Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Dwarven Rocketeer

There are a number of interesting miniatures in the Demigods ranges, but some are certainly quite different! You don't often see a steampunk, rocket toting dwarf!

This guy was so unusual, I just had to try him out.

The Green Stuff World Celtic ruin texture roller continues to provide some really nice bases!

He's also here:

Friday, July 22, 2016

A new day dawns

While we were down in Peoria, I did some extended demos using new Badger airbrushes, and a new compressor!

It would be nice to have a quieter, more regulated compressor again, like the one I had years ago.  I also wanted to test the various types of brushes, since there are a host of projects that should be ideal for each of them.

This first test was conducted with the Sotar 20/20.  I had no idea what to expect, but I decided to start in with my usual primer-painting technique.

Here are some links to a demo that I did with the Badger Patriot brush

Just as I did with the vehicles you saw in the links above, I started out with the "layer cake" of primer.  That is, I put orange in first, followed by a layer of black.  

Once you start spraying, the orange soon turns into a fantastic shade of brown, which can be rust or red lead primer.  Basically, you are "pre-weathering" the vehicle!  This also goes for standard miniatures, especially when painting their bases.

This closer view might give you a better idea, as you can see the difference between the turret and the hull.  The turret is still in that orange to black transition stage.  The hull has moved on to the next stage of the layer cake, which is adding grey primer to the black.

Keep in mind that there is NO MIXING in the cup.  The layers must be separated, and allowed to mix on their own to get that transition.  Even shaking the cup is enough to disturb the delicate layers :-)

A similar process was done with the Opel Blitz truck.  You can already see the areas where the original brown was left in place, despite subsequent layers of lighter colors.

The advantage to having your first several layers of paint as primer is obvious.  Something like this will see a lot of rough handling, and there is no base or anything "safe" to grab.

This is how I am painting all of my miniatures lately.  I first came up with the idea a few years ago when I had to start painting a lot more vehicles without bases!

This is where I advance the next stage of the layer cake.  As you saw in the previous images, I had introduced grey primer to the mix.  Once I see that I have lightened areas up to that grey, white is added.

Just as with the orange/black mix, the grey will slowly transition into white, all by itself.

I think you can also see that I have a number of items out on the table at once.  This is the key element that makes this strategy work.  In fact, I normally have 3-4 times as many figures and vehicles on the table.  

Doing so allows me to take advantage of all the primer mixing together in the cup.  If I was only working on one thing at a time, I would be cleaning the brush constantly and having to move on to the next color.

In this image, you can see that I have a few Bolt Action vehicles, a CAV mech from Reaper (they have a new kickstarter campaign under way, BTW!), and even an artillery piece from Victoria Miniatures.

On each vehicle or figure that might need a given shade or color, I have that nearby so that I can advance some part of the shading.  At times that can be minimal, or most of the figure.  This is what makes it so important to have all these options out there in front of you!

Once I get through the primer stage, I can start adding the more traditional paints.  In this case, I started adding greens to the Laffly trucks.

This is a good illustration of using what is left in the cup on something else besides the original target.  Holding the brush far away from the drive wheels on the Panzer 4, I was able to give it a dusting of color that once again pre-weathers the vehicle.

I added this yellow mix to a number of other pieces, such as the CAV mechs, the Opel Blitz and even the French infantry.

I should also mention that I was not masking anything.  Shading was achieved by turning the figure and the brush in such a way that the paint would only spray where I wanted it to go.

This is also like a chess match, as I plan multiple moves in advance.  Keep in mind that I am doing my usual "shaded basecoat" technique, where colors begin lighter, and are lightened further by glazing, shading and tinting.

I am also planning for all the weathering which will occur, and that will darken the appearance further.

 I don't want to have to go back into the highlights and mid tones too much after those later stages, so I have to compensate for that in these early rounds of painting.

Those of you who are familiar with my Shaded Basecoat technique will certainly recognize this pattern, and how light everything seems to be.

In this instance, I have simply exchanged one brush for another.  Instead of jamming a filbert brush filled with primer into all the nooks and crannies, I used the airbrush.

