Sunday, 13 January 2019

Hobby Spending 2019 Part 1






Hi folks,

This year I am going to be recording my hobby expenditure, to give me a better idea of how much I spend each year. Hopefully, this will help with some budgeting shenanigans in the following years. I'll be keeping a list of the things I spend money on as a dedicated page, which can be accessed through the "On the Shelf" section of the blog (top right). I'm trying to keep my spending down this year, as goodness knows the grey tide is high. Painting all that stuff, however, costs money... so...

Today I visited my local Bunnings hardware store to pick up a respirator to protect my lungs when I use the airbrush. I only use it outside, which is a well ventilated area, so I purchased a cheaper product, which is certified against water based aerosols. Even that is probably overkill, but having worked with dangerous chemicals and aerosols my whole career I have developed a habit of limiting my exposure to, well, everything.

I also purchased a fourth light for my lightbox set up. Since moving, I have noticed that the overhead lights in the new garage aren't positioned as usefully as the old ones. Getting enough light on the front and top of the models requires a bit more directed light, so I bought one on a cool stand that provides diffuse light at the angle I need. I still need to fiddle with the set up a bit, but I think I have everything I need now.







All together, that set me back a total of $29 AUD.









I also put an order in to Combat Company to get some paint and media for my airbrush. The paints I chose should cover most of the projects I have coming up, including the colours I need to paint some Macross Plus figure I have in the works. The paints are all listed below, along with some additional media:

73.600 White Surface Primer
71.462 Airbrush Flow Improver
71.061 Airbrush Thinner
72.701 Game Air Dead White
72.735 Game Air Dead Flesh
71.122 Model Air US Desert Armour
71.085 Model Air Ferrari Red
71.123 Model Air Dark Gray
72.721 Game Air Magic Blue

I couldn't resist picking up a Kurage Station Scenery Pack for Infinity and 40K Kill Team. At $13 AUD it provides a really neat, light weight, terrain set and mat for skirmish tabletop gaming. It also fits with my other Infinity terrain, which gives me a few options for combining mats and buildings.


Kurage Station



Some money that I got for Christmas from the Wifey's folks helped pay for all of this, but money spent is money spent. The grand total for the order was $71 AUD.

Finally, I picked up a couple of brushes today to replace the ones I ran into the ground last year. With a plastic dry palette, they came to $34 AUD.

So far, $134 AUD spent and I'm not even trying. It just goes to show that even the peripherals of this hobby are very expensive. It will be interesting to see how much value I can wring from those airbrush paints.

See you across the table,

Marc








Monday, 7 January 2019

Learning How to Paint with an Airbrush Part 1






Hi folks,

A few years ago wifey bought me a double action HS-80 airbrush and compressor to help me out with my painting projects. Sgt Waz had just started completing commissions and was experimenting with a few airbrush brands and techniques, so he helped her to pick me a kit. We had a brief go at it back then, but it has mostly stayed down in the garage as I reverted back to rattle-cans and brushes.

A few days ago I figured I had better learn how to use it, and I have had both successes and problems since then. Most, if not all, of my problems have been related to inexperience, so I thought I would document them. If I can save one person in my audience some angst, it will be worth it.

First, some basics on airbrush operation. A double action airbrush is designed to deliver air under pressure when you press on the trigger, but no paint: air pressurised by the compressor moves into the brush by the air line through channels to the airbrush head/spray regulator.

The paint itself travels from the reservoir to the tip (tiny!), which is blocked by a needle. Pulling back on the trigger withdraws the needle blocking the tip, allowing paint to escape into the airflow when you want to start painting. Below is a picture from Don's Airbrush Tips, which I have been reading constantly all day. If you are going to use an airbrush, I highly recommend this site as a starting point.






Obviously, with such small apertures and the vital requirement of air flow, paints need to be thinned or risk clogging the airbrush. Which leads me to problem number 1...

Problem 1: I was very conscious of the need to thin my paints, but made two errors in the process. Firstly, I used a medium which is not ideal for airbrushing, a blending/drying retardant medium from Windsor and Newton.







