That’s right, it only took about 15 years but I sacrificed my shoulder and back, to finish off this unit of 54 Night Goblin Archers led by a Shaman. The last little bit of brown is drying, then I’ll take the celebratory picture. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything that compares to these guys. At 55 models, all of which have custom bases and decent highlights on the flesh, with the front two rows being quite spiffy, the magnetic movement tray, the four different types of basing, no five…
First I got guilted into getting help with the base coating of these guys. I’m not sure how much time that really saved me as the quality was well below what I would have done. Even the cleaning of the models often leaves a lot to desire. I highlighted the best dozen or so and did up command and a hero, then they sat for a couple more years. Now with the arrival of Warhammer 8th Edition and being presently unemployed I had no excuse other than just not having the commitment to getting them done.
All week it seems I’ve been working towards this blog post. I built the custom 11 by 5 movement tray. I magnetized all the bases. I created an Autumnal basing scheme. I discovered I was five Night Goblins short of 55, so in one day I painted the missing members of the squad. Then I didn’t think the back 3/5ths were highlighted enough so that was added to the ‘ta do’ list.
Finally I did an epic basing scheme, which I may not completely duplicate on the other squads in this army. First I found the perfect brown, or at least a decent brown. Then after painting the bases,I used UHU glue to put ballast and a little bit of this weird red flock on all the bases.
When that was dry I then did lichen, three different Autumnal colours spread out amongst the unit. When this was completed and dried it was time for the static grass. I had little experience with this material but I had a good set of tweezers which helped. I also learned that static grass absorbs super glue quite a lot and that you need to keep the tweezers about a centimetre from where the glue is, and even then sometimes the glue will flow up the grass cramping your style.
I experimented with different sized clumps, different heights, pushing down to make it messy, applying it on an angle. Not all my experiments were a success but taking the unit as a whole, it looks pretty damn impressive, even with all the one pose 4th Edition Warhammer box set archers.
When the static grass was dry it was time for the little brown leaves I got off of Antenociti’s Workshop. These were applied with white glue (Weldbond brand) as was the lichen. These were given ample time to dry as I was summoned out to celebrate Jeff’s birthday. Then at the end of the evening I had to touch up the Delta Ceramcoat Golden Brown.
If I had to do it all over, it probably wouldn’t get done. I put a lot of effort into these goblins even spread over 55 models. The basing is over the top and the magnetized movement tray is a total luxury too, especially considering how often I play Warhammer Fantasy Battle. One thing that could be done is to mix up the basing material and apply the mix to save steps. The other thing that should be done is multiple coats of Golden Brown before any other basing material is applied.
Now on to the pictures, I took a lot, one or two after every stage, plus the obligatory final money shot.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
So although I got a very late start to the day, it appears at least one Golden Daemon winning or aspiring painter is following my blog. I don’t really run in that circle, I’m not a bad painter, I can do better, but I paint my army or my toy soldiers to use in games. People are often surprised I don’t enter more painting competitions, I just don’t need more stress in my life. Painting 28mm miniatures can be stressful enough without flying to a contest and having them subjected to incredible scrutiny. I just try to do the best I can, on the models I need to paint to play, in the time I have available.
What did I paint today upon learning that expert level miniature painters are paying attention to my little tips, techniques, and travails?I drybrushed sand! That’s right boring old beach sand, drybrushed a series of browns, that is what I needed to do to get the second movement tray finished for the Neatherworldly Mathematicians. Since I knew I had to do this anyway I got out two entrenchments that have been off on the side of my painting desk for a month or more. They needed some sand and drybrushing too.
After drybrushing sand, I painted wood and drybrushed that too. Then I painted sandbags and drybrushed them as well. I was running out of dry brushes. That is the thing about drybrushing, you really do need a dry brush. I painted the other details on my hand built entrenchment and the green growth on the Snap Dragon one and called them done. Not before I mixed up a custom rust wash and applied it to the metal plate and the pick axe.
