Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Wrap Up, and 2013 Resolutions

[Disclaimer: This post contains fluffy, introspective nonsense... Just like last year's did.]

I'm doing this post early since I'm leaving on vacation and won't get any additional painting or modeling done before the new year.

Last year's goals:
1) Enter KublaCon masterclass painting again - Check! Not only did I do this, but I won a bronze.
2) Finish reading my books on color theory - Check! Very much so. I read 6 books on color theory this last year. I can honestly say it was a very valuable learning.
3) Use my airbrush once - Check! Again, very much so. Not only did I use it once, but I used it enough to really like it. I also upgraded to a better airbrush and have used it a few times now.

Models painted last year:
This year sucked for painting quantity. A mere 35 models. 2 of those models were huge based models. I also only painted 1 unit, which was a Gatorman Posse of only 5 models. Compared to last year where I painted multiple units. This year was pretty rough due to work travel as well, where I spent a total of 5 weeks away from home. I'm not super thrilled with my results, but painting 2 huge based models was a new challenge and I definitely learned from that experience, as well as painting multiple models to competition quality. There was also a side project of painting bases for Secret Weapon that was snuck in there and I didn't count that in the blow.
Minions: 18
Legion: 8
Protectorate: 4
Cygnar: 2
Mercs: 2
Cryx: 1

Goals for next year:
1) Attend Lock & Load. This one is pretty straightforward. I've already registered for it. I want to get as much out of the experience as I can. This includes attending painting classes, entering the painting competition, and playing a ton of Iron Arena.
2) Get my Croxorz collect up to a "completed" status. This one is a little more fuzzy since it depends on what new stuff comes out for the gators, but at the minimum I'd like to add Pendrake, Bone Grinders and a second Gatorman Posse, in addition to the new Bogtrog warlock.
3) Expand my airbrush skills. This is a little harder to quantify, but I want to use the airbrush to do more than just controlled base coating. The Judicator should make a great first project for this since it will require masking and shading and some mixing.

I'm sorely tempted to add another goal here, but I want to stay focused. These goals give me a mix of fun, skill growth, and painting targets. Hopefully 2013 will be a bigger year for painting than 2012 was.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Throne of Everblight

It's done! This massive tentacled monster was a crazy beast to paint. It really does make a nice centerpiece to the army though (at least until the Archangel comes out). The model is huge though (8.5" tall) and pushed the limits of my lightbox. The main photo here is fine, but all the fancy pics below expose the problems. Anyway on to the analysis.

What went well:
* Starting with the airbrush to get metals base coats done first was a huge jump start.
* Getting base coats done before trying to finish any particular section entirely.
* Not getting too fancy helped keep me on task.
* Painting the sorceress separately made both parts far more manageable.

What could have been better:
* The cast of the tentacles had horrible mold lines. I mean horrible. Cleaning them up wasn't even much of an option. I did my best to hide them with paint but a few places are still pretty terrible.
* A bit better color balance overall would probably have helped.
* Simply more attention to the entire thing. About the only part that I don't feel I could have used more time is the tongue.

And here's a bunch of Lytro pics of the Throne using my new camera!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #19

Not a lot to report this week. Fewer projects has made for less scattered results.

First up is the progress on the Judicator. I've finished assembling everything that's going to get put together prior to priming and airbrushing. It's just too big and complex to fully assemble, despite my normal preference. I found a great step-by-step Judicator report that was actually a handy reference. The author used an airbrush and opted to keep some parts separate as well. I've chosen slightly different arrangements of what to put together and what to assemble, but it's fairly similar.

Something else to note is that I got a resin base to put it on. I've already pre-drilled holes for pinning the feet down as well. It's a resin base by Secret Weapon which I thought was a really good thematic fit for the Protectorate. It also just happened to be a really nice fit for the feet as well. I did have to make a slight modification to build up a spot for the left heel to rest on just to avoid it looking like the foot is hovering.

And no progress shot of the Throne since it actually got done just this morning. I will however share a photo from the moment of realization where I find that it's too tall to fit into my case with the existing arrangement of shelves. I had to raise the upper shelf by a notch to gain about 1/4" of clearance, but now that upper shelf is even tighter for getting my hand in there. In any case, it's a nice problem to have so many painted models.

