Friday, August 31, 2012

Maelok the Dreadbound

My third (and final for now) Gator warlock is done! And with this completion it rounds out my Gator forces. I should caveat that by saying that I may eventually get more Gators, but this rounds out the first level of commitment I made to starting a Gator force. Anyway, more on that in an upcoming post. For now though, a quick review of painting this model.

Ok, straight up, I didn't spend as much time painting this model as I had originally intended. There's multiple reasons, but probably the most guilty of them is my desire to be "done" with my Gator force. This model is a really nice sculpt, but I did run into a couple challenges. Particularly in the realm of readability, I found the sculpt to be very busy with details. This always causes a bit of trouble for me. I felt like this model wasn't as frustrating, but it being the last Gator in my collection, well, I just wanted to be done. So it could have gotten more attention but the end result still makes me pretty happy.

What went well:
* The candles turned out quite nice I think. They added a lot of color and attention, and especially brought my Mardi Gras color scheme well into focus.
* The dead flesh and exposed muscle turned out fairly well for what I wanted. I was going for more of a dried out husk sort of look and I feel like I accomplished that.

What could have been better:
* As mentioned above, more time and more effort would have been nice. But c'est la vie.
* Basing turned into a fiasco with his feet being very wide apart and not fitting properly. If you turn the model upside down, you'll find several unfinished parts.
* Some details just didn't quite get done, like the eyes. I sort of spaced on them, and now that it's sealed, I'm not going back.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Gatorman Witch Doctor

And then there was one! Finishing this guy leaves me with just Maelok left out of my Gators collection. As noted in yesterday's Weekend Roundup, this model was plagued with disasters and frustration, so I'm keenly happy to be done with it. I'm actually going to skip the normal analysis because I was that frustrated with the model. It's not a terrible sculpt. Just happens to be one of those models that didn't gel for me.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #7

This was a week full of setbacks, but I still made good progress. Time to recap.

Ok, first up was a bit of a disaster. I had poured the Envirotex for my Witch Doctor and set him aside to dry. I also did the Swamp Horror at the same time but he managed to escape incident. Anyway, the Envirotex had a mind of its own. It ended up getting on the Witch Doctor's tail, running slightly over the edge of the base, and then siphoning about half of its volume over and onto the wood. This of course left me with a Witch Doctor very firmly stuck to the piece of wood. Now fortunately, that piece of wood is there to protect my desk, shelves or whatever I happen to put projects on. Unfortunately I had to do some major work to get him unstuck without doing irreparable damage. Then results...
As you can see, the final damage ripped a big chunk of paint off the bottom of his tail and the back of the base. However, after a bit work work I was able to cover up the mistakes. All things considered, it could have been much worse. I just used some brush-on primer (thank goodness I had some on-hand) and then did some very quick base coating and washing work to hide the scars. Since it was the underside of the tail I didn't bother with doing anything too fancy.

Here's a WIP shot of Maelok. He's my last remaining unpainted Gator model (until I end up buying more I suppose). Nothing special to note really. He's very nearly done and it's just little touch ups and such remaining.

A micro-battle report for this week as well. I played 50pts of Kreoss vs Gaspy3. The goal was actually to play a game where 1 side had a colossal and the other didn't to get a sense of game balance. I had the Judicator and Henry rolled a pair of Seethers. The game was sort of a wash. Henry totally trounced me on scenario, but as a result I was definitely winning the attrition game. I honestly played far to conservatively. We're going to do another 1-sided colossal match this week (Legion vs Kraken) and see how it goes.

No, this isn't some new age art. I decided that I needed a full set of felt cutouts for the SR2012 scenario zones. I find these to be extremely helpful when playing the various scenarios as they make the zones obvious for both players. There's definitely game play advantages and disadvantages of doing it this way, but I tend to feel that the "disadvantages" (better ability to judge distances, etc) are really balanced out by the fact that both players see them. So anyway, I finally got off my butt and made these. Now I just need a set of flags and objectives.

