Creating a Wet Palette

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The other day I decided to try my hand at creating a ‘wet palette’. Now for those of you who don’t know a wet palette is, it’s basically a magically simple tub that stops your paints from drying out once. It’s especially useful if you’ve created a unique colour and are halfway through a painting project as your paint will still be usable for days after the initial mixing.

Creating a wet palette is really simple and cheap so you don’t have an excuse for not using one.

Things you’ll need:

An air tight tupperware box that you can pick up from any supermarket or poundshop, please don’t use your child’s Transformers lunch box as it won’t be air tight and your child will crush your beloved plastic little men in a revenge attack.

A thick sponge that fits snuggly into the Tupperware box, it doesn’t have to be an exact fit but the closer to one the better.

Kitchen roll

Grease proof paper / baking paper

Water

Paint

First put the sponge in the Tupperware box. After that place a double layer of kitchen roll on top of the sponge and then pour the water –out of the tap- over the kitchen roll. Fill the tub about half way with water; a thick sponge is needed so that you can store more water which means there’s more water to keep your palette wet. The wet kitchen roll holds a layer of water at the top of the sponge which will keep your paint wetter, if you don’t use the kitchen roll the wonderful force that is gravity will pool all your water at the bottom of the sponge and the top of sponge – where your paint is – will get dry. After this cut a sheet of baking paper to fit the top of the Tupperware box and place it over the now wet kitchen roll and gently push it into place.

Congratulations, you’ve now made a wet palette. It was simple I know. Use the baking paper to mix your paint on (use paint thinner) and once you’ve finished put the lid on the Tupperware box to ensure it is air tight. An air tight box will keep your paint out of the pot fresh for days. If you want to prolong the life of the paint on the wet palette you can place the whole tub in the fridge but I won’t be responsible for any beatings you receive off your significant other!

 

The Green Knight

Over the last few months I’ve been steadily honing my painting skills by watching youtube videos, reading forums and other hobbyists tweets and of course practicing. I’ve definitely noticed a big improvement when I compare my first first Rohan Warrior – which I painted back in November – and my biggest project to date – The Green Knight. Overall, I’ve found the whole process, from assembling to painting, a lot of fun but it has been a steep learning curve and I’ve made a lot of school boy errors along the way.

So in this blog I will cover how I made the Green Knight. This blog in no way is intended to be a definitive guide on “how to paint The Green Knight” as quite frankly I’m nowhere near the standard of painter that can lecture others on how to paint. I want this post to be a “how I bumbled my way through my first project” guide.

So why did I chose The Green Knight as my first project? I suppose the biggest reason is that I love knights, medieval knights, fantasy novels, RPGs, magic wizards and swords. I also really love the Arthurian tale of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”. So when I first saw the Green Knight miniature I knew it was the miniature for me, In short he looked epic.

There was however, three things that niggled my about the miniature which I knew I had to change. The first was that he was carrying a sword. The Green Knight does not carry a sword he carries “the mother of all axes“. This meant that I would have to carry out my first conversion if I wanted the Green Knight to look as I wanted him to. The second issue was the standard that attaches itself to the Green Knights back. I hated it, it just seemed a little too oriental for how I envisaged my knight, it had to go. Finally, the third issue was the armour and horse colour, everything had to be green as that’s how the Green Knight is described in the tale and not how Games Workshop had painted him in their promotional material.

“No soul had ever seen

a knight of such a kind –

entirely emerald green.

[…]

and in the other hand held the

mother of all axes,

a cruel piece of kit I kid you not:

the head was an ell in length at least

and forged in green steel with a glint finish”.

The construction of the model was fairly simple. I constructed the horse and knight but didn’t glue them together as I was going to paint them separately. After the construction I decided to tackle the conversion of the sword into an axe. I started by cutting the top off the sword I then thinned the sword blade down so that it looked like an axe shaft. After creating the shaft with a craft knife I smoothed off the sharp corners with a file. After this I attached an axe head to the shaft with a combination of “green stuff” and glue.

As I’m new to the hobby this was my first experience of using “green stuff”. I found it a difficult medium to work with. It was either too tacky or too sloppy, when I used it with gel to stop it sticking. It was akin to using chewing gum to sculpt with. I’m sure I’ll get more confident in it’s use the more I use it but if anyone has any tips then please share!

Once the glue and “green stuff” mixture had dried I then primed the model by using chaos black spray paint followed by a touch up with Imperial Primer where needed.

Primed knight

I started off by undercoating all the cloth sections with Privateer Press’ Menoth White. I diluted the paint with a small amount of paint thinner, I applied three coats of Menoth White to the cloth sections.

Like most people knew to the hobby I still struggle with getting the thickness of my paints right. It’s either too thick or too runny, like a toddlers nose, all of which are nightmares when painting faces. I have found that paint thinner seems easier to use than water as the consistency is easier to judge and the paint stays wetter for longer.

I then moved on to painting the base of the horse flesh. I wanted the colour to look as natural as possible, which is difficult with green horse flesh. The horse flesh mixture was made from 2 parts Straken Green, 1 part Warpstone Glow, and one part paint thinner. The flesh received two base coats.The kight

I then went back to the cloth parts of the horse and the knight. I wanted the cloth to be a fresh radiant green to contrast the dark green of the horse flesh. I mixed a 50/50 mixture of Averland Sunset and Straken Green with a small amount of paint thinner. The cloth areas received three coats of paint. Once the paint was dry I applied two thin layers of Coelia Greenshade to the cloth.

With the left over cloth paint mixture I added a small amount of Cadian Fleshtone and painted the horse flesh highlights. I painted the shaded areas with a small amount Coelia Greenshade.Horse

For the knights armour and shield I wanted an olive green colour that also looked metallic. To achieve this I mixed two parts Coelia Greenshade to 1 part Leadbelcher with a small amount of paint thinner. The armour received two coats followed by a coat of Coelia Greenshade when it was dry.Shield

I then went on to paint the the golden areas of the knight. I wanted a warm gold colour so I started by first applying a coat of Screaming Bell to areas the areas I eventually wanted to paint gold. Once the screaming bell had dried I mixed 1 part Averland Sunset to 2 parts Gehenna’s Gold and painted over the golden areas. Once dried I coated the gold areas with a coat of Agrax Earthshade and then a dry brush of Golden Griffon. I then dry brushed the raised detail on the knights shield with Averland Sunset followed by a dry brush of Golden Griffon. After that is was just a matter of painting a few details, the saddle, axe shaft etc and the painting of the knight was done. Overall, I’m pretty happy with the end result. If you have any hints and tips please feel free to leave a comment.The Green Knight

Playing with Myself

I’m not really a television person. If there’s something I want to watch like a film or drama then I’ll record it and watch it at my leisure later. The thought of sitting down night after night being spoon-fed ‘entertainment’ in no way appeals to me, especially if it’s reality TV. If I do end up watching TV when I’m stressed then I tend to vent at the telly, which is not relaxing for me or anyone else in the room. For years I’ve distressed by gaming. I really enjoy the levels of interaction I get with PC games, planning a strategy, solving problems and increasingly interacting with others to accomplish joint goals gives me a level of immersion that I really enjoy.

Ringwraith

Recently, however, I haven’t gamed as regularly as I used to. This is for number of reasons; I have a young son and family, so now I only game when they are all sorted, when son in bed and my wife is busy doing things she wants to. I also work full time so my only gaming time is a couple of hours in the evening. My duties at work have also changed focus quite significantly. In the past my working week was split around 60% PC work 40% non-PC work, in the last few months this has changed to around 95% PC work and 5% non-PC work. This has effected how I want to spend my spare hours. Although I still love gaming on some nights I just can’t muster the motivation to turn on the PC when I’ve been sat in front of one all day.

So what can I do in these spare hours that I get in the evenings? Well drinking beer is obviously in there but what else? Several years ago I purchased what can best be described as a hoard of “The Lord of the Rings” Games Workshop miniatures. After painting a few goblins they got put away, when I went to University, and never saw the light of day again until recently when I excavated some models and paints from the attic. As I had most of the essentials at hand, unpainted miniatures, paints and brushes I decided that I might as well spend an evening painting some warriors of Rohan and Ringwraiths.image(1)

I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself. The end result wasn’t amazing but that, I hope, will come with time. What I really enjoyed was the process of painting, sitting quietly and having your whole mind concentrating on the task at hand. It was that absorbing that I didn’t have the opportunity to think about the stresses and worries of the day. It’s best described as a detox for the mind.

Now I’m not suggesting that everyone should run down to their local Game Workshop and buy a set of orcs, space marines, or miniature Boromir – in his death pose with arrows – as it might not be for them. What I am however, suggesting is that it’s good to do new, creative things, things that take concentration but not too much active thought, painting, sculpting, drawing, sewing or even jewellery making, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s engaging, creative and new. The end product doesn’t have to be amazing as that’s not the point. It’s the process, the chance to dump all the stress out of your mind regularly that is the benefit. Plus you never know you might happen to get good at doing something ‘crafty’.