40k – ‘naut checks

I decided to try to paint checks on my naut, to give it a little bit of style. I looked up a couple examples and went to town with masking.

I started by masking out some squares.


And then I hand painted the squares:


I decided to re-optimize my airbrush process, since I have some space upstairs I could do it in. I re-masked, but this time doing all of the checks at once.

And then bust out the airbrush with some GW White Scar and Golden Airbrush Medium.

Here’s the bad side. I didn’t fix it up before I airbrushed, so the fact that it looks a little like crap is acceptable. I didn’t want to paint blue over the white, since I didn’t want to layer it over something that would just be white again. In hindsight, an argument could be made to just airbrush the dark blue and start over.

Here’s the front, which does not have an excuse for looking crappy. 🙁

And the other side, which was the only side that ended up looking good. 🙁

I went back in with PP Exile Blue, which looked dark enough and hand painted some cover-up.

The “bad” side looks a little bit like ass. I’m hoping that with the weathering I’m going to do, that it’ll look ok in the end, but I layered the blue paint to thick and now it’s just not good. 🙁

Pretty unhappy, but at least with orks “bad paint job” can be a style. 🙁

Blood Bowl – Glart in progress

This model is so fucking rad.

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Some of the FW Blood Bowl models are hit or miss, so I’m super stoked to be able to support their continued creation of Blood Bowl content by buying Glart, my little Fatty McRatty!

Since I received him on the Friday before the tournament, I basically had 2 days to finish him. Add that I had family obligations on Saturday, subtract that I was sick on Friday, and I basically had just 1 day.

My skaven are all the same basic recipe, so it was nice to apply that here and have it work quickly and effectively. A quick 3 layer highlight, a quick 3-4 layer wash and glaze and he’s done! Here’s a mid-stage photo — I don’t have any finished photos yet because I scrambled to get him done and out the door before the event! I’ll be writing about the event very shortly, have a few photos and stories from it!


Blood Bowl – The Replacement

It got weird.

I’m playing in FoodBowl this weekend. It was a great event last year, with some great custom made boards and some fun rules for charity. This year the organizer got rid of the “only 2 Stars” rules, so the field was open for craziness. You’ve already seen my Fezglitch and my Kreek. I ordered Glart at the end of September, knowing he’d be here before the event on November 5th.

On October 27th, a mere 8 days before the event, I gave up hope that Glart would arrive before FoodBowl and started a Stormfiend conversion. I didn’t even have an idea of what rules to use with it, I just knew that if I had a Stormfiend, I’d have something. I quickly secured a model and scrounged my bitz box for something to use as hands, because I didn’t want to use the Stormfiend guns and it had to be a conversion, otherwise it was just a Stormfiend on a tiny little base.

Enter: ancient Old One Eye claws.

When I worked at Park Royal GW I got part of a Tyranid army and I think it included an Old One Eye. I didn’t want to do the special character, so I put scything talons on the model and bitzed the claws. Here we are, like 15 years later and the claws are getting used. This is why we hoard bitz! And my wife keeps calling me a hoarder…

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My team has a little bit of size creep…my three rat ogre models.


I took a bunch of photos, because I was thinking about it. First off, the shaded basecoat. It’s a pretty standard recipe for me at this point — Zamesi Desert mixed up with Dheneb Stone, Runefang Steel, Emperors Children mixed up with White, Steel Legion mixed up with Dheneb Stone. This is a super fast 3 layers, all that’s important is to stay within the lines and get a quick highlight up. If If go outside the lines in a big way, it’s hard to fix with just washes/glazes, but some messiness can be fixed.


The next layer is also pretty quick. Sepia in most of the recesses of the skin and claws, and the “leather” items. Drakenhof Blue shade over the metal.


Some changes of lighting can be attributed to a different time of day I was taking the photo, but I think this layer included Nuln Oil over the metal to darken it down in places. I mixed red glaze and blue wash to make a purple and painted that onto the lower sections of all of the skin tones, and under things. I like the purple as an “under” shadow colour.


This is the start of the glazing of the claws. They are going red, and you can see the start of that here! I also did another layer of the purple over the skin to darken that more. The purple wash went over the pink cloth as well.

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Two more layers of red over the claws.

He’s pretty close to done at this point (November 3rd) which is great so I can have another model to play with in the tournament.

And then Glart shows up in the mail. 2 days before the event. >.>

You’ll see photos of him here shortly, because I am absolutely going to paint him before Sunday!!



