Saturday, August 29, 2015


So time for my first blog post following the challenge.  This should technically be my second blog post, but I have a good reason for missing it.  Here it is:

Last weekend I was in the Chicago-land area participating in my other hobby of running.  I got to run 3 nautical miles on the Great Lakes Naval Base, and it was a wonderful experience.  The base was great to see, and part of my run took me right up to the shore of Lake Michigan.  I will definitely be doing it again next year, and with luck I'll be doing the 10 nautical mile run!

But you didn't come here to hear my tales of running.  No no, you came for the minis:

I've started to resume my usual practice when I have a commission of this size, which is to spend at least 30 minutes each night painting.  It may only result in one layer, but steady progress helps me go forward.  I also end up spending more time than the 30 minutes.  So let's dig in:

The first two pics are the base layer of dark green and a bit of highlighting.  One of my big worries was how the colors would look, and I felt that looking at the color here that these guys could be right out of an episode of Robotech.  There is something very satisfying about getting a color right when painting.

One of my standard tactics is to do a wash or two.  Usually I'll do it to help smooth over the layers, add some definition to the recessed areas, or to help darken a color that is too bright.  When I asked my friend what color he wanted I was told dark green, and that's what I'm going with.  If you look closely at the pics you'll see that there's two styles of shading.  In one of them I'm doing a bit more lining/highlighting, and the other has me trying to shade plates more to help create a sense of lighting.  After some consideration I have decided to go with the more lining/highlighting style.  It's what I'm good at practiced with and I feel that it looks better overall.

These last pics show off the progress I've been making.  With the green done I've started on the white part.  I've said it before that white looks better as the top layer/highlight of whatever you're painting, so the, "White," that you see is actually a grey called weathered stone (also one of my favorite colors to use).  Up next will be me putting in the actual white, and moving on to the misc items (feet, gun, visor, and so forth).  Look for finished pictures next week!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Heat is On!

Lately I haven't been doing as much painting.  While I have been doing other stuff, I feel that I have neglected my hobby and my blog.  My fellow painter and friend, Matt, has also been lacking motivation.  Through our frequent conversations we both came to find out that we have a small pile of unpainted miniatures (about 29).  So Matt decides that competition is a great motivator and issued a challenge:

That's me on the right

The Goal:  Paint 29 miniatures before the other person.  Make at least 1 blog post a week if not more
The Stakes:  A care package of goodies from the other's respective country.
The Start:  August 15th
The End:  However long it takes.

We both have the same amount of miniatures, but not the same type.  My 29 miniatures are all Robotech.  Here's my lot:

A more comprehensive list might help(NOTE - I grew up with Robotech and use the older terminology and not the new ones given in Robotech RPG Tactics):

5x Veritech Battloids
5x Guardian Mode Veritechs
5x Veritech Fighters
2x Spartans
2x Raider X's


6x Battlepods
2x Artillery Battlepods
1x Recon Pod
1x Officer's Battlepod

So far my miniatures are ready to go aside from some primering I plan to finish up tomorrow.  Otherwise it's a matter of figure out what to paint when so as to keep things interesting.  There is a LOT of veritechs in various shapes, but I've got a Forest Green/White Trim scheme in mind, and if I don't mix it up then things will get stale REALLY fast.

Overall the challenge is going to be slightly balanced.  My miniatures are all decent sized on 40mm bases, but with no basing.  My opponent's are a mix of sizes consisting mainly of 30mm but with some 50mm thrown in.  His are all based as well, which will add more painting time to the mix.  All in all I think we're equally matched.

There are no losers in this.  The ultimate goal is for us to re-invigorate our passion for painting and to make a dent in our respective backlogs.

That being said I'm looking forward to some German chocolate :D

Sunday, August 9, 2015

A (Hopeful) Return to Writing

So it's been a long time since my last post.  I have run in a race, gotten surgery, struggled with depression, and tried to muddle through as best I can.  Unfortunately I have not been painting as much as I'd like.  I have managed to make some headway, and plan to share that with you now.

