Friday, July 12, 2013

Custom Heraldry Transfer 'Tutorial'

I mentioned a few posts back that I was attempting to create some custom water-slide transfers (or 'decals') for my Nuln-themed Empire army. This is because I have almost no confidence in my freehand painting abilities, and would like a look of consistency across banners and shields.

I used to have a set of transfers for the 5th Edition Undead army, but they are long gone and have been out of production for a decade or so. GW has just started to bring back water-slide transfers, but so far has only released sheets for High Elves and 40k.

So I set about making my own. I have been asked to provide a tutorial, but to be honest the process has been rather fraught with trial and tribulation, so this is more of a cautionary tale.

First up, you will want either some digital source material or some sweet design skills. I own a copy of Uniforms & Heraldry of the Empire, so all I did was scan the Nuln pages onto my computer.

Next, you will want some kind of editing software. I used Photoshop. I needed to clearcut and touch-up the images, as well as collate them into one sheet.

Once I had the file ready, it was time to print!

I sourced some water-slide transfer paper from a New Zealand supplier called The Train Depot, who provide very prompt and helpful service.

There are two types of paper options - Inket and LaserJet.

I initially bought LaserJet paper, but when I tried to print I realised it was just melting in the printer, so I had to order another supply of Inkjet paper. My advice would be to make sure you know what sort of paper you need to get! The Train Depot will be able to help you out with this.

Once printed, I excitedly applied the decal to my knight's shield... only to discover with horror that it could not even be seen. This was my second mistake.

If your transfer is going over a dark background, you need to buy solid white transfer paper rather than clear, and match the background colour of the image to the surface you wish to apply it.

If you are applying transfers over a lightly coloured surface, clear transfer paper will be the way to go.

So here is version two of the decal sheet printed on white paper;

With Inkjet paper you need to apply sealant of some kind, like Crystal Kote, to stop the image from flaking. I applied three coats.

When this had thoroughly dried I cut out one of the icons to add to the shield. I found the best results by cutting as close to the shape of the design as possible. I prepared the surface of the shield by painting on some Lahmian Medium. Once this was dry, I put the cut-out transfer in a shallow dish of warm water until it came loose.

For the direct application of the decal, I followed this excellent tutorial by Sholto of the Incunablog, applying MicroSet to the surface, and then carefully sliding the transfer from the paper to the surface with a paint brush.

Once this was positioned, and the excess moisture dabbed up with a paper towel, I left it to dry. Later I liberally applied some MicroSol, which dissolved the transfer film leaving the design on the surface fully conformed to the slopes and edges (particularly important on wavy banners).

When this had dried, I touched up the transfer with some Abaddon Black to tie it in with the background.

So there you have it! I hope this cautionary tale has allowed you to avoid some of the pitfalls I came across, and ultimately add some cool details to your army.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Nuln Army Background for NerdyCon

NerdyCon 2013 is the first community event to have piqued my interest in almost two years after I got completely burned out of attending tournaments.

In no small part is this due to the event being organised by the League of Extraordinary Nerdymen who are a fine bunch of blokes and extremely good fun.

This besides, the NerdyCon rules pack has a very strong hobby focus and is a great point of difference from many local tournament 'comp' events, providing an opportunity to get together with other like-minded players and play some Warhammer as the Good Lord Jervis intended.

Part of the scoring component is supplying a written backstory for your army, which is really where it is at for me. Below is the backstory I will be taking, though I don't doubt I will be tempted to fiddle with it more before the event. I wanted to base it off the famous Magnus the Pious quote, and theme it with the classic Nuln contrasts - black and white, rich and poor, human and machine. Feedback welcome.

If you are interested in NerdyCon, it is a 1400 point single-day event in Auckland on August 18th. Player's pack can be found here.

Part 1 - The Priest

Part 2 - The Preceptor
Part 3 - The Castellan-Engineer

Friday, June 21, 2013

Nine Brief Book Reviews... GO!

I have been voraciously knocking back fantasy books over the past few months like it’s nobody’s business. So I decided to make it everybody’s business with a series of in-depth reviews and analyses over an extended series of blog posts.

Unfortunately my ‘Generation Y’ laziness kicked in, and what we are all left with is a much briefer digest of my recent literary devourings. Enjoy.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Snow of the North Downs - n00b attempt

Over the weekend I had my first snow basing experience, and it was both easier and more difficult that I expected.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Empire Army Update

In addition to my Angmar army, I have also been refurbishing my Nuln Army - rebasing, repainting, rethinking. I was fond of my old concept of an Expeditionary Force led by a With Hunter - especially because of the campaign a friend and I played which forged their backstory. But the Warhammer Forge and the new Empire Army book releases have opened up a some exciting possibilities for a Nuln themed army that represents the well-developed backstory of the region.

The biggest issue I had with my existing force was to do with the painting. Not only has my basic skill level developed since I started collecting Empire in 2009, I am also no longer rushing to tournament deadlines like I was back then. I look back on my hastily slap-dashed state troops and feel very little sense of achievement. The overall aesthetic is very dark, which I wanted at the time, but I have since been convinced that they need more contrast to really capture the eye.

The first step was to change the bases to a resin-moulded urban design. In this I was greatly inspired by Dave Taylor's Armies on Parade entry. The light flagstones really add an element of contrast to an army whose uniforms are predominantly black. The old mud-with-grass basing scheme tended to lose definition of the models when viewed from afar (see my old miniature gallery on this blog). New foundation paints from GW have also meant my reds, whites and yellows stand out a lot more.

Painting motivation has been a huge issue for the last six months, though partly because of time restraints. We recently started an escalation league using the old Warband Rules, and this has helped greatly. The five of us participating have really got back into the swing of it. I will post more on this at a later date but you can check out our league website using the link at the top of this blog.

My 200 point warband consists of;
5 x Knights Griffon led by Preceptor
5 x Nuln State Halberdiers
5 x Nuln State Handgunners

The colour scheme for the Knights has been taken from the Uniforms and Heraldry of the Empire as well as the recent GW paint job on the studio Demigryphs.

I will post more pictures when complete, but here is a recent WIP picture;