Monday, December 31, 2018

Reclamation Job

While I didn't remember to take as many step by step images as I would have liked, I do have a few pictures of the "reclamation" project involving the Mierce Miniatures creatures.

As I have mentioned before, there were a lot of issues with these.  The biggest aspect that needed to be changed was to do the metal surfaces in a Non Metallic technique.  They had been done originally with some kind of metallic paint with a dead black wash over the top.  In order to match all the other figures in the collection in question, NMM would be required.

You can see the difference just a few midtones and darks can make!  Right away you can see a lot more shape and form.

From there I was able to add on more dark tones, and some highlights.  I was also working on the fur, skin and horns at the same time.

With all the value patterns in place, I was able to inject a few extra colors into the metals, such as the purples and greens that I mentioned in the last article.

Additional depth was added to the skin tones by placing the deep blueish gray glazes into the shadow areas.  This would tie in the darker mane colors, and even the shadows of the metals.

They look dramatically different now!  The basing, mould line and lack of shading issues have been taken care of, and they really stand out.

One reason I wanted to show this process was to persuade folks to stick with a paint job and correct it, as opposed to stripping it and starting over from scratch.  For each of these figures, I simply worked with what had already been done by someone else, using that as an underpainting. 

By increasing the amount of contrast in both value and color, I was able to take figures that looked pretty dead and boring into something that stood out.  By stripping figures, it is mostly creating extra work, and there is not much to be gained!

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A New Army

It is hard to believe that yet another Army Painting series is complete, and a Series 6 already under way!  This episode would be the conclusion of the Army of the Dead figures, which started with basing the unit.

Now at this final stage, I am working on the weathering effects.

Episode 4 had covered the Ethereal effect, using the Vallejo fluorescent paints and Reaper clear paints.

The Secret Weapon Weathering paints were perfect for the task of adding rust and corrosion to the armor, as they are meant to be used in a glazing fashion.

Once those corrosion effects were done, I could go back in with the greenish tones to get some final highlights and other details.

The unit is nearly ready!

And the result.  To give you an idea of how I try to lead into these exercises, I had done at least 3 other videos that covered the entire range of "greens".  These were part of the Dark Sword painting episodes, which are also part of the Army Painting pledge level for the Patreon Page.

I try to show as many different techniques as possible in each series, so that they could potentially be applied to other types of figures, and not just this specific army.  This sort of look could work for any Age of Sigmar Undead army for instance.

All of these tutorials are available at the $15 level, and contain at least 16-20 hours of video tutorials each month.  Again, these cover a wide range of subjects!

Once you sign up for the Army Painting pledge level, you will get all the previous series, which cover a huge amount of techniques and materials.  Here's a link to the page:

Friday, December 28, 2018

Massive Metals

This was one of the more interesting tasks that I have had to take on... essentially a "reclamation project" where I had to fix a number of things that had gone sideways with a set of Mierce Miniatures painted by someone else.

Aside from mould lines and seams being ignored, there were other issues as well.  The most obvious of these was that the requested NMM had not been done, but instead those areas had been painted with metallics and a simple black wash.

The largest of all the figures was this guy, with a base of about 120mm.  He also had more metal surfaces than all the other monstrous infantry combined, so I tackled him first!

Also, he is one of my favorite Mierce Miniatures monsters, so I really wanted to see what I could do with him!  The armor was supposed to be blackened steel with a hint of rusting.

As you can see, I did my usual metals that not only reflect the surrounding surfaces, but the entire environment.  When you see this guy close up, you will notice seafoam green, pinks, purples, and all other bits of color.  This helps to make the metals look more like a hard, reflective surface... but in the end they register to the eye as "gray".

I have done a number of tutorials on this idea, both in acrylics and in oils.  It seems to be extremely complex and difficult, but keeping just a few simple principles in mind can really guide you through the process!

First, observing the figure and what surfaces are nearby the metal areas will guide you as to what colors should be reflected there.  In terms of the overall colors that need to be reflected, that is where the "environment" comes in.  That is, what color the "sky" might be, and the ground.  In this case, it is a fairly common shade of brown, so that worked its way into any metals that faced towards it.

Keeping in mind that green and purple together make gray, they are the ideal "accent" colors in your metals.  In effect, you separate those from each other, and place pinkish colors right next to that seafoam green.  This is almost like a prism, and how it breaks up one beam of light into separate colors.

Another part of the repair job included the basing.  A blasted/wasteland earth had been requested, with the sort of cracked effect you see here.  There are a host of crackle paints out there, but I gave the GW Agrellan Earth a try.  That worked quite well, and thinning it out with water around the edges of a much heavier application made a great transition between smaller and larger cracks.

