Monday, December 26, 2011

A joyous Boxing Day to all....

Imagine my surprise when I found out that didn't mean a day long marathon of fisticuffs.

Rather than make updating my blog daily a New Year's Resolution, I decided to start a week earlier. It sort of makes sense when you think about it as I love to talk about the miniature painting hobby. Honestly, I could go on for hours about the hobby and all of its "goings on". Today's post is a quick one, mainly a "workbench" update.

As you can see I finally finished assembling 10 of the viking huscars from Wargames Factory and have even textured the bases of five of them. I can only paint models at one time as I only have one wooden paint stirrer to mount them to. (FYI, you can go to Home Depot and they will give you a handful for free and they are so great for holding squads of troops for painting.) I have also assembled and primered three Germanians from Wargames Factory along with an Askari from Wargames Foundry. The Germanians are for my miniature painting price guide for the three levels of painting I'll be offering for historical plastics (the levels will be similar for plastics except for the level 3 models). The two barechested fellows will be the level 1 and 2 models while the fellow with the horn and fancy staff will be the level 3 model. Trust me, it will all make sense when I show you the painted versions later on in the week.

But in case you are wondering, some painters used a tiered pricing system based upon the paint job's level of detail. Example: A level 1 may consist of blocked out colors and a dip in brown wash. A level 2 may consist of everything level 1 consisted of, but with some additions such as drybrushing and blacking out the eyes. Level 3 is the usual level I paint my personal troop models...eyes dotted, clean highlights and washes, all the little details painted, and possibly a little bit of freehand here and there. Some even go a level beyond 3 for command models and personality models for what they might call a "showcase" level. I myself paint all my RPG models to that level (see any of the photos I've posted for examples).

You should keep one thing in mind when thinking about "paint job levels" is that not all miniatures are the same.
  • Plastics up until recently did not have the detail that metal or resin had (and there are some plastics this is still true of).
  • Not all metal miniatures are made the same and you will find varying degrees of quality in sculpting and casting.
  • There are some models out there a level 3 paint job just can't fix (I'm looking at you Hero Clix).
Let me assure I speak from experience on these points. Personally, I try to steer a customer away from trying to get a substandard model painted up to more than a level 2 because to go much higher isn't really worth the money and more than likely they have another model in their collection that would benefit from a level 3 or higher. In this economy, it is all about getting your customer the most bang for their buck.

Well, that is all for tonight's post. I hope you guys have found it informative and possibly educational. Personally, I'm going to slap a coat of my custom fleshtone base on the Germanians and then crank up Saint's Row 3 and cause some mayhem.


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays to All!

Diane and I are keeping the festivities sort of low key at the homestead this year. With some of the unforseen changes that 2011 brought, we've opted to spend Christmas at home this year with the boys. Monty is asleep on the couch while Bruno sleeps on his dog bed beneath the Christmas tree all while a Firefly (bleh) marathon plays on TV. Diane is cooking up our holiday feast of ham and a variety of other delicious foods while I assemble little plastic vikings at my desk.

If you don't recognize these fine plastic fellows, they are from Wargames Factory's Hammer of the Gods line (at least I think it is a line). I am currently assembling 10 of these guys as a viking raiding party hence their varied weapons and other equipment. I'm still not sold on the spears at the moment as I find them awkward and unwieldly. Not to mention they make ranking up the models a nightmare. True, I could have based them on 40mm square bases but then it would make using the regiment as skirmishers impossible. So with that in mind, I think those spears will get replaced with swords and axes.

As far as the painting for these guys goes I don't know really exactly what my color scheme will be. I do know that I am going to use earthtones and I'm fairly sure that the colors green and red will be used a great deal on the tunics. What I do know with absolute certainty is that I really need to sit down and plan out my color scheme thoroughly as I am painting 10 models rather than just 1 or 2 and they need to look good as a unit as well as individually.

But that sort of brings me to the point of today's post and that is planning your project. I have always been the kind of painter that loves to jump in head first and just start painting. Sounds great, but that route often leads to minis getting thrown in the Pinesol jar because the color scheme didn't work. Just the simple act of putting thought into your color scheme and possibly a little backstory to your models can mean the difference between a nicely painted model and one that will knock your friends' socks off.

An example of a model where I planned out the color scheme and came up with a little bit of back story is my Goblin Boss from GW:

The plan was that I was going to use a classic goblin color scheme with various greens and reds. Furthermore, my plan was also to use a muted palette for this model as to play down the "Christmas Color Scheme" that I so hate about GW's paintjobs. The last bit of my plan was to come up with a little backstory for the models since he is a character model and backstory always seems to make me feel a little more invested in the paint job. For this Goblin Boss, I decided that he was a veteran of many conflicts in the north and had survived a battle with a massive force of Nurgle tainted Marauders but not without becoming slightly tainted. That little tid bit at the end is the main reason why I used very desaturated tones for highlighting his flesh. Just that little something special to make the model unique and personalized.

So for the upcoming new year, I challenge you all to make a resolution to just take five to ten minutes and put some thought into your new projects. Trust me, it will add a little bit of spice to your work and will help you paint something exceptional.

That is all from me this afternoon. Hopefully I'll have some in progress painting photos later this week as well as some in progress shots of the refitted Paintshop of Horrors site that has been absent for the last three years.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Workbench...or what I am painting this week

On the workbench this week I have:

Goliath Ganger with Shotgun.

Originally, I was working on an Escher with a las-rifle but after careful consideration I decided to strip the less that stellar primer job and globbed on paint off of her. Hint: Just because someone gives you a mini with primer and paint on it does not mean you have to work with it. I strip everything and reprimer it myself to avoid any problems such as bad coverage or just bad primer color choice.

As for Mr Biceps here, he was primered with Krylon Gray Primer. It is cheaper than GW primer and it comes in three colors rather than two. I the last couple of years, I have really come to enjoy painting over the gray and white primers from Krylon.

The fleshtone you see here is my special blend that I make from three different fleshtones from various manufacturers: Delta Ceramcoat, Folk Art, and Americana. I used to use only Ceramcoat, but they changed their paints formula (and not for the better) so I had to make some alterations in my mixture. But, besides those three colors, I add Charcoal Gray and Spice Brown to the mix in small quantities. The end result is a more realistic fleshtone (or at least that's how I think it looks). Far too many companies make their fleshtones to orange or too pink. However, everyone has to find a fleshtone that they like whether it is straight from the bottle or a mixture.

As far as the rest of his color scheme, I am probably going to stick close to the Necromunda rule book color scheme but with some more elaborate patterning on the trousers and possibly tattoos. Very iffy on tattoos as if you go to elaborate it muddies the figure, but if you don't go elaborate enough it looks cartoony and crappy. I do know that I am going with a solid color for the hair and NOT the snowcone look I have seen on some Necromunda Goliaths.

Next up is the Illyrian Scout from Reaper.

He is still in what I consider a brainstorming phase. I know I want to use a bright color for his flesh, hence the white primer. However I don't know what color yet. I am leaning towards an orange rust color...sort of like Jar Jar Binks or something. His base is a standard gravel base as I sort of see him as a member of some rag tag interplanetary group of adventurers.

Well, that is it for tonight. Check back again in a few days or so and I should have some serious progress on the Goliath. Haven't decided if he will be auction material or not. I do have extras of certain models for the Goliaths, I just have to check and see if he is one of the extras.

Good Night and Good Painting!