And that's it! I'm sure I'll do something more tonight, but probably just on Maelok. Skarre and the Vessel got zero love this week, but mostly due to my push to wrap up Gators.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Daily Inspiration: GenCon 2012

Today's inspiration comes via CMON and is the winning GenCon 2012 painting entry by Marike Reimer. This paint job is absolutely stunning. There are so many amazing freehand details to it. I think the one that most caught my eye was the subtle lace sleeve on her left arm. The dress is also absolutely stunning all around.

It's easy to be completely disenchanted with painting when seeing stuff like this. But in this case I think it's actually pretty inspiring. There's so many little details that are neat ideas. I might even try some of them on my current Skarre project.

Also something to keep in mind is Marike has been painting for quite some time. If you look at her gallery of models, you can get a good sense of how her painting progressed over the years. You'll see some really interesting PP stuff too.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Swamp Horror

So here's the result of my second self-imposed gator painting challenge: the pink octopus! I can't honestly say it's a complete success, but I can definitely say I'm happy with the results given the challenge I set forth for myself. It really was very fun to paint, and it does make for a very distinctive Swamp Horror.

I should note that this model posed some interesting challenges. The suckers for example had to be painted individually. The underside was uniquely difficult to get to, and then ended up being mostly not possible to see. And the eyes are very tiny to get to. Despite the challenges though, I enjoyed painting this model. Probably mostly due to the paint challenge.

What went well:
* The chitin on top worked out quite nicely I think. Good color variation and appearance of texture.
* The overall scheme worked out nice. Bright, but not overly harsh on the eyes.
* Being so well sunk down into the base really gives him a feeling of rising up out of the water.

What could have been better:
* Details like the eyes and teeth could have been a little better defined and highlighted.
* The membranes between tentacles really needed to appear more white/translucent, but I just couldn't quite get it right.
* The blending on the side bubbles (or whatever they are) could have definitely been smoother.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #6

Somehow a whole week passed and I didn't post anything. Probably has something to do with a huge bout of the terrible twos.

First a brief battle report. Henry and I rolled out a 50pt game of pSeverius vs Asphyxious3. The game was a total blast. We both rolled out our respective colossals, as proxies obviously. Highlights include me destroying three-quarters of his army in a single turn, then followed by getting assassinated by Gaspy3 in a very No Quarter Challenge style. Brilliant game full of entertainment. Probably the best part was when Asphyxious used Bone Shaker to whack Nicea who then walks back and pops Severius, nearly killing him!

And... no photos of works in progress. A bunch of stuff moved forward this week actually. The Swamp Horror and the Witch Doctor both are wrapped up and I'm just waiting for the Envirotex to set. Skarre got a little more progress as well. Maelok is now on deck and I got some base coating work started on him. I also have a couple "off blog" projects that hit the desk and got prep work started. I'll include posts of those when they wrap up.

Hopefully the next roundup post is a bit more interesting!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #5

Only one massive photo this week, and it's not great quality. My 2 year old has a massive fever. I'm just happy he's resting now and can write up this post.

Going from left to right...

Skarre - Still working on her a bit at a time. Not huge progress, but I did a little shading work on the metals, some work on the blues and flesh, and on her horns. I really love this model so I'm purposefully taking my time. She'll probably remain on my desk for at least 2 more weeks if not more.

Vessel of Judgement - Tedious, and not my favorite model. Will be glad to be done. It's just got so much filigree detail and the surfaces don't break up very well. The overall readability of the model is poor. I'm hoping at some point I'll turn the corner and be enjoying it, but I'm not holding my breath.

Gatorman Witch Doctor - Just started this guy today, so there's not much to say here. He jumped the line in my painting queue since he's more important to get painted than Maelok is in terms of army options.

Swamp Horror - Not particularly succeeding at my self-imposed painting challenge to match the pink octopus photo, but I am having a blast trying. It is starting to come together though, especially now that I've painted the suckers. There's lots of little details on him that picking out helps to really liven up the model.

Finally a quick battle report note. Played Barnabas (2x 5 Posse, Ironback, 2x Bull Snappers, Totem Hunter, Croak Hunter, Witch Doctor) vs Zerkova (Devastator, Decimator, 4 Widowmakers, 8 Black Dragons, Aiyana & Holt, Sylas, Drakhun) in an "Outflank, Outfight, Outlast" scenario. It looked like I was going to have an uphill battle due to the Devastator parking in the control zone and I had no way of even scratching that thing. However bottom of round 2 I managed to get a boosted Ironback Spitter shot on Zerkova after popping Barnabas' feat and nearly killing her. From there it turned into Barnabas the irresistible force just punching through the lines of IFP to finish her off with a spell assassination. I gotta say, the more I play Barnabas, the more I like him. Counter-charge, Spiny Growth, Iron Flesh, Swamp Pit, tough and unyielding make for a really hard target to dig out.
I believe overall my record with Gators is getting better. I might be forgetting a battle in here (or gotten one of the enemy casters wrong), but here's the stats as I recall:
  • Calaban: 2 wins (eHexeris, Mordikaar), 4 losses (eMorghoul, eMakeda, eHaley, Vlad).
  • Barnabas: 2 wins (Zerkova, Harkovich), 0 losses!

The only other thing to report is I'm starting a super secret project titled Project Sunset Cowboys. I'm keeping it a secret to unleash on my local buddies so I won't be posting much about it here until I unveil it to them.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

From the Desk: Pantone Color Guides Book Review

Book Title: Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color and Color: Messages & Meanings - A PANTONE Color Resource
Author: Leatrice Eiseman

The Pantone guides are sort of an industry standard, particularly for advertising. After reading both of these books I can see why. I originally bought these books because I was looking for a resource that would provide me with more insights into the associations between colors and evoked emotions, and I definitely got that in these books.

What I learned:

These books are the 5th in my series of book reviews. In the course of my readings I've read books aimed at mostly artists. In my past (as an armchair theoretical physicist) I've read plenty of books that dealt with the topic of light and color in that realm as well. However this is the first time I've read a book aimed at marketing and advertising. The fascinating thing is the book treats the topic of color more from the perspective of psychology than anything else. But not in a soft fluffy way. It's a very scientific psychological study of color. They've done thousands of interviews with focus groups. They weave in information from physics, biology and sociology. It really opened my eyes even further to the complex world of color.

The second Pantone guide does an incredible job of breaking down colors and showing related word associations most commonly evoked by each color. This part is invaluable in particular and was exactly what I was hoping for.

And one last interesting fact that I learned: 20% of visual information taken in by the eyes is directed to the pituitary gland. That's pretty fascinating.

What I liked:

It had exactly what I wanted in terms of word/emotion association for a wide selection of colors, as well as general impressions of color families.

The color printing quality is, of course, top notch. I honestly expected nothing less, but after experiencing books with sub-par or even poor color printing I've gotten much more picky about this.

The additional information about the perception of color was a welcome addition. There were plenty of little tidbits of information that I found particularly interesting.

There are loads of sample color swatches using a Dominant, Subordinate, and Accent model. And when I say loads, I really mean loads. Several hundred swatches. And they are all grouped together into themes. The swatches are not only good for finding examples, but from them you can extrapolate your own swatch pretty easily.

What I didn't care for:

In the end, I didn't really need to buy both books. That's probably my only complaint. I could have also done without the basic color wheel theory stuff they threw in, but I completely understand why it's there and since it was limited to just a couple pages I didn't mind.

What I would have liked to have:

The one thing I would have loved is simple condensed chart with small color swatches next to it of all the associations. Obviously that would be a lot of information to condense down though. I might end up making my own at some point if I find myself with a bunch of free time.

Overall though, these are great books and I see myself referring back to them many times in the future.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Massive Voodoo Party

Today's inspiration comes from the Massive Voodoo guys. They recently had a big birthday party for Roman. As a part of the party, they had prepped a big canvas with a sketch of a monkey last supper and people there painted in parts of it. It really is an amazing idea for a party and looked like a huge amount of fun.

Happy birthday Roman!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Bloody Barnabas

Finally! A second Gator warlock to play. My whole self-imposed restriction of not playing a Gator model until it's painted is both a blessing and a curse. I'm stoked to put Barnabas on the table now. Not that I hate Calaban. I'm just ready for something different.

This model was, like Wrong Eye, a delight to paint. I was anxious to give him an aggressive look so I opted to paint his coat red. Again I have to say that I really love the look of stitched-together clothes on these models. Gives them a real foothillbilly look.

This model didn't have all four of my theme colors on him (he's missing yellow). I just couldn't quite figure out how to get it in there. There's not quite as much stuff going on here as with other characters so I sort of ran out of options before I realized it.

What went well:
* Red coat worked out well. Makes him look angry!
* The squiggly runes on all his wraps really gives him an arcane look.
* The chitin on his tale came out nicely with good color variation. Really helps reinforce his age (as presented in the fluff).

What could have been better:
* Working yellow in through better planning.
* Better shading/highlighting/weathering on metals to make them pop more.

Well this rounds out the big batch of updates. There's more stuff in the queue but further finished models might be a few days out, particularly due to life events ramping up for a while.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Pink Octopus!

Today's inspiration is my next painting challenge. After the fun I had with the Croak Hunter challenge, I was looking at my Swamp Horror and trying to decide on what to do with it. I searched for pictures of an "albino octopus" and everything I found was pretty uninspiring. Basically they looked like white, semi-translucent squid. Not only boring but incredibly hard to paint convincingly. So then I was inspired to search for purple and pink octopi and I came across this photo. Magnificent! I am very keep to try this paint scheme. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!!!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Croak Hunter

So here's the culmination of my self-imposed painting challenge to match the scheme of a yellow tree frog. I'd say it turned out relatively well all things considered. I didn't really have a clue exactly how to pull it off so I just kinda went at it with techniques that I thought might work.
For the belly spots I tried out a technique of using washes but stippling them on. However rather than stippling them onto a dry surface, I used a slightly moistened brush to lightly wet the surface. That way when I stippled it, the dots naturally smoothed out their edges slightly.
I also used a broad stippling technique using my bigger drybrush. I simply load it as if I am going to drybrush but don't dry it too much. Then I stipple with it to put lots of tiny dots all at ones. This was applied to the yellow skin on his back, neck and arms.
I also used washes on his feet and hands to give them a red tint after doing all the normal highlighting and shading of yellow. That turned out to be an easy change that required very little work but accomplished a nice effect quickly.

What went well:
* Setting a target for myself rather than just blundering in without a scheme in mind was a different process. A nice change of pace just to shake things up.
* Just trying out a bunch of techniques and making the best of it was a fun way to push myself. I really feel like I learned something new, even if the results aren't as good as some other things I've done.
* The wet stippling technique was a success, at least in terms of proof of concept. Definitely more refining of my skill with it in the future.

What could have been better:
* The belly skin tone isn't a good match to the original picture I used as a reference, but I'm sorta happy with the darker fleshier tone I used.
* Overall the paint job feels "rougher" than my normal stuff, but maybe that's a good thing.

I have to say this project was fun and I'm definitely counting it as a success, particularly in the learning experience column. I think I'll definitely try this process again. Perhaps in the very near future...

Monday, August 06, 2012

Ironback Spitter

The Ironback Spitter presented me with the first real shift in my Gator force in terms of general look (aside from the obvious Boneswarm that is). I wanted the Ironback to match the other Gators, but still be distinctive. One of the things I liked about the studio scheme was the use of orange, however it was a little bit overpowering. So I tried to work in orange into my normal albino scheme. The end result worked out fairly well to me.

What worked well:
* Using orange as a theme tone throughout most of the model. Particularly the small patches being bright orange brings a lot of interest to the overall look.
* Keeping the skin relatively pale to accentuate the albino look underneath the shell.

