Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekend Roundup

Bunch of random notes...

Picked up Legends last Wednesday. It's 100% awesome. I'm still reading through the fiction, but the Menoth stuff is rockin.

Played a 750pt game last Friday. I played eSeverius against eAsphyxious. I lost, but it was a valuable experience. eSevvy is pretty badass, even against non-living models where his abilities are rather nerfed. Highlights include putting his +2 DEF and no-spells/animii spell on the TFG and controlling an entire side of the table with them.

Watched a couple of painting videos posted on miniaturepeddler the other day. The first wasMatt DiPietro at GenCon which I found pretty interesting. The second was of Amy Brehm teaching a class on metalics which was ok, but rather hard to follow.

Showdown Status: Just Nyss'd the Deadline

Ha ha... sorry, couldn't help it. I'm very nearly done with the Nyss hunters, but I probably won't have them sealed tonight. I lost a lot of time working on snow bases for them. My first experiments were pitiful and I had to scrap my prototype base entirely. However, they are all fully painted, and all that remains is to put the snow on the bases (which are otherwise done) and pin the Nyss to the bases and seal them. I'll be working on for another hour or so, but I'm gonna have to post pics tomorrow after I seal them.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back to Painting

Well, I'm sorely behind schedule on my plan to finish the Nyss Hunters for August, but I've made important progress. I finished painting Cylena from the unit yesterday. She was my prototype for how I wanted to paint them, both in terms of technique and detail level. My goal, like with the Cryx, is to paint them quickly without sacrificing quality too much. I think this result is a pretty happy balance. It was about 5 hours or so of painting on this model, which counts some experimentation time. Now that I have the process worked out, the others should go quickly. Here's what I did:
  • Base: Cygnar Blue Base, wash black ink + flow aid, highlight Coal Black - This is done over a large portion of the model first, since most of the model is the black leather.
  • Fur: MWH, wash CXH, re-highlight MWH - This gets this part done very quickly and provides good constrast and a slightly gritty look
  • Cape: CXH, 2BB CXB, 2BB Black - I love 2BB; it gets the job done so fast now. Totally worth learning the technique despite all the initial frustration.
  • Scabbard straps: MWB, shade Rucksack Tan, highlight MWH - Pretty standard formula for cloth-style straps for me.
  • Flesh: Frostbite base (couple coats to make it smooth), wash blue+black ink + flow aid, minor highlights with Frostbite, hit eyes with MWH - I wasn't going to mess around with fancy flesh styles here. I wanted something striking, providing better constrast to the overall model, without having to do something complicated since the only skin these models really show is their hands and faces (and Cylena's belly). The hair got a cleanup afterwards of just a single coat of black paint (no highlighting action here).
  • Sword hilt: Bloodstone, Skorne Red highlights, wash Umbral Umber, minor shading with Armor Wash - Again, not looking for something elaborate, just fast.
  • Sword blade/etc: base Pig Iron, then Cold Steel highlights then Quick Silver, and then some thinned black to shade. For all the armor trim I just used Cold Steel.
The key here for me was to avoid mixing paints. Things go alot faster on squads if you can stick to out-of-the-pot colors.

My next big task (in addition to painting the other 9) is to get working on bases. I've never done snow bases and figured this is a good opportunity to try them out. Gonna have to pull out some of the tutorial links and read up.

On a different note, my niece's visit was a blast. We did a ton of stuff and I needed a huge nap after she left. Here's a quick list of the week:
  • Tons of shopping
  • Santa Cruz Boardwalk
  • The Dark Knight
  • SF Zoo
  • Fisherman's Warf
  • Cold Stone
  • Got sick with the flu (just me)
  • Had a late night code release at work (while still sick)
  • More Shopping
  • Bennihana
  • Walked the Golden Gate

Friday, August 22, 2008

More Revenants!

Nothing fancy here, just trying to round out my Revenant Crew finally. 5 of them have been sitting on my desk for practically a month now with just skin and metals done, so I finally am getting these little buggers done. Just tabletop quality stuff here (barely).

These guys are some of the conversions I did for the remaining Revenant Crew members. I'm fixated on making sure all my Cryx unit models look different if at all possible and so these guys got a little work. Some of them have parts from my scap bin, and others were cobbled together from a combination of Revenants and Risen models.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Next Level

This month is going to severely drop off in painting time. My niece is coming to visit for a week which will (justifiably) take up most of my time. This is probably a good thing since I'm riding a ragged edge of burnout in both painting and work, so a week of shopping and playing Mario Kart with my niece is probably just what the doctor ordered. In the mean time, along with cleaning and organizing my painting desk and doing some initial model assembly, here's an interesting update from the Bay Area:

Jeremie Bonamant recently visited the area for a 3 day teaching session at Endgame in Oakland. I was unfortunately unable to attend, but the local group that helped organize the event posted their notes about the event which I got to read through. It was fascinating. After reading through it, here's the quick summary of things I've decided I need to work on:

  • Zenithal highlighting - The idea here is to highlight the surface facing upwards according to the angle of incidence of the light source. Not ever edge needs a highlight.
  • Metalics - When doing true metalics (not NMM) it's important to make the shading very very dramatic. The more the better, and with smooth blending.
  • Highlighting - Highlights should be brought higher, with the highest highlights on the parts of the mini that I want the eyes drawn to.
  • Highlighting black - Black should be highlighted with light shades of colors being used elsewhere on the mini.
  • General color theory - I need to read a book for sure. Maybe take a night class.

