Monday, July 28, 2014

Tutorial - Lasgun Carbine with Folding Stock

I'm working on a Forge World Tauros Venator and doing quite a bit of subtle modification along the way. One thing I wanted to include was a lasgun for the driver in the cab. I test fit a standard lasgun into the cab and it was far to big to seem a natural fit. So I decided to create a lasgun carbine with a folding stock in the style of the M1 Carbine carried by paratroopers in WWII.

This was a simple conversion which requires only a couple of tools, a few materials, and very little time. The following is a guide to how I made my lasgun carbine.

Tools / Supplies

To complete this conversion you will need the following items:
  • Imperial Guard lasgun
  • Hobby knife
  • Tweezers
  • Wire clippers
  • Glue
  • Pin vise and small drill bits
  • Small gauge wire (florists wire)
  • 3/64" styrene rod


The lasgun will need to be shortened. The stock must be removed and I also removed a small section of the middle. I was careful to pick a section which began and ended the same so that when I removed it the remaining pieces would still match up.

Before trimming
stock, action, middle, and barrel.
I threw the stock and middle portions in my scrap box.

A small section of 3/64" styrene rod was cut to the height of the action and attached to the rear where the stock had been removed.  Two small holes, the same diameter as the florists wire, were drilled into the rod perpendicular to the action.

The barrel of the rifle was glued back into place using plastic weld.

I cut a length of florists wire approximately 1" in length and, using my tweezers, bent the wire to shape, bent the ends at a right angle, and cut the ends flush.  I used photos of paratrooper M1 carbines as a reference.

Once it was shaped the way I liked it I dry fitted it into the styrene rod and super glued it into place.

Here is the unpainted finished product showing the different materials I used. These will look great in the cab of my Venator or even better on a veteran squad with a Valkyrie. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Space Wolves Rhinos

Battle damaged decals adorn the front of one rhino
An ornate wolf mural is stenciled on the top hatch which shows heavy wear
Hand holds were added using florist's wire
Footholds show heavy wear
Battle damage punctuates the side of the rhino
The thing about bidding on ebay is that you never know with any certainty that you will win an auction. After losing several auctions you might get the temptation to start throwing bids at everything in hopes that one might stick. The problem with that is, sometimes you win everything you bid on. A while back I wanted to pick up two Space Marine Rhinos so I bidded on four, thinking I might get one or two out of the bunch. Guess what? I was the happy winner of not one, not two, but all four rhinos. I couldn't complain too much as I only paid an average of $15 each and all four were new in the box.

After receiving them they were added to the pile of models to complete, someday. I always like to add some additional details to my models so I ordered the Space Wolves Iconography set from Forge World and picked up a bunch of Space Wolves decal sheets from ebay. Someday finally came and I started work on all four.

#1 Basic Coloring

I used The Army Painter brand base and primer spray paint to base coat the rhinos in Wolf Grey.  I used the Army Painter Daemonic Yellow for some portions of two of the rhinos as well. I made stencils for all of the larger Space Wolf iconography I wanted to put on the models. I painted all of the details and used florists wire to create antena for the rear of the rhinos.

#2 Decals

Once all of the colors were painted I added various decals and tried to maintain a consistent theme. Prior to laying down the decals make sure to coat the model in a gloss finish, decals adhere better to a gloss surface.

The bottom three have their primary colors painted and are pre-weathering.

#3 Chipping

Through normal use the paint on vehicles will experience wear and tear including chipping.  There are many techniques out there to achieve this look and I've tried a few.  Currently my prefered method is the sponge technique.  This utilizes small pieces of sponge and contrasting colors of paint to achieve a worn effect. 

The foam that comes in miniature blister packs works great for this
Using small torn pieces of sponge and a pair of tweezers I lightly dab the sponge in paint, blot it on a piece of paper and then apply the foam gently to the edges and other areas of constant wear. I start with the base color of the model and go over any decals or other graphics which appear above the base color. Afterwards I go over the points of the model which would receive the most wear with a metallic color to show where the paint has been worn down to the metal.

In the above photo chipping has been added using the sponge technique.

#4 Oil Wash

The next step in the weathering process was oil wash.  Begin by spraying your models with a coat of clear gloss or semi-gloss varnish. I mixed brown, burnt umber, and black oil paints with mineral spirits (white spirits). This wash can be loaded onto your paint brush and when touched to details will wick into the creases and around details.  The exact ratio takes some trial and error but don't worry, if you over do it you can always wipe it off with a clean cotton swab.

The above rhino has received a treatment of oil washes.
For an added effect these can be added in layers and, after drying a little, can be dragged down with a dry brush to achieve a more natural weathering appearance.  After this was finished and allowed to dry a coat of matte varnish was applied to the models.

#5 Weathering Powders

Now weathering powders were applied.  I used crushed artists charcoal to create the soot effects around the exhausts and applied them with a large round brush.

Secret Weapon Miniatures weathering powders were used to apply dirt on the tank treads and around the lower edges of the rhinos. The powders were added both by dry brush and by blowing them on.  The brush gives you more control, but blowing them on gives you a more realistic look.  The powders were set with mineral spirits blown through an airbrush, and sealed with a coat of matte varnish.  DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUN WEATHERING POWDERS THROUGH YOUR AIRBRUSH! Unless you want to clog it with mud.
A mixture of the above three powders helps to create a more natural look.
This rhino has received a coat of Secret Weapon Miniature Weathering Powders. 
Once I'm satisfied with everything I finish it off with a coat of matte varnish to seal it all in.


