Monday, May 27, 2013

There's 37 More of Me Asshole! YEA!!!

UPDATE:  Apparently my work has caught the eye of Matt Vancil, who wrote The Gamers: Dorkness Rising.  He is quoted as saying, "The (highly accurate!) painting of a mound of dead bards mini," on my Facebook page, as well as linking to this post.  Thanks Matt!  Welcome to all my new visitors!

Memorial Day 2012 was when I first started this blog.  I had no idea where it would go, and whether or not I'd post with any sort of regularity.  Now that a year has passed I can confidently say I enjoy writing, painting, and posting pics of my work!  My momentum has slowed a bit, and recently I've managed to eek out a post a week.  However this blog still does not feel like a chore, and I lament being unable to paint and post more.  In the time I've started painting I have achieved: painting camo, commissions, gifts, building scenery, working with different paint lines, and working with a wet palette.  It's been a great year, and I look forward to what this year holds as I meet more painters, and learn more tips/tricks!

To celebrate this momentous occasion I have chosen to paint a rather fun piece, the Mound of Dead Bards:

The piece was part of add-ons for a couple of kickstarters by Dead Gentlemen/Zombie Orpheus Entertainment.  You may recall my fondness for these guys when I wrote about meeting them at Gen Con 2012.  The above pic is from a scene in the movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, and is a hilarious film to watch if you're a gamer, or if you know gamers.  For more on the in-joke go here.  If you liked that clip I recommend checking them out as well as their Facebook page.  The bard in question is Scott C. Brown, who plays the character of Leo in Dorkness Rising.

Onto the painting!

This is a complicated piece in that there is a LOT going on.  Cloaks, torsos, legs, boots, hands, faces, even a hat!  The first WIP pic shows how scattered everything is, which can make the process drag a bit as it takes time to pic things out and get them painted.

As you can see I've gotten the flesh and hair done, and I believe this pic has the pants done as well.  The torso/sleeves that litter the mound are just about done, and I had to go over them with metallic white and then a wash to try and get a silkier or velvety feel to them.  This piece took a bit of time, but was well worth it!  Here's the mostly finished product:

I say mostly done because the bard's shoulders have a striped ruffle to them, and I got the yellow base down but completely forgot the black bands.  I hadn't realized my mistake until after pics had been taken, uploaded, and edited.  This means I need to go back and finish up that tiny bit, so expect a follow up pic later this week.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Happy Package

With the second wave of my Sedition Wars kickstarter supposedly hitting late June/early July I've been trawling through the Studio McVey forums.  A couple weeks ago I came across a thread where they were showing off some of the character sculpts from the upcoming expansion/stand alone game Arms of Sorrow.  AoS is compatible with Battle for Alabaster, but it is its own game as well.  Well, Mike McVey was going to have some resin sculpts at a miniatures convention called Salute (a wargaming convention held in the UK), and had let drop that people could send him a message to get some as he might have leftovers.  Even though Salute had come and gone by a couple of months I sent a message anyways.  He still had a few left and I was able to get my hands on them early!

Commandant Grist is the battle-hardened, Gnosis-suit wearing sculpt you see above.  It's a simple yet elegant sculpt.  A model like this with too many fiddly bits can become frustrating to paint as each of the smaller items ends up requiring its own attention, and it just begins to add exponential amounts of time the more little bits are on there.  Nice and simple but with plenty of variability to add more colors to keep things from becoming too boring.

While Grist is cool (and I am a big fan of robots/power armor/mecha), this next model is the one that really caught my eyes, ripped them out of my head, and held them against the screen.

Phaedrus Chiruge.  Oh my goodness!  Holding this model was incredible!  There is a level of complexity in this sculpt that pictures just can't do justice to.  I don't know that I've ever held a sculpt with such intricacies as this one.  There is a *LOT* of detail on this model, but unlike other, "detailed models," this one is a little different.  Rather than an amalgamation of bric-a-brac/equipment, the detailed bits are the same.  Muscles/tendons, ripped skin, carapace/plates, and so forth.  The details on this model will be consistent, which means less color swapping.  It'll still be time-consuming, and perhaps it's a personal opinion, but this kind of detailed model is one I take to rather easily.

Notice that guy in the background?  Yea, that's Lictalor Strongbow (well, that's the character's name, the mini itself is Arthal Nightblade from Reaper Miniatures).  I haven't glued either Phaedrus or Grist to their bases, and Lictalor is helping to keep Phaedrus on her feet.

