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Nodri's PHR, UCM, & Terrain: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

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Mike Mee

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostFri Jul 08, 2016 8:39 pm

How heavy?
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostSat Jul 09, 2016 1:09 am

@ Mike Mee

Excellent question. Having previously worked in building trades (and still being known as the guy to call when friends & family need help with their own projects), I'm accustomed to just throwing a sheet or two of ply/OSB over my head and going for a walk. The weight issue hadn't even dawned on me because the material thickness was selected due to the necessities of function & construction.

You make me do research. I like you.

19/32 OSB is 2psf (pounds per square foot). Doing some quick math, the 4' x 4' table is 32 lbs; the 4' x 6' table is 48 lbs; each 2' x 4' table piece is 16 lbs; each 1' x 4' end piece is 8 lbs.

30 gauge galvanized sheet steel is .656psf. Again doing some quick math, the steel adds 10.496 lbs to the 4' x 4' table; 15.744 lbs to the 4' x 6' table; and 5.248 lbs to each 2' x 4' table piece. The end pieces will not be covered with sheet metal (At least not entirely. I'm still designing them so it's a bit up in the air at the moment.).

Excluding the weight of terrain, buildings, models, etc., the total weight for the 4' x 4' table is about 42.5 lbs.; the 4' x 6' table is about 63.75 lbs.; each 2' x 4' table piece is about 21.25 lbs. Keep in mind that there will be some additional weight due to screws, adhesive, PVA glue to cover the sheet steel, primer, paint, varnish, and magnets. Even with these additional considerations, the weight is certainly manageable by an average adult.

The end pieces will have additional weight due to a trim border, adhesive faux leather covering, magnets, and some form of dice tower / turn counter (again, they're still in the design phase so I'm not completely sure yet).

I could've gone lighter by using thinner OSB / MDF / plywood / hardboard. The reason I didn't was due to the sheet steel. Most screws that are compatible with sheet metal are, at a minimum, 1/2" long. 1/4" screws can be found, but aren't readily available. I wasn't comfortable just using adhesive to attach the steel to the table's base material, so 19/32" OSB was the obvious choice (the actual thickness is just over 1/2").

While I will be using the table for games at home, it will probably see most of its use at my FLGS. They use 3/4" ply as a base for all of their gaming tables so this will be light to average by comparison to existing tables.

In addition, at home I will be using a 59" x 29" laundry table to support the game table surface. It's beefy enough to handle the weight of at least two adults sitting on it without concern, but it's on the smallish side for gaming purposes. It can easily handle a 4' x 4' gaming surface with one end piece, but there will be 5 1/2" of overhang on each player's side. An additional reason I opted for the 19/32" OSB was because it won't bow or flex under it's own weight.

Earlier this year, I got my hands on few pallets and disassembled them for some unknown future project. If the need arises, I'll build a frame to support the full 4' x 8' sheet on the laundry table. Due to storage issues and the desire to use the pallet lumber for other purposes, I won't build the frame unless a clear need materializes.

From a storage point of view, I wanted to be able to stack the entire table within a 2' x 4' footprint. This will make transportation easier if I opt for a smaller vehicle in the future and it'll easily fit stacked on end in a closet.



More to come as work progresses...
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostSat Jul 09, 2016 1:00 pm

So fairly heavy then ;-)

Look forward to the results.
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostWed Jul 20, 2016 12:05 am

Lava Table Construction Part 1




Work on the table is steadily progressing. The three main 2'x4' sections have had the sheet metal attached, magnets glued in, and the PVA sealant applied. Design work has also begun on the two end pieces and I expect details to be available in the near future.

Before I get started with the actual construction, I'd like to take a moment to share with you the the theory behind magnetizing a wargame table.

While playing around with some post-it notes, I discovered that if you attach two magnets to each side of a square and alternate North & South as you progress around the circumference, it will be impossible for any squares with the same layout to repel each other regardless of their orientation unless they are turned upside down.

