Sunday, October 4, 2015

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Once again I'm late on my, "Weekly," updates.  The past two weeks have been quite brutal.  Work has been very stressful, my Grandfather passed on, and all the while I still try to study, exercise, and paint.  Here's the sum total of what I would have posted last week:

I had started out with the intent of getting the green done on two fighters, and was in the zone and ready to put in a good amount of time.  However I hit a spot of hidden water from when I had rinsed these miniatures, and was forced to set them aside.  I had intended to return to painting later that day, but became lost in other things.

This past week I redoubled my efforts to complete the fighters, and have been successful!

In spite of things the fighters painted up very quickly.  A lot of the surface area is tucked underneath, which makes it easier to paint.  The order of difficulty for the miniatures would have to be, from easiest to most difficult: Fighter, Guardian Mode, Battloid.  Originally I had thought to vary things and mix it up with battlepods and the remaining destroids, but having a rhythm and an eye for the colors I feel more inclined to finish up all the Veritechs first.

Normally I do a regular brown for the bases, but this time I did something different:

Given that the fighters sit on top of a stand and don't contact the base directly I decided to paint them over rushing water.  I used a blue that doesn't go on solid, and dry-brushed some teal on top of it before covering it all with a turquoise wash.  I think the effect came out pretty well.  Another thing I altered slightly is how I did the cockpit:

It may not be as distinguishable in the pic, but the fighter has a slightly smoother shine as the top layer on the cockpit.  The difference between the fighter and the guardian is that I blended the brightest color into the layer before it rather than just use it straight (as I did on the Guardian).  I would have taken more pics, but every day this past week was a struggle, and I admit I was in a rush.  Here's how the veritechs look in all their forms:

In other news I picked up a copy of Kingdom Death: Monster.  I saw the kickstarter for this three years ago, and thought the sculpts of the minis were great, they were ultimately not what I was looking for.  Earlier this week I read a writeup of the rules on Ctrl + Alt + Del and decided that I needed to have the game.  Thankfully it was less than 24 hours later that pre-orders became available again.  While I wait for my copy of the game to arrive late this month I will continue painting Robotech.  Next up is Breetai!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

On Time

In my last post I had made some really good progress on the two guardians.  I finished the green and had just put a coat of wash on it.  The green is the majority color so overcoming it is a big chunk of the miniature, but it always seems like getting the little details on takes an equal amount of time.

This is the point where things are starting to really come together.  As always I put down a layer of grey before I paint white because it helps the white to go on smoother, and I use the white as a highlight.  I'm still figuring out lighting, highlighting, and shading on robotic models, but it's coming along.

There's the final product.  One of the things that stands out the most to me is that the missles on a lot of other people's veritechs, and in the show itself, are all white.  Since I've got white on there as well I wanted to go with something different, and ended up with a dirty grey.  As I started to paint them I wasn't sure if it would work, but I like how it turned out and feel that it pops out more than if I had painted them white.  Let's see how they look next to the battloids:


I had teased a metal model last time, and while I had originally planned to paint it next the humidity has been pretty brutal lately.  If you apply primer to a mini in high humidity or low temperatures then the primer doesn't go on quite right and it gives the miniature a texture.  I have a backup plan for what I'm going to do next though, so I'll let you take a guess at what it might be.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekly Bi-Weekly

When I originally set out on this competition I had resolved to do a blog post once a week at least.  Here we are at the end of week four, and I'm on my second post.  In my defense I've spent the past two weekends running tabletop RPG's, so it's not all bad.  Let's start off with my first two finished pieces:

A lot of work is going into these models, which is why it's taking me longer to finish them.  So let's dive into next pair of models - two guardian mode veritechs:

On the left you can see the first basecoat, and on the left is what it looks like after a wash (note that the wash was still fresh in that pic).  The green that I used looks dark when it goes on my palette, but once it goes on it's a bit more thin and spreads out easier.  The end result is a slightly lighter and messier finish.  It takes a few coats to really get it solid.  Here's what it looks like after the wash and another coat of green:

 Multiple coats is what it takes to get the colors smoothed out.  This adds more time, but in the end it looks much better.  Next up is a few layers of highlighting, but this presented me with a dilemma.

I liked how the two Guardians looked after the layers of highlights.  I felt that the colors had really come together and were really working.  I encounter this problem from time to time whenever I'm painting up a group or unit that has some kind of consistency to it.  You've got some that look the same, but then one or two guys look different but really stand out well. 

In the end I asked my friend what he wanted to do, and he voted for consistency.  So in the end I washed the two models, but took care to not put on too heavy of a coat least I lose the finer details.  I think they turned out pretty good.

This was about Tuesday when I had gotten the wash done, and I had been hoping to get more progress in before the weather changed and threw my energy/motivation levels for a loop.  I should be finishing them up this week, and then I get to go a little off-schedule.

When me and Matt were discussing the terms of our competition we both agreed that we could swap out three models from our list.  I knew one of these models would be the special edition Breetai figure that was a Gen Con & Kickstarter Backer exclusive.  I got a few exclusives myself, including: Miriya in Super Veritech Guardian Mode, Max Sterling in Battloid, my very own Breetai, and a Greel Zentraedi Male Power Armor.  I don't know what I'll use the other two swaps for, and I'm holding them in reserve in case I need a break from painting Robotech models.  Then again I keep eyeing my Super Veritech in Guardian mode.

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.