Create Your Own Wet Palette (Oz & NZ edition)

I have previously written a blog, Wet vs Dry Palettes: What Are They and When To Use Them , after getting many questions, both in class and online. However, there are still questions on how to make your wet palette and how to keep it from drying out. This is crucial for Aussies or anyone living in a warmer and drier climate. 

The reason this is labelled the Oz and NZ edition (Australia and New Zealand) is because all of the items I will be showing in this blog are easily found at most grocery stores in both countries. You can find equivalents in your home country pretty easily just by looking at your options available.

 

Supplies

1 LARGE Sistema Container
1 Roll of Multix Baking Paper/Baking Parchment
2 European Cloth Sponges/Compressed Cellulose Sponge Sheet
 

The reason I stipulate that you need a LARGE wet palette is because, inevitably, when I don’t stipulate, people find the smallest container in the shop and then get frustrated when the sponge and paper dry out quickly or when they run out of room after mixing three colors. Find a big palette. I promise you, you will use the space. The larger wet palettes also hold more water which means your sponge will stay wet longer. 

In order to construct your palette, you need to take the Sistema container and flip it upside down so the lid is the bottom of the palette. This is where you will sit your sponge. The reason we want to use a container like the Sistema is so that we can use the bottom of the container as the wet palette lid. This means that when you are not using your palette, you can put the lid on it, close it up and your paint will stay wet for days, weeks even. 

This is a 3.5L Sistema. This is the smallest I would suggest using for a wet palette. I use a 7L one. 

This is a 3.5L Sistema. This is the smallest I would suggest using for a wet palette. I use a 7L one. 

Depending on the size of your Sistema you may need to cut and arrange your sponges to fit. You will need to wet the sponge first then measure and cut as the sponge will expand when it gets wet. A few notes on sponges quickly, I recommend using ONLY Compressed Cellulose Sponge Sheet in your wet palette. This is after watching other people’s palette constructions and how they perform. So far, the way I put my palette together seems to stay wet the longest out of any configuration. 

The sponge sheet lays low in the palette tray. That means that the water stays soaked in the sponge. If you get a larger cellulose sponge that actually rises above the top line of the Sistema Lid means your sponge will dry out faster as it has more air exposure and the faster your sponge dries, the faster your paper dries which means the faster your paint dries. I see people getting frustrated as their palettes start drying out within an hour of using it. My palette configuration stays wet for days, even in the hot Australian Summer heat. 

You will also see people suggesting to use paper towels layered up instead of a sponge. It will work but it does dry out faster. And the paper towel will eventually disintegrate or get moldy. I tried this method once upon a time and it definitely isn’t the best. It also increases waste by having to change the towels frequently. 

I have also seen palettes that use packing foam, not a sponge. The packing foam doesn’t actually hold water, it just sits in the water. So it does nothing for keeping your paper wet. You need a sponge as it soaks up the water which means the water is up against your baking paper which keeps the paint wet. 

 

This is two sponges, one full sponge and the second is cut up to fit as much space in the palette as possible. Use a sponge that lays flat within the dimensions of the tray instead of sitting above the top edge of the lid. 

This is two sponges, one full sponge and the second is cut up to fit as much space in the palette as possible. Use a sponge that lays flat within the dimensions of the tray instead of sitting above the top edge of the lid. 

Once you have your sponge fitted in your Sistema Lid, you need to add more water. The line of the water should be at the top line of the sponge. You should see a sheet of water sitting on top of the sponge but your parchment shouldn’t float around when you place it your palette. 

The sponge is saturated with water and I can see a thin sheet of water over the sponge. However, the entire plane isn't flooded. 

The sponge is saturated with water and I can see a thin sheet of water over the sponge. However, the entire plane isn’t flooded. 

Then you need to add your baking paper. I actually cut mine just a little smaller than the lid as it will relax and expand as it gets wet. I belive it is important to cut the paper so it fits instead of leaving any edges that dangle over. Again, this has to do with keeping the palette wet longer. I don’t have issues with my paper drying out or edges curling at all as all of my parchment lays flat against a wet sponge. Keeping all of the materials flush against each other, helps to trap the water which means you have less evaporation, which keeps your whole palette wet longer. 

