Stepping away from blogging for a while


I know, this isn't exactly 40k related, but I wanted to break from the normal stuff and talk about something that has been following me in the shadows for some time now. It's the idea that your blog gets a hold of you and you feel as though you have to do certain things at certain times (posting, updates, pictures. etc) or you'll suddenly crash and burn and drop out of the 40k universe.

I don't know where the feeling comes from since we don't enter the blogging world knowing or feeling like that. I know I didn't... but somewhere along the line I read something or saw something that told me that how it was. Don't keep up and you'll be lost in the void.

The more that I blog, the more I don't think that's the case. Miss a day of posting and the world does not come to an end. I think it's nice to have a schedule for posting and it helps if you have tons of stuff you want to post about, but it's not the only thing in the blogging world. There are tons of blogs I follow that don't post on a schedule or anything that could be considered consistent, but I keep track of them.

How does this apply to me?
This year has been a tough one for me. Enough that I've decided that I need to step away from blogging for a little while at the start of the new year and focus on my family and real job. Having been recently promoted at work, I find myself looking at a bigger change than I anticipated and lots more work.

The time I normally carve out of my day for blogging has always come out of my family time. Don't get me wrong, I love to blog, but I love to do stuff with my family more and I'm not doing that as much as I would like to these days.

So what does it all mean?
I putting this site on hold for a while to spend my free time doing family stuff. I do have a few projects for folks that I've taken on that I'll be finishing and some others who are waiting. I'll be working on those as time permits after the new year.

I know or I'm pretty sure that lots of other folks struggle with this kind of thing as well. Where to spend your time and how much time at one thing is enough. I think the break will do me good. I don't have a return date in mind. I think I am going to see what the new year brings.

I struggled with turning the comments off on this post, but I have decided to leave them on as I think it might help folks talk about this kind of thing and their thoughts about blogging. I appreciate the huge amount of support I get from the online community through blogging and I only hope that folks understand.

I've always said family should come first.
Now it's time to live what I preach.


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Tyranid Parasite of Mortrex conversion WIP


It's not often that I get a chance to tackle a Tyranid model, but this project was done for a friend of mine in our local gaming group who plays Tyranids. He runs a Parasite of Mortrex and I offered to see what I could do with converting one up for him.

This is only my second "bug," my first one being the Spore Mine thingy I built from scratch. I had hoped I would have some leeway here like I did with the previous model and the organic nature of the figure, but this one proved to be a little more challenging.


I tried to keep this one like the artwork in the book or at least as close as I could get to it. Some smaller elements were left off and certain things were added because I thought they helped convey the overall feeling of the image.

Here's the completed model (still needs to be painted)


Let's see if I can explain some of my thinking behind the construction of this guy.

I kept him about the size of a Warrior based on what the info in the codex said. I didn't want him to be super big, just big enough to be a credible threat. I bought a Warrior body thinking it would make the perfect starting point for scale. For the wings, I opted to use a set of Chaos Possessed wings.

The wings were a bit of gamble since I was afraid they were going to be too small in the end. Turns out, they are the perfect size for this model. Much bigger and the wings start to become the focus since they'd be the dominant feature.


My initial plan was to mount a wing and then three arms in each of the three sockets on each side of the torso. Then I got to looking at the artwork and it looks more like he only has two arms on each side. This allowed me to use the top socket as the attachment point for the wings. A little bit of greentuff around the joints and I was set there.

The only other conversion I did to the arms was to modify the upper set by bending them back more as though he was flying and then moving the thumb claw over to the side of the wrist instead of on top. It's a small thing, but I think it helps with the overall look of the model as most folks recognize the thumb claw as being on top with most Tyranid models.


I opted to do some things to the head of the model as well to try and set him apart from the other Warriors in the army with similar heads. I added the fangs to the sides of his jaw and then sculpted a huge ridge of greenstuff along the top. I let that cure and then cut out a series of spikes from it. I figured that would mimic the artwork and really help set him aside as different.

I also added a few spikes down his back for good measure. It sort of helps tie the body in with the head once I added the spikes on there.


The tail was a huge challenge for me. It can be very difficult to sculpt a tail on a creature without it looking like a poorly shaped greenstuff log. I tried to blend it into the spike at the end and the torso at the other end. I was very careful to watch the thickness of the tail overall and then add some texture to is so that it blended in with the musculature of the creature.

The key is making it blend in overall. I think I came close enough here that with a little bit of paint, it will appear as though it's not a conversion and part of the model as it should be.


And here's one last look at him compared to a Space Marine for comparison. Not too bad... looks like a flying Warrior I guess. He's going to be mounted on a killer base to help the illusion. I'm using one of the Urban Invasion bases from Secret Weapon minis. I used one on my Spore Mine model and the combination of the urban rubble base with the Tyranid like tendrils creeping over it is perfect for this guy.


Once I get the paint scheme from my friend, I'll get him painted up and post pics of the completed model.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
Scratchbuilt Tyranid Spore Mine
Conversions live and die by the details


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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How to protect yourself when selling online


I'd like to talk about a few of the things you can do to protect yourself when selling things online. I posted an article the other week about what steps you could take to protect yourself when buying online and there were some questions about the other side of the deal: selling.

Most of us at some point or another have sold something to another hobbyist in order to make room for more stuff. It's a vicious cycle. There are some things you can do to protect yourself if you decide to sell things online.

I must confess that my experience selling online is somewhat limited as I don't sell much overall preferring to keep things. I have sold on eBay (which I'll never do again) and through my blog here. That's pretty much it, but I have learned a few things along the way.

So what do I do when I sell something online?
There are a couple things I make sure I do when I sell something online. I've found them to be helpful in minimizing the potential for problems later on in the process.

1. Represent the item accurately.
Make sure you describe the item or items correctly and don't sugar coat it. A buyer will appreciate knowing exactly what they are getting and will be much happier. Believe me. If it's damaged or missing parts or whatever, let the buyer know. Don't leave something out because you fear a buyer will pass on the item. Better for them to pass now than to buy it and want their money back later after they discover the little bit of info you left out. They may not even care in the first place since they may be buying your item for another reason all together.

2. Pictures and make them good ones.
This can be huge pain in the backside, but it's worth every minute you spend. Take good pictures showing the items. Think about what you'd want to see if you were buying it online. This goes with the first one and not hiding anything. You may not be able to show all the pics depending on what service you use to sell the item, but keep the extras pics handy and let buyers know you have more to show them if they want to see it.

A few extra pictures emailed on request might be all it takes to seal the deal for a buyer who is sitting on the fence and just wants to get a better idea of what the item looks like.

Remember, they need to be in focus, no camera flash that erases all of the detail on the item and no crazy busy backgrounds to distract from the item either. The idea is to show exactly what it is that you're selling.

3. Set your price and make it reasonable
Decide what you'd like for your item and then what you're willing to take for it. They may not be the same amount. You might have someone offer slightly less and you should know what your bottom line is without having to haggle for 3 weeks by email.

Along the same line, make your asking price reasonable. Can someone get the same thing for cheaper elsewhere? The whole concept of pro-painting comes into mind here. Just because you invest six thousand hours into the HQ model for the army you're selling does not mean the HQ alone is worth $800 now. Someone may be buying the army and they don't care about the HQ model at all.

4. Look at the service you are using
It worth a few minutes to see what the guidelines are if you are using someone to sell something for you online (eBay for example). Look over what their costs are and the guidelines they expect you to follow as well.

Inform yourself before you use the service so that you can get the most from it. They are making money off you using them, so make sure you get the most from them.

5. Figure out Shipping and handling ahead of time
In this day and age, things go around the world. Buyers can be anywhere on the planet and you need to know what it's going to cost to ship something. You can pass the cost along to the buyer as long as you are up front with the cost ahead of time.

You can take your item to the post office and ask them to give you some prices for areas around the world. At least you'll have an idea of the cost and you can tell a buyer ahead of time. And don't go looking to make any money off this part of the deal by "up charging" for S&H. It's a cheap stunt and will certainly turn buyers off.

