Sunday, 29 July 2012

Dave's Look At Paints

I've been asked about the paints I use, so I thought I'd talk about what's available and what I use.

Games Workshop

GW are the most prevalent and easily accessible paint suppliers. Most people start with GW paints, primarily because most people start with GW models. However, this does not necessarily make them the best choice.

Since I've been painting, GW have changed their formula a twice, the most recent earlier this year. Previously the paints were a bit thick and had a tendency to dry out within a month of being open. The current range now has a number of different formulas that are supposed to be used together to easily create the classic GW look.
The key issue I have with the GW paints is the price. Per ml, most other paint ranges are better value. For novice painters wanting to paint the GW schemes, their paints are an adequate place to start, but for anything more advanced or for none GW models, I'd go for another range.

Formula P3

I have a lot of the P3 paints, primarily as I paint a lot of PP miniatures and for the most part I want the official colours. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they are a nice paint to work with. 

The range is varied, although it does lean towards the paints needed to create the studio schemes. Of the range, the metallic’s are perhaps the biggest let down, although I do have the first run of paints, the later run (black labels vs white for the first run) are supposed to be much better.
They are usable straight from the pot and give a decent coverage with little work. They perform well for advanced techniques, and don't separate when thinned. They are my go-to paint line these days.

Coat d'Arms

When I moved from GW paints, these were the ones I went to, mainly because the site I was buying some models from sold them. However, I've not been disappointed by them, and certainly can recommend them. I still use many of these paints in conjunction with the P3 range.

As it turns out, Coat d'Arms used to be the paint supplier for GW, so they are now one of the few places you can get the old school GW colours. Coverage is good, but not quite up to the same standard as the P3 coverage. I also find that they tend to separate more when thinned, but that can be worked with.


I haven't personally used any Vallejo paints, but they are highly rated by painters online. They have a massive range, with different formulas depending on what you are wanting to use them for. Unlike P3 and Coat d'Arms, they also come in a dropper bottle format, which you either love or hate. While they are not my go-to paint range, I don't know of any reason not to use them.

Army Painter

I mention Army Painter here purely for their undercoats and Quickshade products. They have a wide selection of spray undercoats, in more than just white and black! When painting a lot of models, combining under coat and base coat can be a huge time saver. Their small paint line also matches their under coats for ease of touching up mistakes.
The Army Painter Quickshade is great for mass producing gaming table standard models quickly. I'm letting go of my snobbery regarding it after seeing what it can produce. Not only do they do the large tins that combine a gloss varnish, but they have also introduced smaller bottles without the varnish component. These make for easy shading, and I'm enjoying experimenting with the effects they can produce.

I don't use any range in isolation, instead using whatever will give me the effect I'm looking for. If I was to be pushed to suggest a range to buy into, I'd say go with P3. Vallejo is a great line, but for me there are just too many colours and ranges. P3 keeps it simple, and has some of the specific colours I need.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

DropZone Commander Miniature Review

Since being premièred at Salute 2012, Hawk Wargames DropZone Commander has been an eagerly awaited release. We have been teased with gorgeous images of the units but now we have them in our hands!!

The pre-orders for DzC came during a self imposed spending freeze on gaming, however I justified a small purchase of some mini’s for “review purposes”. So, I suppose I’d better do a review.

I purchased 3 models, a Jaguar Warstrider from the Shaltari faction, and a pair of Hyperion Heavy Walkers and a Neptune Medium Dropship from the PHR. Given I'm likely to go either with Shaltari or PHR when I invest in an army, I picked things that the starter sets didn't include, but seemed useful in the long run. Without a look at the army building rules, I was shooting in the dark, but I think I've succeded.

Here they are in their blister packs. Packaging is decent, with enough foam packaging to avoid the parts rattling around too much, while the blister pack itself is a pretty standard clamshell design. Down side of these packs were the lack of identifying markings on the outside of the pack. I would expect that retail packages will come with a sticker somewhere on the outside to inform the customer what they are picking up, otherwise I can see new players picking up the wrong blisters.
Lets take a look at what you get in each blister.

Jaguar Warstrider
Hyperion Heavy Walkers
Neptune Dropship
The first thing you notice when you've got the parts in hand is the detail. It is amazingly detailed, exactly as the preview pictures on the website show. Companies sell us on resin minatures because of the detail it offers, but they rarely produce models that take advantage of it. Hawk Wargames, however, have show what can be achieved with resin minatures! They are so detailed I'm almost scared to undercoat them in case I loose some of it.
The new widget that comes with the Neptune Dropship is a great idea, making transport of the air models so much easier.

Taking a closer look, there are some obvious flashing that needed to be removed, but very few mould lines. Having worked with other companies resin/plastic resin models, I'm very impressed with how this formula handles. The flashing was easily removed with either a side cutter or knife, with no cracking, and it was all located in flat areas so no detail was lost. Mould lines were easily filed away, as were the odd blemish. The underside of the Jaguar's "head" hadn't quite come out as crisp as the rest of it, but nothing a small drill didn't rectify. Across the 3 models I found only 3 air bubbles, that will easily be cleaned up with some liquid green stuff.
Games Workshop take note, this is how you ship resin models. Perhaps you should ask Hawk Wargames for some tips?

The miniatures went together beautifully, with only super glue needed to bond the pieces together securely. If anything, it was a little too quick to bond as you get next to no time to tweak the positioning of legs. However, we shouldn't complain, then these models shouldn't need any pinning at all.

Jaguar Warstrider

Neptune Medium Dropship

Hyperion Heavy Walkers
I've been waiting eagerly for these miniatures, and I have not been disappointed. If the rest of the range is this good, then we are in for a real treat. I cannot wait to get painting these, although first I need to decide on a paint scheme.

My only regret, I didn't pre-order the rule book at the same time. However, I know a few people with one, so I'm hoping to nab a look at one in the near future. When I have, expect a review of the rules.