Sunday, June 26, 2011

Blackfrost Shard

Stupid Starcraft 2 is ruining my painting pace! These guys ran into other slowdowns as well, including needing to recharge the dremel, a wedding, and spending time prepping and assembling the Nephilim (which are now in progress). Enough excuses though! If I'm going to get to my 1-1-1-1 goal I need to stay focused. In the mean time, quick notes on these guys before I go to sleep.

What went well:
* Squads of 3 are easy - Painting 3 dudes at once is much easier than 10 or even 6. I was able to spend lots of time on them.
* Adding some red - The red sash on Sevryn threw in just enough extra color but doesn't imbalance the model. I'm thinking this will look great on the Hex Hunters.
* Correcting as I went - Since it was just 3 dudes, I could go back and make lots of corrections as I went.

What could have been better:
* Deeper shadows - This is something I probably need more of in general, but I think it would have really helped these models to pop more.
* Little details - There were plenty, and I could have spent a bunch more time tidying them up.
* Something to tell them apart - I probably should have come up with something that could make it easier to differentiate the 3 models quickly, since they are supposed to be individual characters. As it stands, I just painted a V on the bottom of Vysarr.

Ok, enough for now. Back to painting.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

From the Desk: Week of ZzZZZzzZzzZzzZzzzz.....

This week was sort of a wash. I was in San Diego for business for the better part of the week and didn't get as much done as I had hoped. However the weekend was a bit more packed with activity. The Blackfrost Shard is nearing completion, with just details left to do mostly. I should have them wrapped up by middle of the week. As you can see, the leader here is looking pretty good.

I've got a plan to be down to 2-1-1-1 unpainted by the time I go on vacation to Canada near the end of July. These guys need to be done by this next weekend, and then the 3 Nephilim done before I leave. Knocking these guys off the list will have me one step closer. In addition to having those done, I'm aiming to pack up the Hex Hunters and Rhyas and paint them while I'm on vacation (since my wife has graciously given me a green light to bring a painting kit.

To that end, I got the Nephilim assembled and (just this evening) primed. We're having a bit of a temporary heat wave, so I availed myself of the cooler evening to do some late night priming. I also got Rhyas and the Hex Hunters primed so that I can go ahead and start packing them into a painting kit.

Monday, June 13, 2011

From the Desk: Nephilim Putty Party

Confession time: I finally broke down and bought Starcraft 2. This coupled with more work travel will likely impair my painting/modeling productivity. In fairness to myself though, I did hold out quite a while. And it is pretty rockin. Anyway, that's not what this blog is here for, so...

One of the tips I got from Derek Schubert's sculpting class came in really handy this last weekend: stick the putty to your off-hand thumbnail. It sort of makes a little putty palette, and I found it works really well. I just kneaded up some, stuck it to my thumbnail, and then I could slice off a bit with my sculpting tool easily. The thumbnail makes a good surface because the putty sticks enough to not fall off, but not so much to be hard to remove. It's so simple and yet such a helpful tip. And why was I putting this into practice? Well...

My Nephilim are almost all assembled! The Bolt Thrower is going to have his quiver attached after painting simply due to the amount of problems it will cause for accessing parts of the model once it's on. The Solider just needs his sword/arm attached which will require a little putty work. The Protector is in a similar state, but his arms and polearm are going to be a bit more work to get all together. I'm trying to decide on a pinning strategy still.

I also tried out some Krylon Satin Finish last week. I can honestly say that appearance-wise, it looks pretty much the same as my double coating of gloss/dull. I haven't really tested it for durability, but I'm very likely to make this switch for things going forward once I run out of Testors supplies, especially since the cost is so much better.

Friday, June 10, 2011

From the Desk: Parallel Projects

The poor Blackfrost Shard have been sitting on my desk, primed, for months. Two days ago however, I finally started putting paint to them. These models are quite detailed, and thus make them both interesting and a bit daunting at the same time. I don't think I've had so much motivation to paint something for a long time. First, they are quite nice models. Second, they are badass on the table. And third, completing them brings me back down to a single unpainted squad. These guys will probably take me a while though. I'm still kicking around whether to introduce some red into the color scheme or not.

On an "SPQR" note, I also finished trimming my 3 Nephilim. I like to be getting my next model all trimmed, assembled and primed before I finish my current painting project. It's more than just the smooth transition from one painting project to another. There's time lost waiting for putty and primer to dry and if I'm burning that time in parallel with painting, I'm getting good use from my time. Getting these Nephilim done will bring me down to a single unpainted beast, plus it will give me a whole batch of new options on the battlefield which I'm really looking forward to.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Anastasia di Bray

It feels great to be back into a relatively normal painting swing. Knocking out Anastasia here was quick and delightful. It's not the most interesting sculpt for sure, but I can honestly say it was pretty fun to paint. Perhaps because of my recent efforts on the War Hog. In any case, it was a big morale boost for my inner muse.

What went well:
* Small - Yep, painting a small single model was great. I felt like I could spend quality time on it and still make quick progress.
* Retries - I think I painted they eyes 3 times before I called them good enough. Each time they got better, despite her eyes being tiny. It's hard to see in the photo unfortunately (more on that below).
* Pants - Of all the parts of this model, I think the pants came out the best of all.

What could have been better:
* Photos - ARGH! These pics are terrible! I'm not entirely sure why. It's probably a lighting problem, but I'll need to experiment more. It seems that every time I have to tear down my photo set up (due to visitors) that I have trouble getting it tweaked back to normal.
* Face and eyes - After Derek's class and seeing his models up close, I'm inspired to step up my game on the face area of models. However I'm realistic about just making progress through practice and not trying to jump straight to amazing.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

From the Desk: New Paint Goal

Anastasia is really coming along well. Not much left to do at this point other than some tweaks and some additional work on the face. Ironic given that the face was where I started.

In order to keep myself from buying more models than my painting pace can keep up with, I'm always trying to keep myself aware of what's unpainted. In the past I just had a general count but units tend to make those look weird at times. So I've come up with a new scheme: 1-1-1-1. Just like the Highlander format, I'm going to aim at reaching only 1 unpainted warcaster/warlock, warjack/warbeast, unit, and solo.

Note that this will be across my active factions of Legion, Protectorate and the Ashlynn theme force. I have several models that will fall out of this tracking, specifically McBain, Cryx stuff, and Minion stuff. Why? Well, honestly, I never really play Cryx, I'm not interested in playing Minions, and McBain, well, I'll probably paint him eventually but I'm not itching to get him on the table.

So where am I at now?
Warcasters/Warlocks:Rhyas, Bethayne
Warjacks/Warbeasts:Nephilim Protector, Nephilim Soldier, Nephilim Bolt Thrower, Belphagore
Units:Blackfrost Shard, Hex Hunters (with UA)
Solos:Anistasia Di Bray, Gun Mage Captain Adept
So not that far. 2-4-2-2 is pretty reasonable. I'm hoping to close in on 1-1-1-1 by mid July at the latest. The shocking thing to me is that so far this year I've only painted 18 models, and it's nearly halfway through the year. I have a sinking feeling that this is going to be a slow year for painting unless I can "pair up".

Thursday, June 02, 2011

From the Desk: Recap, Notes and Progress

In an effort to stay blogging, I'm going to aim to do more of my "From the Desk" posts with random tidbits of information. We'll see how long this new resolution lasts.

Poor Anastasia here as been sitting on my desk, primed, awaiting paint, for a couple months. After coming off of the big competition effort, I wanted to do something relatively fast, but still feel like I could pour quality effort into it, so this was a nice coincidence. This model is quite small and fairly simple. After seeing Derek spend an hour and a half on a face, I'm a bit more inspired to be practicing painting faces and eyes in more detail. I've definitely learned in the past that painting more (and spending just above average effort each time) goes a long ways towards improving my skills in particular areas. To that end, I've decided to focus on more models with clear faces and eyes, and also to find small opportunities to practice freehand work as well.

In other news, the classes at KublaCon left me with a list of things to follow up on. Here's the summary:
* Try out Reaper liner paints - Derek recommended these. I picked up the triad and tried out the brown liner. It's definitely interesting stuff. Pre-thinned for quick use. I see myself using these more and more.
* Paint freehand using the "constellation" method - Basically sketch a design, pick out points, transfer the points to the model, then fill in the design. More on that in future posts.
* Airbrush - Yeah, I totally bought an airbrush already after seeing Justin use it and answer a bunch of questions. Lots lots more on that in the future.
* Fine mist spray nozzles for primer - Justin recommended GW Skull White because the new primer cans have "fine mist" nozzles. I've got one reserved at my LGS to try out and see if I notice a difference.
* Krylon Satin Finish sealer - Another Justin recommendation. Gotta see if it's very different from my current 2-coats method. This would be nice not only because it would be a single coat to seal, but also because the local store that I got Testors supplies from closed recently.
* Weathering techniques - More on this later, but I want to try out Justin's techniques: hairspray/salt, dry pigments, and dot oil filter.

Ok, last note for today. While painting last night I watched a delightful film titled Perfume. Great movie! Loved it! Absolutely nothing to do with painting, but totally interesting concept and well executed. I love it when I find movies that are interesting but don't require me to pay complete visual attention to them (thus allowing me to paint while watching).