The Pondering Paladin

Dark Sword figures have been making ideal subject matter for the tutorial videos now for months, and it is pretty obvious why!

There’s always plenty of fine detail, especially on the faces.  They also tend to tell a strong story, which makes basing them even more fun!
In this case, I was able to cut the figure away from the original “broccoli base” with a razor saw, and get him on a nice ruins style base!

Other more minor things which make a difference are areas such as the chain mail.  Chain mail tends to be sculpted too roughly, or nasty mould lines running through it.  Certainly not the case here!  It was quite easy to get some nice shading and color tones onto the chain mail, which was a nice treat.
You can find them all at the Dark Sword home page:
https://www.darkswordminiatures.com/shop/index.php/miniatures/george-r-r-martin-masterworks.html

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Color Testing

The latest series of Army Painting tutorials for the Patreon Page is near and dear to my heart, as I replace my old Easterling army which had been sold off over the last few years!
It feels great to be working on them again, but now armed with knowledge that I did not have at the time.  Here are a few snapshots of the second episode of the series, where I paint a color test figure.

I had a few new things to try out as well, including the new Reaper Miniatures Clear Orange prototype!  Anne knows how much I love the clear paints, and she is trying to create some more additions to that line.  In conjunction with the Sepia Liner that she made last year, I was well equipped for painting my Easterlings!

As always, I try to go much deeper into the concepts than the painting alone.  I discuss the use and expenditure of time, which is a valuable currency for all of us!  The point of a color test figure is to see if all the special things you had visualized in your head are actually possible to execute on the figures in a reasonable time.

Each little “extra” costs you more time currency, which includes things like freehand and NMM.  However, doing a color test figure (or two!) can prepare you for the mass painting of the unit.  You can start to figure out a few shortcuts and ways to save some of that time…

I attempted to show simple methods to making your army look more unique and special, but keeping that time expenditure as low as possible!

Each of these Army Painting series is typically 11-13 hours of tutorials which span 4-6 episodes.  These videos are available on the $15 Army Painter pledge level.  By the way, that also lets you view “stand alone” episodes which are filmed each month on other topics, genres and materials.
So far, I have done some Age of Sigmar Daughters of Khaine, a unit of Bolt Action Winter Soviets, and now the Easterlings.  I am adding the Song of Ice and Fire units to this as well!

The second episode of Series 3 is now up for viewing to the patrons!  You can join in on the Army Painting series on the Patreon Page here:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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A Mountain that Moves

This massive hunk of resin is from Puppets War.  To give you an idea of scale, the base is the size of a DVD!

He was a good choice for an experiment using the Army Painter Strong Tone, which I had tried out a few months ago as I was helping someone paint a Bolt Action army.

It seemed like it could be useful, especially for my bark and branch bases, which have lots of craggy surfaces similar to this.  While the Reaper Liner and Secret Weapon Weathering paints work well, I thought having the Strong Tone working with them could be an interesting combination.
I was very pleased at how it dried, which was very matte, and it left no water marks!  It was very similar to the Vallejo washes that I loved so much.  
The mushrooms were sculpted out of green stuff… done to match many other bases from the same “faction”.

It is a perfect tone of sepia, and it has worked well with historical figures and many other genres as well.  It says ‘ink’ on the jar, but it is not shiny or runny at all.  The formulation  is quite similar to those Vallejo products that I mentioned. 
Out of the jar, it is actually thicker than you would expect… but it really gets down into crevices!  This is something I will certainly be working into the newest painting videos, so stay tuned…

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Ground Attack

As soon as I saw the Song of Ice and Fire game (and how the figures interacted with the movement trays), I knew that it would give me a chance to try my “Bark and Branch” basing method on something completely new!
In the past I have either multi based units for Kings of War, or made decorative square bases for Warhammer armies that fit side by side on a tray.  This would be very unique, as I would have to match individual round bases to fit in an overall tray.  An added challenge is to make it possible to ‘drop in’ the heroes or banners as well.
I started out with some of those characters here…

Once I knew I wanted to have that look, it was time for the unit itself.  I positioned the figures into the tray, and started to get pieces of tree bark ready.

Just as I did for the special characters, I sliced off a few figures from their round bases with a razor saw.  I always use a rubber Jeweler’s block to make that process easier and safer.
A hole is drilled in the foot, and a pin in place.  The oxide paste is used as mortar, like usual, and a drop of super glue as well to press the flat tree bark in place.

A bit of glue and oxide paste is placed on top of the bark so that I can add a few pieces of gravel and some fine sand.

