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Yearly Archives:2019

Tutorial: Painting KoW Armada Salamanders Fleet

Kings of War: Armada is a fantastic game, full of beautifully crafted miniatures. Still some wargaming veterans might feel intimidated by the unusual scale and plentiful detail of Armada ships. Today I will present to you how easy it is to paint Armada Salamanders ships as can be seen in Gallery: Armada Salamanders. All techniques presented in step-by-step tutorial can be applied to different colors to produce a variety of awesome color schemes for your fleet.

Before we start, some notes:

  • This tutorial does not require airbrush, but it is used for painting convenience.
  • You can use any paints, not just the ones I recommend. You can use this chart to compare paints between popular brands.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of speckled, messy and clumsy paint job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

Step one: Undercoat

I started with a thorough layer of Games Workshop Chaos Black spray. Chaos Black spray is my go to choice when it comes to undercoat, leaving a solid, durable layer with detail intact. Some might consider adding a zenithal preshade on top, but the techniques used in this tutorial would render such practice irrelevant.


Step two: Hull base

Hull, being the largest and most detailed part of the ship, was my choice of where to start the actual paintjob. I applied a solid layer of thinned Games Workshop Warplock Bronze all over the miniature, except for sails. I used an airbrush, but this can easily be done manually.


Step three: Hull highlight

Next, using a medium size, soft brush I applied a highlight of Army Painter True Copper. Flatbrush was my technique of choice for this one, a it applied a solid layer of paint sparing most recesses, thus leaving some of the previous layer still visible.


Step four: Hull final highlight

I then applied an edge highlight of Army Painter Shining Silver to make all the detail pop and provide a bit more contrast between recesses and exposed edges.


Step five: Masts base

I left the Hull for a bit and moved on to masts, applying a thick layer of Vallejo 72.045 Charred Brown. Once again I would like to point out that the colors I used are my personal preference and you can use any brand, or even any similar color, to achieve similar results.


Step six: Masts highlight

Another step was to apply a slightly blurry highlight of Vallejo 42.043 Beasty Brown. By blurry I mean a thinned down paint applied with a relatively large, soft brush. You can see in the picture how this layer seem a bit misty, partially translucent and not as strong as usual base application. This can be achieved by keeping a brush barely loaded with thinned down paint and sliding its edge up and down the surface. If I ever decide to have a Patreon this technique will probably be the first thing I would like to do a deep dive into, but for now my chaotic description must do.


Step seven: Masts edge highlight

Due to masts shape they do not have edges on their sides, but they still can be imitated with standard edge highlight of Games Workshop Karak Stone. If you struggle with edge highlights check out this in-depth article from 2018, where I describe the process and share some related life hacks.


Step eight: Wash

Here’s where real magic happens. I applied a strong layer of Army Painter Strong Tone wash over the miniature. This is probably the most important moment of the entire paint job. Wash applied en-masse blends all the colors beneath, toning them down a bit, adding coherency and that extra juicy look. One thing to look out for is large drops of wash forming on flat areas and lower parts of the miniature, then leaving stains of very dark paint while drying. This can be avoided by removing the excess of paint with a soft wet brush few minutes after application.


Step nine: Sails base

Once wash dried out nicely I moved to Sails and lower hulls. I applied a thick layer of P3 Coal Black, which is something between dark turquoise mixed with dark grey.


Step ten: Sails highlight

Next I applied a flatbrush highlight of slightly thinned Vallejo 309 Periscopes. This exposed most texture of the sails why also providing a more juicy color overall.


Step eleven: Sails highlight

Another highlight was applied with a 1:1 mix of Games Workshop Pallid Wych Flesh and Vallejo 309 Periscopes. A much more visible highlight to build volume.


Step twelve: Sails final highlight

Final highlight was applied with pure Games Workshop Pallid Wych Flesh. Similar to edge highlight this one was applied to most exposed detail and edges on the sails. Looks messy and ugly, but everything goes according to a plan…


Step thirteen: Glaze

Glazing is a topic on its own that usually refers to rather time consuming and precise application of strongly thinned down paints. The way I apply glazes is more simplified. I apply them with a large, soft brush just like washes, except I avoid applying too much paint. This way I both smooth up and juice up the colors underneath. In case of Salamanders I used a 1:1 mix of Games Workshop Akhelian Green nd Aethermatic Blue contrast paints.


Step fourteen: Green osl

Final color range to add onto the miniature was Greens. I applied four paints one after another to build volume and then add depth to weapons and any fire elements across the fleet. In this tutorial I deliberately linked all the steps into one, as this particular topic was just recently covered in Tutorial: Painting Green Glow that you can read in order to get a better grasp of the entire process.


