Thursday, 13 July 2017

Tutorial: Trees


In this first guide I will show you how I make my forest terrain for 6mm fantasy, as well as for 6mm sci-fi. As well as the terrain piece shown today, I also use the same techniques for the small poker chip wood tokens, for my winter themed Epic 40k Ork terrain, and for individual base decoration. 

They cost only a few Cents per base.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide


Take a selection of green craft paints (dont use your best miniature paints for this) and some green pipe cleaners. I went for three to fill a roughly two inch base, with some left over for future projects.
Cut the pipe cleaners down to a fingertip larger that the bottle of craft paint. These craft paint bottles are the exact right size for the project- a pipe cleaner will split into three with the fingertip left over, as well as having the right size nozzle in the lid.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

Insert the pipe cleaner into the bottle of craft paint through the lids small hole.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

Push the pipe cleaner all the way to the bottom. The fingertip size left over is so you can pull it out again with out getting mucky, as well marking what will be the top of the trees. When its at the bottom of the bottle, with your finger over the top of the hole, give the bottle a shake and a roll, so that the pipe cleaner is heavily coated with paint.

Pull the pipe cleaner out slowly- these bottles have just the right sized hole for this to work- as it comes out, it will pull the excess paint from the pipe cleaner, as well as pulling the bristles all in the same direction- this will help hide the wire inside, as well as help give the pipe a tree like shape.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

I used 5 different shades of green for this one. I'd normally use two or three, but I can no longer get the original two colours here, I brought them over from the UK, so I thought I'd try my new shades as well as adding some of the old colours, to help blend this with my older woodland terrain.

Leave the pipes to dry overnight. Make sure to keep the pipes in order of the paint colours, as you will need to return to the original paint again later.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

After drying overnight, cut the the pipes down further into 3-4 more sections. I use a heavy pair of kitchen scissors for this, as the wire can be tough to cut through with craft scissors. My personal preference is to cut the lighter, bright green in to the small trees to indicate 'newer' trees and the darker olive colours in to the larger sections. I dont make too many of the smallest '4 section' trees as I only use some on the outside of the base for smaller new trees. I mostly make larger, dark trees.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

Snip off the tip of the top end of the pipe cleaners at angles, to give them tree shapes. The top end will be the end that was facing the fingertip part from the start- the pipe cleaner will have the bristles in the right direction then. You can add cuts up and down the tree as you see fit, until you  have a tree shape you are happy with. Cut the bottom of the tree dead flat but dont cut anything away from it, you will need the whole piece to connect it to the base.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide


When you are happy with your trees, and they are as tree shaped as you can get them, then add a dab of the original colour to the tip where you cut the them at an angle. This is too cover the wire from showing though, as well as fixing the bristles in place. Depending on you pipe cleaners, you may need to add glue. Very cheap pipe cleaners can come apart when cut, and this is too hold the bristles in place. These pipe cleaners are from hobbycraft (in the UK) and the dab of paint is enough to hold them together solidly. When adding the paint, pull the brush down to blend the heavy dab at the top into the bristles going down. Leave to completely dry. An hour or two is best.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

Cut a base out to the size you want. I used the chip board backing to a cheap photoframe from my local pound shop, as I dont seem to be able to get huge sheets of it locally. One frame can give you about 5-10 bases, its a little more costly this way, but this stuff is easy to work with, and still only €1.50. I trim the edge down a little so its sits a little nicer on the table, sand the edges down, so there is no areas where the board is splitting apart. I lightly sand the top to help the glue stick.

I cut a light 'X' shape in to the bottom. I have read that this will help stop with warping, but I'm not sure if this is true or not, but since it did not warp, I have to believe it helped!

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

I add a layer of tacky glue (less water and dries faster than regular PVA). A couple of small fish tank stones, a very small amount of the black ballast I use on my mini bases, and finish it off with the cheap, fine bird cage grit. I leave it to dry for a few hours.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

When completely dry I add a black sand wash to seal the sand  (instructions on how to make sand wash can be found here on my paint annotations page ) then I use a milkshake cap and a heavy item (in this case the black lava gel from my desk) to help weight the base down to stop any warping while it dries. Make sure that what ever you place on top of the cap wont fall off, or if it does it wont spill every where!

