Lifehack, Terrain

Make Terrain Great Again!

Building and painting terrain is something rarely covered, or rarely broken down into something simple and manageable.  
Until now.
This past weekend, the store was having a terrain building day to revamp the store’s collection and lay the groundwork for some of the terrain to be used at the Quebec City Open 2017.  
The turnout was great, I was expecting 2-3 people, ended up with 8-10.
The guide below is pretty much the approach I took for the store’s day (in italics), with additional notes on how to best tailor it to your needs.
Our process is quite simple:
It’s pretty easy to do over the weekend, or, like the store, in a single day, specially that part 1 to 3 can be done ahead of time to get the most of your hobby day.
This step is quite important,  because it will shape up the rest of the work.  Rather than aimlessly working at a building and finding yourself at the end of the day with not much accomplished, you want to work towards something.
For our weekend, my first goal was to tally up all the terrain that was available, break it off into as many complete tables as possible and then get as many of those tables ready as possible.
Maybe your goal is to have a table at home, maybe you want to cull your collection of terrain; whatever the case may be, aim for something that will make you happy at the end of the day.  Don’t be afraid to shoot for something big, you will be surprised at the speed things go when you are ready.
Assess what you do have in order to know what you want to get done. Know where you’re from to know where you’re going, all that jazz.
Friendly reminder that I’m still, I’m still Jenny from the block.  -10 streetcred points.

JLO aside, sorting out is important not only in terms of terrain, but also supplies.
Terrain: If you are starting from scratch, this will be pretty simple.  You can still scavenge to house for cans, boxes, foam and other whatnots that can be made into terrain.  If you already have some terrain made, make a tally of what you have and the shape it’s in (broken, WIP, ready to rock…) 
Then, sort these pieces in line with your goal – if you want to have a single table and you have 26 pieces of terrain, you might not need them.
In the case of the store, we sorted every feature we had by color ( light brown, dark brown, grey and snow )  and then added all incomplete pieces to these to sort them into as many full tables as possible.
Supplies: This is the most important one to figure out before hand.  Again, depending on your goal and current collection of hobby supplies will differ.  Thursday’s article will go into a lot more details for supplies as there is a lot of ground to cover, but this step you note what you have.  In the planning stage, you will figure out exactly what you need to buy.
Here are the most common things:
Large cheap Brushes
Dollar Store Paint
Builder’s/PVA Glue
Basing supplies
Truckload of glue
In ou case, I was taken back by how many folks turned up at the event, so I lost some valuable time having to go out and get more for everyone.
3-  PLAN
Ah yes, we’re big on planning on this blog.  From building a LGS’s worth of terrain or a table for your beatslab, the third step is having some sort of plan.
You don’t actually have to go into much details, but getting a clear idea of everything you want to do will help you get things done in a more efficient way.
Plan your work; work your plan!
Here’s our plan, after sorting out which we did the morning of ( because of the quantity  and 0 previous knowledge of how much stuff we had mostly ).  It’s part french part english, but you get the idea.  ROB  stands for Realm of Battle, the massive GW plastic boards.
The best example, of good planning is as simple as building and gluing everything in the morning so the glue dries during lunchtime and painting everything in the afternoon.
Planning is pretty simple, the 2 main criteria to look for are things that need to be done before others (primer before paint) and things that need to dry off (glue, flock, spray primer)
Self censorship aside, this is where the 3 previous steps lead you comes game day!  
There is not much to be said here, focus on the plan you’ve laid to get to your goal and don’t stop until you drop.
This is probably the most crucial part if you’re doing a lot of tables, like the game store. You can add this to the planning part, you need some form of storing for all your work.  
For regular you’s and me’s, proper storing of your terrain allows you keep your terrain alive longer, and make a more efficient use of your beatslab.
Stashing is only the 1st part of the deal if you’re doing a lot of pieces, the other is labelling the fruit of your terrain building day.  
Because our undertaking was too massive to complete in a day, we not only labeled the boxes with their content, but also their stage of completion.  No notes means it’s ready for action, and we added Incomplete which means that this table is missing pieces, and unfinished, meaning that everything is in the box, but not fully painted.
You can add what’s missing to the note (  Incomplete!  Missing: 2 Hills, Crater, Medium Ruin )  or the stage of incompletion ( Incomplete! Needs primer )
This step is quite important because it sets the stage for the next time you want to tackle terrain, wether it’s tomorrow or in 6 months, most of the 3 steps are taken care of by your carefully labeled terrain box.  
Tune in on Thursday for some more tips and techniques for setting up your own terrain building day!
Until next time,
No excuses, hobby like a champion!

Don’t Be a Fool, Buy Good Tools

Like the Magic the Gathering maniac who spends his fortune on cards and can’t spare a dime for sleeves only to find himself out of value because his cards are no longer near mint, this highest standard of cards quality, much the same can be said on the gamer that buys endless miniatures and paints but never buy his tools.

And to this I say: NO MORE!  All you need is 10%

Don’t be a fool, buy good tools!

One of the very few rules I have about painting in my leisure time is to spend 10% of my gaming budget on tools.  Not 5%, not 50%, 10%.

Tools, whatever they may be, make your life easier and your hobby far more enjoyable.

This 10% takes into account everything.  It’s large enough of a number so you can afford the common things right away, like glue or fresh Xacto blades, or save it over a couple of months to get something big like a new camera to take pictures, a fancy new airbrush or straight up buy a new chair for your desk.

Whatever floats your hobby boat.

On the other hand, 10% is also a restraint, keeping you from going overboard.  You don’t have to buy every single thing and doodad all the time, even if you can ( Money ain’t no thang, player ) Keep the 10% ratio to keep you grounded with buying what you need instead of trying to get everything.

The best part of this rule is it takes away all excuses.

Ever noticed that a lot of folks that complain that buying an airbrush set is to expensive often have 2000$ and more worth of miniatures.  Yet, a good airbrush setup costs barely more than 150$.

To make thing simple, or how I started myself, is to keep track of everything that I complain about ( to myself most of the time) or that I feel like I’m missing when I paint.

The first thing I 10%-ed out on was a Tamiya Electric drill, because I was bummed out of drilling bolter barels in metal grey knights.

Let’s say you’re new to all this, you want to spend your 10% the folloing way most likely:

1-  Hobby Tools – Cutters, X-Acto, Glue, Cutting Mat

2- Painting supplies- Paint Starter Set or couple of colours, Colored spray primer, brushes

3- Because you now have the essentials and can get going, look at what is missing and go from there. 

Hate assembly with a passion?  Look for new tools and toys to make what you hate simpler, like a flash remover or an electric drill.

Not having fun with painting and what to get done fast?  Quickshade and Anti-Shine Spray.

Do these steps as your budget allows you and you’ll always be one step ahead of your hobby needs.

Until next time, no excuses, hobby like a champion.


Steal This Competition Trick to Paint your Army!

I often preach the gentle art of slamming 3 colors on a miniature and leaving it in that state for months if not years.

And while this may seem like the lazy man’s approach to a fully painted army, it is not.  In fact, it’s part of most competition painter’s approach to miniature painting, and it’s called color blocking.

It’s also the best thing ever to have fully painted armies in no time.

Read on to block out with your brush out!

Color blocking and you, a simple guide

Color blocking is doing all the base coats on your model before moving in with the shading and highlighting.

In competition painting, this method is mostly used to get a general feel of the colors and make sure they all fit with one another.  It’s quite frustrating to paint a belt buckle filled with details for an hour only to realize it would’ve looked better in silver rather than gold.

Another reason for color blocking is because glazes and oil paints take forever to dry, so working these steps on multiple areas in a row is much smarter than waiting half a day between each coat of paint.

This is a great trick to learn if you are stepping into the competition painting game and want to slightly speed up your super high end painting experience.

This is fine for Mr. Pants, first name Fancy, that paints for competitions, but how can regular-toy-soldier-playing-joe like you and me can use this?

This trick works on our armies too, as blocking all the colors will usually tell you if your scheme is going to look tight.

Color blocking is the perfect tool for army painters as it can be used as it fits right in the 2 main goals of our painting approach: having a playable 3 colors army and not wasting time.

So the general idea is to do all your air brush parts, then lay on 2 of the main colors,  usually guns and  either faces or belts and accessories.

Once this is done, you have a playable army that is well on the way to become a much better finished product without having to start over.

You are going to paint these colors anyway at some point, so we make the most out of it by getting something playable in return.  And if the army changes, you wasted a whole less time with having only 3 colors on those dudes that you are not gonna plan, and your new additions will get up to speed much quicker.  Win, win, win situation.

Some sort of step by step

To showcase this, we’ll use the afore mentionned 3 colors Plaguebearers

These dudes are easy enough to paint, because there are like 5 surfaces total on them: Skin, Eyes, Sword, Teeth and Guts.

The 1st step is the skin.  A fine green that we do in full.  All the airbrush, and also washes and everything and we’re not touching it again, ever.  So, airbrush a basecoat, a highlight.  Then shade with brown, then highlight again with the airbrush.

Now the actual color blocking.  Sword with Typhus Corrosion, Guts with Red.  We can paint bases with dark brown and call it a day right here.  Bunch of Stinkies ready to take on the field.

But we can also finish blocking it out.  Teeth in bone, eyes in bright green.

And Voilà!

Now it may not look like much, but when done on 40 models at a time, it works magic.  Fully Painted Magic.

Are they done?  Absolutly not, but they are playable in every event/tournament ever and look fine like wine for summons.

Next time, just pick a color, and finish that color on all of them.  Drybrush orange, drybrush silver, Wham Bam! Swords are done.  And so on.

Until next time,
No excuses, hobby like a champion!