Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Lord Chompy Bits

Just under the wire, I've finished this last model for 2013. I probably could have spent more time on it but I'd sort of reached a point of limitation based on my color scheme. It's hard to explain but in order to do much more with it I'd have had to shift the colors differently to really get more "range" of quality to it. Still though, I'm pretty happy with the final result. It's got sufficient daemonic feel to it without being completely prototypical demon form hell.

What went well:
* Taking my time, despite getting a little impatient at the end, really helped me enjoy the whole process. I found myself spending a lot of extra time on the vast amounts of flesh to pick out little bits here and there.
* Using blue as an offset to all the red really helped create some balance to the piece. The red flesh is shaded using dark blues which creates a nice cool contrast. And then the loincloth and tongue are both using that same blue shade to tie things together.
* Just starting. Taking this model to the painting class was a great way to get it rolling. To be honest, it was farther down my paint queue and wouldn't have been started for some time if I hadn't brought it for the class.

What could have been better:
* The usual, more time.
* Finding a way to expand the color palette a bit more to give me more range to work with. Highlighting the red flesh is what got me stymied.
* Basing position is a little more forward than I would have liked but it's about as good as I can do. It balances nicely and I like how the basing worked out, but a little bit further back would have made me happier.

I'd like to end this post with a special note about this mode. As pictured below, this guy has two mouths: one normal and one on his belly! Love that bit!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Carnivean Extreme

I'm not going to belabor this post. The Extrevean has already had enough blog time leading up to this point. I'm just glad to be done with it. What started as an exciting project has turned into a torture. This model has been cursed in so many way. And now that it's done, the imbalance of it's center of gravity makes me hesitant to even put it on the table for fear of it tipping over and crushing other models with its many vicious spikes.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #45

Bleh. Holidays. Less painting. Short post.

More Extrevean progress. Remaining to do list:

1) More chitin clean up.
2) Finish base work.

Nothing else to report. Just trying to push through on the Carnivean. Hopefully just another evening of work and then sealing and such.

Friday, December 20, 2013

From the Desk: Oh Extrevean, How I Hate Thee

What originally started as an exciting project has continued to devolve into a soul-crushing pain fest. I just can't seem to keep hold of any excitement to finish this model. However it's been on my desk for months now so I am determined to finish it before the year is out. To that end I'm going to force myself to post progress at least every other day until it's done. I'll keep a running to-do list here as well for my own reference.

Sometimes I have these sorts of models. They threaten to cause painting burnout. However usually they are not this big and obnoxious. I can't really explain why this model is so frustrating either. It really has felt cursed the entire time I've worked on it, but something about the surfaces of it are also a real trial to my painting skills. In any case, I'm making a conscious decision to knuckle down and just get it done to a satisfactory table-top standard so that I can call it done and move on.

Remaining To-Do List:
1) Finish base coating stretched skin.
2) Highlight/shade stretched skin.
3) Finish painting mouth area.
4) Paint remaining spines.
5) Highlights/cleanups of chitin.
6) Paint a rune.
7) Finish base work.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

From the Desk: New Neverborn Bases

Just a quick post of what I've been working on so far this week: New bases for Neverborn stuff. What's pictured here are the steps I went through for creating these new bases. On the left is my prototype for Nephilim bases, and the right is for Nightmare bases. I'll explain the reasoning at the end.

First I build the bases just as with the Pandora bases. I start by doing base coats on both.
Next I build up the layers more. The left side gets a bit more specialized treatment filling in the lines of power.
Here the bases are mostly done. I've worked my way up using pretty standard colors and just trying to keep things relatively smooth.
And bam! Completed. Mostly just filling in with gloss black and edging highlights with Frostbite as with the Pandora crew bases. I should note that these need to be gloss coated though to really call them finished.

So why the 2 types? Well the Lilith and Dreamer crews both revolve around these two primary types of models (Nephilim and Nightmare respectively). While it's not super critical to know when a model is one or the other, I decided it would be a nice theme thing to do, and in fact for Woes it is useful. I designed these two bases so that when there's a model with overlap between Nephilim, Nightmare or Woe, I could combine the elements of the bases together and not have too much conflict of surface. So for example, Lilitu is both a Woe and a Nephilim and I can combine both together for visual reference.

