Monday, June 24, 2013
Here are a pair of new sculpts I've been working on. These are the first scratch-built minis that I've tried since my Blood Bowl Troll: http://mdarrow.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-second-string-sculpts-finished-troll.html. I was excited to try something at normal scale for 28mm (which is funny, because these came out more like 32mm) and I wanted to try out mixing Aves Apoxie Sculpt and Green Stuff, which ended up working quite well. It's less sticky and it blends very well, unlike straight G.S. which always seems to leave a seam.
Above is the first mini and its concept sketch, The Electric Wizard Comes to the Wastes: Link, loosely based on the wonderful stoner-metal album Electric Wizard. You can tell that the work is still very much in progress, what with the lack of hands, but I'm very pleased with the face, as it is very first human face I've ever sculpted. I made it roughly following this tutorial: http://www.ebobminiatures.com/sculpting/faces.htm. This is a good, simple way to start studying the art of the visage.
I'm also taking my first crack at weapon-making. (The wizard's sword, Slamdring the Foe-Slammer, and his Staff of Incandescence are mounted on wires out the sides of his cork.) That part's not going quite so well, but I'm learning a lot. It's a very fiddly business, and, as you can no doubt see by my attempt on the Evil Dead below, I have not quite figured out how to get an elegant result:
I tried to fashion this chopper out of plastic card, but that turned out to be even harder than using G.S. Furthermore, mounting it to the figure to achieve a strong bond proved to be impossible save by sculpting it into the hand itself, which came out looking...odd.
It was a good experiment, though, and I don't mind rough results on what will wind up being a rather mookish character. You have to start somewhere. I am, however, pretty pleased with the face on this one too, in spite of its being out of scale and anatomically out there. I'm discovering that I enjoy making my minis closer reflect my twisted visions than they do "reality."
What do you mean "reality?" This is fantasy, damn it.
That said, I will be trying to work on my sense of scale and the elegance of my putty work. Any and all comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Sticking with the "A Couple" string of posts, here are "A Couple" of bad guys from my Christmas acquisitions. These were the first figures I had painted since my Orc Blood Bowl team, so my hand was a little shaky. I worked quickly, focusing on having fun and experimenting rather than agonizing over every little detail.
These figures mark a lot of "firsts" for me. They are the first true fantasy dedicated figures I've painted since I was 15. They are also the first figures to go in a warband for Song of Blades and Heroes or Skulldred. So sentimental value, for sure.
More interestingly, these were the first figures which I tried basing on washers, the first where I tried puddle effects on the bases, and the first where I tried superglue instead of PVA to adhere the sand. They were also the first figures on which I tried using Liquitex matte medium for blending, and the first figures on which I tried Non-Metallic Metal and Object Source Lighting techniques.
So these are very important figures for me. Even if they don't look that good.
What's fun is tracking the improvement across the two pieces. I painted the skeleton on the left first, and you can see how sloppy the OSL is compared to the hand on the Sorcerer. Likewise, the NMM is pretty odd looking on the skeleton, partly because I was working from a midnight blue base, and partly because I did not take enough time in the blending details. The NMM on the Sorcerer has a more believable color, but does not look very metallic. Which I'm fine with. I think it conveys a nice, grubby metal.
I am really liking the washer bases. The low profile with the black rim really appeals to me. I need to work on the puddle effect, though. The idea here is to make a blanche-style soggy base with puddles reflecting a luridly colored sky. It did not work at all on the skeleton because I tried it as an afterthought, on top of the sand. It worked much better for the sorcerer because I left blank spots on the washer when I glued on the texture (gel formula super glue is perfect for this kind of control). I still need to work on the illusion of depth, though.
Finally, while I had the paints out, I figured I'd whip out a measuring stick for SoBH/ Skulldred. (If you aren't familiar with these systems, they both deal with movement in fixed increments, rather than measurements.) So I cut down a length of sprue and painted bands for short, medium, and long movement. Since Skulldred uses base-widths rather than the odd increments of millimeters in SoBH, I decided to just go with that. I don't understand why SoBH is different, but I don't think it will break the game and this way I only have to paint one.
