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Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

It’s… The Legion Rising Show!

*Cue The Benny Hill Show theme song – Yakety Sax*

Now, including spectacular colour! That’s right, actual paint!

I’ve magnetized my models for years to facilitate my eventual need to transport them, but it’s quite useful for painting too.

I mount a small neodymium magnet in the center of the base (or several, in the case of larger models) and then I attach a layer of magnetic sheet cleanly finish the process. The rare earth magnet provides the main sticking power while the magnetic sheet adds to the effect by making the entire base hold firm. Needless to say, I have no fear of models knocking free when they’re on a metal tray. Added bonus, it’s super simple to add a bit of metal to the end of a piece of dowel so I can paint without touching the model. Not as useful when you’re doing sub-assemblies, like in this case, but better than a poke in the eye.

As mentioned, I invested in an airbrush a while back, settling on a Badger Sotar 20/20 based on reviews, videos of performance, and helpful input; a key feature was its ability to switch between a very fine 0.20mm needle, a medium 0.45mm needle, and a large 0.70mm needle, to suit the range of jobs I expect to use it on. I helped to rationalize the purchase by using it first to paint the thesis model for my bachelor’s degree, so let’s just say it forced me to overcome any fears of a learning curve very quickly as I used it for the first time on an extremely critical project. As a funny addition to the experience, I painted my model a bright yellow to contrast with black and dark grey details, and used the entire bottle of airbrush yellow paint I purchased for the task. It was a rather large model. Caught in a pinch, with parts that still needed paint and no time to get a new bottle, I turned to my hobby supplies and pulled out a very old bottle of Sunburst Yellow; to my surprise it was a very close match and despite it being very thick and needing to be rejuvenated, it saved my bacon.

On hobby models, once you get past the intimidating initial learning curve of using an airbrush, it really is a significant game changer, completely altering how one might consider going about painting a model. Even simply applying primer is elevated, with it able to apply it in wonderfully smooth layers while offering complete control over coverage. While rattle spray cans are not exactly hard to use there are occasions when they can be temperamental, creating a less than desirable surface finish, and they simply can’t get into the nooks-and-crannies of a model like an airbrush without applying way too much primer to everywhere else. Once you get the hang of it with the airbrush the progress is brilliantly quick.

To start I’m doing a 10x unit of Vanguard with three Plasma Calivers and a 10x unit of Rangers with two Transuranic Arquebus'.

All hail the ever useful Poster Tack! Great for working on perfecting a pose, and helpful in this case for keeping the bits-n-pieces on their assigned painting stick. They do fall off from time-to-time but it’s easy to replace them and it still greatly reduces how much I would normally handle them. If you’re painting Skitarii I strongly suggest keeping them separate at the waist to save your sanity; I’m assuming they are intended to be painted this way as I simply can’t see how you could get under the long coats otherwise. I had started assembling them with both arms in place, but I soon changed my mind as I looked at the model. While it will take a bit more care to do the final assembly, I find it takes much more effort to paint all the nooks-and-crannies of these models when both arms are in place. By attaching the left arm (using the right arm to ensure it’s in the correct position) it will be an easy task to attach the right arm in perfect alignment in the future. Some carefully placed bits of Poster Tack is also perfect for masking the areas that will need plastic-on-plastic contact.

In keeping with my current preference for a cold-centric paint scheme Blue, Silver, and Black will be my primary colours, with Green used as the main accent colour.

It can’t be understated just how much faster it was to paint these coats/cloaks with an airbrush and to a much higher quality and uniformity than I could ever hope for by hand. I might be able to get the blend reasonably close by hand since it is a nice smooth flat surface, but without a doubt, it would take me muuuch longer. I started rather cautiously at first, but quickly found my groove and sped up considerably once I got into it. To get them to this point was surprisingly straightforward.

-Two layers of Vallejo Magic Blue over a Black prime.
-Two layers of Blue Wash; the first over the entire area with some quick wet blending to keep most of the shading up near the torso, and a second selective application to reinforce the shade effect at the top of the model. I didn't worry too much about getting a perfect blend or if any shading dripped/drooped too low, because the final Blue application cleans it up nicely.
-After that, I used an airbrush to blend the Magic Blue back up from the bottom.
-From here I will be using Vallejo Magic Blue combined with Vallejo Electric Blue to work up the highlights.
-Cleaned up all the non-cloak bits with Black.
-A layer of Vallejo Air Silver was hand painted on; by far one of the best acrylic Silver paints I’ve used with a normal brush or through an airbrush.
-A Single Black wash over the Silver and a cleanup with Black paint (still in progress).

