Launch Angle

While the challenge of matching the basing of the weapon teams to the display board was fun, it definitely presented a challenge.  For those of you who have seen the Monte Cassino display board, you know that the shattered arches were a big part of it.
However, they did present a great opportunity to do some dramatic basing!  All the little nooks and crannies allowed me to create additional story telling moments, with ammo cases and other items scattered about.

I used Apoxy Sculpt to make the sandbags, which I thought might make the position look that much stronger.  The arches and most of the broken marble/stone were created using baked Sculpey clay.  The advantage of the baked Sculpey is the ability to break and carve it after it has been baked.

I have a number of basing videos available to my patrons right now, including a series on working with the Sculpey clay!
More to come on the individual infantry, and how they were based, so stay tuned!
A link to the Patreon Page:

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Lannister Charge!

While I have enjoyed all the figures in the Song of Ice and Fire game, the cavalry units in particular really appeal to me .  I love cavalry forces, as you can probably tell by my Lord of the Rings armies!
The Lannister cavalry is particularly ornate, and I have some very fun plans for the painting on these.  Of course, it all starts with basing, and I went through the same process on this movement tray as I did with previous units.

Here’s a peek at how the process works.  This is something that I include in every Army Painter video series, including the most recent Series 4 on the Lannister Halberds:

After a few rounds of Badger Stynlrez primer, they are all set for painting!!
I will be making some tutorial videos for the Lannister cavalry as well, since there’s going to be a lot of dramatic freehand on the barding, blankets and cloaks.

Those will be available to the members of my Patreon Page, some for as little as a $5 pledge each month… along with all the other tutorial videos!  Check that out here:

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Up and at ’em!

I have been waiting for a while to utilize my Rubicon Sdk 250 Alt transports, and the Monte Cassino army seemed to be a perfect time!
The idea was to have a force that seemed to be somewhat cobbled together and ad hoc, taking advantage of the bombardment of the monastery. 

This was painted entirely with brushes, as I didn’t have the time to do the usual airbrush techniques.  It also had to be acrylics so that it would be dry in time!  That meant I put my Secret Weapon paints to good use.

Another reason I had such dramatic differences in transport types and camo patterns was to be able to tell one unit from another!  As you recall, there was no playtesting of this army whatsoever before the event.  I had no idea if I was even going to have units to match order dice the night before dice were gonna roll!

I tried to take advantage of the fact that by this stage of the war, may different uniforms were being warn, and this gave me a chance to secretly “color code” units.  The side benefits were that I had more fun painting that variety, and they looked more interesting.

I have done a number of painting videos on Bolt Action infantry and vehicles.  Here’s an example of one of my Patreon videos, from the “Army Painter” series two.  In this set of 5 videos, I tackled every phase of basing and painting my Winter Soviets.  
Each video is about 2 to 2.5 hours long, and it really covers the process and planning involved:
I will be making more Army Painter series, especially on my upcoming Desert Armies!  I have Italians, DAK, British 8th, Free French, and even Vichy.

Here’s a link to the Patreon Page.  The Army Painter level is $15, and it will give you access to all previous series, along with other single episodes covering other effects:

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Steaks for Dinner

I suppose that working on all the Bolt Action artillery pieces have been the perfect training for creating some fun basing around the new Builder Scorpion crew sets for the Song of Ice and Fire miniatures game. 🙂
Each box contains two of the bolt throwers, with full crew as you see here.

When I looked at the box art, I noticed the steaks that the Knight’s watch had built in front of it.  That seemed to be a very fun way to create the proper setting for the basing.  
Using the same Oxide Paste, glue, sticks and gravel that I have on all of my artillery pieces, I built up a little terrain around the crew, which will get some additional textures after painting.
Sharpening the sticks with my wood carving tool gave the steaks that hand chopped pointed appearance…

I will put mud on the base and the figures, along with snow (and even some icicles!).

You can see a bit of the mud effects on this artillery crew:

Once the mud is applied, then I can do the snow and ice effects.  I want to have parts of it be melted, or at least look trampled on by the crew.  Perhaps even some footprints!

