Sunday, February 26, 2012

From the Desk: ...

I do a lot of "From the Desk" posts on this blog. About 25% in fact. These posts are more for my own motivation than anything else. As of late though, I've been slacking on doing these. Fatherhood and work have both made it challenging to carve out additional time for doing desk posts. As I think I've mentioned previously, my new job comes with quite a bit more travel, and packing modeling/painting kits are not often feasible. Nevertheless, here comes another self-motivating post full of random bits of information.

First item of note here is I've gotten started on my Gatorman Posse finally. This photo is pretty poor, but I'm using a pretty similar formula as I used for the Bull Snapper previously. These guys represent the bulk of my first 15 points, and should be relatively fast to paint. However, using lots of washes has a couple of drawbacks. First is "dead" time while I wait for washes to dry (more on that later), and second is that there's some challenges with the washes being draw away from key spots. This usually seems to happen in nooks and crannies for some reason. It's mostly a gravity-drawn capillary action, but exacerbated when I use too much volume of wash in those places. Easily fixed, just annoying.

While I'm talking about Gators, I have to share one hugely positive note: The Wrastler is one of the best casting I've gotten in a long time. Practically zero mold lines and the joins fit together very well. I had to do nearly zero putty work. Yay!

Now back to that point about waiting for washes to dry. Here's what I'm doing with the time between. McBain has sat around, primed, for months now. Just waiting for his turn on the painting desk. I've been on a really good streak lately with clearing out stuff from my backlog. In an effort to wrap up yet another unfinished faction, McBain has emerged from the queue (for like the 5th time), and actually has paint on him finally. I'm using one of my speed painting tricks of washing and painting the underlying areas first. I figured I'd paint all his armor the green color and then add the metal on later. This delays having to make any decisions about what should and shouldn't be metal until the model is closer to having an overall sense of composition.

One last note: Thanks to Ghoul for posting a comment on my Paint Toxicity post. He shared some details about his past experience and his current view, and I am very grateful that he took the time to do so.

And that's it for today's post! I've got a bunch of other random stuff to share, but I'd rather keep desk posts short and sweet and do them more frequently, so I'll save that stuff for a Tuesday update. Until then, paint like you have a pair!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gun Mage Captain Adept(s)

These Gun Mage Captain Adepts have been in my backlog for quote some time now and finally bubbled up. There were a number of causes for the delay, not the least of which was a missing hand for one of them. To be honest though, I got them as a part of my Ashlynn theme force which I haven't really been jazzed to play much lately. This does however get me one more step closer to having that list up to a playable level.

These models are actually pretty pleasant to paint. I opted for a pretty simple scheme, and went with a more muted tone overall. For speed painting (probably a total of 4 hours max for both together) I'm quite pleased with the results. I used a number of washes for the leathers which helped them to really pop. For the coats I opted for 2BB as the method to shade. Mixing up these techniques really works for me these days.

Now let's talk color theory for a minute... This pair represented an interesting experiment. Most of the models are painted in a similar scheme, with the coats and heads being the differentiating features. I didn't specifically paint one before the other either, as I swapped them back and for order-wise. The net result is subtle, but fascinating. The crimson one really jumps out as being energetic, whereas the grey one seems to be more reserved. This has to do with where the highest color value focus is. For the grey one, the highest color values are the face and pants, which are more central. For the crimson one, the overall color value is shifted so that much more of the model has a higher color value. The other big difference is the grey (with a touch of green in it) provides a much more neutral feel whereas the crimson shade provides a much more dynamic feel.

Quite honestly I could go on much more about color theory as a result of painting these two models side by side, but I've got a big pile of gators to paint!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bull Snapper

Well it's about time! Finally the first of my gators is done. This guy had been sitting on my desk for quite some time waiting to be based. Unlike the recent trend, I'm going to do a full write up for this one since it's the first of my gators.

Despite how it may look at first glance, this model is quite a departure for me on a number of fronts. First, I painted the front arc on it. I normally don't like doing this because "it ruins the aesthetic look", or at least that's what I'd told myself. So for these Gators I decided to put that to the test.
Second, this model doesn't have a magnet on the bottom for transport in the metal toolbox. I used a "blank" resin base, and it wasn't exactly an easy option to drill out a spot for the magnet. I could still conceivably do it, but for now I've decided to opt against it. Perhaps once I get further along I'll go back and put one in.
Third, this model is predominantly painted by washes. There was a little 2BB action in there, but very minimal. I've done this before for some of the Cryx I painted, but here I needed to keep the color relatively light to maintain the "albino" effect, so this was a real challenge for me.

What went well:
* Overall I think the albino look works relatively well. The intention is pretty obvious. I'll reserve more about that later though.
* Using this Bull Snapper as a prototype was a good choice. It doesn't have anything else on him really, so the albino look doesn't have contrasting elements. This forced me to keep the colors light. If I'd had other strong elements to the model I could have brought it darker without intending to.

