Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Airbrushing: 1st Taste

So I've finally gotten most everything gathered to do airbrushing.  Compressor?  Check.  Airbrush?  Check.  Face protection?  Check.  Paints?  Che-wait, no.  Out of everything I have I'm still missing the most crucial piece.  Thankfully you can still water down your own paints and they work pretty well...mostly:





My first attempt was to lay down a solid coat of a medium-dark grey on a piece of scenery that has been lying around for...a while.  I must not have had enough paint in there as the pigment was very wet and spotty.  Since that was my very first attempt I decided to play around a bit and try a different color:



This turned out MUCH better!  I can see why they say using an airbrush saves time.  Doing the basecoat for these guys took seconds, and it would normally take me a good half hour or so to do by hand.  Too bad they were the wrong shade and I had to go back to do another coat:



It's exciting how easily I can go over a darker basecoat with a lighter shade and not have it be affected by it.  Another benefit of airbrushing is that if you're doing it right the paint won't pool in the details, leaving a more defined surface.  I was getting a bit eager at this point and decided to try out a few things.




Airbrush specific paints use a finer pigment, and have to be really thin, like a wash.  I decided to grab my green ink and try that out.  What you see above is the end result of that process.  A little more neon than what I was looking for, but it makes me excited to get my hands on some actual airbrush paints.  If only it were that easy.  The line I had decided to try out is called Minitaire, and is sold by Badger.  Unfortunately their site doesn't sell it directly, and my first attempt to purchase it from their main web distributor, Wynwyn, did not yield great results.  The site was difficult to navigate, and there was an issue during billing where it generated an invoice but didn't actually charge me.  I didn't find out about this until four days had passed.  I, "Cancelled," my order and am waiting for a different online retailer, but that seems to be taking a long time as well.  Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of paints that I can thin and use, but there is something to be said for the convenience of just being able to put a few ready-made drops into your well and airbrush to your hearts content.  If I keep encountering issues with Minitaire I may just switch over and try Vallejo Air as it seems to be easier to get your hands on.

The compressor I picked up actually had a few regular styled airbrush paints for Iwata's Medea color line.  I gave those a try:



What you're seeing is their Opaque Red and Opaque Black.  The red is obviously a bit more pink than what I'd like, and the black is standard fair.  I'm uncertain about using these paints for my miniatures, and there seems to be fumes to go along with them, which means making sure I have adequate ventilation.

After trying out the Medea paints I decided to go back and try out the grey again, but with more concentrated pigment.  The result was very worthwhile:




The coating was much darker.  I suspect it didn't coat as much/well because the scenery was still a little damp from the first coat I did.  Even still it's very exciting to see paint go on as fast as it did, and I look forward to exploring airbrushing even more (if my paints ever get here)!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Painting Challenge

Today is the conclusion to the Super Dungeon Explore expansion: The Forgotten King.  In anticipation of the upcoming minis that will follow this year (hopefully) a painting challenge thread has been started on the SDE forums.  As I picked up some SDE minis from Adepticon; I decided to throw my hat into the ring.

I decided to paint up my Vandella Succubus because she's cute, assembled, and ready to be primed:



Aside from the base game, all the SDE miniatures come pre-assembled.  This is good for the boardgame crowd as it means less tedious work or a need for tools, but less good for the hobby crowd.  Having everything assembled means it's much more difficult to get at the recessed areas, and this model was no exception.  The braids/bangs hanging down made painting the hair around her head difficult.  This was problematic because I couldn't leave it unpainted as I primed her white.  I started with the skin first though:



You can see where getting into the nooks and crannies would be difficult.  I had originally planned on doing the wing bones in black, but after consideration I ended up doing them in the same skin tone.  I like how the result came out, along with the start of the hair:



One of the fun parts about SDE models is the big eyes.  I've been spending a lot of time observing the eye colors of anime characters so I could paint up anime-style eyes on my own.  Being a fan of anime, this was a real treat for me.  I think the finished product looks pretty awesome:



While there is room for improvement I feel that this is a good start.  I've also ordered a setup for airbrushing and plan on trying that pretty soon as well, so expect some good posts about that in a week or so (once I have all my equipment).