One last side note: In my quest to experiment with other paint/ink lines, I've been trying out a couple of the Vallejo Game Ink line and I am quickly falling in love with it. It has great flow, great coverage, and doesn't seem to break down as much when thinned. I'm going to pick up the entire line very soon I suspect.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gnarlhorn Satyr

He's done! And what a joy he was to paint. Seriously, this was a very fun model. A good level of detail for a large model, with surfaces allowing for some experimentation.

I've noticed that more dramatic highlights and shadows can really help a model pop. There's definately a fine line on what's good and what's overdone though. I'm still too conservative in my contrast level I think, but maybe that's just me. I experimented a bit more with higher levels of contrast between the shadows and the highlights and I think it paid off well, especially on the leathers.

Two-brush blending is really useful in small areas. Now that I've gotten more used to the mechanics of it, I'm starting to use this technique more automatically. Even on fairly small areas (like Gnarly's righteous six-pack stomach muscles) it works quite well.

Tattoos are fun. They were intimidating when I was first learning how to do them, but later on now they are becoming a blast. Fixing mistakes on tattoos is a little painful, but the process is pretty easy. I found that sketching on a piece of paper ahead of time is vital, along with using just a touch of flow aid, but thinning paints with water is not very helpful.

Painting the fur was an odd thing. Normally I work based on the texture, but the sculpting of the fur doesn't provide a good clean cutoff for where the fur ends. I had to "improvise" a little in how I did it. This time, it worked out much much better than the warpwolf I did before.

Overall, I'm quite happy with how this turned out. Some of the blending/shading on the skin could have been better. On the flipside, the horns worked out great. Using multiple washes and careful drybrushing really brought them to life. It helped that they are sculpted so beautifully.

Well, enough rambling. Once again, it was a pleasure to paint another circle warbeast as a break from my usual stuff. I might post this one on CMON just to see how it rates since I haven't posted one there in quite some time.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Battle: Will the real Midwinter please step forward...

This latest battle was a rather interesting twist. Lance and I played a 750 point battle where each army had to contain 15 vps of warbeasts or warjacks. I can honestly say it was quite entertaining. Probably the best part was the very high level of discussion around various points in the battle where there were opportunities for assassination runs. [Warning: There's some proxy action in the pics, since some of the models being used are on my desk still being converted/painted]

The Lists:
Lance: Epic Morghoul, 2 Cannoneers, Bronzeback, 2 Kreas, Drake, Paingivers (6), Agonizer, Feralgeist, Swamp Gobbers, Midwinter
Me: Epic Feora, Guardian, Reckoner, Crusader, Devout, Revenger, Redeemer, Chior (6), Vassal, 2 Wracks, Gorman, Midwinter

I chose eFeora primarily for the bonus movement she gives to her battlegroup. The jacks were mostly just an assortment of things I felt like playing. Including Midwinter was primarily for testing him out. I was pretty undecided about him before.

* eMorghoul's feat is still very nasty. I hates it! The fact that he can charge into the middle of my army, blind everything, and then teleport back to safety just makes it ridiculously frustrating.
* Marching in a jackwall worked really well. With the choir to prevent shooting at the jacks, it really put a pinch on Lance's list.
* Midwinter was awesome, on both sides of the table. For Lance, he prevented a fairly certain assassination run by me on eMorghoul. For me, he launched a lovely chain lightning into a Cannoneer which then bounced and hit a paingiver and the feralgeist, killing both.
* The Agonizer was again a real pain in the butt. Between the Agonizer and Midwinter, it creates a very heavy suppression against jacks and casters.
* The bonded Redeemer was awesome. It set many things on fire, doing bonus damage to eMorghoul, Midwinter, the Gobbers, and several paingivers. I'm totally sold on the Redeemer being standard equipment with eFeora at this point.

There were several points at which assassinations almost happened, mostly notably the end where eFeora made a mad dash, teleported into melee with eMorghoul, and unfortunately just missed by 1 attack on killing him. Then it was a simple matter to finish her off.

Next time:
I'm really looking forward to fielding Midwinter with Aiyana in the same list. I'm betting that it will make for a very ridiculous suppression field.