Once I cut it, I lay it down on the sponge and smooth it with my fingers. Then I flip it over and do the same on the other side. This way, both sides of the paper get saturated with water which allows the paper to expand, relax and keep more moisture closer to your paint. 

Then you just add your paint, about 1cm away from the edge of the paper. I lay my paint out so it is around the edges of the palette which leaves the middle as my mixing area. 

 

Ta Da! We have a Wet Palette that is ready to use. But wait, how will I keep it clean, you ask? 

Well, firstly, I recommend rinsing the sponge out after every project and changing the paper every project. That will go a long way. That said, Mark and I add just a tiny spritz of Ammonia Free Windex to our palettes. The Windex acts as a detergent which keeps mold at bay but not away forever. It will also make your palette smell nice and fresh. 

When you notice your sponge is starting to go grey then it is probably time to throw it out and find a new one. Keeping a dirty palette increases your chances of getting sick. In order to take care of yourself, you need to take care of your tools. 

One Last Tidbit . . .

Something that is NEVER discussed but I’ve been playing with lately is the color of your sponge. If you use a sponge that is not white, it will affect the tones you are mixing. This is called Color Relativity. Any time you have multiple colors in proximity to each other, they bounce off one another and it affects the way we perceive all the colors combined in a composition. This is what we mean when we say a color scheme harmonizes. When all of the colors work well together and don’t class, it is because once they all reflect off each other, they look like a cohesive scheme and it produces harmony. 

This is something we always think about when we are painting the model and trying to choose a color scheme but we rarely, if ever, think about how the color in our palette will affect our overall tone of painting. 

The easy break down is this: 
Using a yellow sponge will mean your colors will likely shift slightly towards yellow in overall tone. 
Using a pink sponge will mean your colors will likely shift more towards red. 
Using a blue sponge will get provide a cooler color scheme overall. 
And so on and so forth. 

So, if you want a true representation of your color, find a white sponge. I also paint swatches in my white paper sketchbook to check what I’m seeing is accurate for the tone I want. Currently, I’m switching around my sponges depending on what I want my overall color scheme to be. I’m currently painting a ranger set in the forest which is a very green ambient color, so using the green sponge means I need to mix a slight amount of green in all of my colors to have them appear correct against the green sponge. That means I will have a slightly green tone to my colors suggesting green is present in the environment. 

I hope this has provided some insight as well as some food for thought. If you guys have any questions feel free to message me. 

Happy Friday from Oz

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Feel the Heat

This addition to the massive Imperial Fists army gave me a chance to test out a few new things… the addition of weathering powders (I didn’t have those years ago when I last painted the old dreads), and the Secret Weapon “Heat” paints.

This guy was painted to match a number of previously painted Imperial Fists vehicles from years past.
Here’s a link to some of the older stuff:

http://wappellious.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-eagle-has-landed-first-set-of.html

It had been so long, I had to go back through the blog to find the images and get a sense of what they really looked like. 🙂

The view from above shows how much heftier this is than those old plastic dreadnoughts.

Ground level!

And then a few peeks at those Secret Weapon Miniatures “Heat” paints.  They are even more fun on metallic paints.  They are very translucent, but still highly saturated.  I have started using these with my fluorescent paints to create Object Source Lighting, because they have a very similar consistency.

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Red Box Games Njorn Hirdmen

It’s been a little while since my last post but I wanted to wait until I’d finished this set of models completely before posting anything. As the title says it’s more RBG stuff and long time followers and those with a good memory may notice that these are part of an ongoing commission. I’ve lost track of how many Njorn/Norse types I’ve painted as part of this job but even with these there are more still to come!