Look out for more painted figs, and maybe someday even a batrep. Any tips, criticisms, advice, questions, &c are always welcome. Just drop a card in the box below:
Monday, June 17, 2013
As promised, here are the other two converted dwarf warriors. Pretty much the same stuff as before, but this time I was a little more adventurous.
I wanted a heavily armored dwarf, so I gave this guy some BURLY SHOULDER ARMOR. This armor is important if you spend a lot of time in fantasy battles because if you don't have it, your opponent can cut you. RIGHT IN THE SHOULDER. They are a little lumpy due to my lack of patience in trying to create a hard edge in Apoxie Sculpt/ Green Stuff.
I also wanted him to have a shield, but the ones supplied on the plastic dwarf sprue were definitely not burly enough. (If you couldn't tell already, "burliness" is a real theme in this post.) So I added a little extra around the edges...
...Plus some wood-grain for the back. Nothing fancy.
Now THIS guy took some work. Obviously, the two handed hammer needed something. What was it? Oh yeah. BURLINESS. I mixed up some Apoxie Sculpt and G.S., formed a rough cube, let it cure, and then ran it over fine-grit sand paper to get the sharpish edges.
Unfortunately, the arms provided on the sprue were not burly enough to accommodate a two handed pose with said hammer. (Weird that they would provide a piece that doesn't fit, but whatever...) I had to severely elongate the model's left arm to make this pose work. I lengthened the arm with a bit of paper clip, and then sculpted a simple vambrace over it. Never mind that it doesn't match! I didn't have much patience after all the chopping, as I also had to dislocate the shoulder because the arm was THAT short. This left a gaping hole where the arm socket was.
...which led me to the decision to burly up his cloak a little bit. I decided to do some matted fur so I could practice my texture sculpting. And there it is. I think I did a pretty good job of using the fur cloak to fill the gap in the shoulder, though there is an angle on one side where it looks a little weird. Oh well. I wanted idiosyncrasy.
Seriously, though, I really like it. And I'm excited to have a couple of heavy hitters for my little band of lost dwarves.
And here's dwarf number one again, after an unfortunate paint job and an even less fortunate strip job, in which the winged crests of his helm were lost forever (God! What a fiddly kit!). So I sculpted him up some nice, asymmetric horns. Perhaps not burly, but certainly unique.
Which brings me at last to this distinctly non-dwarven bit of putty magic. This is one of the used figures I picked up for Christmas. He was missing an arm, and I thought it would be no problem to sculpt him another (I was wrong, it was very difficult) but then the horns on the dwarf above gave me the idea for the weird, twisty claw thing. HETERODOXY! He will probably have the "Mutant" special rule from Song of Gold and Darkness. Unless you can provide a better idea, by using the fancy button below.
Friday, June 14, 2013
About a year ago, I bought a box of used plastic Citadel dwarf warriors from the discount shelf at the Dice Dojo ($17! Sweet!) At the time, I had just discovered Blood Bowl and was looking for cheap ways to make teams.
I separated out all of the pieces I would use for the team (I will have to convert/sculpt a pair of Troll Slayers, Runners, and, of course, the death roller. If you're patient, you might just see that project some day.) I found that I had enough left over to make a small party of dwarven adventurers.
What you may not know about this particular plastic set, and what I found out shortly after sitting down to assemble it, is that it is total crap. It seems like none of the pieces fit together as intended. The bodies come in two pieces, front and back-- or more accurately, beard and legs-- and I had to spend at least 15 minutes shaving and filing each piece in order to get them to fit together. And even then there were gaps. Big ones. Between the hair and the helmet, the beard and the body, the arms and the sockets... a total mess.
Fortunately, I dislike having figures that too closely resemble one another. So it became an opportunity to practice my putty work. To fill the cracks between the helmet and the top of the warrior's back, I sculpted longer, knottier hair. To cover the gaps in the shoulders, I sculpted armor (or more hair.) To cover the seams running down the sides, I sculpted extra folds in the cloaks (or even more hair.)
These are just the first two. There are two more to come, so keep an eye out. And let me know what you think!
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
How once those cities shone high in the gloom,
As patient embers...yes. A muted furnace for many souls.