Step fifteen: Bases

The paint job done and sealed with a matt varnish the last thing left to do was a base. Again, this is something I covered before in KoW Armada Water Bases tutorial that I invite you to read in order to get to know the process. In case of Salamanders I simplified basing by applying one thick, smooth layer of AK Interactive Atlantic blue, then another rough layer of the same texture to finally add waves with AK Interactive Water Foam effect. Very simple while also quite effective.

This marks the end of the tutorial. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or via social media.



I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: Modeling Smoke

Oh those sweet looking puff of smoke. Such a fine detail. So much character. So many conversion possibilities. Be it fumes from magic cauldron, engine exhausts or freshly tossed smoke grenades. There’s only that many Kill Team Moroch boxes a hobbyist can get their hands on, am I right?

What if I told you there exists an unlimited source of similar, miniature scale puffs of smoke and they come as cheap as a bottle of PVA and Cyanoacrylate glue combined? Witness Me!

Before we start, some notes:

  • For the purpose of this tutorial I will focus on Smoke Grenades, but the technique can be used to form a variety of smoke cones, not just the ones presented.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of speckled, messy job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

The Basics:

Just before we turn everything milky white with miniature smoke, a word of introduction. I recently purchased a Warhammer 40,000 Phobos Kill Team to add flavor to my existing army. Inside there was a single piece that really got my blood rushing. A tiny grenade with a cone of smoke. Such a wonderful piece. I wished to get more to use as tokens, but also cut and re-purpose for other projects. Sadly this piece is rare across the 40k range and I was left with only one way forward: Completely back engineer and make my own miniature smoke.

Fortunately it wasn’t that difficult and today I bring to you a relatively easy step-by-step tutorial so that you can follow me into the smoke!

The method described here requires a piece of wire, wire cutters, cyanoacrylate glue, PVA glue, hobby drill, tweezers and some tiny balls. The latter can be made with Green Stuff, but I strongly recommend you to read this article and save yourself the hustle instead: Unlimited Tiny Balls for Modelling

Let’s get into it!


Step one: Wire

I started by cutting a piece of soft wire into smaller fragments. The size of these fragments depends on the size and complexity of planned smoke cones. I also found that double twisted wire works better than single line, because it holds the cyanoacrylate plus PVA glue mixture much stronger.


Step two: Mounting place

Next I drilled a tiny hole in the spot where I wanted the smoke to originate from. In this case it was at the head of a tiny grenade, glued firmly to a base.


Step three: Mounting

Using cyanoacrylate glue I then glued a piece of wire into the hole.


Step four: Shaping

Once dried firmly, I then shaped the wire to resemble a basic smoke streak. This can be done with either tweezers or by using soft finger pressure on a wire rested on a rounded surface, such as a side of a brush etc.


Step five: The Mixture

Next I applied some PVA glue and then cyanoacrylate glue onto the wire, in this order. I didn’t wait for these to bind…


Step six: Volume

… and glued a bunch of tiny balls around to form volume. This step requires some creativity and precision, but gets much easier with a pair of slightly wet tweezers and a bowl of ready-to-use balls. Once again I advise you check this article out: Unlimited Tiny Balls for Modelling


Step seven: Finishing touches

Finally I used cyanoacrylate glue with activator to add more volume around the wire and finalize the shape. Activated Super Glue does not run down so easily, allowing it to bind larger areas with a nice, smooth surface.


Done! Prime, paint and ready to play. Smoke away!

I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional warhammer 40k miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: Converting Night Lords

It is middle of the night. You and the boys just engaged Prey Sight and head out in search for the guilty. “In Midnight Clad”, but not without some fancy ‘fleshy’ adornments. Time to pimp that Night Lords armor.

If this sounds like something that tickles your fancy, or if you just want to make your Horus Heresy Night Lords feel like the real Eight Legion, then this tutorial is for you. Ave Dominus Nox!

Before we start, some notes:

  • This tutorial is pretty basic, aimed at beginner hobbyists rather than advanced sculptors.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of clumsy, messy job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

The Basics:

Before we head into the night to wreak sculpting havoc, let’s go through some basics. Night Lords are all about skulls, chains, flapping coats of tanned flesh, hooks, bones and bat wings. Some of these are easier to get than others. Skulls come in a phenomenal package straight from GW. Bones and hooks are plenty amongst Games Workshop boxes, be it Drukhari, Savage Urruks, Kroot, Skeletons and more. Getting these is usually as simple as asking around friends who might have a pile of leftovers. Bat Winged Helmets are really something that you’d rather get 3d printed as the effort and time required to sculpt these greatly exceeds the value. As for all the rest, here’s where I come in, to help out my VIII Legion brothers.


