Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Itsy Bitsy Spider

In the days when we played Lord of the Rings, I loved my Easterling/Khandish alliance force.  It was so unique among LOTR armies, nobody had any idea of what to make of it at the one tournament event where they appeared.

I enjoyed that advantage, and seeing people furiously waste precious ranged shots at the chariots instead of what they should have focused on.

To expand on that idea, my next plan was tom combine mounted Morghul Knights with a Spider Queen, some regular spiders and the little swarms.

The Spiders were insanely fast, and could go through any kind of terrain like open ground.  This could flush out prey from rough terrain into the open for the Morgul Knights to run down.  Also, the Spider Queen would help to turn the odds in a scrum to my favor by creating some broods on the spot and sending them forward into existing combats.

I still have the Knights and the Spider Queen, along with the swarms.  The original spiders were regular Goblin Spider riders from Warhammer.  I'm sure that I could find some interesting spider miniatures today!

I had to convert these spiders a bit, to resculpt the areas where the goblin rider would have been.

Here's an image of the conversion process, with a link to the original post:

He's also here:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Launch Tubes

This mortar team was painted up for a fellow player's BEF army, so I tried to keep the basing and other things in line with the early war France '40 basing that I have been doing.

Since I have been enjoying the Woodland Scenics delicate foliage, I have gotten a few new batches of it.  That material works incredibly well for these kinds of artillery and weapon teams, making them seem like they have just cut and pushed aside some undergrowth to make a space for the weapon.

As with the other bases and stands, I used the Mig AMMO heavy mud products to get that extra bit of texture on the base.  Even the finest sand when painted has only a 'loose dirt' feel, while the mud products have a smoothness of texture that can't be matched by the sand.

It's also very handy to blend the figures into their environment, as I spatter it or place it onto the lower legs and boots, thus "anchoring the figures" to the base.  Now they really look like they have been playing in the mud.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wyche Trial

Here's another old conversion that I did to create some extra Wyches and Hecatrix Blood Brides for the Dark Eldar army.  I had several old metal Witch Elves sitting around, and adding just a few weapons from the new Dark Eldar sprues did the trick!

The idea was to have a unit that looked very different from the rest of the plastic and resin Wyches, so they would stand out. Plus, it's always fun and interesting to repurpose figures that are this old!

She's also here:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Above the Jungle

This is another one of my original scratch sculpts for the Lizardman army.  Some of you already know that I wanted a Skink based force, which meant several units of Skink/Kroxigor, Salamanders with Skink handlers, Chamelon Skinks... and of course Terradons!

I didn't have any of the GW Terradons, so I originally used some Void Sci-fi creatures with Skinks perched on their backs.  Once I discovered the wonders of Apoxy Sculpt, I thought I could make my own!

It was a multi step process, starting with tin foil armatures.  The wings were the most complex operation, as I had a membrane of tin foil which would get a thin sheet of Apoxy Sculpt on one side.  As the sculpting material cured, I bent the wing into the position that I wanted.

After that cured completely, I repeated that process on the other side. It was a little less harrowing on the second step. :-)

Apoxy Sculpt has many interesting properties.  It air cures like Miliput and Green Stuff, but it combines the advantages of both, but excludes most of the disadvantages.

Even after it has partially cured, you can still push it around, especially if it is supported by an armature.  This means it is a lot easier to get a dynamic pose.

Like Miliput, you can use water over the top to smooth things down, and even carve/sand it after it cures.  That is not really possible with green stuff.

Of course, painting it was very fun, and quite satisfying!

He's also here:

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oil Slick

While you have seen me using the oil paints on vehicles, and a few larger figures as well, this is the first time I have tried to use them entirely on 'regular' infantry sized figures.

The whole idea behind the oils is to be able to paint much larger batches at once, as in 50-100, where I can rotate through the hordes and still be able to work the wet paint.

These will all begin with glazes using the Mig AMMO oils, which set up the subsequent painting with the Windsor Newton oil paints.  In effect, this mimics what I used to do when painting in 2D... taking some thinned down burnt sienna and 'priming' the canvas with it.

I put out a few basic wash colors, some which were more reddish and others more tan.

I did various glazes over the primer, which had been given some pre-shading, as you could see in the earlier image.  The Dark Wash is a very deep blueish brown, so that makes a nice dark glaze for the deepest shadows.

