Saturday, September 29, 2018

Marcus: Skin, Face, Hair

Since I have to make a base for the cowboy before proceeding on him (that work has started), I went back to Marcus today. I highlighted the skin and did his face details and hair.

He is turning into an excellent example of a figure that looks good at table distance, and not so much close up. I'm not so fond of the blue shading around his eyes. Makes him look like he has makeup. But the highlights have helped the skin quite a bit.

In any case, I feel like I'm making good progress.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Cowboy: Finally, paint!

I've finally finished prep on the cowboy. I puttied the other joint on his arm, but he didn't look different at all so I didn't get pictures for that step. Then I went in with brush on sealer and went over rough spots to smooth them out, and then primer. That was a back and forth - sealer, primer, clean up some bumps, sealer, primer, and so on.

Then, finally, I started on paint. I've decided to go Hispanic with this guy, so I'm giving him a darker, redder skin tone. I found some pictures to work off of. That was not as easy as it might seem. I looked for pictures of a couple actors, and found a lot of variation in apparent skin tone based on the lighting of the shot. In any case, it looked like the color I picked is within a reasonable range based on the pictures I was looking at, so I'm going with it. It doesn't look quite as red in person as it does in these pictures.

I ran into another problem as I was putting on the base coat for his skin. My usual method of holding the figure while painting him isn't working for this guy. He's heavy, so the poster tack that the pegs in his feet are stuck into just don't hold him. He wobbles about quite a lot, and sometimes one of the pegs will just pull out of the poster tack entirely, if I'm holding him at too much of an angle.

I think I'm going to have to build his base and attach him to it, and then go back to painting. If I put him on a wood block, then I can hold the block and since he'll be glued in place it should be stable.

That does mean I'll have to do that part before I can continue painting him. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Cowboy: Assembly Part 4, Marcus: Shading Skin 3

Today I got some putty on the Cowboy's coat join and glued on his other arm.

I also used some of the putty I had left to smooth over some of the worst rough spots I made from filing and cutting mold lines, flash, and such off the figure. We shall see if that was a good idea or not.

I need to putty the joint of his gun arm and put some pins in his feet next time. After that, he'll be ready for paint! Or, he'll be ready for the brush-on sealer that I'm going to use to smooth the remaining rough spots, and then primer. That will likely be a multi-stage project by itself, since putting primer on tends to bring out lines and rough spots you missed before. So, I will probably end up going through a few iterations of sealer, primer, then clean-up with a knife or file, or maybe just more sealer.

I also worked some on softening the shadows on Marcus here. I definitely still have some work to do on neatening up his face.

Honestly, I'm just not feeling this guy right now, so I'm having a hard time being excited about getting everything just right. It's kinda too bad, as this is an expensive figure that I'm about to do mediocre work on. But I'll probably just push through to get him finished and then focus on something else that I do feel more motivated to work on.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Cowboy: Assembly Part 3, Marcus: Shading Skin

I worked on the cowboy's coat today. I decided I didn't have a lot of confidence in my ability to putty the gaps, pull the lower coat piece off, and keep it all in good shape. So, I've painted the areas that will be difficult to get to dark brown, and then glued the coat in place. I will putty it next time. Then the theory is that the hard to reach areas will be sufficiently in shadow, and I can paint in the rest. Depending on what colors I choose for the coat and pants I may have to worry about bringing the dark brown down farther so that there will be a consistent undercoat.

I also puttied the gap around the hat and the left arm. I used the Apoxie putty, which was actually a lot easier to work with than the green stuff.

I also continued shading Marcus's skin. I'm going with blue for the shadow color. I need to go back in and soften the transition with some of the first shadow color. I also have some spots to clean up with the base color. It is kind of a mess right now, but don't worry, it will get better.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Cowboy: Assembly Part 2. Marcus: Shading Skin.

Continued the assembly of the cowboy today by using some putty to get fill the joint in the torso and then gluing on his hat and left arm. Next time I will putty those two spots. Probably I will deal with the coat piece after that, and then do his other arm last since it seems most likely to be in the way/get damaged while working on the coat.

I also experimented with Apoxie putty a little bit. I found it is much like the Mulliput I use for basing. It's much less rubbery than green stuff. I will probably try it for the coat and see how it goes. One thing it doesn't seem to do that green stuff does is smooth across a surface; it just breaks apart instead. This could be good or bad. With green stuff, it does let me smooth the green stuff out, but never as much as I want because the green stuff contracts a little as it cures, so after it has cured I often end up with an edge where I had thought I'd gotten everything smooth.

