Thursday, June 27, 2013

From the Desk: Figure Art Book Surprise!

I love surprises. Even more so after a long day of work. And even more so when I've totally forgotten it's coming. Tonight I got home from work and my wife had put a mysterious package on my desk. At first glance I was perplexed. Then I looked at the label and saw it was from Augsberg, Germany. Quite some time ago I tossed money at an Indiegogo campaign for the Massive Voodoo guys. It was for a book of figures they had painted. I'd sort of forgotten about it and then BAM! it arrives. Needless to say I'm going to enjoy the inspiration.

The quality of the book is pretty good, and I have to say the quality of the photos and printing is exquisite. There's definitely a lot of inspiration to be had here.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #32: So Many Pieces!

Only 1 photo this week.

So my desk is littered with pieces it seems. It's only 3 models in progress at once (and 2 of those are Shredders), but it still feels like I've got a lot going on at once. Lylyth3 of course is about as assembled as I can get her and reasonably paint her. Not pictured here is the base too, which I haven't figured out what I'm going to do with. I'm a little perplexed by the whole sleigh thing honestly. My basing scheme up until this point hasn't included anything that a sleigh could go over. In any case I'm excited to get Lylyth3 on the table as soon as possible.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

More Archangel Pictures

As requested, here's a few more photos of the Archangel. I took these photos from within my miniatures cabinet. The lighting wasn't so bad actually since it's the white LED lights.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Finally done! Most of these pictures are terrible unfortunately. The Archangel is simply bigger than anything else I've painted and my normal photo set up just isn't even close to capable of handling it. The whole project really stretched my normal processes to their limits and I had to do a lot of adapting. I'm going to use this post as sort of a cathartic release and just dump all my thoughts. For those of you uninterested in all that self indulgent blabbering, I've includes extra pictures!

Time: I started this project at the beginning of April, and it took me 2 months to get to an assembled and primed state. Then there was a big break on June 7th and I started painting it. My wife and son left for vacation visiting family and I was left by myself. What would have taken me at least a month if not more of evening painting sessions got done relatively fast, thanks in large part to a couple of full days of painting. I'd conservatively estimate probably 20+ hours of actual painting time. Without those couple full days of paint binging, I'd have really faced mental challenges working this project.

Holding: Normally I like to fully assemble a model except for putting it on its base and paint it that way. In this case having the wings separate made a really big difference since the wings make it really awkward to shift around. Painting in these 3 parts was, in retrospect, a good plan. I actually waited until it was fully painted to attach them. I had even done the bulk of the basing work before attaching them. I was able to just mount the main body on my normal spray cans and hold it that way pretty easily. I just wish I could have mounted the wings on cans as well, but that didn't work so well.

Color Mixing: There's a lot of surface. I mean seriously, a LOT. A very real problem was paint drying in the paint well before I could finish doing all the painting with it. The was particularly true with the skin which I did after the wing flesh and chitin. This made it really fidgety to work through. To overcome that, I tried to stick predominantly with pre-mixed paints. That kept the consistency throughout the painting process. Although this isn't the way I normally work, it worked well for this project. I would have loved to have done much more color mixing, but working with only the pre-mixed colors forced me to really push my 2BB skills further and that was a nice side benefit.

Painting Techniques: As I mentioned, I had to do a lot of aggressive 2BB work on this model and for the most part that worked out well. I also use a lot of controlled washes and using the larger-well palettes made that work pretty easy as long as I mixed enough paint. Layered washes has been a cornerstone of doing materials like chitin and stone for me for some time. The airbrush was also king for painting the wing flesh. All things considered, my normal techniques worked pretty well when scaled up.

Storage: Uhm, yeah, it's huge. I had to re-arrange my display case to accommodate it. And as for transport to events, I still have no clue. I magnetized it so I'm just planning to stick it to the top of my toolbox. Hopefully that doesn't end in disaster.

So anyway, overall I loved this project. I really do wish that I had the patience to spend far more time on it since it's a beautiful model. If I were to do it again and I was going to spend lots more time on it, I'd probably approach the whole project differently. It's FA:2 anyway, so I could legitimately field a second, but those odds are low.

And it's late, so I'm done. Time for sleep. If anyone wants close-up shots of parts of the model, just leave a comment and I'll snap more pictures.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

From the Desk: Roundup #31, but no Archangel

No Archangel update in this weekend post, mostly cause I'll have one tomorrow for sure.

First note is progress on Lylyth3. Got the various pieces assembled, primed, and getting ready to start painting. I actually primed different parts black and white. Lylyth herself and the central bar of the sled are both primed white since they have a lot of non-metal parts. The sled itself was a no-brainer, but the elk was sort of a trade off that I decided to go with black for. It's weird to be tackling yet another huge based model and not have it feel like nearly as much of a daunting task. I'm planning to use the airbrush to lay down a metallic base coat and then go in and shade plates appropriately.

