Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wood Floor Base

Didn't paint today, but did a bit of work on a wood floor base for the bar matron. I'm using a square base and putting a piece of grooved wood on it for the floor. Here's the material I'm using:

The whole plank is maybe a couple feet long, giving me plenty of it to work with. You can see it's already got grooves cut along the length of the wood. They're a little too regular for a rough wood floor, so I guess she works at a higher class joint.

So, I cut a piece out and used a low angle block plane and sandpaper to trim and sand it down to size. Then I used a knife to cut cross hatches semi-randomly to make ends of the planks.

Yes, it's trimmed a little too aggressively on the right side there, but when you're not looking at it in a close-up picture it doesn't really show. Next, I'm going to hit it with some wood stain. I'll also want to get a darker color in to the grooves to make them stand out. I haven't quite decided how to do that yet. I may stain it brown, then hit it with a sealer, then use a black wash or liner or something to pick out the grooves.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finally, Freehand

This is actually yesterday's progress.

I put the freehand pattern on the djinn's pants. I didn't do a great job of getting everything sized consistently and lined up correctly, but I'm hoping that the roundness of the pants, and the shading once it goes in, hides those errors. I'm not sold on the look, but I'm committed. I'm going to finish it out and see how things go. I think part of it might be that I'm experiencing some discomfort with the bright blue base color. I don't usually work with such large areas of colors that are so 'in-your-face'. Anyway, I'm hoping once the pants are done I'll be able to finish off the rest quickly.

And, some work on the ghost. Shaded and highlighted the main clothing. Base-coated the cloak.

Hmm. The picture shows a few chunks of paint on the cloak that need to be cleaned up. I'm also hoping I'll be able to finish this off quickly. It's the last one of these guys.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Colors and Bases

Not much actual progress today. I tried some more colors for freehand on the djinn's pants:

Grey, a couple of browns (they look yellow) a couple light blues, and then the same dark blue I plan to use as the shadow color. I think that's probably the one I'll go with. That does mean that the pattern will not be visible in the shadow areas...but I think that might be OK. It's supposed to be subtle-ish, so maybe having it blend in to the shadows will be a good thing. 

Another thing I tried was doing the pattern with thicker lines in a dark color, then a light blue inside the wide lines. Some times, the dark 'outline' helps. Not this time.

Now, yesterday I said I'd talk about basing options for the two new minis. Let's take a look.

With her, I figure I will probably put some static grass or rocks or such on the base. However, working that stuff around her feet, swords, and the cape might be kinda tricky. Also, when I put her on the base, I made the mistake of having the little rough spot left from where the base attached to a sprue on the front. You can see it right by her right foot. Now, I could pull her off the base and put her on a different one, but in that case I still have to worry about getting the basing material around the model. I could pull her off the base, put stuff on it, then put her back. For that, I have to consider getting her off the base without damaging the mini. Then I have to worry about how to hold her while she's being painted. Usually, I put the base on a film canister and use poster tack to hold it on. No base, well, that'll be harder. So, at the moment, I've put some liquid green stuff over the rough spot to smooth it out, and I'm planning on taking my chances with putting basing material on under her. Hmm. I could also put her on a cork base...I'll have to think about that. Her pose is so action-y it'd almost be a shame to not have her base also showing she's in the middle of a fight.

Showing what she's fighting with would be better, but now we're in to diorama territory, and I'd have to give that rather more thought. But maybe tomorrow I'll consider my primed critters and baddies and see if anything jumps out at me.

And, the bar matron:

She's on a standard Reaper 'broccoli' base. There's nothing wrong with those, but I'd rather see her on a nice wood floor or something. She is probably not carrying those pints across a mossy field, after all. That means cutting her off the broccoli base. I think this is doable. There's a gap between the bottom of her skirts and the base, and I can get a saw in there to cut her off. Then, when I put pins in  to attach her to the new base, I can maintain the little bit of gap. We'll see how it goes. For the base itself, I have a sheet of balsa with grooves cut in it that will do for planks. If I carefully use a knife to make cross cuts to represent the ends of boards, hopefully it will be a passable wood floor. It won't have as rough a texture as some I've seen, and it might be too regular to look right. But I'll give it a try. The upside is that since it's actually wood, if I wanted to I could actually stain the stuff instead of painting it to look like wood.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Starbuck done, some freehand work, and new metal on the table.

And here she is. I may go back and put some color variations on the base. It's a flight deck base by Secret Weapon Miniatures. So, as a flight deck, it's supposed to be smooth, but it looks a little too...shiny.

I also did some work on freehand for the djinn today. No paint on the mini, but some planning and practice. 

Here's a shot of some in-progress drawing of different patterns I was considering:

I pulled some ideas for patterns off the internet, then practiced drawing them with a pen until I had a pattern I liked and could do it reasonably consistently.

Then I tried replicating it with slightly thinned down paint and a liner brush.That's the black one.

Now, I'm having trouble deciding what color to use for the pattern on his pants. So, I put down a splotch of that blue and painted the pattern on it in various colors I'm considering using.

Black, brown, a darker blue, a couple reds, yellow, and gold. I plan to put this pattern all over the pants, so I want it to be apparent, but subtle enough so that it doesn't make the pants super busy. I'm not excited about any of those colors....enh, maybe the gold. I will probably try again with a set of colors somewhat lighter than the base blue and see how that goes.

And last, two new pieces. A barmaid from Reaper 2583: Townsfolk I, and Reaper 14371: Saori, Shadow Sister. First order of business on them will be deciding what to do with the bases, but that's a task for tomorrow.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Not Much Progress

Just some work on Starbuck today. Darkened the shadows on her pants a bit, put highlights on them, and base coated everything but her brass knuckles. I'm not sure now that I'm thrilled with the color choices I've made, but I'm not gonna go back now. She's almost done!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Houston Wins, Dallas Loses. A Good Day.

No actual painting today, but I did get better pics of these guys:

I'm not sure about the shadows on Starbuck's pants. I might need to make them stronger. They're a little more apparent live, but still. Also looks like I got a blob on the back of her calf there that needs to be fixed.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve

Not much progress today - tomorrow's a big holiday in the US, so there was much prep to do for that.

Worked on Starbuck today. I'd like to get her and either the ghost or the djinn done by the end of the weekend. I finished her hair (not that you can see it - I'm going to have to bite the bullet and start taking proper pictures of the WIPs) and put some shading on her pants.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Drow Finished!

And here she is, finished and with better pictures. I'm pretty happy with her.

Yup, looks like there's a hair on those skulls. I live with two cats and a Bernese Mountain Dog. Fur happens.

It didn't take long to finish her, so I also put in some time on this one:

I put shadows and highlights on the skin, did her eyes, and base coated her hair and pants. The sculpt looks like Starbuck from the new Battlestar Galactica to me, so that's how I'm painting her. Blonde, in khaki pants and a black sports bra. I'm thinking I'll make the headband red.

I haven't forgotten about the djinn. I haven't settled on what to do for freehand on his pants. Also, committing to the freehand puts him in the stage where I could completely mess up an otherwise promising start to a figure, so I'm hesitating. Perhaps tomorrow...

Monday, November 19, 2012

Today's work, and a word on picture quality

Mostly finished the drow today. That's finishing up the gold bits, the gems, her sword blade, and a couple other little details. Tomorrow I will finish up the base, and she'll be done.

Didn't work on any of the others. Once I get to 'mostly done' on a figure, I end up focusing on that one until it's finished.

The pictures are bad tonight. I've been taking the in-progress shots by holding the figures close up under the light source for my work space and aiming the camera with my other hand. That's why her hair is so blown out, among other things. I do have a dedicated, much better photo area that I use for pictures of finished figures. It's just more work to haul everything up there than I want to do on a daily basis. I may start doing that anyway, if the picture quality from my work space is consistently poor. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Today's Progress

So, did a base coat on part of the ghost:

Did the djinn's horns and put highlights on his hair. Oh, and some of the bits of his belt. I'm still debating what to do with the pants. I may finish the rest and come back to those.

And, the drow. Highlights on her armor, base coat on the filigree and other bits that are gold. I highlighted the black armor with a medium gray metallic. I'm not sure if I'm happy with it or not. I'll get another look tomorrow, and maybe go back and make the highlights lighter. We'll see. One of the problems I have with metallics is the way they look depends so much on the light you're looking at them in. Enh, it doesn't really show in these pictures. Maybe I'll take her up to my proper photo setup tomorrow and see if I can get better pictures.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Daily Progress

Here's some progress for one evening.

The efreet got a base coat on his hair, and base coat (black) and highlights on his nails. Also finished his eye. And a base coat of blue on his pants. It's a little brighter in person. I'm not sure about the bright blue pants. I'm hoping once the shading goes on it'll be a little better. I'm also thinking of putting some freehand on there, maybe in gold.

Finished her gem (it just needed the point highlight). Put a base coat of black on her armor. I used a mix of blue and brown liner to make that black There's scroll work on that armor that I intend to make gold.

What's on the table today

So, here's what I'm working on right now.

Reaper Minis 03193: Carinth, Dark Elf Sorceress. Her skin and hair are done, as is the cloth. The gem on her staff is mostly done. The skin is Reaper's Dark Elf Skin triad, with a little black mixed in to the shadow color and a little light gray mixed in to the highlight. The color of the hair doesn't show up well in these pictures. It's gray shadows, lighter gray main color, white highlights.

Reaper Minis 02436: Kazala The Efreet. His skin is done. Does the red look the same as the drow's cloth? Yup. I have many other reds, I'm just too lazy to get out different ones.

Reaper Minis 02617: Female Wraith. No paint on her yet.

I think she's a VOID mini, but I'm not sure. She has a base coat of her skin color.

I just do this for fun

I paint minis. If you're not sure what that means, just wait for the next post, which will have pictures, and it'll become clearer.

I do this as a hobby - not on commission, generally not for competition, only for my own amusement. Sometimes the stuff I paint gets used for various table top games. More often it doesn't. I'm not a pro, and I don't have a ton of special insight into master techniques. I've been trying to improve my skill over the past few years by taking classes at conventions, watching videos, and lots and lots of practice. By 'lots and lots', I mean I generally paint 1-3 hours a day 5 to 7 days per week.

This blog will document my continuing practice. I plan on regularly posting pictures of works in progress, discussing different techniques I'm trying, and also showing different materials and such that I'm using. If you out there manage to come across this blog and find it interesting, great! Feel free to critique and comment. Getting outside feedback is an important part of improving skill. Just try to make it constructive criticism.