Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The New Lair, nearly done!

It's been a long hard slog, I've been incredibly destructive and happily constructive, I've learned to plaster and to mount a flatscreen TV to a wall.  I've learned how the Dulux PaintPod is so much better than a normal roller, and how some Victorian red bricks are harder than others (I have a masonry drill bit with a perfectly flat end to prove it...).

But it's been worth it, and I'm about 80-90% of the way there.  Please excuse the photography, as it's from my phone, but this is where I've got to:

This side of the room is pretty much done - I've got to build a paint rack to go on the blank bit of wall next to the sticky board and mount a few pictures.  I know I'm incredibly lucky to have a spare room to dedicate to my hobby, so hopefully this doesn't come across as me showing off - this is pretty much a dream come true for me, and I'm really pleased that I've managed to do most of it myself.  Having the camera permanently set up is already making my life easier when it comes to photography for articles.

This should be where I'll relax after a hard evening's painting:

A big thank you to Kenny from the Ancible for the Infinity posters - with some glass clip frames from B&Q they really do look the business.  I'm not sure if I'll be allowed to sit on the sofa-bed though, as these two characters will generally be hogging it:

Hex (The Devious)

Ponder (Lord of all He Surveys)

They're only allowed in the room when I'm in there (they're part of the reason I needed the room in the first place), as they see the desks and the shelves as a giant cat tower for them to play on, and all the little things on the desks as their toys, the little buggers...

Actual hobby-wise, I've already had to start on painting for the next article, I'm cracking on with the Fellowship of the Ring for the in-laws, and I've just started my little Vampire project.  He's a (very) old Marauder Miniature (remember when they did loads of cool stuff for GW?) which I've always loved.  The previous paint job was not too bad for when I did it around 15-20 years ago (gulp), but he needs a fresh new look.

I originally just mounted him to a base, but that looked a little dull, and I wanted him to stand out, so the plan is to have those two pins surrounded by bats, so it looks like he's being borne aloft by them.  I've got some old Marauder Miniatures bats that I'm going to try and carefully pin and position around the bottom of his robe.  Hopefully this will look pretty good, the bats are quite two-dimensional so it should work.  Hopefully, the next post will have some pictures of him plus bats.

As always comments and criticism welcome!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

The Deadly Gamesman

With the latest Ancible article done and dusted, I'm back up and running with some of my own projects now.

Up today is the Deadly Gamesman, a rather odd and lovely miniature from Black Scorpion Miniatures.  This isn't one of my better paint jobs (there are a number of things I would have done differently now), but I wanted to create a dark, moody look for him, and I think this has come across pretty well.

Try to ignore the eyes for now, I have no idea why they've come out so badly on the photo, but trust me, they don't look that bad in the "flesh".  I'm really pleased with the red, both in the colour and in the smoothness of the blending.  It's pretty much my standard scheme for red now:
  • Base coat:  Scorched Brown
  • Shade:  Devlan Mud 
  • First highlight:  1:1 mix of Scorched Brown and Scab Red
  • Second highlight: Scab Red
  • Final highlight:  Solar Macharius Orange is gradually mixed in to the Red and applied as smaller and smaller highlghts
Even close up the blending is looking pretty smooth - a lot of that is down to the brush - it is a LOT easier to get good results if you shell out a little extra on a decent brush - I don't think I can say that enough!  Patience plays a big part too, and you can see where I have and haven't applied that...

The gemstone works well - I was thinking of going for a funky colour then settled on boring green, sorry!  The gold is also my standard way of doing it these days, graduating through Tin Bitz, Burnished Gold and Mithril Silver - it does the job I think it's safe to say!

The little back pack thing takes the miniature out of medieval fantasy and into the world of Steam Punk and Sci-Fi, which I like a lot, a little more sinister and not quite so "Alice in Wonderland".  Next is the skin (which the left hand doesn't demonstrate very well from that angle) I wanted an albino skin tone, but ensuring there are some nice shadows for contrast:
  • Base coat:  Dheneb Stone
  • Shade:  Gryphonne Sepia wash
  • First highlight: A 1:1 mix of Dheneb Stone and White was blended in
  • Final highlight:  Pure White was added to the top edges and surfaces
  • Glaze:  Very thinned Scab Red was glazed on to the cheeks to add a little colour
I could (and should) have spent more time on the skin, but it works pretty well, and contrasts well with the red outfit/armour and gold trim.