I used the above mentioned techniques on all four rhinos.  Doing them all together made for light work.  If you're working on one it really isn't all that much more work to do four at the same time and doing so will make it easy to maintain consistency.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tutorial - Stencils

While working on your models you may want to paint a graphic on one of your vehicles but can't find a decal large enough or perhaps you can't find the right decal for the job.  In this case a stencil might be just the thing you need and it's easier to make one than you might think.  There are a couple of methods you can take and I'll discuss the two I used here and you can decide which (if either) would work best for you.  Each of these methods were used on my Space Wolves Rhinos, but you could use these techniques for any custom graphic, large or small, you want to paint on a model.

I often use masking tape in my models for camo patterns, stripes and such so my first thought was to use masking tape and cut out an image from a wide strip of masking tape. This idea was a lot easier in my head than in practice. 

So to start, find an image you want to copy onto your model.  This could be something you find online and print out or something you find in a book or magazine, like your favorite codex! I recommend finding an image online because you can easily drop it into a photo editing program and scale it to an appropriate size. If you're artistically inclined you could always draw it onto the tape yourself and skip the next step.

I found an image in the Space Wolves Codex which I wanted to use.  To transfer this onto the tape I created a makeshift lightbox using a piece of plexiglass and my desklamp.  You will need something clear to adhere the tape to such as another piece of plexiglass. Stick a strip of tape on the plexiglass, your image behind the plexi, and another piece of plexi behind the image. Your light source will be at the bottom; I used a desk lamp but you could, and probably should, use a window (I slightly warped my plexiglass). Now you should be able to see the image through the tape. Trace the image on the tape and then cut it out using a hobby knife. You should have something that looks like this:

*do not use wax paper as a clear medium to hold your tape like I did, it's a pain in the ass to get off!
You now have a negative and positive of your image, chances are you will want to use the negative as your stencil but you could just as easily use the positive.  It just depends on how you want to paint your image. Apply the stencil you want to use onto your model and be sure to mask of any portions you don't want to get hit with overspray.

Here I've added the negative stencil to the top hatch doors of my Space Wolves Rhino
Make sure to press down firmly around the edges of your stencil.  Loose edges will allow paint to creep under which will require clean up later.

After the stencil has been applied and masked to prevent overspray it's time to apply your paint.  You could use a paint brush, but I'd recommend against it.  Spray paint or an airbrush are the best methods.  Below is an example of the finished project after the stencil was removed.  So clean!

And after some weathering...

The masking tape technique works well but you'll only get one use out of it, maybe two if you're lucky and it's fairly labor intensive.  For something a little more durable I turned to stencil film.  This product can be purchased at most craft stores like Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  Look in the craft paints section.  All the brands I've come across are blue but that is inconsequential.  All you need is a thin, rigid, translucent material.

Once you have the stencil film place it over the graphic you want to trace. Because the stencil film is already translucent there is no need to use a lightbox.  Tape it down so that it doesn't move around, and cut out the shape using a hobby knife.  Be careful not to stick to the lines and not damage your positive or negative!

Above you can see the various sizes I printed the wolf icon in.
These two were the right size for the areas on the model so they will be used for this stencil.
After you've cut out your stencils you will again have a positive and a negative.  As with the masking tape you can use either one depending upon the effect you wish to achieve.

To get the stencil to adhere to the model I used Easy-Tack™ from Krylon.  It is a spray on adhesive which, once sprayed, is ready to use in 60 seconds.  Just spray the Easy-Tack to the back of the stencil, let it dry, and stick it to the model. MAKE SURE TO LET IT SET UP FIRST.  If you apply your stencil to the model too soon the Easy-Tack will bond to your model.  By giving it a full minute to set up first the Easy-Tack will have time to bond to the stencil and your stencil will lift off your model clean.  You might wonder why I bother using the Easy-Tack if I'm just going to mask off the edges.  The Easy-Tack can serve two purposes: 1st it seals the edges of the stencil preventing the paint from bleeding, 2nd it allows a negative stencil to stay in place absent any masking tape.

Here I've added one of my Space Wolves stencils to the rear door of a Rhino and masked the edges.
Above is the Rhino rear door from the previous picture and a side door using the smaller stencil.
And the rear door after weathering...

Here is an example of a much larger stencil.

The background was laid down first, then I used the negative to produce the white areas.  I removed the stencil then sprayed white again from a distance to achieve the stars which gave me this look:

And the finished product...

The great thing about stencils is the possibilities are endless.  These are some very basic techniques which can add some really great detail to your models and once you've put the work into making one you can use it again and again to bring some consistency to your army.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Space Wolves Rhino

Today I finished my first Space Wolves Rhino. I ordered some Space Wolves iconography from Forge World which I am using to adorn all of the 4 rhinos I'm working on. I also added some antenna to the rear of the vehicle as I think any military vehicle looks incomplete without one.

For a special touch I created a stencil from an image I found after doing a google image search and using my airbrush I created a mural on the roof of the rhino.

I made sure to detail the interior too. I used a gloss varnish to add some shine to the screens and buttons.

Here you can see some of the Forge World iconography as well as some standard Games Workshop decals and some freehand painting. The chipping effect was achieved using a sponge and Army Painter gun metal.

For weathering I used oil paints thinned with mineral spirits. This wash was applied to each rivet and allowed to wick into all the crevices. Some Secret Weapon Miniatures 'Terracotta Earth' weathering powder was applied to the treads and secured in place with mineral spirits.

The soot effects were created by crushing artists charcoals which I then applied with a brush. I added additional highlights to the edges of the model with the side of a #2 pencil.