Chains:

I’ve been searching for a cheap source of miniatures-compatible chains for a long time. Went through some of the classic wargaming related products, like Green Stuff World, but without good results. Most chains were just too big to fit the theme. Finally after a thorough research I found Trumpeter Universal Fine Chains and for the love of the Long War, my hobbying changed instantly. These come in three different sizes, are relatively affordable and are great to work with. They tend to come a bit rusted, but it is all the better as paint and glue stick stronger this way.

Ok, so we have them chains. This is how I go about mounting them on miniatures.


Step one: Drill

First I pick spots where I want to mount the chain and drill small holes with a hand drill. At times I skip this part and hide ends of the chain behind pauldrons, or in recesses, but most of the time I like to have a clear spot where a chain is mounted at.


Step two: Glue

Next I apply a small drop of Cyanoacrylate glue (Super Glue) on the hole and use tweezers to insert the end of the chain inside. This way I have a chain mounted strongly onto the miniature and doesn’t have to worry about keeping it in place myself.


Step three: Other end

I then fit the chain on the surface and between the holes. Once I am satisfied with how it looks I cut a proper length and glue the other end inside another hole.


Step four: Seal it

With everything dangling around it’s time to seal the chain in place. To do this I apply a drop of Super Glue onto a toothpick and slide the tip around the chain. This is also the last moment to add some shape corrections before it’s finalized.


Skulls:

Skulls are perfect to add a bit of character to your miniatures. They’re positive, always grinning and just funny to have around. Fortunately for us, the hobbyists, Games Workshop put out the best possible source of Skulls in the history of wargaming – the Citadel Skulls! Now what’s left is to siimply mount them onto our miniatures. Here’s how I go about it.


Option A:

I drill a small hole in the upper part of a skull to then mount it on a chain, partially supported by a piece of plastic in close vicinity to the point of contact. I use Super Glue to bind it in place.


Option B:

I mount a piece or an entire skull in place with Super Glue. This works very well as a piece of ornamentation.


Flesh:

Alright, here’s what most of you really came here for. Sculpting tanned flesh.

The process itself is rather easy and does not require sculpting skills. I started by mixing Green Stuff into an evenly colored green mass, then divided it into few small balls.


Step one: Glue

Similarly to other sculpting tutorials I begun ‘sculpting’ by applying a small drop of Super Glue into a chosen surface. This is to keep Green Stuff from coming off and sliding left and right during work.


Step two: Green Stuff

Next I glued a small ball of Green Stuff on top, flattening it with a wet finger. Keeping your tools (and fingertips) wet makes Green Stuff less sticky.


Step three: Basic shape

I then used the rounded tip of a sculpting tool to shape the ‘flattened ball’ into something resembling a butterfly. Four diagonal moves in total.


Step four: Upper edge

Next, using the same rounded tip of the sculpting tool I flattened the upper edge of the ‘batterfly’, resembling a flapping piece of skin. The more rough it is, the more texture it will retain later on so there’s no need to smoother it to perfection.


Step five: Lower edge

Finally I flattened the lower edge of the ‘batterfly’ just a bit, so there was a line of overhang below where glue kept Green Stuff in place.


Step six: Shaping

Using a pair of tweezers I then grabbed, teared and shaped the lower part of the sculpt to add an impression of movement. Job well done… although something still seemed missing.


Step seven: Studs

That’s what I’m talking about! A pair of studs to bolt a piece of flapping skin to the armor.

These can be made of anything really, starting with a tiny piece of a toothpick, or some sort of plastic leftovers. Personally I like to use nail cosmetic glass balls. You can read more about them in Unlimited Tiny Balls for Miniatures article.


Now look at this serious lad. All the skulls, a chains and some fancy fleshy souvenirs from previous raids. I bet no one will joke around this guy!

Below are some pictures of how I went about skulls and chains on my personal collection:

And if you require even more inspiration, why not check Gallery: Crimson Fists, for plenty more pictures of my heavily Night Lords themed 40k army. Ave Dominus Nox!

