Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Eyes Have Seen the Glory....

Obligatory pic of the new 145 paint range.
Okay, that's hyperbole. But it's Presidential primary season and I was feeling left out. As you may or may not know, I started the now-common practice of weening myself off the Citadel paint teat a few years ago. As colors started to go bad or empty I would replace them with the Vallejo equivalent. This, with only a few exceptions, has been a positive experience. Then GW started eliminating some key (at least to me) colors from their range. Things like Brazen Brass and Midnight Blue became as quest-worthy as the Beast Glatisant. 

As a result my motivation to continue investing in Citadel paints evaporated like moisture on the face of Tatooine in August. I settled in to a mode of steadily trying to improve my painting skills while simultaneously trying to upgrade my equipment, including paint. Gone were the days of mindlessly grabbing whatever color GW had that was close. I started paying attention to things like medium, consistency, shelf life, capillary action, and compatibility with other paint. The "back bar" of my desk exploded with new bottle shapes, namely the dropper styles of Vallejo and Reaper, and the liquid-medium gold that is P3.

A few months ago rumors and mysterious letters from Games Workshop telling their retailers to let paint supplies dwindle signaled yet another paradigm shift in painting. In two weeks Citadel will release its new 145 strong paint range. At first I blinked, then yawned, then went right back to shaking my VGC Brassy Brass. Then I traveled to Memphis, TN to attend Mid-South Con 30. On the way out on Sunday I swung by the Memphis Battle Bunker. It was a slow day and David, the manager on duty, escorted me immediately to one of a half-dozen paint stations sporting shiny new clear pots of the 145 stuff. Citadel brushes and a water cup were handily available and I was encouraged to give the stuff a try.

By Jove, they've done it again. I wasn't able to try everything there, but the two things I did try sold me.

Revelation 1: Citadel Ceremite White. If there was one gaping hole in the former GW paint range, it had to be a white Foundation paint. No longer, true believers. This stuff goes on slick. No more of that grainy nonsense and, I've been assured, the new Base colors won't separate like the old Foundation paints would. In all honesty, this stuff looked so good right out of the pot that no further white would be needed. The Base colors consist of 34 shades, INCLUDING (are you sitting down?) silver, gold, brass, and bronze metallics. There is also a black. This portion of the range has definitely caught my attention. Oh, I've also been assured that they have been tested in a spray gun and worked fine. SWEET!

Revelation 2: Dry paints are a miracle in a can. When I was handed a pot, I habitually started to shake it. David (the aforementioned manager) chuckled and said, "you don't need to shake it". I flipped the cap and saw why. Inside was a congealed mass of pigment-laden goop. You know what it looked like when Foundation paint would settle and harden? And then you'd try to add water or medium and stir it up, but all it did was clump like cottage cheese? yeah, this looked a lot like that. My raised eyebrows cued David to explain, and I had my doubts. It seems that the Dry line is designed for dry brushing (duh!). BUT, as any of us who have done a lot of that know, the amount of paint that is wasted has likely cost us several bottles of paint over the years. Citadel, in their sudden and startlingly uncharacteristic wisdom, seems to have solved this problem. I'm not sure of the specifics, but I suspect the secret lies in the medium. Naturally I'm withholding final judgement until I invest in a few pots and they don't become utterly useless in a matter of weeks. In use, however, I was sold instantly. I dipped a GW medium drybrush into the goop, rubbed very little excess off on a blotter, and proceeded to pick out the chainmail on a black-primered Lord of the Rings dwarf in a matter of seconds. The Dry line consists of only a dozen shades, all of which are light, bright, and/or metallic. I will definitely be giving some of these a try, particularly on my Grey Knights.

Etcetera:  The rest of the range I wasn't able to personally experience, though I was shown some samples of other's test models which lend a lot of credence to the hype that GW David was slinging. The Glazes seem to be a vast improvement over the washes, which, in my humble opinion, were pretty darned good. They are, according to David, a happy medium between washes and the old inks. They still run into the recesses, but they also convincingly tint whatever layer of paint they happen to be applied over. The Shades and Layers will likely be just as useable, but I won't know if they will be a valid replacement for the other companies I've been using.

Also worth noting: The paint names of old are gone. This range is being produced by an entirely new supplier so no more Chaos Black (now Abaddon Black) or Skull White (White Scar). There is, however, a conversion chart which has been seeing its way around the interwebs. How close the shades will actually be remains to be seen, but I'm sure some minor tweaks will be able to compensate for any differences. If not, we still have Vallejo!

I'll stop here as everyone else has already whipped this horse to death regarding the other new arrivals (Texture and Technical). I just wanted to share my personal observations as a (hopefully) respected painter to help my brothers and sisters of the brush make good choices during this time of change. Damn you, Tzeentch, and your silly purple ways!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ignis Rex

I have written and deleted a half dozen witty blog posts about this Land Raider but, in retrospect, none of the them have been sufficient.  I'll stop stumbling through my futile attempts at prose, and let the pictures speak for themselves.  Before I go, however, there are three things you need to know about it:

1) This tank was built & converted by CVinton (look here and here) at Dark Future Games.
2) This tank was painted by Team Snake Eyes' very own Chaplain Aerion.
3) This tank is ridiculously awesome.  I am in awe of the artistic ability on display by the two individuals above. Enjoy.

Photoshop compilation of "before" photos.  This is how we received the tank from CVinton.

Photshop was used to make "color tests" before putting paint to model.

Photoshop "color test" of right side.

Crewman photo:  Forgeworld Salamander shoulder  pad and close up of CVinton's sculpting work.

Front Grill.  Yes, the eyes ARE  following you...Heretic!

Front Profile

Left Profile.  All hatches are fully magnetized.  Not pictured are the Flamestorm Cannons
that can turn this Crusader into the Redeemer variant. 

Left Side Sculpting

Right Profile.  If you don't love the dragon mouths on the Hurricane Bolters, you're
either not alive or not human.  True story.

Right Side Sculpting.  "Ignis Rex" is likely horrible latin for "King of Fire" or "Fire King".
We were also pleasantly surprised that CVinton sculpted a fire imp or some such
into the flames at the bottom of the tank behind the Smith figure.

As you might have deduced, there is more to come.  While we did manage to acquire CVinton's beautifully converted Ironcland Dreadnought (Seriously?  It's crushing a traitor guardsman in it's claw, how cool is that?) alas, we are not taking that to Adepticon this year, so it's not a priority right now.  I did manage to get my scaly claws on Bray'arth Ashmantle (that wasn't a shipping mistake CVinton, the Emperor was trying to tell you something...) and he will be serving as my personal HQ choice at Adepticon's 2012 Team Tournament.  Stop by our table this year in Chicago for a closer look.