Sunday, November 27, 2011

From the Desk: Project Solar System

I'm starting a different sort of painting project now. My wife got a solar system kit for my son. He is of course too young to put it together himself, so I've been tasked with assembling and painting it. So rather than taking a quick and dirty approach to it using the very low quality craft paints and terrible brush, I figured I would use it as an opportunity to learn more about the planets and to paint something a little different. I'll be posting progress as I work my way through the planets.

Monday, November 21, 2011

5 Years of Blogging!!!!!

5 years ago on this day I started this blog. My intention was a simple one: to keep myself motivated on my painting. Little did I know how valuable it would be to have this blog. It has served as far more than just motivation, but at its core, it has been incredibly motivational. I've suffered through multiple burnouts, entered multiple painting competitions, and relished many finished projects here. So please indulge me as I step into the WABAC machine and review the journey briefly...

What would a review be without some good old fashioned stats!
Total models painted: 323 (that's almost 1 model per week)
Total posts: 524 (that's about twice a week)
Published comments: 304
Current average hits per day: about 70 (Thank you IABN!)

Painting Skill:
I picked one of the first models I posted and one of the most recent. The difference is pretty striking. I'm honestly quite happy with how my skills have progressed given that this is still just a hobby for me. Painting Alexia way back then was a pretty big challenge. Putting her side-by-side with Rhyas is no contest. My blending is smoother, my metalics are far superior, my brush accuracy is better, and finally I'm sure I spent less time on Rhyas than I did on Alexia.
Basing is also something I go the extra mile on now. It's not enough to just flock and forget now. Even basic troopers get some sort of hand-made decoration to their bases. Overall I feel like I've struck a good balance of improving my quality while still getting models completed. If anything, that's the one thing that hasn't changed. Unless I'm painting for a competition, I like to keep moving on to strike a good balance between quality and completions.

General Blogging:
When I first started, blogging was pretty awkward. And my pictures were terrible to say the least. I'm certainly no master now, but after this many posts I've become much more comfortable with throwing up random posts. I've also learned how to take better pictures, make better use of Blogger, optimize the whole blog entry process to minimize the impact to hobby time, and generally feel competent about sharing my thoughts.

Final Thoughts:
First, I want to actually thank all the folks out there that posted good comments. Second, I can look back on the last 5 years of blogging for this hobby and really appreciate the investment in it. Third and finally, to all the other hobby bloggers out there, keep at it! The inspiration out there is part of what makes this hobby stay fresh for so long. Here's to 5 more years of painting like we have a pair!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bethayne, Voice of Everblight

This wraps up my current unpainted Legion models, and (until eVayl comes out) a complete set of all the warlocks and beasts. The pictures here are a little dull for some reason, despite shooting them multiple times. The metal for her blades is highly washed out. I really need an overhead light.

This model was pretty fast and easy to paint, with the exception that her right hand is covering her chest and made it a little rough to get in there with the brush. However the rest of it went pretty well. I gave her a much darker skin tone that most of the other warlocks, mainly to give a bit more color contrast with the rest of the surfaces. The blue/black leathers and metals needed some contrast so the darker skin tone pushes more into the purple to help achieve that.
Painting both Bethayne and Belphagore at the same time turned out to make things much easier. They had a lot of common surfaces to paint, but each one had more of one type of surface than the other in general. For example, Bethayne's flesh is much more obvious than Belphagore's, whereas Belphagore's armor is clearly more prominent than Bethayne's. So painting process wise it worked out well because I could mix paint and concentrate more on one than the other as I worked each section.

Well, that's it for today. My desk is remarkably barren at this time so I need to get to work assembling something to paint next, provided I don't get distracted further by reading Domination.


This will just be a really quick post since I'm going to post Bethayne right away as well. Technically they aren't really "done" since I haven't sealed them yet. But since they are completed and I'm just waiting for my shipment of sealer come in I figured I'd go ahead and post them. After my recent experience with the Krylon satin sealer, I've decided to go back to my tried and true Testors double coating. Anyway, another post coming right up!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

From the Desk: Paired Painting

Quick desk update here. I'm painting Bethayne and Belphagore together so that they match in color scheme as much as possible. The colors used are identical, but the patterning and shading has some variances in how it was applied. Overall though they are pretty consistent so far.

I'm not entirely sure why these pictures turned out so blue-ish, but it gives a general idea of the progress. I tried to do a little color correction, but honestly I think my background caused most of the problem and it turned the whole "touch-up" exercise into a level of effort far beyond a "from the desk" type of post.

This pair represents the last of my unpainted Legion at this point, although I am anxiously awaiting the release of eVayl at the end of the month. I was hoping to have these done before the end of the week since our Foodmachine tournament is this Saturday, but with the Domination book release today I may not get much painting done for the next couple days.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hex Hunters and Bayal, Hound of Everblight

Hex Hunters finally done! No fancy post today. I'm totally sick with the flu. Perhaps I'll muster enough energy to paint a bit, but not enough to go into normal detail about these guys.
These were actually nice sculpts to paint. I think in hindsight I should have painted Bayal separately and spent a bit more time on him so that he really stood out better.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Rhyas, Sigil of Everblight

Next up in my catch-up postings is Rhyas. She's both ninja and warcaster and all around pretty awesome. I have to say that this model was easy to really pour my time into. Everything was easily accessible for painting, and there's great delineation of the various surfaces which makes the model very readable. When I was painting Rhyas I kept Saeryn on my desk as well so that I could try to get these two to match as much as possible. I have to say I'm quite pleased at how well the pair goes together.

One specific thing that worked really well on this model was the black leather. I feel like the color tone and shading all worked out better than most other Legion models I've done so far. Now admittedly I spent a fair amount of time on it and wouldn't use this same detailed process on a unit, it was still a good step forward for me.

Next up will be the Hex Hunters!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Kallus, Wrath of Everblight

Here's Kallus! This was an intriguing model to paint. On the one hand this is a relatively simple model to paint in that most of the surface is metalics. On the other hand, I wanted to paint Kallus so that he stood out well and the various areas were easily readable by the eye. With so much area being metalics, there's a unique challenge to make the distinct metalic areas pop and stand out from each other, and yet keep all the non-metalic surfaces in balance as well. Thus I tried to get a good balance of contrast and brightness between the metalics and the non-metalics. I also tried to use forced shadows to make the metalic areas readable from each other.

So did I succeed? Well you can be the judge. I feel like I half succeeded. Some portioned worked out well like the skirt and hair. Other surfaces like the hands and hilt didn't work quite so well, but were ok. The face however was really hard to get to and so I don't feel like it worked out nearly as well.
Next up will be Rhyas!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Vladimir, Dark Prince of Umbrey

Attention Komrades! Tonight vee dine on victory! Vee have krushed our enemies! Vee have stolen zier vomen! Vee have pillaged zier fortifikations! Vee... Ahem! Sorry. Got carried away there. Let's try that again...

Good evening and welcome to what I hope will be a much more regular posting schedule for the remainder of this month. I've gotten my life back into a better semblance of being organized and that means I can spend a little more time on my painting hobby (including posting).

Vlad here was actually a (belated) birthday gift for my buddy Henry. I enjoy fueling his Khador obsessions (not just because it gets him away from playing Cryx) and Vlad was the latest way to do that. This sculpt is actually the Hurricane Katrina sculpt from long ago. I've had this model sitting in my box for ages, and finally got around to painting it. I would have finished it a couple weeks ago but I got sidetracked and stalled on basing it, so things got excessively delayed.

Overall it's not a terrible sculpt, but definitely not great from a painting point of view. I don't really fancy the dagger arm being flat against his body, and the face was a real pain to get at for detail work. Overall this isn't close to a best paint job, but some parts worked pretty well. I'm especially happy with how the bronzes turned out overall. I used a lot of tonal variation on them using inks to help make them pop.
The red plating was a bit of a shading challenge for me. Normally I would use a complimentary color to shade with, but for these plates I wanted to try keeping the hue the same to emphasize them being enameled armor plates.
The color scheme was directly taken from Henry's other Khador models, just with darker colors to reflect Vlad's brooding nature.

One annoyance doing this model was the final sealing step. I'd gotten a tip of using Krylon satin sealer instead of the Testors gloss/dull coats. So of course I decided to try it out on this model. Unfortunately I put slightly too thick of a coat on it and it made the model a bit gritty. I've done some further tests and the satin coat seems to work fine, just in a lighter coat than I did with the Testors coats.