Remember my other big goal for the week, basing 54 Night Goblins? Well here is the material I bought years ago when I was considering strongly doing a Warhammer Ancients army. Amazingly I’m tired of drybrushing mud, so I decided my next army, my first new army in decades, would be based with something other than drybrushed sand. I opted for a fall scheme, now all I needed was to choose a brown.
When I started the Trench Table project I went to Deserres and stocked up on browns. I picked four I liked best and upon inspecting the alsorans, I opted to use the one I labeled W2. It is an in-stock Delta Ceramcoat Golden Brown.
Last night while not sleeping, I remember I had two spare Night Goblin archers painted in my miniature case in colour schemes I discarded years ago when I did up some greenskins to play Mordheim. My greenskins were deemed such a success and so old school pressure was put on to paint the other 150 and have an army of them. Now about 8 years later I’m very close to having a playable Warhammer 8th Edition army of goblins. Loyal readers will know I opted to use Nurgle Daemons in the Mighty Empires campaign at Strategies as it was even less work getting them legal for 8th Edition, however in an unexpected campaign twist it is mandatory mercenaries week, so some of the Night Goblins must get based in time for Sunday’s game.
I tried the Golden Brown on the base of one of these unneeded but still painted Night Goblin archers, it looked like peanut butter. I put the ballast on, it looked like crunchy peanut butter. I’m not sure I need any more jokes about this, impatiently I put some of this weird red flock, or what I thought was flock on. It seems to be really fine foam-like material, you kinda have to squish it down with the end of a brush say to get it behave a bit more. I wasn’t crazy over how it looked or the colour, but it certainly was different.
The final material I bought at Imperial Hobbies years ago, was lichen in Autumnal colours. I reached for a tiny sprig of a non-red one and I thought it looked much better on the base than the weird red foamy stuff… My plan is still to go ahead with basing the 54 Night Goblins and their movement tray I have to now make, peanut butter brown, add the crunchy bits and the some twigs of lichen. Then after all that is dry add very little red stuff. I also thought of mixing the red stuff and ballast together so I can apply it in one go…
That might just make a big headache inducing mess. The finished model looks OK, hopefully it looks fine with my purple and blue flamed Night Goblins, the Nefarious Fire Tribe. I’ve even named all the units now. The one getting based is of course Ickybob’s Boyz still to come are the Prickly Posse and the Blue Bootie Brigade. My ork unit which isn’t assembled or painted will be called Snaggletooth’s Snappers and will be lead by Ol’ Snaggletooth himself. The Battle Standard Bearer and the Warboss who lead the other two goblin units might have had names last night while I couldn’t sleep, or perhaps they did not.
After dinner and a fresh round of applying for jobs, I’ll start work on making my custom magnetic movement tray for the 54 (55 with Hero) strong unit of Night Goblin archers, ranked up in five rows of 11.
Welcome back boring text fans, where once again I make another movement tray for the square base game I play every 5 or 6 years. This is the first of two movement trays I will be making this week. This one was to be the simplest, but even simple projects can go wrong if you’re not careful or it is late at night…
For this week’s Mighty Empires campaign I have to use mercenaries, this means after slaving to get a 1500 point Nurgle Daemon army on the table I must change it. This wasn’t the end of the world, but it did mean I’d be devoting a lot more time to painting Warhammer Fantasy Battle stuff than I had planned this week. I decided to make the new movement tray for the Plaguebearers out of sheet styrene as it is nice to work with, but I liked the sides of the balsa tray I made, so it was to have a balsa wood rim. That’s right a hybrid.
This time I got out five 25mm square bases and even wrote the measurements down on my painting table. Due to army list changes and a slight under performance of my army last week, this week’s army features a unit of 30 Plaguebearers, still with the two magic banners, but no longer in Horde formation. I decided I wanted more depth and less frontage. This meant the interior size of the movement tray was to be 12.5 cm by 15 cm. I allowed for a tiny bit of extra space and 4mm for the three edges. I even wrote the dimension right on the tray after I was done scoring the edges.
