Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Citadel Great Spined Dragon

I am usually able to maintain a fairly disciplined approach to my painting projects. For the most part, I finish my projects once I start them- my painting table rarely has unfinished minis sitting around waiting for me to come back to them. If I am trying to tackle something really big, like say my dwarven army, I purposefully break up the project into bite-sized chunks that I intersperse with other projects so that things never get tedious. I have a queue of models that I want to get done, usually planning for whatever the next game is that I plan to play, and it is rare that a new, shiny acquisition gets to jump the queue and get head-of-the-line privileges.

Christmas morning, my family gave me the Citadel Great Spined Dragon by Nick Bibby. The queue was jumped.
I am still having a hard time believing that this is my dragon
I've mentioned before how much I've wanted this model- for years now, among the first things I looked at nearly every morning was my permanent "Spined Dragon" eBay search. Until last week, I had never even seen one in the flesh. I could tell by the pictures of it on the 'net that it was Mr. Bibby's fantasy masterpiece (he has, of course, gone on to considerable fame sculpting real animals, alas). Others have said it countless times before, but the sculpt really has to be examined up close to appreciate just how amazing the musculature and skin textures are rendered.

Wifey was nice enough to donate a few sheets of heavily textured stationery from an old diary to use for the wings. They took a full day's work to cut out, attach, and detail, but I am very happy with their realism.
I debated putting the holes in the wings for a while, but the examples online convinced me they were necessary
Here's how the model looked when I opened the package:

Thanks much,
I spent most of Boxing Day (See! We do pay attention!) toothbrushing this beast with a mixture of Pine Sol and oven cleaner to strip off all of the thick black paint and (mostly) the contact adhesive used to attach those canvas wings. Although it was a lot of work, I was very happy to see that all of my wing "skeletons" were intact. In fact, there was virtually no repair work that needed to be done short of some mould line removal and minor filing to get the head to attach properly.
Nary a scratch to be found
After much discussion with the family, and lots of online picture perusing, I opted for a green color scheme. As much as I love how Bibby's looks in Heroes for Wargames and the temptation to do an homage was strong, I decided to keep it simple with fairly basic techniques.

Here's a shot for scale to see how huge this fella is. That's the Citadel ogre from the Monster Starter Set for comparison.

Straight up huge
So, we haven't had a lot of time to continue the D&D campaign, but that will be remedied shortly.

I hope that all of your Christmas stockings were filled with leaden surprises as well. Happy New Year's, brethren.

Monday, December 22, 2014

First Blood

The morning of September 3rd dawned crisp and cold. A dry wind stirred the dead leaves as our fearless adventurers set off from sleepy Helix and headed out into the wet marsh of the Barrowmoor.

Lots of footprints being left in the soggy soil in these parts
 Led by the intrepid thief Balton and the hired local guide Ardo, our little group trudged through the mud and muck for several hours without event. The elf maiden Deirdra, the de facto brains of the party, marched in the middle of the column along with two holy men of St. Ygg, brothers Hengist and Fregrid. They were accompanied by the strange gnome Oddjob, whose vocabulary is limited to his name and nothing else. Remains to be seen what he is capable of. Bringing up the rear was the other village hireling "Cougar" alongside the group's norseman fighter, Fjell.

Fjell illustrates the danger inherent with a skirmish-level "charge" maneuver
A couple of hours outside of Helix, disaster struck (already?!) as the party was attacked by a small swarm of stirges. The first two swooped down at the foolishly-charging Fjell and immediately drained the brave Norsemen of several quarts of blood. He dropped like a stone, unconscious. The rest of the party was able to chop up the monsters without further casualty, and brother Hengist bandaged Fjell to staunch the bleeding. One of the party's precious Cure Light Wounds spells later, Fjell was back on his feet, but weakened, and the group decided to press on.

The rest of the trip to the barrows passed without incident, and the vast field of mounds spread out in front of the party. The group headed toward a mound topped by a single obelisk, as brother Hengist's purpose was to take a rubbing of the arcane script engraved there.

Brother Hengist copies the sacred script while an enormous Christmas tree looms in the background
Their mission's purpose complete, the party made the conscious decision to SPLIT UP AND EXPLORE THE VICINITY. I should say here that my family (i.e. the PC's in this adventure) are all pretty new at this. . .

One of the two groups quickly located the entrance to the large, "main" barrow, and peered down into the darkness. . .
I meant to ink that stupid "stone" door frame, dammit. Sigh.
Luckily, the group wised up, discretion got the better part of valour, and they all decided it was time to go. Good thing, 'cause as they were packing up, the silhouettes of a rival group of tomb robbers appeared through the mist, and started heading right towards our party.
Ruffians and ne'er-do-wells as far as the eye can see
Time will tell if they can make it back to Helix in one piece. And we haven't even gone into the dungeon yet. . .

Christmas holiday rules! Cheers, brethren.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wilkommen en Helix

The party got a little acquainted with their new home, the village of Helix, this afternoon.
Helix. . . now in 3D

Using Zhu's incredible map of the burg, I laid out all of my card buildings from the old Citadel "Blood on the Streets" pack, along with a handful of farm-style resin buildings that I have had since the early days of my hobby time (still dusty!).  The inimitable Dave Andrew's incredible watch tower stands in as the local wizard's ramshackle home at top right.

The board is half of a two-piecer I created a few years ago for Skulldred. A few years ago, Delaney King of King's Minis had a great tutorial about using used tea as a ground base for scenery (I can't locate the article now, otherwise I'd link ya to it). It takes a LOT of tea to cover a 4'X4' board, but the over caffeination is well worth it. With a little flock and a bunch of watered down PVA mixed in, it creates quite the grassy (and muddy) knoll.

Town Square

Wizard's Tower, complete with heinous fashion statement

These guys don't realize it now, but they aren't going to live much longer
A little shopping, a few hushed conversations over an ill-lit tavern meal, some travelling monks looking to hire some muscle to head off into the moors around the town. . . things progressing.

Enjoy your holidays, lead brethren. Roll some dice!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

And So It Begins

The family and I kicked off our Barrowmaze campaign this afternoon. Pretty much just background info, familiarization with character sheets and equipment, etc. so far, but it is very nice to be back playing again instead of just painting. As much as I love the creation part of the hobby, it gives it all a sense of purpose when dice start rolling and decisions start getting made. Yeehaw.

On the painting table this week, I was able to bang out two quick and dirty projects. The first were the next three dwarf crossbowmen. All three are from Reaper, and all three set new standards for the term "28mm Miniature." Huge, huger, and insanely huge.

I also think I found a fairly decent answer to the question "What should I do with these minis from that lot deal that I don't think I will ever want to paint, and all of these silly hex bases?" Answer: put 'em together and turn 'em into statues for using as dungeon scenery, of course.

Pretty much all of these are either duplicates or extras, and my guess is we all have a pile of these lurking in the shadows of our lead piles, no?

That's it for the first week of December. Hopefully my next post will feature pictures of dungeon delving in action. Cheers, lead brethren.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Here's Why You Need To Learn Your Color Wheel

When I read a few months back that Otherworld was doing a miniature for the Fighting Fantasy Fest, I was excited. When I saw the studio's painted example of the mini for the first time, I definitely knew I wanted to get my hands on one. But I was a bit confused as to why the colors used on the mini didn't match the colorized version of Russ Nicholson's iconic original.

Now I believe I know why.

Look at that original art again. It works in 2D for reasons unknown to yours truly. But translate that combination of lime green, cyan, magenta, orange, yellow, and gold into the third dimension and the results are . . . not my favorite painting project. I give you Zagor and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat:
Ahhhhhh! My eyes! They're bleeding!
He was fun to paint, though, so I think he'll stay un-stripped and not repainted. Plus, I haven't seen anyone else attempt to re-create the Nicholson color scheme, so for the time being, he's one of a kind, eh? Heh heh heh.