And that's it. Likely no weekend posts from me for the next 3 weeks as I'll be on vacation. I'll try to get a post for the Throne up tomorrow. And now I need to rush off to get a game in tonight before I pass out from exhaustion!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"The Color Of" App Launched

For those interested, Kwok Pan Fung has launched his iPhone app version of the color toy/tool from his website. I just downloaded it and it works just like the web version. It's an amusing toy that can bring some inspiration when playing with new color schemes. You can read more about it at The Color Of site. Also note that the app is free for this first day of launch!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #18

Productive week, but the weekend wasn't so much unfortunately.

Tons of progress on the Throne. Almost everything is base coated at this point. The metals are mostly done. The skin is about half done but needs some serious shading work. The chitin and claws obviously need a lot of work. The mouth is about half done as well but I'm debating whether to use some purple tones to help tie things together. The base of course is nowhere other than gluing down the beginnings of rocks and such. It's such a large area to cover that I really need to find some other stuff to add but I'll figure that out as I get closer.

I should note at this point that my goal is to have it done before I leave on vacation on the 20th, but that timeline is getting pretty tight. It's going to be a stretch, particularly if I'm trying to get any actual games in as well.

Second is the Judicator. I'm down from 63 pieces to 20 pieces. Granted, a large portion of that was the missile ports. However getting the legs and main torso mostly assembled was a huge feat and it's coming together to a point where I can start to envision it. The real key is going to be getting to the level where I know what I do and don't want assembled prior to painting.

And that's it. Nothing else on the desk at this point other than the Extreme Carnivean, which didn't get any attention. That project will definitely be waiting until I get back from vacation so that I can spend plenty of time on it.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #17

Roundup time, and it's late, and I'm sleep deprived, so this is warp speed.

First is the big progress on the Throne. I was originally going to do the main flesh first, but then I realized the metal sections would take forever so I decided to take a different path. I got out the airbrush and in 2 sessions of probably 20 minutes each (counting set up and tear down for each session), I undercoated black and then base coated metal. Talk about fast. The fiddly armor sections are so tedious to paint with a brush, but with the airbrush they went super fast. And holy smokes do I love my Steenbeck Infinity airbrush. So easy to use and so very very fast to clean. Absolutely worth the money I spent on it. I also spent a little time just fiddling around with it and getting more comfortable with the controls and accuracy.

Speaking of the airbrush, I'm becoming very fond of using the Golden Fluid Acrylic paints with it. I can just squirt in some paint, squirt in some of my magic airbrush formula, and I'm off to the races. And the GFA paints are nice and smooth and have yet to cause a serious clog for me. I'm seriously thinking of investing in more shades. I've definitely had better luck with them than the P3 paints when it comes to the airbrush.

Also the Sorceress for the Throne is nearly done at this point. I'm waiting to do final work on her until after I permanently mount her on the Throne itself.

I also finished the Shepherd this week but she made it to the gallery already so no pics there. Plus there was a ton of assembly prep work. I trimmed most of the Judicator pieces so that is ready for assembly to start now. I also got a tad more work on assembling the Extreme Carnivean, but nothing really worth showing there.

Given that I'm going to be on vacation in a couple more weeks, the next couple roundup sessions will be the push to finish the Throne and Judicator before heading out.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Shepherd #2

Second Shepherd done. Nothing fancy. Super fast retrospective...

What went well:
* Painting fast. Didn't spend more than probably 3 hours on it, and that was while also working on other stuff.
* Washes on the wraps worked out nicely for only being 3 applications of paint.
* Sometimes simple is better. Rather than spending a pile of time, I treated this second Shepherd model as obviously second string since I won't be likely to field it very often.

What could have been better:
* Spending more effort on the conversion. More bits, more resculpting, more general effort would have made this stand out better. I might still do that in the future.
* Skin and eyes are definitely sub-par for me. Not exactly happy but it's done.
* Not being lazy and doing some freehand just for kicks. I really need to get off my butt and start doing more freehand just for the practice of it.