Friday, 29 July 2011

Mawloc sub-assembly

I've found with really big kits that it really pays off to build the model in sections, paint them, and then assemble them when complete. Not only is it easier to get at the tricky bits, it's also a lot faster.

So with my Mawloc, I have split it into 3 main sections, along with keeping the arms separate.

Section 1: Base and tail

Section 2: Thorax

Section 3: Head

Section 4: And 6 arms, of course.

Before priming, I put Blu-Tack on the joints where I want to glue them later - this keeps the plastic clean so that the plastic glue will work properly.

A side bonus of sub-assembly is that it's easier to compartmentalise the work into 30-minute blocks, helping with motivation.

I'll post pictures of the Mawloc once it gets a bit more interesting. I don't think the world needs another picture of an unprimed model.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Two top tips

There are two little tricks I use that, although documented elsewhere, have been really invaluable for me so far, and I think that if you are not using them, you should.

Firstly, Backscraping. This is something you do when you are cleaning mold lines from plastic models, and it refers to scraping a modelling knife backwards along the mold line, as if you were carving, but had filmed it and were watching it in reverse. It's very weird at first, and doesn't make any sense, but it's actually magic. You need to properly support the piece you are holding, so it doesn't bend. The great thing about Backscraping is, you can vary the pressure and/or do it repeatedly, until you get the result you want. Just try it on a spare model - once you get the hang of it, you will never go back to the old ways. And it's quick.

My second tip is to do with basing. When you are putting PVA glue on a base, and dipping it in sand, let it dry and clean it up so there's no unsightly clumps of sand where you don't want it. Then take some PVA glue and put it on a plate, add water to it, and using an old large brush, mix it up and apply it over the top of the already glued sand, to seal it. When you're doing this, the mix should look like watery milk. Cover the sand with this and let it dry. The resulting base will be a lot sturdier when you paint it and especially when you drybrush it.

Both of these techniques are well-known (especially Backscraping), but in my view they are absolutely essential. And since they are quick and easy, they are perfect for the Lazy Painter's arsenal.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Just to prove myself right...

So there I was, basing my Mawloc, when I realised I had squeezed out too much PVA glue onto my Glue Plate (it's a plate that I use to mix my PVA with water). Now, I don't know about you, but I find it pretty impossible to put PVA glue back in the bottle.

Fortunately, I had some assembled IG on a nearby shelf ready to be based. I used the PVA up on them, allowing me to base 11 models without even intending to, and it took just a couple of minutes.

So that just goes to prove that having multiple projects on the go, and having them easily accessible, is a very good thing.

It's a war of attrition against the Grey Tide. Every little victory helps.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

How the Grey Tide rises...

I have a lot of unpainted models. A LOT. Some of them aren't even out of their boxes. One day, I might post a photo of my unbuilt stuff - it is reminiscent of the warehouse shot in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

How did it come to this? Do I have a problem?

Well, yes and no. You see, the reason I came to be in this situation was a long-term desire to save money. I knew I wanted the stuff, I knew that eventually I would buy it, but I grouped my purchases together so I could do massive buys at once from online retailers. For purchases under £100, the postage costs halve your discount. Purchase £200-£300 worth of gear, the postage stays almost the same, so you get a bigger discount. Also, watching eBay for BNIB bargains is always worth it (although there's less available nowadays than there was a couple of years ago).

So my collection has grown in spurts - 3 months with nothing, then a huge influx of new models I can't possibly hope to build and paint quickly. This is how the Grey Tide grows.

But on the plus side, I have plenty of choice as to what to build next. I also paid at least 20% less than retail on everything. And if I need to, I can sell the stock I have on eBay, bearing in mind that there's been price rises since I bought them, so I could turn a profit if I so desire.

Actually, the biggest problem is where to store it all. The boxed products take up far more room than actual built models. So that's yet another incentive to build them all.

Friday, 15 July 2011


Since I don't have that many Spinerippers, I added the Sphincter-thing from the Genestealer sprue to give it some, ahem, teeth.

The tentacles are painted Elf Flesh and washed with Devlan Mud. I wanted them to look gross.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

5 tips to stay motivated

As a Lazy Painter, or even a busy one, it's important to be motivated, so that you actually get stuff done. Here are some of the ways I have found to allow me to paint, without it seeming like a chore or a time sink.

