Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What I did on my vacation

Got my stuff back from ReaperCon today. Here's what I worked on while I was away.

The assassin: I shaded and highlights his clothing, and put a base coat on the armor bits. Was having a really hard time with the blue - it was such a dark, saturated color, I was having trouble getting it to look right. Putting the base coat on the armor actually helped a lot; after that, everything looked a little better balanced in color and tone. Per suggestions from the Reaper painters (one of the benefits of going to the con as a VIP was the ability to get input from them pretty much at will), I brought the highlights way up on the blue, and also glazed the purple to make it more saturated so it would play nicer with the blue.

This model also shows one of the risks of travelling with minis - a fair bit of paint chipping and rub off, which I will have to fix. Also, when I unpacked him, his sword was badly bent. At least it only had primer on it, so I didn't lose my paint job there, but I'll need to re-prime it, and I'm lucky the sword didn't break off entirely. It was pretty badly bent.

Worked on the ghost as well. I shaded and highlighted her skin, but I will have to clean it up and smooth it out a bit. The lighting was not the best, and I slopped over a couple bits when I put the base coat on the rest.  I also blocked in where the highlights are going to go on her hair. I took a class on hair while I was there (thanks, Sue!), and the instructor suggested treating hair like a helmet and painting it as a whole thing rather than focusing on the sculpted strands. I have my class piece, I'll get a picture of that and it will make more sense.

If you'll notice, there's nothing helmet-like about her hair. So, I went to Sue to get suggestions, and she said to take it in sections instead of as a whole. I wanted to make sure I had the highlight placement right before I left, so with many trips back and forth to Sue, this is what I've got. I need to go back and smooth it in, maybe put in some deeper shadows, but at least I know where everything will go.

And, started the flesh on her. I was working on two things here. One, using non-flesh colors for shading and highlights. I took a class on being adventurous with color (thanks, Michael!), and so just started this to think about that. I've also got a class piece from that one I can get a picture of. Anyway, I used a flesh base tone, then a red-brown shadow. I didn't get to a highlight color before I had to pack up. Oh, I also went with way dark lining on her. I also tried a trick to make areas with fuzzy primer or an otherwise rough surface smoother, which is to cover it with a coat of brush-on sealer. It does help, but it only goes so far.

The lamp, assassin, and ghost are almost all done, so I'm going to try focusing on them to get them finished. I've got way to many in-progress projects.

Speaking of the lamp, I'd been trying to figure out how to get a real example to look at. Then I thought, well, duh, I could try the one in my front yard...

Taking a picture of a lamp at night is a bit problematic, so in the copy below I've brightened it up a bit and annotated the parts I'm interested in. Note how the light is very bright on the parts of the frame around where the bulb is, and there's a little light on the cross pieces. The rest of the post is in  shadow and quite dark. That's what I've got to replicate on the mini...more or less. I'll have to put some highlight on the bands along the post, because it won't look right otherwise. Also not the patch of shadow right under the lamp. That I'll have to try to replicate on the base. The bottom of the lamp housing blocks the light from going that direction, and keeps the area right under the lamp itself in shadow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lamp Post

The past week or so I've been away for ReaperCon. Had a lot of fun, met a number of painters and sculptors, and got to hang out with them. Got a lot of helpful feedback on the painted pieces I took with me for critique. Also won a silver medal in the painting contest for the Blood Vestal. That's not too shabby - in the ReaperCon painting contest, silver is about as good as you get without painting at a professional level.

Made some progress on the pieces I took out there to work on. They're being shipped back to me, so I don't have them to show right now. In the meantime, I'm going to try to finish some of the stuff I've got in progress here. To that end, I worked on the lamp post tonight. I put some shading and highlighting on it, including OSL effects from the lighted part of the lamp. Also painted the housing of the light itself. It's off white, with a yellower section blended in in the middle.

The highlights and shadows might be too subtle, or need to be blended better. I'm going to take another look tomorrow.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Somewhat naked woman below.

Finished the blood vestal today. I'm pretty happy with how she came out. In retrospect, I should have used purple for the shadows in her hair instead of brown; it would have tied things together a bit more. But I'm not unhappy with this, either.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Underwire Armor

This post has pictures of semi-naked minis; wait for the next one if that bothers you.

I did the vestal's armor today. It was very fiddly and took a long time, so it's all I worked on. All that's left on her is the swords, some of the straps holding on her armor, a bit of touch-up, and her base. Which means I've got a pretty good chance of finishing her before I leave.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Girl's night!

Well, sort of. I finished the vestal's hair and makeup, which is about as 'girl's night out' as it gets around here. So, semi-naked woman at the bottom again.

But I also shaded Azumi's skin. Turns out most of it is in shadow. I need to smooth it out a bit and clean it up, which I'll probably do as I do the highlights.

And, the vestal. Looks like I need a bit of touch up on her right eyebrow. Otherwise, I'm pretty happy with the hair and face. Next up will be the armor. I'm thinking gold.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

No, I didn't forget about the tank.

