Tools - Stripping Models

I have a terrible problem. I have a tendency to repaint my models. No, rather, I have a NEED to change my color schemes. I'm not sure if it's because I get bored with my current schemes, if I think I can paint them better than they were before, or I'm just too cheap to buy new models to paint up in new schemes.
To be honest, it's probably a combination of the three.

What I have been using to great effect is Super Clean! I get it at Wal-Mart in the automotive section for about 7 bucks. The jug holds about 2 gallons worth of cleaner which is more than enough to strip 50+ models at once. It's reusable as well, so those 2 gallons can strip whole armies if you are willing to do them in sections.

The degreaser doesn't have a harsh chemical smell. I tend to get headaches when using strong chemicals, but I've yet to get one messing with this stuff. even after a couple hours straight.
It is also biodegradable. No need to dispose of it in any special manner. Straight down the sink it can go. (The stripped paint on the other hand...)

It takes roughly 24hours to take off GW style paints, up to 48hours if you've applied heavy varnish afterwards. All it takes is a old toothbrush and some gentle handling to clean the paint off. No scrubbing is needed. In fact, I'd discourage it to avoid breaking bits off your models.

Easily the best part is that soaking your metal or plastic models in there for extended periods of time will not damage them in any way.  I accidentally left 2 squads of genestealers in a tub right before I moved to my new apartments and promptly lost them. Three months later I found them in a bits box still swimming in the purple waters, unharmed in any way. (I have no idea if resin can be stripped using this stuff as I've yet to try.)

A couple final things to mention. This stuff will give you chemical burns if you handle it for 15min or more. They hurt like hell and let's not even mention what happens if you happen to have a paper cut already.  Make sure to buy some latex gloves before sticking your hands in, you'll thank me.

Super glue bonds will weaken considerably, so don't expect your conversions to stay in place. In fact, you might be better off cleaning up any super glue residue as you clean off the paint. Don't worry, it comes off clean. Super clean!

Finally, make sure to rinse your now clean models in warm, soapy water. If you leave any residue on your model and try to paint over it, the whole layer of paint will rub right off. Frustrating doesn't even come close to the level of emotion you'll feel.


WH 40k- Chaos Daemons - Bloodthirster? Keeper of Secrets?

After three months without a day off and no real time to work on anything, I started to get frustrated. Besides the joy I get out of it, painting also provides me with an outlet for all the irritation I build up managing my employees and dealing with irrational customers.
I knew it was past time to work on something when little irritations seemed major problems, so I pulled out an Ultraforge model I had been tinkering around with for the past year, sat down and pretty much finished it...6 hours later.

I'm actually rather proud of this model.

If you haven't checked out Ultraforge you really need to do yourself a favor and look at some of their sculpts. They are cheap for their size, all resin, and amazingly detailed.  I had picked up the Tree Woman as I felt it would make a good alternative to Games Workshops Keeper of Secrets. The official model is hideous.  Slaanesh is supposed to be the Dark God of excess, desire etc. He's the only evil God to look beautiful. So beautiful he can entrall any mortal with a glance. 
Why then does his greatest minions look like a cross between a man, woman, crab, horse thing?

Starting off, I chopped off all the extra tree limbs and branches that were...branching out from her body. Then I started smoothing out all the jagged cuts I left behind and removing the small amount of flash that was left on the model.
I wasn't sure if this was going to be a Keeper of Secrets to start with or a Bloodthirster, so I ventured into the world of magnets for the first time.
I drilled out a couple holes in the shoulder blades to place some demonic wings I had on hand along with a spot in each arm.
The model came with alternative hands that are holding wooden knives? Eventually I want to model her holding gigantic axes rather than knives so I went ahead and magnetized them all.

 This was also the first real time I worked with modelling putty to fill in holes and work in some extra details.  Sadly I tore up big chucks of the model as I tried to fit in my magnets for the first time. The holes were too big. Detail was lost. The dremel missed it's mark.  I'm not sure if those are common first time mistakes, but all 3 hit me at once. On a large expensive model at that.
To fix my mistakes, I had to learn how to use putty quickly. If you want to do a decent job at molding putty with very little effort, get some shaping tools. They are cheap and they helped a newbie fix some pretty nasty mistakes.
You can't even tell where my mistakes or magnets are, that's how easy they were to work with.

Hmm...you can see in this picture that one of my magnets didn't lie completely flush with the arm. I'll have to go back and fix that at a later date.
I started off painting her the same as all my previous Khorne daemons using purple/pink as the main color. It was going great until I finished the base coat and it was pink. Overwhelmingly pink. PINK.
It really was nauseating how much there was on the poor model.

The pale flesh tone at random intervals ended up looking much better than expected at breaking up all the pink. It's vaguely sexy while creepy at the same time.
I had a blast using the GW washes on the model, in case you couldn't tell from looking at it.
Sepia shaded the flesh while red and black shaded the pink.

Slight highlights to brighten the edges of her "skin" and she was pretty much done.

I stuck her on an extra Trygon base since nothing else came close to her size. She is a big girl.
She looked so lonely though on that large base, so I had to add something to spruce it up.
I was going to add a few casualties to the base, body parts littered around, but it didn't seem very cinematic.
Not sure where I got the idea of having the Greater Daemon rescue a lesser Daemonette, but it looks good.

I modeled the Daemonette to look as if she was kicking away the Marine in an attempt to escape. Her claw is trying to shear the boltgun in half and her mouth is screaming in rage and fear.
The Marine doesn't have a care in the world. He's knocked the Daemon down, has her pinned under his foot and boltgun and chainsword ready to eradicate her evil from the galaxy.
Too bad he didn't look behind himself or notice the pentagram seared into the dusty landscape.

First attempt at a "lava" effect which really needs more rocks and large flat areas to be effective. The little raised portion of the ballast/sand really aren't tall enough or large enough to give it the fiery brimstone look I was going for.
I may have also been a little heavy handed with the yellow in an attempt to show a glowing light.

Over all this may be one of the best models I've painted to date. It's definitely showing much improvement over my other Daemon models and I started work on those barely a year ago.
If this keeps up, I may be getting ready for more advanced painting techniques like blending or Non metallic metals. Woo!


WH 40k- Chaos Daemons - Bloodcrushers

Bloodcrushers were the first model from the Daemon codex that really excited me to attempt to convert.  While I absolutely loved the real Bloodcrusher model, I couldn't see myself trying to pay for several $50 dollar metal models and then trying to make each one look different from everyone else's models.
Luckily for me, as I was complaining loudly to my wife about my terrible, terrible problem, I chanced upon a sale that Miniaturemarket was having on old Rackham: Confrontation minis.
Each one was going for $10, used the same base size, and looked freaking amazing! It was a gift from the Chaos Gods themselves!

I painted them up using the same color scheme as my Bloodletters, adding in a great deal of copper and brass to give it a Khorne feel. Excessive violence and murder eventually turn my bloodletters into a massive, mindless version of themselves so they have to be chained and led into battle. Luckily my Bloodletters don't seem to mind the change.

More bright blue to help them fit in with the Bloodletters, but you can really tell I painted them onto a back that has no little bumps. I should have gone and sculpted little bumps all over like their lesser kin have.

The shadowing from the washes turned out better on these larger models and helped tone down the brass, but I'm not sure I toned the silver down enough it feels too clean for my tastes right now. Maybe I'll go back and dirty them up a bit.

The biggest complaint I've gotten for these models at Dakka Dakka was that the poses were way too similar, something I agreed with. 
So, I went back, tore several of the arms off and repositioned them so that they looked slightly different. 
The change to the arms helped, but they really are in the same pose and have their head cocked in the same exact angle. Not sure what I can do about that as these models aren't exactly pose-able.


WH 40k- Chaos Daemons - Bloodletters

I've been listening to a bunch of podcasts lately and the one I've been enjoying a great deal the last few days has been The 11th Company. One of the main hosts actually plays the army and I enjoy listening to his tactics and list ideas.  The more they talk about how random, erratic yet effective the Daemon's are, the more I've been wanting to paint them.

The Fluff for my army is still in the working stage, but it basically goes along the lines of Slaanesh slowly stealing away Khorne's minions away from him with the promise of an excess amount of warfare, bloodshed, and violence to keep them happy. This would inevitably make Khorne weaker and Slaanesh stronger.  
Unfortunately Slaanesh under estimated the sheer violent nature of Khorne's daemons and instead of minions fully under his control, they have become a mixture of the two God's natures, creating sleeker, more deviant variations.

Since I don't have a working camera right now, you'll have to make due with the few models I actually have pictures of. Starting off are my Bloodletters of Slaanesh. 

I really disliked the Conehead look that Bloodletters have so, to start, I chopped them down to a semblance of a proper shape.
Using scything talons from my leftover Tyranid sprues, I replaced about half of the sword arms, sometimes replacing both arms.
I tried to show that they were slowly growing "Daemonette" rending claws and Daemonette arms were way too skinny to use as replacements.

The skin tone turned out a nice, bright, purplish pink hue that I've grown to love. Not quite the pink of Slaanesh and definitely not the red that Khorne favors.  The bright ice blue was a nice easy way to keep the pink from overwhelming the models.
These were the first real models I experimented washes with. While they look pretty decent, I think I could do a much better job now with what I've learned the last year or so.
Sadly, I'm really not sure exactly what steps I took to get them to look exactly like this, so all newer models I paint up will look very similar, yet not quite right.

I've only got about 16 or so of these guys painted as I want the Khorne part of my force to be the minority. Bloodletters, Bloodcrushers, and a Bloodthirster will be pretty much all I'm bringing. I'm hoping to make them about 33% of my 1850 army.


Boardgames- Hex Hex

While I may not have been able to model much, I did get to play a few new games at my friend's house. One of the new ones I tried was Hex Hex.

It's a quick party game that managed to get a group of fairly anti social strangers to have a blast within 5 minutes of reading the rules.

The basic jist of the game is basically a complicated version of Hot Potato once it's completely broken down to it's basic levels.
Everyone is a wizard and take turns casting a "hex" onto another player. That player must look at their hand of 5 cards and use one of them to redirect that Hex onto someone else. Eventually if no one else can redirect the hex, then the person the hex hit last loses a point and the last person to redirect the hex gains a point.

The turns go fast and furious as not only can you redirect hexes, but you may also boost them (an extra pt lost), split them into two different directions, force a hex to only go a certain direction, or take the hex only to reverse the point loss into a point gain.
The changes to a hex are cumulative. You can boost a hex, only to have your target triple the point loss, send them flying back at you, you counter with a card that splits that 3x hex onto your left and right. Now both players on either side of you have to deal with a triple loss hex, etc etc...

The first couple rounds went a little slow as everyone one read up on what cards did and how they interacted
with each other, but by the middle of the first game, everyone is tossing cards down, laughing as hexes are flying around everywhere only to all detonate on the player with the current high score.

Over all the game was hilarious and very easy to play. So easy, that I had invited a friend to try it out, someone who had never played a boardgame, rpg, or miniature wargame and that person was able to get it down with little to no problems.