The pin holds the figure in place on the base, and he is set back into the tray.  I few more figures are also taken off their bases, but not too many.  First, this will save some time, but it also gives each figure a slightly different height, instead of each one finding a convenient rocky outcrop to stand on!

To get the different levels, I used just the Oxide paste and some glue to place smaller bits of bark (usually what was broken away from the larger pieces) into that mortar.

I worked my way around the tray, sometimes putting almost no tree bark on a given base.  The idea was to make it seem like there is a pattern to the rocks, instead of those perfectly even spaces out crops!

With all the figure bases complete, the next challenge begins, and that is matching the tray to the bases.  It can be very easy to “lock” your figures in place, so you will need to be very careful as you apply your glue and paste.

As the paste can start to set up quickly, I mix a bit of white glue with it, and that extends the work time of the material slightly.  You also don’t want to get too much glue, gravel and bark into the slots, etc.

Where there are base that have a figure standing on a piece of bark, I try to arrange some bark around that surrounding area.  Also, as the special characters tend to be standing on out crops, I try to have more pieces of bark on the front row of the tray.

You can see that I am working my way through the unit, until the entire tray is covered.  There are some areas that have very little bark or even gravel.  This is where I can either add snow or some kind of flock.

The completed tray!!  I will be doing many more of these as I get the figures ready for playing.  Tutorial videos will be created of this process as part of the Army Painter pledge level on the Patreon Page.  In fact, next month’s video series (about 12-14 hours of lessons!) will feature an Ice and Fire unit.
Each series begins with basing, as you see here.  I will then take you through the process of creating color test figure, and then the rest of the unit.
My goal is to show you several ways of painting your figures, some in NMM and others using Metal Medium to create a TMM effect.  Then I will paint other units in oils!
That is all available on the Patreon Page at the $15 level:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Lord of Slaughter

Another new series of videos are about to be added to the list of tutorials… Creature Caster!
These large beasties are highly detailed and that makes them perfect for creating how to videos.

Here’s an example of a test video that was done in a Facebook Live session:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10213076676925683/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

Since the parts are very interchangeable, it allows me to paint these in smaller sections, so I can still get them on camera despite their overall size.

This is one of several that are under way right now.  In this instance, I am working with acrylic paints.  I have a few others in progress that focus on oil painting.

Obviously I made good use of my Vallejo Fluorescent paints, injecting them into each color that was added, which enhances the saturation by quite a bit.

There will be a few different levels for the Creature Caster pledges, including one for the miniature itself!  You will be able to see those here on the Patreon Page:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Law of the Jungle

Next up from Victoria Miniatures we have the Arcadian Guard.  As usual, they are available in both male and female squads:
https://victoriaminiatures.com/collections/regiments-of-the-galaxys-finest/products/arcadian-guard-universal-5-woman-squad

There are plenty of spare bits to go along with every squad, so you can make unique individual figures.  You see fewer and fewer of the “build your own” multi piece figures these days, where you can mix and match torsos, heads, arms, etc.

When I created my Highland guard army, I was utilizing pieces from several different squad types.  There are even sets of kneeling and sitting legs, which were wonderful to create tank commanders and tank riders.

I especially enjoy the command and NCO options.  Lots of personality and character!

Let’s see what they look like as a whole unit…

And as a massive horde! 🙂  I have two more forces of this size under way.  They will be painted with oils, as these figures were.  I will be making some painting videos of the process.
There are also plenty of videos showing how to approach painting and army on the Patreon Page.  Some of the Victoria Miniatures armies will be shown in tutorials available here:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Tutorial Series 2: Painting Soviets

Series Two of my Army Painter tutorials was a very different set of videos for me to film.  It was the first time I tried doing a unit painting exercise on camera with oils, and it was the most bases that I filmed under construction!
This was a four part set of tutorials, which has a running time of about 11 hours.  It covers the entire process from basing to painting to snow effects.

I try to show you how I go about making the bases, but also having a conversation about the thought process, and how it relates to the game system, available time and materials cost.

The idea is to present as many options as possible, instead of a “here’s the one way you can get this done” approach.  I often experiment with new materials and techniques in each episode along the way to reinforce the multiple option idea.

Painting the unit with primarily the Mig Ammo Oilbrushers was a lot of fun!  I have been using the oils on many of my figures over the last few years, and not only historical minis like these.

As usual, I try to show more ways to get the same result.  For me, the oil paints are a huge time saver, as I am painting a host of other figures at the same time… vehicles, monsters, etc.

This is what the figures looked like after the third episode.  You could stop right here if you wanted, but I just had to do a number of snow techniques!

My goal in the final episode was to demonstrate two primary methods using 2 different sets of materials, and then test out various combinations of them on screen.