The tools are interchangeable.  When I did my 2D art, I used an airbrush for at least 40-55% of all my paintings.  Most people could not even tell I had used and airbrush by the time they were done.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Tomb Raider

I thought that an old favorite Hasslefree mini would be very appropriate for my first painted mosaic tile base.

I think it's been 13 years since I last painted this figure, so this base was extra special.  With everything that I have learned over the years, I was able to add many more subtle little touches to the hair, guns, clothes and skin colors.

Some shots of the base.  I thought I would keep it somewhat simple the first time around, sticking with a blue, red and yellow mixture of tiles.

She's also here:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Feral Assassin

Most of the wulfen style figures that I have done lately are less clothed than this character, so I ended up with a lot less fur to paint!

Still, there was a lot of action to the pose, and lots of things sticking out in the way of the brush :-)

I decided to go with a little bit of snow tufts, which also tempted me to put some snow on the ground.  Who knows... I might still do that! :-)

She's also here:

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Scratch Blitz

Here's something a little different for you!  In the interest of experimenting with tows for various artillery pieces in our France 1940 Bolt Action games, I whipped up an Opel Blitz truck to haul around some guns! :-)

This was made in less than a few hours, using whatever materials I could find.  Sculpey was used to make the cab and the wheels, since I could sculpt it to any shape that I needed, and even carve in some additional details later.

I have balsa wood as well for my terrain pieces, so what better way to imitate wood texture than by using wood.  Crazy, I know.

It saved a lot of time later on, as I didn't have to carve out that texture.  Had I used sculpey for that section, I would have needed to carve that in.

I thought it might be fun to use some leftover sprue bits such as helmets and rifles to make the open bed more interesting.  The red material is the same Vallejo Oxide paste that I use on my bases.

Not only does this provide some extra texture, there is a structural purpose to using it.  I try to position it around joints to give them a little extra stability.

I put a lot of the oxide paste on the tires, which meant that I could save a LOT of time trying to sculpt or carve in the wheel treads!  By the time the weathering and other mud effects are added, most of the treads would be covered anyway.

It would be a little more difficult to do this on a sandy terrain vehicle like DAK, but this is for the early war Heer forces in the Low Countries.

These views show you the scale on which I was working, and a peek at how the wheels were sculpted.

All I had to do was flatten round balls of sculpey to the same diameter each time, and then press the cap of a super glue container to make the hub caps!  So easy, and it really looks like the actual tires.

First, you press the round edge of the lid into the sculpey to make that outer part of the rim.  Then you flip the cap around and use the five points on the tip to make the lug nut holes.  Tires in seconds!

A Laffly truck was used for scale.  When you see the Warlord Opel Blitz next to this guy, you will be shocked at just how close I got to the actual miniature.

Oh... and here is another peek into the future, the painted scratch build!

This was also a foray into the use of decals, so the experimentation continues at a furious pace.  Stay tuned for more images!

Monday, July 18, 2016


I see that I forgot to post the other sister to Ingrid!  She has to have her sibling!!

This is Nadia, also from Siren Miniatures.

I had a lot of fun with the hair.  Since it carried through the entire miniature from top to bottom, I could do some brighter, more saturated mid tones and light colors and not worry about it popping too much.  The rest of the tones are quite muted in comparison.

I also added the grass clump to the base to make sure that intense burnt orange shade did go all the way down to the base.  The idea is to 'carry' the viewer's eye all the way through the piece, as I did when I was making 2D paintings.

That's a little easier by default when you are working on something that is already 3D, as opposed to trying to simulate such dimension on a canvas or watercolor paper.

You can see her and all other sorts of fantastic minis here:

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Wolf's Mane

Just like the previous post, this is another figure that I have painted more times that I can remember.  Many years ago, I got a batch of Reaper barbarian style characters for a Slaine RPG game that I wanted to run.  While I still have a number of Celtos figures for that purpose, I thought I would paint up a few of them now.

The colors on the figure were pretty similar to previous versions that I had done, but I did have some new foliage types that I wanted to test this time around.

These are the foliage tufts from Gamer's Grass, which could serve as a flowering bush or snow covered bushes.

He's also here: