Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Importance of Basing

One of the things that can go overlooked on any miniature is its base.  When you're first starting out it's easy to just be satisfied with having the model on the base.

While it is a good start there is so much more you can do to increase the presentation.  A miniatures base is a way to give more environment and texture to your piece.  You can put tons of effort into a really good show piece, but you can do a lot with just some simple steps.

Accomplishing the above is pretty simple.  Go to a hobby or hardware store and pick up some sand in two different grades of coarseness.  It helps to get one that is really fine so it can mix into smaller areas better.  I used a medium and a heavy grade for my simple pieces, but finer grades work much better.

To start you mix some PVA (think Elmers) glue with a bit of water, usually about half and half, and then paint it on the base wherever you want the ground/texture to cover.  Once it's dry you just dip the base into the sand mixture and shake/tap off the rest.

As you can see there are some gaps where the bottom of the base shows through.  To get around this you want to wait till the first coat of glue dries, and then just paint another layer of glue over the top and give it another dip in the sand.

While you can add your basing after you paint your piece I find that you get a better effect if you paint the terrain yourself.  For my piece I painted a dark brown, dry brushed a medium brown, and followed it up with a light shade of brown.  Once all that was done I used a brown wash to help blend everything together as well as smoothing out the dustiness that drybrushing leaves.  The end result is a pleasant looking base.

There are other items you can add after painting to still get the base to pop (such as flock, static grass, reeds, and bushes), but to get a good texture and help maintain a sense of consistency it can help to paint your basing first.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The First Wave

The first circle is nearing completion.  What started as an attempt to see if I could do camo is just about done.  The first grouping of OGRE miniatures painted in Russian Arctic Camo is just about done.  Six Heavy Tanks and Nine Light Tanks are all done and sealed

I managed to perfect my recipe just enough to replicate it.  The base color I used was Cayman Green (Vallejo 72067), and it turned out better than Camouflage Green.  The next layer was just straight Dead White (Vallejo 72001) applied in a wavy stripe pattern.  One thing to note is that with each layer after the base I tried to add more blobs to it.  Essentially you want to keep your lines from being clean and straight. 

Next layer is the brown layer.  It took me a little mixing to get a good brown that was neither too dark or too light.  I mixed Charred Brown (Vallejo 72045) with Beasty Brown (72043) in a close to 50-50 mix; though it was probably closer to 60-40.  For the brown pattern I kept to more large groupings/blobs connecting and crossing over the white.  Very simple and straightforward.

The top layer was black (Vallejo 72051).  A simple smattering of squiggles, small elongated blobs, and twisted V's applied over the rest helped to blend it all together.  When I look at them on my table it's easy for the eyes to glide right over them.  You have to be careful when applying the black.  Too much and you're covering up your previous layers, too little and the effect is jarring.  I would apply squiggles and V's, then touch up the in-between areas with elongated blobs.  This would be the overall effect:

One thing I like to do is pay attention to all the details.  I ended up putting a lot of effort and thought into the treads even though they'd hardly be seen at all.  I mixed Beasty Brown with Cold Grey (Vallejo 72050) to get a nice smooth and dull brown (approaching beige).  Once the treads had been painted with it I hit them with a black ink, and drybrushed the base color back over once they were dry.  Simple but effective.

While this setup is nearly complete, I have a bunch of infantry waiting to be assembled and painted in a similar manner.


Pretty soon this force will be ready to roll over its enemies in glorious conquest!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Malifaux Business

Painting miniatures, making conversions, and assembling bases is fun, but what do you do with them when they're completed?  Why you play with them of course!  I'll be running a Malifaux League at Armored Gopher Games starting on June 28th and going through August 9th.  More info over at Wyrd's Forums.