Last but not least I've gotten the revetments painted up for my commission:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mydnight Goes Fourth!

So my weekend at Adepticon was amazing!  I got to have a lot of fun playing games, seeing friends, and even tried out a demo!

Friday I played in the team tournament with my best friend, and although we didn't do well we had a great time and got to catch up afterwards.

Saturday was the first day of the big Malifaux tournament.  Unlike previous years where they did a qualifier on Saturday and a finals on Sundy, they were doing three rounds on each day.  Saturday I had a great showing with 3-0 for my games.  I also got the time to try out a demo of Relic Knights in advance of getting my kickstarter models. 

 

It looks like it'll be a cute and fun game to play, and I look forward to getting my own models.

Sunday was the conclusion to the tournament.  The organizer took a vote and dropped the last game of the day due to people needing to catch flights and make long drives home.  My showing for the day was 1-1, and I ended up taking fourth place out of a 44 person tournament using Arcanists/Rasputina.  It was an incredible run, and it's got me thinking about competing at Gen Con.

I came home exhausted, but satisfied.  It's hard to argue with a weekend filled with great friends, great games, and great models.  Oh, and here's a pic of the swag that I got:




I got: a book, the plastic Lady Justice box for Malifaux, a Skorne battlebox for Hordes, several promo minis, a Succubus for Super Dungeon Explore, some bases, a Druid Gone Wilder, and Bombadier Bombshell for Privateer Press.  A modest but nice haul if I do say so myself.  Expect a few pics of those after I get my small commission out of the way.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Thawing Out

My attempts to overcome my lack of motivation have proven difficult, but here's hoping I turn things around with the winter finally starting to loosen its vicious stranglehold.

Adepticon is happening this weekend, and I'm looking forward to bringing my pieces again to the table (and hopefully avoiding any cars this time around).  So let's go ahead and get some pieces out that I've gotten ready for it:




First up is Sonnia.  I'll be fielding her as my master for the team tournament.  This was a fun and straightforward paintjob.  I actually went a little further than normal and tried to give the lips a little saucy definition.  I think the efforts paid off though as a friend and fellow painter commented that she looks just like Drew Barrymore.

Another addition for my crew during the team tournament is my third Witchling Stalker:




Unlike my other two Witchling Stalkers I went with more of a desert theme.  I normally like to have consistency across the board, but felt that these guys looked sneaky enough to branch out.  If I had to paint up another one I'd do him up in white and grey for a snow look.

If you have enough Witchling Stalkers you're going to want someone who can keep things in line:




The Witchling Handler came out pretty decent.  I hate using multiple browns in one figure as it becomes a challenge to actually get them distinct enough.  I was happy with how the boots turned out though, and feel that the model stands really well.

For the Malifaux 2E qualifier I'm going to be fielding my Arcanists.  I had a few more minis left to paint up.  The first of these is Joss:




There's a lot that I like about how this model came out.  The jeans and shirt were pretty close to what I was going for, and I think I might need to use a little more water when I do the grey basecoat for my whites.  The skin came out a bit darker than I was intending, but I'm still very satisfied with it.  There's enough definition and highlight to help the details stand out.  Special thanks go to a friend of mine who suggested a blue jay feather for the one in his braid.

Last but not least is the Arcane Effigy:




This guy was a little confusing to paint.  He looks different, has two coats, and a bunch of little details here and there.  With only one thin contact point for the base I'm going to have to be careful how I handle him.  The other thing that I really need more practice with is doing jewels and gems.  I keep thinking about taking an art class with the goal of getting a better handle on lighting, which I think will help strengthen my painting overall.  Personal note: I am very please with how the picture came out.

This weekend I'll be engaged in games and hunting for swag.  Meanwhile I'll be watching the Super Dungeon Explore: The Forgotten King kickstarter, and scouting the dealer's room for some SDE minis to paint up in practice.  The only thing on my table otherwise is a small commission for my friend.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Who Wants Pictures?