Second note here is that I've been experimenting with using a piece of primed plasticard as a secondary palette. So far I'm liking having it handy. It's easy to do quick thinning and mixing of paints. This combination of plasticard palette and mini-well ceramic palette is really suiting my needs. I'm finding myself using it more and more. Also here you can see the double-ended brush, which is also getting more and more usage for two-brush blending.

And that's really all I've got to report for the weekend, however I'm off tomorrow and plan to do a bunch of painting once I finish my home improvement project.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Battle Report: Unbound at Lock and Load

One last post about Lock and Load 2013. As mentioned previously, the last day I was there I played a 200pt Unbound game with Tyson Koch. It was a blast despite getting completely rolled by Tyson's troll force. What follows is less of a battle report and more a photo dump with some narrative about the game.

At 200pts, I was basically fielding every painted Legion model I have except for warlocks. In this game I had eVayl, Bethayne, Rhyas and Saeryn. Tyson had pGrim, eDoomshaper, Calandra and eMadrak. I can't remember everything that we each had on the table, but this shot gives you a pretty good idea of the massive number of models. Of special note were the Mountain King and 2 Battle Wagons on the troll side. Setting up 200pts is actually pretty challenging, and in retrospect I think I would do things very differently next time. However as this was my first Unbound game, it was a massive learning experience.

So the way this game came about was Tyson had been looking for an Unbound opponent, specifically one that had a fully painted force (or nearly fully painted). I ran into him at the display case and was chatting when I mentioned my desire to eventually play all my models over the course of games in the Iron Arena. You can probably easily guess the rest of the conversation. From there it was just a matter of figuring out how many points we could each field, and it turned out I was the lower end of that. Nevertheless, 200pts was still plenty to put on the table. I'd like to point out that at one point during our game, Ed Bourelle came by to watch and mentioned how he's been looking forward to playing an Unbound game with his 450pts of Cryx. I shudder to imagine that much painted Cryx on the table.

On the right side of the table I'd deployed my Throne along with Saeryn, Warmongers and various flying beasts. This exchange proved to be one of the better parts of the table for me. Saeryn's breath-stealer really took the fight out of the Fennblades and my Warmongers and beasts were able to clean out all the Longriders, Hoarthul and the Battle Wagon. Alas though, this was my best portion of the battlefield. A big key to this success was Saeryn's feat. One personal victory here was the use of an Afflictor to put out an Incubus!

The left side was a different ball game. I had Bethayne posted over there with Typhon, Proteus, Raptors, Anyssa, Blackfrost Shard and Hex Hunters. But despite all that force, the Battle Wagon and Champions were able to overcome. It didn't help that a lucky deviation from the Battle Wagon wiped out most of my Hex Hunters early on, and I was never really able to recover. Another key feature: in Unbound, 2 or more Battle Wagons means they gain +2 DEF, and that +2 made a significant different. I did however learn a lesson after the game which was that battle engines never gain defensive bonuses for elevation. Doh!

In terms of the flow of the game, Unbound really plays different than a normal game. I found that winning the initiative made a huge difference in taking it to your opponent. There is also a lot to be said for winning the battle at the center of the board. There's also a huge bias in how animii expire at the end of the round, so activating some things later means they aren't going to get as much mileage as things that activate earlier. It really threw me off from my normal play style.

As the game ground on, the trolls pushed into the center of the table and the real breaking of my army's back was eDoomshaper's feat and the Mountain King making a push in and slaying Rhyas. I honestly wasn't expected him to get that far given what all I had in the way, but Tyson did a masterful job of clearing a path that I couldn't plug up quick enough. On my left side, Bethayne also ended up going down. This was unfortunate because I'd activated her and popped her feat to catch eVayl in the hopes I could lay out a punishing round of attacks on the Mountain King, but I simply couldn't leverage enough firepower against him. At this point I surrendered the game since my losses were just too great and the Mountain King was healthy enough I'd never be able to wear him down.

Finally, this was my dead pile at the end of the game. Someone asked me if when my dudes "died" they instead just wander off to the tavern for drinks and I liked that visual.

So there you have it, my first Unbound game. I had a great time and Tyson was a wonderful and fun opponent. During the whole game we got a lot of great comments ranging from "Great painted armies!" to "You guys are nuts!". We even enjoyed having the PP staff member that made the table (sorry I forget your name!) come over and comment how satisfying it was to see such a huge pair of painted armies on the table. Several other PP staff members came by and they took pictures several times during our game. Perhaps there will even be pictures in the September No Quarter!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

From the Desk: I Surrender!

