Winter Returns

It’s time to get into the winter swing with a few terrain pieces for my winter Bolt Action board.  This will be constructed for multiple theatres and eras, including the Winter War, Hungary, Battle of the Bulge, encirclement of Stalingrad, fighting around Leningrad, and much more!
I will be using scrap pieces from the Barbarossa board that we did last summer and fall.
A few new materials have been added to these kinds of pieces of late, including spackle and plaster mixes.  Note that I saved the pieces which were shaved off the thick foam section…

You have seen me using these small decorative trees before on the Ardennes board.  They are very inexpensive, and I got them from Amazon. 

I glued a piece of the thin underlayment foam on top to extend the height of the hill.  Some additional glue was applied, which will mix with the spackle which I am about to add.
A palette knife was the perfect tool to spread out the plaster, and even mix it with the glue.  This will make the plaster stronger, and hold the gravel and sand mix which is yet to be added.

Once the spackle has been spread out onto the surface, I cut down the small chips of foam into smaller bits, and layered them on top of each other to create a few rock slabs.  I have done this in the past with my terrain pieces, and it always enhances the look of those pieces.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the flock and snow will look like on these!  In fact, I want to have some cliff edges on which I can hang some icicles. 

I smoothed down the spackle and glue mix with a wet brush, so that I can start placing some larger rocks into that wet plaster.

I had a few different types of gravel and sand, which I didn’t get too crazy with, since they will be covered with flock and snow later on.

As you can see, it was a simple matter to shove the trees into the foam with a bit of glue!  I am working on a much larger and elaborate version of this, which will explore the use of the pink foam and plaster a bit more.  Stay tuned!
If you want to see even more terrain building articles, any support that you can offer to the Patreon Page is appreciated!
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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The Darkest Heart

This very nice bust from Black Heart Models was painted mostly with the Mig AMMO Oilbrushers.  Those offer very nice consistency right out of the container, which is identical to ‘regular’ acrylic based miniature paints.
I printed out a few reference pictures to work from, so that I could try some fun color variations on the face and the armor.  As you can see, I liked the ‘hammered steel’ helmet, and went with that.
Here’s the webpage for Black Heart:
http://www.blackheartmodels.com/ecommerce/

I had a lot of fun painting this bust on a Facebook live episode, which you can view here:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10211758937983033/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

I did some finishing details with acrylic paints once the oils had dried.  Working on large scale subjects like these busts are very fun for me, as I have never gotten a chance to do that before!  
The larger size allows me to incorporate even more of my old 2D art techniques.

I’m planning to do more of these historical busts on future Facebook Live sessions, including Hannibal and Vlad!  If the Patreon page receives enough funding, I can do more frequent live sessions and more Patreon videos as well.  Any contribution is helpful, and makes you eligible for the monthly raffle figure!
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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A New Year Dawns!

Earlier this week, I tried out some more new techniques and materials during the final Facebook live session of the year.  I showed some more ways to utilize the mixture of weathering powders and rubbing alcohol to winterize Soviet vehicles.
You can see that episode here:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10211859089046747/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

I had a few Soviet vehicles set up from previous classes which I had taught at Reapercon, where I had demonstrated how to use other weathering powders to work on the shading and weathering of the vehicles.  Now I wanted to show how well that mix of materials can work to make winter whitewash.

Here’s another technique and materials combination that I wanted to show.  This is something that I had done with bases, and I wanted to see if it would work on a vehicle!  
Not only did it work very well, I was able to combine them with one more material to make melted snow on the back deck vents.  That was very critical, as it was the one effect I didn’t think I could get with the Snow texture and flock!

One more test was creating my own mud mixes.  Originally it was going to be plaster and oil paints as I had seen in other demos, but I already had plenty of weathering powders on hand.
They mixed together very well, and I was able to get everything from a heavy mud mix to a very thin version which spattered perfectly!  This also made some fantastic stains on the fluffy snow, which was an unexpected bonus.

As usual, I had gathered as many reference photos as I could of various color schemes and markings.

This was a very fun video to create, and I learned a great deal!  If you would like to see more live sessions such as this, and watch more live experimentation, please drop a contribution on my Patreon page.  Any amount is helpful, and will also get you a chance to win the monthly raffle figure!
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Snow and Steel

Another addition to the very large winter fantasy army includes some classic Chaos Knights.  The old style armor on the horses kinda takes you back to the earlier days of Warhammer…

This was approached in a similar manner to the Beastmen, using a variety of Secret Weapon weathering paints in a series of glazes.

Here’s a link to one of that series that gives you an idea how that’s done.
http://wappellious.blogspot.com/2017/11/shades-of-gray.html

I’m hoping to paint one of these in a facebook live session, or even in a patreon video.  While I try to put as much info into the pictorial articles on the blog, sometimes there’s no substitute for seeing it painted before your eyes!
Here’s a link to the Patreon page if you would like to support that!
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Pork Chops

Here’s another Mierce Miniatures figure painted with oil paints.  I painted it mostly in a Facebook live session, with a link here:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10211659999469632/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

The oils allow for much more “on sight blending”, which means that I can slap some paint on the figure and mix it right there… not necessarily making a specific mix on the palette and bringing that back to the figure surface.

The base is a typical Bark and Branch method.  I have a live session on that as well:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10209658916083798/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

As with the other oil painted figures, I did some finish work on this guy with regular acrylics.  In essence, I am trying to use the oil paints as a souped up Shaded Basecoat technique.  
I work on many figures at once, and being able to use the much slower drying oils means that I can bounce around from figure to figure while the paint stays workable.  While wet palettes can keep the paint wet there, it will dry very rapidly on the figure itself.
So, using these oils let me work on massive amounts of smaller figures at once, or even several very large figures!
I am hoping to show this multiple figure technique in a Facebook live session.  Those are primarily funded by the Patreon page, so any contribution there is very helpful for making those happen is very helpful!
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Hobby Hangout!

Hey folks!  Later tonight, I will begin hosting the first of the Bolt Action Midnight Madness hangouts… part of the Hobby Hangout series.
They have been expanding the number of game systems that are covered, and now we have a place to paint our Bolt Action minis and rivet count like crazy.  Not everyone can get to a game store to paint with friends, or even have a store set up for such things.  This is a great way for people from all corners of the globe to get together and paint the minis they love with a little company from other painters.

I have several armies that I will be painting, especially with my oil paints.  I’ll try to show different basing techniques, and even some terrain pieces as time goes by.  I have a fresh batch of winter German and American troops, and I will enjoy painting them on future hangouts as well!

This snow effect was done using the Secret Weapon Crushed Glass technique.  I really love this technique, because you can create many “types” of snow, from light fluffy ‘cold’ snow to nearly melted snow.  When combined with weathering powders you can even “muddy” your snow…

This figure was done with acrylics several months ago.  I am really looking forward to trying it again with oil paints!  In tonight’s session, I will probably be painting my winter Russians and Bersagleri.
A link will be posted to various groups so that people can join in .  At first there will be a limit of 10 people in the ‘room’ via Google Hangouts, but if it takes off, there can be much more space!

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Happy Holidays!

Part two of the Holiday Series will show the process of making the icing for those Christmas cookies.
As you saw in part one, we decided to make regular cookie shapes out of the nutmeg dough, which was normally turned into log shapes.  Since it tended to keep it shape much better than the gingerbread version, we gave it a try.

Sugar and butter whipped together with vigor and a fork created the base.  Into this mix would go the food coloring.

We set up some containers for the mixing process.  Amazingly enough, we are still using the containers of food coloring which we used on our wedding cake frosting 16 years ago!

Depending on how much of the coloring you place in the mix, you will get a more or less intense result.  I went pretty heavy with this forest green, since we had a lot of Christmas tree shapes!

Since we felt like there was a little more time this year, and there were two of us, a few new colors were added.  The Cyan blue and the forest green were added, and we would be surprised at how many fun options that would provide.

We also set up more of an assembly line.  It’s not just for miniatures!
As we had in the past, we used baggies with a small hole cut in one side.
Cathy would do a bunch of cookies with one color, leaving space for me to place a color that I might have in my hand, such as the lighter green or yellow.

The forest green provided an unexpected bonus… we could make Christmas Goblins!
It can take a little while to get used to painting with a baggy of frosting, but it does work.  Having lots of little candy pieces and flakey bits was very helpful.  I tend to use those a little more each year.
Sometimes as you are plowing through all those cookies, you forget about those little stars and tiny candies.