In order to avoid using rust and adding the warm element it would bring to the theme, I’ve decided to borrow a bit of inspiration from the fiction of Lucius Forge World and bend it some to fit my purpose. Atrum Laboris is skilled at producing quality metal alloys so wargear of their manufacture is resistant to typical corrosion or oxidation, and prone only to superficial tarnishing, developing a darkening patina over time; I may take the idea further, making Alphas and other veteran models darker and more tarnished to reflect the fiction. So, with that base covered, when it comes time to weather some of this strong colour down I’ll focus on grease, dust, soot, and carbon to add more grit and grime to the models, instead of rust and oxidization.

Ok, so not the largest update, but progress... measurable, quantifiable, documentable, painting progress!! I'm already starting to dread all the little fiddly bits, but really, only a little bit. It's sooo cathartic to finally be able to get back painting again I'm eager to push forward. Now that I have control of my schedule I can also start doing it more regularly. Being forced away from it for so long, even if for the best of intentions and outcomes, has left me quite hungry and the prospect of doing 40-60 of these actually feels like a treat! Let's hope the enthusiasm lasts. I think it will. I need to get to the Onagers, after all. Mmm... walking tanks with... Neutron Lazor Beams!

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

Ok, design philosophy time! Where we delve a little into the dark nooks-and-crannies of Subtle’s design process to learn just how much he overthinks things, but in a good way!

It’s funny, one of the most profound lessons I learned while attending college is actually quite straightforward and one of the most frustrating truths I’ve been forced to accept. Put simply, as you design something almost every task it requires during the development will take longer to complete than you’ll expect it to. The general guideline my professor gave was roughly 3-to-1 and they seem to be close to the mark; if you expect a task will take you about 1 hour to complete, don’t be surprised when it takes 3 or more hours to finally finish. For some reason, despite coming to experience this firsthand, over-and-over, I struggle to take this into account and adjust my expectations to something realistic.

In this case, I’m on the final steps to completing the first batch of 3D models and that requires filleting (read: rounding) the hard/sharp edges of a model ever-so-slightly. This subtle step takes the designed object from something of a rough state to a refined finished state and it’s quite noticeable in image renderings of a design and ultimately the final production of an object. It’s not particularly hard to do (although it can be tricky in some locations of a model if the geometry is complex) but it is completely mind-numbing and takes a painfully long time to finish. Needless to say, what I thought would be done in days is taking longer than I expected. And I don’t even want to get started on adding sprews, gates, and vents, which you would think isn’t that tedious, but I digress.

TLDR: I’m putting the final touches and details on the first batch of 3D models. They look great but daaamn it’s taking longer than I expected. Note to self: Attention to detail simply takes time; adjust schedule expectations accordingly.

The redesign of the Interitus Missile Launcher (counts-as Havoc Launcher) is an excellent 3D prototype build to illustrate the design choices I make in order to create the best possible kit I can devise. Three main ideas guide my choices. 1) Find ways to improve how the model will be produced; is there anything I can do to make it easier to cast, improve the lifespan of the mould, and/or reduce the chances of casting flaws? 2) Find ways to make it assemble with the least amount of frustration; what can I do to ensure everything assembles with the least amount of cleanup and effort? 3) Find straightforward ways to add assembly options to a kit for more variety; what opportunities present themselves that might let me add more assembly options?

By offsetting the mounting point on a round plate simply rotating the plate changes the launcher’s position on the model.

A very simple design choice lets the builder put the missile launcher where they want; to the left, right, front, or back. Not anything elaborate by any stretch, but a good idea doesn’t need to be complex.

I initially split the mounting ‘yoke’ for the launcher into two parts to make it easier to cast each of the parts.

Soon after I split the part I noticed how easy it would be to add a few extra holes to match the small locking key detail. This, in turn, lets the builder assemble the launcher centered, or to the left, or to the right. Again, not exactly elaborate, but it’s also not exactly difficult to add the option, so why not?

I try to design kits to complement each other in both design style and how they function.

Modularity, it’s a good thing. Not only do I want my kits to interact well with each other; using the provided assembly options should help to avoid clearance issues. I also want kits to be able to switch and swap logical parts with each other. In general, if parts from one kit look like they could fit with another kit, odds are good that they will. Mmmm… options.

Sometimes you design to solve a problem, sometimes you design to add a feature, and sometimes one leads to the other.