Any miniature company faces the issue of mispacking models, and how they handle it is a very important aspect and really shows their level customer service.  In the past I had to contact Wyrd for a missing set of arms for one of my Necropunks.  This was from a blister of three punks.  They provided a very timely reply and the whole process took a week or two.  Not bad for something that cost them close to half of what the blister cost itself (they paid the shipping).  I bought another player's Collette Crew at the last Adepticon, but didn't discover that one of my newly acquired Coryphee's was missing an arm:

I don't know when it went missing, but now I'm stuck with an armless model.  Wyrd has put up a new form for missing pieces and I've decided to use this to see if I can offer a lesser amount of money in exchange for an arm.  If we can't work something out then I may try my hand at sculpting a new arm for my Coryphee.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Interlude: Dinner

I've been working pretty hard this week in my normal job, and today I got sun baked pretty good.  For whatever reason this seemed like a good time to make lemon pepper chicken.

Very tasty.  I might have enough mental acumen after eating to do some more OGRE painting.

Monday, June 18, 2012

OGRE Coffee

I've replaced my friend's morning coffee with an OGRE blog post; let's see if he notices

Following the successful OGRE: Designer's Edition Kickstarter I offered to paint some of my friends OGRE miniatures.  There were some rough draft attempts at camo, but here is the first actual run of Heavy Tanks.

In my last attempt I used just regular camo green (Vallejo 72031), but my buddy wanted darker on the green and brown.  I used Cayman Green (Vallejo 72067), and for the brown I mixed Beasty Brown (Vallejo 72043) in with Charred Brown (Vallejo 72045).  The overall effect was successful :-)

I also tried a suggestion for the treads.  Instead of using metal I mixed Beasty Brown with Cold Grey (Vallejo 72050), hit it with black ink, and then did a light drybrush of the base mixture to pick out edges and highlights.  I'm actually pleased with the overall outcome.

It may only seem like a minor detail, but when you're painting the stuff it's hard to not pay attention to it.  At least that's the way it is for me.

Weekend Achievement: DLJ The Drowned

Ever have one of those minis you want to paint but never get around to?  Wyrd released a limited edition box set of undead miniatures mirroring the Lady Justice Box (and useable as such), except as undead.  It was only available during Gen Con 2011, and I've had it since then but never painted anything from that.  I changed that this weekend when I finally broke out The Drowned, which has been sitting on my table for six months easy.

I like some of the effects, the pine box turned out particularly well in my opinion.  For some reason I felt like this was more difficult than what it should have been.  I think it'll work in the long run though.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A neverending cycle

The mailman just dropped this off

More OGRE stuff to be painted.  My home is a small mine of pewter.

Completed Works

In between blog posts a lot is going on.  Sometimes it's work, sometimes it's fun, but I also get stuff painted as well.  I figure it'd be easier to do a short review rather than an a in-depth walkthrough for each and every model.

Up first is another camo scheme that I tried out.  I used another C.A.V. model to try out German Desert Flecktarn

I think it's pretty close to the original but could definitely do with a bit more finesse.  It was more a quick job to see if I could pull it off.

On a whim and in a camo mood I decided to try out infantry.

The scale of these is rather small, probably 10-15mm to take a guess.  These two dudes are sporting the Russian Arctic Cam that I tried previously, and with their guns painted gunmetal and a splash of black ink I think they turned out looking really nice!  I've been worried about trying to paint at that scale, but it turns out that painting camo on troops in full armor with guns is pretty easy (or lazy, depending on how you want to look at it).

Last but not least I finally got off my rear to paint a model that's been sitting in my bag for a while.

One of Wyrd's Punk Zombies for the Resurrectionists faction, this is a model that didn't catch my attention as much, but with Nicodem's Avatar fully painted I'm going to need more of these guys.  Thankfully I have a few sculpts of the Punk Zombies so it won't be tedious to paint them.

Monday, June 11, 2012

OGRE Afrika Korps Camo

Had a busy weekend.  I managed to pick up the OGRE miniatures and show off my skills with what I done so far.  They were well received.  One of those was the Afrika Korps camo that's slated to adorn the mighty OGRE's once they're done being stripped of their old paint.

So lets start off with the inspiration pic...

This pattern is a lot simpler to pull off.  Muted colors with wavy stripes.  For a base color I really wracked my brain on this one.  It's tan but a khaki color would be too creamy, but other tans would be too dark.  I ended up settling on a surprising choice, Bonewhite (Vallejo 72034). 

At first I didn't think that bone would work, but after I put it on and started looking at it I was surprised at how close it got.  I have some washes that are pretty close to that color and decided to try them out.  I tried out Secret Weapon Washes Parchment color and GW's Sepia Wash.

The Parchment is on the left tread covering while the Sepia is on the right tread cover.  The result is that the Parchment has no effect while the Sepia is a bit too dark.  I could go over the plating with bone again, but as these are intended to be covered in camo I figured it'd be better to forgo it this time.

Next up is the stripes.  Again an off color.  Not quite brown but lighter than leather.  I dug through my paints and decided to try out Parasite Brown (Vallejo 72042).  This color seems to have some orange and a light touch of red mixed in.

The color worked out perfectly!  When I showed it to my friend he was pretty happy about it, but noted that the stripes across the top should go all the way across.  Other than that it looks the way it should.  The treads got painted with Chainmail Silver (Vallejo 72053) and hit with the parchment wash.  Can you notice it in the above picture?  Neither could I.  Not sure when/where I'll find a use for the parchment wash.

All I have to do now is wait for the OGRE's to be cleaned off.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

OGRE Part 2: Russian camoflauge

With the Avatar of Decay finally being complete I'm free to explore some other areas of painting.  This time I decided to try out some Russian Arctic cam, again using a tank from Reaper's C.A.V. line.  Here's my inspiration pic:

So taking a look at it I see an Olive Green, White, A fresh mud kind of brown, and black.  Layered in that order.  Looking at it I tend to see more stripes than blobs, so that's what I decided to try out.  First though I had to get my base coat on using Camouflage Green (Vallejo 72031).

This particular shade has a property that I encounter from time to time which is the opacity of the color.  Some colors look more opaque before you apply them, resulting in a mess of wavy brush lines/strokes

The best way to overcome this is to make sure your paint isn't too thinned out (which can cause this) as well as multiple coats.  Just give your first coat a chance to dry and then layer it again, repeat as needed.

Moving on to my next layer I mentioned stripes.

The stripes ended up being a bit thicker than I would have liked, and you can see that I probably used too much white towards the front.  As I was painting this layer I began to realize something about painting camo: the second layer is a pain in the ass.  It's not difficult to per say, it's just that looking at it all I can see is a bunch of squiggly lines that look NOTHING what they're supposed to look like.  I had the same issue when I painted the Aussie Cam Tank.  My advice would be to finish all the layers before making a call one way or the other as the layers build on and cover each other giving it the camouflage look.

Splotchy brown stripes.  Going off of my inspiration pic it's hard to tell if the brown spots are supposed to be more blob like or line like, and the more you look at it the more you begin to see how things vary.  I decided that mine would be more blob like with tentacles sticking forth.  I can slowly begin to see the final product, and each successive layer helps me to feel better about that 2nd layer.  The last layer of cam to put on was the black.

When I put the dark green on the Aussie cam I found it to be stark and contrasting, and rather than blend the whole thing together it seemed to draw more attention to it.  That's not a good thing when you don't want to be noticed.  For the Russian cam though it was different.  The darker brown acted as a good medium in the blend, and as I started painting the black on it seemed to be more natural.  This made me feel better about using darker colors for future camo spreads.  All in all it turned out nice.  I put some metal down on the treads and hit it with a watered down black ink to help add some depth.  The final product looks pretty decent IMO.