After a quick spray of Badger Stynlrez primer, it’s all ready for painting!  I will be creating a tutorial video on the basing that you see here for the Patreon Page.  There are more war machines coming for Song of Ice and Fire, and we want to be ready to make those look great!
Here’s a link to the page:

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Amidst the Rubble

After painting all my early war armies, this project was a long anticipated challenge.  I had not done very much in the way of camo patterns aside from one of my Charlemagne Division units.
To make things more complex, by the time of Monte Cassino, my Fallschirmjagers had gone through a number of possible uniform colors and patterns.

Adding further to that complexity was the need to match the bases to my display board.  You have already seen those episodes, and how important the broken archways and rubble piles were!

All of these pieces were measured to the board itself, so that the support weapon teams could exist in that rubble and seem as if they had turned it into strong defenses.

As I continue to show images of the rest of the army, I will talk about the various uniform options, and what affected those choices.  Since this was also a brand new army (with no chance to playtest it before the event!), it would be a severe challenge just to know what represented what!
While I had assembled the figures well in advance, the gear they were using was essentially alien to me, as none of it is part of the armies I have been playing for the last few years.
Going from summer of ’41 as “late war” to mid 1944… it was going to be a shock to the system!
Stay tuned for more! 

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Stark Choices

I think most of you know that I LOVE painting horses!  So much, in fact, that I did two different painting tutorials as part of the Painting Pyramid series.  One covered Appaloosa and the other Dapple Grey. 
I love painting horses even more when they are sculpted this well, and the Stark Outriders from the Song of Ice and Fire miniatures game definitely are!
With so many nicely sculpted muscles, I was able to do some very fun color shifts in the shadow areas.  I am not sure if you can see it, but you might notice that the shadow colors are not merely a darker tan shade.  In fact, they are green!

Because there is such a predominance of blue, along with yellows, having that green in the shadow areas is not very noticeable, and registers as grey to the eye instead.  This is not the only place where the green was used.  I also placed in on every metal piece as well.
These fun subtleties in shadow and mid tone areas are not very difficult to work out, ad adding them creates so much additional depth to the piece.
As the Song of Ice and Fire miniatures are a slightly larger scale, this also means you have a bit more surface area to work on.

I will be doing a number of Cavalry tutorial videos for the Patreon Page.  While some will be for the Army Painter series, you will also be able to get access to some for the $5 pledge level as well!
These would also cover specific breeds of horses, such as the two Painting Pyramid videos that are already available to the patrons… here’s a link for you!

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Travel in Style!

It is time to start showing you the army that went with the Operation Sting Monte Cassino display board.  It was a big challenge to tackle this army, as it was so different from the Early War periods.  The equipment, the uniforms, and the vehicles.
I tried to make things seem a bit more Ad Hoc, and cobbled together from various sources.  This is why each vehicle is a different camo scheme.

I tried to make this seem less like a “stock” kit as well by sculpting stowage, and converting a standard infantry figure to be the gunner.

I did not use an airbrush to paint any of the camo patterns, and each was done the “old fashioned” way with my hairy sticks!  I used Secret Weapon weathering paints and the Reaper liner paints to create all the shading and weathering effects.

Here’s a peek at the interior.  Hopefully I will get a chance to do some video tutorials on new vehicles as I expand the army.  I have a number of video tutorials on my Facebook page, as well as on my YouTube channel:

This view shows you the sandbags that I created, using some apoxy sculpt.  Again, the effects all had to be applied rapidly and dry quickly, as the tournament was fast approaching.

I also have some historical painting guides on my Patreon Page now, including an entire 11 hour series on my Winter Soviets, using oil paints.  Check that out here:

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Get to the Point: Part Two

Calling all Lannisters!  Army Painting video Series Four continues with the second episode, the Color Test figure.  Every army needs one, as it not only sets the look and feel of the unit/army, but it will also let you know just how much time this is going to require!