Gnarly (part 5)

Time to base old Gnarly.

Here are the steps to making this base.

1) Cut out a hole for the water. I drill an outline of holes in the base to make it easier to cut. Once cut, I put angled cuts around the edge so that it sloped downwards.

2) Cut out a piece of balsa wood to form a floor of the water pool.

3) Mix up some green stuff and fill in the pool. I basically rolled it into a snake and outlined the bottom of the hole, then squished the balsa wood onto the bottom. Then using color shapers, smoothed the green stuff in the hole to sloping edges.

4) With the leftover green stuff, I created a couple mushrooms. I just roll bits into cones, then stick a piece of brass rod into the bottom of the mushroom cap, then use color shapers and smooth out the fingerprint lines from the green stuff. [insert time while green stuff dries]

5) Cover base with white glue and lay down a layer of fine sand. Squish it down real good, then tap away excess. [insert more drying time]

6) Once dried, the sand was base coated with Battlefield Brown, then a heavy drybrush of Beast Hide, then a light drybrush of Rucksack Tan. I also painted the side of the pool Cygnar Blue Highlight to represent the outward facing water, and did a light drybrush of Wurm Green on the sand where the pool forms to give it a mossy sort of look.

7) I picked out a couple sufficiently rock-shaped pieces of bark from my basing bits and base coated them Bastion Grey. Then I white glued them to the base, shaded with a controlled wash of Armor Wash, and did highlights with drybrushing of Trollblood Highlight, and then lightly with Underbelly Blue.

8) Next I filled in the water. To do this, I mixed up a small amount of EnviroTex Lite. It's a 2-part resin mix that makes great simulated water. I added just a very tiny touch of Turquoise Ink. They key here is adding very very very tiny amounts at a time and mixing to get a sense of the opacity before adding more. Then I carefully poured it into the pond basin, using a small wooden stick to spread it to the appropriate places. I left it for about 10 minutes (enough time to update this entry) and then exhaled gently onto it to remove the bubbles. [again, insert more drying time, for the last time]

9) At this point I departed a bit from my usual techniques and did a thin red ink wash on the sand of the base to give it a slightly more earthy tone. In hindsight, I should have started with Bloodstone probably.

10) I white glued down a bit of simulated moss I've had for a while. I got this stuff from the model trains section of some hobby store long ago. I "drybrushed" this with Ember Orange to give it a more fall look. This stuff is pretty soft and delicate, so I had to just pat it down rather than the typical vigorous drybrushing technique. I gave it an extra and lighter pat down with Cygnus Yellow.

11) I white glued down some green flock to simulate moss. Mainly I did this so that when I pin the Gnarlhorn to the base, there won't be an unsightly gap between his feet and the sand.

12) I made painted the mushrooms. I started with a base coat of Skorne Red, then two-brush blended Murderous Magenta, then Beaten Purple. Then I used Trollblood Base to paint some spots and the stems. Then a simple matter of pinning them to the base.

13) I painted the edge of the base black to tidy it up.

And there you have it... 13 "simple" steps later and bam! The only real concern I have about this base is the purple mushrooms might create a bad visual dynamic for the Gnarlhorn once he's on it. We'll see. From just holding it up in front of him it doesn't seem too bad. I'm waiting until tomorrow though since I'm going to give it a final look over with Lance before sealing and pinning him to the base. Important tip here, if you use water effects, such as EnviroTex, DO NOT seal with matte coat over it. It will totally ruin the effect. I discovered this the hard way when I did the Totem Hunter.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Gnarly (part 4)

One more update. Done painting. Just need to work on the base. Here's the notes:

Leathers: highlight Rucksack Tan plus Bloodstone, further highlight Rucksack Tan, careful Armor Wash shading in the recesses

Loincloth: base coat Meredius Blue, wash Coal Black, highlight Meredius Blue, shade further Coal Black, shade further straight black.

Eyes/Gem: base coat Coal Black, highlight Meredius Blue, further highlight Arcane Blue. For the gem I added a tiny dot of MWH.

Not a great photo, but I was rather pressed for time this evening.

Picture Work

This is long overdue. I read this tutorial a couple months ago. It's a phenomenal tutorial, and hopefully will remain there for the foreseeable future. Anyway, I've transitioned over to using Picasa, and it has definitely helped. That coupled with using the lightbox image display has really felt like a significant upgrade to the picture aspect to my blog. I've definitely discovered that lighting is 50% of the challenge to taking good photos of miniatures. I'm still working on refining my setup. Once I get something I'm happy with, I'll post again. Until then, happy painting!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Link Dump Tuesday

Taking a page from the JIG site (a favorite distraction of mine), I'm doing a quick link dump, and minor project update.

These Bane Thralls were posted on the Privateer forums by Dead Dogg (of Brushthrall fame) and are seriously making me want to paint my own Bane Thralls, which are sitting in the drawer next to my desk.