I am very familiar with this stuff, as it literally gets me through the summers here in Australia. It has a lot of helpful properties, but just go and get yourself some medium especially designed for airbrushes. I also used too much in my initial paint mix. 1:1 is probably enough, but I used 2:3. The result was a slow drying film after painting. It looked great going on, but was still wet after 6 hours, had separated (pigment and medium) and flowed weirdly. Thankfully, it was also very thin, so once completely dry, did not require a complete strip.

Resolution 1: Paints require thinning but you need to use a reliable medium, mixed in the right ratio for your job. That takes some figuring out, and I got it wrong the first time. Buy some dedicated airbrush medium and experiment to find a mixing ratio right for your equipment and project. 1:1 is not a bad starting point.

Problem 2: I noticed the second time that I used the airbrush that paint was entering the airflow as soon as I pressed the trigger down, i.e. before I had pulled back on the trigger to withdraw the needle from the tip. This is called "continuous paint" and can be caused by a few things. A damaged needle or tip can allow paint to escape prematurely. Dried paint or a small amount of dust around the tip/needle can also do this. The needle not pressing into the tip hard enough to stop paint flow (due to incorrect assembly) can also have the same effect. Otherwise, paint was getting into the air flow another way.

Knowing that it worked perfectly well yesterday, I doubted the tip or needle were damaged or assembled wrong. I looked at it with a magnifying glass to confirm this. I disassembled the head and cleaned each part individually, including the tip, to remove any residual paint or dust that may be allowing paint to escape past the needle. In doing so, I popped out a rubber o-ring (see problem 3). After re-assembling the pieces the problem was still occurring, plus a new one (problem 3). I removed the end cap to observe the tip in action. Safety warning, don't aim at your face when you do this, I watched it side on and had only water in the reservoir. I noticed that, even when the needle was in place blocking the flow, water was entering the air stream through the seal where the tip screws on. Tightening this solved my problem of water/paint entering the airflow early.

Resolution 2: If you have this problem, check that everything is tight before you completely disassemble everything. This includes the tip (tiny!). It only takes a second. Everything should be finger-tight; it is easy to strip the threads on some of the fragile pieces. If that doesn't work, clean it out to eliminate paint and dust obstructions. After that, consider installing a replacement tip/needle, if you can see damage under magnification or if nothing else will work.






Problem 3: When that O-ring fell out between the paint reservoir and the head assembly, I knew there would be trouble. The O-ring is designed to stop air from flowing back into the parts where paint belongs. The symptoms of this is bubbling of paint in the reservoir and intermittent spraying of paint when it should be flowing constantly (again, due to bubbles blocking the flow of paint into the tip). Sure enough, when I assembled the airbrush again, I was getting a lot of bubbling in the paint reservoir and it was spraying intermittently (pulsing). I disassembled everything again, rehoused the O-ring and added some vacuum grease to the threads of each part before reassembling (an old trick I learned in the chemistry lab). Apparently, bee's wax is also good for this. This seems to have stopped the bubbling, but there is still some very minor pulsing. This simply suggests that the O-ring seal is still not perfect, but I can live with it for now. I may end up coating it in some grease as well, which shouldn't be a problem with acrylic paints (with oils you would end up spraying some grease with your paint!). It bugs me that it was working perfectly well without all this yesterday, though.







Another way this problem can happen is that the tip itself is set too far back in the spray regulator (it should protrude ever so slightly). This causes pressure to build up in front of the tip, blowing back through the paint when you press the trigger to withdraw the needle.

Resolution 3: If you are getting intermittent spraying of paint/pulsing and/or bubbling in the paint reservoir, it is a pressure seal problem, either through the threads or around the needle. Secure the seals using a small amount of bee's wax or vacuum grease (or any other way you know how, I hear teflon tape is a thing). Check your O-rings as dried paint may be moving them around, they may have changed shape for some reason (swelling, twisting or deteriorating). Consider changing them completely using a set of spares; I sourced some for about $20 AUD. This will be my last strategy to get it working if things go pear shaped. Also, check, that the tip protrudes (or at least sits flush) with the regulator. It doesn't need to go past the end cap, but should not be behind anything else.