My favourite parts of the model are the chess pieces dotted about.  I wanted to do two white and two black, but I had to make sure the way I did them worked with the rest of the model - for instance if the "white" pieces were too white, they would have looked odd next to the skin colour.  

So for the white pieces (Bishop and Pawn) I used a darker ivory colour (made from the bones of defeated opponents perhaps?):
  • Base coat:  Khemri Brown - I could have used Dheneb Stone, but I think that would have been too light
  • Shade:  Devlan Mud - again, I could have used Gryphonne Sepia, but that wouldn't have taken it down enough
  • First highlight:  Khemri Brown
  • Second highlight:  Dheneb Stone blended in
  • Final highlight:  A 1:1 mix of Dheneb Stone and White

For the black pieces (Rook and Knight) I didn't go for a pure black, but more of a dark grey with black shadow:
  • Base coat:  Vallejo German Grey
  • First highlight:  Adeptus Battlegrey
  • Second highlight:  Code Grey as a spot and edge highlight
  • Wash:  Badab Black tones everything back down
I wouldn't use this method a lot for black, but on smaller parts of a miniature it works well - there's a nice graduated "almost-sheen" effect on the bottom part of the rook in the picture above that felt right.

I was worried that the green cloak might make the miniature a little "Christmas-y", but I think I got away with it, by keeping to a more olive-drab/muted green:
  • Base coat:  Charadon Granite
  • Shade:  Devlan Mud
  • First highlight:  A 1:1 mix of Charadon Granite and Catachan Green blended in
  • Second highlight:  Pure Catachan Green
  • Final highlight:  1:1 mix of Catachan Green and P3 Thrall Flesh blended in
To be honest there's not a huge difference between Thrall Flesh and Rotting Flesh which I've used before, but the Thrall Flesh seemed to be a little smoother and made blending a bit easier.

The last thing to do on this chap was the scroll.  Firstly I'll admit that the lettering isn't as neat as I'd hoped, but from a normal distance away it looks good - and I definitely did not want it to look like it had been typed - a little "rough around the edges" fits in with the scroll and the character of the model.

The scroll was painted in a similar way to the white chess pieces, but I used both Gryphonne Sepia and Devlan Mud to shade (Devlan Mud in the deeper recesses), and I used Bleached Bone in the highlights to give it a different hue to the ivory. The wording was painted using a mix of watered down Scorched Brown and Badab Black, applied in a number of layers.  I think this works much better than using pure black for the lettering, as it looks more like old parchment.

I added a couple of playing card symbols as I didn't want him to be completely Chess-themed, he's the Deadly Gamesman, not the Deadly Chessman after all!  The base is from Model Display Products Cobblestone range, which fits the model quite nicely I think.

So there we have it - a really nice figure that was quite quick to turn out and get me back into the swing of painting figures (rather than ships).  This was meant to be a short post, but has ended up being a thousand words!  Hopefully it's been interesting - if you ever have any questions about my stuff, please don't hesitate to ask.

Up next I have a number of projects - having my new painting room set up has meant I can leave stuff out and work on it when I feel like it - this has made me a lot more relaxed about the whole process, something I've been working towards for a long time.

Upcoming Projects:
  • Malifaux Crew - oh yes, I'm going to start it
  • Classic Marauder Miniatures Vampire - getting in to the new Vampire Counts thing
  • Empire foot soldier conversions - more adventures in Greenstuff
  • Second Khador Warjack (I want to get and play this game)
  • Crimson Fist Devastator squad
  • Some presents for people
  • ...and quite frankly whatever takes my fancy!
As always, comments and criticism welcome!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Ancible Issue 13

...and we're back in the room.

Kind of - the new painting lair is 75% done - the desks are in, the main shelves (either side of the chimney breast) are up and stacked full of books, and I've moved all my painting stuff back in.  The remaining 25% - I have a display case to get, some shelves and pictures to put up, and worry myself silly about mounting the TV on the chimney breast.

More importantly, the first pieces from the new lair have been completed and are in issue 13 of the Ancible:

Bit of a Spartan Games themed issue, particularly Uncharted Seas - I got to paint some fantastic Ralgard ships for it.  If you've not tried Uncharted Seas before it's well worth giving a go - the starter fleets come with ten ships, and the games are pretty quick and, as you'll see from the battle report, can be pretty brutal!

With the latest article done and dusted, I should be posting a bit more on here - the Deadly Gamesman is nearly there, so should have some pictures of him soon, and with some space to spread out and leave things out now, hopefully the productivity should be on the up!