Just like last time I put balsa wood along the front. I measured twice and cut once. Then I put balsa wood along the width, cut two matching lengths and started gluing and clamping the sides to the sheet styrene. When it was all clamped I got out my five bases and quickly realized that after trimming the side to the correct width I’d left the movement tray facing the wrong way, what I had made was a 15 cm by 12.5 cm movement tray or 6 models wide and 5 rows deep. This was a bit embarrassing but a good lesson. I removed the clamps from one side, rotated the tray, measured another piece of balsa wood, glued and clamped it.
I got out the five plastic bases and it was a good fit. Six models wide was a tight fit, and wasn’t what I wanted, I think for the Plaguebearers to win combats they need to grind down the opposition. With only one attack base and not particularly great WS or Str what won combats for them last week were the two standardbearers, the magic banner(s), and early on the +3 rank bonus was nice. Later on they still won, but it was lucky, keeping a rank bonus or two later into the game would have helped them I think. In this formation they have 10 wounds to give before they lose a rank bonus, same as when there was 40 of them and the extra points saved will hopefully allow the rest of the army to be more effective.
My mercenaries for the week consist of a Level 2 Night Goblin Shaman who I’ve dubbed Ickybob and in the great tradition of naming Ork regiments, his unit is Ickybob’s Boyz. This week that will be 50 Night Goblin Archers, but in the display case there are 55, 54 including Ickybob. There is a strict 25% max/min, or at least that is my understanding of mandatory mercenaries week, so I have exactly 375 points of Night Goblins in my 1500 point army. 50 Archers, 5 ranks of ten right? Well since I plan to magnetize the goblins and their movement trays, I don’t want to make two trays per unit. Ickybob’s Boyz will rank up 11 wide and still five rows deep. I’m really looking forward to seeing if the Level 2 sorcerer makes a difference, the best I can do magic wise at 1500 points and still have Harold of Nurgle leading the Neatherworldly Mathematicians is a Level 2 and a Level 1 which is what I’ll try this week. I may go with a single Level 2 the week after it depends on if I win my game and if I make any gold in the campaign, plus of course my ability to complete miniature paint jobs.
Well that is more than enough for tonight and today. Hopefully tomorrow starts better as I really do need to find a job.
So even before yesterday’s less than triumphant return to the Warhammer Fantasy battlefield, I was already dreaming up a bigger multi-model base to allow my converted musician and my army battle standard bearer to rank up better. I stopped in at the Urban Source on my walk back from Strategies and bought some magnetic sheets, combined with my stockpile of super strong magnets, balsa wood, and sheet styrene I was well equiped to built my multi-base or regiment base and yet more new movement trays for the units I need to field in week 2 of the Mighty Empires campaign.
I took a lot of pictures and worked on this one base through the wee hours after I couldn’t sleep. The glue couldn’t dry fast enough and my basic design didn’t change but made it more elaborate and now it will be a lot more work to paint, I have six days, hopefully I can do it in two.
First thing I did was layout some of the stuff I would need, including all the sheet styrene I’ve acquired over the last couple years in anticipation of finishing my Ork & Goblin army and building my trench table. I went with sheet styrene for this base as I had it in a lot of different thicknesses and it is actually easier to work with than wood. You just score it with an exacto knife then bend it the other way and it snaps pretty much perfectly clean.
The magnetic sheet you can cut with scissors and I trimmed it with an exacto knife too. I glued it to the sheet styrene. I affixed the super magnet to the bottom of the base with super glue then I put tiny sheet styrene guides to keep the models in the right spot rather than just allowing them to attach willy-nilly to the base.
With that all done it was time to add sand. I also planned to embellish the base and went looking for a Nurgling in my bits box, I didn’t have any, I did find a really old squig. I also cleaned two more of my 28mm Black Cat Bases metal skulls. They are still awkward to clean but once done they glue and paint up nice on bases.
After the sand had dried I sealed it with more white glue. That sand was a bit sparse but I had to let glue dry so I went to bed. I actually got about two hours sleep. Then I woke up and checked on the model and some other stuff.
I’d already jotted down next week’s army list and I even was looking ahead to week three, noting I needed a Herald of Tzeentch so I went looking for one among all the old models I bought back in the day or traded for. I never found a single Horror, but I found a Chaos Sorceror who might do. I also waded through a whole bunch of bits to find all the pieces to a circa 1995 Marauder Fiend of Slaneesh and two Steeds of Slaneesh one with an old metal Daemonette rider.
I also needed to figure out the bases that should go with the models now. I had to rebase my Beasts of Nurgle earlier and I put them on homemade 40mm square bases. The base I was working on right now is about 50mm square. I actually found two resin 50mm square bases and many cavalry bases that came with the Steeds, Fiends, and Fleshhounds. I went on the internet and it appears the new plastic Steeds and Daemonettes are on cavalry bases. I plan to assemble the one I have maybe use it as a Herald some day. I have another Steed which I’ll mount a Chaos Space Marine on someday…
The Fiend appears to be on a 40mm square base which I have none of. I could make one out of sheet styrene but I might look into getting a resin one at Strategies. The model is so old and puny a bigger base would help it stand out.
After rumaging through my grandfather’s old shell case which I use to store blisterpacks and bags of minis. I finally got to see how the new base ranks up with the other plaguebearers and the movement tray I’d previously made. It worked just fine thank you, another tribute to precision engineering.
It was about then or perhaps after lying in bed unable to sleep for a couple more hours I realized I could have put two more Plaguebearers on the base. I would have been better off perhaps gluing them straight to the magnetic sheet, but I already had some sand down. Despite how late at night it was, I got out a variety of tools and clipped, cut, and sanded the tab off two plaguebearers. I test fit them first, but basically I had to glue them to mixture of UHU glue, white glue, and sand.
One of them went on alright, the second one not as well, partly due to cat liter in my sand mix. I gobbed on more UHU glue and went back to bed. Several hours later I was still awake so I got up and removed the extra sand I’d added. The UHU glue must not have been fully hard, or it interfeared with the previous glue, or it was just a bad fit as eventually while fiddling one plaguebearer leaned over and collapsed.
I had to clean off some glue and sand then more forcefully I jammed his feet into the still slightly wet mixture of sand and glue. This time I didn’t use super glue to try and attach him, I tried an epic-ly old tube of Citadel plastic cement that came in some game box set and has lasted me a decade or more, then if that wasn’t enough I got out my super glue and drenched the sand around the plaguebearers feet. That hardened things up and I think it should hold. If it makes it through painting it should get a game tryout next Sunday. If not the next thing to try is epoxy resin.
After again not being able to sleep I finally got up at around six am. My kitchen is pretty empty, I need to do the laundry, go to the doctor and pharmacist, and I plan to visit Darren and double check a few things before I go too crazy with painting and converting for next weeks campaign game. What can you do at 6 in the morning? Well you can get the paper, go to one of the 24 hour cafes on Main Street and read.
I also checked my email and I’m waiting for my doctor’s office to open at 9am. So I decided to use some of this time to type out another rambling blog post, complete with the most pictures ever. A lot of steps and stages went into making one little movement tray. After I confirm my army list for next week I’ll make two maybe three more movement trays, probably out of sheet styrene as it is quicker, but I might make one out of wood, it all depends on the size and shape. I also may be forced to finally finish the bases on some of my goblin hordes, my proposal for 375 points of Night Goblin mercenaries results in 54 bases I need to do…
There were more in-progress shots, plus a bunch of various old minis I’ve horded and sorted through late last night. Here are a couple more snaps I took with the iPhone: