Dark Art Miniatures bases – Review

Manufacturer

Product

I had decided to get some pre-cast bases for my 40K army. Dark Art Miniatures range included exactly what I’d been looking for – big discounted sets of bases with different diameters. I bought two of them – rocky and lava bases.

What you get for your money

Each set costs 9.80 GBP and contains 26 resin bases: 20 x 25mm bases, 5 x 40mm bases, 1 x 60mm base. You get a whole lot for what you pay!

Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Bases are packed in zip-lock bags
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Lava 60mm base
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Lava 40mm bases
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Lava 25mm bases
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Rocky 60mm base
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Rocky 40mm bases
Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review
Rocky 25mm bases

As you can see, bases have different designs. There are enough flat surfaces on every one of them, so there should be no problems with placing and attaching minis to bases. Also, designs are not overly complicated which should save time required to paint them.

Casting quality

Here’s an example of a good cast.

Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review

Unfortunately, majority of bases has some casting issues – small air bubbles mainly. You can see it on this photo:

Photo: Dark Art Miniatures bases - Review

Summary

Dark Art Miniatures bases are clearly provided for 40K gamers and they meet almost all gamers’ requirements – proper diameters, different yet simple and well-thought designs, discounted sets.

However, casting quality might discourage some clients from buying these (or returning for more). Personally, I don’t really mind small imperfections, but I’m sure some of customers would disagree with me and demanded better casts (can’t really blame them!).

In my opinion, this is a good product with a good quality to price ratio. I do hope though that Dark Art Miniatures are able to improve casting quality.

Idea how to paint Chaos steeds or Drune steeds

Recent news about return of Confrontation miniatures under the new label of Legacy Miniatures reminded me about the tutorial I wrote about painting steeds for drune raiders. Even if it’s nothing new, you may still find it useful if you are looking for ideas how to paint chaos demons or steeds – this method of painting skin may inspire you to do something interesting.

Introduction

As you can see the model I used was a Drune Raider from Confrontation, but the way I wanted to paint his steed was supposed to make it look demonic and unnatural. I feel that this skinned look with well defined muscles can be perfect for painting Chaos creatures.

When I am painting I often forget to take photos in the meantime, so I didn’t make a full step-by-step documentation.

That this skinned look with well defined muscles can be perfect for painting Chaos creatures.

I still hope that what I prepared gives some impression of how I created the effect that may be inspirations for those of you who wonder how to paint chaos models and their skin.

On the very beginning let me explain that the primer was not white. 😀 Don’t tune your display screens. 😉 It’s the grey spray from Maimeri Idea Spray (in my own palette of colors I would call it ‘ash-colored’).

Let’s start!

I started painting with thinning VMC 960 “Violet” heavily.
Remembering about shapes of muscles I applied glazes with a brush. This way I became familiar with the shapes of this model and started creating the next moves.

Photo: How to paint Chaos steeds or drune steeds - Tutorial

The next color I used was transparent red-brown – VMC 828 “Woodgrain”.
I used it to define the horse’s muscles more boldly… First I outlined the sinews, and then I added direction to them.

Photo: How to paint Chaos steeds or drune steeds - Tutorial

To bind the colors and reduce the contrast, I added glazes in both colors where ever I painted sinews. Don’t try to achieve such an effect in one layer – it was creating by applying more than one layer of paint. The more layers the more saturated your colors will be.

Photo: How to paint Chaos steeds or drune steeds - Tutorial

Shading

The next step was applying shadows, which made me use black color. I used ink at this stage, because it adds no texture and allows me to manipulate in recesses and build up protruding muscles… With thin lines I painted transitions from light to shadow on the sinews without losing saturation of colors.

Photo: How to paint Chaos steeds or drune steeds - Tutorial

I glazed it with Transparent Blue because Vallejo Black color is not black enough for my concept of such sinister moods

Black looked a bit vulgar on the miniature, so I made it a bit milder by adding some violet and red-brown glazes on the borders of colors.

When I was thinking about the model, I wanted something to tone down the warmth of red colors and I decided to add some green. The drune’s tunic seemed to be a good place for this. To bind the colors of the rider and the horse together, I had to add some green to the whole palette, and so I decided about the area around the eyes, and – omitting the neck – head toward highlights of the lower parts. A color less saturated than reds an violets was supposed to imitate the effect of partial shading. But I found that adding VMC 920 “German Uniform” green made the horse look matt and made it bland and nondescript… and so I found another color 😀

“And in the darkness bind them…”

To bind the green with other colors on the horse I used VMC 938 “Transparent Blue” (as the name suggests it’s a transparent blue paint ;)). It’s most visible on the horse’s face, but you can see it also on the legs, where I used it to cover the green – not only on the edges (as it was done in the upper parts) but also glazed the whole green surfaces with it…

Photo: How to paint Chaos steeds or drune steeds - Tutorial

The subject is nearly completely covered now 🙂 To make it more complete I can add that I used VMC 907 “Pale Greyblue” (which is an equivalent of the primer I used) on some parts to highlight the top of sinews, and I covered the deepest shadows with black paint. The dullness of the paint made the black even deeper, and I glazed it with “Transparent Blue” because Vallejo Black color is not black enough for my concept of such sinister moods. 😉

Now you know how to paint Chaos creatures!