The D20 shape was not easy to do, but with the frosting warmed up from lots of handling, it “thinned” it down like a glaze on a series 7 brush.
Having multiples of the same shapes meant that you could try out more color combos.  I also like to cover more of the cookie, instead of just doing outlines.

Here’s another peek at the growing stack!  I will try to post as many pictures as I can, although they were kinda packed away before we took pictures of the overall batches on the sheets.

Lots of happy Holiday cheer!  These should keep Santa happy…

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Tis The Season

Hey folks!  It’s that time of year, and it means that I can finally post the Holiday Series!
These are not quite miniatures, and it’s not quite painting, but it is still quite fun.
Yes, Christmas Cookies!  Gingerbread and Nutmeg cookies to be more precise.
Of course it all starts with a good dough.  Using the ancient mixer to stir away at that batter…

The Nutmeg dough is much easier to shape than the gingerbread dough, and it does not fluff up quite as much.  This means the shape you cut should be guaranteed to look like what you intended!

Now for the really messy part.  Or one of the messy parts.  Spreading out the flour on the table to make sure those freshly cut shapes don’t stick!  This is a two person job, and a rotation of fresh chilled dough from the refrigerator and back to the table.
Uppy is very interested in the cookies, as all of the Ugly Dolls are.  We had to watch them closely…

As each sheet baked, we got a chance to try out the new stackable drying racks.  These were a huge boon, and made the process a lot easier than past years, as space is always at a premium.

Cleaning all the dough and flour out of these is not gonna be easy, but they are many of our favorite shapes.

This image gives you an idea of the difference, as you can clearly see the expansion of the gingerbread vs the lighter nutmeg dough.

This was Cathy’s new experiment!  She saw this online, and had to try it.  We did some research, and gathered some materials.  It was decided that the nutmeg dough would be better, since it would keep the impressions much better without that expansion.

The weathering process!  Cathy brushed on some of the cocoa powder, wiping away the excess.  Sounds a little familiar, eh?

In tomorrow’s episode, we get to see some “painting”, including the creation of the paints !!
Stay tuned as Santa’s Workshop kicks into full Holiday gear!!

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Cornered!

At long last, the board is complete!  I built the foliage up on all the corner pieces, done with the same methods as the rest of the board.  I have many other articles here on the blog showing how that is done.
These are designed to make the corners where the two backdrops meet much less noticeable, and give the board as a whole a little more depth.
While I don’t really intend on having actual units hiding out in these corner pieces, the option is there.  The most likely units would be along the lines of mortar teams, which should fit.

Here’s another interesting element that has been added.  I wanted to test some blue LED bulbs for a few purposes… one to make the regular lighting seem more like daylight, but also to create a “nightfighting” appearance!  
This may require a few more of the blue bulbs to provide enough light for pictures, but I am very happy with the extra touch they provide.

While it may be hard to see the difference, it is significant enough for me to notice it right away.  It also made the painted backdrops that much more atmospheric.

For the first time, I moved the short corner backdrop to the opposite side of the table, which allowed me to take a few shots looking into that corner.  I was really happy with the results!

Here’s another low angle view of that same corner, sitting on top of the very large corner hill.  This should be a fun view for any squads of infantry which are set up there!

The view from above lets you see a little more of the actual battle mat.  This is from TableWar, and it is one of several which I will be using for our Bolt Action games.  As I have mentioned several times that one of my goals in these articles is to demonstrate how to build your terrain around the designs of your battle mat.
You can see that I am trying to take advantage of the dirt track on the left side of the hill.

Looking into the far corner, there is a real sense of distance.  I have tried to observed for myself in some of our long distance drives similar types of terrain.  This is actually modeled on what I saw.

The open areas of the mat start to have more impact when you get down to ground level!

I made 3 different corner pieces so that the could be oriented in different ways and switched out.  This is the alternate 3rd piece.
Once these were finished, I shot a few test videos of the board to see what it looked like ‘live’.  I wanted to see what the lighting looked like, and if it could focus well both close up and far away.
My goal is to create video battle reports as well as my previous style of still image format.  Those video versions will require a lot of editing and upload times, so I may have them be patreon initially.
Anyway, look for a Facebook live video test on this soon!
The patreon link:
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Secrets of the Past

Continuing the finishing stages of the Black Heart Models bust means briefly switching to acrylic paints.  I will be using a few of the Secret Weapon Miniatures weathering paints, such as this Verdigris color.
The vast majority of the bust was painted in a Facebook live session here:

I darkened it with a bit of Emerald from Vallejo.  While I don’t want to emphasize the copper too much, I thought that it would tie in nicely with the bust, the design that I will paint on the plinth and make the name plate on the back more integrated.