6. Get confirmation when possible
When you ship an item to someone, get confirmation that it has arrived. Most of the time, you can do this at the post office for a small fee. They will have the item signed for and you will have proof that the item was indeed received and signed for.

While this may not be practical if you are shipping out tons of small things, it's certainly worth doing for any high value items that would be difficult to replace.

Selling online doesn't need to be scary
The best thing to do is take a few minutes to inform yourself and be prepared. Whether it be with extra photos or good email communication, taking a few minutes to help your buyer make an informed decision will help you out in the long run.

You need to protect yourself as best you can from problems, but it shouldn't be anything that prevents you from making a few dollars unloading you extra stuff so that you can buy more. Selling stuff online is more than just throwing a quick pic of your item up on eBay with a title and price. Do your homework and you'll come out better in the end. Remember, a little time invested in the beginning should yield a little more money in the end.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
4 ways to protect yourself when buying online


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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I may be losing crisp details when I paint


I think my method of painting may be obscuring more detail than it's bringing out on some models. I'm not sure, but I feel like I'm losing the crisp edges I sometimes see on other models. It's not a big thing, but it's enough to catch my eye and make me look at what I'm doing.

I think I need to adjust the way I prime. I may be applying too much primer over the model and killing some of the sharper edges. I use a spray paint when I prime and I usually end up with a good, solid coat of paint to work from.

I fear that may be too much though. That layer combined with a few more as I add the base colors looks like it's killing some of the crispness to my models.

I think I am going to cut back ever so slightly as to the amount I use when priming my models and focus a bit more on thinning my paints as well. The model above is a good example. He's been primed white, but not as heavy as I would have normally done before.

how to prime warhammer 40k models

I like my priming technique... I just think I may be a little heavy handed overall.

I already thin most of my paints as I apply them in order to minimize surface texture, but I think I'm going to push that a touch further as well to keep the layers from building up as quick.

Hopefully this small change will help me recapture some of the crispness to my models I feel like I have been covering up as of late.


Since my next project is the Dark Vengeance Librarian I just converted, I thought this would be the perfect model to test my new theory on. I gave him the lightest of priming and I like to think it made a difference.

I've since started adding the base colors to the model while trying to thin my paints a little more and I honestly think it's working. The end result will tell me how well I did and it will be interesting to see if it takes any longer going this route.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
The actual process I use to prime my models


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Using Necrons to put basing theory to the test


As all of you know, I'm a big fan of basing and really looking at what it can do for your models. I want to take a minute to share some Necron Deathmasks that were shown to me by a reader who was looking to go that extra step with his Necron force.

Looking back at the previous post I did on basing color concepts, we can see that he's gone with the dark model on the dark base. A perfectly suitable look for Necrons if there ever was one. But now that the two elements blend together since both are dark, the question becomes how to differentiate between them so the model and base don't appear as one undefined blob.

Drybrush to emphasize texture
Texture is the way to go here. Color could be introduced, but just bringing out the difference in texture between the smooth surfaces of the Necron model and the rough surfaces of the base will add that extra dimension and help finish off the model.


Here's what the model looked like before and after changes were made. I went in and did some photo editing to simulate the effect of simply drybrushing the textured base with a lighter grey color to bring out the rough texture on it.

Doing this brings a little bit of contrast to the base, emphasizes the texture so we can quickly identify the "world" or environment he is in, and helps us see the model separately from the base. Sure, they both are dark and blend together, but we are moving away from them looking like the blob shape we don't want.


Introducing a bit of color
Nothing says you have to stick to light grey for drybrushing the base texture. You could introduce some light blue or tans to your drybrushing to create a cooler or warmer feeling to the environment as well.

If drybrushing doesn't introduce the amount of color you want, you could try a wash over the base to add some color to it as well. We aren't looking to color the whole base, just add a hint of it to bring it to life.

You could add some warmth (using warmer colors when drybrushing) to a base with a cool colored model to increase the contrast and make the model pop even though both are dark overall. And the same goes for using a cool color which would unify the model and base.


The edge of the base matters too
Lots of folks switch over to autopilot with this important part of basing. Whether you have a preferred choice or a default color you use all the time, it can be worth the effort to try a different color or two when you're all done to see what the effect is.

In this case, painting the rim of the base a medium grey color instead of black lightens the whole model overall. While you may end up going with black, it can't hurt to see what some others colors do for the overall feel of the model and army.

In the end
It comes down to taking a minute when you're doing your basing and looking at what one or two things you can do to really push your model that last step. It doesn't have to be anything crazy, complex or time consuming since all we did here was simulate a quick drybrush and painting the rim of the base.

Adding that last touch might take your army from looking good to great and it shouldn't require a huge investment on your part.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
A look at some basing color concepts


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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A look at painting Chaos Word Bearers


I got a great email the other day from Henchman Miniatures where he showed me how he put the Word Bearer tutorial I posted the other week to use. Since I thought he did a great job with it, I figured I'd share what he was able to do here.

The picture above is his finished model and I think he was able to capture the perfect shade of red on his Word Bearer. There are tons of ways you can paint red and it almost always comes down to one thing in particular... what shade of red do you prefer.


Then it's just a matter of finding or developing the technique to get that certain shade without driving yourself crazy in the process. I've got my fair share of red techniques as well. Looking back now, I might have done better to mimic my Flesh Tearer technique to get a closer red, but I would not have been able to use the quick spray paint method that I ended up going with (and that was a specific request I got from a reader).


I posted the step by step I used to break the symbol down into manageable parts. Not anything earth shattering, but a different way of seeing things and using an overlapping style to create a complex design instead of trying to paint it in one pass with all its complexities.


Here's the chapter symbol he freehanded onto the shoulderpad of his model. I like that he made some changes and turned the horns down in addition to giving the flames a little more life. He even went as far as to shade the bottom of the flames with orange leaving the tops yellow. It's a subtle change, but a nice one for something like this.

Freehand work like this is not without it's dangers. When you do freehand work over a base color that has already been shaded and highlighted (giving you an uneven surface in terms of color consistency to work on) you need to be confident and very careful.


I mentioned this once before a while ago in this post
and it's worth repeating here. There are certain things you'll be able to do and certain things you'll have to work around all depending on when you apply your freehand to your model. And sometimes, that decision (when you will do it) will be based on how you're painting your model or the particular process you're using.

All that being said, don't let freehand scare you. Once you can break down your image into manageable shapes and you know what kind of surface you'll be working over, you shouldn't have any trouble at. A perfect example is that Word Bearer marine that Henchman Miniatures painted up.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
How to paint Word Bearers quick and easy
Some of the ways I paint red
How to paint Flesh Tearers


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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How to model your Company Champion


I like this guy from Forge World, but there are certainly ways to make your own Space Marine Company Champion without going out and buying this model. The pose is pretty cool and I love the stylized armour, but I look at this and start thinking about what I can do with the stuff I have to make my own Champion model.

There aren't many things on this guy we couldn't reproduce without too much trouble. The simple eagle backpack is a nice touch. The helmet crest is another popular item these days to set character models apart. You can make your own (I have), but I'd suggest buying them third party as it's not worth the pain to try and make them from scratch.

I know Secret Weapon minis has them in different shapes and sizes. I mentioned it the other week when I posted about some of the things you can do to make your own Command squad upgrades.

Black Dragon Veteran Sergeant

Adding smaller elements like Terminator honors and skulls is always a winner. You can never go wrong with the occasional skull thrown in there. Nothing says you're dangerous more than a skull hanging from your belt. As you can tell from the guy above, he means all business having two of them hanging from his.

It doesn't have to be much
You don't have to make huge changes to a model to make him stand out from the rest of the army. It might be as simple as different painted shoulderpads or a slightly converted helmet that no other model is sporting.


Another easy option is a weapon swap. I recently did it with the Dark Vengeance Librarian I'm currently working on. Nothing else was done to him other than to swap out his weapon for a different one. Completely new feel to the model now.

One of the lesser seen changes you can do to a model is to add a tabard of some sort. You can create a simple armour one with some spare plasticard like I did with my World Eater model above or you can take it as far as making a studded leather strap tabard which is not that hard to do either. I used that on my Alpha Legion model the other week.

Don't forget the base
Maybe one of the easiest ways to make a model stand out is to look at what you mount him on. Changing his base and elevating him on a small rock outcropping or toppled wall can change the look of a model in an instant.

The FW guys did it with their model. He's not standing on the basic flat base there, he's on top of some debris he no doubtedly caused with his coolness.

Did I do it wrong?
A while ago, I set out to write a article on HQ models (Champions would fit in here too) and it turned into a three part series talking about modeling and painting your HQ model and what you can accomplish by adding or leaving out certain aspects.


For those looking for a little more on the whole idea behind the "why" we should or shouldn't model certain things, it might be worth the read. You can find the series here. Each one links to the next article and it's a quick read. There's even some tactical advice in there as well and I don't write anything on tactics.

Setting your Champion apart from the rest of your force doesn't have to be hard or expensive to do. Sure you can buy the model, but it's just as easy to look at what you have, think about how you want him to stand out and be creative. You'll probably save yourself some money in the long run too.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
How to make your own Command squad upgrades
Did I build and paint my HQ wrong?


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Imperial Armour Vol. 1 Second Edition for Guard


Looks like the fellas over at Forge World have decided to update the old Imperial Armour books. We all just got notice that Volume One is being released in a Second Edition format that is supposedly "rewritten and expanded to be fully compatible with the 6th Edition of Warhammer 40,000."

Sounds good to me.

I haven't thumbed through my what is now "old" IA1 in a long time. Mainly because I don't do too much with Guard or the Imperial Navy aside from drool over their cool tank options.

I do think it's kinda nice to have all the new stuff collected into one book. If nothing else, it will clean up everything and you no longer need to keep up with errata sheets and updates and such. At least for the time being.

I saw the list of contents as well in the FW email, but I didn't compare it to the previous book. I think they mentioned including a couple new things, but most of it looks like it's going to be old stuff just "updated" and brought in line with 6th edition.

Maybe they'll squeeze in some new artwork too.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
The Forge World Imperial Avenger Strike fighter ideas
Do you even need to buy Imperial Aeronautica?


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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Thoughts on painting Marine helmet lenses


I know, this is one of those Forge World heresy heavy weapon guys and this is a post about helmet lenses. But to be honest, that was the first thing I saw on this guy. I'm not a big fan of the weapon conversion (in fact I think it's horrible), but I love the subtle look to the helmet lenses done here.


When I paint my helmet lenses, I normally go much brighter overall. Here's the process I use (and even more important is when you paint them), but after seeing how the Forge World guys went with the much more muted look, I'm considering changing how I paint mine.


Now I do have a method I use when I want them to appear as though they are glowing and that is done by painting the whole lens a bright color and then washing it with a similar shade followed by a bright highlight in the very center of the eye to simulate the glow.

The Grey Knight troop above shows the effect. I used a bright blue-green color for the base color, wash it with GW Drakenhof Nightshade and then add a tiny bit of the original base color back into the center of the lens as the highlight.

I do like this look, but I don't like to use it all the time.

Eldar Dire Avenger

I already try to push the contrast when I paint my gems. I try to work from black all the way up to the bright reflected light on the bottom inside surface of the gem. if you look at the gem on the chest armour of the Eldar Guardian there, you can see what I mean.

I think I'm going to try and apply this higher contrast look to my helmet lenses from here on out. Instead of painting the lens a solid base color like I've done so far, I'm going to treat them like gems and work on adding that subtle reflected light along the bottom edge.

I don't see it saving me a ton of time, but I do see it giving me a better look overall and making the lenses appear more like glass instead of some non-descript material.

Make sure to check out these posts as they might help:
How to paint Space Marine helmet lenses


Ron, From the WarpIf you've got any questions about something in this post, shoot me a comment and I'll be glad to answer. Make sure to share your hobby tips and thoughts in the comments below!

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