I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional warhammer 40k miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: Sculpting Fur

Sculpting fur on miniatures might seem a bit difficult. Still with new Codes: Chaos Space Marines hitting the stores, 2nd edition of Horus Heresy ravaging countless battlefields, Warcry: Heart of Ghur at the horizon and oldies such as Mordheim living the life as never before (not to mention furry going mainstream) – I’d imagine a lot of miniatures hobbyists wouldn’t mind a simple yet effective fur sculpting tutorial. I actually managed to post one many years ago, sadly it’s not up to nowadays standards. This is why I decided to completely revamp the article. If you’re one of the hobbyists aiming to adorn some of them Horus Heresy Space Wolves, or dig the furry style of Mordheim Kislevites – buckle up and enjoy, as this tutorial is for you!

Before we start, some notes:

  • This tutorial is pretty basic, aimed at beginner hobbyists rather than advanced sculptors.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of speckled, messy job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

The Basics:

Before we go on a sculpting rampage, let’s talk some basics. The entire process is rather simple and consists of preparation and few main steps, after which you repeat the steps until satisfied. I assume standard Green Stuff is the most popular and available sculpting material out there thus I chose to use it for this tutorial. Apart from Green Stuff you will also need a proper sculpting tool, some cyanoacrylate glue and a miniature to work on.

Mix a piece of Green Stuff until it’s ready and make small balls out of it. Once done, we are ready to begin fur sculpting.


Step one: Glue

I started by applying a small drop of cyanoacrylate glue (Super Glue) onto the surface. This is to ensure instant binding between Green Stuff and the miniature, thus making the sculpting process so much easier.


Step two: Apply Green Stuff

Next I applied a small ball of Green Stuff on top of the glue and flattened it slightly with a fingertip.


Step three: Straight lines

Using an edge of a sculpting tool, I then sculpted a series of relatively straight vertical lines. These doesn’t have to be perfect or even. Just a bunch of lines from top to bottom as can be seen in the pictures above.


Step four: Diagonal texture

I then cut and pushed with a tip of a sculpting tool to add some diagonal lines, shortening and sharpening the lines from previous step.


Step five: Messy texture

Finally I used the very tip of the sculpting tool, gently pushing it in and leveraging, pushing particular strains of fur up and to the side, so they became rounded and a bit shaggy. This is basically how I sculpt fur on different surfaces.


TIP:

You can repeat this step multiple times, by adding more balls of Green Stuff and sculpting intertwined layers on a larger surface, or to add volume.


Step six: Shaping

Having a fur covered coat or a piece of gear is great, but to really make it feel at place, I recommend shaping it’s upper part to resemble a piece of tanned leather. It is quite simple. First I pushed a rounded tip of the sculpting tool between excess fur on top and plastic surface. I then pulled down gently, to squeeze the upper fur. I’ve done this multiple times to get a nice smooth line, then smoothed if further. Depending on how much fur gets underneath the flat area it can either rest on top, or be squeezed further to look like flapping around. It’s all up to your personal tastes.


Step seven: Ragged edges

Very last step was to add motion and rough up the lower edge. I used pliers to gently grab and pull the lower part in the direction of where I felt the strains would lean. This technique allows for a really good control of the final shape.


That’s it. Job done. Few bolts, skulls or other adornments here and there to give an impression of fur being bolted to the armor and the sculpting process is complete. Nothing special, just a piece of leather with fur dangling around to buff that Space Wolf theme.


Below are some other examples of this tutorial being used in practice.

I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional warhammer 40k miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: Painting Green Glow

As a full time professional miniatures painter I strive to specialize in techniques that provide the maximum effect on the gaming board, while being relatively simple and easy to mass duplicate. Here I will present to you a Step-by-step guide to painting green glow effect similar to that used in most of the projects, for example  Gallery: Cult of Yurei and Gallery: Legio Vulpa.

Before we start, some notes:

  • This tutorial require airbrush.
  • You can use any paints, not just the ones I recommend. You can use this chart to compare paints between popular brands. This time around I really recommend Vallejos though.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of speckled, messy and clumsy paint job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

Step one: Duck Egg preshade

I started with a soft layer of slightly thinned airbrushed Vallejo 71.009 Duck Egg Green (air). While airbrushing I made sure to cover potential light source areas plus the immediate surroundings.

Step two: Green base

Next I airbrushed a layer of Vallejo 72.733 Light Livery Green (air) without thinning. This layer was applied on top of previously airbrushed Duck Egg Green.

Step three: highlight

I then highlighted green with Vallejo 72.101 Off-White, pulling the edges out to create a solid base for future juicing up back to strong toxic green.

Step four: glaze

Next I manually applied a glaze of slightly thinned down Vallejo 72.733 Light Livery Green over the most intense green parts of the miniature. This includes plasma coils, glow on the side of the barrel and large rectangle area at the back.