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

When the wash is dry the base is given a black undercoat. You could skip this step and proceed straight to the next, but I like the overall tone that working from black gives.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

A heavy 'wetbrush' of Brown is done all over. I used vallejo 984 Flat Brown. Wetbrushing is similar to drybrushing but you leave more paint on the brush, rather than wiping it all off. I find the best amount is to soak the brush, wipe most of it away, then run it through the thinnest edge of paint on the pallet again. This is a pretty heavy coat, but make sure its uneven. You want sections of the black to show through, especially more towards the centre where the trees will be places.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

I give the base a heavy and uneven coat of agrax earthshade. You could use any brown wash, or even skip this step. I like to included it, even though most of the base will be covered, as it adds some nice shade to the stones- where trees wont be placed, as well as adding some more shades of brown to ground, brown can look flat if its all the same shade. Give it a good hour to dry.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

Drybrush the final colours to the base. I changed my usual scheme here, and went for new colours, as I'm trying to add a few more colours to my painting. I did random patches of Vallejo 977 Desert yellow, then did the rest of the gaps and stones with Citadels Rakarth Flesh. I made sure that I went over the edges of both colours again with the opposite colour to blend them together so there were no unnatural straight edges.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

Take your pile of nicely cut trees and a tube of cheap superglue. Add some super glue to a pallet or scrap of plastic (never our glue straight on to the trees they will soak it up before you know it and you will glue yourself to them!) Dunk the bottom of the tree into the glue and add to the base. You may need to cut the bottom of the tree flat before soaking it if you did not so so earlier, or its a bit bumpy  if any of the threads have gotten loose! The glue will soak in to the tree, you want the whole bottom section to be coated, but dont go mad or it will soak through to the outside, and give your trees a solid glossy look!  Very slightly more than you usually would glue something is the best, as the glue will soak in to the tree and still needs to get in between the sand on the base!

I add the larger trees in near the centre and the smaller bright green trees towards the edge, to give the impression of a forest growing outwards. I dont stick to this though, and I try to place the trees as randomly as I can to make it as organic looking. I avoid placing trees on the stones as they will glue uneven and would eventually break off.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

Keep going till you are happy with the placement of the trees. You may find that one or two stray strands need fixing up as you go, especially if you are making them in bulk- one always escapes! just even them out with the scissors.  I find that they look more natural 'in the flesh' so to speak. The camera picks up on the painted look to them, and under natural light the cuts and paint will look a lot smoother! They are also not so bright! I edited the colours a little to make sure the pictures were nice and clear, but it made the greens a lot brighter than they are! I had about half again in trees left over from the original pipe cleaners, which I'm saving to add to a later project.

Tutorial 6mm Tree Guide

So there you have it! Cheap, cheap trees that can be made in bulk very quickly! Adding snow is easy- just add it around the base, and drybrush your mixture onto the trees from the top down.

They take to drybrushing well (they are solid enough once the the paint is totally dry) if you wanted to add a highlight colour to them and you could add additional flock(s) to them by spraying them with cheap hairspray and sprinkling it on, remembering to spray again to seal the flock after.

You do have to mind sleeves on them- they are still bendy in the middle, and catching them wrong can bend them, but its simple to bend them back in shape! If they do snap off, just cut the bottom flat again and re-glue! (I've made about 500 of these so far and I've only ever had two snap off- one from general use, and one during a big house move! So they are pretty sturdy!)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Goblins III

More reinforcements for my goblins!

6mm Fantasy Goblins
On the left is another stand of baccus goblins with swords. The other is a large base of Irregular goblins with bows. They are not great, they have very little detail, especially on the head. However, at the time of purchase, they were the ONLY goblins with bows available in this scale. I think I managed to do a good job with them, even with the lack of sculpted detail. a couple of additional brush strokes were able to help create an illusion of details that were missing, like the face. Still fun to paint and work with though.

6mm Fantasy Goblins
Goblin bolt thrower. Made from using a baccus Roman thrower, and mixing in various baccus goblins as crew. The wolf rider with additional bolt is just a piece of brass rod, filed down at the sides and the tip painted grey (like my spears) as too not have a sharp rod to cause injury!

6mm Fantasy Goblins
Baccus hero goblin in full armour, with axe and shield. The snotling is another irregular lesser goblin, cut away from his stand. The mushroom I sculpted myself.

6mm Fantasy Goblins Trolls

TROLLS! These are some of my favourite miniatures! They are from Perfect Six Orc range
and they are wonderful to work with!  Cleanly cast, and really well detailed! I was able to paint tiny little eye balls they are that good! Very reminiscent of the 'oldhammer' style, or even the trolls from the Berserk manga, I'd be very tempted to paint a whole army of them, just as an excuse to paint more! Brilliant value as well, and being able to buy them as packs or individuals is a god send! Something that often lets larger companies down, like baccus, as sometimes, even at this epic scale, I dont always need 96 of the same troop!

6mm Fantasy Goblins
A shot of everything painted for the goblins to date. Missing the grass on a few bases, as I like to do a large bunch all at once, as it cuts down on needing to clean static grass up!