Take care, brethren. Thanks for the look.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Busy Days

The last few weeks have been a wonderful flurry of hobby activity for me. I feel like I have my mojo going very strong again, for the first real time since I stopped painting for other people.

Right after my last post, I started in on DM prep work for the family's upcoming delve into Greg Gillespie's Barrowmaze. After studying Greg's maps and keys for the dungeon, I knew that it was going to be a challenge to adapt it to a miniatures-based dungeon crawl. Greg's maps are very well designed and layed-out . . . but building them as a floor-tile dungeon would be next to impossible because they are so cramped. I took Greg's designs, cut a whole bunch of floor tiles downloaded from the Skulldred site and mounted them on foam core, and then re-laid out and re-keyed the "major" encounters to match the rooms and passages that I could easily build. It will make for a slightly less realistic dungeon lay out, for sure- but I think that it will be a lot more playable as a tabletop game. I plan on posting pictures of the games, as I know some of you have expressed an interest in Barrowmaze.

After studying the random monster tables for the various environments, I decided I was a little light in the dungeon vermin department, so I picked up a couple packages each of Fire Beetles and Giant Scorpions from Reaper and painted them up one evening last week. Again, since they are destined to die in droves, the paint jobs are quick and basic, but I was pleasantly surprised at how decent they look. Especially considering that these are Bones minis, and barely broke the $10 mark for the whole group of twelve. Definitely a good value.
Everyone's favorite gland donators
Roll save v. poison or die
About the same time that I ordered these guys, the Red Box Games kickstarter was wrapping up, and I was a pretty big backer of that project. The minis that Tre sculpted during the last few days of the campaign as stretch goals were so good that they drove me to search around the inter webs looking for older minis he had sculpted. I came across this great Not-So-Little-John priest type from Reaper, and fell in love. Readers of this blog will certainly know of my weakness for beer guts on minis.
Gotta love scale differences
He is joined here by a Dwarf from WOTC's Chainmail range. This guy is way too big to use in my WHFB Dwarf army, so I mounted him on one of the flagstone bases from Fenris and he will ultimately be a PC in Barrowmaze. I think the rest of the family will be rolling up new characters fairly frequently, as the dungeon is pretty deadly. The color scheme for his armor (yellow and black) was inspired by my older son's favorite soccer club, Borussia Dortmund (he happened to walk into my painting room wearing his jersey just as I was gazing at the mini trying to figure out how to paint him up). It was a nice excuse to use my favorite yellow painting technique again- a dark ochre base shaded with a heavy flesh wash and then highlighted up by adding in bone white. The cleric will make guest appearances as an NPC. I have an inkling he may be drunk fairly often. But just look at that whoopin' stick!

Hope you are well, wherever you might be- enjoy the last of your turkey sandwiches if you're on this side of the pond. Cheers, all.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Rogue Trader Sumo Wrestler Mustard Gas Energy Slugger

I reckon that title will get me exactly one Google result going forward.

Mini is from Scotia Grendel, who actually have an entire line of these guys. Base by Dragon Forge. I love it when companies not named Citadel come up with this kind of stuff. Completely-off-the-deep-end sci-fi = happy Veronakid painting projects.

You! Get in my belly!

This could very well be a wrap on my 2014 painting. Lots of DM prep work to get ready for a Barrowmaze-inspired Christmastime campaign. What better way to celebrate the holidays than by smashing zombies and skeletons with your loved ones?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

As Long As The Lightbox Is Out. . .

. . . I might as well get a couple of old mini projects documented.

First up is my RT-era SPESS MUHRRRINES. Like probably a large percentage of you reading this, my first foray into mini painting was one of the power armored giants, although my first one was one of the plastics that came with the 2nd edition 40K box and not one of these incredible metal C100 models.