I do have an example of this in one of my Facebook Live sessions:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10212572308356784/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

Each time I show a different method, I point out differences in the relative advantages and disadvantages.  In the end, my choice was the combination of techniques/materials.

I am now on Series 3, which is taking on a few more new concepts.  This latest series focuses on “rebuilding” an army from scratch, matching a previously painted army.  It also covers a few techniques in “army painting” form that are normally reserved for single figures.

You can get on the Army Painter pledge for $15, which will get you all the current episodes, as well as other tutorials each month not related to the specific unit painting lessons!  Here’s a link to the page:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Basing the East: Lord of the Rings

The first step in rebuilding my old Easterling army is to create the bases!  Of course, I love basing, so that was going to be very fun.  Since I did the original army, new techniques have been added… especially the “Bark and Branch” method.

As I make the bases, I make sure to point out how the bases must be constructed to match the ‘footprint’ of the figure, and also be a playable piece based on the rules system as well.
I was really looking forward to seeing what they would look like on the dramatic tree bark bases.

I also wanted to keep the look of the original broken marble/stone bases, so we break out the Sculpey sheets and the carving tools to create them.

A very unique aspect of the Lord of the Rings system is that you need both mounted and unmounted versions of your characters and cavalry.  They can be unhorsed in a few different ways, but they usually survive!
This means mimicking whatever was done with the primary cavalry figure.  I made sure to have a few examples of this, including the Dragon Knight/Captain.

I wanted to do the same for the banner bearer, but in sculpey!  The original pairing was done on broken marble bases, so it seemed quite appropriate to reprise that once more.
Here’s a post on those minis from the old army:
http://wappellious.blogspot.com/2015/01/foot-and-hoof_10.html

Whenever possible, I try to do a few marble painting demonstrations.  This was a perfect opportunity to do so!  It does not take a complicated process to create something amazing, and easy to replicate across an army or unit.

Once the filming of Part 1 was complete, I had a number of figures ready for the subsequent painting episodes.  Just like the first two series, I try to have a conversation about the “currency” of time, and how each choice that you make in basing and painting the army makes it more costly in those terms.
Hopefully these methods give you some ideas, and also allow you to add some extra zest to your units and armies, but leaving you more of that currency to spend on other projects. 🙂
With each Army Painter set of videos (about 12 hours of tutorials each), I try to delve into things like Object Source Lighting, Non Metallic Metals, Freehand and other techniques not usually associated with army painting.

Here’s a complete view of what was created during the 2+ hours of filming!  The next several episodes will cover all aspects of painting the unit, focusing on matching the color scheme of the original army!
Subscribing to the Patreon Page at the $15 Army Painter level will provide access to all of the new videos, as well as previous series.  That is here on the Patreon Page:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Painting Dark Sword: Anti-Paladin

It has been a lot of fun painting the Dark Sword miniatures for tutorial videos, since they are packed with a lot of fine details which show up on camera quite nicely!
I’ve been working hard to get a second “palette camera” in place, and this was the first video where I tested it!

That worked out pretty well, and I have made more modifications to it since.  Now, the figure is in a more natural painting position for me, and it takes up a far larger portion of the screen.  Since I am using XSplit to record the videos, I can change the size of the palette screen when necessary, right as I am recording!  That is very cool!

For this episode, I was working with the Reaper Clear and Liner paints, doing a number of glazes.  For the second Dark Sword painting episode, I will do the same figure in oil paints.  I want to do this each month, because I think it could really provide some additional perspective on both mediums.
People can’t tell which of my figures are painted in oils or acrylics when they look at them.  Heck, most of the time I can’t even remember myself!  It really has more to do with time saving and efficiency.

The Dark Sword pledge is $10, but there are also a few other levels available.  These offer “hard copy” versions of the videos on USB drive, and even the miniatures themselves!!
You can find that on the Patreon Page here:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Nocturna Begins!

I was very happy to add a Nocturna Miniatures pledge to the Patreon Page last month!  I love those miniatures, and they are my favorite large scale figures to work with.
For the first Nocturna miniature that was officially part of the Patreon pledge structure, I needed to create a decent base.  This would create more of an “environment” around the figure, like a vignette diorama.
I decided on a Bark and Branch method base, which I have done many times here on the blog and in Facebook Live sessions:
https://www.facebook.com/james.wappel/videos/vb.1056181987/10209658916083798/?type=2&video_source=user_video_tab

I chose the bark as my primary material due to the way it matched the “slate” look of the stones on the resin base.  It was a faster way to extend that partial base than using apoxy sculpt to physically sculpt it all.  I will probably do that on a future piece, just to show how that works.
I was able to shave down a few pieces of the bark to create some upright and angled pieces to mirror those on the resin base.  It took a few layers placed around it to make it match a bit better.