I also got back to Marcus here:

I just did a first round of shading on his skin.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cowboy: Prep & Assembly

So I've started working on a cowboy figure for my next large scale piece. It's a 70mm figure, and will be the first figure of that size that I've done.

I spent some time cleaning it up and figured I'd wait to post here until I was ready to start painting. Then I realized that I rarely talk about prep here, and I probably should. I don't have pictures of the early phases, but I will talk about them here, and I'll have pictures of the steps going forward.

I started with cleaning up the mold lines and flash from the figure. There was a lot, especially on the bottom piece of the coat. It took a fair bit of effort to get all the extra metal off the coat and smooth out the curves. That being said, it was easier than I expected because the metal is surprisingly soft. That's both a good and bad thing. It did make cleanup easier, but it also means the chances of accidentally obscuring detail or marring a smooth surface is higher, so I will have to be careful with it as I work.

After removing the flash and mold lines, I washed the pieces in warm water and dish soap. A bit of scrubbing with an old toothbrush makes sure that and gunk left from the casting process and any metal dust and bits from cleaning up the flash are removed.

Here are all the pieces as they more or less go together:

The next step is deciding what pieces can be put together now, what has to be put together after it's painted, and what will need putty. I think I can put it all together except the bottom of the cape. That will have to go on after, or I won't be able to paint his right leg.

That will be tricky, as that join is also going to need putty. I plan to try to putty it without leaving the pieces joined. More on that when I get to it.

I went to gluing the head and upper torso piece to the rest of the body. Here's what that looks like put together:

It is going to need putty. I want to make sure the glue has had plenty of time to cure before I start with the putty, so I will wait until tomorrow to continue with that. Which is why this will be a slow process - tomorrow I can putty this join and maybe glue on another piece or two, and then wait, and then putty more the next day.

I could have glued the arms and hat on, but I've had bad luck in the past when trying to putty joins while working around more delicate pieces. It introduces risk of bending or damaging the smaller pieces. These are mostly solid, but there are things like his gun that could be bent out of shape. So, I will take this slow and go one step at a time.

As a side note, here is some evidence that it's not just female figures that sometimes get weird poses:

He is leaning forward, but then bending backward. I'm not sure how you do that without falling over. It's a very anime pose which I don't think actual humans ever do. I'm planning to try to adjust the leaning forward part when I put him on his base.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

17: Speed Paint!

Today I did my speed paint of the kneeling assassin. I gave myself 4 hours to complete the figure to the best level I could manage in those 4 hours.

Here's the starting point:

I had previously base coated the skin, but that was a small amount of work.

Here's where things were after the first hour (ish). At this point I'd finished the skin and moved on to base coating the cloak and tunic. I started out just working on the tunic, but found that I had to wait a long while today for the paint to dry, so I started base coating other areas while waiting for the first part to dry. After all, I had limited time.

And after the second hour. Here I'd finished the tunic and pants, and was ready to move on to the cloak. I'd started shading the cloak around the head.

After the third hour. The third hour was where I expected this to really slow down, because I was shading and highlighting the cloak. There was a lot of cloak with a lot of folds.

And, the final:

It actually took me a little less than 4 hours to complete. I could have spent the last half hour cleaning it up and refining it, but my non-painting responsibilities were starting to kick in, so I just called it good enough and stopped. What this does tell me is that next time I do this exercise, I need to pick a more complicated mini, set a shorter time limit, or both.

Saturday, September 15, 2018


Finished up Mary today. Yay!

I didn't get to the speed paint today. I'm hoping to do that tomorrow. I did start the cleanup on my next large scale project, but didn't get pictures. Also tomorrow!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Mary: Bits and Bobs

So I did the outstanding jewelry and straps and bits tonight. All that's left is finishing off her pistols, and this project will be done. Yay!

There's a lot that could be smoother, and someday I might regret not doing the pattern on the bodice (though it will still be there, so I could theoretically come back at any time and do it. Don't hold your breath). But for now, I'm just really looking forward to this being done.

My hope for the weekend is to finish her off, speed paint Gerry the Kneeling Assassin, and start clean up on my next large scale project.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Mary: Jewelry Part 2

Finished up the gold jewelry today.

Almost there! I'm definitely looking forward to being done with this piece.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mary: Belt, Jewelry

Put some texture in the highlights on the belt, finished up the buckles, and started the base coat on the jewelry that is going to be gold.

The jewelry needs another coat or two to finish out the base coat, but I'm still hoping to finish it next session. The band on her right arm, I'm thinking I'll make red like the bodice and bandana. The other straps on her wrist I'm thinking I'll do in the leather color of the belt.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Mary: Belt

Shading and highlights on the belt.