6mm Skaven / Vermin!

Rats are a passion project of mine, no matter what game system. I've been a huge fan of anything vermin since I first picked up a copy of Ian Millars graphic novel of James Herberts 'The City'. I have Rat armies for almost ever game or setting I have gotten into. I have Skaven for warhammer/Age of Sigmar, I have my skaven inspired Skitarii (or Squeaktarii lol) force for 40k. I have my not yet complete project of Space Skaven for Epic 40k (Which shares many models with the fantasy vermin too!). I have tons and tons of rats for 6mm fantasy, I just have to get around to painting them!

I had a lot of old photos of them, but sadly, they were not particularly well done. I find them very hard to photograph- with out being blobs of brown. I've saved what I could from photobucket, but many are corrupted when I try to re-download them, but with the sun out today, I took it as a chance to grab a couple of new shots of all my rats, as not many good pictures exist online, especially of the irregular rats.

6mm Fantasy Skaven Warlock
Skaven Warlock. The weapon, backpack and pipes are all self sculpted, the main body of the rat is from Irregular.

6mm Fantasy Skaven Horde

Horde of Skaven with hand weapons. Zooming in you can see the command, the musician is playing a saxophone! Mix of minis all from Irregular again. They are actually sat in a movement tray! Their base can be split down in to 4 normal sized bases. I did this to use them as a Horde in Kings of War ruleset, but so they could be split down in to troops or regiments. The movement tray was just for fun, but I thought it looked good so I finished it along with their basing!

2 Rat Ogres with flamers/Giant Mutant Rats. I use this in both my Epic 40k and Fantasy armies. Minis are from Pendraken. 10mm scale, but I think they work magnificently,  just the right scale to be heavy mutant vermin! 

6mm Fantasy Skaven

Rat Ogre/VerminLord. Another of Pendrakens 10mm offerings. The book is a little oversized, as it is another 10mm, but I had brought a whole bunch to use as giant mutants, and this little chap was the only one with something that gave away the scale, but I couldn't bring myself not to paint him and use him anyway!

6mm Fantasy Skaven Rat Swarm
Mutant Rat Swarm. Pendraken again. They look a little big on there own, but when next to 'true' 6mm rat swarms, they look fine and blend in well. 

6mm Fantasy Skaven rat Swarm
Rat swarms. These are 6mm rat swarms from Irregular. Since painting them up I have brought some of the individual dungeon rats from Perfect Six to fill in space towards the edges, as these stands are a lot shorter than the normal base length. 

6mm Fantasy Skaven

6mm Fantasy Skaven
Skaven slave wagon (Chariot) From Irregular. Details are a little soft on this one, especially on the humans pulling the carriage, it took a bit of abstract painting to give them all arms and legs. If I had noticed it before I had started painting, I would have replaced the banner as well. The pole is very flimsy, and one small knock and it bent in half and nearly snapped in two. 


6mm Fantasy Skaven Doomwheel

6mm Fantasy Skaven Doomwheel

6mm Fantasy Skaven Doomwheel
Skaven Doomwheel. Almost completely scratch built, aside from the giant rat and the gun. I used this mini for again both for fantasy and for Epic 40k. I'm tempted to go back and add a couple of runes to the sides, as there is a couple of flat surfaces that make it a look a little plain. I love the model though- its hell to get the wheel to glue though. I've made a couple of plastic templates to drill all the holes in it though, as there are about 30 holes that need drilling in each one! 

6mm Fantasy Skaven Cannon
Exploded warp lightning cannon token. I made a bunch of warp lighting cannons, and had this one left over, but the bead was broken, so I decided to just finish it as an exploded cannon token. I'm a big of adding 'battle damage' tokens in games. I will probably go back to add some painted burns and soot marks, but I painted it with some other bits, and it was left at the same stage as the unit I was painting.  

6mm Fantasy Skaven Warpstone
Warpstone Field terrain. I like the idea that warpstone is more like a fungus, and will spread and grow where it lands, rather than it being just a rare rock. I like the idea of Rat slaves having to go out and farm/mine it, whilst being exposed to its hideous poisoning.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Wood Elves

6mm Fantasy Wood Elves

6mm Fantasy Wood Elves

6mm Fantasy Wood Elves
Wood elf Spearmen and Bowmen from the microworld wood elf range.

The Chubby Tree Ents are from irregular, The skinny Tree Ent is from the microworld range.

The Pegasus is from Irregular, as is the Wood elf on horse- He came as a leader figure as part of the lesser goblin army deal. I think he is one of their not-nazguls on horseback, but not 100% on which code he is. Green paint was the only conversion he needed to become a wood elf hero instead!

