You can see a fulll list of the available tutorials to the right. Enjoy! And if you have any questions feel free to ask.

Tuesday
Oct112016

How to make water bases for miniatures

I have had quite a few questions on how to make the bases for the Guild Ball Fishermen crew I painted. Luckily I took some pictures as I was doing them. Hopefully they are enough to make a decent tutorial out of. At the time I was not thinking of taking pictures at specific stages for a tutorial.

Starting off you need to "hollow" out some bases. To cut the top centers out of the bases I would recommend doing this;

1. Drill a lot of holes around the inside lip of the base.
2. Use clippers to finish cutting out the middle right. Be careful not to snap the outside ring that is left. It will be more fragile now.
3. Use a dremmel or sand paper to smooth out the inside of the ring. Don't be surprised if you snap one or two as you are figuring it out. 

Next you need to cut circles out of plexi card that will then be glued onto the bottom of the ring. I used plastic glue to attach them as they are similar types of plastic.

Once the glue is dried I used a dremmel then snadpaper to clean up the plexicard disk to match up with the black ring. 

Here is a picture of the bases made before I started painting.

Using cork, putty and textured acrylic gell I added the rocks and the sand to the bases for the models to stand on.

 Next up I scuplted the water underbase on the mini. This will give you some water texture to build up over. Or if you wanted to you can just paint with color your water texture look.

Next prime and paint your model.

The water was done with a base color, then a green wash, then highlight back with the base blue green color and progressivly mixing in a creamy white.

Now comes the part with the waves/water.

To make the skeleton on the water I used woodlan scenics water effects.

I spread out the past in flat shapes that I would want the waves for the different bases. You can always trim down the the waves to fitthe hight and base shape you want.

This wave below I mixed in some glass beads for a little volume and some bubble shapes.

Pic of the waves drying on the tin foil.

Once these are all cured, about a day or two depending on your humidity. Peel them off and we are going to turn them into waves.

Using Vallejo water texture you mount the wave to the base. Use it like a glue. once it dries (another day or two) it will be nice a sturdy.

Along with attaching your wave, use the Vallejo water texture to make the waves on your base and fill in the water areas as desired. You can also use the water texture to bulk out your waves and add more texture.

Here is another water base. This time the model is sweeping his foot through the water leaving a trail behind.

With this model I wanted the wave to curve over at the top. The woodland scenics water wave will be pretty flexible. So once it is attached and cured with the Vallejo gell we are going to bend it over.

Now that it is dried and stuck to the base I put a bunch of the Vallejo gell around the top of the wave, folded it over into a wave shape, then taped it off to give it enough time to dry. Once the gel dries it will keep its' wave shape. Once that is all dry you can use the Vallejo gell to keep building out the wave to how you like it. Also as you are building up the wave you can use white and cream colors to add "froth" coloring to your waves and the water on the base.

And a few more of the finish models. You can also the see the Guild Ball Fishermen gallery here.

At some point I am probably going to make resin bases like this (sans water) and I will post up once they are ready.

Sunday
Oct092016

Making snow and icicles for miniatures

Looking around at the different tutorials out there for snow I was not able to find one that gave me the volumetric look I wanted, staying nice and white all while being super tough for models that will be on the table top to be played with.

After some experimentation this is what I came up with. It is not the best looking snow effect out there, but as they get more powdery/fluffy they seam to break down easier. 

Making icicles always looked so involved too. So here is a pretty simple way to make them in a few steps.

Materials you will need: (Pictures after list)

1. Baking soda (from your local market baking section)
2. Woodland scenics water effects
3. Vallejo Water Texture
4. Woodland Scenics Snow
5. Acrlic Matte Varnish (airbrushable)
6. Clear fishing line. I used 30lb test. 
7. Airbrush 


First up is how to make Icicles. This is pretty easy.

Take some fishing line and cut a small piece off. Have a little pool of gel super glue off to the sise, I pinched the fishing line between some twezers and dip one end into it and then attach it to the model.

Once that has dried, grab the bottle of water effects. This has a squeeze bottle which i just took off to open the bottle and scooped some of the paste out. Using a toothpick spread the water effects out on the finish line to make icicle looking shapes.

