Thursday, November 16, 2017

Desert Sands



This live session was done to show how you can create your own oil washes, and use those alongside the Mig Ammo oil washes.  In addition, I tried to show how you can make regular oil paints the same consistency as the Mig Ammo OilBrushers, and use them together!

Finally, I wanted people to see that using oils on miniatures and vehicles allows you do do all sorts of wonderful mixing techniques right on the figure!  Here's a link:



All too often, I see people using oils on a vehicle, but not take advantage of that ability to do such mixing right on the figure.  This is very different from acrylics, and it only makes sense to fully utilize these differences.

On the right is a StuG that was "Primer Painted" with the usual Badger Stynlrez primers.  In the upper corner is an Italian M13 tank that was painted during a google hangout session, and to the left was the Panzer III which was done during the facebook live painting session.  You can see that the basic framework of lights and darks are similar, but the oils have provided more variations in tone, etc.


Even on a 'tan' vehicle, there are many color differences, especially if I want to show the primary weathering of the desert, and that is sun bleaching of the paint.


I hope to do many more of these live demonstrations, as they are very fun, and people can get a deeper view into what goes into these techniques.  I will be doing a standard pictorial blog post on painting the M13 as well, so stay tuned!

If you can possibly contribute to the patreon page, it will go a long way to making more time available for the 2-3 hour live demonstrations!  Many thanks to those who already have!!



Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Keeping Secrets


It's no secret that in the last year, I have been using the Secret Weapon paints more and more and more.  There are a number of reasons for this, but the main progenitor of this evolution in materials has to do with using the Badger airbrush products at a greater and greater level.

In particular, the use of the airbrush and Stynlrez primers  for executing my Shaded Basecoat technique on a massive scale has meant a corresponding rise in the amount of glazing that must be done.

Since the Secret Weapon paints are designed with glazing in mind, they are the ideal material to go along with the Reaper Clear paints and the Reaper Liner paints.


This banner is a classic example, where a watercolor style technique was utilized with a variety of Secret Weapon weathering paints.


While this looks like complete chaos, the paints are actually designed to work this way.  That is, have a moistened surface and 'drop' the paints into it, allowing them to mix on their own to create some very nice random effects.   This is particularly useful on any kind of worn or weathered surface, such as this banner.


Once the paint dries, you can see that it levels off on its own, and makes some wonderful subtle effects.


This article will continue on with some of the glazing process, as I further enhance and deepen the shadows in the metals.


Anyone who has seen my Glazing video knows that I love to mix lighter 'opaque' paints with mediums such as the Vallejo washes.  This will create a semi-opaque color which is fantastic for various shades in the "middle tone" region.

When mixed, the lighter opaque color becomes 'suspended' in that wash medium, and it allows me to do some interesting things.


You can see how the handle of the weapon has been painted with this 'wash', and how I have some interesting color variations right off the bat to emphasize with further weathering.


I did this on all of the beastmen's weapons and loincloth plates.

Then I took that mix a little further by adding some seafoam green to it, as shown in the right hand image.  As that previous layer was still wet, I could go back in and add several new lighter tones... but they were all semi-translucent.

Yes, a light wash or glaze can actually be a lighter color!


Now to darken the metals.  I used one of the deeper slate blue colors from Secret Weapon, along with Blue Liner paint from Reaper.  These blueish tones would be essential for making the secondary applications of rust look that much "warmer".  The color temperature game is very important if you want subtle forms of contrast!


Both of these colors can be thinned down to very extreme levels, which is why I like them so much.  As the initial glaze of the medium Secret Weapon dark was still wet, I could introduce a bit of the Blue Liner into the deepest crevices.  I will be doing a technique like this in reverse when it comes time to add that rust.


After all the metals had been completed, I went back in to some of the fur and skin areas that needed a similar addition of darker glazes.  This was mostly done with the Reaper Brown Liner paint.  I could glaze in very targeted zones where I needed the deepest shadows.