Speaking of the nameplate, you can see what I am talking about.  I thought that making it part of the weathering would make it interesting and less noticeable.

I tried to build up a bit of the verdigris on the upper surface as well.  This will continue up into the bust itself.

Once again, the company logo is worked into the weathering as I begin to do a few streaks.

I did some more streaks on the front of the plinth, and then did some research to look for Mongolian designs…

I tried to stick with something simple, and that would lead up to the face, and work with the medallion on the chest.  I thought I could get away with one burnt sienna tone and the verdigris colors in combination.

The design is hashed out a bit more, checking to see how much attention it might draw away from the bust itself.

Instead of doing a series of outlines as I saw in the reference image, I thought I would do some shading of it instead.  This way I could tone down the design a little if it became too much.

Just about done!  There will be another post coming up with the final images of the whole piece.
I have a few more of these fantastic busts from Black Heart Models that I will be painting in Facebook Live sessions, and also in special Patreon videos.  They might even be one of the monthly figure raffles as some point.  If you would like to join in on the fun, the Patron page is here:
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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It Ain’t Easy Being Blue…

Some folks might remember the Army of the Dead figures that I painted years ago that used the Vallejo fluorescent paints… in that case it was the green color.
The idea was to make them ethereal, semi glowing but also rusted and corroded.  You can see those in the Army of the dead section of the blog:
http://wappellious.blogspot.com/2016/04/army-of-dead.html

For this unit, the colors were required to be blueish in nature.  So, after an initial primer painting with the Stynlrez primers, I did a few washes of the blue fluorescent paint over that pre shading.
It is important to note that the paint is very very thick, but it is also extremely transparent.  Such is the nature of the paint.  You will have to thin it a lot.
I then started to mix in some lighter colors with that fluorescent blue, creating more lighter areas.

Once I had that worked up to the lightest level, I would be able to start making the glazes of corroded colors over the top.  It is a much easier approach.

Much of this will be darkened down and tinted with darker blues, greys and especially the weathering paints.  This is why I went lighter than the final result… giving me more ‘space’ to work with

Using a few of the Secret Weapon weathering paints, I started to make random glazes into mostly recessed areas, but not exclusively.  The idea is to leave some parts of the glowing areas come through.
Shield surfaces, hair and boots are not a bad spot to have more of the corrosion and earth tones.

For the areas of rust, a handy rust color was glazed into crevices…

Brown liner was used to glaze in some of the deepest warm darks.  Once again, I had to remember not to get too crazy with all the warm colors, since shading things a darker blue is also part of the plan!

You can see that gradually more details emerge as I define the deepest darks.

By creating the middle tone and deeper bluish glazes, things like the cloaks take on more shape.

I will post more images of the finished versions so you can see how this all worked out!   Painting groups of figures like this is something that I have been trying to do in hangouts, so that people can get a better idea of how all that is approached.
I’m hoping to be able to do more of that in the Facebook live sessions, and possibly in the future Patreon videos, once I get those worked out.
Any contributions to the Patreon page definitely help to make that a bit easier!
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Chop Chop!

This rather large beastie is from Mierce Miniatures, and is one of the first  monster sized figures that I attempted to paint with oils.  On this figure, I went even further with the oil paints than previous sessions, where I had only painted 40-50% with oils.
I typically finish off the detail areas with standard acrylic paints once the oils have dried. 

Here is a link to the live session where I used the oils:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10211515280171740/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

As you can see, I have gone in with some refinements with the acrylics, such as adding the purple tones, a few spots and markings, as well as blood effects on the weapon and chopped up torso (from Secret Weapon Miniatures, BTW!).

The added touch of the lighter purples is meant to break up the larger areas of blueish gray/green, and make those bigger expanses more visually interesting.

I also have a link to the facebook live session where I created this base:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10209658916083798/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

I am hoping to do many more facebook live sessions along these lines.  People have been able to get a lot of valuable information out of these two to three hour sessions!
If you can support this process with a donation to my patreon page, that would be most helpful.  Anyone who pledges is also eligible for the monthly raffle figure, with the first raffle already taken place.  
https://www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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