The inundated painter

Too many miniatures, and nowhere near enough spare time in which to paint them! Here I shall record the results of my efforts to bring my embarassingly large assortment of unpainted miniatures up to presentation quality.

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Step aside, Claudio...

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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Yay, an update! Sadly, I'm running out of "gee, how long since the last post?" jokes, so let's get straight to business, shall we?

Space Hulk (again)

Introducing, Brother Unguibus II, or Guibus for short (that's all I could fit on his chest scroll, alas).


Standing in for Brother Claudio, Unguibus II is curently taking a sabbatical from the Imperial Fists, and helping out the Blood Angels in their Hulk-scouring duties. Yeah, I know that Space Marines don't generally mix chapters, particularly on Space Hulk missions, but hey, it's my game, I wanted to experiment with different colours, and I'll paint whatever I damn well please.


In case you're wondering: yes, there was a preceding Unguibus the first. I had him all assembled and ready to prime...

... but he didn't survive the priming process. I was trying out a new primer: Daemonic Yellow spray primer from Army Painter. Now, I've got a number of these "pre-coloured" primers from Army Painter, and up until recently I would have been content to sing their praises from the highest rooftop. Priming a figure in the main colour that you're planning to use saves you (well, me at least) a good 1 - 2 hours, as it bypasses the need for a base coat on a lot of the model. Their red primer is fantastic, and I have four nicely painted Blood Angels to show for it. However, this yellow primer, for whatever reason, was just not going on particularly well. Very faint coverage, lots of missed areas, and I'm afraid I got a little too impatient with it all. I leaned right in, to give the trouble spots a quick blast from close range, and...

SPLAT!

Big thick globs of yellow goo covering over all of the detail. Poor dude resembled a snowman more than a Space Marine. I then panicked, and plopped him into a jar of turps to try and strip it off (it was an enamel paint after all), but guess what? Turps and plastic - not a good combo. He literally melted in front of me, his once proud claws wilting like ten day old celery stalks. And that was it, he was an irrecoverable mess.

So yeah, a harsh lesson was learned that day: always, always keep a 10-15cm minimum distance between the spray nozzle and the mini.

After an obligatory period of mourning (being the precise amount of time it takes to assemble a new Terminator model from scratch, interspersed with a bit of grizzling), I was ready to give Unguibus II a try.


Despite being burned the first time, I elected to give the Yellow Primer another shot. This time around, I forced myself not to care too much if some areas weren't getting as evenly covered as others, as long as the model had at least some primer on all areas, I'd be happy enough with that, and make up the difference with brush-on paint. This approach served me well, and Unguibus II survived the priming process with his details intact.

Of course, what I hadn't factored in was that I didn't have a yellow brush-on paint that matched the exact colour of the primer, so in the end I gave it up as a bad joke, and just brushed on a layer of Iyanden Darksun. The primer did its job - the paint stuck very well to it, but I'd gone way past the point of saving time by using a coloured primer. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

To keep at least some consistency with my existing Blood Angels, I decided to follow the exact same colours for his Crux Terminatus (left shoulder pad and right knee). Other than that, yellow all the way, with red trimmings, blue gems/lenses and a bit of metal for the cables and gubbins. And just to mix things up a bit, I reversed the yellow/red scheme on the power claw forearms.

So, in excruciating detail, the stages were:

Stage 1
Yellow - Basecoat of Iyanden Darksun then washed with Gryphonne Sepia
Red - Mechrite Red, then a wash of Baal Red
Metal - Boltgun Metal
Parchment - Khemri Brown
Crux - Codex Grey and Scorched Brown mix (2:1)
Lenses/Gems - Necron Abyss
Claws - Necron Abyss / Boltgun Metal mix (3:1)
Fist Guards - Undercoat Black

Stage 2
Yellow - Iyanden Darksun over the majority of the areas again, leaving only the deeper recesses still in shadow
Red - ditto with Mechrite Red
Metal - Badab Black wash
Parchment - Devlan Mud washed into the recesses
Crux - Scorched Brown and Chaos Black mix (2:1) wash
Lenses/Gems - Regal blue, covering only the bottom half
Claws - heavy drybrush of Necron Abyss / Boltgun Metal mix (2:1)

FYI, at this point, he pretty much looked like this:


Stage 3
Yellow - Sunburst yellow over roughly 70% of the raised areas, with a combination of wet-blending and drybrushing to get it to blend into the darker shade (with varying degrees of success).
Red - ditto with Blood Red
Metal - Chainmail highlights
Parchment - Bleached Bone
Crux - layer of Codex Grey then Fortress Grey line highlight
Lenses/Gems - Ultramarines blue, covering only the bottom quarter
Claws - lighter drybrush of Necron Abyss / Boltgun Metal mix (1:1)

Stage 4
Yellow - Flash Gitz Yellow line highlight
Red - Blazing Orange line highlight
Metal - Mithril Silver line highlight
Parchment - Skull White then add text in Scorched Brown
Crux - line highlight of Space Wolves Grey
Lenses/Gems - Thin line of Ice Blue on the very bottom, and a dot of Skull White up top.
Claws - very light drybrush of Mithril Silver at the very tips.
Fist Guards - line highlight of Codex Grey / Undercoat Black (1:2)

And there you have it. An Imperial Fist slide-on decal for the right shoulder pad, and Bob's your uncle. If I'm not terribly proud of my speed, I'm at least pretty chuffed with the end result once I do manage to finish something.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully it (really, truly) won't be too long until I update again with my first wave of finished Genestealers. Unguibus II was essentialy a bit of a "variety" break to keep me sane from all the repetition of painting a horde of the exact same miniatures the exact same colours. Anyway, back I go, nose to the grindstone...
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Fri Aug 9, 2013 2:17 pm
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Another year, another pile of unpainted miniatures...

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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Hi all,

I'm back again, once more after quite a long hiatus. As you might suspect, due to that inconvenient thing known as Real Life, I've had to put my painting hobby on the back-burner for a while. And trouble is (with me at least), once my mobile painting workbench is all packed away in the shed, it becomes harder and harder with each passing day to get it back out again. And so, here we are, with just over six months having passed since my last blog post!

So what has rekindled my interest, you might ask? A nice big box arriving on my doorstep, of course: the first wave of my Dreadball Kickstarter rewards! On time and everything. Say what you like about Kickstarter, but in this particular case, Mantic Games have so far done an excellent job of keeping to their promised delivery schedule. (At least, for me. I've heard on the forums of a few people getting theirs late or being missed completely, but I'll hope on their behalf that it all gets sorted shortly.) My only regret about this whole thing is that in retrospect, I realised that I'd spent a rather shocking amount of money getting quite a few unnecessary extras, when I probably could (and should) have got by with just the basic "Striker" pledge level. Or, you know, just waited for it to appear in stores, and get it at a discount...

Ah well, the evolving state of games marketing is what it is, and my poor impulse control is certainly neither Kickstarter nor Mantic's fault. In any case, I have every confidence that the remainder of my ordered goodies will arrive in due course. And having played a couple of "test" games with LEGO proxies, I can at least confirm that the game is a lot of fun!


OK, that's enough introspection, this is a painting blog! Now, truth to tell, I was on the verge of canning this blog in favour of just getting on with the damn painting. It's not like my extremely sporadic insights will be sorely missed, and an evening spent ranting on the keyboard is one less evening spent getting on with the job at hand. But, as chance would have it, after posting my image of the completed Ref-bot, I was inundated with requests* asking me how I did it. And so, to guard against having to repeat myself on the off-chance that I get inundated with further requests, I'll post my methods here for all and sundry to review or ignore at their leisure.

First off, the bases. I was a little bit disappointed with the hex bases that came with the game, as they were just a little bit too clunky for my tastes. So, being the idiot that I am, I decided to create yet more work for myself, and whipped up some custom bases for the figures.


I super-glued some little metal discs to the figures. You can get them from any Australian bank, and they'll give you 20 of them for a dollar - bargain! The coins being slightly wider that the existing bases, I then padded out the gap with a doughnut of green stuff. I sculpted it to be flush with the top of the base, and then once hardened, I trimmed the resultant bulge over the side to be flush with the rounded edge of the coin.

After that, it was priming with Citadel Chaos Black spray. As you might suspect from the above picture, I did the Orx team, the Ref and Number 88 all in one go. I then proceeded with the Ref, mainly as a means of procrastinating while I agonised over what colour scheme to paint the Orx.

I decided to follow the colour scheme done by Golem Painting Studio, which meant white body plates over a metallic skeleton. The skeleton and wheels I base-coated with Boltgun Metal**, followed with a Badab Black wash, and a final highlight of Chainmail on the raised bits.

After that came the body plates, which I base-coated with a very light grey (Fortress Grey, to be precise). For the wash, I was a little bit hesitant at first. Badab Black would be too strong, and all my other pre-made "lighter" washes were of a brown-y nature, which was not what I wanted. In the end, I dug out an old pot of Tamiya Smoke from the shed, and this diluted with a bit of Lahmian Medium (1:1 mix) did the trick!

With the wash dried, I then re-applied the Fortress Grey over the majority of the raised areas of the body plates, leaving only the deeper crevices showing the darker wash. I then mixed 1:1 Fortress Grey with Skull White, and carefully layered/blended it over roughly 60-80% of the total area. Wet palettes are your friend in this respect - aside from keeping the paint from drying, they also tend to thin the paint with a bit of water as well, which is just what you need when blending/layering. The final layer was full, unmixed Skull White, blended in to around 30-40% of the total area, and well as a teeny bit of edge highlighting around the more prominent edges. All in all, it was quite a lot of effort to achieve something that looks basically white, but I guess the key is in the word "basically". I'm by no means an expert painter, but I've seen enough to know that sometimes, subtle shades are what you're after, as opposed to extreme and obvious shading/highlighting. Particularly with white.

The front eyes I did with green, and the back eyes were done in red. I tried as hard as I could to achieve the "gem" affect (darker shade up top, blended to a lighter shade on bottom, and a dot of light up top to set it off), but bugger me, those eyes are freakin' tiny! I had better luck with this technique on some Space Marine Terminators, but their eyes were just that much bigger, and not to mention a bit better defined (GW's hard plastic vs Mantic's restic, meh). Still, I at least got the white dot in, so it looks OK. At that point, I was happy enough, so I slapped some paint on the base that I thought matched the game board, including the world's crudest and most gaudy edge highlight, and called it a day.


The next day, I decided that all that white, while nice and subtle, was just a little too boring. Looking back to the reference pic from Golem Studios, I noticed that they incorporated some checkered stripes along a couple of edges. I didn't copy the exact pattern, as it would most likely have driven me insane. I swear, Golem Studios must employ pixies in order to achieve the level of detail that they do! So instead I went for some checkered stripes in slightly easier-to-get-at areas (and much larger squares). I pencilled in the squares first with a .3mm pencil, then got out my smallest brush and painstakingly coloured them all in with good ol' Undercoat Black!

