiggle room. The movement tray was to be 11 goblins wide and 5 goblins deep. I grabbed the piece of balsa wood I used for the Plaguebearers base and it was just a little too small.

Depth is close enough
Depth is close enough

You need to allow 3-4 mm depending on the material used for the edges. I make my bases with three edges just like the ones GW sells. Maybe four edges is better, I don’t know I’ve only made a few movement trays in my time. I play mostly round base games where you deploy in dispersed formation not ranked up.

Measure twice and mark before cutting
Measure twice and mark before cutting

After cutting out the bottom of the tray it is important to check your measurements two or three times. I used a metal straight edge and an exacto knife to cut the balsa wood. Go slow and apply moderate pressure, eventually you may need to apply more pressure but by scoring it once or twice at low pressure you have a good groove to follow.

With the bottom ready it was time for the front and the sides. I measured and cut the front first. Then I use the front in measuring the sides. I measure and cut one side then I make a twin. When all three edge pieces are ready it is time to glue them to the bottom of the movement tray.  I used balsa wood for the sides as well, a little deeper piece than before about 3-4mm wide and about 5-6 high. I wanted a deeper tray to accommodate the magnetic material.

Clamp and glue movement tray sides
Clamp and glue movement tray sides

Now you have to measure the inside space of your tray. You only really need to measure the width. Once you have your measurement transfer that measurement to the magnetic sheet. I used a silver sharpie to mark the black magnetic material. I again used a metal straight edge to cut the material. I used a depth of 10cm for the other measurement, it overhung the wooden bottom by a couple millimetres but I figured it was worth it.

I used simple wood glue (Weldbond brand if it matters) to glue the magnetic material to the bottom of the tray. Make sure you get the poles correct. The other magnetic sheet I used had adhesive already on one side so it can only be applied one way so make sure the bottom of your tray isn’t repelling. I then put something that weighed a kilo or two on the tray bottom and let it dry.

3mm extra space
3mm extra space

I was working on a number of different little projects at the same time, including how I was actually going to finish the bases of the model. I have Autumnal materials which look alright but some of them I’m unfamiliar with. Peabody wrote a tutorial on how he does his bases and I’ll be doing something similar. I actually have the Matte Medium and plenty of pigment and ink, but I think I’ll just use white glue, that is how the test model was done.  I don’t want to make a mess of the entire unit.

Magnetized Night Goblin
Magnetized Night Goblin

Now after some drying time, which you really don’t have to wait for if you’re a keener, it is time to affix the magnetic material to the bases of the miniatures. This is made really easy by the fact that I bought two types of magnetic sheets. I bought both types at Urban Source on Main Street in Vancouver, but you could order the stuff off the internet I’m sure. I carefully measure 20mm and then using the metal edge and the exacto knife cut out a long thin strip. I actually needed four of them. I could fit 15 bases on one strip.

It is actually pretty tough making a long perfectly straight cut with an exacto knife so in hindsight I might have been better off marking it with a pen and using scissors.

Once I had the strips I just grabbed a mini, put it on the white side, traced the edge and cut it with the exacto. Eventually I switched to cutting the strips with scissors. Once you have your little square just peel off the backing and put it on the bottom of the miniature. It is better to have a little bit too much magnetic material than too little. It cuts easy so once you have it on the bottom of the base you can use your exacto knife to trim it off, just like cleaning flash from a miniature.

Mostly magnetized unit
Mostly magnetized unit

Now since I’d let my glue dry on the movement tray, I could rank up my models as I magnetized them. I did do the upside down test, all three plastic Night Goblins stayed affixed to the tray, even using less powerful magnets. I never tried this test with my metal models in the unit nor did I tip the whole unit upside down. The models stay put quite well and make it so it is easy to move the tray and the unit around. Tipping your whole unit upside down and shaking it is just dumb.

Once I discovered I was a few goblins short of my desired unit size I got out some more Night Goblin archers that I got off eBay. I cleaned them and magnetized their bases too.  Then I ranked them up, took a picture and went to bed.

Night Goblins from eBay
Night Goblins from eBay

See that wasn’t so hard, you can base the models however you want and use a little bit of basing material along the edge of the movement tray to help it blend in some more.  The models, even the metal ones, stay in place when you tip, tilt, and jostle the tray.  None of them tip over or fall out.  Yet you can pluck them out without any trouble as well.

Yet more basing materials
Yet more basing materials

Today I’ll be painting five more archers as I’d rather have one unit completely finished than borrow an archer from my other unit for the game on Sunday. I’ll also be test basing another archer and my fanatics until I’m satisfied it looks as good as I can get it in the time allowed. I dug out yet more basing material, including some fancy leaves I got off of Antenociti’s Workshop, they almost seem too nice to use on 15 year old, not terribly well painted, plastic goblins. I’ve been stockpiling stuff for years and it is time see it on the table, so some of these leaves will find their way onto goblin bases, maybe just the front row, I painted them nicer too.

Autumn Test Goblin

That is the first test goblin base.  It was suggested I wash the ballast, I tried two washes, the ballast like cat litter is absorbent so it came out looking messy.  I don’t mind it as is, it is the weird red stuff that I bought so much of that doesn’t look too good to me. It will be used judiciously, perhaps mixed in with some other ballast or even some green flock. I believe I still have some of the original green flock I bought over 15 years ago…