I tried putting some texture on the belt and was a bit stymied in that effort. I think the thing that was giving me trouble was the ridges on either side of the belt, which are things belts do not really have, certainly not to that depth. I was trying to put cracks in the leather along the edges like I have on other figures. It didn't carry on just the edges; too narrow, I think. So I tried taking it a little farther in, but that didn't look quite right either. So I went with doing the texture across the whole width, but just in a couple areas that would be particularly worn, like where the buckle sits.

Still, I think the highlight areas with the texture look better that those without, so I may add it to other highlight spots. It'd probably be better to have it over the whole belt than just part of it, but I think this is all it's going to get.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Mary: Bodice, Belt

Finished the straps on her bodice by adding some highlighting, and then went on to the base coat of the belt across her shoulder.

I initially tried doing the buckles and loops on the bodice as silver, but it didn't stand out enough against the highlighting on the straps. I switched them to gold to get some hue contrast going in there. It helped.

For the belt, I wanted a cool brown, or at least not a warm one, to play off against the warm tones I've used for her skin, hair, and the bodice. I think it'll work. After the belt, what's going to be left is the details - her various jewelry bits and so on. I expect that to take...well, longer than you might think. So maybe next weekend she'll be done.

I also started working on this guy:

This is from by box of pre-primed minis, and has some issues with poor clean-up and fuzzy primer. It's okay. I'm painting him because I want something that's going to be simple and fast and not require a lot of thinking and working to make it super awesome. He's got very little detail, so he should fit the bill nicely. Once I'm done with what skin he has showing, I'll do the tunic next.

I could swear that I've painted this guy before but I can't find the painted one, so...apparently not.

The name of this figure in the store is 'Kneeling Assassin'. I suppose it makes sense that he doesn't have a name; you don't exactly walk up to the guy you are trying to stab and say 'Hi, I'm Gerry, and I'll be assassinating you today'. Anyway, expect to see more of Gerry the Assassin in the next few days.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mary: Bodice, Bandana, Part 3

Continued on with Mary's bandana and bodice today. I added highlights to both, and base coated the straps on the bodice.

The bandana is done. The bodice still needs work on the straps; they need highlights if not also shadows. I may not do much for shadows because they are already awfully dark. Also, I need to decide what to do on the scroll work on the bodice. At the moment I'm thinking about just ignoring it. From a distance, the pattern hardly shows. It will be difficult to follow because it's not that deeply sculpted in the first place, so I'm concerned about making a mess of it.

Also, I kinda just don't feel like doing it.

The color I used on the straps is a new one from ReaperCon called Black Indigo. It's another super dark purple, with a little more purple to it that Nightshade Purple. So far, I like it!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Mary: Bodice, Bandana

More shading. Went darker and into purple. Realized that if I'm going to do purple for the pattern on the bodice, I shouldn't have used it for a shadow color, so I will have to reconsider that. Also, one of my purples is going chalky. I think it's just because it's an older paint. Still, inconvenient. I think
I lost most of my first round of shadow, but I may be OK with that.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Mary: Bodice, Bandana

I started shading the red cloth today. There's not much of a visible difference, but this is only the first round of shadow color. I'm going to do at least one more round of shadow, and then move on to highlights. I'm also thinking about what to do with the sculpted pattern on her bodice. I might go with purple for that.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

ReaperCon! And, Mary's Hair.

ReaperCon was last weekend. I taught four classes (Freehand for the 2D Challenged, Intro to OSL (twice), and Survey of NMM and TMM), and they all seemed to go well. I also ran an RPG and was one of the judges for the MSP Open painting competition. Busy weekend!

I came away with these medals:

That's a gold for the Hasslefree Lenore and a bronze for Charlie there. Not too shabby!

I also got a bronze Sophie for another piece I brought. It was a figure of a dwarf I painted for Reaper, so sadly I don't have it to show here. Here's the Sophie, anyway:

This is my second bronze Sophie. The first I won for a piece I worked very, very hard on and struggled with for weeks. This one I got for a piece that I worked to do a good job on, but did not put anywhere near the same level of time and effort into as the first one. I suppose that's a form of improvement - I can now paint something to a similar level of quality as that first Sophie winner from a few years ago in much less time and with much less of a struggle.

In the couple days leading up to ReaperCon and while I was there, I worked on Mary's hair. I decided to see if I could make her look bleach blonde, and if that would work on a figure. So I got a reference photo off of Google and tried to match it, and this is what I have:

It matches the reference photo pretty well and I think it does work for this figure, but probably wouldn't on a smaller scale. The hair is still a bit rough in a couple spots, but I want to get Mary here finished up so I can move on to the next thing, so I may futz with the hair a bit more, but probably not much (and maybe not at all).