At this point, I looked at the base again, and winced at the colour choices. I got out the game board, put the mini on it, and winced even more. I then scoured my paint collection, and discovered that I had no paint that even closely resembled the blue-green colour of the board. So, board in hand, off I went to my local Games Workshop distributor, and came back with some paints from the new range: Incubi Darkness and Sotek Green. Incubi Darkness was a perfect match for the darker hexes of the board, so I used that for the edge of the base. Sotek Green went on top, and while a little bit light, it didn't look too bad.


Of course, having got this far, I couldn't resist one final tweak, and decided to try again with the top of the base, mixing 1:1 Incubi Darkness and Sotek Green. And voila, the perfect colour match!


And there you have it: the inarguable star of the show (she features in every game, don't you know) done and dusted. Next up, I'm most likely going to tackle the Humans, as I've decided on a colour scheme for them, while I'm still completely undecided what colour scheme to paint the Greenskins with! In any case, many thanks for reading, and here's hoping that it's not another six months until the next update, hey?

* Oh, all right: request, singular.
** Be aware, most of these colours are all now-obsolete Games Workshop colours.
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Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:52 am
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Space Hulk test models (a.k.a. Doom procrastination)

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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Howdy all,

DooM

Well, I have not been completely idle these past weeks, and have indeed made progress on the DooM mancubus figures that I promised to finish in the previous post:



I've done my best to produce a "rusty" effect on their rocket launchers, and although it certainly could be better, I'm pretty happy with it for a first attempt. So as of now, the fleshy bits* have been washed with GW Devlan Mud (my supply of which, alas, is rapidly diminishing, with no easy means of replacement - curse you GW!), with a further wash of Baal Red where the flesh joins the machinery, to produce a red/sore/bloody effect for the joins. I imagine that Hell's team of cybernetic surgeons are not renowned for their subtlety, after all!

What remains is to build up lighter and lighter highlights for the flesh areas from the washes, dot the eyes, and I'll be done. However, I've stalled a bit on this task, partly because I'm a little daunted. My shading/highlighting method is pretty crude when you look at it closely, because it's mainly just distinct blocks of flat colour, made progressively smaller as I go from dark to light, culminating in the final "edge" highlight. But because the models themselves are quite darn small, it looks just fine.

These guys, however, are my first "big-atures", and to make things worse, rather than being ripped with intricate musculature like the demons (i.e. lots of interesting little bumps that can be picked out), they're big fat flabby lumps, which means lots of large, featureless, smooth areas. Flat blocks of shading on these guys will stick out like a sore thumb just because the areas are so darn large, so I need to come up with a suitable means of dealing with this. Maybe dry-brushing? Maybe wet-blending with heavily watered-down paint? Something, anyway. So, I've sort of stalled at this point, until I can think of a way forward.

* Which on these guys is pretty much the whole damn body

Space Hulk

In the meantime, I've gone and pleasantly distracted myself with a different game, one of the many on my to-do list: Space Hulk! Presenting, Sergeant Percival and Brother Zachariah. Say hi, boys!



You won't see these guys anywhere on the box. They're way too boring, after all. Look at them, facing forward, guns pointing in the same direction they are looking, and even a square base to remove the last possible vestige of doubt about which way they're facing on the board. Boo-ring! They make a complete mockery of the half-page in the rulebook that is dedicated to telling you how to determine which direction their "kung-fu-fighting" battle brothers are actually facing.

So why bother with such paltry, uninteresting miniatures at all? Because, while my DooM mancubii may have me a little bit daunted at the moment, when I cracked open Space Hulk, those minis had me downright terrified! The level of detail on those dudes is utterly insane. So much so, that I went out and splurged on a box of vanilla WH40K terminators, to use as practice models before even clipping the "proper" Space Hulk marines from the sprue.

Of course, I realise now that I was over-reacting, (and truthfully, probably just looking for an excuse to buy more cool-looking toy soldiers). Nonetheless, the fact remains that I have a surplus of Space Marine Terminators hanging around the house, so I decided to make the best of a silly situation, and actually practice on them.

I mostly followed the official GW painting guide, which I printed out from their website. Alas, the online version has long since disappeared, so I'll reproduce the text here for anyone who's interested. (This is mainly for my own reference, so feel free to skip over if reading about different types of obsolete paint isn't really your idea of a fun time.)

Stage 1
Red - Basecoat of Blood Red then washed with Baal Red
Gold - Shining Gold with watered-down Scorched Brown washed into the recesses
Silver - Boltgun Metal
Parchment - Khemri Brown
Crux - Codex Grey and Scorched Brown mix (2:1)
Green Lenses - Knarloc Green
Blue Lenses - Ultramarines Blue
Purity seal - Liche Purple
Gems (of which these two guys have none) - Chaos Black

Stage 2
Red - Wash Dark Flesh and Chaos Black mix (2:1) into the recesses
Gold - Shining Gold
Silver - Badab Black wash
Parchment - Devlan Mud washed into the recesses
Crux - Scorched Brown and Chaos Black mix (2:1) wash
Green Lenses - Thakra Green wash
Blue Lenses - Asurmen Blue wash
Purity seal - Leviathan Purple wash
Gems Warlock Purple and Chaos Black mix (3:1)

Stage 3
Red - Blazing Orange line highlight
Gold - Burnished Gold
Silver - Chainmail
Parchment - Bleached Bone
Crux - layer of Codex Grey then Fortress Grey line highlight
Green Lenses - Knarloc Green and Bleached Bone mix (1:2)
Blue Lenses - Layer of Ultramarine Blue and Ice Blue mix (1:1) then an Ice Blue highlight
Purity seal - Liche Purple and Fortress Grey mix (1:1)
Gems Warlock Purple

Stage 4
Red - Vomit Brown line highlight
Gold - Mithril Silver
Silver - Mithril Silver
Parchment - Skull White then add text in Scorched Brown
Crux - line highlight of Space Wolves Grey
Green Lenses - Bleached Bone
Blue Lenses - Skull White
Purity seal - Fortress Grey
Gems Warlock Purple and skull white mix (1:1) then a dot of Skull White

Quite the who's who of paint in that list (or more accurately, "who used to be who"), hey? I wonder if Games Workshop doesn't have some sort of ulterior motive for producing painting guides with such a massive range of recommended colours... whistle Ah well, at least now I hardly ever need to go out and buy a new pot of paint.

As mentioned, I mostly followed the guide to the letter, with a couple of major differences. The main one was that Sergeant Percy was primed with Skull White spray, and then painted with the base of Blood Red as per the guide. Whereas Brother Zach was primed with a non-GW spray (heresy!): Pure Red from Army Painter. If you look carefully in the photo, you can see that Percy's armour is just that little bit more brighter than Zach's, but the difference is not dramatic, and spraying with a Red primer saves me a good hour or so of painting, so yay.

There was one other rather significant (and almost heart-stopping) deviation from the official guide. Stage 2 Red said "Wash [really dark paint mixture] into the recesses". Well, said paints weren't actually washes per se, so I assumed that I was supposed to thin them down a bit with water. In actual fact, I used a great new paint product (I did say I "hardly ever" bought new paints, right?): Lahmian Medium, which is essentially a clear pot of paint with no pigment added. Fantastic for producing your own washes. Sadly, I had absolutely no idea what ratio of paint:medium to use, so I mixed it by eye, thought it looked "good enough", and splashed it onto my lovely red armour.

Yeah. So, tip for the wise: when in doubt while mixing your own washes, use more medium rather than less. My Blood Angels were now Mud Angels.
cry

So, I was forced to add a step 2.5:
Red - Generous layering of Blood Red to re-establish the original freakin' colour.

But in the end, they turned out all right, and I learned a valuable lesson. I'm particularly chuffed with the writing on the parchment, done in freehand I'll have you know! I did, however, cheat a little with the numerals on their kneepads, the skull on Brother Zach's power fist, and the blood drop on his solar plexus mini-shield. But hey, the Terminator box came with a sheet of slide-on decals, it would have been more of a sin not to use them, I reckon.

My main criticisms would be that I was a little heavy handed with the final line highlight on the armour, and I should have taken the time to cut the excess clear edge off of the decals, but other than that, I'm really quite pleased with how these guys turned out.

And you know what? The funny thing is, I think I'd almost prefer to play the game with these guys, with their plain, simple, no-nonsense stances, rather than their over-rated, jewelry-encrusted, strike-a-pose brothers. After all, I still have a few more "practice" models hanging around, no sense in wasting them...

Heh. Call me foolish if you like, but hey:
1) I'm a grown man who spends his spare time painting little toy soldiers. That's hardly news to me.
2) You're the one reading about it. So who's the more foolish?



Thanks for reading,
Andrew.
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8 Comments
Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:53 pm
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It was a wall-eyed, two-horned, walking pinkish people eater

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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My DooM Demons are done and dusted! And I mean literally dusted, as in: at one stage, I had to dust them off! Allow me to elaborate, but first, have a gander at the finished product:



Not too shabby, hey? I'm quite chuffed with them, myself. Well, that's the most important part of this post over with, so feel free to click that green thumb thingy and head on your merry way. However, for those suffering from acute insomnia, I offer the following long-winded and excruciating back story about them. It's quite literally about paint drying, so you be the judge of how interesting it might be to read...

Still with me? Fine, you've been warned...

I began work on these guys at almost the same time that I began working on their predecessors, the archviles. This was before Christmas 2011, I'll have you know. It's all a distant memory now, but I think the reason I attempted this "multi-tasking" strategy was so that I would end up churning out painted miniatures faster. You know, I could work on one set while I was waiting for the paint to dry on the other set. HA! Foolish painter. It turns out that the drying time of acrylic paints is not the bottleneck in my process...

Anyway, after the initial spray-on primer, I attacked the metal rear-ends with a progressive dry-brushing technique. A heavy brushing of Tin Bitz, followed by progressively lighter brushings of Boltgun Metal, and then Chainmail. Look, I even took a picture of the step-by-step process!


After that initial step, I pretty much left them to their own devices while I began working on the archviles. You can see part of their drybrushed metal butts in the top of this WIP picture:


And then? Well, then Christmas happened, plus we had a lovely family holiday at the end of January, and lots of other distracting (but fun!) stuff happened. Eventually, I managed to kick myself back into gear, and finished off the archviles. Then, to keep myself fresh, I decided to have a mini-break from DooM, and painted up Stabbins from Dungeon Run.

(I have further things to write/rant about on the topic of Dungeon Run miniatures, but I'll save that for when they're all done.)

Finally, I could put it off no longer, and went back to my long-neglected demons. Much to my chagrin, the lazy buggers had not painted themselves, so I was obliged to pick up the slack. This is where the dusting-off was required, and a rather curious setback occurred.

To provide context, here is a picture of my painting workspace:

Yes, I don't have a room, I have a desk, with wheels on it. Insert obligatory Monty Python "Four Yorkshiremen" reference here, e.g. "Desk? You were lucky!" Most of the time, my darling wife tolerates "Little Wheelie" sitting around the house when not in use, as long as he's in an out-of-the-way spot. But he often gets banished to the outside deck, particularly when visitors are coming for dinner, or I've left it way too long between painting sessions. His outside spot is undercover, and thus well protected from the rain, but not from the cold, heat, humidity, etc.

So as it turned out, poor Little Wheelie found himself banished outside for most of the Christmas / New Year break, as well as a decent chunk of January and February. And all of my WIP models were sitting on top of him, exposed to all the wildly random variances of heat and cold that Melbourne simply loves to bestow upon its residents, regardless of the actual season.

Now, to continue the story, I elected to follow the "retro" pink flesh scheme, as per the original 8-bit graphics:


What with pink being a lighter colour and all, I started out re-basing the fleshy areas with an initial white coat. And that's where the fun began. The paint simply refused to go on - it actually started beading up like water on a well-oiled surface. I was utterly gobsmacked. In hindsight, I guess what happened was that the initial black spray-on primer (which is an oil-based enamel) must have somehow "cured" or "leaked" part of its oily-ness (oil-osity? whatever...) out onto the surface through over-exposure to continual hot/cold temperatures from being left outside too long. Very strange, but I've learned my lesson now - no more leaving partially-finished models outside for months on end. (Duh)

As for the problem at hand, I was completely at a loss of what to do, so in the end settled for sheer bloody-mindedness. I just kept on smashing the brush against the recalcitrant surface again and again and again. I got there in the end, but it was a long, bitter struggle - three night's worth of painting, just to get a white undercoat on six models!


After that ordeal, the pink skin tones were a veritable dream to apply. About the only complication was the paucity of pink paint to be had. The Citadel/GW range was completely lacking (at the time), and although I had a pot of P3 "Carnal Pink", it was way too light to use as a base coat. In the end, I went to a craft shop, and got a fairly high-end tube of artist's paint. "Brilliant magenta", I think it was called. It was a bit thicker than I was used to, and darker than I wanted, but nothing that a bit of watering down and mixing with the Carnal Pink didn't solve. Then the usual wash (Baal Red), re-highlight with original colour and a final line highlight of pure Carnal Pink to finish it off.

Then all that was left was the horns, eyes, claws and teeth. Easy enough under normal circumstances, except that they were all still coated in that nasty, greasy black undercoat. And stubborn brush-smashing would most likely ruin all the work I just did on the pink shading. Lucky for me, Games Workshop has just released a new range of paints, some of which are in fact semi-solid gooey compounds which are custom-designed for drybrushing. So I bought a pot of white goo (Praxeti White), and generously daubed it on the remaining trouble spots. Not the use for which this stuff is intended, but hey, it worked like a charm!

The final touch (which I almost forgot about) was my ongoing "tri-colour" theme that I'm trying to work in to the paint jobs of all these miniatures. After examining the rear metalwork, I found some tube-like things near where the ironmongery joins the flesh, and promptly painted them up in the appropriate R/G/B colours. Clearly visible, whilst also being fairly subtle.

So there you go. Hopefully I've either entertained you a little, or at least cured your insomnia. Next up, I'll be tackling the really big boys, starting with the Mancubii. I have two very fond hopes for these guys:
1) I won't have to wrestle with any of the paint this time around.
2) I'll finish them before Games Workshop releases their next line of paints!

Thanks for reading, all the best.
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Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:56 am
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He fixed me with a freezing glance, and the hellfires RAGED in his ... wrists

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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Hang on a sec, let me just dust off this blog a bit...

There we go, good as new. I hope none of my avid followers have been getting too despondent waiting for an update. Hah, I wish. Anyway, I won't bore you with details, but suffice to say my painting schedule has been yet again interrupted, this time with a mix of legitimate real-life interference, but also a significant amount of me just faffing around and procrastinating. I'm back on track now, hopefully I can get a reasonable amount of progress done before I (no doubt) go and derail myself once more.

In any case, they're way past due, but finally completed: the DooM archviles!


I gotta say, of all the work I've done to date, these dudes would have to be the results of which I am least proud. In case you're wondering (and I don't blame you if you are), they're meant to have these pyro-kinetic gland thingies in their forearms, and my intent was to paint them up to look like they were incandescent, just about to go off in a painful, detonating blast. Sadly, it just kinda looks like they've got coloured balloons attached to their wrists, and not very convincing ones at that. Note to self: more research required on how to best emulate the effect of incandescence with paint and less than 5 square millimetres of surface area!

So yeah, a bit of a let down, but mostly due to the failed attempt at creating glowing forearms. I'm quite pleased with all the other areas, but the bulging wrists really are the focus points of these miniatures, and it's a shame I couldn't achieve what I was aiming for.

Anyway, for those interested in technique: I started these dudes off with white spray primer this time around. All my previous efforts have been with black primer, but I was thinking ahead to what I wanted to achieve with the wrists, and decided that white would be the safer bet.

Now came the wrists. Oy, so much effort, for such a mediocre result! *sigh* ... I created my own little "mini-washes" with each colour (red, green, blue). Essentially, mix together a spot of paint, a generous dollop of paint retarder (a clear medium used to stop acrylics from drying too quickly), and a drop or two of water for good measure. I then carefully brushed this mixture just around the base of the wrists, trying to keep the nucleus of the "bumps" white. I then made successive mixtures, with a lighter and lighter shade of each colour (and in the case of red, I cycled it through orange and then to yellow), and again carefully applied each layer, getting closer and closer to the centre of the bumps. I did this about four or five times, I kid you not. Alas, I am not the world's expert on making washes, and I spent a lot of the time fighting the pigment with my brush, trying to get it into the spot I wanted it to go. Which is a bit silly, really - the point of washes is that pigment goes where it wants to go, which is down into crevices and cracks, as opposed to up gradual slopes! Ah well, lesson learned...

After I got the wrists looking, if not great, then at least passable, I proceeded with my standard production-line strategy for the rest of the bodies.

Base coat of Dheneb Stone


Wash the Dheneb stone with Ogryn Flesh


Then, re-highlight with Dheneb stone, and then a final line highlight of 50/50 Dheneb Stone/Skull White.

Eye cavities were a simple drop of Badab Black wash. The mouths were achieved with a base blob of Baal Red wash around the whole mouth/tooth area, then picked out the teeth with Bleached Bone / Skull White. Toe claws were picked out in the same scheme (no red wash though). Bases were done with a careful application of Chaos Black, and drybrushed with Boltgun Metal.

So there you go. While I am disappointed with the end result, I doubt I'll spend too much time lamenting my mistakes, for a couple of reasons:
1) I am still a learner, and mistakes are a valuable part of learning.
2) I seriously don't have any friggin' TIME for useless regret, as I have a mountain of unpainted plastic/metal still awaiting my attention!

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed the read, or at least learned how NOT to paint an incandescent effect! Next up on the schedule, we start to get into the big boys (i.e. minis taking up more than one square): the Demons! Good news is that I've already made a start - here's a sneak peek of the progressive drybrushing effect on their shiny metal butts:


All the best (but don't hold your breath for the next post),
Birdman.
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Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:45 am
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A brief Blood Bowl interlude...

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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Gudday.

In my previous post, I promised to tackle the DooM archviles. And indeed, that is what I am diligently doing. However, just for the sake of variety, I decided to attempt the odd one-off miniature once in a while. I then interleave between painting my run-of-the-mill monster production line figures, and the unique miniature. It keeps me interested, and it allows me to attempt some more advanced techniques and detailing - stuff that I'm happy to try out on a single figure, but which would drive me utterly insane attempting on an army.

So, which miniature did I choose? Surely one of the unique heroes from any of my existing games, I hear you say. Oh no. Being utterly inundated with an existing mountain of unpainted miniatures, what is the only logical thing to do? Order a copy of Blood Bowl, of course! shake

And not just the 24 figures from the base game, but a few special characters as well! Namely: Ernie Dingo!


This was a special promotional figure churned out by the talented folks at Greebo miniatures for the Southern Shrike Bowl of 2011. I didn't attend the event, but the organisers had some extra stock, and I was able to source it through a polite gentleman from the ausbowl.com portal.

So, what "special techniques" did I try out? Well, green stuff sculpting, for one:


Yep, the cracked-earth "Aussie outback" base that you see is 100% courtesy of yours truly. Oh, and Games Workshop, I suppose. Quite an interesting challenge, but easy enough once you get used to the texture of the stuff. Once mixed, just lump it onto the base with a mini spatula, then slowly spread it out like a recalcitrant lump of butter. Water on the spatula helps a lot. I got it into a nice flat(ish) shape, then let it set. Once that was done, I simply attacked it with a craft knife, and cut out the gaps between the cracked sections. Took me a good evening's work to cut it out to my satisfaction, but I was very happy with the results, and I'm even happier now that he's all painted up.

Another technique I tried is the smooth blending on his armour. I started off with a yellowish-orange, and worked my way gradually up to a bright yellow highlight right on the tips and tops of the armour. Wet palettes are an absolute must for this kind of thing.

And other than that, I tried to cram in as much painted detail as my hands and eyes were capable of. My hands did a respectable job, but alas, my eyes simply are not what they used to be, and I was required to call on the services of my brand new Dork Visor (tm) to assist me.


(In case you're wondering, taking the thing off actually makes me look even more ugly. cry)

Well, that's it for now. Apologies for those of you tuning in expecting to see actual DooM miniatures - next time I promise!

Cheers,
Birdman.
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Thu Dec 1, 2011 10:47 am
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They're coming out of the goddamn ducts!

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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Ahem. Yeah, g'day. Long time between posts and all that. A fairly serious health issue in the family caused me to put all my grand painting schemes well and truly on the backburner for an extended period of time. Things have settled down a bit now, though, so I've been able to cautiously resume my efforts.

Anyway, in my last post I promised to tackle those irksome trites next up, and true to my word (if a little later than originally intended), here they are:


Man, they may be irksome to deal with on the board, but they are ten times that on the painting bench! No bases, which made it quite a challenge to secure them properly for the purposes of base-coat spray painting, not to mention just simply holding them while trying to do the detail. Probably 20% of the paint intended for these guys ended up going on my fingers instead.

Furthermore, all of these miniatures had suffered some degree of warping of the legs. Not a single one of them had more than three feet on the ground, and the worst of them looked like he'd met the wrong end of a fly-swat! Anyway, there's a tried and true method for dealing with this - the ol' hot-and-cold water treatment. Dip the mini in a cup of hot (as in, just boiled) water for a short period, and once the plastic is all nice and bendy, contort those warped limbs into the desired pose and hold for a while. Then, dip into a cup of cold (ice) water, and Bob's your uncle. Of course, this procedure would have been a whole lot easier if I'd been working with minis that had fewer than six recalcitrant limbs...

As for colour schemes, these guys (unlike the imps) had no nostalgia-based colouring to inspire me with, being a new monster that was introduced in DooM III. And, as much as I enjoyed playing the DooM III video game, if I was to take my colouring inspiration from it, then pretty much every monster would be a pale, mottled flesh colour with (of course) the odd splatter of blood.