What comfort came to the hearts of the pilgrims
When they saw far off the glittering collective, and knew peace.
But now the hidden city is lost again.
Perhaps it is buried in dust, and the fiery domes are cracked.
Or perhaps it waits over the next rise,
Or in the shadow of that sneering mountain, or in the basin of some dry sea.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Light on the text today. This post is mostly just a picture dump of the painted results of my recent foam-core scenery. I am more than a touch pleased.
I am quite a fan of the egg-shell ivy, though the color did come out a little garish. I tried, for the first time, using inks on it. The only problem was that the ink was 5+ years old and had formed into a sludgy, pigmented gloop. It took a good many washes of brown to tone that down.
I then went and drybrushed a little too heavily with the white, making for an overall unrealistic paint job. But I'm content with the vibrancy. I think it reads as ivy and draws the eye in a way that the more drab colors on the rest of the piece do not. It almost says: "The ruin is dead, but the land is alive." I might go back and touch it up one day. I might not.
Here's a picture to show how the pieces go together, inspired by those old citadel plastic ruins:
And finally, a pic of the foam core pillars after paint. Not half bad, even though you can still see the join in the foam.
Let me know what you think!
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
However, the models provided in the box make for a silly line-up. To get a working team, I need to make some changes. The first (and maybe only--I haven't really decided) step is to turn a couple of the many linemen into a more useful position--blitzers.
This kind of project can be tricky, but when I thoroughly mutilated and reconstructed a couple of Orc linemen, they actually became my favorite models on the team. So I had every confidence I could do the same for these measly humans. What I had in mind was to re-position both the legs and the right arm of a lineman to achieve a running pose similar, though not exactly alike, to the standard blitzer models. Here's some of the preliminary surgery:
...Until the newly glued foot fell off and skittered into oblivion. Then I was ready to cry.
So, after much tossing aside of possessions in the ensuing search, I carefully set the first model aside and decided on a more conservative conversion for the second blitzer. A simple arm re-positioning and a sculpted knuckle duster.
Fortunately for me, by the time I got to the sculpting stage on the second model, the missing foot dropped back from oblivion into plain sight where it patiently awaited me. NOW I was ready to roll.
|The Finished Blitzers|
|The finished blitzer's arses.|
And that's that. Ready for basing, priming, and paint. I still need to decide whether I want to try and convert some of the team into more catchers, since the box only comes with two. However, the box also comes with two throwers, which I think might be one too many. Now what would be really cool is if I could figure out a way to convert the extra thrower convincingly into a catcher... we'll see. Oh, and I have to decide if I want to sculpt an ogre.
I also need to come up with some fluff for this team, for as we know, teams with a story always play better. So far I'm thinking they might be the sporting initiates of some violence-loving brotherhood of monks. We'll see what I can come up with.
On another note, I've begun stripping my second-hand citadels from my last post, as well as some plastic dwarf warriors which I really messed up on my first try. I'm trying a solution of dish soap and water to see how well it works. Stay tuned to see the results.
Oh, and if you have anything to say, too bad. It's not like you can comment or anything.
Monday, June 3, 2013
There is much to consider when getting into the modeling and miniature gaming hobby. Yes. Much to consider, and even more to build. It is a daunting task. But one must start somewhere.
One is reminded of some old adage.
I am writing this post to share my experience following someone else's great idea. If you would like to see the original tutorial, you can find it here from Sir Tobi of Tobi's Paint Pot. It is worth it, trust me, and by far the greatest resource I was able to find, during months of searching, on the subject of DIY Battle-mats.
That's right, you read me correctly. A realistic, roll-able, DIRT CHEAP method for turning any old table into a gaming table. And for the tiniest fraction of the cost of a commercial model.
Here are the materials:
1. Acrylic paste from the hardware store. The four tubes cost me something like 15 dollars. I got the siliconized variety, cuz I figured it might give extra flex. You might need all four tubes for a full-sized table, but my little 3' by 4' table only needed one.
2. Generic brown craft paint. As cheap as you like, really.
3. Twine or string.
4. Scissors for the twine or string.
5. Flocking and texturing materials.
6. Also, some washers and a pointy nail.
7. And a piece of artists canvas. I was expecting this to be the most expensive part, but to my surprise, the medium weight, unprimed stuff that I got was only five bucks a yard, and for my table a yard was all I needed.