There are so many to post too!  Relic Knights is in production, and should finish up a few weeks following the end of the Chinese New Year.  What this means is that I have a couple of months to get stuff painted before I dive into a pile of anime-styled minis for a while.  In the meantime I've managed to finish up the last piece of my commission and some various odds and ends.  We'll start with the last piece of my commission, the Shadow Omega:





This one wasn't too bad to paint.  It starts with a medium grey layer that gets stippled with black dots.  I top it off with alternating black and blue-green washes.  I then picked out various highlight colors along with the engines.  To get the right balance for the Omega I did up a bunch of my own Shadow vessels for practice:





It was definitely a lot of fun to paint the shadows.  It's always nice to do something simple yet straightforward.

I've had a couple of Samaritan soldiers sitting on my desk for months now.  They only had a basecoat and a wash, and I kept telling myself I'd finish them up someday.  With my commissions being done I decided to finally do so:



You'll notice the pool of blood on the one Samaritan's base.  This is my first time using Game Workshop's Blood For the Blood God.



It certainly gives a good blood effect, and it can be a handy paint to have at hand if you're in a hurry.  I'd rather use a 2-layer effect of light red over dark as I feel it achieves a richer look.  The shiny effect can also be added with a paint-on gloss coat.  I'll keep it around as it has its uses, but for my bases/blood effects I feel more comfortable doing my own.

With Adepticon just around the corner I'm starting to gear up to compete.  Thankfully there's not a lot of models I need to get painted (most of them were done last year), but I have a few to show off:





I've gotten so accustomed to doing commissions that it feels weird to see my own models getting painted.  I admit that I have a lot of fun painting my own models following a commission.  Not painting my own stuff for a while because I have to be responsible has helped to keep me interested in painting over the past couple of years.  I just have to figure out a good balance.

One last peak before I go.  I started work on my Guild master Sonnia Creed, and it's easily one of the best faces I've done so far:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Dream Given Form

It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. 



The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal, to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. 



 It's a port of call - home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers.

 

 Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. 

 

It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace.  This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations.  The year is 2258.  The name of the place is Babylon 5. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Beginning

The start of a new year, and with it the continuation of the never-ending journey of miniatures painting.  The end of last year was very busy between work and family, but I have not been completely idle.  Time to catch everybody up on what I've painted.  Let's start with an exchange I did for a Jayne hat that a friend of mine made:



And a gift for my friend's birthday:



I'm going to be keeping my descriptions brief with one exception.  There's a lot that's been done, and a lot to go.  I painted up an OGRE Mk. IV in ATACS camo:



That was for my friend, and he liked it enough that he sent it along to the people who make ATACS camo.  Sadly they did not respond, but it would've been really cool if they had.  This same friend is the one who I paint miniatures for on a regular basis.



As of right now I've completed nearly everything I've been commissioned to do:



Probably one of my finest pieces was the tiger stripe camo I did for a group of tanks and infantry:



Tigerstripe is my favorite camo because I feel that the name captures both the essence and the setting where it was used perfectly.  Tigerstripe camo was developed for use in jungle territories, and it's easy to see how it would help a person to blend in to the background.  I started off with a dark drab green for the basecoat:



I spent some time trying to figure out a good way to get the breaking lines you see in the tigerstripe pattern, and eventually decided to use an old brush that could no longer hold a point:



This turned out really well!  The bristles ended up splitting into two or three small tips, which gave me some very nice stripes.  After getting the gray down I had to switch to a brown color to paint over it as the grey is very subtle and doesn't show through as much:



It's easy to see at this point that the colors are coming together beautifully.  The last layer to add was the black stripes, and I had to be very careful with these.  Too little and it wouldn't be quite finished, too much and it would stand out.  Thankfully I managed to get it just right:



They turned out beautifully, and the camo looks like it was actually printed rather than painted on.  Definitely a noticeable advancement of my camo-painting skills:



I am nearing the end of my commission.  All the vehicles, buildings, and infantry have been painted:



Now all that remains is a Babylon 5 Shadow Omega.  I've already prepped some Shadow vessels for practice since the Shadow Omega uses the same scheme, and the Shadow Omega itself is just about done being assembled.  Expect a few more Babylon Project posts in the near future!