When you’re creating a casting prototype it’s in your best interest to avoid details that will create a ‘knife edge’ in the mould rubber. Rubber that forms very thin shapes like this will tend to deform very quickly and because they are delicate they are also prone to tearing well before the rest of the mould wears out. Due to the shape, the ring around a missile sitting in a tube is a good example of this and it was one of the main problems I had with my first attempted making the Interitus Missile Launcher; this thin bit of rubber would first deform, and then eventually tear free, ruining the gap that is meant to simulate a missile sitting in a launch tube. At first, I considered widening the gap in an effort to make the rubber thicker and more resistant to tearing, but I’m much happier with this final solution for several reasons.

By completely splitting the part into two components I solve the initial problem and in turn, I created an opportunity to add some more assembly options.

I was pleased with solving the problem in this reasonably simple way. The ‘knife-edge’ issue is completely resolved and since they’re both flat-backed parts it won’t be any harder to cast these two components as it would be to cast it as a single piece.

If they choose, the builder will also have the option of painting the parts separately which should help the assembly process. It also makes it very easy for the builder to remove some of the missiles if they want to have the missile rack appear to have fired a few volleys of ordinance. It’s a pet peeve of mine when a missile rack on a model has a few missiles missing by default; if it’s ever duplicated in the collection they all look the same and I personally hate that kind of repetition in a collection. Let the builder make that choice, dammit!

As shown earlier in the thread, this also makes it very easy to create several unique varieties of missile for the builder to choose from.

Not every kit will get this many small options on how it can assemble, but this is an excellent example of how I try to discover opportunities to improve every model I design. It can take longer to complete a design as I work through the process, but I think it’s the kind of attention to detail that people will really appreciate as my kits start arriving in their hobby spaces. I build these models and miniatures too, so I know how nice it is when something assembles without too much fuss, and a little bit of choice when I build is never a bad thing. I aim to combine this design philosophy with top quality execution to produce some of the best kits on the market. It’s going to take a little while for me to find my stride, but it’s finally starting and I can’t wait to see where this all leads.

More updates coming soon’ish. Hopefully, with some actual first 3D prints in hand. But for now, it’s Saturday, time to go and paint something!

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
Made in us
Huge Bone Giant

Speaking on the 'Filleting':

What program are you using? Most 3D programs actually have automatic systems for doing that process.

3DS Max's "Chamfer" and Blender's "Bevel" modifiers allow you to specify size, number of loops, as well as edge angle, sharpness booleans and what to do at complex corners, so you can just apply it to the whole model at once, without having to manually champfer all of them.

Maya's bevel tool also allows for similar edge specification, though you have to pre-select what you want to effect.

My suggestion is, if possible, designate edges that you're going to want beveled as 'sharp' while modeling, or add them into a vertex group or Selection set, again, as you're going. This makes it much easier to do that finishing bevel.

GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your sig and add 1 to the number after generation. Consider it a social experiment.

If yer an Ork, why dont ya WAAAGH!!

M.A.V.- if you liked ChromeHounds, drop by the site and give it a go. Or check out my M.A.V. Oneshots videos on YouTube! 
Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

Thanks for the input! I'm always interested in different perspectives on any given issue.

I'm currently working with Solidworks since it was the primary software used during my Industrial Design program. I'm sticking with it for now because of my comfort with the software, but also because it's very well suited to the hard-edged mechanical forms of the kits that my studio is starting with. It also tends to create models in a very 'scratch building' kind of way, which is really suited to how my mind conceives and works through creating a model, and that's very intuitive for me.

Solidworks does have an 'edge propagation' function that you can use when filleting or chamfering edges and I'm learning how to make better use of it, but it's not foolproof and sometimes struggles with the task, creating problems that stop the filleting function from working; problem is, once it selects 100+ edges and it hits a snag that stops the fillet function from completing, it can be really hard to figure out where the problem is; usually it's only a few edges causing the problem, but they can be hard to locate and remove from the mass bulk of the selected edges, so they can be dealt with more carefully by themselves. It can be surprising how important the order of execution is when you're doing this step, and it can be a little frustrating, to say the least. I also change the radius of the filleting depending on the edge I'm rounding, so one size does not fit every edge, so it's not as easy as applying a single fillet function over the entire component. I am getting much faster now that I'm taking more advantage of the edge propagation feature but it's still a surprisingly tedious process.

All that said, I've seen some amazing demonstrations of Modo with its vertex modeling system and I have a strong suspicion that I'll be looking to another software package when it comes time to start doing softer more organic modeling projects. I think they could be done in Solidworks but with much more effort compared to a vertex modeling solution. For now, the cost of the software and the need to learn it from scratch are major barriers that I'm avoiding until I can start to find my stride with my production process. Once I'm more up to speed, I'll start considering my options more.