Chubby Tree Ent from irregular again. The Giant Eagle is a 10mm wood elf eagle rider code from Pendraken miniatures. Their 10mm range has a lot of useful codes that work well for 6mm fantasy & Epic 40k. I use a lot of odds and ends from them, especially for monsters and mutants. The base 'crew' is from Microworld, a spare Spearman and a wizard from out the character pack. Thats 2mm brass rod, buried in to green stuff and cork tile. The eagle is a great sculpt, but its damn heavy, the flimsy metal stand its supplied with it looks great- it has rocks carved in to it, but it wouldn't hold an ant steady!

The Microworld wood elves are some of the best miniatures I have ever painted- the sculpts are fantastic, they almost paint themselves! Its hard to see from the regular sized photo, but the full sized version, you can see wear I was able to paint on the embroidery on the inside of the commanders cloak! I've never viewed myself as a fantastic painter, but these came out brilliantly, a testament to the quality of the sculpts more than my painting ability!

Leven Miniatures buildings

I thought I'd post up some old comparison shots of the Leven buildings I ordered a few years ago. I had these up on tactical command to show their scale against a baccus goblin I had to hand. Some of them have long since been painted. I've including them here both for nostalgia and in case anyone stumbles across the page and fancies checking them out.

They are wonderful buildings, I dont normally touch anything resin, but these a joy to work with, and I keep meaning to order another pile!  They are fantastically cheap, coming in around at a couple of pounds per building, which is fantastic value, compared to a lot of other buildings in this scale. They paint up really easily- the detail is superb on them. Out of the twenty or so buildings I had, only one had an air bubble, and I had to squint my eyes to see it! These chaps know how to make a quality product! Links below the photos should take you to the right page on their site.









Chaos Dwarfs

My chaos dwarfs are a mix of random minis I have gotten in trades or to make up numbers in small orders. No 'true' chaos dwarf (at least in the games workshop/warhammer sense of big hats, tusks, spikes, mechanical beasts and fireballs!) army exists in 6mm yet- the closest is irregulars 'Dark Dwarf' range. They are excellent, some of my favourite models from irregular,  but they a visually not much different from 'regular' dwarfs.

I'm not much fused about the big hats- so at this scale any dwarf is a chaos dwarf! Though I still hope to see some sculpts for true dark dwarves to one day to be done!

I'm quite happy to create what I can from various ranges though, that's the great thing about 6mm. Most models are just a paint job away from being an entirely different race!


 My test stand for the chaos dwarfs. The stand at the back is from the dark dwarf army pack from irregular . I love the minis in this range, however, some of them do require a little more clean up tha normal. There is quite a lot of flash in between the dwarves, mostly connecting the shoulders and heads. This isn't too bad on most of the range, easily removed, however it is a big problem with the halberdiers, with most of the pole shafts completely connected by flash.  They will need removing and replacing with brass rod completely. I do this quite often with shaft weaponry though, so to me its not a big deal, and will be getting a lot more of these in the future!

The command models are three minis from the microworld range. Absolutely stunning sculpts, though they are a little smaller and less bulky that the irregular counterparts, its only really noticeable if you stare hard at them dead on!


 I added a unit of golems, again from microworlds range- this time from their firmament range. The sorcerer is was from the irregular army pack.
The statue was original from my Epic 40k terrain, but I thought it suited the chaos dwarves just as well! The base and marble is just plasticard, the pillar is just two now-defunct warhmmer fantasy square bases and the statue is from an old 'battlemasters' set, which was a board game that MB games put out back in the early 90s, which citadel designed the models for.

Goblins II

More Goblins!


6mm Fantasy Goblins
Goblin shaman. The goblin is from the baccus goblin character pack. The two snotlings are from Irregulars lesser goblins range. They were removed from their strip of 5, and cut down to individual models. Standing at only about 2mm tall, they are tiny models!

6mm Fantasy Goblins

6mm Fantasy Goblins
Another stand of baccus Goblins. The banner was replaced with brass rod, as the original pole was to thin and easy to bend, then with paper flags attached. The herder base had their weapons removed, and shoving sticks added by again replacing everything with brass rod. I dont shape the end of the brass, rather I paint on the tip in grey paint. This is to avoid having brass rod go through my hand when I inevitable put my hand down on it at some point!

The war boars are from Irregular. Nice models, though their stand needed to be sanded down a fair bit, as otherwise its quite the solid piece of metal! two stands worth was enough with the herders, but you would probably need three stands to fill a base solidly with boars as they are lot smaller than the baccus models.