Anyway, onto the models which personally I don’t think are RBGs best. They’re multi-part models so come with separate heads and weapon hands. There are five different bodies and heads. I was initially a bit surprised at how flat the bodies were. I’ve kind of seen a bit of that in other models from RBG but these are very two dimensional looking. Once painted though it wasn’t quite so obvious so that’s good. I found the heads to be a poor fit on the bodies as well with some only really fitting anywhere close to comfortably on certain bodies. That kind of defeats the purpose of having separate heads. A couple needed trimming down before fitting them as well as they looked like they had a couple of extra vertebrae. All needed gap filling. I’m sure the short spears have a real world equivalent but I find them a little odd being so used to seeing models with longer weapons.

Griping aside, here are the models.

Like I say, I have more to do. There are another ten of these but with hand weapons instead and then some better quality characters. I’ll have a bit of a change and do some other bits first though as the limited range of colours used on them can get a little dull after a few models.

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Metalhead Minis: Unboxing, Warhammer 40K, 8th Edition!

June 17th, 2017, the day we have all been waiting for – Warhammer 40K, 8th Edition! Wanted to share my experience of unboxing one of my sets with you all.
Thank you to Warhammer Fort Worth, as that is where I got our sets from. Thank you to Alexia for picking them up (since I was stuck at work all day).
Congrats to GW for having their largest game release in GW history!

Check out Warhammer, Fort Worth on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/WarhammerFortWorth/

Thank you for watching!
Be sure to like, comment, and share!

BE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR WEBSITE!
There are icons that take you to each of our social media profiles!

https://www.metalheadminis.com/

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Waterfall

As promised, the final images of the waterfall base!  This was originally painted in a facebook live session:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10210396618125888/?type=2&theater

The video shows how the base was painted with Badger Stynelrez primers, and how the foliage was selected and added.  Once that was set up, I went ahead with the planned waterfall effect, using the Liquitex Heavy Gloss Gel.

It takes a while for it to dry, depending on how thick it is applied.  However, it is very strong and solid, and really holds its shape!  You can see in the image on the right that I could even have some water overflowing the edge of the base itself!

This is also a less expensive option than the usual Vallejo Water effects which I have used.  Please check out the link to the video and see how that all worked out!

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Off to the Races

This is one of several converted chariots that I created for my Tomb Kings army.  
I sculpted the “blanket” for the horses out of green stuff, which was then cast once cured.  This meant that I could make more of them in a lot less time!

To make the cast, I smushed some green stuff into my mould, and placed a sheet of tin foil over the top, cut to size.  Not only did this allow me to get the green stuff out of the mould more easily, it let me position it as I wished.  The tin foil gave it stability as it cured, so that it would not sag, etc.

It also gave it strength while I was painting it, so that it didn’t move around with each brush stroke.

I believe this was inspired by the image on the cover of the Tomb Kings book, which showed chariots pulled by horses with this kind of blanket.

The chariot and crew are also here:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/322555016571?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

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Skyfall

This group shot is comprised of Algroyn units from the Gates of Antares universe.  As you can see, I was experimenting with a few different color schemes!

This post features one of the infantry units, done in an ice theme:
http://wappellious.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-ice-warrior.html

I also did a facebook live episode on painting the skimmers, and the freehand involved:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10209514481873033/?type=2&theater

To show how I made the bases for the figures, I did this facebook live session:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10209658916083798/?type=2&theater

The Algoryn skimmers were the perfect shape for those animal faces!  I have a few other predatory critters that I will be doing, such as birds of prey and a dragon face.

I had a lot of fun with the jungle foliage as well!
You can find these figures on the Warlord Games site here:
https://us-store.warlordgames.com/products/algoryn-starter-army/?utm_campaign=jamiet&utm_medium=click&utm_source=fbba

Here’s another video episode on how the C3 Transporter freehand was painted:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10209626582475478/?type=2&theater

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Stop, Thief!

The adventuring party shows its darker side with this thief from Reaper Miniatures.

I did some basic non metallic metal with a purplish gray, mixed with lighter seafoam green to lighten it.

Just like other members of the party, I used the Green Stuff World leaf punches to create some nice ground cover.  Remember, if you are going to utilize those punches, you always want to have a nice collection of dried, pressed leaves handy!

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