Monday, November 29, 2010

Salamanders WIP

I see green people...

Salamanders, my current marine project. Which I have been working on for several days now. They are interesting fluff-wise, as well as in painting and figuring out minor conversions or adjustments to make them more unique than you can typically get with just a Battleforce box. Dipping into my bits box I have pulled out some minor variation parts, arms, weapons, etc. But overall this force isn't getting any major conversions on the troops, other than the next 10 which may get some greenstuff work on the armor to make 5 of them sternguard.

As a bit of a change of pace I've been painting them in reverse of my normal blending style. Starting with a basecoat that is the darkest color and working up to the highlights. With green and a few other colors this works out very well, but can be a bit time consuming when you first start doing it.

Their basecoat color is a mix of GW's Jade Green (old paint) and Blood Red. In a 3 Jade Green to 2 Blood Red ratio, then 1 brush full of water. Over that the 'medium' color of the blending is 3 Jade Green to 1 Blood Red plus 1 brush of water and 1 drop of mixing medium. And the highlight is 3 Jade Green + a small amount of blood red + 1 drop ofmixing medium + 2 brushes of water.

Mixing medium is a very nice addition to my supplies, as it extends to use of paints I mix. As well as giving it more consistent flow as I blend. It can be hard to work with at first, but as you deal with it more often it becomes truly useful for a number of painting techniques from blending to washing to fine detail work.

This marine's right arm is magnetized, and has the option of a plasma pistol or bolt pistol.
This is the squad sargeant, his arms are both magnetized, and there are a mix of power weapon, plasma pistols, chain swords, and bolt pistols magnetized for use with him.
A small scout unit done in a similar paint scheme as the marines. In this case I used a lot of washes to get cloth effects on them.
The first half of the tactical squad I'm doing up. The Sargeant has both arms magnetized to allow for a number of weapon options to be swapped. And the special weapons trooper has his left arm magnetized to allow him the option of flamer, meltagun, or bolter. I plan to magnetize another marine in the next batch of 5 to allow for swapping in a heavy weapon or using a bolter.
Sargeant in all his glory. The almost 'glowing' effect on the plasma pistol was not intended, but definitely looks great.
Special weapons grunt hard at work tossing a grenade!

I still have to put chapter markings and squad markings on these marines, as well as work out the basing, but that won't take too long. Then it is on to the next 10 marines, of which 5 will be added to the first 5 to form a full 10-man tac squad. The last 5 will be given a number of minor conversions and done up as sternguard. I plan to modifying/converting their weapons to get several combi-weapon options.

Until next time!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Post holiday post

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and if you had the 'good fortune' of Black Friday shopping got what you were trying to get (I know I did).

I'm elbow deep into working on the battleforce box minis. I've tossed out several chapters and settled on Salamanders for this force. Mainly because green sounded more enjoyable to paint than yellow (sorry Imperial Fists, yellow isn't hard, but it is annoying at times). At this point I have the scout squad (painted) and assault squad (painted and magnetized for gear swapping). I've also decided that instead of 15 tac marines, I'll do 10 tac and 5 sternguard or devestators out of what is left in the box. Still deciding on the stern or devs though, so *shrug*. I'll have pics of the current work up either later today or tomorrow.

Next on my 'elbows deep in work' are my epic trollblood warcasters. They've been lamenting their fate at being left roughly half finished for a bit over a week now. And I should actually have them done in a few days. I just needed a break from high detail minis, so I decided to push them back a few days. At this point I need to finish up work on the leather, tartan, and armor and they will be ready for full basing. Not a lot, but it is about 3 layers of blending for each part.

I've also started working on the palette I'll be using for my Crystal Brush entries. I have a limited edition Dragonblood mini as well as a Kabuki minis Executioneress fig that are definites for entries. I'm also looking into at least 1-2 more slightly larger projects for the Crystal Brush.

I'm also roughing out a post on custom color mixing to go along with the next batch of posts on the Salamanders I'm working on. Some may be surprised at what was mixed to get their greens.

Later hobby enthusiasts!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So I'm finally getting into the current age of technology, and adding a new widget. This is a preview of it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Any suggestions

I'm looking into a new lighting rig or bulbs for my current primary light. I'm thinking daylight bulb would be cheapest to go with, rather than a full lighting rig. As I'm finding the bulbs I currently use give a yellow cast when taking pictures, which I then have to adjust levels in photoshop to fix the pictures. I believe the flourescent bulbs I'm currently using are also adding to the blur effect I'm getting when taking pictures. Not really sure, but if that is the case I really do need to 'upgrade' from what I'm using.

I need suggestions on reasonably priced daylight bulbs and/or daylight lamps.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Updated Progress

I know it has been a while since I last posted, but I do have progress to report, and pics to show!

I've just completed several figs for sale (going up on eBay). As well as a fair amount of work on several others which will be sold. Also I have finished work on a personal fig, and gotten a fair amount of work done on four others I will be keeping. Problems have arisen on one sale project though... they are marines, a battleforce box actually... the trouble is deciding if I will do them as Imperial Fists, or Crimson Fists.

But now onward to show what I've been working on of late.

I finally got things together and finished up Lady Hammerstrike, had a few minor touch-up issues to deal with and the basing. But now she is finished and will be put up on eBay. I really did enjoy painting this fig, such a great change from power armor, power armor, power armor.

My next figs to complete (no, don't count the 'nearly' finished Knight of Bal-Timorea yet) was Kaelyssa, Night's Whisper from the Warmachine line (Retribution warcaster). She was an interesting change from the Space Marines I've been buried in for a while. Having a number of 'tricky' areas to paint, namely the 'arcane' lines of force from her warcaster armor power nodes. I learned a few new tricks while painting her which helped on the following figs.

Then I got down to work on a Retribution warjack, a Gorgon light warjack. Needless to say, Retribution are a pain to paint at times, but I found doing white to be pretty easy overall. Shade through highlight was actually quite easy to do, I'm not really sure why some people have trouble with white and yellow. Unfortunately, the white of the 'jack armor blended into my lightbox... so the pics kind of suck for this fig. I will be using a different backdrop to take pics on for retribution warjacks in the future.

I then worked on a Mage Hunter Assassin. Another fun fig, this was the variant sculpt. I find that I LOVE Privateer Press figs, they have minimal flash, very very minimal issue with mold lines, and are overall two to three steps above the quality of Games Workshop in pretty much every way with their metals.

The Mage Hunter was one in which I decided to use a variant color scheme, going with a type of self created light OD Green for the leather, and white for the armor. The standard scheme uses grey leathers and armor, among other things.

After getting those done, I got to work on some Hordes Trollbloods. An interesting line, trolls with a semi-scottish leaning. All the figs in this line are very characterful, and quite interesting overall.

First up is Madrak Ironhide, World Ender, (An Epic warlock). He's a very dynamic fig, with lots of detail. I figure I'm roughly 50% finished with him and the other Epic trollblood warlock I'm working on. I decided to go with greens in the shading on this, which is giving an interesting effect on the brown leathers.

I'm also working on Hoarluk Doomshaper, Rage of Dhunia. This character fig is very interesting due to the major amounts of detail that are present, as well as the dynamic pose and obvious rage in the face of the fig. I am using the same green mix to shade this character, which gives it a similar feel to Madrak's fig which I am doing. I'm sharing the palette between figs, so I don't waste paint, and this gives a 100% unified look to them as they are using exactly the same paints.

I'm having a few issues with blurring with this lighting setup, which is very obvious in the face of the next fig. A Warmachine/Hordes mercenary Nyss Sorceress. Overall I went with a color scheme which is almost counter to what is typical for this fig. Using blues for all the leather, browns, oranges, and greens for her outer cloak as if each bit is a leaf and it is blurring the seasons.

This last fig is a personal project fig, as I find I don't want to sell it. It's a nice fig, and will fit into my new Warmachine army, as well as looking very nice and acting as a bit of a display piece to show off my skills (it REALLY does look better in person... I have to figure out this dang camera a bit more).

Back to work I go (painting that is)! Later readers!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Sometimes a load of projects come along, happens to everyone at one point or another. So how do you deal with it? I know that over the years I've come to find that I need to make a list, and set an order of priority to the projects. Prioritizing helps minimize snags in projects, as well as get the things done in a reasonable order and timescale. This post is about my method of prioritization, so it will have examples that others may not have to deal with, bear with me.

Over the years I've worked out a system that works reasonably well, with minimal conflicts. It is a listing system with three 'tiers'.

Personal Projects (low-medium priority).
Commission Projects (medium-high priority).
Outside Work (high priority, as it includes family, school, and non-miniatures things that MUST be done).

As an example my current priority list looks like this.

Outside Work: 
                        1) University work (I'm working on my bachelors in Business Admin): 2 hours per day
                        2) Remodelling work with father (He flips and rents houses): 2-4 hours weeknights
                        3) Family time (several hours a day) 1-2 hours weeknights

Commission Projects:
                                  1) Hordes & Warmachine minis painted/based (5): 2 hours per day (approx 20 hours to finish
                                  2) Blood Angels force (500 pts approx): 2 hours per day (approx 20 hours to finish)
                                  3) Malifaux mini (basing): approx 2 hours to finish

Personal Projects:
                            1) Knight of Bal Timorea (basing): approx 2 hours to finish
                            2) Repurpose marines to new Star Drake chapter (roughly 50 marines, 1 LR): as time allows
                            3) Deathwatch Killteam (10 marines, possibly 1 rhino): reworking painting style to be used on them, approx 12 hours to finish. On hold until commission work finished.

Now this might seem like a lot of things going on for some people, but this is kind of typical for me and actually a light to moderate load of projects. If I stick to my priority list, I will get them all finished in about 2 weeks. And by then I'll have a half dozen to a dozen more projects to prioritize. Needless to say my Outside Work section doesn't change too much, an addition here or there, but overall it's pretty well set in stone. Commission work includes things I'm working on to put on eBay, as I am doing this as a home business as well as for the enjoyment of the hobby. And Personal Projects is by far the most flexible, as I work those around everything else.

Knowing how to set up these lists helps a great deal, as I can look at the list and know what I should be working on first. Such an example is looking at the list and saying 'I'll put in 2 hours on the Blood Angels force by priming and cleaning up the figs and bits' and also saying 'while the paint dries I'll organize the Star Drakes so that I get them done a section at a time'. Maximizing time spent is very useful, as some work is time long, but effort light, or short time and needs a lot of effort. Priming figs being the former, doing highlighting being the later.

Many people I've known over the years get into a ton of projects, then can't seem to ever finish them. And a lot of that comes from not being able to prioritize and make the best use of their time. They get going on one thing, then another, and another, without actually finishing any of them. It's a shame really, since many of those projects are pretty cool, but the person just couldn't figure out a way to 'schedule' their time to work on things in a reasonable fashion.

Hopefully this article will help some people, by showing a way to prioritize their work. But it would be nice to get comments on ways the readers use to make the best use of their time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inventory expansion

This last week was rather annoying and good at the same time. I've expanded my miniature inventory to work on by quite a bit, with more on the way. A number of Hordes and Warmachine minis just arrived. A Space Marine battleforce and razorback are getting ready to be worked on (with a large number of minor conversions), a Space Hulk game is begging me to open it and get to work on the minis inside. A Bretonian Pegasus Rider will be arriving soon, as will a mini from Dragonblood miniatures and one of the 21st century pin-up figs from Kabuki Miniatures ( Also I've picked up a few cans of The Army Painter color primer (Rat Fur, and Pure Red), and I may order up a couple more just to expand options. And I'll be dealing with static grass, which is a new concept for me, the results should be interesting.

Progress on my Knight of Bal Timorea has been at a standstill while I dealt with family and school issues, but will resume this week. I need to work on the base and it will be finished, so at this point I'm working on ideas for how to finish it. At this point I'm thinking simple may be better, but I don't want it to be just a plain dirt/grass basing.

My Star Drakes are also getting some more work this week as I finalize poses for the riders. At this point I plan to have (of the 5 in the works atm) 2 riding, 1 mounting, and 2 standing alongside their mounts (fighting alongside). I've mounted the cold ones on 60mm bases, which allows me to really go to town on their bases, which will be a mix of slate/shale rock outcroppings and ground foliage/jungle vines. I may add some skeleton bits, and other fun items, but that is still being debated.

I've had to bin 13 2 of my molds due to an issue with air bubbles, so new molds are being worked on this week as well. I'm finding that my Star Drake shoulderpad has issues with air bubbles in the raised details, so I've changed its placement in the mold form to help account for that, and hopefully reduce issues. I don't plan to use the shoulderpad for ALL of the Star Drakes, but definitely for 'noteable' figs, such as HQ's and Scale Guard (Wolf Guard).

My Deathwatch killteam is on hold, I have one fig 85% finished, but he's going into the Simple Green for a fresh restart. I've had some ideas on how to do the silver on the left arm and shoulderpad that will make it interesting to do.

I've also started to 'remodel' my workspace, I'm removing a computer from one desk, and turning that desk into my workspace. I've bought a number of storage containers (multi-bin ones) to help sort out bits in a more efficient way (triple the storage = much less headaches). I'm also looking into a larger sortable container for my paints, as I've simply outgrown the one I have by nearly double its capacity.

My lightbox is now in the 'gotta get the time to do it' stage, as my initial lightbox had a number of issues due to size. I'm looking into getting 2 more lights for use with it as well, though I'm not so sure daylight bulbs are really necessary (not to mention they are freaking expensive). Any suggestions on light bulbs and simple/cheap light fixtures for use with a lightbox would be appreciated.

And today we bring you...