Monday, July 30, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Yellow Tree Frog

Today's inspiration comes courtesy of a Google Image Search, which I grow to love more and more every day. Today specifically I was looking at my Croak Hunter and trying to think of an interesting color scheme for him. For some reason I was struck by the idea of using yellow. So a quick search and I found this image in particular which I really like. Now I just need to see if I can execute this in paint...


Sunday, July 29, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #3

Another week down, and a decent amount of progress. Not as many blog updates as I was hoping for unfortunately.

First is Barnabas and the Ironback Spitter. I just finished Barnabas this afternoon actually. He's not really done since I still need to pour Envirotex. Speaking of which, I've now got 5 models that need Envirotex poured, so that's my remaining task for the evening. I was putting off doing it since it's messy and there is a huge time savings in doing multiple models at once. Once the Envirotex is poured, the only remaining task is to put on the grass tufts on it. Unfortunately it takes a good solid two days for the Envirotex to dry to a level that I consider safe for tabletop activity. So several finished models should start popping off my Models On Deck list this week.

Next up just just a quick batch of extra bases I made for the remaining Gator models that are on deck right now. I figured it would save me some time to go ahead and make the bases for the remaining three models.

Another quick update, I built a better wet palette. The blister pack is great, but it doesn't seal well and so eventually the water evaporates. So I got this simple sandwich container. I like it because it's a relatively low profile so that I don't feel like I'm reaching down into something deep or that I'll accidentally bump it while working at my desk. It also seals quite well which should help keep things wet longer.

Finally just an amusing battle report picture. Henry and I wanted to try out the colossals. This is a shot of our Conquest proxy, courtesy of my son's toy chest. I have to say we were both pretty impressed with the Conquest and especially the Judicator.

And that's it!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

From the Desk: Portable Assembly Case

Inspired by the value gained from having a portable assembly kit, I decided to upscale it a bit with a proper case that could hold everything I needed. Here's a quick overview of my refined version.

This is the case itself. I picked this up at Michael's for $8-ish. There were lots of options, but I picked this case because it was compact, had plenty of lengthy spaces for storing specific tools, and a larger section in the bottom that could hold models of decent sizes. Let's take a tour of the contents!
This section holds models in various states. I cut down my foam from before to fit. This foam lets me keep up to 6 projects safe and separated. As you can see, I've got an Ironback Spitter sitting in there, which is a large but relatively compact model. The case is great for things up to that size. However stuff the size and shape of say a Scythean or Dire Troll Mauler may not fit so well. There are of course limits to what can reasonably be carried in this case. Nevertheless, this gives me plenty of space to bring projects with me and is perfect for even large pieces that just need to be trimmed.
This section contains mostly tools. Clippers, knives, pin vise, micro files, tweezers, probe, and brass rod. This section of the case isn't very deep, so I keep the relatively compact tools in this section. There's plenty of space for more, but I found that this was more than adequate for what I normally do.
This is the top deck, which has a bit more space than the tools deck due to the shape of the lid. This one obviously contains green stuff, glue, liquid putty, a few random things, and then a mysterious bamboo roller (which I'll explain in a moment. This section also ends up carrying my dice and pencils when I take the assembly case to RPG sessions. At present I'm only bringing green stuff, but in the future I suspect I may also bring other types of putty with me, and fortunately there's plenty of additional space.
This is the unrolled bamboo roller. I've converted it into a brush case, but here I'm using it to store shapers, sculpting tools, additional micro files, and a brush (for the liquid putty). I just roll the whole thing up and stick a rubber band around it to keep it secure. I've found this to be a very convenient and safe way to transport this misc tools.
The whole case measures less than 7"(d)x10"(w)x6"(h) which makes it extremely compact. As I mentioned above, it's great for taking to RPG sessions or other situations where I know I'll be able to sit and get some work done. In those cases I usually throw some paper towels in as well to catch any waste material. In any case, I hope this is useful for other people. I've gotten a huge amount of value out of putting this case together already. Over the last few RPG sessions I've gotten 8 models assembled which is keeping my assembly pace ahead of my painting pace, and that's great for maintaining my momentum.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #2

This has been a pretty busy week. Not just for the hobby, but for playing and for life in general. But let's skip the life stuff and start with the hobby stuff.