This is the challenge of every army, and that is the limited “currency” of time.  We all want to do amazing effects on our units, but none of us has unlimited time.  Or even a semi-limited time.  Over the years I have learned a number of ways to get effects which normally would be impossible on entire units and armies, such as this Sky-Earth NMM technique.
I have already had to do this on dozens of figures at a time in the past, but this is the first time that I am able to film the process!
All of my Lannister units for Song of Ice and Fire will have this look, which should be very much in tune with the story of Game of Thrones.

As usual, this will be a 5 part series, which takes you all the way through the basing and painting process.  Part one tackled basing the figures and meshing that basing with the rest of the movement tray.  This is the Color Test figure as I mentioned earlier.  Subsequent episodes will take you through the entire unit in various stages.
In all, it will be roughly 11-12 hours of tutorials!  That is the usual time frame for each of the Army Painter series, available on the Patreon Page.

If you are interested in seeing this series of videos, plus the previous 3 series, you can join in on the Patreon Page at the $15 Army Painter level.  Once you are signed up, I will send you links to all the videos so that you can check them out!
Here’s a link for you:

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Color Choices

This is a little peek into the filming of one of my Dark Sword Miniatures painting videos.  Aside from painting figures that I love so much, I also try to come up with a theme for each episode.
I wanted to focus on color choices here… more specifically those “go to” color schemes that we all tend to have.  So, when all else fails as far as a specific theme that you want for a given figure, you go to your “default settings”.

You can see the reference images in this photo of the actual filming process.  At the start of the video, I discuss some of my usual color schemes that I utilize for mages, cloaks, and so on.

I went with one of my most common color sets, which is a blue cloak with deep red lining, and blonde hair.

As with all my videos, everything begins with the Shaded Basecoat phase, followed by some glazing and lots of work in the all important Mid Tone areas!

I also try to include some discussion on basing, and what goes into your choices for flocking and foliage.  In this case, I had several colors of flower tufts from Green Stuff World.

I do at least 3-5 painting videos of Dark Sword figures each month, and each episode is usually 2 hours long.  If you sign up for the Painting Dark Sword pledge on the Patreon Page, that means you will get 6-10 hours of tutorials, plus all the other videos associated with the $5 pledge.
That means the $10 pledge translates to around 12 hours of videos each month.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, each month I paint the same Dark Sword figure twice, using different mediums.  One of the figures is painted in the traditional acrylics, and then I paint the same figure (in the same color scheme) using oil paints!
This particular figure was painted with standard acrylic paints, as you saw in the first image.

The Dark Sword Painting videos are available at the $10 pledge level.  I will send you a link to the YouTube video via the email address that you use for your Patreon account.
Here’s a link to the page!

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Monte Cassino, Part 4: More Rubble!

The final stages of the Monte Cassino board commence.  As I mentioned in a previous post, work was continuing on the figures for the army!
I think you can see the familiar archways on the machine gun team’s base.  It is measured to match the arches on the display board, and I tried to keep the same colors too.
These ruins offered some unexpected benefits, such as places to store extra ammo boxes and other equipment.

Using a spray bottle and some watered down glue, I put some medium and coarse gravel on the lowest layers of the board.  These matched what I had been using on the bases of the figures.

This is just about ready to get some paint!

I sprayed some more of the glue water mix onto the board, so that it would sink down into the cracks and secure more of the rubble and gravel in place.

Using my Badger airbrush and a collection of Stynlrez primers, I started to get a variety of browns, tans, greens and grays to keep the color from getting too static.

More of the reddish brown primer was used towards the base.  Since I used these acrylic primers, there was no issue with ‘melting’ the foam with spray cans, etc.  It also meant that I could be very targeted with my sprays, and get more variety of colors in the shadow areas.

You will notice that the inner courtyard walls have been removed for painting.  This is something that I anticipated early on, which you can see in the first few episodes.  While it is not always easy working with pieces that are not completely attached, the end result made me glad that I went to that extra trouble!

You can see the process of painting that interior here.  The insert shows that I did my old trick of using a torn paper towel as a mask to create some really quick marble effects.  
As this was all going to be in shadow, I was not worried about getting precise details.