My primary focus is getting a large commission of Robotech miniatures done.  So far I've gotten the lot assembled (the complexity of the Wave 1 Kickstarter models is something I have grumbled about endlessly), and out of the 33 models I have completed...four.

Painting robots has required a different approach from painting normal models.  The big thing is that there's plating, which doesn't shade as well as the folds of clothing or armor.  The lighting is a bit different and that's a challenge.

My theory on this so far is to try to get the light hitting the right areas.  I start with a base coat, mix in the mid tone and hit a lot of the raised/visible areas, and then top it all off by mixing in the highlight and picking out the uppermost areas.  It's going to take some fiddling, but I'm starting to get into the swing of things already.

Let's take an in-depth look at the Gladiators I painted.  For the most part I've been asked to do the classic paint schemes for all but the veritechs in the lot of Robotech figs.  The main color on the gladiators is green.

Whenever I paint a model that has a large portion in the same color (in this case 80%) it becomes difficult to discern progress.  I like a dark base coat and then picking out the medium and highlight layers, but when your target color is in the medium range it takes a while before you begin to truly appreciate your progress.

Even though there wasn't a lot of white as soon as I started applying it I felt like the model had finally begun to come to life.  It still surprises me how much of an effect you get when you add a little color to a model that is almost entirely monochrome.

The colors for the gladiators were: Green, White, Red, and Gray.  In that order of use.  I have to admit that I'm quite fond of the end result.  When I get around to painting my own models I'm debating about whether or not to use the standard schemes or try my own.  These make me want to try this out again.

I wanted to get these guys finished up for a very specific reason.  A friend of mine has challenged me to a paint off starting August 15th, and I have accepted.  I'll be posting more details later this week, but it's a great motivator to get more painting (and blogging) done.

Friday, March 6, 2015

State of the Blog

It's been quite a while since my last post, and I wanted to bring everyone up to date on things.  The holidays were crazy, and I've spent the last couple of month fighting off the winter blues.  It may not sound like much, but somedays it took my all just to push through and get to the end.

But that doesn't mean I haven't been doing hobby things.  I've been working on chainmail, scalemail, Robotech miniatures, and even some Malifaux.

With the return of more sunlight I hope to be making more posts.  For a few months posts I will be doing more catching up on what I've done since I am training to run the Mini-I challenge in the Illinois Marathon (running is a hobby too), and this kind of limits the amount of time I get in an evening.

Most of what I'll be doing during the week is assembly of miniatures, with some painting time here and there, but mostly on the weekends.  With that in mind, how about a few pictures to get to what you're really here for?

A commission that I did for a friend, but have kept secret since I entered it into an online painting contest:

This is a piece that has gotten a lot of compliments, and is probably one of the better pieces I've painted.  I was quite surprised at how much time I had to put into it given the limited range of articles to paint.  It was a lot of fun regardless, and my friend was very happy with the finished product.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cheering Up A Friend

Some days are better than others, but then there are days that make the list.  In case you didn't click the previous link, my friend recently had a really really bad day.  My response was to keep up a constant stream of pictures from the latest (and eagerly awaited) commission for him. 

That's the start.  I was told platinum blonde hair, but not too white.  I used a very light grey with some yellow wash, and then started picking out the highlights with the same base color mixed in with a dash of yellow, followed by highlighting up to white and topped with a yellow wash.  BONUS: The eyes came out looking absolutely lovely!

The shirt came out looking great.  The character, named Alta, is an NPC sailor on the ship, "The Virtuous Maiden," in an ongoing fantasy campaign I'm running.  When I asked how her shirt was to be painted I was told, "Blue, like the water."  I broke out a nice turquoise and started with that.  I tried a nice light green wash, but stopped using it pretty quickly when I saw that it wasn't going to really show up in the recesses.  Instead I went with a dark blue wash, and starting with the base color again highlighted up towards a mint white.  I like smoothing things over with a thin wash after I'm done highlighting, and so I used the green wash from earlier and it turned out perfectly.

When originally looking at the mini from the front you can see what might come across as kneepads, but it's actually her knees showing through.  Turns out that the leather guard on front is more a pair of chaps.  There was some deliberation as to whether or not her knee or pants were showing.  Checking out the back of her legs you can see some natural folds that don't look quite like skin, and thus resulted in the above.