Step five: highlight

Then, I once again applied a highlight of Vallejo 72.101 Off-White. This time I kept it contained to most exposed areas, barely few lines and dots to add focus points and add more overall contrast on the piece.

Step six: wash

Finally I applied a mix* of Vallejo 72.089 Green Ink ( 3 drops), Vallejo 72.085 Yellow Ink (2 drops) and water (10 drops). I made sure to apply the paint to deepest recesses only, avoiding exposed plasma coils and edges.

* You might notice a GW Waywatcher Green bottle in the picture below. The Vallejo mix is a recipe for GW Waywatcher Green, that is out of production. You can find more GW Glaze – Vallejo mix recipes in this article.


Work complete. Four colors, six layers an an interesting effect of toxic green plasma coils / ghosts / goo is done!

I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional warhammer 40k miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: Painting Orange Glow

As a full time professional miniatures painter I strive to specialize in techniques that provide the maximum effect on the gaming board, while being relatively simple and easy to mass duplicate. Here I will present to you a Step-by-step guide to painting orange glow effect similar to that used on my Games Workshop Crimson Fists army as can be seen in Gallery: Crimson Fists.

Before we start, some notes:

  • This tutorial require airbrush.
  • You can use any paints, not just the ones I recommend. You can use this chart to compare paints between popular brands. This time around I really recommend Vallejos though.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of speckled, messy and clumsy paint job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

Step one: White preshade

I started with a soft layer of airbrushed Vallejo 72.701 Dead White (air). For the purpose of this tutorial I went straight from the bottle, although usually I thin the paint down just a bit with a drop of Flow Improver and a drop of Airbrush Thinner, resulting in less speckling. While airbrushing I made sure to cover potential light source areas plus the surroundings.

Step two: Orange base

Next I airbrushed a layer of Vallejo 72.709 Hot Orange (air) without thinning. This layer was applied on top of previously airbrushed Dead White. 

Step three: highlight

I then highlighted orange with Vallejo 72.101 Off-White. Such a bright color might seem like an overkill, but this one is a bit cream’ish and can get juiced up to bright orange easily later on.

Step four: glaze

Here’s where real magic started. I thinned down Vallejo 72.709 Hot Orange (air) with a bit of water and manually glazed over the most intense orange parts of the miniature. This includes plasma coils, glow on the side of the barrel and large rectangle area at the back. Vallejo air series are perfect for hard glazing, retaining a lot of ‘juice’ even after thinning.

Step five: highlight

Finally I once again applied a highlight of Vallejo 72.101 Off-White, but this time limited to barely few dots and lines in the most exposed areas. This created focus points for the eye, while also providing better overall contrast on the piece.


Job done. Three colors, five layers is all it takes to achieve an interesting effect that will steal a glance or two on the gaming board.

I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional warhammer 40k miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: DIY Flames

Welcome to tutorial for modelling Flames. Here I will present to you a Step-by-step guide on how to create fantastic, highly detailed flames for miniatures in a matter of seconds.

Blazing flamethrowers, crackling braziers, torches or balls of magical fire – in the world of miniatures wargames flames add a lot of character and dynamic to our favorite tiny characters. With 3d printing prevalence and a lot of bitz selling companies getting your hands on some awesome parts has never been easier. Still why pay and wait, when you can make your own flames of chosen size and shape in a matter of seconds and from materials you probably already have at home!


Before we start, as usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

You will need:

  • Super Glue,
  • PVA Glue,
  • Wooden Toothpicks,
  • Hobby Cutters,

Step one: Foundation

It is best to start by finding a base shape to build the flame around. It can be anything solid including toothpick, wire, piece of plastic, or even the miniatures themselves. In this case, with an idea of flames gushing out of a flamethrower, I cut a small piece of a toothpick.  


Step two: Ingredients

Next I poured few small drops of PVA glue onto the piece of toothpick. Just enough to cover the wider end. Right after that, while PVA was still wet, I poured Super Glue on top and moved the shape around so that Super Glue covered entire PVA beneath.


Step three: Shape

Here’s where modelling kicks in. I used another toothpick to mix both glues and guide a quickly hardening ‘paste’ around and finally in one direction to form a cone. The mix creates an organic, irregular texture when drying, which provided additional detail to the flame.

It might seem difficult at first, but once you get how the ‘paste’ behaves it will be as simple as barely few moves of a toothpick to get a desired cone. 


