Now that the free week-long Beta test is over, some fun statistics are cropping up about the Overwatch Beta. According to Steam Spy, most of the top shooters available through Steam saw a sizable decrease in attention during the beta. Searches for “overwatch” on the popular porn site PornHub saw an 800% rise during the test period. The Overwatch Subreddit has exploded with stories of players claiming to have withdrawal, or proclaiming it to be the best thing they’ve played in years and will buy two copies of the game, just because. All other games feel bland, by comparison.

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I spent several hours playing, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I was lucky to fall in with a group of long time FPS players, and we embraced the strong team-play aspect of this game. Using Discord, we hung out and explored the first new IP from Blizzard in 17 years. For those who don’t know, Blizzard has a history of producing immersive, polished video games that hold their own for a long time. Star Craft, for instance, is so popular in Korea, that it is on broadcast television.

But what makes Overwatch so great? To me, it was the rich and unique cast of characters, gorgeous maps with transparent but meaningful objectives and Blizzard’s focus on providing a positive experience to it’s players and fanbase. This isn’t to say there aren’t some things that worry me or that need improvement, but I’ll get into that later.

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This piece has been on my desk for a bit, getting attention when I had time. Technically, it’s a commission – a follow along for the same client that had me paint up Madrak a while back.

This past weekend my gaming club, the Nova Nomads, put on our annual charity event: Feat of Service. This year, we were benefiting the Fischer House Foundation. Part of the event is a painting contest (this was in lieu of the Custom Caster event we’ve done for the past two years).

That was the impetus I needed to finish this up.

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The most difficult part of this model were the crystals. I had to examine each facet of each crystal and shade and highlight them individually. It was lots of work, but it turns the lumps of stone into glowing crystals.

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I’m incredibly pleased with how this guy turned out. The Classic Mauler is one of my favorite models that PP’s put out, and I’m glad I got the chance to paint one (they’re no longer producing it!).

The judges we had for feat of Service seemed to like it too, because they gave it the win! The competition was very stiff, and it just barely beat out a gorgeous NMM Thyron model.

Guild Ball’s becoming a pretty big deal locally, and I wasn’tg surprised when one of my local players who hates painting contacted me about painting up one of his teams. He gave me full control over the scheme and let me loose. I did some research online and picked a few schemes I liked. If you look around, you’ll see that I stole some color placement ideas, and I flat out copied an idea for the color I finally set on for the robes.

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I’m painting the entire faction for him, but we broke it up into the models he really wanted to play with first, and then the rest. This batch of five allows him to add in one of his Union models for a full sized 6-man team.

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This post is more of a showcase and explanation of the paint scheme. I will use the three remaining models as a vehicle for a proper tutorial on this scheme and the techniques I’m using to achieve it. If possible, I may even film / broadcast it … If that something you’d be interested in, let me know in a comment.

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I was asked a week or two ago about preventing paint chipping and figured it might be worth a quick note here, in case others out there are having issues.

The two points below should help greatly reduce the chances of paint chipping or wearing away through use during gaming, shipping or general handling. They work for different reasons, and have different advantages and drawbacks which I’ll discuss. However, it’s worth noting that there’s little any amount of prep or protection can do against models that are dropped onto hard floors or that are handled very roughly.

Proper Pre-paint Preparations

Beyond mold lines and pinning, the step I skipped for the longest time was washing the model with warm water and dish soap. I was either too hurried to paint the new shiny toy, didn’t put any credence into that step, or merely forgot – but I ignored it for a long time. Then, in one of Meg Maples‘ classes when asked about this very topic, mentioned that she doesn’t seal any of her pieces at all because proper prep was sufficient when models are carefully handled.

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This is all to say: Don’t skip the wash step. The oils used to help the cast parts release from the mold also act as a barrier to paint. They interfere with it’s ability to stick to the metal or plastic, and that makes it much, much easier for the paint to chip off.

This should be done on all of your models, regardless of whether they are game play pieces or display pieces. No matter what the model’s used for, helping the paint stick to it in the first place is a great idea! Duh.

Sealing

This is the most common angle people take on this issue, but there’s a particular way that works better than others.

The best way to create a protective coat is to use a hard gloss coat. Gloss varnish flows together to make a uniform, solid shell. Flat varnish does it’s best to not flow together, instead attempting to dry in a rough surface (this is how the flat look is achieved). The nature of these two types of finish means that the glossy coat is far more resilient than the flat one.

So, that means that only gloss coats do any work towards protecting your model. However, rarely do you want a super glossy model, right? It’s great for model cars but rather out of place for anything else.

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So, the best way to seal a model is with a solid gloss coat, and then a dusting of flat to kill the shine.

I use Future Floor Wax (purchased by Pledge a while back) for my gloss coat. It’s thin enough to put through an airbrush, and being floor wax, it’s designed to be very durable. Plus, it doesn’t smell terrible like spray paints because it’s designed to be used indoors. You could easily brush it on also. For the flat coat to fix the glossiness, I run Liquitex Matte (Flat) varnish through my airbrush. I’ve found that quick short bursts work best, because the varnish relies on not staying wet too long, so a thick coat ends up being satin rather than flat.

Conclusion

So, there’s my two-pronged approach for this problem. First, you want to do your best to help the paint stick to the model on the first place. This will help the paint not chip off to begin with. Secondly, sealing the paint on gaming pieces helps it from getting worn off due to all the handling that comes with being a gaming piece.

Good luck, and let me know if this works for you (or doesn’t)!