So why did I do a "lava" theme for Nightmare and not for Nephilim? Well honestly I think that Nephilim being associated with the fires of hell is just a tired old cliche. So instead I'm going to handle my Nephilim as more like shadow demons. Nightmare are really the stuff born from the fires of hell anyway I think.

Not to execute about a dozen of the Nephilim bases and get cracking on my Lilith crew!

Monday, December 16, 2013


Wrapped up Hans tonight and wanted to get pictures up. It feels like I haven't been making as much progress the last couple weeks so I was anxious to post another completed model. Hans here was fun to paint. I decided to challenge myself in a couple areas.

What went well:
* Overall color balance worked out. Nick's recommendations from the color theory class really paid off. I feel like his face and hands really help create a frame for the overall appearance.
* Using pigments again worked great. I like the look. Certain not as great as other stuff I've seen out there, but for being an amateur with pigments I'm pretty happy how well it worked.
* Using Secret Weapon Realistic Water worked out great. I did it in multiple layers and added less and less ink as I added upper layers to increase the transparency.
* Just plain taking my time to enjoy the model. I really had fun!
* Recording formulas for parts I painted. I referenced them later for other things.

What could have been better:
* More pop on the metals would have been good. Perhaps even using some bronzes as well.
* Just more time perhaps. I really did enjoy painting this model but I got anxious to finish it for a lot of reasons.

Time for some other project work!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #44

Lame week unfortunately. Short post.

Lord Chompy Bits is coming along. Lots of work on the chitin and claws. More work bringing the skin up a couple shades. Some basic work on the loincloth. Lots to do, especially building a base for him. There's prototypes in progress, but nothing really to show.

Hans is almost done. Final details and letting the water set. I may go back and do some more detail work on him to tighten things up but I'm anxious to field him on Tuesday if possible.

And that's it. Time for sleep.

Monday, December 09, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #43

Busy week. Longer post. Hopefully I don't bore you to death.

I would have gotten this post out last night but I got back late from an all day hobby class. There were 3 teachers for the class throughout the day. The first portion of the class was with Matt Gubser (who also happens to be a comedian). The class was quite good but it did very much underscore how much I suck at sculpting. However, as with all things, it just takes practice. I got a lot of little tips in this class and we actually did the first couple steps of sculpting a model from scratch. Here you can see my armature with a head started. Ironically my first pass at a face was doing ok, but then I fiddled too much and screwed it up. When I tried to start over I just made it even worse. Frustrating but I did get some good time in with the tools and enjoyed the session a lot. I definitely need to invest in some milliput.

Just a side note about going to this sculpting class is that having my assembly kit well stocked and compact was a huge bonus for this class. I had 95% of the things I needed for the sculpting class. The only missing things were plain steel wire and some petroleum jelly.

The second portion was run by David Diamondstone (Grandmaster winner of 2011 P3 Lock&Load) who covered Zenithal Highlighting and Two-Brush Blending. I've been doing both of these for a while, but it was quite useful to get to ask him questions and see his process. He also brought a bunch of his models along as references which was both enjoyable and humbling. His class, like the previous one was hands on. He demonstrated 2BB and then set us all lose to try it out. I spent the time working on Lord Chompy Bits. Despite the terrible lighting, I got some significant progress done on this large model. Perhaps the most enjoyable thing about this portion of the day was hearing everyone attending have that "Ah ha!" moment as they first saw David demonstrate 2BB and then practice it themselves. David did a great job of helping everyone out and did a bunch of demonstrations over and over next to each person so they could see the technique clearly. I'm a huge fan of 2BB in general so it was really fun to see and hear a pro painter teaching others and see those students really getting it.

The third portion was about Color Theory with Nick Gage. Another hands-on class, I have to admit that I found this one the most useful of all. Nick let us pick 3 colors from his random assortment of paints, then included pure white and pure black and proceeded to paint an old plastic Warhammer Fantasy orc archer. We picked day glow yellow, magenta, and an wyrm green. He proceeded to paint the orc with magenta skin and in less than 30 minutes had a very respectable color scheme covering 90% of the model. Then he gave us each an orc to paint and picked out our 3 colors to use, with white and black added. This orc pictured here is mine, painted in about an hour using Moldy Ochre, Ordic Olive, and Exile Blue (and white and black). It was a really interesting exercise to do it this way. I had to think about how to shift my colors around with the limited set so as to achieve the effects I wanted. Nick gave me a lot of good tips like using the blue by itself for the deepest shadings of the boots, and a stronger ochre color to bring warmth to the skin highlights. I really honestly found this to be a valuable exercise in color theory that will definitely help me in the future. I definitely recommend other folks try this as well, especially where you let someone else pick the colors for you.

The whole day was really enjoyable. At first I thought I was overzealous in my packing of all my paints, but it turned out to be very helpful since I got a bunch of painting done, it helped the color theory part, and I was able to share with the class organizer Michael. Most of all though, I really enjoyed hanging out with a bunch of folks dedicated to the hobby.

So what else happened this week? Well I got a bunch more blanks made for building Malifaux bases for my Neverborn crew. All in all I believe I made 6 50mm, 8 40mm, 10 30mm, and 3 extra 20mm for basing masters on two-tier bases. This was an important victory since it unblocks a key piece of starting my Lilith crew.

I also got 2 games of Malifaux in, which is a record for me. The first was Pandora vs Henry's Marcus crew where I nearly tabled him but lost sorely on VPs at something like 5 to 8. The second was Pandora vs Lance's Lynch crew where I myself got completely tabled but before losing Pandora as my last piece I pulled out a Hail Mary play and scored my second Scheme to win the game on VPs, 5 to 4. Just goes to show that table dominance doesn't mean victory in Malifaux.

And finally, I got a ton of progress on Hans this week. Really enjoying painting this model. I also got to bring it to the class and got some great ideas from Nick on how to work the remaining parts of the model color-wise to help tie everything together and keep the focus on the face area.

Whew! Busy week but very enjoyable to have done so many things. Hopefully this week I'll be a bit more on the ball in posting incrementally instead of a big post at the end of the week.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Guild Hounds

Two rather small models. Ironically these are still in beta in the new rules as well, but I've got them done. It's part of my push to meet one of my painting goals for the year. These aren't anything particularly fancy but there was a fair amount of joy in working on them.

What went well:
* Using Vallejo primer with the airbrush worked out great. I'm never priming with anything else again!
* Spending just a little extra time on them. Even though they could have been far better, I'm still pretty happy.
* Extra time on the red dog's base turned out really enjoyable. It has just a little more character to it than my normal bases and didn't really require a huge amount more effort.
* Getting that one dog on a base despite the minimal contact point. I cheated actually and kept him on the sprue and used that to "pin" him to the base, then built the base around him. Very different from my normal but very effective.

What could have been better:
* Cleaning up mold lines. Duh!
* A bit more contrast to make them look more dramatic.

And that's really it. They might hit the table this week.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #42

This week's roundup is early. No particular reason than it was convenient timing. Odds are I'll get other stuff done late tonight.

I'm being lazy about pictures this time. It was a rather busy week for me with the holiday visitors, but I still got a bunch of projects done. This picture highlights a bunch of things going on on my desk. I'll just blaze through the list real fast...
* I got more progress on the Extrevean. That model continues to feel cursed. I'm not really enjoying painting it either. I'm just going to suffer through it and be done.
* Finished up the 2 Guild Hounds, but need to properly seal them and photograph them. Probably post that tomorrow.
* Picked up a proper wet palette. The Masterson's one. It's got lots of space and I already like it a lot.
* Started working on Hans from the Malifaux line. Not the most dynamic pose but I have a good feeling about this model.
* I cleaned my desk area significantly!
And 2 items not pictured...
* I was cutting a piece of metal to use as a tray in my small Malifaux transport box and managed to slip and slice an 1/8" deep gash in the back of my thumb. Good news is it isn't impeding my painting ability and I got the tray finished so that I can more comfortably transport my Malifaux crews for gaming.
* Got 2 Stingers prepped and ready for priming.
And one last thing...

This rather obscure photo is of a bunch of ivy roots in a ziplock bag. I found a big clump of dirt while walking my dog this morning and I grabbed it, soaked it, and teased out a bunch of the roots. Once they get properly dried they should make good basing material.

And that's it. Still more hobby time left this evening, and I'm on vacation tomorrow so I'm hoping this will be another very productive week.

Monday, November 25, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #41

Again, fast entry from work. Was up late painting and forgot to post.

My Extreme Carnivean is cursed. Pure and simple. It's just cursed. This model hates me. In addition to previous problems with priming and stripping, now it's also been crazy on me. It fell over on my desk and at first I thought it was ok (no paint/primer chipped), but then last night I noticed the one arm was coming off. There's even a pin in there! Fortunately I was able to get it put back together with no noticeable damage but it was still annoying. The model's center of gravity is not as well balanced as I wish it was which is causing some of the problems. That and it's on top of a spray can so when it tipped over it falls quite a bit, and with its enormous weight it can cause a lot of damage. In any case, I got a bit more progress on it this week. I just hope I can finish it before the end of the year.

Next up are the 2 Guild Hounds I started. These guys are sort of obnoxious to paint cause I'm constantly looking at the tiny contact points under the feet and worried about how I'm going to attach them to the base. On the plus side, working on these guys got me oddly inspired to break out the wet palette again while doing their skin. I like the wet palette in general but just don't use it much. However working with my flat plasticard palette so much lately has me wanting to use the wet palette more. I find it funny how these small annoying models were my tipping point to actually come back around to it. I am sorely tempted to get the bigger Masterson's wet palette though just simply because my smaller surface makes it hard to work colors around the palette.

Other things that happened this week:
* Binged on more models at my LGS: More lesser beast blisters, pre-ordered 2 Beast Mistresses, and a set of the original metal Nephilim models to go with my (eventual) Lilith crew for Malifaux.
* Built a new collapsable backstop for when I airbrush.
* Did some research for my first "Practice" project. Post will come this week I hope if I can do the actual painting project.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review: Vallejo Surface Primer

For the longest time I have been a die hard fan of Duplicolor Sandable Primer. Until today. I got a tip from my friend Bryan about using Vallejo Surface Primer and spraying it on using an airbrush. Now at first I was a bit skeptical, but Bryan is a very reliable source of information and I figured I'd give it a try. A few clicks later and a 200ml bottle of white primer was on its way. It sat on my desk for a few days since I was still focused on finishing up Bishop and needed to decide what to prep. I also spent a little time building a better (and collapsable) backstop for airbrushing in front of. Last night I broke out my low grade airbrush and primed 3 models. So how did it go?

The Good:
This is really amazing. The Vallejo Surface Primer is good to begin with, but using it through the airbrush is almost effortlessly perfect. The primer itself goes on nice and smooth and works well. The biggest problems I've always had with it pooling and not getting proper coverage was due to using a normal brush. But with the airbrush I can easily get a nice thin even coat over the whole model and do it really quickly. I even did a little test painting already on the coat and paint adheres to it really well. Plus the benefit of being able to prime indoors without nasty fumes is just enormous, especially with winter setting in. No more fears of grainy primer coats ruining an otherwise good model!

The Bad:
Honestly the only drawback is the setup time to use the airbrush as opposed to the spray can. It also requires a bit more attention to cleaning than normal due to it being primer. Beyond that small time investment, I'm hard pressed to find another drawback.

The Verdict:
I don't see that I'll be using can primer again unless I'm in a huge rush. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. I highly recommend that anyone out there with an airbrush look into doing it this way if you aren't already. Now I just need to order some in black and grey and I'm off to the races.

Friday, November 22, 2013


Finishing Bishop is sort of a special victory for me. I've had a lot of unpainted Malifaux models sitting around for a long time. Probably years. And Bishop is the first of the Outcasts that has actually gotten painted. I kept putting off the Outcasts in favor of "in faction" models until now. Even more importantly though is that I really enjoyed painting him. It's not the best sculpt in the Wyrd line by a long shot, but I like his pose and it was easy to get at all the parts to paint.

One thing I spent serious effort on was his pants. I wanted to make them really look like blue jeans so I spent the time to do multiple layers of color patching and then crosshatching and then glazes to try to create a more textured effect. I feel like the end result worked out pretty well overall and was definitely worth the effort. Painting to simulate textures is something I've been trying to pay closer attention to for the last few months.

