Monday 8 August 2011

Army Painter

I cannot tell a lie, I am an unashamed fan of Army Painter. For a self-confessed mediocre painter (compounded by the fact that I don't see in 3D!), it's a godsend. All I ask of my armies is that they pass the 'two-feet test' - do they look decent from normal gaming distance? I'm never going to win a best-painted army contest at a tournament, but... at least mine are painted, and you can tell what they're meant to be. So the Army Painter approach of blocking on the colours and letting the dip pick out some of the details is by far and away the best for me.

The small corner of my desk dedicated to spray cans has been growing of late, and for good reason - the current stash runs to:

  • Matt Black - horses, character figures, sometimes Romans
  • Human Flesh (had to buy this on eBay as Army Painter have discontinued it - c'mon, guys!) - Celts/Ancient Britons (man is THIS ever a timesaver!)
  • Dragon Red - ECW
  • Navy Blue - ECW
  • Fur Brown - chariots, artillery (again with the massive timesaver)
  • Army Green - WW2 Brits
  • Matt White - everything else (I've flirted with the Citadal black and white sprays, but I don't think they cover quite as well, or dry as fast).
  • Anti-shine spray - everything!
As I have some Normans and possibly some Parthian cataphracts coming up, I may well invest in the Plate  Mail spray as well. 

I'm also hearing good things about the AP superglue, of all things, from Trev at Rift, and their brush line. My one gripe is the dip does seem prone to dry up unless you're super careful with the lid of the tin, which means not wiping the brush on the edge, and using subtlety and a hammer to re-close the lid. 

Running out, and goop

Made a sizeable dent in the unpainted stash this past couple of weeks - a unit of EIR Auxillae (Warlord), as well as a start on an army of Brigantes tribesmen (and women) (mixed Warlord plastics and metals and Wargames Factory). The latter is for the narrative WAB campaign just starting at the club to replace the original planned Roman Civil War campaign (get well soon, Phil), It should be interesting since my army is a mix of the aforementioned Brigantes led by the much neglected Queen Cartimandua, with assistance from a bunch of Roman Auxillae. Usual last minute painting job - first session is tonight!

In doing this, I found myself running out of assorted stuff right, left and centre - black undercoat spray (horses), white undercoat spray (most other things), dark brown, red, grey, black acrylics, usable brushes, and worst of all the Tamiya dark earth textured paint I use for basing.

Most of this was no problem - Trevor down at the Rift in Peterborough is our Friendly Local Games Shop proprietor, and he usually has a decent stock of most things - but the only local stockist for the Tamiya paint is our other excellent local emporium, Trains4U. "No problem", I thought on Saturday, "won't need it till Sunday, can nip out and grab some after church tomorrow, and win Wife Points by having gardened today..." Imagine my unconfined joy to discover on Sunday lunchtime their Sunday opening is quote "winter months only."

Right. Time to cook up a replacement - basically the Tamiya stuff is a thick earth-brown goop containing sand-like particles. A quick trawl of various blogs suggested everything ranging from coloured Polyfilla to a mix of PVA, acrylic sealant, sawdust, paint and casting plaster, but in the end I plumped for a fairly simple recipe: roughly equal parts sand, PVA and dark earth paint. (The one downside of this is that the only dark earth paint I had to hand is a jar of Citadel Graveyard Earth, which is pretty much now an empty jar of Citadel Graveyard Earth - note to self to buy something suitable in bulk from someone other than Citadel).

And it worked - obviously, it does dry in the mixing pot over time (nothing that a surprisingly small amount of water won't stave off), but if you get the proportions right it's better than the Tamiya in it can be worked with a brush around feet and bases, and has the great advantage of containing enough PVA to allow me to dip straightaway in my favourite Javis Moorland Scatter.

All in all? Happy. And I'm done bar the last coat of Army Painter anti-shine, which I'll spray on when I get home from work and should be dry in time for club. It would be the same without an army smelling of varnish, anyway!
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