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WPS FAQ Draft 0.1

1. Models and Modelling

1.1 Gosh GW figures are expensive! Are there any alternatives?
1.2 Well they were cheap but they look too small! What's this scale business?
1.3 Gosh GW paints aren't very good! Are there any alernatives?
1.4 Gosh but GW modelling supplies don't meet my needs! are there any alternatives?
1.5 I don't really need to undercoat my models do I?
1.6 OK Then, what's the best way to undercoat my models
1.7 Once I've undercoated a model, how can I paint it for best effect?
1.8 And after all that hard work, how do I protect it?
1.9 How can I strip the paint off a model?
1.11 Do I need to use GW paintbrushes
1.12 Where can I get scenery, besides GW stores?
1.12 How do I know what size base to put my model on?

Gosh GW figures are expensive! Are there any alternatives?

Lots, as it happens. For starters, you could try a discount GW retailer. In the UK Chelgames are a good choice while in Australia you could try Milsims. If you want to play in GW shops/tournaments you'll need to bring GW figures but if you're not bothered about that there are a huge number of manufacturers that make 25/28mm metal figures. A good bet are Black Tree Design who make miniatures specifically to mirror the GW range but at about half the price! The quality isn't up to GW standards, but the figures are servicable. You could also try Ral Partha. There are a huge number of others. Search the web!

Well they were cheap but they look too small! What's this scale thing?

GW and Black Tree figures are 28mm. Most miniature manufacturers produce 25mm figures. It might not sound like a lot but there is a difference in size. The difference becomes more pronounced the larger the figures. So, a 25mm Goblin won't look much different to a 28mm one, whereas a 25mm Giant is more the size of a 28mm Ogre! Generally though, for human-size figures mixing 25mm and 28mm figures isn't a problem. It might even make your army have a more realistic range of heights! Some manufacturers make 15mm figures and these really are too small: they're more Warmaster scale. Interestingly, GW LotR figures are 25mm and not 28mm in scale so if you want a quick appraisal of the difference, pop down your local GW store and compare LotR and WFB figures.

Gosh GW paints aren't very good! Are there any alernatives?

Well your choice is a bit more limited but of course there are alternatives. The main problem with GW paints is the tops which tend to either dry on solid or allow the paint inside to dry in a shockingly short time. You should note that GW swapped to the newish design about 3/4 years ago and will be changing the paint pots soonish (read a year here). Another good fantasy range in Coats d'Arms paints which can be bought from Gladiator Games in the UK. The range isn't as wide as GW but you get more paint for less money and the come in hassle-free flip top pots. Another alternative is Vallejo paints which are hard to find in the UK, but we've heard some great things about them. GW do produce a very good range of colours and most of us find ourselves using a few pots of GW paint from time to time.

Gosh but GW modelling supplies don't meet my needs! are there any alternatives?

Yes, lots. If you've got a local model shop pop down there and you'll likely find a bigger range of flock, tools and paints than you do at GW and for a cheaper price too. Otherwise search the net, there are lots of suppliers. For a lot of tools and materials, your local hardware store is also a good place to hunt. You should be aware that the 'standard' modelling putty you buy in model shops (miliput) is generally considered inferior to GW green stuff for conversions because it doesn't mould very easily. There are other compaines that make green stuff though.

I don't really need to undercoat my models do I?

Well no, in fact, but all the best painters do it, and for good reason. For starters an undercoat with a proper prime (like GW spray paints) will help stop paint flaking or chipping off your model later. It also means your paints will go on more evenly over the model than they will on bare metal. Finally, your choice of undercoat colour can actually effect the overall look and feel of the finished model. Models undercoated black tend to look darker and more muted while a white undercoat usually results in (surprise!) and model with brighter colours.

OK Then, what's the best way to undercoat my models

There's basically two approaches to this. Firstly you could buy a can of coloured primer and spray your models before you paint them. GW spray paints are pretty good for this: if you buy elsewhere make sure your buying a primer and not an ordinary spray paint else you'll get inferior results. This is the easy method and it also gives the best surface to paint on. The downsides are that it's easy to obscure fine detail by applying too much paint and it's very hard to get complete/even coverage. Some people prefer making a wash of ordinary acryllic paint about 1:1 paint to water and washing it over the model. This is less effective as an undercoat but will leave detail completely intact. The choice is yours. A possible compromise is to spray your troopers and wash your (usually more detailed) character models.

