Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lord Chompy Bits

Just under the wire, I've finished this last model for 2013. I probably could have spent more time on it but I'd sort of reached a point of limitation based on my color scheme. It's hard to explain but in order to do much more with it I'd have had to shift the colors differently to really get more "range" of quality to it. Still though, I'm pretty happy with the final result. It's got sufficient daemonic feel to it without being completely prototypical demon form hell.

What went well:
* Taking my time, despite getting a little impatient at the end, really helped me enjoy the whole process. I found myself spending a lot of extra time on the vast amounts of flesh to pick out little bits here and there.
* Using blue as an offset to all the red really helped create some balance to the piece. The red flesh is shaded using dark blues which creates a nice cool contrast. And then the loincloth and tongue are both using that same blue shade to tie things together.
* Just starting. Taking this model to the painting class was a great way to get it rolling. To be honest, it was farther down my paint queue and wouldn't have been started for some time if I hadn't brought it for the class.

What could have been better:
* The usual, more time.
* Finding a way to expand the color palette a bit more to give me more range to work with. Highlighting the red flesh is what got me stymied.
* Basing position is a little more forward than I would have liked but it's about as good as I can do. It balances nicely and I like how the basing worked out, but a little bit further back would have made me happier.

I'd like to end this post with a special note about this mode. As pictured below, this guy has two mouths: one normal and one on his belly! Love that bit!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Carnivean Extreme

I'm not going to belabor this post. The Extrevean has already had enough blog time leading up to this point. I'm just glad to be done with it. What started as an exciting project has turned into a torture. This model has been cursed in so many way. And now that it's done, the imbalance of it's center of gravity makes me hesitant to even put it on the table for fear of it tipping over and crushing other models with its many vicious spikes.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #45

Bleh. Holidays. Less painting. Short post.

More Extrevean progress. Remaining to do list:

1) More chitin clean up.
2) Finish base work.

Nothing else to report. Just trying to push through on the Carnivean. Hopefully just another evening of work and then sealing and such.

Friday, December 20, 2013

From the Desk: Oh Extrevean, How I Hate Thee

What originally started as an exciting project has continued to devolve into a soul-crushing pain fest. I just can't seem to keep hold of any excitement to finish this model. However it's been on my desk for months now so I am determined to finish it before the year is out. To that end I'm going to force myself to post progress at least every other day until it's done. I'll keep a running to-do list here as well for my own reference.

Sometimes I have these sorts of models. They threaten to cause painting burnout. However usually they are not this big and obnoxious. I can't really explain why this model is so frustrating either. It really has felt cursed the entire time I've worked on it, but something about the surfaces of it are also a real trial to my painting skills. In any case, I'm making a conscious decision to knuckle down and just get it done to a satisfactory table-top standard so that I can call it done and move on.

Remaining To-Do List:
1) Finish base coating stretched skin.
2) Highlight/shade stretched skin.
3) Finish painting mouth area.
4) Paint remaining spines.
5) Highlights/cleanups of chitin.
6) Paint a rune.
7) Finish base work.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

From the Desk: New Neverborn Bases

Just a quick post of what I've been working on so far this week: New bases for Neverborn stuff. What's pictured here are the steps I went through for creating these new bases. On the left is my prototype for Nephilim bases, and the right is for Nightmare bases. I'll explain the reasoning at the end.

First I build the bases just as with the Pandora bases. I start by doing base coats on both.
Next I build up the layers more. The left side gets a bit more specialized treatment filling in the lines of power.
Here the bases are mostly done. I've worked my way up using pretty standard colors and just trying to keep things relatively smooth.
And bam! Completed. Mostly just filling in with gloss black and edging highlights with Frostbite as with the Pandora crew bases. I should note that these need to be gloss coated though to really call them finished.

So why the 2 types? Well the Lilith and Dreamer crews both revolve around these two primary types of models (Nephilim and Nightmare respectively). While it's not super critical to know when a model is one or the other, I decided it would be a nice theme thing to do, and in fact for Woes it is useful. I designed these two bases so that when there's a model with overlap between Nephilim, Nightmare or Woe, I could combine the elements of the bases together and not have too much conflict of surface. So for example, Lilitu is both a Woe and a Nephilim and I can combine both together for visual reference.

So why did I do a "lava" theme for Nightmare and not for Nephilim? Well honestly I think that Nephilim being associated with the fires of hell is just a tired old cliche. So instead I'm going to handle my Nephilim as more like shadow demons. Nightmare are really the stuff born from the fires of hell anyway I think.

Not to execute about a dozen of the Nephilim bases and get cracking on my Lilith crew!

Monday, December 16, 2013


Wrapped up Hans tonight and wanted to get pictures up. It feels like I haven't been making as much progress the last couple weeks so I was anxious to post another completed model. Hans here was fun to paint. I decided to challenge myself in a couple areas.

What went well:
* Overall color balance worked out. Nick's recommendations from the color theory class really paid off. I feel like his face and hands really help create a frame for the overall appearance.
* Using pigments again worked great. I like the look. Certain not as great as other stuff I've seen out there, but for being an amateur with pigments I'm pretty happy how well it worked.
* Using Secret Weapon Realistic Water worked out great. I did it in multiple layers and added less and less ink as I added upper layers to increase the transparency.
* Just plain taking my time to enjoy the model. I really had fun!
* Recording formulas for parts I painted. I referenced them later for other things.

What could have been better:
* More pop on the metals would have been good. Perhaps even using some bronzes as well.
* Just more time perhaps. I really did enjoy painting this model but I got anxious to finish it for a lot of reasons.

Time for some other project work!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #44

Lame week unfortunately. Short post.

Lord Chompy Bits is coming along. Lots of work on the chitin and claws. More work bringing the skin up a couple shades. Some basic work on the loincloth. Lots to do, especially building a base for him. There's prototypes in progress, but nothing really to show.

Hans is almost done. Final details and letting the water set. I may go back and do some more detail work on him to tighten things up but I'm anxious to field him on Tuesday if possible.

And that's it. Time for sleep.

Monday, December 09, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #43

Busy week. Longer post. Hopefully I don't bore you to death.

I would have gotten this post out last night but I got back late from an all day hobby class. There were 3 teachers for the class throughout the day. The first portion of the class was with Matt Gubser (who also happens to be a comedian). The class was quite good but it did very much underscore how much I suck at sculpting. However, as with all things, it just takes practice. I got a lot of little tips in this class and we actually did the first couple steps of sculpting a model from scratch. Here you can see my armature with a head started. Ironically my first pass at a face was doing ok, but then I fiddled too much and screwed it up. When I tried to start over I just made it even worse. Frustrating but I did get some good time in with the tools and enjoyed the session a lot. I definitely need to invest in some milliput.

Just a side note about going to this sculpting class is that having my assembly kit well stocked and compact was a huge bonus for this class. I had 95% of the things I needed for the sculpting class. The only missing things were plain steel wire and some petroleum jelly.

The second portion was run by David Diamondstone (Grandmaster winner of 2011 P3 Lock&Load) who covered Zenithal Highlighting and Two-Brush Blending. I've been doing both of these for a while, but it was quite useful to get to ask him questions and see his process. He also brought a bunch of his models along as references which was both enjoyable and humbling. His class, like the previous one was hands on. He demonstrated 2BB and then set us all lose to try it out. I spent the time working on Lord Chompy Bits. Despite the terrible lighting, I got some significant progress done on this large model. Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about this portion of the day was hearing everyone attending have that "Ah ha!" moment as they first saw David demonstrate 2BB and then practice it themselves. David did a great job of helping everyone out and did a bunch of demonstrations over and over next to each person so they could see the technique clearly. I'm a huge fan of 2BB in general so it was really fun to see and hear a pro painter teaching others and see those students really getting it.

The third portion was about Color Theory with Nick Gage. Another hands-on class, I have to admit that I found this one the most useful of all. Nick let us pick 3 colors from his random assortment of paints, then included pure white and pure black and proceeded to paint an old plastic Warhammer Fantasy orc archer. We picked day glow yellow, magenta, and an wyrm green. He proceeded to paint the orc with magenta skin and in less than 30 minutes had a very respectable color scheme covering 90% of the model. Then he gave us each an orc to paint and picked out our 3 colors to use, with white and black added. This orc pictured here is mine, painted in about an hour using Moldy Ochre, Ordic Olive, and Exile Blue (and white and black). It was a really interesting exercise to do it this way. I had to think about how to shift my colors around with the limited set so as to achieve the effects I wanted. Nick gave me a lot of good tips like using the blue by itself for the deepest shadings of the boots, and a stronger ochre color to bring warmth to the skin highlights. I really honestly found this to be a valuable exercise in color theory that will definitely help me in the future. I definitely recommend other folks try this as well, especially where you let someone else pick the colors for you.