Wrong Eye, Snapjaw, and my second Bull Snapper are nearly done. They are all painted, sealed and on their bases. They just need the Envirotex poured and they are done. I got them this far so that I could play them today in fact. More on that below though.

The Skarre 2010 model is my current OCD project. By OCD I mean that it's the project I'm spending unlimited time on, only work on it when I'm inspired, and I'm attempting to paint it to near-competition quality. I'm only showing the back because that's where most of the work has been done. I've blocked in all the colors and just done her cloak. Her hair and face are painted, but they still need some detail work and clean up. I can't say enough good stuff about this sculpt. It's a really nice model to work on.

And finally from the hobby desk are my in-progress items: Barnabas and the Ironback Spitter. I just started them today so I haven't gotten very far yet of course. I'm hoping to have them done before the weekend. Both of these models are ones I've been looking forward to doing. I'm sticking with the albino theme for the Ironback, but I do want to try and fold in some of the orange color that the studio paint job has. I'll see what my muse comes up with.

Finally just some high level battle reports. Yesterday was a birthday battle mayhem day. Our local PG Ray's birthday was this last week and several of us showed up at the LGS to play. I got 3 games in total there. Then today I got an additional game in with my buddy Henry. Here's a quick summary of the games in the order I played them:
  • 15pt Killbox Mangled Metal - Calaban vs eHaley - Lost.
  • 15pt Destruction Mangled Metal - pThagrosh vs eHaley - Won.
  • 35pt Incursion - Calaban vs pMakeda - Lost (but it was an epic battle).
  • 35pt Killbox - Calaban vs pVlad - Lost (1pt short on an assassination run).
Overall my gator record with Calaban isn't looking so great. 2 wins, 4 losses, with those wins being against Skorne, and the 4 losses being 2 to Skorne, 1 Cygnar, 1 Khador. Still though, I'm enjoying playing Gators, even when I'm getting my tail handed to me.

And... time for sleep!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Lost In The Haze

I hate being sick. Totally laid up today due to the stress that finally caught up with me. Painting a bit, but mostly sleeping. Today's inspiration is a very personal piece of nostaligia.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #1

It's time I started numbering these type of posts rather than just making up silly titles...

I am LOVING the Wrong Eye model. I've found myself spending a lot of time picking out the details and working it over. I'm getting close to done at this point, but there's still plenty of little things left to clean up. Not to mention that the staff, bottle, buckles, pocket watch, and necklace all need to be properly finished. Still though, really enjoying this model.

A quick update on the cheap wet palette. I created one and tested it out almost 2 weeks ago, and then set it aside. Well today I opened it up and the paint I had in it was still usable. Amazing! And this was just a blister pack I used for it. Now I did however have some trouble cleaning it out again, but that's just newbie failure.

Ok, time for sleep. I feel a head cold coming on and I just took a pile of pills to shake it off.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Monet Exhibit at the Bellagio

Today's inspiration comes as a random unique opportunity that I got to attend. I was in Vegas yesterday for work reason and at the Bellagio's Gallery of Fine Art was a Monet exhibit.

Now honestly, I'm not a big Monet fan. I find most of the impressionists to produce work that I just can't really connect with. Caillebotte is one exception to that where I really do love his work. Monet and Renoir are in my "somewhat like" list, which is very short out the impressionists. So even though I'm not a huge fan, I had time to kill and this seemed like a nice opportunity. Boy was I glad I took it!

Most of the exhibit was just so-so for me. I'd say out of the 30 paintings, only 3 of them really were interesting to me. The one above though, Sunrise on the Seine really caught my eye. In comparison to most of Monet's other works, it's very subdued in color. However his use of color is astonishing and I really only could appreciate it by seeing it in person. There were subtle shades of red throughout the entire thing, but carefully placed so as to not be obvious. The whole composition moves and flows. The longer I looked at it, the more I enjoyed it. I even found myself changing viewing angles and seeing new things. At one point I was up very close inspecting the texture of the paint itself.