Despite making a decent amount of progress on the Extreme Carnivean (as pictured here), I finally just got completely frustrated and decided to strip it. The primer coat was just terribly grainy and making it impossible to really work the paint properly. Don't believe me? Here's the proof...

I dig this picture. It's a nasty monster thing in a bath of green liquid. Just like something out of a sci-fi horror flick.

Monday, June 10, 2013

LL13: Wrap Up and Pic Dump

Massive photo dump follows from my Lock and Load trip. This isn't a spoiler recap post, or a recap of whatever else. It's a review of what I remembered to take picture of along with other random notes at the end.

First up, and probably the most memorable chunk of things I did, was the painting classes. Here is pictured Matt DiPietro doing his Introduction to Two Brush Blending class specifically. I also took his True Metallics class, as well as Meg Maples' Femme Fetals and Color Theory classes, and Ron Kruzie's Painting Unclassified and Army Foundry classes. I'm not going to recap them here for brevity sake. However I want to point out that these classes were all really well run. The video support for them was really amazing and helped the class immensely in comparison to other classes I've taken. They also included handouts to take home where appropriate. I also really felt like they were extremely organized and the material for the classes filled the time very appropriately. All three of them were great about explaining details, but I have to say that Ron was my favorite simply due to the number of hysterical quotes. I walked out with several pages of notes and lots of things to practice. One last note was simply the ability to watch how they paint and note the subtle differences in their processes and set up to give me ideas to try (like twirling my brush when picking up paint). As I experiment I'll provide notes on this blog.

Next are some pictures of studio models that were in the case. It was hard to get good photos through the glass, but these two came out really well fortunately. I wasn't trying to get a full view of the models, but rather details of some specific bits, particularly battle damage. It was pretty amazing to look at in person and get a sense of the detail level. Hats off to the studio painters on these.

Another quick shot of a studio model: the Night Troll. Not a particularly good picture, but really amusing. It was cool to see the new releases in the case there.

And next is... oh... err... yeah, I apparently went out for drinks to my favorite bar in Seattle. Let's, uh, move on.

I didn't take hardly any pictures of models in the case, but this one really caught my eye. It didn't place as best in its category, and I don't even know how it placed, but for some reason I really enjoyed it.

Ok this was just amazing. Raven from Advanced Deployment had brought her Legion army which includes 55 Shredders. I was perplexed to say the least. She has painted each one as a different type of poisonous tree frog. I had a blast chatting with her about it. The spread of them was really amazing.

Now I start to transition to actual games I played. This first picture is from me playing eThagrosh against eVyros. My opponent was great and we had a really fun time. I'd never played against eVyros so it was new territory for me. I ended up winning this game mostly due to pushing Thagrosh in his face and his assassination run came up a little short on damage output to finish Thagrosh off. At that point I had to do a little maneuvering but I was able to bring enough firepower to bear on Vyros and finish him off. I will say that the table we played on was quite nice except for the unevenness of it causing some problems.

Next is where I played Absylonia against Ossyan. My opponent had this really strikingly painted army. It was green and gloss-black, which gave it a very "Tron" sort of look. We had a really fun game on a rather treacherous table (due to the slanted surface). At I think the top of the second round I took a Ravagore shot at Ossyan, landed it, and drolled triple 6's which killed him dead. My opponent was all set to shake hands but I called for a time warp and we replaced it with an average damage roll so that we could play out the game which is where the real fun happened anyway. There was a bunch of amusement with Eliminators sneaking around the side and flanking me from a stairway, my Scythean getting taken apart by Mage Hunters, and Typhon being a rock star and rolling in to beat a pile of face. To top off the fun game, Ron Kruzie came by during out game and commented on both our armies.

Oh, and yes, I drank more. Love that bar. Got to sit right at the bar and the bartender made custom drinks for us. This was one such example that he concocted on the fly.

Ok, so now to really nerd out this post, I'm going to list my "Achievements" from this trip:

Everyone To The Table! - I played every model that I brought with me! Well, technically not. I didn't play eLylyth (since she isn't really fun to play or play against), and I didn't play my unpainted stuff (cause I was enjoying playing fully painted in Iron Arena).
Iron Liver! - I went out drinking with my great friend Lance who I drove up with. Man what a great time we had. And I was able to walk back to the hotel safely as well!
Level Up! - I went to 6 painting classes and really feel like I learned a number of new things. Now I just need to put those into practice and use that experience to up my painting skills.
Hit Me, I Can Take It! - I sat down with Meg Maples and used my Shepherd as a sample model to get feedback. It was really constructive feedback with both things to improve and things that went well.
A Cut Above! - Not only did I enter the painting competition, but I got a Silver (for the Lylyth battlegroup mentioned before) and a bronze (for McBain). I also got great feedback afterwards and both Matt and Meg commented how much they liked my Lylyth battlegroup.
Like A Ninja! - I drove from the Bay Area to Seattle and back, and didn't get a speeding ticket or have any sort of incident with the travel. Hooray!
That's Unnatural! - I played a 200 point Unbound game with fellow painting fanatic Tyson Koch. I'll post more about that tomorrow, but needless to say, this was a first for me. I fielded nearly every Legion model I have.
There are more potential achievements, but I'll have to wait to see if I get those. Specifically appearing in No Quarter magazine in some capacity. Gotta wait till Sept apparently.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

From the Desk: Roundup #30 and Archangel Progress

I got practically the full day today to work on projects. The rest of my family is out of town so I'm using the time to get as much painting progress done as possible, particularly the larger projects.

So first up is the progress on the Archangel. The wings are about 2/3 done now, with just the blue flesh really remaining. I also got the main body primed. I'm trying to build a plan of attack on how to paint the main body. I'll probably do the chitin first and then flesh, but I'm still not 100% sold on that plan.

Other stuff, that I don't have pictures for:
* Got Lylyth 3 assembled and primed.
* The last putty work on the second Angelius is done.
* Finished stripping and re-assembling the Extreme Carnivean.
* Got a painting diary started, which I'm using to chronicle the Archangel painting scheme.

And that wraps up the week. My goal for the next couple days is to get all my Lock and Load notes written up and posted.

Friday, June 07, 2013

From the Desk: Archangel Painting Started

I had intended to do my Lock and Load wrap up post, but I got distracted and wanted to post this up real fast.

So first of all I want to sing the praises of this small device, and especially for Ron Kruzie for the tip about it. It's basically a small filter made from tubing, pantyhose, and a rubber band. It fits nicely into the paint well of my airbrush and makes it easy to strain for granules that could clog the airbrush. It's simple and elegant and works really well. I tried both with and without and definitely had a smoother result with it. Of course, I did get interesting looks from the checkout clerk when I was buying all these supplies, but that's part of the fun of having this hobby.

So what did I get done? Well some base coating of the wings and initial highlighting and shading work. There's plenty more to do, but this really did get a ton of baseline work done. Next step will be to add some texture, glaze it, and then deepen the shadows.

Ok, enough for tonight. There should be far more regular posts from me over the next couple weeks due to a big break from work and life craziness. I'm looking forward to getting a lot of painting time in.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

RtC: Lylyth (Competition Version)

This last weekend I brought my recently painted Lylyth to Lock and Load 2013 for their P3 Grandmaster painting competition. I'll post more about the event overall in the next couple days, but I wanted to get this particular model posted up first.

Cramming this model in right before L&L was pretty tough. I could have easily spent more time on it. The camera makes it rough to look at compared to in-person as well. However I'm still pretty proud of this model. My goal was to paint her to 90% of my best ability. Parts of it made it, while others didn't.

What went well:
* Having a deadline - This really kept me focused and on task. I worked on the model nearly every day during those 2 weeks.
* Cloak - I'm quite happy with the results on the cloak. It has a good mix of color variation and I feel like I achieved the effect I was going for.
* Metals - This is where I felt really happy actually. I spent a fair amount of time working on them and got them just about as good as my current skills could get.
* Basing - This also went great, and I feel like the basing was well worth the effort. I even did shading on the moss!
* Hair - The hair worked out pretty well. I used a combination of techniques here and just sorta went crazy. Who knows if I'll ever reproduce it.
* Not sealing - I didn't actually seal this model. I was happy with the final effect and didn't want to take any chances.

What could have been better:
* Skin - The skin is pretty rough, even in person. I could have done a lot more work on that. The hands aren't bad, but the rest could have been much better.
* Pinning - I had a heck of a problem with the single pin coming loose. It survived the trip and judging, but if I were to ever use it for playing, I'd want to re-pin it to the base.
* Arrows - Ugh, I hate painting the fletching on arrows. Especially the ends of the arrows all bunched up. No matter what it looks unrealistic.
* Not enough time - I could have easily spent several more hours on this model, but just didn't have the time.

So what was the net result? Silver! Although I should point out that I entered this as a part of a battlegroup entry, including the Teraph, Raek and Naga that I'd painted previously. Interestingly enough this represents a time frame of almost 4 years. I painted the Raek in July of 2009. I'm really not sure what to think about that, but I'm extremely happy. I think the best part was when I was asking Matt DiPietro for feedback on my entries, both he and Meg Maples commented on how they really liked my battlegroup entry. Needless to say, I'm riding a wave of happy vibes right now.