Here’s a look at the interior of the walls, and the archway pieces.  I think you can really see how much easier keeping that all unattached made this process!

I glued all those pieces together, and got everything ready for a stage I had been looking forward to.  That is, putting rubble on the upper floor of a building.

This had the potential to be even more tricky than the rubble on the lower levels of the board.
Many figures needed to be placed here, so that they could be easily seen.  Also, this is supposed to be terrain for our games, so it is vital that figures can move around and stand there without falling over.
I concentrated the bulk of the rubble towards the ends of the two openings.  This would be the most visible section, and it would tie in with the rubble piles directly below.

I used the same trick  with the plaster as before, ‘casting’ a flat section of it at about 1/8 inch thick and allowing it to break up naturally.  The leftover small chunks were sprinkled over some watered down glue mix that had been sprayed onto the rubble piles and floors.

Once this dried, it would be ready to paint using the same Stynlrez primer and airbrush.

I just could not resist putting a few things on the board to see what it was going to look like…

Last but not least, I had to rapidly sculpt an objective marker.  Once I saw the photo of a Fallschirmjager standing next to the broken statue of St. Benedict, I had to make this.  I found as many reference images as possible of the restored Madonna statue that stood opposite of the St. Benedict.  
I wanted to have the juxtaposition of a pile of weapons and fuel barrels stacked at her feet as she surveys the destruction and chaos all around her.
The next post will have the images of the completed board along with the figures, so you will get a chance to see the entire story play out!  Stay tuned…

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Swingin’ the Blues

One more of the blue Vikings for you!  These guys are done in the style of my Army of the Dead, just substituting blues for the greenish glow.

Here’s a peek at those Army of the Dead:

The Army of the Dead will also be part of the Army Painting series (the $15 level) on the Patreon Page.  I will take your through the basing process all the way through the glowing and corrosion effects.  I have the figures prepped, and the paints are ready!  
There’s already 3 complete series up on the page now, and each set of episodes contains 10-13 hours of videos.  Here’s a link to the page:

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Monte Cassino: Part 3

Part three of the Monte Cassino display board sees it starting to take shape!  Of course, it would not be much use as a display or terrain board of miniatures could not fit on it… so let’s see a few on the board!

The Machine Gun and Mortar teams were based to make it look like they were taking shelter in the broken colonnade.  While this was done to make them mesh with the display board, it proved to be very handy in making little shelves for them to put all their stuff on!

Now for the cascade of broken tiles and walls!
Just as I described in the previous episode, I pressed the pre cast pieces of plaster onto the surface, with the pressure creating natural breaks in the pieces.

This process was repeated all across the display board at various levels

I had to make 5 or six “casts” of plaster, and I varied the thickness on each.  The inset really gives you a sense of what it looks like up close!

I did have to be careful to keep my ‘platforms’ clear, however, or there would be no place for the support weapon teams!

I also needed to add some details to the existing walls, such as the stone sills and the brick texture.

I did that very quickly with a pen, trying to extend the pattern over both walls.

I like to put some Oxide Paste on the tops of the broken walls, which makes them seem less like foam, and that the bricks may have been pulverized, etc.

I wasn’t going to have lots of extra time to do my usual layering of coarse to fine gravel, so I opted for focusing on the areas which had the least broken plaster bits.
I was going to use some fine flock instead… as I have learned of previous pieces that it almost looks more like dirt/dust than painted sand!

The yellowish material that you see if wood filler.  I found that it can be very good at filling wide gaps, since it is very strong and flexible.  Once that is in place, a thinner layer of plaster can be added over the top.
I think you can see the plastic container in the lower left..  That had left over dried chunks of plaster in it, which made ideal smaller rocks!

I tried to keep the overhanging pieces a bit on the thicker side, and they were set into the glue/plaster mix.  I worked my way all around the Abbey, proceeding down each level of the collapsing sand castle.

The gently sloped lowest level is meant to hold a vehicle or two, but also serve as an easy place to “connect” the other pieces of the terrain board.

Here it is with rubble and gravel applied!!  Stay tuned for the next episode !!

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