I will try to include this in a video where possible, because I have also been using it on my Bolt Action bases!

The task of creating a new filming station for such large creatures as this is still ongoing.  I try to add bits and pieces where I can, but now the most costly elements need to be acquired.   These tutorial videos will be a part of the Patreon Page, as always!  As I mentioned, I already have several hours of NMM, SE-NMM and even TMM tutorials available!  Here's a link:

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Heavy Hitter!

These massive heavy weapon teams always pose a lot of challenges.  Just assembling the artillery piece is difficult enough!

The next challenge is to get everything placed on a base and make it look like the team is actually interacting with the weapon.  Having the limber in as well means that even the largest bases can seem like a tight squeeze.

It can also depend on what poses you have on the miniatures.  On more than one occasion I have taken some of the plastic boxed set figures and converted them into a more useful pose.  Fortunately there were enough poses to choose from, including one that really looked like he was interacting with the limber.

I used a lot of my home made grass, shrub and flower tufts here.  Here's a link to a previous post showing how that was done:

I really enjoy these projects, as they are playable dioramas!  Positioning everything so that it looks good from any angle is another hidden challenge.

As I paint and flock these, I try to keep in mind the areas which would be trampled more, and the foliage worn away.

I also have a few other heavy artillery pieces under way... all for our early war games.  The German Heavy Howitzer is nearly complete.

This might be used in my next video battle report, where the town of Nouvion will be front and center!  You can check out some of the earlier video reports on the YouTube channel:

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Making of a Tutorial Series

It is hard to believe that I am already on Series Five of my Army Painting video sets!  In fact, this one is nearly complete, with just one episode to go.

This set of tutorial videos takes you through the process of getting the ethereal glow of the Army of the Dead, as well as the rusted, corroded look of the armor and skin.

As always, each series begins with basing, and this was no different!  I did a variety of Sculpey and cork bases, with many of them designed to 'correct' the extreme forward leaning figures.

I try to take you through as many different materials and designs in each basing episode as possible, and go over some simple safety procedures too.

Where possible, I try to paint a base or two during the basing episode.  In this case, some quick marble bases.

The next episode is always the painting of a "color test" figure, which is where the look of the unit is determined.  More importantly, this is the time where you figure out how long each figure might take to paint, and if you might need to leave out certain extras to save on time.

Episode 3 is the Shded basecoat phase, which is always down and dirty!  However, it is also a very critical stage, because most of what will happen over the following 2 episodes will evolve from this early work.

You can see some dramatic lights and shadows already, which set up the subsequent layers of fluorescent paint very nicely.

Sure enough, the next episode was focused on creating that ethereal effect, and the difference is very dramatic.  In episode 5 of this series, I will tackle the rust and corrosion, along with the final highlights.

Along the way, I discuss how I will be using the army (which will inevitably take part in my video battle reports!), and why I chose to leave out or include certain effects.

I have already done a tutorial series on my Easterlings, which focuses on painting gold non metallic metals, as well as adding freehand without taking too much precious time!

I will be doing all of my Lord of the Rings armies in this tutorial series fashion, including Rohan, Harad, and others.

As I mentioned, this is Series 5.  Previous episodes have covered Age of Sigmar, Bolt Action Soviets (using oil paints), Easterlings, and even Song of Ice and Fire units!  These are real armies, which I will actually be using in games and battle reports.  

I don't think that any other tutorials out there show the process of painting entire units, which is a very different animal than painting one off figures.  Over and over again I mention the "currency of time" which none of us has in abundance.  The balance between the look of the figures, the playability, and the time to paint them is a delicate one.

The Army Painting pledge is a $15 level which gives you access to virtually all the video content created each month, including the Dark Sword videos.  This means that you are getting about 18-22 hours of videos each month!  Here's a link to the page:

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Mountain's Men

I continue to be amazed at the Song of Ice and Fire miniatures, and what you can do with them!

When you consider that they are basically unbreakable gaming minis, having this much fun painting them just seems impossible.  Since the armor is sculpted in a more realistic fashion, you end up with cleaner, smoother lines.  This makes executing Non Metallic Metals much easier..

I didn't want the Mountain's Men to have as much of a shiny look as I did on the Lannister Halberds, which meant introducing more purples and greens into the mid tones of the metals.  As you have heard me discuss many times in my articles and painting videos, purple and green mixed together make a wonderful set of grays.

When those are separated, and placed next to each other, they still register to the eye as a gray, since the eye "blends" them together.

This was an initial color test miniature for an upcoming video tutorial series for the Patrons.  I will be taking on the Mountain's Men unit as part of the Army Painter series on my Patreon Page.  Here's a link to the page: