Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ninja Gobbo!

This pesky little guy was converted for the Samurai Blood Bowl team that you have seen me working on.  The figure was originally a 40K Grot with a pistol.

I cur the gun from the hand, and shaved away the rest as well as possible.  He already had the bandanna over his mouth (where I got the Ninja idea for starters!), so I sculpted on the robe.

I'm waiting to paint on all the numbers once the rest of the players are done... so stay tuned.

A Pirate's Life...

I thought it might be a good idea to snap some images of the bases before I started the painting process, so here you go!  I'll be posting some step by step articles on that process for you as well.

These overviews give you a decent sense of the variety in textures and extras across the whole set.

While there should be plenty of room to fit any kind of figure on the 30,40 and 50mm bases, I will have enough gold coins, masts and wood pieces to keep the entire batch interesting!

Within the batch of 30mm, there are plenty of differences.  In fact, there is just about one of each 'style' of base.  For further differences, a rope coil or cannon balls could be added.

However, that's the kind of thing I would have needed to work around an actual figure.  Not having them on hand meant that I needed to be more conservative.

Now for some 40mm goodness...

And one last view of the set!

Remember, this kind of basing is one of a dozen different basing techniques that are part of my Painting Pyramid set!

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Golden Age

Here's another one of the Golden Boys for you... a brief return to the bright golds and blue combination.

I did a slightly different freehand on this one, but the essentials of the color mixes remained the same.

With gold NMM, it's very important to have a few intense colors balanced alongside the more muted, cooler tones.  I often include some of the Vallejo fluorescent yellow into the more saturated mixes, so that they can be more intense without having to also be lighter!

He's also here:

Thursday, April 28, 2016


We last saw our pirate bases in need of a few more touches.  While there are many possibilities, such as rope coils, barrels, wooden pins, skulls and sea shells, I will focus on one simple addition.

That is gold coins!  And even a few spikes for the masts.

I have a variety of polystyrene tubes, which are perfect for this!  Of course, you could also use coils of green stuff which have cured as well.  I have done that when I didn't have any tubing on hand.

The tubes are cut into coins with a very sharp exacto blade.  This can be tricky, as he pieces sometimes want to jump away!  You will probably lose a few in the process.  Also, it is not always easy to keep the blade straight as you cut it.

The narrower the gauge of the coil, the easier it will be.

I like to have a large collection of coins on hand, so that I can make some nice piles!

I put down a splotch of super glue (it was a thicker, gel style glue), and began placing the coins.  I tried to stack them up on each other, attempting to keep the piles as random as possible!

It's always a good idea to have a few piles.  One should be larger than the other... or at least have a few stray coins rolling away from the main pile.

Like this.  However, always keep in mind the footprint of the figure that will be standing on this!

They certainly make a nice touch around the base of the mast!

Two more piles of coins strategically placed.  There should be no problem getting a mini on here!

Last but not least, you can see that I used some of the coins as spikes for the metal rings on the masts.  You could use different gauges of tubing for those, and even for some nails on the planks.

Again, these are more for an army style project, so keeping things simple was a major factor.

You can go as crazy as you want!

Now that they are complete, the painting process is well under way.  Stay tuned for some step by step articles on those as well.

Raise the Masts!!

As promised, the next episode in the pirate theme bases, showing the addition of the masts.

The first article showed all of the various sculpey pieces, including these rolled tubes.  I try to have a nice selection of widths, so that I could also have broken yard arms in addition to the thicker masts.

Since these are being made for someone else who will be adding the figures later on, I had to guess at what might be put on a given base.

This is important, as I try to avoid having the broken mast be the same height as the figure.  Shorter or taller than the figure is ideal, because two items of the same height in such a confined space is a poor composition.

You can't always avoid this, but it is not a bad rule of thumb to work with.

The broken section of the mast is carved away.  I try to let the sculpey break in a natural way, creating its own pattern.  It is best to have one part of the break be deeper than the rest, to show either a weak spot in the wood, or the interior wood grain.

To make things go a little quicker, I began with the wedge tool.  In the past, I have only worked with the scoring tool of a narrower gouging tool, but I felt like I wanted a stronger texture on these masts.

After working my way around the mast with the wedge carver, I took out a flat carving tool, and did some broad shavings around the mast to tone down parts of the texture.  This was much quicker that the scoring tool method... and you can see how much the texture was smoothed out.

I had some very thin plasticard on hand to create some metal rings on the mast.  You could even use paper, but that sometimes tends to bend and kink rather than wrap smoothly.

Some super glue was applied to the area, and the strip was wrapped around it.

A second, thinner strip was added further up the mast to make it more interesting.  You could hang wooden pegs from this, or even some rope coils if you really wanted to get fancy!

Once the masts are complete, it's time to glue those guys down!

The next episode will cover the quick addition of some gold coins, and some spikes on these metal strips that were added to the masts.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Board Walk

Let's continue with our pirate theme bases!

If you are going to do an entire unit or army in this style of basing, it is always a good idea to get as much variety in your bases as possible.  Of course, some of this will be determined by the "footprint" of each figure, but this post shows a few variations on the original bases.

This is a more oblong shape than the base you saw in edpisode 1.

The cuts around the edges of the boards was a little more severe than the first base, so I had to be careful when cutting into the sculpey not to go too deep too fast, and crack it.

As before, the planks were carved with the wedge tool.  Keep in mind that you can have a much more shallow texture by using the very sharp scoring tool that I showed you in the previous post!

When you are making larger bases, such as this 40mm, don't make the same mistake I did in the past and make the planks bigger!  Yes... remember to keep them the same size as those on your smaller base, and just include more of them!

This is another unusual shape for a 30mm base.  It is designed for a figure that has a wider footprint.

This collection of 30mm and one 40mm base gives you a decent idea of how you can create a nice variety of shapes.

Sometimes I like to add another plank over the top for interest.  However, always keep in mind that you better leave a place for the figure to stand!  Of course, you could always place a couple of planks on the base and have a figure who is running (up on one foot) perched on top of the wood pile.

This works pretty nicely.  When it's painted, the top board will be a different shade, and that will make it stand out a little more.

The 50mm base could have many different options, such as a rope coil, cannon balls, and so on.  I will just create a nice set of planks first.

Voila!  A nice set of bases, all ready for extra touches!  The next post will show how I like to make masts for the pirate bases, so stay tuned!

How to Walk the Planks

You have seen some pirate theme bases before on the blog, but I thought a fresh article could still be useful!

As usual, the wood carving tools will be essential.  They are also very very inexpensive!  The carving tools generally come in a set of ten or twelve, with a number of different edges.  A few of them are fantastic for carving sculpey... and even hard to reach mould lines on resin figures.

The other handy tools are exacto knives, pliers and this scoring tool designed for carving into plasticard.

I have baked sculpey in a variety of shapes.  The sheets were pulled through a clay extruder (aka pasta machine), while the tubes were rolled on a ceramic tile.  Everything was baked on the ceramic tile in a regular oven.

Let's get started!  I usually break off pieces of sculpey that are similar in size to the base they will cover.

Save those extra pieces!  These are always handy when you want some extra broken tiles or shattered bricks...

I marked out the planks with a pen, so that I would know where to trim the edges.  Be sure to vary the width of the planks where possible.

The exacto knife is used to cut away that excess...

And the 90 degree wedge carver is the perfect tool for cutting out the plank lines.  These need to be somewhat deeper cuts, as the texture of the wood grain should be more shallow.

Here's what it looks like with all the planks defined.  The other reason I draw out these lines is to keep from missing one or two.  This happens a lot with complex tile patterns!  If I still see lines, I know I forgot to carve something.

Carving the wood grain might take some practice for you.  Also, you need to change the direction of that grain on each plank, because they are all different pieces of wood!

You can even put some knots in the grain, and build your pattern around that.

Looking good!  I will take the wedge carver and make sure that the wood grain pattern which reaches the edges of the sculpey sheet get a bit of texture as well.

You could also carve some nail holes at the end of each plank too if you like.

This is the conclusion of part one.  I enjoyed this kind of basing so much, it was one of the 12 basing videos that was part of the Painting Pyramid series!

That video covers not only wood textures, but making barrels and treasure chests.

You can find that one here:

There are many more episodes to follow!  Stay tuned to watch me create masts, coins and more :-)