Be organised. Write it down!

Or how I learnt how to embrace my “Special”ness.

When I was younger I was much more arrogant and assumed I knew everything and could remember it all. Which was sort of true as I only had a few paints.
With age comes (lack of) wisdom. I now have a fair few pots of paint and a need for consistency. Did I use a Games workshop paint? Or a Vallejo or a Foundry?
My answer, notebooks. Six of them! Seven if you count my daily notebook which I use for everything.
The Show Book.
This was used for Salute and SELWG. I would get the list of traders from the show website and visit every traders website. If they were selling anything of interest I would note down the price, catalogue number and stall location. Once I had drawn up my shopping list I would print out a map of the show and highlight the traders I wished to visit. This was so useful, especially at Salute as it was so huge. Before this I would lose track of who was selling what and this book allowed me to keep a tight rein on my budget.
The Recipe Book.
This is the most useful of the lot and if you want to take any advice from me, take this! This is where I write down how I have painted a particular unit or achieved a certain effect. I suppose consistency isn’t so important for fantasy armies, but for historicals it’s vital.
The Ideas Book.
Where I record interesting articles on painting, ferinstance… gold or a nicely painted example of a figure I’ve got in the lead mountain. As I have a growing library of books and magazines I want to keep track of where everything is. So an article on painting gold, So I go to the “G” section in my Ideas Book write “G1” with a description and what book/magazine it in and page number. Then I stick a Post-it in the appropriate page of the book/magazine.
The Book of Everything.
In this book I write down all sorts of extra information. Server configuration for my website. File names of web pages and layout details. Suppliers addresses. How to set up my camera for photographing models. Information that doesn’t have a home anywhere else.
The next two books haven’t been started yet. I don’t have any clear idea of how big my lead mountain is. There are boxes all over the place. It would be a good idea, not only for insurance, but also to stop replicating any purchases.
The first of these two is The Painting List. Once I’ve got all my bit shipped over and got a permanent place to live my first job will be to unpack everything, itemise them and assign each unit a number.
As I finish painting a unit this information will be transferred to the second book, The Catalogue. Each figure will have a unique number and details of cost of figure, manufacturer, photo reference number and price.
This is where I am having some difficulty.
How much do you value your work at?
I’ve looked at professional painters websites and I reckon I’m around the ten pound mark per historical figure. The waters were tested on Fleabay where two figures were sold for around nine pounds each on auction.
Once you start doing the math my lead mountain starts getting scarily expensive. My Napoleonic army when finished starts hitting the two and a half thousand pound mark.
I’ve no idea on fantasy prices, so I am thinking of a base price of five pounds per figure. Again scary numbers, my Night Goblin Regiments alone would pull in eighteen hundred pounds.
Anyone got any thoughts on this?
I would appreciate feedback from someone who has insured their collection.


The November issue of White Dwarf

OK what happened to the Wood Elves? They were promised in the last issue and I was interested in seeing how they painted up the Wardancers. Maybe the December issue?

I would like to touch on the six new technical paints released. I’m making some assumptions as I can’t read German and there is no GW store nearby to actually see them for real. Please note I may be talking out of my bottom.
First up, Ryza Rust: does this have some texture or is it just orange paint? Do you want just one colour of rust? Back in the days of Rogue Trader (go and ask your Dad) WD suggested making textured paint by adding a little scouring powder. A more modern suggestion is from the vlog “Tabletop Minions”, use Liquid Greenstuff and carefully stipple some with an old brush where you want texture. Paint with your preferred rust colour.
Typhus Corrosion: is this just colour in a medium?
Blood for the Blood God: good old Tamiya Clear Red, what everyone has been using for years.
Nhilake Oxide: again, is this just a colour in a medium?
Nurgle’s Rot: this might call for some experimentation, but would ink/paint mixed with PVA do the trick? Or ink/paint mixed with a satin varnish?
The last product, Agrellan Earth, was the one I was most interested in. Again, why be restricted to one shade of cracked earth? With Vallejo’s Crackle Medium the world of colour is your crackled lobster.
Interesting products but with a restricted palate. So if you want your models to look like the product of your average teenage fanboy these are for you. But with a tiny bit of effort and probably less money you can have some more tailored effects on your models.