Just as I would on a vehicle, I can use the makeup sponges to remove some of the washes, revealing the lighter shading underneath.  Since the drying time is measured in days rather than minutes, I will be able to work my way through large batches of figures without having to worry about the paint being unworkable. 

Here's the final view of the glazed figures, all set for adding the actual oil paints!

Using the original glazes as a starting point, the thicker oil paints are placed on top, and then mixed together.  The thin layer of glazing helps to move the much thicker oil paints around.

I can also use the glaze colors on the palette to thin the oil paint if I need to.

The ability to continuously blend the oil paints together means that I can introduce something like light green, or a color that is quite different than the one already on the surface, and blend that together quite easily.

While I can do all this with the acrylic paints, it is not feasible to do so with the amount of figures that I will be working on.  Again, the idea is to expand the number that I can work on in one sitting.

I can continue to add more light colors, blending the new additions into what's already there.  If I don't like it, I can easily wipe it all away, which is yet another huge advantage!

Color unity is very easy to maintain when working like this.  All of the colors come from the same root beginning, which means that even figures that have different color coats or uniforms will still seem as if they all are in the same "environment".

It is also possible to go back in with darker colors, but they will have to be thinned down.  Remember that thick paint will stick to thinner paint (and vice/versa), but thick on thick will not work.  One paint must be a different consistency than the other, which is going to be very different for someone who has never worked in oils before.

I spent many years painting oils in 2D, so that is a lesson I learned decades ago. :-)

To work in the grays and greenish tones, I put some blue and yellow ocher out on the palette, and started to blend those into the existing shades.

The backpacks and straps were more of a yellowish tan, so you can see in the bottom image the various shades that I was able to get with just a few simple colors on the palette.  Mixing your own colors is what oils are all about!

Here's the batch of figures with some additional darks applied to the bases... and even a German MMG team that I tossed some paint on while I had it on the palette. Again, I was able to take advantage of the extended drying time.  Everything was still nice and wet the next day!

I wasn't actually in my home studio doing this, so the pictures were a little farther away than usual.  Also, this was just an experiment, to see what might happen!  I'm sure that I will rapidly develop new ways of doing this, which I will try to show you in subsequent posts and in facebook live sessions.

These are not actually finished yet, with mostly details on the faces to be painted, and the snow effects added too.... stay tuned!!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Dwarf Cleric

I have painted this guy a few times over the years, and he's always been fun to paint each time.  The biggest difference in each is probably the base.  Originally I was going to use this as a Blood Bowl coach/turn marker.

There's a lot of movement in this figure, which is not always easy to obtain for a dwarf of any kind (even if they are natural sprinters).

The biggest difference these days is having the Green Stuff World moulds in the armory of tools.  In no time at all, I was able to create a perfect setting for this figure!

He's also here:

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Old Timer

Sometimes the oldest of figures can be the most interesting to work with.  When we first started painting minis, there was not a huge selection of figures for us to work with.  We didn't really know anything about the various companies.  

Years and years ago, we ran across some old Ral Partha figures in a bin at a convention, with the thought of using them for Blood Bowl teams, etc.

This figure must be well over 20 years old, possibly 25 at this point.  But, some modern treatment and basing can make it seem as if it still belongs in today's environment.

He's also here:

Monday, February 20, 2017

A sweet little Kitty

Next up from Trenchworx is the M18 Hellcat.  This will also get the winter treatment like the Sherman.  Here's the opening of the box... goodies!

This instruction sheet is really handy.  Each company has a different way of casting things like treads, so it is very good to have a picture of that piece so one doesn't mistake a tab for a gate or vent!

Just like the Sherman, the pieces fit together so well out of the box, it stands on its own, without even a touch of blu-tak.

Once again, a fantastic rare earth magnet set up for the turret.  Better yet, I have noticed that the magnets even change size with the turret.  This is bigger and heavier than the Sherman turret, and  it comes with a bigger magnet

These views were shot right after the assembly.  Since then, I have sculpted a bunch of stowage to give it a lived in look.

The casting is so fine on these vehicles, you have minimal amounts of cleaning, filing and so on.  I didn't have to break out the jeweler's block and the razor saw to hack away  massive gates and vents.  Always a plus.

The tracks and drive wheels are especially clean and straight.  This is the single most variable part in all vehicle castings.  They can be a nightmare to deal with, and it's great to be able to blitz right through the process and have a tank with tread assemblies that are not tilted or distorted!

It's the little things that bring me joy.