So, that is what I have learned over the past couple of days. One of my best tips for beginners is, if things are going wrong, test how it functions with water. If you can't deliver water properly it is time to troubleshoot. If you are an experienced airbrush-er and have any suggestions or corrections to make, feel free to leave them in the comments. I'm happy to edit the post if that will save someone else trouble!

See you across the table,

Marc





Friday, 4 January 2019

2nd Edition Army Wish List






Hi folks,

I have three projects I want to finish before the end of January, so that I am free (at least mentally) to take on Squaduary in Feb. I am currently working on nine Sisters of the Thorn for my daughter, which she is going to use in a table top game she has made up (!).  I also have an Imperial Knight Errant that I didn't manage to finish in time for DreadTober, even though I did actually get a heap done.

The third project is to complete a 2000 point Dark Angels army for playing 2nd Edition. So while my physical efforts are pouring into the other two, my mind is starting to wander back to the mid-90's...



The mid-90's 40K crew. The only ones missing are Kuribo-Goomba (Imperial Guard) who is probably behind the camera and Heinz (Sisters of Battle), who was the year above us at school, so didn't go to this particular camp.



I have a lot of the basic models I need for this already, though their weapons and wargear reflect anything but a second edition mindset. The kind of things I used to use back then are listed below, so expect to see them in the army when it is finished:

Characters


  • Azrael
  • Sapphon with jump pack
  • Brother Bethor
  • Techmarine wargeared up to the gills




Squads


  • Deathwing (supported by Azrael)
  • Devastators (supported by Bethor)
  • Scouts with needle sniper rifles
  • Assault squad with all powerfists and chainswords




Support


  • Predator Annihilator
  • Dreadnought (classic twin Lascannon and missile launcher)
  • Whirlwind







Now, I know from memory that not everything is going to fit in 2000 points. 2nd Edition is a very different beast, so some of these things will end up being longer term projects, but at least 2000 points with will be done by February. At least, that's the plan...

 See you across the table,

Marc


Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Kill Team: Eddie and the Troopers






Happy New Year folks!

My last project of 2018 was a Necron Kill Team for a community contest the Warhammer 40 MeWe group was hosting. The group is small but has some familiar friendly faces, so if you are interested in a positive, supportive 40K community to share with, I suggest you consider joining.

Anyway, the idea of the contest was that each participant was assigned a random 40K army which they had to work on, producing a unit of some description before the end of the year. I scored Necrons, which I was fairly happy with. I loved using them in Dawn of War, back in the day, and I was quite prepared to do anything they threw my way (except for Tau...).

My mate Jimmy gave me an old school Android from Space Crusade to add to the project. Looking at the guy while I was painting him, I had this odd thought that he looked a bit... just a bit... like Steve Harris from Iron Maiden. And didn't that open a can of worms 😂








Sgt Waz managed to snaffle a Start Collecting box of Necrons for me to harvest from a local GW store owner's personal collection (he owed Waz a BIG favour... something about a whole heap of display models that got painted or such-and-such).

I decided to paint as many of them as I can as versions of Eddie, from the covers of Iron Maiden albums. Ignoring the challenge of the detailed painting and conversions that would be required, painting such an eclectic, diverse selection of schemes was going to be wild. As such, I added a few unifying features; the shoulder armour colours and bases. Everything else... well... see for yourself:


Pilgrim (Immortal Leader)








To facilitate the posing, I removed the energy feed that usually attaches to the back. If I placed the gun across the front of the model, it would cover a lot of detail that I wanted to be showing off. The helmet was a resin miscast from Victoria Miniatures. I hollowed out the head inside and blippity-bloop.


Shaman (Immortal Comms specialist)

 

 






Extraterrestrial/ET (Deathmark Sniper specialist) 

 





Cyborg (Immortal Veteran specialist)

 





The Troopers (Fire Team Necron Warriors, lead by Eddie)

 




For my next challenge I will put together a background that somehow fits such an outrageous theme! If Sgt Waz will let me push my luck, I may even end up with a commander as well, who will look something like this:







See you across the table,

Marc