Usually let it sit overnight to dry all the way. If needed build up some more paste to make them more icicle like or to add more volume to them. Once all that is dried use a little bit of thinned white paint to cloud them up a little. Normally icicles are a little clouded, and this will also help them be more visible on your model. A perfectly clear icicle will be hard to see on a model from any distance away. 

Now on to the snow.

There are a few steps here. There is no super easy method for making snow that look chunky, fluffy and some what smooth. 

Here are some of the other examples that I have tried.

Here with using wall spackle plaster and glue as a liquid. It makes a nice smooth white mass of "snow" that is rock hard. 

This one is just using Woodland Scenics snow with a little bit of white dry brush after. It looks ok, but it has a little too much of a rough texture for snow. I am probably going to cover it up with the way I did it on my fire eaters. 

Now the steps for creating somewhat realistic tough snow for table top minis.

Grab some foil (or something to mix on), toothpicks (or anything to mix and apply with), Vallejo Water Texture, Woodland scenics snow and baking soda.

I mixed about 50/50 baking soda and woodland scenics snow together into a small container. Then take a scoop of water texture and place it onto your mixing surface. Now pour your dry snow mixture onto it and start mixing it until you get a thick wet slurry consistency.

Then using a toothpick or small spatula spread it around the base and the model where you want it. Once that is done take just straight Baking soda and cover the areas of snow on the mini. This will help smooth out the snow heaps and add some of that natural powdery look of snow. This will look like they have been through a snow storm and have this cool looking snow on them. But it will not stay at all for a mini that will be played with. So we are going to have to get rid of some of it and seal in the rest.

I let it sit overnight for the mixture to dry all the way. Using a large'ish brush (I use a large watercolor brush), brush off some of the excess baking soda. What you are looking for it to get rid of the baking soda the base edge and the mini where you don't want the dusting of powder. 
Now there should still be a decent amount ow powdery baking soda on the snow. You want to start the sealing process for it now.

Take the Acrylic Matte Varnish and load up your airbrush. Turn the PSI down to 5 or less. You want just the minimum amount of air pressure to sputter out some of the varnish onto the snow. Anything more will start blowing away the baking soda "snow".

I sprayed it on pretty heavy and you can see it pooling on the mini in place. Just take an older paint brush and wick out the extra varnish out of the cracks. Your mini will end up a little shiny, but that is nothing a little dull coat won't fix later. Let the varnish dry mostly before the next steps. The baking soda will still be loose, but this will help it stay put for the next step.

Now take the varnish and pour some out into our egg pallet. Take an old brush and start dabbing varnish onto the piles of snow. You will want to get is nice and saturated with varnish.

 

 Set it aside to let it dry. Once it id done drying you can clear coat the mini as normal to get rid of the shine.

And once they are clear coated with a matt varnish then a dull coat.

Good luck! And if you have any questions please let me know.

Friday
Oct072016

Lighted Warmachine Major Prime Victoria Haley (Haley 3)

Following is a quick tutorial on how I lit future and past Haley for the Haley 3 unit. I thought since they are supposed to be ghostly shadows having made out of clear and fading in with painted color, along with being lit would be very cool!

 

First I started by partially assembling Haley Future and past. For doing a one off casting having them partially assembled will make them a little easier to work with and stronger since they will be less pieces. 

I pressure cast them to make sure I got all the details. Here is a quick tutorial on basic presure casting. https://www.smooth-on.com/product-line/crystal-clear/ 

I used Smooth-On Crystal clear for the casting material.  

I let them sit in there for 24 hours to make sure they were cured.  Once I pulled them out I still had to let them site for a few days to let the clear resin finish curing. When making smaller batches of resin like this it is hard to get it exactly to ratio, so it tends to take longer to cure all the way. 

Next up is making the bases to hold the battery mount, switch and lights. I started off sanding down some resin bases so I just was left with the terrained top.

(picture before sanding)

To hold the battery mount and other stuff I need a hollow base. I cut the top out of a regular PP base and added a plexicard ring at the bottom to make it a little deeper. The standard base is too shallow for all the stuff needed in it.

The battery mount with switch is too large to fit in a 30mm base. So I took it to the belt sander to make it fit. I also added a little plasticard "ramp" in front of the switch to help get the battery out.

The LEDs I used are 3v blue flicker mini LEDs. Here you can see the inside of the base with the holes for the LEDs.

Next the LEDs are soldered to the board, battery inserted and the package slid up into the base to test out!

Here is a video of what it looks like with the flicker lights.

 

Net up Granny Haley gets her lights.

Here they are all painted. To "Prime" the clear models I used Testors Dull coat. It takes paint pretty well and will cloud the clear models a little to help with light dispersion. I just painted half of the ghostly models to help make the look like they were phasing in. 

And a bonus of an objective I made at the same time to go with them. I filled the top part of the mold with clear resin that I tinted, then once it had cured some filled the rest of it with opaque resin.

Hope you found this informative and helpful!

Tuesday
Jan262016

Making an Convergence themed finals table for Las Vegas Open

I am working on the finals table for this years Las Vegas Open.
With the help of Archi of http://tectoniccraftstudios.com/ with the laser cutting I thought I could make a cool Convergence themed board. And I just have just a few weeks to get it all done!
I took inspiration from the great table Kris Johnson at Mechanica studios made for WMW.

Shameless plug for LVO too. https://www.frontlinegaming.org/las-...achine-events/

So to start things off I laid everything out in the computer for the laser cutting.



Once it was all laid out I broke out all the parts for Archi to cut up. And Archi made the gears even cooler too.



A short time later a great pile of parts showed up. This is just part of it I opened up. 



Some of the gears painted up.



Some of the parts stacked up and glued for the side board. I used wood glue to assemble everything so it would be nice and strong. 




The play surface is going to be made up of a few layers of mdf wood. This will make it nice and strong as there is no way to keep people from leaning on it. 
I laid the intermediate layer on the bottom layer so I could trace the openings out. The bottom layer is 1/4" mdf and one piece so it will be nice and strong. The next two top layers are 1/4" laser cut mdf.

After the holes were traced out I added a 1/4"ish offset so you won't see the thicker under layer.


Drilled holes in the corners to help jig saw cut the parts out.



Pic with the openings cut out. 



And the middle layer laid on top.

Here is one of the side boards. 
The layers are glued together and then test assembled with the verticals.


The verticals are going to have a piece of plexi between them so it will light up with the table. 



And some of the industrial terrain that will be on the table too. 
The center will be a big glowing eyeball thing.



Time to build the boxes that the table and side boards will sit on. 
The bottom is 1/2" plywood so it will be nice and strong. The rest of it is 1/4" MDF. This way it is still pretty strong and I won't have to sand everything to make it nice to smooth.
I ripped down the edge pieces on the table saw to 5". All the parts get put together with wood glue and then pin nailed with a finish nail gun. 





Once that dried a little bit I flipped it over and glued a 3" strip of mdf inside. This is going to be the lip the finished table surface will rest on. 



And the 2nd set of 3" support strips. 

Box for the larger side board. 







This is about as far as I can take the side board box until I get the facing finished and the lights set up.

Here is the table with box and play surface set on it. It is pretty stiff since there are three layers of MDF glued together, but I will be adding support posts underneath as they is no way I can keep people from leaning on it. 



Now to lay out the gears. I printed the the gear locations from my original concept design with some dimensions on them so I can locate them on the table. 



And with the gears on the board. I then put to top back on to make sure everything lined up correctly and fixed any locations that needed it. 



Each gear is going to get a motor. I got some 6v 20rpm motors off ebay. I made wood mounting blocks for them. This also gets the gears off the bottom of the table to make room for the other do-dads that are going to go in there. 

To power this thing I am going to put a power strip in it so I can plug in the transformers. The transformers will give me 12v power for the LED's and 6v power for the motors. I also sketched out the squares where the motors will mount to. 



Motos mounted with little L-brackets. Got shallow screws so they did not go through the bottom of the table. 



Soldering up the connections. I am wiring them up so if one shorts or I have to remove it the rest will still work.



All finished wiring for the motors. (I later ended up adding a switch for the motors so I could stop them without having to unplug the whole thing.

With the gears mounted. 



And with the motors on. 


 
Once I made sure everything was working I dry fit the top to see what it was going to look like. 



Now I get to start adding some lights. I hoped that the edge lighting would be enough to light up the entire board without shining in peoples faces. This is where I get to find out.

I used some painters tape to tack on the light strips. I will need to removed them and paint the inside first before they go on permanently. 
You can also see the stand-offs I added to help keep the table from collapsing when people lean on it. 



And with the lights turned on! I ended up adding a second row of LED strip so it would be a little bit brighter in well lit rooms.



The LED strips controller has a bunch of different options for colors and light pasterns. While playing I would expect to keep it a solid color. Though it does have an IR remote so maybe in the middle of a casual game I can F with them a little...

Time to paint the inside of the table. I removed the power strip and taped off the tops of the motors. Everything else is going to get spray painted black.



And after a few coats of black spray paint.

Patching up the joints and nail holes to sand them smooth. Also assembling the smaller side board. The side boards are separate for for easy of transportation and also so I can just take to main board out to play with if I want to. Carting around a 4'x4" table is not too bad. But a 6'x4' table that weighs 100 lbs would be a little much. 





Here you can see the transformers and the controller for the LED strips. The LED strips have adhesive backing which makes them nice and easy to install. 



I installed two rows of LED strip. Fortunately they are still high enough that they don't shine in players eyes. 

And with the lights on. They come with an IR controller so it is super easy to turn them on/off and change the colors.



And here are the strip LED lighting I used.





First coat of paint on the table. I used a spray paint for this. Mostly so it would be nice and smooth and I would not have to worry about flooding the details on the board. I used a warm gray color called Granite. 
It took a few coats a paint to get a nice solid coat of paint. I also did the side boards at the same time.



Once that had dried I set it on the table and started lining up the pipes I will add to the interior to make it a little more interesting. I used 1/2" PVC pipe for it.



Once I had them cut I spray painted them silver. Then tapped some holes and screwed the to the bottom of the table. I also added some other grating and do-dads I had laying around. 



And with the lights on.

Next up now that all the spray paint base color is all dry I started adding a hex patter to everything. I did it so it was fading in and out so the table would not be too busy, but still have some "texture" to it. Just a plain grey table would be kinda boring. 



Next up is adding some painted glow effects to the tables to help break up all the grey. I had to do a bunch of taping off to keep the paint where I wanted it.



For the glows I used P3 arcane blue and then some light blue grey. 



And all finished up. Once this was nice I dry I clear coated everything so it will be some what scratch resistant. 

 The other part of the side larger side board. 



On the larger side board pictured above there is going to be a blue plexi eye/aperture that will light up. I am going to build a box that I can line with LEDs to make it glow. I used some foam core as it is nice and think and light.



Glued on and painted the inside rim black.



Before I can put the lights in the "eye" I need to do the lights in the base of the side board. The side board buttresses will have a layer of Plexi sandwiched between the outer layer so they will glow. Originally I was just going to have some LED's shining up it. But I wanted them to match the board as it can change colors. So now I am going to run the LED strip to it.

I built some backing mounts for the LED strips. I could have just taped them in with some Duct tape, but I was worried that if it ever came unstuck getting in there would be a SUPER pain in the butt to fix it. 





And testing before everything was dry to make sure I did not pinch the strip. If anything was messed up fixing it later would be difficult. 



I have a hole in the side of the main board so I can connect the side board strip to the power supply. 

After the glue set up I flipped it over and set it in for a test fit. 



Once I made sure it still fit ok, I added some blocking and painted the edges of the side board.



I want to be able to take apart the side board just in case something happens with the lights, or if I want to change the way the lights are set up. So instead of gluing the finished faces on I am going to screw them into the blocking. 



And the blocking and counter sink holes for the vertical face. 



Doing up the LED strip inside the vertical panel. It will get another foam core backing panel that I will leave white to help with reflecting the light.





Now that the faces are attached for the side board I glued on the top. Just to the three side though so I can still take the facing off if needed. 





Once that was all dry I painted the outside of everything a dark grey. I did not want black because of the jarring contrast between it and the finished table. 



And with some of the terrain on it. 



Next up I wanted to have a clock for the table that matched. After going through all this and having to put a bright red/green clock on the board made me cringe inside. I took one of my DGI clocks apart and painted it up.
It came apart pretty easy with just some screws. Some of the parts were plastic "welded" inside so they got taped off and the rest of the guts (that were still attached ) got set to the side and covered with some paper.

Primed and then sprayed with the same base color as the board. 


Hex pattern applied. Because, why not? and then glow effects added to the panel openings. 



Once it stops raining I can get it clear coated and re-assembled.



Oh, and sorry for the crappy video.

I still have stuff to do on the table too.
-Get the plexi installed
-Get the central side board solar system thing finished. Though I am maybe thinking of getting one of those floating globes to repaint and put there. I will see if I can find a cheap one. Unless someone has one around they don't want any more...
-Make some flags and objectives for the table.
-Paint up the optifex workers and drones to decorate the table with.
-Finish up the hills, smoke forests, trenches, etc.

I could just imagine what large casino dice or any other heavy dice would do to this table, so I made some dice trays that match the table. And woe to anyone that does not use them.....

I cut strips down on the table saw and clamped them with some glue to an 8"x8" square piece of MDF.



I made three of them so I would have an extra for myself. 
I sanded down the joints so everything was mostly smooth.



Primed.



With the grey base paint that the table got and then the hex pattern. Once everything was nice and dry they got a few coats of spray clear coat.

Adding felt to the bottom to help keep it from scratching the table. And felt to the inside to dampen the dice some.



Last batch of parts showed up!



This is kind of what the center piece on the large side board is going to look like. Probably going to add some painted ping-pong ball planets to it too.



Plexi panels test fit onto the table. I had to sand some of them down to fit. This was more because the wood parts of the table were put together jig-saw like, so the openings for the plexi panels did not match the CAD designs perfectly anymore. Next time I do something like this I am going to try and have the clear panels when I start assembling the table to make sure everything fits.



More test fitting. You can see some of the areas that done quite fit down into the table.



The surrounding plexi parts for the CoC logo face.



Some of the walls for the table. I made some cool resin ones, but I ran out of mold material for them. So these will have to do for now.



Last of the parts painted up.

I did not want to go with really tall hills for this table. I figured most models will not have a problem straddling one layer of 1/8" mdf. So I built up 2 staggered layers to be "hills" for the table. I also have a themed trench that I don't have a picture of yet here.



The Convergence logo with in the center'ish of the table.



And the table with the Plexi panels installed and glued. I used a clear no-toxic glue to adhere the panels the the board. If I press hard enough from the bottom they should pop off if I need to work with them later. But this should be strong enough to keep them in place for now. I weighted them down to give the glue a chance to dry. Before they were placed in I put on some gloved (no fingerprints!) and cleaned all the parts will with plexiglass cleaner. I would hate to get everything installed only to find finer prints and streaks on the back side of the plexi.

Now that I have the plexi parts I can get the up rights glued together. The glue I used for this, while nice for other application, it messed up the paint.....
I the future I will use a more gentile clear adhesive.



Uprights glued and clamped to dry. The paper towels were there to protect the paint from the clamps. The rubber on the clamps tends to stick to the paint once they have been there for a little bit. 



The next day I took the clamps off and there were problems....



The glue had softened the paint (through the mdf) and the paper towels stuck to the paint, I was not happy.
I peeled the paper towel bits off and then sanded down all the blemishes and texture the paper towels left.

I taped off the plexi and edges so they could get repainted. Some of the areas were still ok so I left them alone. 



Next I re-did the hex pattern and the glowing parts.

Peeling off the tape and everything looks mostly ok. There are a few dimples and marks that you can't really see. But I really don't want to re-cut, glue and paint the uprights again.



And installed. 

I painted up a bunch of optifex and servitors to decorated the table with and make objectives. 



And the objectives and servitors. 



This will be going in the center of the large side board.

Painted the runes, and used brass pins to attached the circles to each other. The ping pong balls are going to be little planet things interspersed around it. I drilled holes in them and put tooth-picks in them glued to the opposite inside also so they won't flop around. 



Primed, painted the base table color and then the hex pattern added. 



"Planets" installed. I also added some glowing trace work to them to spice them up.



With the Optifex added and some servitors floating around the rings. Also the finished "flags" and objectives for the table.

For forests I am making some "steam" vents with removable smoke/steam.
I used some MDF laser'd frames, glued some sheet metal to the back. I wanted to be able to magnetize the smoke to them.



With the masking tape off.



This stuff makes pretty good grating for projects. It is nice and light and easy to work with since it is softer aluminum. 



With some cut out, then super glued down.


Using expanded foam I made some smoke plumes. They will get painted black, then grey and white from the top. I will probably also add some OSL blue to the bottom of them too.

Now pretty much everything for the table is finished. 

Picture of the table with side boards without any terrain on it. Ideally I would have the main power cord coming out of the back side board, but I wanted to be able to just play with the center board without having to care around the side boards. I guess I could have the access hole on the side of the center board then have a pass through on the side board. I will have to see about doing that on the next one. 



With the lights on.



I think I want to add a rotating planetary gear grouping behind the eye. That won't be too hard as I set everything up to be disassembled. It will have to wait till after LVO though.

The plexi centers of the vertical supports are not as bright as I had hoped, but without LED's right up against them they wont be. But as least the color match as the table changes colors.



With the terrain on it.



The "trench" has magnetized walls so they come off for easy placement with necessary. 






Tuesday
Jan262016

Making an India themed finals table for Las Vegas Open

I will be doing a special board for the Las Vegas Open too! It will be similar in style to the WTC tables that had a main 4x4 play section and two side boards that are all built up and scenic. 

It will be and India temple themed board. So lots of temples that are overgrown with roots and cool statues. 

So something along this theme. 


And here are the statues I am making a bunch of.  I made a mold of some metal statues, then made Hydrostone copies of them. This will let me break them up too as needed.

On the left is going to be a large cliff that the statues will be carved into. On top of the cliff will be some trees. There will also be large trees on the side boards that look like this.



There will be a path way that leads up to the statues and the pool that is below the big face in the center.
On the right will be a valley entrance kinda setup with the cliffs and a path the leads between them flanked by statues.
There will also be ruined temples and such. The white pipe you see if the core of one of the trees for a sense of scale.
The main play area of the table is going to be flat with movable obstructions, walls, forests and such that are themed to the table. I plan on making themed zones for this table too if I have time. They would be thin laser cut zones with rune etching and they would match the feel of the board. So no brown felt zones to ruin the look!

The pathway is made with Hirst arts stone pavers. I broke them up and routered out depressions in the table for them to go into. 




Jumping ahead a little bit. After layering up the foam board, I carved it up using a compination of hot wire cutter and long sharp knife. After that I textured the faces with concreet patch. This will give it some texture along with toughening up the surface. 

The verticals trees are first made with 2" PVC pipe, then I used gauze bandage dipped in plaster and draped them around the pipes. To make the roots I twirled up the plaster gause and starting draping them on. As I would going along I used a brush and some water to help clean up the dripping plaster. 

Some of the statues in their alcoves. For the texture on the flat surfaces I put down a thick layer of paint and covered it with sand. I just use cheap latex house paint. It is nice and turable and thick enough for sand to stick to easily. 



So the terraining part of the side board is mostly done here.



First I painted the board with a coat of latex paint and covered it with sand. Once that was dry I brushed it off and covered it with another coat of paint. This seals in the sand nicely and makes the play surface nice and tough.



Adding some color variation to the table using green and brown washes. I made the washes with cheap craft paint and water. You don't need anything fance for terrain tables.

Dry brushed the surface sand to bring out the texture, along with painting the trees brown. 

Rocks washed and highlighted along with the trees highlight.



Shot of the table before grass and bushes.



The tables are almost finished up. I just have to finish the water effects and some small details. Pictures with the grass and clump foliage added.

Added some green flocking to the statues for some moss.



Side frame painted a dark green/black color. I like having something not pure black to paint the borders with so they don't contrast the table too badly.

The bottom of the pond painted and moss added where the water wil be trickling from the face.

Some of the terrain objstructions for the table. 



Got the scenic table to Las Vegas Open all finished up! One of the goals of it was to have an easily playable surface for it. So the play surface is a little simpler. 
For next year I REALLY liked the Cryx necrite mining field WMW did. So I might take direct inspiration from that. It would still be a "flat" playing surface but with all the recessed pipes with grating over them it would add a lot of depth to the table. Maybe even add some lights!