(8. Newspaper. DO NOT forget to put newspaper under the canvas, just to make sure you don't ruin your dining table.)
|Big ol' bucket of grass.|
For the flocking materials, I used my usual home-made grass flock (though this project brought out some weaknesses in my method for making said flock, which I need to work on), dried coffee grounds and tea leaves which I had collected, and also a pack of ground foam I got at the art store with the canvas. Four bucks or so.
I should note here as an Amateur Tip that this project can be made or broken on the quality of your flocking materials. If you have passable flock (like mine) you will get a very satisfying result. If you have a range of high-quality materials to mix together, I think the result would be mind-blowing. Balance, as ever, is key.
Here's the point where my method differs from the original: I, unlike Sir Tobi, do not have the luxury of being able to drill holes in a table to use as a stretching rack for the canvas. Because I don't have a dedicated gaming table. It's kind of why I got into this in the first place. But I found a work-around.
In order to secure the canvas to the table while it dries (so that it doesn't shrink and so it stays flat) I first glued some spare washers to the corners of the canvas. I then used my nail to poke a hole through the center of each washer. Like so:
By feeding twine through these holes, I was then able to tie the corners down to the legs of the table. The washers made sure that the canvas didn't rip, and the string just got covered over with the paste mixture and trimmed later.
|There. You see?|
Mix it all together, stick your hand in, and serve a large dollop onto your canvas. Spread it around until it is evenly coated.
Then it's time to add your flock. I just mixed together all my materials and applied them haphazardly, but I think a more controlled approach would also be possible.
Here's another Amateur Tip: More flock is better. You don't want to get to this point and realize you might be short (like I almost did). Better to err on the side of a fuller, lusher table.
At this point I couldn't resist throwing down some terrain and Blood Bowl orcs to see what it would look like. Easily passable:
|From the back ground, you can see how embarrassingly out of date this post is.|
And that's that. If you want to see how this can be done with even better results, do visit Sir Tobi. His gaming mats are fantastic.
That wraps up today's post. But look for some new painting posts soon, since I also managed to pick up some birthday (okay, Christmas) goodies for myself out of the gaming store bargain bin.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
Today I am plugging another blog because it gives me a better chance in a prize giveaway.
I don't do this often because I find it makes for terribly dull reading, but I'm making an exception in this case because a) the prizes are exactly the kinds of things that I would like to have, and b) Trouble at T'Mill is a consistently excellent blog filled with helpful and interesting articles. So you see, I am not just trying to grub my dirty little hands on some shiny new things, but I am also supporting a fellow blogger whom I enjoy and admire.
|The Champions of the Romano-British and the Saxon invaders face off in Mike Whitaker's Dux Britanniarum campaign.|
- Comprehensive guides for things like Medieval Heraldry, Horse Color Painting based on period, and Wargaming Probability.
- Wonderful side-by narrative and battle reports for his ongoing, and intensely interesting, Dux Britanniarum campaign. (I love reading this one. Mike has worked up a whole cast of characters and works his narrative into the battle reports in interesting ways. This one's one of my favorites.)
- The Miller's Tale, Mikes brand new podcast.
- Excellent terrain making articles and snazzy miniatures. Plus, Mike posts every single day. EVERY ONE. Nutty, but very valuable.
- Extra Lord of the Rings Sprues. Very handy way to grab some extra fantasy figs for skirmish games.
- 28mm Norman figures. A brand new box. Very handy if I decide, like Mike, to get my hands into Dux B, or even SAGA.
- Old Citadel lead and plastic. See number one. Except more so.
- One Too Fat Lardies ruleset, winner's choice. Even more handy if I decide to play Dux Britanniarum, since TFL are the ones who make it. If you haven't had a chance to listen to any of their game reviews on the Meeples and Miniatures Podcast, go check it out. They have a very interesting, narrative-oriented game design ethos.
But even if you don't happen to like free giveaways, or don't want these particular prizes, I still heartily recommend that you head over and read up. It's worth it.