40k – Orks – just orks

One of the goals of this blog was to help me keep track of how I painted my models over the years. I’m no good at colour matching the way Wappel does, and I do rely on a recipe even if it’s a little haphazard sometimes. I went back a long ways through my ork entries to find that I hadn’t logged how I painted orks, just orks. I remember it was something wacky and crazy like a dark green highlighted up with a brown to make them more foresty and less bright green.

At the same time, even if I had found it, my technique has changed wildly over the years and I’m not sure it’s a good idea to go back.

So I present to you, my “first time painting orks”. 😛


GW Warboss Green highlighted up with a shitty drying Ushapti Bone. The nice thing about the semi-solid Ushapti is that I put a brick into the green, and then broke down a little more of the brick for each layer.

This is the shaded basecoat step, as I’ve been doing.

I’ve been putting off starting these two because I’ve been waiting for Glart to come in the mail and I didn’t want to start something and not finish it. Glart had been get his act in gear because I need him in 15 days and I want him painted! By the numbers, he should have been here sometime last week. This week he’d better be here!

Blood Bowl – Skaven – Kreek progress

Here’s a nice side-by-side to show you how my interpretation of Wappel’s shaded basecoat goes:

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The top photo is much to light, on purpose. It’s the same recipe as for this other Skaveny article I did a while back.

  • Skin is GW Zamesi Desert, mixed and highlighted up with GW Dheneb Stone
  • Base is Steel Legion Drab, mixed and highlighted up with GW Dheneb Stone
  • Chains are just Runefang Steel.

Then I let him sit on my desk for a while, because…well, just because the timing didn’t work out well.

In the second photo:

  • The base is GW Seraphim Sepia, pulled from the edges to the center, and deeper into the cracks of the cork layers. Then GW Drakenhof Nightshade in a thin layer underneath the model (as a shadow) and within the deepest cracks of the cork.
  • The chain I did a lazy wash of the Drakenhof and Nuln and some drybrushing with Runefang, but not in the order and I want to go back in with the Runefang.
  • The wraps are Sepia’d, then drybrushed up with Dheneb Stone
  • The loincloth is PP Cygnus Yellow, Sepia’d. I painted over the Steel Legion Drab I had here, as I want my Star Players to have the yellow compared to the pink on the regular team.

The skin is more complicated. I started with a layer of Sepia, wiping away the excess with a finger from the highest points on the model. Then I mixed GW Bloodletter (glaze) and Drakenhof 2:1 to make a semi-purple wash. I painted this in thin layers along the bottom of each “semi circle” in his muscles, and in the areas of shadow in his armpits and on his left side where the arm and his side are close to each other. I did this twice, and then finished with a thin layer of just the Drakenhof in the very deepest recesses. I did a quick drybrush with Dheneb Stone over the tips of the fur.

This is still just a work-in-progress post because I got pulled away by a baby, but he’s pretty close!

Blood Bowl – Skaven – Kreek the Verminator

Again, with Foodbowl coming up, I need more Skaven Star Players. I set out to find a conversion for Kreek, the Verminator. There are an awful lot of Rat Ogre models in the world, and 90% of them are not my cup of tea. Most of them look like they were sculpted in the 80s, which is not an aesthetic I like.

The good ones are: the 2 Island of Blood models, the Screaming Bell model, and the Stormfiend models. I’m already using one of the IoB models, the one that would be most appropriate for Kreek since his concept art in the book looks a little cybernetic. I didn’t want to use the other IoB ogre, just because I’m stubborn that way. I set out to find either the Bell ogre or 1 Stormfiend, because I didn’t want to buy a $80 box just for this model. A friend ended up selling me the Bell ogre, which is great because it’s a great model, but part of me think the Stormfiend would have been a better conversion (despite initially thinking the Bell ogre was better).


I turned his head forward so he’s looking at his target, and put a ball on the end of the chain, and put the cork into his hand where the full model is gripping the Screaming Bell cart. This rat ogre has a Ball and Chain on the field, so he’s going to join my power lineup to beat the crap out of my opponents in Foodbowl!

Orks – Gorkamorkanaut

I went from 0 painting projects to 5 on my desk, within the span of a week. I played a game of 40k, which inspired me to work on some killa kans I found in my bitz box. I also assembled 10 grots to fill the 3-Troop minimum I needed for the army.

But then I realized I should finish what I started — the gorkamorknaut has been looming in my ork case for a year and a half. After last we saw this model, I painted it a watered down silver, blue and orange and then had a game with it and realized it was shit, and looked like shit and left it alone for a long time. With 8th ed out, Orks are in a great place and this guy is looking awesome and feeling awesome and deserves some more love. Here’s a photo of where I left it.


