Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Desk: Sick Day Painting

Being home sick is a double-edged sword. I'm just going to highlight the bright edge of that sword in this post.

Quite a while ago I procured a set of the Secret Weapon Objective Markers but they never got painted. Well I found them while reorganizing my painting supplies and such and figured I'd pull them out and do a quick paint job on them. They make a nice in-between project when I'm stalling on my other main painting projects. I've wanted some objective markers for a while anyway, just never bothered to get any ready.

In the spirit of keeping Legion lesser warbeasts on my desk at all times, I've got a pair of Harriers in progress now as well. Not much progress, but the wing membranes are mostly done and the bases are about half done. Harriers aren't really my favorite to paint, but I fancy fielding 4 of them in a Saeryn list sometime.

And finally, the main project on my desk is still Miss Terious, although I'm taking my time on it while I sort of let the current state of it set in and really put a keen eye to the things that need to be fixed. This was at the advice of my friend Lance that suggested I just set it aside for a while. It's not completely put to the side, but I'm not letting myself rush to finish it either. Just trying to be... patient. More on that later.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

From the Desk: Photo Box Remix

So with a new desk arrangement came a fresh motivation to build a more space-friendly photo box. I was also motivated because I had both 3 backdrops from Hanger 18 Miniatures. The backdrops are really nice and I wanted to start using them, but my existing box was simply not big enough. So I set out to build this new collapsable photo box that I can quickly assemble on my desk for pictures. It's not an instant set up, but it folds flat and only takes maybe 5 minutes of set up and tear down including putting the backdrops in place. I won't torture you with pictures of "yet another lightbox" except to describe it as mostly white poster board put together using packing tape and painters tape so that it can fold flat easily when "disassembled". I also use a diffusion screen from my old commercially made lightbox on the top of it to diffuse the light from the lamp on my painting desk.

I'm also needing to experiment with the 2 other backdrops that I got and the lighting set up to improve the photo quality. Here's 3 different backdrops, side by side, with no retouching down on any of them. These are just the straight photos from my iPhone. I really like the look of the second one, but I need to mess with the camera settings and lighting before I switch to it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Simple Outhouse

Just a quick gallery posting. This was the outhouse project I finished. It's nothing fancy but it's a totally valid piece of terrain that adds some amusement. It measures just over 2" square, and a bit over 3" tall. I'm debating adding some special rules to it...

Provides hard cover.
Special action to enter.
While inside, can aim and take ranged attacks. Also provides bonus armor.
If the outhouse is destroyed by a flaming attack, it explodes, destroying the occupant!

Ok... maybe no special rules...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #37

Stupid work trip!

I was gone for more than half the week, so progress on actual painting is meager. The Primordial Magic model got finished, but probably before its due time due to my desire to get something done this week. I also got this project done on the Miss Terious model. I did however have a significant "ah ha!" moment late this week...

Having a 3 1/2 year old son has a tendency to constrain my hobby time, however I want him to get familiar with my hobby in general. Most of it (models, paints, glues, sharp tools, etc) are not really suited for having laying around. However I realized that building terrain is a relatively safe activity to be doing around him, and more to the point, he can sometimes even help out if he focuses. So to that end I got my terrain building crate out, sorted through all the materials to keep it contained to the crate, and brought it inside for new projects. I also sketched out a bunch of relatively easy projects and started fooling around. I'm including a bunch of in-progress pictures here, but I'll add some completed project pictures as a part of the gallery as I finish each one.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Primordial Magic

Not my best Malifaux model by a long shot, but it was pretty fast to paint and I took the opportunity to experiment with a concept I had about the skin forming around the magic coming out of the urn. The studio sculpt has the innards of the snake as exposed muscle, but I found that to be not as in keeping with the concept of the summoned magical snake. So I went for this instead.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #36

My last travel for the next few months begins tomorrow. But prior to that, I'm getting in a lot of hobby time!

First up is the Primordial Magic model, which is nearly done. Another pretty quick paint job. It's not completely done yet. Still some miscellaneous touch ups and highlights to do, as well as final work on the metal urn. The base is already done since I fixed the Poltergeist to be on a proper-sized base again.