That's quite a mouthful, so it's probably best if you see the image below for clarification. I invite you to write the N/S polarities on some squares of paper and see for yourself. So long as you don't flip them over, the polarities will always be different. This means that you could make a wholly modular table of 1' or 2' magnetized squares rather than the rectangles that I'm using.
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For my own table, I will be magnetizing the long sides of the rectangles, with two exceptions. Two of the 2' x 4' boards will have magnets on the short sides so that on a 4' x 4' table, the seam between the two boards will mark the center line. This struck me as the most convenient layout for most games. The magnets on the short sides will allow me to magnetically attach the end pieces in this layout while still enabling the table to expand easily to 4' x 6' for games with 3+ players.
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Here are the tools that I used.
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Not pictured above are a carpenter's pencil and a tube of Loctite Premium construction adhesive. The adhesive will also be used later to attach the sheet metal to the OSB. Construction adhesive is preferred because it doesn't shrink when it cures, it dries very hard yet slightly rubbery, and the adhesive qualities between different materials are excellent.
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I placed a mark 6 inches in from the corner and drew the line on the OSB with a speed square & a carpenter's pencil. The distance is arbitrary and the magnets could be moved closer to or farther from the corner if desired.
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Next, a dot was placed on the line 5/16" from the top of the OSB, allowing the magnet to sit in the center of the OSB.
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As with magnetizing models, if you want the magnet placement to be as perfect as possible, start by drilling a small hole and using progressively larger bits. Bits will drift due to differences in the surface, but they'll self-center in an existing hole (and a smaller bit will drift less than a larger one). I used 1/16", 1/8", and 1/4" bits. Tape on the bits marks the depth. The 1/16" & 1/8" holes were drilled with the pin vise. The final 1/4" holes were made with a cordless drill.

Be sure to test the magnet's fit before moving on. It's okay if you drill the hole a little too deep, as it will get filled in later with construction adhesive.
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Next I trimmed the sheet metal to fit on the OSB. Using snips, a 1' x 4' section was cut off of both sheets of metal for use on the third sheet of OSB. Once trimmed, I used a phillips bit to countersink holes for 1/4" wood screws every 8". I ended up using wood screws instead of sheet metal screws because they can be countersunk flush with the surface.

While screws were attached in the test sheet pictured below, I only countersunk the holes on the remaining sheets before gluing. This saved me the hassle of removing screws in order to attach construction adhesive and reduced the risk of stripping out the screw holes.
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Once the holes were countersunk, I used the construction adhesive mentioned earlier to glue the sheet metal to the OSB. I generously applied a bead of adhesive to the OSB, being sure to get close to the edges. Next, I misted the sheet metal with water to improve adhesion and pressed the sheet metal on to the OSB, making sure the countersink holes lined up.

Screws were then attached and I applied adhesive to the edge of the metal, edge of the OSB, and over the screws. I then clamped everything down and left it to cure under pressure for a few days.

My apologies for the lack of pictures here, but I got adhesive all over my hands and was not able to take photos. I guess I should've worn gloves (oops). Here's how the table looked when everything dried.

4' x 6' layout with both end pieces.
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4' x 4' layout with one end piece on my laundry table.
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Next, everything was given vigorous sanding before applying PVA. The dust was removed with a damp rag.

I discovered that Lowe's carries gallon jugs of PVA for $15. This was a lifesaver, as even this volume was just barely enough and it would've cost a small fortune if I had to buy it in smaller containers. I made a glue spreader out of a plastic lid and it worked perfectly.
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After the initial PVA application, I continually worked the glue with the spreader during the drying process to create texture. Fans were set up around the boards to speed up on the drying process.

Here's a WIP image of the PVA application.
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And this is how they look when dry. The final surface texture is clearly visible. I think they came out pretty good.
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I then applied a thin coat of PVA (3 parts PVA to 1 part water) to the underside of the OSB with a small foam paint roller. Once this thin coat had dried, an additional undiluted coat was applied to each board. I don't intend to paint the bottom of the boards because the paint may transfer to the tops of other boards when they're stacked in the back of the truck. As I've mentioned before, OSB is a splinter factory and it needs to be sealed in order to avoid pain and bleeding. The PVA was a perfect solution as it provided a hard, sealed surface without the risk of causing damage during transport.
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That's as far as I managed to get so far. I'm going let everything dry for a few days before priming and then moving on to building the end pieces and/or starting on some buildings & terrain features.



C&C always welcome.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Nodri

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostTue Aug 02, 2016 4:54 pm

It's been a few weeks since my last update, but I haven't been idle. Work on the lava table is progressing. I've managed to get the table base coated, the ends have been designed and the rough construction is done. Additionally, a fun little side project has just been completed and a full tutorial is included below.

First off, the ends have been designed and built. My original plan was to include a dice tower & turn counter. When I actually worked it out, it became much too complicated and fiddly. The point of this table is to be modular and adaptable for any purpose, so I decided to stay true to that theme.

The edges are finished with 7/16 in. x 11/16 in. MDF shoe moulding on edge. It's cheap and just high enough to ensure a deck of cards doesn't fall off the table. The height also gives me a little room to play with permanent features while still allowing the table to be stored flat.

In the center of each end piece there is a 6" wide piece of 3/16" acrylic that's finished with the shoe moulding on face. I then used construction adhesive to attach some scrap pieces of 20 gauge steel. One of the acrylic sheets has a large square cut out of it for use as a turn counter; I'll cover the details of that feature a little later in this post. The steel will allow any magnetized feature to be attached at some later date. I figured that only one turn counter would be needed for any game, and adding the acrylic sheet to the second end piece (the one with no cut-out) will allow it to be used either as a dice-rolling area in 3 or 4 person games, or as a space to hold common items (like objective tokens in focal point missions) in 2 person games.

The acrylic was covered in PVA glue and textured in the same way as the main part of the table. It will also receive the same hot lava paint job. The tops and bottoms of the end pieces were sealed in watered-down PVA glue applied with a small paint roller (the same as the bottoms of the main parts of the table). Once the hot lava areas are painted, the tops of the end pieces will be finished in self-adhesive faux leather.

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I then primed all hot lava areas with white spray primer. The edges and trim were finished with a black gloss enamel spray paint.

Here's the end pieces.
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And here's the entire table. 4'x8' doesn't sound too big, but it's huge when you're actually standing in front of it. I did a little bit of math and it comes out to 3,456 square inches of play space and and roughly an additional 1,152 square inches of storage space at the ends (575 square inches for each end). The large dice on the end marks the location of the turn counter.

I'll paint the hot lava once I get an order of paint in. It's on back order, so I expect it to take some time. There's no rush, however, as there's still lots of construction to complete. In addition, I'll be painting it in the same way as the display board, so I think the biggest expenditure on this project will be the paint. It may be a hit to the wallet, but it also wasn't unexpected and I've managed to keep costs down on other parts of the project, so it'll still be in budget.

This covers the main construction updates so far.
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At this point, I'm going to wander a little off track to take care of a small, fun, side project. During games at the FLGS, my opponents and I have noticed that we have a mutual tendency to have shockingly bad dice rolls. This is not a matter of perception. We've done the math and we're definitely at the wrong end of the law of averages by a wide margin.

In order to help alleviate the situation, I decided to convert my turn counter (the large blue die in the image above) into a sacrificial altar. It is my hope that excessive and bloody human sacrifice (in miniature effigy of course) will appease the dark and unholy dice gods so that we can have rolls that are at least average.

While the reason for building the altar is, admittedly, a bit tongue-in-cheek, this project does have a practical side. Since the paint order will take awhile, my focus is about to move on to making the terrain. I will be scratchbuilding all of the terrain on this table and I've learned that looking at things from the perspective of a terrain scratchbuilder is its own unique skill. The altar is made entirely from found bits for a cost of $0. Designing & building it was a good way to get the creative juices flowing.

So without further ado, here is



How to Build an Altar to the Dark and Unholy Dice Gods
(That is also a turn counter)



Before beginning this tutorial, it's worth pointing out that my altar is built directly onto one of the end pieces of my gaming table. A standalone version would require making your own base to suit your particular needs and style. 1/8" MDF or plywood edged with trim will work fine. Both are readily and cheaply available at bigbox hardware stores (HomeDepot, Lowes, or your local equivalent).

The turn counter portion is a 50mm die that I have been using as a turn counter for ages. They're readily available online for about $20 and come in a huge range of colors. The fact that mine is blue is a happy accident, as it happens to be the accent color of my PHR army.

The altar is based on three pieces of cork, each of which has a magnet in the bottom. I then added a few old dice. The figure in the center is a Reaper mini on a Miniwargaming resin base (both of these were freebies at a convention some years ago and have been sitting in my bits box ever since). The additional skulls on the spear are from GW. Here's the basic layout. At this point, nothing is glued.

Image


Pumice stones were glued onto the side pieces with construction adhesive. I then filled the gaps between the stones with small bits of cork soaked in watered down PVA glue. Finally, a light coat of texture gel was brushed over the stones to unify the texture. This was the same process I used to create the rocky areas in the display board tutorial.

To create the dark altar at the font, I grabbed some old GW sprues (40k chaos & fantasy skeletons) and cut out an ample supply of skulls and bones. They were then individually sanded and prepped, which was time consuming but work the effort IMO.

With regards to the Reaper mini, the arm was pinned to make it more resistant to handling. I also attached it with construction adhesive instead of CA glue to it's more flexible and durable. A groove was cut out of the base so that the mini could stand flush with the surface once it was glued in. Once glued, everything was allowed to dry overnight.

Here you can see a closeup of the built altar and an area shot that shows how big it is relative to the table end. The dice rolling area inside the trim measures 6" x 12" to allow room to roll dice before the altar. It will be painted in the same hot lava colors as the rest of the table.

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The altar was the primed black.
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1/4" x 1/16" magnets were then glued in.
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Minitaire Muddy Brown was airbrushed over the dice, statue, and bones.
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Minitaire Mummy was zenithally airbrushed onto the bones.
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Minitaire Skull White was airbrushed directly over the top of the bones for the final highlight.
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Diluted matte medium was then airbrushed over the bones to protect the airbrush work.
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VGC Bright Bronze was brushed on to the statue and dice.
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The bronze areas were then washed with VGC smoke (1 smoke : 2 water). A first highlight of VMA Gold was then brushed on. I forgot to take a pic after applying the smoke, so this image covers both steps.
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VMA Bright Brass was then brushed on for the final highlight
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The lava areas were then touched up with VMC Black.
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The entire altar was again sealed with diluted matte medium applied with an airbrush.
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Vallejo Black Lava texture gel was brushed on to the dark lava areas. It was applied undiluted to the cork, but was thinned heavily with water before washing over the pumice stones in order to preserve the existing texture.
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Vallejo Black Lava texture gel was also brushed onto the table end where the turn counter will sit.
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Two coats of Testors Glosscote were then sprayed over the entire altar and allowed to dry.
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I then made gore using black ink and Tamiya Clear Red. One drop of ink was added to about 10-20 drops of clear red and then diluted with water until it flowed easily. The mix was then brushed on and I stippled the drying gore to add texture.

Once the first layer was dry, I diluted Clear Red with water (no ink) and brushed it over the first layer. I think I may have gone a bit overboard, but that's okay. The dice gods are definitely angry with me and more gore can only be a good thing.

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Two coats of Testors Dullcote were sprayed over the entire altar and allowed to dry.
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Testors ModelMaster Acryl Gloss was brushed over the gore to return the shine.
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Testors ModelMaster Acryl Matte was brushed over the black lava for a final layer of protection and because it's just a bit shinier than the Dullcote which works well with the lava. At this point, the altar is complete.
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Here's the completed altar / turn counter. The hot lava will be painted at a later time. I'm not sure that it'll help with our dice rolls, but it was a fun project to build and will add a unique flavor to the table.
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That's all for now. C&C always welcome.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Mike Mee

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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostTue Aug 02, 2016 5:30 pm

Lol, that's an ace idea
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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostWed Aug 03, 2016 3:02 am

That's some really impressive work...you set the bar high. I do wonder if you have some tips to cleaning up the molding though. Looking at your Praetorians you can see detail in them that just look like blobs on mine. How are you bringing out so much detail from those?
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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostWed Aug 03, 2016 3:44 pm

This is an amazing tutorial. It takes a lot of time and effort to take pictures and explain everything step by step. Thanks!
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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostThu Aug 04, 2016 2:49 am

Mike Mee wrote:Lol, that's an ace idea

It will be if it works. Stupid angry dice gods... :lol:




InspGadgt wrote:That's some really impressive work...you set the bar high. I do wonder if you have some tips to cleaning up the molding though. Looking at your Praetorians you can see detail in them that just look like blobs on mine. How are you bringing out so much detail from those?


Thank you, but I hope the bar isn't set so high that it appears unattainable. There's no reason that anyone can't do the same quality of work (or better) than any of the skilled artists you'll find on this forum. It's just a matter of research, practice, and patience (see signature).

With regards to your specific question, I'll provide a few answers:

1. Pardon me for asking a dumb question, but are your Praetorians plastic? If so, that will explain the lack of detail. If you dig through my UCM images, you'll see pics of the plastic & metal troops side-by-side, and the difference in detail is substantial. If your Praetorians are metal and lack the same amount of detail in the images, you may have a miscast in which case contact Hawk and they'll send replacements.

2. To clean up mold lines, I use foam sanding files in 120/240 and 240/320 grit. They're made by Alpha Abrasives but I get them at hobby lobby and use a 40% off coupon so they're really affordable and they work on resin, plastic, and metal (but metal will chew through them in a hurry). I prefer them over everything else because the foam conforms to the surface of the model, which minimizes the loss of detail while doing prep work. You still need a light touch, though.

Some tight corners will occasionally require deft work with a hobby knife. Once in awhile I find a need to use a metal file (like on the bottoms of troops to make them level), but it's not especially common.

3. The easiest way to bring out detail when painting, regardless of the size of the model and level of detail, is by priming in two or three colors. For troops, two is the easiest. Start by priming the entire model black. Then hold the model in front if you so that you're looking down at the top of it's head. Don't move it. Next, spray a light dusting of white primer with an airbrush or rattle can directly at the model's head. All of the details will be highlighted from above and will be much easier to see. The technical term for this technique is "zenithal highlighting."

For larger models (everything that isn't infantry), you can prime black, then lightly dust with grey primer all over (but mostly from the top), and then do a final highlight in white from just the top of the model.

Priming this way has the additional advantage of mapping out how your highlights should be done so that they look natural. If you take a picture of the primed model, then you can refer to it while painting to make life easier.

It's also worth noting that the priming method described above will make missed mold lines show up very clearly along with the other details. Sand and remove any errors and prime again. The joy of thin coats is that you won't lose detail.


I hope that helps!




SwordOfJustice wrote:This is an amazing tutorial. It takes a lot of time and effort to take pictures and explain everything step by step. Thanks!


You're very welcome (and thank you for noticing)! I do this because it's thanks to the online wargame community (and an insane amount of experimentation & practice) that I've been able to grow as a mini artist as quickly as I have. This painting log is just a way of repaying the favor.
Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.
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Re: Nodri's PHR & UCM: Ramblings, Photos, & Tutorials

PostThu Aug 04, 2016 7:41 am

Hi and thanks for the response.

Actually my Praetorians and Praetorian Snipers are both metal. But the detail just doesn't stand out. The guns all look like part of their arms and don't have any real good definition let alone individual detail like yours do. I would actually prefer the plastic at this point because even though they have less detail, what is there is more discern-able from the rest of the model. I tried using my knife edge to bring things out a bit but in the end it just wasn't worth the effort as I might as well have been carving them by hand from scratch at that point.
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