What could have been better:
* Spent a lot of time fighting with my washes when doing the shell, particularly the swirly parts.
* Posed a little too far forward, making him look like he's about to fall over.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #4

This week was pretty much a roller coaster on the life front. But despite some good times and getting kicked in the nuts, I still got some good painting time in. This post is gonna be quick though cause it's late and I need sleep.

The Croak Hunter challenge worked out as not too shabby. It could obviously have been better, but for speed painting he came out pretty well like I was hoping for. He's bright and fancy and incorporates some of the qualities of the yellow tree frog that I was trying to pull off. Not my best work by any stretch, but I'm going to count this challenge in the win column.
Yay airbrush! Saved me probably an hour of painting time, despite some technical challenges. My VMA Gold dropper has congealed and is pretty much useless. I managed to salvage the situation by breaking out my Golden Acrylics Iridescent Gold, thinning it down and using that. It gives everything a shinier look but I can definitely work with that. Besides, this model is meant to be a centerpiece so a little extra shine will be fine.
And this is some progress on the Swamp Horror. I just did the chitin and nothing else really, but I really like how it turned out. I'll be posting my inspiration for this paint scheme in a couple more days.
And finally, some more progress on Skarre. Working a competition level piece can be frustrating because a lot of work can yield a seemingly small amount of progress. But it's coming along.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Daily Inspiration: 15 Hours Straight?

Today's inspiration is actually a couple weeks old and comes from Dim's Gallery. As he notes, he does take breaks but a 15 hour frenzy over 2 days is pretty staggering. And the results speak for themselves. I'm not really in a position to do such a thing myself (being the father of a toddler), nor do I think I'd have the attention span to do so. However I can still be inspired by it. Well done!

Friday, August 03, 2012


Snap! Jaw! Here's Wrong Eye's buddy. The hardest hitting beast Gators have. Not quite as much fun as painting Wrong Eye, but I did enjoy this model a fair amount.

What went well:
* Painting some scales with different colors randomly gave him a lot more interesting look.
* Using a more orange-ish color for the, uh, fins(?) on his arms gave a nice offsetting color addition. * Eyes turned out better than average for my gators and gives him a good "hungry hunter" sort of look

What could have been better:
* Better shading/highlighting on the chains to make them pop would have helped a bit
* Stronger shading contrast on his belly to accentuate the zenithal light source would have given him a more dramatic look

And boom! The pair is ready for prime time.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Wrong Eye

This was a very fun model to paint. I have to say that in general the gators are fast and relatively simple to paint. However the characters are really quite characterful. Wrong Eye was fun because of all the little details and I found myself spending a lot of time on him. The stitched coat in particular was a lot of fun to paint. Again I worked in my four theme colors (red, yellow, green and purple) into various parts of the model.

In an effort to get back to my old gallery post format, I'll do a quick breakdown of the good and bad...

What worked well:
* The model is just a joy to paint. Made it easy to spend extra time on it.
* Working in the four color scheme.
* Painting blacks using blue as a base. I really like how the hat and coat turned out given the speed at which I was painting him.

What could have been better:
* The bottle just didn't turn out as nice as I would have liked. Probably just too bright.
* Poor zenithal highlighting sort of creates some weirdness in where the bright parts of the model are. I really need to be paying more attention to such things.

And there he is. Tomorrow: Snapjaw!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Bull Snapper (2)

I finally got some models completely finished. They will all roll out to the blog over the next few days as I get a chance to snap pictures of everything and write up the posts. Today though is a bit busy so I'm just showcasing the second Bull Snapper that I've painted.

It's not often that I paint a second of something. The Bull Snapper is model is a really fast paint project though and this one afforded me an opportunity to experiment with how well I could match the previous one but still have just enough variation to tell them apart. There were two interesting comparisons for me:
1) This second one is lacking certain detailed features that I spent the time on with the first one.
2) This one not only went quicker, but the general washing/shading techniques came out smoother on this one with less effort. Definitely a result of the practice I've been getting.

So anyway, not much more to say on this guy. It'll be nice to have a second Bull Snapper to field on the table and I really feel like my Gator force is coming together nicely.