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
Made in us
Huge Bone Giant

I would suggest fiddling around with Blender a little, if you're looking into that. It's a powerful tool, and its open-source nature means that it has near infinite compatibility, huge tutorial banks, and very nice workflow, once you've learned it.

Workflow is definitely something that you'll run into with large, well-established software packages. Maya, for example, has TONS of Order of Operations-dependent functions, many of which are reversed from similar ones (the Constraints, if you know what those are, occasionally ask for you to select the Parent first, and occasionally ask for the Child first- and for some god-aweful reason, they allow for multiple Parents to be created at once, and not multiple Children).

Looking forwards to seeing what you manage, once you go to Organics- though I warn you, with your focus on precision, you might just drive your self (even more) mad trying to make organic forms.

GENERATION 8: The first time you see this, copy and paste it into your sig and add 1 to the number after generation. Consider it a social experiment.

If yer an Ork, why dont ya WAAAGH!!

M.A.V.- if you liked ChromeHounds, drop by the site and give it a go. Or check out my M.A.V. Oneshots videos on YouTube! 
Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

From the forest of paint bottles, they emerge. Super organized painter, I is not. Maybe I should consider changing that habit...

So close to being finished the base paint job, it's painful to have to stop working on this squad, but my hobby ration for the week has been consumed.
It's odd that the camera seems to make the highlights on the weapons seem a bit brighter then they are in person. They really do 'pop' much more in the images. Just one of those side-effects of pixellating the image, I suppose.
I'm reconsidering doing the eyes bit brighter and with a bit of glow. I used a very tiny bit of transparent blue to give the lights on the chest a bit of OSL and I think it worked out well considering how painless it was. A little fiddly, but not all that hard so I guess I'll try it on the eyes and see. I'm the first to admit it's a very straightforward colour scheme that's not taking too many risks, but I think it's working well to give them a calculating clinical look.

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
Made in nz
Papa Squiggles

Auckland New Zealand

That blue is divine!

IceAngel wrote:I must say Knightley, I am very envious of your squiggle ability. I mean, if squiggles were a tactical squad, you'd be the sergeant. If squiggles were an HQ, you'd be the special character. If squiggles were a way of life, you'd be Doctor Phil...
The Cleanest Painting blog ever!
Gitsplitta wrote:I am but a pretender... you are... the father of all squiggles. .
Made in us
Courageous Space Marine Captain

Quite the shocking electric bluegaloo.

 Unit1126PLL wrote:
 Scott-S6 wrote:
And yet another thread is hijacked for Unit to ask for the same advice, receive the same answers and make the same excuses.

Oh my god I'm becoming martel.
Send help!

Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

Well, it is Vallejo 'Magic Blue', so I guess it's a good name for it. people seem to really like how rich/bold it is. I do plan on dirtying the models up some once all the details are done, but I'm still not totally sure what I'm going to do and I'm not worrying about it too much until I'm at that point.

Thanks for the feedback.

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
Made in us
Revving Ravenwing Biker

Pittsburgh PA, USA

Great job on the blues. An epic paint job.

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Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

Thanks! It's soooo good to finally be painting again. I'm struggling to keep it from distracting me too much from my other duties right now. It's just so cathartic to put some paint to plastic!

Brought up in another corner of the interweb I figured it wouldn't hurt to share this elsewhere. When I say I'm considering green, this is what I mean...


I took a bit of time and did some backpacks in the planned green and it forced me to do at least one test model to see what it looks like.
While I'm happy with how I executed the blue lights, I still think it's a bit too much blue on blue. I think the green just breaks up the monotony of so... much... blue... Even the green eyes I'm thinking of brightening a bit to add a bit more punch.

With regards to the execution, I should give credit where credit is due. I've mentioned these Transparent paints from Vajello a few times the last while but until now I hadn't used them.

I picked these up when I got my airbrush hoping that they will compliment it and I'm happy to finally discover that they do.
I've only just started playing around with them so I can't provide really in-depth feedback on how to best use them but so far they're working as I was hoping they would. Subtle glow effects are most effective when the colour that is being projected on a surface is staining the surface and letting the base surface/colour show through. Thinning paints to get this effect can be tricky since many colours have additives that are meant to help the paint cover and be opaque; from what I can tell these paints are simply the colour pigments in acrylic binding medium, minus the opaquing additives. Many painters would use inks to achieve this kind of effect but inks are water-like in consistency, so I prefer this product because it has a little more body and it acts more like paint when you attempt to blend the edges.
In this case, I brushed the colours on the chest pieces and did a bit of blending to get the desired effect and I used my airbrush to add it to the backpacks so it could do the blending work for me. Both times it was used straight from the bottle and built up to get the desired effect. They look very bright and vivid in the bottle and when you initially put them on a surface, especially if it's heavy, but they mute down as they dry and become more transparent. The pigment is very concentrated so a very tiny bit can go quite far. So, a light touch and using a small amount is best while you get used to how they'll affect a surface they're being used on.

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

Further update with ramblings and more images to follow shortly.

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
Made in ca
Cog in the Machine

Toronto, Canada

It would be an understatement to say that I’m very happy to finally be painting again. What is it about this damn hobby that makes it so compelling? I completely respect that it’s not for everyone, but for those of us who get caught up in it… mmmm… so good.

So, the first squad of Skitarii Rangers is almost finished. I still have a few small details and a tiny bit of tidying up to do here-and-there but that's basically a formality at this point. They're all still held together with poster tack so the odd backpack or arm might be a little off. For some reason, I’m hesitant to actually commit them with glue even though I think I’m safe at this point, for fear of overlooking something that would be easier to do while they’re still in separate parts.

To sort out my colour pallet and painting technique I focused on the Ranger squad to use them as a proof of concept.

Values, 1, 2, 3. One of the most straightforward yet powerful concepts that I learned in college and it applies quite well to miniature painting. Used during the rendering process when you're colouring and/or shading an image to best communicate the form and detail, it's the simple guideline that you only need three distinct Values, light (1), medium (2), and dark (3), to create all of the desired contrast. Generally, beyond that point, any additional steps/values will start to have diminishing returns for the extra effort required to add them.

In many ways it seems really obvious and common sense but I found it surprising how often I would be working on something and wondering why it was lacking some visual punch, and then I would notice that there wasn’t enough 1, 2, 3, value definition. Forcing this concept from my unconscious mind into my conscious mind was definitely something that took some practice but it pays off once it becomes more instinctive.

The idea translates well to painting where you can create a straightforward guideline to follow; determine the light, medium, and dark, value of each colour you plan to use and make sure each step is distinct. Naturally, that’s not to say there won’t be places where you may want to be more elaborate, but with or without blending it’s surprising just how effective this simple approach is. Conversely, if a paint job seems to fall a bit flat, look at it critically and ask yourself if there’s good 1, 2, 3, value definition happening.

Group shot! It took a little longer to get this squad done, but now that I have a good idea what each step involves future squads will/should/might happen faster.

As I said, I still need to tweak a few details and do some minor cleanup. OSL really does force you to pay attention if you want it to be reasonably convincing so now that they’re assembled there are a few spots that need some attention. I also want to boost the shoulder mounted lamps which are just not bright enough for my liking. The Vanguard weapons are also giving me pause as I continue to contemplate just how I want to treat the OSL glow with them. I’ve given them the first hit with the airbrush but I don’t know I’ve it’s too strong for the final look. Oh well, that’s a final puzzle to hopefully work out next painting session.

After years of painting predominantly black, the bold colours are also forcing me to accept that it might be time to upgrade my seven-year-old camera. The images aren’t bad by any stretch, but even with a bit of Photoshop to adjust and darken them, the colours are noticeably more vibrant in the pictures than in person; in particular, the blue is bold but it’s just not that bright in reality. It’s not really a priority by any means but something with better colour accuracy would be nice at some point in the future.

The plan is to get 50-to-60 Skitarii done to roughly this point before I really contemplate how I’ll be completing the scheme.

That will give me time to finish the decal designs I’ve started and get them printed, ready for a marathon session of decaling them in one big batch. Part of me wants to try to add some freehand keyed trimming on the coats but the rest of me is a coward who doesn’t want to screw it up. Thinking about it, I have an idea to get long strips of binary code printed in the smallest font possible (read: micro text) so it would appear as just a line unless you looked very closely. I’m just not sure if decals can be printed small enough to pull off the effect or how difficult it would be to apply the strips along the edges of some of the coats and hoods. I like the idea, I’m just not sure how realistic it is.

Thanks again for reading and following along. As always, any questions, comments, or general musings are always welcome. Mmmm... soooo satisfying to get back to painting.

Nostrum nomen est Legio: pro nos es plures. ~ ~ Our name is Legion: for we are many.
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