If you reached this part of the tutorial, you have enough patience for painting with glazes 😀 I hope you will share your own ideas and methods of painting evil and sinister creatures in comments below.

I wish you good luck.
— Ańa

Instant Mold review and tutorial

Here is a little tutorial/review for the Instant Mold product that has been released by Cool Mini or Not (called CMON later in this article) some time ago.

Instant Mold review

The product should be available on their website in the Shop section. I’m not going to repeat what this product is aimed for since it’s clearly said in the description.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Instant Mold is cleary a nice product. You can do a lot of things, not everything but still lots. The level of details you can get is just breathtaking (of course it also depends on the original item). With a little training, you can do things like bases, weapons, and some other accessories, reaching a nice level of quality.

Warning: If you’re expecting to have in putty/green stuff/miliput or even resin the exact same quality as the original product, you would be disappointed and you don’t need to read what’s following. Though, if you can live with something that is of a nice quality but not perfect, then, you’re good to go.

CMON said on their website: “Make your own bits” and that is exactly what I needed.

For the record, I started a Salamander army for Warhammer 40K, but even though Games Workshop and Forge World released a few things for this army, they unfortunately forgot (or didn’t want) to add the Salamander’s Insignia in the drop pod kit, so I decided, thanks to the Instant Mold, to make one.

I’m not going to repeat how to use the Instant Mold, it has been seen on CMON website and you’ll find hundreds of tutorials on the web, though it’s always nice to have some little tips which I’ll try to give here.

Here is what I used

  • The item you want to mold (here it’s a FW front door for a Rhino)
  • Instant Mold
  • Something to cut with (scalpel, cutter)
  • Something to pick up the Instant Mold from the hot water
  • A little piece of plastic card
  • Something to make a container/framework for the mold and something to press the item in it (here some Legos, the number is depending on the size of the item you want to mold)
  • Some stuff (here it’s Green Stuff but you can also use Milliput, Putty…)

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

The box

The first thing you want to make is to make the box that’ll be used as container. I tried doing it without and I ended lots of time having parts that weren’t molded properly or bubbles which wasn’t nice. I noticed that with the container everything was molded nicely.

The flat pieces in the bottom are there so that you can press heavily the item in the mold without ruining it with the circles of the Legos

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Now that we have everything ready, we can start working with the Instant Mold.

Heating it up

After having put it in hot water (I have a boiling machine like the CMON guy and I put it in a bowl and then through the Instant Mold inside it) and have it ready, I place it in my container. I’m doing this in multiple times to be sure that I don’t have holes in the mold, or stuff that will make the final result crap.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Once you have fill the whole space with the Instant Mold, as you’ll notice, now, there are finger prints and bumps/holes all over the Instant Mold, so to avoid having a bad mold, I put it back like this in the hot water, taking care of not pressing it or whatever to soften it again a little so that I’ll be able to remove the fingerprints and bumps/holes using the plastic card

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Push it!

As you can see, it’s not perfect, but it’s better. If you’re fast, you can directly press your item into the mold (I personally put it back in the hot water one more time, but it’s me) using something to press.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Once you’ve pressed it, you should have something like this:

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Now you wait a little so that the mold hardened itself. Don’t try to remove the item from the Instant Mold while the Instant Mold is still soft, you might break some details here (and it’s not what you want). It takes usually 4-5 minutes to be completely hard, so be patient. You can check, while Instant Mold is hardening, if you don’t have bubbles or anything by flipping it.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

If there are bubbles or anything, you should see it clearly. When everything is hard, you can remove the item from the mold.

Cleaning up

Now the next step isn’t necessary, but I found it easier. Cut the part that aren’t necessary

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Molding

Once everything is clean, just prepare and put your putty/green stuff/miliput inside the mold.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Now, you just have to wait for it to harden. I personally wait like 8 hours. Why? Simply because I just want to be sure that everything is completely hard, because there are multiples micro details that are so easy left inside the mold.

Done!

Once everything is hard, you can easily unmold it by peeling off the stuff you used from the IM, no need to put the mold in hot water again (especially if you want to re-use it for the same item) because, even when green stuff is still pretty sticky, it won’t stick to the IM. Now you can just see the result.

Photo: Instant Mold Review and Tutorial

Do you think Instant Mold is the answer to your needs? Is the quality sufficient? Did you have any problems wih it? Why don’t you share your comments about Instant Mold here?

Thanks,

— Hellspawn

Lava tutorial – Base for Taxxis

A long long time ago…. 😉
… various lighting effects were quite trendy (and now they’re pretty oldschool, so maybe nobody cares for a lava tutorial?). Current trends in miniature painting moved away from them – which is partially caused by currently trendy color schemes. Natural colors and realistic compositions are popular now.