Thoughts on the last three months

I have spent the last three months either preparing to move, moving or settling into temporary accommodation. Being a sucker for smooth talking salesmen I succumbed to the charms of an estate agent and a removals company. All I can say is, lying bastards. They promise so much and deliver so little. The couple who bought my house did it on the strength of the tour my two little boys, aged two and four, gave them. The removal company’s “Dedicated packing service” was nothing of the sort. I am so glad I spent time earlier to pack my hobby stuff away.
These three months has given me some pondering and reflecting time whilst spending time in this hobby void. I have four armies that I want to base with some consistency. The first pair, my Perry British Eighth Army and my British Peninsular War Napoleonic army, I wanted a sandy colour. The second pair, a War of the Roses Yorkist Army and my Warhammer Fantasy Battle Albion Army, I wanted a dark “English” looking soil.
A quick aside, if you do have an interest in Warhammer Fantasy Battle, check out Warhammer Battle Reporters. They have some interesting alternative army lists; reviving some old GW lists like Regiments of Renown, some new ones like Halflings and bringing them up to Eighth Edition compatibility.
Two further asides: one is that the Ninth Edition rules are rumoured to be released next summer with the game play becoming more aligned with 40K; and the other is that a small (but growing) group of gamers running “Oldhammer”. Gaming using Third Edition rules and old figures. Have a look at the forum there are some lovely old figures on display.
Digression over, I’ll get back to basing. Doing this amount of basing is going to involve several pots of paint. Being the tight bastard that I am I was trying to figure out how to do this cheaply and consistently. The answer presented itself while I was browsing a local DIY store. I went past the paint section and there on a display panel were hundreds of swatches of paint in every shade imaginable. Further enquiries revealed you could get 125ml sample pots for just under a couple of quid. That’s the equivalent of ten GW pots! This sounded ideal for me, so I posted my idea on the Froth Forum and got positive replies from people who had already used this technique. One guy had taken the idea further and painted his entire army using sample pots.
So now I have to: find a house to live in, get my stuff shipped over from blighty and actually finish an army.
No pressure there then?

Products of 2012

There have been three products that have stood out for me in the last twelve months.

The first was, The Army Painter, Quickshade Ink, Strong Tone. It has been invaluable in basing, base colour, Quickshade and then highlight. Useful for leather, flesh and metals.

The second was Games Workshop’s (yes I’m praising the EE) Lahmian Medium. Part of the Technical range from their new paint range. I first saw Phil Stutcinskas use this last summer when he gave a demonstration of weathering. You can use this to make glazes and washes and it doesn’t leave tidelines unlike watered down paints.

The third was Foundry paints. I tried a palate and was very impressed. So impresses that I went and got almost the entire range. The coverage was great, supposedly due to pigment levels and the three colour system works really well. My portrait is painted with Foundry paints. The customer service from Foundry is second to none.

My desk

My desk My old painting table

This was my old set up back in London and I am planning to have a similar set up in Austria.
What you can’t see are boxes, filing cabinets, printer and light table all stuffed underneath. I don’t plan to do that again. It meant that my chair could only be in one position.
Starting from the left is my chest of drawers filled with Foundry paints and some GW paints. Above, just out of shot, are some smaller drawers with inks, washes, milliput/greenstuff, scalpel blades and tweezers.
Along the top of the picture you can see my two lights which have been fitted with daylight bulbs. Also just out of shot is a big magnifying lens with daylight bulb. I haven’t really got on with it, maybe one day I will.
At the back on the left you can see a small stained glass panel of an Ork’s head. This is a test piece for a larger 50cm by 50cm panel which needs leading up.
Once I have my permanent painting table established I want to display my large  leaded panel of the Emperor from the 40K universe. It just happens to be exactly the size of the windows at GW’s Warhammer World. Long story.
Further along is my brush rack. Next to this are some plastic drawers with my Vallejo paints, spare brushes and some fine brass wire for pinning. Above this you can see my brush soap and between the two dragon heads are three of my notebooks; The Show Book, The Recipe Book and The Book of Everything.
There are three more things to note on the tabletop.
Teacup, no explanation needed.
A sheet of plywood for cutting, drilling and gluing on.
And a ceramic “Gentlemans Relish” bowl. The bottom half I use for water and the top half (hiding behind large black undercoated squiggoth) as a palate. I plan to experiment with a wet palate when I get set up. See “Tabletop Minions” vlog for a sensible explaination.
What else?
The chair. As you are going to be sitting in it for a long time get the best you can afford. Your back will thank you. I went for the classic Herman Miller “Aeron”. No regrets with that decision.
Cat. Sheds hairs and wants attention at the most inappropriate times, and yet so relaxing to have a purring friend on your lap.

My desk