1. Have multiple projects on the go

Sometimes you don't have time to paint, you only have time to cut parts from sprues. Or maybe there's some detailing that you are dreading until you're in the right mood. And yet you still may have some spare time that you want to use for the hobby. Don't waste that time - every little helps! Having multiple projects in varying stages of completion allows you to just dip in and do something in the little time you have. The other advantage is that if you run out of supplies for one job, the production line doesn't come crashing to a halt - you just switch to something else and carry on.

2. Work little and often

I try to work in 30-45 minute batches, on most days of the week. This is much easier to schedule than a 3 hour block, and there's no danger of getting bored. Sometimes you hardly even notice it. And it's oh so easy to do "just one more task" once you're in the flow, and before you know it, you did an hour of work when you only meant to do 30 minutes. You may also like to confine your sessions to an album-length of music - that works for me as well. It can be quite relaxing too, especially after work, and thus can re-invigorate you for other Real Life stuff.

3. Batch painting

There's so many reasons already to recommend batch painting, but it's very motivating to have a simple little task to do, repeated twenty times, because you can just get it over with without even noticing. Then you feel motivated to do just one more task, and then one more...

4. Keep everything out and ready

Nothing is more of a buzzkill than having to clear your workspace, get everything you need out, forget something, lose something else... The list goes on. By the time you start painting you've lost at least five minutes, which is half an hour each week! If you leave your multiple projects out and easy to get to, so you can literally just sit down and start painting whenever you want, you can sneak in extra painting time when you least expect it. Note that this may be impossible if you have children or cats, but a Citadel Paint Station is a life-saver when it comes to hiding and retrieving work-in-progress from a cupboard.

5. Participate in a competition

Several forums run painting competitions, where you pledge a certain amount of work to be done within a certain time frame, and then post pictures of the results when you have finished. It gives you a deadline and peer pressure, but it's not "important" so you can withdraw if Real Life gets in the way.

So those are my top tips to get you painting without it seeming like a chore. You can get a lot of painting done in 3 hours a week, especially when that 3 hours is ALL painting, and no waiting for paint to dry. I've got literally hundreds of models painted using these tricks, and I know I can easily paint hundreds more.

Try just one of these tips, and your productivity will soar without you even noticing.

Friday, 8 July 2011


Here's the Trygon I painted last year. It was my first really big model, and I had to make sub-assemblies and did the final assembly once everything was painted. This made things a lot easier.

The detailing on the head carapace, teeth and especially the eyes makes this model stand out as the centrepiece of my collection. It also gave me a lot of confidence to try to push my standards higher, at least on one-off models, as opposed to the standard swarm.

I also have a Trygon Prime and a Mawloc to build. The problem will be making them stand out as different from the Trygon, since the poses are so similar. I can't stray too far from the Kraken scheme, though. I have some ideas for the Mawloc (which I am working on now), but the Trygon Prime will have to wait until I can think of some interesting way to differentiate it. I'll probably make the base more elaborate, since this Trygon has quite a minimalist base.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Army colour themes

I'm collecting a few armies simultaneously, some deliberately as viable forces (like Tyranids, Imperial Guard, Space Marines and Necrons) and some just because I like the models (Tau and Orks), and I think it would be great if each army had its own "colour", so that they would look distinct both on the shelf and on the battlefield.

The first few are easy:

Tyranids = Kraken Red
Necrons = Silver/Black
Imperial Guard = Cadian Green

I'm not quite decided on the others yet. If I model my Space Marines as Ultramarines, then blue is the obvious choice, but I am leaning towards making my own Chapter, and am very tempted to go purple (not Hawk Lords, but something similar). Orks, I think I can get away with a mix of salvaged bits, rust and dirt. That should go well with their green skin. Tau, on the other hand, should look clean and striking - heavy weathering and battle damage just doesn't suit them. A maroon or burgundy, perhaps. There's a beautiful burgundy in the Tau Codex, but I can't find a guide on how to paint it. Then again, if I'm not doing Ultramarines, blue becomes free all of a sudden.

Of course, as a Lazy Painter, I would prefer to just use an unmixed GW paint, but I think that if I'm using enough paint, it's working cooking up a unique batch.