The whole day was really enjoyable. At first I thought I was overzealous in my packing of all my paints, but it turned out to be very helpful since I got a bunch of painting done, it helped the color theory part, and I was able to share with the class organizer Michael. Most of all though, I really enjoyed hanging out with a bunch of folks dedicated to the hobby.

So what else happened this week? Well I got a bunch more blanks made for building Malifaux bases for my Neverborn crew. All in all I believe I made 6 50mm, 8 40mm, 10 30mm, and 3 extra 20mm for basing masters on two-tier bases. This was an important victory since it unblocks a key piece of starting my Lilith crew.

I also got 2 games of Malifaux in, which is a record for me. The first was Pandora vs Henry's Marcus crew where I nearly tabled him but lost sorely on VPs at something like 5 to 8. The second was Pandora vs Lance's Lynch crew where I myself got completely tabled but before losing Pandora as my last piece I pulled out a Hail Mary play and scored my second Scheme to win the game on VPs, 5 to 4. Just goes to show that table dominance doesn't mean victory in Malifaux.

And finally, I got a ton of progress on Hans this week. Really enjoying painting this model. I also got to bring it to the class and got some great ideas from Nick on how to work the remaining parts of the model color-wise to help tie everything together and keep the focus on the face area.

Whew! Busy week but very enjoyable to have done so many things. Hopefully this week I'll be a bit more on the ball in posting incrementally instead of a big post at the end of the week.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Guild Hounds

Two rather small models. Ironically these are still in beta in the new rules as well, but I've got them done. It's part of my push to meet one of my painting goals for the year. These aren't anything particularly fancy but there was a fair amount of joy in working on them.

What went well:
* Using Vallejo primer with the airbrush worked out great. I'm never priming with anything else again!
* Spending just a little extra time on them. Even though they could have been far better, I'm still pretty happy.
* Extra time on the red dog's base turned out really enjoyable. It has just a little more character to it than my normal bases and didn't really require a huge amount more effort.
* Getting that one dog on a base despite the minimal contact point. I cheated actually and kept him on the sprue and used that to "pin" him to the base, then built the base around him. Very different from my normal but very effective.

What could have been better:
* Cleaning up mold lines. Duh!
* A bit more contrast to make them look more dramatic.

And that's really it. They might hit the table this week.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #42

This week's roundup is early. No particular reason than it was convenient timing. Odds are I'll get other stuff done late tonight.

I'm being lazy about pictures this time. It was a rather busy week for me with the holiday visitors, but I still got a bunch of projects done. This picture highlights a bunch of things going on on my desk. I'll just blaze through the list real fast...
* I got more progress on the Extrevean. That model continues to feel cursed. I'm not really enjoying painting it either. I'm just going to suffer through it and be done.
* Finished up the 2 Guild Hounds, but need to properly seal them and photograph them. Probably post that tomorrow.
* Picked up a proper wet palette. The Masterson's one. It's got lots of space and I already like it a lot.
* Started working on Hans from the Malifaux line. Not the most dynamic pose but I have a good feeling about this model.
* I cleaned my desk area significantly!
And 2 items not pictured...
* I was cutting a piece of metal to use as a tray in my small Malifaux transport box and managed to slip and slice an 1/8" deep gash in the back of my thumb. Good news is it isn't impeding my painting ability and I got the tray finished so that I can more comfortably transport my Malifaux crews for gaming.
* Got 2 Stingers prepped and ready for priming.
And one last thing...

This rather obscure photo is of a bunch of ivy roots in a ziplock bag. I found a big clump of dirt while walking my dog this morning and I grabbed it, soaked it, and teased out a bunch of the roots. Once they get properly dried they should make good basing material.

And that's it. Still more hobby time left this evening, and I'm on vacation tomorrow so I'm hoping this will be another very productive week.