So, I decided a lighter tone than the imps was in order, and settled for GW Iyanden Darksun as the foundation. Then, my standard procedure: wash (Devlan Mud is your friend), re-highlight with original colour, and a final edge highlight with a 60:40 mix of Iyanden Darksun and Bleached Bone. The teeth had a similar treatment, but with Bleached Bone as the base and the very tips of the teeth highlighted with skull white. Rinse and repeat for the tongues, but with Blood Red as the base.

The eyes were a bit of a challenge, and given that they were of a decent size (at least, in miniature terms), I decided to try my hand at the "reflective gem" effect. So, a dark shade as the base, a lighter shade applied along the bottom, but offset with a tiny dot of white near the top. Not sure if you can see it in the photo, but it came out reasonably well for a first attempt. Fingers crossed, I'll get better at this and other techniques as I practice more, and will be able to enjoy at least a few years of being a moderately-skilled miniature painter, before old age kicks in and robs me of my fine motor skills.

Anyway, after having done the eyes in the obligatory three colours, I decided that (a) the difference in colours wasn't really that prevalent, as these guys have their eyes on the bottom; and (b) I'd already used the "different coloured eyes" motif before on the imps. So, I decided that these guys, being the pesky little duct-scuttlers that they are, are probably subject to wading through all sorts of dubious substances. As such, I tried to make it look as though their legs were stained with dried gore/green goo/blue slushy. It could probably have been done better (not enough "splatting"), and certainly with a little more subtlety and blending of the colours, but overall I'm reasonably happy with the result. There's certainly no need to squint in order to determine which flavour of trite you're up against!

Well, that's it for this post. Hopefully the next won't be so long in coming out. The good news is that I'm now done with "dozens" - the remaining DooM monsters only come in sets of six or less - yay! Stay tuned for: the archviles!

Thanks for reading,
Birdman.
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Thu Nov 17, 2011 11:58 pm
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Space Imps

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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Ugh, bit of a slow month, this one - at least in terms of miniature painting. Real Life conspires against me, constantly demanding my attention! Grr.

Ah well, a snail's pace is better than none at all. Having recently been pointed at the Miniature Painters' Guild, and in particular their ongoing monthly painting contest, the Golden Turtleback, I've decided to try and enter it every month. As such, my absolute worst possible pace will hopefully not fall below one "set" of minis a month.

Anyway, enough rambling. Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present - the DooM imps!


(My apologies for the poor choice in background scenery)

I agonised over colour schemes for a little while, but in the end decided to go with the retro look of the classic DooM I and II imps. They look almost cute by today's standards, but those fellas had me soiling my pants back in the day. Ahem...

Colours used:
As per usual, all minis prepped with Chaos Black spray and sealed with 'Ard Coat + Dullcote.

Skin: Vermin Brown, washed with Devlan Mud. Highlighted with Vermin Brown again, then a final line highlight of 1:1 Elf Flesh:Vermin Brown.

Teeth: Bleached bone, washed with Devlan Mud (Hell is not reknowned for its Dental Plan), re-highlighted with Bleached Bone once more, and a final watered-down application of Skull White on the tips.

Toes/claws: Similar to teeth, however the washes were Baal Red / Asurmen Blue / Thakra Green.

Eyes: To the designer at ID software, responsible for giving the new-look DooM III Imps eight eyes each: KISS MY AR$E. You bastard. I started off trying to dot them out individually, then gave up in despair. In the end, I managed to work it by sloshing the whole eye-cluster area with white, then the desired red/blue/green. I then painstakingly painted around the eyes with Vermin brown once more. Yeesh.

Bases: As per the zombies - Chaos Black, dry brushed with Boltgun Metal.

Self-Appraisal:
I'm pretty happy with these guys as well. And although it's nowhere near as prominent as the zombies, I managed to keep my "three colours" theme going, so I'm pleased about that. I may possibly have been a bit heavy-handed with my line highlighting - looking at them, I now observe that I've highlighted areas that realistically ought not to be lit up. We live and learn, so I'll hopefully remember that for next time.

Next up - those pesky trites. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it!
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Thu Jun 30, 2011 3:17 pm
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Team Zombie

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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So, having decided to get my DooM miniatures painted, I had to decide what subset to paint first. I chose the zombies, because they are the iconic low-level monster across this entire game franchise. I still remember hearing that haunting wheeze when I first fired up DooM all those years ago on my 386 (ah, memories). Plus, I have yet to decide on a colour scheme for the more demonic monsters.

So, here they are, all finished and ready to shamble:


Colours used:
All zombies were initially sprayed with GW chaos black. (Unless otherwise specified, all paints are from GW/Citadel).

Flesh: base coat of Rotting Flesh, washed with Thakra Green, then re-highlighted with Rotting Flesh once more. Wounds were filled in with Red Gore. Eyes were first splotted with Baal Red wash around the eyeball, then a dot of Skull White. Side note: I am NOT looking forward to attempting pupils for the marines!

Blue zombies:
Shirt: Ice blue, washed with Asurmen Blue, highlighted with Ice Blue, then line highlighted with 1:1 Ice Blue : Skull white.
Pants: similar method, but with Regal blue as the base and 1:1 Asurmen Blue : Badab Black as the wash.

Green zombies:
Shirt: As above, but Goblin Green base, Thakra Green wash.
Pants: Knarloc Green base, 1:1 Thakra : Badab wash.

Red zombies:
Shirt: Skull White undercoat (I've learned that much, at least), then as above with Blood Red base, Baal Red wash.
Pants: Mechrite red (no white undercoat required - yay!), and black:red wash.

Homer Simpson:
When initially picking out a wash for the skin, I was undecided between green and red. I ended up choosing green, but this guy was the necessary casualty. Rather than start all over, or (ugh) attempt to strip the paint off, I decided to get a little creative with this one. So, I highlighted the skin with Golden Yellow, and painted his shirt white. Then, I got a bit distracted, and wasted half an evening making the world's smallest doughnut out of a tiny coil of stripped electical wire and green stuff. Still, it was enjoyable, and if I'm not going to allow myself a little bit of fun here and there, I might as well pack away the paints right now. You can't see it in the photo, but the top of his head has two thin black lines painted across it, and he has a zig-zag running across the back of his skull.

Bases:
Re-brushed with Chaos Black to remove all evidence of clumsy painting around the feet, then lightly dry-brushed with Boltgun Metal.

Finishing touches:
Once completed, all models were sprayed with a Gloss Varnish (GW 'Ard Coat), and this is the state in which you see them. In a little while, I shall spray a final layer of Testors Dull Coat.

Self appraisal:
All in all, I am quite pleased with the outcome. The eyeballs are a little bit skew-whiff on a couple of zombies, but given that they're zombies, this is probably forgiveable. Note to self: invest in magnifying head apparatus. Also, the black gap between shirt and skin is perhaps a little bit too wide, but at this stage of my painting expertise, I lacked the confidence (and eyesight) to get the colours any closer together.

Still not 100% sure I needed to go with the green/red/blue scheme (for those not aware, the minis in DooM all come in these three distinct colours, and are used for the purposes of scaling to the number of players), but I like the variety. They do look a little bit "bright" for zombies, and buggered if I know how I'm going to continue with the RGB scheme for the remaining (butt-nekkid) monsters, but nonetheless I'm pretty happy with the results.

Thanks for reading, feel free to post comments/criticism/advice as you see fit. Next up (in a bit of a while): the imps!

Cheers,
Birdman.
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Fri May 27, 2011 3:01 pm
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So many miniatures, so little time!

Andrew Bird
Australia
Victoria
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G'day all.

I find myself in what I suppose must be a fairly common situation around here: I have a heap of games sitting on my shelf, all with various amounts of plastic miniatures sitting inside them, all eagerly waiting to be painted. And, as much as I tried to discipline myself time and time again not to buy a new game until I'd finished painting the minis from the previous ones, I simply can't help myself.

My list of unpainted games is certainly not monolithic, but when you paint at the painstaking speed that I do, and consider that each game has a decent count of miniatures, it amounts to quite a lot of work to be done:
DungeonQuest
Dungeon Twister 2: Prison
Earth Reborn
Space Hulk 3e
Descent: JitD, WoD, AoD and ToI
Wrath of Ashardalon

The situation came to a head a couple of weeks ago, when I was up in Sydney for a work conference. The conference was completed, and I had a couple of hours to kill before needing to check in at the airport. Naturally, I decided to browse one of the local game stores. The very friendly staff member smiled, weclomed me and asked if I needed any help. I smiled back, and politely stated that I was just browsing. I spent ten minutes or so just wandering the aisles, with my hands shoved firmly and resolutely in my front pockets, away from my wallet. I was doing just fine, right up until I saw it.

DooM: The Boardgame.

Now, a little background: I'm an old computer gamer, and only recently converted to board games. Both Wolfenstein 3D, and DooM hold a soft spot in my heart. At the decline of my computer gaming years, I also played the much later version 3 of DooM, and enjoyed it immensely. I have quite a few friends around who are also old computer gamers, and I've been itching to get them around for a board gaming session. I've just been holding out for the right game to do it with. Anyway, on with the story...

Steady, I told myself. You've read about this one, and although it would be a fantastic game to introduce for a game night, it has serious balance issues, and apparently needs the expansion in order to be remotely playable. Besides, you're a completionist, and both this and the expansion are out of print, so you'll just drive yourself nuts if you get this and can't get... wait, what's that sitting next to it? Oh.

DooM: the Expansion

To my credit, I didn't purchase them immediately. I spent a good half an hour in the park, arguing silently with myself first. Pretty weak defense, hey?

Now, I've become quite good at secreting large-ish boxes around various parts of our property, so that my darling wife doesn't discover them straight away. However, it's pretty damn hard to hide two massive boxes when you're coming home from the airport and all you've got is an overnight bag. My long-suffering wife finally blew up at me, and demanded that I stop buying games that I never end up playing.

I will play them, I said, just as soon as I finished painting them. And then she gave me the Look.

So, I'm going to dedicate as much spare time as I have (which is not all that much, having a couple of young kids to raise and all) to getting these damn miniatures painted. My initial priority was Space Hulk, but that has now shifted to DooM. My eldest is just turning seven, and although we have played Space Hulk (with unpainted minis) before, the finer subtleties of strategy will be a few years in coming to him yet. But DooM - oh yes, I dearly wish to invite my old computer gaming buddies over for an evening, and bring this baby out. And, wanting to make a good first impression, I'll need it to be looking top-notch.

Hence this blog. It will serve a few purposes:
1) It will be a running journal off all the painting I've done to date. Posts will include pictures (of course!), but also I will annotate them with colours used, and any techniques that I've learned/tried out. As to how exciting a read that will be for anyone, well, I'm not forcing you to read it, OK?
2) It will (hopefully) also serve as a motivation to continue painting. Posts are likely to be few and far between, but as long as I make some sort of progress on a regular-ish basis, I can be content.
3) Maybe, just maybe, someone out there will find my posts useful, entertaining, or informative. Bit of an ask, but you never know...

My next post shouldn't be too far away (as I've already completed the minis in question), so stay tuned!

Cheers,
Birdman.
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13 Comments
Fri May 27, 2011 6:22 am
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