So for the rest of my armies:

Space Marines - Purple?
Orks - Rusty Dirty Brown?
Tau - Burgundy? Or Blue?

This will be a work in progress - I plan to finish my Tyranids first, then hopefully there will be a new Necron Codex, and I can work on them for a while. In the meantime, someone may come up with a good scheme that can inspire me, or maybe I'll have a brainspasm of original thought, you never know.

Saturday, 2 July 2011


A blog is boring without pictures, so here's a few shots of the 30 Spinegaunts I recently finished...

As you can probably tell, I like to batch paint...

And I like to use washes...

The swarm so far...

My dream is to have a true Tyranid swarm. You know, Starship Troopers style. So here is a list of what I've got painted so far. Most of them are completely finished, but I reserve the right to tweak a few when I see an opportunity to improve them.

2 x Tyranid Primes DS
2 x Tyrant Guard

3 x Lictors
1 x Death Leaper
3 x Zoanthropes
10 x Ymgarl Genestealers

3 x Warriors DS
1 x Warrior VC
48 x Hormagaunts TS
25 x Termagants
20 x Devilgaunts
30 x Spinegaunts
4 x SpineRippers (tunnelling)
17 x Rippers (tunnelling)
44 x Genestealers ST/TS
1 x Broodlord ST/TS

30 x Gargoyles
6 x Raveners (Rend/DS)
8 x Spore mines

1 x Trygon (AG/TS)
1 x Old One Eye

Total: 4257 points

I'll be posting pictures of them all in due course. I'd like to do a group shot, but I don't think I have a table big enough.

The truly scary thing is, this is only 59% of the total Tyranid models I have. This blog is called Fight The Grey Tide for a reason.

Credit where credit is due

My first ever 40K model was a Cadian Shock Trooper, that I bought back when you got 20 to a box, and the cost per model was less than a pound. I figured that I would ruin the first few models with my terrible painting, so I didn't want to waste that much money. In the end, by following the Citadel Painting Guide and the back of the box, I managed a passable result. But it was very slow, and I realised that to get a big army would take ages unless I learned to paint faster.

So I decided to switch to Tyranids, because they were organic and therefore messy, which meant I didn't have to be quite so exact. I also liked the idea of swarms. I had the Battle For Macragge set, which contained Genestealers, Spore Mines and Termagants, so I had a go at those. It also helped that you can get Termagants in a box set of 5, to make it easy to try stuff out.

But what scheme to use? If you follow the Games Workshop recommendations for painting their main Hive Fleets, you're making 'Eavy Metal quality and you'll still be painting when the sun finally goes out. I needed a quick and easy scheme.

Then I found Mike Kan Paint - and I was sold instantly. Kraken it was. But his techniques were still a bit too complex for me. For a start, he was using non-standard (i.e. non-GW) paints, and he was mixing them together for a better result. Now, having mixed paints for my first Cadian, I didn't want to do that again, not unless I absolutely had to. So I made my own version of his scheme.

In future posts, I will show step-by-step how I have corrupted his methods to fit my work ethic (lazy) and lifestyle (hardly ever at home).

But the credit has to go to Mike, I would never have got to where I am today without his hard work and willingness to share. So thanks, Mike.


This is a blog about modelling and painting, and possibly a little bit of gaming as well. I'm going to focus on the Games Workshop range, but may branch out in the future.

The main purpose of this blog is to document my efforts in painting my Warhammer and 40K armies, but I also want to show just how easy it is to paint models to tabletop standards. Before I started, I was terrified about painting a model - they cost a lot, and I didn't want to ruin a perfectly good model with a bad paint job. And there was a real lack of beginner's tutorials available that actually spoke to someone like me - they were all about painting high quality models, and I just wanted something quick and easy that you could look at without flinching.

But then one day I sat down and actually tried it, and you know what? It was easy, and it looked pretty good. Sure, there's a lot of little tricks you pick up along the way, but most of it is common sense. I hope to share some of these ideas, and inspire you to get your armies painted, because it IS worth it. The sight of a fully painted army is a wonder to behold, and unlike completing a computer game, the sense of achievement is real and tangible, and actual physical models can sit on your shelf for decades to show that you made something cool with your own hands.

So if you don't have a lot of time to devote to painting, or are just plain lazy, then this will be the blog for you.

Fight the grey tide!