Three steps, that’s all it takes. With a bit of practice the process takes less than a minute and can be applied to any surface. Below are just some examples of the results:

I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Hobby Advice: Top Tips to Improve Your Miniatures Photos

Taking some good quality pictures of our painted miniatures can be a real nightmare. I know for a fact that a lot of hobbyists struggle when presenting their work online because of how misrepresented, by bad quality photos, the paintjob is. Blurry or oversaturated pics can really undermine reception of our work, leading to our disappointment and anxiety, thus discouraging us from further painting attempts. Today I would present to you a few tips that should improve the quality of your pictures without a need for high end photographic equipment.

I have been painting miniatures for over twenty years now. During that time I really struggled with  proper presentation. I followed multiple tutorials, tried different cameras and setups, shadow tents and specialist backgrounds. All that “ISO”, “Macro”, “Exposure” settings mambo jumbo made my head hurt while I failed to deliver satisfactory quality pictures. With time technology advanced and became simplified and more efficient. Smartphones are so common and their cameras advanced that there seems to be no need for specialist photographic equipment anymore – at least when it comes to sharing cool pics of painted miniatures.
Miniatures photography is still a part of the hobby I loathe with all my heart, but thanks to experience acquired through failure, my work’s presentation finally feels acceptable. That’s not to say I am now a miniatures photography specialist, just that I feel comfortable to share some tips in hope to help other hobbyists feel satisfaction from presenting their work.

Some notes:

  • My camera: Google Pixel 4 set to “auto” with a three seconds delay. All filters off.
  • Previous camera: Samsung Galaxy 5 (produced very similar results).
  • Light source: 2x VTLAMP6 from Velleman.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

 

Tip 1: Camera Handling

Be it on a tripod, or just held still on a piece of Blu Tack – keeping a camera perfectly still when taking pictures is key to achieving a nice sharp image. Holding the camera in hand, even if partially supported, results in micro movements disturbing focus. This includes taking a picture manually with a push of a button. To avoid unnecessary focus loss I recommend immobilizing the camera and setting a timer to three seconds to give it some time to settle after it got touched.

Example: Camera held in hand.


Example: Camera set up on a tripod or supported.


Tip 2: Light Setup

Most common light setup I’ve seen across multiple tutorials was one main light source positioned directly behind and slightly above the camera, backed by one to two supplementary light sources positioned at the sides pointing towards the miniature. After many tests I settled on two white light sources: One placed directly behind and slightly above the camera, pointing towards the miniature. The other is placed above and somewhere between the miniature and the camera, directed away from the camera and towards the miniature. Things to look out for would be placing a light source too far, behind the miniature, resulting in increased contrast and artificial shadows, or pointing towards the lens resulting in a too bright, blurry and fuzzy image.

Example: Light sources placed zenithally, one lamp behind the miniature.


Example: Light sources placed according to the tip.


Tip 3: Background

There are multiple approaches to choosing a background for a picture. Some painters prefer backgrounds that compliment a paint job, or produce a certain “feel” of the picture. This is all fine for a more artistic themed presentation. Still I feel that presenting a paint job for evaluation should be first and foremost about that paint job, not a picture. For this reason I try to aim for a background that would present my work in the most realistic way possible without a need to adjust colors in photoshop or create artificial shadows and surrealistic effects. After some ups and downs I feel that the blue to white transition background produces the best results by far, keeping the colors natural while allowing for clean, aesthetic images.


Tip 4: Composition

When setting up a miniature for a picture it is good to position it in a way to present an interesting angle. Some poses might look awkward resulting in entire parts losing depth or supplementary colors being hidden from view. I always check the miniature through the lens of a camera before taking a shot. Sometimes a small pose or angle adjustment might result in a much better shot.

Example: Awkward pose, weapon hidden from view, supplementary color barely visible, lack of depth around shoulder and top armor.


Example: Better proportions, weapon and supplementary color exposed, more depth to one arm and top armor.


Tip 5: Cropping

This might come as no surprise and yet a lot of hobbyists tend to forget about it. Cropping and adjusting an image so that the miniature is properly orientated and centered shows the audience that the author cares about their paint job and presentation. I strongly believe that it is much easier to get valuable feedback and engagement when treating the audience and own work with respect.


Bonus tip: Cinematic shots.

All of the above tips go to waste when talking cinematic in-game shots. There’s no choice of light sources or background. On top of that cinematic shots are just as much about the miniatures as the composition and overall feel of the image. Still most rules can be re-adjusted to work in the gaming area environment. 
– Camera can still be supported on a piece of scenery or furniture, even if held in hand.
– Color depth and sharpness of the image will benefit from proper light source position (ceiling lamp behind and above head, instead up front).
– Miniature battlefields are filled with great compositions just asking to be immortalized!
– Cropping remains a thing 🙂

I hope you find this tutorial helpful and if so, please let me know in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate it if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service, be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Expanding Collection Guide

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few gaming/strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Divided between a Fleet Starter, a Fleet Booster and multiple individual sets, each faction comes with a range of ships and units to choose from. It is quite common for new players to ask what to purchase next in order to expand a collection. Today I would like to present to you a quick guide to Kings of War: Armada purchases. 