As I'm practicing camo in order to paint a friends models I asked his opinion.  While appreciated he felt that more bloby and splotchy while less stripy would be better.  Time to try again I suppose.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Now, I am become Death, the destoryer of worlds

I swung by my friends place and picked up the finished product from last time, and was quite pleased with the results:

The positioning is a bit more forward on the base than I would have liked, but I really can't offer any complaints.  I have some light posts or pylons that I might add later depending on how I feel after the finished product has been on the table.  Speaking of which...

There he is in all his necromatic glory!  When I was originally looking at getting in to Malifaux I looked over all the pieces out at that time and none of them wowed me, until I came to this guy:

This is the guy that got me into the game.  No other piece, not one, had the pull to bring me into the game.  While I have used other masters a bit more, this is still one of my favorite minis from the line.  When I saw his avatar it instantly became the model I had to buy; even if I wouldn't use it I had to own it and paint it.  With the help of my friend this desire has finally been realized.  How about another shot?

Since I painted the original model and the Avatar so far apart from each other there was a little bit of a challenge getting the colors to match.  I think I came pretty close, but I'll let you decide:

Here's a shot of just the Avatar without his palanquin:


I'm still tempted to pick up another box just to take the Avatar and do a Ghost Rider conversion.  Because I can't enough of this piece, one last shot.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Anger Management

I'm a guy who pretty much has to do his own stuff.  There's a sense that if I let others get involved that it lowers the model's effectiveness.  Well my Nicodem Avatar has presented me with an interesting situation.  I love that the model is being born aloft by a host of zombies, but when I was done painting the pieces my attempts at assembling them proved wanting.


This was a model that if I continued to try and assemble it that one of two things would happen.  Either I would do a half ass job and be frustrated with it and not want to look at it, or I would throw it across the room in a fit of rage.  I admit that the prospect of either was unappealing, but what options did I have?  Recently I commissioned a friend to do some scenery pieces that had been lying around and collecting dust.  I wasn't going to get to them anytime this decade, and it helped my buddy get more models.  A win-win situation all around.  What I got really blew me away.

So obviously a fellow painter of no small skill.  I'm sitting at my desk with my frustration ready to have me re-enact scenes from The Incredible Hulk when I decide to give him a call.  I only needed to say a few sentences before he understood the entire situation.  With many sincere assurances that he would take care of things I began to feel calm again.  There have not been many times where I've felt comfortable with letting another work on my models, but this would be one of them.  While I will gladly hand over the pieces for him to work his magic, I'll be hard at work getting the crowning piece ready to cap it all off.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Busted thumbs and Malifaux treats

My real life job managed to give me a bit of a setback on my painting earlier this week.  My thumb got caught between a wrench and the mounting of the equipment I was working on.  I was worried that it might've been broken, but the following morning the pain was starting to subside.  The result of that though is that no painting got done on Wed, and Thur night was Malifaux night at my FLGS.  Even though my painting has been set back a bit I plan to catch up this weekend; especially considering my order finally came in.


However I have made some progress on my Nicodem Avatar.  I managed to get the zombies finished, and started work on the chair.  These first two zombies are the ones that I used the RMS Undead Flesh triad that I talked about here.


 These other three I used a combination of Vallejo paints and GW Sepia wash. 

As you can see I've applied copious amounts of blood.  In the past I've used varying shades of red paint, but I decided to try something else this time.  I went with a Red Ink from Privateer Press' P3 line, and it worked out rather well.  Like most washes I had to water it down, otherwise it's just too strong and rather than adding shading it just blots out everything it covers.  Before applying it I used some Scarlett Red (Vallejo 72012) on the open wounds and exposed muscles.  That way the red ink would give a more natural sense of blood flow when I applied it.

In the end I'm not sure how I feel about one set over the other.  They both have their ups and downs, and I'm not sure that either one could be considered a better go aside from opinion.  The RMS ones have a bit more of a rotted look, but the ones I used Vallejo paints on look a bit more fleshy/fresh.  Maybe it's good to mix things up a little every now and then.