Another random note for this week is that I had spent the last couple weeks without my painting diary handy. I wish I'd noticed this sooner. I really liked how the wood grain on the base for the Scales, but I forgot to record everything I did to get it that way. I have since of course dug it out and am back to using it. It's such a minor amount of additional time but is such a valuable log to have handy.

Next is that I got started on Miss Terious. Painting the wood grain here was what reminded me that I had lost track of my painting diary. Anyway, this is just a bit of progress really. The base is also mostly done, just not in the shot here. I also got a ton of other stuff assembled. Two Harriers are ready for priming, as well as the Peacekeeper, Taelor, Bishop, and Hans. It's nice to have a bunch of stuff done from a prep point of view so that I can just keep the painting rolling.

Speaking of keeping the painting rolling, I had a goal of painting 50 models this year, and so far I'm only done with 32. It's going to be a brutal push, but I'm still going to try for it.

Finally is just a bit of a terrain project. I decided that when I have downtime during the day when watching with my son, I might as well try working on some terrain projects since they are fairly innocuous to have around him. So I've started with this simple outhouse project. Nothing particularly fancy. I actually just took it out to the garage and threw a coat of wood stain on it.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Scales of Justice

This model was a bit of a labor of love. I really enjoyed painting it for the most part, even though NMM is one of my least favorite painting techniques. But I muscled through it for the sake of consistency with the rest of my Lady Justice crew. While working on this model I sort of hit a point where I thought I was done but didn't feel I was done. So in order to solicit some ideas, I posted to a local painter's facebook group for some feedback. I'm fortunate to be a member of this group as it also has many remarkable artists on it too, including Laszlo Jakusovszky. He chimed in with some feedback about dirtying up the pants more and also putting some blood on the stake sticking up. After adding those touches, I really felt like the model came much more to life and was super excited with the final composition.

Some quick notes about things I did on this model. First, on his pants, I actually did a little cross-hatching work to make it look a bit more like denim. Second, the wood grain on the stocks and base were mostly all added in by hand rather than having anything sculpted. The base itself was scratch built using balsa wood and matchsticks. Turns out that matchsticks are a really good scale match for 32mm models. Thanks for that Lance! I also wanted to make this poor bastard look really tortured so I added blood to his back as if he'd been whipped, and blood to his bare feet since he's been walking barefoot and blind for a while now.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

From the Desk: Custom Ad Hoc Washes

There's a lot of options for paints out there, but often there will be that one specific pot or dropper of something that is only available from a single company. Folks that have followed my blog for a while are probably aware that I have a huge array of paint brands on my desk, but with the change in the GW paint line recently, I find myself debating how to handle the retraction of the old washes. To that end, I did a little experimenting myself on how to create my own.

First, I want to acknowledge that my research and experiments ended up with something very similar to what I found on the Awesome Paint Job site. You can watch his rather lengthy video if you want, but my own final decision and rational are below. I just wanted to give credit where it's due since his advice was a good confirmation that my own recipes were similar to what others had found.

So when I realized that my supply of the various GW Washes was steadily running out, I figured I should find an alternative. After some experimenting I was able to deduce the basics of what made them perform they way they did. I'll skip the various formulations I tried out and cut to the chase:
  • Flow aid - This is what gives the wash it's ability to flow into deeper crevices.
  • Water - Cause straight flow aid is both insane to work with and, to be blunt, tastes disgusting when licked from a brush.
  • Matte medium - This is what gives the "wash" a thicker consistency and helps it coat to the surfaces. It also reduces the glossiness.
  • Ink - I use ink for multiple reasons, but the main is that I'm already working from a base including matte medium. Inks are essentially just pigments in a water suspension (not exactly, but for my purposes here they are). Normal paints are pigments in an acrylic suspension instead of water (again, not exactly). Anyway, the inks tend to work better using this mixture than trying to use a normal paint.
Now what I decided to do was rather than mix up a specific color wash, I just made a batch of the "wash medium" and then I add ink to it later. This has the benefit of being more flexible both in color and consistency at painting time. I used this bottle with an eye dropper built into it and mixed up the medium using the ratio 5 parts matte medium, 4 parts water, and 1 part flow aid.

Here is an example of a testing it out on a practice model. The base coat was a simple flat silver metallic coat and then washed with a mix of wash medium and black ink at roughly a 4:1 ratio. Note that this medium can be further thinned with just water to make it flow even more, thus thinning the effect.

Now I'm sure a bunch of people out there already knew how to do this, or have other recipes or just other advice, so comment away! I'd love to hear other thoughts on the subject.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Shredders (7 and 8)

More super fast painted Shredders. Well, painting-time-wise they were super fast. They had been sitting on my desk for over 2 months before getting finished, but that's not important. What's important is they are done!

I should note that there was actually an after-completion addition to these. Once again I forgot to paint runes on them until I had already sealed and photo'd them. So the runes, which don't appear here, got added afterwards.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #35

Late... Sleepy... Happy...

Lots crossing my desk right now. Shredders are nearly done. Scales of Justice have made good progress. I got Miss Terious and the Primordial Magic models both assembled and primed as well. It also turns out that I put the Poltergeist on the wrong size base, so I'm making a 50mm base and going to transplant it once that's done as well. So all said and done, I think I've got 6 separate active projects going on at once right now.

Friday, October 11, 2013


This was a super fast model to paint. I mean really fast. I actually spent a little extra time fooling around with contrast pushing just to challenge myself, and it still ended up being no more than 3 hours of painting tops, including the basing work. The picture angles aren't the best, but I'll let them speak mostly for themselves.

I actually got this guy on the table last night too and was quite pleased with his performance. It's always fun when I can bust out a new model I've never played and having it fully painted right out of the gate. I'm trying to stick to that philosophy for all of my Malifaux models just to keep myself focused.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

From the Desk: Mid-Week Relaxation

Another quick evening post. Nothing particularly amazing. Almost done with the Poltergeist which has been a quick model to paint.

I also got started on the Scales of Justice, and made a bit more progress on the Shredders. I'll probably be pushing to wrap all these up by the end of the weekend if possible. Tomorrow however is hopefully Dresden night which I really need to prep for. I have really enjoyed running Dresden for my gaming group so the hit to my painting is not a burden. Anyway, off to sleepy land in the hope that my son doesn't have yet another nightmare.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


This is the first Malifaux model I've finished in over 3 years now. My renewed interest in Malifaux has really sparked the painting bug and Teddy here was an easy first model to jump back into Malifaux with. I think this represented a grand total of maybe 5 hours of total work. Pretty fast. It's certainly not my best model, but it is easily tabletop quality for me. However paint job had a couple minor experiments for me.

The first was the "freehand" painting of the stitches on his heart. I just sorta fooled around with it a bit and I'm relatively happy with how it turned out. It could easily have been better, but mostly just by creating more translucent layers on top to smooth things out.

The second was the blood. I've used this same formula before, but to apply it more extensively was new for me. I feel it added just the right amount of creepiness to the model overall.

There were of course some mis-steps here. He's not mounted super well on the base, and his one foot looks like it's floating a bit too much. And overall the highlighting/shading on the fur could have been a bit more evocative of a darker more sinister look. Despite those 2 main nitpicks, I'm happy with the results and feeling a wave of momentum carrying me to the next model as well.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Battle Report: Malifaux again!

Mostly pictures for this report. Played a game today. LadyJ crew vs Rasputina crew. LadyJ was victorious, but it was close. By the end I was down to just LadyJ and the Judge (both with just 1 health left), and the Scales of Justice.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #34

Small post. Just trying to get back into the swing of things.

Riding the wave of enjoying 2 games of 2nd edition Malifaux, I'm almost done with Teddy to add to my Pandora crew. Painting this model has been really fast actually. The remaining hard work mostly is the base. I'll likely have it all done tonight, but I'm doing this post down since I'm probably going to want to sleep by the time I finish him, and not haul out all the lightbox and such.

Beyond this, there's still some other projects moving along. I've been assembling other models (mostly Malifaux), dabbling at the Shredders, and still organizing my painting desk area after the mass chaos of our bedroom remodel.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Life: Finding Inspiration In Organized Chaos

Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong for work, and most importantly, I had a couple days to explore on my own. I spent a large amount of that time in Kowloon enjoying the incredible food. I also took a lot of pictures of random things. What follows are some of the more inspiration ones I took that got me thinking about art, color, and the beauty of an organic chaos that erupts in some of the less controlled areas of human experience.