Once I've undercoated a model, how can I paint it for best effect?

That's far beyond the scope of this FAQ. There's plenty of tutorials out there on the web though. You could try the painting clinic or even the official GW guide. Again, there's lots of others so have a search of the web.

And after all that hard work, how do I protect it?

With varnish, that's how. Spray varnish is generally considered best for this and it comes in three flavours, gloss, matt and satin. GW only sell gloss and satin and matt varnish can be difficult to get hold of: ask your local hobby shop. The three differ in the finish they give to the model. Gloss varnish is shiny whereas matt is just the opposite: it gives a rough 'dull' finish. Satin has no prevaling finish and generally leaves your model with the same textures it had when you finished painting it. Which you prefer is up to your personal tastes but as a rule of thumb, figures with lots of armour on look best glossed while those without are better off matted: experiment, or look at other gamers' models and see which you prefer. There are other considerations though. Gloss varnish is harder wearing than matt and for that reason, matt devotees usually recommend you put a coat of gloss on and let it dry before you apply the matt varnish. Matt varnish also has a nasty habit of picking up dirt during the figures lifetime which results in a very gradual muting of colour. Mind you, if you prefer the matt finish anyway, chances are you might even like the effect. Some people like to spray with one type and then apply another from a pot with a brush to particular areas (say gloss varnish to metal areas). Finally, whatever type of varnish you chose make sure you use AT LEAST 2 coats to protect your models and more if you feel you need to.

How can I strip the paint off a model?

The subtext to this question is how do you strip the paint off plastic models since for metal ones you can use commercial paintstripper, nail varnish remover, surgial spirit or any other one of a hundered household items. Most of these will melt plastic, however and should be avoided, especially since lots of metal GW figures have plastic components. For plastic-safe treatment you could try non-acetone nail varnish remover or brake fluid. Don't use Halfords brake fluid though as that will melt plastic. In the USA, a lot of gamers swear by a commonly available detergent called pine-sol for getting paint off plastic. The final option is to get a pot of modelstrip which is sold in many model shops as a means to get paint off plastic military models. It's a kind of putty you spread all over the figure. It's quite expensive and can be hard to find, but it works pretty well.

Do I need to use GW paintbrushes

No, and indeed GW paintbrushes are not considered all that good for the price. The sole exception is the drybrush they sell which is very good for the job and which you won't find anywhere else. For other brushes check out art shops and/or model shops. Don't buy cheap: it's a better idea to spend a few pounds on a brush and look after it properly. It'll give you better results than a cheap brush.

Where can I get scenery, besides GW stores?

Again, local hobby shops and model stores are a good bet, especially those that sell model trains, as these often have lots of scenery bits for making train dioramas. You could also try making your own: it's not that hard and there's lots of sites on the net which can help you with ideas and designs.

How do I know what size base to put my model on?

Unfortunatley there's no official ruling on this from the army books, so the general answer is: whatever size base the model was supplied with. There are exceptions though. For starters, models on round bases are considered to have a 'square' frontage for the purposes of combat and ranking up. This mainly covers models supplied with flying bases (fell bats and such) which are considered to have 40x40mm bases so many modellers just go ahead and put them on that size of base anyway, discarding the flying base that comes with those models. Attach the model to the 40x40 base with the clear plastic stick supplied for the purpose. The dwarf Anvil of Doom also has a round base but is considered to have a 60x60mm base for combat purposes, the same frontage as the three dwarf defenders.

The next issue is models supplied without bases, such as chariots and war machines. The base size of these models is considered to be the size of the model itself, so an easy opt out is not to put the model on a base at all. However, many people do base these models for scenic effect or ease of movement but remember that however big the base is, the actual base for charging, ranges etc is still considered to be the size of the model.

Finally, what to do if you're not using GW figures. Well, black tree miniatures come with GW style slotta bases, but otherwise your likely up for sawing the metal base off the model and gluing it to a plastic base. If you need a list, the general consesus is that anything man-sized or smaller goes on a 20x20mm base except the following: Chaos Warriors, Chaos Marauders, Orcs, Chaos Beastmen, and Lizardmen Saurus. All those go on 25x25mm bases. Cavalry of all kinds goes of 25x50mm bases. What could be described as 'small monsters' (ogres, kroxigor and the like) go on 40x40mm bases and 'large monsters' (dragons, giants etc) go on 50x50mm bases. Confused? You will be!