I also love my Vallejo fluorescent colors!  I have many blog posts that cover these, as well as a few of my Painting Pyramid series.  Ask me about the Object Source Lighting video and the You might even say it Glows video, which covers the fluorescent paint in even more depth.


After adding the semi-fluorescent Eye of Balor to the belt pieces (which was done on all the other figures from this particular army), I was ready to move on to some weathering of the metals!  Stay tuned for the next episode which will cover that in depth.

As always, any contribution to the Patreon Fund is appreciated, and allows me to create more of these how to articles.  These take a lot more time to create than most blog posts, as I try to retrace my steps into something that is concise and useful!

Many thanks:



Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Forest Mist


The second episode in the painted backdrop series begins with the second section, which was the "moveable" version, or the free standing piece that could work on either side.


I have published a few articles already on how to match your terrain to your mats.  This mat by Table War has some very rich greens, particularly along the edges.  This meant that I had to make some adjustments to my backdrops.

This was a happy accident, because I needed to go lighter and warmer anyway to make the "forward" edge of my backdrop come forward!


This is what 12 feet of painted backdrops looks like!

Again, using the Badger paints and primers was very useful, working with the Patriot 105.  The misty nature of the scenes is necessary to make this flat upright board flow into the background instantly.


When I placed my new backdrops  next to the mat (from Table War), I saw that I needed to make some adjustments.  This was not a surprise, and you will see how those corrections were made later in the post.


It was nice to get the first views of the backdrop behind all the terrain that I had worked so hard to create!


In this image, you can get a real sense of how I tried to mimic the appearance of the "real" terrain on the backdrops.  Gently rolling hills and clumps of trees off in the distance would be an ideal image to have in the backdrops of all my battle report images.


I was very happy with the way the two sections blended together at the joint.  Even at this '"open" end, it was blending in quite nicely.


The advantage of having those corner hills meant that I could hold the corners together very well, and hide a lot of the seam.  The downside of that was that I had to make the horizon line a little higher to compensate... making it more difficult to get that far distance flattening of the landscape on those backdrops.


These ground level views are the entire reason why I wanted the backdrops.  When I take the images of what is happening on these battlefields, this will be the primary 'cinematic' angle.  Constant images from the bird's eye view get very boring in a hurry!


I still can't believe how it has affected the colors of my terrain and the mat.  Before the backdrop, the colors seemed burned out in some places, or grayish.  I really loved this surprise!  I knew that I was using some nice rich greens and browns on my terrain, but it was not until now that I saw this.


Troops moving through these woods will have an extra level of realism to be sure!


This trail that was part of the battle mat was nearly invisible from this angle prior to the addition of the backdrops.


At this point, I did make some adjustments to my terrain pieces, just as I would do on the backdrops.  I used the airbrush to add the same brighter greens to the edges of my hills and forest sections which would echo that on the battle mat.

I even sprayed some color on the tree foliage, which made a dramatic difference on some of the sections which did not get as much coverage of the flock on top of the original moss.


As I looked at how the various areas of the backdrop meshed with the terrain board, it was clear that the scatter terrain I mentioned would be necessary.  I thought that I would experiment with a few items that I had available.

Some of this were pieces of grassy 'carpeting' which will be used for farm fields.  It was easy to cut these leftover strips into irregular shapes to place at these seams.  The clumping flock from Woodland Scenics could be piled on top of this to create some instant terrain.


Here are a few images of how this worked out.  I will definitely make some more special corner sections of trees and bushes for these areas, which will be the next tutorial on this board.

Once again, if these articles are helpful, it would be great if any contribution could be made to the Patreon page:



Monday, November 13, 2017

Building a Backdrop


This unusual project is something that I have wanted to do for many years, a backdrop for my terrain board!

I cannot recall how many times watching or looking at battle reports the inevitable piles of junk or other distracting things would show up behind beautiful tables of terrain and painted minis.  I had grown tired of spending hours in photoshop blacking out these messes :-)

There are many different ways to go about this, but I also had some restrictions on what I could do.  I had already tried some cloth backdrops, but they didn't work out very well.  The photo backdrop I had purchased was not a very good color, and I could never get the folds out of it or keep it from wrinkling.

