Friday, February 27, 2015

Update (with Death Metal Cat)

I've been struggling with updates this week. Just trying to prepare some tax documents and schedule volunteering and dentist visits for the family.

It's cut into the painting time and has generally made me cranky:

I did finish reading "To the Strongest" and am excited about getting in some games of that. You can read about the game at The Big Red Bat Cave or purchase them at his shop.

I have the seed of an idea for a play by blog, but I need to do some ground work to see if it is feasible.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

AHPCV Comedic Bonus Round Entry

Here's a link to my latest entry in the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge V. The Comedic Bonus round.

There is some pretty witty stuff and some fantastic painting on display. Anne's Hokey Pokey tribe are the most visually stunning to me. Go check out the blog and vote for your favorites.

On to my pictures.

Considering how I did these in one sitting again on the day of, I'm happy with how they turned out. I think the layering on the clothing, where there is any, was the most successful part. These Bobby Jackson sculpts come from Rebel Minis, specifically their Darkhold Fantasy Goblin Villagers and Henchmen packs.

I thought the sculpts themselves, as well as the idea of goblin player characters was funny. C'mon the guy is picking his nose. Comedic gold!

The positive I'm am taking away from the challenge thus far is that I can crank out figures when I have to. Since I started back to painting it has felt like an endless slog on some figures, perhaps because I was painting too many at once for my ability. The downside thus far has been that I have been procrastinating too much and not giving myself enough time to work on technique and really make the figures shine. The bonus rounds feel more like a cynical point grab at this point rather than  a true showcase of my skill and imagination. But that's on me.

I've been holding on to this post because I wanted to give you all a few more shots of the figures, but I'll do that in another post or I may procrastinate too long.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

40mm Zombies from the AHPCV

I didn't realize it had been so long since I last posted. I had quite a few things to tell you, but got caught up in volunteering at the kids school. We had field day and I had fun timing the 600m run. I was proud of my daughter for finishing as she is a self avowed non runner.

On to the figures. First seen here.

So these are just repeats of poses I've already done. I went with a shade, mid and highlight with second highlight for the faces. I'm not really into the red and black motif on the two crazy women zombies. It is what it is.

From the back they really look too clean for zombies. I had a few hiccups with under thinned paint in the highlight layer. I ended up having to hit those bright spots with a black wash to tone them down. The grunge wash is 2 Raw Umber : 2 Burnt Umber : 2 Green : 1 Black. I add the green to make it more zombie.

A group shot of everyone to date. I only have 4 zombies and 1 survivor based and primed left to go. Unfortunately they are ineligible for the challenge, as I started some layers on them awhile back.

I was able to pull out my Comedic bonus round submission, this time with about 20 minutes to go when I hit send. Maybe, just maybe, I'll get the anti hero round in early.

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Talomir Tales Battle report, Isle of Blood

Just to let you know, I've posted another battle report over at Talomir tales here.

Fladnag and his magic really made the difference.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Hot" Round submission

So I blitz painted these entries to submit them for the "Hot" bonus round over at Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge V here.

EDIT - I was reminded that it is a prerequisite to hum either Hot in Herre or Don't Cha while painting and or reading about these figures.


That day I ran a 5K in the morning and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing family stuff, including watching the new Spongebob movie. So I didn't get started until about 5:30pm and had to do all the green stuff, basing and priming of the Elemental from then until 10:59PM when I finally sent Curt the email, with one minute to spare!

So that's why no back story or detailed info about figures or process. The pictures were also crappy as I was doing it handheld on Aperture priority mode, but had also forgotten that I had set the F number really low, hence the blurring on the elemental. I just had to go with it as I had no time.

Anyway here are the improved photos.

So the previous two shots are more or less reproducing the shot I submitted. I reduced the Exposure Value to -1.0 because the Fire Elemental was washing out all the color due to the brightness of the yellow. I probably should have spent a little more time adjusting the lights. There's too much shadow in the rear view of the fire elemental.

The Reaper Sea Nymph was part of the Learn to Paint kit #4 Flesh and Skin tones. I tried to follow the instructions and I think I failed. The method is to prime white and then do multiple layers of thinned paint to build up the flesh. The method also calls for lining to add definition to the transition areas. I was a little sloppy with this and missed the starfish completely. Normally I would accomplish this with an ink wash over the base coat.

One interesting thing about this method was that they mixed in linen white into the base flesh triad to lighten her skin tone. I like the effect, but I felt like I wasted a lot of paint because it was 4 drops to one and you only really need one or two drops to paint the whole figure. I also have an issue with following the thinning procedure. Reaper always calls for drops of water per drops of paint, the problem is my water dropper is not a reaper bottle, so of course the drops are enormous. So I wet the brush and try to mix in water to get the right consistency with predictably variable results.

I used Liquitex Acrylic spray to prime her and it seems to be quite a bit more gritty than the black or umber sprays. I'm not sure if I obscured detail but I had trouble identifying some of the complicated straps on her scallop shell brassiere. I think I failed on the skin tone because the final highlight may not have been thin enough, so I basically ended up covering my previous layers rather than blending them with a glaze.

I will note here that there is no guidance on how to paint anything other than the skin. Before I realized there was a sea motif going on I had intended to do metallics. In the end I went with Desert Sand over the shells with a burnt umber wash, the bracelets in particular seem to get lost.

She's okay, but over all not a success.

Where as I spent a lot of time for not that great results on the Nymph and spent very little time on the Fire Elemental for pretty good results. I think part of its success was the fact that there was no time to second guess anything. This was always going to be a study in dry brushing.

He came as a two piece, the arms and chest were separate, and they made no pretense about a seamless fit. The gaps were huge quite frankly. I think I was able to pin him after we got home around 3pm and then did everything else, including green stuff, from 5:30pm on. We shall find out if painting not fully cured green stuff is a problem.

I screwed up and ran out of 40mm square bases so I had to cut one from a scrap of 3mm thick craft plywood. I used a jigsaw this time. It saved me time but I still can't cut straight to save my life.

I PVA'd him to the plywood, don't ask why just go with it, and then green stuffed the four legs of fire out to help blend and secure him to the base. Although it may not bear very close scrutiny, I think I did a pretty good job of texturing it to match the base of the figure. It was just gouging and pulling with a sculpting tool.

The rock areas were my usual air dry clay with texture gel and sand. I then picked through some old aquarium rocks and glued them on like tufts. I think it would have been better to work them into the base more but they look much better painted than when they weren't.

I think I was trying to show you the green stuffing between his arms and his body. I feel like I was successful in making it blend with the rest of the body. So bizarre, asymmetric texture may be my forte.

I'll finish with the paint job. I brushed on white craft paint as primer because I was at the painting desk and jumping back and forth between the two figures. I didn't feel I could spare the time to go outside and spray prime him. The base coats were Yellow on the flaming part and Lamp Black on the black/ ground part. I then Drybrush/ stippled Saffron Yellow and then drybrushed Bright Orange, Burnt Orange and Red Iron Oxide on the flames. The black was Drybrushed Hippo Grey, Rain Grey and Drizzle Grey.

Although he's a little hard to photograph I think he looks good for the effort.

And yes, I based them for Oldhammer.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Plastic Army Men - Zombies

Hi All,

I meant to show these to you sooner, but got caught up in a very busy weekend. Here are the Survivors that I posted to the AHPCV last Friday.

These are the additional shots I took today as I was re-taking the shots of my "Hot" bonus round submission.

Four out of five available poses.
These pictures are slightly different from what I submitted to Curt. As I was retaking the "Hot" photos I wasn't liking how washed out the background was and some of the brighter colors were blowing out. So I tried dropping the Exposure Value to -1.0, I think they look better.

 I tried to emulate a Pabst Blue Ribbon logo trucker hat on Jethro. My free hand is pretty bad and this was my second attempt. To quote Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet, "Heineken! You like that shit? PABST BLUE RIBBON!"

Deputy Hogg
 Nothing to see here folks, I just went with a sheriff brown palette theme.

 Although his pose is a little weird, and he inexplicably has no shoes, I think Ax man here is my favorite. Perhaps a little too pristine for an ax wielder in the zombie apocalypse. Oh well.

Officer Figueroa
 I almost did urban camo on this SWAT officer but I just wanted to be done by the time I got around to it.

Zombies attack!
 You may remember the zombies from Zom(b)tober, I have eight more just like them waiting to be painted. Maybe this week.

Last Stand.

The End?
This last photo I changed the F value from 16 down to 8 to blur out the Survivors in the fore ground. The focal point is the zombie in the middle.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to welcome Marga to the blog. I'm not sure how Marga came to find my blog but they write an interesting blog, in Spanish, about Egypt here. Lots of art and reference material.

And before I forget, these figures probably are those ones from Amazon that I mentioned, the reviews say they are not the ones pictured. They appear to be made by EMCE Toys who also do 4" and 8" "dolls" or action men if you prefer. I found a blog article about them here. The main draw back to using these is the lack of poses, only five each.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Photographing Miniatures Part 6 - More resources

I came across some more links and thought I should bring them to your attention. It's hard to believe that I last wrote on this subject all the way back in August of last year.

It all started with a link posted by a guy (I'm assuming a guy) named Garfy, over on the Oldhammer facebook group. He posted a link to his smart phone photography tutorial on Tale of Painters here. It is very straight forward and gives you some direction for things to use for taking better cellphone photos. Spoiler Alert: It is all similar stuff to what makes a good photo with any camera.

In this tutorial he also mentions an earlier one on DSLR photography here. Again this is stuff we have covered before, but it is concise and he makes a few good points. I would recommend reading it if you haven't read any intro photography stuff before, but even if you have he makes some good points. One thing that i came away with is that you should try to get your lights far enough away from your subject to help diminish the shadows. Something I'll have to play around with but may not have much ability to change, as I photo on a pretty cramped desk.

The other place I had found a good amount of information is from Henry Hyde in both "The Wargaming Compendium" and Miniature Wargames with Battlegames (361, 377, 378, and 379). So if you are like me and had this book but hadn't read it, or subscribe to the magazine but glossed over the info, go back and give these a read. What I liked about these guides is that he gives a lot of good common sense tips, including perhaps the most important, that it takes practice to get better at photography. Just like anything else. The other thing is that he goes into some thoughts about composition and light at shows and other such places where lighting is sub optimal and you may not have full control over your subject matter.

I will try to get this latest round to spur me forward and finish up my series. If you're having trouble finding them they are:

Part 1 - My Gear
Part 2 - Online Tutorials
Part 3 - Camera Comparison
Part 4 - Interlude
Part 5 - Backgrounds

As always, have fun with your hobby.


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