Friday, 5 July 2013

Hobby: Nuggets of Wisdom

I've had a crazy idea.

Since I am not working during the summer (I'm a teacher), I'll have time to post here more regularly.

Yeah, that cannot in any foreseeable way go wrong.

Not often I have an opportunity to quote the Bible... Might be the whole atheist thing.
So, I'll start by sharing a few nuggets of Hobby wisdom I've acquired over the years. Some will be well known and obvious, others will be useless to you personally, and some just might be useful to someone.

If nothing else, you'll get to hear me whine about Superglue Pain.

Paint boring minis quick, and fun minis slow.
Not all painting projects are created equal.

Painting fifty Plague Bearers (not Plaque Bears, which is what I wrote first) is boring. Painting a Company of Space Marines? Boring. Twenty Mechanithralls? Also presumably boring (I only got to ten, and I was bored; I can't imagine it gets better).

This is a Plaque Bear.
However, painting Seamus' Avatar? Fricking lovely.

And while you might not be able to fully avoid painting boring minis, there's no point dragging the process out. I'm not saying paint them badly. I'm saying paint them simply. There are ways of speeding up painting: washes and drybrushing instead of layering, choosing a coloured undercoat, assembly-lining.

When it comes to the really nice minis, though, I'd recommend taking your time. Try your hand at some of those tricky techniques, or just do what you normally do, but better. I usually settle for two or three levels of highlights (except for on regimental-type models, like those fifty Plague Bearers: they get a wash and that's usually enough) - the Avatar Seamus I mentioned above has fifteen. Also, he's in monochrome.

I had a lot of fun painting that mini.

Not every model you paint has to be a master piece, but don't forget to lavish attention on some of your minis, or the whole collection will suffer.

Stripping models.
Get your minds out of the gutter this instance!

Some paint jobs need to go away. Maybe you've decided red and white Space Marines strike fear in no one's heart (except, possibly, that of the Grinch) and maybe you've just bought some minis second hand.

Don't add another layer.

Your minis will thank you. Also: TSOALR.
Strip the paint off first.

Some people swear by break fluid. I've never tried that. I either use acetone or an ethanol-based cleaning liquid known by the Swedish for T-red (it's 'T-röd' in Swedish). Acetone will melt plastic minis, but dissolves paint like nothing else.

Either way, there will be a tooth brush (or similar tool) involved, and there will be vigorous brushing.

And now, the wisdom:

Don't wear your good clothes, work in a well-ventilated area (i.e. outside) and cover everything up. Best bet is probably to work inside a box of some sort.

Paint will fly. Protect everything that does not want semi-dissolved flecks of paint on it.

Tuomas Pirinen was right.
(I'm not sure it was he who said it, but still...)

Superglue really sticks to anything. Especially fingers.

And it's true. The combination of moisture and ample bonding surface means that fingers are pretty damn near to the perfect material for superglue to stick to. It was what it was designed for, really.

Use superglue as sparingly as possible. It's better to have to glue twice than to end up permanently attached to Marneus Calgar. Also, it's better not to have too much glue between the pieces of a mini.

I made this for an old article on superglue-pain. Here. I cannot decide whether superglue is one word or two...
If you do have an accident, force is not always the solution. It can be, if the affected surface is small, or you're not overly fond of your skin. The other alternative is acetone. It melts superglue only slightly less effectively than paint. Just don't inhale too much of it, since it might also melt your brain...

Also, never ever squeeze a seemingly clogged bottle of superglue, or you will have only yourself to blame when your pants have irrevocably bonded with your thighs.

Wash your hands.
You will end up using things that are not good for you as a Hobbyist. Granted, most of the paints we use are non-toxic, but the same cannot be said for Green Stuff, for example.

I don't know if you're one, but some people can have allergic reactions to Green Stuff. I do, if I leave it on my fingers for too long.

The central theme here is simple: wash your hands after you're done playing with chemicals. Or, sometimes even better:

Use gloves.
I bought a hundred pairs of cheap latex gloves a year ago. I just used the last pair, and it's been one of my better purchases ever. I know some people wince at the extra cost, but in Sweden, at least, you can get them really inexpensively (and I assume this is so most places). Buy the cheapest ones you can find - you'll only be using them once or twice per glove anyway.

'Let me just spray this mini, and the I'll be right with you...'
I primarily use mine for Quick-Shading (more on that later on) but they're good for paintstripping, spray painting and slimy household chores (such as cleaning the shower drain in a household consisting of two people with long hair, and one with a long beard).

Unfortunately, acetone will eat most kinds of rubber glove, and Green Stuff sticks to them, but you won't regret having them at home.

If you blog, and you have enough material for two posts, make two posts.
Yeah, so, I think I have enough for a part two, rather than one long post, so in the spirit of posting more often...

To Be Continued.


If you haven't already discovered the Vlog Brothers, or any of the other things within Nerdfighteria, I urge you to go to Youtube and search for them.

Don't Forget To Be Awesome.

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