My favorite material to use would have been the thin underlayment foam which I use for my terrain, but I need to save that for my terrain!

What I had available were a number of large pieces of cardboard, so I set about making something I could use from that simple material.

It all starts with the mat, which is from Table War.  Most of you have already seen the how to posts on building all of the hills, trees and the river.


This view shows the issue. any time I wanted to take a picture (or film video) from one end of the table or the other, I was going to have a very unsightly view.  Unlike the 'main' backdrop section, there was nothing behind it to support a big piece of cardboard.

The lower image shows how I made supports for the side wall section by making a few vertical ribs.  Now I can take this single section and use it on either end of the board, moving it when I am taking pictures from either end.


Since I will always have some kind of corner terrain, that will help to keep the boards in place, as well as hide any joints.


Even in this unpainted state, it is already an improvement!  I have spent many hours in the past trying to crop out or black out distracting objects behind my terrain boards in battle reports.  Why go to all the trouble of painting minis, making terrain and having the battle mats when piles of whatever will be seen in the background...


I was able to get the camera angles pulled back a lot more without having to worry about what would be in that background.  I can crop out most of it, etc, or more easily photoshop some more.  The only option I used to have was to black everything out.


I was especially eager to see these ground level views!  Without a backdrop, this angle was almost certain to show piles of art supplies lurking behind the board.


I switched the board to the other end of the table to see what that would look like.  Since I took these images, I have since made some more simple corner and straight wall elements to better make this blend in.


Time to paint this!  However, this phase will be tricky, given the use of cardboard for material.  If I had used the pink foam, I could have used a brush. and any kind of paint that I needed.  

Doing so with cardboard would have guaranteed that it would warp with all that moisture, so I tried to prevent that. I had a can of regular spray primer, and used what remained to at least get a coating on the cardboard.

Using an airbrush to paint it (a Badger Patriot 105) would cut down on this moisture drastically... and it would also save a TON of time.  In addition, it would give me the soft, misty look required to create an immediate sense of depth.


After working a number of sky colors onto the board, including the Stynlrez slate blue, etc., I used some of the "landscape paints" that are also made by Badger.  These were originally intended for model train builders, so it would be perfect for this task.

You can see how soft the horizon line is.  This is essential, especially if I am taking any images of figures close to the backdrop.  It must immediately sink into the distance.

The primers and paints from badger are now at a new website.  If you use the discount code wappellious, it will definitely save you some cash :



To create a few tree lines that mimicked my terrain board, I ripped out a few shapes from my newspaper to get some randomness.  I made sure to leave the lower section of each tree stand the original sky color, which would give me more of the misty feel.


I constantly looked back at my terrain board to see just how I could get the same feel in the distance.  The ends of each board had to be as "generic" as possible, with no tree stands and the exact same horizon line.  Keep in mind that I have to match four different edges with just two pieces!


I mixed a deep green with the Ebony Stynlrez primer to get more definition in the tree lines, and get a 'layered' look to create more distance.  As I got closer to the front of the scene, I used some more warmer and more saturated colors to further push my orginal sky and tree line into the distance.


If I were simply painting a forest scene, I would more detailed elements in the foreground, but that cannot be done here.  Since I want to move my terrain around, this scene has to be more like wallpaper, a soft pattern that is barely noticeable and repeats itself over and over.


The larger section is done!  This gives you a sense of how big it is... around six and a half feet.


Uh oh, what is that lurking in the forests of France?  Beware the battlefield T-Rex.

In the next article, I will show how I painted the other section, and discuss a few methods for dealing with seams as well as matching the colors of the battle mat.

If you want to see more unusual articles like this, it would be very helpful if you could support the patreon page.  This will allow me to have a few free moments to tackle projects such as these with all the engineering involved!