Am I now a fan of Monet, or even impressionism? No. Like I said, only 3 paintings really drew my interest. But I have a better appreciation for the brilliance of Monet. And for those paintings I did connect with, I caught a glimpse of what Monet was trying to convey. And in that, I feel more inspired to think about how I use color in my painting to tell a story.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

From the Desk: Themed Gator Transport Tray

Here's my first finished Gator transport tray. It's one of the TableWar trays and I have to say I really dig the final result. The process to make it isn't hard at all, but it did take me about a week due to drying times. Here's what I did...
Step 1: Rings! Nothing fancy here. I just positioned the gators roughly where I wanted them, put rings in those spots, and super glued them in. I made sure to take out the models before gluing in the rings just in case some glue leaked or spread and ended up gluing my model to the tray. I also feel like doing a layout first before gluing them was pretty valuable.
Step 2: Plaster! I filled in all the areas outside of the rings with plaster of paris. No particular reason for using this over anything else. I just happened to have a ton of it on hand. When first mixed it pours nicely and then after a few minutes you can create nice smooth shapes in it which get a little smoother as it sets. I used a wooden craft stick to create a rough look of grooves worn by water. Speaking of setting, I let this sit for 2 full days before doing anything else. Mostly I just wanted to be sure it was fully dry.
Step 3: Paint! I used my airbrush to do most of this step actually. I used P3 Rucksack Tan for the main area, and P3 Ordic Olive (to match my Gators' bases) for the rings and edge. Then I did some drybrushing with P3 MWB. After that I did some washes using SWW Sewer Water and Baby Poop. Again, nothing particularly fancy here.
Step 4: Water! I poured Envirotex over all the sections of swampy area. I added just a touch of P3 Turquoise ink to the Envirotex to make it look a little more swampy. Again, nothing particularly fancy here. This step was just tedious due to the potentially messy nature of Envirotex. Long drying time here also. I let this sit for 2 full days as well, and made sure it was shielded from any dust or other particles that could ruin the look. Although given that it is swamp, it probably wouldn't be such a big deal.
Step 5: Grass! Last step was to glue on a whole bunch of Army Painter Swamp Tufts. I placed some of them strategically to hide places where the paint was more obviously rough, or where the Envirotex got a little overzealous.
And that's it! Super easy and I love the final look. And it makes an easy and safe way to transport this Gatorman Posse to their next feeding. Now I just need to make more of these for the rest of my Gators. Err, the Gators I should be painting right now!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Rust Around The House

Today's inspiration comes from right from my own bathroom! You see, I use one of those black office clips on my toothpaste to keep it rolled up as I use up the toothpaste. I've been using the same one for several years now and over that time it's gotten a little wet and oxidized. The other day I noticed it very keenly though and it got me thinking about something Mr Justin said during one of his classes: "You use dry pigments to create texture." At the time I didn't really give it any thought. Of course it creates the look of texture. It makes it look like there's texture on the flat surface. What I didn't realize is that he meant it actually creates texture by piling on and adding surface texture in addition to color. Seeing this clip all rusted was sort of an "Oh duh" type of moment for me.

Any yes, for reference, here's how I roll up my toothpaste tube. Perhaps a little OCD, but hey, it simplifies my life by 0.000138%, and I'll take it.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Battle Report: Calaban vs Mordikaar (in 3D!)

Even if you don't care about battle reports, you should check out this post! Below are Lytro photos from a recent battle. In case you don't know what that is, it's a new type of camera where you can change the focal point after the fact. It's mad awesome technology, especially for photographic miniature battles. Check out the photos below and click on various spots to refocus the picture! Go ahead! I'll put the battle report at the bottom so you can play with the photos first.

Amazing huh? We took these pictures during the game and despite the poor lighting, the shots are super cool to play with. Anyway, on to a super fast battle report.

25pts, Assassination, Random Terrain.
Calaban, Wrastler, Boneswarm, Bull Snapper, Gatorman Posse (5), Totem Hunter, Thrulg.
Mordikaar, Titan Gladiator, Radiem (mounted), 4 Paingivers, 6 Arcuarii, Hakaar, Extoler

What looked like it might be a one-sided match against the gators (due to Mordikaar's Hallow spell among other things), turned out to be rather one-sided in the other direction. I nearly tabled Lance on this one. The big key was positioning Thrulg in the center of the board behind a rock, and then managing to strip Hallow off of the Arcuarii using Hex Blast so that the Gatormen could roll in and kick ass. Thrulg in particular really earned his points by being hard to dig out, causing damage to Mordikaar when he cast spells, and generally surviving a long time. Now in all fairness, I had pretty awesome dice rolling, and on average I think there would have been a bit more counterpunch taking place.