As usual, oxide paste (in this case a brownish version of it) was used as “mortar” between the layers, and as a way to build up some texture as well.  If you add some wood glue into the mix, you can place larger rocks and rough gravel too.

This gives you a better view of that upright section of bark.  You can see that I made a “cascade” or progressively smaller rocks and boulders moving down the the wooden plaque.  I could drop in my finer gravel and sand after those heavier elements were in place.

Those finer layers of sand and gravel help the bigger sections of bark and rock to stand out, but keeps them settled into the environment, as opposed to simply sitting on top.

Using the Oxide paste, glue, sand and gravel in this way helps to blend that smaller resin base into the entire larger base.

Ready for priming!  She now has a very solid base, and I look forward to dressing that up with several different kinds of flock, tufts, fallen leaves and maybe even a few vines!!

Here’s the shaded primer, done in Stynlrez with the Badger Airbrush.  I will be using oils to paint this, so it will be a lot of fun!
This will be available to a few pledge levels.  The painted miniature itself is also available at a special level… you can check that out here:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Storm From the East: A new Tutorial Series

Whenever you begin a new army, there is always that first “color test” figure.  Not only does this give you a better idea of how your color scheme vision plays out, but it can give you a hint of how long it might take to execute that plan.
In this case, the color scheme was established long ago for my beloved Lord of the Rings Easterling army, which is about to be reborn!  Unfortunately, I had to sell off my original army, and with the relaunch of the Lord of the Rings system, it seemed to be just the right time to bring them back to life!
That first army was painted over 6 years ago, and I have learned many things since.  Even the materials I use have changed dramatically.

Now I have plastic minis for the most part, and I use the Reaper Clear and Liner paints, along with the Secret Weapon Miniatures weathering paints.  Even my basing has changed, as the “bark and branch” method came about 3-4 years ago.
Since I am creating the Army Painting video series for the Patreon Page, I thought it might be very useful for people to see the process of re-creating an army first hand.  I have already gathered up images of the old army, and I have prepped a brand new batch of figures!  
As with the first two army painting series, this will start off with basing, and then move to the Shaded Basecoat and Glazing phases.  I will even sneak in some freehand designs as well.

I also try to include conversations about making the figures as ‘playable’ as possible, and the realities of time constraints.  The “currency” of time is quite valuable, and there’s usually only so much of it available for a given army.  My goal is to help you maximize that currency, and make your armies look as good as possible.
Unlike the first two series that focused on infantry, this will be a mix of cavalry and infantry.  Part of this has to do with the nature of the LOTR game system, which is part of that conversation I mentioned earlier.
You can get caught up on those first two series, and be ready for the third installment… with even more interesting goodies yet to come!  I will be recreating my Army of the Dead and Galadhrim elf armies in future series.
The Army Painter pledge is $15, and that is on the Patreon Page here:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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Ready the Redcoats!

With all of the Army Painting videos that I have been posting to the Patreon Page, I thought it might be time to show an actual army painted with those same techniques!
This is just one of several that are being painted for Victoria Miniatures, which are amazing 40k Guardsmen, coming in a huge variety of factions. In this case, you have the Boer War type of uniform style.
These are the Victorian Guard, and as usual, there are Female and Male squads available.

All together, there were about 40 miniatures in this force.  Lots of glazing was used to establish the shadow areas, utilizing the Reaper Clear and Liner paints.

For instance, the red was created with a starting application of Clear red over a shaded primer base, and progressive amounts of Red Liner paints were added to the glazes that followed.

Something similar was done with Clear Blue and Blue liner for the pants, while Secret Weapon Weathering paints were used to areas such as the helmets, pouches and packs.

For the metals, I used the Metal Medium from Vallejo, mixed in with Blue liner and Brown liner.  As you have seen before, that type of mix creates a very dark blackened steel color.  By adding more of the Metal Medium, you can lighten those metal colors and get ‘shading’ without the need for washes and glazes (which tend to kill off your metallic effect!).

Even on areas such as sword blades, I was able to paint in a Non Metallic style, just adding some Metal Medium to those colors.  Since these had to match previously painted figures, metals were required.  I believe this is referred to as TMM these days 🙂

You can find these figures on the Victoria Miniatures site here:
https://victoriaminiatures.com/collections/regiments-of-the-galaxys-finest/products/victorian-guard-universal-5-man-squad

I have more of the Victoria Miniatures armies to paint, so I will be making some of them the topic of Army Painting tutorials too!!
You can find these army painting techniques on my Patreon Page:
www.patreon.com/JamesWappel

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