Trying to gauge how close to completion a miniature is can be very difficult.  Sometimes it looks like you're nowhere near done only to find out that you just have a few minor details left, and other times it looks like you're 95% done for an additional four hours of work.  Alta ended up being the former.  There was a lot of spots of leather, and normally I like to vary it up a bit and make some of the leather black or a darker shade of brown, but I was requested to keep it as just leather.  I'm glad I did, and I think the worked out very well.  I may have to change how I approach similar materials on miniatures in the future.

So that's the finished miniature right?  Well, not exactly.  She's fully painted yes, but I still wanted to add more to her base. 

Alta's companion has already been painted up previously, and I wanted her basing to match his.  This way they could stand together on the table and be in unison.  My friend was very happy with the final result, and now Alta and Lictalor are together at last.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

All Aboard!

It started out like any other evening.  Work was winding down, and I only had one stop to make on the way home.  The previous day I had received a notice that a package was waiting for me to pick up from the post office.  I hadn't been expecting anything, and my curiosity was piqued.  After I retrieved my parcel from the postal teller I noticed that the sender was simply labeled as, "Chaosium."  Thinking nothing of it I returned home and began to inspect its contents:

What did I find inside?  The beginning:

A treasure trove of lost knowledge and artifacts had been sent to me.  Tickets, passports, postcards, a map, and books started me on a European tour that I would never forget, try as I might:

My hands trembled as I removed the blasphemous knowledge from its sturdy cradle.  I struggled to understand the curvilinear hieroglyphs that seemed foreign yet strangely familiar to me. 

Names, places, danger, and terror beyond comprehension flashed through my mind as my fingers danced across the tomes.  I wanted to turn away, to leave the precipice of discovery at which I stood, yet something sinister kept drawing me in:

I finally reached the last of the box's contents.

In my hands I held diagrams of some profane and alien nature.  What lost and ancient evil threatened to consume me?  Could I survive such a journey, and would I want to?  My eyes looked out the window to the dawning twilight, and in my ears I fancied that I could hear the distant whistle of a train calling out to its passengers.  The Orient Express awaits.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fun Times at Windy Con

Even though I'm entering into the new weekend I'm finally posting about my experiences at Windy Con from the previous weekend.

Windy Con is a small Sci Fi con held at the Westin in Lombard, which coincidently is the same place I've gone to for Adepticon (though Adepticon is going to be held at a new location this year).  Overall it's a small con, but nice.  While my big attraction to the con was seeing friends up north, I happened upon some really neat costumes.  First up is a member of the 501st on his way to judge a costume contest:

Unfortunately I either didn't get his name, or forgot to write it down, but he had important business to do.  I've been following the 501st on Facebook and admire the group.  They have a very positive message for people who want to costume, and are very anti-bullying among other noble qualities.  Getting to meet one was pretty awesome!

As if meeting one of the 501st wasn't awesome enough, I saw an incredible fallen Chamberlain costume from Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal:

Seeing a costume like this is always a wonderful treat, and there was a lot of hard work and TLC that went into this.  I was so taken aback that I didn't think to get a picture *WITH* the Chamberlain.  I'll not be so surprised next time!

Last but not least is a bit of swag that I came across:

I was surprised to come across these two gems.  I have been hunting for Nyan Nyan and Captain R for a while, but they have been in short supply with no relief in sight.  The dealer's room at Windy was a bit lacking for my tastes since it's more of a sci-fi/local con rather than a gaming con, but coming across those two minis was a pretty nice find!

My painting has been lagging behind a bit, but now that the ZOE-miniatures are done (and on display this weekend!) I'm back to focusing on commissions with a few pieces of my own mixed in for flavor.  Currently up on deck is a Snow Storm model I'm doing for a friend.  The first piece, Snow, is done and below.  You might notice the start of a holiday theme, but it will become more apparent once I've finished Storm:

Now that I'm not traveling as much I hope to get some more painting time in on the weekend.  Once Snow Storm is finished I'll be painting up an NPC referred to as Alta which uses an Elf from Reaper's Warlord line.