Collection Tiers

Although each Armada fleet differs from one another, they all seem to follow a similar path from first purchase up to a complete collection. To keep things easy I have divided collection sizes into tiers, each of which represents a certain milestone allowing for more list building flexibility and in-game shenanigans. When considering how to expand your existing collection, treat tiers as casual guidelines. If for example you own a Fleet Starter and a Fleet Booster, consider adding anything missing from tier 2, preferably in order it is presented. This should, in theory, expand your collection in a way that offers new playstyles, diversity and a power boost.


Tier 1: Basic

  • One Fleet Starter,
  • One Fleet Booster,

This tier represents the usual entry point into Armada. A relatively low price start, allowing for a number of builds within a 150-250pts. range.


Tier 2: Standard

  • XL Ship*,
  • Second Fleet Starter,
  • Second Fleet Booster,
  • One Fliers Booster,
  • Armada Magic Deck,

This tier, once achieved, is a golden tournament standard. An XL* Main Battle Ship, along with a pair of L and multiple M, backed with an array of Support Ships allows for flexible list building, enabling different playstyles and archetypes within a faction. Some players will stop right here, all tools already available.

* if available to your faction.


Tier 3: Advanced

  • Support Ships up to a total of four each, (single ship packs)
  • Second XL Ship*,
  • Second Fliers Booster,

Last tier is a complete collection including everything that you will ever need to build a wide range of 150-250pts. lists honed for specific scenarios and/or archetypes. Four copies od each Support Ship and a second XL allows for some edge case combo lists. Second pair of fliers, while not necessary, is always good to have, just in case of local meta going flier heavy in the future.

* if available to your faction.


Secret Tier X: Beyond

  • Whatever floats your boat,

There’s no real gameplay advantage of adding more sets after tier 3, unless you plan on playing some huge climactic naval battles. Armada miniatures are truly beautiful and full of detail, thus I won’t judge you for further expanding your collection. 

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Empire of Dust is Stronger than You Think

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

If you still don’t know what Kings of War: Armada is, I strongly invite you to read some of the previous Armada related articles. In short Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Today I would like to focus on one such a faction and especially some common misconceptions surrounding it.


The Empire of Dust is ‘Weak’… not really

The Empire of Dust has it all. It has the looks, the special rules, ships of all sizes, access to all kinds of weapons, and yet it is commonly addressed as being weak and requiring a buff. Whereas some other factions are pretty one dimensional when it comes to list building and playstyle, the EoD comes across as a more advanced, ‘difficult’ fleet. The main fleet theme seem divided between particular ships and is very polarized. With devastating weaponry being shoved on top of Large and Extra Large ships, in exchange for extra Crew Strength and speed being transferred to Medium Main Battleships, it might seem like if the fleet as a whole, doesn’t know if it wants to shoot or board or both. Additionally, thanks to Kopeshiis being the most expensive Medium Main Battleships across the entire game, the list building process for the EoD is rather intimidating. It gets even harder when you realize that compared to other factions, the Slave Squadrons, which are supposed to be fillers, are also priced premium.
So yes, all of these issues might result in a faction being perceived as overall weak. Except it’s not! The Empire of dust is just difficult to master as I have learned the hard way…

Empire of Dust Main Archetype

The Empire of Dust has a very strong, although somehow hidden theme of heavy artillery bombardment. I wrote “hidden” even though the theme is there in plain sight. This is because at first glance, not all EoD ships seem to go along with the archetype. It is somehow unusual for an Armada fleet and might confuse players that are relatively new to the game. 

The theme is centered around Large War Galleys and Extra Large Monoliths Main Battleships, both types packing Indirect Weapons (IDW) on the sides. There is no other fleet with an array of Broadside mounted IDWs. This is an exception throughout the entire game and has some huge list building and gameplay ramifications.

  • Broadside mounted IDW can Fire as She Bears!
  • Broadside mounted IDW can Rake!
  • You can increase the value of Broadside Mounted IDW with Additional Weaponry upgrade from Seas Aflame.
  • Instead of going straight for the enemy, you can maintain a comfortable distance and still shoot with a Broadside Mounted IDW.

