Sunday, April 3, 2016

The Weekly Update - Sunday, March 3rd, 2016 - Thoats and Tharks and Bill Hoyer, Oh My!

The Tharks on their bases, and on their thoats.

I'm priming them in flat black - normally, I use flat white.

Forced flash on the camera, so you can see a little detail

Well, here we are, back again. I am delighted to be able to report that I can actually move my right foot; the very powerful anti-inflammatory that I am being dosed with is doing a great job, and I am feeling a lot better. Not perfect, but a lot better; I can, for the first time in two weeks, actually get a shoe - the largest and loosest one I have, admittedly! - onto my foot. The swelling has gone down that much; it still aches, as the foot gets used to the idea of being back on line, but it's not the agonizing pain that had kept me flat on my back for all too many days.

I'm supposed to stay off the foot, as much as possible, so I have been able to keep moving along with the new lead. (I'll have more reports, too, as I do have all of the new figures from The Tekumel Project to report on, as well.) The tharks are now all assembled; the thoats will come later, as being cast in resin they'll need a slightly different tool and skill set.

These stalwart warriors really look the business. You get six of them in very active combat poses, and the other six in the range are in 'ready for action' poses - several of them look, to my eye, like player-characters! There is a chieftain, a henchman, and ten warriors on foot; a chieftain and two on thoats. (And yes, I am aware that these are not really either in an 'Officially Authorized and Approved' sense, due to IP and license requirements; but, like the GW 'Elves' I gave square shields in order to have the Legion of Mnashu of Thri'il, these are my figures and I'll make of them what I will.) There's a massive assortment of nasty weapons, and I would not want to have these folks mad at me. Ever.

These went together very well; I took a tip from an old friend, Mr. Bill Hoyer, to do these up right. Bill, who is one of those people you've most likely never heard of, was one of the people who founded out hobby; he used to play miniatures with a bunch of guys in Lake Geneva, who you probably have heard of. He was there at the beginning, and a few years ago I had the very rare and wonderful honor of having him in my basement, playing on my game table with my miniatures. He had a great time, he said, and we had a lot of fun.

Bill's tip is, instead of using the usual cyano-acrylate gule to hold the parts together, was to use a product called "Walther's Goo", which is a contact adhesive that we model railroaders have been using for decades. It's a very good contact cement, and will hold just about anything to anything. It is a flexible glue, though, and I'd never even thought of using it on miniatures because of this.

What Bill taught me to do is attach the parts with the Goo, then flood the joint with cyano-acrylate to fix and hold the part rigidly. Both types of glue use acetone as their solvent, so they are mutually compatible - and the joints are both filled and locked together by the process. It works, and works really well. (Thank you, Bill!!!)

I normally primer my figures in flat white, as it does add a bit of 'bounce' to the acrylics I use. These are in flat black, as I want a different look to them, and the black will help punch up the details - again, these are big figures! Base color for the skin will be Testor's 'Model Master' 4734 'Medium Green', and the air-brushed layering will be Liquitex 'PHTHALOCYANINE GREEN'; I'll be thinning this way down so that it acts more like a whad then anything else; the underlying paints will allow the pigments to flow off the high points, thus giving nice highlights and really popping out the details. After that, brushwork as usual...

The thoats will need a touch up of very light sanding on their edges, which I expect for resin castings; these are very clean and sharp, so they'll need only a tiny bit of clean-up. That's for the next post, though... :)


  1. I should ask *you* this question! I was persuaded by my local game shop to buy The Armory's spray matte finish (I'm used to brushing varnish on, but they only had the spray). The damned stuff has made my little 12 figure adventuring party look flocked! I tried painting one figure with water, just to see if the stuff could be partially washed off leaving my week's hard work intact. Alas, no effect. I'm sick with disappointment. Any suggestions?

  2. Gods. I want to barf every time I hear about this kind of thing.

    Right. First off, trying a bit of water never hurts, as it's about the least risk to the paint jobs. It will not 'cut' the varnish, though, as this is normally an enamel or other petro-based paint. (You can get water-based matte varnish from art supply stores, but I think it's all brush-on. Anyway...) All of the sprays I've ever seen or used are cut with paint thinner - what did you use for the paint jobs? If you used acrylics, you're in luck - very gently use a soft brush to wet the varnish, and you can usually roll it back and even get it off. Lots of paper towels, and clean thinner.

    If you used enamels as the original paints, they you'll have to be a lot more careful in doing the same thing. Go very, very slowly and carefully - it's going to be the same process as used in how paintings get 'stripped' and restored. Soft brush, and patience!!!

    I am not fond of spray-on matte finishes, to be honest. Unless you use them right inside the manufacturers' specs, any adverse conditions - like humidity - will cause the varnish to fog and flock like what you describe. I've always preferred brush on finishes - art supply stores have quite a quite a few that are really good. They also have a lot of different thinners as well, so you may have to use one of these.

    Please keep me posted!!! Just take your time, and keep your chin up - this is fixable!!!

    1. Well, I waited until I had calmed down before trying this. Today I got out the thinner. It takes a light touch! But they look better than before, and I've learned a lesson. Thanks for the suggestion.

    2. It's all you can do. I try to spray the varnish when it's not too dry or humid, and about all you can do is a test run before you do the figures.

  3. @ Chirine:

    I've always preferred to prime my miniatures in white or grey because I've had difficulty painting over black and retaining bright colors. However, I was recently in Oaxaca, Mexico and had the chance to attend a workshop on the alebrije craft. They use a flat black primer on plain wood carvings, dried with a blow dryer and then painted over with (what appeared to be) enamels. The results are spectacular, very bright with a lot of "pop" and no "darkness" seeping through.

    Do you think this is due to the enamel being used, the absorption of the primer on wood (instead of metal minis), or is just that I have been failing as a painter? I'd like to get the same effect with my figures.

    1. It's not you - it's usually the paint. What we're looking at here is something called 'pigment density' - how much pigment is being held suspended in the medium. I also much prefer to primer in flat white (with occasional excursions into flat grey or red-brown, depending on what the final paint scheme is going to be) for exactly the reasons you give; it also allows the use of all sorts of paint, without much worry about what I'm using.

      Painting over black, though, requires a much higher percentage of pigment. In hobby paints, the usual 'wargame paints' are about a 'medium' density - the more expensive the paint, the higher the density of the pigment. I look in the lines of paints at the local model railway or other hobby shop - the 'modeler paints' quite often have very high density in them.

      With these tharks, I had intended from the start to use the Testor's 'Model Master' paints, which have a very high density of pigment, and will cover the black. Same thing with the Tekumel Project Shen I'm doing - primer with black, and then use the high-end paint.

      Try some of this stuff out - experiment, and see what works for you.

      Maybe I need to do a full post on all this? :)

  4. @cbk

    Well, *I* would find such a post interesting.
    : )

    Thanks, by the way...I appreciate the info!