What could have been better:
* Just not quite albino enough. There's a slippery slope here. Adding enough color to make the model readable easily pushes it past what true albino colors look like on a real Alligator.
* The water effect needs just a tiny turquoise tint to it to make it look more swampy. Too late now though since the model is embedded in the resin!
* Some additional thought about the color scheme might have led me to have the back fins/plates be a different color of some kind. That would have introduced a bit of contrast to the model and would have worked with other models. I might still go that route and this model will just be the outlier.

Well, that about wraps up this first Gator. I'd like to point out that this is part of an informal "slow grow" project with my buddies Lance and Henry. Lance has whored his way to Legion, now covering all 4 Hordes factions. And Henry is starting Skorne much to my delight. We're targeting just 15pts to start with. I'll post up picks as we all make progress. And to that end, time to sign off for the evening and get painting!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thyra, Flame of Sorrow

Quick pictures of Thyra before I fall asleep. Sorry about the terrible blog formatting. Nothing special to see here. Speed painted to get her off my desk and get closer to closing out another unpainted faction.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nicea, Tear of Vengeance

Two models in a month and a half is pretty sad. That rant will hold for another day though. Tonight is just a quick post of this model's finished state and some comments about it.

First, this was a delightful model to paint. Great pose overall. When it came time to do a base, I decided that she really needed something special, so I took some leftover bits and threw this together. It ended up putting her at a slightly stronger angle than I originally intended, but I'm not going to complain too much. It really does have that look like she's starting to spring off and pounce on someone.

And that's it! The formatting for this entry is undoubtedly wonky given the dimensions of the pictures but I don't care. I'm tired and want to paint more, so blog formatting and content takes a back seat tonight.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

From the Desk: Interruptions Suck

Tonight is going to be a little bit of a bunch of stuff. First up, my current painting project. I'm very keen to start thinning down my unpainted factions so I'm working down my Protectorate stuff currently. Here you can see Thyra in progress. I'm just doing metals at this point and about halfway done. I'm really speed painting her, so she probably won't turn out real great. You'll notice in this picture that I've got a few paints already lined up. Sometimes for my painting process I'll line up the next few paints I plan to use. This is helpful for me when speed painting through stuff because it keeps me focused and moving forward. In this case I'm aiming to wrap up the metal work and then do the base coating for the reds.
You can also see my two brush trays that I made. In case I hadn't described them before, I basically made a couple simple wooden trays with felt wrapped around them. The felt keeps them from sliding around and the trays keep them fairly secure and safe from accidental mashings of the bristles. I have two because I keep my brushes used for metalics separate from those used for non-metalic. Metalics tend to really destroy natural hair bristles much more quickly (due to the mica flakes damaging the hairs), so I've found I get way more mileage out of my good brushes this way.
Oh, and just past the paint brush trays you can see my iMac keyboard which has been an unfortunate casualty of paint splatters and spills repeatedly. Poor keyboard!

Next is Nicea, who is nearly done. I'm working up a base for her right now actually. Something a little extra spiffy for this lady of pain. This is a very nice model to paint overall. Everything is accessible. It has a nice mixture of surface types to it (cloth, metal, leathers, skin). The pose is very dramatic and full of action. My only complaint (and this holds for a lot of PP models) is the eyes are just so darn small. This was something that I learned from Derek's sculpting class that I thought was really interesting. He purposefully sculpts the eyes a little larger than they should be to allow for better detail work since eyes are so expressive. Now admittedly my ability to paint eyes sucks pretty badly, and I need a lot more practice at it. Still though, I would like a little bit more space to work with.

Ok, let's switch gears. I've thrown a 'life' tag on this post and here's where that personal life part comes in. My career took a bit of switch recently and I've found myself traveling a lot more for this new position. The job is great, but it is causing chaos for my hobby time. Tomorrow I leave for a 4 day trip, but fortunately it's driving distance. So since I don't have to deal with airport security for this trip, I decided to pack a modeling kit. My buddy Lance does this very often as well so I took some tips from him on a portable kit. In addition to a bunch of freshly unblistered model parts, I have the following tools and materials:
  • Hobby knives and micro files
  • Greenstuff and a generic sculpting tool
  • Glue
  • Drills and brass rods
  • Basing sand (for the Nicea base)
Now hopefully I'm able to get some time away from the work events to work on this!

And finally we have my poor Bull Snapper. Painting is done and it's time to base him. I just haven't built up the steam to work on the base yet. There's probably some mental block that says once I finish this one I should really be cranking on the rest of the gators. Stupid subconscious!

Ok that's it. Time to finish packing, get in a little more painting on Thyra, and ideally get a proper night's sleep before the 3 hour drive tomorrow morning.