I sent that photo to Clayton, who suggested I pull out my airbrush and do it in similar colours to the rest of my ork army, which meant a lot less silver. And since I moved, airbrushing is a lot easier — I have a deck I can do it on, instead of needing to pull everything down into the apartment parking lot and being super awkward and cold. I promptly masked a bunch of stuff, pulled out my blues and went to town!


After I was done, I was feeling pretty good about the whole process. Airbrushing isn’t as difficult as I think it is! I can do this!


…why the fuck is this piece highlighted upside down?!?!! 🙁 🙁 🙁 With the masking tape on, I had mistaken bottom for top and this is where I got. I pulled all the airbrush stuff out again after work and tried to fix it. Unfortunately, because it was a little cold and because I only had the one piece to paint, the paint wasn’t drying as quickly as my patience needed it to, and so I ended up with this strange speckled pattern from paint being blown around. I thought it looked kind of cool…and then I tried to put another layer over it which gave the arm almost a complete sharp edge where I’d previously had a speckled gradient. God damnit. I put the piece down, hoping it wasn’t as bad as it looked, and put my stuff away and went to bed.

Woke up early this morning, looked at the arm and no, it looked like shit. Baby was still sleeping, which was odd, but fortunate so I pulled all the airbrush stuff out again and repainted the arm a third time. I started to worry that it was getting to thick in layers, but I think I’d rather to thick than shittily highlighted!

Here’s a photo of all of the pieces all done, with the masking tape still on the arm, and it is properly highlighted.


I did a quick sepia wash on the klaw arm and edge highlighted the head to see how I liked it, then put it all together to check it out. Looking good!



Funny story about the kustom force field — somewhere inside the naut is a magnet that the KFF sticks to. I can’t find or figure out where I glued that magnet so that the KFF would stand on the outside! (just realized my old photos from a year ago show where it goes :P)

Looking forward to finishing this guy! (but a couple other projects have priority, for reasons you’ll see)

Building Designs


Pictured from bottom-left, zagging up to top-right, are the 4 prototypes I printed of the building. This is design, ladies and gentleman — the slow and inexorable force of fucking up constantly until you get something that doesn’t suck as much as it used to.

Remember from last time a few constraints — 5x5x2, one piece of letter sized paper, opens at top, holds models, stackable.

Design #1 was an inch to short, and the roof pieces were an inch to short on both sides. This was just a CAD measurement error on my part – whoops! On the plus side, building this was instructional since I got to hold and handle the model and see what it’s physical properties were — would it hold models? If not, how would I make it do so?

#2 fixed the basic mistakes from #1, and added a tab onto the end of the roof pieces. You can’t see the tab, but it’s very functional. Because of geometry, the tab prevents the roof from collapsing when you put weight on it. This design still sags in when you put something heavy on it.

#3 added “gutters” inside, and additional tabs to each roof piece so it has 3 floating tabs and 1 glued tab. The gutters were there to prevent the roof from sagging, but ultimately had to be removed. They were a real pain in the ass to assemble each time, which makes it a non-starter.

At this point, I decided to drop the “one piece of paper” constraint. The roof has to be 2 pieces of paper because of this constraint, but if I can use two then I have a lot more options. #4 has the roof as a single piece, which greatly increases it’s strength and ability to not sag or slide when you put models on it. It doubles the cost of printing (printing costs by the sheet, not by the printed ink), but is easy to assemble, strong and looks good when assembled (unlike #3 which is a disaster when assembled). I still want to pull out that metal Gladiator Titan and see what happens, but I think #4 may be my winner.

This process was something I learned after building the shipping containers. Designing your design process! You have to define the physical object first. With the shipping containers, I thought I’d settled the object, so I starting making textures. Then, when playing with the object I found that my object was to big to fit on a piece of letter sized paper! So I had to go back and re-do a lot of the textures, wasting a lot of time.


Paper – AFLogistics Building

AFLogistics is a mining corporation that owns the mining rights on many worlds. Their designs are utilitarian – they must be designed to stack, and fit into ships cargo holds as efficiently as possible. Cubes and rectangular pyramids are thus their bread and butter. Which is why I’m focusing on simple designs, even though this building is in my “inspiration” list. 🙂

Here’s a draft from last night:


Design Constraints

  1. I put some models on my cutting mat and decided that a 5″x5″ building would be a good start. Much smaller and it isn’t that impressive. (must)
  2. I want it to be 2″ tall, just above the height of a Gates of Antares model in armour. (must)
  3. The roof must support models. It should even support heavy ones. I keep thinking about a Gladiator Titan.
  4. The design must be foldable.
  5. It must be able to be stacked so that people can make multiple levels.
  6. It should fit on Letter (8.5″ x 11″) sized paper so it’s more mass market.
  7. It should be a single piece of paper.
  8. It should open at the top.