Note: mostly naked woman at the bottom of this post.

Tonight I put some edge and rivet highlights on the tank. It's kind of subtle. I should probably go back and make the highlights a little wider...but I'm not going to. Next tank I'll try putting the highlights on with the airbrush, before the camo goes on.

Next I'll probably work on the parts that aren't going to stay beige. The exhaust pipes, the guns on the sides, a couple of grates, maybe the small gun on the front. After that, I'll start on the weathering.

I did some details on the face of the vesta - her lips and eyes, and some color on her cheeks. She's wearing makeup, hence the color of her lips and the blush on her cheeks. I'll give her eye shadow too, but probably not until after I've got her base hair color in place so I can decide what color I want to make it. Tomorrow I'll base coat her hair. Maybe make the color on her cheeks a little stronger. Hopefully get the eye shadow on.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Last monk details

The not-quite-naked girl is back in this one. Don't scroll all the way to the bottom if you don't want to see it.

In the meantime, here's the monk with finalized details. Small differences only. He's going to be set aside now until the other pieces are ready.

And, I finished the skin tones on the Raging Heroes woman. I'll see if she needs any touch-up tomorrow. Then it'll be the details of her face, and then her hair.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Well, mostly. I'm going to put a white highlight on the bottom of the vial. Also, the gold parts of his sword could be a little neater, and I may do more there. But that's just a few minutes of work.Otherwise he's done, and just waiting for the base to be ready.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

More monk, and a couple new things.

Note: the last mini in this post is a mostly naked female. If that bothers you, don't scroll all the way to the bottom.

But first, I shaded and highlighted the rest of the monk's clothing. Well, except for the blue bits on his wrists, which just got base coated today. Mostly it's just detail work I have left on him now. The fuzzy bits at his wrists, the sword, and the things hanging off his belt. I'm also going to put a rune of some sort on the red flap there.I think he looks okay, until you really start looking at the details, and then you can see the flaws.

Started a couple new things today. This is Azumi from Studio McVey. She is a limited edition resin miniature.  I've put a base coat of flesh on her. Why is the face still white, then? She's going to have makeup on. Heavy makeup, like a kabuki mask. Anyway, I'm going to try make her high quality, but I'm already running in to trouble with rough spots on the surface and mold lines. I haven't worked with resin before. It's a little harder to clean up because it's delicate and fragile, and you must wear a mask while sanding or filing it. But it's lighter, like plastic.

I'm using the RMS Golden Skin triad on her, which is the same one I'm using on the monk. However, I mixed some blue into the shadow color for the monk, and I won't be doing that here.

Almost naked girl starts here.

This is a Blood Vestal from Raging Heroes. I have 5 of them. Apparently they live some place very warm. But they amuse me, and she should be pretty simple. It's pretty much skin, hair, and then her armor and swords. I'm using the RMS Rosy Skin triad with her.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Back to the monk

I trimmed up and posed the armatures as I said, but didn't get pictures before I packed them up for shipping to Reaper. So, you'll just have to take my word for that.

I did get back to the monk finally. Put in some base coat on the rest of his clothing. I kind of did things in the wrong order and made a bit of a mess of it, so I'mm have some cleaning up to do as I shade and highlight. There's still a fair bit of work left on this guy, but he's starting to come together.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A little prep, and a lamp post

Still doing some prep for ReaperCon, but I'm on to sculpting now. These are armatures - wire frameworks that serve as general outlines to put your putty on when you sculpt. It'll help lay out basic shapes and poses, and also provide some backbone and support for the putty.

The one one the right is the start of a human form. I don't have any particular plans for it, but I'm taking a class on dynamic poses at ReaperCon, so having an armature ready to be posed might be a good thing. I'll put a head on it at least, and probably make a few bends to give it a better posture.

The other one I plan to use as the basis for a practice dummy - a couple sticks with a couple bags of straw. If it comes out (which it probably won't) I'll use it in a diorama. I need to trim the wires down. Other than that, I'm not sure how much farther I'll take it.

I did a wee bit of painting. This lamppost will be used in the diorama with the monk. I've just got a base coat on there now. I plan to make it like wrought iron. I'll need to think about what the lighting will do, since it is its own light source.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Still with the prep.

Put on some more blue and tried another purple. This is it for this guy for now. I have a little more prep to do, then I'm shipping this stuff out. I should get back to the tank and the monk after that.

Monday, April 1, 2013

More half done stuff

Finished the assassin's face and base coated his clothing and hair.

Looks like I may need to hit the blue with another coat. It doesn't look as opaque here as it should. The other problem I'm running into is that the blue is so super saturated, the various purples I tried for his tunic all look pretty plain in comparison. I have one or two more that I might try and see if they're saturated enough to compete. If they aren't, I don't think it'll be the end of the world. Tomorrow I'll see if I can put on another coat or two of the blue to make it more solid, and try for a  more saturated purple. That'll be it for this guy for now, as he's going to ReaperCon.