What went well:
* Painting texture to simulate denim worked out well for his jeans. Really happy with the effect.
* Sealing with dull coat and then doing final metal highlights really helps to make the metals pop nicely. Definitely worth the extra step.
* Spending more time than normal to really enjoy the model contributed to my overall joy in painting this model.
* Not being afraid to just go crazy, particularly on the brick and his hair really turned into a fun experiment. His hair in particular worked out as a nice "greasy anime green" look.
* Using Secret Weapon Realistic Water for the base. It's the first time I've used it. Need more experience, but I like it for limited pools. Definitely less crazy to work with than Envirotex.

What could have been better:
* Finding ALL of the mold lines. Ugh!
* Darker shadows, particular on the undersides of his arms.
* Better details on his face. I don't have a photo of it, but trust me, his face could have been better.

Before I wrap this post up, here's a shot of my painting diary entry for Bishop's jeans. Normally I do a better job of tracking colors but I sort of went a little sideways during the middle part of painting. I didn't catch myself until it was too late and I scrapped what remaining wet paint I could off my palette in order to record something. If nothing else, it put a smile on my face.

Monday, November 18, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #40

Super short, since I'm posting this from work. Totally spaced on doing this last night.

Normally I'd break these out as two separate photos, but this is just hilarious to me. Made progress on the Extreavean for Hordes and started working on Bishop for Malifaux. There's no camera angle trick here. Needless to say, getting paint on the Extrevean is just time consuming. Keeping multiple projects on my desk is pretty much required while working on this giant beast.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Practice: Reflecting on my skills

A few weeks ago, Meg Maples had a post about different painting styles which got me thinking. Then of course with other thoughts about rekindling my joy for painting, it got me really thinking about what I can do to actually advance my skills. Very often I'm busy trying to finish a specific model and don't stop to think about skills. Plus I'm not usually painting models that are great for stepping back and practicing a specific skill since I'm painting for an army. But I still want to practice my skills, so I'm going to start this new series of Practice posts which will come sporadically and contain actual painting practice results.

My first couple posts will be more about reflection and thinking about what it is I need to practice. For this very first post I'm going to use Meg's post as a jumping off point and reflect on my own style first. I've chosen 2 specific models that are personal favorites but that I also have gotten a lot of positive feedback on. Even though I painted them quite a while ago (over 4 years ago) I feel like they are very typical of my style.

Original Raek postOriginal Teraph post

So using these as my reference models, and armed with Meg's list of style aspects, time to take a critical look at my own predilections. Note that I've mixed together elements from both "schools" here for my own reflective purposes.

Clean, clear, bright colors - Yeah, this is pretty true for my style. I tend to use a fairly bright palette overall, even when I don't intend to. On these two models I have started venturing into using more color combinations to create some interest, but I'm still a color theory neophyte.
Dark Lining - This isn't really a practice I have. Some things have dark lining, like around roots of claws or things like that, but I typically avoid the "traditional" dark lining that I hear about in painting classes. I've always found it just a bit too cartoony for my tastes.
Non-Metalic Metals - Oh my God do I hate doing NMM. I've practiced it a bit and it just irritates me. I get the idea, and I respect those that are good at it, but honestly it's a style I just don't like. NMM often requires assuming that not only does lighting comes from a particular place, but the viewer's angle does too, and that just seems counterintuitive to me. Counterpoint to this though is a glaring need to get better with real metallics.
Focus on Faces - I suck at painting faces. Period. I've only had one model that I considered a success at painting a face (McBain).
Buttery smooth blending - My blending isn't the smoothest by a long shot. I do keep practicing, but I tend to put less emphasis on the "perfect blend" and more on using color to create an interesting transition. This is
Generalized Lighting - Yep, very much me. I don't do a good job of creating a sense of where the lighting is coming from. And I'm not just talking about OSL either.
Freehand - Ugh, another fail for me. These two examples have freehand runes on them, but that's about as far as I get at this point. Just very basics for freehand work.
Piece is a part of a larger story - Again, fail. Not much more to say.
Elaborate basing - This is something I'm getting better at but still weak on. For army building it's hard to do elaborate bases on every single model. My personal favorite success on this front was Victor Pendrake where I just went nuts on the base.
Blood, gore, dirt, weather, etc - Again, something I'm doing more of, but no where near where I want to be. This is something I really aspire to do great work on and just need to keep pushing myself to practice more and more.
High contrast - This last one is something I try to stay conscious of but, to be honest with myself, my habits and style get in the way of keeping it at the front of my mind.

So all this "thinking" and "reflecting" is great and all, but it leaves me in desperate need of a practical experiment. To that end, I'm going to do a series of posts where I pick out a particular style or technique that I want to push myself on and do a test model for practice purposes. I've done a little hunting around and found that the Reaper Bones Clay Golem model is a good test subject to use. I've already acquired 5 of them and plan to get more as needed. They are simple in terms of features which makes them good painting study subjects. They don't require priming making them even lower maintenance. They are also dirt cheap so I don't mind buying several as "throw away" test subjects. I'm going to start my first experiment this weekend probably, but won't have a post for a few days I'm sure. For now I'll leave you in suspense of the first experiment's goal. Until then I encourage you all to take a step back and breathe in deeply of the joy of the painting hobby.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Harriers (take 2)

Embarrassingly fast painted Harriers. Nothing special. I cut a lot of corners on these. The sculpts are not really my favorite, mostly due to how the feet/legs are positioned. I do however love keeping lesser warbeasts on my painting desk at all times. It's a nice way to break from whatever main project I'm working on.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


This model went unusually fast. Probably because it's a pure metal base coat. I broke with style from the rest of my Guild models to do this one in TMM instead of NMM (cause I hate painting NMM, but more on that later). This model was a delight to paint and turned into quite an experiment. As you can see from the photos here, I've opted for a different backdrop due to the overall darkness of the model and to try out a backdrop that seems more suited for Malifaux in general. This model was pretty fragile to work with as the joints are very small and it extends out over the 50mm base by a lot. Still though, I feel like I got it safely on there, despite the overhang of 2 feet.

What went well:
* Taking my time! I didn't rush it and again solicited feedback.
* Dullcoating before doing metal highlights worked great. This was a tip I got from Lock&Load last year and decided to put it into practice. Between the last post and this one, the big difference was sealing it (including a final coat of dull coat), and then going back to highlight the metals. It really makes the whole thing pop nicely.
* Using pigments worked great for the weathering. I especially like the Secret Weapon Pigment Fixer for this.
* Blood pools on the ground really helped bring the scene to life for me. I'm getting more and more comfortable with doing this sort of adding to things I've legitimately "finished".
* Extra time in general on the base really helped as well. The model itself isn't particularly interesting, but adding some additional interest to the base helped a lot.

What could have been better:
* Could have been better oriented on the base, or some little platform to support that back foot. It's just a really long model so this was a difficult point.
* Thicker layers of pigments would have added more texture to the weathering. I'm still a complete novice with pigments so I need to get more practice at that.
* Something a bit more on the basing would have helped spice it up as well. Not really sure what. Maybe levels to the wood platform or raise it up, or even just a railing. Not sure there.

And as a point of comparison, I snapped an extra set of photos using my normal backdrop. This one actually was the best of the bunch. This model is pretty dark overall and the bright backdrop really drowns it out, but on this angle you get a bit better view of the one side and especially the blood pools.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #39

Some random updates.

After literally months of not touching the Extrevean I finally picked it back up and continued work on the chitin. I put probably 5 or 6 coats of washes on it (my painting diary knows the details), and it's starting to take shape. Compared to the Miss Terious model I just finished up, this model is ridiculously large to be working with. In working on the chitin I realized that painting the flesh is going to be really challenging since I have to go back and base coat it all in between the chitin bits.

And here's my Hunter for Malifaux. I'd been thinking it was a Peacekeeper, but then I went to look at the pictures online and suddenly realized it was a Hunter. Silly me. In any case, I've been playing around with all kinds of nastying up on the metals on this model and really having fun. This picture is pretty terrible but it serves as a nice teaser. I started a base for it and hopefully I'll have it wrapped up before the end of the week.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Miss Terious

I finally called it quits on Miss Terious. I suppose one of the reasons that I was so unwilling to call it done was due to it being a limited edition sculpt and I would be unlikely to ever get my hands on another one. Or, more likely, that I just didn't feel like it matched up in quality to the other Death Marshals that I'd painted before. In either case, she's done and I'm happy with the work as it stands.

