Monday, April 30, 2012

Mephiston Red- aka 'Hotrod Red'- new paint review

Went for a small trip to GW yesterday to pick up the latest White Dwarf, hoping for some Dark Angel hints, and after a quick flick through Im only seeing possibly hints of an Ork-related happening on 2 June? It could be a new Codex (the last one was a while back?) or some sort of Ork-themed party at GW- there's a full single page and double page spread regarding this, but with very minimal information. So who knows whats really happening? To be honest, i'd like to see some more Orkish goodness- I still dont think I have enough Deathskulls (roughly 3200pts straight WYSIWYG so far, including Stompa), and even if the base mechanics of them dont change then at least some new models or units would be nice.

However, I digress- where this is going is that without any tangible evidence concerning the boys of the First Legion at this time I'm feeling less inclined to put brush to mini to finish my two Tactical and one Devastator squads. Not that I dont love them, but I feel that variety is the spice of life. I spent a good 15 minutes of so discussing the new paint range with the staff, as well as giving the "base" (Foundations) and Dry paints a spin, and so far everything i've seen has been fantastic. Ceramite White has exceptional coverage over black, I think i'll be getting some of this to clean up my DA tank chapter symbols, and the myriad greens available in the 'layers' (ie normal paint) section makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside as a Dark Angel and Ork player.

However the colour that drew my attention the most was the replacement for Mechrite Red, most appropriately called 'Mephiston Red' after the Blood Angel's Chief Librarian (know on the Internetz as 'Space Dracula'). It seems that GW has realised that the main reason for Mechrite's use is to paint up vibrant red power armour, so this Base colour is now a lot closer to the old superceded Blood Red (now replaced with the very close Wild Rider Red- like Blood Red, with some orange thrown in). So I bought a pot of Mephiston Red, and decided to re-base coat my Stormraven Gunship which had previously been given a 50% coverage of Mechrite. And it turned out to be very, very interesting. Here's how its sitting after a coat of the new paint.  

Tony Stark: "Tell you what. Throw a little hotrod red in there".
Jarvis: "Yes, that should help you keep a low profile".

Now I dont want to speak ill of the dead, but im glad Mechrite is no more. Although it had phenomenal coverage, I always found the colour to be very muted and dull, a view that the GW staff shared with me. The main issue that stems from this is that in order to paint up a Blood Angels, Saim Hann Eldar or Evil Sunz Ork army one had to put down a base of Mechrite that was basically just going to end up being 95% or more covered by a lighter and brighter red. This basically meant that for all the wondeful time savings of the Foundation paint- quick to apply, great coverage etc- you were eventually going to go back over the mini again with another coat to bring up the red. In my opinion its heaps easier to throw down a brighter base colour and spend 30 seconds applying a Shade (Wash) to change the base colour. Dull down in 30 seconds and get natural shading with a Shade, vs apply a brighter colour which could take 10+ minutes on a marine? I know which i'd prefer.

The other issue I had with Mechrite (and a lot of the Foundations) was grainyness- most likely due to the higher amount of pigment- even when applied watered down a touch the finish seemed grainy and textured. Oh well, as I said: Mechrite is gone. So with that, how does Mephiston Red perform?

'Cant say im sorry to see it go. Meph Red is dynamite IMO.

Really well as it would seem. The paint consistency in the pot appears thinner than the prior Foundations, which partially goes to explain why it doesnt do a 100% coverage on black straight up, however a second pass completely covers and the colour comes right out. I was also very happy to see that the colour pops out enough without being that eye-searing 'Early 90s GW red'*, I can also see my entire Blood Angels army being based in this scheme. The current GW Blood Angels painting Recommendation is Mephiston Red (Base)> Carroburg Crimson (Shade)> Edge Highlight-Evil Sun Scarlet (Layer)> Highlight- Wild Rider Red (Layer). I think i'll be playing around with all these colours to determine the best scheme for me, but either way I'm hoping to get something that 'pops' on the tabletop.  