Why write a lava tutorial?

My ignorance made me chose this lava effect anyway, or maybe it was my contrariness? Because I still approached this subject in a different way than in the days when the whole painting community was amazed by bright and vivid colors and sharp lighting. I minimized the effect of lighting and I hope it’s enough to avoid calling this paintjob OSL 😛 After all it would make this article an OSL tutorial instead of a lava tutorial – and it’s not the purpose 😉

I don’t know if in this situation anybody is interested in a lava tutorial, but I’ll encourage you by saying painting lava can be very easy!

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Preparations

This lava tutorial isn’t anything unusual, so just like with most tutorials, it’s best to start with the very preparations. On grey basecoat I applied white paint to the parts where lava and glowing cracks were to be seen. I needed a few layers as the paint had to be smooth.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

First colors and choice of paints

When it was dry I left white in the hottest parts, and brushed Vallejo Model Color Transparent Orange. It cannot be called drybrushing, because if you have worked with Vallejo transparent paints you know how hard it is to do. Take an old big brush, and when you load it with paint, remove the excess so that the paint doesn’t run into recesses. Transparent paints are very saturated and so without big effort I achieved first effect of glowing with just two layers.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

The heat is on!

Where the heat is less intense (which means toward the top) I applied stronger orange color. I don’t know if this stage can be omitted, so if you feel like experimenting this might be the right and not very risky moment for trying. 😉 For this stage I used Transparent Orange mixed with Transparent Red (both from Vallejo Model Color range) and applied this mix onto a smaller surface than previously with the same technique similar to drybrushing.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Cooling down…

I was happy to use the Black Ink from the P3 range, which I thinned even more, I brushed it onto the horizontal surface of the rocks and I also caught a part of the highest rock.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Then I took black paint and – like on the picture – drybrushed the sides in the very normal way. Once and twice, and… I don’t remember how many times, but I believe you will see when it should stop. You see – we even found use for drybrushing in our lava tutorial!

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Not so harsh!

To soften the contrast between blacks and hot parts I mixed Transparent Orange with Woodgrain. It’s important to keep this layer transparent, because no opaque layer would join the parts we’ve already painted.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

If you don’t have transparent paints, then I would suggest to start the whole painting from pale and cold yellows, and then add darker and warmer shades. And when we reach this point I recommend going from yellows to dark warm reds, and only now brushing it with black paint.

Detailing

Now it’s time to improve details, as real lava is speckled, and if you feel like playing a bit more, just take white, orange, or orange with woodgrain, and splatter some of it onto the surfaces. You just need to aim well! 😉

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Finishing touches

No lava tutorial would be complete without the finishing touches… So now I brushed the upper parts of the most protruding rocks with light grey, and added some vegetation which wasn’t burnt by the heat. In normal conditions I wouldn’t expect anything to survive… but I am no expert in lavas as I live in a pretty safe region, but for this model it seemed acceptable.

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

Photo: How to paint lava - tutorial - Taxxis queen of undead

The finished model can be seen in my gallery.

Tell me, please, if you found this lava tutorial helpful. There is a follow-up to it on my Painting Mum blog, which presents a slightly different approach to the subject. Can you tell me which one suits your needs better and why? Thanks!

UPDATE: If you would like to know how to make more dynamic, splashing lava, follow the link to my other tutorial: How to make lava splashes. Enjoy 🙂

— Ańa

Simple bases in 5 steps

We keep being asked if we’re ever going to publish any tutorials for beginners in the miniature painting hobby. Sure, why not!


To get started with these articles, let’s follow these five easy steps to make nice but simple bases for your gaming miniatures.

Let me show you a simple and quick method for making bases.

What do we need to make our simple bases?

  • sand,
  • static grass,
  • white glue,
  • superglue,
  • bases,
  • cork,
  • paints: Bestial Brown, Vomit Brown (Citadel) and Lupin Grey (HMG Paints) or Space Wolves Grey (Citadel)

Photo: How to make simple bases in 5 steps - Tutorial

Step 1

Glue a piece of cork to your base using superglue.

Photo: How to make simple bases in 5 steps - Tutorial

Step 2

Glue some sand to your base using white glue to cover free space on the base.

Photo: How to make simple bases in 5 steps - Tutorial

Step 3

Paint the whole base black.

Photo: How to make simple bases in 5 steps - Tutorial

Step 4

Cork: paint with Bestial Brown and then drybrush with Vomit Brown.
Sand: drybrush with Lupin Grey.

Photo: How to make simple bases in 5 steps - Tutorial

Step 5

Use superglue to glue a mini to your base and white glue to add static grass.

Photo: How to make simple bases in 5 steps - Tutorial

Your base is ready! 🙂

You see, it wasn’t all that difficult.

Now if you would like more tutorials for beginners, just write what you would like to read about. What subjects would be the most interesting for you. We will do our best to follow your suggestions.