Sedition Wars is done in 28mm scale, while Reaper Miniatures is done in 30mm. "Heroic Scale."  Heroic scale is about 32mm, but the two scales are close enough that they are practically interchangeable.  Scale can be pretty important as it helps to add to the overall illusion, lest your mighty ancient dragon the size of a mountain that has terrorized the kingdom for centuries stands only twice as tall as your character's minis.  Here's another size comparison:

In the background is my Drago (in need of arm repairs) to help give a better sense of scale overall.  Lictalor is standing on a 30mm base, while Phaedrus, Grist, and Drago are on 50mm bases.  Drago is standing right behind Lictalor, and you can see how much of a difference in scale there is.  I've worked in both scales before so I'm not worried, and am still rather excited to add more Sedition Wars to my collection.  I look forward to both the second wave (which has a lot of the exclusive miniatures), and seeing more for Arms of Sorrow.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

15 Years

Today marks the 15th year since I started painting miniatures.  It's been a long road with its ups and downs, but overall an amazing journey.  My skill has increased, and the more I paint the more I learn.  I've met many amazing painters and have listened well to their lessons.  While I've been having a hard time building up the motivation to paint I think I might be finally starting to get back into the swing of things.  With the Robotech Kickstarter in its final hours I decided to finish my Zentraedi Battlepod, and I want to share it with you.

For the first pic I have the Battlepod in the base colors I planned to use:

Not a bad start, and if I really wanted to paint things in large quantities I could probably leave it like this so it'd be good enough for tabletop.  However I wanted all the nooks and crannies to have definition.  Using Games Workshops Nuln Oil, which is a very thinned out black wash, I gave it a once over.

As you can see even though it's pretty thin the black wash still makes it look really dirty.  This is exactly what I don't want.  I started to put more and more white on, but it takes a lot of precision to keep the definition while still getting nice white areas.

That looks MUCH better.  I'm loving the wet palette, but using it with white is requiring multiple layers.  Anywhere from three to five layers.  Here's the reason why:

White is a difficult color to get a solid coat of.  Even a very thin layer of a black wash can be difficult to coat.  It takes about three to five layers to get everything nice and clean.  When I went on to to lighten up the black I had put on earlier, the grey only required one coat.

There has to be a better way to get the wash on without requiring fine precision to clean things up.  I have a friend who is showing me a few tricks to try out next time I get my hands on some more Robotech models.  Until then, here's the completed product:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Trying New Things.

As I try to work through all the trials generated by the car accident I begin to get more time little by little.  In the world of painting there's been one thing I've been wanting to try for a while now: a wet palette.  A wet palette is a way to keep your paints from drying out by using a constant source of moisture through various means.  You can buy them professionally or you can explore a number of do-it-yourself setups.  There are a number of different tutorials out there, but this is the one I chose to go with.

I was a little skeptical at first since I only had non-waxy parchment paper, but the results were astounding:

What you're looking at is the white paint I put on the wet palette while I was working with some flesh on a miniature for a friend:

The flesh tones were also on the wet palette.  What blows my mind away is that the white paint was a test.  I put it on there while working on the flesh colors, and this would normally cause it to dry out on my normal palette.  When I went to dip my brush in though, it was still fresh!  The real icing on the cake though is that the white you see on the Battlepod's legs above is 100% of what I put on the palette.  100%!  For years I have been letting paint dry on my palette, or in its well.  As paint sits it dries, and as it dries it loses its smoothness/flow, and ends up taking more time to paint a larger area than fresh paint would.  So the obvious benefits to a wet palette are smoother coats, and less time spent re-filling/re-thinning paint.

I closed up the container I was using (I'll post pics later), and ended up testing it again this morning.  More than 36 hours later and the flesh paints I had used were still wet, but had separated due to moisture!  This makes me insanely happy as it means that I can mix up a color and leave it for an extended period while it still being relatively fresh.  All that I need to do is figure out a good moisture to paint ratio.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Getting Back On The Horse

Following my accident a couple of weeks ago I noticed a drop in my interest towards miniatures and miniature gaming.  Part of me was worried that I had lost my passion for this hobby that I had been such a big part of my life.  When little bits of inspiration or the desire to assemble models came up I let myself dive right in.  I've assembled my Skorne Battle Box that I got from Adepticon, along with the Regault Battlepod, and I've even got some pictures from a tutorial I'm writing up for a later post on making a simple wasteland base.  However one thing has started to overshadow my other interests.

I had gotten my Sedition Wars: Battle For Alabaster mid-late January, and while I got some of the models assembled I ended up pushing it off to the side to focus on Malifaux.  Last night I grabbed a bag of miniatures from the box and put them all together.  For something so simple it was rather exciting and fun!  Right now my main goal is to get things assembled and start playing.  Once that's done I can start throwing paint at these guys.  Especially with news of an expansion already circulating.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

First Glance At Robotech RPG Tactics

I had originally intended this post to go up early last week, but it seems that being in a car crash wasn't enough as I got sick shortly after my last post, and have only recently begun to recover.  So without further delay let's dig in to one of the exciting finds at Adepticon.

The nice gentlemen from Ninja Division are running a Kickstarter for Robotech: RPG Tactics.  The game uses iconic mecha from the classic anime series Robotech.  The above picture is one of the Veritechs/Valkyries painted up as squadron leader (fans of the series will recognize the paint scheme as belonging to that of Rick Hunter as leader of Vermillion Squad).  I got to spend some time talking to the great guys from Ninja Division, tried out a demo, and took plenty of pictures. 

The above pieces are what you would call prototypes.  They're all cast in pewter and made up as special demo crews for cons, and were painted by the talented John Cadice shortly before the con.  The final product is going to be cast in plastic, which in this case isn't a bad thing as the minis I got to hold all had some heft to them.  Plastic Robotech minis will be a lot more durable, especially the battlepods.  Speaking of Battlepods there were some special Battlepod promo minis given out each day to the first 100 people who came by at Adepticon.  While I was unable to grab one myself a friend of mine, hearing about my car accident, grabbed one for me.

Needless to say I was very happy about this find.  I currently have the guy assembled and standing on my desk waiting to be based, but haven't decided if I'm going to sculpt a blasted street or if I'll do more of a ruins.

I got a chance to play the demo itself, and it seems pretty straightforward.  You're either the Zentraedi or the UEDF (United Earth Defense Force), and you utilize a number of squads.

There was only a small selection of models for the demo.  The Zentraedi was all Gulag Battlepods while the UEDF had a squad of three veritechs and a pair of Tomahawk Destroids.

The Gulag Battlepods had a style/scheme that gave them the potential to have more Battlepods swarm onto the field at the end of each turn (replacing ones destroyed during the turn), unless you entirely destroyed that squadron.  The UEDF had smaller numbers, but packed a lot of firepower.  Interested in checking out the rules?  Well they've given a sneak peak at them!  PLEASE NOTE:  THESE RULES ARE *NOT* FINAL!!!  These are still a rough look at things, and the final product could differ wildly from what you read.

While you're reading the rules, how about a look at the Veritech in Gerwalk/Guardian mode as well as fighter mode?

I was VERY impressed with the detail.  They definitely caught the feel of the original designs in my opinion, and when cast in plastic should look just as good as what you see here.  For a, "quick and simple," paint job John Cadice really captured all the flavor of the series I remember growing up with.  One thing worth noting is that each Veritech has three forms: Fighter (Jet Fighter), Battloid (transformed), and gerwalk/guardian (legs and arms extended in Jet Fighter mode).  While switching between modes is simple (done when the squad activates), it does mean three models painted for one figure used in the game.  Given the overall durability and power, it may as well be three models in one.

For the demo we were given Squad Cards which had stats and traits for the squads used during the game.

Again please note: THESE ARE PROTOTYPES AND NOT FINAL VERSIONS!!!  Even though they're not necessarily the completed project they're very easy to read and follow.  I think the general format they use is very solid, and will help the game along.  You can see weapons and general stats occupying the left 2/3rds of the card while armor/life points occupy the right.  A quick look shows you that those Battlepods need swarm tactics with how easily they'll be shot out of the sky.

While there weren't any on the board there was a Defender Destroid that had been painted up and on display.

And for those of you interested in the recently unlocked Roy Fokker Veritech here's a sneak peak at what it may look like painted:

While it may look like the range of models is rather limited I'd like to remind my readers that these are the figures that were cast in pewter and set up as a quick demo crew before Adepticon.  The Kickstarter has already reached multiple stretch goals and unlocked:

Gnerl Fighters, Sentry Pod Upgrade, Mk. II Monster (YES!!!), Spartan & Phalanx Destroids,  Support Battlepods, and Zentraedi Male Power Armor!

The rumor goes (according to some guy with the initials K.N.) that anything from the Macross Saga is fair game to be a piece in the game.  I did ask about the limit, and so far the agreement between Ninja Division, Harmony Gold, and Palladium Games is for the Macross Saga.  However it stands to reason that if things do well enough we could see Southern Cross, New Generation (Genesis Climber Mospeada for you hardcore fans), and Sentinels!

However far this goes the prospects are already exciting!  I still have a few clinging details from the excitement of Adepticon to attend to, but soon I hope to get a post up about a painted promo Battlepod.