Friday, 15 May 2009

Friday - Batch construction

After spending the last few weeks making large amounts of terrain all at once, with a deadline, I thought I'd share some of the lessons that I've learned:

  • Buy ready mixed paints for large areas of drybrushing. If you have to mix paint for your mid-tone drybrushing (your final highlights should only require a small amount of paint so it's fine to mix thema s you need them) you may find it trick to get the colours right with every new batch, you also run the risk of mixing far too much and wasting paint. I advise buying three colours, the base colour, a mid tone highlight and white. You can mix the final highlight using the midtone and a little white paint.
  • Maths is your friend. Work out the amount of materials you will need, it doesn’t need to be exact, just some rough calculations to estimate the amount of MDF, Foamcard, Sand, Glue or paint that you will require. There's nothing worse than running out of glue on a Saturday evening when the shop doesn't open again until Monday morning.
  • Plan ahead. Making a lot of terrain takes a lot of time. Make sure that you allow yourself time to make the pieces you plan to, work out how long it will take and then double it, this will allow for all the unforseen hiccups that get in the way. If you have time left at the end, make some more terrain!
  • Be aware of your abilities. You should set realistic goals for what you want to achieve, make a few test pieces to ensure that you have the skills to build that gothic cathedral or landing pad, before you even begin. Be honest with yourself and don't set unachievable targets, you'll only get demoralised.
  • Work smarter. Terrain making involves a lot of waiting so stagger your work. While you are waiting for the paint to dry on one piece, you could be gluing another. It can be frustrating to find that you have a lot of pieces drying or setting and you have no work left to do while you wait!
  • Work in batches. Try to make no more than 5-10 models at a time, depending on size. If you have 20 buildings all being painted at once, the paint will dry on your brush before you finish them all.
  • Make space. A lot of terrain takes up a lot of room. Placing ruined buildings up and down your staircase, doesn’t impress anyone, especially when they’re all covered in wet paint. If you're building at home, make you confer with your significant other and let them know there may be a scale model of Stalingrad in the bedroom for a couple of weeks before a show.
  • Plan around the project: Okay so you’re amking a lot of terrain. But what else do you need? Boxes, packaging, price labels, flyers to hand out, all these take time as well so don't put them off until the last minute.
  • Have fun! Remember, this is your hobby, not work. Don't get angry or stressed and certainly don't snap at family or friends. If you're getting fed-up, go and do something else, have a cup of tea and relax, come back to it later.

I'm nearly finished making all the pieces I'm going to sell. Expect plenty of pictures tomorrow!


Ruarigh said...

Good luck with all the selling. I am not really making progress on my painting challenge for the month due to ennui with the painting process so I admire your obvious progress. I look forward to hearing how well you have done.

Dave said...

Thanks man, I think I've had enough of terrain making for the moment.
I've found that changing scales, making terrain instead of painting figures or changing form squad to single figures or vice versa can help regain my painting mojo!

I should be posting early next week on my progress.

Ruarigh said...

After posting I actually picked up a paint brush and managed to block in all the colours on my Khemru slingers ready for the dip. Only need to highlight and base after the dip. Hooray! Hopefully this means I am cooking with gas again and will complete the other unit I had planned for this month too. I must admit that I feel rather more like making terrain at the moment after reading your posts. Might make that next month's project.