A Brief Aside About Priorities

I’ve organized my constraints by “should” and “must” to help keep me focused. If whatever design I come up with doesn’t fit the “musts”, then it has to be discarded. If it doesn’t suit a “should”, then I have to think carefully about whether that design could be changed to suit, or whether I want to discard that constraint.

You have to be realistic about assigning priorities. Obviously, you could put “must” on everything, but then you haven’t actually prioritized anything, you’ve just made a list.

Back to Constraints

For the shipping container design, #4 was a little flexible so I made two different designs. I couldn’t find a design that was strong and foldable, so I made my customer decide which to use. This isn’t a great solution, but it did allow me to put a product out. Something I started worrying about was “endless design”, where you just keep revising until you lose all your energy.

Constraints #6 and #7 are opposing. I’ve made a few designs that would do one or the other. The one pictured above is the start of a design that might suit both, but I think probably won’t stand up to #3. So then do I drop one of 6 or 7 (can’t drop 3), or modify the design somehow to allow 3 to be met? We’ll see shortly, because I’m going to draw this in a CAD program, print it and build it to see what happens.

New Ventures – Printable, foldable terrain

My daughter was born! For this, I took 3.5 weeks off work to feed and otherwise support my wife while she fed and otherwise supported the baby. (also, feeding the baby :)) I had a thought a few weeks ago to look into designing printable, foldable paper terrain. My goal was to be able to populate a table of science fiction wargaming from a flat folder. I set about drawing and printing! I’ve attached a ton of photos at the bottom of this post. 🙂

Today I’m writing because my first, boring, but awesome, piece is available for purchase! I’ve called myself Geeksong Paper, and my store is available here: http://paper.geeksong.com. For the low-low price of $1USD ($1.30CAD), you can own (license? digital shit is weird) 2 PDFs I’ve designed for shipping containers. One of the PDFs is designed to be folded and unfolded super easily. The other is designed to be really strong and sturdy. You have them both. Maybe you want stronger terrain? Maybe, like me, you want to take up less space in your expensive city-bound apartment? The choice is yours!

Here’s that link again:


And the shipping container in action, with some sweet Concord models and an awesome F.A.T. mat! (both used with permission, the mat is exclusive property of TABLEWAR)aflogistics-shipping-container

I’ve got a ton of other ideas in my mind I want to draw and build. I’ll be going back to work next week, which sucks. But in about 4-5 months I’m getting laid off, which also sucks, but also means I’ll have more time to draw!

And last, here’s a bunch of photos and talking about the process of building:


I started with simple pop-up building techniques, like childrens pop-up books type things. I had a base and a folding cube. The base allowed me to build with something heavy on the bottom of the model, so that it would pull it apart when opened. The downside is that every model had to have a base, which meant I couldn’t stack. Above is a photo of one design that tried to have the base smaller than was necessary to protect the model while transporting it. I removed the base pretty shortly after this.


Next was a few weeks of math and frustration. I was trying to build a internal cross-brace that would pull the short side edges inward more so they would be flat when opened.

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My desk at one point. It got much much worse before it got better. So much paper! We just yesterday came back from Ikea with a float shelf that is now mounted above my desk. With an impending walking-child (right now she’s just a lying-down-child) I needed to get fun and playful things off my desk.


The last cross-brace design. There are 4 different braces inside here, and every single one of them is useless. Because, what I realized much to late, they are necessarily designed to be exactly the same length at all times. Which means there is no pull mechanism, the sides just move in the same way as they would without it. This mechanism could be used to support (hence “brace”…), but it can’t be used to pull. I moved on.


I tried a design that had the roof as a separate piece. I liked this one because it was very flat and smooth. The short sides were smooth, the roof was smooth and the building folded along its natural folds. The downside of this one was that you wouldn’t be able to put heavier models on top, because the roof was just pressure-fit inside. I briefly toyed with creating a groove system for the roof to fit into, but this is about when I decided I’d rather get something finished, than play with designs forever.

Which is when I set up the store and put my designs into a selling-ready mode! Which took a long while as well. Not only did I need to print each design many times at home to make sure it was perfect, I also had to get it printed at a Staples to work out any bugs in that process as well. I wrote and photographed and even video’d instructions on how to to assemble it. And that’s not even including the time to set up the shop, get it looking the way I wanted, and working out all the bugs in the payment process.

My next project is to make a simple building in a similar design as the shipping container. I’ll make another post for that. 🙂