So, until my beloved First Legion gets a new book I'm going to be painting red, red and more red- a change is as good as a holiday, and I like the look and feel of the BA Codex so they'll be getting a look in on the tabletop. And while im on this very tack, here's my most recent Sanguinary Guard paintup- i've decided against the NMM look for a true-metallic + shades (washes!) combo- they'll end up with some gold highlights on this to bring the bling back up. This takes about 4 layers to achieve, vs the 15+ for the NMM gold... 


*And yes, I am that old...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Epic Titans!!! And a well known titan-weapon from the Internets...

So, here's a litte rant regarding my latest side project (aka '40K-progress derailer' hahaha), the rebuilding of a few old Epic miniatures. For those of you that are unaware, Epic is essentially Warhammer 40,000 but in 6mm scale- thats right, a single infantryman is 6mm tall, compared to the 25-28 mm of 40K. Entire squads are stuck onto single square or rectangular bases, and move, shoot and assualt all as the one entity. Combat on this scale also lends itself to the use of massive armour columns, superheavy tanks as well as my favourite- the Titans. These walking monsters can decimate opposing armies in shooting and close combat, and are such an iconic image that I have collected a few across the years. The hardest part, to be honest, is actually finding someone to have a game of Epic with, although I've found recently that Canberra has a very decent sized Epic fanbase so here's hoping i'll get some games in soon!

My old Dark Angels Epic army was essentially what came straight out of the "Epic:40,000" box set (from 1997), with the addition of 4 metal Dreadnoughts and a very recently purchased metal Thunderhawk gunship. However, as is the way of things, I decided to change their colourscheme and chapter orientation- so they've now taken a bath into the Simple Green, and have been there for around two weeks now. Initial cleanup on a few units has been extremely promising- the paint comes off with minimal scrubbing with a light toothbrush and some running water, and my earlier fears regarding infantry snapping off at the legs during cleanup appears unfounded- it simply doesnt happen. So, with my recent purchases of 40 1988-era 'Space Marine" tactical marines and the cleaned up ones from my prior DA army i'll soon have a large assembled army ready for undercoat and paint. Takes roughly 10 minutes per base to paint up if you really, really take your time, including highlights- thats how tiny they are!

A selection of Titans, for your viewing pleasure... 


Here's another work in progress- this Warlord Titan was purchased along with another two around five years prior,  they've had multiple cleanup sessions to get all the old Enamel paint off (takes a lot longer in Simple Green, but most things that dissolve Enamel arent good for plastic either), and this one has now been re-undercoated and the arms and guns have been glued solidly onto the carapace. What i've been going for is a build for a 'standard' Warlord under the GW Epic: Armageddon rules (the latest version), and my others will have mix 'n' match loadouts for games using the Net EA rules. So, this guy is rocking the 1988 weapon equivalents of a  gatling blaster and volcano cannon, however i decided his pointy short 'defence lasers' on the carapace did not look like the double-barrelled twin turbolaser destructors they were meant to be. So, with a lot of care and a bit of luck I cut off the existing barrels, and then chopped up a twin barrel setup for both guns- these are made from a Tau burst cannon, and look fantastic in my opinion!! They arent glued in place as yet, i'm going to paint the carapace up before they are permanently attached.  I'll also be removing the multi-fit mounting lugs under/on top of all guns where they arent needed anymore.  


And here's a mini i've had for a long time- the biggest and baddest of the Emperor's land-based weapons- the Emperor Class 'Imperator' Titan. I originally bought him from a friend unassembled, and i threw him together in a single night and then spent only a few hours painting him up- suffice to say its a claggy, thick and nasty job (but hey, i was young and stupid...). Also, along the way I decided that Epic wasnt for me, and the Imperator donated his Plasma Annihilator to one of my Dark Angels Dreadnoughts, cut down shorter (and thus, never  reclaimable for Epic...). With my recent 'repaint and rebuild' bent I decided the Imperator needed a complete rebuild, and to this end I would need a replacement Plasma Annihilator. I ended up sourcing one through eBay, but thought there was something very familiar about it.. turns out, the actual PA I bought is the one used in the Warhammer 40K Online Wiki... Seriously- if you Google Image Search "Plasma Annihilator", the first image that comes up is a claggy thick painted red/silver poor excuse for a titan weapon- that exact gun is sitting on my desk at home waiting for a dip into the greenstuff... yay, quasi-famous weapon for my titan.... hahahaha!


And just for some completeness, and to make this less of an Imperium-fest, here's my Khorne Banelord Titan- essentially a close combat/short range Warlord, it uses metal arm weapons, metal head (with a minigun coming out of the mouth!!!), metal tail and metal missile rack and banner poles! But, its the same plastic warlord chassis as the other ones, im always impressed at how much variation could be acheived with some 'add ons'. Hoping to get a small Chaos warband assembled and painted soon (I have the minis), and then get some games in as well...


This little fella is the smallest Titan type available, I purchased him on eBay with another matching one (Warhounds can operate in packs of two), both with these awesome freehand serpent iconography and handpainted banners. Unfortunately, in moving stuff around i've misplaced the other Warhound's leg (it'd fallen off), so i'm temporarily down to one until it resurfaces. They both have the original style 40mm square base- later ones have round 40K Terminator-sized bases. If push comes to shove i'll source another leg online and paintmatch it to the original scheme...   

Possible delay with next post??

Thought I'd also mention that this may be my last post for a little while, as my wife is due to give birth in less than two weeks time- meaning the baby could come along at any point from now! This means i'll most likely be spending a lot of my free time getting last minute things in order and wrapping up/ handing over things at work for my 5 or so weeks off work. But, who knows, my time off may allow me a bit more freedom to get some hobby work and blog updates done (in between nappy changes :P).

Anyhow, i'll be back, sooner or later.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Simple Green vs 'Simple Orange'

Thought i'd post up a quick one today, concerning the product 'Simple Green' as used by a lot of wargamers for paintstripping. 

I've previously been able to get hold of the dark green coloured concentrate at Bunnings (my local hardware store), and had found it to be extremely potent at removing years worth of paint- thick, thin, undercoated or no- it all came off with some time submerged in it. In no way did it affect plastics, and didnt even un-stick previously superglued parts- its extremely good at what it does.

However after I finished my last bottle I found that Bunnings had stopped stocking the dark green concentrate, and all I could find was a bright orange concentrate instead, which is easier to see through and has a orangey/citrus smell to it. After some google searching I couldnt find any real evidence either way to say if it was the same thing as the green concentrate, or even as potent/unharming to plastics.

So, with a bottle of newly purchased "Simple Orange" I threw my old Azrael mini in as well as a surplus plastic space marine, and waited for two days. And the results? After a quick high-pressure blast from the garden hose all the paint is gone from both minis!

So, there is absolutely no difference from the dark green stuff in regards to performance and treatment of plastics. And even better, you can see right into the concentrate to view submerged minis (check paint stripping progress) whereas the old dark green stuff would obscure your view. So, win win!

For anyone looking for this stuff, its bright orange, and comes with a spray bottle shring-wrapped beside the main 2L concentrate in a 'pack', for $20AU. Cannot recommend highly enough. Also, to allay any fears people may have, ignore the 'dont use on plastic trim' comment on the bottle- doesnt apply to the plastic used in miniatures!

So to round this post off, here's some of my tips for using simple green/orange/whatever..
  •  Use a cheap plastic see-through food container with a snap on lid. If left open to the air the SG will evaporate over time, as well as lose its colour and turn clear like water. Not sure if this changes its paintstripping abilities though. When enclosed it will holds its colour and level almost indefinately.
  • Blast minis under a tap or garden hose to remove paint (within reason- delicate stuff would be better lightly scrubbed with a toothbrush), then dunk in fresh water for a while. Remove later and let dry in the sun.
  • For really thick paintjobs its best to scrub whatever you can get off with a medium stiffness toothbrush then drop the mini back in. My Warlord Titans took three extended baths to get the paint off, although this was mainly due to them having enamel paintjobs- SG is better suited to water-based acrylics, but most solvents that are good for enamels are no good for plastic.
Until next time,