What went well:
* This is one of the better plastic sculpts I've worked with. Not perfect, but still quite good. There were a number of mold lines that I didn't discover until after starting painting, but I was able to disguise them pretty easily.
* Spending extra time, setting it aside, and generally being just a bit more patient really helped this model turn out better.
* Despite the sculpted detail not being as good as for the metal versions, the coffin worked out pretty well. I had to paint in additional wood grain to really make it come alive more, but it was worth the effort.
* Keeping the palette relatively simple, but using deeper variations of color within each surface really helped keep the piece fairly tight from an overall composition point of view.
* Being frustrated, ironically, helped rekindle my joy. As mentioned in another post, I think this model in particular (coupled with the post I read) really got me excited to find my joy and start challenging myself more again.
* Getting feedback from my friends (Mike, Lance and Henry) was really useful in keeping me going. Thanks guys!

What could have been better:
* I hate painting NMM. I honestly could have done way better at it, but just hate painting in that style.
* More time on the leathers and skin would have paid off eventually, but I was just getting stuck. I feel like I got them to an ok point but the skin especially could have used far more work to really make it smooth and realistic.
* Always comparing it to my original Death Marshals kept me constantly "looking in the rearview mirror". I think this psychologically was destructive for me.
* And finally, the scale of this model is noticeably smaller (or perhaps just thinner) than I've been used to working with and it threw me off a bit.

So that about wraps that up. I'm happy to have her done and I'm looking forward to fielding all 4 Death Marshals at once to see how they both perform and look not he battlefield.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Inspiration: Rekindling Joy

My painting time consists primarily of an hour of two, in the evenings, before crashing in bed. And not every evening obviously. As a result I have a strong pragmatic focus on getting models finished for the tabletop. I really do enjoy painting for a number of reasons. It's relaxing. It's cathartic. It engages a completely different part of my brain than my job does. And last but not least, I love the feeling of putting painted models on the table when I play a game. However I routinely get myself in a mindset of how am I going to get my huge mountain of models all painted, especially when I keep buying more. Now, let's set that context aside for a moment...

The other day though I read a really great post on Dims' Galleries. He talks about inspiration from talking with Roman Lappat of Massive Voodoo fame, and how Roman recommended really enjoying his project but not to be too eager to be finished. He gets at a concept of finding joy by challenging oneself in earnest. There's many ways to go about this as well. For example, when it first feels like a project is complete, set it aside for a couple days and then look at it with fresh eyes later. Go over every detail of the model. Put it under a camera and look at blow-up images of it. Turn the model upside down. Put it under bright light or dim light. All kinds of things to do. Whatever the processes taken, the key is an earnest desire to look at one's own work with an eye to make it better and not be satisfied.

This is a concept that I live by in many aspects of my own like: employee, husband, father, gamer. But when it comes to painting, lately I feel like I've fallen into a "I want to get stuff done" trap. After reading the post from Dims' blog, I want to get back in touch with that joy of painting. To that end, I've decided to take some real pragmatic steps on exploring my own painting style, skills, and what I really enjoy the most about painting. There will be more posts on it to come, but here's a quick pic of a side project I plan to not be eager to finish.

This will be the first bust I ever paint. I'm looking forward to it, but trying to encourage my patience to take action. I'm probably going to make some customization before I prime it, but I'm waiting for my inner muse to finish singing inspiration to me.

Monday, November 04, 2013

From the Desk: (Long) Weekend Roundup #38

Bonus vacation day today, so it was an extra long weekend!

First up are these terrain fences I finished building. They are made from metal mesh, matchsticks, poster board and floral wire. Nothing particularly complicated, but they took me several days to finish just because of the many steps required. The fences are roughly 2" tall and I tapered the ends of the bases so that they could be easily positioned together at angles. I also applied some damage to half of them. My favorite is the one where it's been cut at the bottom and peeled up as if someone crawled underneath. Thanks to my wife for that idea.

Next up are these objective markers that I'd previously posted about. Nothing fancy here except that I magnetized them so that I could remove them from their 50mm bases if I need 40mm markers instead. I also used some pigments on these to get a bit more practice with them.

And here's the progress on the Harriers so far. Nothing fancy, so moving along...

And finally Miss Terious. I'm still toying with this model but I think I'm about to call it finished. I'm just struggling and not quite feeling like this is an over-the-top project.

And now for sleep!