Ok, anyway, this battle report was really just an excuse to show off the awesome Lytro photos. I've still got a lot of painting on Gators that I want to get done, so enough blogging and back to painting. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

From the Desk: Airbrush Update

Another weekend down, and unfortunately it hasn't been as productive as I was hoping for. Before I get to the meat of my post (an update on my airbrush experience), just a couple quick notes. First, I rounded out my collection of Secret Weapon washes. I've found them to be an invaluable part of my painting arsenal. I sometimes use them straight for painting rather than washing, just because they are already pre-thinned to a level that is not that far off from what I would thin to anyway. Second is that despite not being close to fully painted on Gators yet, I bought a couple more models for my force. It was sort of a bit of retail therapy, given the chaos that has been going on in other parts of my life. Anyway, on to the important part.

I managed to break out the airbrush again over the weekend as a part of working on, what is for now, a secret project. That will get revealed in a couple more days. However, during this airbrushing exercise I was using my P3 paints instead of the VMA ones. Overall they worked fine, but it was challenging to get the right thinning. Everything was going fine at first. Then while secret project was drying, I swapped to start base coating the Throne of Everblight, and disaster. A chunk of paint got lodged and I had to disassemble the entire airbrush to clean it. And I mean the entire thing. That led me to think about airbrushing in general.

What I like about this airbrush is 1) it was cheap, and 2) it's good initial practice with double action. What I don't like, well, that's a long list, but the highlights are 1) it's not gravity fed, 2) it's a monstrous pain in the ass to clean, 3) it's not exactly the most finely tuned instrument.

With all this in mind, I've initiated a countdown. Once I have used this airbrush a total of 10 times (and I'm at 4 now), I'll indulge myself in buying a better one. I also need to find a better system for getting it set up and in a usable state than hauling everything downstairs, setting it up, and then hauling it back upstairs once I'm done.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

From the Desk: Wet Palettes Revisited

Quite some time ago, I tried out a wet palette to see if it helped with painting. I had originally intended to report back and, well, apparently failed to. After about a month of using it, I decided it wasn't really for me. I had some challenges with it, particularly in getting a new piece of paper prepped and in place. The paper needed a lot of soaking time, and often curled up at the edge. Eventually I abandoned it and went back to my old ways.

Recently however, there was a tutorial on Hand Cannon about building a cheap wet palette. In that article, Autumn mentions that the P3 palette paper works better than wax or parchment paper. It got me thinking that I should give the wet palette another try. The picture of the various types of paper on the palette was what really sold me. I found an additional artical on CMON where the author mentions using tracing paper. So with that knowledge in hand, I headed off to my local Michael's to find some tracing paper. However, what I found instead was much more interesting...

Sta-Wet Acrylic Paper, by Masterson Art Products Inc. It was $4 for a pack of 30 sheets of 8.5x7" wet palette paper designed for water-based acrylics. Fascinated, I snatched it up. I built a quick blister-pack wet palette, added water, cut down a piece of paper, and gave it 10 minutes to properly soak. No curling of the paper or anything, and it was ready to go. And I have to say, it definitely worked better than the parchment paper did before.

Although I'd like to say I'm going to use it for a couple weeks and report back, well, that didn't work out so well in the past. And given my current projects, I may not be using it a lot. However, I wanted to share this find with other painters out there that might be interested.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Daily Inspiration: WWPD

Today's inspiration comes from the What Would Patton Do blog. These guys are awesome. They really go the extra mile in terms of setting the stage for their battle. They do a lot of research on the history of the places they build and models they paint. They may not be winning any Crystal Brush awards for their painting, but I for one am routinely inspired by their fully (and authentically) painted armies. This post in particular reminded me how much I enjoy their blog, even if I don't play Flames of War. However I definitely recommend looking over their blog for some inspiration.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Another quick gallery post. The Boneswarm is a very fast model to paint. Mostly cause, well, it's just a big pile of bones with a few small details of earth in some of the gaps. Not much more to say on this one really.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

From the Desk: Random Monday Roundup

It's random day! Today just a bunch of thoughts and comments about my painting status as of late.

Here's my latest update from the painting desk on Wrong Eye and Snapjaw. Snapjaw is very nearly done, however Wrong Eye has a ton of work left to do. I'll add more commentary later, but one thing I am very pleased about so far is that I picked out random scales and painted them with other colors. Not a lot of them, but enough to give him a somewhat spotted look. I'm quite pleased with how much interest it adds to the overall look. I'm hoping to have these both done, or at least just have basing left, by the end of the week.

The other day I saw a video tip from Ghoul about using matte medium in washes to help cause the paint to pull away from flat surfaces and into recesses. Turns out it works pretty well. If you haven't already been over to Hand Cannon Online, it's a great resource and Ghoul has done a whole series of really good video tutorials.

An on a slightly more silly note, it has come to pass that I now have more Legion models than Protectorate. Not only has Legion passed Protectorate, I've broken the 100 model barrier for a single faction. Now the task is to get caught up and fully painted on Legion again.

Finally, I have been really happy with my progress both in painting and blogging. I really feel like I'm on a roll. Time will tell how much I can keep this up, especially once the work travel picks back up again. In the mean time, I'm riding the fun of painting Gators, and trying to paint like I have a pair.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Battle Report: First Outing With Gators

I know I'm late to the trend here, but I wanted to share a high level report on my first outing with my Gators. I actually cheated a little bit on my rule of playing with finished models by playing Calaban and the Wrastler before I had finished the basing. However, it was due to the opportunity to squeeze in a couple games with my buddies. For both games I played Calaban, Bull Snapper, Wrastler, and Gatorman Posse(5). Here's the rapid fire summary:

Game 1 (loss): eMorghoul, Marketh, Titan Sentry, Archidon, 4 Paingivers. I was clearly fumbling with my brand new unplayed gators, and Mike was a really good sport about it. He delivered a pretty crushing blow early on against my posse, and then managed to leave eMorghoul (with his feat popped) parked right next to Calaban (who was blinded). I survived the assassination run, cause, like, gators are awesome. However as awesome as they are, my newbieness was too powerful and I failed to work out any option to take out eMorghoul. In the post-game analysis, Mike helped me figure out that using the Wrastler to do a 2H throw of something into eMorghoul and then Calaban could have probably greased him. Even then though, it would have required some luck. It was a huge learning experience and a very well played game by Mike.

Game 2 (win): eHexeris, Rhinodon, Arcuarii (6), Hakaar. Another highly amusing game with great learning. The posse turned out to be a really good match-up for the Arcuarii, particularly with Occultation on them. This game became a careful piece-trading match, with me on the winning side. The real kicker though was when eHex made an assassination run on Calaban, but just couldn't quite pull it off. Of special note here, when eHex went to do his assassination run, Lance declared he was going to get to Calaban by charging the Bull Snapper and using his Beat Back ability. I was then (prematurely) cheering when he blicked my Bull Snapper in a single charge hit, thus making me think Calaban was safe because he needed 2 beat backs to get to Calaban. Unfortunately, he was able to step sideways over to the Wrastler and use that to get the extra beat back moves to get to Calaban. And that was all she wrote.

  • I love playing Gators so far. Totally different than Legion. They don't feel too underpowered, just lacking very many options.
  • I really need to get more than 1 game of Hordes in per 3 months. My in-game skills have atrophied pretty badly.
  • I'm even more energized to paint gators than before!
  • If there's a gargantuan gator, I will definitely get it. Maybe even 2 of them if the sculpt is good. You hear that PP?!?!?!?!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Daily Inspirations: Shipping Containers

Today's inspiration comes from The Painting Corps in the form of this really cool terrain piece. There's a bit of a how-to in a previous post as well. I think what really inspires me about them is how similar they look to real shipping containers, especially with the rust effects on them. They make me want to make a couple to use as structures for terrain.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Calaban the Grave Walker

Calaban rounds out my first 15pts of gators, and I couldn't be happier! Honest I'm having a really enjoyable time painting gators. They are quick, but offer plenty of detail to focus on. Calaban was a little tricky at first because I wanted to make sure to incorporate all 4 of my "Mardi Gras" colors into his items if possible. As it turned out, it wasn't that hard to do after all.

I've already started on my next gators to get up to 25pts, and gotten a fair amount of work done as well. Speaking of which, time to get a little more done and then get some sleep. Happy painting!