I came across this basing tutorial the other day which is wicked cool. Lots of basic to mid-level information, but covers a wide variety of basing options in a single place.

I'm currently wrapping up painting the Gnarlhorn, slowly poking away at my 5 Revenants, and tortuously getting the Nyss assembled for this month's showdown challenge. The Nyss are an enormous pain to assemble cause of the many tiny parts. However, they are very cool models and highly configurable, so I'm not going to be doing any conversion work to make them all look different like I did with the Revenants.

That's all for today. Hopefully tonight will be highly productive.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Battle: Testament vs eMorghoul

Quick battle report from last night. No pics unfortunately. 750 points of Skorne vs Menoth action. Here's the line ups:

Me: Testament, Reckoner, Guardian, Devout, Vassal, Choir(6), 2 Seneschals, 2 units Knights, Rupert, Aiyana&Holt, Gorman.
Lance: eMorghoul, Cannoneer, 2 Kreas, Drake, 2 Savages, Brute, Paingivers (6), Bongrinders (6), Gobbers, Totem Hunter

I won the right to go first and boy am I glad I did. I ran right towards the center of the table with my jack wall, put Knights on either side, and braced for the Skorne advance. The game quickly turned into a battle for the center of the table, with my jack wall amped up on spells and effects. In the end we had to call the game on time: I had destroyed a significant portion of Lance's force with minimal casualties and had eMorghoul on the run, but just couldn't leverage enough attacks at the top of round 4 to kill him. On the other hand, my positioning had prevented any sort of counter-attack from eMorghoul of any significant strength.

Some highlights:
  • eMorghoul's feat is (still) bad business. Again he caught large swaths of my force, dramatically limiting my options. This time he caught my caster, which made things really nasty.
  • The Cyclops Brute is a huge pain in the butt to take down. He's got enough def, arm and damage that it requires some significant slugging to finally bring him down. Last night it took Holt (boosted from Aiyana being in melee as well), a Seneschal (who missed his second attack), and 2 charging Knights (getting attacks from the back to bypass the shield).
  • Soulstorm didn't even get used this battle, although the Testament's Dust-to-Dust spell is pretty awesome. It's also nice to note that Ashen Veil stacks with Choking Veil from the Reckoner.
  • The real stars of the show for me were the Knights. 2 units of these guys means no lost love when a couple go down. There was also some chiorboy abuse by the Testament, since he gets soul tokens no matter who destroys a protectorate model.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gnarly (part 3)

More updates since yesterday. Getting close to done now. Here's what I did:

Armor: Shading with Molten Bronze, highlights with Quick Silver, additional shading with straight Armor Wash

Hair: Base coat Ironhull Grey, drybrush Bastion Grey, drybrush Trollblood Highlight, drybrush Frostbite, wash black

Leathers: base coat Bloodstone + red ink, wash umbral umber,

Tattoos: Exile Blue + Armor Wash, very very thin wash Midlund Flesh to "bury" it

Next things to do are highlight the leathers, then I've got the gem, eyes, and loincloth. I should also start thinking about how to base it.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Gnarly (part 2)

Made quite a bit of progress in the last few days. Here's the notes on what I did:

Horns: Thick wash of Jack Bone, thin wash Gun Corp Brown, drybrush MWB, light drybrush MWH, very thin wash umbral umber, highlights with MWH.

Armor: Base coat Cold Steel (over the black), thin wash green ink + flow medium (to darken the insets of the plates, Solid Gold base over the Cold Steel, medium wash turquoise ink + armor wash.

Chainmail: Drybrush cold steel, wash armor wash.

Next things to do include highlighting and shading the metals, and replicating the process from the horns on the hooves.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Showdown: Shifting Gears

Well, due to my abysmal failure in the previous showdown challenge I set for myself, I've decided to take on something a little more reasonable. I'm not giving up on Cryx, just setting it aside for the time being. Instead, I'm going to focus on my mercs for the next 4 months. Now, obviously there's some serious cheating in this showdown challenge as I already have a fair amount of painted mercs. My goal here is to bring my Highborn contract of mercs up to a legitimate 1000 point fighting force, rather than the ragtag collection I have currently. This will both give me a solid merc army, and provide enough extra bandwidth to finish up some other projects I've been wanting to do.

For August, I'm aiming to paint up 10 Nyss Hunters, to give me the this starting 350 point force:
  • Fiona the Black
  • Gudrun the Wanderer
  • Aiyana and Holt
  • Rupert Carvolo
  • 6 Sea Dog Cultists
  • 10 Nyss Hunters

If I get really ambitious, I might pick up 6 extra Sea Dogs and paint them up specifically as themed cultists for Fiona, but that's optional. As of right now, the Nyss are sitting on my desk, still in the blister packs. They are quite configurable little models which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time.