Sunday, January 26, 2014

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #47

If I wasn't trying to at least do these weekend roundups, my blog would have nearly starved to death.

Lots of random notes this time for the last couple weeks of work.
So first up is a quick shot of painting projects that are in progress. 3 of the Terror Tots are done, 3 more along with the Cherub are barely started, and Lilith is about 90% done. I've sort of been struggling with her. Parts of her I really like, and other parts feel just enough off that she seems distorted somehow. I can't pin my finger on it, so if anyone out there has any insights, feel free to share them. In general I'm going to call her good though once I refine the metals and clean up the grey straps.

Built out my portable painting kit! That was yesterday's post. Looking forward to using it this week hopefully.

I spent a bunch of time getting more base work ready for the Lilith crew. I realized this last week that I would just barely have enough 30mm blanks for obsidian pillar bases so I baked an even dozen more. Then I spent time getting a 2-level base made for Lilith and 7 more 30mm bases carved for the Terror Tots and Cherub. I have to say that this third type of Neverborn base in my obsidian pillar theme is by far the most labor intensive. The Nightmare ones are the easiest, and the Woe ones are somewhere in the middle. But carving the cracks in the top of these Nephilim pillars is definitely the most time consuming. At least I have these first 8 done. I've also got blanks ready for the 4 Young Nephilim, 2 Mature Nephilim, and Barbaros. I may try to put together a miniature kit for carving them and bring it to work with me to work on during lunch breaks if possible.

I also made a 2-level Nightmare base for the Dreamer, who I absent-mindedly based on a single level base. This rounds out the remaining re-basing work that I needed to do, so I figured I'd put together a group shot of all 4 that got re-based. Amazingly it wasn't that big of a deal to pull the pinned models off of the bases, mostly cause I think they were all metal.

Other quick notes... I'm totally failing to do my "painting practices" still. Been crunched on hobby time and just more focused on getting Malifaux models painted despite the clear value of doing the practices. In that vein though, I put together a plan for everything I want to get painted before Lock & Load this year and it amounts to a minimum of 42 models which is going to keep me very busy during the next 4 months, especially since a few of those will be competition entries.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

From the Desk: Mobile Painting Kit

So recently I read Meg's post about Social Painting and it got me thinking about whether that's an option for me. The biggest barrier for me is simply being able to transport core tools that I need for painting. So to remove that barrier, and in prep for painting night with my buddies next week, I spent some time to assemble a mobile painting kit.

The first big concern I had was coming up with an adequate brush case. After a bit of hunting I managed to find this small box at a local craft store. It has a magnetic flap to close it. I proceeded to put foam in the bottom and created a second flat piece with foam on it as well. The idea is that the brushes get safely held in the middle and don't shift around mashing the points all up. I put some simple tabs on the panel piece to make it easy to pull out. The foam is just from old blister packs and just happened to fit perfectly with just a bit of resistance to the sides in order to stay securely. The pieces of cork are simply to brace up the ends of the panel since it was just made from old poster board.

As it turns out, there's plenty of space on top of the panel for paints. My dropper bottles (Secret Weapon, Vallejo, transferred P3s) all fit perfectly here too and as you can see it holds 10 paints this way. Not a lot, but enough for basic work.
In terms of the number of paints, my intention for the first couple runs of this is to work on Nephilim models that I already have an established paint scheme for. I'll just bring my paint diary and the appropriate paints from the formulas and work from there. So not having room for my entire selection of paints is not a big concern right now.

Next I needed to make sure I brought some basic supplies. This old container is serving to carry those basics safely. Paper towels, palettes, a brush cleaning cloth (lint free and super absorbent), an a handkerchief to use as a "drop cloth" so I don't accidentally get paint on other people's tables. This container also has leftover space for paints which is helpful. There's no wet-palette option in this kit, but that is still not a heavily used item for me at this point.

And here's everything for my kit (sans models) all sitting together. My travel Ottlite and a jar with rinse water are the only other additions. It's pretty compact, although not quote as amazingly compact as my assembly kit. I've got a cardboard box to put all this stuff into along with models being painted.

Now I want to point out, the only things I went out and actually bought to build this kit were the brush box and the Ottlite (and I got that lamp at 40% off thanks to a coupon), which kept my costs down pretty well. Everything else was just scavenged from my supplies that were already sitting around. Once I had all the materials together it only took me a couple hours of assembling and fidgeting with the assistance of my 3 year old son to get it to a point where I'm set to go. I expect to refine this kit as I use it more. This Tuesday I'll take it all for a test run and try to report back on what worked and what needs tweaking.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #46

Catching up on a couple missed roundups this time.

So a lot has happened across my desk since the last time I did a weekend roundup. I finished 4 models, 2 of which were pretty major. I also managed to re-base Teddy onto a Nightmare-style base (sorry, no picture here). I'm also working on re-basing the Primordial Magic to a plain base to represent his non-particular status. Once I do both I'll post a picture in a weekend roundup.

The last week though was extremely busy for me. I spent the whole time with my brushes in the racks while I did a bunch of assembly work. Pictured here was all the stuff I got assembled and primed just tonight. Of course it turned into a mess cause my low-grade airbrush managed to get a massive clog and cause problems. Here's the complete list of stuff that's now awaiting painting time: Lilith, Cherub, 6 Terror Tots, 4 Young Nephilim, 2 Mature Nephilim, Barbaros, 2 Stingers, and 3 Scather Crew members. I still need to prime the Scather catapult itself, but that'll be done with black. Doing this much at once was sort of an economy of scale but the priming step was a pain. I have to admit though, I am now in love with the Wyrd plastic models. Their plastics are so easy to work with.

So what else has been going on? I made a pile of blanks for building Malifaux bases. And then I also made another upgrade to my Malifaux travel case (sort of pictured here). I got a SnapWare case for craft materials and (after cutting down a piece of sheet metal) and used some adhesive strips to put a metal plate on the bottom of the layer of case. This makes a great and compact case for carrying Malifaux stuff. I've got 2 layers (one for larger models and a second for smaller) and then an additional layer specifically for carrying all the extra stuff like cards, tape measure, tokens, etc. So compact and easy for Malifaux. If people want to see pictures I'll post some, but it isn't particularly amazing to see.

And one last random detail: I replaced my coaster! My old nasty coaster, pictured here, was disgusting. I got this new rubber and steel coaster which I just love. It works great even when my pint glasses of ice water are sweating all over them.

And that's it! Hopefully I won't miss updates as much for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

The Dreamer

This model is tiny. Malifaux models are small scale to begin with compared to most stuff I've worked on before, but this model comes in under one inch tall. It was quite a challenge to paint. Still though, I'm happy with the results given my current skill level. Some quick notes:

What went well:
* Working on this at the same time as the Doppleganger so I could switch back and forth. Really saved my sanity by having the option to take a break.
* Adding some cloth texture to his nightshirt. I spent a fair amount of time trying to give it that "mental hospital gown" look to it. I wanted the right color and a slightly worn look, but not dirty or bloodied.
* Not using the sculpted eye sockets limit my painting of the eyes was key. I felt like the eyes worked out fairly well for the size but I took a page from Meg Maples and ignored the sculpted eyes and painted a bit outside the lines. In exchange of that, I painted irises on his eyes in pale green to give them some life.
* The new base worked out nicely for this model as well. I think the sandy blonde hair color makes a nice balance to the glowing fire look below him.

What could have been better:
* Thinning my paints more and taking way more time might have smoothed it out a bit, but at a huge time cost. This isn't a competition model by any stretch though so I opted for the shortcuts.
* The blanket he's carrying is pretty boring. I could have done something more interesting probably, but I was worried about drawing too much attention to it and away from the rest of the model.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014


First model of 2014 completed! This was a fun project. More fun that I expected actually. At first I was pretty intimidated by this model cause of the sculpt but it turned out to work well for me.

What went well:
* Having a plan before starting was key on this model. I went with something close to the studio scheme, but I adapted the particular areas to painting techniques that I've already used.
* Pushing contrast a bit further than normal helped the overall look I think. The lighting is perhaps not realistic, but I like the pop of the overall look.
* Controlled sealing was key here as well. I glosscoated the entire thing, but I only sprayed dullcoat on the front. This kept the back side more juicy looking.
* Generally embracing the joy of this model kept me happy with my progress. The skin got worked over a number of times before I finally was happy enough to call it quits, but I never was frustrated. I even took the time to do a couple glazing coats to help smooth the look.
* Working with 3 different palettes gave me way more flexibility. For this project I used the wet palette, the ceramic palette, and the plasticard palette. Literally I used all 3, and in all cases for different purposes. I am really loving working this way.

What could have been better:
* Still had a bit of a chalky look to the flesh. Can't figure out why this time.
* The wet palette is still not tuned in well for me. I'll need to keep practicing at prepping it correctly.
* Painting the eyes as glowing instead of proper eyes was sort of a cop out for me. I should have manned up on that part.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

2013 Wrap Up and 2014 Resolutions

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

This was another crazy year and my painting productivity was heavily impacted. I took 5 international work trips and my son turned 3 which were the two largest impacts on my ability to get much painting time in. On the plus side I also did a number of home improvement projects like install a central vacuum, paint and finish out the guest bedroom, build shelves in the garage, and completely rebuild my painting desk after the bedroom remodel. I can't really complain too much about how much I did get done.

Last year's goals:
1) Attend Lock & Load. - Success! This was pretty easy once I got approval from my wife. I had a blast at the whole thing and really enjoyed the road trip.
2) Get my Croxorz collection up to a "completed" status. - Success! Completed this pretty easily. I'm not sure if I'll keep expanding my collection at all this year, but I do enjoy having them to play occasionally.
3) Expand my airbrush skills. - Success! Sort of. I did use my airbrush a lot more this year but I'm still not doing amazing things with it. I really need a class I think to get better use out of it.

This wasn't as bad of a year as last year, but still not super productive...
Models painted last year:
Legion: 23
Malifaux: 10
Minions: 8
Protectorate: 1
Or looking at it from a different perspective:
Small based: 15
Medium based: 18
Large based: 6
Huge based: 3

I also built and painted 5 objective markers, 8 fences, and an outhouse!

Goals for next year:
1) Attend Lock & Load (again) - Yep, just like last year.
2) Enter 2 painting competitions, which will likely just be L&L and KublaCon.
3) Get 90% of my Malifaux collection painted.
4) Start painting my Cygnar horde. More about that in an upcoming post.
5) Close out my random few unpainted models from my other factions. There's just a few rogue models that I haven't completed that I should just get done. I'd consider this one my stretch goal for the year though. I don't expect to fully succeed at this.