Friday, October 26, 2012

Castellan Rachen Completed

I finished painting and photographing my Castellan Rachen model.  The process was pretty long and I've learned a few things in almost every aspect of the model from the basing to the final image editing.

The conversion work was pretty simple.  I just kit bashed a bunch of things- cutting them down to fit and smoothing the seams.  I had a mental image in mind when I started and I just tried to make him look as close to that as possible while keeping it very simple (KISS!).  I didn't check how the model actually fit together until the end, so gluing it all together was a pain in the butt.

I learned for basing that gluing plaster to plastic doesn't work very well unless you know the trick.  That trick is gluing it first with wood glue, ripping it off once it's dry, and then gluing the now dried wood glue to the base with super glue.  I also decided this time to use a few different materials for the base to make it look more elaborate.  I chose large pieces (plaster blocks), medium pieces (the plastic tiles and the plastic sprue pieces), and small bits (the sand).  These all seem to work together pretty well.

Painting-wise I learned that I should probably use less layers.  Right now I highlight up from the darkest color, then apply a wash, and then re-highlight all the way up.  That's kind of a waste of time.  I think I've decided to apply the base color, apply a wash, and then highlight up from there.  It's still pretty annoying to have to wash the whole area.  The weathering powders were a mess and a half.  I got them all over my computer and desk area.  I was worried that they were dulling the black too much, but that effect faded once I sprayed the model with Matte Varnish. 

I applied the blood effects (Tamiya Clear Red) and they were easy and awesome.  I recommend getting a little pot of it.  I also tried my hand at some OSL (object source lighting) on the lantern in the back.  I don't like it so much in person- something is just a little off, but on camera it looks pretty good.

The photography portion was a blast.  I tried using a green sheet of paper behind the model to enable me to better use the fuzzy select in GIMP.  It worked pretty well, but only after three tries.  The first try I placed the model in direct sunlight and the reflection of the green was very present on the back side of the model.  Next I tried in a shadow outdoors with the flash, but the model was still too close and some of the glossy black areas (especially on the base) were a little green.  The final try was in the driveway with the model on a stand, the paper about two feet away, and a nice lamp lighting the model from in front.  That worked the best, but there are still hints of green in the pictures.  I think more forward lighting and even further from the paper will work wonders.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A Breakthrough!

I have made a discovery in the science of photo taking!  I could make a whole lot of money off of it but the problem is that someone already discovered it years ago.  See here:  I'm a good fifty or so years behind.  Shucks!

You're probably wondering how I came about this?  Do you really want a glimpse into the genius that is my brain?  OK you asked for it.  Well I was trying out Gimp for the first time (a fantastic and free piece of photo editing software).  I was removing the background of my model pictures and replacing it with a nice gradient.  I found that the white sheet I used was not perfectly white and the shadows of the model made parts of it grey which made it really hard for Gimp to tell what was the model and what was useless white space.  I thought about it for a moment and decided that I should use a background color that wouldn't be confused with the model.  Bright green is what I settled on- so smart!  I was then really disappointed because I realized that it's what people have been doing for years and I wasn't going to win any awards.  I'm not sure I've seen it applied to wargaming photos though.  That must be worth fifty points or something.

This is an awesome video that I found that quickly explains how to get started and use Gimp- give it a look!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Emperor's Champion Conversion

I finally got some work done- it's been a weird last few months where I've found it hard to sit down and actually paint things.  I finished up some ships for Dreadfleet too, but that's not really what the blog is about.  Maybe I'll post some pictures later.

So I fell in love with the Maugna Ra model and I wanted to make it into a marine somehow.  I decided to have him be a converted Emperor's Champion- being badass and unique and all.  I shaved off all of the Eldar jewel things on him and added some Space Marine bits.  In order for the sword to be properly stabbing the Necron I had to position the guy over the edge of the base.  That created a problem because the model is metal and weighs a whole lot.  I put a washer on the bottom of the base, made the rocks out of plaster, and added the big banner to counter the weight of the model.  It is a little top heavy, but it rests flush on the table.