Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Paddy's Day Infantry Parade

Just a quick mid-week update to celebrate the completion of my dwarven infantry. The last three foot soldier models join the fray, this time thanks to a couple of Perry Twin sculpts and a random Ral Partha stunty:
Ick. Photo's a little underexposed today. Sorry about that.
Here's a couple of group shots of the whole 25-strong unit. Lots of various manufacturers from lots of wargaming eras represented here. Plenty of green to go around on this 17th of March, huh? Spot anything interesting?

Happy St. Patrick's Day, lead peeps. Go have a pint of the black stuff on VeronaKid.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Anatomy 101

Nick Bibby continues to astound me. He shouldn't- the dude has a full time gig as a not-miniature-but-like-museum-kind-art sculptor. But those brief years he spent at the Citadel design studio needs to be celebrated. He is, in every way, a master of the craft.

I recently picked up the AD&D Minotaur he did back around 1987. It may not knock the Spined Dragon off its post as the greatest mini of all time, but it's not far behind.

Citadel AD&D Minotaur ADD86 by Nick Bibby

This model had two other variants that I am not such a huge fan of, but this one in particular is, to my eye, just about perfect. The thing that really sets it apart for me is Bibby's attention to "realistic" anatomy. The musculature is spot-on, and the pose has a sense of heft that, I believe, must be very hard to achieve.
Are you lookin' at my bum? Note the zit on the right cheek there. . .
There are veins in the arm muscles that my camera (and my inadequate paintbrush skills) don't entirely pick up. There are several pimples, great fur texture, realistic growth scars on the horns. . . it's just a really, really great sculpt that I can't recommend enough.

Early on in my painting of this fella, I had dreams of an homage to the classic version that Colin Dixon painted that is featured in Heroes for Wargames. I found out, however, two important facts:

1. I am nowhere in the ballpark as good as Colin was at painting flesh (actually, I kinda knew this one already).
2. Pale flesh tones look a lot better in pictures than they do in 3D.

After getting a tone pretty close to Dixon's classic original, I decided it was not deep enough for my tastes, so I added a few dark brown and reddish glazes to make mine more tanned. Like a minotaur not unaccustomed to spending time down by the shore. I settled for adding the rock path and Mario mushroom to the base to pay my respect.

This one will feature as a mercenary hire for Skulldred games in my house. I can't wait to come up with stats for this model. :)

I hope your own leaden pursuits continue unabated, brethren (and sistren!). Take care, all.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Heavy Metal Ink Washing

For those one or two of you who actually read my early posts back at the beginning of this blog, you'll know that I used to spend the majority of my time doing commission painting for a client on the other side of the U.S. And while I gave up painting other people's minis about a year ago because it took way too much time away from attacking my own lead pile, one thing I do miss about commission work is the stupendous sense of accomplishment from painting large quantities of minis in a relatively short time. Most of the stuff I painted for my client was stuff that begged for speed painting techniques to be employed- furniture, dungeon decor, large monster forces, etc. And while I tend to pick and choose from my own collection, following whatever whim strikes me at the time, spending considerable time experimenting with new techniques and occasionally lavishing highlight layers, details, and basing techniques, my commission work was all very. . . workman in nature. Basecoat-ink wash-thinned highlight layer-varnish. Done.

Today I decided I wanted to use those techniques again, if only for a day. I recently backed Tre Manor's Red Box Games "Heroic Miniatures" Kickstarter, and I assembled and prepped the minis right after I got them. I hadn't started painting them until today, though. For whatever stupid reason, I decided I wanted to try to finish an entire warband worth of them in a single afternoon's session, so I pulled out the "Njorn" group of five warriors and went to town.

Red Box Games Njorn by Tre Manor
Usually when speed painting, I would use one color at a time and paint all the figures with that color. Today, though, I tried something new- I put all the colors that I planned to use (I limited the palette to 10 colors total), got them good and thinned on my wet palette, and then did one full step on each mini at a time. So, I completely basecoated one mini, then moved onto basecoating the next. By the time I finished all the block colors on the fifth model, the first was dry enough to apply the ink washes, so I did them for each mini in turn. Then the bases got done, and finally I finished with varnishing. All in all, these five minis took about three hours total, which is a rare big block of time for me to devote to the hobby.

I am feeling lucky indeed today.

One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Alexis Smolensk of The Tao of D&D published another book earlier this week entitled The Dungeon's Front Door. Once I get the book in my hands, I plan on doing a review here. If it is anywhere near as good as Alexis' first two books on the subject, I should be in for a treat. If you've never read Alexis' blog and are at all interested in a very well-written treatise on the art of Dungeon Mastering, I recommend checking him out pronto.

I am rambling now, so I should stop. Whiskey Sunday beckons. Good evening, lead brethren.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Rut Breakers

This whole post-on-Sundays is becoming a real habit.

This week, I decided I wanted a small break from my ongoing projects to work on something completely different- different color palette, different basing style, different subject matter entirely. In the past, this has usually meant turning to something evil- my normal slant is towards the good guys, so every once in a while, I break out of these types of ruts by painting up something for the good guys to fight against. In keeping with my recent Jes Goodwin museum curating, I turned to the leadpile and pulled out a pile of delicious old Skaven models.

I wanted to do a little experimenting with desaturating the colors on the robes, so thanks to a suggestion from Asslessman (Cheers, JB!), I mixed varying shades of grey into the primary colors for highlighting. I think it worked better with the green and yellow than it did the blue and red, but I am certainly excited to learn a new color idea. I really like the effect it has on fabric surfaces- quite realistic.

The bases are random hunks of cork, covered with grit and baking soda, and then painted & drybrushed. I finished them with static grass added along with subtle washes of blue and purple ink. All credit for this basing style goes to Delaney King (Cheers, D!). Not the last time you'll read those words in these pages. Since these rats are destined to be participants in Delaney's Skulldred game, I'm hoping she doesn't mind my shameless imitation too much.

I remember reading the original Skaven army book the first year I started in the hobby and being very inspired by Andy Chambers' description of their personality- always scheming and backstabbing one another. I don't know if it got phased out of their fluff over the years, but Chambers' original Skaven even had a mechanism in place for underlings killing off the leaders of the race and then assuming their position, inevitably to be re-deposed themselves. Their reliance on drug-induced sorcery mixed with steampunk-ish technology always hearkened back to one of my favorite 80's animated films, The Secret of NIMH.

Mrs. Frisby almost gets skewered by a pre-Goodwin Stormvermin
If Nicodemus wasn't inspiration for the Grey Seers, I'll eat a wheel o' brie.
Yet another conversation I'd love to have with the Design Studio from those golden days. . . If anyone has an old White Dwarf where Goodwin discusses his Skaven influences, I'd love to hear the issue number in the comments below. I'll search it out for sure.

Hope you are well, wherever you might be.