The rest of the EoD fleet is clearly honed to provide support for the L and XL centerpieces, mostly by intercepting hostile ships, engaging them up close and denying access to EoD artillery pieces, thus extending the ‘Bombardment’ duration.

  • Kopeshii – Fast and potent Boarding Action interceptor, Objective runner, finisher.
  • Dust Chaser – Cheap roadblock, damage sponge, screener.
  • Soul Hunter – Close range area denial (Soul Thirst) support, self sustaining additional Artillery piece.
  • Slave Squadron – Mobile, Objective grabbing, first aid kit.
  • Bone Dragon – Mobile, self sustaining (healing), harassing skirmisher, finisher. 
  • Scavenger Flock – Cheap, fast, flier interceptor.

Further main archetype improvements come from EoD’s Upgrades, Magic Upgrades and Captains.

  • Hig-Priest T’mork allows to deploy a Main Battleship anywhere on the board at the end of second game turn. Positioning a potent Artillery centerpiece behind enemy fleet with full SP and ready to begin bombardment – anyone?
  • Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer bounces back enemy misses of “1” increasing damage output regardless of range, but especially up close where it becomes a bit uncomfortable for the EoD to face enemy ships. Ideal for a more aggressive build.
  • Balefire is a key EoD upgrade, enhancing each IDW hit with +1dmg and Fire. Resulting Blaze markers will exponentially mitigate enemy ability to deal damage, forcing them to either forego shooting, or risk a 16,66% chance of getting blown to shreds on a failed Fire Extinguish test. In Armada, an auto Blaze on dmg is a rare thing, most Blaze dealing requires an additional dice roll.
  • Windblast can be used when in a tight spot, to clear the length of an enemy ship then turn and Rake, or just to gain distance. Multiple uses can exponentially speed up an otherwise slow ship. 
  • Soul Snare is a (rare in terms of the game) healing on damage dealt. Instead of Grappling, punish the enemy ship for it’s Crew Strength and Repair yourself in the process. This item goes well with a layer of close range defenses (Soul Thirst, Kopeshiis with Curse of Undeath and Terror ready to close in and entangle in Boarding Action) plus some IDW being capable of Point Blank Raking Fire on top.

Empire of Dust has partial access to Oars and Light Oars which makes positioning for a kill or simply keeping a healthy artillery formation so much easier. Entire fleet also benefits from Curse of the Undeath, potentially mitigating results of enemy Boarding attempts.


Finally, stat wise, the EoD excels at Nerve Value and this in not a coincidence. With a bulk of the fleet serving as speed bumps and reliable obstacles, high Nerve Value translates into their survivability, resulting in increased duration of the ongoing artillery bombardment served by the main pieces. 


Once you take a deep dive, everything in Empire of Dust revolves around the main theme

The Empire of Dust List Building

So now that we’ve toppled the main archetype of the Empire of Dust, where does this leave us in terms of list building? First of all the EoD should definitely be built around L or XL centerpieces. Being ‘forced’ to field a War Galley or a Monolith is a bit of a crutch, but at the same time these ships are probably what drove you into playing the Empire of Dust in the first place, so… there’s that. Once you decide between aggressive and passive playstyle and build an appropriate configuration for a centerpiece, just fill the remaining points with a protective screen of Kopeshii (s), and a mix of Support Ships that best suit that playstyle.

Off course I could go for another round over each ship and describe in detail what it does and how to use it, but at this point you probably already have a grasp on what each ship’s roll is. Plus there’s no better learning process than to play the actual game, so instead, allow me to present some Ship Configuration ideas that I myself use. This should allow you to intuitively place a ship on a mental power scale and ‘feel’ it’s designated role.

  • The Monolith / Shobek’s Wrath

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Magical Rudder/Soul Snare, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Kedge Anchor, Soul Snare.

  • War Galley

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Soul Snare.

  • Kopeshii

Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil.

  • Dust Chaser

Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Soul Hunter

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Crow’s Nest.

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Slave Squadron

Inexperienced Crew/Regular Crew.

Sample Fleet Lists

Below are sample EoD lists that, in my opinion, represent the EoD preferred archetype well.

Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 54p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
250pts.


Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Regular Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 45p.
Slave Squadron. 9p
Slave Squadron. 9p
200pts.


War Galley: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Lucky Crew. 89p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, 52p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
200pts.

All in all the Empire of Dust is a solid faction, on par with other Armada fleets, offering an interesting (if somehow rigid) playstyle. It is hard to master which might lead to some initial disappointments, but once you put some games in and get a grasp of how things work, the EoD is a very rewarding fleet. Is it good in everything? No. Is it good in some things? Oh yeah, definitely. Is it fun to play? Totally!

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting