Games Workshop and Social Media

Last December it was a landmark birthday for my wife. So in the hope of easing the pain I booked a secret family break to stay in an old hunting lodge – that looked very much like a castle from the old world – near Carlisle. On the way we decided to stop off at Kendal and have a look around and like most people who paint plastic miniatures we (myself, wifey and the tiny man) ended up in Kendal’s Games Workshop store.

I have to admit that ending up in the store didn’t happen totally by mistake as I really wanted to meet the man who was behind the stores Twitter and Instagram account. GW at the moment are in the middle of a social media awakening with the creation of Warhammer TV, the community site and the use of platforms like Instagram. Even the staff at Warhammer world have their own personal Twitter accounts and are engaging with the community. If I’m honest this level of engagement is excellent and as a member of the community the impression I get is that GW it’s filled with passionate people that love their job and their hobby.

However, there is a problem and that’s the social media engagement from the local stores which, if I’m honest, is pretty poor. It feels like the memo was only received by the staff at Warhammer World that they can use a social media platform, other than Facebook, to promote the hobby, their store and engage with the wider community.

This has led to a situation where the local stores are languishing in the chaos realms of Facebook only using Twitter to push their Facebook posts to, which isn’t engagement, it’s just annoying. Now this may be just me being over sensitive to the issue as I don’t use Facebook but as the hobby is very visual I don’t understand why Twitter and Instagram aren’t used as both platforms have a massive community that would willingly engage. I can understand the argument that a lot of GW stores struggle for time but engaging with a new generation on the platforms that they use would surely be more beneficial in the long term for both the store and the hobby as whole.

Social media certainly brought me back into the hobby, after a long hiatus I discovered the #warmongers community along with some stunning model pictures which meant I popped into a GW store and picked up a few paints and a model, several years later I’m still painting and buying! I probably never would have gotten back into the hobby without the online community and I certainly wouldn’t have improved as a painter without ther guidance. So if social media can bring back an old warhorse like me then I’m sure it can entice a new generation that are on several social media platforms into this creative and fun hobby.

In closing and getting back to my visit to GW Kendal I met Adam the store manager and I have to say he gets it. He engages directly with the community through, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, he posts pictures of the models the guys who visit his store paint, he retweets tweets from other community members – many I assume who have never been to his store – and he engages and responds to comments, in short he promotes the hobby and his store. Because of his presence and use of Twitter and Instagram I visited his store as I was passing through the town, purchased a copy of White Dwarf and we had a chat. I will never be a regular visitor to Kendal but I can guarantee that the next time I’m there I’ll pop in, say ‘hello’ and buy something.

So GW stores I don’t expect the level of engagement that is coming from Warhammer World but it would be nice if the hobby at the local store level was engaging with the online community. It can be done as Adam at GW Kendal has shown, treat him as your primarch and mould your chapters in his image.

I’d be interested to hear what the community thinks. Are there any GW Stores that use a few social media platforms to promote their store and hobby. If there is please mention them in the comments below.

2017: The Year Ahead

For the last few months my hobby stuff has been and still is packed up as I’ve been moving house. If truth be told I’ve been in the process of moving for around 12 months now but the first house fell through. Anyway, we’re all in now and the vast majority of the boxes have been unpacked. In this house I should have an area that can be a dedicated hobby space, I’m really looking forward to this as I’ve never had that luxury before. 

As I haven’t had chance to crack on with some hobby for a few months I throught I’d write a to-do list of everything – hobby related – that I want to achieve in 2017.

So here we go…

1. Set up a hobby space. This will involve finding a suitable desk that will also have space for tools and paints. I also want to get some integrated lighting into the area.

2. Finish off my Carmine Dragon. It’s been knocking around for months now and it just needs the flesh and bone areas painting. I also need to find a suitable base for it.

3. Complete my Sylvaneth models. This involves painting three hunters, two tree lords and a Sylvaneth Wizard that I knocked up.

4. Build and paint up the Silvertower models along with extra hero packs.

5. Build and paint up my Emperor’s Children Tactical Marines.

6. Build and paint The Everqueen.

7. Try and not buy anymore models until I’ve painted everything. 

With the speed that I paint I think that there will be more than enough for me to do here but if I manage to get all this painted I wouldn’t mind picking up some Death Korps of Krieg and building up a little force of them. So that’s my 2017 plan, it’s a little late but a late plan is better than no plan!

Painting my Horn

For those people who follow me on Twitter or Instagram – which should be all of you as I’m the bees knees! – you’ll have noticed that I’ve been painting a Forgeworld Carmine Dragon for a few months now. Progress, admittedly has been slow as I’ve been taking my time in the hope of doing the model justice and I’ve also been doing a little more gaming and archery lately as well.

I’m now at the point on model where I’m starting on the details so I thought I’d do a little blog update on how I’m painting the horn and bone sections. I wanted my dragon to look old, he’s been around and I wanted that reflected in the bones and horns. I looked at pictures of lots of different types of bones and horns – not of the penis variety – for some inspiration and decided that the look of buffalo horn was what I wanted to replicate.

  
The base colour of my Carmine Dragon is purple and green so I wanted a little lighter colour on the model. In order to add a little contrast I reveresed the natural horn colouring, so instead of having the dark colouring at the end of the horn – as you can see above – I placed it at the base. Other than that one change I wanted to replicate this bone look as closely as my skill would allow.

 *as an aside, to avoid confusion I’m referring to horns as the pointy bits that look like horns and I’m using the term bones to refer to the more angular edges that protrude from the flesh on the model. It’s probably not the correct termonology but it will do!

I’m fairly happy with the look and by reversing the tips the model is lightened so the darker colours don’t look so oppressive. To achieve the look I firstly base coated the horn and bone areas with a dark brown after that I painted the area closest to the base of the horn in black. From then I blended progressively lighter shades of brown from the end of the bone / horn gradually getting fainter into the base. This meant that the base – the bit closest to the model – stayed dark whilst the the tip was light. Once I was happy with the browns I picked out the tips and any edges with white.

I then changed things slightly depending on if I was painting horn or bone. I’ve noticed that the buffalo horn had a really subtle gloss texture to it whilst the bone looks mat. To replicate this on the dragon I added a coat of ‘ardcoat over all the horn area but not to the bone areas. After the ‘ardcoat was dry I applied a light dry brush of tyrant skull to break the ‘ardstuff gloss up and I also applied the tyrant skull to the bone areas.

I’m fairly happy with the result. To me it looks like really old bone and horn which is what I wanted. What do you guys think any tips or suggestions?

Citadel Project Box

Hobby space has always been an issue for me, mainly because I don’t have anywhere that I can permanently set up as a modelling area, this means I have boxes of paint and other bits in tubs and boxes secreted in random areas around the house. When it comes to painting I have to make do with a wooden board placed across my knee and a light at the side of me, it’s not ideal but it’s the best I can do. As space is an issue I’m always on the lookout for space saving hobby products so I’ve had my eye on the Citadel Project Box for while and last week, as part of my birthday haul, I received my very own Project Box.

  
I know the Project Box has been out for a while now but I thought that I’d write down my thoughts.

The Positives 

The Project Box looks great, the lid is embezzled with the Citadel demon head motif and the whole thing is well presented. When you open the box there’s plenty of storage for paint, tools and brushes but I’ll get onto that in a second. The Project Box has room to hold 49 Citadel paint pots in a tray. For a new hobbyist you’ll probably be able to fit all your paints into the box but for the more established painters this box will not store everything you have. Surprisingly, I’m happy with the paint storage space, it is a ‘project box’ and I can’t imagine needing more than 49 citadel paints for a project. That being said I do have more Citadel Paints and a number of other manufactures paints – Vallejo and Scale 75 – my Scale 75 are all stored in the aluminium tray but the Citadel and Vallejo are currently stored in a shoebox so I wanted to be able to store the shoe box paints in the Project Box. By using the areas designed for the mug and some of the other sections I managed to create enough room to store an additional 37 Citadel paints and 20 Vallejo paints.

  
The Project Box also had specific areas to store paintbrushes and other modelling tools, so far I’ve comfortably fitted eight brushes, six green stuff modelling brushes, a texture tool, four files, clippers, a mold line remover, a thumb drill, a craft knife and glue into these areas.

The Negatives

Overall, this feels like a quality product but the lid that doubles as your work area feels a little too thin. I wouldn’t want to put too much pressure on the lid which may be problematic if you’re using your craft knife. The other factor, at least for me, is that I wanted to use this on my lap, which you can do but it is a little uncomfortable. The plastic on the bottom of the box is thick with a number of right angles that start to dig into your thighs after a while. This can easily be solved with a thin cushion but it would have been better if GW had addressed this issue in the design.

The price is also a negative at £42 direct from GW or around £35 from an independent supplier it’s not a cheap piece of kit, especially, if you’re happy to have your gear in a few shoe boxes. 

Conclusion 

Despite the lid that feels a little too thin, the sore thighs and the price, I actually really like the ‘Project Box’ as it’s currently storing a lot of my gear. It’s probably because I’m storing so much paint in the box that it’s digging into my thighs. If I’m honest I’ll probably end up picking up a second box to use as a Project Box that just contains the things I need for a particular project I’m working on and not just a storage solution.

If you’re in a similar position to me and your hobby space is at minimum then I’d really recommend picking up a Project Box as I can’t think of a similar product on the market that is compact, looks cool and keeps all your bits togeather.

02 – The Sakura Glade

Since the start of September I’ve painted 32 dryads and 1 branchwych – which for me is a lot of models – to form the basis of my Sylvaneth glade. As I mentioned in my previous Sylvaneth post I wanted my glade to have a cherry blossom look to them, they had to symbolise a renewal of life and new beginnings, so the Sakura was the obvious choice.

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So how did I paint these pink bad boys and girls? Firstly, I primed everything with black and then I hit the models with a really messy layer of Scale 75 Dubai Brown. Once that was dry all the raised areas were painted with Scale 75 Graphite. I then washed the model using Scale 75 Inktensity Wood, which I’d thinned using an acrylic thinner. The wash blended the all the previous layers togeather and helped the transitions look more natural. Scale 75 Rainy Day was then used to pick of the raised areas, again, and then White was added to the raised areas.

I then began to pick out the areas I wanted to be pink. This was done by hitting these areas with Scale 75 Fuchsia followed by blending in P3 Carnal Pink. The runes were painted using Scale 75  Alquima Cullcita which has a pearl-like quality that makes the runes look a little more magical.

And that was that, I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out and I can’t wait to add some more units to the glade.

As always thoughts and feedback are welcome.

Anti-Shine

During the continuing course of painting my Emperor’s Children I’ve started to use a lot more transfers. In the past I’ve had a love/hate relationship with transfers. On one hand they add a level of crisp detail that I don’t have the ability to match with a brush but on the other hand they always have a slight shine to them making them look as false as politician who is asked to carry out a normal activity in front of the press (for examples see the pictorial evidence below).


To try and remove the shine of the transfer I thought I’d try the Anti-Shine Matt Varnish by Army Painter. To apply the varnish I brushed it on like I would with paint. I applied a few layers over the transfer and the shine, at least to my eyes, was reduced. The Anti-Shine doesn’t seem to have affected the colour of the paint either which would have been a massive disappointment if it had.


In short along with the micro-set and micro-sol the Army Painter Anti-Shine will become a mainstay in my transfer arsenal. Buy some and use it for all your anti-shine needs.

Paint Killing

Whilst working on my EC chaplin’s cloak I noticed that some of the paint was starting to the rise off the model. I imagine that something stopped the base layer and the highlights from drying properly.

Using a brush and some water I managed to get most of the paint off the cloak but there were still some stubborn areas of paint left. As I wanted the cloak to be as smooth as possible these had to go before I repainted the cloak.

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If I could avoid it I didn’t want to strip the rest of the paint off the model so I decided that I’d give Scale 75’s aptly named ‘PaintKiller’ a try.

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Before buying the Paintkiller, from Elment Games, I did a few internet searches for reviews and couldn’t find any. Now I’ve been using the Scale 75 Scale Colour range, and they’re excellent, so this gave me some confidence that the PaintKiller would be a quality product.

The other day my Paintkiller arrived and I have to say I was fairly excited, well as excited as a grown man get over a bottle of clear liquid that wouldn’t get me intoxicated if drank it. Now one thing I’ve learnt in the few years I’ve been modeling is to always read the instructions and in this instance I’m glad I did as Paintkiller can only kill paint on resin or metal products. I have to say this came as a bit of a blow as I was after a miracle product that would remove paint from a plastic model.

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The other reason I was a little bit narked was that I’d checked both the Scale 75 website and the retailers site and there was no mention on either about the restrictions on use. For my part I was probably being a little naive by thinking that a 100% plastic model safe paint stripper had been developed but I live in hope.

I do have a resin Dreadnaught that needs stripping and given an EC colour scheme so I can use the paint killer on that but for the plastic Chaplin I’m unsure of what to do. I will probably try cleaning the cape up a little more and then re-paint the cape OR I could find a plastic safe method of stripping the whole model and paint it all again OR as a last resort buy the model again from eBay as everyone is splitting the sets up.

 

Epilogue

Test 1 – Plastic

So the other night I thought ‘fuck it, I’m going use that Paint Killer on the Chaplin” so I made a little PaintKiller bath, dunked him and watched in amazement as the paint just fell off him within seconds. I used an old toothbrush to get to the paint in the creases of the model but other than that it needed no help. As you can see from the piccy the model hasn’t melted, exploded or gained superpowers. In short I’m super impressed with Paintkiller on a plastic model! Oh Scale 75 I think I love you…. please don’t break my heart because you have it now.

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Test 2 – Resin

I picked up a Contempator Relic Dreadnought when I first got back into the hobby, it was, and sadly still is my biggest Forgeworld purchase which will now obviously change as I’ve started collecting Emperor’s Children. I don’t know if I got over excited by painting a Forgeworld model but in short I really messed the paint job up. I wasn’t happy with it at the time and each time I’ve looked at it since it seems to have gotten worse (like some 30k picture of Dorian Grey, oh wait that story has already been plagerised in Fulgrim).

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From my earlier Paintkiller plastic test I had around 3/4 of the bottle left which I poured into a disposal cup and then I part submerged the model. I let the dread soak for around five minutes after this time I took the model out and turned him around so that the other area would get chance to soak. I then started to work on the model with a tooth brush.

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As you can see the paint comes off easily, even if I does look like an alien that’s just burst from your stomach. The only issue I had was that the PaintKiller quickly became saturated with paint so that everytime I dipped the brush I inadvertently added a thin wash off diluted paint and Paintkiller over the model. This wasn’t a big issue but it did make it hard to see were the stubborn bits of paint were.

It took a bit of scrubbing to get the paint off especially in the model recesses but eventually it moved. Once the model was scrubbed I rinsed it under the tap. If I’m honest, the model could probably do with another wash to get rid of the odd red tint but I’m hoping that when I apply the base coat there will be no hint to its former life.
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Overall, I’m really happy with the Paintkiller as it removed all the paint on both plastic and resin without destroying the models or any details. As plastic is not listed on the instructions as being safe to use with Paintkiller then I would be very careful if you do use it on plastic. Add a little, don’t leave it to soak and scrub with a brush.

On a final note please wear gloves when using this stuff as your skin will melt.