The paint and color scheme came directly from one of my painting heroes, Delaney King, who posted a similar project along with a very kind tutorial on her blog a few years ago. As soon as I saw hers (she has some wicked conversions in her force as well, stuff that's well beyond my skill level), I knew I would have to collect some old marines and paint them up similarly.

My RT Eldar force, painted up to use in games against the marines, takes their inspiration (of course) from the Rogue Trader rulebook. They used to be so much more characterful and "elfy" than the current models, which seem to me too bulky for elven types. Purple guns for the win.

I used almost exclusively inks on these guys- only the flesh (if I remember correctly) was actually painted on. I still like the alien-ness that I achieved on this project- one of my personal favorites.

Take care.

The Gang's All Here

Took a little break from painting WFB minis this week to work on a Rogue Trader figure- the "Mad Punk" from the RT601 Adventurers code.

While I was working on her, I brought out the Sensei I purchased already painted earlier this year and finally got around to fixing up his face and armor. Of course, as long as I was tidying up this model, I figured it was a good chance to tidy up all of my RT Adventurers. . . one thing lead to another and several hours' worth of work later, the group was ready for their family picture:
I have several more of these types of figures in the queue. Now I am more anxious than ever to get back to them. So many figures to paint, so little time.

Hope you are well, wherever you might be.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

All Hail the Dwarfmaster

Just another quick update/documentation post today showing a couple of dwarfs to add to the growing horde. It felt good to paint up a couple of stunties again for the first time in a while- painting big boots and beards is like slipping into a comfortable old pair of slippers for me.

The fella on the left is from Heartbreaker, and is a fairly recent (post-2000) Kev Adams sculpt that will fit in nicely with my second edition Bugman's unit. The sculpt is so well done that I wonder if calling Kev the "Goblinmaster" is actually shortchanging him. One thing I have definitely noticed over the years about Adams' sculpts is that he never seems to get lazy on his minis; even places that no one would be reasonably expected to see on a finished, painted mini (places like underneath arms held snug against the body, or undercut areas beneath tunics) Kev will continue to lavish detail. It's quite admirable, and when you combine that ethic with his considerable ability to bring character to a little lead figure, well- it's no surprise he is a legend. Well deserved.

The pretty little lady on the right is a female dwarf ranger from Reaper. Although I haven't done it the justice it probably deserves, the face is one of the best female faces I have ever had the pleasure of painting up. So, another earth-toned addition reports in.

I am definitely wishing I was in Baltimore at the moment, with my fellow yankees at OITNW. There's always next year, right?. Can't wait to see all the blog updates.

Cheers, brethren.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Undead. . .tober

Seems like every different WHFB race and their mothers are being celebrated this October. I just happen to be in "I really need to start getting stuff done before the end of the year" mode right now, and the undead minions we need for Barrowmaze just happens to be my own lucky chosen project du jour.

Zombies from Otherworld, a "Doombringer" from Studio 2 (he'll play the role of Revenant for us), a couple of wights from OW, and a quite-nice-if-a-tad-smallish wraith from Dark Sword.

Happy trick or treating next week, leadheads.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Painting is a Process

So, back a few posts I was bagging (a bit) on Jes Goodwin. The late 80's High Elf cavalry models he sculpted are not my favorite models. I stand by that.

Most of everything else he has done, however, stands like a colossus over the hobby. He and Tom Meier are, to put it simply, the masters of elven models. The same way that Kev Adams infuses orcs and goblins with a sense of chaotic mischief and evil naughtiness, I think Goodwin lends a sense of nobility, regal-ness, and (often times) utter ferocity to the elven armies. Case in point: the Elven Attack Chariot.

Now, I don't know whether Jes had anything to do with the original rules for this behemoth (1500 points in 2nd Edition??!! And look at those abilities the characters have! This thing is like playing the Star Wars miniatures game and someone taking the Death Star!). What I do know is that he (working together with the heavily-sweatered Bob Naismith) somehow created a chariot model that oozes both wildness and grace; crisp, clean lines and whirling, pointy bits. I think it is a masterpiece of the early-to-middle part of his career.

For a while now, if I was to rank the Citadel models at the top of my most-wanted list, the Elven Attack Chariot would come in at number three, behind only Nick Bibby's Great Spined Dragon (someday, my precious) and Jorj, the original champion from the first Bugman's unit (I've written this one off, and just converted my own version). After coming close a couple of times on eBay, I finally managed to land an intact and complete chariot a couple of weeks ago.

After three extended periods in the stripping bath (ancient red oil paint, epoxy cement, and an obscene amount of gap filler you say? Why yes indeed- all three!), I have started on this beast. I don't want to rush it at all, so I plan on working on it between and during other models. There is an astonishing amount of both detail and surface area to get covered with painty bits, so this might be in for a long haul. Here's where she stands right now, with most of the actual chariot done except for final highlighting:
Javelins, check. Quiver of arrows, check. Luscious bear-skin rug, check.
Insert Tab 'A' of winged lightning rod into Hole 'B'

I am having a hard time deciding what to do, if anything, with the white. Over a white undercoat, I painted the whole model with Vallejo Ivory. I like the color here a lot, and I want to preserve the pristine cleanliness of the whole model, but it feels to me that the textured portions at least need some shading added. Looking at the original version, I would guess that Kev Adams painted it (because of the mushrooms of course); whoever it was looks to have painted a very thin white/ivory layer over more of a bone color (look at the wheels, especially). This gives the original, to my eye, more of a birch, wooden feel. I don't know if I like that, or the porcelain feel of my ivory better. I think I will leave it as is for now and see how the addition of the horses and the base changes my mind.

So. . . this goes in here, right?
Finished up the cannon and crew for the dorfies this week as well. The barrel-carrying (keg carrying?) fella is a fantastic crewman, sagging gut and all. For some reason, the sculptor of this set decided that all dwarves that work on cannons need enormous metal rings hanging off of their belts. Good stuff. Everytime I see the guy with the keg, Prince's "Raspberry Beret" starts playing in my head. If only I had the courage to paint it that color. . .

Thanks for reading. Hope all is well in your world, wherever it might be. Take care, brethren.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

No One Wins 'Em All

I think I have mentioned here before that I mark my start into the hobby with the week that the "Dark Millennium" expansion came out for 2nd Edition 40K.
Summer 1994. It was all downhill from here.
I still have a very vivid memory of looking through a friend's White Dwarf and getting completely hooked looking at the pictures of minis (Andy Craig's Harlequins were the first to make an impression, and still remain my favorite 'Eavy Metal minis of all time) and reading a Priestly/Johnson battle report (High Elves/Greenskins). Here was the hobby I had been looking for all my life- a Venn diagram showing the meeting of art (I grew up a military modeler), battle tactics (I have poured over battlefield maps showing troops movements my whole life), and gaming (I think half my time at college was spent playing chess, Risk, and Axis & Allies).

My first minis were the Space Marines that came in the 2nd edition 40K box. I think I established my standard operating procedure by attempting to exactly copy the Blood Angels from the pictures (I am notorious for having issues with coming up with my own color schemes, much preferring the ones that already look good that other people have come up with). Mine were noticeably worse than the ones Mike McVey painted for the trade pics.
These are not my minis.

Shortly after getting the Marines painted up, I sprung for the 4th edition WHFB box as well, thus cementing my early addiction to GW's brand of plasticrack. At the same time, I found my first true love in the hobby when I built the High Elf army from the box.
How many hours did I spend with this? Many, many, many.
I think I have collected, painted, gamed with, and sold off six High Elf armies at this point, which now that I have actually counted them up sounds completely absurd. My current one is, unsurprisingly, the best of the group- Caradryan up there in my banner is from my army. I haven't pictured it much on the blog, because it is mostly newer models that I painted when I delved back into the hobby big time a few years ago now.

I have recently begun adding older elf models that I will be painting in the coming months, once the Barrowmaze and dwarf projects are done. I did want to share today's completion, though, because it ties in with all this reminiscing. See, there was a point after all. . .

The High Elf models back in the day always gave me fits to paint. I can say now with conviction that it was NOT MY FAULT. They are not easy to paint minis. They absolutely do not "paint themselves." They are very, very hard to make look good- hell, even the 'Eavy Metal versions circa 3rd edition are pretty underwhelming, especially when compared to everything else being released at the time.

I remember in the 90's starting a unit of the original Dragon Princes (sculpted by none other than the Elf Master himself, Jes Goodwin) and literally throwing one across the room because it was so impossible to make look nice.

These elves have their details crammed impossibly close together. Their scaling leaves a lot to be desired. They are covered with those damned gems EVERYWHERE. They are quite simply not very good models.

But of course I love them anyway. I am a hopeless devotee to this army.

I have learned, too- always have faith that a bigger unit arranged together will always make the underwhelming individuals look 100% better.

So, what's the most challenging group of minis you have ever painted? I'd love to hear of your triumphant struggles against difficult sculpts in the comments. Have a good one, brethren.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back in Black. . . err, Bleached Bone

Whew. It's been a while. Three months can really fly by in blogland, eh?

It was quite a summer of discontent for me, hobby-wise at least. I spent nearly all of my free time from June through early September working on these doors and portals for my commission painting client:

This project was enough to break me- I have hung up my mercenary brushes for the time being, as there is simply not enough time anymore in my life to paint for someone else. I have way too many projects of my own that I really want to get through, and having the feeling of commitment to painting someone else's stuff has turned my hobby into another job.

But no more.

In a flurry of excitement after I mailed the doors back to their owner, I dove headlong into my own minis and just put the final touches on the wonderful armored skeletons from (who else?) Otherworld. Sculpted by the one and only Kev Adams, these fellers are insanely characterful, old school, and really fun to paint. My admiration for that company grows with each batch of their minis I finish.
Attack of the stripy shield brigade
I was so sick and tired of painting brown and stone after all those portals that I had to paint these guys in a riot of color, at least for me. Ochre, brick red, Prussian blue, and dark green are my four go-to colors, so that's where these ended up. Again, this was so fun and so reinvigorating to do.

I hope to continue getting through my projects. I used the proceeds from the portal job to buy one long-term dream mini of mine. What is it? Stay tuned!

Happy hunting, brothers in Pb.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bring Out Yer Dead

Just a quick update from the hobby table for me tonight. Put a very quick paintjobby on this batch of zombies from Redbox Games over the weekend. Certainly nothing to crow about, but since these guys are destined to be mowed down in droves over and over again in Barrowmaze, I figure they'll forgive me. I've become pretty enamored to the glowing-eyes-means-scary-undead concept- this time it's a nice eerie green shade to go with their green-grey skin.

Hope your own leaden acquisitions are going swimmingly. 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Something Old, Something New

Greetings, all, from the land of sunshine and orange juice. Today I bring good tidings of reconditioned lead.

First up is a quick blast from my not-too-distant past. I've never been a huge fan of Chaos, much preferring to play good guys normally, but a couple of years ago my older son and I were playing a LOT of Delaney King's Skulldred, and I managed to put together this little war band to use in that game. They are all fairly common Citadel Chaos baddies from the eighties- figures I am sure you are all very familiar with, so I will spare any further discussion of where to get them. The standout here for me is the unmasking mage in the middle- that is such an inspired pose. I feel fairly certain that I read that that is an Aly Morrison sculpt- fantastic.

Next up is my most recent addition for my (very slowly) growing dwarf force. When I saw this figure listed for the first time on eBay, I was immediately struck by the Kev White-esque balance in the pose and the interesting visored helm. I am pretty sure that this is a more recent Ral Partha sculpt (please correct me if I am wrong) and I wasn't disappointed in the least when he showed up in person. Really nice details throughout, and I love the larger-sized crossbow on this model.

I got a few more Otherworld NPC's done this week- this time it's a couple of men-at-arms and a wee gnome thief/illusionist. They are all from OW's current range and highly recommended- the two fighter types are particularly well sculpted and have some very cool little additions like wood grain on their shields and rivets on their armor. Very well done.

And finally, my most recent commission job was this mostly resin Wizard's Den. No idea on the manufacturer here. The alchemist's desk was a fun piece, and you gotta love those anatomically correct demons; every thing else here was a bit unremarkable, but I suppose it will make some room in my client's dungeon a bit more interesting.

That's all for me this time around. I have a topic I am dying to write about, but family demands and no time and blah blah blah. . .

I hope you are well wherever you are. Thanks for the peep.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

C'mon . . . Gimme a Quickie

I'm finding that the last few rounds of commission jobs have really sapped my hobby ambition. I told my client I needed a wee break, thinking that I could take a couple weeks and make some serious hay on my collection, but I am having a hard time finding the desire to head back into my paint cave. I keep telling myself that this is a hobby, this is my free time, so I am not going to fight it- but those damn little lead men keep looking at me with those sad eyes making me feel guilty for not providing the gentle caress of my Windsor & Newton #2 . . . sigh.

I did find a few hours earlier this week when my blood was up and I banged out a couple of "quickie" projects: first were some more undead for my Barrowmaze / Otherworld D&D project. These ghouls arrived from OW a few weeks back. Painting them was a very simple matter; over my standard grey undercoat which I pre-shade with Army Painter Dark Tone and then give two highlight dry brush shades of light grey and lighter grey, I gave these fellers a bluish-grey base coat which had been mixed heavily with water and matte medium; I'd guess probably about 1 part paint to 1 part medium to 2 parts water, giving me a nice grey milk on the palette. Using very thin coats, I hit each of them twice; just enough for the pigment to give the basic color to the mini while allowing the shaded undercoat to shine through. I gave them each two highlight coats, adding increasing amounts of bone-white to the mix, first hitting all the raised areas and then for the final highlight pass, I just concentrated on giving the minis a highlight coming from a light source directly overhead. I used dark red to outline the blood, and then highlighted that with a fire-engine red color just in the center of the red, to hopefully give the impression of blood drying on the ghouls. A quick, heavy wash of Army Painter Strong Tone, and then gloss-then-matte varnishes, and done. Probably an hour and a half total painting time for three more fell fiends of undeath:

Who's been eating the nail polish again?
The second mini was even easier. I picked up this Rogue Trader-era Sensei from Steve a few weeks back, and he was already painted. From the pics Steve had on his eBay listing, I figured I would probably strip and repaint him, but I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw him in person. The details were nice, the base coats were very neatly applied- so I decided a simple re-base and mild augmentation were all that was needed. After taking him off of his old skool grit base and clipping off his slotta (gasp! the horror!), I refitted him on a modern lipped resin base with a sweet diamond deck finish, and then added a couple of quick highlight layers to his base coat. Two or three glazes to deepen his armor and cape colors, and viola! Sensei Fonzarelli is ready to smite a galaxy near you.

OK- hold that pose, and on three, say, "Cheese!"

I should probably, some day, try to do something with that face. That grin is. . . very disturbing. The face sculpt doesn't appear to be all that detailed, though, so I think the original painter did what he/she could, and I am not about to strip off all those cool checks just to find out that that grin is gonna be there regardless of how many times it gets repainted.

Cool mini, though. Definitely a needed addition to my RT Adventurers.

Sweet dreams, lead brethren.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My Kingdom for More Earthtones

Well, that was fun.

After several very long weeks, I was able last weekend to put the finishing varnish coats on what can only be described as "the country's single largest collection of corpse models in miniature." My original count of 43 was actually off a bit- turns out it was 48. And that number includes a few minis that feature multiple "bodies," meaning that I am fairly spent on painting dead guys now for a while. Here's the family portrait of the bunch; nary a healthy, strapping young warrior amongst them:
1000 internet points if you can spot the AD&D reference
And with the (eventual) posting of said family portrait, it means I also get to share a few of my own collection, painted as usual using excess paint on the palette in between base coats. I am continuing to plug away at the wonderfully sculpted Otherworld adventuring party, destined to visit a barrow near you in the future.
Barbarian, Thief, Acrobat. . . no, wait. . .
When I added these three to the rest of the group I already had done, I noticed something rather striking- I am getting quite addicted to earth tones in my old age. It probably serves me right- my first painting attempts way back circa '96 were Space Marines daubed in in bright, lemon yellow power armor with fire engine red shoulder pads. Quite an evolution to my new style, which is brown, dark brown, tan, and more brown:
Perhaps I should just start buying my brown paint at Home Depot
Man, I love that fat friar. There are simply not enough fat human miniatures in my collection, and I resolve to remedy that. I am starting to think that all your super-hero looking skinny dudes are a thing of the past. Give me some girth for adventurin' wif.

And finally, one little parcel of Ol' Skool Citadel. I mentioned way back at the beginning of this blog that I was going to try to adhere this year to a "five out, one in" method in an attempt to thin out my lead herd a bit. Back in February, after finishing my first few dwarf crossbowmen, I "rewarded" myself with this little gem from the mid eighties- the "Dwarf with No Name." He'd been on my most wanted list (no pun intended, but hell- I'll take it) for years, and very serendipitously popped up for a steal on fleabay just as I was looking for a bargain. In a sort of homage (a concept that seems to be poppin' up more and more these days in the Oldhammer movement, no?) to a childhood fave Friz Freleng, I went with a version of this Citadel classic decked out as Yosemite Sam:

I'm the hootenest, tootenest, shootenest bobtail wildcat in the west 
It's probably been done before, but when I saw that pose, this was the only paint scheme that made sense to me.

I hope this finds you well, wherever you may be. Happy leadhunting.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Just Keep Leading That Horse to Water

How to not maintain momentum? Blog about it, I reckon. . .

As soon as I finished that last post, I started a new commission project- "Dead and Dying" is how my client marked the box. Forty-three (!) figures of deceased adventurers. I won't be sharing those until I reach the family portrait stage- I have managed to get through about half of them at this point, with lots and lots of bloody corpses still on the queue.

As for my own collection, I have managed to squeeze out another three Otherworld minis:
Lantern Bearer, Female Ranger, and Meat Shield (AKA Linkboy) checking in
The fantastic Mr. Zhu convinced me recently to check out the amazing Barrowmaze for Labyrinth Lord/original D&D. Although I decided not to back the crowd fund they recently held, I did spring for a pdf of the first module, and boy- it is good. I mean really, really good. So I am now targeting the Christmas holiday 2014 to start a new rpg campaign with the family. I have about had it with all of the bookkeeping that is required to play Pathfinder, so getting back to basics with an ol' skool dungeon crawl through crypts and barrows should be fun.

That leads us to this weekend, wherein I banged out the first batch of skeletons speed painting style. This box from GW was just sitting around my leadpile waiting to be painted up. I would have preferred a few more unarmed skeletons rather than ones bearing swords and spears, but beggars can't be choosers. Wifey was nice enough to sculpt up the broken flagstone bases for me as she is far more handy with the modeling clay and knife than I am. . .
Speed Painting Techniques, Ho!
I'll slowly work in a few more adventurers in the coming weeks/months, along with some OW undead I have been slowly acquiring. Like I said, I have several months still to get them all done before the Barrowmaze Complete book comes out, and then it will be time for the dice to hit the table.

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.